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Helpful, yes. Earth shattering, no


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My wife and I just completed the whole 30.  We generally ate pretty healthy but have our issues with snacking and pizza and (for me) craft beer.  Neither of us have consistent health problems (minus spinal arthritis for me as I compressed two vertebrae in college and had fusion surgery after).  

What was good:

  • I lost 18 pounds, my wife 10.  
  • We learned more about how are body operates with certain types of food
  • My back felt better, not great - but I don't expect that with what I got going on back there.
  • We slept a little better - but we have little kids so that's just hit or miss
  • I wasn't often hungry, unlike other calorie cutting diets
  • We made some delicious meals, sauces, and really enjoyed what we ate and learned ways to do that in the future
  • We feel better as a whole, not head and shoulders, but we didn't feel all too bad to begin with.
  • It was helpful because I think it will alter how we eat consistently.

What was just so-so

  • After 5 days, I plateaued.  No real improvements except losing weight
  • I weighed myself almost everyday because I found it fascinating.  I think it's silly to not step on the scale at least weekly.
  • Eating out is next to impossible - my work tends to be a lot of lunch meetings - so that was pretty tough
  • While I felt pretty good lifting weights, I actually noticed my endurance on longer runs (5 plus miles) suffered without eating higher fiber carbs before my run (like oatmeal in the morning).  

What we didn't like


      Honestly the program and book is chalked full of ethnocentrism.  It should be called the whole 30 for culturally white, middle to upper class people that have the means and access to this kind of food.  While I am sure their are exceptions to this, I would surmise that the majority of adherents to this diet are indeed white and have a healthy income.  We, who are white and are in the lower end of the middle class, stretched to afford this 30 days (and rarely bought grass fed and cage free meat).  

        I know the authors didn't write this book for the purpose of curing world hunger.  But the tone and presuppositions just reek of a privileged diet for the privileged few that can support it.  As educational as the book and experience was, I felt frustrated and even saddened of so many nationally and especially globally that don't have the privilege of access or means to eat what makes us "thrive."  Again, I know this isn't the intention of the lifestyle, but it largely seems reserved for privileged, white America.


As a whole - we got what we expected.  Felt a bit better, lost some weight, and got a good education of how we can adjust our diet within our means.  If you are generally healthy and eat well my guess is you could expect similar, non-earth shattering experiences. But, if you can afford it, I'd say it's worth a try!


Hope this resonates with someone who might be like us.  

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My time is better spent on dealing with the present than the past.   That's just how I tick.   I try not to get bogged down in the unfair treatment of people groups because it's not very productive for me.  


I'm going back to the old ways because they were better....not historically.  I don't know how I found the Whole 30...I can remember everything but the how.  No one shared it with me.  I ordered the book and I've not looked back.   The resources are helping me unlock the mysteries of why so many of us don't question the whys of the SAD recommendations.


I didn't get on the scale every day or adopt the Whole 30 as a periodic diet.   If an individual can't afford the higher end groceries, they can make do with what their budget will afford.   I don't have any fancy food markets.  My nearest store is a one pump gas station with hard boiled eggs on the counter, dill pickles on shelf and water and soda in the cooler.   


Most of us are just people trying to get some perspective on living in a world with frankenfoods and artificial everything. Foods are deliberately engineered to be highly craved. Not all supplements or protein powders are safe with additives and fillers.  We really have no idea what's in most of them.  Real foods are the best cure for whatever is ailing us.  


This is a very friendly forum.   The Whole 30 has been good to me.   Maybe you'll look back one day or even complete another Whole 30 with bliss, joy and O happiness found.

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I commend you on your success, sounds like you now have a pretty good idea on what works for you and your wife. I am a first timer and have experienced highs and lows during my now 24 days into the whole30. I agree with you that the cost of supporting this 30 days on organic produce and meat is rather challenging, but I recall it is there suggestion to purchase organic products not mandatory. The organic food is free from pesticides, hormones, and other chemicals that they are trying to rid your body from. I have not been able to feed our family on total organic foods, even with just feeding a family of three. The cost is atrocious, $12 for a pound of organic beef here.  <_< We are a one income family, I am a currently full time student so the budget is limited, but I have improvised!

HOWEVER, I DO NOT believe that this diet is strictly for the "privileged, white America."  Wanting to be healthy, and the cost of purchasing costly organic food is not race specific and neither is the book. There are plenty of "other" races that can afford to change their way of eating.

Best of luck with your new eating. 

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"America" is one country and Whole30 was not written exclusively for that country and it certainly wasn’t written with anyone’s skin tone in mind.  There are people from all over the world; Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Columbia, Mexico, Fiji and beyond that are on this forum never mind doing the program and not making public notice about it.  Is it perhaps is out of reach for some people? Of course, just like pricey home renovations or luxury vacations are out of reach for a lot of other people.  Just because not everyone can afford something doesn't mean that no one should, nor should those that can, feel guilty about it.  If I have the resources to make better choices should I not do so because not everyone else can?  


Whole30 is as expensive as you make it.  Organic, grass fed, specialty products are not required.  The program only asks that you do the best you can with what you have in the moment.  There are hordes of folks, myself included, that cannot afford (or easily procure) grassfed meats and organic produce.  I choose not to buy coconut aminos or almond flour or fish sauce because it’s simply too costly.  


I find it extremely unfair that in your review of how the Whole30 worked for you in your context, you would include your assessment that the program “reeks” of privilege. The science behind the program is not “reserved for privileged white America”, it’s reserved for humans.  How people choose to or can use that information within their own context is as varied as the number of people who read it.

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I have relatives who've thrown their money away on those order by mail food programs.   They've spent twice what I have on food that tastes like a dog's breakfast.  It usually ends up on the shelf.  It has so many preservatives that they're saving it for the Apocalypse or a real disaster.   It will probably last 50 years.   Others pay every week to go stand on a scale.  They've spent 100's of dollars over the years to do that.  They're Lifer members.   


This is free and I have to buy groceries. It's all good.

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I agree that access to real food is, indeed, a social justice issue. And many of us who are privileged enough to learn about how it starts with food and then transform our lives with actions based on that knowledge make it our business to help others gain access to the food and health that should be a basic human right for all. Also, IMHO, those of us with the means to seek out and purchase locally-produced and sustainable foods, often from the farmers and food producers themselves, are using our privilege to be part of the solution.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I work on a mobile treatment team and drive around inner city neighborhoods daily. Often there are no grocery stores for blocks, you would be lucky to find a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts at times. There is no question that in poor urban and rural areas there are "food deserts" - large areas where there is very little access to real food. For people who do not have cars and can barely scrape it together for a bus card... buying healthy food is a huge challenge. It is easy for people who are middle class to take having grocery stores and cars for granted. We should all be grateful every day that we are able to participate in this program.


That said - do I feel guilty that I have chosen to eat this way? No. I buy very little organic produce; I try my best to stick with the Dirty Dozen. I never buy grass-fed beef. The one thing I do is buy free range eggs, and that is because my friend is a farmer and she sells me her eggs at a competitive price. 


Whole30, to me anyway, is about loving yourself and doing the best you can to make you happy and whole. Hopefully through this program people can realize how fortunate they are to be able to make these choices - and perhaps it will inspire others to try and advocate for healthy food options in their cities and schools. 

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