• Cassie Sheffey

Life After Whole 30

Good morning all! I hope that daylight savings time is treating each of you well. Last week we discussed starting your journey into health and wellness. I recommended using Whole 30 as the stepping stone to initiate that change because you can develop your own healthy way of life following the completion of the program. To recap, the Whole 30 program is a 30 day diet experiment where you eliminate gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, non-gluten grains, legumes. After 30 days, you add back the foods one at a time and record whether you have an intolerance or allergy to one of the inflammatory food groups. Most people get defensive when they see the list of what they can't have. Instead look at this as only 30 days of eating real foods, that aren't heavily processed incorporating meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. No weighing on the scale. No calorie counting. No dividing foods into macros. A typical menu for me looks like this:

Eggs and compliant bacon for breakfast, cup of bullet proof coffee with nutpods creamer. Caesar Salad with grilled chicken for lunch, cup of almonds and blackberries.

Sirloin steak with grilled asparagus and brussel sprouts for dinner with a baked potato.

What I have left over, I take for lunch the next day. It is a hard 30 days because you are breaking years of bad habits and eliminating sugar from your diet. My Whole 30 group at Legacy Church is anywhere between day 4 and day 16 in on their journey and some are feeling the sugar flu and some are hitting the Tiger Blood portion where they have finally detoxed the sugar from their body and they are burning fat for fuel.

Now, lets fast forward to the end of the 30 days. On day 31 we add back legumes and peanuts (not a nut, really a legume). We eat those incorporated with each meal for one day. Then we go back to eating whole 30 meals for 2 days and document our symptoms if we have any. Next we add back non-gluten grains and corn on day 34. We incorporate some of the food groups with each meal. We go back to eating whole 30 for 2 days and document our findings. We repeat this with Dairy, Gluten, Sugar, and then Alcohol. While the 30 days are hard, I find that once you have made it the 30 days, you

A. are scared to add something back because you feel so amazing. Do it.. that's why we did the experiment. At some point in time you will want to have a piece of your Grandmas cake and how will you know if the gluten made you sick, the dairy made your face break out, or the sugar gave you a headache.

B. you want to eat all the things.. at one time. You want pizza with a milk shake, hamburger, and cheese fries, all for breakfast. Don't do it! You just completed 30 days of tough love on yourself. If you blow it now, those 30 days were technically for nothing.

I would like to make a comparison to health care with the Whole 30. For those of you who are in or have been through medical school, nursing school, ect.. you know that when discussing plans of care whether it be admission to the hospital or even treating a simple UTI, you have the initiation, what happens in the middle, and the end goal. To get to the end goal, you have to start the program. To get to the end goal, you have to do the middle part. The end goal is only as good as how you do the middle part and the start of the program. You need to be thinking about the end result when you start your journey. Visualize your end goal and work towards.

Moving forward, lets talk about what to do after you finish the Whole 30. Each person will have their own personal diet once they complete it. You will know what foods are worth it and what is not worth it. Most people find themselves not tolerating dairy and gluten. This long term lifestyle if you are not tolerating dairy and gluten is Paleo, which is what I pretty much follow in my food freedom. Paleo may not work for everyone. My husband, Brad, tolerates dairy fine so he still eats dairy. Lets review Paleo more in depth.

The Paleolithic Diet, also known as the "cave man diet" is what experts hypothesize how our ancestors ate. In the Paleolithic time period, man were hunters and gatherers. Foods that were gathered/harvested were meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds, no dairy, grains, or refined sugars. Another big concept with Paleo is that they are not heavily processed foods and the food is typically eco-friendly in that it is sourced from organic and sustained farming practices. In modern times, we typically do not have to hunt and gather our foods. We have grocery stores on every corner that offer foods that fall into the Paleo category. However, this health and wellness journey is about lifestyle changes. One of the biggest lifestyle changes my husband and I had to make with Paleo is sourcing food that was sustainable and not heavily processed. This is easier in small towns versus big cities. We can buy our beef from local farmers that do not raise their cattle in feed lots where antibiotics are given prophylactically to prevent illness as well as given growth hormones to get bigger animals. We are what we eat and we are what our food eats.. just remember that. Vegetable and fruit sourcing from the local farmers market promotes small business owners but also cuts out the middle man in processing plants. Paleo is more than just the foods you can eat, its how they are "hunted and gathered" as well.

Benefits of Paleo include decrease in inflammatory processes because dairy and gluten both cause inflammatory responses in some people. You will know if they cause that for you in completing a Whole 30 program. People who suffer from celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, hashimoto thyroiditis, psoriasis, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases can see huge improvement in cutting out processed sugars, dairy, and gluten/grains. People with depression and anxiety which is also an inflammatory response, can also see huge improvement when eliminating those food groups. The crazy thing is what side effects are from Paleo? Think about the medications that are used to treat the afore mentioned disease processes. I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis and IBS. I know how those medications make me feel and I know that the list of side effects alone are longer than what they treat... so again I ask you, what is the side effects of Paleo? Why are we taking pills that are causing other symptoms when we may get the same result or even better from changing how we eat.

Sustainability. Just like any other "fad diet" there are people that will not be able to stick to this way of life because of sustainability and accountability. You may get tired of meat and vegetables. You may get tired of a bowl of fruit and nuts for dessert. Sometimes you just want an oreo blast from Sonic. If you have completed a whole 30 and you know what your body is, then you can make that decision, "is this food worth it?" You know how you will feel after you eat it and sometimes, especially oreo blasts for me, it is worth it to eat. As I said in another blog post, no food is bad, the foods are either worth it or not. You decide what you are able to eat and tolerate. That is the difference in a lifestyle change and "fad diet."

If you want more information on the Paleo diet, please visit

Next week, we are going to switch gears and talk about the greatest weight loss diet out there, Keto and intermittent fasting. It worked for me and was sustainable because I knew what foods worked for me and what didn't.

***Health Update. So last week I had posted about my giant goiter and having to go back on medicine along with seeing a specialist. As a health care provider, you know the disease process and how to treat it. As a Christian you need to give it to God and ask for healing. I will be completely honest, I tried to do it myself. I changed my lifestyle over 9 months ago. I saw improvement on paper and I was excited that "I, Cassie Sheffey, had treated and managed my Hashimoto's." The key word is managed. I didn't heal my symptoms. At one point, I did reverse thyroid labs on paper and was able to come off my medicine, but it was managed. So Wednesday night, October 30th, 2019, I was telling my Whole 30 group about it in our life group at Legacy Church. I do not like to share a lot about my personal struggles because I do not like sympathy. I was only trying to give encouragement about back slides and that there wasn't a straight arrow to our end goal but that the journey has its ups and downs. Being a health care provider and for those of you who do work in health care... rapid growth in anything but a newborn can mean the big C word, that nobody wants to discuss. Anyways, I digress, my group said, why don't we pray for healing. Well, why don't we... I believe in miracles and I believe in healing. However, I had the double mindset, that yes that can definitely happen, but does it really apply to me. I am a medical professional and how do I explain that scientifically. That was before that moment. God hit me "up side the head" with a ton of bricks. I had been trying to do this alone and hadn't given it up to God. Yes those lifestyle changes made a huge improvement, but I was trying to do it by myself and not relying on God and God's help. I strongly feel that healing from God can take any form whether it comes in layers or is instantaneously. Sometimes we have to take accountability for our actions before we can have our healing, which is what excuse I am currently using for why I didn't ask God for healing in the first place. So, my group along with the help of Pastor Brett, Mrs. Shirley, and Ms. Ginger prayed for me after our group. I didn't feel any different at the time, but I smiled and thanked them. I went and picked my kids up and headed home. By the time I got home I could swallow without gagging. This was huge as I hadn't been able to do this for some time now. I told my husband, who said, "well why are you surprised." Pastor Brett had given me some CDs and a book on healing, so I dove into the material. The next morning I woke up and still had no problems swallowing and my thyroid was now almost a normal size when palpated. PRAISE GOD! It has now been 6 days since that and I have problems swallowing and while my thyroid is still slightly enlarged, it is no longer the size of a grapefruit. I have an appointment with a specialist in January 2020 and I plan on keeping it, but at this point I feel like they are going to tell me keep up my lifestyle changes and follow up in a year. No "C" word will be mentioned. If know that some of you reading this are skeptical and I remember being there. You have to find your own relationship with the big man. It is a journey just like the nutrition changes we have discussed. Health and wellness is not only physical needs and exercises, it is spiritual as well. Feel free to leave any questions or comments. I am happy to answer them for you.***


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