We’re so excited to have fitness and nutrition expert, Erica Stenz, join us as our Fitfam contributor. Stay tuned for more tips and recipes from Erica!
Erica Stenz is VP of Community Relations & Fitness Development at Barry’s Bootcamp in San Francisco. She’s also a celebrity fitness trainer, nutrition consultant, and fitness model. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
As a personal trainer and nutrition consultant, I’m always talking to people about their health goals. Whether the purpose is to lose weight or improve your overall health, reaching those goals really comes down to your diet. So naturally, some of the most common questions I get are:
How are they different?
We’ll cover all of this below, and get into even more details in future posts. Let’s get started!
The paleo diet is pretty simple: if a caveman couldn’t eat it, neither can you. The paleo diet was first researched and written about in the 1970s, then was popularized in 2002 with the book, The Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain.
The Whole30 Program was created in 2009 by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig of Whole9. They were interested in creating an anti-inflammatory program to help with some of their injuries. Through the process, they discovered that not only did the program have amazing health benefits, but it also lead to sustainable weight loss.
So what’s allowed? A paleo diet consists of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. So say goodbye to dairy, grain products, legumes (lentils, beans), refined sugar (white, brown sugar), and processed foods.
The Whole30 Program *is* the paleo diet, but stricter.
That means you stick to the paleo diet plus no added sugar (refined or not – honey, agave are out), no alcohol, and no cheating for 30 days. But don’t worry, coffee is ok!
The foods listed above (sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol) can have a negative impact on your health and fitness. Whole30 calls these foods “psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, and inflammatory”. So, eliminating them should help you feel better.
And it does! The benefits of eating whole and unprocessed meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, and nuts are incredible. You’ll start to feel a difference after 14 days beyond weight loss.
Benefits include increased energy, better sleep, and even clearer skin while on Whole30. It’s like setting the reset button on your metabolism and reducing inflammation in your body.
the sugar dragon
You might have seen recipes on Pinterest for paleo cookies and cakes, but that’s not part of the Whole30 mindset. Unlike the paleo diet, the Whole30 program cuts out “paleo treats” – aka sweet treats made with paleo-friendly ingredients like coconut flour and almond butter.
The reason behind that is to eliminate the cravings for sweets entirely for 30 days. As Melissa Hartwig likes to call it, “say goodbye to the sugar dragon!”
The Whole30 Program recommends eating three Whole30-approved meals per day, instead of a million paleo snacks. You’ll see these meals referred to as “Meal 1” , “Meal 2” , and “Meal 3”.
Personally, this worked! I learned the difference between “hunger” and “craving” by asking myself, “Could I have chicken and broccoli right now?” My taste buds changed so much that real fruit sugars became my new treat. And finally, I learned how to start cooking easy recipes for myself and my friends like my Healthy Tuna Salad recipe. Give it a try!
If you’re ready for a reset and want to change up your eating, I highly encourage you to read The Whole30 book and go Whole30.com to learn more. We’ll be back with more nutrition tips in future posts, so stay tuned!
Have a favorite Whole30 or Paleo recipe? Share it in the comments!
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