What does WholeLife look like for you?


newwhole30er

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I'm so curious to hear how people make this way of eating work for them long-term.

 

Gretchen Rubin writes a lot about how for many people, abstinence works better than moderation. I feel like that is true for me. I'm on my second Whole30 now and really not sure what I'll do when it ends. I'll tell you what I did when my last Whole30 ended: start by adding dairy back in, continue into corn products, eventually end up eating gluten on a regular basis, and by the point at which I started this second Whole30 I was literally eating bags of Snyder's honey mustard pretzel pieces for breakfast. (Isn't there a blush emoticon? Can't find it now.)

 

This process happened over months and months, but my point is, when I try moderation it doesn't really WORK. My gut is telling me that I really need to just stay on Whole30 FOREVER. Of course I see the potential downsides of that, but I also really don't think I can handle moderation.

 

So I'd love to hear how all of you balance Whole30 with regular life. When do you go off-plan? For what foods? What does your typical day-to-day food look like when you're NOT on a Whole30? How do you keep yourself from going completely off track?

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My typical day to day is predominantly Whole30 eating.

I'm gluten-sensitive, so gluten has been out of my life for over 9 years.

I keep dairy, legumes and non-gluten grains (except for this fabulous GF pasta from Italy) out of the house. If, while dining out, something unique and special has these ingredients, I may indulge.

I have wine 1-2 times a week, if that.

I'll have quality dark chocolate once in a while: only buying when I have company. A local Italian bakery makes the best GF macaroons. I'll get those for company or to bring to someone's home.

Roughly once a month, I'll make a gluten/grain free banana bread.

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For me, working out what made me feel good was really important. Not just what didn't make me feel awful.

 

Things that make me feel awful:

  • Gluten
  • Carrageenan
  • Prolamin foods
  • Milk
  • In high volume - Brown rice, nut skins, seed coatings
  • Agave nectar
  • High fructose corn syrup

Things that don't feel awful but I feel good without - I missed most of these as negatives during many rounds of post-W30 Reintroductions:

  • Dairy that's not milk - especially whey!
  • Gluten free bakery products from shops - bread, rolls, cake etc
  • Artificial sweeteners that aren't stevia (not 100% sure stevia is okay either, but it's better than the others)
  • Paleo SWYPO like "raw treats" or other energy-dense-but-low-in-nutrients
  • Fruit juice
  • More than 1 cup of coffee a day (I know I'm having too much when I feel like I can't skip a cup)
  • Some medications I no longer take
  • Chronic cardio exercise

I often wonder about the abstinence vs moderation thing.

Things that make me feel awful are no good in moderation, I still feel awful.

The stuff I feel better without, actually isn't much good in moderation either, a lot of these kind of stack up over time for me and then I feel really crap.

 

Maybe I'm an abstainer more than a moderator, but maybe I just prefer the stuff that makes me feel good now (I didn't use to, but I haven't always known what made me not feel good).

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NewWhole30er, you could be me. I just restarted for what I expect to be a lifetime, not just 30 days. Moderation doesn't work for me, and I need to figure out what the triggers are that make me lose all control. Unfortunately (?), I don't have pain or gut issues that set off alarm bells for me. I might feel a little worse, but I don't get cramps or diarrhea or anything like that to tell me to STOP! So it's hard to give up certain things for life.

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Moderation doesn't work for me, and I need to figure out what the triggers are that make me lose all control. Unfortunately (?), I don't have pain or gut issues that set off alarm bells for me. I might feel a little worse, but I don't get cramps or diarrhea or anything like that to tell me to STOP! So it's hard to give up certain things for life.

Maybe you don't need to eliminate certain things for life.  You need to decide, for you, what's worth it in terms of being a trigger or making you feel yucky.

 

You might find the Whole30 Guide to Nutritional Off-Roading helpful to you.

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NewWhole30er, you could be me. I just restarted for what I expect to be a lifetime, not just 30 days. Moderation doesn't work for me, and I need to figure out what the triggers are that make me lose all control. Unfortunately (?), I don't have pain or gut issues that set off alarm bells for me. I might feel a little worse, but I don't get cramps or diarrhea or anything like that to tell me to STOP! So it's hard to give up certain things for life.

YES this is my issue!!! During reintroduction, nothing specific gave me a headache or stomach issues or anything like that, but what they DID do was cause me to lose control and slip into really unhealthy eating patterns, which eventually leave me feeling yucky but not right away.

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I am still figuring this out myself, but what's working for me really well right now is Whole30 + some alcohol (3-4 drinks per week) + small amounts of full-fat dairy. And not worrying about small amounts of added sugars. Like you, I don't have any major food sensitivities or intolerances but I just overall feel better eating this way.

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I'm a bit over a week into post-Whole 30. I've decided that I will adopt this lifestyle for the long term but when I feel there's a "worth it" moment, then I'll go ahead and splurge. Maybe that's having some wine or maybe that's going out for a special dinner and going totally off plan. I suppose once I start to do this, I'll know whether the "worth it" really was. I don't want to completely eliminate trigger foods from my life forever. As it says in It Starts with Food, it's a fact that celebrations often involve food and nobody is saying we shouldn't ever enjoy something that is dairy, grain, sugar.....etc. It's likely bound to happen, especially for those that don't have allergic reactions to food groups. What I do know, however, is that this lifestyle has helped me understand how to stay full on three meals a day and I don't snack like I used to AT ALL. I was heading down a horrible downward spin with snacking and wanting treats....I needed to get a grasp on that. W30 has done that for me and that's the motivator. But I'm also adult enough to know for myself when it's okay to let loose and indulge. As long as indulging doesn't become an always thing and I keep it for those "worth it" moments, I think that balance will be met. But like others, the feel-good foods are the hook. I can only hope I continue to feel the way I do right now about all of this - I'm still fresh into the "after glow" of how this lifestyle makes me feel and it's a feeling I hope I don't lose!

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For those doing their first one, from my first Whole30, I wasn't even sure I had a problem with gluten, let alone anything else.

 

If you've eaten something for a long time, your body can sometimes just learn to cope, but it's not thriving.

 

That's what I now measure, does it make me thrive.

If not, it needs to be worth it in some way and I find few things are more important to me than health now.

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This is from the link in praxisproject's signature ~ where she says "probable celiac".  Interesting article!

 

"This is a huge problem because conventional lab testing for CD and of gluten intolerance only screens for antibodies to alpha-gliadin and transglutaminase-2. If you're reacting to any other fractions of the wheat protein (e.g., beta-gliadin, gamma-gliadin or omega-gliadin), or any other types of transglutaminase (e.g., type 3 or type 6), you'll test negative for CD and gluten intolerance no matter how severely you're reacting to wheat."

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Praxisproject, I noticed in your signature you say you're a probable celiac. Isn't there a blood test that can be done to confirm?

 

I had seen a number of doctors and specialists who said I must only be gluten intolerant as I did the blood test and it was clear of antibodies (I was eating pretty much wheat free at this point, so there's debate on how accurate this test is without a high ingested load). One specialist made me do the "gluten challenge" which is meant to go for a number of weeks and be followed by a biopsy, but I nearly had a heart attack on Day 8 and my doc said I must never do that again (this is known as "gluten induced ataxis" and hospitals know all about it). For general awareness, there are many people who get diagnosed with anxiety who actually suffer from gluten induced ataxis as the symptoms are very similar.

 

Even for those who can complete the challenge, the test itself is actually really dodgy, one of the worst medical tests available today. We tend to think of tests as definitive, but this one really isn't. It's a random biopsy test of a very large surface area, so if they pick an undamaged bit to take a sample from you'll get the all clear. The intestines are huge, it's a very poor test. Some "probable" celiacs perform the gluten challenge every year, hoping for a confirmed diagnosis, after 9 or 10 years of negatives, they finally get one positive. But to get it, they'd had to endure deliberate and permanent damage to their internal organs.

 

Speaking to a well respected research scientist at a gluten free expo recently, I found out I fall into another category "probable celiac", which really means they don't have the right kind of test to identify this group (many of them are currently told they are gluten intolerant like I was, "must be" allergic to wheat or told they're imagining it which is actually very silly as our blood shows markers so it's clearly something wrong and not imaginary - if a doctor says this to you, get another doctor). I hit pretty much every marker for the malabsorption review of celiacs, malabsorption is also an issue in MTHFR but from a different angle, not for failure to absorb, but being unable to use what is absorbed, so there are both deficiencies and build ups which can't clear. This is why nutrition is really important for me, I can be eating normally, but starving of nutrients on the inside, unable to heal skin or build/retain muscle.

 

Some of us also have reactions beyond the gluten spectrum, I have issues with everything Prolamin - many of the things on this list contain gluten, but not all. However they function identically in the plant world, performing the same function as gluten does, for the plant (in Australia, no oat is considered to be gluten free from a legal labelling perspective as in most studies, celiacs react to oats and that is who the labelling is for primarily and this is specifically not about cross contamination - in the USA, oats are considered to be gluten free if not "cross contaminated" during processing).

 

Most of us can't complete the gluten challenge (we get too sick and not all in the same way) but there are certain factors in our histories that align in common groups with confirmed celiacs. There's a lot of study going on in this area, I even donated some DNA for a study on better testing and I'll do this more in the future if there are others.

 

There is also apparently a type of liver test starting to be used, which I'm looking into, but it's not in common use for unconfirmed celiacs so I need to find the right kind of doctor, many are only trained to use the gluten challenge, without it they have no treatment plans or diagnostic knowledge, so for those who can't complete it, they're stuck partway through a diagnosis and never get any treatment.

 

There is also another branch of research around the conditions that many celiacs also share, as this may provide more accurate identification of both celiacs and other correlated conditions such as MTHFR and Ehlers-Danlos (there's a huge infographic on it somewhere). Some of these conditions aren't believed to have the same root causes, but scientists are starting to ask, well if they're not related, why do they so often go together? These are good questions and this type of cross-analysis is now starting to be performed across large groups of disorders as many of them occur in "clumps" but we don't currently think are related. From a data perspective, this may mean we're missing some linking information (DNA analysis is still pretty rare in large studies).

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For general awareness, there are many people who get diagnosed with anxiety who actually suffer from gluten induced ataxis as the symptoms are very similar.

 

When we decided to make the switch over to Paleo ~ "just to see" how everyone would feel for 30 days...   My oldest son's anxiety and related stomach issues pretty much disappeared.  I had no idea how all of those "healthy whole grains" were truly affecting him -- until they were gone.  He has been like a different person since we got it out of his system (over 3 years ago now).

 

I have never had him (or any of us) tested.  We've all felt so much better without it ~ there has been zero reason for us to go back.

 

It's sad to think of how many people suffer needlessly, because they simply don't know.  I think, even if they have been presented with the information ~ many cannot actually wrap their heads around the huge impact this can have on their overall health and well-being.  

 

Gluten is everywhere.  In "everything".  It's like asking people to cut off one of their arms or something.  Crazy.

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Wow, very interesting. I never knew that!

 

I was really shocked, as the way people talked about the "celiac test", I thought it was really definitive, but it's not.

 

Combined with the process used for diagnosis, it leaves a lot of people high & dry. So, I decided to take control myself and work on my own diagnostics, testing and seeing what works for me.

 

I have never had him (or any of us) tested.  We've all felt so much better without it ~ there has been zero reason for us to go back.

 

That was the other thing I was really annoyed about, I really didn't want to do the gluten challenge as I knew at that point it made me very sick, most of the outcome of completing it and being confirmed is being told to avoid gluten for the rest of your life :rolleyes:. This was pretty stupid as I'd already worked that part out and it took me 2-3 months to recover from 8 days of gluten ingestion :angry:  

 

The only reason I'd like a formal diagnosis now is that so many processes require it to continue down more complex testing/treatment/education paths.

It's crazy that I can't get education from a doctor about things gluten is in, without being diagnosed. I shouldn't have had to figure out all this stuff on my own.

 

There's no cure, there's no real treatments aside from for complications, so the process itself is pretty silly and outdated.

However it's important to know if you are a celiac, as even trace amounts of gluten will create permanent damage internally.

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That's what I now measure, does it make me thrive.

 

Such a great question to ask ourselves periodically. Not only with respect to food, but many things in life: friends, responsibilities, volunteer commitments, job roles, etc. 

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WholeLife for me looks a lot like W30 with occasional offroads. I'm eliminating coffee for two years and sugar for at least one year while I have braces on my teeth (a great deterrent to eating nuts, BTW, if you need to break that habit). Fruit is a much more limited part of my life now, and not served up like dessert. I don't snack, and I don't have problems living in a world where other people treat themselves with sugar and I prefer a good lamb stew.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just finished my whole30 about a week and a half ago, and I am loving learning to find balance in my day to day routine. I didn't have any issues with reintroducing anything, so nothing is officially 'off limits' for me based on allergies or any negative reactions. My typical day (which I know is a little fruit heavy, but it's working for me right now) looks like this:

 

-Breakfast: eggs and fruit, maybe banana pancakes (which are not whole30, but obviously are okay once your whole30 is over if you so choose)

-Mid morning snack: handful of blueberries and almonds

-Lunch: chili with beans and lots of veggies (so glad the beans are back!), curry pumpkin lentil soup, chicken breast with sweet potato mash and brussel sprouts (these are my 3 go to main meals, I make all my lunches on Sunday and typically have the same thing every day) with plantain chips or a few crackers and 2 mandarin oranges

-Afternoon snack: apple, banana, or larabar if I'm staying at work late

-Dinner: once a week we have pizza or pasta, besides that we have been keeping dinners whole30 + legumes/corn (so a typical dinner might be meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans or a lettuce wrapped burger with roasted potatoes and carrots)

 

On the weekends, we try to keep it whole30ish except when we are eating out. During the week I also occasionally have a treat of a donut with my running group, a Starbucks drink with a friend, a brownie in the break room, or some Starbust jelly beans. Just being completely transparent so it doesn't look like I never eat the unhealthy things I missed

 

Hope this helps!!

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Cross posting from another thread:

My motivation is better general health. I'm over the half century mark now and paying more attention to a slowing metabolism and keeping the body in better shape overall.

I have a huge "coffee" addiction, which actually turned out to be an addiction to frothy steamed milk and sugar. So I gave up coffee 8 months ago. Now I'm focused on leaving out sugar and processed foods. All of them.

I guess my approach to post Whole30 could be described as "less obsessive" compared to being on Whole30, but there's little difference to the naked eye. 3 meals of VEGETABLES-Meat-fat, fruit and nuts only as condiments or ingredients with a meal, no snacks, no desserts.

To other people, this looks very restrictive, but to me it sets me free. I don't have to think so hard about "am I going to eat this or that", I just truck along making these meals. Simplicity equals stability to me, and I'm in a good comfort zone. Why would I want to rock that boat?

I've tried a few reintros: peas (not as great as I remembered), corn (doesn't seem to have any effect, but I won't seek it out), and cheese (headaches followed both times, I can live without it). Also had a glass of wine on Valentine's Day (little effect, I could have thrown out the glass after one sip).

So all these offroads that were so full of anticipation for me have mostly fallen flat. And I'm not disappointed, because cravings are non-existent now and I want to look back in a year and see the progress after a year of healthy eating. Why mess with a good thing, right?

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This is encouraging!  I just finished one week on the Whole30 and for some reason I felt really sick of it yesterday -- not sure why.  I did not want to stop (and did not) but I felt sort of angry at it.  Thanks for writing this!  part of my issue is that I don't need to lose a lot of weight and I am a fit person -- I really just want to be healthier.  so I am not going to see "phenomenal" results I guess -- not sure what I was expecting.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I started my Whole30 12/26 and did the reintroduction phase, learning that grains and gluten are what was triggering some serious digestive issues. I lost 12lbs and 15.3 inches off my body. For the first time since I'd had my first son 4 years ago I had so much energy, I was bright and happy, my resting heart rate dropped from 90's to 60's. Because of these changes I decided that since Whole30 was easy for me, I'd just keep going.

 

I've stayed 100% compliant until last week I had a week-long business trip and went prepared with compliant snacks, however when you have no say in where you go for the 3 meals each day, and you don't want to be super crazy order lady, I definitely had butter on my veggies, sugar in my bacon and can't validate what was in the spices that were used on various meats ordered. As soon as I got back home I hopped right back on the Whole30 train and plant to stay here 100% until at least May and then after that I plan on being 95% compliant. I was really proud of how well I ate regardless of not being able to control my environment, still making time to wake up at 4:30am to work out on top of it all.

 

I honestly can't believe how much food affected my mood, personality and energy levels. The funny part is, I bought the book in early December not knowing what Whole30 was, but liking the recipes, read the book and saw it as a sign!!! To date, I'm down 20lbs, 26 inches, and I can't wait to hit that pre-baby weight if not more!

 

I do really miss my favorite foods ever - pasta, garlic cheese bread and bagels, but considering in the reintroduction phase these foods gave me problems its easy to avoid them!

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Hello.pinki, great job on the business trip!

I've been thinking that "my favorite foods ever" will be replaced over time by new favorite foods ever, like a good soup recipe or rare steak. Mel Joulwan's Chocolate chili already feels like an old favorite to me, from when I first made it a few years ago.

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Hello.pinki, great job on the business trip!

I've been thinking that "my favorite foods ever" will be replaced over time by new favorite foods ever, like a good soup recipe or rare steak. Mel Joulwan's Chocolate chili already feels like an old favorite to me, from when I first made it a few years ago.

 

This is very true!!! The Whole30 Coconut Curry Chicken is now like MY FAVORITE THING EVER along with carnitas and coconut shrimp. Strange how your tastes change!

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