In my experience, the Whole 30 is more fun when you have your friends/relatives/spouse doing it at the same time. It is helpful to have others to share recipes with, commiserate with at times, and for extra encouragement! My friend, Natalie, started on the same day that I did this time around. Natalie is not a stranger to clean and healthy eating. After being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) several years ago, she has been on a journey to heal her health through diet. She is very knowledgeable about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Paleo, and now Whole 30. She did the Whole 30 Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) that is outlined in “It Starts with Food” and the shopping lists on the site. I am inspired by Natalie because she has worked very hard to regain her health, and desires to help others who have and may be struggling with UC. On her blog, thirtyeightfive.com, you can read her story of health/recovery, about the recipes she tries, and about her newlywed life with her hubby, Seth.
Here are a few questions I had for her upon completing her Whole 30. I wanted to share them with you all because I think it is so interesting to read about how people with different conditions/goals fare on W30. The Whole 30 Autoimmune Protocol is no joke! In addition to the regular guidelines, Natalie also had to eliminate eggs, nuts, nightshades, certain spices, peppers, and coffee.
1. What was the biggest difference you experienced? “I didn’t quite know what to expect! While I had previously been adhering to pretty strict restrictions based on an Specific Carbohydrate Diet/Paleo fusion, I figured I had already removed many of the major contributors to my negative symptoms, like sugar and grains. But to my surprise, eliminating dairy made all the difference! Now if there’s anyone who loved cheese and savored it as a caveat to the SCD diet, it was me. But after I started feeling dramatically better without dairy, I’ve decided to kick it permanently without any sense of regret. Once you start to feel better, there are few things you won’t trade in order to maintain that healthy feeling!”
2. Any favorite new recipes you discovered? “Since the Whole 30 Autoimmune protocol avoids all the major foods that can cause an autoimmune reaction, you’re limited to meats, vegetables and fruit, which makes meal-planning significantly more laborious! I had finally gotten into a rhythm of cooking Paleo/SCD that didn’t seem to consume all of my time, energy, and money. So in order to succeed on the AIP, I had to do some digging for recipes and plan our meals really far in advance, trying to use similar ingredients several times/week in different recipes. Since I LOVE spaghetti squash and savor it as a pseudo-carb that tricks me with nostalgia of my pre-Ulcerative Colitis years, I searched for recipes that didn’t involve tomato sauce. I stumbled upon this gem and made it twice during my Whole 30: http://calmmindkitchen.com/2013/02/09/recipe-spaghetti-squash-with-creamy-pumpkin-sauce/ The second time, I used less coconut milk to make it less runny and it’s delicious!”
3. One thing that surprised you/did not expect? “As I mentioned before, I had no idea how drastically dairy was affecting me and how wonderful I would feel without it! But also, in a strange way, the AIP made me incredibly thankful for my diet now, which might seem confusing to other people because I have to restrict so much. But in not having honey or almond meal for several weeks, I realized how blessed I am to be able to make treats and savory dishes with alternative ingredients. I take pride in having a healthy diet and working really hard towards healing my gut, as arduous as it feels at times. I don’t consider myself limited or deprived and my family has seen how positive my food transformation has been and it’s encouraged them to try new things in the kitchen as well. As uncomfortable as having an autoimmune disease is, it’s brought me a whole new way of eating (and of life) that I wouldn’t trade. Since it’s the time of year to be thankful, I am walking into Thanksgiving with a renewed sense of gratitude, hope, and possibility. And, I’m looking forward to making some delicious Paleo treats for the holidays!”
Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your experience! I am looking forward to reading about all of your holiday culinary adventures!