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Why I’m Doing A Whole30

by jenny sansouci on April 4, 2014

Hey curious cats!!

Today I’m officially starting another Whole30. Recently I decided I wasn’t gonna “go on a specific eating plan” for awhile, and just wing it, but ugh, I’m such a sucker for a good detox, and just thinking about challenging myself makes my blood boil with excitement. Can’t help it. I just love it.

So what is the Whole30? It’s basically a strict paleo plan where for 30 days, you eliminate all sugar, sweeteners, grains, beans/legumes, dairy, alcohol, and anything processed.

Oh, and the biggest kicker – no “paleo-ifying” treats. That means no paleo pancakes, muffins, etc. Waa, waa, I know. The cool thing about the Whole30, though, is that they focus on your psychological relationship to food just as much as your physical relationship to food, so you learn a lot about yourself while letting your body heal. It’s totally dope.

What you can eat: protein, vegetables, healthy fats (avocado, coconut, olive oil, etc) and fruits.

Why the Whole30, you ask? Well I’ll tell you a story. It starts out as a sweet, innocent little macaroon. Macaroons are so pretty and delicate. Next thing you know, you agree to take a few bites of a rhubarb tart. Onward to a birthday party where you eat a celebratory ice cream cone. Maybe you have a little tequila (hey, “it’s paleo!”) and next thing you know, you wake up craving something sweet. You realize that Coconut Bliss now sells a dairy-free salted caramel ice cream flavor. Why not buy it? Live a little! All of a sudden sugar has creeped ever-so-slyly back into your life again.

Your brain starts operating through a thick layer of fog. NOT OPTIMAL for anyone trying to do creative work. Sugar is an extremely addictive drug. I’m not being dramatic when I say that. I wrote more about it here.

I also wrote about it here a few years ago (but that post contains a lot of embarrassing Bachelor references). And I wrote about it here, back in 2008 when I first started blogging. Obviously sugar and I have been at odds for awhile.

So there ya go. Time for a good old fashioned DETOX! Yip yip!

For the next month, I’ll get my sweetness from a little coconut water, kombucha, fruit and love. Ain’t love the sweetest thing?

I have my own personal twist on the Whole30 – I keep green smoothies and green juices in, which technically aren’t Whole30 approved. I don’t drink fruit in my green juices, and if I put any fruit in my smoothies it will be minimal. Just wanted to throw that out there, so if you see me posting green drinks on insta you’re not all like, HEY. I won’t tag them #whole30, so don’t get twisted up about it. #loveyou

Here’s the official “Can I have this…?” Whole30 list. It’s very comprehensive. The Whole30 peeps do NOT mess around!!!

One new thing I’m doing this time around on the Whole30? It may sound #craycray, but…I’m not eating nut butters. WHAT! WHY? Well, last time I did the Whole30 (last October) I noticed that when I gave up sweeteners, for some reason nut butters became a daily part of my life. We’re talking almond butter, macadamia butter and coconut butter. I guess because they are subtly sweet and creamy and feel like comfort food. Let me tell you this. Using nut butter as a comfort food is a BAD IDEA. It’s a bad idea for your digestion, definitely not good for weight loss, and can totally mess up your Omega 3:6 ratio which is pro-inflammatory in the body…if anyone’s really paying attention to that.

Everyone’s different so if this isn’t a problem for you, you’re really cool. I just find it way too easy to over-consume nut butters and I’m not interested in doing that. My friend Megan McGrane (aka the auto-immune Katniss) is doing a Whole30 now and she had to ditch the nut butters too, which is what inspired me to go this extra mile. Read her recent post on “Why You Should Re-Think Moderation” which I’m obsessed with, because moderation sucks.

A note on nuts:

Are you a hunter-gatherer, finding your food in the woods and cracking open nuts to sustain yourself? If so…damn, it’s really cool that you have access to a computer right now!!!! If you’re not, it’s probably not so great for your body if you’re consuming mass amounts of nut butter or nuts. My friend Robyn Youkilis always says, “nuts aren’t popcorn.” I was sad when she first said that to me, but it’s true. I’m not saying nuts are inherently bad. I love ’em. They are a whole food. All I’m saying is that for me, I feel better when I use nuts – most of the time – as more of a treat, an emergency food, at an airport or something.

I’m totally down with a little nuttiness so I’m not saying nuts are out completely. If nuts/nut butter is in something – a smoothie, a stir-fry sauce, used as a crust, whatever. I am well aware of the difference between eating almond-crusted fish and eating almond butter with a spoon. So are you.

If you see me with a jar of nut butter while I’m doing this Whole30, SLAP IT OUT OF MY HANDS! I’m not kidding. Just make sure nobody’s around when you do it, because that would really hurt to get slammed in the face with a jar of nut butter.

We good on the details? If you wanna join me and do your own Whole30, amazingtown! Let me know in the comments below, and also please let me know on the insta. Instagram is like my main form of communication these days. I’ll be posting as many meals as I can there during this Whole30 while trying not to be too obnoxious about it.

Have you ever done a Whole30? Any success stories, tips, or otherwise interesting things to say about it?

Learn more. Get the book.

Follow my Whole30 journey on instagram.


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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa April 4, 2014 at 11:27 am

Jenny- this was such perfect timing, as I was thinking of doing the Whole30 and have been wanting to kick the sugar and clean up my diet. And what better way than with a little challenge! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for clarifying some of the dos/don’ts.
Looking forward to this! xx


jenny sansouci April 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

Awesomesauce. Keep me posted on how it goes if you try it!


Karine April 4, 2014 at 12:56 pm

The Whole30 has been popping up everywhere at me lately. So…. I’m doing it! I’m pumped 🙂 You kind of broke my heart with the nut butter info though…I have piles of it everyday. All the more reason to ditch it for 30 days…I can do that! It will be that much more delicious when I eat it in a month. Looking forward to Instagram meal inspiration. Thanks Jenny!

PS I love your blog. You make me laugh!


jenny sansouci April 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Yeahhhh….the nut butters. I mean, to each their own, though. Thanks for reading, and laughing! My work here is done. 😉


Matthew April 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Good call,
I totally eat nuts like popcorn,
ugh! Need to stop that.
And tequila is paleo friendly?
The rationalizations for drinking
it has just begun; )


jenny sansouci April 4, 2014 at 2:42 pm

MATT!! Why didn’t I see you when I was in Portland last week!? We need to have another epic paleo chat.


Matthew April 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm

You were here and didn’t tell me!!!
Shame I’ll have to eat 2 jars of almond
butter to console myself; )


denese bottrell April 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm

i finished Dr. Junger’s Clean 21 day detox about 10 days ago and had a totally awful “re-entry.” i started off with a slice of pizza and a glass of wine the first night, had some dark chocolate, Ezekiel toast and fish tacos on flour tortillas the next……with progressively worse days that ended on Friday in the back of a Dunkin Donuts inhaling 3 donuts and a coffee like it was nothing. i left ashamed of myself but kinda proud that i only had 3! i haven’t been in a dunkin donuts in probably 15 years……..i don’t know what is wrong with me. so, i’ve read all about Whole30 this weekend and it makes perfect sense to me. I’ve read all these books (from being at IIN and trying to figure out my food groove), and have always dismissed the paleo thing because of all the meat. but, i’m really starting to think that the more plant-based i am, the more i crave sugar and coffee. i’m tired and foggy all the time. the 21 day program made my bloated belly go away, but it is going to be back very soon if i don’t stop the sugar madness. your post inspired me to give it a try. i’m a little nervous to give up my smoothies, they’re kind of like my treat, even though they’re green + superfood-filled, i don’t add any sweetener (after discovering your Harmless Harvest coconut water, which we now buy by the case). whatever i’m doing isn’t working. so i will give this a go. thank you for inspiring.


Patty Brown June 18, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Don’t you think that stopping and starting, restarting – bingeing and dieting sets you up for a full-blown eating disorder?

I did a couple of those Whole 30’s. Compliant, “clean foods” vs. dirty white potatoes or brown rice. But I think this adds confusion to those who are already dealing with eating disorders. It enables them to binge and diet without making any real improvements whatsover; not where it counts in the brain.

All of this paleo, Whole 30 and others are just Atkins with a different name. I know you can have artificial sweetners on Atkins, but other than that, it’s the same thing.

These elimination diets are a set up for more all or nothing attitudes about food. Moderation is a dirty word on these programs but that’s even biblical. Extremes of any kind will never get you where you want to go. They’re a temporary fix for a head problem.


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