Nutrition fads and the science behind them has been an increasingly popular topic for many. Unfortunately, not all of the fad diets are healthy or have science backing them up. Whole30 made some nutrition experts skeptical. It seemed like another fad diet and some categorized it as another foolish dietary regimen that wouldn’t last.
Elimination diets are on the rise to help people evaluate how different foods make them feel. Whole30 is one of the more common ones and while it’s not recommended for a weight loss technique or to maintain a “healthy” diet, it is recommended for those looking to better understand how the food they consume regularly makes them feel.
The premise of Whole30 is to cut out dairy, added sugars, grains, alcohol, legumes, treats (even with allowed ingredients), and additives (carrageenan, MSG, sulfites) for 30 days and then slowly add these foods back into your diet one at a time to see how they affect your body. As a temporary elimination diet, Whole30 can be helpful as long as you are aware of the risks in cutting out certain food groups. While this might seem overwhelming for someone who eats these types of food regularly, it is possible to stick to this plan if you are prepared. Whole30.com has a lot of resources for you if you want to learn more, but here is a list of tricks for being successful in an office setting.
Tell your close coworkers
While there is no need to send out a message to everyone at your company that you are doing Whole30, if you have a group of people at work that you usually eat lunch with or go to happy hour with, it will help if you tell them. If you’re lucky someone might even want to do it with you and you will have a built-in buddy which is helpful in goal setting. But even if no one in the office wants to do Whole30 with you, at least they will know why when you keep turning them down for happy hour.
Have healthy Whole30 snacks available
Technically snacking is frowned upon with Whole30. The idea is that you eat enough at meals that you don’t need to keep snacking throughout the day, but in the beginning getting portions down can be tricky. You are going to get hungry your first week, so it will be in everyone’s best interest to have some snacks on hand. Try some of these:
- Macadamia nuts and pistachios
- Apples and almond butter
- Hard boiled eggs
- Blueberry (or other fruit flavors) Rx Bar
BYOD – Bring your own drink
Sometimes company happy hours or celebrations are inevitable. Instead of missing out on a coworker’s last day or a birthday celebration, try to come prepared with your own LaCroix. Having something other than water will help you feel included and save money by not buying alcohol! If you don’t like LaCroix, here are some other options:
- Infused water
- Sugar free iced tea
- Iced Coffee with unsweetened almond milk
- Hot coffee or tea
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Pack a Whole30 lunch~root~>
The most successful meals tend to be meal-prepped so you can just throw it into a microwave on your lunch break. If your office doesn’t have a microwave you can try packing large salads. The best part of Whole30 is that you can eat as much as you need to be full. When bringing salads for lunch, aim to fill a medium sized mixing bowl. It feels like a lot, but when it’s all veggies that’s what it takes to fill you up. Spinach, avocado, tomato, balsamic with chicken or an egg is a favorite quick salad to try!
Are you hungry or bored?
Whole30 strives to help you become more in tune with your body. In our culture it’s easy to eat out of boredom or just because your body is craving a dopamine rush (eating sugar has the same impact on the brain as cocaine). When you are feeling hungry or unsatiated at work, challenge yourself to think about if you are hungry or simply bored. Instead of looking for a treat, take a quick stretch break or get some water. Are you still hungry? Focus in on what your body needs, not what you want in the short term.
Meal prepping is a great way to plan for your lunches, but it’s also strategic for dinner. After working an 8-hour day, fighting rush hour traffic, and running quick errands after work the last thing most people want to do is go home and cook for an hour or two, even if they love cooking. Instead, try cooking a substantial amount of food once a week to manage a busy schedule. An easy but classic dinner is spaghetti squash (squash cut into the shape of noodles) with a compliant tomato sauce and some sautéed zucchini and mushrooms. Of course, you can find other recipes on the Whole30 website.
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Before going into a lifestyle change like Whole30 you should take time to consider what impact this will have on your life and plan for it. You may want to consult your physician before a drastic change in your diet. You might need to buy containers for meal prepping. You may need to toss out all of the junk food in your house prior to the start so you aren’t tempted to sneak in a candy bar here or there. Plan out what events you have for the month and predict when you will be tempted. This will help you be successful in the long haul!
Many have enjoyed their experiences on Whole30, not that it’s recommended for a lifestyle diet, but it is interesting to challenge how you think about food. If you do decide that Whole30 is for you, best of luck!