If you don’t have a friend who is doing it or has done it, you’ve likely caught wind on social media of the 30-day dietary reset quickly gaining popularity: The Whole30.
I like to think of my family as fairly clean eaters. On a whole, we consistently find a healthy 80/20 balance—80 per cent whole, real, minimally processed foods and 20 percent processed crackers, tortilla chips (I’ve got a weakness for a good tortilla), chocolate, and treats. I think this balance is perfect. I never feel deprived or restricted, but I try to be mindful of my junky intake.
But, after cookie-binging my way through December and wanting to get serious about my running again (yay!), I told my husband I needed a reset.
Whole30 it was.
At first glance, the Whole30 looks a lot like the South Beach or Atkins diets. Remember those?! Lots of vegetables, fruits, and proteins. But the Whole30 is really an elimination diet. It’s a chance to give your body 30 days to rid itself of any food that can cause chronic inflammation in the body, disruption to your digestive system, an overactive immune system, and more.
For 30 days, you eliminate foods we know (through science) promote unhealthy cravings, disruption to your metabolism, and inflammation. The biggest culprits include grains, legumes, sugar, soy, dairy, and alcohol. The basic idea is that by removing all of these foods you both reset your relationship with food and determine if your body has a sad relationship (unknowingly) with any of them.
Can I Do Whole30 As A Runner?
If you’re running 32 kilometres or less, you can absolutely follow this diet with no changes. In fact, you’ll likely feel less sluggish and more energised on your runs and during your workouts.
If you’re running 32 kilometres or more, I suggest some modifications to the diet. For runs more than eight kilometres, you should make sure your pre-run meal consists of some easily digested carbohydrates. Think of starchy vegetables such as squashes, potatoes of any kind, fresh and dried fruit. On a personal note, I found my long runs really struggled (sluggish legs) when I didn’t eat a starchy, carb-heavy meal the night before or morning of.
TRY: 1 banana sliced, drizzled with 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1-2 tablespoons raisins, cinnamon and topped with warm or cold almond milk.
OR: 1 sweet potato with 1 tablespoon almond butter or egg as optional protein boost.
You’re also going to want to pay attention to how you refuel after those hard workouts. Make your meal a balance of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. I’m always a huge smoothie advocate for optimal nutrient digestion and absorption.
TRY: 1½ cups almond milk, 1 frozen banana, ½ avocado.
OR: 1 potato and/or roasted squashes topped with grilled shrimp and guacamole.
Have you done Whole30? What works for you?