Why I Decided to Do Whole30

5 min

The Paleo Penguin

When it comes to food, I have tried a lot of different things over the years in order to heal my body and feel better, but the one thing I haven’t tried was Whole30.

As a child, I never went to the doctor and rarely got sick. I didn’t start having health issues until my mid twenties, which I partially relate to having my tonsils removed as an adult. When I say “health issues,” this means chronic sinus infections that lasted up to twelve weeks. I remember back in 2009 I was put on antibiotics like eight times before I decided I had to do something.

I have seen naturopaths and a Chinese Herbalist. I have done a restricted diet of only rice, veggies, eggs and chicken for four months to taking daily shots of raw onions fermented in red wine. I also tried Candida cleanses and Wild Rose Cleanses.

The Turning Point

Most people indulge a little over the Christmas holidays and I did too this year, just not as much as I normally would. A little too much wine, candy and treats are what holidays are about, right? Apparently, my body wasn’t feeling the holiday spirit and didn’t like what I ate on Christmas day.

I tried a new recipe and made a chocolate cheesecake with a rice crispy square crust. It was amazing! Surprisingly, I didn’t take a photo of it. It was chalked full of cream cheese, butter, and whipped cream

Normally my body doesn’t handle dairy well as I am allergic to it and whey. Sometimes I get a sore stomach or a stuffy nose, but that is usually it. Anyway, I had a tiny piece of the masterpiece that I had made. A few hours later, I spent the night vomiting.

I felt like crap for the next five days and my stomach was so sore. This meant no drinking for my week off work and no other treats either. I still wasn’t right by New Year’s Eve and didn’t drink anything.

Normally, I am not much of a drinker and go months without one, but I was looking forward to having a few during the holiday season. I still have all the booze in my cupboard, untouched.

When you have an allergic reaction of throwing up, it is pretty severe as your immune system can’t even handle digesting what you ate. This has only happened a few times over the years.

The last time was after my birthday dinner at my mum’s house last year. She put in great effort to making a dinner that was dairy free and gluten free, but I still had problems. No one else got sick, so it was just my body giving me the middle finger.

My Symptoms

I frequently have tummy issues with gluten and wheat as well. It’s interesting how the body reacts to certain foods. I also was having heart burn each night, which was affecting my sleep. Some days my stomach would be nauseous or cramping. Other days I could be running to the bathroom. I have nose issues and have taken a steroid spray for almost four years. Lots of inflammation and stomach bloating, depending on the food. I can gain up to six pounds over night if I eat something that doesn’t like me. I should also add that losing weight has always been difficult too. Sometimes I had migrains that I always related to being hungry.

My Food Allergies

My really bad food allergies are eggs, all beans except chick peas, and most nuts (except walnuts, Brazil nuts and macadamias). When I have any food with even a hint of these, I have an anaphylactic reaction where my face goes red, eyes goes glassy and I actually pass out within about five minutes.

You might think it’s not that bad, but when you are out at a restaurant, it’s embarrassing and the only thing I can do is go home and sleep it off. My body just shuts down and sleep for about three hours. I always wake up totally hung over too.

Another issue I had happen once, was I ate something and drove home. It hit me within ten minutes and I found myself falling asleep at the wheel. That was pretty scary. I had to roll down the windows and turn up the radio. It was a total struggle to drive the remaining half hour till I got home and I debated pulling over to have a nap somewhere.

If you break down all the foods that I am supposed to eat, we are left with meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, rice, oats and quinoa. I know, that leaves a lot of stuff out that normal people eat.

What Your Diet Will Look Like on Whole30

What you can’t eat on Whole30:

Do not consume added sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, baked goods, junk foods or anything with non compliant ingredients. .

This is what appealed to me when I heard about Whole30. Their plan was eating what I “should” eat, minus the carbs and sugars. If you haven’t heard of it, the Whole30 site explains the program as the following:

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition, like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, or chronic pain, that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms are often directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food.

I did my research and saw only positive feedback and success stories. The more stories I read from other people, the more I wondered if gluten and dairy were affecting me more than I realized. Normally I would sneak a little of either or both and only have minor side effects.

The one comparison I had, was back when I took my IgE blood tests and found out I was very allergic to eggs, beans and nuts, I felt so much better when I cut them all out of my diet. For those that don’t know what IgE means:

A total IgE level indicates the level of all types of immunoglobulin E in the body. A specific IgE level shows the amount of immunoglobulin E that is specific for a particular allergen. An elevated level of total IgE suggests that the person is allergic to one or more substances. The total IgE level of a person who is allergic to a single substance will be much less than that of a person who is allergic to multiple allergens.

I didn’t have much to lose and figured I would give it a go. Many people reported losing weight on the program as well, which is a bonus if I did. I did more research and on January 3, 2019, I started Whole30!

Stay tuned for my results!


  1. have seen naturopaths and a Chinese Herbalist: Erin Chapman, “A Drink of Blood A Day, Keeps the Doctor Away,” Vamped, February 10, 2016, accessed February 14, 2019, https://vamped.org/2016/02/10/drink-blood-day-keeps-doctor-away-sanguinarians-digestive-issues/.

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Erin Chapman

Erin is the owner and creator of The Paleo Penguin. She has multiple food allergies and cannot eat eggs, beans, most nuts, dairy, wheat or gluten. If you are looking for recipes with those ingredients, keep scrolling as you won't find it here.