How long should I keep the low carb up, and is it low-carb or am I killing myself? I am 20/Female. I heard that low-carb isn't too good for women (in the long run? and it seems that women are more affected by the low carb flu than guys from the responses I read online), so I prefer answers from women and not from guys who obviously have different bodies/nutritional needs than I do (nothing more annoying than people who go "it works for me so it must work for everyone no matter what their gender/race/health status!!")
Due to being raised on a super crap diet, my insides are messed up and cutting out almost every non-paleo foods except carbs didn't help. No amount of zinc, fermented cod liver oil, or any other supplements really helped. I tried everything. EVERYTHING.
Since I am super thin, I thought carbs shouldn't be a problem for me. I had "paleo friendly" carbs, but carbs nonetheless! I thought carbs would help my energy levels as I have no fat on my body to burn, but once I found out that I have PCOS and that I probably have candida overgrowth, I decided to knock it off with the carbs.
So, I cut the carbs like a week ago in order to kill off the candida. I am really watching my carb intake compared to before. I also added Candex, Oil of Oregano, and Probiotics to my regimen (not all at the same time).
I am not completely carb free, as I just got off my period and I still ate some 85% dark chocolate for the iron replenishment. I still eat a few goji berries and wild blueberries with my yogurt, and just had some broccolis and kale in my omelettes. However, those are the only carbs I had so far, and I am hogging on the pastured butters, bacon grease, and the tallow naturally in my meat soups to help with the energy levels.
However, I am SO DIZZY. I get up in the morning and I have to lean against the wall for a few seconds to regain myself. My skin looks better but not really, as it's dark underneath my eyes. Is this the "low carb flu" that I just got to bite through, or am I slowly killing myself? I am thinking of trying the low carb for another week but I don't want to end up as one of those extreme dieters featured on the local news who turn out dead in their homes half-eaten by their cat or something.
I can provide more information, I am not very good at editing my post right now.. I am very brain fogged/crabby.
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I have read that candida doesn't do well with VLC because the candida feeds on the ketones. Perhaps try to add a bit more carbs into your diet?
Don't get eaten by your cats, you need some salt stat! Like put it straight on your tongue and drink water slowly to wash it down. VLC causes the body to jettison water along with electrolytes.
It sounds like you've gone excessively low carb for your needs. You probably shouldn't need to go under 100-150g/day. If you have a Pho restaurant, or veggie juice bar near you, I'd hit that up for your next meal too for all the other minerals you've lost. While it can take 6 weeks to fully adapt to ketosis, if you have been feeling this way for more than 3-7 days it isn't the initial keto flu anymore.
It sounds like you are having almost no carbohydrate, don't count green veggie carbs, and a few goji berries and dark chocolate don't really count either. Sounds like you are under 25g/day which is much lower than most young active people can tolerate. The people I notice doing best going that low seem to be middle aged and older (and even then there can be some issues with dysbiosis and maintaining the mucosal layer in their guts).
If the salt doesn't fix what's going on, I think you might do better on something like the Perfect Health Diet version of paleo that includes safe sources of starch. I've found that I do fine with potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, etc., and they don't negatively effect my blood sugar in the way I feared it would that would exacerbate my own PCOS. You can pick up a glucose meter at the drug store for about $20 and a box of test strips for about $10 if you want to track your blood sugar in response to meals. The primary things that seem to be the issue in determining whether my ultrasounds show cysts or not is whether I've indulged in foods with vegetable oil and wheat on any sort of a regular basis.
I'd be careful with taking the oregano oil for any sort of extended period of time too, it is essentially like squirting antibiotics down your throat, it kills the good along with the bad, so it can be a zero sum game, and even open you up for other pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Adding prebiotic fiber to your diet like a little bit of potato starch, inulin containing roots veggies, or even oatmeal (gasp!) can be helpful in feeding the good guys in your gut, so that they can keep more problematic fungi and bacteria in check. It seems to be a numbers game with things like this, if you have enough of the good bugs things can self-regulate. You can also order a stool sample kit from a number of companies online or through your doctor to find out exactly what kinds problematic gut bugs you are actually dealing with, candida gets blamed a lot for things other bacteria or fungus can actually be responsible for like lyme disease or mold exposure, it is good to know what you are actually dealing with.
How do you know if you have a candida overgrowth?
Each gram of glycogen carries with it 4 grams of water. When you go low carb you deplete glycogen stores and lose a lot of water. That can drop your blood pressure and in extreme cases cause hyponatremia.
You need salt and potassium. salty bone broth is great as it replaces fluid at the same time. Eat plenty of leafy greens and avacado is a good source of potassium, too. Drink half your weight in ounces of fluid.
Low carb is not dangerous, but you're really going to need to up the fat and ensure adequate protein to be certain not to lose weight.
When you're doing low-carb, you need to intake MORE electrolytes than if you weren't low-carb.
Every single glass of water you drink should have some salt sprinkled in it. No plain/flat water.
Try adding coconut oil. It kills off yeast in your digestive system. Start small because it's powerful! 1/2 tsp a day to start, slowly ramp up to 3 tsp a day. It worked for me, but I started straight off with 3 tsp and had a horrible reaction to yeast die-off. It made low carb flu look like a walk in the park. Start slow, up it every few days over a couple of weeks. Good luck!
If you are having candida problems, a easy way to kill them is MCT oil. MCT oil is refined from coconut oil. Both have a chemical in them called caprylic acid that will kill pathogens. You can buy a supplement caprylic acid. I would recommend buying MCT oil from http://www.upgradedself.com/products/bulletproof-upgraded-MCT-oil-32-Fl-Oz . I bought the NOW brand MCT oil on amazon and it gave me cramps and diarrhea. I have had no issues with the Upgraded MCT Oil. A person can mix MCT oil with coconut milk, yogurt, or any liquids.
One of the "problems" with paleo is that one has to do a fair amount of customization to suit our personal situations Unfortunately that sometimes means self-experimentation based on what we read.
I realize you;re young and underweight. I suggested Dr Ede because she's a woman and she went ketogenic. She also had / has a number of health issues. I got the impression that carbs were a real problem for you. A LOT of people fear going low carb... My point was....it is possible to go VLC and still have energy. Here's another MD who went low carb for a very long time but he's athletic and as fat too.
Don't focus on weight loss, focus on how he changed his eating... the stuff he slowly eliminated. If your diet was bad for a long time it will probably take a while to sort things out. It takes a while to become fat adapted. His transition, though more thoughtfully executed, was similar to mine....slow changes not 'cold turkey'. Use his road map to slowly clean up your diet
Dr Ede also talks about thyroid performance. One concern about low carb for underweight people is thyroid problems.
To complicate things further, what works for men may not always work for women. Gender, age, current and previous physical / medical conditions all effect what will & will not work and what should & should not be tried.
I had it relatively easy. I was formerly very athletic but I coasted for nearly 20 years with my weight ranging from 195 to 225 every few years. Starting in summer of 2102, I SLOWLY (6 months +) transitioned (kinda by accident) to paleo. But I'm lucky, I can lose fat quickly & gain muscle easily and I didn't have any metabolic issues when I was young.
I don't claim to know what will work for you but I do know that a customized form of paleo will work. I think you're probably trying to fix too many things at once.
Also, when you say "20 year old girl who still has the potential to grow".... you can put on muscle and fat to gain weight but I'd venture to say "you;re not going to get any taller"... the vast majority of 20 + year old females are at their full height and have been for at least a few years.
Maybe others on PH can help guide oyu to a solution but my suggestion is to read Dr Ede's blog & Dr Attia's blog with the objective of understanding the science behind paleo, It will help you make the best diet for yourself.
Dr Ede is a woman, an MD (psychiatrist), suffers from fibromyalgia, slowly came over to nutritional solutions because she had an open mind, has personally done nutritional ketosis & blogged about. What she has done might be useful in your situation.
Take a look
I like her approach & her work... she's a scientist and shares her data.
btw my wife suffers from an autoimmune condition and successfully controls it by going VLC.
You are too young to experiment drastically with your diet. If you cut unhealthy carbs ( grains, fructose) down you have to replace them with healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, beets, carrots or even white rice. Then when your body gets used to it, you can slowly cut healthy carbs too replacing them with adequate amounts of fat to keep the calories up so your body would't freak out. This dizzines might not be candida. It can be low blood sugar also. Well but in your case, iI would't eat any chocolate or berries ( fructose) for a while. Head up, it takes time to get better. And it requires a lot of wisdom too, so think well before experimenting with your body :)