Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vegetarians and Whole 30

I've attempted Whole 30 twice and found it had great effects.  However, I've been reluctant to post about it because I'm a vegetarian, and therefore I'm not actually doing Whole 30 and the people who designed Whole 30 tend to be strict about what Whole 30 means, and the hardcorest fans tend to be really uptight about what Whole 30 means and I didn't want to get hate mail.

Whole 30 is pretty much impossible if you are a vegetarian - because it requires cutting out legumes and dairy.  If you are a pescatarian, this means you are surviving on nuts, eggs, and fish.  If you are a vegetarian, nuts and eggs for you (and not too many of either of those!)  While I think there is a good argument to be made for possibly cutting out soy, I'm not sure I buy this "beans are bad" argument.

So Whole 30 for me looks a lot more like my standard detox diet.  No gluten, no grains, no sugars, no processed food.  The reason I encourage people to try even my totally hacked, cheater version is because it works.  Both times I've done Whole 30, I've had races and I've had the best races I've ever had - feeling strong all the way to the finish line, and scoring a new PR.  I also notice that I'm not distracted by my hunger and I don't get hangry or ravenous.  I am probably missing out on 50% of the great benefits of Whole 30 by the brazen ways that I cheat, and I still find massive benefits to making this dietary shift.

I have not figured out how to switch from Fake Whole 30 to an actual Vegelo lifestyle - there's a lot of stuff out there about eating Paleo, but it focuses on meat.  I'd like to still be able to eat some grains and since I don't have any kind of gluten intolerance, it's unnecessary for me to cut out gluten, but cutting back or only making my own bread, etc. seems like it would have benefits.

We are in the process of moving right now, which means we are eating fast food and quick fix meals and big casseroles of pasta that I make on Sunday to last the week.  So I'm gearing up to do Whole 30 in September when we have finally moved and settled in a bit.  This will also get me through the Baltimore Marathon, for which I plan to run the relay, which is a short distance, and possibly through a yet-to-be-determined half.

The biggest problem with Whole 30 when you are a pescatarian is the amount of forethought required.  Since you aren't getting calories from carbs, you have to get them from vegetables and you have to cook a lot of vegetables.  They take awhile to prep and it can get exhausting.  So to gear up, I'm planning on assembling and freezing some crockpot meals with our summer garden produce, and creating a full menu plan for all 30 days so that thinking is not required and I can do as much prep work on the weekends as possible.

This is my spreadsheet from last time, with general meal plans and a few recipes.  I'm going to brush it up, find actual recipes, and make as much as I can in advance.

Week 1Sweet Potato & Cashew CurryVeggie FrittataGrilled Salmon SaladChiliStir Fry and RiceGrilled veggie kebabsSoup
Week 2Salmon and green beansFalafel and sweet potatoesShrimp sub for tofu
Barbecue Lentils with kaleShakshouka
Scallops and veggiesSoup
Week 3Grilled fish saladBarbecue Lentils, kale chipsChili Fish w/ VeggiesSquash and Bok ChoyGrilled vegetables and fishSoup - Black Bean
Week 4Bean chilliFish with vegetablesSalad with nuts and fruitChickpea curryVeggie fritata Stir Fry with shrimpSoup

I also need to assemble a list of snacks and prepare as much of those as possible in advance.  I buy big bags of nuts from costco and toast them in the toaster oven so they are ready to eat; I make homemade date balls with walnuts and dates; I roast sweet potatoes and have them as a snack.  I prep kale so that I can toss it in the oven to eat as kale chips as quickly as possible.  I might try making my own barbecue sauce.    I also need to prepare breakfasts in advance - stock up on eggs, make some hardboiled eggs, prepare some mini frittata type things for grab-and-go mornings.

I'm thinking to start September 15th, and go until October 15th.  But moving is stressful, so we'll see.  I realize there are people who probably think that gearing up this much in advance for Whole 30 is also cheating, but really, I'm cheating so much that there is no point in calling this Whole 30, so if you are going to comment to tell me I'm doing it wrong, how about instead you just suggest a different name for whatever this 30-day-detox-no-processed-food-no-carb plan is?  Because "this weird diet I'm doing" is what I've called it in the past.  

Is anyone interested in hearing more about this? Is it worth my time to put together a couple more posts on gearing up and menu planning?


  1. I'd love to hear more -- and might possibly consider doing this with you, though we'll have just moved to Savannah, so probably there will be some amount of getting to know a new place, and trying the local cuisine. So maybe I'll do this another time instead. But I'd still love to follow your journey!

  2. I am VERY interested in this. I stopped eating meat 29 years ago. Now that I am reading this, I am not a vegetarian but a pescatarian because I ONLY eat flounder, salmon and tuna. I started this Whole30 challenge yesterday but I disagree with the No grain/No dairy factors. Even tho the past 2 days I have not had either, I did purchase organic lentils today and plan on eating them for protein benefits. Please keep me in your updates. Signed, Jackie

  3. I don't really understand, either why the Whole30 program is written as it is when making concessions to vegetarians/vegans or why there is so much confusion over it.

    Spinach, broccoli, peas (which they said they allowed, as they were more pod than bean) and brussel sprouts have good protein, as well as other nutritional values,and are on the list. Then, there are some nuts and seeds on the list, too. You don't have to eat beans for protein or sacrifice your ideals and eat things that you think you ought not to. And, there are various squashes and sweet potato/yam and jicama, and, maybe turnip, for starches. I mean, I think turnip is starchy; I know it's on the list.

    The other thing I don't understand is how many questions and expressed worries that I run into, over the cost of the Whole30 program, whether by meat eaters or not. I just saw a $52 per week , per person theorized plan and it seems that many people found this to be a lifesaver. ?????

    If you don't count the crap he talks me into, I usually spend about $50 one week of the month and $20 or less for the other three weeks. That's for two people, with meat, spices, expensive oils, and all of that. If I started following the Whole30 with veganism in mind, I would be spending less, not more, due to no longer buying grains and buying less meat and bread.

    Whoops! I meant to say, first, thank you for sharing. I really did enjoy reading your post!

  4. Thank you so much for this info...I am Pescatarian and have been trying to figure this whole 30 thing from that point of view. I would be interested in hearing more.