Written by Michael Claxton
After I washed my hands of the all-dirt diet, someone else suggested I consider the Whole 30 program. It seems that diets are a lot like ants. If you squash one, another will come right behind it to ruin your picnic. I have also discovered that no matter what you are eating, someone, somewhere will disapprove. We seem to have completely abandoned the principle of “Eat and let eat,” a motto which has held true since the Jurassic era.
But of all the heavy-handed diet programs inflicted by the food patrol, the Whole 30 takes the cake. Literally. If you have cake, they will take it from you. In fact, if you’re on the Whole 30 diet and dare to dip your pinky into the frosting at your cousin’s wedding, Jillian Michaels will show up to the reception and pummel you with a Bowflex handlebar.
On the Whole 30 program, the following is verboten: No sugar, real or artificial. No bread or grains or cereals of any kind. No milk, cheese, cream or butter. No peanut butter, even. No beans or corn. No pizza or waffles. No potato chips. No muffins.
Someone had to sit down and make out this list. I picture Snidely Whiplash from the old Dudley Do-Right cartoon, wearing a cape and top hat, gleefully brainstorming foods to forbid. When he thought of banning muffins, I bet he reared his head back, stroked his pointy moustache, pictured children weeping, and smiled.
So what is allowed? Kale, flaxseed and crushed ice. You can have meat if it’s all-natural and not processed. I imagine if you bit into a live goat, that would be fine. Funny, I didn’t see “topsoil” on the menu, but Dr. Axe may have a copyright on that. Of course, the Whole 30 has a book, “It Starts with Food.” This volume, too, has outsold my book by 800 percent. If just eight of you bought my book, by the way, I could gain a percent. I have copies in the car.
The creators of the Whole 30 diet promise “This will change your life.” If you follow the program for 30 days, the website boasts, “It will change the emotional relationship you have with food.” Yes, indeed it will. Beginning with the emotion of happiness.
You will lose weight, and I can give you the exact timeline by which this will happen:
Day One: You read the list of foods you can never eat again.
Day Two: You lose the will to live.
Day Five: You actually pass away from starvation.
Day 26: The pounds just fall right off.
Get this. The Whole 30 people add yet another rule: “You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements during the duration of the program.” Of course, being too weak to mount the bathroom scale in the time you have left, you will not be tempted.
Naturally, you are encouraged to buy organic food — grass-fed artichokes and whatnot — and naturally, you cannot smother it in grease. So how do you flavor all this bland fare? According to the list, you are allowed to use “duck fat” in cooking. But have you seen the average mallard? There’s not enough fat on a duck to deep fry half a ramen noodle. Think of how many you’ll have to shoot just to flavor your organic turnips. Not to mention all that time hiding in the tall grass during duck season.
This is why people go to Wendy’s.
It would be too much to say that the Whole 30 program is a mind-bending cult. It’s not Plexus, for crying out loud. And to be fair, we could all stand to cut back on those weekly waffles. Still, I’ll pass on their 30-day detox challenge.
But Clax, you ask, aren’t you afraid of getting rebuttals from people who swear that the Whole 30 diet saved their lives? No, I am not. But I did get a letter from my first-grade teacher, who said she really enjoyed my book. So meet me in the parking lot if you want a copy. I take payment in cash or check. Or Zebra Cakes.