Why am I trying Whole 30? Is it because it's a trendy thing that's popular on Pinterest right now? Because I'm a very trendy person. I'm hip to all the latest things.
I'm doing Whole 30 because I haven't felt entirely well for the past few months. I haven't felt bad, or sick. But I haven't felt my best, either. I've had too many moments where I finish eating (or drinking) something and I feel . . . icky. I was much more in tune with how I felt and my body's response to food, exercise, and my environment a few years ago. Partly it's because I don't do as much (or any) yoga and meditation, so I'm less in tune with my body in general. But I've also gotten to a point where I pay less attention to what I eat (and probably too much attention to how much of it I eat). And I drink too much. Whole 30 is my attempt to redirect some of those patterns.
What is Whole 30? If you haven't read or heard about it already, it's a pretty strict clean-eating regimen that lasts for only 30 days. It's also a registered trademark (except they spell it Whole30), so hopefully I don't get in trouble for this post. Like most trendy diets, it was "founded" by an attractive health/fitness professional (Certified Sports Nutritionist, probably also a registered trademark) who's good at self-promotion but whose qualifications seem to consist primarily of being certified, having written a book, and being a keynote speaker about some things.*
In general I'm skeptical about such eating plans (diets, that's what they are; let's call them diets). They are featured in the New York Times or whatever and everyone and their cousin does them for a few years, then they fade into obscurity. Remember South Beach Diet? Or Beach Body? Or Weight Watchers? Testimonials aside, there's little evidence that these diets do anything long-term, and they tend to rely heavily on pseudo-scientific concepts like "detoxification." In short, I think things like Whole 30‒ways of eating that have their own websites, apparel, and affiliate programs‒are silly.
So it's hilarious to me that I am trying it.
Silliness aside (or rather, my perception aside), it's not like these diets have nothing of value to contribute. They work for people, although maybe not the majority. Whole 30 focuses on eating moderate portions of real foods: meat, seafood, eggs, lots of veggies, some fruits, and lots of natural fats. During the 30 days, you eschew grains, legumes, dairy, all added sweeteners (no artificial sweeteners, no honey, no maple syrup), food additives and preservatives, junk foods, and (most importantly for me) alcohol. No cheat days allowed.
Except that I'm going to give myself the option to cheat on race days. In fact, I'm making a few modifications. I imagine (some people will say) this makes it not Whole 30 and I'm not truly committing to the plan and that makes me a weak-willed person. Whatever. This is my body and my lifestyle and I need to modify the plan so that it fits for me.
In addition to eating what I want on race days (only if I have the chance to go hang out with teammates and friends after the race), I will also continue to use Skratch hydration mix, which has added sugar, during races. I won't be using gels, though; instead, I'll be using dried dates and prunes for ride fuel. And I'll probably be eating a lot of potatoes and sweet potatoes over the next 30 days; without them, I don't think I'll take in enough carbohydrate to fuel my cycling training.
That's my plan. Whole 30 for the next 30 days, with a few modifications for the amount of exercise that I do. Training and racing will proceed as normal. I'll track the effects of the diet in my training log, including my reactions to foods as I get more sensitive to them. And I'll share my progress and results with you.
*I realize this is the pot calling the kettle black, since I make my living as a certified fitness professional of questionable qualifications. Headmistress Hartwig, I'm just joking. Please don't sue me.