Smarter. Better. Stronger. The Whole30.

You may have noticed that G&G is looking a little different…or that it’s been out of commission a bit lately. I’m trying hard to refresh le blog, because aside from being way overdue for an overhaul, I want to take G&G in a new direction, and I can’t exactly do that wearing the same old dress! So expect more changes, and I apologize in advance for any display craziness or maintenance screens you may encounter.

Changes on the blog are indicative of changes I’ve been contemplating in my life. When Carly of Smaggle decided to do Dry July, it got my attention (good for you, Carly!). I’ve seen what a saboteur alcohol has been to my fitness and health for a while now, yet I’ve refused to give it up. Even for a month. Mind you, I don’t drink daily and I still hit the gym. But my body and mind have been telling me it’s time for a major detox.

Then on August 1st, I spotted a Facebook status update about the Whole9 Whole30® Program by my adorable friend Erika of Style Activist, and I knew it was time…we could do the program together. I had already told (threatened) my husband that August was going to be alcohol-free, at least for me. After reading Carly’s post, What I Learned From a Month Without Alcohol, I’m even more convinced this is what I need to do. Uh, hello! Signs from all directions.

What’s Whole30?

For some, it may well feel like 30 days of torture, since it requires you to abstain from eating virtually anything that’s not a pure meat, fruit, or vegetable. Why would I want to do that?

This paragraph from Whole9’s Whole30 page explains:

“Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?”

Uh, check. Check. And check.

For the past few years I’ve been telling myself that I live a healthy lifestyle and eat the same way too. I do, actually. But in the midst of my my healthy diet are some nasty little truths: I’m addicted to caffeine, preferably with preservative-loaded “sugar-free” vanilla creamer and lots and lots of Splenda. I don’t drink soft drinks and I quit all the energy drinks, but I consume way too much alcohol when I do have a drink. Or four. I’ve been suffering from unpredictable bouts of eczema (so not pretty), real difficulty losing weight and keeping it off, digestive ailments, the whole nine. This is just a no-brainer, especially since I already stick to a mostly paleo diet.

There are harder things in life to do than be healthy for 30 days.

I loved this paragraph from Whole 9’s site. It really convinced me to get over even thinking that 30 days without coffee, milk, and splenda is going to kill me ( I am NOT drinking black coffee. I’ll have tea.):

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.”

No, it’s not going to be that hard. I can still eat lean protein and all the veggies I want. Fresh summer fruit. Avocados. Eggs. Salmon. Walnuts. All the things that already make up my daily diet. And I might even be skinnier by the time the fall collections hit the stores. There is no downside!

So why am I telling you all this? Culpability, my darlings. If I put it out there, I’m more likely to stick to it. And because I want to share the results of thirty days of:

no sugar, no dairy, etc.

UPDATE August 2, 2012: I’ve been getting some questions about the “no beans” (aka no legumes or soy) portion of this program. For me, this is not an issue because as much as I like beans, most of them really don’t like me. It’s not my rule, anyway. For an explanantion, please read The Legume Manifesto.

Wish us luck!

It’s only August 2nd. Will you jump on board?


  1. That’s so weird that I commented on your Instagram and you mentioned me in this post! Bizarro! I’m off to learn more about it!


  2. You totally beat me to it, I am loving what I’m seeing so far… and can’t wait for the complete overhaul lady! I’m sure it’ll be slick! I’m having computer issues and sans Apple store in Greece I’m struggling!

    Anyhoos, no beans???? But aren’t pulses and that kinda thang good for you & your heart? I really struggle with the whole cut sugar out thing (bad sweet tooth) but otherwise have a rather healthy approach to food and cooking with lots of naughtiness/treats in between, so I have to applaud you lady! (mainly on the no alcohol front! 😉 )
    Also living in Greece has changed my eating/cooking style, haven’t bought jarred/ready made stuff in ages!!!


    1. Hi koukla, thank you! I probably eat what you eat too…mostly real, homemade food. That’s why this isn’t too scary. I really need to nip that Splenda consumption in the bud and figure out if alcohol or peanuts are triggering the eczema. I’ve had a scratch test and have no known food allergies. But there are so many hidden chemicals, irritants, etc., that this is the best way to figure out what jives with my body and what doesn’t.

  3. Good luck, V! I hope it works wonders for you. I’m surprised about the “no beans” thing though – from everything I’ve read, beans are a magic food group! (But maybe that’s just for veggies, because beans are our main source of protein.) Do report back on how you feel.

    And personally, I have very little sugar and dairy and absolutely no alcohol (ever)! I do love beans and a moderate amount of grains (such as brown rice) though 🙂

    1. Hi Leia, thanks for the kind wishes! I posted an update about the beans after you posted this comment…you might want to read The Legume Manifesto (link above) to see why. That said, I really believe our bodies are so individual, and what works for one person might not work for another.

      And I will definitely keep you posted!

      1. Hi V, thanks for the update on the legumes! I’ll definitely check out the manifesto.

        I absolutely, 100% agree that different bodies need different diets. Some of us have allergies, some of us have intolerances, and some of us just work better with or without certain foods. The key is in finding what works for us! 🙂

  4. my reaction was the same as abritgreek and leia – beans are pretty much the healthiest thing ever and a crucial source of protein for vegetarians. I’m assuming this means coffee beans!

    I’m pregant so i cut out caffeine and alcohol as soon as i found out. The caffeine was so hard to start off with but now i’m over it and i don’t miss it at all. Surprisingly decaf tea and coffee taste exactly the same – who knew? The alcohol was a doddle to start off with, but now (after 4 months) I really miss it! I fantastise about a lovely crabbies alcoholic ginger ale or a well made mai tai!

    1. oh no, it does mean beans as in pulses! how very odd, that is the first negative thing I have ever heard about them. Not for me then this programme, even as an inspirational idea.

      1. I think we’re all have to do what’s right for us. I think people do forget, though, that this is just a 30-day tightening of the belt. My hope is that I can detox my body from all the chemicals and sugar cravings, just kind of reboot. Then as I reintroduce them one at a time, I can identify exactly what is causing the eczema, etc.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Oh Wow! This sounds exciting .. good for you! Hope it works wonders. Personally I have done the No sugar and no alcohol for 6 months straight … but like Leia said, doing no grains and beans would be difficult as a vegetarian. But hey! you have given me something to think about now.

    ∞ © ∞

    1. Hey Tanvi, thank you! No sugar AND no alcohol for six months? Now THAT is dedication! Hats off to you.

      I think we all should do what is right for us. Since I’m not a vegetarian, I have more options. And some people can handle beans and grains better (like my dad). My system just does not handle bread, pasta, or beans well at all.

  6. Good luck!!
    I did the 60 days of Insanity and it was tough…but not physically, it was tough mentally…
    So just keep your head strong and you WILL finish this program 🙂
    I may check it out too…but I have to tell you, I do love my wine….
    Keep us posted!!

    1. Hi Adrienne, thank you! It’s the first time I’m doing something like this, but I love that because of social media, a whole crew is doing it too!

  7. This sounds interesting! I doubt I could ever do anything so extreme unless there was a major reason for it, just doing weight watchers was a difficult enough change for my family, but I did stop drinking alcohol for lent one year. Let me tell you, it was hard!
    So glad you’re planning on returning to the blog. So many of my favorite bloggers have stopped blogging its kind os depressing. I miss you!

    1. Daaaang, no alcohol for a YEAR?! Now that’s serious. Kudos. And especially since it was for lent and not doctor-mandated!

      I’ll keep you all posted here, of course. And thanks for saying you missed me. Getting my mojo back. Retooling, rethinking, redefining. I never know if people are more interested in narratives or style posts, but for right now, it’s more about the writing. Maybe I’ll break the camera out again soon. 😉

  8. V- this is awesome. Congrats to you! I understand wanting to do some revamping (from the inside on out through my blog!). I would love to do a cleanse (right now I can do some, but not all of this…) and will keep it in mind for the future!

  9. This is fate! I’ve been saying since July that August was going to be my month of detox. Now I have a purpose! I’m joining the challenge V, you’ve inspired me. Plus, woot woot I’m gonna be right & tight for fashion week!

    1. Oh, yay sweetie! Just saw your tweets. Happy to collectively be doing this. I think it’s going to be a really enlightening experience for us all. Thanks for commenting!

  10. Personally, I wouldn’t be on board with this challenge, but I support you! I mostly pause because of the beans and grains–why not just try switching to whole grains or making your own bread? I’ve cut out a lot of processed grains (ie: store bread) from my diet but still eat homemade bread.

    The rest, I can get down with!

    I try not to cut anything out of my diet, to be honest. But this is because I’m vegetarian and lactose intolerant, so I’m already cutting out so much that I don’t worry about all the other stuff. Good luck on the dairy! They do make vegan cheese now that isn’t terrible–you can find it at Whole Foods. Don’t buy it anywhere else because it usually sucks.

    1. Thanks, Courtney! I can understand your reservations since you’re vegetarian. As much as I want to be one, I just don’t think I can.

      As far as the grains and beans, it’s not a matter of switching for me, really…I hardly ever eat bread and only eat beans occasionally. But I can see why, if you read The Legume Manifesto in the update box above, they ask you to cut it out. As much as I love them, they give me indigestion and all kinds of nastiness after. Well, except hummus.

      Thanks for the tip on the vegan cheese but I can’t have soy or tofu either, and I think I just want to keep it as basic and natural as possible. Actually, that’s the program. So we’ll see how it goes…and so far, it’s good!

  11. Love that quote on the web site. It’s only as hard and a struggle as you make it. It’s just 30 days. As I tweeted, I’m planning to start a gluten-free diet to see if it can help relieve me of some neurological issues I have since my diagnosis two years ago. I’ve heard the diet has been a huge benefit to some so as you say, how can I not give myself 30 days to see if I can greatly improve my quality of life? Yes, there are foods I’ll miss or want, but totally think/hoping the end result will be worth it.

  12. For anyone who is wanting to do this diet AND eat beans, I strongly recommend Tim Ferris’s ‘Slow Carb Diet’:

    It’s pretty much a variation of the Paleo diet but you CAN eat beans, in fact he encourages you to eat beans with EVERY meal. I’ve tried it before and it there is very little difference between this and a paleolithic diet. I have friends that are on it that are veggies and it works well for them.

    A word of warning though, on that diet he discourages eating fruit, so if you’re a fan of fruit you may have to decide which you like the most, beans or fruit lol.

    1. Thanks for the link, Arash. As we noted in our Twitter chat, that might be a good resource for after 30 days.

      We’re actually not discouraged from eating fruit during Whole30…but there are certain fruits they recommend over others, like berries, grapefruit, and cherries.

  13. The “This is NOT hard” paragraph is my favorite too. Unfortunately, I think it best until I fight off this cold until I start the Whole30 full on. I’ve started trimming some things over the past couple days but I feel like my body needs to recover before taking on an overhaul like this… good luck! I look forward to seeing more of your posts! 🙂

    1. Hi Mikael, thank you! Why don’t you just start on September 1? That way you nurse yourself better and you can focus on Whole30 completely. I have found that it is easier to keep track of your progress when your Whole30 day is the same as the day on the calendar. Good luck!

      Check back this week for an update when I hit the halfway mark!

  14. This today was our topic of conversation as we stumbled across part of an interview with Dr. Davis of “Wheat Belly” and how to eat for pregnancy success. We eat well, no junk food or refined flours, but lately even many of the places where we get our fruits and veggies seem so modified as to produce “junk food” cravings on their own, which was startling, if not frightening. It’s not easy finding unmodified food, but we’re on a quest to do so.

    1. Hi Nina…thanks for all your recent comments on my posts. I used to think I ate healthy too, the same way you did until I tried Whole30, started reading, and actually reading labels. Then I realized I was taking in a lot of sugar and chemicals that show up even in “healthy” food. For example, one day I picked up a vacuum-sealed piece of refrigerated salmon that looked “healthy,” with just some onions and herbs on it. I thought it would be great to heat on the fly, that it was “healthy.” Then I turned it over and looked at the label, and it was literally a three inch long column of all kinds of additives and preservatives.

      If you are interested in some real food education, check out this post for resources:

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