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Exploring Whole30 and the Merits of a Paleo Diet, Part 3

Posted on: October 21st, 2013 by Eric Lichtfuss

Paleo Breakfast with Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

You’ve got a picture of what a Whole30 diet looks like from parts one and two, so now it’s time to understand the science behind this dietary lifestyle.  The fundamentals behind the Whole30 paleo diet is based on the 4 Good Food Standards, which requires that all foods should:

1. Promote a healthy psychological response.

2. Promote a healthy hormonal response.

3. Support a healthy gut.

4. Support immune function and minimize inflammation.

All of the Whole30 food and dietary recommendations unfold from these 4 principles.


Endive, Watercress and Radish Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

With the assumption that all food has a positive or negative impact on overall wellness the impact may be greater to lesser depending on the individual. Dallas and Melissa Hartwig applied these principles and developed strict dietary guidelines based on science and their personal experiences.  The result has been the Whole30,  a 30 day application of the strict diet, in order to allow each individual to identify the degree to which a given food type has a positive or negative effect on them.  Using this information, individuals can determine the optimum foods and diet for them while taking ownership of their own wellness. Ultimately, it’s an education and empowerment experience.  It just so happens to be built on a “paleo” platform, because that platform most closely accommodates the 4 Good Food Standards.

The science is vast and somewhat complicated, but from my perspective, and summarized in my own words, here is the upshot of it:

By eating a combination of foods that most closely resemble earth-to-mouth foods , and the proportions to which these are naturally available (without the intervention of high-tech agriculture), we can allow the body to appropriately self-regulate its craving for certain types of macro-nutrients, and stabilize our hormone levels throughout the day.  Then there are the less-obvious effects of improving gut health, lessening systemic inflammation and daily immune activity – all of which help a person have more energy and fight off illness.


Garlic and Herb-Crusted Pork Loin

Despite all this, my first week on Whole30 was kind of a disaster. I was craving oatmeal like wild. My energy and moods were all over the map.  My first go-around, I hadn’t read It Starts With Food yet, so I only had so much patience with the process, and still really wanted my grains and sugars…I mean, I REALLY wanted them.

In my next post, I will discuss grains a bit more…they seem to be the cornerstone of the Engine 2 Diet, yet they are a bit of a gateway food for me to decline into inflammation and poor dietary choices.

Images and recipes courtesy

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Endive, Watercress and Radish Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Garlic and Herb-Crusted Pork Loin

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