The Whole 30….and beyond
I first posted about doing the Whole30 here. Since then, I finished my Whole 30 - which was actually a Whole 41 (days) – and have had over 3 weeks of life post-Whole 30. I’ve been trying to get this post out for a while and thanks to a little motivation from Ultrarunnergirl’s post about her experiences, I am finally doing it! Thanks, Kirstin!
Things are going great! I mindfully ended my 41 days on my birthday with a gluten-free beer and a paleo dessert of chocolate mousse made with honey. I’ve chosen not to reintroduce any of the non-Whole30 foods (sugar, grains, legumes, processed foods, dairy), with the exception of raw honey and a few gluten free beers occasionally. I’ve read a lot about Paleo eating and am choosing to follow a rather strict Paleo lifestyle. I can’t see myself going back to my old ways of eating. I feel so darn good and haven’t craved anything that I stopped eating. Even the gluten free beer was just kind of “meh” – it tasted ok but it gave me a stuffy nose and sore throat too, so now I choose to have beer in moderation. For me, feeling this good makes it just not worth it to eat something that I know will make me feel bad.
Here are the big changes I’ve noticed since starting the Whole30:
*Chronic pain in shoulders and tingling into fingers is gone. I’ve been able to start a regular weight training program again for the first time in over a year.
*Eczema on hands is gone. I’ve had this issue my whole life. Overall, my skin is brighter, clearer and more healthy looking.
*Spring allergies are gone – I didn’t have to take Claritin at all this season.
*Steady energy throughout the day – blood sugar is regulated and I don’t have the highs and lows I’ve experienced most of my life. This one is huge. I had no idea how bad this was impacting me and my moods until it was gone.
*Calm and even mood throughout the day – I feel in control and I have virtually no anxiety and stress issues. I am able to deal with challenges and things life throws at me in a much calmer, centered way. I have a much more positive outlook on life and am really, really happy.
*I sleep better than I have in many, many years. I fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly through the night, often waking up just before the alarm goes off – awake and well rested. I am now getting 7 or so hours of sleep a night (try for 8)- the Whole30 helped me realize that my body needs way more than my “normal” 4-6 hours.
*Total pounds lost – 15. This was a very pleasant bonus. I didn’t go into this to lose weight. I never once counted calories or felt like I was being deprived. I ate amazing food and ate until I was full. The Whole30 has helped me be incredibly mindful about what I am eating. It was truly surprising to me how much my body changed effortlessly.
*A renewed love of cooking and discovering new foods. I’ve really enjoyed Paleo and Whole30 cooking and have had a lot of fun reading and learning about this new lifestyle. Grocery shopping and meal preparation are things I now look forward to. I’m also eating all the food I buy each week instead of throwing half of it away because I got carry-out instead of eating what was in my fridge. I plan out my meals and look forward to cooking and eating such great food that tastes incredible! The Well Fed and Practical Paleo cookbooks have been wonderful resources.
Running, Recovery and Fueling
My running and recovery have never been better! During the #Whole 30 I ran a 50K race two weeks into the #Whole30, had a 90 mile training week, ran a 50 miler (where I got a PR by an hour), and ran a 50K a week later (where I placed 3rd woman overall). I had virtually no soreness the days after the races, just a small amount of fatigue in my legs, but no muscle soreness. I have never felt stronger as a runner! Post #Whole30 I completed a 24 hour race (placing 3rd) and did a 50K the following weekend. I felt strong at both races.
I’ve had several people ask me about eating Whole30 during these long races. I’ve found several things that have worked quite well for me. I make a homemade “Gu” to put in gel flasks that includes sweet potato baby food, coconut milk and applesauce. These do need to be refrigerated so they work best if you have a dropbag or crew with a small cooler. Larabars, almond & cashew butter packets to eat on bananas (carry the packets and put on bananas at aid stations – Artisana is a good brand with only the organic nut as ingredients), Peter Rabbit Organic fruit pouches (these stay cold and are yummy if you freeze them first, then carry them in your pack), olives and the typical fruit (oranges, strawberries, melon) found at aid stations has worked for me on all of these long runs. During the 24 hour I found that I was craving and needed more protein and fat after mile 36. I ate the sweet potato Gu along with cashew butter and bananas during the first 32 miles or so, along with the fruit pouches and fruit at the aid station. I dipped into my post-race food cooler after mile 36 and ate steamed shrimp, olives, and hard boiled eggs. This worked quite well. As I plan my food for my next long race (Laurel Highlands 70.5 miler) I will make sure to have protein and fat available. I feel like I am eating way more on my long runs than pre-Whole 30 days, where I would eat Honey Stinger gels, Shot Blocks and Honey Stinger waffles, but it’s working quite well. I have no icky sugar stomach, no sloshy tummy, no highs and lows in energy and no nausea. Managing my nutrition during longs runs has always been a big issue so this is a HUGE added benefit of the Whole30!
The Whole30 provided a great starting point for me to reflect on my lifestyle, my health, my nutrition, my body and the importance of taking care of myself. As the book title says, It Starts With Food. I believe this. I love this feeling of empowerment and of taking care of myself. And I really love how good I feel. What started as a diet has really changed my life.
Any Whole30 or Paleo people out there who would like to share their results? I’d love to hear them!