Some people thought that I was crazy for wanting to do a round of Whole 30 with my 7 year old daughter. Heck, I even questioned it myself at first. But I can say with 100% confidence that it is one of the best things that I could have ever done for her. The improvement in her health, mood, and knowledge have been incredible.
The main reason we decided to take on this endeavor was to see if we could figure out what was causing her to have so many stomach issues. She had been struggling with severe gas and bloating along with stomach aches and head aches. This is not the first time that she has had gastrointestinal issues. A few years back, she was complaining of having to pee all the time and my first thought was a UTI (she had to have a surgery to correct one of her ureters and she had chronic UTI’s). Well when the urine tests came back negative, her doctor wanted to check her bowels. The results of the scan were awful, she was so blocked up with poop that the doctor wanted her on laxative for a year!!
We started her on the laxative only to experience her having intense mood swings that were scary for her and for us. We later found out about a law suit taking place against the company that made the laxative we were prescribed because of the side effects in young children. I felt pretty helpless, but we cleaned up her diet, pushed hydration and talked about her poop a lot lol. I thought we were in a good place, but she started showing a lot of the same symptoms. I had already done a Whole 30 myself and reaped the benefits, I knew she needed to do it too.
How We Prepared
- We talked with Abigails Dr ahead of time just so we would all be on the same page and to make sure that he didn’t have any concerns
- We had a very open and honest discussion with Abigail about what she could and could not have. We also made sure to answer her questions.
- We went grocery shopping, read labels and talked about different foods. We do not talk about food as a ‘bad’ or ‘good’ food. We talk about understanding that certain foods can effect our bodies in different ways.
- We talked to family, friends, teachers etc about what we were doing and gave them ways that they could help support her
I lost 9.5 lbs and felt so much more energy. I definitely struggled towards the end with being committed to all the rules (just being honest) but it was and always is a great re-set.
Ryan lost 8 lbs and also felt an increase in energy. He even cut way back on his coffee consumption!
Abby had the most incredible results. We did not weigh her, because I did not want her to ever think that it was about losing weight for her. She is 7 (not overweight at all) and we wanted it to only be about health.
- She stopped having extreme gas and bloating within the first week!
- She pooped regularly and without difficulty
- She stopped having nightmares and sleep walking. This one was an unexpected and wonderful benefit!!
- Her stomach aches and head aches stopped completely
- She had more energy, less mood swings and was just overall happier
What Happened When We Re-Introduced Foods?
Ryan and I have both done a round before, so we didn’t go through the re-introduction phase this time. We were very specific about doing it with Abby because that was the whole point. We wanted to gain the knowledge of what foods were causing her issues.
We followed the re-introduction protocol in It Starts With Food, we just sped it up a little bit because Thanksgiving was coming. I started off with dairy because I had a strong inclination that it might be one of the big culprits. It turns out that I was right. By the second day of introducing dairy, Abigail was having severe gas and even diarrhea. When we took it back out, the symptoms went away. After letting her eat some of her favorites over Thanksgiving, she struggled with her mood and sleep again.
With these discoveries, we will have to adapt and help Abby learn to make choices that help her body and not harm them. This is something that I am still learning myself, and I hope to help be a better example for her. Abigail was able to immediately feel the difference in how she felt, and she has already been making excellent decisions on her own. I love that she is proud of herself for accomplishing this and for continuing to make great choices. I plan to walk by her side as she learns what a healthy lifestyle looks like for her.
Some of the Difficulties we Experienced
- There aren’t many quick and filling breakfast options. My husband or myself made my kids a full breakfast every morning during this Whole 30 and that was not always easy. This mostly looked like hash browns, bacon or sausage, fruit and eggs
- I started night shifts and I am still learning what my eating schedule should look like
- During our round, we had School Parties, Halloween, Church Potlucks and more. These were difficult to navigate, but not impossible
- Changing up Abby’s school lunches wasn’t always easy, but I got creative. She loved these Turkey & Avocado Roll-Ups pictured below.
If you have thought about doing a Whole 30 with your kids, I really encourage you to go for it. It might take some extra effort but the benefits are amazing and it is a great way for you to encourage your children to make healthy choices.
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*Disclaimer – this is just a recount of our family’s personal experience and is not intended to be a diagnostic tool or prescription of any kind. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before you start any program.