Reflections on Whole30
I made it, you guys! I completed my first Whole30 (actually a Whole31 since August has 31 days)…and…
WHOLE30 IS REVOLUTIONARY!
That “Change your life in 30 days” line from Whole9? Absolutely true. Whole30 did change my life in so many positive ways, I can’t thank Dallas and Melissa Hartwig enough for sharing this program, the science behind it, the truth about our foods and obesity, and all of their research, knowledge, resources.
Like thousands of others, what I experienced in 30 days of putting nothing inflammatory or artificial in my body was remarkable, uplifting, and totally game-changing. Here’s an overview of what Whole30 was like for me, and exactly what happened when I re-introduced some off-limit foods.
8 pounds and two dress sizes lost.
Whole30 and a regular fitness program helped me drop 2.25 inches from my waist, and more than 6 pounds of body fat since March 2012! How do I know? Well, my trainer took measurements in March and again on September 1st. She was very pleased with the results, as am I. Since March, I’ve lost 16 pounds, but half of those pounds (and the dress sizes) were lost in the month I did Whole30.
Be sure to read Whole30: Halfway Through if you’re interested in losing weight. Whole30 helped me discover that not all calories are created equal.
No tossing and turning, no alcohol-related heatwaves. Many days I woke up before my alarm went off.
No bloating or belly rumbles.
You know that uncomfortable bloated feeling you often get after eating? On Whole30, it’s practically non-existent because your body doesn’t have to deal with food that it considers to be toxic, so there’s no war brewing in your insides!
Pure, natural, consistent energy.
Energy in the morning that is not propelled by sugar and coffee. Energy to get through the day and a late afternoon workout without any liquid help (e.g., coffee, energy drinks).
Eczema that’s almost gone.
For the past three years, I’ve had recurring eczema on my hands that has not been permanently resolved by any of the powerful topical prescriptions I’ve tried. I took a scratch test and learned that I had no known food allergies, but my allergist couldn’t rule out chemicals, alcohol, or other factors without another test. After I got the four-figure bill for the first test, I decided that I’d have to figure this out on my own. Whole30 helped me do that by removing many of the dietary triggers I suspected were the cause, so I could really pay attention to my body’s response to certain things when reintroducing them.
What I learned, part 1: I have a latent childhood soap allergy that apparently kicked up again when I started using Dial soap about three years ago—about the same time I moved overseas, experienced some health issues, consumed a lot of wine and peanut butter, and had major stress. All together, I’m guessing it was way more than my very agitated immune system could handle. I moved back home and my life stabilized, but the eczema? Still there.
I had not made the connection until one day during Whole30, while in the shower I noticed that a raw, inflamed patch of eczema just above my inner wrist burned and itched mightily when it came in contact with the soap. A light bulb went off…I knew it couldn’t be alcohol because I wasn’t having any! Thinking it was a Triclosan allergy, I switched to Dove Gentle Exfoliating soap. Still no go; after some Google-ing, I discovered it’s also a very harsh soap. Then I switched to glycerine soap—hardcore chemicals and hardeners in regular soaps are definitely aggravating to eczema and dermatitis.
What I learned, part 2: I mentioned a few posts back how much the doco Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead impacted my understanding of the power of vegetable-and-fruit based nutrients for healing and overall health. I bought a juicer and started juicing during Whole30 and have kept it up. On the days I have fresh juice, my skin is markedly clearer, and my eczema retreats entirely. Juicing (rather than blending) fruits and veggies delivers nutrients to your bloodstream the fastest way possible. For any future photo shoot or event I may need to attend, you can bet I’m going to juice at least once daily in the days prior. It is amazing for the skin!
And why did I just tell you all this? Because if you suffer from skin allergies, you may learn something from my observations…there is a definite connection between what you eat and how your skin looks/behaves as a result.
Whole30 as a way of life.
That’s my first major mental change. I have experienced my body on clean food, and really, I have no desire to go back to the way I ate before. I’ve revisited some things this week as a litmus test, and my observations have been pretty staggering (see below).
A healthier relationship with food, free from daily guilt.
Yeah, I’m one of those people who used to have regular mental anguish over that __________ (fill in the blank) I ate. When you’re eating clean, it’s easy to stay within your prescribed calorie range, feel full, and not beat yourself up about it. So refreshing.
Total food consciousness.
I spent the month educating myself, by reading the Hartwigs’ book about Whole30, It Starts With Food, and watching documentaries. What I learned changed me FOREVER. I will no longer willfully support factory-farming if I can avoid it. I will only buy and eat organic at home. I read labels on everything now! You’d be shocked at how much crap is in even seemingly “healthy” foods.
What happened when I had…
It’s been nine days since I finished Whole30, and I’ve done some experimenting to see exactly what would happen when I consumed anything that wasn’t Whole30-approved. Here are the results…
The day after Whole30, I decided to try a dirty martini, my cocktail of choice prior to Whole30. I had one martini and discovered it wasn’t all that anymore. And it made my eczema flare, like immediately. Fast-forward to the weekend, when I had two more on date night out with Hubby. Not only did they hit me like a ton of bricks (total mind erasers), I slept horribly, and by morning my eczema returned with a vengeance and brought a puffy face with it. Me and martinis, my signature drink? I think we’ll be spending a LOT less time together, if any.
A few days after my first martini, thinking I’ll probably be paleo/Whole30 for life, I decided to try an organic, no sulfites-added red wine. I stopped drinking red wine a couple years ago because I’d have horrible reactions to it—blotchy face, itchy skin, even some stuffiness in my nose. Beer would send me over the edge with itchies too. So this was a big test. I had two glasses, and there was no itch, no eczema flare-up for the next 24 hours. THIS IS HUGE! After also testing plain old red wine and feeling the itch, I have come to the conclusion that I may very well have developed sulfite sensitivity. I never would have figured that out without the “pure state” Whole30 creates as a baseline.
I’m convinced that sugar is the most dangerous substance to ever be introduced to the human diet. My mother had some almond bark (aka milk chocolate with almonds) that I successfully turned my nose up at for a week. On day seven off Whole30, I caved and had some. As soon as I ate one piece, I wanted more. So I had another piece. And I wanted more. And therein lies the problem with sugar, whether it’s obvious that you are eating it or not: YOU. ALWAYS. WANT. MORE. And then you feel guilty and crappy once the last bit has been swallowed. When I see cookies, cakes, and all that disgusting manufactured food, this is what I now see in my head:
mark of the beast (the sugar dragon)
Will I never have sugar again? Probably not. Will I only have it on extra special occasions? Perhaps. Letting the sugar dragon back out of its cage is just not worth it!
I have not resumed drinking coffee daily (yes!) or having any cow milk at home. But I did have a skinny vanilla latte at Starbucks, and within 20 minutes, had a total bloated, gurgling belly reaction. I also had about two ounces of feta cheese on a salad one day, and it didn’t seem to bother me. I will still avoid cheese for the most part—perhaps just having a small amount of goat cheese or feta here and there. Milk is something I’m definitely planning to avoid forever. I make coconut milk smoothies at home now and they are just as good if not better. Goodbye dairy bloating. I don’t need that!
I’m wrapping this post up at the end of a weekend of that included nearly all of the above, and you know what I feel like? Chunky and bloated and blech. Like I used to feel before Whole30. Again, I don’t need that!
Whole30 for October 2012
That’s my other news! I’m doing Whole30 again in October to support my mother, who will also be doing Whole30 (I finally convinced her!). If you’ve been contemplating it, why not join in next month and see how Whole30 will change your life too!
Considering doing Whole30? These are all my posts about it in case you want to read more: