Eating Well: Whole30 Check-in, Beyond the 30

I've owed you this check-in for over 30 days. I ended my Whole30 first round on February 6, 2020.

High five and ring the bell!

During those thirty days I kept all the right foods in the refrigerator and pantry. I had all the things prepped ahead of time and at-the-ready. I felt great. I had energy and more! I had thirty, 100% compliant, Whole 30 days for the entire round.

I lost twelve pounds. I'll call that month a success!

There were challenges, yes. About mid-way through the month, I started getting a little bored with the menus and routine dishes I had established, so I sought ways to change it up a little. I was able to do so enough to not stray. But I found myself craving one thing--Heinz Ketchup! I imagine my craving was actually for sugar but since I'm a ketchup junkie, that was the thing I landed on. All in all, my challenges were few, and I am grateful for that.

Besides the twelve pound loss, there were other victories. As mentioned, my energy level and focus increased. In fact, my energy level was so high at times I didn't want to go to bed--but when I did, I slept like the dead and felt well-rested when I woke. I felt extremely well the entire time.

One of my goals with Whole30 was to determine which foods were clogging up my gut and causing my irritable bowl and other gut symptoms. I already knew gluten was an issue. I suspected dairy might also be a problem. During this month, I think I can say with 100% certainty that without those foods in my system, my gut was healed.

Additionally, I realized one day that my knees and feet had stopped hurting. I've suffered nagging joint and feet problems for years. Suddenly, all that was gone, too.

I contemplated which of the food items I'd eliminated might have been the culprit of my joint issues. I suspect it may be artificial sweeteners. I replaced all diet soft drinks with water or unsweetened tea. I've eliminated diet drinks before with good results, but this time has convinced me that I never need to go back to that habit, and I haven't.

Today, I'm writing thirty days after the post 30-day round. So, a full month has passed since I ended Round 1, and a lot has happened.

It has not been an easy month. 

I totally messed up reintroducing foods and did everything wrong. Over 2-3 weeks time, I gained back six of the twelve pounds I lost.

I've been sick a lot. For one, I had the flu, which put me out of commission for about a week. Secondly, I had a bout with gout on my right big toe.

And third, just this past week or so, I have suffered through an extreme gut attack with IBS, and I'm trying to figure out the culprit and why this happened.

I can eliminate a few foods that could not have cause the IBS issue.
  • I did not reintroduce gluten...and have not intentionally had any gluten. However, I discovered a smoked sausage that I've eaten for years without issue, has wheat it in. I'm not sure why I never read this label before! I  didn't have the sausage during the round at all, however, but I did after. I'm wondering if after clearing my gut of gluten in January, if even this little bit caused a problem? Perhaps.
  • I have had no artificial sweeteners and I plan to keep it that way. 
Some foods that may be the culprit.
  • I have had cheese on a few occasions. I didn't reintroduce dairy correctly. 
  • I've had corn and corn products (like, tortilla chips) and I did not reintroduce those properly either.
  • I've had grains -- and yes, not properly reintroduced.
  • Sugar -- same.
When I had the flu, I went with the foods I had on hand. I didn't have everything I needed or wanted. My re-intro was wonky, at best. I fell into a few old/bad habits. My theory is that my digestive system rebelled. The gout might have been part of that too.

Gut rebellion. And badly. 

Every known digestive issue I've ever had manifested itself into one big (5 day running now) IBS session that included everything from a possible diverticulitis flair, with alternating constipation and diarrhea, to hemorrhoids, to upset stomach and indigestion.

I lost the six pounds I'd gained.

Can we say fun times? 

No. Don't say it. It's not. 

So gahhhhh! What is the recourse? 

Right now, it's a RA diet. Rice and applesauce. Most people do the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) but bananas give me indigestion and I don't have the energy right now to bake gluten-free bread for toast, and the closest grocery is a 40-minute round-trip drive for overly-priced, cardboard-tasting, gluten-free bread. I might try Amazon.

So, it's rice and applesauce for a few days, and then, perhaps Whole30 Round 2, or some modification thereof. We'll see.

Stay tuned.  So many lessons learned the past two months!

Do you have any post-Whole30 stories to tell? I'd love to hear from you.