Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Special Diets >
Aug 23, 2014 11:56 AM

Going Paleo for a month (kicking and screaming all the way…)

In September I'll be doing the Whole 30 diet. I have never in my 36 years given myself any restrictions when it comes to food-although I love veggies and fresh fruits, and cook moderately healthy meals most of the time, I also proudly heap full-fat cream cheese on my onion bagel, regard buffalo sauce as a food group, and will happily make a meal out of Trader Joe's frozen hors d'oevres. I have been blessed with pretty good genetics and have really never needed to lose weight, except maybe a pound or two here and there. However, 6 years ago I started getting severe allergies, which developed into severe sinus infections, which resulted in sinus surgery 3 years ago. The surgery helped, but not by much. My sinus issues have taken a front seat in my life, so much that it's difficult to even go to the movies-if one dust mite or perfume from someone triggers my allergies, I'm sneezing and sniffling the entire way through (sucks to be sitting near me!). I'm sick of having to live on Benedryl and Claritan-D, and figure out if I want to fall asleep or be cracked out for the next 12 hours. So the Whole 30 diet was suggested, and after reading up about it, it sounds like something I should do, to see if any of my issues are food-related. But Im scared!!! Any advice/recipes/success (or horror) stories for a Paleo newbie?? Thanks!! (Sorry, got a little long-winded!)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. there are some good paleo website for recipes nomnom paleo, clothes that make the girl.
    best be organised and do lots of batch cooking.I use coconut milk in my coffee. I have found that my sleep is better, energy levels better and less anxious. Lost some weight too, I am never hungry, now and don't feel funny if I don't eat for a while (if too busy or whatever).
    I have been doing this for a year now and sometimes it does feel,like I am always cooking but I would rather do that and know what I and my family are eating. Good luck, I would say its worth the effort. I have never done a strict whole 30, I allow Hellmans mayo for example although I can make my own.

    1. I could get really long-winded, but, I'll try to be brief.

      I didn't eat salt when following Cordain's Paleo Diet, and I believe that was a mistake (for me). If anything, I should probably have eaten more salt, and tried to get more minerals, in general.

      I also didn't have enough variety. I didn't do anything like a "Whole 30", so, I cheated. Nothing egregious, and not frequent, but, I wish I had put more effort into meal prep. For someone who is prone to sensitivities, it is crucial to get a lot of variety and rotate foods. Sensitivity can come from chronic exposure. I also believe that getting a wide variety of fiber from real food is important.

      I didn't eat enough fat. Now, I eat a lot of high quality ghee, clean animal fats, coconut oil, and some avocado. I have a little bit of tree nuts, but, I try to keep the PUFA low, in general. Getting over my fear of saturated fat was an obstacle.

      I thought it was all about diet (not to mention supplements), and neglected the other concepts of Paleo living. This is still a problem, but, getting better.

      1. Figure out some stuff you like that you can pre-cook on the weekend and have handy during the week. For instance, on the weekend I usually cook a big batch of braised mixed greens (kale, collards, etc.) so that during the week I can just fork out and heat up a serving for breakfast or lunch alongside meat or eggs. Hard-cooked eggs are easy, convenient, and portable. Cook extra meat at dinner so that you can eat the leftovers for breakfast or lunch with cooked greens or raw salad.

        If you can put it on rice or pasta, you can put it on cabbage or green beans. Or you can just eat it with a spoon from a bowl.

        1. It was not easy. I had already given up gluten long ago, but needed my dairy and grains. What I learned? One and a half years prior to trying the Whole30, I had contracted a terrible case of bronchitis (it took way too much antibiotics and steroids to get rid of it). I had a chronic morning cough for an entire year and a half (some mornings, I needed to use an inhaler.) My cough finally disappeared. And now, if I eat too much rice, it comes back. The same exact cough, in the morning, to the point where I might need my inhaler again. If I stay away from rice, nothing, no cough, no inhaler. I also found that eating dairy causes cystic acne for me. I've gotten used to having my coffee black and subbing sweet potato and quinoa for the rice (no, quinoa is not part of the whole30 but I have found I do well with it.)

          You have nothing to lose by trying it. Getting past the saturated fat thing might be psychologically hard. Just remind yourself that it's only for 30 days, that you might learn a thing (or two or three) and to take it one meal at a time. The hardest part comes later, when you might come to the realization that you may need to give up some favorite foods in order to feel better. Honestly, it's worth it (but don't even think about that right now.) You WILL find new favorite foods and it takes a relatively short time to get used to new ways of eating. Good luck!

          1. Thanks for the imput, y'all! Today is Day 1. It has started nicely, with a little cherry tomato/red onion/mushroom/asparagus/cabbage steam/saute, with two eggs scrambled in, and just the smallest amount of olive oil to cook it all…and some black coffee, which I'm going to have to get used to, since I am a Coffeemate Sweet Italian Creamer girl all the way...
            About to have a snack of sliced cucumber with lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
            Dinner is going to be balsamic roasted brussel sprouts and a carrot/coconut milk soup. Giving myself a small dessert tonight to ease into this thing and not make my mind go into deprivity shock…Half a banana drizzled with some almond butter.
            I think the most painful thing so far has been my trip to Whole Foods to stock up on coconut aminos, almond meal, ghee etc...

            16 Replies
            1. re: schrutefarms

              Where's the protein after breakfast? It will help you stay on an even keel.

              1. re: mcf

                I just had a handful of almonds. I also just boiled some eggs, I should probably eat one soon. I think it's going to take a while to in the swing of things, since my normal diet is…not like this :) Should I aim for protein at every meal/snack?

                1. re: schrutefarms

                  I eat either meat or eggs at nearly every meal. I eat vegetables at nearly every meal, too.

                  Don't limit yourself to the "smallest amount of olive oil." Use plenty. It tastes good and it is good for you and it will help you not feel hungry.

                  You might try the coconut milk coffee creamer if you don't like your coffee black but don't want to use either dairy or soy. Some people really like it.

                  1. re: ourswimmer

                    Here's the Whole30 meal planning template, as ourswimmer pointed out, use (good) fats! Notice that the recommendations are *per meal.*


                    1. re: ourswimmer

                      Totally agree with ourswimmer - don't try to limit fat to the smallest amount possible. You don't have to have your food swimming in it, but it helps immensely with satiety when you're not eating (many) carbs. Also, I would definitely make sure you have some protein at every meal or snack - if you don't, you'll likely find yourself hungry again very quickly.

                      1. re: schrutefarms

                        Yes, definitely. Protein is what supplies a slow release level of glucose for hours post meal, vs. the fast spike and trough that a meal or snack causes without it. It can be small, like some dried soybeans, nuts, a cheese stick or jerky, etc.

                    2. re: schrutefarms

                      Doing a Whole30 isn't about calorie restriction/ starvation- make sure you're eating real, filling meals of Whole30 approved foods. If you don't you will be miserable and fail. You've only mentioned two really small meals and a snack, where is your lunch? Where's your food?

                      Read the program again and again, and again as you go through the month. If you need support and ideas there is a Whole30 community as well as this board.

                      There is nothing hard about doing a Whole30 if your mindset is in the right place. Its not about what you can't have, find what you can have instead.

                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                        I know very little about the Whole30, and assume it is about reducing inflammation and stabilizing blood sugar, like most flavors of Paleo. Or, just breaking the sugar addiction, temporarily, if nothing else.

                        I am concerned that it might not be the greatest thing for gut healing or allergies, based on the OP's affinity for nuts and eggs as proteins.

                        Maybe significant benefits will be realized, depending on from where one is coming. But, I'd be inclined to steer somebody with multiple allergies to an autoimmune protocol.

                        1. re: johnseberg

                          Anecdotally, the numbers of folks new to low carbing, for instance, especially Atkins dieters, reported (during the craze and many new online posting daily and in the years since) that their asthma, IBD, GERD, Crohn's dramatically improved. Most asthmatics found that they either no longer needed inhalers, or needed them only rarely almost immediately.

                          Any diet that reduces the junk from one's diet, especially highly glycemic/insulinogenic stuff, might get allergy/immunological improvement, too, since high carb/high insulin interferes with the body's ability to produce and deliver it's own steroids that prevent and lower inflammation.

                          I don't know about Whole30, but if it does much of the above, it could help.

                          1. re: mcf

                            My wife just made us up 18 muffin tin fritattas and we had a few each for dinner and froze the rest for a fast awesome breakfast. spinach, onion, touch of fresh basil, good farm eggs, good parmesan reggianno. fully paleo, fully low carb. completely easy. also - NPR just yesterday highlighted yet another study (annals of internal medicine) that low carb diets are better for you than low fat diets. no credible evidence ever showed fat made anyone fat in the absence of high carb eating. none.

                            1. re: slowcoooked

                              Is dairy paleo?

                              my love for dairy is one reason I could never be paleo.

                              1. re: mcf

                                It falls under Primal, really, but is pretty widely accepted (moderation is recommended,) if you tolerate it well. The benefits of grass fed butter and kefir/ yogurt, etc. are too good to pass up.

                                Here is Mark Sisson's take on it, Google will give you plenty more opinions.

                          2. re: johnseberg

                            John, I think it's a really good start for someone who eats a standard American diet. Get the junk out of the way and out of the system first and then fine tune the eliminated items to see what is actually getting a response and what isn't. I think that's really hard to do accurately when someone is eating crap chemicals and the body is having to deal with it. Plus, I think the "immune protocol" sounds daunting and unappealing. Baby steps for people new to eating real food.....

                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                              I agree, AIP is another level of difficulty. Enjoying life, and avoiding orthorexia is also important.