Since January 21 (and restarting a few times since because of slip ups, booooo), we in the Park family have gone, not just Paleo, but Whole30. For 30 days, we’ve avoided all:
- Sugar of any kind (honey, stevia, agave nectar included)
- Alcohol (not even for cooking)
- Grains (including corn)
- Potatoes (except sweet potatoes)
- Carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
So…was it worth it?
In 30 days (warning: TMI alert):
- Lost so much weight he now weighs what he did in high school (this is the fastest he has ever seen results compared to any diet/workout routine he’s tried before)
- Is on his way to developing a six pack
- Has seen a significant difference in energy for his marathon training. Where once he had to carbload the night before and the morning of his training, he’s running off the proteins and fats energy emphasis and reenergizing with post workout carb-dense veggies instead. In his runs, he lasts longer, is faster, and has more energy than he’s ever had before.
- Reduced GERDs
- No longer has Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Also lost so much weight I now weigh what I did pre-baby, pre-wedding, and actually what I only once weighed in high school
- Is also developing a six pack
- No longer has an allergy to water like I used to (since I was little, I had aquagenic urticaria where I developed hives anytime I swam or showered)
- No longer has eczema and discovered the trigger to both skin conditions during the Whole30 reintroduction as I’ll chat below
- No longer has Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- During menstruation, I no longer get cramping or migraines as I always did before
- Now knows I can survive without any chocolate or dessert
- Reduced anxiety and panic attacks (more on this in a future post)
- Reduced candida overgrowth
- Reduced acne
- Has actually learned to cook
- Is actually now exercising almost everyday (after promising David that I’d never run unless it was away from something)
For both of us, it has changed our relationship with food and the mentality we had with eating. It’s been a complete body and culture shock for us to realize how bad the food we eat really was for us and how many of our problems came from just eating poorly. We both now enjoy:
- More energy
- More mental clarity
- Better focus
- Faster thinking
- Eating less (the quantity and portions are smaller but they’re incredibly more filling)
- Less snacking
- Significantly limiting the unhealthy stuff without too much guilt
- Learning how to shop for food (because we actually kinda get what’s in it now!)
- Knowing how to eat healthy even at restaurants
- Eating surprisingly really delicious food at home that is actually really, really good for you (and, more importantly for us, for our little boy)
- Empowerment – Honestly, because we did something that for us was so radical, it was empowering AND motivating to do other changes we’ve always been wanting to make but been to afraid to (i.e. working out, setting boundaries, having hard conversations, etc)
There are people who argue eating Paleo is the way to go because that’s how our ancestors did it.
Honestly, for us, we could care less. We wanted to know:
Is this way of eating honestly better, healthier for you?
Does it work?
What won us over to even trying Whole30 were the testimonials of people we knew that dealt with surprising healing from body issues that made us want to test it out. Medication was no longer working. Exercise wasn’t doing it. For us, it was worth the try.
And, boy, was it totally worth it.
Whole30 10-day reintroduction
One of the things I was most excited about with the Whole30 was the reintroduction period. After the 30 days, we get to reintroduce one of the forbidden food groups every few days just to see how our body reacts to certain foods in case we ever wanted to eat them again. The rest of our diet was still Whole30 except for the one food group we ate for that one day. We then waited 2-3 days to see if there were any reactions. It was kind of an allergy experiment for me so I couldn’t wait to try it. And we couldn’t wait to eat some of those forbidden foods again haha:
Day 1 Legumes (soy, peanuts, beans, lentils)
We included Kidney Bean Chili for breakfast, Fried Tofu for lunch, and Soy Sauce with our dinner. Days passed and, wonderfully, no reactions!
Day 4 Non-Gluten Grains (rice, oats, quinoa, etc)
We added to our Whole30 day quinoa for breakfast and rice for lunch and dinner (oh, and we ate Korean BBQ for dinner – because we could!) Oh man, we felt sluggish, dry mouth, and trapped gas and irritable bowels for the next whole day. I had immediate nausea and bloating and even some headaches. I especially felt a lot of pain in my stomach (Korean BBQ was probably a bad idea in general), oily skin, and enjoyed an acne breakout for days after.
Day 7 Dairy
We had Raw Gouda Cheese Strawberry Pear Walnut Coconut Milk medley for breakfast, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Meatballs and Sauce with Spaghetti Squash sprinkled with Gouda Cheese, and Ben & Jerry’s Sweet Cookies & Cream ice cream with our dinner. Our stomach irritations came back each time after eating dairy. We’d always dubbed ourselves lactose intolerant since college so this was no surprise. But the great thing was it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. And the biggest surprise was we didn’t have any bad reactions after eating the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
I was in chocolate heaven after this chocoholic has stayed away from chocolate since Christmas. But I like this love affair with chocolate – only on very special occasions <3 Makes our love that much sweeter.
Day 10 Gluten Grains
We were super excited to reintroduce gluten grains because…we missed it. Or so we thought.
For breakfast we added Zov’s Famous Pancakes and I was shocked at how many ingredients and fat and sugar was needed to make this actually taste good for us. For lunch, we added organic whole grain Trader Joe’s pasta. David enjoyed a few rolls of bread. For dinner, we had breaded fish and, yum, cheesecake.
This was the MOST surprising result for us. We had the fastest reaction compared to any other day. Almost immediately from eating the gluten grain, both of us got major stomachaches, nausea, and bloating. I immediately had a breakout of eczema on my lips and hives in my skin after I showered (discovering the cause of both these lifelong ailments).
so the biggest question we get asked – how much did this cost us?
The book was a gift but costs $15.22 on Amazon here.
But you can get away with just reading about it on their website here.
But, yes, what did it cost in groceries and restaurant bills (because we did get to eat out at least 1-3x/week)?
For a family of 3 (including an 18 mo who eats like he’s 3), we spent about $1,200/month. But this includes:
- $1,200 we spent to purchase half a cow (200 lbs of grass-fed grass-finished sustainable beef from Full Life Farm – a supply that looks like will last us the whole year).
- A nice multi-day Disneyland excursion including stops at all their fine dining stops
- Purchasing all new seasonings, baking products, and sauces that don’t have MSG, carageenan, or sulfites and other ingredients not Whole30 compliant (and not healthy to begin with) – these will last us for years
- Ingredients for juicing as we wanted to have green juice at least 1x/day (requiring more veggies than if you were to just cook and eat them)
- Herbal plants we purchased so we could just grow them at home instead of buying them at the store each week
- Also, the number includes random groceries like electronics, clothes, soap, or diapers and what not.
All in all, our food budget went up 30%. It costs more initially because we literally removed 95% of what was in our cupboards and had to replace them. And much of the replacements we purchased cost some but will last a long time (and is so much better for our bodies in the long run).
Is this what it will cost you? Not necessarily.
There are people who spend way more and others who spend way less (see Paleo Poor Guide for Whole30 here).
how much time did it take?
We home cooked 90% of the time. The meals I would make would take 30 minutes-1 hour depending on the recipe. But, remember, I’m also a newbie to the kitchen so I had quite a learning curve. It gone down closer to just the 30 minutes of time for homecooking. The dishwasher saves us time. But, when we’re in a complete rush, we go to the yummy Whole30 approved snacks and premade meals like:
- Pre-made Paleo (where you can even buy 30 days worth of meals and have it delivered to your door – just takes a few minutes to reheat and it’s good!)
- Rx Bar + PrimalPacs for when we were working weddings
wanna try it?
Find recipe inspiration for yummy healthy dishes for everyone in the family:
what’s next for #parksgopaleo?
Our family is sticking to Whole30 when we eat at home for the most part except for when we hang out with loved ones at parties or restaurants. It’s been like an 80/20 Whole30 for us since the reintroduction period ended. We got to admit it, however, our bodies are already starting to feel back to the old way they were so we’re thinking of doing another Whole30 soon and possibly just making it everyday except for holidays. We’ll see. What we know right now is – it works and we honestly believe it’s worth it for everyone to try.
More details behind The Whole30 here. Check out our past weeks:
Follow our Whole30 journey via instagram with #parksgopaleo here.
With all our love,
The Parks (and baby Knightly)