Ready your menus and get ready to stock your fridge! We are excited to announce that we will again be doing a Whole30 Challenge this January! We welcome not only our current members, but our newest members currently completing On-Ramp to participate!
The Whole30 Challenge is a 30-day nutrition challenge that takes a Paleo-based approach to eating. Par for course, you’ll eat meat, veggies, some fruit and good fats. While there are quite a few programs that transition people to a Paleo diet for healthier living, we believe Whole30 offers the best programming and foundation for better long-term habits. While dedicating 30 days toward resetting your digestive system is a good start, we believe that the best results will come from longer dedication, as well as learning what personally works for you and your long-term goals through continued experimentation. For those of you who have already been Paleo, this is a great way to get back on track.
A brief overview of the Program:
Here is a brief overview of the guidelines of Whole30, beginning with what you can’t eat. While I prefer not to focus on the “can’t,” omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and enable you to see just how these foods are impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.
- Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels (and your Success Guide FAQ), because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
- Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
- Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this program, corn is a grain! This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
- Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
- Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
- In addition, no Paleo-ifying dessert or junk food choices! This equals “Sex With Your Pants On” (SWYPO), and it will ruin your Whole30 faster than you can say, “paleo pizza.” Do not try to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold. This means no “paleo-fying” desserts or junk food – no paleo pancakes, pizza, brownies or ice cream. Trying to replicate junk food with “technically approved” ingredients misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.
There are a few exceptions to the rules above. They are:
- Clarified Butter or Ghee. Clarified butter or ghee is the only source of dairy allowed in the Whole30 program. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter could impact your results. Learn more here.
- Fruit juice as a sweetener. A small amount of fruit juice as an added ingredient during your Whole30 is allowed, but this doesn’t mean a cup of fruit juice is a healthy choice!
- Certain legumes. Green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas are okay on the Whole30 program. While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and the benefits of the plant matter far exceed the downside.
Vinegar. Most forms of vinegar, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, and rice, are allowed during your Whole30 program. The only exceptions are vinegars with added sugar, or malt vinegar, which generally contains gluten.
- Processed foods. Minimally processed foods like canned coconut milk, applesauce, tomato sauce, chicken broth or canned olives are all acceptable on the Whole30 – but, avoid anything with carageenan, MSG or sulfites.
- White potatoes. I was excited to move this item to the “exception” section this year. Last year, Whole30 made the move to allow white potatoes on the program. While you still can’t deep fry them, I know for many of you, this might make things a lot easier!
The good news is that what you can eat is so numerous I can’t fit it all in the post! Being on a mostly Paleo diet myself, it’s changed not only my relationship with food, but my ability to cook it as well.
Timeline for the Challenge
December 8-January 18: Sign-up for this year’s challenge at the front desk, or email [email protected]
January 15: We will kick things off with a Whole 30 Challenge meeting at 7PM at the box. During this meeting we will discuss all the specifics of a Whole30 and answer all your questions. We will hook you up with the following:
- Mentors to help answer basic questions an keep you accountable during your journey.
- Access to the online Whole30 guide and Pinterest board to contribute recipes and encouragement during the challenge.
- Access to the Fringe Whole30 Facebook group to answer questions, swap recipes, and keep in touch with other participants. Oh yeah, and rant, there will probably be some ranting.
- Details for the community potlucks to enjoy a Whole30 approved meal, ask questions, swap ideas, and help each other stay on track.
The cost of the challenge is $60, with the chance to earn back 25% if you don’t cheat!
January 18 at 12AM: The Whole30 Challenge begins!
February 1: Halfway Community Potluck (conveniently on Super Bowl Sunday), details to be announced.
February 15: Closing Community Potluck to celebrate finishing Whole30, time to be announced. Dinner at a restaurant where you will receive an awesome t-shirt for finishing, as well as the chance to win prizes depending on how well you did!
I won’t mince words. The program is strict, and we are asking you to fully commit yourself to 30 days with no cheats, slip-ups, bites, or exceptions. The reputation of Whole30 is fully rooted in the rules and guidelines. But it’s only 30 days, a small period in your life that can net amazing results and create a new and healthier relationship with food. Additionally, what we saw over the course of last year after the challenge were the amazing support groups that continued to build off the momentum of the Challenge to encourage one another to maintain healthy habits and share meal plans and ideas!