Last September my wife and I did this elimination diet called the Whole 30. It cuts out certain food groups, reintroducing them one-at-a-time in order to identify foods that are inflammatory and don’t agree with you specifically (everyone’s different).
What you DO EAT: Moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; herbs, spices, and seasonings; tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, walnuts).
What you DO NOT EAT for 30 days: No beans (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), chickpeas, lentils or peanuts (peanut butter too). No soy (MSG, soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, lecithin, soy milk). No added sugar or sweeteners, real or artificial. No alcohol…sorry. No grains (wheat, corn, quinoa, rice, buckwheat, oats, rye, barley, etc. No dairy (any type of cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, milk, cream in your coffee, ice cream, butter, kefir). No baked foods or junk foods (muffins, cookies, crackers, cakes, pies).
Since today is September 1st, I am, once again, doing a Whole 30. Mind you, I am not doing this to lose weight. While that may be the goal for most people that do this diet, I am doing it to change my relationship with food. Even though I was not trying to lose weight the first time I did the diet last year, I did end up losing 20 lbs. in 3 weeks. This year I want to see if I can lose no weight, but just really clean up my eating. Since doing the diet last year, I noticed some less than healthy habits creeping back in, so I figured it’s time for a re-set.
This diet takes some mental work and physical preparation. It’s kind-of hard because you’re shifting out of your automatic patterns (binging and eating without thinking about what you’re putting into your body), but I think people make it out to be way harder than it is. I like it because it’s a self-experiment that you’re doing for the betterment of your health. I’ve learned that what you eat is way more important than I ever gave credence to. I did ok with my eating, but allowed way too many infringements.
What ended up sticking for me after last year’s Whole 30 is that I almost completely eliminated wheat (all bread, muffins, crackers, beer, wheat pasta, sandwiches, pizza). I say almost because one or two times I’ve had a cheat desert, like pie with a crust. Everything else wheat is totally gone from my diet. I did re-introduce other grains back into my diet successfully, such as rice, oats, and quinoa. Although I did also re-introduce corn, I’ve cut back on it. I eliminated red wine, which, surprisingly, ended up being really toxic for me. After eliminating it for 30 days and then re-introducing red wine, it turned out to be really noxious to my system. I eliminated almost all dairy. I say almost because the only thing I allow is very occasional ice cream when we’re out as a family to get it. Otherwise, all cheese, cream cheese and yogurt is gone. I use cashew milk in my coffee and eat a special type of unsweetened almond milk Greek yogurt made by Kite Hill. Another thing that ended up being toxic for my system was black beans. While I re-introduced other types of beans, black beans ended up being particularly irritating to my gastric system. Another habit that I changed after the diet was that I don’t drink any alcohol during weekdays anymore, only on Friday or Saturday if I want a drink.
2 other things that I noticed while on the Whole 30 were that (1) my gastric system did way better and (2) my adult acne, which I’ve had for 40 years, totally cleared up like I’ve never seen before. It came back a little when I re-introduced foods, but nothing like before.
That’s the beauty of an elimination diet…you can wipe your system clean and then see what works and what doesn’t work for you. It’s completely specific to you and, I think, very revealing. If you feel like you’re on automatic pilot with your eating habits, it’s worth a try. But commit to all 30 days and see what your body tells you after.