Did I keep you waiting too long?
In case you missed it, this is the follow-up to my last post, The Whole 30. In that post I told a little about the diet and what I hoped to get out of it. Today I will share the results.
The first few days of the Whole 30 are tough. Depending on how terrible your eating habits were to begin with, you can have cravings, headaches, diarrhea (why can I never spell diarrhea right on the first try?), constipation, and even withdrawal type symptoms. There is a timeline on the official site to give you an idea of what it's like, it helped me realize what I was going through was pretty normal for a first-timer.
I tried to taper down my sugar habit in the week or so before I began the 30 days so it wouldn't be too hard on my body. The first couple days weren't bad, then I started to develop a Lara Bar problem. Some Lara Bars are Whole 30 compliant, make sure you read the ingredients, I like the coconut cream pie flavor. You're not really supposed to have treats or even snacks on the Whole 30 and that was probably the biggest struggle for me throughout the diet. I like to have a treat when the kids go down for their naps in the afternoon. After I recognized that the Lara Bars were becoming a replacement for cookies or ice cream, I tried to keep them to pre or post-workout fuel. Frozen bananas and frozen cantaloupe tried to become replacement treats as well, but I don't feel so bad about them. The first effect of the diet that I noticed was gas. I'm talking the silent but deadly type. I thought this could be some kind of detox effect but it subsided when I cut back on the Lara Bars (they're mostly dates, duh).
The first noticeable positive effect was one that I wasn't even looking or hoping for. About half-way through the 30 days I realized that I hadn't been scratching my feet. Now you're confused. Over the past 2 years or so I've started to have eczema, the tops and sides of my feet are the worst. After a couple weeks of the Whole 30, my eczema was barely visible and did not itch at all. This wasn't something I had even thought about going into the Whole 30 but it sure was nice.
Onto the things I was hoping for.
Wait, let's side-step just a little bit. Since this is an elimination diet, once you're done with the 30 day elimination, there is a 10 day reintroduction. This helps you identify which foods are your trouble-makers by reintroducing one group at a time, then going back to strict Whole 30 eating for the following two days while evaluating how that food group affected you.
First up (for those, like me, who don't drink alcohol) is legumes. So, reintroduction day 1 I ate a serving or so of something from the legume family with each meal. I had peanut butter, black beans, and made hummus (chick peas). I felt pretty okay the day of, but the following day I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Since then I've noticed issues with even small amounts of soy containing foods and have decided to stay away from them for the most part.
Non-gluten grains step up next. I overdid it on some rice Chex to the point of invalidating this test. Not smart on my part, but I now recognize that cereal is a problem food for me in general. It's one of those bottomless pit, "once you pop you can't stop" foods and I should avoid it. I also felt bloated and foggy. Bloated I could blame on over-doing it, but the foggy-headedness? Is that what they call "grain brain?"
Now we have a food group I was pretty concerned about, as I did not want to have to give it up, and that's the ice cream group. I mean dairy, but really, isn't it just all about the ice cream? Especially once I discovered I no longer care for cheese. That's right, my tastes had changed to the point that cheese is now on my "meh" list. That's good, I guess, since it's not really good for you anyway. Ice cream did fine! I do have to stay away from recipes that include soy and carrageenan (we can talk about that little bugger another time) however.
Finally, we have gluten. The authors of The Whole 30 say they leave it for last because it is the most likely to cause issues and for the issues to be nasty ones. At first, I thought I was fine with the small amount of gluten that I tried, then my eczema returned. Okay, I can handle that, I told myself, just limit the gluten and the eczema won't be so bad. Then I noticed other symptoms when I consumed gluten following the reintroduction. I would eat a normal portion of bread or pasta and feel extremely heavy, nauseated, bloated, and just, well, not well; bad. I'm not okay with this.
I learned a lot about how these foods were treating my body and how I was treating my body by eating them. Can I continue to hurt myself in the face of these facts? I love food but is my health worth it? And how about the health issues I was hoping to alleviate through this way of eating? Am I going to make you wait it out for part 3? Am I going to turn every sentence into a question?
Little Things Matter? Yes, they do, no question about it. Stay tuned!
(Please note that I was not paid or compensated or even asked nicely to publish this post, it does, however, contain affiliate links)