60 Seconds

Whole9 Presents: Nutrition in 60 Seconds

This post was originally created in response to a reader’s request for our nutritional elevator pitch.  You know the elevator pitch concept – you’re hanging out in the elevator when your boss gets on and asks how things are going.  You’ve got 60 seconds to give him the big-picture details in a way that is complete, concise and engaging – not an easy task.

We originally created our “Paleo Pitch” back in May 2010, while recording our guest appearance on Robb Wolf’s podcast.    At the time, Robb called it the “Dubai elevator pitch”, a reference to the location of the world’s tallest building.  (We agree, it was a tad bit lengthy).  Since then, we’ve continued to refine and revise our pitch – and today, we’re re-releasing an updated version as part of our Manifesto series.

The Case For the Positive Pitch

While many people live and breathe the idea of Eating Good Food, they’re not always so good at talking about it. In fact, when asked, “What’s this diet you’re on?”  most people approach their response entirely the wrong way.  The first thing they mention are all the things they don’t eat – grains, dairy, legumes, sugar or processed foods. Trouble is, there is probably at least ONE of those food groups in their listener’s diet, and starting the discussion with a judgment of their dietary choices (whether real or imagined) immediately puts the listener on the defensive.

In addition, launching into the foods you don’t eat first immediately closes off further conversation if the listener jumps to some fast conclusions about your level of dietary fanaticism, or the restrictive nature of your self-imposed regimen.  After all, for most people, not eating any of those food groups is hard to wrap their head around.  Finally, that kind of lead-off also places you in the unfortunate position of then having to provide “proof” or scientific back-up for your rationale.  And as many of you have discovered, that’s darn near impossible to do in 60 seconds, especially when you’re up against such classics as, “Milk gives you strong bones,” or “Whole grains are heart-healthy.”

So we approached our nutritional pitch from a different angle – emphasizing the foods we do eat, why we eat them, and the general (and well documented) health benefits associated with the foods we choose. And then, it’s time to seal the deal with a personal testimonial – how this way of eating has affected YOU, personally. It’s hard to argue with, “Since my first Whole30, I’m sleeping better, my energy is through the roof, I lost 15 pounds, and my skin has totally cleared up”, right?

So here is our revised pitch, in all it’s positive, forward-thinking, non-confrontational glory. (And yes, we actually read this out loud and timed it. We are nothing if not diligent.)

Nutrition in 60 Seconds

I eat real food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit.  I choose foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition.  And food quality is important – I’m careful about where my meat, seafood and eggs come from, and buy organic local produce as often as possible.

This is not a “diet” – I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight.  I aim for well-balanced nutrition, so I eat both animals and a significant amount of plants.  I’m not lacking carbohydrates – I just get them from vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal or pasta.  And my meals are probably higher in fat than you’d imagine, but fat is a healthy source of energy when it comes from high-quality foods like avocado, coconut and grass-fed beef.

Eating like this is ideal for maintaining a healthy metabolism and reducing inflammation within the body.  It’s good for body composition, energy levels, sleep quality, mental attitude and quality of life.  It helps eliminate sugar cravings and reestablishes a healthy relationship with food.  It also works to minimize your risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack, stroke and autoimmune.

So there you have it – 60 seconds that concisely summarizes, “Why I eat the way I eat.” So spread the Good Food Word and explain your dietary choices to friends, family, co-workers and nosy neighbors in a way that is approachable, relatable and, most importantly, maintains a positive spin on why we eat the way we do. (And feel free to use our “Nutrition in 60 Seconds” on your site or blog, too – just credit and link back to us, please.)  Do you have an approach or a “pitch” of your own?  Share it in comments.

Subscribe to the Whole9 Newsletter

Fill out the form below to stay updated about Whole9 articles, discounts and events.


  1. Shannon says

    I think it is great except the ‘I’m not lacking carbohydrates – I just get them from vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal or pasta’ sounds defensive. I’d put it in simply as ‘I get all the carbohydrates I need from vegetables and fruit.’

  2. Mona says

    There’s some good info in there but it’s far too long to be an elevator pitch that people can remember. I’d love to see a bulleted list of “talking points”. For example:

    – Real food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit.

    – Nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals

    – Food quality is important – where it comes from and how it’s fed/grown.

    – Not a “diet”

    – Fat from high-quality foods is good!

    – Helps to maintain a healthy metabolism and reduces inflammation within the body.

    – Improvements – body composition, energy levels, sleep quality, mental attitude, quality of life no sugar cravings, minimized risk of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack, stroke and autoimmune.

  3. says

    @Shannon: You know, I hadn’t thought about it like that. We try to address people’s concerns about carbs up front – many don’t even think about veggies and fruit as carb sources! But it may come off as defensive, which is the opposite of a positive pitch. Let me think about how we can change that up to make it more positive – your idea is a good one. Thanks for sharing!

    @Mona: Sweet! Make your own bullet points, tighten up our basic pitch with one that’s easier to remember or more applicable to your experience, or ditch it altogether and come up with something that works better for YOU. Heck, it could be as short as, “I only eat food that makes me feel good about myself.” The purpose of our pitch was to give folks a starting point, and to remind people to keep it positive. Thanks for the ideas!


  4. Glenn says

    My pitch is this.

    10 years ago I found out I had diabetes. Lucky for me the internet was full of stuff on diets.

    I found one that reduces sugar surges, and has basically sidelined my diabetes. It’s called the Paleo Diet. Have you heard of it?

    Diet and lifestyle is about eating the best foods out there to feel great all day. It really doesn’t matter where you eat in the world, if you eat ‘these staple foods’- you probably won’t get dietary diseases. This is what I eat.

    Grass-fed/finished beef, lamb and goat, wild fish and seafood, organic low-glycemic vegetables, and fruit, especially berries, eggs and nuts. These are my staple foods now. I feel great, and my blood tests always come back with great results. Eating these staple foods eliminates sugar surges, inflammation aof all sorts, which is the primary cause of stroke, embolisms, and heart attacks.

    Did you know that about 70% of our health care costs are due to bad diets. A diet of processed grain products, sugar, starches, beans, etc… will destroy you.

    Eating fresh meats, veggies, some fruits, eggs and nuts as staple food is the way to go. It’s called Paleo after the Greek word for Old, Type thepaleodiet.com, the next time you are on the computer. This is the healthy way to ward off disease. Check it out.

  5. Linda Sand says

    I stole some of your phrasing but here’s my current take on it keeping in mind that I’m new to this so am still working my way through the steps but am not yet all the way there:

    I eat real food: meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds with a little dairy thrown in now and then. I try to choose quality foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals but I’m still taking a daily multi-vitamin with minerals until I get this part of my learning curve down.

    I rarely eat bread, rice, pasta or potatoes. I’m not lacking in carbohydrates, I just get them from fruits and vegetables instead of grains and starches.

    This is not a “diet”. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. I still occasionally eat in restaurants that offer me relatively healthful choices but I bring home a lot more leftovers because I’m just not hungry enough to eat those oversized servings.

    Eating like this has made me healthier. My blood glucose has come back into the safe range without needing to take insulin. My weight is dropping which it badly needs to do. And I have so much energy I don’t know what to do with it. So, I’ve started exercising to use up some of that energy and to tone up my body as it reduces its size.

    Try it. You may like it.

  6. Marcia says

    That’s beautiful. Can you set it to music? I read it out loud to myself and it sounded so natural.

    I’m losing a lot of weight and people naturally ask me how I’m doing it. This is a much better approach, accentuating the positive. I’ve just been talking about eliminating the negative and people glaze over pretty quickly.

  7. says

    “I mostly eat vegetables and fruit, plus meat and eggs. Things like bread and rice just stand in the way of more veggies. It’s made me healthier than ever and those 75 pounds haven’t come back, even after 9 years.”

    It helps that this conversation often happens over lunch, where I eat a lot more food than they do…

  8. Colleen King says

    Mine is even shorter… I eat meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, some nuts and seeds. I try to get the highest quality food i can get, so as much organic, grass-fed local stuff as i can. and its not a “diet”, this is just the way i choose to eat.

    then i wait for questions — which is usually, “oh, so you don’t eat carbs. like atkins.” my response is that i eat lots of carbs, but mine are just all from veggies and fruit.

    “what about milk?! i couldn’t live without cheese!” i say, that i thought so too, but i haven’t missed it in my cooking at all. “what about calcium?” i say that i get it from my green leafys and i take a women’s multivitamin (this calms the normals down a TON… even if it is often a fib.)

    “whole grains are heart healthy.” my response is simply, “compared to what? twinkies? because i am pretty sure that broccoli and spinach are better for your heart than whole grains and DEFINITELY better than twinkies!”

    and then they chuckle and usually leave it at that. my last statement is often about my awesome sleep, increased energy and wicked difference in concentration levels. i usually tell people that i didn’t realize that i was in a fog until i change my way of eating. if they want to get into it further, then we do, but usually that happens about a week or two later after they have thought about it more.


  9. Shannon says

    Thanks for this. I’m 2 weeks into a whole 30 after about 6 mo. of mostly paleo and the questions have started coming about what I’m doing. No one seems to believe me, though. I’m a Crossfitter, and they all focus on my “really hard” workouts as the reason for the weightloss, or say I can’t possibly eat this way long term. Funny thing is, I’ve not eaten much bread or pasta for more than 10 years. Maybe focusing on the positive will help. :)

  10. Kristena says

    I have a logistical question. I want to get started on the Whole9 lifestyle, and I want to know–Can I chew sugar-free gum? I’m fell the answer should be no, but I’ve already lost a significant amount of weight through a positive change in diet and adding a fitness regimine (50 lbs since the end of June). Gum has helped to keep me from snacking throughout the day when I am serving snacks to my daycare children. They often have things for snack that are on the list of things we don’t consume, such as crackers and peanut butter.

  11. Kristena says

    Whoops… Haha. “I feel the answer should be no” is what I meant to say, but clearly my fingers were slower than my brain.

  12. says

    Thanks to all for the comments, and for sharing your own version of “Nutrition in 60 Seconds”.

    Kristena, gum is out for your Whole30. As to what you do outside of the program, that’s up to you, but we think there are a million good reasons to give up the gum addiction, not the least of which is the nasty stuff artificial sweeteners can do to your body. Less is better, none is ideal.



  13. Krista says

    I just stumbled onto your website this morning. I’ve been trying to create a healthy diet for myself and so recently bought a paleo cookbook. I’ve also got an online shopping cart filled with things like almond flour, coconut flour, tahini, cacao butter, etc. From browsing your website, it looks like most of those things are not considered healthy and I shouldn’t complete the purchase. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused. I understand the basics and they seem to generally line up with paleo. I’m also unsure of the difference between coconut oil and coconut aminos. Maybe all this outlined in the e-book, but before I buy another book I want an idea of what I’m getting into…

  14. says


    We know, it can be confusing. See if this post helps you figure out how to grocery shop for your Whole30/Paleo diet. (http://whole9life.com/2011/01/paleo-poor-your-guide-to-the-grocery-store/)

    Focus on REAL FOOD first – meat, seafood and eggs, vegetables and fruits, and healthy sources of fat. Then, when you’ve got that down, you can play around with Paleo baking and desserts, because that’s what those flours and cacao butters are generally used for. Focus your energy (and money) on everyday foods first, however. Those Paleo/coconut flour/almond flour desserts are still DESSERTS, even though they’re made with “less bad” ingredients.

    We do have a detailed shopping list in our e-book, as well as a meal planning template you might find helpful.

    Hope that helps,

  15. Jen says

    I’ve been looking over the Whole9 and Whole30 info for several weeks and am very close to committing to try it. However, I really want to know what people eat for breakfast every day. I absolutely love eggs, but I’m afraid to eat them every day as I have high cholesterol. I need breakfast ideas that are quick and easy since I’m always running late for work. I know I have to give up my granola and Spirutein smoothies, and I’m ok with that, but what are the alternatives? What kind of a smoothie can one make on the paleo diet? Frozen fruit plus …. what?

  16. Jen says

    BTW that wasn’t “granola and Spirutein smoothies” but rather, “granola,” and “Spirutein smoothies”!

  17. Krista says

    I’m doing a whole30 and have found that really anything can be breakfast. I haven’t had much luck with smoothies since I don’t have a high powered machine like a Vitamix. I used my food processor to make a banana, spinach, broccoli, and coconut milk smoothie. It was good, but not the greatest consistency. My favorite breakfast so far is the sausage, apple and sweet potato hash in the dinner section of the whole 30 guide. I just make a big portion of it at night or on a weekend morning, and reheat it in my steamer while I get ready for work. Since most people own microwaves, that’s even easier. Breakfast broccoli hash is kind of the same deal, but the sausage part tricks my brain into accepting it more readily as “breakfast.” I also like salads for breakfast, like tuna or turkey salads because they’re so light. You could always try scrambles with just egg whites too.

  18. Jen says

    Krista – thanks, that helps a lot. I’ll find the sausage-apple-sweet potato hash recipe, sounds yummy. But why just egg whites in the scramble, I thought whole eggs were OK on the Whole30?

  19. Krista says

    I definitely use whole eggs, but initially you mentioned that you were looking for egg alternatives.

  20. Andrea S. says

    I want to do the whole 30 but I don’t know which book to buy. The one from the bookstore or the downloadable one from this website. I have never done paleo or anything so this is all new to me.

  21. Jen says

    Krista, you’re right, I did. I’m concerned about my cholesterol, but if I stop eating grains and all the other foods that reportedly spike my insulin levels, my cholesterol should level out. At least, that’s what all the testimonials say. I’m on a non-statin medication to reduce cholesterol and I’m not going to stop taking that, of course, until my doc says it’s ok.

    Andrea, I’m torn too. I downloaded the “sample” of “It Starts With Food” from Amazon for my Kindle and it includes the first 4 chapters. The sample doesn’t get into the menu planning and recipes, that’s later in the book, but it does discuss a lot of the psychological and physiological effects of eating processed food. This is not stuff I never knew; I’ve been aware of it for years, but I’m impressed with the way the authors make the science understandable and yet enjoyable to read, and I really like their attitude that eating Paleo is a way of life, not a “diet” per se — even though many (including me) are hoping it will take off a few (ok, a lot) of my excess pounds. I’m not even sure why I’m impressed; I’m a writer and editor, and I tend to look at everything with a critical eye, so non-fiction really has to knock my socks off to impress me.

    Maybe it’s just that the small part of the book I’ve read so far is helping push me in the Paleo direction because I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I’ve read a lot of books about the factory/processed food industry but this is the first time I’m REALLY making the connection that Lean Cuisine is killing me slowly. It really does start with food.

    For me, price is a driving factor, too. The Kindle version of ISWF is $9.99, while their “Whole 30 Success Guide” ebook is $39! And you don’t need a Kindle to read the Kindle version — Amazon has free, downloadable Kindle apps for most computers. (And if I buy the ISWF Kindle version, I can spend the rest of the $30 on the excellent grass-fed beef we have hear in Humboldt County!)

    Also, Melissa and Dallas offer some free downloadable PDFs taken directly from the ISWF as a “preview” – go to this link: http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/ . There’s a shopping list, meal planning template, and 9 other files. I’ve looked them all over a bunch of times and I’m impressed. One could even do the Whole30 just with those plus the program description on this website and the forum (to ask questions and share ideas).

    Good luck to us all!

  22. says

    Andrea and Jen,

    I’d highly recommend starting with our book, It Starts With Food. Whether you purchase the hardcover version (now just around $15 on BarnesandNoble.com) or the Kindle/Nook/e-book version, the book goes into a ton of detail of the “why,” “what,” and “how” of our nutritional recommendations, and fully develops and explains how to successfully accomplish our Whole30 program. The book, plus the free downloads from our site, plus all the help you can get in the Whole30 forum is the surest way to optimize your Whole30 results. (Jen, we even have a section on cholesterol, explaining why you don’t have to be afraid of egg yolks if you’re eating in the manner in which we describe in the book!)

    Hope you enjoy,

  23. Jen says

    Thanks, Melissa! I’m going to download it to my Kindle today. I’ve downloaded samples from a whole bunch of Paleo cookbooks and “how-to” guides, and so far I find yours easiest to digest (pun intended). I just started reading the “Timeline” article by Robin Strathdee and it’s very helpful. I think I will do one of my own on my blog. I’m the features editor for our local paper and I write a food column, so I’m thinking of sharing my Whole30 experience with our readers. I do have one really important (well, to me, anyway) question first: Where does Whole9 stand on caffeine and coffee? I drink 2 cups a day, then tea in the afternoon. First thing in the morning I head to the kitchen where my partner has programmed the coffeemaker to be ready by the time I hit the 3rd snooze round. I’m not sure I can de-caffeinate and do the Whole30 at the same time!

  24. says

    Jen, you can read our views on caffeine here: http://whole9life.com/2011/01/the-coffee-manifesto/

    We don’t require that you go off your coffee during your Whole30, as we know that would be burdensome for many folks, and the main priority is fixing your food. But we do recommend caffeine “holidays” a few times a year, just to clear things out and reset the old tolerance values… especially if you notice intake creeping throughout the year, or if you cannot get out of bed without the promise of that first cup or two.


  25. Debra says

    Hi Melissa,

    I’m another one who wants to start the Whole30 soon. I’ve been low carbing for many years (12 plus!) with a lot of breaks.

    However, due to stress and other factors, I’ve eaten a high sugar diet off and on since last year – which has resulted in a definite Candida overgrowth from which I have suffered in the past.

    My question is what about fruit? I’m not supposed to eat vinegars, mustards or fruit to eliminate Candida as much as possible. However, that would only leave meats & veggies & fats. I want to regain my health but I also want to be able to live with this going forward. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks very much! (and I’m buying your book this weekend)

  26. says

    @Debra, I’d recommend zero fruit during your candida cleanse. They feed on sugar and fermented products, so you need to starve them! But remember, this is only a temporary protocol until you get your gut back into balance. After that, you should be able to go back to eating a normal, healthy, Whole9-style diet including things you’ve been missing – like fruit. I hope you are working with a good naturopath, functional medicine doctor, or physician on this protocol – best of luck to you.


  27. Amanda says

    I have horrible TMJ that surgery couldn’t fix and after a ton of research and suggestions from friends I decided on Whole30. I found what food allergies and various additives could do to the body and how it could cause the inflammation to not heal. Before we attempt surgery again, I’m hoping this is exactly what I need! I removed diet pop from my diet 2 weeks before starting the Whole30 and have already noticed a difference! I’m excited for this month (or 2) and see what happens!

  28. says

    Whoa whoa whoa whoa.

    The elevator pitch has nothing to do with bosses. The elevator pitch is when an entrepreneur finds themselves in an elevator with a business angel or the owner of a big company or something, and they have only the time the elevator is moving to pitch and sell their business idea. It’s a no-boss scenario.

    In other news, thanks for the concise summary of Whole30, it will come in handy! :)

  29. Tonya Soete says

    This is my second whole30. During and after the first whole thirty I felt better then I had in many many years. I am a diabetic and have avoided fruit for many years. It feels good to me to be able to eat fruit and do so everyday. The problem is I am not sure how much fruit is acceptable on the Whole30 and with maintaing normal blood sugars. I went from processed foods, artifiicial sweeteners, and “diet foods” to eating natural real foods and included fruits. I just am not sure how much is to much when it comes to fruits verses vegetables, meat, good fats.