It Starts With Food, And a Headache

Today Workout Wonks brings you the first in a series of guest posts from one of our earliest followers.  Kent is an adventurous soul whose latest experiment is with a strict paleo diet for the 30 days of April.  You can follow him @klassman or read about his training at

My wife asked if I wanted to join her and do a nutrition plan for April.  I thought, “Sure.  Why not?  It could be fun to do together, it might help and it won’t hurt me.”  Secretly I thought that it may help me lose a few pounds too.

Wow.  Not the most naïve thing a man has ever done in response to a woman’s question, but it may rank in the top ten.

What did I know?  I knew she had done the Whole30 a few weeks before and really enjoyed it.  She found new energy, better sleep and reintroduced a whole new set of meals and ingredients into our routines.  Most of all and on point for me, after getting into the program she started to avoid the debilitating mid-afternoon sugar crashes.

We began on the first and for thirty days will cut out added sugars – real and artificial – as well as alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and white potatoes.  I recruited a friend at work who enjoys the “paleo lifestyle” to do the program and serve as my daytime support.  I did a little research and then we were off and running.

Literally, off and running.  I’m also training for a series of endurance events this spring and summer so the Whole30 had to keep me energized throughout long days, fueled during long workouts and replenished after it all.  I was helpfully pointed to the Paleoista.  She knows things.  She is also a world class Ironman age grouper.  Next I learned about Mark Sisson and his primal approach to exercise, food and health.  Surely this would be enough to get through 30 days.  I had support, information, and the promise of feeling better.

As the saying goes, pride goes before the fall.  Monday afternoon the first headache hit.  By Monday evening, I was in full onset grumpy.  Tuesday morning, between the lethargy and the headache, I felt like I had a hangover in the morning.  It wasn’t until Thursday that I conquered the problem of feeling hungry all day long.  Until some point mid-day today, it has been a downhill slide but I may have bottomed out.

So far what has worked?  The food tastes great.  I’ve had butternut squash, sweet potatoes, eggs, steak, meatloaf, salmon, chili and a wide array of fresh fruit.  In addition, I’m sure that the absence of Diet Coke, dairy and heavily processed sweets can only be good for me – especially considering how reliant I am on a sugar rush to “get me through” the next thing on the schedule.

Though I’m not yet five days into the program, I’ve succeeded at avoiding all manner of food temptations – from a late night cookie or three to Friday donut day at the office.  I’ve also found the detox or introductory period is an abrupt eye-opener to the various “fake foods” that consistently go into my body without any thought through convenience or habit or subconscious “reward.”  It is hard but I have to think it is worth it.

If only my head would stop hurting.


4 thoughts on “It Starts With Food, And a Headache

  1. When cutting out diet coke did you significantly decrease your caffeine consumption? That’ll give me headaches, even though we usually just think about coffee as the cause of caffeine headaches.

  2. Monica, I probably cut my caffeine by about a third. Had I cut it out too, the aforementioned grumpies would have been either rage or the fetal position tucked under my desk at work.

  3. Pingback: Ping Pong | Radical Immersion

  4. Pingback: Nutrition Plan Versus Lifestyle | Workout Wonks

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