Thank you to everyone for sticking with me throughout January and my completion of the Whole30. Thank you for all of the support and encouragement – it truly made the month so much easier and I had a lot of fun creating new Whole30 compliant recipes for you! But, I promise that I am back to regularly scheduled recipes (pass the cheese please)… for the most part.
If you read my first Whole30 recipe, then you probably know why I decided to give this a shot. Here’s a quick recap:
- Suffering from Raynaud’s Phenomenon for 5+ years.
- Raynaud’s symptoms have been really bad for 3+ years.
- Fall 2014 – my little sister was diagnosed with Celiacs.
- Realized my family has tons of autoimmune issues – Raynaud’s, Celiacs, MS, lupus, Sjogrens.
- Fall 2016 – decided to do the Whole30 in January 2017 to see if my diet was affecting my Raynaud’s symptoms.
- December 2016 – got checked for Celiacs. Tested positive with a severity of 3/4.
So obviously, my family’s history of autoimmune diseases is not on my side. And after being diagnosed with Celiacs and already having Raynaud’s, I knew there had to be a link in what I was eating with how I was feeling. Doing the Whole30 enabled me to eliminate potential triggers in my diet and reintroduce them back in way where I could understand how they affected my body.
My Whole30 in general was… much easier than I anticipated. The hardest part was not having a glass of wine or any chocolate. #firstworldproblems
The first week had a pretty steep learning curve in a lot of respects – how much to eat at each meal in order to not snack, how much planning was involved in creating 21 meals for the week, HOLY COW I am eating so many vegetables I didn’t think this was possible. That sort of thing.
I ended up eating pretty large meals during the first week, but that ultimately led me to feel overly full and uncomfortable. After week 1, I shifted my focus from eating large meals and not snacking to listening to my body and feeding it when it’s hungry – no matter if it was time for a meal or not.
All in all, I was off to a good start.
I just want to order Ping Pong for dinner. I love to cook, don’t get me wrong. But cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for myself every single day is a lot. Usually, Pat and I pick up or order dinner one night during the week and it is almost always something fast, delicious, and healthy. Thank you Chicago!
But going out to eat or ordering food is really difficult on the Whole30. I didn’t know how anything was prepared – was it cooked in butter or oil? Can I sub out the french fries for a salad? I hate being that person asking all sorts of questions at a restaurant, so it was easier to just make something quick at home, like eggs, than enjoy my normal take-out.
Other than feeling annoyed about that, I was feeling GREAT. At this point, I had been off gluten for a month and had only eaten lean protein and vegetables for two week – I felt amazing.
During week 3, I really felt like I was hitting my stride. I was sleeping great (not that I was a poor sleeper before), had tons of energy, started enjoying my coffee black (who am I?!), and loved experimenting in the kitchen. I truly began to feel and understand why people adopt this as a lifestyle.
I can see the finish line – it’s so close! So two minor slip ups occurred during week 4… I was doing some content creation and recipe testing for a client and was creating a buffalo chicken pizza. I would never create a recipe and submit it without actually tasting it myself, so I did. And you know what?? Nothing happening. The world didn’t end. My body didn’t freak out. I just kept right on going with the Whole30 and everything was fine.
I also had to do a taste test of the rye whiskey old fashioned I posted for Lyrics & Libations. For the same reasons as before, I took a sip. And yes, I know I consumed some sugar in that sip and that is against the rules, but I’m sure I accidentally ate sugar in some other form throughout the month without knowing it as well.
All in all, the final week wrapped up well and I was excited to start the reintroduction phase.
The reintroduction phase.
To be honest, I was a little nervous about reintroducing legumes, grains, and dairy back into my diet. YES, I missed them all; but I felt so awesome during that month and I didn’t want that feeling to end.
Day 1: legumes – I ate an apple and my favorite peanut based protein bar – Wella Bar – for breakfast. I didn’t have any legumes at lunch, but had a side of black beans with my dinner. I felt totally normal all day and the following two days where I ate foods that were Whole30 compliant.
Day 4: grains – I ate a big bowl of gluten free oats for breakfast, had some crackers with my lunch, and made Smitten Kitchen’s tomato and sausage risotto for dinner. Again I felt 100% good through the day and the following days as well.
Day 7: dairy – This was the day I was most nervous for. And I was most nervous for two reasons – the first reason was that I really love dairy and of the three groups, dairy would be the hardest for me to omit. The second reason I was nervous was because of my Celiacs diagnosis. My little sister who has Celiacs developed some lactose intolerance due to her gluten allergy and I was terrified this would happen to me too. Luckily, I ate some Siggis with my breakfast, had a salad at lunch that had some diary in the dressing and mozzarella, and ate a few slices of cheese as a snack before dinner with no significant issues.
So what does all this mean?
What this means is that other than gluten, my body can process and tolerate just about anything.
But am I going to eat all of those things? Yes, in moderation. When I introduced each group on its own, I was fine. But this past week after eating all three groups in the same day (Example: I had yogurt with gluten free granola on top), I could definitely tell a difference in the way I was feeling – some stomach pain, a little bloated, and sluggish.
I will be decreasing my intake of all three groups to an extent. But I am just going to take things one day at a time, listening to what my body is telling me, and giving it what it is asking for.
My bigger goal with completing the Whole30 was to determine if there is something in my diet that is affecting my Raynaud’s symptoms. And no, I did not see any improvement of my symptoms.
But here’s the deal – I have been eating gluten and causing my body, my gut, and my digestive tract harm for an unknown period of time. Looking back, I probably developed Celiac Disease 2 years ago. 2 years! That is a long time for be to be damaging my body. And no, 30 days is not enough time to heal all of that damage, much less heal the damage and show a positive impact on other autoimmune symptoms.
That being said, I am not going to completely eliminate these foods from my diet, but I will definitely be eating them in smaller quantities and less frequently. And I will experimenting and tracking how foods affect my Raynaud’s symptoms.
Wow. That was a long post and a lot of information. If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me until the end!
Do you have any questions for me about the Whole30? Ask me in the comments below!
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THE BUFFALO CHICKEN GOT US! I’m so relieved you did the same thing, haha! But yes, I had a lot of similar takeaways! I think legume do bother me most, and if I eat things continuously, I start for feel exactly as you described – sluggish! I’m so inspired by you taking all of your complications into your own hands and I’m excited that you felt so good. And I agree, I think it can take a long time for the gut to heal – I think mine was in a bit of shock for a while and finally regulated toward the end!
Right?! But we couldn’t NOT try it… and thanks! I definitely think this is going to continue to be a very long journey for me, but one that I am excited for! The Whole30 really gave me a glimpse into how great I can feel and how healing food can be for my body and I am ready to continue that journey!
Wow Ellie, I didn’t know you were experiencing all of those health issues. I’s glad to hear you now know to cut out gluten. I know beans do affect me some, so I eat them in moderation. I think the Whole30 is great to go through to find out those kinds of things. Cheers to eating everything in moderation!
I know… and honestly, this all happened within the last few months. I thought I was super healthy (and know that I am), but I was really thrown for a loop with Celiacs and it ignited something in my to really assess the foods I am eating. Always, everything in moderation. Happy Valentine’s Day!
I loved reading this, Ellie! I’m going to be doing an elimination diet over the next few months, so it was great to see how you felt that the whole 30 went and what (if anything) you would do differently. Sorry to hear that your Raynaud’s didn’t improve (such a pain!), but maybe as your gut starts to heal from being gluten-free you’ll see improvements in your other autoimmune disorders as well! Keeping my fingers crossed for you 🙂
That’s exactly what I am hoping for! What sort of elimination diet are you planning?
This is so good to read this, and I’m so thankful for God’s mercy in that you didn’t have to cut out grains or dairy or legumes and that the re-introduction went well. Also, my family has strains of Celiacs too, and most of them can eat everything but gluten.
My thoughts exactly Emily! Thanks so much!
This is so awesome and you did the reintroduction like a pro! Proud of you and glad I had you with me during my January Whole30 too!!
Thanks Chrissa! Yes, it was so awesome having the BGB community as a support system – it made a huge difference!