My journey with Whole30 started on January 15, 2018. My family and I (kids too), started eating on the plan in hopes my middle child’s head to toe severe eczema would improve. My middle child has been plagued with severe eczema since birth. She sees a pediatric dermatologist, and has 1 steroid topical cream, and 1 autoimmune antihistamine she takes; as needed.
After one week on the plan, we noticed a dramatic decline in itching (a small child who was always itching), this was huge! We also noticed the red, raised areas on her skin (most of her body), had decreased in size and dryness.
After 1 week on the plan, my sugar cravings were gone; my stomach was flatter (decreased bloating), and I had so much energy! I would have 1 medium coffee with almond milk, about 3 times a week; I didn’t need anymore, because I had so much energy! (Before Whole30 I was drinking 1 large coffee with cream and sugar flavoring, a day). My body had regular sleep/wake cycles, I went to bed earlier and slept longer. My relationship with food changed, as well. To keep myself satisfied, and to keep my metabolism going I ate several small meals a day. This also helped keep me on track; as in, I did not reach for the forbidden foods (see the Whole30 food lists for specifics). I learned to recognize my bodily cues, such as tiredness and boredom; and learned to say no to foods when experiencing those feelings. I learned to recognize when I was stressed out or emotional, and not eat then, either. All of this made me realize, most of my life, I was hyper focused on digesting my feelings with food.
I was raised in a typical Italian American, Catholic family (Mom & Dad, were happily married). Feelings, were not something that was talked about. I did as I were told, and if I didn’t like or agree with it, I got sent to my room “to think about it”…. but no one asked me how I felt. Instead I ate, and ate some more. We celebrated with food, birthdays, holidays, family gatherings; all had food, lots and lots of food. When I was feeling down, stressed, and happy I ate (food was MY therapist!) This relationship, learned at a young age, was very unhealthy. Whole30 and the book “It Starts with Food” by: Melissa & Dallas Hartwig; changed the way I see food. (Honest, it is a good read!)
Today as I ventured out for my 9 to 5 job, I suddenly became aware at how tired I was (thank you to my small child who was up several times the night before). I immediately wanted something sweet. (As a side note, I read somewhere your body craves foods high in sugar when you are tired.) Instead, I drank half a liter of water (maybe I was just thirsty), and ate a banana. My energy level improved, and I was able to push past my sugar craving. Whole30, helped me to become very aware of how food makes me feel when I consume it. I have also honed in on my feelings, and am actively working on not reaching for a food item as my therapist; instead I journal or engage in a craft activity (something that sparks joy inside); and I feel much more satisfied.
Because of Whole30, I’m down 2 pant sizes, and 15 lbs. My other kids have had positive improvements as well, they are not as moody as they were when they consumed sugar. My eldest, and before Whole30, lover of all carbs (especially the unhealthy kind); now asks for fruit or vegetables for a snack. It also helps that we slowly stocked the kitchen and pantry with Whole30 compliant foods.
We tried “reinroduction” of foods, as noted in the book; but have maintained a mostly Whole30 (occasionally Paleo) way of eating. It seems most non whole30 foods make my middle child’s eczema flare up; for that reason we have maintained the Whole30 lifestyle, with occasional treats (birthday parties, family gatherings -where compliant foods are not available- and occasionally non dairy ice cream.) I see life as a big experiment, I try new things to see if it works, and then try something else if it doesn’t work.