Betty Had a Bit of Butter. Or: I am Not Whole 30

Butter, I am sorry for my betrayal.

I am not Whole30.

9 days in I re-examined my reasons for doing what I was doing because of how completely rat-shit I felt.

Cutting dairy, particularly cheese and butter, out of my diet had results I had not anticipated and none of them had anything to do with feeling fantastic, having better digestion or glowing skin. To be honest these things have been getting slowly better with digestive enzymes, a facial cleansing routine that amounts to making salad dressing on my face and getting my stress levels under control with yoga (etcetera).

What has happened since I have been doing the Whole 30 is my migraines have become steadily worse, I have terrible fatigue and I have all the symptoms of very low blood pressure. These things of worked together to have me leave work early and put unnecessary burden on my family and myself.

Essentially I have not been getting enough calories and salt despite salting my food, using ghee and coconut oil and tucking into seeds nut and avocados.

I have had bizarre food cravings for foods I never cared for “Pre-whole30” Unhealthy processed non-foods that have few merits but are high in salt and fat.

I read the forums, I found quite a few people had this problem. They suggested upping starchy vegetables, eating more avocados, really concentrating on meal planning, resting more, drinking more water, adding more salt to every meal.

None of them suggested stepping back and examining your reasons for remaining on a program which is religious in its dogma, that is supposed to be a simple way to improve your health but is instead causing more health problems than you started with. A dogma whose answer to the problem it has caused is complicated, stressful and encourages an unhealthy obsession with foods. Instead of say, eating some butter.

I ate the butter.

I realised reading the forums that the people doing the Whole30 were so consumed with what they were consuming that they had become essentially disordered with their eating. I saw that by denying myself the few healthful foods that were “non-compliant” (dairy, natural sweeteners, being obsessed with additives) and letting myself become salt and calorie deficient I had actually started obsessing about foods I would not normally eat. Whilst eating whole foods is a great thing for health I tend to agree, after 9 days of the program that a strict set of rules and cutting out whole food groups is not the way to reset eating habits to something new and wonderful, it’s another way of punishing yourself and forming some unhealthy obsessions with food. Not for everyone. I am sure for some people it is an excellent exercise in willpower, gaining control of their lives and losing weight.

My goals were perhaps, not congruent with the program. I am not consciously trying to lose weight as the little extra I carry causes no health problems and in fact is most likely helping protect me from some. I already ate very healthily intuitively but taking the extra step where I have to evaluate the macronutrient profile of everything I am eating in order to not faint or throw-up just sent me into a food obsession which was far from healthy.

So last night I ate the butter on a little bit of cheese, I felt much better within minutes. It answered all my fat and salt and protein questions in one tasty, creamy hit.

I did learn from my experience. I found I quite like bullet-proof coffee, it is very energising. I learned a lot about me. I learned that my own responses should be observed, that a set of dogma isn’t going to be the way to improve my life or health. I learned how easy it is to turn something well-intentioned into an obsession. I learned when to stop.

I learned how important butter is to me.


  1. Meegan Harvey says:

    I LOVE this post from you! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fad and recognise the benefits in eating a lot more natural, unprocessed crap (middle child has intolerance to preservatives so we have seen all of that benefit first hand..), but I also love BUTTER and CHEESE and COWS MILK!! And I’m only on this planet for a short while so I may as well enjoy all the cheeses, with butter, washed down with a cold glass of real milk 😀

    • Jessie says:

      ah I am so glad you enjoyed it- do you know what I feel so MUCH better the last few days so…there!(I love cheese and butter so much!)

  2. RoenTree says:

    I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Karl’s universal advice on diet:

    “Eat food, mostly vegetables, not too much.”

    Great post. I know too many people who blur the line between food fads and eating disorders.

    • Jessie says:

      Almost the same as Michael Pollan’s ‘Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” A very sane message. There are many paths to the same sort of approach- vegan, Mediterranean, Primal etc. but unprocessed foods, heavy in plants are the unifying factor. obsessing about it doesn’t seem to be pat of creating health!

Leave a Reply