Wow. Almost three months since my last post! Life has been very full, and sometimes perplexing.
Not long after the end of my Whole30, while I was still eating mostly compliantly, I developed digestive symptoms that surprised me. I will spare you the full details. Let's just say I was on the fast track. I struggled for days, then weeks, trying to figure out what I was eating that was making my system so unhappy. My symptoms were severe enough that my energy was getting low--some days I felt wrung out. And sometimes I was even hesitant to leave the house. I cut things out, added things in, but nothing seemed to help. It was very discouraging to be dealing with these issues when I was trying so hard to eat well.
I even resorted to eating regular bread, cheese, and other off-plan foods to see if something would change my gut reaction. Sometimes I would get some relief in that area, but the rest of my body (other than my tongue) did not like that one bit! I was getting achier, more fatigued, and just feeling low-grade crummy.
Through all of this I continued to read voraciously (online and also in print--It Starts With Food, by the creators of the Whole30 program is packed with helpful information and answered many questions for me). I researched the GAPS protocol and gave that some serious consideration. That protocol is specifically designed to enable the gut to heal, and clearly my gut was not in a healthy place! But GAPS is pretty hard-core, so I view it as something I will reconsider as a "last resort" if need be. I saw that even Paleo authors acknowledge that gut health is of primary importance, and I began to understand that, in some cases, the gut may go through a time of being worse before it gets better. When one significantly changes one's diet, the microorganisms that live inside of one must re-balance. Only one way to find out if mine is one of those cases...
So I started another Whole30 on July 1. It turned out to really be a Whole21, because we ended up taking an impromptu trip to the beach for a few days, but it was still super helpful in getting my eating back on track. I also noticed digestive symptom improvements. I am still trying to isolate just what foods are irritating to my gut. I suspect raw vegetables are a bit much for me right now, but particularly tomatoes (one of the Nightshades I had initially left out of my first Whole30). This is something of a bummer, since it is summer, and salads are yummy, and I love garden-fresh tomatoes. But there is still plenty of other yumminess that doesn't give me tummy troubles!
It is all still in-process: figuring out what works for me as an individual. There truly is no "one size fits all" way of eating and there are more things yet to try (such as the autoimmune protocol, which is similar to the beginning of my first Whole30, but stricter). I still have absolutely no desire to go back to my former way of eating--I've dabbled, and it is so, SO, SO not worth it for me.
I am very thankful for the abundance I have been given: abundant information, abundant food (and abundant variety of food), abundant support from family and friends.