As many of you know, I have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). After having our third child in 2010, I was in excruciating pain. My hands were sore and swollen, every joint hurt to the touch and I could barely get up and down out of a chair. I was in severe pain. It hit me like a truck, out of nowhere. With a newborn, 2 year old and 4 year old, I needed a quick fix. I wanted the pain gone so I could function again.
Enter prednisone and some nasty rheumatology drugs. These helped get the arthritis under control, but the side effects of this drug left me feeling sick; nausea, acid reflux and fatigue. This led me to search for other answers, and I began treatment with a functional medicine doctor. Right away, I was put on an elimination diet. Thankfully, I knew to expect this, and I was ready to get my life back. Without realizing it, I was pretty much doing what I now know to be a Whole 30. This type of elimination diet is designed to rid your body of inflammation and clear your system of the gunk that a high-stress, processed-food, little-sleep kind of lifestyle causes.
So, what is Whole 30?
It’s a reset for your system. It cuts out problematic foods that tend to cause lots of inflammation. And inflammation, particularly in the chronic form, is the root of most disease and underlying issues that many of us think are just "normal" or part of "getting old.”.
I heard a great quote a while back: "Just because something is normal, doesn't mean it is healthy.” This is so true! Just because nearly everyone is tired, suffers from brain fog, has a few extra pounds to lose, has PMS, gets constipated, has sore achy muscles and joints, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, headaches, allergies and so on, it doesn't mean it’s healthy. I promise you it doesn't have to be this way! And let’s get real, we are all too busy and way too valuable to feel like crap all the time. That is why we all need a reset.
Picture a dry erase board with black scribbles all over it. Those black scribbles indicate different "issues" in your body or different areas of inflammation. So, if you just erase ONE black line (similar to removing one food item such as dairy) you can't really see a difference. BUT if you erase all the black lines at once, you now have a clear slate. THEN you can truly determine which foods seem to cause you problems.
After you have cleaned the slate for 30 days, you can begin to add back certain food groups one at a time to see which foods bother you. As you determine which food groups bother you, you have the power to control how you feel for the rest of your life. If you know gluten makes you feel yucky, you can now feel empowered to know that you can control that brain fog, fatigue, headache or however else your system reacts.
Join Us for Your Whole 30
This year, we at Balanced Fitness and Health are going to walk alongside all those who want to do a Whole 30 reset in January 2018. This reset is not about weight loss (though that will happen for many of you). It’s not a detox and it’s not about deprivation. It is about helping you to feel the best you can so that you can tackle all of those goals and aspirations of 2018 feeling the best you can feel! You won’t feel miserable for 30 days. Yes, it will take you a week or so to adjust, but then you will feel amazing!
We will support you throughout these 30 days (January 2-31) and into the reintroduction phase through frequent emails and a support group where we can all encourage each other, share recipes, and answer questions. For now, if you want more in-depth information, you can visit Whole30.com or read the book, It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.
I wanted to get this information out to you now because this plan takes preparation: Meal planning, grocery shopping and mental preparedness. Next week, I will email those of you who are interested and give you further details about what foods are “Whole 30 approved” and what foods are important to eliminate to ensure you inhibit all inflammation in your body.
Now for the rest of my story!
After 4 weeks on an elimination diet, I felt great. After 6 weeks, I was off all my medications and I was no longer nauseous and chronically fatigued. I could play with my kids and return to the sports that I love. I now know what foods bother me and what foods I tolerate. I now have the power to control the inflammation in my body and inflammation no longer controls me.
Again, it’s not meant to be forever, and it’s not a diet. It’s a reset that will allow you to have the power and knowledge to know once and for all what foods your body does not like in its system. Please visit the links below and let Melissa and I know if you want to join us, and we will get you entered into our January 2018 Whole 30 group.
P.S. If you think anyone else may be interested—whether they're local friends from Cedar Rapids or across the country—feel free to forward and share this info. The more the merrier!
You don't have to do this alone!
Join us for Whole 30 from January 2-31:
Angie McCormick is a Physical Therapist, Nutrition Consultant and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist for Balanced Fitness and Health in Hiawatha, Iowa. Her professional expertise and personal experience with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) enrich her work helping clients with the exercise, nutrition and life skills required to conquer pain.