Why the Whole30 Diet is Taking Over Instagram


By Megan Cahn

Instagram is on a diet. Food porn has gone paleo. Excuse the "basic" terminology, but as "bikini season" fast approaches the Valencia-filtered bacon-wrapped food pics that once flooded your feed are being swapped out for crisp bird's eye shots of steamed salmon and lettuce wrapped turkey burgers-not a carb in sight. The diet du jour of the social media set is Whole30, an extremely strict, high protein, no grain regimen that spans 30 days with no slip-ups, or else.

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Created in 2009, the Whole30 program is nothing new, but if hashtags are any indicator, the Paleo diet's shorter, more in-your-face cousin is having a major moment.

So what's the deal? Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the diet's founders and authors of the New York Times bestseller It Starts with Food, believe eating sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes affect not just your weight, but also your energy and stress levels. Stripping them from your diet completely for 30 straight days will "reset" your body on all counts.

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Okay, makes sense. But the real kicker is if you mess up (a splash of milk in your coffee, a bite of your friend's birthday cake, even a sneaky lentil) you have to start over from day one. "This isn't us playing the tough guy. This is a fact, born of education and experience. You need such a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods to break the healing cycle," explains the Whole30 website.

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Nutritionist Keri Glassman thinks there are many benefits to this type of diet and usually recommends her clients follow a "Paleo Plus" plan (plus means a few healthy grains like millet and bulgar) with no sugar, no processed foods, lots of vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. But she frowns upon the restrictive nature of the Whole30. "I like people to be strict for four to seven days to give them a jump-start and reset the behaviors," she says. "But 30 days is a long time and can be very restrictive, especially if you have to start over."

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