As a vegan, vegetarian or even pescatarian it’s impossible to do the Whole30 based on the way the program is designed. Basically unless you are a full fledge omnivore you are technically not doing the Whole30. According to the creators “we can get you to better health with our Whole30 framework, but not optimal health” (more on their thoughts on vegan Whole 30 can be found here.) They go on to say how grains are detrimental to your health and while I whole heartedly disagree with that statement and I also disagree that ones needs to eat animals to obtain optimal health, yet I am still intrigued to see if one can have similar results on a vegan Whole30 plan.
These results I’m referring to are the following:
- Change the way you think about food.
- Change your tastes.
- Change your habits.
- Change (eliminate) cravings.
- Change emotional relationship with food.
- Physical benefits without restricting calories.
- More Energy.
- Better Sleep.
- More Focus.
- Mental Clarity.
- Overall Happier.
- Improve athletic performance.
- “Cure” lifestyle related diseases/conditions.
Whew! I know the Whole30 sounds like a miracle worker right? So I wanted to test this out while still including select plant-based proteins and a few gluten free grains.
I should back up and tell you this isn’t the first time I have attempted to do a vegan Whole30. This is actually attempt #2. Back last Spring Neil and I gave it a try, I even created an Instagram to track my meals (see here) but after just 10 days we quit. I feel like a big part of this was the fact that we jumped into it on a whim. We didn’t plan in advance and we found ourselves feeling a bit bored with our meals and/or not fully prepared with compliant snacks. This time around we gave ourselves three weeks to prepare. During this three weeks we are also incorporating (vegan) Whole30 compliant meals into our diet so that when we start we aren’t jumping in all at once.
So what can you eat on (our) Vegan Whole30 Diet?
I have to say the resources for this were a bit better the first time around. The Whole30 actually had a plan that included a vegan/vegetarian grocery list and while they still have one they have eliminated the vegan/vegetarian proteins and have made the list a pescatarian grocery list. It seems to have gotten a bit stricter when it came to their standards for the diet. Anyways the items that made the list the first time around included soy proteins and minimal legumes and that is what we plan to include in our diet for two reasons: 1. we need some sort of protein source and 2. we won’t be following a paleo-style diet after completing this plan (which is what many people turn to once W30 is complete).
Our Vegan Whole30 Grocery List Includes:
- Plant-Based Proteins & Gluten Free Grains: Adzuki Beans, Mung Beans, Lentils, Peas, Tempeh, Organic Edamame, Organic Extra Firm Tofu, Buckwheat, Millet, Quinoa, and Rice.
- All vegetables including white potatoes. EXCEPTIONS: No corn or lima beans (per standard W30 rules).
- All fruit.
- Cooking Fats: Coconut Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (you could also include Red Palm Oil but for ethical reasons we choose not to).
- Non-Cooking Fats: Avocado, Avocado Oil, Light Olive Oil, Olives, Coconut Butter, Coconut Flakes, Coconut Oil, and Sesame Oil.
- All Nuts & Seeds and their butters. EXCEPT: Peanuts and Peanut Butter.
- All Herbs and Spices. EXCEPT: dried varieties that include stabilizers.
- Pantry: Almond Flour, Apple Cider Vinegar, Arrowroot, Vinegars (Balsamic, Red Wine, Rice), Capers, Cacao (100% pure), Coconut Aminos, Coconut Flour, Coconut Milk, No Sugar Added Dried Fruit, Hot Sauces, Mustards, Pickles, Tapioca Starch, Tomatoes, Vegetable broth.
- Drinks: Club Soda, Coconut Water, Black Coffee, Kombucha, Fresh Squeezed Fruit & Vegetable Juices, Seltzer, and Tea.
Things we are avoiding per W30 rules (see here):
- Sugar. Real or artificial. EXCEPTION: Fruit as a sweetener such as dates or apples.
- No Alcohol. Yep not even for cooking with.
- Most Grains. W30 Rules say no grains but for vegan purposes we are including, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and rice; easily digestible gluten free grains. Side note: we plan to only include these as needed, ideally no more than 4 meals per week.
- Most Legumes/Beans. Again W30 Rules say no legumes of any sort (including peanuts) but for our vegan purposes we are including easily digestible legumes/beans such as lentils, mung beans, adzuki beans peas, and organic tofu, tempeh, and edamame. If you avoid soy stick to easily digestible legumes/beans. Exceptions: green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas.
- No Dairy. Obviously.
- No Carrageenan, MSG or Sulfites.
- No Scale or Body Measurements for the duration of the 30 days.
So Why Do It?
Curiosity and remembering how great I felt after those 10 days of Vegan W30 2015. I felt more energized, happier, lighter and not just because my weight went down but just an overall feeling that I want to feel again. I also have made it a goal for 2016 to eat more vegetables and one of the meal plan requirements after protein and healthy fats is to fill your plate with veggies. I want my plates from now on the be filled to the brim with veggies and what better way than a program that requires it. I am also doing it for Neil because our naturopath has been suggesting for years now that he follow a diet that is focused on protein, plant-based healthy fats and veggies. He also just recently found out he has the MTHFR mutation which means his body cannot process folic acid (not to be confused with folate) which is found in fortified foods – usually fortified flours. For him/us the vegan W30 is a way to (hopefully) break the addiction to processed grains/foods.
So there it is. I know there may be flaws in our plan but we are going with it and we will see what happens. Ultimately I can only imagine positive results that at the bare minimum will be us eating lots more vegetables and less processed foods. Now who wants to join us?
Have you tried W30 or a variation of it? Thoughts? Results?