A Physician’s Whole 30 Experience: What I Learned

06 Jun

30 days ago I began a journey that has taken me farther into myself then I knew I could go. Today it ends, and I would like to take you inside my journey and share with you how it has changed my diet, my health, and my spirit.

The Process: Around 9 months ago I decided to change my diet to one based on a Paleo framework. I spent years looking at different diets and my paleo adventure has finally landed me on solid ground. I “gave up” so many foods that I felt I was doing about as much as I could for my health. Despite that, I still had a few strongholds; the biggest of which was Diet Dr. Pepper.

For months I have been recommending a dietary challenge to patients that were interested based on Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s Whole 30. I would normally feel somewhat strict to recommend the entire plan, and would often tell patients to follow it completely except for the artificial sweetener rule. I did this to give my patients a break, but also because I could not give that up myself. I try hard to live by the rules I preach, so this seemed easiest to me! The more I traveled into my Paleo journey, the more I felt the real calling to participate in the Whole 30 myself. I knew it would be hard, but I just felt it was the right thing for me. My diet has been pretty strict from the beginning, and essentially converting to the Whole 30 meant eliminating artificial sweetener, the small amount of heavy cream I drink with my coffee daily, and nitrates in preserved food. Otherwise, no real change! How hard could that be right?

30 Days ago I started the challenge with confidence and concern. I knew dropping the caffeine in soda would be hard, but I had no idea how bad it would be initially. The first day of the challenge was the worst I have felt in YEARS. I had a terrible headache the entire day, and felt almost in a fog. As the day progressed seeing patients in my clinic became harder and harder, and I almost gave in and drank a soda. What stopped me was the realization of just how bad things were! I felt terrible, all because I drink too many sodas. I pushed through, and made the determination not to drink any caffeine at all until I felt better. That night when I got home I was absolutely cranky (my wife will concur I am certain!) I did the best I could and went to bed as quickly as I could. As I lay in bed, head pounding, I wondered how long I could take it. It was literally incapacitating, and I feared how well I could work another day like that.

I slept off the headache, and awoke to a new day…headache free! I stuck to my guns and chose water over coffee every day for the next 10 days. I have not had another headache since that first day, and I am amazed at just how bad I felt. I felt sick, there is no other way to describe it. After 10 days I started drinking some coffee again, simply because I love coffee, not because I NEEDED it. It was a very freeing experience.

Despite the headache disappearing, I still craved diet soda. After much thought I realized that I drank it mainly to kill my need for something sweet. I had eliminated so many strongholds in my diet, but this one had become my primary one. I can say honestly that this craving for diet soda lasted a good two weeks before I FINALLY got over it. It sucked!

As far as food goes, the Whole 30 was not terrible for me. I eat a pretty clean diet to start with, and my main adjustment was bringing lunch with me from home as not to chance any illegal items when we order out often from the clinic. I can imagine that the shock to the system from a non-Paleo diet to a Whole 30 would be tremendous, and I am glad I did not have to face that!

Due to poor planning on my part, the end of my Whole 30 coincided with a week long family vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains. This was hard, by far the hardest part of the plan. By the time we left though I was over 20 days in, and there was NO WAY I was going to kill it. I sucked it up, and did all I could to stay on track. I ordered as detailed as I could when out to eat, and stuck to safe foods when none were available. Of note, when I do another Whole 30, I will make sure I’m not on vacation during any of it!

So how did the Whole 30 help my health? Here are a few observations:

Acne: I don’t have terrible acne at all, but I do still suffer with an occasional pimple. For three weeks I have not had a single pimple. Pretty amazing stuff.

Energy: I thought Paleo had given me all the energy I needed, but I was wrong that it was all I could have! Although subtle, the increase in energy on a day to day basis I experienced by taking the next step to the Whole 30 was encouraging. I never really got tired, even on the long drives during our vacation which in the past would have sent me shopping for caffeine in one form or another.

Cravings: Again, although I felt my food cravings were gone once I went Paleo, the Whole 30 taught me that my major remaining craving, diet soda, was as strong as ever. It took a good while to get rid of this one, but it was well worth it. Diet soda turned out to be the one little thing I kept for myself, and I had no idea the pull it had on me. I don’t think that drinking diet soda made me feel tremendously bad per se, but I was drinking it for the WRONG reasons. That was enough to concern me and push through the 30 days. Will I ever drink diet soda again? I would be a bold faced liar if I said I would not, but my intake will be cut by 80-90% long term. That is something I can live with, and be very proud of.

Weight Loss: After changing to a Paleo diet I lost 25 pounds without really trying at all. During my Whole 30 I lost 5 more pounds, so that is 30 pounds overall…not too shabby!. My BMI has dropped from 30.6 to 26.3. I still have some way to go, but I’m very pleased with the overall drop so far.

Mood: I have noticed a definite improvement in my mood during the Whole 30. I’m generally a pretty positive guy, and I really like what I do. Still, everyone has times when stress or anxiety get to them. This would happen to me typically when the work day would zoom out of control, or the kids would act up. I think two things led to the improvement in my mood:

—Knowledge of Health – Just knowing that I was doing something very important for my health was so invigorating. Diet, weight, and emotion are intertwined to the point they are indistinguishable. Negative emotions can be crippling, but positive emotions can fuel you to the max. I knew I was getting healthier every day, and that made me feel awesome.

—Feeling of Health – Besides knowing I was healthier, I FELT healthier! For all the reasons above, as well as sleeping well, I just had a general glow of health to me. Other’s noticed and made comments, and that will help anyone feel better! I don’t think I can really explain this, you just gotta try it to find out!

Must Have Foods: Many people are looking for the foods that are key to a successful Whole 30, and I will give my humble opinion. Here is what I couldn’t live without.

-Avocados – There is no better snack alone, or added to a protein than one.

-Coconut Milk – Such a great milk substitute for any occasion.

-Dried Fruit – Watch this as it can be a sugar substitute for you, but in moderation; often saves me

-Eggs – What else can you say about the totally versatile egg?

Homemade Beef Jerky Sometimes you just need beef!

Big picture: So what is the big picture benefit to me from my Whole 30? There are several things I would like to point out. First, it truly allowed me to put the focus back on using food as nourishment for my body, and not as a pleasure per se. Now look, I love food, and that will never change. But it’s so hard to separate sometimes the difference between what you eat to fill a “void” or “craving” in your life, versus what you eat to adequately fuel your body. You can easily fuel your body with wonderful, real, and delicious food which means you don’t have to turn to food for anything other than that. As I say, Real Food for Real Health.

Limiting my diet to this real food also brought back something else that I feel we often lose; the real taste of food. We are inundated with flavors that we quite frankly were not ever supposed to experience! As you will all (if you are smart!) soon read in the Hartwig’s book It Starts With Food the food industry has created foods that are fattier, saltier, and sweeter than anything nature can provide. This kind of numbs our taste buds to real food. Take for example marinating a steak such as in a sugary Teriyaki sauce. If you have a wonderful cut of beef, why take away from the flavor at all with anything more than a little salt and pepper? Why not taste the meat for what it is, and the glorious fat for all it can be? Are “smoked” almonds really better than raw almonds? Is a maraschino cherry better than a super ripe fresh cherry? Is a tub of store bought greenish faux-guacamole better than home made, or just a freshly sliced ripe avocado? If you really taste things, the answer is no for all these.

The reason that the food industry has designed foods to be fattier, saltier, and sweeter than nature intended is that they are taking tasteless and inedible food and creating a “food” for you to eat, and for them to make money off of. By design the Whole 30 takes all that away. What you are left with it food as God intended it to be. The Whole 30 gave me my taste buds back!

Lastly, the Whole 30 taught me that once again, even when I think I’m doing my best, I am not! It’s not good enough to do Paleo and hang on to dietary strongholds. The effort to bring about even more change in your life can produce serious dividends. I learned that and am so glad that I did.

So, you only have two things left to do. First, commit to doing your own Whole 30 right NOW! And second, pre-order the Hartwig’s book and soak it up as soon as you can. I will be doing a full review of the book once I am finished, but I am taking my time to really gain everything I can from it. I am not a paid spokesman, and I gain nothing from you getting their book. To the contrary, it is you that has everything to gain from reading it.

Please consider doing the Whole 30 challenge yourself. Ask yourself these questions…is what you are doing right now working? Are you happy with how you feel? Could you use more energy? Are you sleeping soundly? Are you worried about chronic disease? Are you sick and tired of being CONTROLLED by food? It’s just 30 days…







Posted by on June 6, 2012 in General Paleo Discussion


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130 responses to “A Physician’s Whole 30 Experience: What I Learned

  1. Douglas Ambeau

    June 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I started doing CrossFit a little over a month ago after not having done any kind of exercise for almost three years, and we started a 30 day strict Paleo challenge on the first of the month. Everyone who sees me tells me how much thinner I look. I feel better in general, I sleep better, it takes less time to recover from an intense workout. I would recommend this to anyone. I plan on sticking to this diet at least 80% for the rest of my life just because of how good I feel and this is only day six of the challenge.

    • erniegarcia76

      June 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      So awesome to hear! If people will just change things in their life, the results can be remarkable. Keep us up to date how your journey goes!

      • Douglas Ambeau

        June 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm

        I completed my first WOD under the prescribed time today and it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.

      • erniegarcia76

        June 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm


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  2. Tim

    June 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Good post. I empathize with the caffeine headache you experienced — that is the main reason that I switched almost entirely to decaf some years ago. It helps a lot. I also appreciated your comments about really tasting food. When I cut the sugar out, I find that I like my vegetables a whole lot more.

    In the 4th paragraph it says “my wife will confer …” — I think that should be ‘concur’.

  3. thinkingdj

    June 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Wow, I tried this back in April, and sabotaged myself by having a bunch of friends and family come into town for Easter. I know I need to try it again. The first week was the hardest for me. It seemed no matter how much I ate, I was STARVING! It was because my body has become so accustomed to being instantly fueled by quick carbs that when I took away all the sugar and grains and substituted with protein, my body didn’t know what to do. Thanks for the informative and inspiring post, I know I have to give it a try again!

  4. segmation

    June 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    This looks like something I really need to try. Didn’t the 30 days seem so long though? Thanks for sharing!

  5. nazarioartpainting

    June 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    How about the sugar in the coconut milk?

  6. Connie

    June 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I did the Whole 30 for the month of March, transitioned from a non-Paleo to “hard core.” The carb withdrawal headaches were the worst for the first four days. Minus a huge temptation around day 11, it went pretty smoothly. I lost around 6 pounds without an increase in activity. My reasons for doing it were because of reading various blogs of the health benefits. I didn’t have any GI issues that could be related to dairy, gluten, etc. I just wanted to try it. It was after the 30 days (bring on Easter, vacations, illness, etc.) I felt like crap. My “treat” for completing the 30 days was a little splurge and I felt gross after it. I am going to do a little cleanse (Whole 14) to get it back on track and continue the Paleo journey.

    Just a note, I appreciate the information you share regarding your patients. I work as a pharmacist and we collaborate with a dietician @ our store. She’s great that she open to the ideas I’m sharing via my personal Paleo research but having some “real life” results will certainly add weight to what I share.

    • erniegarcia76

      June 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks so much for following! The paleo lifestyle has benefits for everyone, so keep up the good work. Just try for 85-90% compliance long term and it should be manageable. Keep us up to date on how it goes!

  7. thingsmybellylikes

    June 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I’m paleo but not strict whole 30. I’ve def felt the benefits though – it’s awesome to hear someone from the medical community giving it a thumbs up! Thanks for all the info, it’s v inspiring

    • erniegarcia76

      June 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      Your blog photos are awesome! Try to go strict for a 30 day trial, it’s worth the hard work!

  8. juststartwithmonday

    June 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I love the sound of this diet. What I’m most impressed by that, as a doctor, that you practice what you preach…..Seems a bit rare these days. I’m going to check this out more. Thanks for sharing.
    You Matter! Smiles, Nancy

    • erniegarcia76

      June 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Don’t diet, CHANGE! You won’t regret it 🙂

      • juststartwithmonday

        June 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm

        Good Philosophy! You’re right! Smiles, Nancy

  9. mowanling

    June 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    go for it.

  10. KL

    June 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Great post! I have a very healthy diet and haven’t really heard of what you are talking about, maybe it hasn’t hit Australia…. Good on you though. My parents live in the USA and when I have visited there, I found it really hard to eat many of the things like the bread which just melted in a sugary blob in my mouth ewww. Also, I had heard that sweeteners make you crave more sugar because your body isn’t getting the sugar it wants, you can’t trick it. We do a lot of home cooking and I can’t agree with you more on the natural taste of fresh food. We love cooking up something special now and then, but there is nothing as good (and my six year old son will attest to this!) as some steamed vegetables with nothing at all on them and a nice little steak grilled with nothing but a little salt and pepper… yum! Good on you! Stay away from those diet drinks though! I would say you’d be better off with a full sugar one just every now and then!

  11. Remaja

    June 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    nice article

  12. gabriel roybal

    June 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    do it!

  13. proflightsimulator

    June 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I have never heard of the whole 30 experience, but i will do a little google search and find out. Sounds like its not really a lose weight fast system but more of a life style change?

  14. Alana Kirk

    June 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    My husband and I made the switch to the Paleo model of eating back in March. Our reason was because he was diagnosed with MS and through the research we did we found many encouraging results with eating Paleo. While I cannot claim that his symptoms have gotten better, we have noted many wonderful changes. For me at least…I have TONS of energy. It is ridiculous. i can work out longer, I don’t have the brain fog I used to deal with. I just feel GOOD. I think cutting out grains and sugar was the biggest thing for me. I never used artifical sweeteners anyway, and I don’t drink soda. The first few weeks though…I totally could’ve held up a bakery for a cake, the cravings were horrible, but they went away.

    • erniegarcia76

      June 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Awesome story, thanks for sharing! Tell your husband we are praying for him. I have a partner with MS and he definitely has his struggles. I have no doubt of one thing, Paleo can’t be bad for him!

      Keep up the good work, you never know what the future holds.

  15. Dr. Afaq Ahmad Qureshi

    June 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Interesting and food for thought. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Cindy Wu

    June 7, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Really, this is an awesome post. I want to personally thank you for this.

  17. majelisnurulmukhtar

    June 7, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Reblogged this on majelisnurulmukhtar.

  18. Alyssa

    June 7, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and experiences on this post. I’m actually considering your suggestions for health reasons. Congrats on making this post to freshly pressed, by the way. 🙂

    colorado springs divorce lawyers

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Thanks! And don’t consider, just do it:) You’ll be glad you did.

  19. Claudia

    June 7, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Thanks for sharing your story, and congrats on battling the soda addiction! I don’t drink the stuff myself, but a lot of my friends have really struggled with giving it up; I can understand how difficult doing so must be.

    Keep up the good work. 🙂

  20. margesh001

    June 7, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Nice story…..Love to read..

  21. Anne Stanitz

    June 7, 2012 at 7:03 am

    A year and a half ago I started a mostly plant-based, Mediterranean style diet. I eat only whole foods and heart healthy foods. And I exercise for at least an hour every day. I am now 45 pounds lighter and my lipids are at a normal level. No statins now (which were giving me lots of muscle pain) off the blood pressure meds too. I will NEVER go back to the old lifestyle.

  22. In My Garden (country edition)

    June 7, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I find the idea of this kind of eating plan appealing and something I should probably try. Only caveat is that I’m a vegetarian, so removing all grains and legumes basically leaves me with zero sources of protein. Any suggestions?

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Are you a vegetarian for religious reasons or by choice? If by choice, why so? Just asking!

    • Harvesting Happiness

      June 10, 2012 at 1:12 am

      a lot of vegetables and fruits contain the correct percentage of protein needed. The accepted recommendation is 10% protein intake… broccoli for instance is 13% protein, bananas are 5% protein. If you eat a varied diet you will take in enough protein… without animal products

      • erniegarcia76

        June 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

        I humbly disagree with your “accepted” recommendation as it of course varies on who recommends it. In my eye 10% if far too low. If our ancestors ate 10% protein, and no animal based proteins, our brains would be significantly smaller than they are. Human history speaks to closer to 50% protein intake, the majority of which coming from the type of complete proteins only found in animals.

    • Mira

      June 11, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Nuts/Seeds + Veggies will give you complete protein (i.e. the full range of amino acids like the kind found in animal sources of protein). Just remember to include flax seed for omega-3s 🙂

      • Mira

        June 11, 2012 at 11:21 pm


  23. jigghoi

    June 7, 2012 at 8:21 am


  24. Courtney Hosny

    June 7, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Cool, I hadn’t heard of this one! It sure is intersting how diet affects skin/hair health and energy levels. Too bad more people don’t know the benefits of healthy living!

    Courtney Hosny

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

      Thanks for checking out the blog! Give Paleo a try, it will be the last time you ever change the way you eat 🙂

  25. Kathy

    June 7, 2012 at 9:46 am

    How’s your diet different from Atkin’s? Do you exercise or even jog? I think some mixed veggie or tv dinner would do wonders if eaten thrice weekly. Just my 2 cents.

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Thanks for checking out my blog! The Paleo diet is different from Atkins in many ways. First is the food restrictions, mainly that Paleo eliminates Dairy and Legumes, as well as anything processed. You can’t just eat low carb, you have to eat REAL food. Ultimately I see Atkins as a way people try to lose weight, and Paleo as a way for people to get healthy and avoid chronic disease. If you live a healthy lifestyle, and eliminate foods from your diet that are unhealthy, your weight will take care of itself! Hope this helps, please shoot any more questions my way! Check out this post for a little more explanation!

  26. WeWalkies - Together

    June 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I may even buy the book. Sounds good. Have looked on Amazon and put it on my wish list until it’s published.
    Thanks for letting us know about this.

  27. Katie Raspberry

    June 7, 2012 at 9:52 am

    My friend did a 30 day work out program that included eating well, exercising and he boosts about it all the time. I need to try something like this out soon!


    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Try the Whole 30 program as it is easy and has lots of online help to find your way!


    June 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I’ve been following the Paleo/Primal lifestyle for the past few months and have been seeing a great deal of success. Please read about my story and the method I followed here:

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Way to go! Love your story, keep us informed on the blog how things go for you.

  29. Shannon M. Howell

    June 7, 2012 at 11:18 am

    OK. I’ve not heard of the Whole30, but I think I’ve got a good idea after reading this. That said, I’d more or less given up carbs (outside of berries, apples, and nuts) about 2 months ago. That was also about 14 pounds ago (and 4 inches off my ribcage – so I’m either dropping fat, or I donated a lung and forgot about it).

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Way to go! The carbs you are eating are completely fine!

      • Shannon M. Howell

        June 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        They’d better be, burgers can’t be stowed in my purse for errand-running munchies. 😉

  30. Heather C.J. Atkins

    June 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    When I got pregnant coffee and green tea were extremely hard for me to give up. I did manage to do it though and got through the entire pregnancy with minimal caffein intake. 🙂 Whilst breastfeeding I found a product called Teeccino which has kept me off of caffein for the first 9 months of baby’s life! I don’t even miss my beloved coffee anymore. Thank God. Now starting the food part of the diet… this should be interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m always up for a good dietary change after falling off the bandwagon.

  31. lynnawiensmd

    June 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Diet can be huge and in defense of most allopathic physicians, we had very little clinical or basic science training on nutrition while in medical school. I learn every week! Thank-you for the post.

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Absolutely right! I’ve mentioned our lack of training in several posts, and it will continue to be a major problem I am afraid. Thanks for stopping by!

      • lynnawiensmd

        June 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm

        Your welcome. Keep up the good writing.

  32. juststartwithmonday

    June 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I am intrigued but hesitant about the Paleo lifestyle. I am ready to try the 30 day challenge; but want to make sure I am prepared to succeed in the trial. You mention a book Paleo Solution. Is that a good place to start? I have read your Blog from cover to cover; so have gotten a lot of education from that; but would want a little more specifics. I want to check out your Facebook page too. Please head me in the right direction so I can give this a shot! Thanks.
    You Matter! Smiles, Nancy

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      I think that Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution is a good place to start. Once you understand why Paleo will make perfect sense. Good luck!

  33. Two Troublesome K9s

    June 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Interesting how dropping the sugar effected you! I never really have soda or many ‘sweets’ so I haven’t felt that crash xD

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      It wasn’t the sugar because I drink diet soda, it was the caffeiene!!!

      • Two Troublesome K9s

        June 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm

        Oh yeah! x( Those two seem to be an addiction to most lately.

  34. Rebekah

    June 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Very interesting! Never heard of the Whole 30 before.

  35. notlateone

    June 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Never heard of Whole 30 (and definitely don’t need to be going on a diet) but this a great post! It’s shocking how bad soda can be for your health overall. Anybody I know that’s going on a diet gets a lecture from me about how if they really want to stop dropping weight, drop soda. Period, end of story. I don’t care if it’s diet soda, it’s just…bad for you in general.

    Good food staples/must haves you listed. I have numerous medical problems and per Mayo Clinic instructions am on a high salt, high fluid, low to no caffeine, reduced sugar diet…quite a challenge for somebody who has a sweet tooth. Dried fruits are always good. I like chile mangos, which I can get at any local market here in CA.

  36. kind-cook

    June 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I never heard of Whole 30 but if it means whole food, then it is the best thing you can do for your health! I turned vegetarian about 7 years ago and now am 98% vegan and I feel so much better; however, I still like pasta and will indulge in sinful sweets once in awhile. Imagine if I didn’t! Thanks so much for sharing and I am on my way to Googling the Whole 30! Congrat’s on being FP’d!

  37. stevenwadeedinburgh

    June 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I’m looking to start on paelo myself soon, working my way off the carbs and the sugars at the moment bit by bit before going full paelo. Only 3 days in and my cravings for sugar have been the worst thing along with feeling quite hungry later at night. I’m avoiding any late night unhealthy snacks or anything full of carbs and sticking to protein and veggies.

    Steven Wade, Edinburgh and Dundee

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Awesome job! Just go cold turkey, why prolong the misery?!

  38. peacelovepaleo

    June 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Great post! I’ve been Paleo for 2 years and haven’t tried the Whole 30 approach, but I did have tremendous success with curing my adrenal fatigue and my daughter’s Autism and Sensory Processing issues. I can’t imagine life before Paleo, but diet soda was the hardest thing for me to give up, too. Bread, sugar, and dairy were no problem, but even after 2 years, I still can’t watch people drink it or have it around the house. Glad to hear I wasn’t alone 🙂

  39. Richard McCargar

    June 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Interesting article. You mention that “My BMI has dropped from 30.6 to 26.3,” but that doesn’t tell us where you are on the BMI chart, as we don’t know your weight and height. That would be interesting information to add, for us to judge the progress vs assumptions about overall bodyfat.

    I look forward to your upcoming posts. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  40. Janel Gantner

    June 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I enjoyed and could relate to so much of this blog. I recently completed my first Whole 30 after being strict paleo for over a year. Even a few seemingly small things make a BIG difference. I also went to the Smokies for the last few days of mine too. I am an RN in New Orleans and wish I could find a paleo doc here. If you have or hear of any paleo MD friends in NOLA – I’d love to know!

    • erniegarcia76

      June 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks for following! I don’t know of any, try the Paleo Physicians Network

  41. Cafe

    June 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Ugh, I could totally do with more energy and good sleep 😦
    Congrats on your success! It really takes a lot of discipline and self-motivation to do these kinds of programs and I’m in awe of anyone who does!

  42. hartincorporated

    June 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    LOVE your blog! Will be sure to share it with clients and friends on my own. Paleo is a phenom diet, great to see a physician on board 🙂

  43. filmcamera999

    June 8, 2012 at 5:31 am

    all good stuff! ive been a grudging vegetarian for over 25 years now (i say grudging as i did it cos my wife was a vege, and she absolutely hated preparing meat dished for me!), but isee absolutely no changes in my health (still healthy as ever), no loss of agression (they say not eating meat makes you calmer.. a load of b—!), and godliness? who knows…i dont feel closer to a god now tahn i was when i used to eat meat! problem is, ive been away form meat so long now, i cant bear to eat it myself…i would probably puke if i ate some! anyway, very interesting blog….message here is obviuosly if it feels good and harms no-one, then do it!

  44. candycoatedreality

    June 8, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for your post!! Love how you ended with a call-to-action “It’s just 30 days…”

    I’ve lost 85 pounds, kept it off for 4.5 years now, and got stuck (ugh)… my goal is to lose 40 more. Unfortunately, I suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and for me, insulin resistance and metobolic syndrome are huge obstacles for me (more like pains in my ass, really, LOL!!). I’ve heard I should focus on low-glycemic… so I’m looking into it and now, thanks to your blog, I’m going to check this out as well 🙂 Thanks again!!! AND, keep up the good work 🙂

    • erniegarcia76

      June 8, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Like I said, try Paleo for 30 days…I think you will be happy with the results!

  45. andy

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us I like

  46. fireygoddess

    June 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Make Something Every Day and commented:
    Chalk art festival!? C’mooon!

  47. ItsJustKathleen

    June 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Hey Doc. I think I landed here because you were freshly pressed. I dont know what Paleo eating is (yet) but I read chunks of the whole9 / whole30 site. What do you think the chances of success at Whole30 are for a woman who is 52, sedentary, and morbidly obese. Oh, and depressed. Sugar and depression are BFF’s. Or am I the poster child that this change was designed for, if only “we” would put down the 5 lb bag of proccess sugar long enough to try it? Thoughts?

    • erniegarcia76

      June 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      The Whole 30 would be beneficial for anyone, from you to a world class athlete. Do yourself this…order the Hartwig’s book It Starts With Food and read it. Your health and your future are in YOUR hands, don’t defeat yourself without even trying. It’s JUST 30 days!

  48. escort bayan

    June 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Just added this blog to my favorites. I enjoy reading your blogs and hope you keep them coming!

  49. walrissa

    June 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Reblogged this on Primarily Plants and commented:
    I’m currently doing my second Whole 30. My focus this time is on eating A LOT of vegetables with each meal, not just protein. Hmm, I should start adding photos of my meals to this blog.

    • erniegarcia76

      June 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Very impressed! I’ll do the Whole 30 again, but need a little time!

  50. tuncPancy

    June 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  51. thongtinnhatban

    June 9, 2012 at 12:40 am

    nice to read

  52. journeythroughnews

    June 9, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Wow- it takes a lot of willpower to get through something like that! Have you tried doing a lot of exercise? I’ve found that it boosts my mood just as much as eating healthy food does.

  53. Axelle

    June 9, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Nice Article

  54. triptracker

    June 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    A few years back we took salt and sugar out of your diet and switched to coconut milk instead of soy. It was hard at first…especially the salt but we have found that the way we cook and eat now is so much more gentler on our digestive system and body. We just don’t miss it one bit. I am with you though on the coffee… can be decaf…but is a must

  55. saipeeps

    June 10, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Reblogged this on saipeeps and commented:
    Awesome article! Ill try to follow

  56. Four

    June 10, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Thank you for sharing some of your experience and wisdom.
    i like nice post

  57. Ayu mustika

    June 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

    nice to visit this blog…greetings for me

  58. pilgrimageofhealth

    June 10, 2012 at 11:50 am

    This is so interesting! I don’t eat meat, so I don’t think I’d be able to do the Whole 30 as it’s laid out (no beans, etc.) but I’m about to cut refined sugar out of my diet for a period of time.

  59. artzent

    June 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    THIS IS A GREAT POST. Thank you so much for taking the time to post it. You have helped a lot of people. It is so good to see a doctor advocateing for organic whole foods! If you need another reason to banish the diet soda here it is. The darn stuff is poison! Try a little aguave or raw honey on whole wheat bread: good nutrition,less calories, and yummy! Keep the faith and thank you!

  60. Pedro Alvarez

    June 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm


  61. Nahed Omer

    June 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    It is not easy to cut your self from something u love.

    I already experienced that.

    U need strong will and strong determination to follow a diet.

    Thank u for sharing your experience with us

  62. pvsprobate

    June 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. Great comments. Will visit again

  63. Marvie

    June 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    I will start to challenge myself and today is DAY01

  64. miss toy

    June 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    would you recommend this for someone with MS?

    • erniegarcia76

      June 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      Although there is some anecdotal data on this, I don’t think we know enough to say it is good specifically for MS. I do feel it is good for anyone simply on the grounds of its health benefits.

  65. datingwithoutgluten

    June 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I’ve been considering trying a paleo diet, but this sounds really interesting. I’ve been gluten-free for over 4 years (due to Celiac Disease), so it should be a fairly easy transition. I guess it’s time for me to do some research.

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    June 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm

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  67. thefuture2020

    June 11, 2012 at 12:19 am

    OMG, i feel your pain buddy but its no secret how caffeine hooks you. I was just surprised you mention drinking a diet soda considering the bad wrap they have been getting lately. But its understandable that you needed a stress reliever that could keep you focused through out the day. It cant be easy trying to balance everything especailly when you know what kind of day your going to be in for. But it does take great strength to power through and be able to say that you rather choose your health over something so smaller then we are. So hats off for your progress and i wish you many more healthy years -,o

  68. updownright

    June 11, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Glad to see someone actually practicing what they preach on this subject for once. Always strange when my obese doctor tells me to remember to eat healthy food.

  69. Life Quotes

    June 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    lol dude you have lost huge amount of weight. but what to do for veggies.

  70. Inese Poga Art Gallery

    June 12, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Why do so many people think they need to be on a diet?
    Soft drinks are terrible, pure chemical mix, and, honestly, I cannot understand how somebody can love this stuff so much. Giving up soft drinks like sodas alone will allow you to loose lots of overweight. If you don’t have high blood pressure, why would you have to stop using any coffee? It’s just so that people in North America very rarely drink coffee. Coffee is something you drink black without milk, cream or sugar. To feel the flavour. It has lots of antioxidants, and when used in moderation does lots of good stuff. Beautiful thing to drink is mineral water, I love naturally carbonated. Replace sodas with that. Sparkling, refreshing, tasty. Next step is, you reduce unnecessary sugars. If you use in your tea or coffee 3 spoons, go down to 2.5, then to 2, after that to 1.5, later to 1. Big difference. Drinking juice, especially juice which you don’t make at home and from fresh fruit, doesn’t make anybody slimmer. It’s lots of chemicals and carbs. Lots, and if you don’t work them off, they turn into fat. Reducing all chemical stuff and processed stuff in your menu, allows you to really never get overweight. The only condition is, you have to make food on your own, and make it from scratch. You save a lot of money when eating at home (instead of eating out) and lots of money because you are not buying drugs for heartburn, obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure, endlessly, and save nerves since you don’t have to see your doctor that often.
    It is very simple and extremely easy. And you don’t wait until you are 100 pounds too much. You correct your menu when you are 2 pounds too heavy, and always return to the ideal weight (calculating the BMI).

  71. Intan Wijayanti

    June 12, 2012 at 1:01 am

    thanks………. ^_^

  72. Kemo Marriott

    June 12, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Good to hear you made it through some of the more difficult aspects to realise your goals. Nice work, I must give this a try!

  73. simplejoysofheaven

    June 12, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Reblogged this on My Personal Legend in my Gigantic Universe! and commented:
    Start an early prevention, just do it 🙂

  74. surebetfinder

    June 12, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Again references to this paleo diet… I guess it’s time to seriously look it up for me!

  75. Paper cup making machine

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  76. Melinda

    June 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Perfectly Imperfect.

  77. شات اليكس

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  82. Just me

    August 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Instead of diet soda, which contains nothing nutritious, only chemicals, try raw kombucha! It can be made cheaply at home and second-fermented to add many different flavors. And it’s very good for you!

  83. Suze

    August 11, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been mostly doing Paleo for awhile – but just refused to embrace the no-dairy part. I love dairy, you see. Just about all dairy, lol. But – I have been doing other research that suggested dairy may be behind some very bad things, like breast cancer. And diabetes. And even hypertension. Although I have no reason to think I have any cancer, I do have hypertension and definitely some insulin resistance and elevated cholesterol, which I flat refuse to take statins for. So I have been toying with a dairy fast, getting ready by eating up supplies (I hate to waste money!).

    Seeing your inspirational post pushed me to look harder at Whole 30. I may do it, too.

    I have to say, I wish you were local to me. My doc is not enlightened, to say the least. Do you know any enlightened physicians in the Orlando, FL area? 🙂

    Thanks again!

  84. Christopher K. Nagy, M.D.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Dr. Garcia, I am a physician who directs a wellness practice in North Carolina. I talked with Dallas Hartwig a few weeks ago about implementing a wellness program and he mentioned a physician he was working with in Lousiana, I suspect that is you. I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you as I am planning on creating a citywide wellness program for my community with, It Starts With Food, as the nutrition template. You can contact me at or via
    I would like to share with you what I am planning as you may be able to utilize it also. I don’t want to bother you but would appreciate the opportunity to share thoughts.
    Thanks, Chris Nagy, M.D.


    September 1, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I don’t understand why fruit is allowed, since fructose is just another type of sugar.

    • erniegarcia76

      September 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      If you are following a paleo lifestyle first and foremost to lose weight, then you really should limit your fruit intake due to the fructose content that you mentioned. Sugar is after all sugar. Once you reach your goal weight though, there is nothing inherently dangerous about natural fructose if eaten responsibly. Thanks for stopping in!

  86. Marlene

    January 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    How does Whole 30 work for women closer to 60 than 50? We do Crossfit 3 times a week with little or no weight loss-stronger but still packing the belly fat!

  87. lani

    July 6, 2013 at 3:46 am

    loved reading your article. I have been researching Paleo for a while now, and have been following it for about a week. I am intrigued by whole30 but not entirely sure how it is much different to Paleo (other than removing honey and reducing fruit???). If you could shed some light on my confusion I would really appreciate it.
    Again, loved your post!!


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