The Whole45 (aka. Whole30 + 15)

It’s been over a year since my last post. I was feeling pretty good after my spring cleanse, but still could not figure out why I couldn’t calm my insides. For the most part, things were improved, but discomfort was still a regular occurrence.

A couple of months later, I met someone who recommended the Whole30 program. As she described it, it sounded like an elimination diet, similar to what I did in the fall but cutting out legumes and all grains (not just wheat and corn). I learned it was essentially a paleo diet, though a bit more strict.

I had learned about the paleo diet during my 100 days of real food – a couple of friends even told me how they tried it and felt amazing – but I really struggled to imagine cutting out some staples, like oats and chickpeas. But, the Whole30 seemed manageable because: a) I knew I could do an elimination diet for 4 weeks, and b) I had nothing to lose. I still wanted answers.

I bought the book, did my research over the next couple of weeks, and then started the program in late July 2015.

I followed the program as prescribed, focusing on eating eggs, meat, fish, veggies, fruit, healthy fats, nuts and seeds while eliminating grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol and dairy. Additionally, there were some other rules: no weighing yourself and no recreating baked goods with approved ingredients (e.g. paleo pancakes, muffins, bread, etc). Following 30 days, you reintroduce the food groups one at a time to learn how your body reacts – as with any elimination diet. And that’s where I messed up.

The program itself went really well. Halfway through, I noticed differences, like longer, stronger nails, clearer skin, no more bloating, and my energy was sky high. I no longer felt the mid-afternoon slump, and most shocking to me, I didn’t feel the need to snack in between meals. The icing on the cake was that I lost 15 pounds and never once felt deprived or hungry.

However, the program ended during the busiest time of year for me, and I didn’t reintroduce the food groups properly. I kept many of the good habits from the program but slowly found myself eating some of the same old foods and, as would be expected, feeling the same discomforts.

I decided to do another round of the Whole30 in January, and again experienced the same benefits but still couldn’t seem to get the reintroduction right. However, I now know that legumes and some veggies are the main culprit of my GI distress. I’ve managed to keep my insides calm for most of the year. I follow a predominantly paleo diet now but sometimes fall into traps – then experience the consequences.

I’ve decided to do another round, but longer.

Why?

  1. I recently found out I have a thyroid autoimmune disorder, and over the past couple of months, have noticed my symptoms seem worse when I’m not eating properly. I want to test this theory further.
  2. The Whole30 community is running a big September program, and I like the idea of following along with others; however, I didn’t really want to wait until September to start. So, I’m stretching mine out to a Whole45.

I also decided I wanted to start writing again. Partly because I enjoyed the experience while doing my 100 days of real food. Partly because some people are curious about the program – what it entails, what it’s like, and why on earth I would be willing to give up alcohol and sugar for so long.

So, here we go!

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