Let’s Talk About Elimination Diets: The Whole 30 Plan

Let’s Talk About Elimination Diets: The Whole 30 Plan

Welcome back! Can you believe we are already halfway through January? This may be a good time to step back and assess where we are with any nutrition goals or resolutions we may have set recently. Many people are using the start of the year as an opportunity to get back on track with eating and explore some options that are out there for ways to do so.  If you are considering embarking on a new diet plan, we hope to provide a great source of information for you. All month long we are tackling various trendy diets, giving some background on the basis behind them, and discussing how we can implement some of the best lessons from each diet plan into our daily lives. It is important to point out that all diet plans should be started with the guidance of a registered dietitian nutritionist, and we would be happy to meet with you to help you reach your goals if any of these topics resonate with you.

Background on the Whole 30 Diet

This week we will be digging in to the Whole 30 diet. This diet is quite trendy right now, specifically with the New Years resolution crowd. It makes sense that this particular plan was especially popular for anyone looking to jump-start a diet plan at the start of the New Year as the premise of the Whole 30 Diet is a 30 day elimination plan. We may have been thinking “Hey, I want to start out on a new diet plan, and I can do anything for 30 days, right?” The elimination diet consists of avoiding any inflammatory or “trigger foods” that may induce cravings, disrupt blood sugar levels, and damage the gut.

What is the Whole 30 Diet Plan?

The Whole 30 diet requires complete avoidance of these “trigger foods,” which include any sugars (real or artificial), alcohol, legumes, all grains, dairy, and any baked goods or treats. These guidelines are somewhat in line with the recommendations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as the Academy does recommend reduced intake of sugars, alcohol, refined grains, and full fat dairy products. However, the extent of the elimination required by the diet is problematic for several reasons. Complete avoidance of numerous foods and entire food groups is simply not realistic for maintaining in the long-term. Also, restrictions to this extent make it extremely difficult for anyone to consume recommend daily allowances of both macro and micro nutrients.

Whole 30 For Weight Loss

The Whole 30 diet was originally aimed at individuals looking to boost energy levels, cope with undiagnosed pain, repair skin issues, and improve digestion. However, this diet has recently been adopted as a weight loss tool. Some individuals report drastic weight loss over the course of the 30 days, and from experience in working with elimination diets, this may be a realistic outcome when first adopting a drastic lifestyle change such as this. At this point, it is good to point out the stance of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: unless obese, a healthy weight loss goal is 1-2 pounds per week. However, we must also consider that these recommendations are set with the mindset to make weight loss realistic, healthy, and maintainable for the large population. The big concern when discussing rapid, drastic weight loss is losing water weight and muscle mass due to the way your body metabolizes food. It is critical for our body to retain muscle mass and a healthy amount of water to continue its ongoing metabolism process and healthy weight loss.  Under the guidance of a registered dietitian nutritionist, weight loss at a greater initial rate may still be within healthy standards, so please contact us if this is something you are interested in learning more about.

Reintroducing Foods

Since elimination diets do show success with weight loss, let’s discuss further how this weight loss can be maintainable in the long term. The Whole 30 Diet requires the elimination of inflammatory and triggering foods for 30 days, but does that make you wonder what happens when you reintroduce those foods back into your diet? I know I’m curious! Surely it is not realistic to try to stick to these extreme eliminations forever. All those quick results that may come with the removal of so many foods may be gone just as quickly when they are reintroduced.

A Better Elimination Strategy

Instead of the extreme restrictions instilled through the Whole 30 Diet, Red Dietitians offers individualized elimination diets uniquely tailored with the help of technology so that specific foods can be identified and avoided, instead of avoiding entire food groups and imposing drastic restrictions. Read more about the Mediator Release Test (MRT) and Lifestyle Eating And Performance (LEAP) therapy that we offer here.  Our plan provides individualized nutrition education, tailored diet plans, and tools (including shopping strategies) that make avoiding trigger foods realistic and maintainable in the long-term.

Have you tried the Whole 30 Diet? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments! Find some Whole 30 approved meals below to try out this week.

This Week’s Meal Plan

Day 1: Enjoy this flavorful fish entrée packed with veggies to fill you up without any grains! Stir Fried Veggies with Fresh Dill and Cod

Day 2: Quick and Easy Spicy Turkey Burgers. Skip the buns (and omit the beer) to stick to the elimination plan.  Serve them over Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad to take advantage of beets in peak season right now!

Day 3: Let the bright flavors of this Chicken with Lemon and Capers liven up this winter season! Served with Mediterranean Avocado Salad which pairs well with the flavors, omit the kasha to stay in line with the Whole 30 plan.

Day 4: You will not notice the absence of any of the foods you’re eliminating with this warming Beef Stew

Day 5: Try this veggie packed Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry. Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce to adhere to Whole 30 rules.

This Week’s Grocery List

Whole 30 Grocery List

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