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Margret's Whole30

Margret McDermott

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Yesterday I went for an EDS test, Electrodermal Screening, (a somewhat controversial method of testing for diagnosing disease that I have, however, come to believe in and trust.)

After a few months of being tested and following the resultant protocols of pill popping and drop dripping, hearing such things as "toxic metal overload, chronic gut virus, underlying heart issue, etc.," the nurse said that the test indicated that I'd gotten rid of a layer of biofilm and revealed a chronic virus and candida overgrowth. I told her about the migraine and severe neck and shoulder pain I had the week before and she said that was consistent with what the test revealed.

Pardon the pun, but I knew in my gut all along that the underlying problem I have is a candida overgrowth.

I had it before. I overcame it. I went back to my old nasty habits. I got it back. No mystery.

The candida just got better at hiding, apparently. Hiding behind this new thing I'd never heard of before: biofilm.

As I said, I've faced this before and I know that it took me fifteen weeks of candida-diet-perfection. That's ONE HUNDRED FIVE days of no wine in the evening. That's a Whole150!

Grains, legumes, eh, I won't miss you so much. Dairy, well, according to the diet the nurse gave me I can have a bit of cream and un-aged cheese. But, somewhere deep down I suspect that's a no-no for my bod, so...

That's a Whole150 with a trio of trips coming up, Florida in March, a trip of a lifetime to Paris in April, New York in May. I'm a real food lover. Travel means indulging in the most wonderful foods a local has to offer. Restraint = Deprivation. But of course, unbridled consumption = weight gain and symptom explosion.

No sipping wine and eating baguettes in Paris. ARE FLIPPING YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?

Why bother, you ask? Why not put it off and do it later? Not reaching my overriding goal of doing everything I can to be as healthy as possible by my fiftieth birthday on September 7th, 2013 is NOT AN OPTION. I have to do this.

Becoming a Type II Diabetic like my Dad, is not an option. Having debilitating osteoarthritis like my Mom is not an option. Being obese like everyone else in my family is not an option. I will not enter post-fifty life on the path to poorer health. I want to walk a healthy, vibrant, active, pain-free path and one day, many years from now, just suddenly keel over.

I spent 24 hours coming to grips with this and feeling pretty sorry for myself. This morning, though, I decided to just think about the next thirty days, almost exactly the number of days before the first trip, and tackle a Whole(150 - 120) = Whole30.

I signed up for the training wheels version, Whole30 Daily, and today is declared "Day 0." Onward!

A footnote on yesterday's EDS test: The nurse asked me if I had a sore throat. I said, "Not really. My tonsils are a little swollen but I'm not in any pain. Why?" She said, "The test indicates that you need a remedy for a sore throat." Well, today I woke up with a raging sore throat. As I said, I'm a believer.

Last weigh-in (two days ago): 157.2 (because, of course, compulsive weighers go the the tenths)

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This sentence: "Restraint = Deprivation. But of course, unbridled consumption = weight gain and symptom explosion." resonates with me so very much! Only four days in and I can feel my brain shifting like puzzle pieces, adjusting to the new way of doing/seeing things.

At first, when I read that you were going to Paris in April, I thought- oh that poor dear, how hard it will be! BUT! That is actually a while from now, long enough to develop some good habits and override the bad ones. While I don't want to live in a world where I can't have a croissant on occasion, I think we can all agree that there is more to Paris than food. I hope you keep posting, as I would really love to hear how you navigate travel and temptations.

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Day 1.

It's gone well. I've been tired all day but not sure that's related to the Whole30; more about what I'm trying to get over.

I went on a long walk with a girlfriend. Back at her house she offered me wine and I turned it down, no problem. I accepted her offer of tea, then she offered sugar or sweetener and cream or milk, then she started to offer homemade cookies but finally caught herself. ...Guess she didn't quite get what I was talking about when I told her about the Whole30, or, more likely, it's just force of habit.

Back at my house my husband had a friend over "jamming" while I was gone. I made dinner and served them pasta, while I had a nuked sweet potato with ghee to go with our steaks and green beans with almonds. They sipped martinis, then red wine with dinner. I sipped a splash of tart cherry juice topped with sparkling spring water in a wine glass. I was surprisingly OK with it all. I didn't miss the wine at all, or the pasta. The potato was amazing! Given that I'm tired and headachy anyway, I'm especially not missing the post-wine-slump I sometimes get.

Today's food:

Breakfast: Curried eggs with peppers and onions. 3 eggs scrambled with coconut cream, mild curry powder, leftover sautéed onions and yellow bell pepper and coconut oil.

Lunch: Wild salmon sprinkled with Celtic sea salt, white pepper and Herbs of Provence, pan fried in coconut oil. Leftover asparagus with coconut oil and shredded coconut and leftover roasted brussels sprouts.

Snack: Brazil nuts (soaked and roasted with Celtic sea salt)

Dinner: Fillet mignon, green beans with ghee and almonds, sweet potato with ghee. Sparkling water with tart cherry juice

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Day 2 (written on Day 3)

Early in the day I thought, piece of cake, I feel SO WIDE AWAKE; I hardly ever do. I went on to have intermitant, but mild, headaches all day. I found out we have a major storm coming, so it'd be within the realm of possibilities that my head the barometer was taking a reading on that. By 9:30 pm when I got home from tennis practice I was full-on exausted, ravenous, and CRABBY. Actually, I was mildly hungry but I somehow had a hard time stopping eating even after I was full; strange and annoying. It was very binge-y feeling. I didn't actually eat THAT much, and it was all W30, but I was pretty full for just before z-time. About the crabby part, my hubby was in avoid-the-dangerous-beast mode by the time we got into bed. Smart man.

I had another food-fear dream. This one found me eating breakfast and discovering half-way through that I'd eaten a breakfast burito and gasping in horror when I found I'd broken the RULES! The night before I dreamt that I ordered an omelet and when it came I peaked inside and realized I'd forgotten to order "no cheese." When I tried to scrape away the cheese I saw that it also had sour cream. When I scraped the sour cream away I saw that underneath that was a layer of refried beans. There wasn't a single thing in my breakfast I could eat. And, I'd already eaten a bite so I knew with a sinking feeling that I'd have to click the start-over link in my Whole30 daily email.

The good thing is, if these are my fears, well, life is good.

Fun fact: At tennis last night I got many comments from friends that it looks like I lost a lot of weight. Yeah! (I've lost about 13-15 lbs in the last six months or so, but they see me every week. I guess I reached the tipping point where people notice. Heck, I'm even noticing when I pass a store window; like the other day, wow, my coat doesn't poof in the back over my too-big-for-this-coat-butt anymore.)

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Day 3

3:48 pm -- I'm hungry all the time! So annoying to have to eat again. And, it brings out my diet-girl thoughts. "I shouldn't be hungry all ready. Maybe I should hold off eating. I just ate MANY Brazil nuts only two hours ago." But no, here I go, back to the fridge.

And, it's rainy and cold here in Michigan and I keep having random thoughts of hot chocolate made with Valhrona cocoa and cream.

I think my color has improved since having an acupuncture treatment yesterday.

My workout with my trainer was VERY hard today. My muscles were sore to begin with and I really had to push hard to get through it, even though we're kind of at rehab level for upper body to strengthen my right shoulder. I had a fair amount of pain in my left knee. It gave out and I had a jolt of pain in it during lunges.


B: Two fried eggs over leftover skillet mix of Andouille sausage and cauliflower with coconut cream, chipotle pepper cayenne

L: leftover Thai basil buffalo (ground buffalo, red bell pepper, French green beans, onion, coconut milk, cayenne pepper, red curry paste, coconut oil, S&P).

S: Brazil Nuts

S: Chicken Bratwurst and blueberries

D: roasted pork shoulder rubbed with Italian Blend spices from "Practical Paleo," with roasted sweet potatoes rubbed with olive oil and the same Italian spices. Baby spinach sautéed in ghee with S&P. Sparkling mineral water with tart cherry juice in a wine glass (I actually craved this tonight as I was making dinner. My usual is to crave a glass of wine as I cook at night.)

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Day 4:

B: Leftover pork roast, 2 eggs, avocado, couple three pieces sweet potato. black coffee.

L: Leftover andouille sausage with cauliflower.

D: Roasted chicken wings with smokey spice blend from "Practical Paleo," vegetable stir fry from frozen vegetables (blech). Sparkling water with tart cherry juice.

I'm not nearly as hungry today. Feeling pretty good today, dare I say, "normal."

I've been having conversations with myself today about whether or not to have xylitol. The clinic I go to says it's OK for the candida diet and I've read that some docs recommend it as actually being good for "killing off" the buggers; 9 gm per day.

I was thinking of making small chocolates with unsweetened cocoa powder, coconut oil, and xylitol and having 1 per day. And maybe having some in coffee with coconut oil or ghee.

I realize it's not Whole30 approved, but I'm trying to balance that with the diet protocol I'm supposed to be on. Haven't decided.

If anyone's reading, I'd be interested in thoughts on the matter.

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Margret McDermott, the meals you've been eating all sound so fabulous! I think curried eggs will be the breakfast I'll be making myself this weekend. I like that so many Paleo folks seem to care a lot about their food tasting good - we are among friends.

I'm too much a newbie to say whether or not I'd recommend having xylitol. I wouldn't trust it for myself, but I'm kind of a maniac. I used to make a chocolately sludge with the ingredients you mentioned and taste-wise, it definitely hit the spot. I'm interested to hear what your final decision on the matter is!

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Thanks for stopping by, SashaySwonk. Fun name, by the way.

Yeah, I don't like boring food.

About the Xylitol. The problem is, I think eating sweets of any kind might set me off into mindless snack mode and I don't want to go there, especially with my hormones as off as they are. So that's a no-go for now.

Confession: I tried a tiny piece last night and that's exactly how I felt. I had a surge of yearning for a bag of crunch. It sounds funny when someone writes about diving into a bag of something, but that's exactly what I felt like doing. I felt a little panicky. I was a bit hungry so I ate a bratwurst. Hunger over, danger averted.

Sad story, but when I feel this way I always think of the friend's little dog who, while the owner's were away at work, climbed up on the counter and got into the chips. He stuck his head in the bag and munched away, but, tragically, couldn't get out and met his end. Right there, half inside a chip bag.

That story, more than any other, speaks to me of the manic feeling of having to eat something, even though it'll turn out badly. The little guy didn't know it. A lot of people don't. But we here do.

Second confession: I'm miss my dairy.

So much that I tried ghee and cinnamon in coffee yesterday to make up for the loss of my heavy whipping cream. Not bad, actually. The butter fat gives it a hint of the cream taste and certainly the touch of richness.

Avocado with my eggs is helping slightly with missing cheese with my eggs. It was always something I thought, noooo, that's too many calories to eat so much of. Yuuuummmmm!

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I agree wholeheartedly about avocado being a good sub for cheese with eggs. While I DO miss dairy (I keep having daydreams about me and an ice cold glass of milk having some alone time), cheese isn't part of what I'm missing and I thank avocados for that.

I enjoyed reading your log. Good luck to you!

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I think you made the right call regarding the Xylitol. :D

Death by chip bag! That is so tragic. My cravings are kicking in a bit today, and part of me is thinking, "at least he got to savor some delicious chips before his demise."

I'll have to try putting ghee in my coffee. I'm not a huge fan of coconut, which seems to be the go-to substitute for dairy in the Paleo world. I am glad that avocado is helping both you and KelBelle with the your cheesey eggs dilemma too.

Stay strong! Day by day we are all one step closer to showing cheese who's boss.

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me and an ice cold glass of milk having some alone time

KelBelle, I love the way you said that! I envision shutting everything else out and REALLY enjoying that THING that you've been wanting. It'll be that much sweeter when you've accomplished your Whole30!

The really cool thing is, I'm sitting here contemplating what my THING would be, and I'm not coming up with it. I'm clicking through my mind-rollo-dex of old THINGS and saying, no, no, no, hmmmm. Which is very nice and comfortable feeling because I had a really hard time letting go of my evening wine and weekend cocktails, even though at the end there I wasn't feeling so hot after having them. Now, I'm actually craving my faux-tail, a splash of tart cherry juice and Perrier over ice in a fancypants glass.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck to you!

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I was looking forward to feeling more energetic, or something better this morning but woke up with a pounding headache. After two hours up and still fogged up with it I relented and took Advil.

I took a private QiGong class today; the first of three. I really enjoyed it. I feel like I now have a new trick in my bag for de-stressing and balancing myself mentally and maybe even physically. Of course, my teenage son thinks it a bunch of hooey. No surprise there.

B: 2 eggs in ghee over chicken sausage, and chard, with avocado. Black coffee.

L: chicken and "detox" salad from Whole Foods. Coconut oil mixed with bit of unsweetened cocoa powder. (the meal was so low fat I felt it needed a fat boost and I'm not quite ready for a spoonful of coconut oil plain. I'm trying to see if upping the fat helps with between meal hunger.)

D: (planned) gf rib eye steak, stir fry with cabbage, onion and carrot

I just got back from Whole Foods, now I need to go to Kroger to all the stuff my family thinks they NEED to live on. Somewhere during the day I've found the energy I felt I was lacking, so it's OK.

BTW, I started having hot flashes, seems like almost continuous, in earnest this week. Fun, a new thing to pile on.

Update: I felt extra hungry so I mixed coconut oil with unsweetened cocoa powder and ate that with a spoon, twice with meals. It seemed to help

Also I felt the headache coming on again and suspected it might be due to electrolyte imbalances, which I tend to have. It sometimes shows up as severe leg cramps. I took 1/4 teaspoon Tri-Salts, a blend of calcium, magnesium, and potassium from Ecological Formulas. A little while later I noticed I no longer had even a hint of a headache.

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Day 8

I woke very early this morning, 5:00, but didn't have a headache for the first time in days and days. I lounged in bed daydreaming 'cause 5 is too freakin' early to get up on a Sunday. I felt just the hint of a headache after a while so I got up and took another dose of Tri-Salts. Now I feel great; much more energetic than I have been.

Evening update:

Fantastic energy all day. I'm cautiously optimistic.

I also noticed that my nose no longer drips all day or after meals. The pants I wore today are looser than they were last time I wore them. People are telling me I'm looking thinner.


B: 1 cup regular coffee, 1 decaf, bulletproofed. 2 eggs in ghee, avocado

L: leftover gf rib eye in a salad with veg, hazelnut oil, lemon juice and avocado.

S: cucumber slices with liver pate

D: "spaghetti" with spicy meat sauce* (from paleodish.com) and spaghetti squash. Roasted asparagus with ghee. Broccoli with ghee.

*Really delicious! My whole family loved it, even the squash. (I did serve pasta along side but I was impressed that many of them tried the squash.)

I'm proud of myself, I must say. I passed by the baguette my sister brought with the pate and cut up cucumber to scoop it with (which turned out to be W30 OK and was delicious), I passed by the pineapple coconut cake she brought, and the wine served with dinner.

Late night update: I ate pistachios and coconut flakes out of the bags. It felt a little "binge-y" so I'm not happy about it on one level. But, I'm learning to trust my body's signals. I felt like I needed to eat. And, it was W30 and I stopped there and didn't reach for something more. All in all, OK. I know it's just a PMS side effect, doing it in the first place, and being so mental about it. It makes me feel like a 16 year old girl, which can't be all bad, right? ;)

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Day 10

I'm still feeling generally pretty great.

So, I had a huge craving for a glass of wine tonight. I could hear my husband pouring a glass in the other room and my ears perked up. I wanted a glass really bad! Every time I saw his glass, every time he refilled his glass. Torture.

Drinking wine is often a thing I'd do in the evening when I'm feeling really good. Kind of a little celebration of life. I feel good today, I wanted a glass. No mystery.

I did not, however, give in.

Now, will I be able to restrain myself on days 28, 29, and 30? I realized that I miscalculated and the end of my W30 overlaps my Florida vacation. I'm going to do my best. I feel fully committed to it at this point.

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That's awesome that you're doing QiGong! I'm snuggly buckled in to the hooey bandwagon. Meditative, energy-balancing activities like this are wonderful.

I like the positive perspective you took on your close encounter with those pistachios and coconut flakes too. Things seem to be going really well, Margret McDermott. I shall do a very small jig in the privacy of my room in your honor.

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Thanks for the jig in my honor, Sashay Swonk. I am truly honored :)

BTW, you (all) can call me Margret. I was lazy and signed up with facebook and it just put my whole name. Should've used a secret-identity-cool-kid ID :ph34r: . Now I have to be on best behavior. Such a hassle! :lol:

(Ha, I engineered a way to use the ninja emoticon!)

I have ANOTHER cold. My immune system is trashed. I get sick so often; about once a month.

I may as well list my other hassles, for the record, as I haven't done that yet. I'd like to look back some day and say, yes, those pesky things are in my past!

Adrenal Fatigue (a lot of the following probably fall under this umbrella)

Weakened immune system


Chronic virus in the gut


fatigue (seems to be abating)

toxic metal overload/poisoning

insulin resistance

allergies (I'm allergic to allergy medicine so I don't treated them)

PMDD (so that's a huge bucket of symptoms on it's own that I'm not listing here. Suffice it to say, almost every symptom on the published lists, I have on a rotating basis.)

Low body temp

Low blood pressure (with occasional sudden drops causing fainting and black outs)


So, nothing huge like cancer, as I know some people here have. But, the seeds of the "diseases of aging," that my older family all have.

I'm going to slog off to tennis practice now since I committed to it and the others are depending on me to make the forth player. I so don't feel up to it.

My nurse (who administers the EDS test) said a last month, "your energy readings are so low, the lowest of all the patients I have. I'm surprised you're so active. I'd expect someone with these numbers to be sedentary."

Well, some days I'm surprised myself. It's a push, I'll tell you. But you people probably know that. We're all here for a reason.

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Day 12

Today's W30 email is about stress reduction and how stress can set you up for systemic inflammation and therefore lead to disease.

As a step toward reducing stress I began setting up a sort of Zen space in my sunroom. I set up a tabletop fountain and did my daily qigong. It was very pleasant with snow drifting down outside and the sound of burbling water behind me.

I'm finding that my mind is opening up once again to creative thought. As I turned around from finishing my qigong practice my eyes fell on an unfinished painting I have propped on an easle. A vision of how I could finish it popped into my head. I haven't painted in two years and have felt no energy with which to do so. I've had just enough energy to get my work done and complete the basics like exercise and house work. Figuring out how to heal myself has also taken up a lot of brain space!

I have to be careful, though, to not over do it. I tend to type-A myself into a mental tizzy.

Food News:

I tried US Wellness Meats sugarfree bacon for the first time this morning. It was excelent. Having it as a supplement to my fats will help me get through the remainder of the 30 days. I was missing my bacon!

I had the bacon and eggs fried in the fat with half of a peach (a real treat here in Michigan in the winter!)

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Day 15

I made it half-way. Yeah!

I still have the cold but I feel like it's progressing pretty quickly. I saw a girlfriend at my tennis match last night and she also had a cold that started about the same time mine did. She said, you don't sound nearly as stuffed up as I do. And I thought, no, I'm not. And in fact, even though I'm sick, I had tremendous energy all day. No groggy morning slog. No afternoon slump. No "man, I wish I didn't have an evening tennis match, I'd rather be on the couch" feeling. I was buzzing all day long.

Yesterday I started making an effort to eat large enough meals such that I'm not hungry in between. I did have a small snack after my evening tennis match, a small handful of raw macadamias and sparkling water with tart cherry juice, but after nearly two hours of competitive tennis I felt like I needed it.

It felt good to not be hounded by hunger all afternoon and in the evening before bed. Around 9:00 I had a tickle in my tummy that felt like it might be hunger. I purposely let it ride to see if it would turn into full-blown hunger. This was easier to do since I had eaten well all day. I didn't have pent up calorie demand driving me toward the kitchen. And sure enough, I finished the show I was watching ("Touch," BTW, I love that show) and went to bed. No problemo.

What did I eat all day? Here it is:

B: One grass-fed breakfast slider, 2 eggs fried in the cooking fat, asparagus, 1/3 of a garnet sweet potato, warmed and fried in same fat. 1/4 avocado. Black coffee.

L: Leftover gf beef skillet meal with coconut milk, okra, eggplant, onion, and curry spices.

D: 6 oz. gf fillet mignon pan-fried in coconut oil (seasoned with sea salt, pepper, turmeric, medium-plus heat, 3 minutes each side...perfectly rare), slathered with ghee afterward, a garden salad with ranch (recipe from ISWF, adding fresh basil, cilantro, and green onion to the mix.)

Note: about the ranch. I served it the other night and my 19 year old son said, "This is better than bottled ranch, which isn't saying much, but it's good." High praise from Mr. Sarcasto Negatevo. He went back for seconds.

S: 5 raw macadamias and ~ 2 ounces tart cherry juice in sparkling water in a wine glass (the tartness of the cherry juice is a good taste-substitute for me for red wine. I've read that it also helps with sleep. The glass is festive. Festive is good.)

I cooked up all six of the breakfast sliders I bought from US Wellness Meats so I'd have a quick meat add-on for the rest of the week. Breakfast time!

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Day 16


B: 2 egg omelet cooked in ghee (oregano, garlic powder, S & P), filled with chopped beef breakfast slider, topped with chopped fresh tomato and basil, half pear and ~ 2T homemade raw sauerkraut.


L: gf beef frankfurter topped with chocolate chili (theclothesmakethegirl.com, "My favorite Chili"). Side garden salad with boosted ranch from ISWF.

D: pan-fried duck breast with side of coconut creamed spinach with bacon, red onion, garlic, nutmet, S&P, and roasted butternut squash.

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Day 17

I worked out with a trainer today, at least I tried to. My joints are painful or tender and several muscles felt overly tired. I did play tennis for two hours the night before but this seems over the top. It wasn't that intense. She was very patient, trying to find things I could do, but it was less than stellar and very frustrating. She suggested seeing the acupuncturist for a treatment. Sounded like a good idea so I have that set up for Wednesday.

I was pretty tired late afternoon; I haven't been like that for about a week, even with my cold at it's worst. Today the cold is virtually gone but I feel dragged out. Maybe it's the daylight savings change. Maybe it has something to do with the joint pain, inflammation. Maybe I think too much... :rolleyes:

BTW, that coconut creamed spinach from last night's dinner (see yesterday's post) was amazing. I didn't miss the usual dairy cream at all. I saw more complicated recipes online elsewhere but I think simple is best for this.

Here's how I did it:

Coconut Creamed Spinach with Bacon


1-2 T coconut oil

1 shallot chopped, or 1/4 C onion chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 or 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped

1 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

About a quarter of a 14.5 oz. can of coconut milk

Freshly grated nutmeg

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat a medium non-stick sauce pan over medium heat. Warm the coconut oil. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bacon and spinach. Cook until spinach and bacon are warmed through, breaking spinach apart as you go. Pour the coconut milk into the pan until it is soupy. It should take about a quarter of the can (reserve the remainder for another use). Reduce the heat and simmer until most of the coconut oil is reduced. As this is happening, stir the mixture frequently and season with freshly grated nutmeg to taste and add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Makes great leftovers.

I've got a bit left over I'm going to try in an omelet tomorrow morning.

Today's Food:

B: Two eggs fried in ghee, 3 slices bacon, ~ 2T sauerkraut. Black coffee.

L: gf beef frankfurter topped with chocolate chili (theclothesmakethegirl.com, "My favorite Chili"). Side garden salad with boosted ranch from ISWF.

D: 1 Tilapia filet topped with ISWF ranch, (baked @ 350 deg. for 15 minutes in a convectin oven.) Leftover creamed spinach and roasted squash. ~1 T chicken liver pate. Tart cherry juice with sparkling water.

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