Thursday, April 21, 2011


LIFE. It’s my One Little Word for 2011. And LIFE has been good. The boys are, well, vibrant. Little Miss is, well, I don’t even have the words to describe her. We have had months of productive lessons. Russ is back to work. Spring is here, and I’m positive glorious weather is on its way. I have interests and passions. I have an amazing family. My friends are awesome. Life is right on track. Except…

My eating habits are ATROCIOUS. I want to (and do) eat all. day. long. I’ve been hungry since the day I was born. The only time I’ve lost my appetite longer that the 48 hour flu has been during the first few months of pregnancy and the couple months I was at my worst battling anxiety/depression. My whole life I’ve craved food that I shouldn’t be eating. Lately that has escalated. Something must change. Telling myself to eat smaller portions doesn’t work. Convincing myself that veggies are tasty doesn’t work. And fighting the cravings is unbearable.

On top of the craving and eating, my energy is almost non-existent. I constantly feel like I’m coming down with a head cold. That stuffed-up, head-achy, foggy-brain sort of feeling. I don’t want to live LIFE like that.

I’m participating in the Whole30 to reset my system. Thirty days of no sugar, grains, soy, dairy, or legumes. It will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. (I don’t think I’ve gone that long without a Dr. Pepper in twenty years!) After thirty days, I’ll re-evaluate how I feel and decide where to go from there. I suspect I’ll need to be on some version of a Paleo diet to feel at my best, but we’ll see.

I chose to work in two-week increments. Last Saturday I stopped drinking Dr. Pepper and eating M&Ms while gradually reducing my carb intake. I’m spending another week working on my menu and grocery shopping lists. Friday the 29th is officially my day 1 of Whole30, at which time I will only be eating meats (including fish and eggs), fruits, vegetables, nuts (-peanuts) and healthy fats. Two weeks after starting Whole30, I plan on adding in some form of exercise.

I’ll be sharing menus and recipes here on my blog, but if anyone is interested in doing this challenge with me, I’ll share a few links to get you started:

The Whole30 2011:: Details on the Whole30 challenge.

Everyday Paleo:: Lots of great information and awesome recipes.

Paleo Diet Lifestyle:: More great recipes.


And some extra credit reading for you. {grin}

 Is Sugar Toxic? @ The New York Times (It’s a long article, but every word is worth it!)

If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them.

Speaking of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer…

The Fiscal Toll of Treating ‘Lifestyle Diseases’ @ The New York Times

For the first time in history, lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and others kill more people than communicable ones. Treating these diseases — and futile attempts to “cure” them — costs a fortune, more than one-seventh of our GDP.

Let’s add epilepsy and kidney disease to the conversation, shall we?

Low-carb, high-fat diet could replace dialysis @ Health on

A type of low-carb, high-fat diet that's typically used to manage seizures for children with epilepsy could reverse kidney disease in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, a new animal study suggests.

As long as we’re talking about health, how about a good night’s sleep?

How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With? @ The New York Times

Not surprisingly, those who had eight hours of sleep hardly had any attention lapses and no cognitive declines over the 14 days of the study. What was interesting was that those in the four- and six-hour groups had P.V.T. results that declined steadily with almost each passing day. Though the four-hour subjects performed far worse, the six-hour group also consistently fell off-task. By the sixth day, 25 percent of the six-hour group was falling asleep at the computer. And at the end of the study, they were lapsing fives times as much as they did the first day.

The six-hour subjects fared no better — steadily declining over the two weeks — on a test of working memory in which they had to remember numbers and symbols and substitute one for the other. The same was true for an addition-subtraction task that measures speed and accuracy. All told, by the end of two weeks, the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight — the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk.

(Emphasis mine…Lola, did you hear that?)


Kim said...

Thank you for posting this. I have been feeling the same way for quiet sometime. My energy is at an all time low and depression at an all time high!

I will be starting the diet with you on the 29th! Heres to us!! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting Heidi. I've been feeling the same way and can't dig out. Before Christmas I was on a role...eating well, exercising and losing weight. Christmas was my downfall and now I can't seem to get back on track. It's nice to know other people are going through the same thing. For me it's Cheesies (Cheese puffs) and Diet Pepsi.

Ridenour Family said...

Heidi- because of your first post about Whole30, I researched the diet and decided to jump in. I knew if I took too much time to get started, I'd somehow talk myself out of I just read and planned for a few days and went for it! I am completing day 6 today and I feel GREAT!! I suggest planning interesting meals and drinking a TON of water (that's what's helped me, at least). I'm also keeping a daily journal. I have a voracious appetite (; and this hasn't been difficult for me. Surprisingly the hardest part has been not stepping on the scale because I can tell a huge difference already (and so can my husband)! Thanks for the reading material, and having the courage to blog about this. Because of you I'm changing my life! Hope it all goes well for you (:

Kate said...


My husband and I are considering the Whole 30. My littlest one is the same age as your Lola. Wondering if you are still breastfeeding and if you have any advice for taking on this diet as a nursing mama.

I appreciate your wisdom on this.


Heidi said...

Kim~ Yeah! I'm so glad you are going to do it. Keep me updated. I'd love to hear how this works for you!!

Blog Author~ It's nice when other people can relate, isn't it? :)

Tricia~ That is so exciting to hear! I'm so proud of you jumping in. I almost wish I had started right away, but with the amount of carbs I am cutting out, I think it will be a little easier on my body to do it more gradually. I would have started already, though, if I didn't have Easter, a dessert social, and book club (we always eat chocolate together) ALL next week. That might have been too much temptation right at the beginning. I am SO PROUD of you for taking that step. Please keep me posted about how it's going. (And any advice you want to throw my way! :))

Kate~ Yes, I'm still breastfeeding Lola. Which is partly why I need to change my eating habits!! This is going to be so much healthier for both of us. I am supplementing with calcium, not limiting my fruits or healthy fats at all, and making sure I drink lots of water. The diet doesn't restrict calories, either. Other than that, I'll just keep a close eye on things to make sure this works for her. If it doesn't for any reason, I'll modify the diet.

Sheryll said...

There is this really great book called Sweet Poison: Why Sugar Makes Us Fat, and a followup book called The Sweet Poison Quit Plan, both by David Gillespie. I read the quit plan first and was blown away by it. He goes into much detail about how our body reacts to sugar (it's really the fructose that's bad for us), and all of the different types of artificial sweeteners as well. He's an Australian author, so I am not sure how readily available the book would be in the US, but if you can get your hands on it I highly recommend it!

The hardest part of this Whole 30 diet for me would be the grains. I don't know how to get through a day without grains!

carole said...

Oh how you tempt me. I am so incredibly afraid of failure in this area, so I just don't try. Plus I am underweight and use that as an excuse not to eat healthier (aka what if I get skinnier?). But you've got me thinking. At the very least I'm going to read up on your program.

And the sleep stuff!!! Aaaaaah! Should I feel vindicated? With Kieran's recurrent ear infections it's been a looong winter with very little sleep. Here's to Kieran and Lola getting with the program. ;)

Jennifer said...

I'm very interested to read about your experience with this. I've been considering it also. We're moving this month, so it's probably not a good time to start - but in June when we get our new house I think I might give it a try!!

Heasleye said...

We're starting tomorrow!!! Which means today will most certainly not be a day of healthful eating! LOL!

Happy Easter!


Anonymous said...

Gonna try it too, (starting tomorrow) although I am terrified - I love my sugars and starches sooo much. Hope I can do it. Will be trying to not think too far ahead and just take it day by (agonizing) day. Will be checking back here often for inspiration! :-)


Renee said...

This diet sounds so interesting. I have to do something about my eating habits, as well. I think I am going to try (ONE more time) to cut back my caloric intake to 1200 (adjusting to more if I exercise) and up my water intake. But if I struggle again to stick with it I might try this. It might be helpful to do somthing drastic...but I am going to try to cut back the old fashioned way first. I know this diet would be so healthy, but it sounds really...hard!! :)

Heidi said...

Elaine and Shelly~ Yeah! I'm so glad I'm going to have some company! My husband, sister, and brother-in-law are going to do it to, so we can all be miserable together, LOL! Please continue to comment and let me know how it is going!

Renee~ I absolutely expect it to be hard, but I have to say that eating only 1200 calories would be even more miserable for me!!! I wouldn't be able to eat the foods I want anyway (and shouldn't), and I'd be STARVING! At least with Whole30 I can have a bunless burger with guacamole and bacon and a side of sweet potato fries! :) I would last about 3 hours on a diet that restricted how much I could eat and left me hungry (I know, I've tried :)) and I don't want to keep track of anything! I'm really hoping that reducing/eliminating my carb intake will get rid of the awful blood-sugar crashes and constant cravings. We shall see!

Heasleye said...

I'm with you, Heidi. I'm so glad not to keep track of anything or restrict calories! My husband, in-laws, sis-in-law are all doing it as well. In fact, we're all pitching in some cash and whomever loses the most (by percentage) will win it all! Fun! Plus, I signed up for the 6-week Summer Slim-down Challenge at my CrossFit studio as well, so that's another motivation.
By the way...6 weeks from now I believe we'll be in Albany for a swim meet. Care to meet up?! :)


Unknown said...

Surely this is not for weight loss! You don't look like you are overweight. Are you just interested in the healthy aspect? (Which is, of course, more important.)

I'm in. BUT I'm concerned about the dumbest, most trivial point...I do love me some milk in my morning coffee. Now isn't that a crazy, point of minutia to be worried over. :)

Heidi said...

Elaine~ Gasp. That almost sounds like... FUN! :) I love it!!! Misery loves company, LOL. And having more people participate increases the accountability. Fabulous.

S~ Well, I could stand to lose about 15 pounds. I'm naturally, uh, big and solid, BUT I am exceptionally lucky in that my body really likes a certain weight and stays there no matter what I eat. Unfortunately that is about 15 pounds heavier than I'd like to be, and it might be rather difficult to lose any. My main goal is truly healthier eating and more energy. About the milk in your coffee, have you ever tried a little coconut milk (the kind in the cans). Some people find that they are okay with that substitution. (I don't drink coffee, so I can't really help in that department.)

Heidi said...

Oh, and Elaine... Of course I'd love to meet up when you are here!! Just let me know your schedule and we'll figure out something.

Anonymous said...

Heidi - are there recipes somewhere on the Whole 30 website, or are you finding yours at one of the paleo. sites? This is my Day 1. I knew we had meat, eggs, fruit, veggies and raw almonds on hand so I'm kind of winging it today, but it will get mighty boring eating the same things everyday, so I can see I'll need some recipes for variety.

Praise God this allows fruit . . I get a lot of PMS-related cravings and have dreamed of chocolate at least 20X already, but strawberries are at least giving me a little sugar-like fix today.

I can see the hardest piece of this is going to continuing to cook 'regular' meals for my three always-hungry boys and not caving to temptation.


Heasleye said...

Have you checked out Everyday Paleo yet?

Her cookbook comes out today, but her blog looks to have lots of good info and recipes.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, E. Overlooked those first links somehow the first time around.


Heasleye said...

Shelly - So did I!! LOL! The Everyday Paleo author is the mom of three boys, so maybe she'll have some helpful ideas for us. My husband is doing this with me, and my son (9) is well aware of our 30 day challenge. While I'm not planning to restrict him the same way, he will certainly be limited and hopefully try some new things. He's a healthy, very active boy, but I'm pretty sure some of his attitudes and drama moments are influenced by his diet, so I'm happy to change things up for him, too.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Heidi! Of COURSE I'll use coconut milk. Now I have no excuses. ;)

Two questions, though...Are y'all going to be ABSOLUTELY true to the concept? I mean, I thought about the sugarless gum that I keep handy for mornings that follow garlic-y suppers. KWIM?

2) Gonna post menu ideas, Heidi?


Heidi said...

Sherri~ No problem. :) And, yes, I'll post menu ideas and recipes as I go along. I hope a few on Friday. About doing things perfectly... I'm going to try my best because I understand why it is important BUT a friend wisely said, 'Don't let perfect be the enemy of good.' :) Life is what it is around here and I'm cutting out a HUGE amount of stuff. I'm trying to be really good about traces of wheat because we have wheat sensitivity in the family, and I'm going to try to cut out every trace of dairy. Just the Dr. Pepper and snacky stuff (M&Ms, especially) is huge. I really want the chance to see how good I can feel. But there are a few things I might slide a tiny bit for a couple reasons (mostly convenience or budget). If I buy meat, I'll try to get it clean, but it's hard to find bacon that isn't processed w/ sugar. I'm going to look at the final sugar count and make sure it is 0 grams. AND, I have sausage in the freezer that has a little sugar in it. I'm going to use it anyway. (Oh, and I won't be splurging on all organic/grass fed meat, but my eggs are local.) Also, my organic tomato sauce and salsa both have a little sugar. I'll probably use both of those in great moderation, though I purchased spaghetti sauce without sugar for the occasion. :) I'm going to try to make my own mayonaise, but if I'm unsuccessful I may be using store-bought, all of which I've found have sugar. Those are some examples. I wouldn't do big things like still having a diet soda or let tiny things slide when I thought I might have a sensitivity or allergy. I think the two questions I'd ask myself about the gum are: 1. Do I think I might have a sensitivy to any of the ingrediets (headache, etc.)? 2. Do I think it contributes to my cravings/'needs' for sweets?

Heasleye said...

My favorite mayo that I've been using for years is Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart. They make a few other variations (High Omega-3, Reduced Fat, Organic, Original), but they're all vegan, so they have no dairy, no eggs, and the sugars are 0g. The only thing I really use mayo for is mixing into my tuna fish, but it's great!


Heidi said...

And it doesn't have soy in it? I'll have to look for that! (I only use it for tuna, too. :))

Heasleye said... does have soy protein. Totally forgot about that. So sorry!!! For me, this is one of those areas I'll be a little less than perfect. Since I use it so little, and we don't have any known allergies, I'll let that one slide for now. Sigh...

5 Chicks and a Farmer said...

Yes! A Paleo diet was life-changing for me personally. It was so hard to get past the initial week or so of "detox from all things sugarlicious and carb-o-licious" but once I did, I felt AMAZING and the weight fell off.

I love this diet also because you can do it while nursing since you are eating lots of protein.

Another awesome website is "Mark's Daily Apple". There are lots of recipes and success stories. He calls it "Primal Eating" but it's the same concept as Paleo. And I LOVE Mark's approach to working out- he doesn't think its good to run long distances....that's what I'm talking about!

Can't wait to hear about your journey! Thanks for sharing!