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high glycemic sensitivity?


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I'm on Day 18 and starting to think about my reintroduction plan.


On my last Whole30 reintroduction (2 years ago) I noticed nasal congestion with dairy and brain fog with oats, white bread, white rice. (I didn't test brown rice or whole grain bread.) I've also noticed the brain fog during Whole30 with white potatoes and when I eat too big of a serving of sweet potatoes.

The only digestive issue I have is periodic gas, but I suspect it is due to not chewing my food well... as I observe no change during Whole30. 


I have some mild joint pain in my hands and feet when I'm dehydrated. Nightshades might enhance this so I'm going to eliminate those for Days 26-30.


The lack of gut reactions to any reintroduced foods makes me suspect I don't have an intolerance to gluten grains or other grains, but rather a sensitivity to high glycemic index foods.... or at minimum this sensitivity masks any intolerance.


I'm an overweight 5'4" female, 250# at start of Whole30. I have hypothyroidism (never diagnosed Hashimoto's) that is controlled w/ a stable Synthroid dose. I used to have PCOS (polycystic ovaries and irregular period only, no high-T), but now have a regular cycle. 

As of this moment the only off-limits foods I want to introduce are:

- grass-fed butter

- Ezekiel 4:9 flax bread (1 slice/day) - ate this prior to Whole30 w/ no brain fog

There might be things I want to test out in the future... like hummus or a non-dairy cheese, for example... but I don't see a point to test things that I don't want to regularly eat going forward.

Is there a consideration in the science that I might be overlooking?


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Gut reactions aren't the only ones to look out for. Celiacs for example have a very large range of symptoms and the people least diagnosed are those missing obvious gut reactions as their other symptoms are often dismissed or explained away. With thyroid and PCOS, you may have some more complexity that goes beyond gut reactions and more into hormones/internal-messaging, although in some ways, it's all related to the gut, just not as directly as it is for some.

  • Brain fog and joint pain are common grain reactions (there's a lot of gluten in that Ezekiel bread but consuming low doses can hide symptoms, so 1 slice a day may not show obvious symptoms).
  • Congestion is a common dairy reaction but can also be from grains. Some people also get joint pain from dairy.
  • Joint pain is a common nightshade reaction (also a symptom increaser - so eliminating nightshades may not eliminate it but can reduce symptoms). White potatoes are a nightshade, but sweet potatoes are not. Goji berries are a sneaky nightshade.
  • Gas can be a lot of things but is usually a digestive issue, for some it's extreme, others it's just a normal minor level. If gas is bothersome, FODMAPs, cruciferous veggies, raw veggies and nuts are common digestive culprits.

Overloads of sugar to the brain (via blood sugar) can give a variety of symptoms (these can extend beyond the brain as well), to confirm if blood sugar is an issue, you can get test meters or request an "A1C" test from your doctor (this measures average blood glucose over the past two to three months).


Blood sugar is also linked to some other internal functions, insulin and leptin, so any kind of issue with blood sugar can interact with these as well. There are a lot of links between PCOS and insulin resistance/messaging problems and inflammation.


My blood sugar used to be very erratic so I get tested all the time for PCOS.

Through Whole30 I have gone from Prediabetic and erratic/deranged blood sugar, to Normal :) Grains and dairy create blood sugar chaos for me, in addition to other symptoms, grains are the most dramatic, even in small volume (beyond the actual carbs in them - inflammation is triggered).


Sleep can also be a major factor in restoring balance when things like messaging and blood sugar are off balance (body clocks exist inside a number of areas in the body, including the liver) and deep sleep cycles are essential for production of DHEA.

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Thank you for the detailed reply and the link. I really appreciate it!

There's definitely some sort of blood sugar issue at play here, especially given my post-meal brain fog in the other post you replied to. I looked up my fasting glucose at my last physical and it was on the low end of prediabetic (104), though my doctor didn't mention it.

I'm going to hold off on reintroducing any grains. I don't miss the bread as much as I did a week ago. 

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Your doctor can give you an AC1 test, which is a kind of background baseline measurement (blood sugar over a long period of time - months).


However some people have a good AC1, but other issues. My fasted morning blood sugar used to be really erratic, from low to normal to really high diabetic across different days and fasted blood sugar is before you add any food, so it should be reasonably stable.


In my case it wasn't, for me the template is very important, if I stray too far from regular template eating (even PostWhole30) I find my levels can get more erratic, grains seem to encourage instability for me too (even white rice, which is the best grain for me) but this instability is completely absent for me with root veggies. Soy and dairy are also disruptive for me.


I measure my blood sugar with a little meter, you prick your finger (mine has a little machine thing that does this bit) and use a little test strip and it gives you a number. When you're starting to do it, it's good to try and guess it (based on how you're feeling) before you do the test. Over time you'll find you get pretty good at predicting it, so doing the test may not always be needed (this also helps with the "listening" part of Whole30 & Reintroductions, understanding what your body is trying to tell you). I also find my blood sugar tells me when I'm sick, it's not a big bump but I get a distinct increase whenever I'm not well, not sleeping enough or overdoing it. I used to take a diabetogenic medication for a long number of years, so I know I'll need to keep an eye on it for some years to come, until my body is fully repaired.

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