On Saturday I attended a Whole 9 (http://whole9life.com/) Nutrition workshop at Albany CrossFit. Let’s just say I’m skeptically optimistic? I’m skeptical because it’s fairly restrictive. I’m optimistic because it really makes sense. Here’s my very simplistic overview:
Foods fall in to 2 categories: those that contribute to good health and those that contribute to bad health. Although they don’t say “good” foods and “bad” foods, it’s just easier to refer to them that way so that’s what I’ll do here.
Most of the “good” foods are those that we know are good for us – fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts. Squash, sweet potatoes, yams, and eggs (yay! Eggs are back!) are good.
The “bad” foods (not surprisingly) are sugars (including artificial sweeteners), processed foods, alcohol and grains, to name a few. Some of the “bad” foods are a bit unexpected – especially if you are now used to the Zone diet favorable / unfavorable food lists. Peanuts/Peanut Butter, all legumes, milk and cheese – bad. Sigh.
Although the Whole 9 founders – Melissa Urban and Dallas Hartwig – tell us not to call this “Paleo” well…it’s basically Paleo.
The premise is that the ‘bad’ foods in some way contribute to poor health. Inflammation, insulin resistance, and a confused immune system are underlying causes of many chronic diseases. Blood sugar spikes caused by high-carb/high sugar foods/drinks contribute to insulin resistance. Dairy, grains, and legumes (particularly soy and peanuts) contain lectins (Gluten is a lectin) that can wreak havoc with our intestines because they are resistant to digestion. This causes inflammation and confusion in our immune system.
The Whole30 plan is to remove all of the bad foods from your diet for 30 days. No cheats. The Whole 9 team believes this is the amount of time your body needs to heal – although you may start to feel benefits sooner. Yes, it sounds kind of tough, but hey – I do CrossFit right? Am I going to whine about giving up peanut butter? Well, maybe a little.
Because a lot of this makes sense (no - it doesn’t sound easy and it’s going to take some discipline) I’m going to give it a try. I’ll do the 30 days and be the ‘test’ dummy. I’ll have to blog about it because I know how I am and this is very different and I’m going to need your help. But recently my performance/scores have basically sucked. And I find it takes me much longer to recover then I am used to. So why not try this? Here’s a pyramid I’ve seen on other CrossFit sites – note that nutrition is the foundation.
This isn’t to say that for the rest of my life I can’t enjoy some of the ‘bad’ foods. After the 30 days I can add in (one at a time) some of those foods – in moderation. By introducing foods individually it allows me to see which foods I may or may not be sensitive to.
If you want more information on Whole 9 or the Whole30 plan I recommend reviewing the following topics on this page from the Whole 9 site:
- The Grain Manifesto
- The Peanut Manifesto
- The Dairy Manifesto
- Start Here: The Whole30
I’d love to hear back on what your thoughts are. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. But for tonight…I’m having pizza J