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May 21, 2015

The Whole30 and Myasthenia Gravis: Laura’s Story

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Since the Whole30 program was first created in 2009, we’ve read hundreds (if not thousands) of your success stories. They all touch our hearts, and fill us with gratitude that we’re allowed to be a part of your deeply personal journeys. We’ve heard stories that make us laugh and make us cry…. sometimes we even dance with excitement for you.

We’ve also heard stories from people who have seen significant improvement in the symptoms of their medical conditions.  What you’re about to read is one of those stories. But before we get started, we need to say this:

While we believe wholeheartedly that eating Good Food for 30 days can be incredibly healing to your body and mind, we’re not claiming that the Whole30 program will cure your illnesses. The people you see featured in our testimonials are working closely with their doctors and support teams to ensure they get the most appropriate care for their specific conditions and health context. If you have a medical condition or are working with a medical professional to diagnose or resolve symptoms, please consult them before beginning your Whole30, and work closely with them throughout your program. Read our “Talk to Your Doc” series of articles for help.

Now, we’d like you to meet Laura, and hear how the Whole30 changed her experience with myasthenia gravis (MG).

Laura’s Story

Laura Before

I had my myasthenia gravis diagnosis for a year when I discovered Whole30.  I’d been dealing with the strange symptoms (droopy eyelid, random breathing problems, stiff muscles, weak upper body and neck) and crushing fatigue for four years before it had a name. I’d had a thymectomy (removal of my thymus) and was undergoing steroid treatments to try to get things under control.

I was keenly aware of the extra 50 pounds I was carrying. My dependence on food and white wine for comfort was dragging me down. I knew I had to take charge of my behaviors and habits, especially when it felt like MG was calling the shots.

My husband Eric and I started a Whole30 in April 2013, after about two months of research. I’d read many ‘anti-inflammatory diet’ books trying to find something that would work. It Starts With Food was the only one that actually listed myasthenia gravis!  I knew that my sugar dragon was out of control and that this elimination diet was the only way to show it who was boss. We were all in!

Laura w30

As soon as the carb hangover from the first few days wore off, I noticed a few improvements in my MG symptoms. Before then, nothing the doctors did for me helped in these areas:

  • Sleep. During my Whole30, I was getting better sleep, which reduced my muscle fatigue and gave me increased energy.
  • Breathing. MG can cause the muscles involved with breathing to fatigue quickly. Because I wasn’t constantly inflamed, I could breathe more normally.
  • Small muscle control. I had such tender and tight muscles in my neck because these are areas affected by MG. This pain and tightness decreased significantly. My jaw didn’t lock up as much and my right eye lid did not droop as drastically. I could speak more clearly for longer periods. I no longer bit my cheeks or tongue when I ate. I could eat a big salad without getting tired – something that was previously impossible.
  • Exercise. I was able to begin working out regularly without being completely overwhelmed by fatigue. The combination of superb fuel, diligent recovery, and lack of inflammation in my body finally made progress possible.
  • Medicine. At the beginning of my Whole­­30 I was on five (!) different medications. I am now only taking one! Slowly and safely eliminating the sleep meds, anti-inflammatory meds, antidepressant, and steroids has been huge. The side effects of these medications were severe. I don’t know if I’d have gotten there without an intervention in my diet/exercise/sleep routine.
  • Emotions. I finally felt in control of my body, habits, and behaviors in a way that I’d previously felt MG had taken from me. I feel more confident in my body. I am less moody and emotionally volatile even without antidepressants. I no longer depend on sweets for comfort nor do I have extreme emotional attachments to foods.

In addition, my husband and I grew closer as we faced the challenge together. My kids see me making different choices.  I gained more confidence in my cooking and my ability to feed my family well.

Laura-After
Two years after our first Whole30, we are doing our fourth. It feels like we need semi-annual ‘resets’ as old habits pop up. I’ve also tried eliminating different AIP specific ingredients in each go around to pinpoint inflammation triggers. Thank you for being a catalyst for change and freedom in my life. Thank you for showing what it means to live with conviction and grace.

Share Your Story

Are you a Whole30 success story?  Share your story with us in the comments, on social media, or in an email to [email protected].

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