My whole 30 diet adventure

On March 1, 2018 I started an elimination diet plan called Whole 30. I lost about 9 pounds in two months, which is not bad considering I consumed two jars of mayonnaise during that time. Since I was most eating meat, veggies, fruit and fats during that time, I cooked every meal from scratch and had to come up with some creative ideas.

One of my favorite tactics, was to mix 4 to 6 ingredients together with mayonnaise as a cold salad, and eat it on the go if necessary. So for example, I might take cook sausage or chicken, combine it with chopped apples and or fruit sweetened cranberries, along with some endive, perhaps some fennel, and some walnuts, mayo over the whole thing stir it up and eat it. Deelicious. I also got a spiralizer and got serious about spiralizing vegetables. I never been a big fan of zucchini, but spiralized zucchini does work well as a substitute pasta, or noodle type ingredient, mixed with meatballs, or tossed into a soup and cooked for a few minutes. Other vegetables I spiralized included yellow squash, purple cabbage, sweet potato, potatoes, cucumber, and something else I can’t remember what the heck it was.

I relied on various Whole 30 cookbooks of which there are several, along with recipes printed from the Internet, and the latest Nom Nom Paleo book.

Let’s take a look at some stuff I ate:


Spiralized potatoes, bacon and parsley


Frittata with mushrooms, carrots and more.


Chicken broccoli stirfry with cauliflower rice.


Spiralized potatoes and this thing that looks like a mushroom is actually the core and end of the potato after the rest has been spiralized.

So what was it like going a full month without any grains, dairy, sweeteners, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, and alcohol? Well about 4-5 days in I went through withdrawal symptoms, probably mostly from nixing sugar from my diet, as well as rice and other high carb foods I had been consuming. The withdrawal symptoms felt like… I don’t know the flu maybe …kind of headachy and just overall blah and yuck. But when that faded I felt pretty darn good. The most impressive thing is how balanced and stable I felt. I wasn’t constantly riding the blood sugar roller coaster, doing stupid things like grabbing some chocolate, eating it, and then thinking “I don’t feel so good” and reaching for something else stupid like Doritos, and then wondering why I still didn’t feel good, just stuffing my face trying to feel better. Obviously the strategy was not working for me and I knew it so I wanted to turn over a new leaf and try this new diet, which is billed as a way to reset your habits. So on the 30 days of Whole 30, you’re not supposed to have chips, or anything that is a treat, like cookies, pancakes or muffins or anything like that, even if all the ingredients comply with the dietary restrictions. This is to help you overcome habitual eating patterns.

Oddly, the thing I missed most was simply some sort of bland white food that I could use as a base for a sauce laden meal, or a soup. I could not use rice, noodles, toast, crackers or anything. But I could use that “zoodles” (spiralized veg). So I made my share of “cauliflower rice” and “zoodles”.

Going in, I already knew that alcohol, sugar, wheat, made me feel sick in one way or or another. So when it came time to do the food introduction phase, I didn’t even bother with these. The first thing I did try was soy, specifically miso, figuring it would be just fine, and 15 minutes later my stomach was like “what the hell did you just do? “. Then I had some tofu. And I spent the next hour or so feeling like digestive disaster was going to occur. Actually beyond that first hour I didn’t really experience any problems. But I do feel a little wary of soy now and will do some more experiments in the future. I did not appear to have much trouble with the other ingredients I tested, except some excessive burping after eating cows milk yogurt, but I knew that was likely to be an issue anyway, as I have had that reaction with dairy products for several years now since my gallbladder trouble.

Now that I’m eating my regular diet again (minus sugar which I am not eager to get back to), the digestion has been working overtime, which is a little rough, but at least I can have a break from all this cooking. And now I know if I need a “reset” I have a plan that has a community behind it.

Random salad of endive, apple, spiralized yellow squash, walnuts and dried cranberries, with lemon juice and olive oil.


Cauliflower, bacon, tomato sauce and I forget what else.


Tomato stuffed with ground cashews and parsley.


Purple salsa: red cabbage, tomatoes, lime juice, red onion, salt and pepper. I couldn’t have any chips with it though so I ate it with ground beef.


Sympathy, not Snootery, Please

“Excuse me,” I asked the server at a private event at a posh Seattle restaurant, “Can you tell me what you have here at the buffet that’s gluten-free?”

“The vegan table is over there.” The server waved his pointing hand.

I walked away, furrowing my brow. Doesn’t he understand that vegan is not the same thing as gluten-free?

Afterward, I spoke with a friend who had worked for years as a server for a fancy restaurant, and she said basically, high end restaurants look down on their customers with dietary restrictions, because they think we deliberately choose to avoid delicious food in favor of unsavory alternatives, because we are, idunno, uncouth people who love to be miserable?

Well, yes, I have made a choice. I have made a choice to feel as well as I can, rather than feel sick, out of it, or tired all the time. I know there may be some people in this world who can continue eating deep fried stuff, spicy foods and alcohol up until the day of their death, but I am not likely to be one of them, unless those foods end up being the things that kill me.

Here are some of the choices I have had to make over the years:

  • A few years ago, I discovered that wheat (including the wheat in soy sauce) and barley malt both caused me to feel hungry, tired, and out of it. I prefer not to live my life like a starving zombie, so I avoid gluten containing foods as much as I can. I guess that makes me one of those gluten-avoiding bandwagon-jumping people everyone makes fun of now, eh?
  • When I was in my third trimester of pregnancy, I couldn’t eat deep fried foods without getting heartburn. If you have ever had heartburn, you know it sucks and Tums can only do so much. Luckily, this period of my life was brief and people are usually sympathetic to pregnant women. Unfortunately, deep fried foods in any quantity beyond a few french fries are still likely to make me sick (I’m unsure if its from cross-contamination with wheat, gallbladder issues or what), so visiting fairs and carnivals isn’t as much fun now that I have to pack my own food.
  • In recent years, alcohol has begun to not agree with me, especially sugary cocktails and white wine. I can handle a glass of red wine sometimes, but not always. I never quite know for sure if the wine is going to make me feel like a hungry crazy person, so generally I just avoid it. I guess that makes me one of those party pooper types.
  • Last month after a colonoscopy I learned I really am at risk for colon cancer. It’s no longer just a mythical maybe due to family history. So now, in addition to colonoscopies every three years, I have to be judicious about consuming foods and drinks known to increase the risk of colon cancer, like red meat, processed meat, and alcohol. If I choose to be smart and care about my health, that is.
  • The latest bit of news is that I’ve got bile sludge, which is painful and nausea-inducing for me. Fatty foods make it worse, spicy is scary, seeds are now the devil, and dairy products are super bad news for me at the moment. So trying to plan a night out to eat with my husband, I realized I was limited to…sushi. Which is fine, I like sushi, but there are so many awesome restaurants in Seattle and I am afraid to try most of them, because trying to find a restaurant that can serve me gluten-free, dairy-free, low-fat food is next to impossible. The alternative is to eat what I want, then feel like someone kicked me under the rib cage, and risk a trip to the ER if I get a fever along with the pain.

Having a limited diet is like being alone in a hot air balloon that is slowly lifting off into the air. As it gets higher, you can see all the people around you enjoying awesome foods and drinks you used to love, before you discovered how sick they were making you. It’s a very lonely feeling.

I would never have deliberately chosen to have a diet so different from that of the people around me. It is not fun to make a separate meal for myself when my husband and daughter are eating foods I used to like. It sucks to avoid events and activities because packing my own food can be such a hassle. I would never have chosen this for myself and I do not wish it on anyone. I do not enjoy feeling like some kind of diva when people look at me funny for packing my own food instead of eating what everyone else is eating. It saddens me to turn down your potluck item because it contains something I can’t have. However, the alternative…sickness and death…are truly not much of an alternative.

Have your own stories to share? Feel free to comment.