Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pretty in Primal Goes Paleo! (or How I Stopped Eating Butter And Learned to Love The Whole30)

I'm not good with New Year's resolutions. There. I said it. I hardly ever follow through with them and I'm OK with that. It's good to admit your weaknesses, so you can figure out another way to do things and move forward. Here are some things I know work for me:

-I do better with short-term goals, rather than open-ended ones.

-I do better if I can pinpoint the areas I'm most likely to to sabotage or cop-out in.

-I do better if I'm prepared (mentally and organizationally).

-I do better with the support of others.

With all this in mind, I am embarking on a January Whole30 Paleo experiment (I do better if I call something an "experiment" rather than a "regimen").
I have my support in place (my hubby is doing it with me- LOVE HIM!) and I have a group of online friends who are all doing either Paleo or gluten-free cleanses for January. We'll be swapping recipes and ideas.

I'm prepared for it. I even committed to blogging about it. I'm joining Hunt.Gather.Love and Hunter-Gatherer, among others in the great 2011 Paleo Challenge. There's even a whole group of people on board over at the Mark's Daily Apple forum. It seems like everyone has the same idea.

I'll be blogging all month about the ins and outs of my experiment, so you'll get a bigger look into how I do things. So why am I doing this when I already eat a Primal diet? Here are my reasons and goals for the Whole30:

-I have an autoimmune condition (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) and I want to eliminate all potential immune triggers and give my body a chance to heal even more than it already has. The Hashimoto's was a wakeup call that my body demands more respect and care than I have previously given it. Those of us with these issues often need to go the extra mile and don't have as much wiggle room as others. That being said, healing can increase the wiggle room.

-More energy. It's challenging to have consistent energy levels when your thyroid is being attacked by your immune system! It's been stop and go for me (at least I even HAVE days with energy- that was not always the case!)

-I want to heal my gut lining (major priority for any autoimmune condition!!), so eliminating potentially gut irritating foods is paramount. When I told my holistic doctor that I was going Paleo for January, the first thing he said was "That's a great thing for healing the gut".

-I want better hormonal balance.

-I want to be in better physical shape (don't we all!)

Here is an idea of what my experiment will entail for the next 30 days: [EDIT: this is more restrictive than the regular Whole30 program, as I've adapted it to gut healing and autoimmune balancing. I'm also trying to get keto-adapted again, after the holidays. Please visit Whole30 if you want a less restrictive program!]

First the "No's":
-No grains or legumes (Duh! But seriously, no little cheats like a couple of organic tortilla chips or a few beans in some chili)
-No dairy, including my beloved butter
-No sweeteners including stevia
-No alcohol (not a big deal as I only occasionally have a little wine)
-No starchy veggies (see next line)
-I'll be eating very minimal fruit (and only low glycemic fruit- no dried or very sweet fruit because I'm trying to get keto-adapted again.)
I'll also be cutting back on eggs and nuts to give my body a break from them. I'm also going to cut way back on caffeine, but I'm not making any promises!

Now the "Mores":
-More grass-fed meat/less high omega 6 meat (like pork, chicken, etc.)
-More variety in animal products like small, oily fish, shellfish, liver, wild game, fish roe, etc.
-More homemade healing broths
-More medicinal teas (I'll be posting healing tonic tea recipes for you all;)
-More leafy greens and veggies at every meal
-More cultured foods like kimchi. I want to start making kombucha again, too.

-regular workout days: 2-3/week. I'll be doing lots of kettlebell and bodyweight stuff. I already walk most days for about 30 min.

-Earlier bedtime! Sleep (or lack of) is a big way I sabotage myself!
-Consistent daily qigong. Qigong is an amazing practice for increasing wellbeing, both on a physical and mental level. I know most of you aren't familiar with it, so I'll be posting about it at some point.
-Less time online (I know, I know; more blogging, less computer time? What?? I want my online time to be productive, not wasteful!) Also, I want to make sure I shut the laptop off earlier in the evening, as being online later makes it harder for me to fall asleep.

So, there you have it: the bones of my experiment! Here's to the New Year and to moving onward and upward with health and wellbeing!
Happy New Year!
P.S.- 50 points if you caught the Dr. Strangelove reference in the title of this post;)


  1. Erin I love this challenge! I will try to do it too, although I loves me some buttah!

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  2. Just curious, what kind of cooking oil are you planning to use during Whole30? I'm pretty much down to butter and coconut oil, but I don't use the coconut oil for everything because of the flavor.

  3. I'll be using strained meat drippings (really yummy!) palm oil (Spectrum makes a sustainably sourced, neutral tasting non-hydrogeneted shortening from it), macadamia nut oil. Maybe I'll even get some quality lard:)
    I use olive oil on salads but not much for cooking. I only use coconut oil for some cooking because of the taste (I mostly slather in on my body- you actually do absorb the fats transdermally!)

  4. Debbie- if it weren't for the Hashimoto's, I'd definitely be including some butter. I'm just starting at baseline, รก la Robb Wolf's autotimmune recommendations. Nightshades don't seem to cause me any issues, so those will stay. I'm sure the butter will make a comeback for me, though!

  5. I'm going to be moving back to the east coast in a few weeks, so I'm hoping I'll be able to find a good butcher that offers quality lard. All I can get here in the desert is the shelf-stable lard with several additives.

    I use coconut oil on my skin as well. :) The best part is that I then smell like a macaroon! :D

    Thanks for sharing the info about Whole30 - I had somehow missed hearing about it anywhere else.

  6. What's the difference between Whole30 and Paleo? Is there much difference? I'm full Paleo (with a little butter) but still am having some trigger issues. Maybe I indulge too much (highly likely) but it still seems like I'm having a strong reaction to something.

    Gonna join you and cut down on sweet fruits. Looking forward to hearing about your journey!

    thoughts on ancient eating

  7. Paleo is a fairly broad term as far as macronutrients like fats, carbs and protein are concerned. You can be higher carb Paleo if you eat a lot of fruit and tubers. Whole30 eliminates sweet fruit and starchy veggies for the duration in order to balance blood sugar issues and metabolic problems (and to break sugar addictions:)

    Some Paleo camps (Cordain's for example) are still kind of saturated fat-phobic. I'm more into Robb Wolf's version of Paleo, which is higher in sat. fat (and probably fat in general) and lower in carbs. Women, especially, benefit hormonally from saturated fat.

    I'll be posting soon on healing leaky gut (which is usually the cause of reactions).

    PS- I normally eat high fat-moderate protein-lower carb, which I will continue to do throughout Whole30.

  8. Thanks for posting the link to our Whole30 program, er, experiment. ;) We're thrilled when people take on the challenge of improving their lives. It looks like you've got a great plan here! I'd like to clarify a couple things about the Whole30, though. It does not categorically exclude starchy veggies or "sweet fruit". In fact, we encourage folks to use starchy veggies (in moderation) as a great post-workout carb source. As for fruit, we think that some is good, and more is... dangerous. The "how much fruit" question is addressed (along with dozens of others) in our Whole30 Success Guide, available here: http://whole9life.com/success-guide/ One other little comment: Dr Cordain has softened his stance on saturated fat (even Smart Dudes can learn!), so he's not so fat-phobic as he used to be. Just thought you might like to know. Best of luck in your experiment!

    Dallas Hartwig

  9. Sounds like a plan to me. I'll be joining you. I too have thyroid issues, auto-immune issues and gut issues. I'm actually looking forward to it. The last one I did made me feel so much better. More energy, less inflammation issues.

    Let's all support each other!!!!

    Can't figure out this damn profile stuff ;-)

  10. What exactly are good starches and what are bad starches???

  11. Thanks for your comments, Dallas! I'm really excited to be doing Whole30!

    Just to clarify, While Whole30 is my framework, I'm eliminating a little more than just what Whole30 recommends (starchy veggies and most fruit) because I'm actually adapting Whole30 to Datis Kharrazian's gut healing/autoimmune protocol. It's just "extra credit".

    I did know that about Cordain, but many people have not read his updated view on saturated fat and although he now considers it "acceptable", I think he hasn't quite crossed over into considering it "beneficial" like the Primal camp does:)

  12. Snap! all the way through - the autoimmune, the whole30 in january, the blogging, and I'm also in the MDA forum group with you :) Glad to know there'll be recipes and support out there!

  13. Erin,

    What a fascinating piece of N=1 experiment!

    As Bruce Lee once said, "Ultimately, all knowledge is self-knowledge." Do blog about your experience as I am sure I and others are keen to follow your progress.

    Victor in Vancouver

  14. Hi Erin... greeting from Miami, Fl. I just started my Whole30 3 days ago while also doing IF (intermittent fastening). I was wondering... do you use coconut milk? I usually use it on my shakes... I need my shakes! I also cook with coconut oil. It gives food a nice flavor. Is hard for me to drink coffee without a sweetener... I used to use Stevia. Best wishes!


  15. Hi Glendys! I used a LOT of coconut milk during my Whole 30 (and I use a lot in general). I usually get the Native Forest brand, which is in BPA-free cans. I haven't tried the Aroy-D brand in tetra packs that is sold at Asian markets, but I hear that it's good quality.

    You might try switching to yerba mate tea instead of coffee. It's good with coconut milk and it has less caffeine, but it still gives a nice little boost in energy.

    Good luck with your Whole 30!

  16. Thank you Erin! I will def. try the yerba mate tea. I lived in Argentina almost 3 years and I would drink it every afternoon! Hope you had a great weekend!