Did you find yourself sweeter and kinder after Whole30 reintro?


MeadowLily

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The binger wants the full to the brim or running over the top feeling....binge 'til you drop.

 

The reformed drinker can't go on one last bender, trying to get alcohol out of their system.  It may lead to alcohol poisoning.

 

The reformed smoker can't smoke 5 packs in one day, hoping all will be well the next day.   A clean slate.

 

If the full feeling is what you're after....the antidote is vegetables.    Along with great proteins, vegetables will give you what your brain wants.

 

Isn't a real change the point of all this?

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The Alcohol Manifesto

 

From Whole9, as a preface to our Manifesto series:

manifesto-definition11.png
As we wrote in It Starts With Food, “We have a theory about food that directly influences the rest of this book. The food that you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.”

Of course, we spend the rest of the book explaining why a concept that sounds so simple is not that simple at all in practice. That’s why our Good Food (and drink) recommendations are based on not just one foundation, but a combination of three:

Nutrition-Pyramid-Web-NEW.png

Based on the science as we understand it today, and our vast clinical experience with the tens of thousands of people who have completed our Whole30 program, we make some general recommendations as to things which may make you less healthy–including alcohol. Below, we’ll outline the basics of our case against consumption of alcohol as part of your daily diet. But until you undertake your own self-experiment (via the Whole30) for yourself, you’ll never know for sure how consumption of alcohol are affecting how you look, howyou feel, and your quality of life.

Our Manifesto: Alcohol

Consumption of alcohol provokes an unhealthy psychological response by reducing inhibitions—thus making it all the easier to make poor food choices when under the influence of even small amounts of alcohol. Furthermore, the effects on the brain carry over until the next day, which means a drink or three on a Friday night may lead to a weekend’s worth of junk food. And remember how sugar is “empty calories”? Alcohol is nearly twice as calorie-dense, with no micronutrition to speak of.

From a hormonal perspective, alcohol consumption interferes with glucose regulation (disturbing normal blood sugar levels), in part by disrupting the action of regulatory hormones like insulin and glucagon. That disruption can promote systemic inflammation, a root cause of many lifestyle diseases and conditions. In addition, acute and chronic alcohol consumption are also known to alter some reproductive hormone levels.

Alcohol, even moderate amounts, has been shown to alter the balance of gut bacteria, potentially contributing to dysbiosis. Since the delicate balance of gut bacteria have a tremendous impact on our overall health, anything (including alcohol consumption) that disrupts that balance can impact long-term health in a negative way.

Finally, alcohol is acutely neurotoxic, even in small amounts, altering the normal activity of your nervous system, causing damage to nerve tissue, and disrupting or even killing neurons, the cells that transmit and process signals in the brain and other parts of the nervous system.

It’s difficult for us to make a case that any alcohol – even red wine, gluten-free beer, or 100% agave tequila – makes you more healthy. But while we exclude alcohol in all forms for your Whole30 program, we aren’t saying you should never have a drink ever again. All we are saying is that if you do choose to drink, don’t try to justify it with “heart health” or “gluten-free.” (The fact that it’s just plain delicious and you really enjoy it is reason enough!) Just understand that the less you drink, and the less often you choose to imbibe, the healthier you’ll be.

It Starts With Food

These manifestos are not intended to be a comprehensive dissertation of our research or recommendations. For more information on the psychological impact of our food and drink choices, the effects of alcohol on health, and scientific references used to support our position, please refer to our book, It Starts With Food.

 
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The Whole30® and Weight Loss

 

Since the inception of our Whole30® program in April 2009, we’ve made one thing abundantly clear: This is not a weight loss program. It’s not a diet, it’s not a quick fix, and it’s certainly not a “17 Day Get Skinnier Than Your Friends” kind of approach.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize or value your weight loss goals.

Weight, Body Image, and Health

We know you want to lose weight. That’s why 90% of people undertake a new diet or exercise program in the first place, and that’s where 95% of our consulting clients are coming from (among other goals).

And hear us clearly–wanting to lose weight or change your body does not make you shallow. It’s no more shallow to take on the Whole30 for weight loss than it is to use the program to clear up your acne, heal your psoriasis, or reduce the perpetual belly bloat you’ve been experiencing.

Body image, as a dear friend recently mentioned on her blog, is a complex issue. Maybe you want to lose weight to improve your health. Maybe it’s for your self-esteem. Maybe it’s to feel more socially accepted, or loved. But for now, for our purposes, your reason doesn’t matter. It’s your own, and who are we to tell you it’s invalid, or less than worthy? Simply put, you’d like to lose weight. And we want to help you do it—healthfully and sustainably.

So why do we spend so much time telling you we don’t care if you lose weight?

The Whole9 Perspective: Health First

The above is one famous example of a line straight from It Starts With Food (page 210): “We don’t care if you lose weight on your Whole30.” And if that was all we wrote, we’d see why you might be frustrated. But there’s more.The very next line in the book says, “We know you care, though, and we do care about you. So, please, hear us out.”

From our perspective, we have to position the Whole30 as far away from “weight loss” as possible, for a few reasons. First, we will not allow our program to be lumped in with programs like “The 17 Day Diet,” “7 Pounds in 7 Days,” or “I Can Make You Thin.” These quick-fix programs all have three things in common: they focus only on weight and looks, they’re spectacularly unhealthy, and they all fail long-term.

But more importantly, we come out hard against weight loss as a primary goal for your Whole30 because if we didn’t, here’s what we’d see: I’m doing the Whole30, but low-calorie. Or, I’m on the Whole30, but super low-fat. Or zero carbs. Or while drinking a Whole30 meal replacement shake for breakfast, another for lunch, and a light Whole30 meal for dinner.

We already see these examples from some of you who come to the Whole30 with a weight loss focus, despite our efforts to redirect you towards health, changing habits, and improving your quality of life. You know why this happens?

Because we’ve all been dieting our entire lives in an effort to lose weight. And the message we’re sold is thatweight loss = restriction. So if your focus is solely on weight loss going into the Whole30, what will you do? Alter the plan to make it even more restrictive.

And that, friends, defeats the purpose and the magic of the Whole30 altogether—and likely roadblocks your weight loss efforts, too.

Coming Out Swingin’

So we come out strong against focusing on weight loss during your Whole30. We don’t allow you to weigh or measure yourself during the program, citing five reasons you should dump your scale for good. We give you174,203 things to measure besides weight loss to evaluate your Whole30 progress. We encourage you to focus on your health, because when you make yourself healthier from the inside-out, improved body composition, self-esteem, and happiness generally follow.

And most importantly, we tell you, “Scale weight fluctuates… And it’s one of the parties holding you hostage to your unhealthy relationship with food. So give yourself a long-overdue, well-deserved break from your preoccupation with body weight. You deserve it.

However, make sure we’re clear on one thing: We also want you to change your body.

We have to go above and beyond to tell you not to focus on weight loss during your Whole30, because (a) we know you’re probably going to anyway, to some degree, ( B) we need to buffer your temptation to restrict, calorie-count, weigh yourself daily, and beat yourself up over the results and © we are desperately trying to change an obsession with body weight to a big-picture grasp of what it means to be truly healthy, and the radically improved quality of life that follows. But we do want to help you lose weight, healthfully and sustainably. Which is why our original meal planning template has safe weight loss built right into the design. And why we talk about other lifestyle factors like exercise, recovery, sleep, and stress—all of which play a huge role in weight loss and body composition.

And more recently, why Dallas has been learning, studying, and working with test clients in a brand new, groundbreaking functional medicine training program—so that we can help those of you who need more than simple lifestyle interventions to restore your health and lose weight.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll ever turn the Whole30 or our consulting program into a weight loss-focused effort.

You want to lose weight, and we’re here to help—but the only way we’ll do that for you is by improving your health, in a sustainable fashion that you can maintain for the rest of your life. It’s what we do, and it’s what you need.

So go ahead and continue your healthy efforts with weight loss in the back of your mind. Just don’t allow that focus to take you to a place where you start contemplating less healthy behaviors to get you there. Be patient. Find the right people to work with. And understand that you are worth more than the number on the scale—although we understand that the number is important to you.

And for those of you who already get it – who have been living this way for long enough that a return to your old, unhealthy, restrictive habits solely in the name of weight loss isn’t even an option (but yes, you still want to lose weight!), keep up the good work, and keep reading. We are hard at work on new, groundbreaking protocols to help those of you who have discovered that lifestyle interventions are just not enough to achieve your big-picture health goals. (And yes, that includes healthy weight loss.)

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The Coffee Manifesto

 

To give this article some context, know that we are not here to either glorify or indict coffee.  We would simply like to present a balanced, rational perspective on caffeine consumption, whether it’s sourced from coffee, tea, or (gasp!) those poisonous Monster drinks.  Just because you thoroughly savor a cup of Misha’s Route 66 blenddoesn’t mean that experience is automatically a healthy one, so let’s explore the subject of coffee and caffeine.

Coffee, justified

11515drink-coffee-poster-300x235.jpgWe’ve loved coffee – and its principal psychoactive compound, caffeine – since our very first sip.  And like most people with most vices, we have always found a way to justify our ongoing consumption. We’ve cited research that coffee consumption decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, and that it is inversely correlated with inflammatory markers and markers of endothelial dysfunction. Black tea (which also contains caffeine) is also associated with decreased risk of diabetes, and though it’s not clear if the caffeine itself is responsible for this effect. Caffeine also exhibits some potent ergogenic properties during endurance activities and anaerobic exercise.  We’ve even made recommendations to some of our consulting clients who are competitive athletes on how to maximize the ergogenic effects of caffeine on game day. However, our personal experiences and growing understanding of caffeine’s potent impact on our neurological and endocrine systems has led us to reexamine the role of coffee and caffeine in a healthy lifestyle.

Caffeine – the good, the bad and the adrenal fatigue

coffee-sleep.pngFor starters, caffeine is a stimulant drug. Caffeine’s stimulatory effects can help us get through times when we need a little “pick-me-up” to stay alert, like while driving late at night or studying for a big exam. However, chronic caffeine use has also been shown to significantly decrease blood flow to the brain, which we’re pretty sure is not awesome for your exam (or driving) performance.  Though it seems like a little caffeine has some benefits, more is most certainly not better.  The same properties that make caffeine potentially useful as a pharmaceutical “tool” can be problematic when we consume significant amounts on a regular basis. And while it’s certainly not as destructive as, say, meth… the stimulatory effects of caffeine on the central nervous system and endocrine system may have some negative long-term effects.

Caffeine belongs to a group of chemical compounds called alkaloids, some of which (including nicotine, morphine, codeine, and cocaine) have potent neurological effects. Caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands to release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which is okay… occasionally. But if, in the context of a stressful lifestyle, a poorly-designed exercise program, a lack of adequate sleep, and less-than-optimal diet, you’re already asking a lot of your adrenal glands.  If you then ask even more of your adrenals by drinking copious amounts of coffee, you could create (or worsen) an existing problem. Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which your adrenal glands are “overworked” from chronic stress and inadequate rest and recovery.

Scott Hagnas, founder of CrossFit Portland, regular contributor to The Performance Menu and Generally Smart Dude, has this to say:

“I agree that coffee isn’t as evil as some have made it out to be, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t often abused.  Quite frequently, those with some level of adrenal fatigue use caffeine as an energy source for their day.  In reality, caffeine doesn’t give you energy – it gives you stress. I see so many people that try to eat well and exercise intelligently, but have trouble making progress because of a stress filled life.  The total stress load is cumulative, so coffee becomes fuel for the fire.  I have also observed that those with damaged adrenals are more sensitive to coffee’s adverse effects than those with healthy adrenals.  As a simple rule of thumb, I you feel like you need it, then you should evaluate your habits. If you feel like you can do fine without coffee or have no problem going a few days without, then a few cups now and then should be okay for you.”

Self-examine much?  Exercising caffeine control.

“A few cups now and then…” Does that describe your coffee consumption? Note Scott’s caveat: “if… you have no problem going a few days without”. Most coffee drinkers we know can’t even get dressed for work without their coffee, much less survive a few days without.  We think that you should be in charge of what you eat and drink. Your addictions, whether they be sugar, chewing gum or caffeine, should not run the show. In fact, one of the major points of our Whole30 program is taking back control of your diet. Food (or drink) should not have power over you!   So if you’re struggling with the Sugar Demon or can’t imagine a day without coffee, we think you need to change that.

Our general recommendations on coffee are as follows:

  • If you’re not currently a caffeine user, don’t start.
  • Limit your consumption to 1-2 cups of coffee a day, always before noon to prevent sleep disruption.
  • Your coffee pot is not a cup.  Nice try.
  • If you’re using coffee as a crutch to get through your day – or just to get out of bed – reconsider whether that is a healthy relationship.
  • We don’t think the above is a healthy relationship, thanks for asking.
  • A couple times a year, give your body a Caffeine Holiday for at least 30 days. (That means NO caffeine – no black or green tea, energy drinks or even decaf.)

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For those of you who “just love the taste of coffee” but swear you don’t need the caffeine, you should consider switching to decaf. Just make sure that your coffee’s decaf process doesn’t use toxic industrial solvents like dichloromethane– buying decaf labeled “organic” is your best bet. A word of caution, though… while the downsides of copious amounts of decaf are significantly less than that of regular coffee, there is still a little caffeine left after the processing, and it contains additional compounds that aren’t awesome for you if you drink it by the liter.  Exercise some restraint, and stick to the same moderate consumption as recommended above. Our apologies.

 

 

In summary, when it comes to coffee, less is generally better. Think before you drink.

Post questions, twitchy denials and fist-shaking damnations to comments.

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The Whole30® and Weight Loss

 

Since the inception of our Whole30® program in April 2009, we’ve made one thing abundantly clear: This is not a weight loss program. It’s not a diet, it’s not a quick fix, and it’s certainly not a “17 Day Get Skinnier Than Your Friends” kind of approach.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize or value your weight loss goals.

Weight, Body Image, and Health

We know you want to lose weight. That’s why 90% of people undertake a new diet or exercise program in the first place, and that’s where 95% of our consulting clients are coming from (among other goals).

And hear us clearly–wanting to lose weight or change your body does not make you shallow. It’s no more shallow to take on the Whole30 for weight loss than it is to use the program to clear up your acne, heal your psoriasis, or reduce the perpetual belly bloat you’ve been experiencing.

Body image, as a dear friend recently mentioned on her blog, is a complex issue. Maybe you want to lose weight to improve your health. Maybe it’s for your self-esteem. Maybe it’s to feel more socially accepted, or loved. But for now, for our purposes, your reason doesn’t matter. It’s your own, and who are we to tell you it’s invalid, or less than worthy? Simply put, you’d like to lose weight. And we want to help you do it—healthfully and sustainably.

So why do we spend so much time telling you we don’t care if you lose weight?

The Whole9 Perspective: Health First

The above is one famous example of a line straight from It Starts With Food (page 210): “We don’t care if you lose weight on your Whole30.” And if that was all we wrote, we’d see why you might be frustrated. But there’s more.The very next line in the book says, “We know you care, though, and we do care about you. So, please, hear us out.”

From our perspective, we have to position the Whole30 as far away from “weight loss” as possible, for a few reasons. First, we will not allow our program to be lumped in with programs like “The 17 Day Diet,” “7 Pounds in 7 Days,” or “I Can Make You Thin.” These quick-fix programs all have three things in common: they focus only on weight and looks, they’re spectacularly unhealthy, and they all fail long-term.

But more importantly, we come out hard against weight loss as a primary goal for your Whole30 because if we didn’t, here’s what we’d see: I’m doing the Whole30, but low-calorie. Or, I’m on the Whole30, but super low-fat. Or zero carbs. Or while drinking a Whole30 meal replacement shake for breakfast, another for lunch, and a light Whole30 meal for dinner.

We already see these examples from some of you who come to the Whole30 with a weight loss focus, despite our efforts to redirect you towards health, changing habits, and improving your quality of life. You know why this happens?

Because we’ve all been dieting our entire lives in an effort to lose weight. And the message we’re sold is thatweight loss = restriction. So if your focus is solely on weight loss going into the Whole30, what will you do? Alter the plan to make it even more restrictive.

And that, friends, defeats the purpose and the magic of the Whole30 altogether—and likely roadblocks your weight loss efforts, too.

Coming Out Swingin’

So we come out strong against focusing on weight loss during your Whole30. We don’t allow you to weigh or measure yourself during the program, citing five reasons you should dump your scale for good. We give you174,203 things to measure besides weight loss to evaluate your Whole30 progress. We encourage you to focus on your health, because when you make yourself healthier from the inside-out, improved body composition, self-esteem, and happiness generally follow.

 

We have to go above and beyond to tell you not to focus on weight loss during your Whole30, because (a) we know you’re probably going to anyway, to some degree, ( B) we need to buffer your temptation to restrict, calorie-count, weigh yourself daily, and beat yourself up over the results and © we are desperately trying to change an obsession with body weight to a big-picture grasp of what it means to be truly healthy, and the radically improved quality of life that follows. 

 

So go ahead and continue your healthy efforts with weight loss in the back of your mind. Just don’t allow that focus to take you to a place where you start contemplating less healthy behaviors to get you there. Be patient. Find the right people to work with. And understand that you are worth more than the number on the scale—although we understand that the number is important to you.

 

 

 

Meadow, I am quoting most of that post because it is SO GOOD. And SO MANY miss this SO IMPORTANT message!

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