MargolaBerry

Day 23 Increased General Soreness, All Over

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I've perused the forum for other posts regarding soreness but my situation seems a bit different (less exercise and adamantly sticking to meal template) and I'm hoping to get some additional, specific help. 

Before going into the program I'd been dealing with low back pain. I'm a 29 yo, 100 lb, 5' female just for reference. I've been working over the summer with a PT doctor for knee and back pain. As the knee got better the back got worse and exceptionally worse over the past few weeks right around when I started my Whole30. 

My exercise levels have decreased significantly due to pain. Before all of this I was doing yoga daily and getting additional cardio 2-3x per week either swimming or running ~3 miles. But I've even given up yoga temporarily per my PTs suggestion. He has me doing core strengthening exercises which I agree I need but I was really hoping my pain would get better on the program, not worse. 

I've already had to modify to exclude FODMAPs, I'm doing my best, and increase my fat intake which has mostly come in the form of coconut. I am still visibly bloated but I feel better generally, much improved digestion despite minimal bloating (it's nothing like what I used to deal with and most of the time I feel really good even if I'm visibly bloated) and have been enjoying mostly improved energy levels and mental clarity. So, here's what a day typically looks like for me. 

Meal 1: 1/2-1 sauteed red bell pepper, LARGE handful sauteed spinach, 3 eggs, salt & pepper, tea with ~1/4 can coconut milk

Meal 2: 1 can tuna or Salmon, 1/2-1 cucumber, 1-2 tomatoes, LARGE handful sauteed spinach, 1-2 tbs avo oil mayo, salt & pepper, 1/4 lemon juice

Meal 2: 1-2 chicken thighs or 1 breast, sweet potatoes and carrots, I try to include olives or coconut flakes here for added fat, but sometimes I forget. Herbal tea

I try to stick very strictly to the meal template. I also have been trying to add more variation with my veggies but it's not easy due to FODMAP sensitivity. 

I do my best to drink half my weight in oz of water per day, doesn't always happen. I always salt my food. More than I used to and what feels like a lot for me, healthy sea salt tho and I don't think it's anything excessive, it doesn't taste excessiv...

My pain is not solely muscular. Yesterday I wore heels and the pain in my hips and low back has been unbearable today. I'm about to start traveling for 5 days in NYC, I'm apprehensive but I've stocked on to-go foods for emergencies and have researched some Whole30 restaurants & whole foods near where I'm staying. 

The pain in my back is so bad some days and even just basic PT strengthening exercises feel like torture. I'm just not sure how much more I can modify at this point?? Do I need to stay strict Whole30 longer??! I read one suggestion that cutting coconut may help, I'll have to figure out how I can incorporate ghee or bacon perhaps to make up for the fat. I so appreciate any insight. I apologize for the lengthy post but I'm hurting pretty badly and feeling a bit disappointed. 

Thank you so much!!

 

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Hi @MargolaBerry - so sorry to hear that you are struggling and in pain. Your meals look fine, you could afford to try a different fat, some people have sensitivities to coconut. Anything else you're eating lots of now that you didn't before? It sounds to me like this is not food-related though, sorry! You said your pain in the back was getting worse as the knee got better and then continue to increase up to and past when you started Whole30.

I suggest if your pain is that bad, you should be seeking out other medical treatment if you're not already; x-rays or MRI, perhaps? Whole30 can reduced systemic pain for many people but acute undiagnosed pain is a bit outside the scope of a 30 day food elimination program.

Just a note, my husband had a moderate incident on his motorcycle in July one year. The pain he was experiencing in his back and leg slowly increased until February the next year when he was rendered immobile and couldn't get off our living room floor. It turned out he had a severely bulged disc in his back. I'm not saying this to scare you, just pointing out that minor discomfort that increases over time to become "unbearable" needs to be reviewed because in our case it took 8 months to fully show itself.

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Thanks @ladyshanny for your response. I suppose that definitely my back is the worst of it and I do understand that acute pain or inflammation is beyond the scope of whole30 or diet in general. I suppose I should not have focused so much on the back pain and broadened it more to emphasize that my muscle soreness has increased since the Whole30, not just in my back but elsewhere. Recovery from exercise or any sort of activity that might make me sore seems much slower now than before. Perhaps I will try to eliminate the coconut and start eating a good brand of bacon in the morning and melted ghee at night? 

I have had an MRI and there are no structural issues in that region. I can't help but feel that the general soreness and slow recovery has to do with the diet, especially since others have struggled with similar pains. 

I am also wondering about female hormonal changes... I've experienced some symptoms that make me think my hormones have fluctuated drastically since starting the Whole30, things like bleeding gums (dental hygiene routine has not changed from normal healthy routine) and the left SI issue which made itself known only after switching to Whole30. Do you have any info on possible hormonal changes particularly in females? I'll do more research. I appreciate your input! Thanks! 

 

 

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20 hours ago, MargolaBerry said:

Thanks @ladyshanny for your response. I suppose that definitely my back is the worst of it and I do understand that acute pain or inflammation is beyond the scope of whole30 or diet in general. I suppose I should not have focused so much on the back pain and broadened it more to emphasize that my muscle soreness has increased since the Whole30, not just in my back but elsewhere. Recovery from exercise or any sort of activity that might make me sore seems much slower now than before. Perhaps I will try to eliminate the coconut and start eating a good brand of bacon in the morning and melted ghee at night? 

I have had an MRI and there are no structural issues in that region. I can't help but feel that the general soreness and slow recovery has to do with the diet, especially since others have struggled with similar pains. 

I am also wondering about female hormonal changes... I've experienced some symptoms that make me think my hormones have fluctuated drastically since starting the Whole30, things like bleeding gums (dental hygiene routine has not changed from normal healthy routine) and the left SI issue which made itself known only after switching to Whole30. Do you have any info on possible hormonal changes particularly in females? I'll do more research. I appreciate your input! Thanks! 

 

 

There are definitely hormonal changes that take place - women bear the brunt of them in most cases. Hormones are the chemical messengers in the body so when we change the input, they have to change their message. I apologize that I cannot really comment further on your body pain, it's not something I've ever really heard discussed to this extent in my years supporting this program.

It could possibly be a slow or inhibited conversion to fat adaptation. Are you able to give me a run down of a few typical days of eating? Include portions, be specific about what foods and in what quantities. Be specific about meal timing, pre and post workout food, exercise timing etc. Do you have any known underlying medical conditions? Autoimmune, gut health etc? Lets see if anything stands out.

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@ladyshanny I so appreciate your willingness to help me and work with me on this. I'm currently traveling so it's hard for me to sit down and write. 

Now that I'm on day 27, I'm thinking I'm going to extend my Whole30 but maybe not as strictly. I'm recognizing that I'm still incredibly sensitive to FODMAPs which surprises me this far in. My soreness has been slowly decreasing. I've made the decision to cut out coconut and try to increase my carbohydrate intake (sweet potatoes) and see how that makes me feel. I've felt better during my travels with the exception of having to eat more FODMAPs than I normally would and I've realized that I haven't been eating Coconut or drinking coconut milk. And I've read some things about women and hormonal changes related to carbohydrate intake. 

So I realize that this is a process and I'm not done figuring it out so I won't be ending my program at 30 days although I may have a drink once in awhile again. 

If I'm still having FODMAP sensitivity does that mean there's a chance I still have a leaky gut? And if so I would be damaging my progress by drinking? Is it that direct of an impact or would I reintroduce alcohol the same way I would reintroduce anything else? At this point it's the only thing I want to try to reintroduce I'm ok with keeping on the program otherwise. What are your thoughts on this? I can definitely go through a few typical days once I get home and have more time to think about it. Again, I appreciate your insight and I'm feeling a lot more optimistic after seeing how my body has reacted to traveling. My only concern is FODMAPs still and the potential that I am still suffering from leaky gut. I will do more research on this but is there a good way to tell that my body is fat adapted and no long "leaky"? Thanks so much! Sorry for this long, sloppy message! 

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20 hours ago, MargolaBerry said:

If I'm still having FODMAP sensitivity does that mean there's a chance I still have a leaky gut? And if so I would be damaging my progress by drinking?

Hi @MargolaBerry - I'm glad you're starting to find some relief. If you inadvertently (or perhaps purposely) went super low-carb, that could possibly cause your soreness as well.

As for FODMAP and alcohol related to leaky gut, I am not qualified or educated enough on the intricacies of gut health to even attempt to answer that question, sorry! The mods here are all highly trained on Whole30 and troubleshooting and for the most part have lots of knowledge of peripheral concerns but this is fairly specific and would require more knowledge than any of us have here. For something like this we would recommend maybe seeking out a naturopath or homeopathic doctor? Or at least a medical professional who does equate food and health - they can be hard to find sometimes.

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Thanks @ladyshanny, I totally understand. I've been trying to just do my own research and have come across some interesting information and various methods to try. I'll be staying on the program longer and hoping these changes I make work out. Thanks again for all your help! 

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Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), peppers, eggplant, etc.) can cause pain and inflammation like that.  It's tough to pull those veggies out and also be low FODMAP, but possible. I experience that kind of inflammation from nightshades (particularly potatoes) and dairy.

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Thanks @berry straw - As I research I have found connections to potential SIBO and low stomach acid (not sure which comes first or which is the cause and which is the symptom). I am seeing a RDN on Wednesday. I'm hoping, armed with all of this information, that with her help we can get to the bottom of this. I shouldn't be feeling WORSE or MORE sensitive while on this elimination diet so it has lead me to keep digging deeper to find out what's really going on. Initially I wanted to blame Whole30 for making me more sensitive and feel worse than I had before but if it weren't for the Whole30 I never would have been able to dive this deep into what is ACTUALLY wrong. I am tired of just avoiding all these different types of food, food that I never had issues with before. I know there is a WHY, not to mention all the other symptoms I've been experiencing: general soreness overall, extreme bloating, gas and belching, undigested food in stools and loose stools, low energy/ability to focus, the list has become quite long. But I feel that I am very close to figuring it out. Thanks for your recommendation. If potatoes are an issue that could be an indication of an intolerance to carbohydrates which could be due to the SIBO, I may be looking at cutting them out altogether (I'm really going to miss sweet potatoes, if this is a carbohydrate thing not just a Nightshades thing). Again, I haven't been tested yet but at least I think I am on the right track. 

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Thanks for coming back and updating us on your progress so far. If it is SIBO, that can be fixed with diet and antibiotics and potentially correct all the issues you're having. The undigested food in stools is a big flag for something weird going on.

Will you come back and let us know what the RDN says?

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Hi @ladyshanny thanks for your concern and your interest in my situation. As I said before, I am grateful for the Whole30 because without it I would have just kept thinking it was my diet, but now I know it is not just my diet and I do have deeper issues going on. The RDN wanted me off Whole30, namely in the sense that she wanted me to reintroduce GF grains back into my diet (the grains have helped immensely, I'm not sure why but I just do so much better with them in my diet) and she put me on a strict low FODMAP diet, we have ordered a SIBO test but I don't get it until next week. It took a long time of contacting other doctors to see if they had a test that checked for both Hydrogen and Methane that would be covered by my insurance, but to no avail. Not even the gastro had a test that did both so finally I will be testing next week some time. She also put me on a HCL regiment, I tried just HCL but wasn't able to absorb anything and was having diarrhea and dehydration issues so I am now on 1 Super Enzyme and I'm up to 750mg HCL per meal but I realized that I needed to take it in smaller 250mg doses throughout the meal, not all at once. I am going to try increasing by one more 250mg tablet as I still am not feeling a reaction to HCL which means I need to keep taking more. I am quite surprised by this because when I took one 650mg dose with my meal all at once it felt like too much. The HCL and the low FODMAP diet are really helping, but I am still not feeling totally better, although sometimes it can take a very long time to heal from the FODMAP sensitivity. However, I really believe that I have SIBO after doing a ton of research on it. But if not, I think we are on the right track. If I do have SIBO then I will opt for antibiotics and I will have to adjust my diet even more as they thrive on carbohydrates, which is a bit nerve-racking to me because I felt so miserable on a low carb diet. SIBO is quite scary as often it is a lifelong struggle to prevent reinfection, but there are tons of resources out there and like my experience with Whole30, it will be a lot of trial and error to see what works for me. Let me know if you have any questions. It's hard for me to remember to check this but I will come back with updates on my SIBO results! Thanks! 

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