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Feeling terrible on whole30 - Day 24 (adrenals?)

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Hi, I'm on day 24 and feeling really terrible. I know I have adrenal fatigue and I made the mistake at the beginning of whole30 of cutting out starchy veg for a few days and following the guideline to not snack. My intention was to cut the sweet taste to help with sugar/carb addiction as it's what a naturpath told me to do years ago - but I started feeling really really terrible and added them back in on day 4 after googling about low carb and adrenals. 

Since then I've been eating sweet potato or squash every day. But I am still feeling terrible a lot of the time. Right now for example I've just eaten breakfast, after having been up in the middle of the night needing to eat as I was empty and quivery inside and had a pounding heart; and I am still feeling very weird. My heart is pounding and I feel strange inside, like I'm still hungry, which makes no sense. I often feel empty and have a rapid heart beat, either after a meal or in between meals. I've been eating snacks or small meals in between meals.

I was putting all this down to those 3 days without starchy veg but now I'm beginning to question whether whole30 is suitable if you have adrenal issues. Or whether there is some guideline I need to follow. Should I eat starchy veg with every meal and snack??

Last night for example I had two organic chicken thighs and roast broccoli and asparagus and I had a handful of sweet baby tomatoes to up my carbs. Was that enough carb? In the middle of the night I had cold organic salmon and baby tomatoes and later on a handful of hazelnuts. For breakfast I've just had two rashers of compliant bacon, two eggs, roast courgette, asparagus, and peppers, and some baby tomatoes. I had a pretty sleepless night as I have a severe chest infection. I'm not sure whether I'm feeling extra terrible because interrupted sleep has been tough on the adrenals or whether two meals in a row without starchy veg is a no-no. 

If starchy veg is the key does that need to be literally every meal and snack; and what counts as suitable starchy veg? After all surely there are sugars in roasted peppers, baby tomatoes and asparagus, which I just ate. And do I need to re-introduce potatoes -are they 'better' than sweet potatoes for this?

In other news I am still bloated like I'm 6-months pregnant - my stomach is always bloated - and I'm fearing that I may need to go low-fodmap. Gaaaaaahhh. I just want to feel well.


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I'm sorry to hear you're not feeling so good...

I'll start by saying that I'm not medically trained, but my understanding of adrenal fatigue is that it needs to be treated in a way similar to diabetes, in that it is important to keep your cortisol & blood sugar levels stable. Diabetes sufferers will tell you that excess starchy veg in their diet can spike their blood sugar just as easily as a banana or some fruit juice, and many eat starchy veg maybe only every other day to keep that under control so I'd avoid adding more at this stage, unless you're stage 3 with a flat lining cortisol which your Dr can confirm via a saliva test.


Good fats, & proteins will help to stabilize blood sugars, and the likes bone broth & fermented drinks are recommended for helping to heal the gut.

How often are you snacking? How often are you eating fruit? Nuts?

How much water are you taking on board daily? The recommendation is for half an ounce per pound of body weight daily - so a person weighing 150lbs should be drinking 75oz water. In your case you may need more.

How long have you been feeling this way?

Could it be that it is just the chest infection that is having an impact on how you're feeling?

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The Whole30 is a perfect approach to dealing with adrenal issues because you are always better off with nutrient dense foods, but it is important to customize what you are eating to your situation. 


Eating snacks frequently means you are not eating large enough meals. You certainly should eat when you are hungry, but every snack you eat is a signal to increase the size of your meals. A good interim step is to plan 4 meals. You may find it easier to eat enough at 4 meals to stop snacking. Your body needs time between eating sessions to complete hormonal rhythms. Eating lots of small meals interferes with that. The small meals do not ruin your life, but they are far from ideal. 


Nuts cause a fair number of people to bloat. To be safe, you would do well to eliminate all nuts for a few weeks. 

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Having and trying to heal from a chest infection with a background of adrenal issues all while having interrupted sleep is definitely an issue. Another issue is that you may not be eating enough food to support your recovery. Eggs as protein are as many as you can hold in your hand without dropping; for most women that equals at least 3-4 (bacon is fat, not a decent source of protein). Depending on the size of the chicken thigs once the bone is removed, 2 may be just a palm for you, you could possibly bump that up.

Protein is what your body builds and repairs with so if it is a bit deficient, that's going to be an issue. You also don't appear to be consistently adding fat based on your report above. Maybe you do and just didn't mention it?

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Just read JMCBN's response and I have a question....


My husband and I will be starting tomorrow, he is Type 2 Diabetes.  We showed the WHOLE 30 to his endocronologist and he is on board and even encouraging my husband to eat this way.  With meds he has his sugar under control, but until tomorrow we eat fruit as a snack....or he will snack if he feels his sugar drop (he tests his blood religiously) .that will not happen after tomorrow.


We bought Larabars for him for EMERGENCY purposes only.  Because if his sugar drops he is in trouble if he doesn't get something into his system if we are in the car and .especially after the GYM.  Although we live close by, he might not have enough time to get home and eat  We will monitor this situation carefully the first 2 weeks.  Hopefully the PWO meal and Post work out meal will suffice


My husband is 6 foot 7 inches and is close to 300 pounds.....I am more concerned about portion size for his frame so that he gets enough food so he doesn't have to go to the Larabar


Any suggestions for this situation --- meal sizes, snacking --- Inquiring minds want to know. :unsure:

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Anyone doing Whole30 should be measuring their portion sizes against the palm of THEIR hand, so your husband's portion will not be the same as yours. I'd suggest he eats to the high end of the template, so 2 palm sized pieces of protein (a portion being the length, width & depth of his palm), 1-3 cups of veg (with 3 being optimum), and a good helping of fat - ignore the thumb measurement & use half an avocado, a couple of TBSP of home-made mayo, a handful of olives, or some compliant bacon if that's easier to understand & you'll get the hang of the oils and other fats as you go. Most of the oi you use to cook in will stay in the pan so ignore that.

As I mentioned above, those suffering from diabetes should be limiting their starchy veg content to pretty much every other day as more than this will result in a sugar spike. Blood sugar levels should be stabilized with protein & fats.

Have a look at this link where two members (one with T1 & one with T2) discuss how they deal with highs & lows, larabars etc....

I'd ditch the larabars unless they are really, really necessary & look at getting long term, sustainable results by following the template of proteins, veg & fats.


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I appreciate your replies, thank you.
I felt a bit better about an hour after breakfast - maybe it takes that time for digestion to regulate blood sugar, if that's what's off - I don't know how the whole adrenal thing works.
If you haven't experienced it it's hard to explain what adrenal empty quivery hungry jitteriness feels like. It doesn't feel the same as blood sugar must-eat although there's a definite element of that. The heart pounds and races, which is really unpleasant especially in the middle of the night; the stomach feels empty yet it's hard to know sometimes if it's true hunger; and the system feels quivery and jittery. 
I had adrenal issues before but had stabilised so that I could sleep through the night without my heart starting to pound and needing to get up and eat;  and I definitely worsened by excluding starchy veg and eating just 3 meals a day at the start of my Whole30 (plus the 1st or 2nd day I got caught out on a shopping trip and ate a v. late lunch which didn't help -fasting is a disaster for adrenals). And I definitely improved when I added starchy veg back in after reading on google that low carb is bad for adrenal fatigue; so I'm confused by the idea that starchy veg aren't good because of blood sugar issues. 
When I saw a kinesiologist and had adrenal fatigue diagnosed she asked me to eat every two hours to support my blood sugar - I don't eat quite as frequently as this, but sometimes I think I should!
I am drinking a couple of litres a day (I am very 'damp' in Chinese terms so I don't think I'm meant to be drinking loads more than this) and I think I am eating plenty of fats (athough I don't understand the thumb measurements given in the book - is that the width of a thumb, or the length of a thumb?).  I eat salmon frequently and cook with olive and coconut oil, plus am supplementing a capsule of coconut oil morning and evening, and I eat avocado every day (and often during the night as it's a handy food to have by my bed for the 4am heart-racing hunger), and nuts in moderation. That 4am thing had gone before, and it came back with Whole30. I am eating much more than I was eating pre Whole-30, and my weight loss has been minimal, so I really don't think the issue is too little food. My boyfriend and I are eating like a king and queen - only difference is he's feeling great and I'm feeling worse than before - whilst nonetheless appreciating having totally slain the sugar dragon.
Bacon by the way may be different to the USA? What I buy isn't 'streaky' bacon; it has a very large amount of meat; and I cut off all the fat as I don't like it.

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