The Whole Thirty Days…

The first day of spring is one thing and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.
~ Henry Van Dyke

Here it is, the first full day of spring, and yet, I sit at my window and watch the snow fall. The March lion is roaring today, but the day off provides me with some much needed time to sit and write…

Historically, January & February are not my favorite months. Long, dark and cold is how I would typically describe them in these parts. And I seem to have one setting: hibernation. In winter, all I often want to do is read and hang out in my flannel pajamas. But in recent years, giving myself a specific focus and purpose has helped to endure the cold. Last year, it was the Healthy Self Reset led by nutritionist. This year, I garnered the courage to take on the Whole30.

The Whole30  is a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.  But before I go any further, a bit of a back story..

Information on the Whole30 started trickling into my world about 3 years ago right at the beginning of this journey surrounding my health.  It was before I was diagnosed with celiac, and so the thought of eliminating all grains, gluten, legumes, dairy and sugar terrified me.  I think on more than one occasion I said out loud: Oh I could never do that.  You have to understand that I was raised on Tang, Frosted Flakes and homemade Nestle Tollhouse cookies.  One of my fondest memories of my mom is her in our kitchen wearing one of her Talbots wraparound skirts, baking up some goodness.  Peach pie.  Cinnamon rolls.  Mississippi Mud.  If I could have just one more day with her, I would want to spend it on our screened-in back porch, sipping on her sugar-laden mint iced tea, savoring any one of her delicious treats.  While I believe the landscape of agriculture has changed dramatically since the 1970’s, and therefore all those treats were less “bad” back then, it serves as a good explanation for why I have such an enormous sugar dragon.  And of course, I lovingly bequeathed it to my daughter.  Early on in my labor, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins to have on hand for when I came home from the hospital…. So yes, sugar dragons are alive and well in my family.

Therefore,  the prospects of doing a Whole30 and giving up basically everything I was raised on, was simply out of the question.  But I was intrigued… and often found myself perusing the website and learning all the parameters.  Fast forward past my celiac diagnosis and my kissing gluten goodbye forever.  Fast forward past my elimination diet  where I learned the casein in dairy didn’t agree with me (Casein shares some structural similarities with components of gluten.  This means that people with celiac are less likely to tolerate casein-containing dairy products.  I happen to be one of them).  So after 3 years of reading, reflecting and going 100% gluten free and 98% dairy free,  slowly my anxiety turned to the kind of courage where I felt mobilized and excited rather than paralyzed by fear.

January 8th was a Monday, and it was the day.  I had read It Starts With Food by the founders of the Whole30 program Dallas & Melissa Hartwig about a year prior, so I brought it out again for reference.  On, Sunday evening, January 7th, I cracked my knuckles, rolled my neck in circles, folded up my sleeves and said:  I can do this.  

It was hard.

The first 6 days were the hardest.

It got easier as time went on.

I used this as a guide as to help me know what was within the realm of normal:

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And most of my meals looked something like this (plus a protein):

IMG_1493

And surprisingly, it was this that I missed the most:

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But I did it.  And it felt great.  And yes, I will do it again sometime.  There are countless testimonials out there, and honestly, mine is no different.  As a person with an autoimmune disease, food really is either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison for me.  And those 30 days put me more in tune with which is which.  Citing directly from Chapter 1 of It Starts With Food:  “There is no food neutral; there is no food Switzerland — every single thing you put in your mouth is either making you healthy or less healthy.”  I strongly recommend anyone who is dealing with an autoimmune issue try a Whole30 just once.

As I anxiously await the lamb’s arrival to garner in the first spring day,  I celebrate the victory of facing my fears and enduring the whole thirty days.

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7 thoughts on “The Whole Thirty Days…

    1. I have seen your kitchen creations Lynne, and you make it look effortless. I think you’d be just ~fine~ any time you decide to do it! Also, from what I can gather, you don’t have the same sweet tooth to conquer that I did. So, a piece of cake for you! ☺️

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  1. Congratulations Kathy!
    I would like to read more about the whole 30.
    Do you have a book you can recommend?
    Or did you use, “It starts with food?”
    I am 99% gluten, dairy, eggs and pork free.
    It’s a challenge but I am always looking for new recipes.
    Let me know your thoughts!

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    1. “It Starts With Food” is a great starting place! It’s a wealth of information that is easy to understand and lays the groundwork for how food is medicine. The most effective thing about doing a Whole30 is that you are 100% gluten free, dairy free, grain free & legume free. It’s an elimination diet with a road map! The Whole30 website is FULL of information and guidelines. It also directs you to specific brands to look for at the grocery store that are Whole30 compliant. And then of course they’ve got social media sites where you can interact & ask questions and find recipes. It’s an incredibly supportive community!

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  2. I remember it was hard. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with celiac and few products existed to make my life manageable. Added to that diagnosis was coronary artery disease which makes eating an animal based diet unwise. In 2018, many more options exist. Good luck to you. I eat a more vegaish-pescatarian diet that is gluten-free. One has to work to make such a diet work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Goodness, I can’t imagine trying to navigate all this ten years ago. Thankfully, there is much more awareness now and so many more options! And yes, it is work. But always, always worth the effort. Thank you so much for chiming in and best wishes to you. 💖

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