Why I'm doing the January Whole30
Welcome to my revamped blog/website! I’m so happy to have you. On January 5, 2018, I will begin my 3rd *attempted* Whole30 program, which I will chronicle here.
What is the Whole30?
Since Melissa Hartwig started the Whole30 in 2009, this food elimination program has helped millions of people determine food sensitivities causing them issues such as headaches, weight gain, digestive problems, reflux, hormonal disruptions, auto-immunity disorders, and many other ailments. In short, during the 30 days of the program, you eliminate all potentially problematic foods: gluten, dairy, legumes, alcohol, sugar and sugar substitutes (even natural ones), additives (e.g., MSG, carrageenan, etc.), and baked goods, even if they are made of compliant foods (e.g., paleo pancakes). You CAN eat: meat, veg, fruit, nuts, seeds, natural fats like coconut oil, ghee (i.e., clarified butter). Basically, all real – no processed – food.
One important rule is you are not allowed ANY cheats. If you slip up even once, you must start over at day one.
After the 30 days are complete, you continue the Whole30 way of eating but slowly reintroduce the eliminated foods back into your diet to observe any reactions to eating those foods again. Thé ultimate goal is finding your “food freedom,” your long term plan for eating the way in which you function best.
Sound hard? It’s certainly not easy. However, as Melissa Hartwig points out in her Whole30 books there are many other things much harder in life than giving up possibly your favorite foods for 30 days, such as fighting cancer or giving birth. The program does take dedication and preparation, however. Go to the whole30.com website for all the information you need to get started, including several reference/cookbooks and a new daily journal.
Why am I doing the January Whole30?
I mentioned this is my 3rd attempted Whole30. My first was in January 2016. While I had been eating “real food” – albeit included gluten – for a couple years, I had no idea what foods negatively affected me and was possibly causing my chronic heartburn for which I had been taking Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) for decades. I was also experiencing other digestive issues, occasional anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue. I completed the 30 days, lost several inches around my waist and felt great. However, I skipped the reintroduction period and jumped right back into eating my “normal” foods, which was basically a paleo template but included many treats and the occasional gluten-laden foods. The weight came back on, despite exercising religiously, within a few weeks.
Fast forward to June 2017. Due to a myriad of stressors that had piled on, I experienced a period of intense anxiety and panic attacks. My main focus then turned to managing the crippling anxiety, doing only yoga and walking (and stopping my weight lifting and aerobic conditioning), healing my hormones, SLEEPing, and just. feeling. better. My good eating habits went by the wayside, unfortunately. It didn’t help that I had started taking an anti-depressant, which caused me to overeat and crave carbohydrates like crazy.
By September, my anxiety was more or less under control, and I attempted another Whole30 to get my eating back on track. I lasted one week. I’ll chalk that up to not being prepared, mentally or otherwise.
So, here we are, after a quite indulgent holiday season and gaining nearly 20 pounds since June. I’m more than pumped to get started on the January Whole30.
My main goal for the program is to figure out what foods I’m sensitive to, which could be causing my incessant anxiety, depression and insomnia, and severe eczema which is new (yay). I also hope that by focusing on eating real food that fuels my body and brain optimally, I will experience less withdrawal symptoms from weening off the anti-depressant. Finally, I would be lying if I also didn’t mention I hope to lose a few pounds.
For the month of January and into February, I will publish weekly posts here about how my Whole30 is going. If you’d like daily updates and posts about the foods I eat during the program, follow me on Instagram (@katewilliamshealth). After that, I will continue to post weekly and topics will vary.
Thank you for joining me. It honestly means so much. xoxo