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Whole30 with a congenital heart defect


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Hello everyone!

I am new to Whole30 - I'm on day 3 and loving it already.

I'm doing Whole30 because I am desperate for a change. I was born without a right ventricle in my heart and had 3 open heart surgeries before the age of 5. I take medicine daily to help my heart work better, and should hopefully have no more surgeries in the future. However, I need to be HEALTHY in order to keep my heart functioning well, and I am NOT healthy.

I'm only 22 and my weight has been out of control since I was in high school. Every year I consistently gain between 15 and 25 pounds. The weight comes on slowly so I can't really tell or notice. I am ADDICTED to sugar and carbs in every form. I can eat bread, crackers, pasta, and tortillas without ever getting full. My favorite thing is any form of carbs with lots of cheese - cheese crackers, tortillas with cheese, bread with cheese, ect. I'm addicted to caffeine and sugary coffee, so much so that I usually have Starbucks once a day, sometimes twice a day.

I considered a vegan diet at one point so that I could still eat bread and crackers! I was convinced that meat and dairy is bad for me, and grains are great for me. (I'm still not sure how I feel about all of it, which is why I'm doing Whole30.)

Basically, I'm doing Whole30 because my body needs to heal. I need a healthy body to take care of my heart. I was told by my doctor that women with my heart condition have successfully had children, but only when they're very healthy. I won't be able to have kids if I can't control what I eat and heal my body. I need to lose weight, exercise more, lower my cholesterol, keep my BP in check, eat wisely, and just take care of myself. With my condition, being healthy should be an extremely high priority, and I'm ready to make it one!

I know that eating a lot of meat is controversial for heart health; everything I've read about being vegan claims that it's the most healthy diet for your heart. I'm not sure what I think. There's a lot of "proof" behind the vegan diet being the most heart healthy, and everything I've read about paleo contradicts those things.

So here I am, trying the Whole30 and seeing what it does for my body. I hope that cutting out grains, sugars, legumes and dairy will help to heal my body and care for my heart. We'll see what happens! Wish me luck; any advice/wisdom is welcome. :)


- K

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Hi Katelyn!

We're glad you're here! This program is going to be a complete change from what you're used to, but you sound like a brave girl - my guess is you'll make it through stronger than you thought you would. While you (and almost everyone else) can expect some struggles and discomfort early on (due to the radical change), once your body adjusts to using real food as fuel you'll never look back!

I wanted to add, too, that we agree with vegans on one important point - vegetables are awesome! Often, the paleo diet-style gets called carnivorous - which for some folks may well be the case. But here at Whole9, we stress a plant-focused diet with reasonable amounts of healthy animal protein to meet our bodies' requirements.

Please keep posting all around the site - we'd love to hear from you more!

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