What if I told you that you could eliminate your chronic fatigue and the need for afternoon caffeine and/or sugar fix by setting aside thirty days to change your relationship with food forever? It’s called the Whole30, and I am sure you have heard of it by now. I talk about how much of an impact it has had on my life, energy, and health all the time. I’ve now completed three of them as a scheduled in reset on my food habits. It’s also hard to miss all the labeled “Whole30 approved” foods that are in groceries and will appear on your Instagram feed if you even mention the phrase. Our phones can hear what we say and target us with specific ads, which is a little creepy, but I digress…The point is it’s easier to do one now than ever before with all the support and products available to help you succeed.

Let me start by giving you a quick summary of what the Whole30 is and then I’ll tell you my most recent experience with it.

The Whole30 is a 30-day experiment designed to help you figure out how the foods you’re eating are affecting you (sugar craving and crash anyone?!). You eliminate the most commonly problematic foods for 30 days, then reintroduce to see the effect on your body. In the process, you’ll create new habits around food, improve your relationship with food, learn to cook some delicious meals, lose your sugar cravings, and best of all, FEEL BETTER with more energy. I know it all sounds too good to be true, and you are a little skeptical that changing what you eat for just thirty days can do all those things. I thought the same thing as you…until I tried it for myself.

I don’t want to get into all the nitty-gritty details about the foods we eat, and which ones are healthy versus which ones are unhealthy. The healthiness of food is essentially determined by three factors. First, what is the food’s effect on your blood sugar? Does it spike it drastically and result in a sudden drop, or does it help keep your blood sugar levels steady with a minimal spike? The latter is much more likely to result in sustained energy and mood throughout a day while the former is likely to have you searching for that candy bar and soda around mid-afternoon.  Secondly, what is the food’s affect on inflammation in your body? Some food is known to be inflammatory, and this varies on an individual basis. Don’t think for a minute that since you are not having an allergic response to the food, it isn’t doing harm to your intestinal lining and wreaking havoc on your whole body. This underlying, chronic inflammation is a very common cause of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Inflammatory, blood sugar bomb vs nutrient dense, fiber filled food

Lastly, it’s a combination of your individual physical response (blood sugar, gut, inflammation) PLUS the impact it has on you mentally. For example, if you tolerate dairy ice cream (trust me, I can’t and you should stay far away if I eat any), but you can’t seem to stop eating it once you start, or you find yourself craving it, then it is not mentally healthy for you. On the other spectrum, you don’t crave the food, but you know it makes you bloated, groggy, tired, etc. It is likely not something you tolerate physically, so you probably should limit how much you eat it.  The combination of not tolerating it physically and mentally craving it is the worst overall for your health and will result in having health issues, including chronic fatigue.

Just like you, I thought it was just my body and that I wasn’t wired to be healthy, and I didn’t have the right genes to look and feel good physically. However, simply eating foods that damage your gut, cause inflammation, and spike your blood sugar will make you feel like crap and have no energy. It’s that simple. The good news is we can fix it since we know what the underlying issue is—the food we eat.  

I don’t personally suffer from chronic fatigue anymore, but I used to. I could barely get through a class in high school or college without resisting the urge to fall asleep, especially in the afternoon! I was able to fix that with a combination of fasting and finding the food that works best for me in my previous two trials with the Whole30.

My wfie, Rachel, and me with co-founder of the Whole30 program, Melissa Urban

 My most recent Whole30 experience has been a little different than the previous two. I knew what to expect going in, and the food I now eat on a regular basis is very close to what is allowed on the program. It’s what keeps me feeling my best, so it is not hard to maintain eating this way at all. During January, I knew I wanted to abstain from alcohol anyway, so I could be available at any time in case Rachel went into labor. That did not end up being the case, but you’d be amazed at what a month without alcohol alone will teach you. In fact, I have always found it refreshing to go without alcohol for a month, especially when I begin to find myself drinking it for the wrong reasons like stress, anxiety, and boredom. Not only does it help me with my relationship with alcohol, but it also helps me get reset my sugar cravings which can spike up around the holidays and improve my sleep. There are plenty more of what are called “non-scale victories” (meaning not weight related) that you may, and probably will, experience if you complete a Whole30.

As a health coach and firm believer in self-care over healthcare, I cannot express enough how powerful and life-changing the Whole30 program is. I love how much it empowers you to take back control over your health—out of the hands of food, medication, doctors, and insurance. You owe it to yourself to give it a shot. The average person is living 78.69 years. That’s 28,721.85 days. That means 0.104% of your life could change it forever.

Strive to thrive,

Brian

PS – I’m not a certified Whole30 coach (yet), but my 6-Month program will help you discover what your body needs to thrive, develop a healthy lifestyle, and help your body heal itself.

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