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Getting started and a few mental blocks


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Hi everyone. I have a friend who is doing this and I have been procrastinating on my work reading up on the Whole30 for the past 2 days.

I've heard a lot about Paleo in the last year (I am doing Stronglifts and I did NROLFW before that) but I have always had a number of mental blocks about the lifestyle and things that have just been preventing me from trying.

I still am uncertain if I'm going to commit to the Whole30 or not, that's honestly just where I am right now.

Here is the list of things that bother me/are still preventing me from getting 100% on board. Some of them may seem silly, but it's honest at least. I'm looking for advice/testimonials from people who have overcome these blocks.

  • the ban on any exceptions, even for weddings. Yup, that bothers me. It seems a tad extreme. Should I just wait until after my friend's wedding to do the 30 days? No way am I not eating wedding cake and foregoing toasting with champagne. It's in 3 weeks. I guess I could use that time to plan and read up some more, and ease into eating less of the stuff that I won't be allowed to eat. Trial & error?
  • Dairy.... The idea of quitting dairy makes me want to cry. I'm pretty sure that at the end of the 30 days I'll re-introduce it immediately. Under those circumstances, is there really any point in cutting it out in the first place? There's just something so fantastic about milk and I've read so much positive about whey protein after exercise that I'm worried about stopping it for a month... will my lifts suffer?
  • Potatoes. Even the rules state that the ban on potatoes is kind of arbitrary. What's the rationale behind the ban?
  • The sugar ban... only really bothers me for one thing. I eat this frozen fish that comes with a veggie sauce and I've read the ingredient list. The fish is caught in a sustanable way, the ingredients are ALL good but there is sugar at the very end of the list and the package says that there is 1g of sugar per portion which really isn't a lot. It's my go-to convienience healthy lunch. I don't think sugar addiction is really my problem, do I really have to cut out ALL sugars? I know the answer to this but I don't LIKE it I guess. 1g really isn't much though.
  • And the final "issue" i have is that I'm married to a man who WILL not do it will me, there is no point in asking and it's not my job to be the food police. I'm sure I'm not the only one here, any tips?

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Hi there. I'm currently on day 4 of W30 and put off doing it for a few months for basically the exact same reasons you've listed here. (I couldn't imaging skipping out on celebratory drinks!) I would recommend that you read the It Starts With Food book. That really helped me to understand exactly why there are no exceptions (and why it was so crucial that I give up my seemingly completely healthy Greek yogurt breakfasts).

As far as your partner who's not doing W30, don't worry about that. What I told my husband was that I was going to be cooking healthy, tasty meals and if wanted to join me that'd be great. Otherwise he could cook his own dinner. :-)

Good luck!

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Hi There!

Yes definitely read It Starts WIth Food. It will hold a lot of answers for you. But to give you a brief idea.....

Yes cut out anything celebratory, cake, alcohol, otherwise. Why? Because you are trying to heal yourself on the inside. The things that you mention seriously disrupt your system - probably without you knowing it..... If you chose to have one of those off plan ingriedients, you are choosing to disrupt your system. That is why you will need to start over. If you want to do an full 30 days - then I would do one after. Then use this time to practice or read up more about as to why you are doing this.....

Dairy - I know where you are coming from - but the least you can do is give up dairy for 30 days to see if it is an issue..... it could very well not be, but you never know until you eliminate it. Personally speaking dairy is my number one to stay away from. There are days that I still mourn my loss of dairy - but I don't miss what it did to me.....

Believe it or not that little bit of sugar can feed your sugar dragon and can continue your sugar cravings. This is about healing yourself and healing your relationship with food. I'm sure you could find a substitute that is compliant for the next 30 days.....

As for being married to a man who will not do this with you - This is your choice. Not his. You do what you need to do. My BF called my crazy for doing this in the begining. If he wants something off plan like rice, pasta or peas, we plan a main dish that is compliant, let's say a curry dish, or a meat sauce that I can eat over spaghetti squash, and it works just as well over rice or pasta. And besides the meals can be so yummy that he probably won't miss the other stuff.

You really need to explore the reasons why you want to be doing this - Is it to sleep better, to feel better, etc? Because these reasons will keep you motivated to get through this.

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First off, I agree with the above comment that you need to explore why you would want to do this, because it comes across that you don't want to. That's o.k. because no one is making you.

Then, you need to read up on why certain foods are out. There are excellent posts on the Whole9 site about all the issues you've raised.

The Whole30 is essentially an elimination diet. You cannot know how a food is truly affecting you until you've eliminated it for a month and then reintroduced it. When I first started down this path, all I knew is that I was allergic to dairy. Now, I know that I have a sugar addiction and I have a real intolerance to wheat, among other things. I was amazed at just how much what foods I ate affected everything about me from my mood to my skin to my athletic performance. It was a huge learning experience.

You cannot truly know how much food impacts you unless you take drastic measures, such as an elimination diet. Even doctors will tell you this is the best way to test for food sensitivities.

The point of excluding things like white potato and paleo-fied foods like deserts has to do with our psychological response to food. This isn't just an elimination diet, it is also teaching you new habits when it comes to food. Now, if you have no desire to change what you eat, then a program like this isn't for you.

That's also why I don't think it is extreme to be compliant at a wedding. I've been compliant through many life events - weddings, birthdays, holidays - and since it was my choice, I didn't view it as extreme. Sure, it can be challenging, but it was my choice.

I also have a non-paleo spouse. I have extreme reactions to certain foods and still have to deal with them being in the house. It can be done. I live it everyday. What anyone else does shouldn't affect what you do. If you want to try a Whole30, it doesn't matter how anyone else in your life eats - it's your decision and your body.

I committed to this lifestyle because 1) I am convinced by the science it is the healthiest way to live and 2) I have learned through personal experience/experimentation that it is hands down the best way for me to live. If you want to experiment with a Whole30 or just going paleo, that should be a decision you make for your own reasons. If you disagree with the Whole30 rules, but like the idea of eating closer to paleo/primal, then that's what you should do. Everyone who has gone paleo has not necessarily tried the Whole30 because it isn't always the right thing for them.

Good luck on your health journey. I hope you do find what you're looking for and get the benefits you seek.

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On the other hand, if such a change is so drastic for you to begin with, why not wait for a few weeks until your wedding is over and you feel a bit more clear? The most I had done before the whole 30 was stop eating wheat. This was around Christmas, and that was pretty difficult to do at that time. It didn't seem to make any sense to me to start the W30 until after my birthday in February. I would think you'd want to give yourself as much of a positive edge as you would can have. Sounds like you would really like to try this, that there are things that would benefit you, but that you might not be in the best place (the W30 rhetoric of "Start now. Today. This instant" notwithstanding). I think you'll find many, many benefits, and if after 30 days you want to incorporate other foods back into your eating, you'll have a much better idea of what those are at the end of those days, and will likely be much different from what you think it will be. Good luck with your decision!

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I do want to try this, I really do.

I have successfully implemented many dietary changes in my life and my attitude towards grains has changed and I know I'm ready to eliminate them. I have really (slowly) made changes to my diet in the past 2 years and it is MUCH healthier now than it ever was, but it still includes grains (less than before, but still), dairy (more than before), and the occasional drink or cake but not nearly as often. I have nearly 100% eliminated chips, breakfast cereals, fried foods, most baked goods and soda/juice. Considering how often I used to eat these foods, my diet is much better than it was.

My reasons:

* I have suspected for the past few years that I have a gluten sensitivity but I was afraid to change - think my first post x10000. Now I feel ready to eliminate not only gluten but all grains (oddly I think it might be easier, I did try some gluten-free foods but it just wasn't the same. Eliminating altogether sounds like it would work better for me psychologically at least)

* I struggle with eating enough veggies and with variety in my meat & veggie selections and cooking methods. Whole30 would *make* me make the effort to try new foods and learn new cooking methods. In fact, I just dug out a reference book I got for Christmas a few years ago that explains in detail the best way to cook a variety of meats and vegetables (not recipes so much but methods). I suppose that the potato ban does make sense in this context - to make yourself learn other ways.

* I read Nerd Fitness. The paleo diet is intriguing and so many lifters seem to follow it. I do want to see strength improvements and let's face it, to shed the last few pounds from my pregnancy before bikini season if possible.

* I have a baby and I will be starting her on solids in a few months. I want to do it right and I want to have the healthiest diet possible for her as she grows up.

I am scared I will find that I am indeed sensitive to dairy. Terrified, even. I love cheese (and I live in France so I have access to the REALLY good stuff). I love yogurt. And I love ice-cream (but that might just be the sugar dragons). In fact my very favorite dish is fondue - dipping baguette into melted cheeses, wine & garlic. I would be devastated if it turns out I can't eat dairy very often anymore without negative consequences. My breakfast usually involves cottage cheese or milk.

I had never heard of spaghetti squash until today, and I'll admit that if it's even half as good as it looks this might be easier than I feared. My husband can still have whatever he wants for breakfast, he eats at his work cafeteria and for dinner it won't kill him to eat whatever I eat and he can always add cheese or rice or pasta to whatever I make. I hadn't really looked at it that way. I'm not looking forward to doing much more cooking than I do now because he does cook about 40% of our meals.

I will have to go to a different grocery store though because the one nearest to home is ok but I will need more selection for fruits & veggies and meats than what my small store offers. That's fine, I need to experiment with a few stores.

About "It starts with food". Would you recommend it on a kindle or should I get a physical book? I have a kindle fire and for reference-type books it is more comfortable than a classic e-ink kindle but still, some books work better in paper format. WWYD?

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I have heard that the charts are hard to read on a reader, and so I got the paper book.

I hear you totally on the dairy part--I actually cried a little at the thought I might not be able to go back to it, and I still haven't tried to yet. It may be that it's only milk that you can't handle as well after the 30 days, but for example, Paul Jaminet of the Perfect Health Diet allows for dairy as a "pleasure food"--but maybe not in the quantities you've been eating it, and many sources say that cheese and yogurt may not be difficulties for everyone. I understand the argument about casein here, but I'm not convinced about the analogy re: breast milk. Likely we consume too much, but I think it is a nourishing food as long as it doesn't cause digestive complaints.

I do think what you'll find ultimately is that the benefits are wonderful, you'll get some compulsive eating habits much more in control, and you'll orient yourself to uncomfortable feelings (as they say) in such a way that you know you don't need to take care of them with food. Food really does become its own pleasure again. I do hope you'll give it a try, have a great deal of compassion for your worries and anxieties, and trust that you'll know exactly what you need in the end.

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On the dairy thing... I can understand. When I found out I was allergic to dairy, I was thinking we were just ruling stuff out and what was happening to me wasn't related to allergies. I was having constant vertigo and pretty much had stopped living my life. But, when the test came back with that dairy allergy, I did what the doctor said and eliminated it. Within days, I was well. That was hard for me and it took many months before I accepted this reality fully. I did mostly keep dairy out because every time I had it, I would get so sick and remember how much it wasn't worth it. Over time, though, just like with wheat for me, I just got to the point where the benefits of keeping it out of my diet were more enjoyable than the illness I suffered having it. Now, I don't even care that dairy is out of my life.

That is if you are even sensitive to dairy! From experience, though, if you really do react to a food and then take it out of your diet for a time, you experience a level of wellness you never knew was possible and that is a very rewarding thing. You adapt and learn to make other foods as enjoyable as that food you now have removed from your diet.

Also, from a mom who started their kid out on paleo eating, there is an awesome thrill that comes with watching your little one stuff their face with healthy food. And, we need all the bonus points we can get sometimes! :)

Going paleo has been a hard adjustment for my husband. For a long time, he mourned the fact that I wasn't eating certain things and how that affected what restaurant we'd eat at.. blah, blah, blah. Honestly, he whined a lot at first. But, now he gets upset if he sees me eat anything that isn't Whole30 approved because he loves how much happier I am when I eat this clean. Over time, he's adapted to how I cook and while he isn't even close to paleo yet, he does eat what I cook and I imagine he's somehow eating healthier because of it.

You should come to the Whole30 when you feel ready to do it, and I hope you get there. A lot of people feel their lives were changed by this experience. I certainly do! If nothing else, you can say you tried it. :)

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I had eaten along the lines of Weston Price minus the grains. Basically, Paleo with high quality dairy, mostly fermented (sour cream, homemade yogurt).

My naturopath put me on the Autoimmune Protocol, which basically means just meat, fish, fowl, veggies and fruit. No eggs, no nuts. Now I would have told you I have NO ISSUES with dairy and eggs, but doing the whole30 my chronic constipation has cleared up! It's not the veggies---I ate plenty of veggies before. I'm pretty sure it's the dairy.

The reason it is a pretty strict protocol is that you are resetting your whole physiology: hormones, gut flora, everything. It really changes your whole relationship to food. For all I read so much about nutrition, and have been paleo plus dairy for years, this is different. You just have to try it.


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I think people get too hung up on the 30 days- like if they can't find 30 consecutive days without a party or event then they just can't commit and won't even try. If you get a Whole10 or W15 behind you before the wedding, you may fin yourself at the buffet or bar that day rethinking if it really is worth. Because, literally, this method WILL CHANGE YOU. Even if you choose to eat

the cake and drink alcohol you would gain some valuable knowledge and possible just start a new W30 the next day, so there really is nothing to lose.

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Well I ordered the book (I decided to go with the paper version since there are recipes and I do prefer paper for that, thinking back to some other books I bought in the past).

I'm not sure when I'll start, but I will. Probably after reading the book and planning meals and checking out the grocery store. It might end up being just before the wedding in which case I'll either be compliant or I'll just start over the next day and view the first days as "practice".

But my curiosity is genuinely piqued. It's mind-blowing to think that all we were ever taught to believe about nutrition and health may be false. But I have recently been realizing just how many messed up things I was "taught" when I was growing up. So I guess it seems reasonable that nutrition was wrong too.

I was concerned about this being a "fad diet" for a long time but after all the reading I've been doing clearly that's not the case.

I didn't get a thing done today (ugh) because I spent so much time reading up on this. Hopefully I'll be more productive now that I've decided I'm in.

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bonjour lexgem, I'm in france too .. and totally empathize with anxiety re letting go cheese. I learned last summer that I was allergic to casein and OH did I have a good cry over that. but you know, it's like Casey says - IF you discover that you feel better without it, then you'll find it natural to make that choice .. and if you find (say after a whole30) that you're okay with it, well then you won't have to make that choice! (or you'll decide to have it in moderation, as per Jaminets/Perfect Health Diet)

anyway, we actually have some advantages over here in that our meat is generally closer to grass-fed than otherwise (though when I had discussion about this with not-my-regular butcher he said MADAME c'est l'HIVER .. implying that there isn't any herbe for les vaches to eat .. needless to say I've returned to my regular butcher who insists that there is!)

anyway, ENJOY the wedding! and enjoy the book - it will help you decide how you want to approach this!

bon courage!

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I agree with the above comment that you need to explore why you would want to do this, because it comes across that you don't want to. That's o.k. because no one is making you.

My thoughts exactly as I started reading your post. I started reading about many of these principles almost a decade ago (also via Weston Price, who does include fermented and grass-fed, full-fat dairy) but I have never been ready to really commit long-term. However, after my second pregnancy I developed a really nasty case of psoriasis on my legs. I've had a mild version in the past, which has usually gone away when I clean up my diet of wheat and sugar. This time it isn't going away. And I really want it to. And I'm done with having mild indigestion ALL THE TIME.

I figure if, after my W30, I can add back in dairy a bit at a time and see what happens. I love Moluv's points. I quit grains and sugar for over a month starting in Feb. Then I let small amounts creep back in and it made me feel like garbage. Lesson learned. (For, like the 300th time, true! But every time it gets drilled in a little further.)

I have wanted to clean up my diet for, as I said, almost a decade, but I am just now really ready to commit to it. It's like when people are like, "I want to lose weight" but they keep eating their same old way, keep buying the same old food. Part of you wants to lose weight, yes, but part of you is afraid to make changes. With reason! Change is scary. Our old habits can shield us from things we don't want to face.

Good luck with your decision! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just posting an update to this thread to let the people on here who took the time to answer my questions know what's up.

So I decided to take the plunge, and I'm on day 8 and loving it!

To all of you who said to get the book, you were so right. I really needed to read and understand the logic behind each rule in order to commit to the plan, personally. And I'm so glad I got it, read it and started.

Reading the book also helped me zero in on what I'm hoping to get out of this.

As for the wedding I'm sure I will be able to stay compliant. I will at least try very hard to. The "elimination diet" and reintroduction period are the most important part of this for me and I don't want to mess it up. I realize I won't have as much control over how the food is prepared, but I don't NEED to drink, worst-case scenario people will just assume I'm breastfeeding (I'm not), I can take a slice of cake and discreetly slip it onto my husband's plate, and I can ask for any sauce or grains on the side (or not at all) and order the dishes that are most likely to be compliant, letting the waiter know I'm sensitive to dairy and to gluten (I don't know this for sure yet, obviously, but it will reduce the chances of being exposed to something I shouldn't eat).

Anyway thanks to all who answered my questions. I know it sounded like I didn't want to do it, but I did, I just had a few doubts and had to work through them before taking the plunge.

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