Whole30 at 37: Changing My Fuel

I decided to do a Whole30 starting the day after my 37th birthday.

Whole30 is a strict version of the Paleo diet that serves as a reset for your body. The hope is that you can clear your body of foods you negatively react to, in most cases without even realizing it, and slowly reintroduce foods with the opportunity to examine your body’s response.

I’ve dabbled with Paleo since 2011. My newborn daughter and I had a pretty good case of thrush, and I immersed myself in trying to rid us of it. The anti-fungal medication doctors gave us didn’t help. Most of the holistic things I tried didn’t help either. Then I tried two things in conjunction with each other, out of desperation: Paleo and probiotics. The thrush cleared up very quickly after that. For what it’s worth, when my second daughter started showing signs of thrush, I skipped all the headache and went straight to paleo and probiotics. The pediatrician was surprised it cleared on its own.

I mention my dabbling with Paleo only to set the stage for why I think I was able to stick with the Whole30 on the first try. I’d been slowly, slowly moving me (us) toward Paleo for almost 4 years. There weren’t a lot of new, fancy ingredients or gadgets I needed to buy. And mentally, I already bought into the fact that simplifying what I ate was a very good thing.

But what brought me to this very strict, fundamental version of Paleo? The reasons are varied and numerous; these are some:

  • Granuloma Annulare—It sounds scary but it isn’t. I have an autoimmune condition that causes rash-like splotches on my skin. It manifests primarily on my feet and one arm (so far). It’s not contagious and it’s not life threatening, so there isn’t much money or research put into figuring out what causes it. My visit to the dermatologist resulted in a steroid gel that puts the rash into submission, but as soon as you stop applying the gel, the rash returns. Because it treats the effects of the condition, not the cause.
  • Joint Pain—For a while now, more time than I can recall, I’ve had pain in my knees, my hips, my elbows. Probably other places that I don’t recall today. Before my birthday, I really wondered how I could feel this decrepit at 37. When I potentially have 50 more years to live in this body, I became a little worried about what those years might look like if this pain increased incrementally as had already been the case.
  • Other mystery pain/experiences in my body—Having two kids puts a bit of strain on the body. Most days, since my youngest was born a year ago, I’ve felt like body organs must have completely changed locations and were thinking about just straight up falling out. I couldn’t run any amount of time without having abdominal discomfort (okay, feeling like my baby carrier was going to literally hit the pavement).  Truthfully, the discomfort existed intermittently even when I walked or sat. Any number of joggling steps was just a dependable trigger for it. And the number of Depends I would have needed to go through to even jog to the mailbox? No thanks. I didn’t really think that eating magical foods during the Whole30 would fix these issues, but I did wonder if losing some weight might help.
  • Enough is enough—I had a general feeling that something just had to change. I had to commit to do something differently because I deserve to live better than I had been. My girls, my husband, they all deserve to have me present and living in a positive(ish), interactive space. I. Needed. Change.

Upcoming posts will document my Whole30 experience, which I completed very recently, as well as my results.


  • Paleo—There are many paleo/primal resources out there. In the future, I’ll pull together the resources I’ve incorporated into the changes I’ve been making. In the meantime consider checking out the sites or books by: Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (Book: It Starts with Food), Diane SanFilippo (Book: Practical Paleo), Mark Sisson (Book: The Primal Blueprint). These books focus on the thought/science behind Paleo. And, most Paleo superstars started off with blogs and then expanded to books, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding their web presence.
  • Whole30—Dallas and Melissa Hartwig are THE Whole30 resources. There isn’t any reason to go anywhere other than their site.