I never really posted a final "wrap up" about my experience doing the Whole 30 last month - becaaaause, I kind of never stopped doing it. Well, I've made a few tweaks here and there...but let's go back a few weeks...
I started the Whole 30 in February with one goal in mind - to reduce inflammation. Since last October I had been having asthma attacks, severe allergy symptoms, fatigue and weird swelling in my mouth. I was also experiencing heightened anxiety and had frequent panic attacks. I felt ill in one form or another all the time. The swelling in my mouth was literally driving me insane. I was seen by a dentist and three doctors, all of them prescribed different medicines and treatments - none of their prescriptions worked.
I bought "It Starts With Food" because it was the first book to come up in my online search for "anti-inflammation diet." The book convinced me that I had systemic inflammation, and I decided to try the strict 30 day elimination diet to see if it would help relieve my symptoms.
The diet was not easy. The first 3 weeks were miserable, and I don't think I could have gotten through them successfully if Matt had not generously decided to do the diet with me. (I'm sure it also helped that we were in a new area, we hardly know anyone here, and we don't have much of a social life.)
The results of this experiment on myself: I don't want to sound like an annoying health-nut-preachy-person, b-b-b-b-b-but! I could seriously go on all day about the amazing things the Whole 30 diet has done for my health. My asthma totally disappeared. The swelling in my mouth was reduced to almost nothing. My energy shot up. I started sleeping better than I have since before I got pregnant with Olive. My acne and skin redness disappeared. The cherry on top, and biggest surprise to me, was that (to date) I've lost over 15 lbs. And that's without counting a single calorie, and exercising very very gently. All this in less than 2 months! My body loves eating paleo, obviously.
Right as our 30 days were getting close to being over, I visited a local allergist because even though I was feeling great, the swelling in my mouth was not healing completely. He did a series of blood and skin tests and the results were a bit bizarre. According to the tests, in addition to being allergic to gluten, wheat and rye I am also allergic to all dairy, eggs and chicken.
When the allergist told me I needed to go on an even stricter elimination diet, (cutting out eggs and chicken - 2 of the staples of my diet that I eat almost every day) I cried in his office. It was the most depressing news I could have received. My mood lightened up a little bit when he told me I could add back in beans, white potatoes and quinoa. That makes it bearable.
The goal of messing around so much with my diet is to give my body a break and time to heal. At some point after fasting from all these foods, my body will most likely be able to tolerate some of them again on a rotational basis. So there is hope for a more normal life in the future.
But for now, my diet is pretty limited. And weird. (I have turned into a sweet potato junkie.)
The crazy thing is, though - I feel amazing. Since cutting out eggs, my mouth is feeling much better already. I also feel more energized and calm and happy. It blows my mind that what we eat has such impact on our health and well being, physically and mentally! And I'm starting to realize that for me, the joy of feeling healthy and happy far outweighs any pleasure I might receive from food that isn't healthy for me.
My kids both celebrated their birthdays this week, and I made them a beautiful flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting. My allergist gave me the green light to "cheat" and have a piece of cake with my family. I was nervous about eating some sugar after being off of it for over a month - I wondered if I would feel really sick, or if I would immediately start craving MORE sugar. The whole experience ended up being very underwhelming. The cake was pleasant but I ended up being satisfied with just half a piece and didn't crave anymore.
It was in that moment that I realized that as corny as it sounds, the Whole 30 has changed my life. Forever. It's changed my health, it's changed my body, and it's forever changed my relationship with food.