Some thoughts on Whole30, a paleo challenge


Over the last month Team SpoCOOL & Friends has been partaking in a project called "Whole30". This is, as the name suggests, a thirty day challenge where you eat strict paleo. We're talking really strict, too, not just the sissy normal paleo stuff. In a nutshell it goes like this:

For thirty days you may eat: Whole, unmodified meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, and good fats.

For thirty days you may not eat: Sugar or sugar substitutes, processed foods, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, or anything you probably would find fun. Yeah.

More details are available on the Whole30 website.

As a challenge goes, this one is obviously harder for those who don't usually eat a lot of meat. If you can get past that, the results after a month are pretty impressive. Those who participated all shed pounds faster than what you'd expect from any regular diet. (Around 60 lbs between four people, twenty-four days in.)  Energy levels, meanwhile, increased.

That's not to say this wasn't a challenge. It was, and you soon learn to look at the ingredients list while shopping, even when you wouldn't expect there to be any ingredients listed. Take turkey bacon, for example. Should you go into your regular grocery store, you'd think you could just pick up a package easily, but uh-uh. Compare two seemingly identical packages, and you'll find one to simply contains meat, while another is drenched in sugars and fake smoke flavorings. 

In that sense we got a good reminder not just to start checking out ingredients, but to buy meat from a butcher. Common sense? Probably, but it's easy to be lazy.

You're not supposed to "paleo-fy" less than healthy recipes -- "paleo pizza" is out, for example -- but when having a craving for cheese, we did find there were some dips that actually filled the hole without trying to be a substitute like "vegan cheese" or whatever. Have it with a coconut bread, and things all of a sudden looked kinda good. One could argue that to be "paleo-fying", I suppose, but hey, whatever gets one through the day.

Coffee is also a savior. Drink it black or add some coconut milk, and you'll be good.

Like the Whole30 site mentions, while thirty day of ultra-strict paleo might sound hard, it's not exactly like quitting heroin. It's a challenge, but in the end it made a positive change, and there were surprisingly few cravings. We plan on keeping on a paleo track, albeit one not as strict as the Whole30. We're not going to give up Veraci or anything else as foolish as that. There are rumblings about a mac & cheese at Latah Bistro after all.

Thus we recommend anyone looking to do a bit of a reboot to check out Whole30. A few links to help you: