Welcome back to Honesty Time!!
Last week I decided I wanted to start a weekly series where I share my honest thoughts on just about anything in life. I’ve been getting SO many questions on the Whole30, so I’ve decided to create a post clearing up some confusion and sharing my own experience.
I am by no means an expert on the Whole30. I’m not sure I even followed all the precise rules. My mom and I had heard a lot about the diet from the internet, but before we started we purchased two books: The Whole30 and Food Freedom Forever. I read the entire 30 day guide before I started, but that’s because I was recovering from my tonsillectomy. (And because I’m a loser). You don’t have to read the whole book, but I do suggest having it on hand. (It has a TON of recipes for meals and for “alternatives” of ingredients that aren’t whole30 approved like mayo).
I have included numerous links in this post in case you want to gain more info directly from the source, but hopefully I can sum it up well enough 😉
**I get all my info directly from the Whole30 website and books.**
First and foremost, the Whole30 is not a weight loss program. I did not start eating this way because I was worried about my weight. The program is designed to eliminate all common allergens from your diet. These allergens can be: dairy, grains, legumes (beans, peanuts), and even added sugar. These foods can cause inflammation in your body even if you’re not “allergic” to them. Removing them from your diet for 30 days pushes the reset button on your body’s metabolism.
The book also talks a lot about your psychological relationship with food. Yes, most of us are addicted to sugar, and completing your 30 days will allow you to be free from food forever 🙂
**For a complete list of the program rules, click here **
Why should you do it?
Here I will just paste the list of “ailments” found on the website that the Whole30 is said to have “cured”:
“high blood pressure • high cholesterol • type 1 diabetes • type 2 diabetes • asthma • allergies • sinus infections • hives • skin conditions • endometriosis • PCOS • infertility • migraines • depression • bipolar disorder • heartburn • GERD • arthritis • joint pain • ADD • thyroid dysfunction • Lyme disease • fibromyalgia • chronic fatigue • lupus • leaky gut syndrome • Crohn’s • IBS • Celiac disease • diverticulitis • ulcerative colitis”
Why did I do it?
Well, I suffer from depression and anxiety, so I wanted to see if my mood was affected by what I was eating.
I also had mono for two years. In that time, I gained a fair amount of weight because I would only eat what I wanted and when I was hungry. I had no energy – I couldn’t even think about working out with getting tired. On top of the mono, (or maybe another symptom of it, I’m not really sure) was chronic sinus infections. I’m talking all the time. My joints ached too. OHHH and don’t let me forget about the herpes. No, not the “bad” kind. Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus, and I have the virus sitting dormant in my lymph nodes (as does everyone who gets mono), but EBV can also cause fever blisters. I break out in fever blisters every time my body heat rises (fevers, hot days). Or when I’m stressed. Or sad. (Yes, I know, gross. Now imagine having it on your face.)
Sooo basically, my immune system sucks. And I got sick of not feeling like a functioning human. On top of taking a semester off of school, getting my wisdom teeth out, getting my tonsils & adenoids out, and gaining “full” knowledge of essential oils and homeopathic healthcare remedies, I knew I needed to do something to gain control of my body again.
While the 30 days were long and hard (you basically go through sugar withdrawal), I’ve never felt more centered. I can’t really put into words how my diet has made me feel – both physically and emotionally. I have energy that I haven’t had since junior year of high school (I sound like such an old fart). And I work out!! Every day! I’m confident in myself, and I’ve never been able to say that before. I have a newfound passion for food and how to make healthy food fun. But mostly, I’ve been able to help others. I love giving advice to people on food and sharing tips. It’s a big reason I started this blog! Two of my friends have already started the program after reading a few of my posts. They text me daily asking questions (and mostly to vent) and it makes me so happy! Seriously. Everyone should feel the way this diet makes you feel.
- Do it when you can. The experience is hard – don’t make yourself miserable over the holidays or if you know you have certain social gathering coming up. (For example, in the next few weeks my mom is going to Florida with friends, my brother is graduating from college, and my cousin is getting married. This would not be a good time for my mom to start the program). To all my fellow college kids: DO NOT try to do this if you live in a dorm. (Summer is coming SO soon everyone!!) You need a kitchen and to cook your own food.
- Have a support system. Once again, the experience is hard. It’s so much better if you’re able to talk to someone about how you’re feeling on a given day in the program and also to bounce meal ideas back and forth! This has brought my mom and I SO much closer!! (like that’s possible..)
- The produce aisle is your best friend. Do not be afraid of veggies, ladies and gents.
- Get out of your comfort zone. You will have to try new foods if you want this to work out. Squash lasagna?? Zoodles????? Mushroom as pizza??!! WTF is ghee? (You should check out my Portobello Pizza Recipe 😉 )
- Commit. You will not earn your food freedom unless you suffer the full 30 days without cheating. I make it sound so appealing 😉
- Journal your experience. I wish sooo badly I wrote down what I was feeling every day. I remember “the first week was dreadful” but I wish I wrote exactly how my body was feeling each day and the changes I started to notice – I especially wish I knew when exactly it was that I truly felt “free” from food. It’s a great way to keep track of the days but also a great way to look back and remember the experience!
- HAVE FUN. You are rewiring your body, in a sense. Make it fun! Don’t eat the same thing every night. You will get bored and you will get burnt out. You get out of it what you put into it. (Literally.)
If you have any further questions, I’m sure I can give you an answer so feel free to reach out on my Contact Page or leave a comment 🙂
Peace and blessings!!! XOX
P.s. Since a lot of people also ask about weight, I will say that I lost a fair amount of weight in the 30 days and that I look better than I have in the past two years. I also had my wisdom teeth, tonsils, and adenoids removed in the months prior to starting the program and you bet your bottom dollar half the weight I lost was from that.
But please know this. is. not. about. weight. – freeing your body from food just so happens to also get rid of some extra unnecessary fat 🙂