Over the last year-plus, I have embarked on both the Whole30 and the 30Clean healthy eating challenges. What exactly are these challenges? For 30 days, you eliminate sugar, alcohol, legumes, grains and Paleo-style renditons of brownies, smoothies, pancakes and more. Me, who usually preaches “eat anything in moderation” decided to tighten up my eating habits for a few weeks as well see what these programs were all about.
Love this meme; wouldn’t it be great if this were the starting point for most doctors’ visits?
I’d like to think that I am a disciplined eater but sometimes I get off track and I need structure in order to regroup. My take on the two programs is that Whole30 is to 30Clean is what Bikram Yoga (militant) is to Corepower Hot Power Fusion (slightly relaxed). I think that there are some wonderful takeaways from Whole30—you commit to 30 days of eating high quality proteins, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats. The glitch with Whole30 is that if you slip up AT ALL, the program dictates that you start over. I’m sorry, but most of us will be tempted. It might happen. 30Clean’s approach is one of learn from that mistake and move on.
30Clean is nurturing It’s a pay-to-play format but the value is tremendous. Upon signing up, you are put into a small private Facebook group. There is a tremendous amount of value in the accountability part of this—I find these private FB groups to be way more helpful than the forum on the Whole30 site. Newbies will always ask the same questions—and on the 30Clean FB pages, the moderators, to an extent, don’t seem to mind answering these over and over again. At Whole30, you are more apt to receive a terse “Google it” response to one of your questions. I actually stopped visiting their site about 5 days in to program because I did not find it helpful. The traction that one needs to stay exicted about ANY program is more likely found within the way 30Clean is structured.
30Clean sends out an incredibly detailed PDF document before you start and daily emails, which include tips and recipes, during your challenge.
30Clean is vegetarian and vegan friendly Vegan 30Clean makes concessions for grains and legumes
30Clean keeps it real Many of the 30Cleaners finish the program without a glitch. If you slip up, you simply get back on track and your co-challengers and moderator will provide a lot of encouragement Note: this is NOT a license to PLAN to go off the rails at the weekend BBQ—but once again, stuff happens)
What happened to me when I did 30Clean
- I lost weight. I know, I know, weight loss is NOT the focus of either of this programs. The program even requires you to lose the scale during the challenge. However, when I don’t drink alcohol, I lose weight. When I drink, I am also more cavalier about what and when I eat (does vegan, gluten free quesadillas and a pint of coconut ice cream at 11:00 p.m. ring a bell with anyone?)
- I sleep better, as in, a hard 7-9 hours. A balanced diet of vegetables, high quality proteins and healthy fats and devoid of alcohol and sugar EQUALS high quality sleep.
- I am more mindful of what I eat. Even when not in “challenge” mode, I eat well most days. Being part of an “accountability group” means that I’m way less likely to eat half a bowl of batter while testing brownie recipe. 30Clean is a terrific way to clean up your eating habits
- I am more creative in the kitchen. With a set of parameters, I test new recipes and seek out new ingredients. (Also see my notes below on S.U.G.A.R. I am more creative because, in part, I am more focused)
- I am a better triathlete. Seriously. I’m not being paid to write this. I have more energy and more focus and more confidence. All of this means that I train and race better. Yes, endurance athletes, food matters.
Notes on Sugar Sugar = Productivity Nose Dive. Along with the health problems that a sugar-laden diet brings (weight gain, spikes in blood sugar, bad skin, inflammation, increased stress levels, low energy, etc) I know that personally I feel very unfocused after a day of indulging in cookies, donuts, pies, margaritas—just name your poison). My work suffers, my training suffers. I do best eating 3 ample plates of vegetables, protein, fat and maybe a little fruit. Grains and sugar, as much as I love the taste of them, are not my friend.
An Aside on Eating Many Veggies One question I get often, and I guess that this is a little T.M.I., but here it is: “Don’t vegetables give you a ton of gas?” No, believe it or not, sugar and excessive amounts of carbs do. I can eat bowls of salad, sheet pans of roasted cauliflower and pounds of raw broccoli and nary a toot.
I am committing to 30Clean—both during the holiday (their holiday makeover plan sounds like FUN) and again in January when I’m gearing up for race season.
Feel free to use my Code for a 10$ discount CLEANMYERS on a 30Clean program—you won’t regret it.