My Goal: Cure Alopecia Universalis Naturally

I’m on day 28 of the Whole30 diet. No, it did not produce any Alopecia Universalis regrowth. Nothing substantial. I do have some clear eyelashes, but I have seen those come and go over the years. There is a patch of vellus hairs on my head that never get longer than 1/16 of an inch. It is super disappointing.

I have tried a variety of diets. I usually last about 3 months on a diet before I throw in the towel. I usually give up when I have had a seizure or there is a major holiday or social event. I haven’t given up on diets healing my body, I just haven’t really stuck with them long enough to see results.

My hair does grow back with drug therapy. I did it once with progesterone. The problem with adding that hormone was that it lowered my thyroid hormone. To test my thyroid hormone levels, I had to come off of it for two weeks and then everything that grew back just fell out. It was unnatural and wouldn’t last.

The autoimmune paleo diet

I lasted three months on this diet. I did not see any regrowth. It was difficult, but not impossible. The thing that I don’t like about AIP is giving up eggs and dairy. It does allow for sweet potatoes and olive oil, which can be quite tasty.

I have read about people who had Alopecia Universalis having success after about eight months on this type of diet. Eight months is a long time because you have to get through multiple holidays to be successful.

 

Picture of sweet potato fries.
Sweet potato fries are allowed on the AIP diet.

The paleo-ketogenic diet

I lasted three months on this diet. I even tried it twice. My biggest problem with this diet is that it doesn’t improve my vitamin D levels. I had two seizures on the diet the last time I tried it. Dr. Zsofia Clemens had me get blood levels tested. I started out with only a vitamin D deficiency. I ended three months later with a slightly lower level.

While the diet is super restrictive, I didn’t feel terrible while I was on the diet. But I didn’t see any alopecia Universalis regrowth. I think the biggest benefit of doing that diet with the Paleomedicina group is clueing me into the vitamin D deficiency. I think that may have been my problem all along.

Picture of a steak.
Steaks are a staple on the paleo-ketogenic diet.

The GAPS diet

This is the most complicated diet with the most promises for healing autoimmune and neurological conditions. It has so many steps and requires supplements. One of the recommended supplements that I took inconsistently the first time I tried the diet was cod liver oil. I think that this is the supplement that has actually helped me the most in the last three months. I think had I taken the recommended dosage consistently the first time I tried the diet, I would have been successful.

The GAPS diet is complicated. You are encouraged to take probiotics and start with an introductory diet that consists of boiled meats and meat stock. Then you add in certain vegetables in stages. It is mentally challenging to figure it all out. I know that hair grows so slowly that it will be difficult to test out foods to see exactly what is causing the hair to fall out or regrow.

Picture of a pot of soup
Soups are a staple for the GAPS diet

Topical remedies

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I did buy an expensive topical cream online. It was a few hundred dollars. I spent that about 2-3 years into my hair loss. It produced no results.

I have tried rubbing onions on my head. That was supposed to trigger something in the hair follicle and make it grow. It didn’t. I gave up on it quickly.

Right now, the topical remedy that I am trying out is Emu oil. Why? Because it has vitamin D and K in it. I know that I have been deficient in vitamin D for many years. Most of my symptoms are correlated with a vitamin D deficiency. I have raised the levels to about 49 ng/ml and feel so much better than when it was at 29. I think this will be the key to curing Alopecia Universalis naturally.

I must be honest, I haven’t been consistent in applying emu oil to my head. I have been able to get an application a day in for almost a week. I need to make it a habit for it to actually produce results.

Conclusion

The Whole30 diet will not cure Alopecia Universalis in a month. You may need about 8 months of an elimination diet AND vitamin D to cure your autoimmune condition. I will be doing a version of GAPS/AIP in March to try to cure my autoimmune condition, Alopecia Universalis.

This will be a tiny bit different than the Whole30 diet. I will need to give up potatoes. I may need to eliminate all nightshades as they are triggering to people with autoimmune conditions. That stinks. I was hoping to grow tomatoes this summer, but we’ll see what happens.

3 Things You Should Eat Every Day

After much experimentation with elimination diets and studying nutrition. I have come up with a few things that you should eat everyday for good health. These are foods that are nutrient-dense and provide you with the vitamins and minerals that sustain life.

I understand if you don’t have access to some of these ingredients or if you have to settle for lower-quality products from the grocery store. These are just some ideas of how to get the best possible nutrition for your body.

Cod liver oil

This is probably the supplement that has created the best results for me. It not only raised my vitamin D levels, but also decreased the number, severity, and intensity of the few seizures that I was having. Studies on the effect of vitamin D have linked vitamin D deficiency to autoimmune conditions, epilepsy, skin breakouts, hair loss, and even MS.

  • High in vitamins A – 90% of the RDI of vitamin A
  • High in vitamin D – 113% of the RDA of vitamin D in a teaspoon
  • Reduces inflammation – the omega-3 fatty acids in the cod liver oil help to suppress proteins promoting chronic inflammation.
  • Improves bone health – the vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium
  • Cod liver oil has been shown to reduce joint pain.
  • Improve eye health – vitamin A protects against eye disease.

Grassfed Beef

Beef is a powerhouse of nutrition. There is more nutrition in beef that has been pasture-raised on the grass. If you have a budget and a source for great grass-fed beef, include it as one of the things you should eat every day.

Some of the health benefits that grass-fed beef promotes:

  • Supports healthy blood sugar levels
  • Contains electrolytes including sodium, potassium, and magnesium
  • Fights cancer with twice the amounts of conjugated linoleic acid.
  • Six times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef.
  • Helps to alleviate rheumatoid arthritis and depression.
  • Decreases your risk of heart disease with the increased consumption of CLA.

Pasture-Raised Eggs

Farm fresh eggs are the highest quality eggs that you can get. Don’t feel bad about substituting the store-bought eggs if that is what you can afford. You can still see some of the great health benefits from them. Unfortunately, you may be supporting big agriculture and bad farming practices.

Eggs are very convenient for breakfast or a snack. There are many ways to cook eggs. You can even mix them with olive oil and vinegar to create mayonnaise and consume them raw.

The following health benefits can be achieved with eggs:

  • Eggs contain vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, and zinc.
  • Eggs provide your body with 6 grams of protein.
  • Eggs give you 5 grams of healthy fats.
  • Eggs raise the HDL or “good” cholesterol.
  • Eggs are a source of choline which is used to build cell membranes.
  • May reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • They contain lutein and zeaxanthin which benefit eye health.

 

Consistency is key

Eating highly nutrient-dense foods every day will lead to overall better health. I was very inconsistent for many years taking cod liver oil. I saw inconsistent results. It wasn’t until I committed to taking it every day and had my blood levels tested that I was able to observe a good improvement in my overall health and well-being. Not only did the number in my lab result reflect a healthier body, but I felt better.

These are foods that can easily be incorporated into your daily diet. You can have eggs for breakfast and a hamburger patty for dinner with a cod liver oil supplement at lunchtime. Ground beef is one of the most versatile foods and can be made into a patty or used in a casserole. These are nutrient foods that you should eat every day for great health.

 

Day 26 of the Whole30 Diet Plan

I am in the home stretch with the Whole30 diet plan. I have made it past the initial food cravings that happened in week one. I conquered to side effects from detoxing in week two. I feel pretty great and I am looking at only four more days of avoiding butter, grains, sugar, and dairy.

Honestly, I will probably keep going with this diet but there is half a pound of high-quality butter from a local dairy in my freezer. I froze it in order to start this diet. I also have some grocery store bacon to use up. But after consuming those things, I will probably return to the Whole30 way of eating. It is pretty good.

My Whole30 Best Recipes

I think the best whole30 recipe that I created on this diet was a breakfast hash that included butternut squash, fatback, and hamburger. I seasoned it up with onion and garlic powder. It was amazing. I may even like it more than bacon. Not to mention, it didn’t stick to my cast-iron skillet as eggs do in the morning.

The second best recipe that I had on this way of eating was salmon patties. I took canned salmon and mixed it with pork rinds and an egg. Then I fried it up in lard. Oh my! It was flavorful.

Finally, the third-best recipe that I made on Whole30 was a simple hamburger. It was easy enough to cook up at the drop of a hat since I keep frozen patties in my freezer. It paired well with any vegetables that I wanted. And my Foreman grill always cooked it perfectly.

Whole30 Pitfalls

It was fairly easy for me to get in the habit of only eating whole foods. The biggest whole30 pitfall that I faced was eating foods that I didn’t think had added ingredients. I forgot to check the ingredients of the pastured raised bacon and the olives. Turns out, they did have some of the preservatives in them that I was supposed to avoid.

If you are starting out with the Whole30 diet, remember to check the labels! Making the assumption that there are no additives in your food is dangerous. I still feel pretty successful at managing to stick to this diet 95%.

My Whole30 Supplements

I know you aren’t supposed to take supplements on Whole30. They are not whole foods. However, I strongly felt that the cod liver oil that I had been taking had raised my vitamin D levels to the point of preventing seizures. My levels were over 50 and I could tell that my brain was functioning better. I also didn’t have seizures, so I felt that it wasn’t worth it to risk having one and break my streak just to try out the Whole30 diet.

I continued to take Carlson’s cod liver oil and the ion biome supplement (once called Restore) that Zac Bush created to combat glyphosate in our food supply. Both I had on hand. I will continue on with the cod liver oil for certain. I don’t know about the ion biome supplement. Neither of them produced any hair regrowth in the last three months. But I digress…

Whole30 Weight Loss

The Whole30 diet plan encourages you to avoid looking at the scale. I have no idea if I lost weight during this diet or not. I can say for certain that I stopped bloating. When I started the diet, my PMS had kicked in and I was rather bloated.

During this menstrual cycle, I did not experience the same amount of bloating that I did at the outset of the whole30 diet. Whether it is a coincidence or not, I can’t say for sure.

My pants do fit perfectly now. Only the high-rise ones seem a bit tight, but I’m not used to wearing high-rise jeans. They are cut a bit differently. My regular jeans don’t seem too loose or too tight, so I’m pretty content. I’m unconcerned about whether I gained or lost weight.

Conclusion

The Whole30 diet rocks! I’m so glad that I have done it. I still want to tweak it a bit more to see if I can’t cure my alopecia universalis (whole body hair loss).

Best Electric Vegetable Steamer

In my mind, the best electric vegetable steamer will always be theBlack and Decker HS800 Steamer and Rice Cooker. I purchased two of them and they both lasted over 5 years. Unfortunately, it is no longer being produced. You can still buy it for $250 on Amazon. But I’m not going to consider it the best electric vegetable steamer at that price.

Instead, I decided to research and test some other steamers to recommend. I looked for simplicity in design, ease of use, low price, and functionality. I wanted to find something that mimicked the convenience of my lovely Black and Decker Steamer and Rice Cooker.

Name: Oster 2 Tiered 5 Quart Food Steamer Review

 

Website: Available at Amazon

Price: $23.06

Owners: Oster

Overall Rank: 88 out of 100

Oster Double Tiered 5 Quart Food Steamer, Product Overview

This is a food steamer that can be used for meat, fish, eggs, and poultry. The steaming retains nutrients. It eliminates the need to cook in oil. Oster’s double-tiered designs enables you to cook multiple dishes separately. You can cook your salmon and broccoli at the same time.

The transparent steaming bowls allow you to see the cooking progress of your foods. You can watch as your asparagus softens with the steam.

The Oster food steamer has a 5-quart capacity with two transparent steaming containers. It also features a 60-minute timer to ensure that you don’t forget to turn the food off. It will automatically shut off when the water is empty or the cycle is complete.

 

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

 

  • Automated timer
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 5-quart capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • 2 tiered system for cooking multiple dishes at once

The Bad:

  • Thin plastic
  • Some customers reported leakage
  • Baskets are small

I love using a steamer to cook my eggs. Since I didn’t have complaints, I referred to the negative reviews on Amazon to find the bad aspects of the Oster double-tiered electric vegetable steamer.

Who is Oster Vegetable Steamer for?

This is for the busy person who doesn’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. A vegetable steamer is much less expensive than the other popular kitchen gadgets like a pressure cooker or an air fryer. It provides you with a healthy method of cooking with the convenience of a timer to shut the food off when it is done cooking.

An electric vegetable steamer is perfect for people who are starting the GAPS diet, the Whole30, and the paleo diets. Many of those foods should be cooked at home instead of in vegetable oils that are often used in restaurants.

Oster Vegetable Steamer Tools & Training

There isn’t much training or support needed. It does come with an instruction manual. But you basically fill up the water reserve, put the vegetables into the basket, and turn the timer to the time that you want.

Oster Vegetable Steamer Support

If you need it, you can visit the Oster website to register your vegetable steamer and access their support department.

Their experts are available Mon-Fri, 9AM – 5PM ET. You can Call 1-800-334-0759 for Oster Appliances.

Oster Vegetable Steamer Price

At $23.06, this vegetable steamer is a steal. I find myself steaming vegetables in the summer when I don’t want to stand over a hot stove. I also steam my eggs instead of boiling them to have snacks of hard-boiled eggs on hand. It is one kitchen appliance that is inexpensive, but it will save you plenty of time. I find that I use it often.

My Final Opinion of Oster Vegetable Steamer

The Oster vegetable steamer is one of the few kitchen appliances that I actually recommend and use. I find that it is easy to use, the parts go into the dishwasher, but I often just hand wash the steamer.

Oster is a trusted brand. It has received over 5,000 global ratings on Amazon with a 4.4/5 star rating. There are a lot of people who like this product.

at a Glance…

Name: Oster two-tiered 5 quart vegetable steamer

Website: Oster.com

Owners: Oster

Price: $23.06

Overall Scam Rank: 88 out of 100

VERDICT: Legit! I recommend it!

My Simple Whole30 Meal Plan and Grocery List

My strategy for surviving the Whole30 diet was to keep it SIMPLE! Simplicity makes life easier. I didn’t try to mimic my favorite foods without the essential elements. I focused on eating whole foods that just tasted great on their own. I’m on day 23 and it is getting super easy and my taste buds have adapted to the whole foods. In some ways, I prefer eating this way.

My meal planning is super simple. I have found that I can cook once and eat twice with many of the dishes that I make. Having a large salad and soup in the refrigerator ensures that I always have a fast lunch or dinner.

My Whole30 Meal Plan

The main menu gets rotated quite a bit. I do tend to have leftovers frequently. This week, I did not have pulled pork, but when I buy a pork shoulder, it gets eaten in a few different creative ways throughout the week.

Breakfast:

  1. hamburger hash with butternut squash and an apple
  2. boiled eggs
  3. scrambled eggs

Lunch:

  1. hamburger patty with green beans
  2. hamburger patty with salad
  3. soup

Dinner:

  1. roast beef with carrots and potatoes
  2. roast beef with salad
  3. salmon patty with butternut squash
  4. soup

Whole30 Grocery List

These are the things that I buy to make my Whole30 menu work. I keep the seasonings to a minimum with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

My Whole30 Grocery List:

  • 2-3 lb. chuck roast
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • value pack of ground beef
  • 2 16 ounce packages of butternut squash
  • romaine lettuce
  • 7 apples
  • 1 package frozen green beans (sometimes broccoli)
  • 1 lb. package of organic carrots
  • 1 bag of potatoes
  • 2 whole onions
  • 1 can of olives (to top off the salad)
  • 1 lb. fatback (I get local pork lard from the farmer’s market. It is great for cooking.)
  • 1 lb. liver (I eat an ounce of liver a day for vitamins and minerals.)

This shopping list will feed one person for a week. I do tend to have some leftovers. I cook a weekly roast and eat it with my brother and my folks. There are usually leftovers for another meal or two during the week.

Alt text: Whole30 grocery list from Delish

Caption: Delish created a Whole30 grocery list with some Whole30 favorites. Source: Delish

Soups

I cook up the leftover bones that I have each week to make a savory broth. I add whatever vegetables that I have on hand to the broth to make it tasty and filling as well as some extra ground beef or leftover roast. Having a pot of soup in the refrigerator takes the pressure off of meal planning. If I ever can’t think of something to have, I pull out my soup.

Homemade meat stock is very healing. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has it as the main part of her GAPS diet. Dr. Kellyann Petrucci created a whole Bone Broth diet for weight loss. I try to eat a cup or two of homemade soup every day. My batch of soup usually lasts about six days.

Conclusion

A Whole30 diet plan does not have to stress you out. Simple meals and eating leftovers make meal planning and grocery shopping a snap. When you eat enough calories for each meal, you are full until the next meal and don’t have to worry about snacks. If you do need a snack, you can quickly grab a few almonds or a boiled egg. I keep a lot of boiled eggs on hand for quick breakfast protein or an addition to a salad. Sometimes I will eat an egg as a side dish for my soup meals.

The meals that I prepare are good on their own. They don’t need a starchy side dish or a creamy dairy dressing. Often we get in the habit of smothering our foods with seasonings without realizing that they have great flavors by themselves. My whole30 meal plan focuses on whole foods. Keep it simple for your best chance at success!

Whole30 – Coconut Aminos Review

Better Body Foods Coconut Aminos Review

Name: Better Body Foods Organic Coconut Aminos

Website: Coconut Aminos

Price: $9.97

Owners: BetterBody Foods

Overall Rank: 70 out of 100

Organic Coconut Aminos, Product Overview

Coconut Aminos are a natural, non-GMO, soy-free option to soy sauce that is Whole30 approved. It is created from the rich sap of the coconut palm, aged naturally, and blended with salt. Coconut aminos are a sweet source of the umami flavor that is used in many Asian dishes.

Coconut aminos are also gluten-free and paleo-friendly. It is an acceptable soy sauce replacement. This Coconut amino product is USDA certified organic, so almost everyone can enjoy it.

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

  1. It is organic! You don’t have to worry about pesticides in this condiment.
  2. Whole30 Approved. Not a lot of foods meet the Whole30 criteria. This is one supplement that you can add to your dishes to jazz them up if you are following the Whole30 diet, the paleo diet, or are trying to go gluten-free and soy-free.
  3. No added sugar. This condiment can be used on the ketogenic diet without raising your blood sugar. It provides your foods with a sweet and salty umami flavor without spiking your glucose.

The Bad:

  1. The taste. It does NOT taste like soy sauce. It has a slightly sweet flavor rather than tasting salty.
  2. The cost. I feel the cost of $10 for a bottle was pretty high.

Who is BetterBody Foods Organic Coconut Aminos For?

This product is marketed to people who are on elimination diets. It is great because it doesn’t have any added sugar. It is also gluten-free, soy-free, and MSG-free. It is an alternative to soy sauce for people who don’t mind substitutes for their favorite foods.

This product is good for people who are just adjusting to an elimination diet and still want the flavors that they had on the standard diet. It is great for people who enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with healthy recipes.

Coconut Aminos Uses

Coconut Aminos can be used in savory recipes with some tweaks. You may want to add some vinegar or sea salt to offset the sweetness of the coconut aminos. Here are some fun recipes to try if you want to use coconut aminos:

BetterBody Food Organic Coconut Aminos Price

The cost of the BetterBody Organic Coconut Aminos was rather expensive for a condiment. It was $9.97 for 16 fluid ounces of the coconut aminos. While you don’t use a ton of seasoning for each recipe, most condiments are much less expensive.

When compared to other coconut amino products, it is competitive. It was the least expensive one on Amazon at the time that I ordered it.

My Final Opinion of Organic Coconut Aminos

Thumbs down. I do not like substitutions. I was optimistic that I would enjoy the taste of the coconut aminos, but it did not taste like soy sauce to me at all. There was a lot more sweet flavor. It did not taste salty at all to me as I think of soy sauce tasting.

I have used it a few times and added vinegar to offset the sweetness in stir-fry dishes. It doesn’t really mimic soy sauce or tamari. It may be useful in a dish with other seasonings to mask the sweetness.

BetterBody Foods Organic Coconut Aminos at a Glance…

Name: Organic Coconut Aminos

Website: Available at Amazon

Owners: BetterBody Foods

Price: $9.97

Overall Rank: 60 out of 100

VERDICT: NOT LEGIT – Does not taste like soy sauce. Poor substitution.

Whole30 Day 22 – Positive Improvements

I am in the home stretch with the Whole30 diet. I am feeling great and have adjusted to eating simple, whole foods that don’t have grains, dairy, or added sugar. There have been a few slight, positive improvements in my health that I will report on today. I also have found some creative benefits to doing Whole30.

I am still flip-flopping on the idea of keeping up with the diet or cheating immediately. Honestly, my “cheating” would be to finish up the frozen grass-fed butter in my freezer. Because it’s butter! I love butter.

Some slight improvements

I have started tracking my symptoms with a chart. There are a few things that have not improved at all. But I realized today that my PMS symptoms this month were much, much better than they had been in previous months. I did have some bloating and gas, but I realized that it only lasted for a day instead of two. Still, it is an improvement.

There was no hair regrowth, so I still have alopecia universalis. Now and then I see some clear eyelashes and wonder if they are new, but it isn’t enough to notice.

Feeling accomplished

I have really overcome the butter addiction. I replaced butter with pork fat. Oh, my goodness, it is just like bacon! I cook everything in fatback from the local farm. It tastes so delicious.

I’ve weaned myself from my grain addiction. I no longer long for bread and butter. Which is great.

Found new recipes to enjoy

Whole30 was great for changing up my eating routines. I did discover a wonderful hash that I am enjoying for breakfast. Actually, I have realized that eating ground beef with any vegetables can be quite delicious with enough salt and pepper.

I’m glad that I had to break up with bacon every morning because it is quite expensive. Bacon starts at about $4 per pound. You can get ground beef on sale for $2 per pound.

This morning I experimented with adding apples and eggs with my ground beef. I didn’t hate it. I think that I loved the chance to be creative and change up my ingredients.

Vitamin D is helping me heal

As great as Whole30 has been in changing my dietary habits, I do believe that taking cod liver oil is keeping my seizures and auras at bay. I added the Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver and Butter Oil supplement to my diet. I did this because it has vitamin K and vitamin A, which help to balance the vitamins and make them more absorb better.

There are some actual studies on vitamin D reducing seizures. Vitamin D3 does have an anticonvulsant effect due to its ability to regulate the expression of genes which is a process mediated by a nuclear Vitamin D3 receptor.

Conclusion

Whole30 is definitely worth doing. Find a friend or family member and see if you can get them on board. There are tons of foods that you can eat. It is much more simple than the ketogenic diet where you are counting carbohydrates. It isn’t nearly as restrictive as the GAPS diet either, but it can help you get to the GAPS diet.

The best thing that Whole30 will do for you is to break your addiction to grains, sugar, and dairy. I know if I start eating those foods again, I’ll want more and more of them. But right now, I’m grateful to not be craving them. I’m glad that I have found healthy alternatives.

It hasn’t cured my alopecia universalis. It may need a bit more time. I was pretty sure that it would need more time to heal the alopecia. So, I’m not surprised.

Whole30 Tips for Success

I’m feeling pretty successful now that I have reached day 20 of my Whole30 journey. I think that I will be able to share some whole30 success tips or just tips for staying on any elimination diet. They will be very similar.

Find your favorite approved foods

It is counter-productive to focus on foods that you can’t eat. You will start to feel deprived and hungry. It will be more mentally challenging. You may even find yourself feeling exhausted without any real reason.

The first thing that you must do when starting an elimination diet is to identify the foods that you enjoy eating that are on the approved list. Heck, even if you are doing an all-meat diet, you need to identify which foods you absolutely love and can handle eating repeatedly.

Listen to positive affirmations

I have a tape of positive affirmations from Think Right Now. I play it every night. It gets into my head that I will be able to heal from my health conditions. This can help me from thinking negative counterproductive thoughts. It keeps me from cheating and starting over as I have done in the past.

The tape that I listen to has some classical music playing in the background that is also supposed to have healing vibes. I can’t say for sure whether it works or not, but I do seem to feel a bit more positive about my efforts and journey to stay the course.

Get the junk out

Don’t try to start the diet with your food temptations in plain sight. Wait a day or two until you can eat them up or throw them away. Willpower does not always stick around when there is a slice of pizza to be eaten. Pizza may not tempt you once you have a few months of the diet down, but in the beginning, keeping temptation away is good.

Select a reward for yourself

Kindergarten teachers always gave you stickers for doing a great job. Your boss will hand out bonuses for excellent work. Reward yourself for staying on task with Whole30. There is no shame in this game. For me, I have been thinking that my reward could be a fun trip to go fishing on the Potomac. I may reward myself with some birthday cake at the end (because my birthday is at the end of February.)

You can set small rewards for making it through the week on the diet or big rewards for getting through the whole month. The idea is to make following through on your goal to eat healthier a bit more fun.

Some non-food rewards could include:

  • a bubble bath
  • buying your favorite perfume
  • a trip to the movies
  • get your nails done
  • a clean house (get a maid for a day)
  • a fun hike

Conclusion

Dieting is not fun when your friends and family eat the addicting junk foods that you usually love. Then again, those foods tend to make you sick and tired. It isn’t until you are sick and tired of being sick and tired that you will change your ways. Whole30 is a great way to start making healthier choices.

Rewarding yourself for sticking with your diet will not only bring you closer to your health goals, but you’ll feel better about yourself. You will not only have accomplished a goal, but you will gain a treat for doing so!

Hope these tips have helped and you have convinced yourself that you can stick with an elimination type diet like Whole 30! Best of luck to you!

Whole30 – 19 Days In

Whole30 is a diet that encourages you to eat whole foods for 30 days. It eliminates grains, dairy, added sugars, and processed foods. The beginning of the diet is such an adjustment because so many of the delicious foods in our diet include grains. They also are composed of added sugars. Dairy is very common in multiple different cuisines, so cutting it out is challenging. 

My mental victory

I think the biggest victory from this Whole30 challenge has been mentally breaking the addiction to butter. While I do like butter and don’t know how much it impacts my health, adjusting to life without butter is almost effortless now. I feel pretty confident that I can continue on without butter after the 30 days are over. 

Do I want to? 

I’m not sure. I do like the idea of eating junk foods on special occasions, but I also really want my hair to start growing again. It is just discouraging that I have changed my diet multiple times without seeing much progress at all. 

Symptoms update

I started the diet with relatively good health. I tend to have good energy, sleep well, and feel good overall. The symptoms that I do have are minor. I experience some mild bloating and gas, but this seems more correlated with my menstrual cycle than with the food that I eat. 

My hair does not seem to be growing. Occasionally, I will notice a few extra clear eyelashes, but I don’t know if they are new or not. My head hair is not growing. 

I have not had a seizure during this Whole30 journey. I feel like it could be due to taking the vitamin D cod liver oil. 

The hard thing is that improvement with hair takes a long time for even normal growth. Fixing whatever is preventing the growth takes time and then you have to wait for another month to see if the hair will emerge. 

My favorite foods on Whole30

I got rid of my bacon and egg breakfast because the grocery store bacon was cured with sugar. I started making butternut squash and hamburger breakfast hash that is now my favorite breakfast. I think I like it more than bacon! I do cook it in pastured lard, so it tastes a little like bacon. 

I love my soups! It helps that it is winter and soup is just comforting during winter. I make a big pot of soup at the beginning of the week and have a cup or two each day. It is tasty, comforting, filling, and full of nutrition. 

My Whole30 exceptions

I have made a few exceptions to the Whole30 diet. I am taking a supplement that is not a whole food. I take cod liver oil. It is a bit processed. The cod liver oil that I am taking has some synthetic vitamins added to it. I do think it has made a difference in preventing my seizures, so I didn’t eliminate it on the Whole30 diet. 

The other thing that I made an exception for on Whole30 was bacon. I bought some pastured bacon that contained evaporated cane juice during the curing process. I realized that it contained an added form of sugar after I had eaten a few pieces of it. 

Olives. I put some black olives in a salad without reading the back of the bottle. It does look like there are some questionable preservatives in olives, so I didn’t start over and consider the Whole30 experience ruined with a few olives on top of my salad. They aren’t something that I regularly eat or put on a lot of dishes. 

Conclusion

Whole30 has been a great experiment for me. I started it because my cousin was doing it, but it has been good for my overall health and wellness. Just another eleven days until I am finished. Then I can decide to get tighter with the autoimmune food restriction or loosen up and celebrate my birthday. 

For many people, strict diets are easy to implement immediately. For people like myself, you need to slowly eliminate a few foods at a time and not jump into something super restrictive immediately. The slow adjustment just seems to work better for me. It may mean that the healing is slower, but I’ve tried it both ways and it is very difficult to tell if I am healing. 

A Whole30 Histamine Reaction? My experience

Yesterday was day 16 of my Whole30 experience. For some reason, I thought that I would just feel increasingly better or the same during the whole month. Not at all. First I had some upper eyelid inflammation that I remember having with other elimination diets. It only lasted a few days. Now, I experienced a full-blown histamine reaction. I sneezed and my face swelled up a bit.

The whole reaction lasted about 3 hours. It was majorly disappointing. I wanted to attribute it to one particular food I ate and could eliminate, but which one? I had a salad, pulled pork, eggs, and olives. I had been eating these things all along without a problem. So what to eliminate?

How to proceed after a reaction

I wanted to change up everything and see if there was one particular food allergy. I’m honestly struggling with doing that. Eliminating your favorite foods is very difficult. I’ve already eliminated dairy, grains, and sugar. I toyed with the idea of doing the paleo ketogenic diet again without vegetables. That is really hard initially.

Now that the inflammation has subsided, I think I’m just going to keep an eye out for future breakouts during the rest of the 30 days. At the end of the day, you have to eat something. Eliminating everything from your diet may just leave you starving.

I’m hoping this is a one-time thing. I will reassess if I continue to sneeze and break out in rashes.

The next steps

So, since I decided to continue the course and how I have been eating. The next steps will be to decide on the diet to follow after Whole30. I can gradually add foods back into my diet and see if I have a reaction. (Clearly, I don’t know what to do if I do have a reaction since I’ve just decided not to change anything.) Or I can do a stricter diet, like the GAPS or paleo ketogenic diet, and see if that works for me. Both of those will be very hard.

I think my goal should be to do a week of the Paleo Ketogenic diet, which is very similar to the GAPS intro. I know if I can get through a week, I can keep it going longer.

Testing, testing 1,2,3,

It has been a whole month since I tested my TSH and vitamin D levels. I think that I will wait two more months before testing my vitamin D levels again. That will give me a good idea of where my levels are and I can determine if I feel better or not. I’m hoping to get my vitamin D levels closer to 60.

Since my TSH levels were in the normal non-Hashimoto’s range when I tested them the last two times, I may save my money on that test. I don’t seem to have a lot of Hashimoto’s symptoms.

I could test some inflammatory markers to determine if I was inflamed after this reaction, but my symptoms have subsided. It may not show up on the test and I’m not entirely sure what to do if it did. So, I’m not going to bother with any extra blood tests.

Emu oil

One thing that I’m going to try on my scalp will be emu oil. I was reading up on the Weston A. Price Foundation website about emu oil and some doctors were using it topically with great healing results. Apparently, it is full of vitamin D and soaks into the skin well. It would be interesting to see if the vitamin D that soaked into the hair follicles could trigger new growth.

So, I ordered a bottle of emu oil. I should get it in the mail today or tomorrow. I’m super excited to start using it. My biggest challenge with topical applications is remembering to apply it! I’m not someone who has ever used lotions on my skin much at all. In fact, I don’t use any products on my skin unless they are edible because they can absorb into your body. Also, I’m super cheap and it saves money. So, there’s that.

 

In conclusion

The Whole30 diet doesn’t magically make you feel amazing all the time. You may have a histamine response like I did. My next steps are going to be to simply continue on with the diet that I have been eating without changing much and wait for another reaction. In two weeks when the diet is over, I will start a GAPS intro type of diet for a week.

Testing out new protocols is a matter of trial and error. You may discover something that works wonderfully for you. But you need to be honest when something that sounds so ideal doesn’t pan out for you as well. Whole30 is one protocol that I’m still deciding about. I have started charting my daily symptoms that aren’t that noticeable like constipation, sneezing, and ringing in the ears for a few seconds. I’m hoping that I will see fewer incidences of them on a chart as I progress with the diet.