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Bloating/digestive issues - is this period-related, normal Whole30, or a compliant food my body doesn't like?


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Hi ladies - I'm on Day 23 (!!!) of the September Whole30, and am on Day 2 of my period. Ugh. I experienced intense cramping and bloating the day before and first day of, after However, I also was experiencing some digestive weirdness last week, and therefore this is making it hard to differentiate normal monthly discomfort from nuances in my body due to what I'm eating. Let me explain further - the apology for TMI goes without saying.

Some background. I am normally very regular - unless I have eaten exceptionally bad (little to no fresh greens, lots of junk food) - so have usually 1-2 BM's per day, and they are typically pretty solid. For the last 1.5 weeks, I haven't had a single solid BM, but many frequent (and sometimes emergency) trips to the bathroom. By frequent I mean at least 4-5 trips, all including #2. The worst was first thing in the morning, I would all but sprint, praying one of my three roommates wasn't already in the bathroom. I am currently working from home, so I am lucky in that sense, but this can't be my new normal. Right before my period, I'd had basically a full week of diarrhea/loose stools, and it changed for one day before resuming. I'm frustrated 1) because it's that time of the month and I'm just pissed/overly emotional, 2) I'm trying to evaluate how food affects my body/brain and I can't tell if it's food-related, a normal Whole30-related shift in my body, or just menstrual crap. I usually experience some version of digestion issues during my period (because trips to the bathroom are already so fun that time of month), but this also was happening beforehand.

What I've been eating. I had made a bunch of turkey burgers for the week that I love, which include organic, lean ground turkey, frozen chopped spinach, grilled onions and garlic in the patties. They've given me gas in the past, but never anything prolonged/unbearable, and they're so good and keep well in the fridge that I eat them anyway; and everyone I make them for wants the recipe! Typically I'll have a patty with Primal Kitchen mayo, spicy mustard, roasted white or sweet potatoes, 1/2 avocado, leafy greens or roasted veggies of some kind. The day I stopped eating them, I had my first normal-ish BM. The next day, I started my period, and I have been a bloated, crampy mess with diarrhea again. Generally my day/meals look like this: wake up around 7am, have coffee with a splash of NutPods or another compliant cashew/nut milk and often either an RXBar or Epic bar (egg whites with fruit & nuts -I only do the blueberry, apple cinnamon or lemon ones) so that I eat *something* first thing, especially if I opt to go running or to yoga. I don't have it in me to cook/eat/wash the dishes from a huge breakfast that early. Later around 10:30am I'll make a proper breakfast with 2-3 eggs, 1 link of chicken sausage (Applegate's Roasted Red Pepper), sometimes potatoes, wilted spinach or any leftover roasted veggies I might have, 1/2 avocado, a sprinkle of hemp hearts and maybe Tapatio. If I have fruit that is nearing going bad I'll have a little, but am trying to avoid feeding the dessert monster. Lunch and Dinner are very similar, usually 1.5-2 fist sized portions of either salmon or chicken or eggs if that's all I have, either a salad of fresh veggies or a good amount of roasted veggies (i.e carrots, broccoli/broccolini, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus) cooked greens sometimes on top of cauliflower rice with 1/2 avocado, or sometimes skip the avocado if I use a mayo, that sort of thing. I aim to have very colorful plates, always including a green. I usually never have uncooked veggies for more than one meal a day, always try to make sure potatoes have been in 1-2 meals, and have been drinking peppermint tea after dinner to soothe my stomach.

I know nuts can be an irritant, but I was using coconut/almond/cashew milk in coffee PRIOR TO my W30, as well as cashew milk yogurt (Forager) and even sometimes a spoonful of cashew/almond butter as a snack if necessary, and it didn't seem to be a problem. Also, the turkey burger thing - I eat spinach all the time, and basically anything I cook in a skillet starts with onions and garlic - maybe the combo is just a lot for my stomach at once? Any of the above foods I've mentioned are ones I ate prior to W30 with no noticeable issues - they used to just be bookended with crap like pizza, a lot of red wine, non-dairy ice cream, etc. Honestly, the only totally new thing is the peppermint tea. 

Lastly, things I should be doing a better job of are drinking more water and taking a probiotic regularly (even though I do have kombucha 2-3 times per week), and also eating dinner earlier, but feel like there's something I'm still missing. Is it possible that my healing gut is now rejecting even healthy things I used to feed it? I am dreading learning that I also now have to eliminate compliant foods that I enjoy. I should mention I have done 2-3 W30's in the past, but it has been about four years since the last one. I did not experience this any of those times. I had the BEST Tiger Blood on days 12-13 this round, but it's been a little up and down since, although definitely still an improvement from pre W30 life! Periods just throw a huge wrench in this whole thing, messing with moods, digestion/bloating, energy level and appetite - literally everything you want to evaluate on W30. But I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here! 

If anyone has thoughts/related experiences, I'd be curious to pinpoint the problem here.

To end on a good note, my NSV's have been improved focus, slimming down, no headaches/migraines even through really irregular weather/temperatures, and giving my previously unstructured and new-to-me freelancing lifestyle some much needed organization/structure! :)



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