Monday, January 16, 2017

The Science Lady Conducts an Experiment with an N of One, Whole 30 Day 14 Summary

Many out there are trying a Whole 30 elimination diet for the first time. Whole30 in a nutshell: people voluntarily give up grains, alcohol, legumes, sugar and dairy for 30 days.  This is not just gluten-free, it is grain-free. Whole 30 is similar to Paleo in its main food groups, but more strict on sugar (for example, maple syrup and honey are not allowed on Whole30). Whole30 boasts many rave reviews, including improving sleep, mood, energy, muscle distribution, digestion, improving allergy symptoms, etc. Many dieters also report pretty drastic weight loss on Whole30, though this is not a main goal of the diet. Whole30 is meant to help dieters learn about themselves, kick sugar or other carb cravings, and learn what makes their body feel good in a systematic way. Sounds good, right?

What do people on Whole30 eat?  Meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables (lots), eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats (like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, avocados, etc.).  Coffee and tea are allowed. Alcohol is not allowed.  Almost nothing processed can be consumed since typical manufactured foods contain soybean oil (a legume derivative) and/or added sugar.

After many struggles in 2015-2016 (see previous post), the SL decided to try it and see if Whole30 does as advertised. For full disclosure, the SL decided to keep small amounts of dairy in her Whole 30. This is for a few reasons: 1) family history of low bone density/osteopenia makes it important to keep up calcium intake, 2) the SL is pretty sure dairy is not an issue digestive-wise or allergy-wise, and 3) after 30 days without dairy, some people can no longer eat dairy because their body shuts down lactase protein production.  The body decides it no longer needs to digest dairy, so the lactase gene becomes methylated through a process called epigenetic modulation.  The SL would like to eat dairy in the future, so it stays in for Whole30.  One could say this is like a "Primal Style Whole 30."

Below is the SL's cart after leaving the Produce area on Day 12 of Whole 30.  You'll see parsley, cucumbers, bananas, garlic, ginger, pecans, basil, onions, cauliflower, oranges, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. Later, cage-free eggs, chicken thighs, beef short ribs, and grass-fed steak were added.  Whole30 requires big shopping trips!

Tips and Tricks:  The SL practiced for Whole30 for a couple months, trying recipes from Paleo blogs and purchasing Nom Nom Paleo's Food for Humans Cookbook. The SL also purchased Whole 30-compliant supplies from and Tessemae's, including Primal Kitchen Mayo, coconut aminos (soy sauce replacement), grass-fed Ghee, rendered duck fat, seaweed wraps, buffalo sauce, some salad dressings, etc. You can make your own mayo and your own salad dressings too, but sometimes in a pinch this helps keep things interesting.

Other sources that were helpful include Paleo Leap and Green Chef.  Green Chef offers Paleo meal kit delivery for a pretty steep penny, but the first box is ~75% off and it can be fun to try new things. SL's good friends, doing their second Whole30, recommended Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Tea for a delicious sugar-free treat.  The SL tried one tea cache and ordered another box of Hot Cinnamon and several other flavors. Tea helps in the evenings when you're not quite hungry, but just want something... and a glass of wine is not an option. Also, making your coffee with a French press, and enjoying sparkling seltzer water helps to keep it interesting.

Results at Day 14:  
Chicken soup with carrots, celery,
onions, bone broth and mushrooms. 

  • Sleep - sleep is about normal, perhaps on the best side of normal.
  • Digestion - Weird. The plumbing wasn't doing much for several days to a week. Middle of Week 2 was rough. Recently, it has started flowing again. We'll see if that helps with the program.
  • Cravings - not too bad. Mostly situational, such as when going out to dinner or happy hour, the SL really wanted a glass of wine, but alas, can't have it. Dark chocolate is sorely missed.  Pizza, pasta, etc. are not missed much.
  • Food - Paleo food is delicious, filling, nicely seasoned, satisfying. 
  • Metabolism and Energy - Sugar crashes are not as deep. The mid-afternoon slump doesn't feel as precipitous. Energy in the evenings after dinner seems better. Before, the SL just felt like a lazy lump, wanting to relax and watch TV. Now, after a brisk walk at night with the dog, energy is better for reading, cooking, yoga/stretching, chatting on the phone, etc.
  • Weight loss - At the end of Week 1, the SL weighed herself and found she had lost exactly zero pounds. This may have something to do with the digestive issues noted above. Now, the SL won't weigh herself again until Day 30, as per the Rules.
  • Future planning/logistics - During a normal week at home/work, Whole30 works pretty well. The SL's co-workers have made it a spectator sport to see what the SL has for lunch today - Hand rolls made with crab meat, avocado, vegetables and seaweed?  Mashed cauliflower with veal meat balls and tomato sauce?  Nom Nom's Cowboy Chili? They drool over it.  
  • Traveling, family events, trips, etc. would be much harder than a typical workweek. The SL and her husband were invited over to a friend's house for dinner and ended up bringing the dinner to stay on track at the end of Week 1. This program does require robust grocery shopping with a plan/list, and time to wash, peel, chop, roast and cook all that produce and meat. There is no winging it here!

Prime rib roast, seasoned and tied, ready
for the smoker/grill.
The success and value of Whole30 is still TBD, but so far, so good.

1 comment:

  1. Excited to hear about the 30 day results Tressa. Keep it up!!