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Questions before I start


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Hi everyone!

First off, the specs: I'm a 27 year old married 5'4" caucasian female halfway through veterinary school (read: stressful and lots of work, but I love it!)

I've been reading about Whole30 all morning and I'm really starting to buy into it and get excited. I have a lot of "minor" issues that I combat on a daily basis. I've got chondromalacia in my knees (pain resulting from damaged cartilage), frequent headaches, "down there" pain due to lichen sclerosis, polycystic ovaries, low energy, a rock bottom libido, and trouble getting to sleep. I am not athletically inclined and even low-impact activity (like walking) can take some serious willpower. I'm pushing overweight (or maybe I am now officially overweight) at 145 lbs and I consider myself out of shape - climbing two flights of stairs will totally wind me, and I can't carry a watermelon inside from the car without my arms falling off. Although I think I eat relatively well (lots of veggies, no fried foods) there is a lot of room for improvement and I am prone to "giving up" on bad days and just eating whatever I want.

I've tried lots of changes, but the cycle of enthusiasm and energy followed by failure and guilt makes it hard. I have a sense that I need to try something completely new, and Whole30 seems to offer that. I'm excited, but I also have a lot of questions.

1. What the heck is so bad about whole grains, legumes, beans, quinoa etc?

When I was a kid, bread and pasta were at the base of the pyramid (good old days). As a teenager and college student, I found out that white breads are bad for you, but whole wheat products are good for you (yum, whole wheat bagels and english muffins). Near the end of college, it turns out that whole wheat bread really isn't that good for you, but whole grains are and that beans and legumes are the healthiest things you can eat. Quinoa has been called a superfood. One of my first major pushes toward healthy eating was trying to get more beans and whole grains in my diet. Now I'm hearing about gluten free diets, etc with all these glowing testimonials. On the other hand, there are many websites saying this type of thing is a myth and deleterious to your health. So, why does Whole30 rule out these things? What is so bad about them? And why have I been hearing that they are so good for me for my whole life?

2. I'm on a selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor - 60 mg/day of fluoxetine (aka PROZAC). I can't go off it right now. How does that play in?

3. Sometimes when I get hungry, I get this awful shaky feeling where it literally feels like I'm going to keel over if I don't EAT SOMETHING NOW. I've tried to fight it, but it's the worst feeling in the world. Sometimes I'll get home after work or whatever and just stand there in the kitchen stuffing my face until the sensation goes away. What do I do if this happens?

Thank you very much for your time and ideas!

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You should really invest in a copy of It Starts With Food. It explains the whys of everything W30-related. I couldn't imagine starting this diet without having that knowledge.

For question 1, we have been lied to. Plain and simple. I get a little angry every time I think about it, because I just imagine how different I would have felt my whole life if I had been eating real food.

For your 3rd question, that used to be me too. I would approach every meal except breakfast with similar feelings. I would pack snacks with me every time I left the house, because I was actually afraid of getting "hungry." It was such a gnawing, desperate feeling that I knew I would have to stop and buy some food if I didn't have any with me. Assuming you don't have some medical condition causing it, the feeling WILL go away once you transform your diet. You will easily be able to go 5, 6, 7 hours between meals and even when you get hungry, it's a different feeling. You will know you aren't going to DIE if you don't get something in your mouth RIGHT NOW.

Your comment about the watermelon cracked me up. ;) Good luck...you can do this, and you will be so happy you did!

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My advice would be to run to your nearest store and buy a copy of "It starts with food" just like JJB said. It will answer all of your questions and give you a whole new outlook on what you previously thought of as "healthy food".

As a relative newby to the Paleo world myself I can attest that I was one crying jag from seeking anti-depressants and once I eliminated grains/dairy/sugar from my diet the depressions went away all by itself...no meds needed!

I can also tell you I never get that "I MUST EAT SOMETHING RIGHT NOW". My body sends me much more subtle hints when it's time for food...but I remember those days of 3 meals and 3 snacks just to try and get through the day. Those days are gone and I don't miss that hollow starving feeling one bit.

Please read the book and let us know if you decide to jump on the train to good health and happiness!



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I agree with what others have said. In the first week...or year...you can have a fourth meal, but it really is about hormone regulation that will help your body reset and prepare for meals. I had trouble eating enough at first and then it got easier. The freedom is life-changing.

The book can tell you about the hormone responses to sugar and fats, sleep, snacks, etc., and about the reasons for the elimination of the foods that are eliminated. It helps you understand the whole package. I started without it because it was on order, but I recommend preparing more food than you think is necessary for the first few days.

Basically, though, these foods have a likelihood of hurting us in one of four ways. Not all of us are sensitive to them, but none of us really need them, either. The foods that are included in the program are better sources of the nutrients we thought we need from those other foods. The only way to know how healthy you will be without them is to take them away.

Reading labels becomes essential and more and more frustrating. I do really feel like using my food money to vote against all of the misinformation out there. Does everything really need sugar (table salt) or soy (meats and restaurants and canned tuna)? I understand why it is there, but I hope we can help to increase the demand for healthier, whole foods.

Oh, and as for medication, you will stay on it until you and your doctor decide that you can stop taking it. If the pills contain any forbidden ingredients, take them until you get the chance to ask if there is a formulation without them. Also, take a look at the supplements that are recommended. Magnesium makes a big difference for a lot of us and I know sleep is important with depression.

Best of luck no matter what route you choose to improve your health!

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Hi There.

I too fully recommend reading "It Starts with Food" however as a quick answer to your first question read the following article about grains and why they are out.:


But yeah essentially we've been lied to for most of our lives. Corporate marketing at work.

I agree with all of the people above. You can go easy 6 or 7 hours without food when you are eating whole 30 style. You do get hungry but it's a much more laid back version of it instead of H-angry - so hungry that you are angry.

I have found also during this plan I have lost all of my depressive/moody tendencies within a week.

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Just to add my spin on the great comments you've already gotten...

All the off-plan foods make you less healthy one way or another. The ones you ask about tend to irritate your gut in ways you may not notice until you stop eating them 30 days. In addition, grains and beans are relatively light on nutrition in comparison to meat and veggies. You can get more of everything you need with a lighter load of carbohydrates from meat and veggies.

Some people find that their depression disappears when they stop eating processed foods and wheat. Grains and sugar can do nasty things that doctors solve with SSRIs. Changing your meds is something to discuss with your doctor as things develop. If you were diabetic and on insulin, you would need to discuss adjustments with your doctor in advance because insulin needs change fast. SSRI doses are not as sensitive, so you don't have to make arrangements in advance.

I used to be mean when I was hungry. At my wife's animal clinic, people would ask if I had had lunch when I came by if I was critical or demanding. I ate frequently to stop the mean hunger. Since changing my diet to eat meat, veggies, and lots of healthy fats, not only am I leaner and lighter, I am nicer too because I rarely get hungry and never mean-hungry.

Note: I am married to a veterinarian. We own Loving Hands Animal Clinic in Alpharetta, Georgia. :)

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Greetings and welcome. And I'm so glad you are studying to be a veterinarian. I can put the "why" in those terms.

When you study A&P, you will notice that the teeth of dogs are much like the teeth of wolves, evolved to eat small animals, with opportunistic feeding on other available food sources, like fruits. But when you study Nutrition, you will be pushed towards feeding them the conventional, grain-based, processed dog foods. In fact, brands like Science Diet, which are only available through vets, and add an extra, steady income-stream to a vet's bottom line, are praised.

Why? Follow the money. The research is all paid for by the big dog food companies. And who backs the big dog food companies? Big Agra. No way are they going to teach you that grain-free, or, heaven forbid, a raw diet is better. Not if they want that grant money to keep pouring in.

So, yes, we have been lied to by people who have a vested interest in our decisions. And it has gotten worse. These are not your grandmother's grains, which may not have been as bad as what we eat today. We have genetically modified so many grains, that they are now producing proteins that have never existed in nature. No wonder so many people have trouble digesting them, they were never designed to process what are essentially alien nutrition forms.

As for the awful, shaky, "can't focus, gonna pass out if I don't eat something right now" feeling: I lived like that for years, and it was terrifying. It's a product of a blood sugar surge, from the grains and sugars, followed by the corresponding insulin surge to counteract it, and, if you've been eating the SAD (standard American diet) you most likely produced far more insulin than was needed, so it causes your blood sugar level to then plummet, making you feel the need to eat something else in a desperate attempt to even it out. But it doesn't, or at least not for long. I guarantee that after a very short period of eating this way, those horrible feelings will be gone. Your blood sugar will even out, you will not be hungry until it is time for the next meal, and even if that meal is delayed, you will by then be "fat adapted", and can call on your own body's stores to fuel you until you can eat--exactly how Mother Nature intended all her creatures to survive and thrive.

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To fully understand you need to read the book. And not just read "study" it. I have read it several times over trying to drill every detail into my head. And then you have to just try. The difference you see in just a few short days helps you understand. Some get caught on the 30 day thing but you will see results long before the 30 days and then you will want to keep going. With in just days I was feeling a huge difference in my joints and sleeping so much better. I have had great success with the program and can't believe it has taken me this long to find this. Thanks to everyone who tried to point me. But the path doesn't become clear until you are ready to see the light. :)

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Wow, thanks everyone for the thoughtful answers and ideas! It's great to know that there is a such a supportive community out there. I'm definitely feeling more and more energized to give this project a try.

I ran down to Barnes and Noble as soon as I read the first reply and bought the book right away. I'm very excited to read it. The first few pages have been interesting so far! I'm a little alarmed -- and I admit, still a little skeptical -- about the sinister unhealthiness of grains and legumes, but I've got an open mind and I'm ready to try. If I could achieve half of the miracles that the testimonials seem to champion, it would be well worth it.

Thank you all for the support - I'll keep you posted!

PS to Tom Denham - veterinary spouses have a really hard job! I'm sure you and my husband would have a lot to talk about over a beer (er... green tea?). I bet I could speak for your wife when I say thanks for sticking it out with us :)

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Your skepticism is understandable, morwen. We have been told these 'truths' all our lives, like they were Biblical and not to be questioned. But the obesity epidemic gets worse every year, while well-meaning people do their best to stick to the food pyramid. Then we give them all kinds of drugs (Big Pharma has a hand in it, too) to counter the effects of the poor quality diet we insist they eat.

Remain skeptical, but just do it. Nothing we can say will convince you as much as the response from your own body will. I look forward to reading your progress. Cheers!

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Morwen - congrats on taking the initial step of being curious, interested, and caring enough to want to make a huge change to better your health. As everyone else before me has said, reading the book ISWF gives you the foundation you need to be successful on your Whole30 and whole life change. I, myself, am one of those people who needs to understand the "why" behind everything...I need to get the logic behind the changes I am going to make and understand why something is bad, what effects it has on my body, so that I can make a mental, intentional decision to change my habits or avoid [insert food here]. Good luck! I am on day 7 and can already tell you, it's worth it!!

And to both you and Tom Denham - I love that you are both in the veterinarian industry! I have a particular fodness and appreciation for veterinarians, as I work within the industry as well. My financial consulting firm, Wutchiett Tumblin & Associates, works with veterinarians to help improve the management and value of their practices - it's an extremely rewarding job. And knowing first hand all of the work that you do, and hours, time, energy and love that goes into your careers, maintaining a healthy body and mind seems to me to be the fulcrum on which everything else balances!

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