The next month or so is bringing a lot of changes to the way I’m eating! Food is a strange thing sometimes- What one person loves, another is deathly allergic to. Each body is different and responds to food differently, and I’m realizing that food might be the cause of some of my skin problems.
I’ve heard of the Whole30 program before but never really paid much attention to it. It just seemed like another fad diet at first, until my skin started clearing up during the Daniel Fast and I knew I had to try something different. So starting Monday, February 11th, I’m embarking on this Whole30 journey!
A couple weeks before this I had just finished a 3-week Daniel Fast. That fast consisted of a strict vegan diet, without sugars or bread as well. Right in the middle of the fast, I realized my face had cleared up. That’s when I had the thought that perhaps something I’ve been eating has been making me break out.
I’ve had eczema my whole life, but for the past year and a half I’ve had a breakout on my face, specifically in two spots: under my nose, and the right lower corner of my lip. It came and went, being really dry and flaky and pretty inflamed. I’d been treating it with prescription cortizone cream and Vaseline, but it always came back.
So, what was the issue? Dairy? Gluten? I know I hadn’t eaten any dairy during those 3 weeks, but I had a few mess-ups with the gluten- specifically wheat berries and Triscuits. For some reason it didn’t register that those were both wheat products, and my face got worse a day or so after eating them.
I never took pictures specifically of my face until during this fast when I realized food could be my problem. Here’s what I looked like a few days before my fast was over. I ate dinner at a friend’s house the night before, but I’m not sure what it was I ate that triggered the breakout (Sorry if it’s a TMI picture):
That’s the worst it’s been in quite a long time. As you can see, it’s unsightly as well as uncomfortable and itchy. When it gets inflamed like that, I hate being out in public. It’s so embarrassing.
This was taken about 4 days before this post was written. I hadn’t had a bit of gluten since the first picture a few weeks previously, but it’s still there.
When I got off the fast, I didn’t do a proper re-introduction of foods. I still kept off the gluten, but started eating dairy, meat, and drinking coffee all at the same time. I know, I messed up. But I thought gluten was the only problem- turns out, it could be more. So that’s why I’m doing Whole30.
What is Whole30?
You can find more detailed info on Whole30’s website and in their official book called “Whole30”, but the basic description is that this is a 30-day elimination diet to see if you’re sensitive to some of the most popular allergen-inducing foods.
The foods I’ll avoid are:
- All grains (Including bread, rice, and oats)
- Legumes (Including all beans, lentils, soy, and peanuts/peanut butter)
- Sugar of any kind (Including honey and maple syrup)
- Sulfites, MSG, or carrageenan
But the foods I get to enjoy are:
- Meat and seafood
- Nuts and healthy fats
Honestly, coming off the Daniel Fast so recently, this should be easy. Especially because I can enjoy coffee, even though it won’t have sugar.
At the end of the 30 days, I’ll do a 10-day re-introduction phase where I’ll add in gluten, non-gluten grains, and dairy one at a time. Then I’ll get to see what exactly is bothering me, if anything.
Yes, it’s a long process. Yes, it will be hard. But I’m so ready for my skin to start feeling better.
How I’m tracking
I have a notebook that I’ve been using as a bullet journal for various things, so I thought it’d be fun to create an entry for this Whole30. I want to keep track of every food I eat, as well as have a place where I can see my progress.
There’s also a spot to write down any feelings I have during the next 30 days. Do I have more energy? Is my skin clearing up and is less itchy? And although I haven’t created it yet, the next couple pages will be for the 10-day reintroduction of foods so I can see exactly what triggers my breakouts.
How I’m doing Whole30 on a budget
As you know, eating really healthy can be really expensive. Moreso on Whole30 it seems. The meat I buy has to contain simple ingredients- basically just meat and salt. There aren’t a whole lot of brands that have those kind of “clean” ingredients, and the ones that do have high prices. Sausages and deli meats are big offenders of this.
However, I’m determined to keep my budget at $75 a week. Here’s how I plan to do this:
- Eat mostly chicken, ground turkey, tuna, and eggs: Those are the cheapest proteins. I may buy the more expensive deli meats and chicken sausages for one meal a week, but that’s it.
- Buy only the cheap produce: Right now that seems to be a lot of fruits- grapes, strawberries, and pineapples. But I’ll also focus on the year-round cheap vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, carrots, and mushrooms. I’ll buy a lot of frozen veggies too, and plenty of potatoes and sweet potatoes.
- Buy only simple ingredients: Do I really need almond flour, coconut aminos, and other “exotic” ingredients to make good food? Probably not. I’m not looking to recreate fancy dishes; in fact, we’re pretty simple people. I may change my mind in a week or two when I’m getting bored; but for now, I’m good with what I have. Except almond butter, I’m willing to spend extra to have some of that goodness.
This will be a lot of work and take some getting used to. But I’m excited to get started and see once and for all how food affects my body! Follow me on Instagram and use the hashtag #baconwhole30 to track my progress. I’ll update a few times a week with pictures of my food and any changes I might be experiencing.
Have you ever done a Whole30 or are going through it right now? What tips can you give me? Please share in the comments!