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Day Zero - July 23, 2018

Hello. My name is Sarah, and I am a student at the University of Kansas. I am shifting back to a Whole/AIP way of eating after a few years of eating SAD. I used to eat paleo and/or autoimmune paleo, and I have known for a while that I need to get going with it again. I have four chronic illnesses - New Daily Persistent Headache, Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, and Asthma.  I am very hopeful that eating Whole/AIP will help to improve my symptoms from these conditions, as well as my health overall. (See below for specific information on what these are and how eating Whole/AIP could help manage these conditions.)

I have previously used this forum as a way to help myself stick to Whole eating. The first time I did really well for about six weeks, but then I started working with a nutritionist who was totally wacko and it really messed things up. She had me try a really weird and strict elimination diet that was totally wrong for my body, and I ended up feeling so terrible and frustrated that I abandoned everything paleo and went back to a SAD. I tried restarting paleo on my own later that year, but I was still basing what I ate largely on what I had learned from the wacko nutritionist, so I again started feeling pretty terrible. Also, I had some pretty stressful stuff going on in my life, and I had gotten stuck with a class schedule (that I couldn't change) that didn't give me any time to eat during the day. Overall, not a great time to try to revamp my way of eating. I think I made it about 3 weeks that time before going back to a SAD.

So here we are, almost two years later, and I am still eating a SAD and it has been progressively becoming a less and less healthy version of a SAD. I have been trying to get myself to go back to eating Whole/AIP for almost a year and have not been successful. I have tried so many different ways of getting myself to do this, but I have not found anything that holds me accountable nearly as well as using this forum did. So, I have decided to come back and give this another shot!

I have found a much better nutritionist now. He recommended eating paleo, and he also ordered some food sensitivity testing. I have food sensitivities to gluten, dairy, eggs, oats, beef, pineapple, and banana. I also have slight sensitivities to pork and garlic, but he said I can have those 1-2 times a week. Additionally, I have noticed that eating peppers and tomatoes (so, nightshades) makes me really gassy and that eating nuts or drinking nut milk usually makes my headache worse. So, based on that and also the recommendation of my neurologist, I have decided to start with AIP for a while and then go from there. I figure if I'm eliminating almost everything in the AIP anyway, I might as well do it all the way. I don't have an autoimmune diagnosis, but I have enough other chronic illnesses that it seems like a good starting place. 

I have decided to allow decaf coffee as my only exception to the AIP, because I like putting ghee and coconut oil into my coffee and that could help me shift towards a ketogenic diet, which my nutritionist thinks could be very beneficial for me. There have been some people with New Daily Persistent Headache seeing good results with a ketogenic diet, so I'm interested to see if it helps my headache as well. But, I think the most important thing right now is to focus on eating the right foods, healthy foods, without stressing too much about the macronutrient ratios needed for ketosis. Once I'm feeling more solid in the AIP, then I will work on adding in more fats and whatnot so I can get into ketosis. I am going to go ahead and limit my fruit intake to one serving of low-fructose fruit a day, both to push myself towards ketosis and to help my body get used to eating less sugar (I have a huge sweet tooth, so this might not be pretty).

I titled my thread Whole??? because I don't really have an end date in mind with this. I am hoping to make lasting changes that will help me to manage my health conditions. My nutritionist says that I need to wait around 3 months before reintroducing anything I'm sensitive to, so I guess that'd make this at least a Whole90? I'm just going to keep going until I feel good enough to start re-introducing things, and then I guess I'll move this over to the post-Whole30 section.

My new way of eating starts tomorrow, July 24! I will be logging my food on here to keep myself accountable. Even if nobody reads it, I think logging my food on here will really help me to get going with my new Whole/AIP way of eating.

More info about my health conditions if you're curious:

New Daily Persistent Headache is a rare headache disorder affecting around .03% of the population. It presents with a mixture of tension headache/migraine symptoms, but its most distinctive feature is that it starts very suddenly and then NEVER stops, not for even a moment. NDPH is extremely refractory to treatment, and most people with NDPH go several years or decades with this headache is every waking moment. I have had my NDPH since November 7, 2014, at 10:30am. As of this post, I have had one never-ending headache for 3 years, 8 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days, or 1,355 days. I am hoping that eating healthier could help to lower my base pain level and help me to avoid spikes in my headache pain that can be caused by eating foods my body doesn't like. I am also hopeful that shifting to the ketogenic diet might even eliminate my NDPH, because there have been many people in the NDPH community seeing total relief through eating ketogenic. But, as I said above, I am most concerned about eating Whole/AIP at the moment and will shift towards a ketogenic diet once I'm ready for that.

Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder is a connective tissue disorder in the same family as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Basically, the connective tissues throughout my body are not made correctly, which causes a wide range of problems and is almost certainly the root cause of (or at least a significant contributing factor to) my other chronic conditions. Most notably for this forum, having defective connective tissue in my digestive system causes leaky gut and has made me have continual issues with food sensitivities. I am hoping that eating Whole/AIP can help me reduce the problems I have with this going forward. I am also hoping that eating Whole/AIP will help me to lose weight because carrying around 40 extra pounds is not good for my joints. My connective tissue is very susceptible to injuries and the constant stress of carrying around this extra weight has begun to cause frequent problems with knee pain and back pain, and my hips have been popping a lot more since gaining this weight. The effects this extra weight is having on my body, which are exaggerated due to the HSD, are not sustainable in the long term. I already have constant pain thanks to my NDPH. I don't need more.

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome is a type of sleep apnea that is caused by my Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder. The connective tissue in my airway is too weak and collapses when I am horizontal, aka while sleeping. This causes my breathing to be severely restricted, which causes interruptions in my neurological functioning. Many researchers believe UARS is a precursor to Obstructive Sleep Apnea and that someone with UARS has a significantly increased chance of developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea if they were to become overweight. I have gained about 45 pounds in the past three years, and almost 30 pounds of that has been in the past 8 months. I am now at an all-time high of 157lb (I am 5'5" and have a petite build). I am hoping that eating Whole/AIP will help me to lose weight so I will avoid developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which can cause many other chronic illnesses and can even be fatal. If that's not a motivation, I don't know what is. 

I'll assume everyone's heard of Asthma, but what's important to note is that the best controlled my asthma was when I was eating AIP three years ago and not taking any asthma medication (79% lung function, 80% is considered normal). I also had a pretty good score when I was first diagnosed, when I was 20 and had been eating gluten-free for six months (72% lung function and not on any asthma medication). But in the past couple years of eating SAD, I have been consistently on the highest allowable dose of my long-acting asthma steroids and my asthma has stayed on the border between moderate asthma and severe asthma (around 60% lung function). I mentioned this to my asthma doctor's PA and she said that it'd definitely be worth trying these dietary changes again to see if it helps. If it does, I might be able to lower  my dose of these steroids, which would be ideal because it's not good to be on this high of a dose for such an extended period of time. Also, controlling my asthma will help to get my CPAP settings figured out better because my constantly changing asthma control makes it very difficult for my CPAP to do what it's supposed to. And, I am a music major who plays a wind instrument, so controlling my asthma could also improve my playing and further my career goals.

Basically, improving how I eat could have a profound impact on my health and all of my various chronic illnesses. These are often really frustrating to deal with because it feels like fighting a losing battle in which I have very little control of things. But, what I put in my body is a choice I can make, and I am choosing to follow this Whole/AIP way of eating!

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Day 1 - July 24, 2018

breakfast: smoothie (blackberries, avocado, cucumber, coconut oil)

lunch: ground bison, onion, brussel sprouts, zucchini, kale, cooked in lard; sauerkraut

supper: chicken, California blend, green beans, spinach, cooked in lard; avocado; mixed berries with coconut whipped cream

Coconut whipped cream is amazing wow. Just coconut cream and a touch of vanilla mixed with a hand mixer, took 5 minutes and it's so good and a great way to add fat. 

The last time I did this most successfully I also tracked my sleep and exercise. That sounds like a good idea to do again, both could use some work.

Sleep: 5.5 hours

Exercise: run/walk 1.5 miles

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Hi @ellie4! I just wanted to say that I wish you the best! It sounds like you're dealing with some really tough health issues! I can't even imagine how difficult that must be for you. I hope you find some relief from this program.

So yeah, best wishes to you!! 

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@kirbz Thank you! 

Day 2 - July 25, 2018

Breakfast: chicken, California blend veggies, greens beans, spinach, cooked in lard 

Mid-morning: decaf coffee with coconut oil, coconut cream, and a bit of almond extract. Which I am just now realizing is nut and not AIP. Oops.

Lunch: chicken, Italian blend veggies, spinach, cooked in coconut oil.

Supper: chicken, Italian blend veggies, spinach, cooked in coconut oil.

Evening: mixed berries with coconut whipped cream.

Sleep: 8 hours

Exercise: 15 min walk 

I forgot there were Lima beans in the Italian blend veggies. I think I picked them all out, but I might have eaten a few. Oh well.


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Day 3 - July 26, 2018

Lunch: bison, green beans, onion, zucchini, kale, cooked in lard; sauerkraut

afternoon: decaf coffee with coconut cream and coconut oil

Supper: bison, green beans, onion, zucchini, kale, cooked in lard; avocado

evening: blackberries with coconut oil

I've been stuffy the past couple days and I'm wondering if there's something I'm eating that I'm sensitive to. I'm going to stop drinking the coffee first because that's not AIP. Maybe that'll do it.

Sleep: 8 hours

exercise: 20min elliptical

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Day 4 - July 27, 2018

Breakfast - bison, Brüssel sprouts, okra, onion, arugula, cooked in lard

Lunch - bison, Brüssel sprouts, okra, onion, arugula, cooked in lard; smoothie ( avocado, blackberries, spinach, coconut oil)

Supper - salmon, mushroom, green beans, onion, broccoli, spinach, arugula

Sleep: 8 hours

Exercise: none

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Day 5 - July 28, 2018

Breakfast: salmon, mushroom, green beans, onion, broccoli, spinach, arugula; smoothie (avocado, cucumber, spinach, coconut oil)

green rooibos tea

Lunch: smoothie (avocado, cucumber, spinach, coconut oil)

Supper: chicken tenders, okra, green beans, onion, arugula, cooked in olive oil; avocado.

keto-ade (lemon water with salt and aloe gel for electrolytes. Not great but not disgusting).

Sleep: 8 hours

Exercise: none

I used the urine ketosis strip today and it said I am in ketosis. I am a little surprised because I'm not consciously overloading on fats, though I have cut out higher carb veggies and higher fructose fruits to help with ketosis. I guess it worked. I want to be in ketosis to see if it might help my New Daily Persistent Headache. Maybe.

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Day 6 - July 29, 2018

Lunch: chicken tenders, okra, green beans, onion, arugula, cooked in olive oil; avocado.

Second Lunch: salmon, mushroom, green beans, onion, broccoli, spinach, arugula; avocado 

Supper: chicken tenders, California blend veggies, green beans, arugula, cooked in coconut oil; avocado

Later: keto-ade

Sleep: 6ish hours. Would've been 7.5 if not for inconsiderate roommate :(

Exercise: none

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Well, I've tried and failed a ton of times and am trying to make this work for real this time. I mostly wrote everything at the beginning so I have it to go back and look at when things are hard and I want some sweets.

Days 7-9 - Monday, July 31 - Wednesday, August 1

I have been moving and have not kept as good of track of what exactly I've eaten, but it was all Whole/AIP. I did have some zucchini eating out that had been cooked with peppers thinking it'd be fine to just pick those out, but I could taste the pepper flavor so I probably shouldn't get that again. I did think to make myself a few meals and smoothies so I'd have something to eat before unpacking all my kitchen stuff, and that was definitely a good call. Sleep hasn't been as good the past few nights. I was on my feet all day yesterday moving, so there's my exercise. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 23 - Thursday, August 16

I haven't been posting nearly as much as I had expected to, because once I got past the first week the momentum has kept me going. I have not strayed at all from my Whole/AIP way of eating! I have not been exercising or getting enough sleep, though, but at least the hardest part, food, is much better in control. I think I'm just going to post every week or so rather than everyday, but I'm still going strong!

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