Before I begin my story, let me tell you a little bit about this incredible program known as the Whole30. It is a life-changer.
The Whole30 is a thirty day reset button for your body and a tool to help you learn how foods affect you, both physically and emotionally. It teaches you how to make those healthy choices in life, even after the thirty days are up. And it gives you a healthier relationship with food.
It is eating only clean, whole, healthy, nutrient-dense food. There are four good food standards in this program. They all promote a healthy gut, a healthy mind, a healthy immune system, and lastly a healthy metabolism and hormones. Everything you put in your mouth to fuel your body has an impact on your health. Any food that negatively affects any of those four standards is out. You may not even know these foods are affecting you in a bad way until you take them out of your diet for at least thirty days. At the end of that time, you slowly add items back in and see how you feel.
The founders of this awesome program also wrote a book that I highly recommend to everyone, even if you aren’t doing the Whole30. It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. This book is incredible. I’ve bought several hard copies and electronic versions to share with my friends and loved ones. It Starts With Food explains what specific foods do to your body, both good and bad. It has the science to back it up and it is super easy to understand.
Now on to my story. I had heard about the Whole30 numerous times. My thoughts on it? It sounded hard. Really hard. I was already paleo, although not very strict. We ate cheese, pizza, cream, lots of so-called paleo desserts, and ice cream.
I had a relationship with ice cream. I adored it. I craved it. Sadly, it did not feel the same for me.
I was having issues with my hormones again, with my autoimmune disorders flaring up pretty badly. I was having headaches, my skin was not at its best, I was not sleeping well, and mostly, I was really uncomfortable in my own skin, despite having lost weight on the paleo diet.
The Whole30 kept showing up here and there among the blogs I follow. Unfortunately I kept making excuses for myself. It’s too hard. I won’t be able to do it while breastfeeding (although thinking back, that thought was silly—what is more healthy than eating a nutritious, nutrient-dense diet while breastfeeding?). I can’t find a date to start, because I had stuff going on where I knew I was going to be eating non-compliant foods. I don’t want to give up certain foods (like ice cream). I enjoyed eating out at restaurants too much. The list went on and on. And so did the feeling of being out of control of my own body. I had to do something. I had nothing to lose. So I bit the bullet and stopped making excuses. You see, there will always be excuses as long as you keep making them.
I set a start date of July 9, 2012. A lot of people start at the beginning of the month, but I had waited long enough, I did not want to wait even longer. So here I was trudging along on my Whole30 journey. It was hard at first. I craved so much sugar at first! I kept telling myself this will be worth it. It’s only thirty days.
Before I knew it, things were changing for the better, and I was coming up on the end of my thirty days. It definitely got easier as the days and weeks went on. I picked up new, healthy habits. I learned how certain foods made me feel, and how dependent I was on sugar.
And just like that, my thirty days were over. How did that time change me?
Fueling my body and mind with only nutrient-dense food made me feel completely amazing! For starters I lost 11 ½ inches, seven pounds, and 5 percent body fat, all of which I was able to maintain after it was over! My clothes fit way better. In fact, I dropped two sizes in pants and two sizes in tops! The sugar addiction is gone. Which is awesome, since I was a huge sugar addict before this. My skin got clearer, and my hormones are better adjusted. I have no more headaches, and tons more energy. I’m sleeping better, falling asleep easier and sleeping more deeply. Despite my baby waking multiple times every night, I feel more rested than I have in a very long time.
But the best part was that my autoimmune problems started to correct. That is a big deal. Previously, I was on nasty steroids for my psoriasis. After a while, they had stopped working for me. I knew I was going to need a heftier dose, or something different when the time comes to wean Miss B. I am so glad this new way of eating was the “something different” I needed. I felt good to be putting only healthy food in my body, nourishing both myself and my daughter.
Skipping ahead to my second Whole30. Start date: January 29, 2013.
I had slipped back into my old ways of eating. Even though I knew it was a slippery slope and I knew how bad those bad food items made me feel, both emotionally and physically.
The wonderful thing about the Whole30 is you can always do another Whole30, or a Whole14 or a Whole-whatever, if you need to get back on track.
I wanted to to get back on track. I also wanted to combine it with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol to see if it would help, basically eliminating any trigger foods for my psoriasis. You see, slipping up set back any healing I had done on my first Whole30. In addition to eliminating grains, legumes, dairy, soy, any processed food, added sugar, and alcohol, I am avoiding nightshades, eggs, and nuts. Anything that can trigger an inflammatory response.
So you might be asking, “What on earth can you eat?” I eat only wonderful, healthy, healing foods. Seafood, pastured/grass-fed beef from a local farm, organic chicken, vegetables and fruits in as many colors and varieties I can find, healthy fats from avocados and olive oil, and coconut everything (milk, butter, oil, meat, and even water). Lots of fermented foods, such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kombucha to promote good gut flora. Bone broth and soups to promote healing. I really enjoy giving my body what it needs and crave only healthy foods now. I do not feel deprived in any way. I feel I am getting a good variety of nutrition and vitamins in my food. The only supplements I take are fermented cod liver oil, for vitamin K2, and vitamin D.
It is now the middle of April, 2013, and I am continuing on this path of health and healing with no intention of going off of it any time soon. I still have good days and bad days. Luckily, the good outweigh the bad. Since I technically finished the Whole30 back on the first of March, I do allow myself some good quality dark chocolate—73 percent cacao or higher with no dairy or soy—as a treat, or occasionally local raw honey in my green tea. After all, the program is not called the Whole365. As long as those once-in-a-while treats do not become an every-day thing and they do not start controlling you.
Oh, and do you know what else is so fabulous about the Whole30? Besides the amazing way you will feel during and after the program, the freedom you will gain, and the weight you will lose? Melissa and Dallas Hartwig did all this amazing research to help others . . . for free!
There are newsletters and of course the book, but they are not required to do the program. Go check out the site and the forums. The testimonials are truly inspiring. Stop making excuses. Get a friend or a spouse, or both, to join you and start! You will not be disappointed.