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Day 33 and feeling unwell


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Hi! I'm a 31 year old, elementary English teacher living in Korea. Hoping I can get some feedback.

 

The Whole 30 has gone by faster than I thought it would! Now I'm just finished day 33. For the most part, it went great. I had fewer digestive issues, no more brain fog, and fewer headaches. I haven't started non-compliant reintros yet. I also eliminated alliums and nightshades during the Whole 30. Alliums because they showed up as a (mild) allergic reaction on IgE blood tests, and nightshades because I get muscle aches  and stiffness fairly often and I wanted to see if they contributed to it. I reintroduced garlic and onions last Saturday (day 27) and felt no negative affects. I felt great on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday! I reintroduced nightshades on day 31. I felt mostly fine all day Wednesday and Thursday (apart from a small headache that went away by itself Thurs morning). No pain and no digestive problems. 

 

My break week for my birth control pill was days 25-31. I frequently get terrible headaches/migraines during the break week that won't go away for days. Especially towards the end of the week. This time, I had a mild headache and low energy when I woke up on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, however they went away within an hour of eating breakfast, and then I felt like I had good energy and was in a pretty good mood for the rest of the day. 

 

I started a new pack of birth control pills last night (day32). I started feeling tired and grumpy around 9 or 10 pm. I thought maybe I hadn't eaten enough, so I made a small smoothie with mango, coconut milk, and lime juice to get some more fat and calories as I still felt full from dinner. (I know smoothies are discouraged but this was the only time I had one - I'm trying to not lose any more weight, as I am only around 106 lbs - I think I've lost 4 or 5 lbs over the 30 days) 

 

Today, I woke up feeling rotten, and I have felt off for the whole day. I've had a mild headache since I woke up. I felt exhausted, a little bit queasy, had some hot flashes, and was in no mood to think about food. All I wanted all day was to crawl into bed. I took a 45 minute nap when I got home from work before making dinner. It made me feel a bit better - no longer queasy, but still exhausted. 

 

Has this happened to anyone else when they started a new packet of birth control? I wonder if my body spent the month levelling my hormones (I had some spotting halfway through a pack - seems common here!) but then reacted badly to starting a new pack after a week off? I am looking into alternative methods of BC with lower or no hormones.

 

There are also a few external factors: the weather has changed a lot in the past few weeks, and now it's pretty hot and getting more humid. Rainy season is likely starting next week. We're not allowed to use the air-conditioner in work. Everyone, including the students, seems to have less energy. Work has also been busy and stressful. My class schedule was changed a few times this week, with very little notice. I've also probably not been getting enough sleep. Only 6.5 hours per night, and I always need to get up at least once to pee. I would prefer to get 8 hours.

I'm also fed up of trying to find and prepare compliant food. I live in Korea and it's difficult to source a lot of things that are recommended for the Whole 30. Almost everything packaged has junk added to it. Even the only ground turkey I've been able to find has cornstarch in it! I've been checking food labels religiously, which isn't easy when you don't speak the language. My kitchen is TINY. I have one burner and a toaster oven. There isn't as much variety of vegetables here either, and anything that isn't commonly used in Korean cooking costs an arm and a leg. I chop a load of vegetables on Sundays to make food meal prep easier and to ensure I eat enough variety. 

 

Could how I'm feeling be my birth control pill? Stress/lack of sleep/? 

 

Sorry. This is turning into a novel. I'll post a few days of meals:

 

Tuesday - day 30: 

  • Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, homemade mayo, carrot sticks, kohlrabi, cucumber slices, sauerkraut.
  • Lunch: 2 oven-fried salmon cakes, 1/3 avocado, salad leaves (3 cups packed), cucumber, olive oil+ACV dressing. 10 cherries
  • Dinner: Baked tilapia fillet with citrus-ginger glaze, sauteed swiss chard (~1 cup cooked), 2 Korean sweet potatoes (probably about 1 western one). Ghee added on top.

Wednesday - day 31:

  • Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, mayo, carrot sticks, kohlrabi, cucumber, sauerkraut
  • Lunch: 2 oven-fried salmon cakes, some mayo, salad, cucumber, olive oil+balsamic vinegar, 1/2 portion of raisins (in salad) two large tomatoes, roasted, 1/2 portion of Chinese chestnuts.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried chicken breast with red bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms. Made a stir fry sauce with coconut aminos, fish sauce, Chinese five spice, chili flakes, and some sunbutter. Had ~6 macadamias after dinner.

Thursday - day 32:

  • Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, mayo, carrot sticks, cucumber, sauerkraut, 2 small dates
  • Lunch:  2 oven-fried salmon cakes, some mayo, salad, cucumber, olive oil+ACV, 1/2 portion of raisins (in salad),1/2 portion of Chinese chestnuts.
  • Dinner: Stir- fried beef with broccoli, peeled kabocha squash, mushrooms, spinach. Sauce made with coconut aminos, fish sauce, fresh ginger, and 1/5 a tablespoon of homemade almond butter.
  • 1 hour after dinner: small smoothie with 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup coconut water, lime juice.

Friday - day 33:

  • Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, mayo, carrot sticks, cucumber, sauerkraut
  • Lunch: Leftover veggies from Thursday's stir-fry with about a tablespoon of the leftover sauce, chicken breast, salad, cucumber, olive oil+acv dressing.
  • Dinner: pan fried mackerel, wilted spinach, 2 Korean sweet potatoes, olive oil & white wine vinegar over the fish.

Water: every day I drink around 2.5 litres of water. I also drink an 18oz cup of black coffee in the morning (this week it's been iced) but usually no coffee after 10am. 

 

I try to make sure that my protein portions are sufficient. They're certainly bigger than the palm of my hand. My hands are tiny.

I know my breakfasts and lunches are repetitive on weekdays. My lunchtime is fixed and not very long. I don't have a microwave in work and the fridge doesn't work well. I just didn't enjoy my lunches on days where I ate cold leftovers. I fit as much salad greens as I can, and pack them in. I don't usually have the salmon cakes every day, but I made a batch on Sunday, and they seem to be well-balanced with protein, carbs, and fat. Breakfasts and lunches are more interesting on weekends! 

 

Also: I'm having trouble with starchy vegetables here. I feel like I eat a lot of sweet potato. But parsnips, plantains, butternut squash, turnips, etc just aren't available in Korea. White potatoes seem to always be a bit green when I buy them. So I rarely do. I read that Chinese chestnuts are nutritionally similar - a serving has 145kcal,  .8g fat, 32g carbs, 4g fibre, 4g protein. Would they be an okay alternative within meals? They're easily available already boiled and peeled, and have no additives. 

 

If you've made it this far, thank you! Apologies again for the length. 

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Hi! I'm a 31 year old, elementary English teacher living in Korea. Hoping I can get some feedback.

 

The Whole 30 has gone by faster than I thought it would! Now I'm just finished day 33. For the most part, it went great. I had fewer digestive issues, no more brain fog, and fewer headaches. I haven't started non-compliant reintros yet. I also eliminated alliums and nightshades during the Whole 30. Alliums because they showed up as a (mild) allergic reaction on IgE blood tests, and nightshades because I get muscle aches  and stiffness fairly often and I wanted to see if they contributed to it. I reintroduced garlic and onions last Saturday (day 27) and felt no negative affects. I felt great on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday! I reintroduced nightshades on day 31. I felt mostly fine all day Wednesday and Thursday (apart from a small headache that went away by itself Thurs morning). No pain and no digestive problems. 

 

My break week for my birth control pill was days 25-31. I frequently get terrible headaches/migraines during the break week that won't go away for days. Especially towards the end of the week. This time, I had a mild headache and low energy when I woke up on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, however they went away within an hour of eating breakfast, and then I felt like I had good energy and was in a pretty good mood for the rest of the day. 

 

I started a new pack of birth control pills last night (day32). I started feeling tired and grumpy around 9 or 10 pm. I thought maybe I hadn't eaten enough, so I made a small smoothie with mango, coconut milk, and lime juice to get some more fat and calories as I still felt full from dinner. (I know smoothies are discouraged but this was the only time I had one - I'm trying to not lose any more weight, as I am only around 106 lbs - I think I've lost 4 or 5 lbs over the 30 days) 

 

Today, I woke up feeling rotten, and I have felt off for the whole day. I've had a mild headache since I woke up. I felt exhausted, a little bit queasy, had some hot flashes, and was in no mood to think about food. All I wanted all day was to crawl into bed. I took a 45 minute nap when I got home from work before making dinner. It made me feel a bit better - no longer queasy, but still exhausted. 

 

Has this happened to anyone else when they started a new packet of birth control? I wonder if my body spent the month levelling my hormones (I had some spotting halfway through a pack - seems common here!) but then reacted badly to starting a new pack after a week off? I am looking into alternative methods of BC with lower or no hormones.

 

There are also a few external factors: the weather has changed a lot in the past few weeks, and now it's pretty hot and getting more humid. Rainy season is likely starting next week. We're not allowed to use the air-conditioner in work. Everyone, including the students, seems to have less energy. Work has also been busy and stressful. My class schedule was changed a few times this week, with very little notice. I've also probably not been getting enough sleep. Only 6.5 hours per night, and I always need to get up at least once to pee. I would prefer to get 8 hours.

I'm also fed up of trying to find and prepare compliant food. I live in Korea and it's difficult to source a lot of things that are recommended for the Whole 30. Almost everything packaged has junk added to it. Even the only ground turkey I've been able to find has cornstarch in it! I've been checking food labels religiously, which isn't easy when you don't speak the language. My kitchen is TINY. I have one burner and a toaster oven. There isn't as much variety of vegetables here either, and anything that isn't commonly used in Korean cooking costs an arm and a leg. I chop a load of vegetables on Sundays to make food meal prep easier and to ensure I eat enough variety. 

 

Could how I'm feeling be my birth control pill? Stress/lack of sleep/? 

 

Sorry. This is turning into a novel. I'll post a few days of meals:

 

Tuesday - day 30: 

  • Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, homemade mayo, carrot sticks, kohlrabi, cucumber slices, sauerkraut.
  • Lunch: 2 oven-fried salmon cakes, 1/3 avocado, salad leaves (3 cups packed), cucumber, olive oil+ACV dressing. 10 cherries
  • Dinner: Baked tilapia fillet with citrus-ginger glaze, sauteed swiss chard (~1 cup cooked), 2 Korean sweet potatoes (probably about 1 western one). Ghee added on top.

Wednesday - day 31:

  • Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, mayo, carrot sticks, kohlrabi, cucumber, sauerkraut
  • Lunch: 2 oven-fried salmon cakes, some mayo, salad, cucumber, olive oil+balsamic vinegar, 1/2 portion of raisins (in salad) two large tomatoes, roasted, 1/2 portion of Chinese chestnuts.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried chicken breast with red bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms. Made a stir fry sauce with coconut aminos, fish sauce, Chinese five spice, chili flakes, and some sunbutter. Had ~6 macadamias after dinner.

Thursday - day 32:

  • Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, mayo, carrot sticks, cucumber, sauerkraut, 2 small dates
  • Lunch:  2 oven-fried salmon cakes, some mayo, salad, cucumber, olive oil+ACV, 1/2 portion of raisins (in salad),1/2 portion of Chinese chestnuts.
  • Dinner: Stir- fried beef with broccoli, peeled kabocha squash, mushrooms, spinach. Sauce made with coconut aminos, fish sauce, fresh ginger, and 1/5 a tablespoon of homemade almond butter.
  • 1 hour after dinner: small smoothie with 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup coconut water, lime juice.

Friday - day 33:

  • Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, mayo, carrot sticks, cucumber, sauerkraut
  • Lunch: Leftover veggies from Thursday's stir-fry with about a tablespoon of the leftover sauce, chicken breast, salad, cucumber, olive oil+acv dressing.
  • Dinner: pan fried mackerel, wilted spinach, 2 Korean sweet potatoes, olive oil & white wine vinegar over the fish.

Water: every day I drink around 2.5 litres of water. I also drink an 18oz cup of black coffee in the morning (this week it's been iced) but usually no coffee after 10am. 

 

I try to make sure that my protein portions are sufficient. They're certainly bigger than the palm of my hand. My hands are tiny.

I know my breakfasts and lunches are repetitive on weekdays. My lunchtime is fixed and not very long. I don't have a microwave in work and the fridge doesn't work well. I just didn't enjoy my lunches on days where I ate cold leftovers. I fit as much salad greens as I can, and pack them in. I don't usually have the salmon cakes every day, but I made a batch on Sunday, and they seem to be well-balanced with protein, carbs, and fat. Breakfasts and lunches are more interesting on weekends! 

 

Also: I'm having trouble with starchy vegetables here. I feel like I eat a lot of sweet potato. But parsnips, plantains, butternut squash, turnips, etc just aren't available in Korea. White potatoes seem to always be a bit green when I buy them. So I rarely do. I read that Chinese chestnuts are nutritionally similar - a serving has 145kcal,  .8g fat, 32g carbs, 4g fibre, 4g protein. Would they be an okay alternative within meals? They're easily available already boiled and peeled, and have no additives. 

 

If you've made it this far, thank you! Apologies again for the length. 

 

I'm not really sure what to tell you about most of this. Whole30 does cause hormonal changes for many women, and might be affecting how your body is reacting to your birth control, so that seems a reasonable assumption, but you're also right that the change in temperature and humidity could be causing you to feel more tired. I know even here in Texas we seem to move a little slower and have less energy when the weather starts to get hotter, and that's despite pretty much all homes and businesses being air conditioned. Lack of sleep and stress will also affect how you're feeling. Basically, you've got a whole lot of reasons to be feeling less than your best right now all coming together at the same time. Focus on changing the things you can change -- your sleep, for instance, possibly your birth control pills if you want to discuss that with your doctor. Keep eating as healthy as you can.

 

For the Chinese chestnuts -- if you mean water chestnuts, yes, those are fine on W30, and are a starchy vegetable. (There are actual nuts called Chinese chestnuts, they are just a different variety of chestnuts, those also are fine, but like all nuts or seeds are a fat source and should be limited -- I'm guessing from how you've described them, you mean the water chestnuts that in the US show up in Chinese food and stir fries.)

 

I'm sorry I don't have more definite answers for you. Your foods look okay, maybe a little light on fat. Your water is probably good if you weigh about 168 lbs, but given heat and humidity, you probably want even more than the 1/2 oz per pound of body weight we normally recommend, so adjust that if you need to. Be sure you're salting your foods, too.

 

For the vegetables, any raw fresh (rereading this, it sounds like you can't cook them, and that's not what I meant, I just meant any vegetable that you go buy raw with no added stuff, and of course canned/frozen are fine too but if you can't read the labels well, then you may not be able to know if the ingredients are okay, so buying fresh stuff might make more sense) vegetable that isn't a legume or a grain is fine on Whole30. I don't know what's available for you there, but don't be afraid to try new things. It'll help if you have someone who is either native to the area or has been there a long time who you can ask about preparation of different items, but even if you're not sure about something and it isn't labeled in English, if you can take a pic of it and do an image search on google, you may be able to find out more about it.

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Fwiw, I can't tolerate heat. I've tried a lot of things, from increasing my fluid intake to limiting times in the heat. If I get to the point where I'm overheated, I'm done, which is ironic since I grew up in Texas. You'd think I'd be used to the heat.

That said, I empathize with you.

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