My name is Shaina. I am many things: a wife, daughter, dog-mom, and business owner. I also have three autoimmune diseases … Lupus (SLE with skin involvement), Addison’s Disease, and Hidradenitis Suppurativa. I take steroids every day of my life; insulin because of the steroids; Humira, and Rasuvo (methotrexate); as well as a gamut of other medications and vitamins, and supplements.
Before Whole30, I thought was eating pretty healthy. Mostly organic, very little processed foods, no traditional “sweets,” and compared to most of the population I suppose I was. I also knew there was a lot of room to change my habits, eating and otherwise.
I found Debbie Marlowe, my Whole30 coach, through a connection at my husband's CrossFit Box. I was looking into Keto, Paleo, even the AIP. Her expertise in all things Whole30 proved to be a value beyond money and words. She was able to guide me to the right plan, which ended up being the Whole30 program with an additional no tomato or white potato protocol.
Before Whole30, my week followed a typical routine. On Monday, I’d take my injections. They would make me sick, which meant I’d run to the bathroom with diarrhea, sometimes vomiting, and then spend the night bundled in a blanket alternating between sweating and shivering, basically feeling like the flu had taken over my body for the remainder of Monday evening and usually a large part of Tuesday.
I’d “recover” at some point on Tuesday evening or Wednesday, and enjoy my "good-ish" days until the following Monday. I accepted this quality of life, because believe it or not, it was a huge improvement to how I felt before starting the injections. Deep down though, I knew I deserved a better quality of life. As my Rheumatologist always says, the goal is to THRIVE, not just survive.
By the way, my Rheumatologist was 100% on board with my plan to do a Whole30. She was very supportive, and she actually hugged me when I asked her about it.
My Whole30 started on a Monday. I took my Rasuvo at lunch and my Humira at dinner as I normally do. As I sat in my recliner that night watching TV with my family I realized that I was not feeling sick. No trips to the bathroom, no blanket, not even a drop of sweat.
The next morning? I felt a bit tired, but no headache, no total body fatigue, and still no running to the bathroom. Not even a flutter of nausea. That first Monday, I thought it must be a fluke. I have since have completed my Whole30, which means FOUR Mondays passed. In those 30 days I did not vomit a single time, not on a Monday or any other day.
In fact, on the last Monday of my Whole30, I took an afternoon trip to visit my grandfather, had a small business meeting, came home, made dinner, worked, and then watched TV and read. To most people that would seem pretty normal, but in my life it is nothing short of a miracle. Only it isn’t a miracle, it is my body’s response to Whole30.
I am not cured. There is no cure for any of my diagnoses. These diseases have cost me a lot… almost my life on two occasions and my quality of life for close to five years. But I can honestly say, this is the best I have felt in a long time. I still nap. I still “count my spoons” (for more on this metaphor, click here). I meal prep a little differently than the average Whole30er because I know I have limitations. But, I make it work and it works for me.
Compared to where I was a month ago, I am a new person, a changed person. I am a human instead of just the shell of one. People I barely know have seen me and commented how I must be feeling better because I look so good. And they are right, I do look good, but more importantly I FEEL good.
I did something perfectly healthy people sometimes fail to do. And in doing so, took a huge step to taking more control of my health. I learned to cook new foods, revamp some of my old ones, and even got to keep quite a few of my regulars. With an amazing support system and coach, I aced the Whole30 and I cannot wait to do it again.
Shaina worked with Coach Debbie Marlowe during her Whole30. Our Coaches are Whole30 experts; they work with Whole30'ers on skills like meal prep and planning; they offer motivation and support; and they can advise you on how to succeed during your Whole30. Click here to learn more about hiring a Whole30 Coach.
Debbie is hilarious and provides a huge base of support. She wants to see everyone succeed and goes above and beyond to check in with you and make sure you are on track, answer questions, and give you a good chuckle. I just loved the interaction with the group, hearing other peoples struggles and victories, and sharing recipes, cooking ideas, and pictures.
Just knowing that Debbie was here for me as a knowledgeable resource and support system truly kept me on track and feeling as if I was not alone. She was a constant and reliable check and balance for any “Should I be feeling this way” and “Should this be happening” questions. Debbie was encouraging, knowledgeable and supportive. She was always responsive and available to answer questions while providing motivation and inspiration. Plus, her adorable personality was a boo-boo blanket :-). Debbie also provided great supplemental content that I very much enjoyed. Some Non-Scale Victories include clear skin and looser clothes; stopping my night time junk eating; incorporating greens and good fats into my diet; learning that eating clean met on a regular basis is actually healthy and nutrient dense.
I’ve always thought of myself as a “sugar addict”, so to be able to make a pan of brownies for a bake sale and not even be tempted is shocking! I just don’t crave sweets at all anymore. I honestly never thought that would happen. Debbie’s group had absolutely everything to do with my being successful on this W30. After 2 failed attempts, this group and the coaching made all the difference! Knowing Debbie was there to answer questions, guide, teach (and sometimes threaten with her flying monkeys when necessary) made all the difference. Having that email to read every morning helped me get in the right mindset every day and lead me to success. I honestly have no idea how I stumbled upon this group but I am so very very glad I did. It has truly changed my life!
I have completed a few Whole30 events in the past; some successful all the way through re-introduction. I find myself falling out of healthy habits and my body ‘talking back’ to me AGAIN. I hopped on Debbie’s coaching site and immediately gained inspiration for success. Her encouragement and direction to GET READY for Whole30 is SPOT ON! The resources Debbie provides are instrumental for planning and preparing for a successful Whole30, re-introduction and FOOD FREEDOM. She shares her own experiences and challenges openly, helping me be more mindful of the situations and circumstances that continue to challenge me in everyday health and food choices. I set goals each week and have been able to develop sustainable habits that continue; eating breakfast before leaving home, trying new compliant recipes, planning self-care activities and increasing my physical activity. Debbie’s daily emails are the perfect reassurance during the lulls and encourage thought-provoking alternatives for any struggle I experience. Debbie ‘keeps it real’ with a positive focus, straightforwardness and light-hearted humor. She reinforces the value of the choices I make in everyday life is about what works for me. My determination for Food Freedom Forever remains forefront and strong with Debbie’s knowledgeable guidance.
Debbie was a wonderful leader / cheerleader! I don’t think I could of done the program without her. Her daily emails and plans were right on point every day for me. Debbie was available whenever I had questions while shopping or when I needed to be talked off a ledge when I was really struggling some days. I learned a lot about myself and food and worth the 30-day commit. I don’t think I could have completed the Whole 30 without Debbie and the group. Debbie was an awesome coach she was straightforward no sugar coating with how we were going to be feeling and boy, she nailed it every time. Debbie was always available for questions and checked every day which was great.