The Whole30: What It Is and Why I’m Doing It (Not Just Because the Cool Kids Do)

First of all, thanks so much for all the sweet comments on my race recap! I’m actually enjoying a few days of recovery. I did really want to run today because the weather was gorgeous, but I opted for a walk instead.  I was glad I did when I ran across the street to beat the stoplight and my legs screamed, “NO! We’re not ready to run yet!” Such melodramatic legs.

But that’s not what I’m talking about today. I vaguely mentioned last week that my eating habits post-marathon would be undergoing an overhaul, and that they are. On Monday, I started the Whole30.


In a nutshell, it’s 30 days of no grains, beans/legumes, dairy, sugar, or alcohol, and a lot of veggies, fruits, nuts, and meats.

This diet/program/whatever you want to call it has been discussed all over the interwebs for a couple of years now. I’d read about it on blogs, seen it on Pinterest, etc. At first, I thought it was just a weight loss program, and I thought people were insane for trying to lose weight by cutting out entire food groups. “Not sustainable!” I’d mumble. “Probably not safe, either.”

But then I read a few blog posts from bloggers I respect that talked about how the Whole30 cleared up allergies, asthma, and acne, and, most intriguing to me, solved ongoing digestive troubles. Those posts interested me enough to buy the book, It Starts With Food, and see what it had to say.

I don’t talk about this much (on the blog or in real life), but for a long time, I’ve had digestive issues. And because I don’t talk about it to any but my nearest and dearest, that’s all the info you get.

Sorry, internet, but you’re not my best friend. Yet.

In addition, my 28-year-old skin thinks it’s necessary to break out like a 14-year-old’s. Which is super awesome. I really believe that these two problems must be related to what I’m eating. And reading It Starts With Food made that belief even stronger.

I’ve been to three different doctors for these troubles, and none of them were much help. The first was my gyno, who referred me to a gastroenterology clinic. The doc there wanted to stick me on some drug (and acted like I was a complete moron for asking basic questions about said drug). The third doctor actually ran some tests for celiac, thyroid disorders, etc., but when they came back negative, said, “I guess that’s just how you’re made.” Not one of them asked about my diet. So I figured that instead of dropping endless $60 copays for no help, I could try cutting some food groups for 30 days.

Just to reiterate: I’m not doing this to lose weight. In fact, I expect to gain 2-3 pounds over the next couple of weeks, because I usually do when I ease up on training post-marathon. So please don’t yell “You don’t need to lose weight!” at me. That’s not the goal here.

The way I see it, if it works, cool. I will have saved money, discovered the root of the problem and, most importantly, be feeling better. If it doesn’t work, all I’m out is 30 days of peanut butter (and other stuff, obviously, but I sure do love PB).

Three days in, I can’t really say too much about it. I can say that eating a lot of fat (as per the program) is weird but satiating. I haven’t had the headaches, brain fogginess, or fatigue that the book warned could happen in the first week (knock on wood). I hope that because I don’t each much sugar anyway, this won’t be as hard for me as it is for some other people. It probably also helps that I’m not working out so my body’s not craving the carbies like normal.

So, that’s the road I’m on right now. I’ll let you know in 30 days what I learn.


Have you or anyone you know done the Whole30? What did you think?

11 thoughts on “The Whole30: What It Is and Why I’m Doing It (Not Just Because the Cool Kids Do)”

  1. It was a beautiful day here and at 5:30, I got so antsy and felt like I NEEDED to run, but somehow found a way to distract myself. Sigh. Running is my drug. Good luck with the diet and let us know what you think. Doctors are just about useless (I’m so sorry to all the GI doctors out there) for GI-related issues. I believe most issues are nutrition-based but generally am too lazy to go ahead and cut out major food groups. Good for you for trying!

  2. good luck! I did the whole 30 in june and it changed the way I ate permanently from there on out just because it made such an impact on my digestive system and overall how I felt. the best thing I ever did. Now I follow it about 90/10 which is more livable, it did get tough by the end of 30 days but embrace the fat!! it is what gets you through

  3. Your doctors sound like they have no idea what they are talking about. I feel like the first thing they should have asked about was diet. I did something similar to this loosely for two months and then solidly for one month pre-wedding. I have to say, I felt awesome. More energy, less bloat at the end of the day, and clearer skin. Good luck!

  4. While I’ve never done Whole 30, I used to eat strictly Paleo, which is basically the same thing. I still try to eat as Paleo as I can, but I do enjoy my dairy and the occasional beans and quinoa. It sounds like you are having some of the same problems I was having. I even had a colonoscopy at the ripe old age of 22. The doctors never once asked about my diet. As soon as I changed it up, all of my problems went away (specifically cutting gluten). I can also tell when I am not eating as Paleo because I don’t have as much energy. Good luck! I really hope this works for you!!

  5. Good for you for trying to cure your digestive issues and acne the natural way. When I was a stupid teen, I took accutane for my acne and I still have horrible side effects from the drug. Yet when I went on a juice cleanse my face had never been clearer. I look forward to reading about your progress on this diet!

  6. I think more people should talk about their digestive issues because I think everybody goes thru the same “crap” – no pun intended 😉

    Please update us on this program! I would love to hear about it! 🙂

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