Whole30: Day 14

This weekend, I learned a valuable lesson in a very hard way. I followed my Whole30 diet throughout the entirety of the day, to a T, and then foolishly, foolishly, foolishly I drank wine at a friend's house for my boyfriend's birthday. 

The resulting hangover was something I hadn't previously experienced. The pain was intense. I had a headache that radiated out from between my eyes to the back of my head. I was starving but crippled by nausea, and persistently dizzy from the moment I woke up that morning to the time I went back to sleep at night. If there is anyone out there currently doing the Whole30 that has decided not to phase out alcohol, please, don't overdo it. If proper attention isn't paid to the water/alcohol ratio throughout the night, you can easily pass the point of no return and end up like I did on Sunday: horribly dehydrated and too comatose to prepare a Whole-30 compliant meal.

I'm not saying that it's ever ok to drink to the point where you make yourself sick in the morning. In my opinion, any degree of a hangover is not worth it. That's not to say it doesn't happen occasionally, and for some reason, this time, I found that my hangover symptoms were vastly disproportionate to the amount of wine I drank at my boyfriend's birthday party the night before. As though my body was violently protesting the juxtaposition between a day of clean eating and then, essentially, an evening of consuming poison.

The experience wasn't entirely lost on me, however. Three days later, while traveling for work, any desires I had to "overdo it" at happy hour with my coworkers was curbed by the painful memory of that previous Sunday. I effectively nursed the same glass of wine from about 5:30-8pm and didn't feel compelled in the least by the dessert tray that was brought out by the end of the night.

While I haven't really done any official research on the Whole30 hangover, I have my theories as to why it was particularly miserable. The obvious, contributing factor was a lack of bread in my system to "soak up" residual alcohol. To me, this kind of sounds like crap science, but I've heard iterations of this logic ever since I turned 21, so it must hold some truth. Additionally, though, before going over to our friend's house that evening, we made a light dinner of crispy chicken and steamed green beans. The next morning when we woke up, we felt too awful to cook and ended up fasting, inadvertently, for 14 hours, only adding to our symptoms of fatigue and nausea. When we finally mustered the strength to cook a meal, we ended up making a sweet potato hash with white onions and sunny-side-up eggs.

There are probably a handful (or more) of you out there that are questioning why I'm drinking here and there on the Whole30 at all, and the best way I can justify that is with this: I'm adopting the Whole30 this month to learn how to cook, eliminate some store-bought items from my grocery list that I suspect were causing digestion/inflammation issues, and find cleaner alternatives to those items. Whats-more, the only alcohol I'm allowing myself to have is dry wine at work events or a friend's house. That way those unhealthy options I was relying on for my week-night dinners can be weeded out and replaced, while the occasional wine for the purpose of socializing or networking can stay as long as the hangover can be entirely avoided.

Today marks the 14th day into this trial and, apart from the horrible mistake I made last Sunday, everything seems to be running with relative ease. I haven't felt as deprived as I thought I would, and the craving for highly processed or sugary foods has only inflicted me as my blood sugar is crashing at the end of the work day and right before the gym. That being said, I also haven't experienced any revolutionary improvement to the way I feel. There was a brief period of time, in the very beginning, when I felt a lot lighter, like my body was finally starting to rid itself of some inflammation. Now however, I'm back to feeling more or less the same. Perhaps a little more energetic, but certainly nothing to write home (or blog) about.