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What Happens When a Skeptic Goes Paleo for 30 Days?

by Kevin B on September 23, 2011 · 7 comments

in Food, Paleo, Whole30

Article Mission:  Trial whole 30 and discuss your experience.

Article Author:  Suz’s housemate (Kevin Bees).

 

Male, 31, and a ‘Whole 30’ / Paleo sceptic for the following reasons:

  • No carbs?  Are you crazy?  I have lived my whole life on carbs – I am always healthy (I refuse to do ‘sick’) and amongst a hectic work life, I find all the energy I need to rock climb, play football (soccer) and run challenging marathons.  I have a marathon to run in week 3 of starting this trial… and a marathon without carbs to burn concerns me greatly.
  • Weight loss – many people find Paleo is fantastic to assist with weight loss.  I am already slight – I do not want to lose weight.
  • What?  Tea without milk??  You are having a laugh!
  • No chocolate for 30 days???  Shudder the thought.

That all sounds a bit hard.  So, why even bother with the whole30 trial at all?

Entree

1.       Support my housemate and best good friend Suz in her weight loss and lifestyle improvement goal.  If I was so passionate about something like this, I would want the person I shared a refrigerator and mealtimes with to be on board.

2.       Understand if the claims of additional energy are true.  (Who wants to feel sleepy after lunch when they have work to do!?)

3.       Cancer.   Understand more about what we put into our bodies in the SAD diet.  Has this been the cause of cancer in two of my friends?  Could leading a Paleo lifestyle reduce the risks of this?

These reasons alone were enough to get me started, and to tuck into the Main Course of 30 days trial, but did I like what I found as the main course was delivered?

Main Course

Like all good dishes, there are a range of ingredients that have made up my experience over the 30 days and we experience those dishes with all our senses…

What did I See over the 30 days?

Trying on the new lifestyle for 30 days was like putting on a new pair of glasses.  At first things didn’t quite focus and before long, my eyes adjusted and I started seeing things I hadn’t before:

  • Nasty ingredients.  What actually are these chemicals I have been putting into my body? It’s the only body I’ll ever own and I like to think of my body as a Ferrari.  And if it was a Ferrari, fueling it with chemical waste rather than top grade petrol would cause a break down, right?  (OK, ok, I am probably more of a mini cooper than a Ferrari – but you get the gist, right?)  The realisation that even MILK might not be as good for me as I previously thought is shocking news to me.  How can I have gone 31 years without this knowledge?
  • More variety in my food.   Usually a ‘diet’ restricts choice.  I have found the opposite here.  My new lenses have actually allowed me to see things on the menu that I would have previously filtered out.  And, at home, rather than cooking up the same old, I have found new recipes that taste so great.  The coconut crusted chicken on a bed of curry flavoured veg was a treat.  Yummy.  And NoOatmeal beats milk saturated cornflakes hands down.
  • My abs.  Welcome back – it’s great to see you again!  I thought my good friends deserted me half a lifetime ago when I stopped doing sit ups at age 16.  Now my tort buddies are back in town, I want them to hang out for longer, so I’ll be doing all I can to keep them happy.
  • The sun rising.  My sleep pattern means I mostly awake naturally before the alarm clock.  A much more natural and enjoyable way to live.
  • The Bathroom and not in a good way.  I saw too much of this place in the first two weeks.  As my body adjusted to the new fuel routine… it decided it would have a bit of a clear out.  Everything is back to normal now though.  Thanks for your concern.

What did I feel over the 30 day?

Ignoring the blip just mentioned… actually very good… especially when doing exercise.

Rock Climbing -  I have felt stronger and been able to last longer on tougher walls, much to the dismay of my competitive climbing partner.

Running – endurance and recovery has meant that I could do more training in a shorter space of time.  In fact, I went out for a 30KM training run… and I felt so good I kept going and I accidentally ran 42km. (A big bonus since I had to give up at 22km two weeks earlier when I was on non Paleo fuel source).

I feel confident for the Marathon coming up now, which I was not at the start of the 30 days.

More importantly, there were some things I didn’t feel over the 30 days:

1.       Carb-flu.  Is this a myth?  As a carb-junkie and cutting out most carbs (something I term ‘going carb-turkey’), I should have suffered this, right?  Something I clearly sidestepped by refusing to believe it was true.

2.       Insulin Spike.  So many times before, I became sleepy after lunch, due to the insulin spike caused when my body was digesting the carbs I had eaten.  I have not felt this in the whole 30 days.  Imagine my productivity improvement.

What did I hear over the 30 days?

I listened to an aunt trying to ‘treat’ the nephews or nieces … she offers them crisps or fizzy pop.

Previously I would heard the aunty being kind to her little loved ones, although, what I heard was – ‘anyone for a dose of chemicals that your body is not designed to handle?’  Chemicals of course that will build in faults to their Ferrari before it even leaves the assembly line?

What did I smell?

The winds of change, maybe??  Let’s have a dessert and find out.

 30 Day summary – The dessert

So, it’s been an interesting entrée and main course… will I continue to a Paleo Dessert now the 30 days are up?  Or tuck into the chocolate I have been so missing – and wash it down with a warm cup of milky tea?  And I have missed chocolate badly.  (It has been a daily habit forever).

Even still, that choice is too easy.

The sceptic has been converted and as I type these last words, I am tucking into some home-made Paleo ice cream (made with coconut milk and plenty of fruity goodness).  Thanks SUZ!

Rather than asking myself now if I will continue with Paleo, I am actually asking why would I ever go back to the SAD lifestyle?

Seriously, why would I give up the improved productivity, improved sleep pattern, increased strength and stamina?  Oh, and the Abs.  Don’t forget the abs.

It’s been a life changing 30 days for me.    And I wonder where another 30 days will take me?

And what will a 30 day trial do for you, I wonder?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Gaby September 23, 2011 at 9:10 am

Great post, very inspiring! Good luck with the marathon!

Reply

julianne September 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Great results and write up!
Julianne (NZ)

Reply

Suz September 25, 2011 at 1:19 am

Thanks Julianne! I wish everyone would try it for 30 days before commenting on how strange it is not to eat “staples” like bread.

Kev’s going to be posting about his performance in the (Paleo) marathon soon!

Reply

Kevin B September 25, 2011 at 2:01 am

Thank you Gaby, the marathon went very well (Paleo made a HUGE difference) – and I think Suz is going to let me write another guest post soon.

Julianne (NZ), thank you, that’s a real compliment coming from you :0)

Reply

julianne September 25, 2011 at 8:27 am

Hi Kevin – not everyone gets carb flu or as I’d rather call it – transition symptoms. About 30% or so.

Can you do a write up about how you eat now around training and the actual marathon? Like what you eat before and after training, how low in carbs did you go, what replaced the carbs for fuel, what did you fuel on during the marathon etc. Do you take any supplements?
I ask because I work with some endurance athletes and any personal tips and experiences from others are really useful.

Reply

Kevin B September 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Hi Julianne – that is an important distinction that I have not picked up from my reading… I guess you hear more from the people who do get transitional symptoms than those who don’t (and that of course would put a lot of people off of the Whole30 trial).

I wonder if we can model those who don’t get the symptoms and use the knowledge to get the remaining people to below 30% too?

I am writing my marathon update now and I will publish this today. At that point I will be very keen to discuss with you further. Of course I am still experimenting and would love to share some learning together on this.

I have goals I am stretching for now that I didn’t think possible before,
so every additional benefit from diet/fuel will help massively.

Reply

Amy S May 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Very inspiring – but PLEASE edit “desert” to “dessert”!

Reply

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