Whole30 and me: what did I learn?

Earlier this week I shared that I spent most of May removing sugar, legumesalcoholgrains and dairy from my diet as a personal health experiment and reset using the Whole30 guidelines. I’ve dabbled with food omissions over the years after noticing how much of an effect different foods had on my kids. But I’d never really had a straightforward path or invitation to try it for me and for sure not all of these at once for this long.

shemadeitshemight | heatherbursch | shoes for working out

By April of this year, I’d been exercising consistently for 4 -5 months, thanks to the amazing support I’ve received from Bodies by Burgoon. While feeling on the up and up in so many ways, all roads were leading me to the food I was eating. It was questions like this rolling around in my head: why does my knee hurt this week but not last week? Why did my back flare up just as I was feeling really strong in so many ways? After all these months, why are my feet hurting every morning, again? Do I push cardio when I’m having more joint pain and my knee swells up? Persistent and old issues on top of making new and better choices. Was it the wheat I had on Tuesday? Did I eat sugar? Was it the wine? Should I be eating more of this or that? Do I need to go the natural path or the medical path? Do I need another massage? And on and on and on this internal dialogue would go.

As things tend to happen for me or hit me over the head, I found myself in multiple conversations about whole foods in a few days time and it ended up leading me to Whole30’s website. I didn’t even get the book until I was on day 10 or something, but the website was enough to get started. It wasn’t all new to me (and won’t be for you), it was just in line with all of the things I did know and hadn’t been able to come up with a plan for on my own. Just 30 days made it all seem possible instead of ensuring a future failure.

While I might elaborate on these more going forward, here’s a quick list of things I noticed when I took away sugar, legumes, alcohol, grains and dairy:

– While I missed these things for like a day, I didn’t crave most of these things on a daily basis, if at all. It actually felt a little nutty to me how much less I thought about food overall.

– I was more emotional. This did not always feel good and I had a few extra tears along the way. Since I obviously don’t want to mask my emotions with food, this was good.

– I was more aware and alert to things going on around me. Some might call this a clear head but I kind of call this feeling crazy at times. Just saying.

– During the 30 days, my joint pain started to disappear. Hello.

– During the 30 days, I had plenty to eat and didn’t feel deprived. When I was hungry I ate and sometimes because my body was adjusting to a new rhythm I had to make myself eat.

– I honed in on some new cooking methods by making different food for breakfast and after repeating for 30 days, it became a habit.

– Turns out I like my coffee black. What?? Believe it or not, this was the thing I was most worried about and it became a non issue.

– My whole family is begging for my food, my 3-year old included.

– There are a lot more dirty dishes. Boo.

What does it all mean for me going forward?

I am compelled to do another round. I know now (more than just a hunch) that I don’t feel my best when I’m eating all these foods. Therefore, I want the pressure to be more creative with my cooking and gain some more skills with foods I’m not used to eating as often.

Adding some of these foods back in, even very carefully, slowed me down more than I’d like, in the month since being officially done I ended up sick and to the Dr, my hormones were off and some of my old physical issues came back with a vengeance. And I mean I hardly added them back in! This all makes sense with how I’ve come to view healing, it takes time for a body or mind to purge its old ways and learn new ways of balancing from the inside out. I want to keep on that path and let my body catch up. Plus, I know at least a few of you out there are doing this too, or have done things similar, and that support is always encouraging to me. Solidarity!

I'm doing another round of Whole30.

And just in case somebody out there assumes, I don’t think this is the only way or a permanent cleanse for me. I have no plans to announce that I can no longer have sugar, legumes, alcohol, grains and dairy ever again. I’m still going to cook fun and delicious recipes that have goat cheese, wine and sugar, ok? I’m just wanting and needing there to be more balance to the everyday food I eat. I want it to become the easier thing too, not just the ideal thing. And the one way I know how to do this is to practice.



Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Heather Bursch

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  1. YEP!! To all of it!! Did my first Whole30 in January. I, too, noticed that even letting a MUCH reduced amount of items back in brought back symptoms I just don’t want to live with. But, also will not live a life without some sugar, wine, martinis, cheese and crusty bread!! So….to find the balance!!

    Started my 2nd Whole30 June 4th. This one has been SO MUCH EASIER!! I knew what I was getting myself into, already had some recipes in my back pocket and don’t have to constantly look at the book and website. Honestly, I made quite a few mistakes on my first. My top goal for this one is to do reintroduction better. I blew that last time. I really want to know what my biggest offenders are and know what to limit the most going forward.

    Solidarity is awesome!! I talked Chris into joining me on this one! Sucks there are so many more dishes though!! (I thought this time instead of posting nummy dishes on social media I would only post pics of the piling up dirty dishes in my kitchen every night and call it the ‘dark side of whole30’!) But fun to see him have some of the same AW-HA moments I did!

    ENJOY!! Cannot wait for your posts! So encouraging to hear someone else’s story and I know you will have some AWESOME recipes to share!!

    Miss you!

    1. Miss you! We are going to have to talk more about all this, already so encouraging! Yes to all of what you said as well. I want to do reintroduction different and better too and cannot wait to get your wisdom here as you do that. Please let me know how it goes and if you are down this way, I’d work out my meet up around you coming! Let’s touch base soon!!

    1. Hi Amber! Thanks for the high five. 🙂 I started on Monday but my computer also crashed and is at the Dr. this week. I’ll be posting more soon so it would be great to hear how it goes for you too. Thanks!

    2. Great job to you too! The best part of doing a Whole30 once is that you know you are capable of limiting yourself and going forward you can implement a Whole7 or Whole14 or Whole25 to get back on track as needed. All is possible and the powerlessness when it comes to our choices is no more! Thanks for sharing!

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