My Whole30 Summary

Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click on, or make a purchase through a third-party link.

What is the Whole30?
Should I try it?
Is it hard?
Will I lose weight?

Here is my Whole30 summary


I discovered the Whole30 while researching the best body detox plans for a recent blog post I was writing. I don’t like to make recommendations to my audience that I am not willing to try myself. That being said, I started the thirty-day program on October 15th, 2019. I was well aware that Halloween would be a bummer (no candy), but I wanted to do this. I set up a Google Doc on my phone and kept notes of what I ate and how I felt during the program. My starting weight was 188 pounds.

What is the Whole30

The Whole30 was created in 2009 by Melissa Hartwig. This is not a diet or a test of willpower, it’s a program designed to change the way you think about food. The basic premise is simple; some foods are not good for your body. Of course, many of these are the foods we crave the most. Eliminating all the “unhealthy” foods removes toxins from your body. Saying goodbye to the “sugar monster” is difficult at first, but as you will see, changes the way you feel. No fast food, no added sugar or sugar substitutes, and no cheese! This program changed the way I plan to eat going forward.

I have to admit I was skeptical.

What you will read in this post is what I went through during the thirty days. Some days were difficult. There was bickering at the dinner table. The kids missed “their food”. Don’t send me messages about child abuse, I did not make them stick to the program, but I didn’t make fancy Mexican and Italian dishes, either. Ashley looked at me one night and said, “I just want my food back”. These kids are not fans of fast food or restaurants, except sushi. They love daddy’s cooking.

Whole30 Rules

The rules seem very simple at first. The problem is there are almost no processed foods that don’t contain an ingredient you can’t have. You are much better off only eating fresh organic food. Fruits and vegetables will become your best friend. Here are the rules:

  • No added sugar or sugar substitutes of any kind. This includes honey and agave nectar.
  • No alcohol! This was the most natural rule for me.
  • No grains. No wheat, corn, rice, barley, oats, millet, quinoa, etc. This covers a lot of foods. I suggest referring to the Whole30 book for a complete list.
  • No Legumes. No beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, or peanuts. That means no peanut butter. You can easily substitute almond butter or cashew butter — no soy of any kind or tofu, edamame, or tempeh. Soy sneaks into products almost as often as added sugar. Learn to read the labels.
  • No dairy. Another crushing blow to me. No cheese, milk, cream cheese, or sour cream. You can eat clarified butter, but I skipped it. I used olive oil and coconut oil for all of my cooking, a change I plan to continue.
  • No carrageenan, MSG, or added sulfites. Careful with dried fruits and sausage, be sure there are no sulfites added.
  • No junk foods or baked goods made with improved ingredients. This means you can’t make pancakes out of coconut flour. I will give you some suggestions for sweet snacks later in the post.
  • Do not weigh or measure yourself in any way during the program. Just before and after. This is to keep you from concentrating on your weight and missing other benefits.

Preparing for the Whole30

I am going to stress this step. Be sure you have an adequate supply of “Whole30 compliant” food in your house before you start. Do not try to wing it! I suggest stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds, cashews, eggs, and other sources of protein. If you are vegan, you are in good shape, remember, no grains. There are a few bars you can use that I will get to later.

If you don’t prepare, you probably will fail.

One of the things we ate several times is various forms of curry. This is ideal because not only can you change up the vegetables, the turmeric in the curry is very good for your body. I suggest stocking up on curry powder.

Be ready to spend more time cooking and preparing meals. There are no drive-throughs in this plan. Give yourself an hour for dinner preparation each night. I will share ideas for meals later. My plan was to eat simple things during the day and make a healthy dinner at night.

Restaurants and the Whole30

My suggestion is to plan to stay away from restaurants for thirty days. We went out once, and it was extremely frustrating. There was almost nothing on the menu that fit the plan. It was a horrible experience and, if I do this again, I will prepare every meal myself. I am not a huge fan of restaurants anyway, so this isn’t a significant loss for me.

Whole30 Compliant Snack Bars

There are a few snack bars that are Whole30 compliant and I have listed a few here.  The most inexpensive ones I was able to find are pictured above.  Please note that all Larabars are not Whole30 compliant.  The ones listed above are fine but please read ingredients on anything processed prior to eating.

Some of the EPIC bars such as the one pictured are also Whole30 compliant.  Just a warning, this chicken one is spicy!  Be sure to check all labels because some I found had added sugar.

RX bars are also mostly compliant.  I would not suggest eating any of these bars often.  Just keep them on hand for emergency use.  It is much better to always eat whole foods.

A Few Whole30 Recipes I Used

I have added a few recipes to this post that my family ate during the Whole30 experience.  The first is a snack bar that is super easy to make and very good.  So good, in fact, I am still making these even after finishing the Whole30.  The second is a frittata where you could substitute virtually any vegetable that works with eggs.  The last is a curry recipe. As I said above, we ate a lot of curry during the Whole30 and you could use any vegetables or curry types for this. 

My Experience with the Whole30

My starting weight was 188 pounds on 10/15/19. The first day was excellent. In the morning, I had black coffee only. For lunch, I had cherry tomatoes, blackberries, and raspberries. This was my pattern, although some days, I added almonds or cashews and turkey or tuna to lunch. I skipped breakfast almost every day, which is typical for me. The first night I made chicken primavera from the Whole30 book for dinner.

Day two, I was tired and hungry. I made a spinach frittata for dinner. I am not a fan of eggs, but it was pretty good.

Day three was a good day. I had a false sense that the hard part was over, but I was very wrong. Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce, steamed broccoli, and chicken Italian from 365 was dinner.

Day four, I was sluggish in the AM, but the day got better.

On day five, Luke Combs came to Portland, and Cathy and I went to see him. It was a great concert, and I didn’t think much about food. I made pork meatballs and sweet potatoes with bell peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes in a red curry sauce.

Day six was the WORST day of all, especially in the evening. I ate a lot of food but I felt like my energy was depleted. I wasn’t sure if I could make it. Looking back, I’m glad I pushed through. I worked the evening shift and didn’t get home until after midnight.

Day seven, I slept until 10 am.  I had two poached eggs and stuffed peppers before leaving for work. The worst was over!

Day eight, even with five hours of sleep, I felt amazing all day. I had read about it, but guess what happened next?

Tiger blood

The Whole30 book says this should happen from day 16 to 27 but it occurred for me on day 9. I can’t explain this feeling, but it is terrific. I felt better than I have in years. I attribute it to being detoxed off of all the crap I had been eating. I won’t bore you with all the details of the rest of the days, but they all went pretty well. I did get a little tired of the same food towards the end. In the last couple of days, I wanted to change up the diet a little.

We had curry in one form or another nine different nights. I had it leftover at least twice. I would say one of the main things I learned is that curry is excellent and healthy.

Michael Brown pictured with Final Thought written

I woke up at 2 am on day 31 and weighed myself. I was down to 175.8 pounds, so in 30 days, I lost 12.2 pounds.

I am not sure if I would do this again, but it wasn’t terrible, especially after day six. I did feel great during the last couple of weeks.

My wife also lost weight but struggled at times to find compliant food to eat when I wasn’t around.  Her skin improved, and she experienced no migraine headaches during the thirty days.  

Cathy brought home a pizza for the kids on day 15. This was probably the hardest thing to ignore because it smelled delicious plus I was hungry. I had a few days that I had to pass on Krispy Kreme donuts and candy, as well. I thought I would miss Diet Coke more than I did, but I guess I missed Mexican and Italian food much more.

Here is what I plan to change as a result of this experience; I will continue to drink my coffee black and cut back on soda, I want to continue the habit of drinking a lot of water daily, and fresh fruit and vegetables will always be available. I plan to snack on them often. I will keep monitoring my weight and try to stay where I am currently.

If you are interested in what I ate the other days, feel free to send me a message. I kept track of my meals, so I’d be glad to share that with you. If you have any questions regarding my experience, feel free to ask.

I am creating a diet of my own that I will share will you in the next few months.  One of the new products I have enjoyed is available below.  Give it a try.  Who doesn’t like pizza?  This crust eliminates unnecessary carbs!

I am creating a diet of my own that I will share will you in the next few months.  One of the new products I have enjoyed is available below.  Give it a try.  Who doesn’t like pizza?  This crust eliminates unnecessary carbs!

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.


Best Cleanses and Detoxes for Weight Loss

Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click on, or make a purchase through a third-party link.

Have you felt crappy lately?

Have you had low energy or problems sleeping?

Do you ever consider trying a body cleanse or detox program for weight loss?

Body cleansing and detox have become very popular in recent years. Some people use these for health reasons and others for weight loss. Cleansing and detoxes are meant for short term use only and are used to eliminate toxins from the body.

Due to global industrialization, we are all subjected to harmful chemicals daily. These chemicals include pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol A, and many others. Adverse health conditions can be caused or exacerbated by these chemicals, including various cancers,1

reproductive effects, 2

and cardiovascular disease.3

There are more than 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the US. Each year, 2000 new ones are added. A large percentage of these have not been adequately studied for detrimental health effects.4

Naturopathic doctors study methods of detoxification during their schooling. We know that medical nutrition can treat and prevent several ailments, including allergies, asthma, and inflammation. It can also be useful in treating and averting toxic environmental exposures.




The purpose of this article is to present cleanses and detoxes available to help in weight loss. Some of these may also help rid the body of toxins. 

It is essential to be aware of the harmful effects some of these detoxes and cleanses may have on our bodies.

Most of these methods consist of fasting, following a specific diet, and drinking plenty of water. 

What are the best choices?

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) promotes a healthy digestive tract by creating an environment more conducive to “good” bacteria. This can lead to improved absorption of nutrients, which increase energy, metabolism, and aids in cholesterol removal.

 It has also been associated with improving insulin sensitivity. Some report ACV can diminish appetite leading to weight loss.

APV can lead to stomach upset and may remove the enamel from teeth when consumed as a liquid.

If you plan to incorporate ACV into your weight loss program, I suggest using capsules that will protect your teeth. You may also consider making a salad dressing using it in a diluted form. Below is a simple recipe for ACV salad dressing:

Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing

¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 Cup high quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sweet mustard (I like Beaver brand sweet hot mustard)
3-4 teaspoons real honey (add to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Use an immersion blender to mix or make in a salad dressing shaker.

Whole 30

The whole 30 was started ten years ago by Melissa Hartwig Urban. This is an outstanding program that I am starting myself.

If you sign up at her website, you will receive the Whole 30 starter kit. She includes a few recipes and simple rules for success. I am not going to suggest this will be easy! Here are the foods and substances you must avoid for 30 days:

Added sugar, real or artificial
Alcohol of any kind
Dairy products
Carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites
Baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients
No weighing yourself or taking body measurements for 30 days!

This is a way to change the way you eat and learn how your body feels without preservatives and high calorie, unhealthy foods.  The complete rules of this plan can be found at:


Juice Detox Diets

There are many juice diets available on the internet for purchase. These usually promise weight loss and removal of toxins from your body. Most of these products are very expensive and may or may not include supplements. 

I am very wary of any detox or cleanse that starves the body, especially over a long period. As explained in last week’s post, when our body goes into starvation mode, metabolism slows, and it becomes harder to lose weight.

Some Juice diets only allow consumption of 400 calories per day. This will lead to weight loss but also increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone found in our bodies. These levels can remain elevated even after a 21-day caloric restriction of 1200 kcal/day.


This increase in cortisol can lead to binge eating due to appetite stimulation.




Most juice diets are similar to the lemon detox described below but are probably more healthy because they contain more nutrients.


The Lemon Detox Diet

The Lemon detox program, also known as the Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet, was developed by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s. It is a very low calorie diet (VLCD) providing 800-1000 kcal/day. This method substitutes meals with:

· two tablespoons of lemon juice
· two tablespoons of maple syrup
· cayenne pepper
· water

A research study was conducted in 2015 using the lemon detox diet. In this study, lemon juice was mixed with organic maple and palm syrups. Overweight Korean women were divided into three groups. The period of the detox was seven days. 

This study found that the lemon detox diet can reduce body fat, improve insulin resistance, and may have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease risk factors. 

There were some unexpected changes in homocysteine levels and serum lipid profiles of the subjects in the Lemon-D group, which questions its positive cardiovascular effects.


Michael Brown pictured with Final Thought written

Obesity is a significant problem in the United States. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates 39.8% of adults over 20 years old were obese, and another 31.8% were overweight in 2015-2016. The rates of obesity have increased for all population categories during the last several decades.

It is not surprising than many are looking for a quick fix for this problem. Unfortunately, we don’t become obese overnight, and we can’t remedy the problem quickly. My research into cleanses and detox programs have led me to the following recommendations.

Start with the Whole 30 plan. I am now on day #9 of this diet and at the present time, feel outstanding. There have been periods where I have felt low on energy. This was especially evident during the evening of day six. I am hoping I have passed the sluggish stage.

I recommend this plan first because you are still eating plenty of calories. You are detoxing your body by drinking a lot of water and consuming only whole foods. It is not easy to eliminate all added sugar, sugar substitutes, dairy, and grain from your diet, but I feel really good and have learned a lot from this program in the last two weeks.

The Whole 30 teaches you how your body can feel in the absence of chemicals and processed foods. It does take more time to prepare meals, but I have been able to cook dinner each night, and my kids have enjoyed every meal so far! Look for my post on my experience with the Whole 30 in the next month.

I recommend avoiding juice detoxes. The weight loss will likely not last after the detox ends. There is a good chance your cortisol level will increase, making you hungry. Your body needs a certain number of daily calories to function correctly. These programs are expensive and have limited data to support their use.

Experimenting with apple cider vinegar or a colon cleanse supplement such as Psyllium Husk Plus is also an option and will allow you to maintain your current eating habits. Just remember to use these products in moderation. There is no reason to take Psyllium Husk Plus capsules daily.

I hope I have answered your questions regarding cleanses and detoxes for weight loss. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. If you believe juice detoxes have helped, I want to hear from you. My ultimate goal is to make this blog as informative and as useful as possible for my readers.

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.