I'm always up for trying fitness and food plans if they'll help me reach my goals, but when I first read Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's It Starts With Food (aka the Whole30 book), it seemed far too extreme for me. A year later, I finally understand why their all-or-nothing approach is so popular.
The Whole30 is a 30-day food regimen that cuts out anything that's been known to cause allergies, intolerances, or imbalances in the body. This includes gluten and grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes and soy, and sweeteners and (nonfruit) sugars. You're left with vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts, and some fats (like coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee), like an extreme version of clean eating. After a 30-day period of "healing," you slowly reintroduce the other foods and analyse how they make you feel. After a Christmas of overindulgence, a holiday where I pigged out to the extreme, and a virus that gave me the appetite of a teenage boy, my body was in dire need of a reset. I was lethargic and miserable, and even my skin and hair were suffering. So I embarked on a Whole30 to see exactly how much difference 30 days could make. And here's what I discovered . . .