Help! I’m regretting my whole30 because now I can’t seem to eat anything!


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I don’t know if anyone can help me - I’m seriously starting to feel depressed with results after my whole30. I followed the program to a T and was VERY diligent to fully eliminate all foods. I’ve never had any noticeable issues processing foods (other than dairy and I already suspected lactose intolerance prior to this program), so I didn’t expect to gain much insight on that end. However, I did frequently have brain fog and always tired/low energy, bouts of anxiety and depression, and just general feeling a bit icky. 

my whole30 brought mental clarity that was amazing. I had more energy and didn’t NEED my coffee to function in the morning. I had more drive and motivation for day to day tasks, etc. 

fast forward to my reintroduction (2 weeks into this now)....I started with peanuts, and it seemed to be fine. Next I did sweetened almond milk creamer for my coffee (Califia farms) and I got a nasty headache that hung around all day and I never get headaches.

once the headache was resolved I tried Gluten free oats and brown rice, and my stomach was miserable with bloating and diarrhea. 

I back pedaled and stopped with the grains again, but next I did soy in the form of soy sauce. Again my gut was absolutely wrecked. 

I feel like anytime I try anything not ok with the whole30 diet - I get massive headaches and sever gastric upset. I’m so discouraged. 

also.....DURING my whole30, I didn’t feel sick, but I did have frequent stools and a lot of the time they were loose. I don’t know if that’s normal? I remember think “huh I seem to have diarrhea a decent amount with whole30” a but I never felt miserable with it, so it is very different now with Reintroduction and the miserable feelings I get 

I’m trying to stay hopeful that maybe I won’t have to forever eliminate my favorite foods. Whole30 was doable for a month, but forever that way is too much and I’m kind of wishing I never even tried this. 

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Hi.  I'm new to this and I have not even started re-introduction.  I'm on Day 28 of the reset.  However, I wanted to reach out to you since I noticed that you did not have any responses and I want to support you.  If at any point you are feeling true anxiety or depression, please see your doctor immediately.  That is nothing to ignore.

I think that you did get a lot out of the Whole30.  You said that you had more drive, motivation, and mental clarity as well as needing your coffee less.  That's great!

Also, I think that the strange stools are pretty normal as your body is processing new things and your body may not be used to so many vegetables, especially raw veggies that can be hard to digest.

Beyond this, I apologize that I cannot help more.  I hope that someone with more experience will jump in with a response for you.

Hope you are feeling better.


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Try to realize that your body's been going without these foods for a month, and springing them back into your diet is bound to have some effect. Sometimes that effect is basically unnoticeable, and other times it's blatant.

Also realize that our pre-Whole30 bodies were accustomed to living in a state of constant distress. We were used to always feeling some kind of discomfort, of some sort or another, whether we had a "reason" label to slap on the effect or not. Once we've done an elimination diet like Whole30, though, our body is "cleaned" of many things known to cause irritation/distress to many people. This means that if one (or more) food groups removed was causing distress, then you're going to see a much bigger sign of it now that you're reintroducing.

Think of it like a pool of water. If there's a machine making waves at the far end, and you're feeling them hit against you, then you might not notice (as much) when someone jumps in the water nearby... it's just going to send more or slightly larger waves your way. But if you're in a perfectly calm pool, then someone jumps in, the resulting splash and/or waves will seem much larger and more noticeable. The point of the elimination phase is to make our system like the pool of calm water, and reintroduced foods can definitely cause some very noticeable effects when you're starting from a level baseline and are sensitive to them :) 

Remember that the purpose of reintroduction is to eat Whole30-compliant except for the single food you're introducing back in, which should be eaten at all meals for one day (or two if you want to spread it out)... then it's back to compliant for a few days to make sure you've recovered from the testing before you test the next food (or group) by itself.

My suggestion would be to take good notes, get through the rest of your reintroduction. If you want to go back to the troublesome foods you already tested to have another go and see if continued consumption allows you to become accustomed to them again, then that's definitely an option.

However, a little tough love and hopefully a bit of a light-bulb moment...

If you had frequent brain fog with constantly low energy, bouts of anxiety and depression, and general overall ickyness... all of which vanished during Whole30... doesn't it make sense that there might be something there that you might want to continue avoiding, even if it's one of your favorite foods?

For me, it's dairy, specifically cheese. I grew up with an allergy that I started ignoring as soon as I could, despite the fact that I dealt with eczema as a result. I didn't care, I had my cheese so I was totally okay with the rashes, the itching, etc. Fast forward to my first Whole30 reintro, when I decided to test dairy just because I wanted to see what would happen... and I learned that it not only set off my eczema, it was also the primary cause of my life-long issues with indigestion (including heartburn and reflux). From that, I can say without any trouble at all that dairy is simply not worth it for me about 95% of the time... occasionally, I'll decide to have "real cheese" on chili or a burger, but generally only if I'm eating away from home. I've learned to make some truly delicious non-dairy substitutes that I can always turn to if I feel like I'd like to have something cheese-like (though I don't do that during Whole30 or any other time when it's about habits as well as the food itself).

You've gotten some amazing results, doing away with symptoms that I know (from experience) had to have been irritating and miserable... so take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is ultimately about your continued health and well-being, and that you're strong enough to make informed decisions based on what you learn about your body's unique sensitivities and needs.

Obviously, you're an adult and can make your own dietary decisions, but making informed dietary decisions is really what Whole30 is all about. We obtain information through our reintroduction testing so that we can use that information to decide what our ongoing food freedom should look like... to be able to say something is or isn't worth it, based on how we know it affects us.

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I can't like Jianna's response enough.  There are so many way to enjoy the same foods they just may look a little different.  I'm not a huge fan of substituting for example you go vegan or vegetarian and use meat substitutes like the Impossible burger but, if there is something you can live without and you do as jianna suggested and reintroduce more than once and it;s just a no way I can't do it find something that looks like it.  

Please don't regret making your body clean and being able to feel and preform better.

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  • 4 weeks later...

@Tclajones I want to "third" Jihanna's post.  I'm on my 3 year w30 anniversary this year, and since my w30 I've added back only a few things every now and then and am happy and healthy and fine (though yes, when I do add them back my body doesn't like it much) and all my numbers are pretty much where I want them to be (scale, cholesterol, etc.).  

I wonder, sometimes, why people choose to "reintroduce" much when they've had such great results - to me it just wasn't worth it to be able to eat XYZ regularly again.  It had been such a mystery to me for decades about why I couldn't get control of eating and its effects - having this knowledge now and true control/freedom is something I wouldn't give up for the world.  

I hope you've been able to sort out a "new normal" that works for you in every way.  


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