I have several chronic illnesses and have tried many different treatment options to improve my symptoms for all of them. My illnesses include: fibromyalgia, arthritis, endometriosis, hypopituitarism, pituitary adenoma, irritable bowel syndrome, rashes, restless leg syndrome and I think that is it, but I could be forgetting something. The medications that I have taken for these illnesses have caused me greater side effects than benefits. That is what led me to a holistic doctor and the Whole30 diet. This is my journey and the surprise I didn’t expect from the Whole30 diet.
Reasons I started the Whole30
Like I said above, I have tried many different medications. They caused me severe side effects to the point I could barely function. I have seen doctor after doctor who did nothing but push pills in my face and not listen. As a last resort, I made an appointment with a Holistic doctor and I was pleasantly surprised by this visit. Prior to the visit I filled out several pages of information from my medical background, my family’s medical background and my level of commitment to making changes to live a healthier life.
During the visit we talked about my past traumas and my current symptoms. This doctor recommended many supplements and an elimination diet (Whole30). She explained that it is possible some foods I am eating are causing inflammation and stomach issues. I was ready for anything new at this point so here we go.
My First Week on the Whole30
Leading up to day 1 I had to prepare my house and my mind. I tried to clean out as much of the stuff I couldn’t eat as I could, but the rest of my family wasn’t doing this with me, so I was going to have to use willpower. I bought the Whole30 book and started reading. I was going to have to give up:
Luckily, the book gave me many ideas on what I could eat including recipes. I’m not really a recipe kind of gal. I like to improvise and make up my own stuff as I go. Therefore, these recipes were just a building block for my own ideas. So, I made a plan (so important) for every meal and went shopping. I told myself “You can do this” and charged through.
This first week taught me some lessons that actually helped me finish strong.
- Plan 3 meals to take to work to eat every 3 hours. The first week I was so hungry I thought I was going to die. I had horrible headaches and I couldn’t concentrate.
- Prep my food ahead of time as much as I can to save me time and ensure that I can eat only the things allowed.
- Surprise! Whole food actually tastes good and makes me feel good.
2 scrambled eggs mixed in with:
- Sweet potatoes or red potatoes
- Zucchini and or
- bell peppers (which actually hurt my stomach, so I stopped those)
Turkey roll ups:
- Organic turkey lunch meat
- Hard-boiled egg
Lunch-able Whole30 Style:
- Organic turkey lunch meat
- Hard-boiled egg
- Side of baby carrots
- Hamburger patty
Veggie Baked Potato:
- Red potato
- Veggies like zucchini, summer squash, asparagus
- Sometimes scrambled egg
- Chicken or Steak
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet Potato
- Mustard (because I love it on everything)
These are just a few of the recipes I made up. There were more but they all usually involved these ingredients. I would also have fruit on the side like strawberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, oranges and grapes.
The surprises I didn’t expect from the Whole30 diet.
In the book there are testimonials about how on day 31 when you are able to start re-introducing the foods back in you won’t even want the thing you were craving on day 2. This was so NOT true for me. I craved chocolate every day. I craved bread every day. I wanted all the things my family was eating that I could not have. But, I didn’t give in. I found that since I had a deadline and if I cheated I would have to start day 1 over, it made it easier to push through.
Guess what? I started feeling better! I was less bloated, and my stomach didn’t always hurt. The best part was at the end of the 30 days I had lost 17 pounds! That was with no exercise and just changing the way I was eating. Honestly, if my whole family would get on board I could live this way all the time. You really see how awful some food can make you feel when you go through this elimination diet.
How I re-introduced the forbidden food and what happened.
Legumes were the first food I re-introduced as was suggested. I thought for sure I would feel bloated or something the next day, but no. We were good to go to keep eating legumes- yay!
Non-gluten grains were second after two days back on the full diet. Now, this gave me some stomach issues. So, I’m bummed but thinking maybe I just ate too much in one day. I had gluten-free oatmeal and rice for lunch and spaghetti for dinner.
Diary is next after I took an extra day to recover from the non-gluten grains. Now, you need to know how much I love cheese. This was a very hard item to give up, so I was super stoked to be eating cheese on this day. My heart was broken when I ended up in the bathroom many times the next day. Cheese is out if I want to feel good.
Grains was the last to be brought back in. I was also excited about this one because I love my grains. For lunch, I had an open-faced rye sandwich with my usual toppings from above and I cannot remember what I had for dinner. However, it doesn’t matter because again I spent much time in the bathroom the next day. So now grains are out.
My Compromises with the Whole30 diet
After it was all over, I really didn’t know what to do. My doctor didn’t really give much direction in this regard and pretty much told me to follow the book. The book makes it sound like this is the way you should live from here on out. So, for the last month, I have been doing some testing. I have been pushing my limits to see what bothers me and how much of it bothers me. I have tried cheese on several occasions and it seems possibly a small amount will be ok. I also, have added sourdough bread which seems to have no issues, but I am limiting it.
I have to say losing the weight gives me motivation to stay on this crazy diet. I have learned that planning makes all the difference. Especially, when I’m not feeling well if I already have something prepped it makes it so much easier to eat healthy while sick. I know this isn’t for everyone, but I do encourage you to give it a try. You never know what surprises are in store for you.
What is Next?
Next, I will doing another elimination diet and including night shades. These are tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant etc. Not eating potatoes is going to be a challenge as they have been a staple for me for months now. However, I love sweet potatoes and they are not included in the night shade family! The purpose of this is to hopefully really start focusing on my inflammation and hopefully reducing it. Stay tuned for those results.
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