Exclude me?

07 Aug

My last appointment with T, I was telling her how horrible I’ve been feeling physically again. Among the conversation–other than grief and emotional issues–she mentioned that she had gone onto an exclusion type of diet. She’s been having some gastro issues, along with her fibro and post-shingles issue. I don’t know how SHE got onto the idea of doing a food change, but she mentioned to me that she was doing it and how well it was working for her.

I have already eliminated gluten due to a wheat allergy. In the past three months or so, I have cut out a majority of dairy in the form of cheese (I could never have imagined!), though I have not been entirely strict about it. Mostly I cut cheese out because I felt like I was eating it daily because I was accustomed to eating it and not so much because I was enjoying it. So I have changed to eating cheese when I want it–which isn’t as much as I had thought–and similarly with other dairy items. Again, I didn’t cut it all out, I just cut back a lot. Maybe 70% less than before.

The exclusion diet that T had been trying was something called the Whole30. I’ve been reading about it and learning the rules, and Hub and I have decided to give it a try. What makes it less…stressful, is that they suggest you do this for 30 days and then start re-introducing “non-compliant” foods one at a time to see what kind of reactions you have. When I say “reactions” this time, I mean physical and emotional reactions, as well as digestive/allergic reactions. Apparently Whole30 excludes all grains (including corn), legumes, dairy, certain oils, and added sugars (no matter if it’s real or fake sugars). They also urge people to eat as clean as possible, with organic (and hormone-free, and non-gmo, and humanely raised) meats, fruits, and veggies. Of course that can be difficult for a lot of people, both in terms of access and budget, so they suggest you do the best you can within your circumstances.

Generally speaking, Hub and I eat pretty balanced meals at dinner. We cook a lot, mostly because of my wheat issues and Hub’s diabetes. What will be more difficult is breakfast (which I don’t eat and I have a tolerance issue with eggs, which mostly is what they recommend for breakfast) and lunch. I don’t eat or like breakfast foods, so I am concerned about how to handle that. I eat split pea soup with mushrooms every day for lunch, with little variation. It keeps my bowels working well and it also means I don’t have to THINK about what to eat every day. On the Whole30, no legumes means no split peas. Hub eats a lot of dairy and lots of bread (and grains) and cereal, especially for breakfast. He eats lunch out when he’s at the office more than he takes food from home, which means more adjustments for him.

Although I’m worried about what I’m going to eat, I feel like it’s going to be easier for me in most instances than for Hub. I don’t eat out nearly as much as he does (mostly once a week so we can spend time with my father), I don’t eat hardly any bread–and can give up the stuff I eat without any problem–and I don’t eat cereal. I can more easily adjust to eating no added sugar because I don’t add sugar to anything except tea, which I rarely drink. (And when I say no added sugar, I mean NO SUGAR in any ingredient in any form in any item with the exception of naturally occurring sugar in whole foods.) And I think I can adapt my “first meal” of the day more easily than Hub, because I’ll just eat leftovers from one of our dinners. Also, I don’t get bored with food to the point that I won’t EAT the leftover food. I’ll just eat it because it’s easy, but Hub will turn his nose up at it if he’s “bored”.

We’ve already started a menu for the first week, at least for dinner and for Hub’s lunches. I’ll probably eat more salad than I have in recent months, because I’ll put leftover proteins on a salad and eat it that way with homemade oil and balsamic dressing, or homemade mayonnaise (or I’ve found “compliant” avocado mayo).

The Whole30 says no snacking because if you’re hungry in between meals then you’re not eating the right amount of proteins and fats with your meals. Lots of people in videos basically said they snacked on veggies or protein snacks when they thought they were hangry in between meals. Again, the idea of the Whole30 is supposed to be “resetting” your mindset when it comes to what you’re eating and why you’re eating it. Some people do the Whole30 because they have a kind of addiction to food, or an unhealthy relationship with food (hello! right here!), while others use it to figure out what might be bothering them physically or emotionally.

T told me she had tons more energy, stopped using antacids, her fibro pain was reduced, and her post-shingles pain was reduced. A lot of people I’ve seen on youtube or read on blogs have had similar responses, with reduced pain, reduced inflammation, and better gastro symptoms, better sleep, better energy while on the Whole30.

It’s going to take a lot of planning and forethought for us, which is difficult because a lot of evenings we’re kind of like scrambling for dinner…and we never have lunches or breakfasts pre-planned. We’ve never planned out meals for the week on a Sunday, or cooked lots of meals in advance… We’ll see how it goes. We’ve been talking a lot about it for the last two weeks (we wanted to wait until after the wedding to start, because eating out is nearly impossible to do on the Whole30 plan), and hope that we’re doing enough planning to make it through the month. I really want to try because if there’s some kind of foods that are bothering me and causing me this hideous fatigue, I want to know. If it isn’t rooted in food, then I can move on from that.

I do see an allergist in the middle of August, so I hope to eliminate that possibility as well. The neuro test isn’t until the first week of September, so that’s kind of a long wait for me, which sucks. Until then I have to just keep pressing on, and rest when I can’t do anything else. *sigh*


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9 responses to “Exclude me?

  1. Maggie Wilson

    August 7, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Very interesting! I’ve been reading up on Ketogenic and Paleo diets – more ore less the same as Whole 30.

    One of the criticisms of these two approaches is the rigidity. I like this line in your post: “They also urge people to eat as clean as possible, with organic (and hormone-free, and non-gmo, and humanely raised) meats, fruits, and veggies. Of course that can be difficult for a lot of people, both in terms of access and budget, so they suggest you do the best you can within your circumstances.”

    I’m trying to lose weight and to ward off heart problems. I’ve eliminated (most) grains and starches and have been off sugars since the first of the year. The breakfast thing for me is the hardest, too. I am OK with eggs. It’s just not in my routine. I’m more of a granola or toasted bread/bagel gal. Well, that’s changing, but I have to use up a boat load of homemade granola first! (Figures, eh?)

    I’m seen immediate improvements with the weight loss – as I understand it, starches hold a lot of water, so lose the starch, lose the water. That seems to be the case. I am sleeping better. I’m also getting more exercise – the other key element of my lifestyle change. So far, so good.

    I wish you much success – it’s good that both of you are on the same diet.

  2. meANXIETYme

    August 7, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    I know paleo is similar but I don’t know the ketogenic diet.

    It’s funny because a lot of people including the creators say that the Whole30 is very rigid. I just know we can’t do the expensive meats especially considering you eat a LOT of meat on their plan. But beyond that footnote, they are very strict with their foods and rules. So that’s why the thirty day limit made it easier for us to try.

    I’m glad your changes are working out for you. That always makes it easier to continue when you see progress!

    How did you do with the sugar withdrawal?? Or any other withdrawal issues?

    • Maggie Wilson

      August 8, 2017 at 7:10 am

      I’ve been weaning myself from sugar for a few years now. I think I repulsed myself once and for all after a binge on Halloween leftovers in 2014.

      I don’t use sugar in my tea or coffee. I don’t drink soda pop. I prefer sour to sweet. I don’t buy processed foods. Rather, I don’t eat the processed foods that are brought into the house. That’s my husband’s job – he has a problem with being underweight and has stashes of treats all over the place.

      But I do enjoy cakes and pies and cookies. And ice cream. Since January, when I topped 200 pounds, I decided to stop baking. Ice cream was the last to go when I found out my cholesterol is borderline.

      Now that I’ve reduced the breads and other starchy carbs, I find I have more “cold flashes” (the opposite of the normal menopausal hot flashes.) I am sleeping better, which is GREAT.

      And then, on those days when I give in to cravings and have the sandwich or sneak some of my hubbies treats, I almost instantly feel bloated and “off.” Nothing by way of pain, which is good.

      So, not really any big withdrawal issues. And as you say, the benefits are motivating me to continue.

      I am not strictly following any regime like Whole 30 because of the heavy focus on meat. We gave up industrial farmed meat – we eat eggs and seafood and soy. (Soy is another “no-no” if you read up on Keto or Paleo.) But for me, my gut tells me (no pun intended!) that sugar is toxic and if I need energy it is better from fat than from sweet. And since I’m a “flexitarian” on a budget in a remote area, this is where I’ve ended up, diet-wise.

      Or, as I prefer to call it these days, lifestyle-wise.

      • meANXIETYme

        August 8, 2017 at 10:12 am

        Awesome, Maggie! Thanks for sharing all that with me.

  3. joey

    August 7, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I did an elimination diet in 2010, to see how it’d help my anxiety. For me, it’s processed food that does the most damage, not just to my anxiety, but also my RA inflammation, rosacea, and digestion. If there are preservatives or artificial colors, the effects are almost immediate.
    Spicy foods are almost as bad as the processed foods. Then the ‘hot’ foods, like tomato, beef, chocolate — those don’t agree with me either.
    Spicy ‘hot’ foods like, say, a bbq sammich, are the absolute worst.
    Storebought bread is definitely not good for me, unless it’s sourdough or rye. Any kind of bread made at home is infinitely more kind to me. Same with pasta. Truly makes me wonder what’s in dried boxed pasta…
    Vegetables and fruits are my friends. Rice, anything rice, is my friend. Even processed rice. Even Rice Krispies, even Rice Krispie treats!!! Dairy is good to me.
    Clean eating is definitely on my agenda, eating close to the life force, and as cool and low FODMAP as I can stand — which for a foodie IS HARD. I get bored like your hub. I do my best though, so that when I know a bbq sammich or whatever is in my future, I can partake without excessive suffering.
    Safe foods are pretty limited for me. I imagine as I age, I will lean harder on them. I could talk about this forever and ever. I’ve learned so much.
    When I did the elimination diet, I bout lived on ants on a log, but you can’t legume or dry fruit on Whole 30… Also, I need to graze. Grazing is my life, lol!
    Lots of salad? I love salad, but I can’t do it every day.
    Definitely love sugar. Ice cream and drinks, oh yes. That one’s hard.
    I’m not a meat eater, not veggie, just don’t like meat much, so these no-carb/ low-carb diets that revolve around meats are not for me. I cannot afford to eat seafood every night, or I might would 😉
    Anyway, I wish you luck, and hope even if it doesn’t improve your life, it teaches you something helpful.

    • meANXIETYme

      August 7, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      I eliminated a lot of stuff due to gastritis and gerd. Then the wheat allergy. I’ve never given up dairy or legumes or all grains. I don’t mind meat and I eat some fish…it’s the eggs that are the issue. I wish I could eat them cuz that’s easy protein. The Whole30 recipes are lousy with eggs as main protein in a dish.

      What worries me is the meat being so prevalent in almost every meal for me. That’s a lot of meat. But it’s only a month and I will try to keep working in fish and maybe try egg whites since I think that’s what is in egg beaters, and I can eat those in small amounts.

      I just wonder how to know if what I am still eating is a problem. How much can I really exclude without stopping eating altogether!

      I do love ice cream and gelato and whipped cream and cheese…so I’ll be sad if dairy becomes a major no-no. I’m okay with cutting back but…:(

      Thanks for your input. It’s good to hear other people’s experiences.

      • joey

        August 7, 2017 at 9:01 pm

        I think the thing is, unless you’re in the severe allergy group, you really can eat anything, but there may be prices to pay for it. Some of those prices are fine at times, but some are just not worth it. So however you go about it, it’s valuable to find out.
        I love eggs, but not eat them every single day love them.
        I think your idea of eating leftover dinners for brekkie is probably best unless you wanna do flourless blender muffins or coconut chia pudding. (Been there, done that.) If you’re good with egg whites, a nice white omelet (maybe with spinach and mushrooms?) is a lovely alternative on days you don’t want dinner?
        I kinda envy you, because cooking for 4 or 5 it is either throw down some bad-for-you yumminess on the regular, or be despised! lol I’m always tellin The Mister that when these people leave, food’s gonna be a lot more Joey-friendly around here. When eldest daughter left home, there was a huge shift. She was my picky. 😛

      • meANXIETYme

        August 7, 2017 at 9:08 pm

        Not supposed to do fake muffins or pancakes and the like because Whole30 is supposda be about new relationships with food. Faking the food fools your brain into thinking you are eating the original. So they say. :p

        Yes, we are lucky because we both mostly eat the same foods…with few exceptions like mushrooms. I love ’em and he won’t touch them.

      • joey

        August 8, 2017 at 11:14 am

        Oh, gotcha. 🙂


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