health · Lifestyle · natural · review

Why we quit our Whole30 – and how we didn’t

I was so excited to try this Whole30. I’ve been dealing with some chronic, though not serious, issues I was hoping would finally be kicked by it. I want my family to be healthy and happy. While I wasn’t able to get a copy of the Whole30 cookbook, I read the explanation book and read a few blogs. I had a meal plan, went shopping, cleaned out the pantry, etc.

and how we didn't

Day 1 was great. Meals were a little different than what I was used to, but we kept it simple and felt pretty good. Day 2 was awful. By noon I had a horrible migraine and was terribly irritable. Day 3 was better but I ended up snacking several times and spent most of the day outside in the sun and fresh air. Things were looking up! Day 4 was back down again and by 10 a.m. I was developing  a  migraine again and was so tired I could barely function. Day 5 and 6 were much of the same.

I had expected to experience some level of detox/withdrawal symptoms. I understood there were addiction-like things at play, like sugar addiction. But I hadn’t expected it to be this miserable. When you are already busy and going to have to spend more time cooking than usual, feeling miserable on top of that is a lot to deal with.

So we quit. First it was just out of necessity. There was no way I had time to buy and make dinner and we had a hungry, tired baby. So we ran out to get something as close to our diet as possible. But as I worked on the second portion of our meal plan, it became very clear that this was probably just not quite the reset for us.

We were eating way more meat than usual. This was very expensive and we are not in a place where that is a good choice. And I was dealing with really bad protein aversions so the idea of eating more chicken or avocado or eggs made me want to hurl.

So we are using my favorite approach to learning and trying new things – take the things you like or make sense and forget the rest. Here’s what we’re going to do now.

  • 30 day sugar fast – Since my largest issue is candida-related, I’m going to start taking a monolaurin supplement and keep on a 30 day sugar fast. This includes all sweeteners, including honey, but not fresh/frozen fruit. This is still really really hard for me but since to me it is more directly connected to my health issues, it feels easier in a way.
  • More eggs – A dozen eggs was lasting us around 2 weeks before this. We had scrambled eggs every once in a while and I would use a few for making or stir-fries. We ate a lot of hard boiled eggs during our 8 day Whole30 and I think they will become a more regular part of our diet. We also found a really great source for pastured eggs that seem to be a great orange yolk-quality and we will keep buying those. I’m also excited to try making new dishes with eggs (including a nice egg custard!)
  • More veggies – Before, I would also cut up veggies for snacks during the week and try to include at least one veggie as part of our meal. Now I want to keep the focus on lots of varied veggies. We’re going to shoot for two different types of veggies, including at least one handful of one per person.
  • Lemon water – I used to start my mornings with room temperature water with half a lemon squeezed in it when I was pregnant, mostly because I couldn’t stomach plain water, but also because I had heard so many great things about it. I’ve done it a few times here and there since but started it up again during this reset to help support my liver. I remembered how much I liked it and how much more water I end up drinking when I do use some lemon in it so I’m going to start that back up.
  • More varied meat – We were stuck in a pretty decent rut of mostly boneless-skinless chicken breasts and ground beef. I’m trying to switch that up and include whole chickens, bone broth, different cuts of beef, and fish like canned tuna, canned and fresh salmon, anchovies and sardines, allowing us to still get lots of minerals and protein from meat without getting bogged down or breaking the bank.
  • Reincorporate some organic grain-ish no-nos – While we are going to try to stick to mostly gluten-free from now on, we are going to reincorporate brown rice, basmati white rice, rolled oats and quinoa into our diets. We’re also going to add beans back in, but no more than once per week. These will help fill in the gaps where our budget requires us to buy a little less meat than a Whole30 demands.

Even though this Whole30 didn’t work out, I feel really good about where our eating habits are headed. I think it will make meal planning, prep, cooking and budgeting much more manageable. Stress is also bad for our health and if a dietary change is causing too much stress, something needs to change. I know many people have had wonderful success with Whole30 and a paleo diet change, and we may end up one of those people somewhere down the line, but now is just not the time.

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