The Whole 30 Challenge – A Desperate Hope

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across the Whole 30 challenge. I don’t even remember how, but I know it was a moment of desperation.

It’s pretty simple, for the most part:

  1. No sugar.
  2. No grains.
  3. No alcohol.
  4. No dairy.
  5. No legumes.

At the Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society business meeting last weekend, I mentioned that we were getting ready to do this, and they all pretty much looked at me going, “Well, what ARE you going to eat, then?”

Well, I’m not completely sure about my exact meal plans yet, but I can tell you that we’ll be eating a lot of eggs, meat, vegetables, and fruit.

So why are we doing this?

Health. Plain and simple.

I’m tired of always being tired, of always aching, and struggling with brain-fog.

I’ve blogged in the past about my headaches, the struggle I had with high blood pressure, and it’s probably pretty obvious that chronic stress is a Permanent Thing in my life due to some completely-out-of-my-control family situations.

Chronic stress does things to your body, especially over time, and I’ve dealt with chronic stress pretty much my entire life. Between ongoing verbal and emotional abuse from someone who should have loved me unconditionally, actual physical health struggles with several members of my family, financial hardships, etc, stress should be no surprise.

I still felt my health was fairly normal, though, even then. At 21 years of age, I could work a full shift at my job, come home, and be tired, but still take care of the things I needed to do – like homework, since I was taking some college classes at that time.

Then, I was rear-ended on the way to a job interview. It was a foggy morning, I was on the main street of my then-still-kinda-little town, waiting to make a left turn into a parking lot. And I was hit, because someone wasn’t taking it slow despite the thick fog. I doubt he was even going the speed limit (25 mph). He was probably going more like 30 or 40 mph.

I made a comment a while back to my husband that I didn’t remember having headaches regularly ‘before’ (whenever ‘before’ was). He said that he didn’t remember me having migraines before that accident. I’m not gonna say I never had a migraine before that, but definitely not regularly.

(Don’t worry – I did see a chiropractor for a course of treatment that was at the other guy’s expense.)

Shortly after that is also when I remember beginning to have fatigue problems – I would fall asleep in the middle of conversations. When I realized there was a sore, tender spot on the back of neck that I finally figured out was likely a lymph node. It’s not as sore today as it was back then, but it’s still a problem sometimes. A couple of years ago, I learned that was a symptom of what could be chronic fatigue and/or fibromyalgia.

Since around that same time, I’ve always had achy knees too. For a while, I picked up running and it helped my knees. But the last few times I tried to run and did so regularly specifically to see if it would lessen the joint pain, it didn’t help anymore.

Recently, though the headaches have lightened up, I’ve been having issues with weird pressure sensitivity with portions of my skin (like feeling like something is ripping my flesh off my bones if it rubs or presses too hard), my left hand going numb or just turning into a ball of pain if I flex my fingers wrong, and… eczema. I had eczema as an infant, and it cleared up. Then I had it again when I was 11, and it didn’t go away until I started using tanning beds for a few months when I was 24. I’ve been eczema free for nearly 6 years. Until this month, when I started having patches show up on my hand and on a leg again. I have also been breaking out in random patches of hives for the past few months – currently, the back of my left ear is covered in them.

Something’s gotta go.

And apparently, since I don’t trust most medical professionals (for good cause – would you trust doctors again after hearing that they bet that your little brother would still be in the hospital over Thanksgiving and Christmas when he’d been admitted in AUGUST? I don’t care if it was over a decade ago, I’m still pissed about that.) (Also, I’ve rarely had a doctor who would actually listen to my questions and give me straight answers.) this means I need to change my diet.

I’ve eliminated things from my diet before. Processed foods. Sugar. Dairy. And while I would see improvement, I’ve never had any issues completely disappear.

So this is my last-ditch effort.

I’m trying not to be too hopeful. I’ve read a lot of amazing testimonials about Whole 30 in the past couple of weeks, though. So I am hopeful.

The science behind it seems to be sound (unless, of course, you’re a doctor deep in the pockets of Big Pharma who doesn’t believe that what we consume could possibly have anything to do with our health – yes, I have heard actual doctors say this.)

So. What could it hurt?

Yeah, it’s not gonna be fun. Pretty sure I have a mild sugar addiction going on right now, so the first week for sure is not gonna be pleasant.

But I can’t keep living like this.

I’m thirty. I shouldn’t feel old. A few months ago, a friend was describing the exhaustion she felt post-having-a-baby and I didn’t have the heart to tell her then that everything she was describing was how I already feel on an almost daily basis already.

I’m ready to take my life back. Starting tomorrow.

Wish us luck, cause Mr. Loper’s been having his own issues, too, and I refuse to cook two different sets of meals, so we’re in this together!

Recent Comments

  • Cheyenne Campbell
    March 23, 2016 - 11:00 am · Reply

    GOOD LUCK!! I know I need to at least work in more veggies (I do like a lot of veggies, and fruit, but I’m just lazy far too often and grab for the quickest thing) but I would really struggle with something like this. Though in the past, health issues have demanded I lay off some of my favourite things, so I know I’m capable. But hats off to you!! I hope it goes smoothly 🙂

    • Rebekah Loper
      March 23, 2016 - 1:03 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Cheyenne! Like I said, I’m desperate at this point. And changing my diet for a month is definitely cheaper than endless tests at the doctor. If this doesn’t help, then I’ll go that route.

  • Jean Marie Bauhaus
    March 23, 2016 - 1:51 pm · Reply

    Hmm. I’ve seen other people in my feeds (mostly Instagram) doing this but I haven’t really looked into it. It looks PCOS-friendly, though, so maybe I should give it a go. I don’t know if I can give up my dark chocolate, though.

    I hope it works to make you feel better. I have my own rash of chronic stress problems and I know that’s no fun. I also hope you’ll keep us posted on how it’s going, and maybe consider doing a post about doing it on a budget, where you shop, etc.

  • mariazannini
    March 23, 2016 - 8:50 pm · Reply

    We tried something similar for a couple of years. We gave up sugar and white flour. We lost a lot of weight and hubby gained loads of energy. I always have energy so you couldn’t tell a difference with me. LOL.

    It works, but after a while it got old. We eventually drifted back to old ways. But it’s worth a try especially since you have some serious conditions to address.

    • Rebekah Loper
      March 26, 2016 - 5:31 pm · Reply

      My mom lost 10 lbs in one month when I was in my teens, just by going off white sugar only. We’ve never eaten a lot of sugar, but we definitely don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. It’s definitely a learning curve!

  • Candace Gauger
    March 24, 2016 - 9:01 pm · Reply

    Good luck on this diet. Please, let us know how it goes and the changes you see along the way. I need to do something like this myself. My weight is out of control along with my blood sugar. Like you, I refuse to make separate meals, so this would be very difficult to accomplish. Maybe, I can convince David to go along. Who knows. We both love our pastas and rice, but I am willing to give them up if need be.

    • Rebekah Loper
      March 26, 2016 - 5:33 pm · Reply

      The Tulsa Library has the Whole 30 book. You might get it (there is a wait on it, so the sooner the better!), and they have some tips for doing it with picky eaters, and with kids. Definitely won’t hurt to look it over!

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About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.