Day 44: End of “Whole 30” and Beginning of “Gluten 30”

After my reaction to gluten I checked with my doctor who thinks I should get tested for Celiac Disease.  No problem, right?  Wrong. I need to do a “Gluten Challenge” and eat a “gluten rich” diet for at least 30 days before I get tested.  When I asked what “gluten rich” meant, she said: breads, processed foods, pizza crusts, cakes, and baked goods. Every meal, in a material quantity, not just once a day or a few bites. I actually laughed out loud when I heard this. I lol-ed.  For the first time in my life I have little desire to consume that stuff on a regular basis, but I have to. For at least 30 days. For science.

I have been eating gluten for 30+ years of my life so I can probably handle another 30 days, but it’s amazing how good I feel without eating it. Bringing it back into my diet will mean headaches, feeling foggy and drowsy, and overall blah.  Doing a Whole 30 was eye-opening for me, but the truth is hard to handle.

I find it hard to believe I could have Celiac’s, but if I do these next 30 days could be the last days I eat gluten. Forever!  So, I will swallow some advil and choke down some pancakes and cookies while I can.

I am going to end my blog for now.  I plan to do another Whole 30 as soon as I can stop eating gluten. Next time I hope to focus on the no-snacking guideline and the meal template guidelines (with less fruit).  I may update my blog in the future, but for now I think my mission is accomplished.  Thanks for reading!

Before I end, here’s a bit about my last day: I had decided to kick off a Paleo 90/10 lifestyle today during Restaurant Week in Minneapolis at Saffron (my favorite restaurant!).  This was the kind of meal that was not Whole 30 but all sorts of wholesome “worth it.”  The ingredients were farm-to-table but there were legumes (lentils, chickpeas), non-gluten grains (farro), dairy (marscapone, cream in the soup, goat’s milk yogurt, bavarois), sugar (caramel), and alcohol (wine pairings!).  It felt like a good end to my Whole 30.

What I ate for my Dinner:

First Course:

  • Farro & Beet Salad: with curry, goat’s milk yogurt and hazelnuts (with Arona, Savignon Blanc)
  • Chickpea Soup: with smoked almond romesco, pickled peppers, parsley and crispy chickpeas)

Entree:

  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes: with lentils, poached black figs, tahini and pomegranate (with Romaine Sainte Eugenie “Le Clos”, Merlot Blend)
  • Chicken Tagine: with chickpeas, piquillo peppers, green olives, and charmoula broth

Dessert:

  • Pumpkin Bavarois: with salted caramel, ras el hanout and apples
  • Chocolate Almond Baklava: with sour cherry sauce and marscapone (with Graham’s 6 Grapes “Reserve” Porto)

Day 43: Some Legumes

I woke up with a bit of a fuzzy head today. I attribute it to the trace amount of breadcrumbs rather than the 3 sips of wine I had the night before, but I can’t be certain.  Some advil took care of the problem.

I felt normal enough to try legumes in the afternoon.  I had some peanut butter (generic processed Jif type, not organic) with carrots after I got home from work, and ate both chickpeas and shelled green peas in my favorite butternut squash coconut curry recipe.  Ideally I would like to reintroduce soy separately, and I didn’t have any today.

How I felt:  Fine until I ate peanut butter! For some reason I felt itchy all over for a few hours after that evening snack.  It wasn’t like a peanut allergy call-an-ambulance kind of reaction. Just… itchy.

What I ate:

Breakfast / Post Workout:  egg omelette with spinach, tomato, peppers.  side of roasted potatoes.

Lunch: shredded chicken, Day 42 leftover salad with added avocado, peppers, tomato, radish.

Snacks: apple, Kit’s Organic Bar (I was still ravenous around 2:30!)

Dinner: Butternut squash curry over 1/2 a small baked sweet potato.  I realized in retrospect how starchy this meal was.

Shredded chicken with avo, salad.

Shredded chicken with avo, salad.

Omelette with potatoes

Omelette with potatoes

Day 42: Alcohol

Technically I reintroduced alcohol!  Technically = 3-4 sips of red wine. I had dinner with some friends and have been feeling itchy to move faster on “reintroduction” lately. I am considering doing another Whole 30 in November- this time I will work on eliminating snacking and reducing my fruit consumption.  But before I start again I  want the chance to eat the foods I have been missing and will likely make me feel rotten due to gluten content. Specifically: chocolate chip cookies, that apple pie from the Rustic Inn sitting in the freezer waiting for me, wine, and pizza.  These foods/drinks would be worth it.

I did also eat a little gluten in the form of breadcrumbs on some veggies.  I managed to brush off some of the crumbs but definitely not all. We’ll see how “trace” amounts of gluten affect me tomorrow, I guess!

How I felt: good, pretty normal. I felt well enough to “reintroduce” another food a day early.

What I ate:

Breakfast: egg scramble with spinach

Lunch: shredded chicken with avocado, apple chips with almond butter

Dinner: grilled chicken, chopped salad (iceberg lettuce, cucumber, apple, jicama, balsamic), roasted veggies with breadcrumbs

Day 41: No Carb Hangover

My day-after the non-gluten grains was fine! I felt pretty good, with the exception of a little rumbly tummy and upset stomach.

How I felt: Fine. No headaches or weirdness like I had after eating gluten. A little bit of an upset stomach, but nothing to worry about.

What I ate:

Breakfast: eggs scrambled with spinach topped with avocado and cholula

Lunch: leftover spinach/cucumber/apple salad from Day 39 with shredded chicken and avocado

Dinner: leftover yellow curry from Day 40 without rice

No pics, sorry!

Day 40: Non-Gluten Grains

I reincorporated non-gluten grains on Day 40. Day-of eating was a success!  I also learned, after eating out twice today, that going “gluten-free” at restaurants is easier than being “soy” or “dairy” free.  It’s common to be gluten free, so most restaurants have suggestions and accommodations.

How I felt: Good, no head-stuffiness or headaches or digestive issues yet.  Stay tuned.

What I ate:

Breakfast / Post Workout: eggs scrambled with spinach and quinoa.  Quinoa is really tasty in eggs!

Lunch:  Salmon Salad at Rosa Mexicana (salmon, tuscan kale, corn, chayote, tortilla strips, poblano peppers, viniagrette).  Chips n’ salsa

Dinner: Yellow curry from Chiang Mai Thai over white rice: chicken, potatoes, yams, carrots

Egg Scramble w/ Quinoa and Spinach (to-go!)

Egg Scramble w/ Quinoa and Spinach (to-go!)

Salmon Salad Leftovers, which I promptly ate an hour after lunch b/c I was still hungry

Salmon Salad Leftovers, which I promptly ate an hour after lunch b/c I was still hungry

Yellow Chicken Curry with Rice

Yellow Chicken Curry with Rice

Day 39: Family Dinner

Sara and Carolyn (my original Whole 30 inspiration) hosted an awesome potluck on an unseasonably warm fall evening, and my friends are so awesome that pretty much all of the foods were Whole-30 compliant.  I had the most delicious meal, detailed below.  We had a bonfire, too.  I was sad I couldn’t try all the delicious beers people brought (it was an Oktoberfest gathering in October- why is Oktoberfest in September?), but that’s ok.

How I felt: Day 39 wasn’t as bad as Day 38 when it came to the gluten hangover… but it wasn’t exactly good either.  I felt tired in that way you feel the day after being sick- when your body isn’t exactly hurting but somewhat exhausted from fighting an illness.  This is how I felt from the neck upwards.

What I ate:

Breakfast: nothing, I felt a little ill from the day before and skipped breakfast. A first on Whole 30!

Lunch: Salad bar salad (lettuce, cucumber, green pepper, chopped eggs, slivered almonds, jicama, oil/vinegar, avocado) with homemade shredded chicken. Apple.

Snacks: banana, hazelnuts

Dinner: chicken brats, cooked cabbage, roasted cauliflower and carrots, ginger sweet potatoes, green salad w/apples and cucumber.

No pics!

Day 38: Gluten Hangover

Yesterday when I ate gluten I felt mostly ok. I was so excited about feeling “ok” that I started making a list of the things I’d like to eat when I’m done with Whole 30: that pie in the freezer, chocolate chip cookies… then last night before bed I hit a wall. My head felt fuzzy and I was incredibly tired. Actually, it felt a lot like the “paleo flu” I got around Days 8-10.  I didn’t feel much better waking up this morning, either. My head felt stuffy and I was lethargic all day. I felt like a truck had run me over.  Then, at night while at a happy hour (where I didn’t eat or drink anything), I acquired a roaring headache.  Basically, I felt horrible all day from the neck upwards.

Here’s my gluten-carb takeaway: While my stomach feels fine (aside from feeling a little bloaty), gluten makes me feel pretty rotten. I feel tired and foggy. I feel WORSE than hungover. Will I never eat gluten again? Probably not, but I will think more than twice before eating it.

Lastly, now that I have tried gluten grains I understand just how good I feel in this “new normal” state on Whole 30.  Before doing this it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to get headaches or feel bloated. Now I realize those don’t have to be “normal” occurrences,  certain foods seem to contribute to it.

How I felt: horrible from the neck upwards: stuffy foggy head, lethargic, mini migrane.  Basically, I had symptoms of a non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  It’s not clear if the NCGS is a real thing or not, but whatever it is, I had those symptoms.

What I ate:

Breakfast: 2 HB eggs and some roasted brussels. coffee with coconut milk

Lunch: leftover chili + sweet potato. More Brussels. 1/2 an apple

Snacks: Hazelnuts and dried mango

Dinner: plain burger w/o bun, salad.

No pics today!