Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, of Whole9, have determined a set of ‘Good Food Standards’, set out below.
The foods we eat should:
- Promote a healthy psychological response.
- Promote a healthy hormonal response.
- Support a healthy gut.
- Support immune function and minimize inflammation.
Their basic message is that you should eat things that are nutritious (good for you), and avoid those ‘foods’ that are not – for instance, food with a high caloric but low nutrient value. I’m three and a half days into my fist attempt at a Whole30, a thirty day nutrition programme devised by Whole9. A Whole30 involves eliminating the following: all grains; all legumes (pulses, beans, peanuts etc.); all dairy (apart from clarified butter); all sugar (and substitutes); all alcohol. In addition, potatoes aren’t allowed, nor are any processed vegetable oils, which basically eliminates any restaurant fried food.
What’s the point? For me, it’s mostly to do with seeing if I notice any changes in all aspects of my life – exercise, sleep, energy levels, body shape and so on. It’s already been interesting to see how careful one has to be to follow this regime. I absent-mindedly reached for the chewing gum in the car yesterday and, thank goodness for my alert wife, was stopped in time.
I’m, typically, fairly mindful of what I’m eating, aiming to be generally living a primal lifestyle, but I’d noticed that I was managing to sneak more sugar back into my diet (85% cocoa chocolate still has sugar in, as apparently does alcohol, damn it). I’m curious to see how easy/hard it will be to go without those things that I’m used to having for a whole month, and my resolve is being bolstered by concurrently reading “Primal Body, Primal Mind” by Nora Gedgaudis, full of fascinating information about the consequences of our food choices.
It turns out that our digestive system is intimately linked with our immune system and overall health. We also, apparently, have more nerve cells in our gut than our brain, and 95% of all serotonin is produced in the gut, suggesting that there are links between digestion, and mood and sleep quality.
So, our fridge is stuffed with eggs and animal protein, and plenty of vegetables and fruit. I am feeling slightly more obsessive about food than usual, but obsessing about nutrient density doesn’t feel like such a bad thing. If it seems at all interesting I’ll report back at the end of June, when my 30 days will be up.