Jumping On The Whole30 Bandwagon

Hello, and happy Tuesday!

Guess what crazy idea my husband and I had last week? Oh, no big deal, just that we should jump on the Whole30 bandwagon and test our self control…in my last few weeks of pregnancy…when I should be doing nothing but binge eating chocolate. Why do I do this to myself?! Well, here’s why – my body is nearly 90. Yes, 90 years old, and trying to fall apart on me every single day. Bored yet? No? Ok, then let me continue my rant about my old ass in much greater detail…don’t get too excited…

When I was in my early teens I started having some very unusual lady issues. Bet you’re really excited about this post now, aren’t ya?! ;-) Unlike most people, I would go months without my cycle, which concerned my mom. We visited my gyno (sooooo many horror stories about me at the gyno/OB, we’ll have to save those gems for another day) and he decided to draw blood and test all my hormone levels. One came back very elevated, which resulted in an MRI of my brain, which resulted in the diagnosis that I have a very small (we’re talking pea sized) tumor in my pituitary gland. Are you hearing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice saying the word “tumor” in your head right now? Very few people know all this weird stuff about me, but almost every single one who does has made the Arnold “tumor” joke…welcome to the club.

Ok, so I’m a bit of a teenage freakshow, right? It’s actually not a big deal AT ALL, and requires nothing more than a daily pill to reduce that imbalanced hormone level. No tumor removal, or anything crazy like that. It just sits there, throwing levels out of whack, and is harmless. Easy peasy.

Fast forward a few more years to age 16. I start having swollen, painful joints, and find that daily activities are unusually challenging for me. Like brushing my teeth or hair are a very serious task, and take me 20 minutes. I go to my family physician, who pretty much blows me off, and suggests I have what most “dramatic teenagers” have – anxiety and depression. Um, nope, I was dramatic at that age for sure, but not depressed. So I kept going back…and back…and back. Finally I was referred to a rheumatologist for testing of my joints (why I wasn’t referred after appointment #1 is still a mystery to me). After a single appointment it was very clear that I had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which is quite rare, and really shitty. Basically it means my body is producing antibodies that attack my joints, causing pain, swelling, and over time permanent damage to my joints. Over the following 10+ years I’ve tried a little bit of everything to “treat” my auto-immune disease – pain killers, immune-suppressors, injections, etc. If it’s on the market, especially if it comes with a fancy commercial (humira ring any bells?) then I’ve tried it.

Since both of those completely random diseases weren’t enough, I was diagnosed with another autoimmune disease 2 years ago called Sjogrens. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one, other than it causes me to have dry eyes and dry mouth, but in the grand scheme of things it’s just annoying.

Now let me tell you something really awesome…

When I’m pregnant, everything stops. Literally, it just stops. It’s amazing. My joints slowly stop hurting, I get off of all medications, and I live a completely normal life. It’s magic. The downside? As soon as I deliver this sweet little babe, all my symptoms will start to return, namely my arthritis, and it comes back with a vengeance! Within a week of delivering Camryn I was miserable with pain from my joints. It can feel almost debilitating. For someone who’s never experienced it, I don’t know how to put it in words…imagine how sore you felt the day after a really, really, really intense workout – that’s almost relatable. The obvious answer is always “take medicine”, but I enjoy nursing my babies, and introducing such harsh drugs into their milk supply is just not an option for me, but changing my diet to reduce inflammation is!

Yes, this post has a point, I’m just taking the incredibly long and round about way of getting to it.

Here’s where Whole30 comes in – by cutting out dairy, sugar, and grains I can significantly reduce the amount of swelling in my joints. Some people have claimed to heal their bodies naturally through their diet! Now, you know how much I love me some desserts, coffee creamer with a side of coffee, and bread layered with cheese layered with more bread and cheese. Those are my love languages people, especially the last 9 months. But with my due date quickly approaching I decided that I needed to at least try to take control of my body and it’s craziness and do my part as a patient until my doctors can do their part when I finish nursing. So we started Whole30. If you live on Mars and have never heard of Whole30 or it’s very similar sister, Paleo, then you can read more about it here. I am using the next 30 days as a jumpstarter into a cleaner, healthier, more simplistic way of eating. Not a diet. Not at all a diet – I have no goals of losing any weight, and am eating tons and tons of food (without the snack restrictions that typical Whole30 followers adhere to). I am simply eating foods that fall within the Whole30 shopping list.

My meals for today:

Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs, organic ham, blackberries, and black coffee. The coffee was the only thing that sucked, but I’ll get over it.

Snack: Plum & a handful of pistachios

lunch

Lunch: Giant sized chicken salad (my eyes are bigger than my stomach!) with tomatoes, olives, avocado, and mixed greens (kale, spinach, chard). I also shared a small side of sweet potato with the hubs – I could live off sweet potatoes, they are my jam!!

dinner

I forgot to snap a pic at first, so excuse the half eaten steak. My husband makes the best steaks ever!!!

Dinner: A steak the size of my head (again, my portion control could use a little work…I’ll address that after little lady arrives and I actually care) steamed broccoli with garlic, little peppers (I could eat these all day!!), and the hubs and I shared a slice of watermelon and a side of sweet potatoes.

As you can imagine, based off my serving sizes, I never once felt hungry. I think whenever you start a new “diet” (again, I am not trying to lose weight, I just want to be really clear before anyone jumps down my throat and accuses me of malnutrition while preggo) you automatically think of nothing but eating, as if you’re going to be deprived, so instead you binge. Kinda like when you think about the gym, or exercising, you automatically think how much you want to eat a big slice of chocolate cake…wait, is that just me?!

So there you have it, day 1 of my whole30 journey. Pretty easy and delicious, and honestly I’m looking forward to the next 29 days. Are any of you Whole30 peeps? Have any good recipes for me? One of my BFF’s, Jenn (she has the cutest little family, you should definitely check her out), introduced me to whole30 and has shared some yummy recipes on Pinterest which I’ve added to my Food board if you want to check those out! Thanks Jenn!! :-) Oh, and if you want to follow her on Pinterest (she’s a better pinner than I am, to be honest…she also has great taste in pretty much everything else too) than you can find her here.

Phew! Longest post ever! I’ll keep sharing my food journey with you, and let you know how my body responds to less pizza and take-out, and more apples and kale. I’ll definitely share any of my favorite recipes with y’all too – share any you have with me too!!

XO – Samantha

Comments

  1. Oh girl – I’m sorry to hear you had to deal with all of that and are still struggling with it but it’s amazing what food can do to change our bodies and our health!!! I have to say, even though the black coffee would be a no-go for me, the meals you have planned sound amazing!! That steak dinner- yes please!

  2. katy von kuhn says:

    when I did paleo (which I loved… not sure why I stopped), my favorite meals were grilled chicken with a massive scoop of guacamole, or steak with homemade sweet potato fries (coconut oil, yo). I swear I ate guac 5 times a week. so good. good luck!

  3. Keely Karrer says:

    This was a very enlightening read! I, too, suffer from multiple autoimmune diseases. I struggle with pain and exhaustion. I miscarried multiple times because of them. When I was finally able to (miraculously?) carry my son to term, I had a remission of symptoms also. My joints (my back still hurt like crazy) felt amazing and I wasn’t living in a fog. Now, almost 6 months after having my son, I am in a world of hurt, losing hair and exhausted. I am definitely going to start eating clean. It jist takes a little extra time and prep. Anyway, sorry for the long comment and thank you for sharing your journey!!!

  4. So proud of you! I jumped on the paleo bandwagon last year and felt uuuuumazing – laziness attributed to my relapse ;) Reading your post just gave me major motivation to cut the processed crap out of my diet. I’m excited for you and hoping it keeps you pain free! Your meals look delicious! Keep posting! xoxo

  5. Hey Samantha!

    Those conditions sound really tough to manage, but I’m inspired by how positive your outlook is! You totally look on the bright side of things :) I hope your new food lifestyle helps with your pain – and I’m excited to see how it turns out!

    xoxo
    Audrey

  6. Boo! That just plain stinks my friend :( Those meals do look pretty darn good. I need to do the same. I’ve had an unexplained rash for years that has gotten better with each pregnancy but still returns occasionally. And, I’m tired ALL THE TIME. I know a clean diet would knock it out of my system. I’m eager to see how things change for you in a few months!

  7. Laurel Berard says:

    Ghee is amazing by the way! I found a good organic one at TJs it is scrumptious on steamed veggies. My favorite meal which I still eat almost everyday for breakfast: banana, almond butter and flaked (unsweetened) coconut from the bulk section, not shredded coconut. Also delicious smoothie: spinach, banana, frzn blueberries, almond butter, coconut milk. I ate guacamole on almost everything and had a million hard boiled eggs. I felt great, but I will tell you the sugar cravings NEVER go away, and days 3-10 are pretty rough going through sugar detox. Good luck! Also, I can’t imagine trying to attempt this while pregnant…you’ve got big kahoonas!

  8. Hi!
    New reader and it is so interesting to hear of your diagnosis my mom also has RA and Behcets Disease. She also mentioned that during her pregnancies she felt amazing! So wierd how that happy. I hope that the Whole 30 continues to help you feel better mama!

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