Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Whole30 - What did we learn? What does it mean? How do we use that going forward?

So my wife and I have recently completed the Whole30. For those of you not familiar, it's basically super strict paleo for 30 days. The idea is to reset your insulin sensitivity, break bad habits, and eliminate inflammation in the body by removing toxicants like gluten, excessive carbohydrate, dairy, legumes and so forth. For us, since we eat paleo all the time, this mostly meant removing that nightly glass or two of wine, and occasional cheats like dark chocolate, or non-paleo foods at restaurants or friends houses. It was not a huge stretch for us.

However, it WAS a difficult thing to do. Going out to eat became a bit of a chore as so many foods, while maybe MOSTLY paleo, became ineligible for the 30 days. Also, I know for myself, that the glass of wine with dinner is a ritual that signifies the end of the day and letting go of the day's stresses. The first week found me missing that ritual. But, after that, it wasn't something I devoted much thought to.

During the 30 days I became visibly leaner and lost some 5-7lbs. I slept well and my workouts were of their normal quality. My wife saw changes in her physique and body composition as well. We had regular talks about what this all meant and where to go from there. Essentially asking the question:

"What have we learned here and how do we use that going forward?" The answer is, at least in part, that we learned something about moderation. Our periodic cheats and nightly glass(es) of wine were definitely adding some fat to our frames but not making us overweight by any stretch of the imagination.

My conclusion behind all of this is that it's great for breaking bad habits and giving some perspective on whether what you're doing is working or not. How that's measured will be different from person to person. Some people's digestion will improve, some will lose weight, some will see changes in sleep quality, and some will just simply feel better. If you don't adhere to paleo normally, you're like to see much greater changes. As we're pretty strict about paleo around here, there was less change for us.

Breaking bad habits is never a bad idea. And learning about what foods do and don't agree with you is useful too. Mark Sisson over at Marks Daily Apple has a similar 21 day challenge using his Primal Blueprint. He uses the term primal but, it's paleo. I'm not a fan of "cleanses" in general but I do think that putting good fuel into your body, lowering or eliminating inflammation, and letting your gut heal is a good thing too!

As always, please feel free to contact me with questions. I do nutritional coaching and would love to help you achieve your goals!


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