Eating unprocessed food is a new type of diet in the limelight. But a new fad diet, whole30 food plan; doesn’t even allow grains, legumes and dairy. Is it as wholesome as the name suggests? Is the whole30 grocery list healthy enough? We ask a nutritionist before bringing it on!
Hey there! The whole 30 food plan has been in the health and diet news for quite some time now. The whole30 is a 30-day diet that emphasizes on consuming whole foods (plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined or processed and refined as little as possible).
This diet was created by sports nutritionists Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig in 2009. But the whole30 meal plan was popularized only in late 2016 when New York Times reported about the trending hashtag #Whole30 on Instagram. Since then there’s been no looking back and countless weight watchers have tried this diet.
So, here we’re again with yet another scam. Oops! Sorry! It’s apparently approved by nutritionists, so should we call it approved scam. Before we jump to any conclusions, let’s understand all about this trendy diet!
Fitness, although ideal, is never easy. There’s always a missed workout an extra slice of (or whole) cake, and the stubborn tummy fat! As young intelligent women, we need to understand that each one of us has a certain type of body. And we need to exercise to keep ourselves fit. Also, maintain a diet, according to each individual’s body. Whether it’s to lose/ gain weight or get six pack abs, it’s important to follow diet and exercise fit for your body.
Anyway, we’ve compiled everything about the whole 30 meal. From what to eat, what not to eat, shopping list and most importantly why we think this diet is unhealthy. Let’s check out!
What is Whole 30 Meal Plan?
A whole30 meal plan is where you don’t count on the calories, you won’t measure yourself and no weighing yourself for 30 days. Also, one needs to consume only unprocessed fresh food and ditch grains, dairy and sugar. By doing so the body will reduce inflammation, clear your skin and revitalize your energy levels.
Now the ideology sounds great. Ditching unprocessed food is the first step towards healthy living. And we believe this concept of healthy eating.
After 30 days are up, you will reintroduce foods that were off plan. So, it’s like an elimination diet where you detect food sensitivities and you will have an understanding of what your body likes and dislikes. Along with avoiding processed food, it’s important to have a proper whole food meal plan.
Eat three meals a day, and have king-sized breakfast. Add rich protein sources into all the meals. Also, have a plate of vegetables once in a day.
Here are the fats that are added to whole30 meal plan according to the following recommended amounts per meal.
- All oils and cooking fats (olive oil, animal fats, etc): 1-2 thumb-sized portions
- All butter (ghee, coconut butter, nut butter, etc): 1-2 thumb-sized portions
- Coconut (shredded or flaked): 1-2 handfuls per day
- Olives: 1-2 handfuls
- Nuts and seeds: One closed handful
- Avocado: 1
- Coconut milk: Between ¼ and ½ of one (14 oz.)
Adding fat to your diet sounds interesting. Isn’t it? Okay! So far, I’m happy with this diet. Because we require fat in our diet. According to Mathie Lalonde, a chemist, consumption of fat causes the release of various compounds that tell your brain you are no longer hungry.
Also, the whole30 diet has additional rules for eating well. Practice good meal habits by eating the meals at the table. Avoid distractions like cellphone and TV while dining. Always chew your food well and let the meal time be the time to enjoy healthy, delicious food that you cooked.
Whole30 Vegetarian Meal Plan
A whole30 vegetarian meal plan is quite similar to a non-vegetarian one. However, it’s important to include a lot of proteins in your diet. So, go for spinach, chia seeds, flax seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, guava, artichokes, almonds and cashews. Make sure you include in your meal prep grocery list.
Whole 30 Approved Food List
Basically, the food allowed in the diet are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs, seafood and meat. According to it, the good food will impact on how you look, feel and your positive attitude towards life. All these superfoods are included in every whole30 grocery list.
Whole30 Foods Not to Eat
This is an important part of the whole30 diet, which restricts many types of foods. According to whole30 diet, giving up these set of food will help you restore a healthy metabolism, eliminate cravings, heal the digestive tract and many more advantages are listed. But this is where we sorted out the problems of the whole30 grocery list. Let’s check out the food that are not included in whole30 meals.
1. Grains should be avoided. This includes wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sprouted grains. What?! No grains for 30 days, eh! According to the creators of whole30 diet, grains are forbidden because of their problematic proteins like gluten. But gluten is great to fight inflammation.
And it gets problematic when you’re allowed to consume red meat but not whole grains. Imagine eating red meat multiple times in a week but no grains are allowed. This diet is called whole food diet but an entire group of whole food is eliminated.
2. Legumes like peas, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts. Also, all kinds of beans – black, red, white, fava etc. are to be avoided. So, this is because legumes have high levels of phytates, which can block certain nutrients entering our body.
But almost all the plant-based food contain phytates. For example, kale contains more amount of phytates compared to legumes. Still, kale is allowed in whole30 grocery list but not legumes.
Phytates or phytic acid is the storage form of phosphorous. It’s also considered an anti-nutrient because it binds minerals in the digestive tract, making them less available to our bodies. yet the same anti-nutrient properties can also help in the prevention of chronic disease. So, it doesn’t make it a bad food at all!
Dairy & Soy
3. Dairy products, too, are excluded from the diet. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt. Okay, now that grains and legumes are prohibited, my only source of nutrients would be dairy.
I know, I have other options like veggies, fruits, meat and many more but none of them are gonna be wholesome, right? And almost half of the food pyramid is eliminated leaving us almost nothing to eat.
4. So, my last option would be soy products. But wait, soy products are also not entertained like soy sauce and tofu. This actually doesn’t make sense. This diet is eliminating almost all the nutritious families food and the worst part is following it for 30 whole days.
Foods That Can Be Avoided
5. Added sugar (real or artificial) should be avoided. This also includes maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup etc. Now, this is the only healthy food that’s eliminated. In fact, you can give up sugar for a longer time. I have! I haven’t been consuming refined sugar for past 2 years and my lifestyle has improved since then. If I have sweet cravings, I use jaggery over refined sugar.
6. Alcohol consumption is prohibited. Okay! Agreed for healthy living.
Our Conclusion on Whole30 Diet
All in all, we feel that other than meats, the major sources of protein and iron for a healthy diet are legumes, grains and dairy products. Alternatively, soy is also a good source. So eliminating these from the diet would make it unnecessarily cholesterol heavy for meat-eaters, and anemia-inducing for vegetarians.
We discussed with trainer and nutritionist Surbhi Gandhi. With a masters degree in nutrition and diabetics, Surbhi is a gold medalist, she’s been an experienced professional at Fitness First gym in Gurgaon, and is also an online fitness influencer.
She says, “This is a modified keto diet, which is zero carb diet. The whole30 diet is very unhealthy as it’s really difficult for vegetarians to follow as it has minimal options. They have vegetables and oils as the option. It can be followed for a week or two maximum to get into healthy eating but not more than that.”
The Right Way to Do It
So, I suggest to not completely give up on all the food items mentioned above. Of course, giving up alcohol and refined sugars makes sense as they are unhealthy. But if you’re a vegetarian and you prohibit yourself from half of the food pyramid then this so-called healthy may turn to be unhealthiest of all.
The trick is to cut down the bad food like fried and junk and indulge in healthy food. But you may experiment with the whole30 grocery list by following the pattern for 3 days and consume grains, legumes or dairy normally in the remaining days of the week. Or cut down only on one food group so that you don’t end up with deficiencies at the end of the day period. This way you’ll find out which food you are allergic to and what works for you better.
Whole30 Shopping List: Things to Keep in Mind
If you really wanna take up this (scammy) diet, you could do it the healthy way. While preparing a whole30 grocery list, plan it in advance. These are also a few other points to be noted. Let’s check ’em out!
1. Make a list: It may sound too basic. But well, yeah, make a list that suits you. I have given an idea further below. However, it ‘s an individual’s choice to make alterations. Make a list of meals that you’re gonna prepare in advance for the 30 day meal plan so it’s easier for you to have them in your list.
2. Save time and money: Don’t waste your time looking around at the fancy stuff in the grocery store. Be specific and look for whole30 approved staples in your own list if available. Also, don’t fall for super-expensive whole30 products.
3. Never enter the middle aisle of the grocery store: Well, all the junk food and processed food are in the middle aisle, so try to avoid going there. Basically, all the fresh food is available within a perimeter of the grocery store. So, try to stick there and tick off your whole30 grocery list.
4. Shop with your friend: When you’re about to cheat with your whole30 grocery list, tada, your friend will be a savior. So go shopping with your friend to avoid unnecessary cheatings in your diet plan.
While going out for shopping, it’s important to have a list days before your diet. When you’re dieting, there are chances of you buying junk food. So, make a list with these pointers and include the ingredients required for that specific pointer. You can also create a checklist to make your job easier.
It’s also important to make a list of the meals you’re planning to cook for the week. So, you’ll know what exactly you wanna buy. And in the middle of the week, if an ingredient is missing, you might be demotivated to continue with the diet. So, let’s check out the pointers.
1. Proteins: The whole30 grocery list includes eggs, ground beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, white fish, shrimps, scallops, seafood, pork and deli meat. Cheat to include beans and soy if you’re a vegetarian.
2. Vegetables: In the whole30 diet, corn, beans and lima beans aren’t allowed. But again, if they’re your favorite veggies, it’s okay to cheat the whole30 grocery list.
3. Fruits: Make a long list of fresh fruits because all types of fruits are allowed in whole30 food plan.
Also, read: List of Berries
4. Fats: Yes, fats are an essential part of the whole30 meal plan. So, here make three categories, cooking fats, dressing, nuts and seeds. Cooking fats include clarified butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and palm oil. Food dressing includes avocado, coconut butter, olives (all) and sesame oil. Check out nuts and seeds below!
5. Herbs and spices: Here’s a way to spice up your diet. Lol! So, try different types of herbs and spices to have a flavorful experience. From basil to bay leaves to oregano, include all in your whole30 grocery list.
6. Pantry: The whole30 shopping list can include almond flour, coconut flour, hot sauce, canned sweet potato, vegetable broth and tomato paste.
7. Drinks: Hydrating is very much important. So drink loads of water and you can go for healthy drinks like coconut water and fresh fruit juices. Coffee and tea are also allowed in the whole30 meal plan.
Whole30 Approved Fruits
Consuming fresh fruits on anyday is healthy and nutritious. Go for organic or locally grown fruits. But try to avoid frozen fruits, although it’s okay to keep it as a second option. So, make sure you have all these fruits from the whole30 grocery list.
Fruits like apples, berries, bananas, figs, grapes, grapefruit, pineapple, kiwis, oranges and any favorite fruit of yours are good to go.
Whole30 Salad Dressing
Salads are the perfect food when on diet. But why make it boring and bland?! Try a variety of salad dressing to make your diet plan lip smacking! In your whole30 grocery list, add all kinds of olive oils as it’s the base for any salad dressing.
1. Italian dressing – 1 teaspoon of Italian herb blend, ½ teaspoon of minced fresh garlic, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tablespoon Vinegar, ¼ olive oil.
2. Apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
3. Basil thyme vinaigrette – Blend ½ cup balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoon mustard, 3 cloves garlic, ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, a handful of fresh thyme, ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil.
4. Mayo, balsamic and Italian spices make a great salad dressing and veggie dip, too.
5. Lemon juice, about twice as much oil as lemon juice, about 1-2 teaspoons each of anchovy paste, 1 clove garlic, a pinch of pepper and salt can be your go-to salad dressing.
Whole 30 Approved Nuts
Nuts and seeds are also part of the whole30 meal plan. However, it’s recommended to eat nuts in moderation. So, you can have them as healthy evening snacks or when you have cravings!
Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts and pistachio are a few nuts that you can munch on. Diet plan shopping list should include flax seeds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.
Are the whole30 rules too much to take? Well, pickles are allowed in the whole30 food plan. who doesn’t love pickles? They add crunchiness to various dishes. Pickles can even be had as a snack. They add the tanginess and are a perfect solution for cravings.
Try a variety of pickles with veggies like cucumber, turnips, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, beetroots and many more.
Whole 30 Meat
While the whole30 diet plan includes meat consumption, there are a few product labeling, too. Like the poultry needs to be cage free, grass fed, natural and no-hormones added.
The whole30 grocery list guide by nutritionists Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig also say that the animals should be vegetarian fed and organic. However, it may be difficult to find such meat with precise labels, it’s okay to indulge with regular meat.
So, whole30 meal plan may sound too much to take. Well, it’s a healthy approach to know your body well, if followed for minimum 3-4 days. But I wouldn’t recommend it for whole 30 days. Instead, you can try the same for 3 days. And continue the remaining days by adding grains, legumes and dairy or soy products, while staying away from alcohol, junk food and processed food. But also make sure you exercise well and always remember fitness and health are a lifestyle.
So, that was all about whole30 grocery list and meal plan. Are you gonna try this healthy diet? Let us know by tweeting @shilpa1ahuja!
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Sahana is a Senior Staff Writer at ShilpaAhuja.com. With an experience in fashion and lifestyle writing, Sahana is responsible for Indian and international fashion week coverage every year, and is developing an expertise in apparel trend forecasting. She also writes about health and fitness, having pursued yoga for 6 years now. She’s not a gym person at all but is all for “running in the park” and is an amateur cyclist. Books and coffee are her other passions. She’s also an amateur photographer. She’s a hardcore Bollywood fan and she loves to cover the nostalgic topics on the same. From fashion trends to famous characters, she can make anyone love Bollywood! Her best article has been 90s Bollywood fashion, a readers’ favorite so far! Prior to her experience with ShilpaAhuja.com, Sahana has written as a freelance author for online magazine, Mashup Corner, and interned at EventsHigh as a content writer. Her blogs on basic fashion, makeup, fitness and city’s food joints that gave her a chance to experiment with her writing. She also has voiced her opinions about feminism and equal rights for men and women at PolkaCafe journals and after quitting her job, she decided to take up writing as her full time career.
Sahana is an engineering graduate and has worked in an MNC, Tesco, for more than a year as an Operations Support. It was her sheer love for fashion that made her quit the monotonous 9 to 5 job to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She’s originally from Bangalore and is currently settled in Chennai (she’s loving the city)! For any queries and discussions, contact her at [email protected] You can also tweet her at https://twitter.com/Sahana_17