Monday, January 24, 2011

Whole30: One Week Left!

I can see the finish line. I'm almost there. Except, I think I want to keep going!
I've got less than a week until my Whole30 experiment/Paleo challenge is up. It doesn't feel like a challenge or experiment anymore; it just feels like this is how I do things. I suppose that means that I've fully integrated these changes.

I am still seeking further improvements in my health (mainly in the areas of balancing my immune system and hormones and improving sleep quality) so this tells me that although this might be the finish line for others, my own finish line is still a lot further away, but that's ok. I'm going to keep refining and chipping away and not worry as much about not being there NOW! There's that saying about how you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.

So, here are the improvements I can report:
Overall, I feel better than when I started.

-I'm falling asleep easier (although I still get too much REM and not enough slow wave sleep- which can make you feel like you've barely slept)

-I feel a lot lighter. I've lost a few pounds and a whole inch around my navel. My pants fit normally again (whew!!) I can see some ab muscles peeking through. Suffice it to say I'm happy about that.

-My brain feels more clear. Hashimoto's is famous for fuzzing up your brain and making things go in one ear and out the other.

-I have a little more energy. I feel more motivated to get exercise instead of loafing around, despite it being winter (and cold and gray...)

-My skin is looking much healthier. I hit the point a few years back, after turning thirty, where my skin abruptly started aging. It was the same all through my 20's, so it was a rude surprise when it suddenly seemed to stop repairing itself like it always had and I began to get LINES (the horror!!) It's looking a lot better and younger now. I don't know if it's diet, supplements or the fact that I've been using new skincare products for a few weeks- I suspect it's all of the above.
I also had a weird little melasma patch (I suspect from estrogen dominance) on my forehead for the last year that's now fading.

I've been really glad that, despite all kinds of nasty illnesses going around, I've stayed well. I even managed not to get the flu from my friend, despite sitting next to her all night as she was coming down with it. I credit that to taking colostrum caps and a weekly prophylactic dose of Flu Guard and to not eating sugar (sugar is so bad for the immune system.)

When the week is up, I'll be adding my beloved Kerrygold butter back into my diet (I like the unsalted- it's lactic acid cultured) and maybe some occasional local grass-fed cream, but I'm sticking with the low dairy/low carb (and low stevia) diet. No point in teasing my taste buds too much when I'd rather just retrain them.

I may eventually experiment with "feast days" to tweak my metabolism and thyroid hormone conversion and I definitely plan on introducing more frequent intermittent fasts once my energy levels are up and my sleep quality improves. I'll keep you posted.

Here's to healthy changes and happy results!


  1. awesome report! I think you should keep going :) Such an inspiration

  2. Congrats Erin! Good job. I can confirm that The Whole30 is very helpful tool. I did it last year. Being 100% clean makes me feel better. Not deprived from precious things but free from "drugs". It's not about being perfect but about learning why you eat the way you eat und see if you should change things to feel better. Talking about addiction and eating as self medication. I know what you are talking about: I sugger from whacky hormone regulation and really bad sleep. I will start a challenge (better eating & training habits) tomorrow.

    If you have thyroid issues - do you know about the work of Dr. Janet Lang (Restorative Endocrinology)? It’s a good complement to Dr. Kharrazian. In case you don’t know: Nora Gedgaudas made 3 podcasts about thyroid issues and female hormone issues in general with Dr. Lang. I love them! Nora holds her mentor Dr. Lang in high regard. She solved her own “hormone hell” problems and I prefer people who walk the talk (like Robb Wolf or Mark Sisson).



    Btw: You want Cameron Diaz’ arms? Lame. I want Dreya Weber's arms (and abs)!



    Good luck for your further journey to better health and performance.

  3. Thanks, Hepcat! It was sooo worth doing and I feel like I have a better framework for what works for me!
    Wow, Dreya does have awesome arms (but have you seen Cameron live lately? Her deltoids are gorgeous!)

    I've listened to Dr. Lang on Nora's podcasts (I was very impressed!) and I even referred a friend in MO to her (friend didn't go- oh well!) I'm probably due for a brush up;) Dr. Lang is actually the "consulting physician" my holistic chiro uses to order bloodwork.

    Tomorrow, I'll be doing an Adrenal Stress Index. I suspect my cortisol is too low in the A.M. and possibly higher at night, although I've been falling asleep fine lately- that was NOT always the case!

    As for the whacked out sleep wave cycles- I know exactly what the problem is, although I don't think it has a western diagnosis equivalent.
    In Chinese medicine, I'm "liver/gall bladder blood deficient", which means, in 5 element organ theory, that the liver "fire" gets out of control (due to lack of blood) and invades the heart,(which is next in line) where the mind is anchored, so excessive dreaming occurs. The tip of the tongue (heart region) is red and hot looking and the eyes (which the liver governs) are also red.
    It takes awhile to reverse this, but I'm using chrysanthemum and goji berry tea, lots of dark greens and greens powders and avoiding hot, spicy foods, which just put more "fuel" on the fire.

    My biggest problem is getting to bed early (due to lack of trying, lol!)- the gallbladder starts its restorative time at 11pm (11-1) and the liver from 1-3. If you're still awake during these hours, those organs can't heal as well as they otherwise could.

  4. Hi Erin,

    I already assumed that you know Dr. Lang (because you have a link to Nora G.). But you never know and every solid info is helpful for healing. I wanted to be sure. :-)

    I understand your sleep problems. I have them too. I feel tired in the afternoon and later in the evening I get that nasty "second wind" and I can't calm down. I go to bed at 2 a.m or 4 or 6 a.m. Terrible for liver, growth hormone and what not. My cortisol (lab test) is fine in the morning but a bit too high in the evening. Maybe acupuncture can help. Robb Wolf had good success with acupuncture. I know a holistic dentist who gave me terrific acupuncture treatments last year. I will try it on a regular basis.

  5. I always appreciate info:-) Thanks!
    I'd recommend giving acupuncture a shot for sure! Insomnia is such an individual thing with so many root causes.
    GABA might help your brain to calm down at night. There are some studies linking low GABA production to primary insomnia. I just recommended it to my sister to try for her sleep issues.

    I went to see my acupuncturist today because I woke up with a slightly scratchy throat (no other symptoms) and I like to go to her immediately so she can give me the right herbs, since it makes such a huge difference and I get well in half the time as everyone else when I see her!
    She said it was a minor virus and that I hadn't gotten enough sleep recently (I do get enough in general but I was up too early twice this week, so she was right about that!)

    I had her tell me about all my pulse readings and the liver pulse was still an issue (and she said my hormones are still low but progesterone is up- yay!)
    She said that in general, I was MUCH healthier than I've been and she kept asking me what I'm eating. It was hard to explain "Paleo" to her (she's from Shanghai) but when I told her about the bone marrow and black chicken soups, she was really excited that I would eat those, being a Westerner and all;)
    She kept saying "you look pretty like a Chinese girl now!", ha ha!

  6. Progesterone is up? Woohoo! Good to hear you are healthier. I will get stereoid lab tests as soon as I can get my butt moving to a mainstream medicine doc. Procrastination! I don't like those places. Bad experiences.

    My insomnia is clearly caused by conflicts and problems in my life. I didn't have that problem until recently. I tried GABA and a bunch of other Aminos after reading Julia Ross' book "The Mood Cure". Didn't change anything.
    Next time a will spent the money on acupuncture or myofascial release. And supps (Mg, HCL, CLO).
    Good luck with your transformation into Chinese. :-)