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Day 33 and still getting headaches

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Hello~  I'm not one to normally get headaches, but since starting Whole30, I am waking up with one.  At first, I put it down to "detoxing".  Because it seemed to dissipate after I drank some hot water and a few sips of coffee (with compliant Almond milk), I wondered if I wasn't drinking enough, so I began to drink 8+ oz of water before bed, and a large glass to drink in the night when I woke up.  I also made sure I was salting food (actually doing more than I did prior to Whole30.) No change.  Now I am tracking water consumption -- 70 oz the last 2 days (I weigh 120), but still waking up with the headache.  I've read that perhaps I wasn't eating enough for dinner?  Last night, typical meal:


Shrimp Scampi (about 15 medium shrimp, a large handful) with pesto (recipe from Whole30 book) over Spaghetti Squash, green beans -- ate at 6:45, and then in bed at 10.  I still felt "full" from dinner.  I woke at 4:30, went back to sleep and didn't get up until 8:30! (That's unusual, usually wake up earlier in the night and then earlier in the morning).  


Sometimes shortly before bed,  I've had a hot cup of Almond Milk with Ashwagandha, tried adding coconut oil to that one night -- no change -- tried NOT having it, no change.  Did not have it last night, and headache worse today.


I'm in the Reintroduction phase, but have only reintroduced wine (and felt fine the next day, headache was minor and disappeared rapidly.)  The next two days, I felt good, back to pretty much the way I felt on Day 30, before wine, so today I'm reintroducing legumes.


Any advice anyone has will be welcome -- I've searched the forum and tried to implement all the suggestions I've found, but maybe I'm missing something


thanks all~~




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It could be that you are not eating enough overall - or maybe you are not eating enough starchy veg - basically too low carb for you.  That would explain why you felt a little bit better after having some wine (I am just speculating here).


What I recommend is you posting a couple of days worth of meals here.  Please include details of what type of veg you are eating.  Also include activity levels, and how well you are sleeping overall.

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Ok, I'm 65, reasonable active for my age with frequent beach walks (did more before I broke my foot last fall on a 40 mile beach walk, getting back into it now finally.) and yoga.  I've been a vegetarian for 45 years, but a few years ago added some fish.  So for Whole30, I am doing eggs and fish, trying to generally choose fish EWG lists as "low mercury".


Here are details of the last few days:


Saturday (Day 30!)

Protein Smoothie (unusual, but I had to be at a Lagoon Cleanup at 8, and needed a portable meal to take-- almond milk, a lot of spinach, banana, pineapple, a couple of strawberries and Pea Protein powder

Large Mixed green salad, with sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers - and 2 hard boiled eggs (first and only meal out during Whole30 - brought the eggs and my own dressing to ensure I was compliant!)

Pistachio encrusted salmon, broccoli, sweet potato fries

Exercise- ~6,800 steps, mostly crawling around under brambles on small islands!


Sunday (this day was unusual, as I was prepping for a Celebration Gathering of a finished Whole30 and a year anniversary of a breakup)

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce and 2 fried eggs (eaten late as I woke late)

Apple and Almond Butter (more a snack than a meal)

Baba Ganoush with Cucumber Slices, Deviled Eggs with Red Pepper Mayo, Cucumber Slices topped with Ranch Dressing and Shrimp


12,000+ Steps including 4 mile walk



Spinach and Mushroom Scramble (2 eggs)

Sardine Protein Salad with mixed greens, carrots, tomatoes, sprouts, Cantaloup

Seared Scallops with Ginger Blueberry Sauce, Cauliflower Rice (made with Coconut Milk) ~1 cup of "rice"

45 minute Indo-board Yoga class, only 4800 steps



Veggie Pattie (a Whole30 recipe with carrots, mushrooms, eggs, almond flour) and fried eggs

Baba Ganoush, cucumber slices, hard boiled egg, cantaloup

Shrimp Scampi  over spaghetti squash with green beans

No exercise and only 3700 steps (long meeting day)


Overall I am sleeping well -- 9+ hours a night.  I go to bed at 10, usually wake up in the middle of the night (anywhere from 1-3 a.m.), fall back asleep easily and sleep until I wake up.  (Unless I have to be somewhere early, like a Lagoon Cleanup!)


I feel like I'm eating enough overall (feeling satiated) and have upped my fats considerably from pre-Whole30.  I made a big batch of Sweet Potato Mash one week and ate that, love the Butternut Squash soup with poached eggs for a meal.  Have eaten some white potatoes here and there, as quick meals (baked with broccoli and some protein source like a Salmon patty)


Thanks for your suggestions!



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Congratulations on 33 days!


Saturday, it looks like you had no added fat in your breakfast, and likely 2 eggs on your salad for lunch was not enough protein.  Did your salad dressing have fat in it?


Sunday,  you had a 4 mile walk, but it doesn't look like you had enough food in general and not enough added fat. 


Monday, I see a lack of added fats and not enough eggs for breakfast.  Remember, as many eggs as you can hold in your hand.


Tuesday, need more added fats.  Plus one egg at lunch is not enough protein. 


From all that I would conclude - Eat More.  Got to love an eating plan that actually encourages you to eat :D

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I hadn't thought about it being not enough fat or protein.  I'm eating as much of those as I can without feeling overly stuffed.  And using the guideline of "does it keep me satiated until my next meal" -- it does, with possibly the exception of overnight, if the headaches are from lack of food.  I can experiment with making sure I get enough protein and fat (especially at my last meal), and see if that helps.


You're right, Saturday morning was no added fat.  I should have added Coconut Milk or oil to that Rush Smoothie (not something I normally eat, but if I must..)  My salad dressing did have olive oil, and I used a lot.  The eggs I get are JUMBO (from a local farm) and I'm lucky to hold 2 in my hand, so I count 2 as one serving for me (keep in mind that I'm 65 and small).  Sunday, I poured the cooking oil from the eggs onto the spaghetti squash, plus the tomato sauce is made with olive oil, but that would be divided among all the meals I've used it at.  Sunday was a fairly big breakfast, and kept me full past lunch, but I knew I was "supposed" to eat, so I did. The Baba Ganoush has quite a bit of tahini in it, the deviled eggs had healthy amounts of mayonnaise.  On Monday, I also poured the cooking oil from the scallops onto the cauliflower rice.  Tuesday, yes, normally I'd eat 2 hard boiled eggs for protein, but I ran out, from making the deviled eggs the night before. Oh, and I forgot to add that the Shrimp Scampi recipe from the book that I used, has a generous portion of Whole30 Pesto, as well as being cooked in oil -- so that meal Tuesday night had quite a bit of fat in it.

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You may want to experiment.  If you feel a headache coming on - try a small protein/fat snack to see if that alleviates it, like the wine did.  If it works, then you know that is the culprit.


Best wishes!  Keep checking in and let us know how it goes :)

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The headaches usually only appear when I wake up -- I wake up with one.  They begin to dissipate as I go through my morning routine, which includes drinking a cup of hot water with some cumin, coriander and fennel in it, and a few sips of my latte (with almond milk and a small bit of coconut oil).  Hence me thinking it was dehydration.  But it could be that I eat at 7 p.m. and don't wake up until after 7 a.m. and my body needs food.  I'll experiment with meals, and pay attention to the fat/protein amounts.


Thanks for the help, I'll check back in and keep you updated!

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I would also like to add that you eat a wide variety of vegetables - which is excellent - but little to no carby vegetables - which along with under eating - could be a large contributing factor to your headaches.  So I would say - the days that you are super active - try to include a fist sized portion of starchy veg - carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, squash(spaghetti squash does not really count here), jicama, plantains, and yes sweet potato or regular potato.


Play around with it and see what happens.  

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