Nourish and Nurture

Whole 30

January 11, 2024 Miriam Hatoum Season 4 Episode 84
Nourish and Nurture
Whole 30
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 84: Whole 30

The Whole30 diet is a strict 30-day elimination diet that many people turn to for weight loss, sleep issues, or help with digestive concerns. It is considered a reset program to get certain problem foods out of your system. The program encourages you to cut out alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, and additives from your diet for 30 days. Food reintroduction is very deliberate and measured, and even if you are going to go back to eating all the things, it still would be wise to follow the specific reintroduction path so that you do not go all haywire on day 31.

This episode will walk you through what Whole 30 is, a day of MY eating Whole 30, and also explores the mistakes we make with it and why.  The overall assignment  for your coaching this week is just to stop and think about what you are eating. Eat real food. It doesn’t have to be only out of the ground or grass fed or organic. It can even come from a package, can or jar. Just please heighten your awareness this week, and perhaps be open to more natural ways of eating.

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Episode #: 84  Whole 30

 You’re Listening to the Nourish and Nurture Podcast, Episode #84, Whole 30.


 Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or even weigh, measure and track your food unless you want to? What if you could learn to have success by learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, which is the cornerstone to weight loss success? What if you could learn about what foods work best in your body for weight loss and why they work? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl.

 I am celebrating Season 4 with a brand-new party dress, Nourish and Nurture. The title has changed but not the insightful advice and tips that you enjoy and look forward to. And now, you can get all my free guides that are designed to help you in your journey, in one place, at

 Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or services. And please know that I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!

 I want to thank you all for being faithful listeners. I have hit almost 10,000 downloads in my first 18 months on air. If you had told me I would have reached 100 people and would have lasted more than a few months, I don’t think I would have believed it. I do have a favor to ask of you. Please leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. It helps other people find it by bringing it up in the various directories. Also, don’t be a stranger. Like or join my Facebook page, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, and let me know if there is anything you would like to hear on the show, and let me know you are a podcast listener. 

Now on to the Episode…


Following the Whole 30 program as it is as intended, and if you make reintroduction of foods slowly and carefully so that you can discover whether or not you have food sensitivities, is a fine reset if you feel you need one. I do not suggest using Whole 30 as a long-term diet or punishment, as many have done.

The first step people often take in getting off the Standard American Diet (known as SAD) is with something like the Whole30, and that is what is meant by using it as a reset.  It is a great way to detox from processed foods, sugars, and some common allergens such as dairy, wheat and gluten.

In this regard, Whole 30 is an elimination diet. It is not meant to be the Whole 60 or the Whole 90 or any other length of time you want to do it. When you are having comfortable results, you may want to move on to Paleo or Primal, which have a little more leeway in what they allow on your plate, and which I will talk about next week. If you are approaching the Whole 30 as a “lifetime” eating style because you find that you feel best not having the foods you have reintroduced, that might be a different story, but never use it as punishment because you feel you can’t be trusted with certain foods.

If you do Whole30 correctly, you must reintroduce foods the way the authors of this plan, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig have outlined. Very often when someone finishes Whole30, they head straight for pizza, sandwiches, cake and ice cream. And that, my friends, is not the spirit of Whole30. Often, they come back to Whole30 to be used as a punishment, feeling they need the strong bars of prison to keep them from straying again.

The Whole30 diet is a strict 30-day elimination diet that many people turn to for weight loss, sleep issues, or help with digestive concerns. It is considered a reset program to get certain problem foods out of your system. The program encourages you to cut out alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, and additives from your diet for 30 days. Food reintroduction is very deliberate and measured, and even if you are going to go back to eating all the things, it still would be wise to follow the specific reintroduction path so that you do not go all haywire on day 31.

 Whole30 differs from Paleo in that it does not allow SWYPO which is, my friends, Sex With Your Pants On. In other words, with Paleo you can have Paleo banana bread, Paleo blueberry muffins, Paleo ice cream, etc. Whole30 asks that you not do this even if the individual ingredients are allowed. The reason for this is not just the physical food elimination, but also the resetting of your mind and the psychology of wanting certain foods. The natural segue from Whole30 is Paleo or Primal because the same individual food eliminations are still there, but with the addition of SWYPO. 

 Whole30 can be for anyone who wants to see overall improvement in sleep, digestion, joint pain, high blood pressure, and the like. You might experience some of these improvements in just the 30 days, but at the very least, once you clear all the junk and suspected allergens from your body, you target, as the Hartwigs say, your unhealthy relationship with food. Believe me, once you are not turning to junk or giving in to every single craving, you will see how enmeshed your emotions are with eating. It is great if you feel totally out of control with your eating and just need to start somewhere, with a real solid reset. It’s hard, but I would say, pick your hard. The Whole30 also targets a sluggish metabolism, a disrupted digestive system, an overactive immune system, and chronic systemic inflammation. 

 And let me say here, if you are indeed experiencing all these wonderful benefits and want to see more improvement long term, and you are comfortable making this your eating style, of course you can continue more than 30 days. But it is not meant to be used as self-punishment or to be seen as the only way to ever have your eating under control.

 In terms of being hard, yes, it is, but pick your hard. Here I quote directly from the Whole30 book by the Hartwigs: “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.” They do go on to say that “(But) the Whole30 is not a diet. It’s not a quick fix. It’s not even a weight-loss program. The Whole30 is designed to change your life. It’s a monumental transformation in how you think about food, your body, your life, and what you want out of the time you have left on this earth. It’s so much better than just food. It’s a paradigm shift the likes of which you may only experience a few times in your whole life.” I agree that if you follow Whole30 in the full spirit of how it is presented you may have this experience.  

 What if you don’t have the wonderful experience and results that Whole 30 can bring about? It is true that Whole 30 doesn’t fix everything for everyone. The Hartwigs answer with a little tough love. First, they say you might not have done it right. Sounds a little harsh, but it needs saying. I have seen a lot of people just jump into a Whole 30 without doing any research on it, just declaring they aren’t going to eat grains and dairy, as if that is all there is to it. Second, for some people, 30 days may not be long enough to bring about these changes.  This could be because people may be eating foods that aren’t healthy for them, in the context of their own needs. For instance, many people have undiagnosed food sensitivities, and although the foods are allowed on Whole 30, they might be interfering with how they are feeling and their general health. Another reason is that a person might not be paying attention to other things. Has sleep improved? Has athletic performance improved? Have other medical conditions improved? Weight loss is only one measure of success with the program, and because some people might not have any weight loss, they declare the experience a failure. The book goes into great detail with all of these issues. 

The Whole30 Facebook group is encouraging and supportive. The books by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig are intelligent, comprehensive and thorough. Just a heads up though, that many people are trying to get on the bandwagon and if you buy any Whole30 books, and especially any Whole30 cookbooks, make sure the authors are Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig. Some people have hijacked the very recognizable Whole30 artwork and have used it on their books that are not written, or endorsed, by the Whole30 authors.

 In 440BC Hippocrates said:  “Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food.” You can experience this with any healthy eating style, but with Whole 30 you are on a fast track with ridding your body of inflammatory foods and foods that just generally do your body no good. We think we can eat whatever we want and when we get things like diabetes and auto-immune diseases, we think that manufactured medicine will take care of it. First of all, they don’t. Second of all, if you ate for health – not necessarily quick weight loss –you might not get some of these conditions in the first place.

 Whole 30 is not designed for weight loss. Nor is it designed to work on issues that support weight loss, like working on your hunger scale or addressing triggers. I have done more than one round of Whole 30 without any weight loss. But, what it is designed to do, and what I have experienced, is that it gets foods out of your system that can, in themselves cause cravings or triggers. It gets food out of your system that might be responsible for bloating and joint issues. It gets food out of your system that tends to cause mindless overeating.  You can still mindlessly polish off a bag of baby carrots, but ultimately, it does not have the same effect on your body or psyche as mindlessly polishing off a bag of chips or box of cookies. 

 Why do I keep saying that Whole 30 is not designed for weight loss? Well first of all, it’s not. Although calories don’t count, in the sense that a 100-calories snack back of cookies does not affect your body the same way as 100 calories of broccoli, you still must be aware of calorie intake vs. calorie output. Even in my Keto days, where one of the strongest beliefs is that calories in-calories out (known as CICO) is a myth, you can still eat too much to lose weight because… you are eating too much. 

 Whole 30 does not operate in a calorie deficit, the way something like Weight Watchers or South Beach Diet does. Whole 30 does not limit calories or portion sizes. As a matter of fact, if you follow their recipes that are calculated as two portions you might find yourself getting 3 or 4 hefty portions out of it. Furthermore, their food is based on dense food. For instance, butternut squash soup instead of beef broth; chicken cacciatore made with chicken legs and thighs with the skin, sauteed in cooking fat, instead of being made with boneless skinless chicken breasts; roasted beet, orange, and avocado salad dressed with olive oil, instead of green salad with a diet dressing. 

 If you were paying attention to your hunger scale, this would not even be an issue, because the dense food would fill you up and you would be satisfied with less. However, because you may not be tuning into your hunger scale at this point, you would be eating the same amount of food (such as a cup of butternut squash soup instead of a cup of broth) but because the food is dense, it is also calorically higher. 8 ounces of dark meat chicken with skin instead of 8 ounces of boneless skinless breast, is calorically higher.

 That’s why Whole 30 is not a weight loss program. However, having said that, many people do lose weight because they are eating less calories because they have taken out all the grains, legumes, sugar and processed foods out of their diet, which tend to not only be higher in calories, but trigger insulin, which is your fat storage hormone. Also, once gluten and diary are gone, many people will experience much less inflammation in their body, which also can result in weight loss. Another factor is that because you have taken all the usual snack foods out of your diet, you lose the desire to snack as much. And, because the denser food holds you better, you are less likely to be eating between meals because you are hungry. 

 What did one of my days on Whole 30 look like? For breakfast I might have a frittata, or eggs, sausage and home fries made with sweet potatoes. If you have been a listener for a while, you know that I always love a good juicy hamburger – hold the bun – for breakfast. I also enjoyed meatballs – chicken, turkey, lamb or beef, for a breakfast on the run, along with some fruit or even a handful of baby carrots. If these foods don’t float your boat, remember, you aren’t having dairy, grains, sugar or packaged food. That still leaves a lot of breakfast choices, believe me.

 Lunch would be tuna with pickles, olives, a ton of diced veggies and mayo either in a bowl or wrapped in lettuce leaves. Anything left over from dinner the night before – like stir fry, roast chicken, or a casserole, also made a perfect lunch. Deli meat, as long as it did not contain sugar and a ton of preservatives was fine for a grab and go. 

 Dinner was always delicious – Slow cooker Beef Brisket, oven-baked salmon, fahitas, etc. And with all of these you can see why I was never stuck for lunch the next day. When a friend I did Whole 30 together she found the best recipes ever – Lasagna using dairy free ricotta and a ton of diced vegetables in the sauce. I found a hearts of palm pasta, called Palmini, that made a pretty good layer instead of lasagna noodles, but honestly, this was just so good without any substitute like that.  I also have made it with thinly length-wise sliced zucchini or eggplant. And while we are at it, if you just leave out the breadcrumbs and use a dairy-free cheese, you can make a mean eggplant parmesan too.

 My husband makes maybe the best falafel that I have ever had – he makes it fresh starting with soaking chickpeas – no dry mix for us. On Whole 30 you can’t have legumes, so my friend found a falafel recipe using ground almonds and riced cauliflower. I have to tell you, that is the ONLY way we make falafel now. We are former restaurant owners where falafel was one of the most popular items, so if we endorse this one, you know it’s good.

 The original Whole30 book, “The 30-day guide to total health and food freedom” has so many delicious recipes in it that there is no need to go hunting for any others. You will have plenty of ideas to get you through the month. The other wonderful thing about this book is that there are chapters on “Kitchen Fundamentals” which includes essential non-food items for your kitchen (particularly helpful for those who do not do a lot of their own cooking but would like to start); cooking fundamentals which includes everything from knife cuts like explaining chiffonade and dicing, to how to make perfect boiled eggs. Anyway, whether a novice cook or not, I can’t recommend this highly enough. 

 If your objection is that you don’t have the time or inclination to do all this cooking, it can be easier than you think. If you are willing to at least put a piece of chicken in the oven, there is a brand called Primal Kitchen, that makes dozens of sauces and marinades. I will be talking about Mark Sisson next week, who is the founder of the company, but his product belongs in a Whole 30 conversation too. Take that chicken breast and pour one of these sauces over it, bake and serve with a salad and cooked veggie, and you will be in heaven with your meal. 

 Now that I am writing this episode, I just told my husband I might be in the mood for a round of Whole 30. Nothing is stopping me from using their recipes now, though. I also mostly don’t eat gluten and dairy. The only time I do is at breakfast, with two Wasa crackers and one ounce of Greek cream cheese. So really, I have no pressing need for the restorative experience of Whole 30, but I’ll think about it. My daughter and her husband do a couple of rounds a year so maybe I will join them on one.

 What mistakes do we tend to make when we embark on an eating program like Whole 30?

 ·       We make the mistake of not picking the right hard. We bitch and moan that we miss our coffee with cream and sweetener. And believe me, my friends, I am not pointing the finger at you. I am pointing it at myself! That was a big one for me. 

·       We also make the mistake of being impatient. Whole 30 has an interesting calendar that is almost right on the money with the phases you will go through during the 30 days. We think we are going to feel great the morning we have given up all the junk foods and are eating only the healthy ones. But in fact, this great feeling usually doesn’t start until around day 16. Here is an excerpt from Melissa’s site: “For me, it was like I woke up one morning and a switch had flipped. I was no longer dragging, cranky, or foggy. I had energy! I was strong! I felt unstoppable! And that magical feeling continued for the rest of my Whole30.” So be patient, my grasshoppers. Don’t abandon the Whole 30 just before you are about to feel great.

Why are we making these mistakes?

·       We make these mistakes not because we are stupid or lazy. We make them because marketing is so strong and political lobbies are so strong, that we think that many food companies speak truth and know what is best for us, when they do not. 

·       We make these mistakes because we don’t take the time to do a little research and discover for ourselves what foods feel best in our bodies and promote optimal health.

·       We make the mistake of thinking everything should be fast and easy. We don’t like things to be hard or time consuming. We want those 20 pounds gone yesterday!

·       We make these mistakes because we live in a fast, instant and super-sized world. We haven’t cultivated patience. Come on folks, even I have complained at a fast-food drive through because the cars are piled up and it’s taking too long. 

·       I challenge you to take time to go to the farmers market or grocery store, take time in picking the right foods, preparing them, cooking them, serving them in a pleasant and comfortable way. That all takes time, but instead we complain about being three cars behind in the drive through. 

 What is the cost of making these mistakes? 

·       What can I say? Poor health or at least not the best health. 

·       We are so used to feeling subpar and crummy that we don’t even know that we are feeling subpar and crummy. We also don’t realize that in most cases, it is the food doing this to us.

·       And because we feel subpar and crummy, and usually tired and lacking energy, we make poor food choices and give in to cravings and urges.

·       And often, because we do this, we once again beat ourselves up, which once again, might make us feel unworthy and fill our heads with negative self-talk.


·       My goal is not to have you even consider eating Whole30. I just want to open your mind to the possibility of what Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food.”

·       Take a look in your pantry, especially if you are eating grain products, and see how often the label says “enriched.” These foods are enriched because in the processing, all the vitamins and nutrients were taken out. They are not better for you than original, whole foods. 

·       Take a look at labels of the food you have in your house. Are they made up of more than 3-4 natural ingredients? For instance, does your tomato sauce say, “tomatoes, basil, salt” or are there two dozen ingredients, half of which look like additives and preservatives? Does your coffee cream just say “cream” or is there gellan gum, carrageenan or other things than just plain cream? You don’t have to go milk the cow, but make sure you do not have extraneous ingredients in your packaged foods.

·       The overall assignment this week is just to stop and think about what you are eating. Eat real food. It doesn’t have to be only out of the ground or grass fed or organic. It can even come from a package, can or jar. Just please heighten your awareness this week, and perhaps be open to more natural ways of eating.

 Next week’s episode

Coming up next week I will talk about Whole 30’s cousins, Paleo and Primal. These three eating styles share a lot of similar protocols, and Paleo and Primal might be your next move after following a Whole 30, or you might just want to jump right into Paleo or Primal at the start of this new year. They are both very healthy ways of eating, and are endorsed by many doctors and nutritionists.

 Please share the new Nourish and Nurture Podcast with your friends and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison. And remember, if you are already subscribed to this podcast you don’t have to do anything on your end. It will automatically change the name behind the scenes without you having do a thing!

 Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time. I wish you, your friends, and family, a happy and healthy new year.

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