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Whole 30: Elimination Diet or Nutritional Penance?

Last week, I reviewed some of the pros and cons of the Whole30 program. This week, we take a deeper dive into two aspects of this popular program: identifying food sensitivities and as a way to get your diet back on track. 

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
Episode #421

For example, Liza wrote; “Seems like it can be a useful thing to do after the holidays, when you have eaten everything and anything, We’ve all had our good intentions go off the rails. I don’t see a problem doing this for a short period of time once or twice a year as way of getting back control.”

Yes, I think many of us know how it is to feel that we’ve over-indulged and need to get back on track. However, you don’t have to go to the other extreme of a highly restricted diet in order to do that. All you really have to do is stop over-indulging. The thing that makes me nervous about people using Whole30 or a similar type of program as a correction for "bad behavior" is that it can so easily set up a sort of binge and purge mentality. 

Let’s say you do the Whole30 as a sort of penance for a period of over-indulgence.  The next time you find yourself tempted to overindulge, you might also be tempted to strike a bargain with yourself:  “I know I shouldn't but after this trip/holiday/weekend, I’ll do a Whole30 to make up for it.” Having made this resolution, you might even be less restrained than you otherwise would be.

We all have good days and bad days (or weeks), but I think it’s healthier, both mentally and physically, to try to keep the ups and downs from being so extreme. Because being “really good” doesn’t always entirely undo the damage from being “really bad.” There’s a lot to be said for trying to hold the line at "not so bad," which then gives us the freedom to be content with being “pretty good.” 

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