Whole30 Experience: My Dad’s Incredible Story – read a detailed account of my Dad’s Whole30 story and how it literally changed his life!
So excited to share my Dad’s Whole30 experience with you guys!
Whole30 Experience: My Dad’s Incredible Story
Okay guys, go grab your coffee and hang out with me for a second. Today I get to share with you my Dad’s Whole30 experience and journey – it is pretty remarkable. But I first want to say how cool it is that he is wiling to share his story – I really think it could inspire a lot of people and I am so proud of him for being so open about his experience with all of you guys.
(This is my Dad’s own personal experience; check with your own doctor before starting Whole30, particularly if you have health issues such as diabetes)
A little background. For those of you who don’t know, I did my first round of Whole30 in May of 2017 because I had on-going issues with acid reflux and other gut issues. In an effort to try and stop taking prescription medicine, I somewhat randomly, decided to try this “diet” called Whole30. My mom and I went through that first round together and it completely changed the way I looked at food, my standards for the food that I put in my body and my health. You can read more about my first round here. Ultimately, I now eat Whole30 around 80% of the time and so does my family.
Now, a little background on my Dad.
The facts: My Dad is 65 years young and has type 2 diabetes. He also has CAD (coronary artery disease). He had a triple bypass approximately 4 years ago. Before Whole30 he was taking blood sugar regulating medication 4 times a day. He had a sore on is foot that wouldn’t heal. His optic nerve was degenerating. He would frequently take naps (as in every day).
Prior to his Whole30 experience his typical diet would consist of the following:
Breakfast: 2-3 cups of coffee with sugar and half-and-half along with toast and peanut butter.
Lunch: turkey sandwich or a Caesar salad
Dinner: pasta and a protein
Snack before bed: cheese and crackers
His thoughts and perception of Whole30 prior to January 1, 2018:
He thought it was a diet. He says he misunderstood what it was all about. I vividly remember sitting on my deck with him last summer. My husband was doing his first round and I joined in so we could do it together. My Dad was grilling us about this “diet” we were on and why were eliminating things like whole grain bread from our diets…. fast forward to December of 2017 and I already knew I was going to be doing my 3rd round of Whole30 in January. My mom was doing it with me and she wanted my step-dad to join in and do it with her. My brother was going to do it for the first time and my husband was doing his second round. My brother and I talked and we said, “Man, I think this would be really great for Dad to try …. and if we are all doing it together, I think it would make it that much easier for all of us.” We conspired and I got him the Whole30 book for Christmas and my brother got him an immersion blender (a must-have for any Whole30’er!). I asked him if he would do Whole30 with me in January – and he somewhat non-commitedly said Yes.
Well, the day after Christmas, I literally sat down with him on the couch and read through the first few chapters of the Whole30 book to him. I think that is when it started to click a little bit that this is not some 30 day diet. It starts off as a massive experiment and, as he admits, that got the engineer in him intrigued (he is a retired chemical engineer). So I felt a little more confident in his commitment to the process when we headed back home, plus my step-mom was now on-board as well, so they could do it together.
His Whole30 Experience:
Days 1 and 2: He said that days 1 and 2 he didn’t have a lot of energy, but that he honestly has felt amazing ever since day 3 (note: this is somewhat odd as most people do not feel great the first week or two). I actually have a text from him on Day 3 (we had running text chain between all of us to touch base everyday with questions/comments/recipes/etc) that says “Blood sugar 120 mg/dl one hour after eating a large meal. Typically, before W30, my blood sugar would spike up to 160 after a large meal.” He later that day he wrote “so far, W30 is better than any medication I have taken for blood sugar control.”
On day 4 he texted “Energy all day, blood sugar under 100 ml/dL (stable all day).”
Day 6 he texted: “Just woke up! Sleeping 8-9 hours each night, blood sugar range is 100 – 140, was 100-160. I have more energy and never seem to get really hungry. For the first time in 2 years I can take the bandage off my right toe.”
Day 11: “I find myself with more interest in things around me and energy to do things, like going fishing on a miserable (cold) day.” “Big benefits for me from W30 so far are, improved blood sugar and consistent energy levels.”
Day 19: W30 allowed me to discovery that I am allergic to almonds. Almonds were my snack tonight, after eating a handful I developed major nasal congestion, post nasal drip along with itchy eyes. Another discovery from my W30 reset.”
Day 28: “Day 28, the month has gone by very quickly for me. I continue to see so many healthy changes in my body and my life …. I will be continuing on with W30 after Tuesday. For how long, I do not know … Thank you Erin Lynn for helping me find a way to improve the quality of my life.”
So, he initially thought Whole30 was some sort of 30 day diet. I asked him what he would describe it as now – he says it is a way of optimizing what you take in to your body so your body is happy. It isn’t a diet so much as it is a tool that helps you learn what makes your body work the best. He says that the process has made him become much more aware of the food that he is putting into his body and how it affects how he feels. He is more in-tune with his body. He says that what he used to think was a normal way to feel, wasn’t actually normal at all. Compared to how good he feels now, it was anything but normal.
So how is he doing now?
List of his Whole30 Benefits:
Here is a list of the benefits he has seen:
- the blood sugar medication he was taking 4 times a day, he now only take 2 times a day; before bed and right away in the morning. His blood sugar levels are stable throughout the day with the change in diet and exercise. His blood sugar levels are predictable.
- his sleep is better – he is now sleeping 8 hours a night.
- his energy levels are consistent and steady. He switched his regular afternoon coffee to decaf because he doesn’t feel like he needs the energy boost.
- he is happier. The little things are less likely to get him down.
- his mind feels clearer. He is more alert.
- he lost 15 pounds
- he optic nerve has regenerated.
- his sore/ulcer on his foot that hasn’t been able to heal in 2 years, has healed. He will be able to go in the water and play with his grandchildren this summer.
- (he is going to the Dr. next week and we will know then if there have been changes in blood pressure and/or cholesterol)
He has only reintroduced one thing: dairy. A couple of days ago he put some cream in his coffee …. he fell asleep and took a 2 hour nap for the first time in forever. This is particularly interesting to me, because that is exactly what happens to me when I consume dairy (I am allergic to dairy and it makes me very, very sleep and lethargic). So, he may have had a diary and nut allergy his entire life and not even known it!
He says he doesn’t plan on going off Whole30 anytime soon. He is going to reintroduce food like beans at some point, but the elimination of the added sugars may be a permanent thing for him. He says he just really loves how he feels; he feels happy.
When I was sitting on that couch with him, reading the Whole30 book to him, I honestly didn’t know or anticipate that the process would have such a profound impact on him. I am SO proud of him for having such an open mind and for trusting me to help him through what he may have thought was some goofy 30 day fad diet. He is a shining example of the fact that what you put in your body MATTERS. And that every body is different! Every body needs something different.
He also said he feels a little bit like an addict – a recovering sugar addict. He was just reflecting on his coffee, how he used to be so excited about that morning cup of coffee. Was he honestly that excited about the coffee – the black coffee in that cup? No, he realizes now that he was honestly excited about that sugar spike. So he would sit and enjoy his coffee (with cream and sugar) and then he would always fall asleep on the couch immediately following his 2-3 cups of coffee (from the dairy that he now may have found he is allergic to). It is kind of all making sense to him – how he was feeling.
You guys, I can’t say enough how proud of him I am. He really committed to these 30 days and the results have been life-altering …. literally. You are absolutely amazing and I love you, Dad!!! You have done an amazing job taking control of your health, embracing the process and really learning about what works for you. You have one proud daughter.
Each and every one of my family members saw incredible results, although none quite as dramatic as my Dad. I am seriously proud of all of them!
If you are interested in trying out Whole30 I would start with this post on What is Whole30 and then head over to Your Whole30 Journey: Where to Begin. Of course I have a TON of Whole30 recipes and resources for you as well as ton of REAL FOOD recipes for your life after Whole30!