I have an announcement: I hate this diet. I am struggling big time.
Here’s the thing… it’s honestly not just about junk food cravings. Allow me to explain?
BEFORE Whole 30
We ate pretty decently before and had a few minor health issues but nothing huge (sometimes tummy rumblings, ahem, bathroom stuff, ahem… fatigue, maybe some aches and pains, especially after eating sugar – stuff like that). We weren’t eating perfectly… and in fact while we had embraced the “80-20 Rule” (where you eat super healthy 80% of the time and try not to worry about the other 20%, within reason of course), we had really started sliding down that slippery slope of making way too many exceptions to what we knew was best for our bodies.
DURING Whole 30
Now we are feeling decently healthy… but kind of the same as before. You’re not supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days, but my rebel husband has been doing it anyway. He has lost 12 pounds so far, at 15 days in! Much is probably water weight from the infamous carb/sugar bloating that most people carry around, but not all of it. And I don’t remember what I weighed at the beginning but I think I’ve lost a bit because I’m down a jean size (which was welcomed).
When you eliminate ALL traces of junk and sugar and other foods your body doesn’t like, it can often cause die-off. The bad bacteria in your gut start dying off and making you feel like crud. People can feel woozy, flu-like, headachy, “hangover-ish”. I felt a bit of that, especially exhaustion and a general sense of woozy/fuzzyness that I couldn’t shake. It didn’t go away until one day at the suggestion of a friend in a Whole 30 facebook group, I diced up a sweet potato and fried it in coconut oil and had it with my eggs for breakfast. Carbs.
Bam! It was an immediate and obvious change. I felt vitalized and awake and energetic that day, and continued to crave sweet potatoes regularly. Hmm. Other than being up multiple times a night with a teething baby, I am feeling pretty energized. Of course, that could be due to the Paleo-ish-ness of this thing, or it could be due to the 100% cutting out sugar and vegetable oils and such.
Why I Suspect Whole 30 Isn’t Working For Me
So. Here’s the thing. Have you ever heard of nutritional typing? Dr. Mercola may be kinda kooky in a lot of ways (sensationalistic, self-promoting and aggressive marketer), but his research is usually pretty solid. A few years ago I read an article of his talking about how some people are “protein types”, some are “carb types”, and some are “mixed types”.
These Paleo people are advocating a diet of mostly meat and vegetables (and healthy fats). The main way they differ from the WAPF (Weston A. Price Foundation) folks as far as I can see is how they approach grains. WAPF advocates eating grains (soaked, sprouted, or sourdough – we are NOT talking Wonderbread here, people) along with healthy meats and fats, veg, etc. But Paleo advocates cutting out grains entirely. At this point in the game, I’m just not so convinced. I really, really think I’m a Mixed Type – I don’t function best on cutting out grains altogether. I had the same cravings when our family did the GAPS Diet for 4 months. I craved homemade bread slathered with butter like nobody’s business.
(Oh, and side note: there are lots of veggies that are a good source of carbs. It’s not just the typical bread and pasta. I’ve often heard people criticize the Paleo Diet for “cutting out an entire food group” and how that’s so unhealthy… but in reality the government’s food guide is total garbage produced by politicians to further the bottom-lines of various processed food industries. What we need to focus on including in any healthy diet are the three essential macronutrients: fat, protein, and carbohydrates).
Here’s the thing: I can’t give a final verdict just yet. I’m just barely halfway through, and according to the timeline, I am just starting the awesomeness phase. Here’s what they have to say about what will happen on Day 16-28 (we are on day 16):
“Goodbye cravings, hello Tiger Blood! This must be what everyone is talking about! You’ve hit the downhill slope of your Whole30 and life is beautiful. Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome. There’s not much more to say about this phase – go and enjoy it!”
Two weeks from now will be quite telling, I imagine. One last note of concern for me is that I am beginning to suspect my milk supply has dropped, but I’m not sure how to tell for sure. I’m trying to make sure I eat lots of sweet potatoes and squash for the extra carbs, but I really do not enjoy the taste of sweet potatoes, and can only eat so many before getting so sick of them. It is possible I’m not eating enough calories, with the stress of trying to prepare so much from scratch on a limited diet.
Why I Still Want My Friends and Family to Try the Whole 30
I can’t say for sure yet, but I suspect I’m going to go back to WAPF ways after this experiment (the Whole 30 authors, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, call it a 30-day self-experiment) and continue eating moderate amounts of non-processed starchy carbs, like rice, potatoes, etc.
HOWEVER… if I had much more obvious health concerns (like many of my friends and family do! Like extra weight, fatigue, unhealthy hair and skin, serious bowel issues, brain fog, aches and pains, seasonal allergies, headaches, diabetes, arthritis, chronic infections/inflammation, colds, etc) then I’d be ALL OVER this diet. I wish I could convince people to just try it. And if not this, then WAPF. To cut out the junky processed stuff that is making our society sick (plus common triggers for so many people like dairy and grains), and just see what would happen. For those who suffer from these kinds of health issues and have never tried changing their diet: Whole 30 could be jaw-droppingly life-changing. For reals. I think this diet is really more for those kinds of people.
This post has already gotten pretty long, but there is one more reason why I am really struggling with this diet. I will talk more about that in my next post. It’s more of a philosophical sort of discussion, less science-y.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever tried changing your diet to alleviate health concerns?
Also, I’m curious: do you identify with Paleo, WAPF, or any other particular nutritional philosophy?