They Blinded Me With Science

Captain’s Blog - Stardate 60322.2

True confessions: I skipped ahead in my “Whole30” reading. To be fair, the authors themselves encouraged me to feel comfortable skipping the “science-y” part and jumping into the grocery/meal planning if we’d like. Given that I had set a “start date” I did just that, but between my audition yesterday and my two-hour gig as a locker room attendant, I was able to get caught up.

Now, I’ve done no-carb diets before, which this is not, and I thought I understood the basics. But the no-carb/low-carb diets I’ve done before either quickly brought back grains (South Beach) or increased the dairy (Atkins). I found the science behind the “Whole30” plan to be really interesting. 

Without just cutting and pasting the four top chapters about the psychological, hormonal, gut and immune health reasons behind their plan, I will try to summarize what I’ve learned. Before diving in, the best part of all of these concerns is that most are highly reversible. Even when permanent damage or conditions have developed, making these adjustments can drastically improve chronic conditions.

  • The reason Whole30 steers away from processed foods is because the salt, fat, and sugar in these items are designed to keep us eating them. They essentially trick the mind into experiencing the signals it normally receives for healthy eating. But these foods have few nutrients, so the body does not receive the message to stop eating. It’s basically the science behind the Pringles ad “Once you pop, you can’t stop.” Hey…at least they’re honest.
  • The hormone section is particularly detailed. As basic as I can be…a diet based on highly processed foods and high sugar intake reprograms the body to rely on new sugar for fuel and creates a situation with excess glucose (sugar) in the blood and extra fat storage. This leads to resistance in the brain of Leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that you are full and healthy, so it believes that you are still too thin. This promotes action in the body to eat more and move less because the body thinks it’s survival is at risk. Stress (cortisol) adds to this, and the development becomes cyclical.
  • Most of our immense system is in our gut and maintaining intestinal health is essential to overall well-being. This includes avoiding foods that can weakening the intestinal wall and lead to toxins entering the body. 
  • Chronic inflammation can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, both physical and psychological.
  • Most of these concerns can be addressed, corrected, or reversed by making strong choices in diet.

The details are definitely worth a read, but I found the logic behind the approach very easy to follow. Also, now that I’m two days into Whole30, I can tell you that I am not experiencing the withdrawal or internal “challenges” I have with other plans. The sugars in the fruits and vegetables I’ve been eating seem to be keeping me from crashing or spiking. Here’s to more of the same.

SNBWhole30 - Day 3: Last night’s dinner was a modification of the “Roasted Root Vegetable in Curry Sauce.” I only used russet potatoes and carrots and then added chicken. I think I could add some salt and curry powder to the sauce, but it was still really good. The additional side was sautéed kale with almonds and lime zest. Really liked it. Today’s schedule is relatively light, so I’m planning on heading to the gym for the first time in a while. I’m hoping the extra boost will help pump up the metabolism even more. 


Roasted Root Vegetables: Peel and cut potatoes and carrots, toss in cooking oil (used coconut) and roast on cooking sheets for 30-40 minutes until slightly browned and soft.

Curry Sauce: Sautee 1/2 an onion (minced) for three minutes in 1 tbl. of cooking fat, add 1.5 tsp minced ginger for one minute, 1 clove minced garlic for another minute, then 1.5 tbl. yellow curry and .5 tbl. red curry for 30 seconds. Add one can of coconut milk, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Kale: Stem and cut one head of kale into one inch pieces. Steam for three minutes. Sautee 1/2 cup sliced almonds and one clove of minced garlic in 3 tbl. of cooking fat for three minutes. Add steamed kale, toss for two minutes, then top with salt, pepper, 1/2 lime zest and juice and serve.

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