Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Step 2 ... Experiment

This post is a continuation of my last post. And before I continue I want to first state plainly, neither Jeff nor I have Type 1 Diabetes. This experiment is being done on two adults with fully functioning pancreases.

Now back to my story.

I took a few more days, but I did finish my last glass of wine and I also finished reading It Starts with Food.

The basic premise of the book is that all the food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. The book covers in detail the effects on our bodies of unhealthy eating. They break it down into three categories: the effects of sugar on our brain, the hormonal imbalance including insulin levels (every T1 mom's favorite topic), and lastly leaky gut.

The chapter on hormones and insulin honestly gave me a headache. They explain a complicated dance between your digestive system, pancreas, liver and brain. They suggest as we eat all the wrong things we mess with this dance and our hormones are out of balance. Now this chapter is specifically addressing the effects on a healthy adult, not someone with T1. But it did make think that maybe I am really on to something. If this is true, and a healthy adult can't properly handle our over processed-carbohydrate-rich diet then how can someone with a broken pancreas?

All this imbalance leads to overall systemic inflammation. They spend pages detailing why this happens and why it's very bad. And as I read I started to realize how bloated I felt, I always felt. By the time I finished reading I was certain I was as bloated and inflamed as Violet Beauregarde when she stole the gum from Willy Wonka and became a human blueberry.

In addition to a healthier (less bloated) life the book promises life changing benefits. They suggest if you follow their food plan for 30 days your life will be transformed: you will have a healthier relationship with food, you will sleep better (a T1 mom's dream come true), you will have improved energy levels and self-esteem, and you will just be happier.

While I read the book, I doubted the authors and thought maybe they were just simply bonkers. They detailed their science, but it still seemed like mad science. But they promised a good night's sleep and happiness. And who doesn't want to be a little happier?

It was now time to start the experiment. Now if I remember my high school science classes properly, every good experiment starts with a hypothesis. I did a quick Google search and found this definition,

"Most of the time a hypothesis is written like this: if _____(I do this)_____ then _____(this)____ will happen."

Filling in these blanks I am starting my experiment with this hypothesis:

If I follow the Whole 30 diet plan, then I will most likely starve and end up shoving my face in a bag of potato chips.

Despite my cynical attitude, I convinced Jeff to try the diet too and I promised him his own bag of chips if we failed. Jeff then printed out a suggested Whole30 grocery list. And off I went to the supermarket. Now this grocery list includes vegetables, vegetables, more vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs and fancy (expensive) oils. What is not on this list is anything with sugar, also no grains, no legumes, no milk, and absolutely no processed food. Within a few minutes at the local supermarket I quickly realized I was going to have to find a new place to shop. The food revolution had begun ...

It's now time to fast forward this story 30 days. At the end of our Whole30 there were NO potato chips. My hypothesis was completely wrong. But like any great (or high school) scientist knows there are no failed experiments, only unexpected outcomes.

I no longer felt like Violet from Willy Wonka. The Oompa Loompas had magically deflated me. I felt light and energized. Jeff and I were sleeping through the night! Now this was a significant improvement. We still check Ben every night at 2am. And over the past couple of years we no longer even needed to set the nightly alarm because I was always wide awake. I would get up check Ben and then hope I would fall asleep again. But now, after our Whole30, we both sleep soundly through the night. We have even slept straight through the 2am alarm. Not necessarily ideal for the parents of a T1 child, but a problem easily solved with a louder alarm.

I ended this experiment with a new resolve. I was now certain what you eat matters! And it matters in more ways than I had expected.

Which leads me to Step 3 ... Analyze the Data


  1. can't wait for step 3!

    and dread giving up peanut butter and beans.

  2. You don't necessarily have to ... The theory is you eliminate all the foods that are common irratents for 30 days ... After 30 days you feel good (like you are suppose to) ... Then you can add things back slowly ... If they start to make you feel bad then you decide if you want i keep them in your diet ... So far I have only added small amounts of honey and syrup as a sweetner ... It is easier than you think