Belated Whole 30 Wrap Up – 2.0

So this post is coming almost a week after I should have been wrapping up my January Whole 30, and I apologize for that.  It’s partly because I’ve been busy, and partly because I wasn’t sure how to write it – it’s been a complicated month for me.  My Whole 30 has definitely not been what I expected – but that has nothing to do with the plan itself.  In fact, I went into this (my second) Whole 30 with a completely different mindset than the last time.  I read It Starts With Food before this Whole 30, and it was amazing and definitely opened my eyes.  I also benefited from the generous complimentary subscription to The Whole 30 Daily from Melissa Hartwig, and it was so much more than I expected!  Not simply a motivational pep talk, the daily emails were chock full of articles, links, and all kinds of great stuff – it was like a little present every day.  Definitely worth the .50 per day subscription price if you’re considering a Whole 30!  I kept all of them in a folder so I can refer back to them any time – I can’t say enough how much I loved finding a new one in my inbox each morning!

[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”right” ]I went into this Whole 30 with a completely different mindset than the last time[/pullquote3] Armed with this great information and support, I started my Whole 30 loaded with optimism!  I knew that I would face some detox symptoms, but also knew from experience that once I came out the other side, I’d feel great.  I wasn’t wrong – and this time around the detox symptoms were much milder than my first Whole 30.  Before I knew it, my eyes were super bright and clear, I had boundless energy, my tendonitis disappeared, and was sleeping like a baby every night.  It was everything I hoped it would be.

But then the wheels fell off.  All of them. Violently.  I suddenly started having reactions to everything I ate or drank.  And I mean everything.  I’ve been to the ER, local urgent care, and an allergist where I finally got some epi-pens.  To keep an incredibly long and Benadryl laden story short, I’m living on just a few vegetables that I can tolerate, and small amounts of lamb.  What I can tolerate seems to change weekly.  One week it was pineapple and chicken, then zucchini and avocados, right now I’m eating lamb, beets and carrots.  The only seasoning I can use is kosher salt, and the only fat is olive oil.  You can imagine that this makes writing a food blog difficult.

I made it to day 27 of my Whole 30 before I finally caved out of desperate hunger and experimented with some oatmeal, which I was able to tolerate in small amounts for almost a week, and now can’t eat at all.  I also tested some tortilla chips (again, that lasted only a few days) and some mild cheddar cheese which I had an immediate reaction to.  Now I’m pretty much back to eating Whole 30 (though not completely by choice) because the only foods I can tolerate are Whole 30 compliant.  In fact if I could actually eat all of the foods “legal” on the Whole 30 right now, I would be in food paradise.  I’m starving people.  Literally.  Since January 1st I’ve lost 17lbs.  The hard way.  I just can’t seem to consume enough calories – definitely NOT a problem I ever thought I’d have!  I would kill for some chicken parmesan right now.  Or at least maim…  It’s all I can think about the last two days.

In spite of the depressing last few weeks though, I am hopeful.  I’ve been doing a LOT of research and my symptoms seem to fit with a Histamine Intolerance (HIT) (thanks to Patty from Chowstalker for those links!) as well as a sulfite sensitivity.  It was likely triggered by a warm spell that resulted in some crazy amounts of pollen around here.  My symptoms started at the same time, and I had issues with Oral Allergy Syndrome last year (though it was nowhere near this bad) so it seems likely.  There are supplements that I can take to hopefully boost my tolerance, and I’m following a low histamine and sulfite free elimination diet right now.  I’m hoping that once the pollen count lowers, my body will even out and I’ll be able to get back to normal – or at least be able to eat more than 3 things in any given week.

[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”left”]I LOVED how I felt during this Whole 30![/pullquote3]  I want to be SUPER CLEAR that this was not caused by doing The Whole 30, nor is it in any way related.  It was just bad timing that the symptoms started during this month, and it took a few weeks to figure out what my triggers were.  I LOVED how I felt during this Whole 30, and I’m just sorry that I wasn’t able to complete it.  If you have been on the fence about it, are worried that it’s too hard, or too restrictive, but want to feel the benefits, then JUST GO FOR IT!  It’s only 30 days and it really CAN change your life.  You’ll be amazed at how great you can feel.  Give it a chance and you won’t be sorry.

So anyway, going forward, now that I have a plan and will continue to seek medical advice/treatment as necessary, I’m looking forward to feeling better and increasing what I can eat over time.  I’ll still be blogging and cooking for you guys, with my family and friends as my taste testers.  And even though I won’t be eating some of the meals that you’re seeing here (for awhile at least) I can tolerate small tastes of most foods, enough to know if it’s good enough to post or not.  And as always if you make something and think it needs work, I’m always open to your comments and feedback!

Lastly, if anybody else has dealt with something similar, I’d love to hear from you!  What your symptoms were, what helped if anything, etc.  Send me an email or comment here, because it would be great to know that others have dealt with this successfully (or not) so I can arm myself with as much information as possible, and your comments may help others who are struggling with the same symptoms and are as confused and frustrated as I was about what could be causing them.

More recipes in the queue for later this week so stay tuned.  Somebody might as well enjoy them, even if I can’t!  ;)

UPDATE:  Since I wrote this post, I started taking Diatomaceous Earth and all of my food and chemical intolerances disappeared within a week!  Read about my incredible experience with DE, and its many other health benefits here.


  1. RITA says

    Wow!!! I’m sooo sorry you have been going through this! I can only imagine how hard it is!!! I hope u feel better soon! Thoughts & prayers are with u! :(

    • says

      Thanks Sarah, I hope so too! I was so close to getting to the end of the Whole 30 that it killed me to “cheat” with oatmeal on day 27! I wish I could have hung in there but my blood sugar was so low and I was so weak that I got desperate. I’m feeling a little better this week, as long as I stay within the low histamine diet protocol I’m not having any reactions and that is a profound relief!

  2. elaine says

    I don’t have any advice to give or similar experiences to relate. I just wanted to say that I’m SO sorry you aren’t well and that I’m hoping you’ll be better soon.

  3. says

    I am so sorry to hear you are not feeling great. I have done my second whole30 this January too and similarly to you I have not been feeling as awesome as I should. And I know it’s not Whole30’s fault at all. In January I’ve got down with the flu twice. Despite all my good effort to eat right food, drink teas, take vitamines. I still got sick. And just like it’s for you some food items do not go well with me one week, then the next week there is a different set of foods and it’s a constant change. However my “intolerances” do not bring anything worth ER (thank god for that) but I feel fatigued, bloated, there are headaches, sometimes acne. I’ve been searching for the answers and yet I still don’t know for sure why it is so.
    I have several theories: 1) leaky gut; 2) candida overgrowth/SIBO; 3) an autoimmune disease I have no idea of; 4) hormonal issues.
    I have a feeling it might be a combination of candida overgrowth and leaky gut (because from what I’ve read the constant changing food intolerances are the sign of candida). I should probably try Paleo Autoimmune Protocol diet (there is a plan on Practical Paleo book) or do something that Ivy from Paleo in Melbourne does to cure her candida. It’s just tiring not to see any results, but I guess I have to be patient and just keep going :)
    My mom once was recommended an anti-histamine diet due to her eczema flare ups but it was too hard for her not to eat any of the food she loves, plus everything has to be prepared fresh so she gave up. At the moment she deals with her problems using steroid medication.
    I really hope you’ll feel better soon. Take care!

    • says

      Sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well Vita! :( Hopefully keeping on with this healthier eating will help resolve your issues and you’ll finally start to feel great. It’s true that we sometimes have to get worse before we get better and it sounds like you are on the right track. So true about an anti-histamine diet – it’s very difficult having to prepare everything fresh especially. Nothing can be eaten leftover, especially meat, and even an hour can make a difference from me eating it with no problem or having a reaction. It’s the weirdest thing. I’m glad the steroids are helping your mom, I hope that I won’t have to take it that far! Hoping you’re feeling better soon and thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    Take care and hope you can beat what’s ailing you. I’ve gone through a few instances where I’ve had to really pay attention to what I’m eating. It’s like threading a needle on what I can eat sometimes despite getting healthy, losing weight and sailing through before eating at will.

    • says

      Thanks Baron, threading a needle to figure out what I can eat is such an appropriate way to put it! Every meal is stressful, every outing because it’s hard to plan ahead, etc. And it is ironic that I have been fitter and healthier this past year than I have since the 90’s, but now I have all of these problems I never had before! Very frustrating, but I feel like I might be finally starting to get a handle on it. I hope. :)

  5. Rhonda says

    So sorry to hear about this. Praying you’ll be back to health as soon as possible. Love your blog and recipes. Just tried the dry cereal recipe, it’s a keeper!

  6. says

    So sorry to hear about your miserable experience. I have airborne allergy issues that mess me up several times a year and it took a very long time to separate them out from the gluten intolerance and other food reactions. All of the pollen and dust that you breathe ends up draining into your digestive system and wreaking havoc no matter how carefully you eat. Congratualations on getting past it!

    • says

      Thanks Gretchen, I do think the airborne pollen allergies are a major contributor in overloading my system so that now I have reactions to so many things. I hope to isolate what pollens are my triggers and possibly relocate to a place that doesn’t contain them. I suspect the local pines or pin oaks are the culprit since we didn’t have those in CT where I lived for 36 years with no issues. It all started when I moved here to SC and seems to get worse every year. So we’ll see what happens – thanks for sharing!

  7. Terry says

    I have had similar symptoms for the past 7 months. I lost 50 pounds over the past 4 years by following a low carb diet. Last August, I started having episodes of abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin flushing (face/neck/chest), rapid pulse, weakness and nausea. Some episodes seemed to be triggered by foods, stress or smells. I went to the ER in September thinking that I was having a heart attack. All of my cardiac tests were normal. I started reacting to most of the foods I had been eating: avocadoes, grass-fed beef jerky, pork, any food leftovers. While completing a 24 hour urine for 5-HIAA to rule out Carcinoid Syndrome, I found that the same foods I had to avoid (high in biogenic amines-histamine-tyramine) were the foods I had been eating daily. I started a strict elimination diet.
    I went to an allergist, gastoenterologist and a hematologist for evauluation of possible Mastocytosis. My bone marrow biopsy was normal so I was glad that I did not have aggressive Mastocytosis. My serum tryptase was elevated while having symptoms compared to baseline with no symptoms.
    I am following a low biogenic amine diet, take Histamine 1 inhibitors (Allegra and Zyrtec) and Histamine 2 (Zantac) twice daily. I take Singulair daily and carry EpiPens in case of an anaphylactic reaction. I only eat freshly prepared whole foods, no leftovers of any kind. Histamine multiples as soon as a food is cooked. I can no longer eat any fish (even frozen fish contains too much histamine and canned fish is a severe trigger), pork, coconut (no coconut milk or coconut oil), any seed oils, avaocado, nuts (in any form). Eggs and goat’s milk are problems at times, it depends on “how full your histamine bucket is that day” as to whether you will have symptoms.
    Until I can get better control of my triggers, I am just trying to limit my triggers. I am following the Perfect Health Diet which allows some safe starches such as white rice and rice noodles (I cannot eat any white or sweet potatoes due to histamine content).
    I have almost completed my testing to exclude other diagnoses. I will see a Mast Cell Specialist for a final diagnosis and begin testing other mast cell stabilizer medications.
    Online searches reveal that there are other posters online who have been having symptoms of Histamine Intolerance, but this may only be one symptom of a disease process. I suggest that anyone having similar symptoms see their doctor to have appropriate testing.

  8. roberta breton says

    Sorry to hear of your troubles. I have severe allergies of all kinds. I had a similar food problem in the 1980’s dr put me on rotary diversified diet. That worked for a few years and I dropped 35 lbs in 5 wks, which dr said was allergic edema. Then problem came back with a vengeance in late 80s. Naturopath put me on Bentonite clay and Perfect 7 (the latter a soluble fiber with some clay & other stuff). Take these two hours before or two hours after food or vitamins because clay attracts nutrients as well as toxins. I had repetitive welting on skin had to take several enemas per day to get stuff out of system and ended up having colonics as well. This problem lasted 2 or 3 years. No problems with this now. I am 67.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing Roberta – I’m so happy for you that you haven’t had problems since, but I wondered if you changed anything else about your environment that might have contributed to that? Did you relocate or have you lived in the same area all of this time? Did they ever tell you what they think caused it? Super curious! I will look into bentonite clay if I undergo a serious detox program once I rule out other possible causes. Thanks so much!

  9. says

    I was thrilled that you enjoyed your W30D subscription, and that the first part of your Whole30 went so well, but I quickly became concerned reading the rest of your write-up. I’m so sorry you are going through this right now, but we’ve seen this sort of thing before. It’s almost always related to a chronic stress response in the body (promoted by all sorts of factors, including physical and psychological stress), and gut issues like a bacterial infection, parasitic infection, yeast overgrowth, or other form of dysbiosis. I would highly recommend getting with a good functional medicine doctor or naturopath to do some lab testing – cortisol to DHEA ratio (to help you evaluate where you are in terms of cortisol resistance and chronic stress response in the body) and some stool testing to help you determine if you have some GI stuff going on that needs to be addressed. Only after these things have been evaluated and treated should you look into any potential detox options – which may be a good, next logical step for you.

    The book “The Chronic Stress Crisis” by Dr. Timmins (who was Dallas’ functional medicine mentor’s mentor, if that makes sense) outlines exactly what you are talking about here – his story is eerily similar to yours. You may find some of his writing and tips helpful.

    I hope you are feeling better soon, and thank you for your candor and bravery in taking on the Whole30 again.


    • says

      Thanks so much Melissa! I appreciate the recommendations – I have wondered about parasites and will be starting diatomaceous earth this week in case that is part of the problem. A few years ago we moved from CT to SC and now live in an agricultural area where pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are sprayed year-round – in addition we are on a lake that they spray herbicides on to keep the weeds under control, pesticides to keep mosquitoes manageable, and there is a paper plant that is constantly spewing pollution into the air on the other side of the lake. Needless to say we are planning to relocate as soon as possible. I’ve never had any of these issues before, and it can’t be a coincidence. I wish Dr. Timmins book was on kindle so I could read it ASAP, but I will have to wait for it to ship to me I guess. I saw in the description that he talks about environmental factors and I’m anxious to see what he has to say about it. Thanks again for the recommendations and for taking the time to comment! :)

  10. says

    I sure hope you find out what the issue is and get relief soon. You really did give this Whole30 your best effort, and your attitude was almost a 180 from the first time! :) I hope you can give your body and mind lots of rest while you heal. Where are you hoping to relocate?

  11. says

    I randomly came across your blog looking for information about Whole30 and Oral Allergy Syndrome, which I’ve dealt with my whole life (nuts, bananas, avocados, melons, carrots, etc.). Not bad enough that I don’t ever eat them, but definitely annoying. I wanted to see if Whole30 helped anyone and then I read your post and Oh! I’m sorry you’re going through all of this! What a nightmare. I really hope and pray things improve soon. Keep your chin up! :)

    • says

      Thanks so much Cori! I have read that lots of people have success with seasonal allergies by doing the Whole 30 – just not me! I’m still trying to figure out what my issues are and every day seems to be different. You should definitely give the Whole 30 a try and see if it works for you – even if it doesn’t improve your OAS, you’ll still feel great!

  12. April says

    I just came by to check in on how you’re feeling. Still hopeful you’ll be able to eat again one day! Thanks for keeping up with recipe posting, even though you aren’t able to eat them! I really appreciate it.

  13. Angie Gill says

    I am on day 22 of the Whole 30 diet. I experienced higher energy for about a day and then I noticed I just didn’t feel all that great. It was like I had digressed back to day 8 or 9. I was experiencing every reason why I started the Whole 30 – stuffy head, dizziness, nausea, bloating, gas, fogginess, … I just could not believe that I was still feeling like crap after removing so many food items from my diet for 20 some days. I started to suspect eggs, so I googled egg allergies and quickly found “histamiine intolerance”. Yes, bananas make me feel crappy. Yes, I get a headache after I eat chocolate. Pineapple? Forget about it! If I I hadn’t started the whole30 diet I would never have figured this out. Now I have to work on how to be Whole30 compliant AND eat low histamine foods. Which is what lead me to this post. I hope you feel better soon and continue to post. I’ll check back for updates :)

  14. rebekah says

    Wow! I’ve never heard of anyone so close resembling what I’ve gone through, although mine might be slightly less severe. But moat of it happened to me as well, down to the emergency room visit. I never got answers from the Dr. So what ended up helping me tremendously was the GAPS diet. I highly recommend anyone with these issues to try this diet. What I really want to mention though is how excited I am about the diatomaceous earth! I started it yesterday, and am also giving it to my girls, and my husband who is having major belly issues, will start taking it tomorrow. Already I feel it working in my belly, and I’m pretty sure my 4 year old is feeling it too. She hates to sleep and she went to bed on her own and is napping as I speak. I will try to report back as we continue to take it. I’m very hopeful after reading your story. Thank you so much for sharing!

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