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What happens if you try the 30 Day Challenge, and it just doesn't work?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 08, 2012 at 11:05 PM

I'm 60 and suffer from a variety of auto-immune issues; 'severe' osteoporosis, low thyroid, Reynauds, constant nausea, not to mention depression, insomnia (i would kill for a good night's sleep), fatigue - (always tired but I can't sleep). So, on Feb. 1, I went initially wheat and gluten free to see if that changed anything. (It didn't) And then after the first week, and after reading and studying all about Paleo, reading the books, reading the blogs, listening to podcasts I decided to try Paleo. Everyone said you feel the results almost immediately! I felt nothing.

For example - today I had Paleo granola (homemade from one of the paleo cookbooks and delish!) coconut milk and a hard boiled egg and blueberries for breakfast. For lunch I had sardines, a cut up apple and some raw almonds. and then for supper we had a wonderful hamburger made with grass fed beef, along with a big green salad with avocados and pistachio nuts and a cut up hard boiled egg as garnish. For snacks I'll grab a handful of raw nuts, and sometimes I smear them with coconut oil. I do drink one or 2 coffees per day, but mostly it's herbal teas.

And I feel rotten. The nausea is here, I'm tired and my joints ache. From what I read, people who try Paleo feel the results IMMEDIATELY! (Yes - with all capital letters!) Those kind of testimonials are all over the web. Well, that hasn't happened to me. I am so discouraged that I feel like scrounging around in my basement cupboard for the box which has my 'old' stuff - wheat flour, Saltines and Triscuits. (I know what's there.)

My question - I don't think I'll go back to my old diet - from what I read this one IS healthier, yet why don't I feel better? Does it take longer for this healthy diet to 'kick in'? Maybe my age is against me?

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:41 AM

Yes. This is important stuff. My doc put me on 10,000IU D3 and 6 omega 3s a day. Something worked.

Ef69ca2d5434e470d44f7fa6b4cc1965

(86)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:32 AM

I completely agree with this post!

Ef69ca2d5434e470d44f7fa6b4cc1965

(86)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:30 AM

And Sardines? Really? Are they out of a can? And if you are using canola and other oils, stop doing that! It sort of sounds like your diet is heavy on sodium. Start drinking copious amounts of water to clean this stuff out of your system. I also have NEVER heard of Paleo Grainola....

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:58 PM

I want to add a page I did just because I got a lots of questions about before and after. I had chronic fatigue, insulin resistance, hypothyroid, and I was huge, tired, ached, all that. The page is a bit disorganized because it has supplements my doc uses, the diet I started on, and where I ended up-Paleo. This pages give you an idea of before and after a hormone train wreck- http://dietforhumans.com/my-diet-and-plan/

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:30 PM

Agreed on the nuts and eggs...both can make you feel lousy if you have an intolerance you're not aware of. TOTALLY worth it to lose them for a month. Nuts make my joints ache and make me feel tired. Eggs can do the same. It took a couple weeks off nuts for my pain and fatigue to improve.

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on March 08, 2012
at 11:28 PM

Completely agree HA - there are so many different variants within the Paleo spectrum, definitely worth lots of experimenting. Would be worth trying out an auto-immune protocol I'd have thought...

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8 Answers

8
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Don't lose hope. I don't know what Paleo "granola" is , but I'd bag it. Eggs, bag 'em Nuts, bag' em. Eat more of the grass fed beef/offal and veggies (with or without tubers.) Report back in a week. Good luck.

Ef69ca2d5434e470d44f7fa6b4cc1965

(86)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:30 AM

And Sardines? Really? Are they out of a can? And if you are using canola and other oils, stop doing that! It sort of sounds like your diet is heavy on sodium. Start drinking copious amounts of water to clean this stuff out of your system. I also have NEVER heard of Paleo Grainola....

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:30 PM

Agreed on the nuts and eggs...both can make you feel lousy if you have an intolerance you're not aware of. TOTALLY worth it to lose them for a month. Nuts make my joints ache and make me feel tired. Eggs can do the same. It took a couple weeks off nuts for my pain and fatigue to improve.

6
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:35 PM

You probably read some over enthusiastic endorsements of paleo. I started off with paleo for performance not health reasons (i.e., I was already pretty healthy - or so I thought), and it took nearly 3 weeks for me to feel good, then I felt GREAT and would never go back. I really doubt that may people actually had IMMEDIATE results, and the few that did are the ones that post about it, so the sampling is a bit skewed.

You seem pretty sick. Just about everything you mention is very highly correlated with a leaky gut, so I have no doubts that you are very gluten sensitive, plus probably lots of other cross reactivity, so I have two thoughts for you: 1) you need to go SUPER CLEAN, Robb Wolf's autoimmune protocol is probably the best start, Whole 30 might be ok too. 2) You need to give it some serious time with NO cheating.

Again, I'm putting big money on the fact that you have a very leaky gut, so you need to eat in a way that promotes healing. Unfortunately the gut takes a while to heal, and things like one gluten exposure can take 6 weeks to heal. So while you're trying to undo all the damage, you need to be clean and give it time for your body to heal itself.

Also remember, there are two sides to paleo: 1) Eating clean so that you're not damaging your body and 2) Eating nutrient dense food so that you can have tons of energy (and whatever else it helps with). People with the IMMEDIATE results are probably more in category 2 where the better nutrients make them feel awesome. You're probably in category 1 where you have to wait for your gut to heal until you can start absorbing those nutrients and start to feel awesome.

Ef69ca2d5434e470d44f7fa6b4cc1965

(86)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:32 AM

I completely agree with this post!

5
52af669cec3e4d2a2b414faea3de2877

(547)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:05 AM

I have systemic lupus, and for me, it wasn't enough to cut out all the usual offenders. If I want to feel good, I have to keep my diet completely clean of grains, oils, nuts, eggs, dairy, nightshades, cruciferous veg, most green leafy stuff, most fruit - for at least two weeks. Then I start feeling normal again. And I basically have to cook the hell out of all the veg I eat, mainly squash and roots. I eat a lot of tendon and bone-based broths with small portions of plant stuff, I can do melon and some other fruits without detriment, I make coconut kefir and kombucha for probiotic. I can't really do a lot of fish or I have issues with blood clotting, can't really do pork or chicken or I have skin problems. It's not that bad? lol... Better than lupus :P

I've been on varying levels of "paleo" for over two years, but never completely got rid of all of my problems. It was only fairly recently I found out I had lupus, and this is the first I've been symptom free in ages. I doubt it has much of anything to do with your age. Healing takes time, especially with complex issues like auto-immune. My advice is to immediately embark on the GAPS protocol and see where you can go from there. I wasted a lot of time on "conventional" paleo thinking it would solve all of my problems. It definitely seemed to slow the down-ward spiral, but I don't think much of any healing ever took place.

Good luck with everything :)

5
Af842c68e3d07fa0e35b4274f3acaeec

on March 09, 2012
at 12:01 AM

Because you have a multitude of autoimmune issues, I would venture to assume your immune system is likely more active and 'touchy' than many people's.

In order to benefit from Paleo, I would recommend that you do the Autoimmune Protocol version of the paleo diet.

A basic paleo diet still contains certain foods that can cause issues in sensitive individuals. These foods include but are not limited to: Nuts and seeds Eggs Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc) Any food allergies or sensitivities Certain medications such as NSAIDs, certain antacids Alcohol

These foods can be consumed by many people without noticeable effects, but they can cause increased gastrointestinal permeability, which can negatively affect autoimmune issues.

Robb Wolf has an autoimmune protocol he outlines in the FAQ on his page, I would recommend you go try that for 30 days, while making absolutely sure your diet is free of all possible grain sources (gluten is used in many products and not labeled as such). I think you should have better success with this.

-EDIT- I would also make sure your vitamin D levels are adequate, vitamin D is intimately involved in the regulation of the immune system, so it would be good to either get a decent dose of sun (not enough to burn) or 5000 IU/day Vitamin D3 in supplement form. Also for general inflammation management, reduce your omega-6 fatty acid intake and make sure you are getting a decent source of long chain omega-3's that have been stored correctly(not exposed to heat or light much). Hope this helps!

5
E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:24 PM

Based on what you described, Paleo is good, but not THAT good.

My advice is get to a very good thyroid/hormone doc that doesn't prescribe synthetic thyroid (like Synthroid, it's crap), and get a full blood test for thyroid and chronic fatigue. You want to know what you are dealing with.

Your symptoms sound very close to what I started with in 2007, and it would have been impossible without a dr, and a good one. I know exactly how you feel when you say "None of this works for me at all, why?" My hormones were too out of whack for an optimum diet to correct at the time.

The hormones worked and I ended up Paleo for maintenance and to lean out more.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:58 PM

I want to add a page I did just because I got a lots of questions about before and after. I had chronic fatigue, insulin resistance, hypothyroid, and I was huge, tired, ached, all that. The page is a bit disorganized because it has supplements my doc uses, the diet I started on, and where I ended up-Paleo. This pages give you an idea of before and after a hormone train wreck- http://dietforhumans.com/my-diet-and-plan/

4
0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I think lots of people feel crappy for a while as their bodies adjust. Also, my paleo is not going to be the same as yours-you have to find what works for your body. Some people find lower (or higher) carbs work better for them, some people find they have sensitivities to certain foods (for me, it's the FODMAPS class, but others have found they need to avoid nightshades or other foods).

Hang in there, and keep a food diary, so you can see patterns. Good luck!

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on March 08, 2012
at 11:28 PM

Completely agree HA - there are so many different variants within the Paleo spectrum, definitely worth lots of experimenting. Would be worth trying out an auto-immune protocol I'd have thought...

2
F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

on March 09, 2012
at 10:06 AM

Autoimmune protocol Supplement vitamin D, probiotics and fish oil. Those Will help heal your gut and lower your inflamation.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:41 AM

Yes. This is important stuff. My doc put me on 10,000IU D3 and 6 omega 3s a day. Something worked.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 08, 2012
at 11:41 PM

I think DFH's advice is very sound. I can tell you it's not your age. I just turned 65 and I DID feel better--within 10 days, after the usual "low carb flu." I can't say much about the 30 day thing but if it didn't work it didn't work--I'd make some tweaks and move on.

In my first 3 months, I ate a lot of fatty beef and non-starchy vegetables. And that's about it. That might not work for you at all, but for me the simple beginning made me feel better quickly and gave me a base as I slowly added other foods. Nowadays I eat more fish and sardines than I did in the beginning but I still eat a lot of beef.

Many foods caused issues when I tried to add them--coconut products (I can now handle small amounts) and other nuts, some vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts, which I now know are fine if thoroughly cooked) and nearly all starches (much better with starch now.)

The 2 things I did, after my first 3 month, that helped my gut heal were making bone broths and eating probiotic foods (water kefir and home-made yogurt.)

I'm near the one-year mark now and 8 days out of 10 I still go easy on starch but I don't have to avoid it any more. Unlike some, I've always included whole fruit for body repair but only 1-2 pieces such as a grapefruit and a banana. At least every other day I eat a large leafy salad with something colorful like tomatoes or peppers. I eat a LOT of vegetables such as asparagus, beets, rutabagas, green beans and once in a while a small portion of sweet potato. My daily fats are butter and meat fat plus olive oil on salads.

You might try cutting back on nuts--I bet your granola is high in nuts and I still have to be careful with them.

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