01 Feb Whole30 Basics
As a medical doctor specializing in integrative medicine, I receive many questions about nutrition and diets – and I believe that using food as medicine is the single most important step we can take to achieving our highest health potential.
Lately, my patients have asked about the “Whole30” plan, based on The New York Times bestselling books It Starts With Food and The Whole30. Since every patient is different, it’s a mistake to assume one plan is right for everyone, but this approach includes some valuable tools that can benefit most of us.
Whole30 is a “paleo” elimination diet, which encourages you to take 30 days to reset your eating habits and start a healthier lifestyle. Here are the basic rules I tell my patients to follow, which are the same as the original diet except that I suggest that breakfast should be optional:
- Prepare all of your own foods with real ingredients such as unprocessed meats, fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats
- Your plate should contain more vegetables than meats or fats
- Eliminate dairy, processed sugar, soy, legumes, and all grains including wheat, quinoa, oats, and corn
- Optional: eliminate most nightshade foods (such as tomatoes) and eggs for those with sensitivities. Sweet potatoes are permitted.
- Avoid anything that is a “healthy substitute” for an unhealthy food; for example, don’t try to make something that tastes similar to a brownie using the allowed ingredients because it keeps your brain from breaking old habits
- Don’t weigh yourself for 30 days; focus on non-scale victories such as better mental function and energy
- Always eat lunch and dinner; breakfast and snacks are optional if you’re hungry
- Supplement with magnesium. I take at least 400 mg every night of a combination of magnesium glycinate and magnesium malate (the 2 chelated forms which are least likely to cause GI upset).
- Exercise wisely. Adding just 15 minutes per day of high-intensity training (HIT) or Peak 8 training is one of the most efficient ways to enhance any diet.
- Get enough vitamin D. Some of my patients need more and some need less. Also, too much vitamin D can be toxic, so it’s important to have your doctor test and retest to find out how much you really need.
- Incorporate blended fruits and veggies. Blending helps release important phytonutrients and improves digestibility. I recommend 70% vegetables and 30% in my daily green drink recipe.
For more information on why I recommend variations and enhancements to Whole30, read my post on Whole30 Tips to Enhance Your Reset.