3

votes

Preempting Cheat Hangovers

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 23, 2011 at 6:38 PM

I have been eating Paleo for just over a year now. I like the diet quite a bit. When I tighten up and go pretty strict, I feel awesome. However the main reason that I don't go strict very often is how awful I feel when I eventually cheat, either by accident or on purpose. Sometimes when I crash, it is not so bad, but other time I crash, and crash hard. At its worst, for the first few hours my stomach goes into revolt, my bowels become schizophrenic, coupled with some nausea and headaches. Then for the next day so, it feels like I have a background hangover, but my stomach eventually settles down returns to normal, then back up to Paleo goodness.

I mainly eat Paleo for the sense of physical well being it gives me. The side benefits of anti-inflammation, and staving off diseases of affluence are certainly a close second, but just plain feeling good is king for me. Currently, my strategy is to "poison myself" just a little bit every day to keep my body familiar with how to deal with cheats. I don't feel as good as I do at the peak of strictness, but the crash is MUCH softer.

The obvious solution is to simply not cheat. Clearly my stomach prefers to eat Paleo all the time, and the benefits are clear. I think it might speak to the legitimacy of the diet when falling off the wagon hurts so bad, but on the other hand, it sometimes feels like I am giving myself a food allergy (kind of like when long time vegetarians eat meat). It is also nice having the diet self regulate. Knowing that if I cheat, I will feel terrible is a great way to stay strict. However, I really want the option to eat from the forbidden menu at times without feeling like I was punched in the guts for a day.

I was hoping that someone knows of a good way to preempt this. Is there an enzyme pill that makes digesting grains/gluten easier on your stomach? If I plan out a day in advance when I know I want to cheat, does fasting help lighten the blow?

I found some useful information in these posts, but none of them really definitively dealt with outright prevention

306ebb5507e78211bc1f7e639ada9695

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

oh cool! I will keep an eye out for these.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 24, 2011
at 04:20 AM

I guess I'll never understand. I am not a recreational eater. Everything I prepare tastes good but I don't do neolithic food anymore. I make paleo food taste great and I know there will not be any consequences later.

306ebb5507e78211bc1f7e639ada9695

on March 23, 2011
at 08:51 PM

Awesome! This is just the kind of thing I was looking for.

306ebb5507e78211bc1f7e639ada9695

on March 23, 2011
at 08:41 PM

It's not hitting myself in the head with a hammer, it is enjoying a good tasting meal made from things that I know aren't good for me, something I still derive quite a bit of pleasure from despite knowing the dangers, and despite knowing what the effects will be later. A better analogy would be "Doctor, I get terrible hangovers when I drink too much alcohol", and he recommends taking activated charcoal, or drinking a lot of water before falling asleep. I know what I am doing is damaging, but it's more over the long run than a hammer blow, and it seems like it shouldn't hurt as much. the next.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on March 23, 2011
at 08:29 PM

Vitamin Shoppe makes a psyllium husk fiber + acidophilus capsule. I have found, by dropping 6-8 of these caps with 10-16oz of water within an hour or so of the offending cheat, negates some of the gastrointestinal impact.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on March 23, 2011
at 07:33 PM

Let's be fair: it's more like saying, "my head hurts when I read a romance novel" (or do something else that has no benefit, that many people think is stupid, but that does impart some sort of pleasure to the user). No one would willingly hit themselves in the head with a hammer, because there is no perceived short- or long-term pleasure from the act. Cupcakes, though, have short-term pleasure and longer-term consequences.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 23, 2011
at 07:27 PM

To me, it's not painful, but just annoying. Sometimes the yummy but bad food is just worth it. For me, food has always been love and comfort. I've changed a lot of those habits and can see food as mainly fuel now, but sometimes it still = love/comfort. It must be amazing not to have food issues.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on March 23, 2011
at 06:53 PM

Yeah, me too, Melissa. I may or may not have eaten way too many tortilla chips last night with an out-of-town pal, and my slowly-emerging abs are now lost. Sadface.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 23, 2011
at 06:46 PM

Kudos to you Andy, for looking for an answer before posting your question! I am curious to see if anyone has a way to avoid the hangover. I don't really get one, but I do get the horrible carb bloat. I've found no way to avoid that one.

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8 Answers

best answer

4
D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

on March 23, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Sometimes eating fully-adherent-paleo cannot be attained for whatever reason. Dr BG of the Animal Pharm blog has a post specifically listing what supplements lessen the "hangover" of cheating as she was traveling outside of the country and would not always be in control of dietary choices.

See here: http://drbganimalpharm.blogspot.com/2010/11/human-zoo-and-how-to-cheat-nudeln-and.html

It is easy to tell people "if you feel terrible eating that crap you should just never eat that crap geez!" However, life is life and sometimes experiences, social interactions, travel, etc are more important than being perfect so don't suffer unnecessarily. It goes without saying that optimal paleo nutrition is the ideal situation and the supplements she has listed should not be part of a regular cheat program (you seem to be aware of that fact anyway). I have never used any of them either, so I cannot say if they work or not.

306ebb5507e78211bc1f7e639ada9695

on March 23, 2011
at 08:51 PM

Awesome! This is just the kind of thing I was looking for.

3
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 23, 2011
at 06:56 PM

I take Source Naturals Enzymes- I THINK it's called "Essential Enzymes," I don't have the bottle handy. Very very helpful for my odd gluten cheat. I took 3 capsules with a cupcake last week & felt fine; normally I'd have a 3-day bloatfest.

306ebb5507e78211bc1f7e639ada9695

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

oh cool! I will keep an eye out for these.

2
A0e3b5eeb45b7d6e5689847fbc79959a

on March 23, 2011
at 06:48 PM

dont cheat with wheat. that is all i got.

0
17c4ac2c3f75c9e37d196ea878ea94b5

(130)

on March 26, 2011
at 05:16 PM

I take the same essential enzymes, and I really can't see any difference. An important thing to remember is that many enzymes do not even make it very far into the intestines for digestion of starches because they are peptides and are easily broken down in the stomach and duodenum. So their effectiveness would very from person to person, depending on the amount of proteases your tract and flora make.

If you cheat, I would instead take activated charcoal, ginger, licorice and/or peppermint. Charcoal can help absorb toxins and the others have been shown in studies to help the GI tract. (I drink them as teas).

I do recommend cheating as seldom as possible though. First year med school: the absorption machinary of the small intestine decreases when it is not used. So, for example, if I go without dairy for a few weeks, my intestines will down-regulate lactase (the enzyme that breaks down milk sugars)... So if I then cheat with milk, I won't have the ability to break it down---> providing yummy food for opportunistic gut flora. Not to mention the fact that many people down-regulate insulin receptors when they eat low carbs---> which leads to spikes in blood sugar that can be uncomfortable. (but these get up-regulated again after a few days if your cheating lasts for a few days...)

0
E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

on March 24, 2011
at 05:45 PM

There are specific enzymes for digesting gluten. Try searching Amazon for Glutenzyme or Glutenease. They have great reviews but I haven't tried them. Most suggest taking them before the cheat, but several said that they work great as an after pill- like when you realize that you just accidentally ingested gluten. For all around cheating (as in- not just a gluten issue) I think Jules recommendation sounds great!

0
Dc69594b2a1bbc32a6389924248387d6

on March 24, 2011
at 04:33 AM

I had a slice of pizza today...... and now I feel like I have been poisoned. I knew before hand I shouldn't eat it. But I think part of your mind tells you it won't hurt that much. I think there are probably "lesser evils" that would be safer options to cheat with. I'll probably be sticking to those. I hate feeling this way.

0
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 23, 2011
at 08:36 PM

I use science.......asparagus shttp://healthmad.com/alternative/can-asparagus-extract-cure-a-hangover/moothies pre and post with extract coconut oil,manna and unsweetened coconut milk.

0
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 23, 2011
at 07:23 PM

I just don't understand how people can delibertly screw up their digestion with neolithic food and feel awful afterward because the body is saying...Get this shit out of me!

It's like going to the doctor and saying my head hurts when I hit it with a hammer.
And then asking the Doc...What can you prescribe so my head doesn't hurt? Doc says take these pills everytime you know you are going to hit your head with the hammer.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on March 23, 2011
at 07:33 PM

Let's be fair: it's more like saying, "my head hurts when I read a romance novel" (or do something else that has no benefit, that many people think is stupid, but that does impart some sort of pleasure to the user). No one would willingly hit themselves in the head with a hammer, because there is no perceived short- or long-term pleasure from the act. Cupcakes, though, have short-term pleasure and longer-term consequences.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 23, 2011
at 07:27 PM

To me, it's not painful, but just annoying. Sometimes the yummy but bad food is just worth it. For me, food has always been love and comfort. I've changed a lot of those habits and can see food as mainly fuel now, but sometimes it still = love/comfort. It must be amazing not to have food issues.

306ebb5507e78211bc1f7e639ada9695

on March 23, 2011
at 08:41 PM

It's not hitting myself in the head with a hammer, it is enjoying a good tasting meal made from things that I know aren't good for me, something I still derive quite a bit of pleasure from despite knowing the dangers, and despite knowing what the effects will be later. A better analogy would be "Doctor, I get terrible hangovers when I drink too much alcohol", and he recommends taking activated charcoal, or drinking a lot of water before falling asleep. I know what I am doing is damaging, but it's more over the long run than a hammer blow, and it seems like it shouldn't hurt as much. the next.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 24, 2011
at 04:20 AM

I guess I'll never understand. I am not a recreational eater. Everything I prepare tastes good but I don't do neolithic food anymore. I make paleo food taste great and I know there will not be any consequences later.

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