Day 30 - Still having headaches


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So.... It's day30 and I've seen tons of improvements during whole30, BUT I've been having horrendous headaches almost everyday. They come on around 4:30/5PM and persist until I take some kind of pain reliever. They began sometime in week two....

I've completely cut caffeine from my diet and I drink my weight in water every day. I've been 100% compliant the entire 30 days ((woohoo!)), so the only thing I can think of is that my fruits and veggies haven't been organic. Could my increase in fruits/vegetables actually be worsening my headaches because of pesticides?

Any thoughts are appreciated!

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Having a headache for two or three weeks straight is not a normal reaction... did you start eating a lot of something in week 2 that you normally wouldn't? (for instance, you all of a sudden fell in love with XYZ vegetable/fat?)

Do you wash your vegetables? I shouldn't think that it would be caused by non-organic, but stranger things have happened.

Can you post a few days of your intake on days that you have a headache and if you can, a few days in the first two weeks where you didn't and we can see if there's anything that stands out. Otherwise, I would strongly suggest that you see your primary care physician about this as headaches that go on for weeks are definitely nothing to take lightly.

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It is normal when you are doing a Whole30 to think everything that happens is related to what you are eating, but in your case, I think you need to consider how other factors might be involved. It is extremely unlikely that eating non-organic food would give you one headache, let alone a headache every day in the late afternoon. Are you exercising differently? Has the temperature where you are living changed? Have you experienced changes in your sleep, stress, activity levels... ?

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Thanks for all the feedback. I didn't log my meals every day because I didn't want to fall into the habit of obsessively tracking what I ate ((history of eating disorders)). But, I do know that my boyfriend and I pretty much got the same ingredients when we went to the grocery store each day.

A typical day for me:

Breakfast:

Banana with almond butter, 1-2 hard boiled eggs ((no yolks, yuck...))

Lunch:

Salad with shaved nuts, fruits and veggies, Palm-sized portion of chicken or fish

OR

Palm-sized portion of chicken or fish, baked sweet potato, serving of veggies

Snack:

Handful of nuts and dried berries (sometimes a piece of fruit and almond butter if I didn't have fruit with lunch)

Dinner:

Palm-sized portion of chicken, plantain chips with guacamole, serving of veggie

OR

Three fried eggs, hash browns (sweet or regular pirates), serving of veggies

Also, I normally suffered through the headaches without pain killers. So I doubt it was rebound headaches. I think I only took them twice

***

I didn't really think to consider other factors... I guess I just assumed everything going on was related to Whole30. I feel silly now....

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Have you always started your day with fruit? A lot of people find that when they eat fruit first thing in the morning having fasted over night that it causes a spike in the blood sugar levels followed by a crash later in the day - one of the symptoms often being headaches.... then you are feeding that issue later with more fruit, or dried fruit. A properly constructed breakfast with 1-2 palm sized pieces of protein, 1-3 cups of veggies, & a good helping of an optimal source of fat will set you up much better for the day.

Also, given that you are needing to snack mid afternoon I'd say you're not eating enough.

What we eat has a cumulative effect on our bodies - a continual lack of food will have an on-going impact such as the headaches you describe...

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Could you be drinking too much water? If your body starts running low on salt from being "flushed out", and you aren't eating a ton of sugar, then it may have a harder time keeping your blood pressure up, and that could absolutely cause headaches. (I was always taught in nursing school, where salt and sugar go, water follows). So you could try less water or more salt or both. If that is the culprit, I bet bone broth would be great for it. Good luck! 

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Thank you all so much for your feedback. I really don't think that it's because I'm not eating enough... My snack in the afternoon is due to my unusual gap between lunch and dinner. My work schedule only allows for a 30min break for lunch around noon, and then I don't get home for dinner until 6:30ish.

I'm not much of a breakfast person, and with mornings being so hectic, I consider it a win that I've been able to work eggs in. I have noticed that I get super sleepy if I don't eat carbs with breakfast (banana or sweet potato usually). If I have time to make a real breakfast, I add in a serving of veggies, but when it's grab and go it's much more difficult. Raw carrots and broccoli really don't sound appetizing first thing in the morning.

I honestly didn't realize that too much water was a thing.... Could that be why I've been craving salt?

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Raw carrots and broc definitely do not sound appetizing.  During your prep, could you try roasting a pan of them and then popping them in the fridge?  At room temperature, previously roasted vegetables are actually quite delicious, so just take them out of the fridge before your shower and they'll be perfect temp when you're ready to eat.

 

As far as the snack, it's totally okay to eat between meals if you have a context that requires it but instead of nuts and dried fruit, try a mini meal of at least protein and fat and ideally vegetables.  So those raw carrots, a hardboiled egg or tin of tuna and some mayo or olives if you can.

 

Because the Whole30 removes virtually all packaged and processed food from your diet, depending on where you came from eating-wise, it can also remove almost all sodium unless you generously salt your food.  The SAD diet advice is to limit salt on your food but that's because people are already getting obnoxious amounts from processed food.  Try salting your food for a few days and see if that helps with the headaches!

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