Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut- disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are affecting your day-to-day life, and your long-term health. The most important reason to keep reading.
This will change your life. We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact-the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and tens of thousands of people have done it since, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion.
Eat real food.
Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.
Avoid or Moderate Vigilantly Certain Foods and Additives.
Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain a healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.
- Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, Xylitol, etc. Read your labels because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize. Stevia is acceptable in moderation.
- Avoid dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… except for clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage.
- Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with “real” ingredients would be totally missing the point and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place. A pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.
- We can’t argue the fact that it’s cheaper to eat fast food than to craft your own healthy dish by hand… but then again, being tired, run-down, sick, and overweight is pretty “expensive” too, when it comes to your quality of life.
Priority #1: EAT MORE PLANTS!
Most of your budget should be spent on-high quality in-season produce. If not at your local Farmer’s Market, wander over to produce section (or the freezer, for economical options).
- Vegetables: Load up on veggies before heading to the fruit section. Go for local and seasonal whenever possible, as these are going to be the least expensive and most nutritious. Choose nutrient dense veggies more often. Use the Environmental Work-ing Group’s “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” lists to help you determine whether to buy organic or not (http://ewg.org) or use this simple rule – if you peel it before eating (or don’t eat the skin), organic isn’t as important. Frozen vegetables can also be a budget-friendly option.
- Fruits: Buy what you can locally (and organically, if possible). If you can’t get it locally then it’s probably not in season, which means it’s not as fresh, not as tasty, and more expensive. Frozen fruits (like berries) are inexpensive alternatives.
Priority #2: PROTEIN
Hit the meat (grass-fed), fish (wild caught), and poultry and eggs (pastured) sections second. Remember, high-quality protein sources are of a higher -health priority than organic fruit and vegetables. Pesticides aren’t great, but the downsides of factory farmed meat are worse.
- Best choice: Look for grass-fed, pastured, organic and wild-caught. Buy whatever’s available, and learn how to cook it, if necessary. If you have room in your budget, buy extra and freeze it for later. Hit the dairy case for organic, pastured eggs – even at $5 a dozen, they’re still one of the cheapest sources of protein.
- Good choice: If you just can’t afford grass-fed or pastured meat, go for ruminant animals (beef, lamb, goat, elk, bison, venison), fish and eggs first; chicken and pork second. Buy the leanest cuts available and trim all the fat (or skin) before eating.
- Avoid: Bypass all commercially raised processed meats (like bacon, sausage and deli meats).
Priority #3: HEALTHY FATS
Healthy fats are the last stop in your shopping. Buy less expensive fats (which are also, coincidentally, some of the healthiest) for your everyday meals, and stock up on oils, nuts, and seeds when you can.
- Bang for your Buck: Some of the best sources of fat are also the least expensive. Canned coconut milk costs about $2.00 and provides a whopping 72 grams of fat per can! Avocados are a year-round option, and generally inexpensive.
- Stock Up: When there’s a little extra room in your grocery budget, stock up on coconut oil, olive oil, and organic, pastured butter or ghee. These items are a little pricier, but a little goes a long way and they will last you quite a while.
- Don’t go NUTS: Beware the temptation to use nuts, seeds, and nut butters as a primary fat source, as they’re not your healthiest options, and they tend to be pricey.
- This is another place where it’s essential to read your labels. Many of the lower priced nuts are roasted in seed or vegetable oils – a less healthy option – so always go for the raw or dry roasted choice.
The Fine Print – a few exceptions to our general rules
- Clarified Butter or Ghee: Clarified butter or ghee is the only source of dairy suggested. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter could impact the results of your program.
- Certain legumes: We’re fine with green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas. While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and green plant matter is generally good for you.
- Vinegar: Most forms of vinegar, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, and rice, are allowed. The only exceptions are vinegars with added sugar, or malt vinegar, which generally contains gluten.
- Salt? Did you know that all iodized table salt contains sugar? Sugar (often in the form of dextrose) is chemically essential to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. Because all restaurant and pre-packaged foods contain salt, we’re making salt an exception to our “no added sugar” rule.
Give Yourself 30 Days for the Jumpstart to a Healthier Lifestyle
Consistent efforts create effortless habits, which translates into a lifestyle of ease. The only way this will work is if you give it the full thirty days: no cheats, slips, or “special occasions.” This isn’t us playing the tough guy. This is a fact, born of education and experience. You need such a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods to break the healing cycle-one bite of pizza, one splash of milk in your coffee, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30-day period and you’ve broken the “reset” button, requiring you to start over again on Day 1.
You must commit to the full program, exactly as written. Anything less and we make no promises for your results, or the chances of your success. Anything less and you are selling yourself-and your potential results-short. It’s only 30 days!
It’s for Your Own Good!
Here comes the tough love. This is for those of you who are considering taking on this life-changing month, but aren’t sure you can pull it off, cheat free, for a
full 30 days. This is for the people who have tried this before, but who “slipped” or “fell off the wagon” or “just HAD to eat (fill in food here) because of this (fill in event here).” This is for you.
- It is not that Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth-the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.
- Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip.” Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a pizza, there is no “slip.” You make a choice to eat something unhealthful. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even begun.
- You never, ever, ever have to eat anything you don’t want to eat. You’re all big boys and girls. Toughen up. Learn to say no (or make your mom proud and say, “No, thank you”). Learn to stick up for yourself. Just because it’s your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything. It’s always a choice, and we would hope that you stopped succumbing to peer pressure in 7th grade.
- This does require a bit of effort. Grocery shopping, meal planning, dining out, explaining the program to friends and family, and dealing with stress will all prove challenging at some point during your program. We’ve given you tools, guidelines, and resources, but take responsibility for your own plan. Improved health, fitness, and quality of life doesn’t happen automatically just because you’re now taking a pass on bread.
- You can do this. You’ve come too far to back out now. You want to do this. You need to do this. And we believe that you can do this. So, stop thinking about it, and start doing. Right now, this very minute, tell someone that you are starting a new lifestyle.
A Secret Language
“Natural” sugars – Eliminate all together or Moderate!
- Cane Sugar
- Agave Nectar
- Coconut Nectar
- Coconut Sugar
- Date Sugar
- (Evaporated) Cane Juice
- Fruit Juice
- Rice Malt (Extract)
- (Sweet) Sorghum
- Maple Syrup
“ADDED” sugar and their science-y names – avoid like the plague:
- Syrup (high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, refiner’s syrup, rice syrup, etc.,)
• Acesulfame-K • Splenda
- Sweet-n-Low • Equal
- Sucralose Sugar Alcohols:
- Glycerin (Glycerol)
Off-limits for the program:
- CARRAGEENAN: Thickening, gelling, and stabilizing agent common in almond milk or deli meat
- CORN STARCH: Grain-based thickening agent
- MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (MSG): Flavor enhancer common in canned tuna or broth
- SOY LECITHIN: Soy-based emulsifier commonly found in everything from almond milk to tea bags
- SULFITES (SULFUR DIOXIDE, SODIUM BISULFITE, POTASSIUM METABISULFITE): Preservative common in dried fruit
Acceptable for the program:
- ACETIC ACID: Preservative or flavor enhancer in vinegar or pickled foods
- ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C): Antioxidant, nutrient, color stabilizer BETA-CAROTENE: Coloring agent, carotenoid (nutrient)
- CALCIUM CARBONATE:
- ALPHA TOCOPHEROL
(VITAMIN E): Antioxidant,
Used as an inexpensive calcium supplement in almond milk
- CALCIUM CHLORIDE: Firming agent, salty flavoring in canned tomatoes or pickles
- CITRIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE: Preservative or flavoring common in canned tomatoes
- FERROUS GLUCONATE: A common color-preserving agent found in canned olives,
- GELLAN GUM: Thickening and stabilizing agent common in almond milk
- GUARGUM: Thickening agent and stabilizer common in canned coconut milk
- INULIN: Fiber and fat substitute
- LACTIC ACID: Produced by fermentation of carbohydrates, found in Kombucha
- LOCUST BEAN GUM: Thickening and stabilizing agent common in almond milk
- NIACIN (VITAMIN 83): Nutrient
- PECTIN (SODIUM PECTINATE): Gelling agent common in jams or jellies
- POTASSIUM CHLORIDE: Salt substitute
- POTATO STARCH: Thickening agent
- RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN 82): Nutrient
- SALT (SODIUM CHLORIDE): Flavoring, preservative
- SODIUM NITRITE, SODIUM NITRATE: Preservative, coloring, or flavoring agent
- SUNFLOWER LECITHIN: An emulsifier found in almond milk, as an alternative to soy
- XANTHAN GUM: Thickening and stabilizing agent common in almond milk
- ZINC GLUCONATE: Popular form for the delivery of zinc as a dietary supplement.
We want you to SUCCEED! We want you to take this seriously and see amazing results in unexpected areas. Even if you don’t believe this will actually change your life, if you’re willing to give it 30 short days, do it. It is that important.