When I decided to lead a Whole 30 group in January it was because for the first time in my life I felt my age. In the last few months of 2015 I had daily aches and pains, sinus congestion, lots of headaches and felt tired all the time. This was a new experience for me. I could have chocked it up to age, but because I had read so many books on inflammation I knew better. I knew inflammation and aging were not inextricably linked. I knew what I was eating was contributing to my woes. So I decided to do a Whole 30 and I am so glad many of you joined me! Having the accountability of a group kept me on the straight and narrow and now I am feeling great!
What is Whole 30?
Whole 30 is an eating plan that eliminates the foods that are most likely to cause inflammation, belly distress, hormone disruption and emotional eating. In other words: sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes, soy, artificial colors, processed oils, sweeteners and fillers. If you have aches and pains that are troublesome, are having a hard time losing weight, or suffer from a health condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) the symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
You eliminate them for 30 days. Cut them out completely and see what happens. What usually happens within the 30 days? Your life changes. You make the connection between what you are eating and how you feel. You make the connection between energy levels and what is happening in your gut. You sleep better. You feel better. You look better. The reason we do it for 30 days? It’s do-able. Short enough to make people feel like they can commit, and long enough to feel and and see changes. After 30 days you slowly and methodically add foods back in and see what foods cause you trouble. Then you stay away from those and enjoy the rest! At the very least you realize you aren’t helpless when it comes to how you feel. You hold the power to feel better. When you realize this, your life changes!
So What do We Eat?
Well….amazing food like this!
Whole 30: It’s All About The “Non-Scale Victories”
I love this plan because the focus is not on the scale! In fact weighing yourself is forbidden for 30 days because the authors of “It Starts with Food” (affiliate link) and Whole 30: A 30 Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom (affiliate link) want you to focus on ‘non scale victories’ such as how you feel, energy levels, relief from skin issues, congestion, allergies, digestion problems, joint stiffness, snoring and headaches! They want you to notice that by avoiding inflammation causing foods, you thrive!
Now I am going to share one of my best ‘non-scale victories’ with you. For years I have had a red inflamed chest. I get asked frequently if I have a sunburn. I don’t. It’s just good old inflammation. By day 18 on Whole 30 the redness on my chest was gone!
What did this prove? That something I was eating was causing me inflammation. What’s the big deal? If it were only a red chest, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But whatever was causing the red chest was also causing the achey joints, the headaches and the sinus congestion…which all went away on Whole 30. Inflammation is the underlying cause of disease! It is very important to know what triggers inflammation so you can avoid it.
Other Non Scale Victories from The January Whole 30 Group!
From anonymous: “Week 1 my husband stopped snoring. Miracles do happen”
From Cindy: After 45 days of Whole 30 compliance I began reintroduction on Valentines Day. I skipped legumes and went straight to non-gluten grains. I ate oatmeal for breakfast, some corn with lunch, and rice with dinner. Monday morning I woke up with bags under my eyes the size of couch cushions, a headache along my eyebrows and when I went for my 3 mile morning walk my hip pain was so bad that I had to take a short cut back to the car. That afternoon I fell asleep on the couch and slept for over an hour. It was so good to be back on compliance meals for the past two days! During the 45 days of Whole 30 I never needed an afternoon nap and it was unbelievable how little pain in my knees and hips I experienced while eating in compliance. I am a believer!
From me: For the first time in ages I feel as though sugar is not my master! From day 1 my belly felt great. By day 3 my almost daily headaches disappeared and by the end of the first week my joints felt ‘normal’ again! What I learned upon “reintroduction” was that grains and dairy trigger inflammation for me. Immediately upon consuming grains and dairy my fatigue, bloating and headaches came back. And the skin on my chest was bright pink again! So now I know. I can choose to avoid these foods completely or find the ‘dose’ that works for me. But the most important thing I learned from Whole 30 was that I am in control of how I feel. My aches and pains are not a mystery, or old age…they are caused by what I choose to eat.
From Teri: I have learned quite a bit from this experience, most notably that I often reach for food, particularly sugary foods, when I’m bored or restless. Eliminating sugar from my diet for such a long period caused me to experience sweetness in a new way, and I appreciate whole fruits so much more. I’ve learned that my body does not respond well to legumes. I experience digestive distress, but more interestingly, extreme fatigue and brain fog when I eat legumes. I also had a flare-up of lower back and hip pain after reintroducing dairy, which warrants further investigation. While on Whole 30 I also experienced clear sinuses and free breathing, very even energy levels throughout the day and a sense of accomplishment and empowerment!
From Julie: I loved doing the Whole 30 with this group. I have learned so much. Around day 18 I suddenly noticed that I no longer had neck pain! What a shock, I’d always thought I had something off with my neck – something out of whack even. I had NO idea that it was inflammation. I’m still neck pain free!!! I feel that Whole 30 has been a great tool for me!
From Trisha: “My husband and I started the whole 30 because we needed to make some changes to improve our health. About a week into it I felt a noticeable decrease in my inflammation. Specifically in my Achilles. My husband felt it in his knees. Both of us just felt better. I learned that I eat when I am bored, or graze because food is there. I also stress eat. I had a relatively stressful time during my whole 30. In the past I would have eaten my way through those stressful times in an unhealthy way. I didn’t this time and I felt much better!
From Brandi: “On Whole 30 my belly felt less bloated and my clothes fit better. I started having more energy and little to no afternoon crashes, which is huge in my mommy world. What surprised me the most was how much better I feel everyday. I’m less achey, more energized, and way less bloated. I get less stomach aches and my skin feels softer with less redness. I learned that food had really become an emotional crutch for me and I was taking way too many liberties that were doing my body and mind more harm than good.”
Even Though Weight is Not The Focus…I Have to Talk About the “Scale Victories!” Too!
From Kaysha: During my whole 30 I lost 7 pounds, but I’m really proud of my before and after photos, since it really shows how much my body changed!
From Brandi: I didn’t weigh myself until two days ago, a week after I finished whole 30. I lost 8 lbs and am back to my pre-pregnancy weight! Today, I put on my favorite (and tightest) pair of pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, and they fit like a glove!
From Lindsay: I actually haven’t weighed my self since doing Whole 30. It really had nothing to do with losing weight for me. I am happy with how my clothes fit & how I look. I am even happier to know what causes those stomach aches & I hope to continue figuring out any triggers I may have. Thanks for all the support, it’s been great!
From Trisha: I have lost 12 pounds, my husband has lost 16. Having this forum was huge in our success. Thank you so much.
From Lisa and Carlos: As a result of Whole 30 we both lost weight. Carlos-15 lbs., Lisa-8 lbs!
I could go on as there were many more scale victories but you get the picture!
SO NOW WHAT?
Comment below letting me know you are in. Invite a buddy, read one or both of the books:“It Starts with Food” (affiliate link) or Whole 30: A 30 Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom (affiliate link) and be sure to check the blog every few days for new info and if you signed up for my emails (please do:) be sure to read them! If you would like to, feel free to follow The Organic Kitchen Whole 30 Pinterest Recipe Board and The Facebook Support page!
I am looking forward to seeing what miracles occur with this next group of committed Whole 30’ers! ~ Linda
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