Alright, so I went into this whole30 thinking that it was going to make this huge difference between 80/20 primal like I had been doing and the 100% clean paleo whole30 challenge. I was expecting some big epiphany or something miraculous to happen to my body. Instead, what I found was that I didn’t really feel any different being 100% clean and being 80/20 (more like 90/10) primal compliant. In fact, what I did notice was that my running suffered. While I was actually running longer distances, I was having to walk out cramps and muscle spasms more and more frequently. Turns out, my body just feels better when I’m 80/20 as opposed to 100%.

I suppose I should break down exactly what I cut out from my 80/20 to make myself 100% whole30 compliant. Well, I cut out heavy whipping cream (FOR SHAME FOR SHAME) that nearly killed me. I did continue to drink black coffee. I cut out dairy entirely (seriously, I missed it), black beans (I eat them about 1 time a month), bacon (can’t find any nitrate free bacon around here), and unsweet tea. I cut out the tea mainly because I wanted to cut the caffeine out. This wasn’t a huge issue, but man drinking ONLY water is kind of boring. Seriously, that’s all the cleaning up I had to do to fix my diet to 100%. Cooking oils were olive oil or home made ghee.

While I learned that I could do 100% compliant paleo if I had too, my body and particularly my emotions aren’t as stable as they are when I’m at the 80/20 mark. I was moody, irritable, and lethargic for the better part of the month. I also noted that I was eating significantly less calories than I was at the 80/20 mark. I’m not sure how much less, but I can tell I wasn’t eating as much. I just didn’t have much of an appetite during the day. I feel better with dairy in my diet. The only dairy that I consume on a daily basis is 2 Tbsp of heavy cream in my morning coffee. Other than that it’s a small square of really good artisan cheese or something along those lines.

I also learned that I can’t be super low carb forever. For my entire time being primal 80/20 and 100% paleo I’ve been under 50g of carbs a day. By most definitions that’s pretty low carb. That’s great for losing weight. Not so great for athletes. Seriously, when your entire carb load for the day consists of a sweet potato and a banana….it kind of sucks. It seriously hurt my running, lifting, and I think it contributed to my lethargy. So, I think it’s time for me to experiment with my carbs again. I’m thinking of starting at 75g and moving up until my weightloss stalls. At that point I’ll cut my carbs back a bit and hang around there until I hit my next goal (185).

While I’m glad that I went ahead and did the whole30, I can’t say that it was worth my while (physically speaking). It was nice to find out that I could do it, but I don’t feel any better at 100% and 80/20. So, I’m glad to find that out and realize that the pizza I might have once every couple of months isn’t going to derail my goals. That’s fantastic news. I still recommend that most people start their paleo journey with the whole30 because it teaches you the basics by eliminating all the experiments that people think they should try. It just makes life simpler for people just getting started. I’ve been doing this for going on 4 months now and I learn I learn something new every single day. All the information is overwhelming and the whole30 takes a lot of the guess work out of things. So I’ll still be recommending folks to start there.

Until next time,


  1. Shanny says:

    I really appreciate that you were honest about how the 100% compliance wasn’t that much better for you overall. That 20% ( or less) is what makes the bigger 80 or 90% daily compliance achievable!

    There is a basic pleasure in food that can be lost when we are too rigid.

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