So, I'm Doing The Whole30...

10 August 2014

...and yes, I've already received lots of "are you mad?!" texts from my friends and family. But no, I'm not mad, just very fed up with being chronically ill and looking for any way that I can to improve my health and symptoms. If you didn't already know, I suffer from multiple chronic illnesses but the 'big daddy' is called ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) - read my guide for beginners here and see the symptoms of the disease here - and it has been giving me real grief for the past six years, majorly so in the last one and a half.

I already strive to keep my diet as clean as possible for the sake of my illness and I've been eating 85% paleo - short for the paleolithic diet, see what that's all about here - with the remaining 15% consisting of still mainly healthy foods, with the odd treat here and there.

Day One

Even though I don't let much sugar pass my lips these days, ME is related to brain and spinal cord inflammation and if you hadn't already heard, sugar is extremely inflammatory. I wanted to cut it out completely, but then I heard about the Whole30 Challenge and thought, 'why not?' Why not cut out everything that could be having a negative impact on my health? It could be life changing and drastically improve the way I feel. On the other hand I could feel no better or no worse but even then, it's a win win situation; I'll have filled my body with nothing but nutritionally dense and wholesome foods for an entire month. 

Q. What is the Whole30?
A. A nutrition plan that eliminates "psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full thirty days".

Day Two

Q. What will I be eating?
A. "Meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they're totally natural and unprocessed".

Q. What won't I be eating?
A. Sugar (real or artificial), dairy, grains, legumes, carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. It goes without saying that I can't drink alcohol. Whole30, which is only slightly different from the paleolithic diet, also states that participants mustn't recreate 'approved' foods - for example, 'paleo pancakes' are strictly not allowed, even if the only two ingredients are eggs and bananas. The Whole30 Program states that "a pancake is still a pancake" and although I'll miss the 'healthy treats' that I make, such as gluten and dairy-free brownies, I wholeheartedly agree. This shouldn't be about 'bending the rules' or seeing how healthy you can make an unhealthy food, it should be about sticking to your guns and to the spirit and intention of the program. It's only for thirty days, after all - you'll live.

Day Three

I've cut out gluten, dairy, sugar etc before in the past but if I'm remembering correctly, I only did so for about a fortnight and haven't before been so strict about my eating habits - in fact, I've never been on a diet in all of my twenty years and as a result, I'm sure I'll find the Whole30 a little challenging. Not as challenging as living with chronic illness, however!

So far, I've been doing well - apart from one 'I CAN'T EAT THAT' outburst after being surrounded by my family all crunching Kettle Chips (my true food love and weakness) and one member having the audacity to offer me a handful - and am enjoying immersing myself in the community of Whole30-ers. Some people I've spoken to have been on the program for over 150 days (!) and swear by it, saying that it alleviates even some of the worst symptoms of autoimmune diseases and various other conditions, which is really encouraging me to persevere for the sake of my illness. I'm not hoping for any miracles here, but even a slight improvement in my symptoms or pain levels would be a huge help.

Day Four
My thought process at the moment is that at the end of the program, I'll finally be able to draw a line under food-related disease and nutrition issues. I have a health Instagram - Meg Says Eathere - and I can't tell you how many messages I get on there every day about how going gluten-free (etc) will rid me of fatigue, and it'll be nice to be able to say - "thanks for the suggestion, I've done the Whole30 though and it concluded that my illnesses aren't caused or worsened by the things I eat". Or, it could work out for me and I can say - "brilliant, isn't it - I feel ten times better". Time will tell - see you in 30 days!

Have you tried or will you ever try the Whole30? Do you think proper nutrition is an important lifestyle choice for those living with chronic illness?



  1. I have never heard of this but it sounds great! I would definitely consider giving this a go :) Can't wait to see how you find it,
    - C
    Claudine Converses

    1. That's great news, Claudine - hope you enjoy it if you do decide to do it! I'm getting on okay so far (Day 10!) and have had a few cravings but nothing major. I'll do an update once I've finished the program :) x

  2. Good luck Meg! It's important to love ourselves and take care of us, whatever others say! Well done! :D

    1. Thanks, Diana :) I agree wholeheartedly! x

  3. Good luck! I hope it helps, even if it's just a tiny bit, but as you say it's a bit of a win-win sitch because you'll still be doing good for your body by eating all these healthy foods. Which by the way look so tasty still, your insta makes me feel so hungry! I'm trying to sort out my nutrition at the moment, I have to eat a very high fat diet (McDonald's is encouraged!) as well as all the healthy stuff but I'm not good at sorting the balance out...I'm either too much of one or the other. But I'll definitely be picking up some healthy ideas from you, the vegetables all look so delish! x

    Josie’s Journal

    1. Thank you! Yeah, absolutely :) it's hard to tell whether it's making me feel any better as I usually can't leave the house and I have twice this week, so I'm really suffering for that and at the moment I don't think proper nutrition could outweigh my symptoms if that makes sense. Ah really, you should search the hashtag #hflc on Instagram - it means high fat low carb - and there will be lots of meal ideas of how to eat a high fat diet without eating really unhealthy food like McDonald's, which is full of lots of nasties. Avocados are a 'healthy fat', for example :) aww that's so lovely of you, thank you! I really hope you like the meals if you try any x

  4. Whole 30 sounds like my kind of eating, I'm definitely going to look into this more :) Glad you're enjoying the food so far!
    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography -

  5. Well I'm excited for some healthy good inspiration and those sweet potato fries look fabulous. Hope it helps Meg!!

    xx Sarah | Loser Girl Wins

    1. Aww, thanks Sarah - hope you find the inspiration you're after, I'll try and pop a few posts up! :) Ah I would live off of them if I could, can't get enough of sweet potato fries - especially if they're spicy, mmhmm! x

  6. It is so amazing you are embarking on this lifestyle and have such control and self discipline! I love all these photos, they are stunning! Do you want to share your photography tips?:P

    Lets keep in touch and follow each other on bloglovin! I always follow back!

    Love from Canada,
    Marie from

    1. Thank you, Marie! That's really kind of you to say - it's taking some serious willpower but I don't want to break the streak now :) I've never been trained in photography and I just take these on my iPhone 4 so I'm afraid I don't have any photography tips to share, but thanks for saying so! x

  7. Thanks for sharing - I hadn't heard of this particular diet and will follow your progress with interest...especially to see how you get on by the end. I'm interested you can't eat pulses and legumes and wonder if it's possible to be a veggie and try it out? (I'll have a proper read later on).

    Here in France, they really advocate dairy + gluten free for Fibro sufferers (how ironic!) and as there can be a tendency to amalgamate ME/CFS into Fibro here that's the only "diet for health" I'm aware of so far.

    So we've been trying out "gluttony-free living" (as we've called it!!) since April and although I haven't noticed any particular reduction in my ME + Fibro symptoms, I do feel a little better inside my tummy. (Or rather, when I've had to have a few days or a week going back to normal eating, I can really feel the difference).
    I think the main advantage of this food path is it has encouraged us to reassess our eating habits and cut out some of the little bad habits (especially comfort eating) that have been slowly creeping into our daily diet in the past few months. The main downside for us is the social aspect - eating and drinking are an important part of daily life here and following this diet strictly means we have to be super organized, do lots and lots of cooking from scratch (tiring for me, extra work for my chéri) and also makes eating (out) with friends pretty much impossible.

    Still, the upside is it has really provided us with a lot of opportunities to broach the subject of my health problems with friends and acquaintances who haven't really ever got their head around it and that has been really positive for us.

    Ouf! That's more like an essay - sorry! Hope you have a good start to the week! xxx

    1. No problem, Fran :) I'll definitely keep you updated - my Instagram @megsayseat would be the best place for you to track my progress as I upload my meals there every day :) yup, no legumes whatsoever! I can't see why not, although you'd better check just to be on the safe side. I know that paleo is a high protein diet so you may have to find alternatives to meat that comply with the 'rules' :)

      I have both ME and fibromyalgia and I'm always being told that going gluten free will help me, so I do aim to cut it out as much as possible. I haven't noticed any difference in my symptoms either - I'm still severely ill and I don't think any amount of food could change that - but you're right, it does help and I dread to think of how I'd feel if I ate like crap. Definitely, it helps to keep us on the right track and means we're avoiding any food-related disease on top of the illnesses we already have by being conscious about what we're putting into our bodies to fuel them throughout the day. It does make life that little bit harder, but in return it means we're helping ourselves as much as we can and not looking for the 'easy way out', which would be to live off of microwave meals that don't take any energy to make.

      No worries - thanks for taking the time to write such a great comment! You too Fran, I hope you have a good one and that you feel as well as possible x

  8. Oh wow this all looks so delicious!

    This has really put my diet to shame haha, I definitely need to take a leaf out of your book and make something like this :)

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a lovely comment on my blog!

    Laura ♥ |
    Bloglovin' | Google + | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

    1. Thanks, Laura :) let me know if you try the Whole 30 - in my opinion it's the only 'diet' that's worthwhile as it's more of a lifestyle change and not a fad. You're welcome! x

  9. I know I'm a little late but good luck! I did something similar to the Whole 30 earlier in the year for 3 months. It made a bit of a difference to my symptoms (ME, fibro and pots) but is difficult for me to keep up! I wish I could carry on but it didn't make enough of a difference for me to. I now each sweet potato, rice and a little bread once a week too. Sorry I feel like that didn't make any sense! That's what brain fog does to a girl!

    1. No worries, thanks Chloe :) I know what you mean, my diet was pretty much entirely paleo (the paleolithic diet) before I did the Whole30 so although it did make some differences and improvements, it wasn't a drastic change. It made 100% sense, it's cool :) glad to hear that at least a little something positive happened to your symptoms, any progress is good for us! x