I almost have too much to say about this, I'm not sure where to start.
I think I probably came across the Whole 30 plan on Instagram. Then every second blogger across the pond was writing about it and then the Daily Fail wrote a spectacularly unrepresentative article about it so I thought it must be worth a try.
Why did I think it was a good idea? Because I'd read that it might work as a 'reset' for my digestive system which was struggling even after completely removing wheat from my diet. I'm not sure if this is even a thing but pregnancy seems to do a complete number on how my body processes food and after having Baxter I felt really awful. I had stomach pains after eating virtually anything and was panicky about not being near a toilet which is the most rubbish way to live. I felt listless with no energy - yes I know I'd just had a baby - and I didn't have enough get up and go to get through the day.
I started to poke about the internet and found that you don't need to buy anything to learn about doing a Whole 30. This was new to me - every other eating plan or diet I've ever looked into has required upfront investment. All you need to know is on the website but in the end I bought this book because I was interested in what the science behind it was. On balance I would say some of the scientific explanation is a bit iffy but most of it seems reasonable.
When I mentioned it to Greig he said he would do it with me. I think this was before he realised exactly what he'd be going without for a month but a deal's a deal...........
So in very brief summary this what the plan entails
No sugar, real of artificial
No additives or 'frankenfoods'
If that seems like a lot of 'No', it really didn't feel like it. I don't eat any wheat, barley, rye or oats so they were easy. I would have been unlikely to drink this month so that was no big deal. What was hard was the no sugar. Both in terms of finding foods without sugar - seriously, much harder than it sounds and the headaches I had for the first week.
The only dairy I really missed was cheese, which was weird because I didn't ever think I was that into cheese but clearly I am. And drinking black tea was weird and harder than it probably should have been.
We quickly realised that we would have to shop throughout the week to top up the fruit and veg we were eating and to buy yet more eggs. We also made a loose meal plan so we bought everything we needed for a certain number of meals and we prepared some lunches and breakfasts the night before. Meal prep and shopping lists are not cool but they are useful.
So did it work?
Well it depends what you mean. Yes my stomach felt much, much more settled. I didn't need to run to the toilet for a whole month. I didn't feel hungry (you eat when you are hungry, simples). I didn't notice any change in my milk supply and Baxter was satisfied after feeds and still growing like a weed. I hardly thought about food by the end of the the 30 days (that's a good thing). Buying all that meat, fish and fresh produce was expensive but we didn't buy any convenience or snacky foods. I lost weight, I don't know how much because I deliberately didn't weigh myself because I didn't even want to think about it - I've just had a baby remember? I still felt very tired.
I cook a lot so it wasn't more cooking for me to do. I like fruit and veg so that wasn't hard. I hate drinking water straight from the tap so that was hard. Which seems ridiculous because you know, poor me with the fresh, clean, free water which runneths from my silver taps.
But that's not the end of my story.
The day after we finished Greig went back to bread, dairy and beer! I had a cubed centimetre of cheese and was doubled in pain for about 2 days. So I'm most definitely not going to try that again any time soon. Of course thinking I knew better I ignored the reintroduction advice from the Whole 30 authors so it's probably my own fault but it appears I might have a transient (I'm hoping) problem with dairy. Or perhaps the damage wheat did to my gut caused me to react to dairy (so called 'leaky gut') or perhaps I had problems with dairy all long which I just didn't realise. Who knows? I'll work it out.
I know there's lots of chatter about how eliminating food groups from your diet is silly if not potentially harmful but I disagree. If you are uncomfortable or in pain then why wouldn't you try to do something about it? Greig went straight back to lots of the things he ate before and you might too, or you might discover something doesn't agree with you which is a good thing I think. If nothing else doing a Whole 30 might just blow your mind about the amount of sugar and additives are in everyday food even if you think you eat a pretty balanced diet.
I have a lot to say about the other ways my relationship with food has changed which I'll save for later and I know you'll all be dying to know just when I manage to eat cheese without explosive consequences:)