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I completed the self reflection exercise suggested in the whole 30 daily email today. I felt like sharing in hopes of encouraging and inspiring others, Here it is:

 

This is what my life used to be like. I started the Whole30 as part of a longterm healing process from a traumatic birth and 3.5 month NICU stay for my first child and the end of my dysfunctional relationship with his father. Things I did to help myself leading up to the whole30 - yoga, meditation, herbs, acupuncture, psychotherapy, exercise, allergy shots, self-help books and CDs, Zoloft. Not to mention embarking on a new career path, which has involved college classes and volunteer hours. I also work from home. 

    The problems I sought to tackle by changing my diet included: extremely low energy, depression, and horrific allergies. Juggling life as a working single mom and student felt impossible with my health. 

 

This is how I found the Whole30. Around the same time, my acupuncturist and therapist both suggested my diet might be contributing to my low energy, depression and allergies. I have always been a healthy eater, but my relationship with carbs and sugar was unhealthy. 

    My acupuncturist explained that the gut creates some neurotransmitters and it finally clicked for me - that my depression  and energy problems could be directly linked to my diet. This was totally new information to me. She also explained that in traditional Chinese medicine, they don’t consider depression an illness, but consider it a symptom of other problems. I had alarmingly low chi (life energy in traditional Chinese medicine). 

    My therapist handed me the one page whole30 meal plan as a template for me to work with when I told her I felt confused about what was healthy to eat. I immediately said, “There are no grains on here.” She told me I could add them in limited quantities if I wanted. I went home and Googled whole30. That night I knew I had to try it. I had a family reunion and a wedding to get through before I could begin, so I calendared it and announced the start date to my immediate family. 

 

During my whole30 experience: I was so scared before I started. I feared intense cravings that almost hurt. I pictured HUNGER. I feared headaches and low moods and misery. My first week was actually a breeze. I immediately had more energy and my moods were more stable. The cravings were not very intense at all. I barely missed alcohol, even though I had a drink or two every night before whole30. I lost weight with out hunger. I ate big yummy meals and didn’t feel tired afterwards. On one or two days I suffered short-lived headaches. On day 11 I was hella tired. Other than that, I was living the dream. I had drank the Kool-Aid.

    I got my period 2 weeks early, which really surprised me since I am on birth control. I was so tired for 3-4 days. This was right around the time I was supposed to feel Tigers Blood. My tigers blood was stolen from me! That was a bummer.

    On the flip side, I have felt happy in a way that I have not felt in ages. I’m on Zoloft, which I know is helping, but I can’t wait to wean off of it when the doctor thinks its advisable. I have a lot of faith that I will be able to stabilize my moods much more with my new healthy diet and I don’t plan to be on Zoloft long term.

    Eight years ago I lived in Peru for a summer, working at an archaeological site museum. While there, I developed allergies that have stuck with me ever since. I sneezed loudly, had copious mucous, and felt so incredibly itchy. Allergies would come and go all year long. I’ve taken medications, gotten steroid allergy shots and regular old allergy shots. I do the neti pot, take herbs and make Chinese teas, have allergen free bedding, an air purifier, and started getting acupuncture specifically to target my allergies. The allergies have not bothered me one bit since I’ve been on the Whole30. I won’t know until I do reintroduction, but I am guessing I was more mucousy from dairy and the tissues all over my body were inflamed and my immunity was on overdrive from foods I was eating. I want to scream from the rooftops that everyone with seasonal allergies should try this! 

    While calming the allergy beast was big, by far the hugest milestone for me has been my increased stamina and patience with my toddler. Before the whole30 I was running on empty. Now, I can play actively with my beautiful boy. He is a fireball, so that means a lot. It means more than I am able to express in words. I felt so much guilt for having so little energy for him despite knowing he is the most important thing in my life. I have been struggling since he was born to keep up with him! The past two days I’ve played in the waves of the ocean by our home, which he absolutely loves. I was literally unable to do this with him before because I would get exhausted immediately. Keeping him safe with his high energy runs and jumps into the crashing waves was simply too much for me to handle. The past two days I felt tired after our wave jumping, but in a good way. I was proud of myself. 

 

Now that I've finished my whole 30. I look forward to being a proud paleo! I’m excited for reintroductions because they will tell me what I need to know to make good food choices. If I find out I have no negative reaction to certain foods I love, I will happily eat those too. However, if it turns out I have bad reactions to all the things I eliminated in whole30, then I will be able to live with it. I know I can make delicious food. 

    I’ve learned that grains aren't a NECESSITY, which I truly always thought they were. I believed I would feel hungry and unsatisfied if my plate didn’t include a grain. 

    I will eat meat for breakfast or an egg with spinach. I never thought that would be a regular thing for me, but 30 days of steaming spinach and cooking an egg or some Applegate chicken and apple sausage, or paleo bacon, has shown me that this is a feasible thing for me. And I enjoy it!

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