Get Started on Getting Healthy

I’ve been getting lots of great questions about Whole30 these past few days, and I’m thrilled—it means you are paying attention to the point of all these posts: that you should take good care of YOU, proactively!

I’m not telling anyone what they should do with their lives. But I will say that the food we used to eat when we were kids, and the food that exists in grocery stores and fast food chains now are two very different things. Food back then was kind of still pure. Food these days, even the non-processed stuff, is nothing like it used to be because of factory farming, food engineering, chemical additives, cost-saving measures, and more. Part of my success on Whole30 is due to educating myself about food, so to not provide some info about it would be remiss.

Many of you have commented that you’re now inspired to get healthy—that’s fantastic!—here are some resources to help you get started.


UPDATE July 21, 2012: Check out Whole 9’s FREE DOWNLOADS for a printable Whole30 Quick-Start Guide, Vegetarian/Vegan Shopping List,  Shopping List, and more.

Food Documentaries

I don’t want to preach too much, but watching these documentaries has changed my life and what I eat. Docos can be boring, but these are not. They also aren’t overly graphic, but show enough for you to really understand what happens to “food” before it hits your dinner table.

Food, Inc.
Strongly recommended. It’s been out for a few years, but I only recently found out about this film. It’s one of the primary reasons I now eat organic.

“Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.”

Food Matters

Strongly recommended. Food is the most powerful medicine available to you. Don’t believe me? Watch the film.

With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what’s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it’s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide ‘sickness industry’ and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
See my post on this doco for more details!


Please bear in mind that I’m not promoting a juice fast (as Joe Cross did in Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead), unless you feel like that is something you need (if so, see the link below). I have added fresh vegetable juice to my diet four days a week. I only use juice as a meal replacement occasionally. Generally, I drink fresh vegetable juice for the nutrients provided, and I eat three meals a day.


  1. Thanks for more info on this, Vanni. I’m starting the Whole30 today and pretty nervous. It’s good to know I have others for support. It just got to a point where I realized I don’t want to look or feel like this for the rest of my life. I had to take a step to move forward and have a better me.

    1. Lindsay, I commend you for taking action to change…that is half the battle! You CAN do this. It’s only 30 days, and it is not as restrictive as you may think. After days 3-4, you’ll be just fine. You will be a better you, I promise. I do highly recommend the documentaries I listed in this post, too. The Whole30 folks also recommended a couple of them. I’ve found that immersing myself in a total mind/body awakening has been really beneficial. Reading or learning about food helps you maintain your commitment to the program, and we all owe it to ourselves to know exactly what’s in our food before we put it in our mouths.

      GOOD LUCK! Here for support if you need me! Tweet me!

  2. V! So great to hear how much you’re learning from this whole process. For me, this Whole 30 journey has been a labor of love. It’s been a journey of discipline for sure. What I’m learning more and more is that the crappy foods I’ve gotten so used to eating, I only eat them out of habit and for social reasons – not because I really crave them. Once you master those mental roadblocks, the sky is the limit. I told you this already, but I’ve already started to have health breakthroughs as a result of the plan. My anemia, which I’ve had for YEARS has slowly started to subside. After only 10 days on the program! I’m blown away. Thank you thank you thank you V for introducing me to this program. 15 days left and I feel great!

    1. Cece, this is FANTASTIC! And we BOTH need to thank Erika…she found out about the program and we all jumped on board with her.

      I agree, so many of the things we consume are out of habit or due to social constraints or expectations. As you noted, once you break those habits and master the mental roadblocks, you gain freedom and you feel so much better.

      I feel super too! Just a week-and-a-half to go, and I’m actually considering making it a Whole45 depending on where I am on the 30-day mark. We can continue to do this!

  3. Terrifically inspiring as always V! I’ve found that my body clock responds well to eating more organic produce… but even here the produce has changed, like fruit for example. The best tasting stuff I get is when family/friends go to the villages and come back with hideous amounts of feta, peppers, aubergines, grapes, figs, barn eggs, apples etc etc… (and tsipouro!) depending on season! You can really taste the difference!

    1. Hey sweetie!

      HAving grown up with fresh, organic food from Greeks my whole life, I know what you’re talking about. And I remember the foods in the xorio when I was in Greece…a LOT of olive oil (perhaps too much), but fresh and unadulterated! You CAN taste the difference!

    1. Thanks, Kristin! It’s good stuff, it really is. Hope you and you little lady bean are settling into your new lives together!

  4. I have talked about my love for Food,Inc. before—- but it bears repeating!

    That doc has resulted in my husband and I eating organically, sustainably, locally and ethically as much as possible. This extends beyond our fruits and veg and includes animal protein. In fact, I try to do research on the farms where the animal protein I purchase come from.

    I recognize that I am not perfect. I do the best that I can.

    For those less neurotic than myself, you can make the choice to shop at places like WholeFoods where meat and seafood is chosen on strict guidelines. Yes, it is more expensive than your average store. I try to financially balance it out by making vegetarian meals a few times a week (both cost efficient and responsible food wise…).

    In terms of WholeFoods’ “steps” we try not to purchase anything less than step 3 and our seafood has to be green labeled. Honestly, it has been SIGNIFICANTLY more challenging since moving to Chicago (I didn’t realize how lucky we were resource wise in LA!), but we are doing what we can.

    Another great way to do this and keep cost down is to shop at local farmers’ markets. This is also a fun event (or at least I feel like it is!).

    Okay. Enough. Sorry, just something I am passionate about within my own life……..

    1. I agree wholeheartedly! Sorry to hear Chicago doesn’t have the convenience and variety of organic stores LA had, but I’m sure you will find your sources soon. Keep digging.

      My husband and I radically altered our diets in March, and have even more since I started Whole30. He actually didn’t see Food, Inc., but watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Food Matters with me, and they completely changed his thinking too. Funny, I started Whole30 on my own, and at the very same time my best friend recommended all those docos to me (and hooked my up with her Netflix account…sweet 🙂 ).

      We have a fabulous local organic grocery chain called Earth Fare that my husband proclaimed his new favorite store just the other day, especially after we were in a different store and I picked up a pre-packaged “fresh,” vacuum-sealed piece of salmon, turned it over to look at the ingredients, and the list was literally three inches long! FOR “real” salmon! That’s nuts. No, that’s food in traditional grocery stores today. Even the “whole” foods aren’t whole anymore.

      I’m also SUPER excited because we have a Whole Foods opening in our city, and near my favorite haunt (the mall) in less than two weeks! I like to think the stars are aligning like this for me because I’m on the right path.

      Anyway, you know, none of us is perfect. All we can do is try to be more conscious and do what we CAN do to improve our own health and not contribute to or support the inhumane treatments animals.

      Thanks for your comment, honey!

  5. I was disappointed that the information for vegetarians and vegans seemed to be mostly about how vegetarians and vegans should eat meat and not a modification of the diet for those who choose not to eat meat for ethical and/or religious reasons. If it’s a diet for meat-eaters, then, great, that’s what it is, but as someone who has made well-informed decisions–ones that have much to do with farming and food production–not to eat meat, I can do without articles like “Eating Meat: a Primer for the Meat Challenged”. Are there better resources, that you are aware of, for a vegetarian version of the diet?

    But it’s great to hear that you are doing so well on the diet and glad that you are thriving.

    1. Hi DM…good to hear from you!

      I apologize for not investigating the link I provided for vegetarians more closely. I have the utmost respect for people’s decisions regarding vegetarianism and veganism, especially since I am totally incapable of maintaining that lifestyle, even if I despise today’s cruel factory farming and food production. That said, Food, Inc., shed a LOT of light on all of this for me (I’ve known about the horrific animal cruelty, but I really didn’t know what I could do about it), and that’s why both my husband and I are committed to purchasing organic meat from humanely raised/handled animals, and patronizing restaurants that share this commitment as much as possible.

      But that doesn’t really answer your question, and convincing you to reconsider your vegetarian lifestyle isn’t an answer either.I’ve looked and looked for more details on this, and even the forums at Whole 9 are light on the subject because, let’s face it, when you can’t eat legumes, grains, dairy, or soy, this is really not a program designed for a vegetarian or vegan, especially vegans. But for vegetarians, I do think you can do it. You’ll have to be very mindful of ensuring you get enough nutrients, but as Joe Cross proved in his doco, you can be healthy and exist on nothing but veggie juice for at least 60 days!

      For your consideration:

      • Cut out all dairy, grains, legumes, soy, alcohol, sugar, as everyone does for Whole30.
      • If you eat eggs, then plan to eat them often so you can get a good portion of healthy fat and protein in your diet.
      • Remember that you CAN have olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, clarified butter (ghee), nuts (cashews, macadamias), fruits (including bananas), sweet potatoes, and avocados. These foods/healthy fats will help keep you satiated and full on a diet of all vegetables.
      • I’ve lived on a lot of meals that are vegetarian: a dinner of roasted vegetables like eggplant and brussels sprouts is so filling and delicious. Toss with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and bake until soft. Salads with veggies, fruits, and nuts are super for lunch. Yesterday I had an incredible smoothie as a post-workout pick-me-up: it was made of blueberries, banana, and coconut milk and it was every bit as good as my favorite chocolate protein smoothie from Smoothie King. Also try boiled greens or broccoli with lemon and ghee. Breakfast can be eggs, a fruit or veggie smoothie, an avocado, or banana and a handful of cashews.

      Although you are a vegetarian, I think you can do this, but you’ll need to ensure you’re having healthy fats with every meal so you feel full and satiated. The key is to cut out the sneaky “bad stuff” you may be consuming in an otherwise healthy diet (Creamer? Wine? Margaritas? Bread? Pasta? Cookies?).That way your body detoxes and learns to run on whole food and burn fat more efficiently. And you kill the sugar demon.

      Remember, it’s only 30 days, so if you feel like you need to do it (I’m sensing you do since you’ve inquired), keep reminding yourself that it’s temporary, though kicking a sugar or crazy carb addiction is a good thing that we should all try to sustain, forever. You will see and feel some amazing changes if you stick to the program, I promise!

      Please reach out and let me know if you decide to give it a go. I’m here to encourage you if you need it!

      1. Thank you for this information V. I think I need to mentally prepare myself to live without dairy and grains (which is the hardest for me!). I might try this in October and if I do I will definitely reach out to you for encouragment.

        Thanks again!

        ∞ © ∞

      2. This was so helpful, V. I still haven’t decided to jump on this yet. I really want to but I’m afraid of failing, you know? In 2007 I lost 30 pounds but I’ve gained it all back since. I like being a curvy lady but I don’t feel healthy. I want to be both healthy AND curvy… sigh, I’m trying to find a balance. Just thinking out loud. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Watching Food Inc totally changed the way I see the American food market–everything from the corn we eat to the cows we slaughter. It made me feel better for being a vegetarian, but also made me realize there’s so many other issues with the way out country produces food.

    After reading the blog post on the whole9, I’m a little bit put off by their attitude towards vegetarians, so I don’t think I’ll try this plan any time soon. This is, however, a long discussion for another day (or blog post)


  7. This sounds really interesting. I need to step up my weight loss and fitness regime so this might be something for me to look into further. Thank you, great resource.

  8. I just found your blog and this is a really intriguing idea and I really am considering it. I know I can do this but I want to convince my boyfriend also to.

  9. Thanks for this great post. I found your blog from Love Brown Sugar. Great information has been provided. I will read the other post you have linked. Thanks once again and I plan on starting this soon as I read more.

    1. Hey Tasha, welcome! I hope you do delve into these food resources, even if you only watch one documentary: Food, Inc. It’s so important for us to be educated about one of the most critical things in our lives: FOOD!

  10. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, and for your support. Whether you choose Whole30 or your own approach to getting healthy, the most important thing is that you pay attention to food labels and eat whole foods whenever you possibly can.

    Your health is your wealth!

  11. Hi Vahni,
    Great resources. I have Food, Inc. in my Netflix selection so I am going to have to watch it.
    Boy I really like diary (granola and skim milk), so I will read more about Whole 30.

    1. Girl, if you watch nothing else, WATCH FOOD, INC.! Whether you do Whole30 or not, you’re eyes will be opened by that movie.

  12. This is excellent Vahni! I am particularly interested in the vegetarian resourceful links, since I am one. I juice more than normal now, probably because of these posts. It’s always difficult to eat well during travelling, but I manage to because I am such a picky eater, even though bread and gourmet cheeses surround me. A blessing and curse at times. haha! Now, I am trying hard to see how I would do without eating any grains, I can try no dairy because I used to be lactose intolerant. Perhaps, I will do a variation of this in doses. I must say all of you ladies doing the Whole30 are truly inspiring. /Madison

    1. Hi lovely, thank you!

      Whether you do Whole30 or not, I’m glad you pay close attention to what you eat and are juicing more. It’s good stuff. Should you decide to do a Whole30, I’m here to support you!

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