Why I’ll never do another Whole30
Disclaimer: I am not hating on anyone that follows a paleo diet or has done Whole 30s, is currently doing one, or plans on doing one. Heck, I did one about a year and a half ago- precisely 3 months before adopting a vegan lifestyle. That being said, I want to share why I will never do one again – besides the obvious fact that I no longer eat meat, dairy, animal products, etc.
Since it has been over a year and a half since I first did a Whole 30, my view on it has changed quite a bit. I think it is very interesting to look back on that time and compare it to how my energy levels are now. It is a complete 180. I actually remember thinking that I felt pretty good while on this diet challenge, but looking back, that wasn’t actually that true. Sure I felt a bit better from cutting out processed foods, and was sleeping a bit better, but it was no where near as good as I feel now. Now I actually feel energized, happy, and focused throughout my busy school days.
If you haven’t been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard of a Whole30 style diet. The Whole30 diet is based off of a paleo diet and focuses on cutting out dairy (thumbs up), grains (not a fan), and processed foods (yay!). Doesn’t sound like that unhealthy of a diet now does it? Well, it actually has some benefits like elimination of processed foods and dairy, however as a vegan, including meat in my diet obvious is not something that I am about anymore.
Apparently the Whole30 website includes a Vegetarian/ Vegan option, but it claims that that would not be a “real” Whole30 and they also claim that animal protein is needed for “optimal health”. Ugh. Have they not read the reports the World Health Organization puts out?? Apparently not. But that is a topic for another time.
Here’s a few reasons why I would never do another Whole 30 – besides the whole I don’t eat meat thing.
- It has very strict guidelines for what you are allowed to eat.
But wait- don’t vegans have very strict guidelines for what they eat? Well- yes and no. The Whole30 has a very specific and short list of the foods that you are allowed to eat. The list is quite short if you ask me, and has strict guidelines. On the other hand, a vegan diet does omit all animal products, but there are so many foods that are vegan out there that it never feels restrictive. The sky really is the limit when it comes to a vegan diet.
2. it emphasizes eating only 3 meals a day.
I don’t believe that there is a certain number of meals a day people should abide by. if you like eating 5-6 smaller meals/ snacks a day then do that. If you like 3 moderately sized meals and 2 snacks- then do that. If you like eating 3 substantial meals a day- then do that! I don’t believe there is one set time schedule for eating. I think that if you are hungry, then you should eat- but just keep it healthy (as often as possible).
3. I spent way too much on groceries while doing this 30 day diet challenge.
I remember spending SO much money on meat, almond butter, Larabars, and nuts. Many of the foods that the Whole 30 emphasizes eating are rather expensive. I spend much less money on my grocery bill now on a vegan diet as fruit, veggies, beans, legumes, and grains are some of the cheapest foods on the planet. I was buying foods that I typically would not otherwise purchase because they were some of the only foods on the list that felt “satisfying” or like I was meeting my cravings. The lack of natural sugar in the diet (besides the minimal fruit they suggest) made me crave Larabars and high fat foods.
4. It is a diet- not a lifestyle.
Sure, you could eat a Whole30 compliant diet for your whole life- but this plan is meant to be more of a nutritional “reset” if you will. It is not marketed as being a lifestyle to follow forever.
5. It focuses too much on fats.
Mostly healthy fats (minus oil why I personally do not consider a health food), but I personally feel best on a lower fat diet. Sure I love nuts, avocado, coconut and nut butter as much as the next person, but it does not make me feel my best. Not only does it make me feel sluggish, it also has a tendency to pack on the pounds and it makes my skin all icky. Taking nut butters, nuts, and oil out of my diet about 9 months ago has made me feel SO much better. Sure, I will eat nuts every now and then if it is in a dish or occasionally eat something that has nut butter in it, but I do not purchase those things for my home. Nor do I purchase oil, but I don’t freak out when I go out to a restaurant because they use oil.
6. You can’t have hummus.
No other explanation needed. Beans are SO HEALTHY, and delicious- especially when they are mashed up with a lot of garlic and a little lemon. The Whole30 has got it all wrong. Pretty much every health report states that garbanzo beans are extremely healthy and have many benefits from better digestion, lower glycemic index, and having powerful weight loss properties.
While it may seem like I am totally bashing on this diet- here are a few things that I did like about it.
It focuses on real food and emphasizes healing the toxic relationship most Americans have with food.
It eliminates dairy.
It doesn’t focus on the number on the scale. Actually, it suggests in the plan that you not step on the scale during the 30 days.
To sum it all up: this diet has caught a lot of media attention the past few years, leaving many people (including myself) to try the diet plan/ challenge. My advice to you would be to nix this diet plan, and focus on a more plant based diet for optimal health that is heavy on the fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains and light on the fats, oils, and processed foods.
There ya have it! I know this is quite a controversial topic, so let me know your thoughts below! I definitely am not staging some sort of vegan vs paleo war- just sharing what has worked for ME in the past, and what works for me now. I think it is neat to see how people have changed their eating habits over time, and I wanted to share where I am at right now with you all.
Let me know in the comments if you have ever done a Whole30 and if you would do another! Do you disagree with anything I said? Tell me below!