By Richa Gupta, Founder, Good Food For Good
This September my partner and I did Vegetarian Whole30.
WHOLE30® is an elimination diet not intended for weight loss but more for food freedom. You can read more about the diet here. In short, you are not allowed to have the following:
- Grains (corn, wheat, rice)
- Added sugar
- Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, soy)
- Processed additives (carrageenan, MSG, sulphites)
- French fries and potato chips
You are encouraged to have a lot of whole foods, totally my jam! You can happily enjoy the following:
- All vegetables, including potatoes
- Fruit, including strawberries, watermelon, apples, oranges, and bananas
- Seafood, such as fish, oysters, shrimp, and mussels
- Unprocessed meats, including beef, chicken, and pork
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive oil and coconut oil
- Black coffee
Whole30 also encourages to eat three square meals that are well balanced with protein, good fats and carbohydrates instead of snacking all day. I loved that! Traditionally Whole30 requires you to eat animal based protein at every meal and for a vegetarian who occasionally ate eggs was a bit challenging.
Overall, I felt Whole30 helped me become more creative in the kitchen, I started using seeds as a good source of protein and good fats vs. relying solely on eggs. Whole30 does allow you to have peas in all forms, however, I am not a big fan of peas so I had to look outside and come up with nutritionally balanced vegetarian meals that don’t have eggs in every meal.
I am adding some of my family favourite recipes that have become a regular in our house even post Whole30.
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup: I made it a main course by adding ½ cup of pumpkin seeds to it while cooking and then just blended with the soup.
- Roasted Asparagus with Mashed Potatoes: I served it topped with 2 egg omelet.
- Pumpkin Seed Sofritos: Great on Lettuce Tacos
- Eggplant and Sunflower Seed Tikka Masala
I did lose a few pounds and so did my partner, not something we expected as we were eating a lot of food. It’s been 30 days since and I am keeping most of my meals still grain free. I introduced legumes first as that’s one food group that I missed the most. I learned Wheat and heavier grains like Barley or Teff are harder on my digestive system leaving me lazy and bloated post meals.
I have still not added dairy and sugar and don’t miss them at all as I was hardly consuming them prior to Whole30. Same applies to processed food and alcohol, they were both not big part of my diet. Throughout the 30 days I didn’t notice any mood swings, cravings or Tiger Blood I am assuming it has to do with my diet already being pretty whole foods based. I noticed hardly any bloating or digestive discomfort during the 30 days (that was great!) and now I am able to pin point what causes that and I can control it.
Overall, I feel it was a positive experience and made me see my food more creatively vs. relying on the standard recipes that I was making everyday and it helped me identify foods that were causing my occasional digestive discomfort.