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Created by a pair of sports nutritionists in 2009, the Whole30 diet is often criticized as a fad. But if you are on social media at all, you have probably been inundated by friends posting about how great they feel on this diet. Is it worthwhile, and most importantly… is it for you?

As the name implies, the Whole30 diet is meant to be a 30-day intensive, and its promoters promise dietary health and freedom will follow. It is essentially an antiinflammatory diet focusing on whole foods – an excellent choice for people with any of a long list of health conditions, and those seeking to get started on a cleaner diet.

While some dieticians have criticized it as unsustainable, it is meant to be a dietary reset rather than a life-long commitment. Many of the foods eliminated during the 30 day intensive can be added back later. And the new year, with the motivation and resolutions that go hand in hand with it, is a natural time to consider just such a new beginning.

And who knows? Many people who have done 30 days of this diet never fully return to the amount of sugar and processed foods they ate before they tried it… and because most people feel so good on the diet, it’s common to do another 30 days from time to time as a sort of “reset” during the year.

The list of food you can eat is pretty straightforward: Natural, organic meat, poultry, fish, fruit, veggies, and fats. Stick to unprocessed foods, and keep an eye on product labels for sugars, fillers, grains, and chemicals. Think avocados, organic produce, fresh cuts of meat and chicken, ghee, coconut aminos, and yes, even canned tuna. Coffee and tea are also welcomed to the table. Rather than focusing on what you’re giving up, think of lovely roasted meats and veggies drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with herbs and sea salt.

Foods to eliminate include sugar and other natural sweeteners such as honey. Artificial sweeteners? – also off the list. Avoid grains, legumes, dairy, and soy. Set your vices aside for the month, because no smoking or drinking alcohol are allowed. Run from processed additives like carrageenan, sulfates, and MSG.

So how are you going to survive the month? One tip is to find a friend to do it with for accountability and pep talks. Sharing ideas, recipes, and motivation are a proven tactic to accomplishing any dietary goal!

Further, find a friend who has already done Whole30 – chances are that your pal will serve as a gold mine of tips and resources.

If you are someone who thrives on written support, there are many great books available that go in-depth about the whys of Whole30, and many more that are packed with recipes so tasty you’ll hardly miss the sugar, additives, and unhealthy foods you used to eat.

And speaking of benefits, what can you expect in just 30 days? While it is not primarily a weight loss diet, most people do lose weight. As reported by its creators and fans, your tastes will change, making it easier going forward to stick to healthier options. Inflammation will go down, and you will feel better. Digestive conditions settle down, skin looks healthier, and sleep improves.

But perhaps the greatest benefits come after the 30 days are over. Now that you have detoxed from sugar, why go back? Now that you have acquired a taste (not to mention a long list of delicious recipes) for veggies, it is easier to let them play a prominent role in your diet.

This is also the time to add in a food journal and start slowly adding foods back in, noting how you feel when they are added. Say you add dairy and find yourself quickly inflamed and having digestive issues – congratulations, you have just found a food that you can eliminate going forward for better health!

Continue to add back in foods that you had eliminated, noting your physical reactions as you go. Maybe you had eliminated something such as grains from your diet in the past, and through this method you find out that they are not a problem after all. Now that you can add them back in, it is time to choose the healthiest versions of them: brown rice, quinoa, and perhaps sprouted grains.

The bottom line? You have formed new habits, you have discovered food sensitivities, and you are feeling better. And while weight loss was not the primary goal, your favorite pair of jeans are fitting more nicely these days!

Ready to get started? Here are some resources to help:

Free PDF Downloads from Whole30.com

7 days of free Whole30 Dinner Recipes

Whole30 Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snack Recipes

23 Delicious Whole30 Meals for 2

Official Whole30 Cookbook

Whole30 Slowcooker Recipes

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