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Alcohol and Whole30 Issues

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I need some help......I am a serious chardonnay drinker (20+) years.  I quit drinking 30 days prior to starting the W30, but I wanted to know if this program is harder for those that are addicted to alcohol.  I am on day 25 and I'm really struggling with depression, lethargy crankiness and stomach upset.  Is my body still trying to detox from the wine as well as foods with sugar?  I don't want to quit since I'm so close, but this has been going on for several days now and want to know if it's normal.  Thank you.

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Wow, 55 days without drinking! Sorry you aren't feeling well. 

The "detox" part of not drinking should be long over by now as far as I know. 

There are many possibilities as to why you might be feeling this way. Can you list a few days of what you've been eating including portion sizes so the mods can take a look and see if there's something that may need tweaking? 

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The crankiness could be from withdrawls... you're used to using wine as a coping/comfort mechanism and now that you can use it, you might be having some problems... as far as actual detox, I think you're probably well past that but detox and withdrawl/cravings are different.

As J9er said, post what you've been eating including portion sizes, specific veggies, protein and fats, fluid intake, sleep, stress etc... and we'll see if we can't get you on the right track.

In the meantime, it is absolutely commendable that you realized you had an unhealthy relationship with that wine and that you're choosing to do something uncomfortable because you know it's best for you.  That's not an easy task and it deserves to be applauded.  So congrats!!! :wub:

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I know I'm not eating enough or drinking enough water.  Here's the run down which is sketchy since I stopped logging my food, etc on day 17:

4/4 – 6:45 coffee w/coc milk

8:00-8:45 Walk 2 miles – 16oz water

9:15 – 2 fried eggs, on a bed of spinach, handful of raspberries

12:30 – Chicken salad (homemade mayo, red onion, celery, apples, walnuts) on a bed of spinach, ½ avocado, herbal tea

Nuts as snacks during the day (I know )

7:30 – 1 pork chop, ½ sweet potato, Spinach salad with onions and cherry tomatoes, Homemade Italian dressing

8:30 - Bengal spice hot tea

10:30 bed – Terrible stomach ache with acid feelings.  Slept only 4 hours because of it


4/5 – 5:45 Coffee w/coc. Milk

7:30 Business breakfast (ugh) scrambled eggs (only ate one bite as there was milk in them) 2 pcs. Bacon, 1 sausage, 1 strawberry, 2 pcs cantaloupe, 2 pcs watermelon, 1 cup of coffee black, 16oz water

10:30 – 2 hardboiled eggs, 1 cup coffee w/coc milk, ¼ grapefruit

11:00-12:30 – nap

12:30 – 2 scoops of my chicken salad

5:30 – 1 baked chicken thigh, 1 chicken leg, bed of spinach, cherry tomatoes, red onions, 1 hardboiled egg, homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Not feeling well all day, same stomach burning and slight nausea

7:30 – chamomile tea

9:00 bed with ½ trazadone (sleeping pill)


4/6 - 6:45 – very hard to get up

7:45 – homemade nut Lara bar, coffee w/coc milk

8-8:30 – 2 mile walk

9:15 – 2 scrambled eggs with spinach, 4 pcs bacon, ½ grapefruit, 1 coffee w/coc. Milk

10:00 1 small baked potato with ghee (I thought maybe I needed carbs)

11:30-1:00 nap

1:30 – 1 chicken sausage, ½ avocado, 1 homemade Lara bar

48oz water

1 packet of EmergenC in 16 oz. water (maybe this will help me feel better?)

Still have a stomach ache and burning.  Very lethargic and my body aches all over.  I still have sugar cravings, so that's where the homemade Lara Bars come in...they help, but I know they are actually not helping.  I think the Bengal spice hot tea might be the culprit...it's been my go-to beverage after dinner.

Thanks for the encouraging words about my abstinence.  Maybe I shouldn't have taken this on so soon after stopping drinking?

  Any help you can give me is appreciated!



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First off, congrats on making it 55 days without a drink!  Flying solo no less, that's amazing.  You are a miracle.

This is a really good book of tips and tricks on the first days/weeks/months of living sober.  http://www.hazelden.org/OA_HTML/item/1714?Living-Sober&src_url=itemquest  I'm sure you could find it on Amazon too.

When a person is an alcoholic or drinking a lot, they are consuming a ton of sugar.  Quitting drinking means not only going through alcohol detox but sugar detox too.  In the first days/weeks of quitting drinking in AA they actually recommend you up your sugar intake for a little while to help with those withdrawals.  Since you quit alcohol 30 days before starting your w30, you probably did okay with that but you still may be having some sugar withdrawal, I couldn't really say.

Since you are reporting stomach burning and nausea, maybe you have a little bug?  Or maybe you are having a reaction to something you are eating?  Getting back in the habit of logging your food and symptoms so you can see if something is a trigger might help.

Also, may I gently suggest seeing a professional (doctor or therapist) or visiting AA regarding your addiction and depression?  Mental yuckiness breeds physical yuckiness and vice versa.

 Keep on keepin on.

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So, bear with me, I'm typing on my phone....

Note, the following are recommendations for the average person doing a Whole30. I did make some extra comments about your situation below.

Check out the meal Template. Try to match your meals up with it then best you can. Eat your breakfast within an hour of waking, this will help with hormone alignment. Coffee can act as an appetite suppressant, so have it alongside your meal not before. Eggs, when they are your main protein are as many as you can hold in your hand without dropping them (usually 3 or 4). 

Yes, you are fruit heavy and "Lara" bar heavy. And this is only going to keep fueling your need for sugar. It may not be refined sugar, but the body doesn't know the difference. The reccomendation is to not let fruit push veggies off your plate. Keeping up on the fruit and bars will cause you to have blood sugar spikes and crashes throughout the day, which could be causing some of that lethargy.  Aim for 0-2 pieces of fruit per day alongside meals and really start upping your veggie intake. Salad or or greens chew down to almost nothing, so add in some  cooked veggies, really fill up your plate - at each meal. 

Your fat intake isn't too bad but still a bit on the light side. 1-2 thumbs is the reccomendation, over and above what you're using to cook. You're right on with 1/2 an avocado or a few pieces of bacon, but make sure your adding fat to each meal. 

If you are matching the meal template you should be able to go 4-5 hours between meals, and not need to snack. If you do need a snack try for a mini-meal composed of protein, fat, veg. Or at least 2 out of those 3 (my go to is chicken with homemade mayo, or  olives). It can take some playing around with your meal composition to get it "right", so if you do need to snack, it's ok. 

I agree with what Georgina said above. I wasn't sure what your intentions were with stopping drinking....and didn't want to assume before, but it sounds like you intend to stay sober.

Quitting drinking is NO SMALL POTATOES. It is a a feat in itself and it does add a layer of complexity to a Whole30, and you were questioning whether you shouldn't be doing it or not. I would also agree with finding some sort of support or advice from a professional and/or group who would be able to understand your entire situation. The Whole30 works best if you can follow the recommendations. BUT with the changes you have made, it could be a lot for you to do all of it at once, especially without a support system. 

I hope you start to feel better soon, and congrats for taking care of yourself. You deserve it.



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I'm not going to rehash the great advice you've been given here... J9er said everything I would have said!  I did want to say tho that the burning stomach is very possibly because you are not eating near enough.  I have a very good suspicion that if you format your meals to match the template and drink the recommended 1/2oz per pound of bodyweight that you will feel much better.

In answer to a question you may ask about not being hungry or feeling too ill to eat... power through sister... not eating begets not eating and nausea from that begets nausea... reaquaint yourself with the meal template... sometimes we think we've got it but as the Whole30 goes on, our meals get smaller and smaller.... and your meals are pretty small at the moment.

Also, ditch the nuts and nut bars... they're only approved for emergency use and you're not having an emergency every day.

Sometimes having the black and white rules of the Whole30 can help keep things straight and narrow for people who are working on things like removing alcohol... it's one thing that you don't have to worry about 'thinking' about... perhaps once you up your meals and feel better you may consider continuing for a while?

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First of all, well done on not drinking.  My wife stopped drinking just over 2 years ago and it's like i have a new lovely partner :-).   - if it's any help she uses a site called living sober which helps her enormously. I have not drank this year and was fine, but 8 days into w30 and I am cantacorous, have headaches and upset stomach and get tired with normal exercise. From what is said you get over this once the body 're tunes' itself. So it seems the problem is purely the diet not the sobriety. My wife substituted alcohol with sugary snacks for the first year, and then went on a successful diet.  Giving up alcohol is admirable, but very hard and impossible for some; are you perhaps tying too much to soon?  

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I'm gonna pop in here from a purely non-Whole 30 perspective to say, first-- CONGRATS on the 55 days without a drink! Second, I kicked a pretty bad "functional alcoholic"/boozy-executive-level drink habit back in 2013 (and a not-as-bad-but-getting-worse habit 196 days ago, because some of us are slow to learn.) I never craved sugar, ever in my life, until I quit the booze, and then I was like a sugar vacuum. I caught myself one day trolling the cabinets for errant Red Hots that I'd used for Christmas cookie decorating two years earlier, then found a bag of decorating sprinkles that I ate some of right out of the bag, said "this is crazy", threw them in the trash, then was distracted by them all day so moved them from the kitchen trash to the garage trash, then went out there later in the day and ate them out of the garage trash! Humble moment, but as I was there in the garage with the decorating sprinkles I flashed back to a few weeks earlier being out there with an extra bottle of dinner party wine that I chugged before tossing the bottle. Same pathways, my friend! As soon as I started treating sugar the same as I treated booze, it hasn't come back-- and, as I learned coping skills around "trying to escape from myself" or just "take that wiggly/uneasy edge off with something/anything" in general, be it through booze or through sugar, I was on the path to feeling a million times better (and, when I say "a million", I mean not drinking is, for me, the ultimate life hack. It is BRILLIANT. You basically double the hours in your day and supercharge your productivity. Just wait, you'll be on fire!) I did need to find some support for the crazy thinking and drinking-specific stuff, though, and knew I wasn't "the AA type." I found a huge amount of support on the Reddit Stop Drinking sub. The people over there are great, and all types of people-- from the "seemingly normal drinkers who just want to cut back" to the "weekend bingers" the "chardonnay housewives" and the down-and-out "woah, dude, now THAT'S an alcoholic" types. Some of them do AA, a lot (I daresay most) of them don't, many of us have found meditation, but we all share tools and ideas and zero judgment. It's a great place to be, and, what you learn from that is that we're all mostly flavors of the same thing. And, without exception, everyone who comes back at 90 days, 180 days, one year sober and says "my god, this is awesome, why did I not do this sooner?!"

Anyhow, much love to you and continued success in all you do. You got this!

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