Whole30 – Eating Whole Foods for 30 Days

By Robert C. Reilly, MD, FACP, Medical Director Of The Villages Health Creekside Care Center In The Villages®, Florida

Recently, my wife and I embarked on a journey called “Whole30”– a “diet-reset.” It was the beginning of the New Year and, as many of us tend to do, we decided to try and tackle a New Year’s resolution–lose some weight and change our diet habits. Our friends introduced us to Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s program, “Whole30,” which is a 30-day, so-called “fad diet” that emphasizes whole foods and during which participants eliminate sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy from their diets. The Whole30 is similar to, but more restrictive than, the paleo diet as adherents may not eat natural sweeteners such as honey or syrup.

Taking on the Challenge

We quickly found ourselves having to figure out acceptable food products, buying up lots of various meats, seafood, and vegetables.

Suffice it to say, this was a true challenge. Thirty days of no coffee creamer, not a single drip of wine, and no cheese. Yikes. We quickly found ourselves having to figure out acceptable food products, buying up lots of various meats, seafood, and vegetables. Sweet potatoes were fine, other potatoes were not allowed. The first few days were a fun and intriguing start. “What should we eat tonight?” quickly morphed into plans of grilling fresh salmon and making creative salad options. Our children, of course, did not participate.

Experiencing Tiger Blood

Tiger blood is a renewed sense of purpose and heightened energy levels set in.

By the end of the first week, food options seemed to become more and more limited. Hunger became a regularly experienced sensation, and we would both look at each other and wonder, “HOW many days are we doing this for?” But we stayed the course. By the latter part of the second week, I began to experience what some have been known to call “Tiger Blood.” A renewed sense of purpose and heightened energy levels set in. I felt great. My weight started to drop, my clothes fitted differently, better. The aforementioned hunger sensation dissipated. We found creative snacking options and began losing cravings for foods that had previously been staples.

By the completion of our Whole30 mission, I am pleased to report that we had followed the requirements of this diet-reset (notice I use the term “reset” intentionally) to the tee, not cheating even once. We felt great, had sharper focus, had lost weight, and converted body fat to muscle. What seemed like an impossible task a month prior was now something we were very glad to have participated in.

What next?

Whole30 is not intended to be a long-term diet or lifestyle choice.

As I say, this was not, and IS not, intended to be a long-term diet or lifestyle choice. It is far too restrictive to be maintained indefinitely. Nonetheless, now nearly two full months out from completion of Whole30, I am happy to say that many of the good habits and behavioral patterns which we changed during our diet-reset month have stuck with us. I continue to limit carbs (especially breads and pastas) and have changed my lunch-eating habits (fruit and nuts have become a mainstay for me). I continue to drink black coffee only. Lots of water. Night time snacking consists of pistachios, almonds, and fruit, instead of chips and cereal. And the list goes on. Two months out, and I still feel really good. As does my wife and all of our friends who participated in this diet-reset.

A heart-healthy approach

This is NOT a permanent diet, but a way to reset their stance on how they eat and what foods they crave.

I have been speaking with my patients about my journey through Whole30, hoping to share with them my experience and success such that they may decide to give this a try. I warn them that this is NOT a permanent diet, but a way to reset their stance on how they eat and what foods they crave. A way to get their mind and body repositioned and better prepared to accept a sustainable approach to a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle.

Last updated: 05.10.2018
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Contribution byDr. Robert Reilly

Robert Reilly, MD is Medical Director of The Villages Health® Creekside Care Center in The Villages®, Florida. He grew up on Long Island, New York, and attended medical school at the Stony Brook University Medical Center after completing his undergraduate studies at Notre Dame. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital. He and his family relocated to Florida when he was intrigued by the unique concept of The Villages Health and the “opportunity to take care of patients in a way that has never been done before.” He believes in practicing comprehensive, evidence-based medicine with careful attention paid to the individual needs of his patients. When Dr. Reilly isn’t taking care of his patients he enjoys swimming, boating, and fishing with his wife and three children and his newest hobby: playing the ukulele!

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Contribution by Dr. Robert Reilly

Robert Reilly, MD is Medical Director of The Villages Health® Creekside Care Center in The Villages®, Florida. He grew up on Long Island, New York, and attended medical school at the Stony Brook University Medical Center after completing his undergraduate studies at Notre Dame. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital. He and his family relocated to Florida when he was intrigued by the unique concept of The Villages Health and the “opportunity to take care of patients in a way that has never been done before.” He believes in practicing comprehensive, evidence-based medicine with careful attention paid to the individual needs of his patients. When Dr. Reilly isn’t taking care of his patients he enjoys swimming, boating, and fishing with his wife and three children and his newest hobby: playing the ukulele!

The Villages, The Villages Health, America’s Healthiest Hometown, and their associated logos are trademarks of Holding Company of The Villages, Inc., and are used with permission.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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