Doing our Whole30® program can be hard enough for a first-timer. Doing the Whole30 with a health condition that requires you to rule out even more food than the program calls for can be downright mind-boggling. So today, in preparation for our next official Whole30 starting August 1st, we’ve created some special It Starts With Food Paleo and Whole30 shopping lists for those of you with an autoimmune condition, histamine intolerance, or who are on a low-FODMAP diet.
We outlined our complete Whole30 autoimmune protocol in Chapter 21 of It Starts With Food. Those with multiple sclerosis, PCOS, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune conditions should already be following a general Paleo diet for optimal health, but also have to take additional precautions during a program like the Whole30, as there are foods that may continue to promote inflammation in this population–foods that are considered “healthy” for the rest of us.
Our autoimmune shopping list includes appropriate animal protein sources, vegetables and fruits, and healthy fats for your Whole30, but excludes foods off-limits for our general Whole30 program, and those specific to our autoimmune protocol. We’ve left the foods that you’ll be excluding on the list in a light grey, so you can see exactly what you’ll be purposefully leaving out. This is important, because some “off-limit” foods on this list will extend to others–for example, no tomatoes means no tomato sauce or salsa.
We’ve also included some helpful hints at the bottom of the list–additional foods and other ingestibles that you’ll want to eliminate during your autoimmune Whole30. For a complete explanation of why these specific items are out, refer to Chapter 21 of It Starts With Food, or read this interview with Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, author of The Paleo Approach.
We briefly mentioned FODMAPs in Chapter 10 of It Starts With Food. FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols”—a collection of fermentable carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in various foods, like grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. FODMAPs are poorly absorbed, thereby “feeding” gut bacteria and causing a host of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)-related symptoms, including abdominal bloating and distension, excess gas, abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.
For those who know or suspect they have a sensitivity to FODMAPs, crafting a healthy Paleo diet or Whole30 program can be tricky. Even reputable sources report conflicting information on what foods are safe for those on a low-FODMAP diet. We’ve crafted our list based on two of the most highly respected FODMAP programs in the world, but you should still practice awareness during your Whole30. If symptoms continue even on this low-FODMAP plan, consider keeping a food journal to help you identify other foods that may be contributing to your digestive distress, or consult with a qualified functional medicine practitioner.
Our low-FODMAP shopping list rules out those items normally off-limits for your Whole30 (like milk and beans), and those specifically excluded for their higher FODMAP content. We’ve grayed out those higher FODMAP foods, so you can see specifically what you’ll be leaving out.
Histamine is a chemical which occurs naturally in certain foods.* It’s also one of the chemicals that is released in the body as part of an allergic reaction, causing the typical allergy symptoms, like ‘itching, sneezing, wheezing, and swelling. (Many over-the-counter allergy medications contain an antihistamine.) We have an enzyme which breaks down the histamines found in food, but some people have a low level of this enzyme. When these people eat too many histamine-rich foods, they may suffer ‘allergy-like’ symptoms such as headaches, rashes, urticaria (hives), itching, gastro-intestinal upset, asthma, or eczema. This is called histamine intolerance.
*Certain foods are also able to stimulate the body’s own natural release of histamine. These are called “histamine liberators.”
If you are one of the 1% of people with a histamine intolerance, your best recourse is to follow a Paleo + low-histamine diet. Our low-histamine shopping list eliminates all histamine-rich foods not allowed on the Whole30 (like cheese), and excludes additional histamine-rich “Paleo” foods. Pay special attention to the notes at the bottom of the list, as some specific types of foods (such as cured or smoked meats, canned foods like salmon or tuna, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha) should also be avoided.
Get Ready, Get Set, Whole30!
We hope these additional resources help you prepare for your Whole30, whether you’re starting today, or joining us for the next official site-wide program. And as always, leave questions or feedback below in comments.