Health

Whole30 Recap

Those, who have followed my journey, know that I started Whole30 protocol on June, 1st this year, to improve my overall health. I talked about it here and here.

whole30 book

Recently, my health started deteriorating. I started suffering with fatigue so bad, that getting out of bed after 8-9 hour long sleep was a struggle. I’m someone who likes to be active and all of sudden, I was out of breath just walking a little bit faster. I had zero energy, felt a lot of apathy, had problems concentrating, experienced digestive problems as well painful stomach cramps. I felt like I was having a flu without actually having flu. Everything in my body ached.

I hope you are getting the picture. Experiencing symptoms like this all at once can be overwhelming, and if you have identified with some of them, please feel free to reach out. Sometimes knowing that someone else is going through something similar does give us hope to persist and can help as we could share our experience.

I believe in natural medicine and decided to address my symptoms via looking at my diet first to see if that would help.

Side note: I have the utmost respect for our modern medicine. I am extremely grateful that we have it and that it saves lives… but… I do have a slight issue with how some of these health symptoms get addressed. What personally bothers me a bit is that quite often, symptoms rather that root causes get treated. And I think that our lifestyle choices can sometimes be healing as well.

With that said, I am not a licensed doctor nor a medical professional. If you suffer with poor health, the best way is to talk to someone who is; please consider consulting your medical professional.

My first step on my journey to health was to address what I eat. I chose to do an elimination eating phase called Whole30.


What is the Whole30?

Paragraphs below are taken from Whole30 website: https://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/ )

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition, like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, or chronic pain, that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms are often directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food.

 What do you eat whilst on Whole30?

Eat moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.

Avoid for 30 days.

  1. Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc.
  2. Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  3. Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on.
  4. Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  5. Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
  6. Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  7. Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. 

If you are considering giving this plan a go, I recommend checking this site out: https://whole30.com/pdf-downloads/

It has lots of useful information and those downloadable documents can be handy.


How did I do?

I’m not going to lie to you. It was hard.

I travel a bit with work and do spend a few days a week ‘on the road’. Carrying food with me is logistically OK for a day, but it did not work out for two consecutive days in this current heat. Eating out was challenging. Buying breakfast on the go usually meant trying to get some hard-boiled eggs with some salad on the side covered with olive oil. Lunch was usually some sort of steam veggies and oven cooked meat. Butter and margarine are in everything, so are vegetable oils – so checking labels, talking to people about their cooking processes… it was all needed and quite frankly, I felt exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was to talk to someone and having to think too much about it. But it was still do-able despite of me moaning about it. 😊

My thoughts during those five weeks were following:

Week 1 – I felt irritable. My patience levels were low, I felt like snapping at people and all I wanted to do was to dig a hole and hide there…

Week 2 – I felt really tired. Irritability persisted. During this week, I seriously felt like giving up. I was fed up with eating vegetables, eggs and meat and pretty much nothing else. I was cranky. I also realised I could be an emotional eater and really questioned why I was doing this to myself.

Week 3 – I felt even more tired than I was before I started this diet. This week is when I had to stop climbing and doing yoga as my energy levels got super low. My journey with food continued. I discovered how I would sometimes use food or alcohol to make myself feel better or to ‘unwind’.

End of week 3 – I started taking digestive enzymes as my digestion was still poor. I would feel bloated after most meals (clothes didn’t fit anymore) and I decided to use them to help me with digesting meals. I also started using collagen, l-glutamine and probiotics. It was right after I finished reading Eat Dirt by Dr Josh Axe. I will be reviewing it shortly.

In case you are interested in why I have been using these supplements, here are some useful articles by Dr Axe that explain how these may help:

Long story short – I identified with most of the of ‘leaky gut’ syndrome symptoms and I started using these supplements to heal my gut.

Week 4 – I was still not feeling much of a difference. Energy levels felt still low, digestion was mildly better but I had a few nasty digestive flare ups. I felt very discouraged at that point – everyone on Whole30 forums was celebrating their successes at that point and I felt like I was failing. Comparison is never a way forward, I know… 🙂

Week 5 – I started working on my mind management. I also managed to detach myself from food. I ate when I was hungry but mostly did not think about food at all. I also completed Whole30 during that week and I started feeling a little bit more energetic. It was enough to keep me going.


I am still following Whole30 protocol and my energy levels are slowly improving.  I’ve noticed a difference in my concentration levels. It has improved significantly. I feel more alert and the brain fog is gone. My skin has improved a lot as well. Digestion is still not great, but I have accepted that this will be a long journey rather than a short sprint.

I have relaxed the last point (7) of things to avoid a bit. I do make myself ‘no porridge’ porridge with coconut flour, ground flax, water and an egg. I also make ice lollies out of coconut milk and cherries and raw cocoa. I baked banana redcurrant bread using eggs, coconut flour and chia seeds. My reasoning is that as long as it doesn’t hurt my gut, it’s ‘allowed’. 😊

My next step alongside managing my diet is following: I want to learn how to manage my stress levels better.

As much as it pains me, I am weaning myself off of coffee. It also makes me jittery and that’s something I want to avoid.  I nowadays drink one coffee a day, which I am hoping to replace by matcha tea shortly.

I am slowing my eating process down as well. Concentrating on chewing food and not eating food on the go, is something I am embracing this month. 🙂

I have noticed that whenever I get anxious or I feel like I am failing at something (there goes the ‘recovering perfectionist’ again!), I start getting flare ups and my energy levels go down.

Because of this reason, I am reducing my time I spend online.

I love this blogging community and I appreciate all you lovely readers. I still want to carry on writing my blog. But I won’t be daily commenting or posting 3-4 posts a week. I need to slow down. Adding more to my day is currently not helping.

I am declaring July and Augusts my slow months full of deliberate choices and hopefully full of learning of how to say No.

I am saying No a lot these days and it does sometimes worry me. The fear of missing out is something I have to constantly keep at bay and sadly, me spending a lot of time online doesn’t help.

So this is not a goodbye, I’ll be still posting now and again. It’s probably just for me to manage my own expectations, nothing else. 😊

Hope you are all having a wonderful summer!🌞🌞🌞

Are you making any ‘deliberate’ choices this summer? As always, I’m dying to know. 😊

25 thoughts on “Whole30 Recap”

  1. Your health always comes first, Vera, and blogging is often rather quite stressful, so take as much time as you need! I’ve been trying to stay off of Twitter myself, as it’s been a constant source of bad news and distraction (it…hasn’t been easy).

    In early May, I was going through incredible amounts of stress and anxiety, and that ended up wreaking havoc on my gut (bloating, fever, abdominal pains, trips to the emergency room–the whole package), and I’m still trying to recover from that. Some stuff that’s been really, really helpful are Aloe Vera juice (pun not intended :P) and bananas. The aloe I’ve been drinking in small amounts 2-3 times a day, and the banana the first thing in the morning. They really help settle the gut. Dried dates have been helpful as well.

    Do give me a call if you want to swap tips or just vent about how our bodies are making our lives difficult. 🙂 All the love! ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kathy, that’s what I appreciate about this community- all that love and support, it really, really means a lot to me. 💕

      I’m really sorry you went though such rough times. Big hugs! 🤗 💕

      I’ve been so focused on food and completely overlooked stress. It can play havoc with our health. I can relate to everything you wrote. I have been craving bananas so maybe it’s my body telling me they will help. I will try both the aloe vera and bananas. Thank you! 🙏 I also want to start making my own bone and veggie broths; they are suppose to be also gut soothing.

      I really appreciate your help, I may take you on your offer one day. ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Kathy, if you need to take time away from blogging to help sort out your health, than we’ll still be here when you get back. It’s incredibly difficult getting your health sorted when you work a busy demanding life, and take on too many commitments, I’m sure we’ve all done the same. Set your priorities and take time out for yourself.

    And if you want to know more about my own personal road to recovery, just email me. As Kathy says, we’re all just a call/email away for advice, help and support. Take every good care of you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Alex, I really appreciate your kind words. ❤️ I may take you up on your offer. Asking for help is something I am still learning to do, but knowing that I am not alone and others have gone or are going through something similar really helps with my own journey. Thank you. 💕

      Like

  3. Your symptoms sound alot like mine. I have an anxiety disorder with a nasty side of depression and when my mental health is poor I get a lot of digestive issues. At the hospital, they told me it was fairly common. Something about the brain and stomach being connected. I had to cut caffeine out of my diet because it was exacerbating my illness. I’m like you, I have strong faith in holistic medicine. So my diet was one of the first things I changed. Take time for yourself! Stay healthy!! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad to see a fellow holistic medicine believer. It really sucks you get to experience those symptoms as well. 😔 You are right, I was listening to a podcast the other day and a neuroscientist was talking on it about how they have managed to establish relationships between microbiome in our gut and our brain. They were even transplanting microbiome from people suffering with depression into people that did not suffer from it, and as soon and their microbiome changed, the non-depressed group started showing signs of depression. They also tested it on stress and other factors. It’s an emerging piece of research but utterly fascinating.

      I hope your diet is helping managing some of those symptoms as well. Thanks for your kind words, I really appreciate them. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I will have to check this out. I’ve been going through some of the same issues and I am not very good at dealing with them meanwhile dealing with Doctors, hospitals and all those things only tend to stress me out more.
    Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m planning on seeing a specialist doctor soon. Dealing with doctors and hospitals can be stressful. ❤️

      Good luck to you too, not feeling well is never fun. Hope you start feeling better soon. ❤️

      Like

  5. My husband quit coffee like it was the easiest thing on the planet to do, and now I’m mad at him just a little!

    I’m glad you’re slowing down with blogging so that you don’t feel anxious. I have chronic anxiety, and though I did not know it, I needed to see a therapist to discuss boundaries. I thought boundaries were for dates only, but we need boundaries for EVERYTHING. Learning about them is one thing. Using them is another. It’s taken years for me to use them. And when I do, I feel POWERFUL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a firm believer of therapy. I must admit that boundaries are something I do struggle with as I like to be ‘liked’. It definitely will be something I will be working on this year. As well as being able to ask for help. I don’t like saying: “I need help, I can’t do it all”. But I’m working on it though. One step at the time! 🙂

      I’m so proud of you. Having loving but firm boundaries in place is such a statement of self-love; no wonder you feel powerful. Well done for all of that work you must have put into it, I bet it wasn’t easy.

      And yes, some people can give up caffeine easily and I am happy for them but also a little mad as well. I totally know what you mean he he.

      Like

  6. I think i told you already, but i think you did great! 🙂

    Agree with you! If you can fix something with eating differently or changing something in your lifestyle you absolutely should. Even my GP agrees with this 😀
    Like when i told her about my stomach pains and it was usually related to me eating bread she said “well, you need to stop eating it”. LOL. I mean, it’s obvious! Now i can eat it again, but i don’t actually want to that often… hehe.

    Enjoy your offline time! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Norrie!

      My GP and I sometimes disagree a lot so it’s good to see that you find one that is supportive. 🙂 I was recently asking her if I could have adrenal fatigue and she told me modern medicine doesn’t recognize that, as a condition, and that I’m probably just tired… so I told her if she knew about someone who may be able to recognize it and she stopped talking to me then, he he.

      I’m not going completely offline but do limit my time spend online as I think I’m a bit addicted and need to address it a bit. Thanks! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL!
        Yea, NHS says it’s not a thing… but with that said, i must say my doctors in hungary were even more creative. Like whatever the issue was, they basically told me it’s psychological and i should try antidepressants. For my stomach pain and for being dizzy a lot. One of them prescribed me xanax to take 3x500mg a day. (I didn’t)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s what I find so frustrating Norrie, the need to treat symptoms and sometimes even dismissing symptoms as something that’s in our heads. That prescription is something that would make me so furious. Well done for questioning it and getting better via looking at possible root causes. ❤️

        Exactly! If it’s not recognised, it does not exist. 😂😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the wishes. I was initially really down as it is a long list but now, as I am slowly starting to heal, I think it has been worth it. I will be slowly reintroducing food back to see how I react though. It won’t be forever, 😊🍀

      That blog format change made me laugh, please don’t do that, I love your blog as it is. 😂❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I wish you a speedy progress Vera! Your symptoms truly do sound rather troubling, and blogging definitely should be set aside since that in of itself is a stress. I’m so glad you’re tackling the root of the problem with your lifestyle and food choices; seeing the effects can take a while though, so I hope you don’t get discouraged! I’ll be rooting for your health! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the wishes and your kind words. I think I focused too much of what I was eating and overlooked what I was thinking.. that I am addressing it. If I don’t keep an eye on my thought, anxiety and stress can really take over. A lesson learned. ❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mental health can definitely affect your physical health, so I’m glad you’re dealing with this! You seem to have a good handle on taking care of yourself, so I feel optimistic you’ll overcome these obstacles soon. Cheers. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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