Whole30 v. Paleo - What's the Right Option for You?

Whole30, Paleo, Keto, Low Carb, Counting Macros, Vegan. I swear, every day there's a new diet emerging on the scene. 

Having celiac disease, an allergy to both dairy and oats, eating is full of restrictions, but also infinite possibilities. I often get asked from folks -- why limit yourself anymore than you already have to. My response?

I usually laugh, because I don't see the limitations. When thinking about both the Paleo and Whole30 diets. I only see opportunity.

I've partaken in both, and shoot I've also partaken in dessert days (where I literally only eat sweets because - no shame). But this post isn't about that. It's not trying to tell you what you should or should not eat. It's just an explanation of what they both entail, and why they have been great options for me over the years. So let's get started.

What is Whole30?

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The Whole30 is a 30 day “reboot”. It isn't a diet. It is not intended to be maintained for a long period of time. It's often used by people to kick sugar and processed food cravings, and for those with food allergies, serve as a elimination diet. In fact, that's why I did my first one. I wanted to confirm that dairy really was making me bloated and uncomfortable. Turns out -- it wasn't just the dairy!

What is Paleo?

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The Paleo Diet is a lifestyle centered around eating whole food and cutting out all of that processed crap. Why? The creators of the diet believe that our bodies are best served by eating the way our Paleolithic ancestors used to -- off the land with no hormones or additives.

The diet is focused on eating plant-based meals with high quality proteins and fats. The Paleo Diet is not about the "paleo desserts" or "paleo faux-chicken fingers". It's about eating food in its most natural state when possible.

What's the Difference?

Reiterating the above, the biggest difference between the "diets" is the longevity and its intention. The creators of the Whole30 actually advocate for its participants to NOT continue eating by the Whole30 guidelines indefinitely. In fact, the Whole30 isn't really a diet at all. In my mind its more of a science experiment.

Aside from the intention - the foods you can and cannot eat differ in the the Whole30 and Paleo diet. That said - they are very similar and both center around eating real foods.

Look at it this way. Everything that is Whole30 Compliant is also Paleo, BUT NOT EVERYTHING that is Paleo is also Whole30 compliant.

In fact, one of the major differences lies in sugar. The Whole30 restricts all added sugars and sweeteners. However, in the Paleo diet, you can have honey and real maple syrup in limited quantity. Oddly enough, some Paleo folks don't eat bananas and white potatoes which are technically allowed in the Whole30.

But with that said, both the Paleo Diet and the Whole30 restrict legumes, grains (with exception of coconut and almond flour), and junk food.

Why Celiacs Should Try Both

Remember when you cracked the code and uncovered celiac disease? Wasn't it just the biggest sigh of relief? You finally found out what caused that issue with your stomach, skin, headaches, and more. That piece of mind will never be forgotten.

However, unfortunately with celiac disease - we are prone to develop other autoimmune diseases, allergies, and ailments in our lifetime thats to the intestinal damage we've built up over time. Like celiacs, our bodies are a mystery. They are always evolving and changing. 

After being gluten for seven years, I recently developed an oat allergy. In addition to that too, my bowel movements slowed down drastically - sometimes even leading to major constipation -- and issue I never dealt with before my diagnosis.

That said it's important to listen to your body. Do you get headaches? Got a new rash? Can't sleep at night? These common, overlooked issues are all linked to our diet. If you've got something keeping you from being your healthiest and most complete self I urge you to give them a try. 

Now that said - I am not telling you to become a hypochondriac. All I'm saying is to do a science project. (Remember that reference from earlier?)  Maybe annually?

I challenge you to make a list of some of your current stressors. Test out a whole30. Do you see a change? You never know - it may be linked to your diet?

Get Started.

For more information about the Whole30 check out these resources.

  • https://whole30.com/
  • https://www.amazon.com/Starts-Food-Discover-Whole30-Unexpected/dp/1628600543
  • https://www.thekitchn.com/what-you-can-and-cant-eat-on-whole30-239838
  • https://www.oliveyouwhole.com/

For more information about the Paleo Diet check out these resources.

  • https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/ 
  • https://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/
  • http://paleomg.com/
  • https://www.empoweredlivingstl.com/ (She introduced me to the diet!)