Marlene’s story is part of our ongoing Whole30 success stories series. To submit your own Whole30 story, contact [email protected].

In Marlene’s Own Words

Three and a half years ago I was a perfectly healthy woman. I ran 5k three times a week.  I walked everywhere, ate a good diet (I’m not much of a dessert person), and did not drink or smoke. But in February of 2012 I developed a cough. It happened while I was on my way to a vacation in Florida. While there, my cough became worse. A friend mentioned that I sounded like an asthma sufferer.

When I arrived back in Toronto I went to my family doctor. She said it was the “100 Day Cough” and that not much could be done.

Things went downhill from there. My journey over these last 3 years has been one of sheer misery.

I was referred to a pulmonologist (in Canada where Marlene lives, this type of doctor is called a respirologist) who sent me to an otolaryngologist (commonly called an ear, nose and throat doctor) who in return sent me back to the pulmonologist.  They had no idea what the cause was. This led to surgery on my sinuses, a bronchoscopy, a CT scan, and pulmonary function tests.  Nothing was found.

My spirit was low. I couldn’t run anymore, or even climb stairs without losing my breath. I was on a regular inhaler twice a day, and used an emergency inhaler about four times a week. I used nose sprays, nose drops, antibiotics, and more, but nothing helped. I visited an allergist… who discovered no allergies. I saw a Naturopath, Osteopath, and a massage therapist. I tried all kinds of diets, to no avail.

My husband and I travel a lot, and while we were in France I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance when I could not catch my breath or control my coughing. My pulmonologist tried everything to help. He would shake his head and say, “here comes my complicated patient.” He gave me his email address so I could write him at anytime. I was nervous about going anywhere, worrying how my health would be.

The Whole30: a Road to Recovery

In May I decided to do some research on my health and started looking at food. I had a regular appointment with my pulmonologist was that same month.  I did a breathing test and it showed that my numbers had dropped even more since my previous appointment. He shook his head and said, “We have to do something to figure this out.” I told him that I was looking into treatment through diet and asked if we should start with that. He agreed, so I started down a new path yet again.

At the end of May, I started the Whole30. I followed it to the letter.

During the first week, I noticed that my lungs were feeling better. By the end of the week I didn’t need my inhalers. From the first of June right up to today, I have not used them. I am off of all inhalers and nose sprays. I have so much energy and have been exercising. I lost 22 pounds and 21 inches.

I have stayed on the Whole30 plan because I like the way I feel and I do not want to go back to coughing.  I am happy for each and every day that I do not have to use an inhaler and, of course, for what the Whole30 program has done for me.

I could hardly wait for my follow up visit with my pulmonologist. I was excited to see him and tell him the good news. As I walked in he greeted me with, “Here is my complicated patient.” I said, “Not any more!”

He was speechless. My breathing test was normal. He checked my lungs and he said they are perfect. He told me that he sees 100 patients a week and has been doing his job for over 35 years.

He could only count 10 patients during all those years that were his “miracle” patients, and I was one of them. I think the miracle is the Whole30.

Now I’m encouraging my friends and family to give the Whole30 a try. My husband and some friends of ours were at my home recently to hear the wonderful news about my lungs. They had seen me at my worst. The wife of this couple went right out to purchase your book. They will be joining me on the Whole30. My husband has been dealing with Polymyalgia Rheumatica for over two years now.  He will be joining also. The four of us will enjoy having Whole 30 meals together.

I hope that my health stays as good as it is right now. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for what you have created.