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I really want to start Whole30 but can I? Should I?


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I haven’t read everything but I have managed to get through some of the “30 day guide...” and website.  I’m confused frankly.  It seemed initially that the program would bring enormous health benefits and well-being but there seems to be an awful lot of posts on here about people feeling really bad - increased symptoms - new diagnosis - irritability - lack of sleep - lack of energy - headaches and more!!!

It also seems incredibly restrictive and from what is allowed, a lot of it we can’t eat anyway because of allergies and health issues or even a matter of taste!  This includes onions, mushrooms, anything spicy hot, nuts, apples, shellfish, meat, nuts including coconut, bananas and plantains, avocado, spinach, sweet potato, anything pickled.

There are 3 adults and a 2year old in the house, all of whom I cook for.  My husband and I have legal custody of the 2 year old, she’s been with us since she was 6 months old, and she is VERY hard work for many reasons.  We are in our 60’s and although we know things will get easier as she grows up, she still takes up a lot of time and energy and when she goes to bed at 7pm, so do I.  I don’t have the time to trawl through loads of literature, or spend hours meal planning.  I also can’t be cooking different meals for everyone - we all eat the same although admittedly with some variation to cater for dislikes and/or allergies.

We live in a remote area of the UK where it seems very difficult to buy (or pre-order) Melissa’s books - even on iBooks!!!   Food shopping is a nightmare as it’s basically a local store with limited variety.  For anything out of the ordinary, or just to stock up, we have to travel several miles which involves much planning but also restricts what perishables we can purchase as this trip is usually only practical every 2-3 months.

I have angina, gall bladder issues, severe arthritis, fibromyalgia and IBS.  My husband has hiatus hernia.  My son is vegetarian but grossly overweight and a sugar addict.  We all need to do something but can’t afford to feel even more ill than we already do. As far as I am aware none of us have gluten or dairy intolerance but we do have reactions to other foods ie nuts, bananas, onions. 

I really, really want to feel positive about this lifestyle change but all I can see are negatives at the moment. 

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Whole30 can definitely be difficult, especially if you already have food restrictions. It is okay to decide this isn't for you, no one diet plan is ever going to work for everyone.

For most people, symptoms like headache, tiredness, and some digestive issues happen in the first week or so when they start Whole30, and it's usually because it's a big change from how they ate before. For most people, these symptoms do subside. When you look at the forum, you may feel like there's just a whole lot of negative, but lots of people find the forum because they're having problems and want to ask questions -- people who have no issues, may never think to look for the forum, so there just aren't going to be as many people coming here who feel great and have no issues (although there are definitely success stories and testimonials you can read if you want to hear from people who have been successful, like these: https://whole30.com/2011/06/the-whole30-a-z-real-life-testimonials/, or these: https://forum.whole30.com/forum/26-success-stories/). 

You don't have to have the books to do a Whole30. Everything you need to know is available for free on the website -- start here: https://whole30.com/new/, and follow the different links provided. The books are nice for people who prefer to have a physical book to hold in their hands, and there are some extras in them that aren't available online, like recipes, or in the case of It Starts With Food, more of the science behind why the rules are what they are, but many people do Whole30 without ever buying or reading any of the books.

For your son, it is definitely harder to do Whole30 as a vegetarian. This talks a little bit about it: https://whole30.com/2017/06/veg-whole30/

If you decide a Whole30 is not for you, you can still focus on eating vegetables, protein, and healthy fat at each meal, with fruit occasionally, and try to cut out added sugars as much as possible. Look at what you're currently eating, and try to figure out where you can make healthier choices. Meal planning happens whether you're doing Whole30 or not -- you've got to eat something -- so try to figure out how to take what you're doing now and make it healthier. Whole30 meals can be as simple as burger patties and roasted vegetables, or omelettes stuffed with broccoli or spinach or whatever vegetables you like. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mysteria, I am on Day 28 and feeling great. I have completed a Whole 30 in the past also, and I plan to continue and make this one a Whole 60. The research and prep can be a bit overwhelming, but honestly, if you can saute a chicken breast and steam some broccoli, you are doing the Whole 30! It doesn't have to be super complicated. Shannon's advice is spot on, however, it's true that the "black and white" rules of the W30 do make it easier to follow the program. I'm 59 years old, and although I don't have a 2 year old at home- and kudos to you for that- I do work full time with a very long commute to work (about 3 hours per day), so I understand the lack of time and energy. 

I hope you'll give the Whole 30 a try; I really think that some of the health issues that you mention could be improved if you do.

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