Something to know about me: I am seriously Type-A, to the most extreme degree. I plan everything, organize it, and then overthink it all. So my decision to do my first Whole30 did not come lightly. But it’s one that I’m so extremely excited about, and truly feel that I am doing for the right reasons! So I wanted to do a post explaining why I chose to make this change, and help shed a little light on some information that not a lot of people may know.
If you are unfamiliar with the Whole30, the website is by far the best place to go for information, along with the book It Starts With Food. Both of these resources explain the program far better than I ever could, but in simple terms: It’s 30 days of strict paleo where you work to not only improve your digestion and overall health, but relationship with food. People come out of it raving about skyrocketing energy levels, improved skin, disappearing digestive/bloating issues, and so much more! So, obviously, I had to get some of that for myself, right?
I mentioned earlier that I am in love with listening to the Nourished Podcast – so a ton of information comes from there! There were a lot of topics that Meg and Shawn talked about that sparked my interest, which I then researched further on my own, such as:
- Autoimmune disease: My mom has ulcerative colitis, a form of irritable bowel disease. Dairy and gluten are two major foods that cause flares and inflammation (a HUGE FACTOR in autoimmune disease), and I’ve been noticing more and more intolerances to them over the past few months. I also am constantly bloated, and these could be a potential cause. Additionally, people have literally cured their Autoimmune disease through a combination of Paleo, Whole30, and the Autoimmune Protocol. I have another health situation that I’m not ready to blog about, but could very well be autoimmune and thus I want to try every possible remedy for it!
- Hormone balance: my hormones are a big factor in this “mystery condition” as it is appearing. 😉 Grains, legumes, and dairy have all been known to disrupt female hormones, not to mention cause inflammation, disturbing cortisol levels.
- Poor quality sleep: These factors are ALL interrelated. What happens when you have disrupted cortisol levels? Well, it’s not high when it should be (the morning), and you wake up feeling groggy and drag yourself out of bed. Then, as a result, it’s high at the wrong time (evening) and you feel like you can’t sleep even though you’re exhausted. I’m pretty sure a lot of you can relate to this! Additionally, eating too much / too much sugar close to falling asleep often results in waking up at 2-3am due to low blood sugar. I had never considered this cause, but it makes perfect sense! I always eat fruit / cookies / chocolate / whatever right before bed, and always wake up 2-3 times per night. More balanced blood sugar = more balanced sleep.
- Thyroid issues: Some symptoms of hypothyroidism: constant fatigue, hormone imbalance, dry/brittle hair/skin/nails, brain fog, mood swings, and/or weight gain (and struggle to keep it off). Now, these aren’t all of the symptoms, just some very common ones, and I can relate to every single one! Guess what? Hypo OR hyperthyroidism is often an autoimmune disease, which inflammation is a HUGE trigger for. And our three major inflammatory foods: gluten, dairy, legumes.
- Keratosis Pillaris & Nutrient Absorption: Here’s where I get all science-y on ya. Dairy, grains, and legumes (along with other foods, just picking on these 3 for simplicity’s sake!) all contain phytates, which bind to many the nutrients in the food, limiting our ability to digest them. So the nutrients are there, but not bioavailable and therefore of very limited benefit to us! There are, of course, many consequences of this occurrence, but the one I am focusing on here is keratosis pillaris. You know, those weird red bumps common on the back of arms and legs? I’ve had mine for over seven years, and nothing has helped get rid of them. So the hope is, along with dry-brushing and coconut oil lathering, my body properly absorbing a ton of nutrients will help these annoying little guys disappear for good.
Wow. That was a lot of information – and I could keep going! The truth is, there is an infinite amount of information available to us in this era, and it only makes sense to take full advantage of it! I can’t wait to start experiencing some of the major benefits of this experience, and will be sure to keep you updated along the way. I’m thinking of a “Whole30: The HOW” post, explaining some of the things I’m doing along with changing my diet, and of course a “THE FOOD” post, showing the delicious creations I’m eating. 🙂 I hope you all have a fantastic Monday!