Follow the Whole30 plan to reboot your eating habits, shed fat, and rev up your energy.
New year's get all the buzz when it comes to making healthy-eating resolutions, but summer is the perfect time to revamp your diet. Fresh produce is at its peak, lean proteins are beckoning to be grilled, and you’ve got plenty of incentive to show off your results in a sexy swimsuit or shorts. But it’s not just about how good your abs look in a bikini. This is a great time to regain a smarter relationship with food. One way to do this is by using the wildly popular Whole30 program, which has helped hundreds of thousands of people reset their diets by focusing on clean foods and eliminating sugar, grains, alcohol, dairy, and more. The premise: These foods have the potential to cause digestive, metabolic, and inflammatory disorders that can compromise your health. “The only way to know what foods might be causing problems is by pushing them off your plate for 30 days,” says Melissa Hartwig, the co-creator of the Whole30 program. Even if you don’t have any food sensitivities, it’s still an opportunity to get the junk out of your diet while crushing your cravings for sugar and processed carbs and adding in more fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, meat, and seafood.
It’s also perfect for active women who want to fuel up for performance. “Your blood-sugar levels will be better regulated, so you won’t have those highs and lows,” says Hartwig. Plus, without inflammation-causing sugar and processed carbs, you can recover faster post-workout. Try the Whole30 diet for one month, then follow the guidelines for adding foods back to your diet. You’ll soon feel lighter, stronger, and ready to take on all that the season has to offer.
The Whole 30 isn’t meant to be done halfway. “You have to go all in to see the full benefits the program has to offer,” says Hartwig. “Doing something in moderation can actually be harder because it’s not as concrete. It’s easier on your brain and willpower to just say ‘no.’ ” Plus, if you don’t eliminate everything that could potentially be causing problems, you may never be able to hone in on your specific needs. So, no exceptions—follow these rules for just 30 days.
No added sugars of any kind. Eliminate real sugars (cane, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar) and the manufactured kind (Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, xylitol, stevia, etc.). Be sure to read labels, since sugar can sneak into a wide variety of foods (spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, marinades, etc.).
No alcohol. Not for sipping or cooking.
No grains or pseudo grains. Cut out all forms, even if they don’t contain gluten. Think: wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa, as well as forms of these foods, like bran, germ, and starch. Reading labels here is again key.
No legumes. Beans (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, etc.); peas, soy (tofu, edamame, soy sauce, miso); chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts (including peanut butter) are gone. Also be on the lookout for soybean oil, soy lecithin, and other soy products that sneak into foods and vitamins.
No dairy. Eliminate cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, cheese, kefir, and yogurt. Only clarified butter (which is simmered down at a low temperature to separate milk solids from pure butter oil) and ghee (butter that is simmered even longer, until the milk proteins begin to brown and clump; or purchase premade ghee) are OK.
No carrageenan (a concentrated, processed seafood weed extract used to thicken foods), MSG, or added sulfites. Be on the lookout for these pro-inflammatory additives on nutrition labels.
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