Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Whole30 Wrap Up: Creating a Powerful Body, Mind, and Spirit

Today is the last day of my Whole30. Finally! After trying Whole30 at least 5 times, I actually finished it. Woo Hoo!! Here is my Whole30 Wrap Up:

Why Did I Do a Whole30?
  • I have a terrible relationship with food and I needed to change that. Normally I am just worried about loosing weight, but all the other weight loss methods that worked for me just had me eating low fat, sugar-free, ice cream, and bread all day. I lost weight but still had a bad relationship with food, and then a few years later I gained the weight back.
  • What I eat helps regulate my bipolar disorder better than medications do. I needed to figure out what was best for my treatment plan.
  • I wanted to have choice in my life rather than letting my illness take control of me.
  • I wanted to finally stick up for myself and to say that I am worth this amount of work.
  • For my family. I wanted my son to learn what is healthy. Not see that you eat healthy to be a certain size, but you eat, sleep, recover, play, learn, and grow spiritually so you can be play hard, learn more, and be strong.
What Were The Hardest Things About Whole30?
  • Meal planning. You need a TON of food prepared in order to eat Whole30 because you really can't eat out anywhere. (Or at least I could not because I did not want to risk it.) Sometimes we ate the same meal for breakfast lunch and dinner. 
  • The "Sugar Dragon." I craved sugar, dreamed about sugar, and a few times overate dates or sweet potatoes.
  • Binge eating healthy food! I didn't know that if I had no options, I really would overeat veggies and meat. 
  • Taking food everywhere. Every meeting, every dinner party, every play date for our son, we brought our own food.
  • I am not cured. I have had Irritable Bowel (IBS) my whole life and really thought if I just ate Whole30 it would go away. It got better but didn't go away completly. There must still be more I am sensitive too. Also, my bipolar is much better regulated but I don't have more than 3-4 days where I am really stable. 
Two of our favorite books. Photo by Jeff Norris.

What Were The Best Things About Whole30?
  • While I am not cured of IBS or bipolar, they are both significantly better. And, I no longer fear cutting out foods in order to get even more healthy. I always thought "I don't have enough willpower to be better." Whole30 made me realize willpower is a myth. I can do it if I have a good support system, we are better prepared, and I know I am worth it. It was not until week 3 that I really realized I could do this. I think you just have to force yourself to do it for at least 3 weeks before you know you can do it. 
  • Cooking with my husband. We used to drive each other nuts trying to cook in the same kitchen. But this time we both were working towards the same goal and it was great.
  • My son learned about being healthy and is actually interested in it! He remained almost completely Whole30 compliant, and he wanted to do it. Gone are the previous days of him complaining that he can't have pizza, bread, dairy, sweets, candy, and "eat what everyone else eats." He likes to just eat healthy. He wants to be stronger, faster, and better in school. He started CrossFit kids in the last few weeks and is really loving the whole healthy lifestyle.
  • We had fun doing this together as a family. We cooked new things, ruined some dishes that made our son laugh at us, went to visit the farm where our meat comes from, worked out together, and we became far more encouraging of each other not only with eating but work, school, and life.
  • I learned that my eating disorder is perpetuated by eating bad food. It Starts With Food, the book about Whole 30, has a great chapter on the science behind the addictive nature of processed foods. 
  • Supplements, sleep, and other things had been suggested to me by my doctor for my treatment but it was so hard to figure out what helped, what was causing problems, because I just had so much bad food in my body. I have a better idea of what supplements help, how much sleep I need, and that there are still a lot more lifestyle changes to go before my treatment plan is compete. Now doing the Whole30, I know I can do all of these things. 
  • I proved to myself that I matter. I did not cave and put myself last just to make other people more comfortable. I did not doubt my intuition on how best to care for myself. I gave myself power that I thought I did not have before.
"Measurable" Results From the Whole30
  •  Mental Illness: Less Ativan needed, bit better sleep (still working on this), more stable moods, times that would have set me over the edge were not as bad, on the path to recovery from binge eating, happier, sense of self worth.
  • Physical: Better at CrossFit and better at sticking with working out, lost weight and inches (I went down two notches on my belt), skin clearing up, eczema not gone but better, IBS not as bad.
  • Family: We became closer as a family, we support each other more, healthy living has almost defined us and what we think is important, even our dogs are on a better diet.
  • Spiritual: Much better connection to the earth, animals, and farmers who bring us our food. More gratitude, less waste, more understanding of how to help others who are working on being healthy, easier to stick to our ethics, more connected with the Spirit of Love around us. 
What Is Next?
  •  Sticking with a strict Paleo base following the Whole30 concept of not eating a ton of Paleofied foods, and not using any refined sugar, and only small amounts of honey or maple syrup. 
  • Whole30 has a reintroduction plan, but instead I will be eliminating some more foods to see what still bothers my stomach and I never want to reintroduce wheat, sugar, processed foods, etc...
  • More focus on sleep, timing of eating, exercise, and meditation.

Overall, the Whole30 experience was great. True, sometimes I wanted to pull my hair out, scream, yell, and quit. However, the power you gain from doing something like this is so great. You become stronger in body, mind, and spirit.


Rev. Katie

Some of our most used items this month: It Starts With Food, Practical Paleo, Well Fed, and recipe for Slow Cooker Italian Pork Roast.


  1. Katie,
    I am impressed, inspired and encouraged. How many of us start a plan like yours and quit, when the one person who is going to benefit from the plan is us! duh....
    I have been 'on the road' lately and even if though I do bring food and eat well, just the change of routine makes me feel totally off and makes me want to 'not bother' with healthy choices until I am settled into my next spot.
    But...your story has encouraged me to stick with it.
    I will be praying for you that you can stick with this!

    1. Thanks Wendy. It is so hard to stick to healthy eating on the road. Stick with it!

  2. I have had IBS that went away with Paleo, but for that, I had to add fermented foods, offal, seaweed, oysters, bone broth, and home-made goat kefir (even if I wouldn't eat other dairy, this one is a must-have to heal the gut). If you ferment kefir at home for 24 hours there's no lactose left, and if it's from goat milk, the casein is better for humans than if it comes out of modern cows. Look into this!

    1. Thank you Eugenia. I just made bone broth yesterday and I felt a bit better today. We also started brewing our own kombucha and I was drinking quite a bit of it each day, and I think I might have overdone it too fast. I definitely need to increase fermented food. So glad to hear your IBS went away. I am grateful for your advice!

    2. I'm personally not a fan of kombucha. The research does not back the online claims about it! Please do a search on Pubmed for kombucha, and then for kefir, and you will see that kefir pans out, while kombucha doesn't. For tea, I'd suggest chamomile and Greek Mountain Tea (search for "sideritis" on pubmed, that's the only herbal tea with almost magical medicinal properties).

      Regarding bipolar, I've written an article about how to manage it with Paleo-ketogenic (I've linked your blog in it too, hope it's ok). Paleo-ketogenic is no-doubt similar to Whole30 (since it restricts carbs a lot), but in order to work for mental conditions it also needs high amounts of fish/oysters, offal, seaweed, fermented foods. Oysters being THE superfood for it.

      Please feel free to email me if you'd like to talk more! :)