Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Whole30 adventure is set to begin...

Let food be thy medicine
and medicine be thy food
- Hippocrates 

"Liv I think you should go gluten free."
" My friends Mum cured all her pain through not eating sugar."
"You shouldn't be eating tomatoes" 
"Have you cut dairy out of your diet?"

"Hey Liv have you gone gluten free yet??"

If I received a dollar every time I heard those questions or had diet advice recommended to me, let's just say I would be a very wealthy woman! While I know people are coming from a place of care and concern when they are offering advice, it can get exhausting to constantly hear. It often feels like everyone is trying to 'fix me' because I am 'broken'. Outward I would smile and thank them but internally I am yelling ' if I want to eat a bloody piece of cake or a slice of cheese then I will!'.
 (P.S this is not a dig at anyone! I am very open and receptive to advice I promise! I did wonder if I should probably take this out as I might offend someone but I think it is just a side of living with chronic illness that you experience and I want to be honest about it. Heck I know I do it to those I love as well!)

I have come to realise that I have lived in the mindset that I feel like Lupus takes away a lot in my life so if I want to eat (insert any food in here) then I will. I feel restricted in many areas and I didn't want to feel restricted with what I can eat either. Plus where was I going to get this extra energy from to maintain this new lifestyle? While I've had this mindset, there has always been a niggly thought in the back of my mind that I could try harder with my diet and the foods I put into my body but I always managed to quiet that with a packet of salt and vinegar chips.....

I knew (and hoped!) deep down that I would come to a place where I would decide to take more control over my diet and the foods I am putting into my body but I understood this was a decision I had to come to when I was ready in my own time. If I was to do this, it needed to be for me and not to keep other people comfortable. 

Drum roll please.....I AM NOW READY!

But where to start? Do I just cut out sugar or gluten or dairy or follow an anti inflammatory diet? The options are endless!
After much research and thought, I have decided to undertake what is known as the Whole30 program. 

What is the Whole30 program?

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button with your health, habits, systemic inflammation, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. (
In the past I have temporarily cut certain foods (mainly gluten) out of my diet to see if it helps control my symptoms, however so far I have been unable to find foods that trigger flare ups. Many times I have said to Dan that I almost wish I could identity a food that caused me to feel awful because then I would certainly stay well clear of eating it. The truth is, there are things in my diet that I am sure I am eating that are doing more harm that good and I feel that undertaking the Whole30 program, I will hopefully be able to pay close attention and undercover these potential food triggers. 
My lovely husband has decided to undertake this with me so for 30 days we will stay away from eating....
  • Sugar - added of any kind, real or artificial
  • Alcohol
  • Grains 
  • Legumes 
  • Dairy
  • Carrageenan, MSG, or added Sulfates  
 I must point out here that this is not to say these foods are necessarily 'bad' rather it is the idea that these are known foods that can cause unwanted effects on the body, the main one being inflammation.

Therefore we are able to eat:

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables 
  • Fruit
  • Natural fats 

I know some of you by now are probably shaking your head and questioning why we are cutting so much from our diet. The simple answer is I AM SO TIRED OF LIVING IN PAIN. Something needs to change for me and at the end of the 30 days I still feel rubbish (which I highly doubt) I can take comfort in knowing that for 30 days I have fed my body whole, rich nutrient dense foods. 
I understand this plan won't sit right for everyone but it feels right to follow for me. 
For 30 days we will both focus on healing out guts. I like to think of it as using food to be my medicine! 

After the 30 days we enter a period of re-introduction where we will slowly add certain foods back into our diet and watch for any unwanted symptoms. This will be the crucial part for me where I will hopefully be able to discover foods that make my symptoms worse. 

I have read blogs where people have had debilitating symptoms disappear, people also report gaining more energy, sleeping better and just all round feeling better. There is a great testimonial page here which shows ways peoples lives have changed...

Dan and I have spent the last couple of weeks reading the Whole30 book, taking notes, finding receipes and familiarising ourselves with the program. We know to do this successfully we have to be prepared and educated. 

Our starting date is 2nd February as Mums birthday is on the 1st February and we want to be able to eat one last piece of cake haha! 

On Monday we spent the day cleaning out our freezer, fridge and pantry. We have filled two washing baskets with food we cannot eat and have decided to take away the temptation of having it in the house so will take it to mum and dads. We have sat down and written out our meal plan for the week and the all important grocery list. We also spent time writing down our goals and motivations for making this change as well as potential triggers (having a bad day, getting invitations out for dinner, having a flare up) and how we will overcome these (having prepared meals, communicating to each other, reminding ourselves of our goals). 

Bye bye temptation!

Dan and I have been laughing that the universe has been sending us signs all week that is time for us to start. My first sign came when I decided to have a piece of toast for breakfast only to have it get stuck in the toaster. We found some sausage rolls in our freezer so decided to eat them for lunch and with my first bite I burnt the roof of my mouth so have been left with a painful blister. Last night we had home made hamburgers which resulted in one of us having a very unhappy tummy for the rest of the night!! 

Right, I am off to stir my bone broth but want to end this blog post with a quote from the Whole30 book that really gave me the final kick I needed to do this. Stay tuned as we will share this experience with you!

This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard.
 Fighting cancer is hard.
 Birthing a baby is hard. 
Losing a parent is hard.
 Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. 
You’ve done harder things than this, 
and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. 
It’s only thirty days, 
and it’s for the most important health cause on earth
—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime. 

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