Most of my friends and family now know I’ve been on a month-long Whole30 detox adventure. It’s been incredibly enlightening. What is Whole30? It’s a new way of eating, where you eliminate all sugars (yes, wine too,) grains, dairy, and legumes. The reasoning is to reset your body to burn fat for energy rather than sugar and carbs. If we burn only sugar and carbs, we’ll crave more sugar and carbs and store that fat. But it’s also a diet that reduces systemic inflammation. I’m finding I was suffering, for the past 2 years from joint pain because they were inflamed due to the foods I was eating (or drinking.)
I also cut caffeine out. Just to be me and up the ante a bit.
I can tell you that at Day 16 here, my hip and knee issues are getting much better. My overall joint pain is generally gone. I’m sleeping close to soundly. I feel stronger and healthier. But, my headaches are persisting. You can’t have everything right? Yet, I’m only in the middle of the experiment, so I’ll let you know more when we round the corner at the end of the month.
Many people ask me what I’ve been eating if so much is restricted from my diet. The answer is: a ton! And I have zero interest in snacking between meals because my meals are quite robust. I’ve photographed and logged every meal, including my general status each day, so although this might be way TMI I’m going to share it here anyway:
Status: woke up with headache, sore on right side hip. Felt energized all day (my usual vibe.) Hiked/ran 4 miles. Getting tired at 7:30 p.m.
Breakfast: Curried Frittata
Lunch: Baby spinach salad with tuna, my homemade sesame garlic ginger sauce, sautéed crimini mushrooms in ghee, naturally fermented pickle, 2 pieces dried mango
Dinner: Roasted potatoes in olive oil and splash of rice vinegar, artichoke and ghee, guacamole
Status: Didn’t sleep well because of someone snoring. Sciatica above right glute is hurting a lot. Otherwise good energy, no hunger or cravings. End of day feeling really really bloated. I don’t like this feeling, all the grease and meat. It’s not good for the environment to eat so much meat. Not good for my gut. Am going to create my own Whole30 diet that still follows all compliant food but doesn’t eat so much meat.
Breakfast: Banana and blueberries with homemade almond butter (raw almonds, fleur de sel, coconut oil)
(I was told in a forum that this meal isn’t really all that Whole30-compliant. The ingredients are, but I need more protein. What is a vegetarian to do? I eat eggs, but am not excited about changing my lifestyle to include a ton of animal meats (other than fish) in my diet, as I’m looking for something that’s sustainable for our family long-term. I’ve been advised to add 3-4 eggs to the meal. Not sure I can do this X3 every day. Nine eggs per day will be tough.)
Lunch: Chili but with egg instead of beef. Delicious.
Dinner: Chicken thighs with onion and olives, grilled eggplant, and cauliflower carrot parsnip puree
Status: Feel like merde. Food is really greasy and it’s getting me down. Last night’s chicken had a lot of grease in it. One thigh and I was really full. This is more meat than I’ve eaten in years, and, well, after dinner I felt really bloated and went to bed feeling generally rotten, like how you feel after eating rich food. I slept pretty well, but felt that headache coming on throughout the night. Now, it’s a full-fledged migraine because I had to make my son’s breakfast and lunch, take him to school, feed the chickens, start the fire (we only heat with wood), get my daughter off to the bus, and I still hadn’t eaten. Suffice it to say, that vice grip on my head was so aggressive I knew I was going to start vomiting (this is the way my body deals with extreme pain — I have a history of getting migraines.) So, I quickly ate a banana, two dates and about 3 tablespoons of homemade almond butter because, frankly, the thought of eating a couple of eggs was going to make me hurl. Fingers crossed the vice eases its grip on my head. Is this too much animal meat for a non-meat eater? I’m going to try to stick with the eggs-mostly approach, with some fish and the very occasional addition of chicken. But yesterday felt like way too much: more food and fats than I generally eat in a day, so maybe I need to moderate a bit?
Meal 1: 3 Tablespoons almond butter, 1 banana, 2 dates
Meal 2: Sautéed kale greens and 2 poached eggs, with carrot parsnip cauli puree.
Meal 3: Thai green curry with shrimp on cauli rice.
Status: Tonight was the premier of our film, and friends came over with champagne. Wasn’t tempted at all.
Status: Remnants of yesterday’s headache, but not terrible. Have lots of energy. Feel pretty good, but also feel that I could use some more sleep. And, umm, in the department of “signs that one could be undergoing deflammation” (that’s my silly word for the opposite of inflammation) — my ring is falling off my finger. My hands look so much better. They were definitely looking on the sausage-y side of things, so this fast deflammation is a real surprise. I’m not chalking it up to weight loss, just loss of inflammation in my extremities.
Meal 1: Sautéed kale greens and 2 poached eggs, with carrot parsnip cauli puree, and a pickle.
Meal 2: Leftover chicken thighs, cauli-carrot-parsnip puree, grilled eggplant
Meal 3: Chili (as above)
Status: Feeling pretty good. Definitely tired in the morning when waking up to make Finn’s lunch and get him to school.
Meal 1: 2 Hard boiled eggs, 2 chicken sausages, small handful raw pistachio nuts, 2 dates, detox dandelion tea
Meal 2: This is some seriously yummy porridge!!
Meal 3: Baked Salmon, Roasted veggies (potato, turnip, beets, sweet potato) and homemade ketchup. Daughter loves the ketchup so much, she’s eating it by the spoonful.
Status: My hip & knee still ache deeply when I sleep. A pillow between legs helps. BUT, when I get up, I don’t have the aches and creeks and stiffness in my joints! And the knee feels good.
Meal 1: Nut “oatmeal” (see above) and 2 soft boiled eggs.
Meal 2: Awesome pesto with cauli rice and turkey bacon.
Meal 3: Delicious shrimp scampi on zucchini noodles.
Status: I feel good. Have never cooked so much in my life, but I’m making the time for it and am learning so much. The alternatives to what I’m used to eating are still just as delicious and much more healthy. Zucchini noodles, yum. Cauliflower rice, yum. Homemade ketchup, yum. Vegan pesto, yum. Didn’t work out today but energy level is good.
Status: Feel great!
Meal 1: Sweet potato avocado toast with fried eggs, green onion, tomato, onions, and cashews.
Meal 2: Spinach Ceasar (with my vegan faux Ceasar dressing), guacamole, smoked turkey slices, pickle.
Meal 3: Asian Stir fry with egg “tofu” (leftovers of cauli rice, mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper, garlic, ginger, onion. And coconut aminos for flavor. Really really good!
Status: Feeling good. My back hurts from standing much of the day yesterday, cooking! Heart rate goes up after eating! Is my metabolism kickstarting?
Meal 1: Soft boiled eggs, raw red bell pepper, avocado, green olives, macadamia nuts.
Meal 2: Baked potato with carmelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and garlic, topped with cilantro and green onion on a bed of spinach with faux Ceasar dressing. Two chicken sausages.
Meal 3: Speck, chopped salad of jicama, romaine, onion, potato, cilantro, green onion and a little leftover potato.
Status: Woke up a bit late for a 7:55 ferry. Not enough time to eat much. Long day, then until a 2:00 lunch, with only a slight hunger headache.
Meal 1: Soft boiled eggs, banana.
Meal 2: Tuna, sweet red pepper, radish, pickle, jicama, dates, homemade almond butter.
Meal 3: Dungeness crab, ghee, green beans, homemade mayo, clementine.
Status: Slept well. Had the Natural Calm magnesium drink last night and I think it helped. But, woke up with a headache, so took meds.
Meal 1: Poached eggs on bed of sautéed kale and sautéed mushrooms with marjoram. Awesome!
Meal 2: Chicken tenders dredged in coconut flour and pinch of salt. Pan fry it in coconut oil. Place in a bowl on a bed of baby spinach with a great dressing for this dish: Coconut milk, olive oil and green thai curry paste, whisked together. Garnish with enoki mushrooms, sliced Italian plum tomatoes. Unbelievably good, altogether!
Meal 3: Pete is gone now, so I just made oven baked sweet potato fries with the kids and they loved them. We also had sliced raw veggies: avocado, radish, celery and some macadamia nuts. I threw in some prosciutto to get some protein.
Status: Sleeping soundly, except for the fact that my hip and knee ache at night. Get up to take ibuprofen. Taking Magnesium.
Meal 1: Sautéed kale and garlic with poached eggs and marjoram mushrooms.
Meal 2: Sweet potato fries (leftover), baby spinach and parsley with green thai dressing, coconut floured pan seared chicken tenders.
Meal 3: Poached salmon, fried green plantains with mango avocado salsa
Status: The pain in my hip and knee at night (and day) is diminishing! I went on a load-bearing hike yesterday which was intensive, but didn’t hurt my knee. At night I didn’t wake from the pain as often, but my muscles are seizing up, which shows a lack of calcium. The magnesium binds to calcium and now that I’m not eating dairy I may not be getting enough calcium. Have been eating dark greens but still not quite enough?
Meal 1: Sautéed garlic kale with poached eggs on top. Sliced tomatoes.
Meal 2: Mango salsa with sliced turkey, deviled eggs (with homemade mayo), jicama.
Meal 3: Asparagus, avocado, basil salad and chicken apple sausages.
Meal 1: Scrambled eggs with my parsley pesto and baby spinach, all together in a salad.
Meal 2: The asparagus salad from Day 12 with prosciutto on top.
Meal 3: Baby zucchini, onion and marjoram sautéed into scrambled eggs. With sliced avocado on top. So good!
Status: Small headache upon waking. What is causing these? My jaw feels like it was clenched as I slept. Otherwise, my body feels good. Not too much pain in my knee and hip as I slept, but I did take 600 mg of ibuprofen before bed.
Meal 1: Pumpkin custard (a bit bland)
Meal 2: Sliced smoked turkey, roasted potatoes, baby spinach, green beans.
Meal 3: Coconut floured chicken sautéed in red palm oil. Morels and garlic sautéed in ghee, roasted veggies, and faux cesar salad.
Status: Felt really energized most of the day (collected wood in the forest with Finn and went on a 3 mile walk to pick up Cleo at her friend’s house,) but feeling a little bit down. It’s hard to just cook all of this just for myself.
Meal 1: pumpkin custard (see above) with ghee sautéed nuts and raw homemade Lara bar bits for sweetener (dates, cacao, hazlenuts, almonds, sea salt whirred in the Vitamix.)
Meal 2: Roasted veggies, salad, smoked salmon lox.
Meal 3: Roasted red pepper zoodles and 2 chicken sausages.
So, there you have it! Fifteen days of Whole30 under my belt and the meals therein.
12 thoughts on “My Whole30 Detox – First 15 Days”
You’re giving me pause for thought, but can I make myself take the plunge (or us. I don’t think I could just go through this just for myself)? Like you, I’d find the meat/eggs overload to be just that. We don’t really eat processed foods much, but do rely a lot on rice, bread, pasta. Milk I rarely touch, but cheese? I eat far too much. Eliminating legumes would be hard too. Still, to have a night’s sleep, and eliminate some of my creaking joints would be a big plus. Hmmmmmm……..
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I highly urge you to try it, Margaret. It’s only 30 days to reset your body and find out what’s causing the insomnia and joint pain. This was my situation literally 2 weeks ago. But now I know that one or some of these inflammatory foods is causing the joint pain (it’s completely cleared up!) and insomnia. So simple a solution and so very worth it. The dark rings under my eyes have disappeared. I thought the legumes would be tough to lose, but when you see the meals we’ve been eating, we’re having wholesome and nutritious meals and I don’t miss them, or anything, at all. In fact, I can’t wait to try out a new way of cooking something. I made lasagna yesterday, using homemade cashew cream and zucchini noodles, and it was better than any pasta and dairy based lasagna I’ve ever had. (I used to make tofu lasagna professionally, to sell to a vegan book store, as a side job when I lived in Aspen, Colorado.)
So colourful! 🙂
I noticed you’re taking magnesium, have you tried the oil instead (transdermal) and just sprayed it on your head for your headaches?
You’re eating a lot of dark leafy greens, so I think you’re ok in calcium, right? Thanks for documenting your journey. It’s so interesting!
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Hi Crunchmom! Yes, the magnesium is a new addition and I think it could also be helping me with my sleep. I’m doing my best to eat dark leafy greens every day to offset the calcium absorption. I’ll definitely look for magnesium in oil form to see if it helps with the headaches! Thanks so much for the tip.
If I’m not mistaken, I think the oil can be sprayed on your aches and pains too, although I’m glad to hear those have lessened. Good luck!
Liesl, I suggest Hemp Hearts for plant based protein, perfect ratio of Omega 3 to 6 healthy fats, gives you incredible energy and fills you up. I use my seed grinder and make hummus, salad dressing by thinning it and add garlic and favorite spices like the wonderful anti-inflammatory turmeric, cumin, dill, whatever you love. Hemp Hearts from Rocky Mountain Grains in Canada are my favorite. Thank you so much for sharing your meals and progress.
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Thanks so much for sharing this, Karen. I’ll look for hemp hearts then! If they taste great, they’ll become a staple.
3 TBS of hemp hearts contains 11 g of protein and 40+% daily value of magnesium, plus very high in omegas! They are essential part of our mostly vegan diet. The most reliable brand for consistent fresh sweet nutty flavor that I have found, that I can also buy in bulk, is Manitoba Harvest. We use so much that bulk is the only way to buy. I order a 5lb bag for close to $50 from Jet.com. Manitoba Harvest also sells a bag labeled organic, though from my understanding, hemp is a very clean crop to grow. With organic label costing an additional $25, I opt for conventional, feeling that the organic lable and higher price, in this case, is likely regulatory red tape.
Wow! This is so helpful! Thanks a million for the tip. How else do you use the hemp hearts?
OK, I must admit originally I was like “Whole-30… not for me”. But I didn’t realize the benefits on inflammation. And your eggs and kale photos have made me wish I was there with you! Some of the photos in this full expose were a bit “ew” for me but I grew up with a pretty white-bread American suburban diet (read as PROCESSED). I’ve been working over the years to get more and more natural and at this point hope to be living largely off my own produce in a few years. But I’m still in transition. I really appreciate all you’re sharing. It’s tough being vulnerable but you are giving a great gift to your readers. Inspiration and ideas. I look forward to hearing how you’re doing at the end of the month.
Oh, and I have tried a few things for migraines as I have suffered with them since the late 80’s. In 2011 I decided to get Reiki certified to be able to self-treat and have been amazed at how I can now place my hands on the head and eliminate the migraine pain. Not every time but often I get relief. Sometimes I have to keep my hands in place to not have pain so it’s not conducive to doing much else. But I’ve found another cure that is easy and quick that has worked as well in essential oils – a drop of frankincense on the roof of the mouth. Some people have tried peppermint on the back of the neck as well. Hope you find relief soon!!
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Thanks for this, Jami! I’ll definitely give the frankincense and/or peppermint a try. Just thinking about a migraine gives me a migraine so I’ll stop there!