Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doing the Whole 30

I've always been skeptical about low-carb/Atkins style diets.  I thought they were anything but healthy, and then I came across the Paleo diet (links to follow).  At first I had the same thoughts, but for some reason I kept coming back to it.  There's something about it that resonates with me.  Something about it just makes sense.

Although our society is much more sedentary than our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we don't have to be.  My main concern with the Paleo diet was that we shouldn't eat like they did because we aren't as active as they were.  But that's a silly concern because I can move as much as I want to.  I can do a lot of housework, I can go for walks, I can exercise.  I can easily be as active as they were.

So that brings me to the Whole 30.  In a nutshell, it's this:
We eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. We choose foods that were raised, fed and grown naturally, and foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
This is not a “diet” – we eat as much as we need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight. We aim for well-balanced nutrition, so we eat animals and a significant amount of plants.
 My personal reasons for doing it are not to lose weight.  I feel like I'm generally in pretty good health, but I do have nagging things that are always there.  I get migraines at least a few days every month.  Sometimes I have no energy at all.  I get really bad PMS.  I'm not "regular".  The list could go on.  Just little things that I wonder if I could fix if I changed what I ate.  So I figured I would just go for it.  I've just finished day two, and even though I thought this would feel really restrictive, I'm hot having a hard time with it at all.  (We'll see how the weekend goes when movie and snack time comes up).

Here's what I ate for day two:

Scrambled eggs with spinach and grape tomatoes
Leftover garlic burger, lettuce and tomatoes drizzled with sesame seed oil
Spicy pepper chicken, ginger garlic chicken, and asparagus

And I had a banana for an afternoon snack.

What I've found whenever I eat paleo is how much I really love to cook.  It gives me a chance to experiment with spices and different veggies.  And I love garlic--I put it in just about everything.  I'll try to keep anyone who's interested updated on how my whole 30 is going and what I'm eating.

If you want to dig into what Paleo is a little more, here are some helpful links:
Mark's Daily Apple
Robb Wolf
The Paleo Diet
Everyday Paleo
Paleo Parents

And I have to add a little bit of a disclaimer.  If you buy all your meat from a grocery store, and don't have any intention of changing that, I wouldn't recommend the Whole 30 or the Paleo Diet.  Even if you're not interested in Paleo, check into local meat sources.  It may be slightly more expensive, but it tastes better, it's healthier for you and the environment, it's more humane for the animal: the animals are fed what they are supposed to eat and do what animals are supposed to do.  On top of that, you can support local farmers, and who doesn't want to do that?  There are so many very good reasons to get your meat locally that I don't know why you wouldn't. :)


  1. I'm curious, Bren, your last paragraph recommends against this if you aren't planning to switch meat sources, is this because it won't be as effective or is it entirely because of the support for local farmers and the conditions in which the animals are raised? :)

    1. With this type of diet/lifestyle you eat a lot of meat. There's no getting around it, your protein source is meat and eggs, and a little nuts and nut butter. If you've ever watched Food, Inc. or the like, you see just how bad meat from factory farming is.

      I thought about it after I had posted, and realized I'm not really qualified to recommend what people should or shouldn't eat based on their food sources. I just know that, especially in the Paleo community, there is an emphasis on grass-fed, pasture raised meat. That said, every person has to make the food choices that work best for them.

      Getting to your question about effectiveness, I think it still would be effective, just not as much. Grass-fed meat is higher in omega 3 fats, which are the good kind, and grain-fed (what you get from the store) is higher in omega 6, the bad kind. Those animals are fed things they aren't meant to eat. Cows who are grain fed get sick and have to be given antibiotics so they're not sick. I'm on a tangent again, I think. I'm trying to just answer your question, but this is kind of a soapbox issue for me, and I have a hard time with simple, easy answers. :)

    2. Ha ha, I can give you a simple answer to your either/or question. The answer is both. See? I can be straightforward. :)

    3. Heh, thanks for taking the time to give me an answer. :D