A Doctor's Take on Whole30: Week 3

Originally posted on kristenmcelveennd.com on January 27, 2015

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We're at the halfway point! I have to say, I feel great. I got a little cooker's fatigue in the beginning, trying out too many new recipes, but as I wrote about in last week's post, I went back to some of my old favorites, just slightly modified for Whole30 - cottage pie and roasted chicken and veggies. I made so much, those lasted me all week!

It was nice to take a little break, especially when I've been busy. 

Last time, I spoke about how self love begets self love and that has indeed continued. I feel more mindful, more at ease when things don't go my way. 

I've spent more time with my non-medical passions (comedy and writing). 

This has been a great experience overall and I am so glad I did it. I usually do a clean diet for a week or two every Fall and Spring, but this amount of time is a nice extension as it really gives you time to re-prioritize and set new goals.  

Some surprises that even I was fooled by (and a reminder to ALWAYS read labels - the INGREDIENTS, not just the nutritional info!):

  • Whole Foods 360 Organic Chicken Broth has sugar in it - WHY???
  • Most canned tuna has soy in it (in the veggie broth, even though the can says packed in water???)
  • I managed to time my Whole30 perfectly with my local Whole Foods being out of sugar-free bacon - whhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!???

So no bacon, pricey tuna for now and even more inspiration to roast my own chicken and make fresh, homemade broth. I can do that. 

The question I keep getting is "are you going to stick to it after the 30 days?" 

Well, as I've said, my diet isn't far from Whole30 on a daily basis. I just needed a reboot after indulging too much and too often over the holidays. I will likely go back to my coconut/almond milk lattes a few times a week, which I am starting to miss, especially on snow days. And I can't wait to have my weekly pizza again! Though it may have to be monthly instead of weekly for a few months, depending on how much time my gut needs to heal from my holiday dairy extravaganza. In fact...I'm even thinking of driving down to Frank Pepe's on Valentine's Day, which is my first day off Whole30...can you tell I love pizza?? Otto's may suffice...but seriously...Frank Pepe's is worth the drive if you've never been...

I'm excited, but I'm not going to go overboard. I feel too good! I think it's important for people to remember moderation. And to remember that we need cheat days too (once a week, NOT every day). I actually hate that term, "cheat day," because it implies something naughty. It's not naughty to eat in moderation. AT ALL. The carb load once a week can actually keep your hormones in check when you are generally on a low carb diet. I choose to do moderation with pizza. Many choose alcohol, some choose ice cream or pastries or really good chocolate. Or a rotation of all of the above!

The point is, don't overdo it, don't focus on it, don't be dependent on it. That way, you never feel deprived, but rather feel like you have something to look forward to EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE.

Here's a similar take on "cheat days" from my pal and colleague, Dr. Richard Maurer, author of The Blood Code.

A big part of doing a nutritional cleanse is to change your relationship with food. It's not just about eating clean for a while to feel better. This is a time to break up with those unhealthy cravings. Stop being controlled by that little voice that tells you, "just one more," or "but it's a special occasion," or "you only live once, (but you use that as an excuse to eat Taco Bell every day)." 

Remember, if you don't buy it, you won't be tempted - something that is much easier to comply with when you shop on a full belly and never go anywhere without a healthy snack.

I feel empowered. The call for chocolate that started becoming daily through the holidays is now like an old acquaintance whom I would love to see at some point, but that I don't necessarily miss. Even taking away the chocolate and the coffee and the once a week pizza has made a huge difference. Imagine what it would do for someone who eats processed food daily?

So, at this point (in 2 weeks), what has really changed?

  • My joint pain is almost completely gone
  • My sleep is significantly better, both in quality and quantity
  • My skin looks fantastic from all the fat I'm eating (I got carded buying a Powerball ticket...)
  • My body shape has significantly changed (again...in just 2 weeks)
  • I feel stronger during my workouts and therefore WANT to do them instead of feeling like I HAVE to do them
  • I manage stress better and am taking things less personally
  • I'm laughing more and finding joy in the mundane
  • My eczema has resolved (which was triggered by eggnog and various xmas dairy treats)

I'd say that's pretty significant. Food can be medicine or poison. And the great thing is, it's your choice!

Yes, you have to plan more, especially if you're on a budget. But once you get the hang of things, you realize it's WAY worth it. If you are struggling with any kind of chronic illness, whether it be asthma or cancer...I HIGHLY recommend seeing a licensed naturopath to get on a diet that is right for you. Whole30 is a great place to start - but we can help tailor it to your medical needs as well!

As far as this coming week goes, I got a great deal on frozen shrimp and veggies at Trader Joe's the other day, so I'm hoping to have Paleo Pad Thai with shrimp! We'll see!

Don't forget to friend me on MyFitnessPal @DrMcElveen if you want some extra encouragement and want to see more of what I'm doing - it's always better to have a buddy, even if it's a virtual one!


Read my reviews of Week 1, Week 2, Week 4 and the Final Results here!