Getting carbs only from fruits and veggies - too little complex carbs, too much sugar? Stress and anxiety issues.

Answered on July 05, 2018
Created May 12, 2018 at 9:02 PM

So I'm trying to avoid grains and legumes as good as I can. I have a history of depression and was diagnosed with coeliac when I was a kid but apparently don't have it anymore. 

But since I have lots of health issues (chronic fatigue, thyroid issues and signs of adrenal fatigue and burnout, PMS) I've been looking into nutrition and especially since having a history of autoimmune disease I thought the paleo approach would make sense.

I've been avoiding dairy and gluten and refined carbs for quite a while now.

But experimenting with strict paleo, cutting out grains and legumes as well, I mainly get my carbs from starchy veggies like carrots and beets (I just find them the most convenient, eating them raw) and from fruits. Most of my carb intake comes probably from the fruits, and carrots and beets are also mostly simple carbs, if I'm not mistaken? So I'm a bit worried about getting too little "proper" complex carbs and too much sugar. 

I already have issues with anxiety and irritabilty, and it seems it gets worse when eating this way... and yes I did take in more fat for the lack of carbs.

at least I noticed that in the last days, when eating like that. I try to eat more carbs only when exercising, on rest days I would only get them from fruits and veggies.

So... are my worries justified? Is this too much sugar, too little more complex carbs? After all I'm not trying to go low carb/keto, just perhaps lower carb intake a bit, as I'm rather sedentary. Since I already experience a great deal of emotional stress I don't want to make it worse through poor nutrition and i feel i cant afford going through a nutritional "transition phase" right now (as I already am in other areas of life). Or is it ok to get a majority of your carbs from fruits and sugary veggies when not exercising much? I don't really know my exact micronutrients needs, I've just been experimenting lately. 

Also I'm having carb cravings which must be an indicator that something isn't quite right.

Any help and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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on June 10, 2018
at 07:04 PM

Even those who were never Celiac before, aren't as tolerant to gluten, and the like as we would like to think,and if you were before but isn't now, I'm sure that gluten will put even more strain on your body.

With that out of the day, you first need to worry a bit less about it, as anxiety will always negatively impact our system, and cravings. Following that, if you're eating eggs, and eating a decent amount of dark leaf vegetables like watercress, spinach, kale, etc, as well as at least some organ meats like heart, liver, etc, and lastly some sea caught fish like salmon, cod, sardines. And lastly, some nuts are good too. especially macadamia, pine nuts, almonds, and 2-3 Brazil nuts at least 3 times a week. With all that, you should be getting almost your micronutrients, especially if you add some low starch vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini to the mix.


I'm not saying that you need to go keto, but lowering carb consumption for about 2-3 weeks might help you adapt faster. And by consuming less carbs, you will naturally have to compensate with more fats, veggies, meat, and fruit with less sugar like strawberries, blueberries, and the like. If you still feel cravings for carbs, my advice would be for you to eat a couple eggs (it has almost all nutrients packed in. Liver is another good candidate), cooked/fried with coconut oil, and then some low carb fruit like strawberries, and wait about 2 hours to see if your cravings go down or stop. Also, if you just switched to paleo recently, be sure to drink more water, and consume more salt than the usual for a week or 2, in order to avoid the so called lowcarb/paleo flu, which is mostly because your body is still adapting, and needs more electrolytes to deal with the changes.


Also, do remember that anything high in carb, especially fruit, will spike your insulin, and depending on your level of resistance, will make you crave for even more sugary stuff, or at the very least will make it harder for you to feel satiated, and more irritable, because your fatty acids that would supply your body with energy will be taken in by your adipose tissue, leaving you hungry, and weak.


Generally, rather than overthink it, just try to consume more of the best (dark leaf vegetables, organ meats, fats, low starch veggies, low carb fruits), and that will usually naturally decrease consumption of the higher carb, and/or less nutrient dense stuff, since nutrition, at the end of the day, works more like a scale where you can only put so many things until it reaches full capacity, and thus, by putting more things on one side, other things must be taken from the other side.


Super carb dense food, and lots of the industrialized foodstuff with corn, soy, etc will often break our inner body balance, making us feel constantly hungry or weak, but as long as we go back to the basics, and give priority to the more nutrient dense real food, some, sometimes almost all perceivable damage will be undone, though perceivable is the key word here.... How much damage will be undone unfortunately depends on a lot of factors such as genetics, age, how long you have been eating incorrectly, as well as lots of other variables.


Sadly, due to many misunderstandings over diet and nutrition that scaled to Earth is square levels of stupidity and self righteous ignorance, human understanding of their own body nutrition is still very low. Those who engage in low carb, and paleo diets, are usually closer to the right track, but even then, there's still too much we don't know, especially considering how different our lives are from even 300 years ago, let alone the paleolithic age,  so constant experimentation is required to find out what works best for us, though the answer for most people will almost always be fewer carbs (often less than 140), and more real food. 

Hope that helps!



PS. Another thing to remember, is to try thinking less about food, espcially the higher carb stuff that you might miss from your pre paleo life. As we often secrete some insulin and stomach acids just by thinking about food, as well as smelling, or even seeing it from afar, which also makes us hungrier. It's not the end of the world when it does happen, but avoiding to think or seeing some of the "forbidden" stuff will surely help to alleviate your cravings to some extent.


on July 05, 2018
at 10:44 PM

Yeah, that sounds about right! It's important to remember that we don't need to get every bit of required nutrient perfectly every single day, since unless you have very specific needs, a condition to treat and an incredible nutritionist, it's probably just not possible without constantly worrying and stressing over. As long as you rotate vegetables, and include green leafy ones (with fat), eat eggs regularly, and bone broth, liver, heart, possibly kidney as well, and lastly omega 3 rich sea caught fish like salmon, cod, or even cheap sardines, on top of what you eat regularly, you should be fine. No need to always do that perfectly either, but it would be great to make those a part of your weekly routine, or at least biweekly (though I haven't succeeded at that sort of consistence yet)



A lot of people who do low carb, paleo, including myself, still haven't changed their old habits as much as they like to think. That is, most of them let go of grains, gluten stuff, soy oil, but still won't eat enough seafood, or organ meats. And organ meats + eggs + bone broth, are by far and away the best way to get almost every possible nutrient you need on a single sitting.


I also recommend Chris Kresser's the Paleo Cure book, as it gives a lot of insight, and important tips, like making sure to consume fat with vegetables so you can increase bioavailability from vegetables you eat, and he gives incredible tips on how to always be aware of what you need to know when choosing your food (almost on an unconscious level) while also reminding you to relax, not overthink things too much, and have fun.

I've only started reading, but it seems really good far... I just hope there's a section on how to overcome squeamishness over pieces of fat, skin, and the like, at some point... I'm always envious of those who can eat those animal parts, but I still haven't succeeded at it. I sometimes will drink bone broth, but still haven't found a way to really enjoy it. Organ meats, I'm still experimenting, but no luck with liver so far.



on June 16, 2018
at 11:19 AM

Thank You - yes, I surely need to worry and think less about food and nutrition. Tbh I actually think it's rather all the worrying and the fear of not ģetting enough carbs and nutrients in general that's making me anxious and causes those cravings. That worrying and obsessing about food is kind of deep seated, probably because of the coeliac where I had to be very careful about what I eat.

So working on worrying and obsessing less and just sticking to the basics should probably be my main priority.

Also I agree with the need for experimenting - I think adding in more plant based foods isn't a bad idea and I personally seem to tolerate legumes and some pseudograins fine when prepared properly.

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