top of page

Whole 30: The Good, the bad and the ugly

Mmmmmm.....baked asparagus. It was delicious. I have 3 other bunches in the fridge waiting to be eaten. Asparagus is filled with every good thing imaginable, it tastes good and it is Whole 30 compliant. So, I bought a lot.

I've had a lot of folks asking me about the W30 the last few weeks and now that I am on the other side of the 30-days and trying to decide what to do next, I thought I would share my thoughts with you. 

First, what W30 is. Whole 30 is a 30 day program to tackle bad habits and eliminate some of the top culprits of inflammation in our bodies. I actually have done this before with the Virgin Diet. (I'll talk about this later). 

We eliminated all grains, dairy, legumes - including peanuts, caffeine, alcohol and sugar. Okay, that's the high level.  There is a large list of what has to be eliminated

but it is too long to list.  I say, "we" as my hubby did the 30 days with me. He conquered like a champ. That's just him. He grew a little tired of chicken and cauliflower, but otherwise, he found it to be fairly easy and he seemed to enjoy the challenge of finding W30 compliant snacks for work and packing on a 10 mile overnight backpacking trip with foods that match the plan. So, good for him. Not so good for me.

On the Whole 30, there is the requirement that all forms of cream and sugar be eliminated from coffee. You could have compliant cream such as coconut or almond milk, but beyond must suffer.  Across the entire 30 days, this is where I failed. Every. Single Day. I actually replaced my half and half with compliant almond milk and was able to successfully do this during the Virgin Diet as well. But, this go around, like that one, I still added a little sugar to my coffee.  But, I am not ashamed. This was the only place I had sugar. In fact, believe it or not, I had tea about 4 times while I was out at dinner and was stunned to find I could drink it unsweetened. More on that little gem below!

Let's talk about sugar. We have very few things we purchase pre-made. In fact, my the last time my sister house sat for us, she said, there is nothing to eat in your home that does not have to be prepped and cooked. True story. But, when I looked at the hand-full of items I purchase, half have sugar. And, we drink sweet-tea. Almost every night. So, going back through and ensuring that nothing has added sugar wasn't a huge deal for us, but it was disappointing at the amount of sugar snuck into our clean diet. Though I did keep a little sugar and cream in my coffee, that is the only sugar I had daily and I can tell you without a doubt that the difference in my body and in my taste buds was HUGE. 

Full Disclosure. On about day 8, I had a breakdown and went to Sonic. I purchased a sweet tea - half sweet and half unsweet. I took one sip and had to throw it in the trash. Even drinking my coffee, by eliminating all of the other sugar in my diet, it radically changed my tastebuds in only 8 days. The other cool thing? I picked up one for each of the kids. They drank theirs but asked when Sonic started making their tea so sweet. This breakdown was actually a good thing!

I had maybe 4 other times that I veered from the plan. One was for my sister's birthday. I used milk in the mashed potatoes as it was all I had, verses the chicken stock I normally use. I also had a sweet tea that evening. One day I met with a client and had fresh local Mexican with corn tortillas as well as Nachos with cheese and sour cream. My final day of total non-compliance I will talk about a little below.

Going back to sugar, can you see how this supported me in eliminating the habit of sugar? I don't even have a sugar habit compared to what is in most foods and the American diet, but I had enough that this reset me and I am SO THANKFUL.  On these moments of non-compliance, I can tell you that I did okay, but not great. What I mean by this is I didn't feel great after having the butter and milk in  my potatoes (I have been only eating homemade ghee until this point), the corn was good and a treat, but left me feeling overly full and the sweet tea, we will not even talk about how I felt after that!)

We didn't force the kids to be completely Whole 30 compliant. I actually feel that is unhealthy for growing kids and ones as physically active as ours. But, other than a couple of exceptions (no added sugar juice and organic dark chocolate) I removed the excess sugars from their diet as well. Okay, let's be honest. They get organic low-sugar granola bars and .......a little sugar in their mayo....and sweet tea. When I think about it, our sugars are really low! Here's the cool thing! I replaced our sweet tea with plain lemon water that I steep in the afternoons before they get home from school and they love it. Noah has had a couple of rough days due to the high school soccer season that I have treated him with sweet tea when he got home from the games, but otherwise, lemon water. Oh! And, they didn't even notice that I cut the sugar in the tea to half. Who knew?

So, that's all the good. Now, I want to address the bad and ugly. I think there is an idea that for many folks following this diet that eggs are a staple. I know from the Virgin Diet, when I eliminated eggs, that they have been a major culprit of inflammation for me (especially with my thyroid) and once they were gone, a lot changed for me. The texture of my skin, my bowel issues, my heartburn...with the W30, I really went full force on eggs again and within 3 weeks, was feeling the results which for me where not good. In addition, the idea is to increase your plant intake. Here's the deal. I don't need to increase my plant intake. So, I was not adding a lot of plant based foods. Greens, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, these things are all part of my daily diet. But, something in the elimination of all grains, adding back in the eggs and maybe the almond milk, shut my digestive system down pretty much completely. I won't go into the gory details, but after two days of severe discomfort to the point of not sleeping, I got up and had a non-compliant breakfast and lunch to attempt to reset. This was in the way of oatmeal and lunch at a local Indian restaurant. By the next day, things had begun to right themselves. The decision was made to stick to the plan.  Just because we had to finish, find completion.

The longest 6 days of my life. We were counting the days....Nathan and I...and the kids as the Moon was anxious to get back to baking.

You would think we would return to every bad old habit once finished! We did and we didn't. I had gf biscuits and gravy Friday morning but only had homemade chicken broth for lunch. We had sushi for dinner. I was mostly "compliant" on Saturday during the day but ordered Mexican for dinner. There's an interesting story. I ordered two chicken enchiladas with suiza (green) sauce. It came with beans and rice. I asked that the rice be replaced with a second bean. You see, on one of my non-compliant days I had rice. It is entirely possible that I will never eat rice again. I do not need it, cannot digest it, it has very little value for me and only bloated me and gave me abdominal pain. With my Mexican also came chips and salsa. A test! I sat down and thought I would do what I normally do with Mexican food - polish it off. Nope. I literally ate half and put the remainder in the fridge for Sunday's lunch. I also was up most of the night with horrific heartburn. You can bet that instead of being a grain staple for me, even in the most organic non-GMO way, that corn is now low on my food list.  Not only have I cut my sugar almost completely out, I have reduced my portions by half. Let the weight roll off! 

That's the story of me and Whole 30 and over the last week and still today, I am pondering where I go from here. I have some things banging around in my head and hope to cement this by the end of the day. I'll let you know when I figure it out!

Here's to your health,



bottom of page