Why Whole 30?

by Meg on February 3, 2014

Good morning loves and happy February! :D

Starting a new month is always exciting and gives me such a fresh feeling! Does anyone else feel this way when a new month comes along?

I’m particularly excited for this month because I get to go home and visit Eddie and both of my parents (only 8 more days!) and I started Whole 30 on Saturday, February 1st.

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Last week I mentioned that I would be doing my first Whole 30 Challenge this month and I wanted to go into more detail about my decision today. So, today I’ll discuss why I’ve chosen to do Whole 30 and what it means to me!

Why Whole 30?
I decided to start my first Whole 30 for a number of different reasons, but the two main reasons I am doing it are because:

- I want to continue working on healing my digestive tract and improve my overall digestion (more on this in a future post!)

- Learn how foods, especially diary, affect me personally

I am most interested to see how dairy affects my body when I reintroduce it into my eating schedule in March when I complete Whole 30.
Sugar, legumes, alcohol, gluten, and grains are also foods eliminated during Whole 30, but my eating habits are pretty much free of those foods these days anyways.
Sugar, legumes, and alcohol are foods I don’t frequently consume due to personal preference, but it was only a couple short months ago when I chose to remove grains and gluten from my diet, as well. I haven’t spoken about this on the blog before, so I will be writing a post later this week about why I chose to remove grains and gluten from my diet.

Right now, I know from self experimentation that my body functions best without gluten, grains, sugar, legumes, and alcohol, but I’ve never been without dairy before. So, these next 30 days (28 now!) are being treated as a self experiment and I am excited to learn more about myself, continue to heal my digestion, and enjoy some real good food over the next 28 days!

Even though the way I have been eating for the past couple of months is very similar to Whole 30, besides the dairy component, I’ve already experienced some benefits from the Whole 3o program over the weekend!

I’m so excited to keep you updated on my progress and share some really great Whole 30 approved recipes with you, too!

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Make sure to follow me on Instagram so you can keep up to date with my Whole 30 journey and also my Pinterest to see which recipes I’ve been making and pinning!

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If you’re interested in participating in Whole 30 yourself or just learning more about it, I highly recommend reading It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I got it for Christmas and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read! I love their approach to eating. It’s amazing and powerful and something that definitely aligns with my beliefs when it comes to food, eating, and living!

Have you done Whole 30 before? If so, how did it make you feel? Did you enjoy it?
If you haven’t done Whole 30 before, is it something you would consider?

Love always,

Meg xo

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Linz @ Itz Linz February 3, 2014 at 7:35 AM

interested in your results and how you feel :)

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:12 PM

thanks hun!

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Cat February 3, 2014 at 8:19 AM

I think it’s really smart to do these kind of plans every now and then to identify any trouble foods – last month I cut out a few FODMAP containing foods and found I do have a couple of sensitivities I wasn’t aware of before – it’s not like I’m an extreme case so probably won’t be avoiding them strictly forever, but it’s nice to know what does what to my body! Very good luck for the W30!

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:13 PM

I am so happy you’re learning more about yourself! Great work girl and it’s great to hear you say you won’t be strict, but know how it affects your body! GREAT attitude and mindset!

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Heather February 3, 2014 at 9:32 AM

I have and I felt really great after 14 days but not after that. I didn’t eat sweet potatoes because they were giving me stomache problems and I thought maybe I didn’t have enough good carb sources. I’m thinking of trying a whole7 to test it out again. Have you heard of any connections between sweet potatoes and thyroid?

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:13 PM

That would be something I’d have to look into, Heather

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Megan (The Lyons' Share) February 3, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Thanks for sharing your decisions! I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to adopt the Whole30 lifestyle long-term, but like you I have been really curious about trying it to continue improving my digestion and really get a feel for how I do without dairy. I love my Greek yogurt so much that it would be hard to give up, but I do want to try it eventually! How strict are you going to be? For example, you’re supposed to avoid almond milk unless you make it yourself, but I’ve always wondered if most people just “cheat” on this stuff or not. Good luck!!! Can’t wait to hear about it!

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:15 PM

You can’t just “kind of” do Whole 30. I will be making my own almond milk/nut milk. The almond milk I currently buy has carrageenan in it, which causes inflammation in the body and the whole point of Whole 30 is to eliminate all that causes inflammation :)

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Megan (The Lyons' Share) February 5, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Your comment agrees with everything I have read about how people trying to shortchange the Whole 30 don’t get the results they were after. There ARE pre-packaged almond milks without carrageenan, but I admit the one I buy contains carrageenan! So interested in your results as I determine whether I’m up for the challenge or not!

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Meg February 5, 2014 at 9:19 PM

thanks Megan :) I think it’ll kind of fun to make my own! I have a Vitamix so why not take advantage right!? ;)

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Katie @ Talk Less, Say More February 3, 2014 at 10:19 AM

I know my body does better without those things too…I do enjoy wine and a good beer once and awhile though. I’ve been trying to go a few weeks without alcohol because I was feeling so bloated (which I know is from the alcohol) and it’s been nice to not feel so icky lately. I also know dairy makes me super bloated. I’m crazy lactose intolerant but was always able to eat greek yogurt…until I realized that it was still affecting me by making me super bloated. It will be interesting to see how you feel after. :)

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:22 PM

that’s great you know so much about yourself already sweetie!xo

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Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 3, 2014 at 10:36 AM

can’t wait to see the recipes!

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:16 PM

aw thanks Katie! I am trying to come up with some good ones!

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Livi February 3, 2014 at 10:57 AM

looks intriguing! It would be so hard to do at school -eating in the dining hall! But maybe this summer :)

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:22 PM

that would be great!

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amy February 3, 2014 at 11:24 AM

I’m surprised that you are feeling different after two days, because it doesn’t seem like that much has changed in your diet. Did you eat very much dairy? The only dairy I remember seeing is ghee.

I did a gluten-free experiment but didn’t notice much of a change. I’m re-incorporating it into my diet and am happy I don’t have to stay on that restricted path.

good luck!

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:53 PM

congrats on finding out what works for you! i’ll be talking about why and how i felt different in an upcoming post – it’ll clear things up for you and i was definitely having more dairy than just the ghee. remember, not everything i eat in a day is posted. :)

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Julie February 3, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Can’t wait to hear how this goes for you. I already eat something like the Whole30 too. My digestion is pretty bad – I feel like I hear the same thing from others too. I always get bloated from eating and it’s not even certain types of food. What makes my tummy feel fine one day may make it feel terrible the next.

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:54 PM

hmmmm it might take some extra listening to figure it out!

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Kim @PerfectlyKim February 3, 2014 at 1:01 PM

I’m looking forward to seeing your experience with the Whole 30, Meg! I just purchased a few paleo cookbooks and am contemplating taking this challenge on, myself. My boyfriend freaked out when I mentioned yesterday that I might stop eating grains. I’ve dealt with disordered eating issues, so I know where he is coming from (worried about me not just eating “normal”). However, I have noticed recently that my body has been reacting negatively to sugar and certain carbs and I’d like to see what eating this way does for me. I started reading It Starts With Food over the weekend and am about halfway done with it. Very interesting. It makes sense! Look forward to reading more about your experience now. :)

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:55 PM

I love It Starts With Food! I know I wouldn’t have been able to do Whole 30 when my relationship with food was still disordered, but I am a new person now and my relationship with food is no longer disordered, so I know doing Whole 30 is a good decision for me and I am confident while doing it :)

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Jenn@Mark My Miles! February 3, 2014 at 1:09 PM

I’ll be interested to read about your journey on this, this month. I just got some medical news back and it looks as though I may benefit from something similar. I’ll be trying some of your posted recipes for sure!

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Thanks Jenn! I hope you’ll enjoy them :) Everyone seems to be loving the cauliflower rice recipe I posted not too long ago

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Francoise February 3, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Hi Meg,

I have seen this post and have been sensitive to it. I have a history of many years of anorexia and restriction and was “recovered” but recently started restricting again. I have been working with a RD to increase my food intake by at least 500 calories and that is super tough. When I look at programs like Whole 30 (which my RD totally disapproves of, btw) I am curious about it and at the same time cannot help thinking that this is disordered eating disguised as a healthy approach.

I have digestive issues as well but find that as I am starting to eat many different kinds of foods and plenty of carbs, I have fewer digestive issues. I don’t know if you will publish my post, but all I want to say is that I am just hoping that you are sincerely embarking on this restricted regime for another reason than ongoing fear of many foods. In the meantime, I wish you well.

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:57 PM

Thanks for your well wishes :) It sounds like we are both on a healthy path as this I have found what works for me.

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Addie February 3, 2014 at 5:25 PM

I am suprised that you are doing a restrictive diet such as this. As a dietitian, the first thing I noticed is that entire food groups are off limits – which is a huge red flag to me. Only wish you the best and hope this goes well for you and you feel free to quit it as soon as it’s not.

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:58 PM

I think I was clear about not doing this as a restriction diet, but as a learning experience :) I know you’re an RD, but I am studying nutrition as well and have been for the past 4 years and know a lot, too. Thanks for your concern, but there is no reason to be.

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Sue February 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM

But it IS a restrictive diet. Did you discuss ths with your doctor?

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Yes, my Dr. does know and all is good :) Thanks for your concern.

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Kristen February 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM

You’re gonna do so great!! I’ve done 2 Whole 30′s myself, they are completely life changing! I think it’s so great to know what works for YOUR body, and this is such a great tool to find that out. Best of luck to you, but I know you won’t need it! :)

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Thanks Kristen :) I’ve been just eating normally, really :) The major change was my pwo shake!

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Amanda February 3, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Good luck with the Whole30. I have considered trying it, but the thing that makes me hesitant is that I figure if I eliminate any food for 30 days and then re-introduce it, I figure it would probably cause a few issues anyway. I’m interested to hear what kind of digestive issues you are experiencing, as I have a lot of issues, too, but I don’t want to assume yours are the same as mine…

It might be interesting to make a list of symptoms/frequency and post it now and then do the same thing in 30 days and see if the frequency has changed at all or if there are other symptoms. Sometimes, I find that writing it down shows the reality of the changes when I can’t look at a situation objectively.

Again, good luck and I hope you don’t discover you have to eliminate too many foods because meat is expensive!!!

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Meg February 3, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Thanks for your kind words, Amanda! I will be writing a post about my digestive issues soon! And I agree – writing down symptoms (creating a food journal) definitely helps figure things out!

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Amanda February 3, 2014 at 9:01 PM

Sorry – also meant to ask if you could do a post on how the book “aligns with [your] beliefs when it comes to food, eating, and living!”

I’ve never seen the book before – is it just a book about the food plan or exercise and physical activity, too?

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:24 PM

I’ll just answer that question here instead of a whole post ;)

What I meant by that is I also believe that we should eat whole unprocessed foods, which is what they concentrate on. Also, eating foods that better your health. So, removing something from your diet if it wasn’t good for your health is also something I believe in, too. I hope this answers your question :)

Also, it’s just a book about food, really. No exercise plan.

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Hannah R. February 3, 2014 at 9:38 PM

I hope doing whole30 helps with your digestive problems. I’ve dealt with my own problems and it was no fun! Looking forward to hearing about your progress.

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Thanks Hannah! Miss you

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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome February 3, 2014 at 9:39 PM

I did the Whole30 back in October and absolutely loved it! I felt amazing after finishing and definitely healed my gut! I will say that it did take a little longer than the 30 days for my digestive system to be completely healed but after about 40-45 days I felt like I had a new digestive tract! That was even with me adding back in alcohol from time to time :-) Now after the Holiday’s I’m beginning to feel sluggish and off track so I”m thinking I’ll do another round soon. That or the 21 day sugar detox. Good luck! You’ll love it!

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:26 PM

I loved hearing about your journey! So happy it was all positives for you <3 YAY!

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Court February 3, 2014 at 10:28 PM

After reading your blog for a while, as well as comments by readers and replies by you, I can only say that you appear to only value the readers who praise you. As someone also in a great place in recovery, I know that any “diets” recommending removing food groups are dangerous and would not be recommended by a dietician or doctor, unless the person has health exceptions. There is no need to do so and it is all a fad that will wash away eventually! I am a physiology and neuroscience major so I do know much about the body, the brain, and the nutrients we need/get from out food. I am not offended by what you write on your blog because it often comes across as fabricated. I really do think you’re a great person with a big heart, and I think you need to re-consider what you choose to post on your blog as “healthy”. You’re giving into the fads, media, and miracle cures that contribute to all the eating disorders in the first place. Moderation truly is key to health.

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Well, due to the digestive issues I was suffering, I believe (and know) that this is totally fine for me to be doing. I’m sorry you feel as though I “only value” the comments that praise me because that’s not true. I read all of the comments and try to reply to them all.
I know you think that I am doing this because of a “fad” however, I am not. But thanks for your input :) I am doing it to improve and solve my health issues.

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Stephanie February 3, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Hi Meg, I started my Whole30 journey on the 1st too for the same reasons you did. Can’t wait to see how you do. Loving your blog, by the way. I met you at Blend back in May but never really checked out your site before. Best of luck on Whole30!

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Ahhhhhh so great to hear from you, Stephanie! I hope we can stay in touch better xo

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:31 PM

and good luck with your Whole 30 <3

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Megan @ The Skinny-Life February 4, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I have done a version of this for the last 2 years. I eat very little dairy – I can’t give up my egg whites for breakfast and I love beans too much! But I do limit the amount wheat, pasta, breads & chesse in my diet. I have found I am less bloated overtime. I am anemic though & take iron supplements daily so it’s difficult to say if some of my digestive problems are a result of the iron or diet.

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Thanks for sharing, Megan! I always love learning about what works for others! :) I’m not sure what would cause your digestive problems.

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D February 4, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Can you elaborate on the phrase “heal my digestion” and “improve my digestion”. What is wrong with your digestion? Are you suffering from IBS or heartburn, colitis? I’m curious to know because you seem to enjoy the foods you currently eat.

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

I will be touching on that tomorrow.

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Jody - Fit at 56 February 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM

I have not done this or any of the others out there – I just work to find what is right for me & based on what I can live with long term … BUT it is all about that – finding what works for you! Can’t wait to read how this works for you!

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 7:19 PM

the post about what works for me is coming at ya tomorrow ;)

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purelytwins February 4, 2014 at 9:52 PM

Meg you are doing the right thing! Taking the time to figure what your body likes is so important! Plus the whole 30 is something we have looked into, but just cannot seem to fully dive it haha, look forward in seeing how you do! Maybe you will help kick our butts into gear.

wishing you all the best with this! Don’t listen to anyone..only you!!! Only YOU know your body and what is best for it. We all come from different backgrounds, so hopefully everyone…together, can learn and grow and find a true happy balance! because every deserves to feel good with the food they eat

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Meg February 4, 2014 at 10:10 PM

thanks girls! my sisters always make me feel so good :) thank you. i know, i remind myself every day that only I know what’s best and I can’t let other people’s comments affect me. I know what makes me feel good and function best, so I’m sticking to it! I think you both will really enjoy tomorrow’s post. I’m thinking about you while writing these posts about digestion and stuff. You two are so open and honest about digestion and inspiring me to be too

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Patricia February 5, 2014 at 4:21 AM

Just wondering… if it is all about “what works for you” — what is the purpose of keeping a public blog about it? It just seems incongruous to be writing this nutrition-exercise-advice blog and yet saying “I’m doing what works FOR ME.”

Second question. Hypothetically speaking, once you are actually a nutritionist and have your own practice – or whatever your plans are – would you recommend this program to a recovering anorexic? Again, I find it a bit strange that you don’t seem to even acknowledge the red flags that go up for the rest of us.

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Meg February 5, 2014 at 7:09 AM

Hi Patricia :)

From what I know, a lot of bloggers out there share what works for them because it might help others discover what works for them, as well. I am just sharing my story and it’s peoples choice to read what I have to say or not :)

Also, I’m sorry if you find this triggering. I am fully recovered not “recovering”, so there is a difference between that. Of course I wouldn’t recommend an elimination protocol like Whole 30 to a client with a disordered relationship with food. Like I have said many times before, I am no longer anorexic or experiencing disordered eating. I was experiencing digestive issues and I needed to eliminate some things out of my diet in order to save my health. I hope you understand :)

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Cheryl Madliger February 5, 2014 at 10:35 PM

While I’m hesitant to cut out food groups or to give my diet a name (the Whole 30 is “paleo” and “paleo” is unfortunately dogmatic), I did think that the Whole 30 did a good job of suggesting that you approach your health in a way where you just make decisions on whether or not eating something will move you towards health or further away from it. That being said, for me, health is bigger than nutrition. While I don’t consider myself “disordered” any more in the same way that I used to be, I know that when I’ve dabbled in cutting out grains, I’ve unconsciousnly reintroduced the good/bad binary with a new label–so I try to be extra careful on what I think is a very slippery slope. My lesson?In some cases, eating a good old fashioned cookie is still the healthy choice for me–lectins or not.

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Meg February 6, 2014 at 6:52 AM

I know what you are meaning by unconsciously reintroducing good/bad foods by doing something such as this; however, I’m not feeling that way at all and will definitely reintroduce those foods at the end of my healing journey to see if I can tolerate them. As I say in today’s post – it’s a healing journey for me. Not an excuse to restrict :) It’s all about my health and I want to improve it and from years and years of battling I know that restriction in an unhealthy manner does not lead to health. I’m just glad I’m in a better place now and am doing this all for good health.

Congrats to you for being so successful, too, my dear :)

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Tara | Treble in the Kitchen February 6, 2014 at 4:38 AM

Hey Meg! After just experiencing and completing my Whole 30 (I’m in the reintegration process now!) I am so excited for you to start too!! I just read your post about your “regularity” issues, and I was finding myself in the same boat. That was a HUGE reason as to why I decided to follow the Whole 30 program. I have definitely seen the benefits, I love this way of eating and I love the whole “experiment” to learn what foods work for me. It’s pretty amazing :) Good luck with the process! Can’t wait to read more!

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Meg February 6, 2014 at 6:53 AM

Thanks for the support, sweetie! I’m interested to hear what you can/cannot tolerate :) <3 Congrats on completing whole 30

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Tricia @ Balance In Progress February 10, 2014 at 11:57 PM

I am actually reading It Starts With Food right now. I have been toying around with the idea of doing a whole 30, but haven’t made the jump yet. I’m interested to read about how your experience goes.

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