CFFS April Nutrition Challenge
What is the Whole30 Challenge ?
The term “Whole 30” was coined by husband and wife team Melissa and Dallas Hartwig of Whole9Life who designed a 30 day food plan designed to cleanse and reset the body.
This is NOT some sort of weird fad “diet” designed to make its creators a lot of money. I would never ever advocate a fad diet of any kind. Every single scrap of information about it is entirely free on their website, and there are no fancy shakes or supplements they’re trying to get you to buy. It is also not about counting calories or eating less. It is all about encouraging people to find optimum health through eating real, unprocessed food. Nothing more. And this is why I would 100% recommend this to everyone. And because it will literally transform the way you feel and think about food. It will also help you shift some pounds (if you need to), but it is more about health. The whole point of it is that it eliminates all potentially allergenic, psychologically addicting, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory foods from the diet for a period of 30 days, during which time the body is given a chance to reset, heal and recover from the effects these foods may be having on the body.
Clearly, if you have any form of gut/digestive issue, it would be obvious to try something like this, but most of us have other issues we would never have even guessed are related to food – fluctuating or low energy levels, trouble sleeping, headaches, other aches & pains, joint issues, weight that is hard to shift, skin conditions, allergies, fertility problems, etc – just to name a few.
All of these issues could be impacted or caused by food groups such as sugar, grains, dairy and legumes, but we would never know without trying a period without them to see how our body reacts.
Often we are so used to feeling sub-par all of the time that we have forgotten what it is like to enjoy vibrant energy, glowing health and ideal body composition.
What is the Commitment?
For 30 days, eat real, whole food, as close to its natural form as possible. This means meat, seafood, lots of vegetables, eggs, some fruit and healthy fats like grassfed butter, olive oil, coconut oil.
More importantly, during this 30 days, avoid inflammatory, gut-disrupting foods. This includes sugar of any kind, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, and industrial seed oils of any kind (canola, grape-seed, safflower oil etc etc). Avoiding these foods will allow your body to reset and your gut to heal.
After 30 days you can reintroduce certain foods one at a time and see how your body reacts. It’s a great way to really understand which foods work for you and which you are better off without. Other foods (such as wheat, refined sugar, soy, industrial seed oils), I would say to avoid, where possible, at all times, since there really are no upsides to these foods.
It is strict – any sort of elimination plan like this has to be strict, but it is for 30 days. Anyone can do anything for 30 days – it really is not that long or that difficult. And if after 30 days you do not feel significantly healthier, fitter, and better looking, then you can always dive head-first back into a plate of pizza with the knowledge that at least you stuck through a challenge.
It does require some effort, planning and discipline. And making sure you are eating enough. But it is perfectly doable, and the rewards are substantial. In terms of it being tough, This is how the Whole9 team phrase it:
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.
Planning & Goals
What will you guys do before going on a trip? Do you pack your bags the morning before, pick a destination and buy a ticket without having an itinerary? But we know that it’s not the most efficient method, nor are you going to have a high confidence of success. No, before a journey you probably have an idea of where you want to go. In this case, our journey is to a better understanding of our relationship with food.
Most of you– and I encourage all of you– are going to go on a journey with us over the course of the next month. Our goals are to:
- Potentially change the way we eat forever.
- Become mindful of what “Real Food” is, and what it isn’t.
- Learn the connection between what goes into our body, and how we feel, think, and perform in the gym and in our daily lives.
- Make significant changes in our eating habits– not only WHAT we eat but also WHY we eat.
- Stop making sacrifices in our health based off of convenience, habits, or ignorance
- Learn to appreciate eating food without the additives, allergens, and fillers that are so prevalent in our diet.
- Come to realize, and question, what ingredients are truly in our food (do you know what soy lecithin, carrageenan, and carmine are?)
- Lose Fat, shed retained water, reduce inflammation. Notice this is last, you will not be able to get here without connecting the dots above.
We are going to get started as a group on April 1st. This is your time to get educated and start thinking about a plan of action.
A few best practices :
- Plan ahead, way ahead : If you don’t know what you are going to eat for your next meal, then you are already at a huge deficit. Try to think DAYS ahead. Be an adult.
- Have a back-up plan: Utilizing services like Kettlebell Kitchen or Blue Apron maybe a good way to stay ahead of prep.
- Writing down and taking pictures of everything you eat: This helps you hold myself accountable, and also encourages you to add some color to your plates (usually brightly colored veggies) in order to add some “pop” to your food selfies. Share them with your CFFS friends to inspire more food creativity.
- Food as Fuel: Think of food as fuel, as medicine, and as sustenance. It shouldn’t necessarily always be a party, but it shouldn’t feel like a chore either. You will appreciate food more as a result.
- Slow down: Stop shoveling your food. Start chewing it. Think about what you’re eating and what your preparations were to get this meal. You spent all that time prepping, at least take a few seconds to enjoy it. Don’t forget it takes 10 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know you are full. The slower you eat the more likely you will actually feel full from the food I’ve already eaten.
- EAT MORE FAT. Fat does not make you fat. Eating excess calories, usually cheap calories from sugars, make you fat. When I’m hungry and I eat a fat (usually with protein), I feel full. When I eat sugar/carbs/starches I’m hungry again within an hour.
If you are willing to change the way you think about food, you can then change the way you feel about food. That’s the first step in making a series of small changes to a shift in healthier decisions around food. Join us this April in changing the way you think, feel, and act around the decisions of how we fuel our body. Look out for more info in our private CFFS Tribe Facebook group.
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