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Fatigue/ Chocolate/ Need explanation? Warning: it is kind of crazy and long :)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 04, 2012 at 9:07 PM

First of all, because this is going to be a crazy question, any advice/personal experience/explanation would be okay. Think of it is a brainstorm.

I am gluten intolerant, have a leaky gut and a gastric erosion. I also have my gall bladder removed.

Have been on a very strict Paleo since October 22 with some success. "Some" because I do not feel nearly as bad as when I used to consume gluten. But I do suffer from fatigue that I cannot explain and trying to get rid of with no success. This fatigue is very strange, and I cannot figure it out.

In an effort to increase my energy levels I have stopped eating all fruit (even berries). It did not help my fatigue much, but I have noticed the following things:

  1. My junk food cravings that I could not overcome are very mild now. It is very easy not give into them. I had no junk food since I stopped eating fruit.

  2. I never feel hungry, and if I do, my hunger is mild.

  3. Sometimes I only eat twice a day. No snacks, only breakfast, lunch and supper. Sometimes I skip lunch and feel okay about it. I used to eat 6 times per day.

  4. I am more constipated (sorry if it is TMI).

This is what I eat (please do not tell me that I need to eat something else because I cannot eat anything else)

  1. Fatty lamb, chicken, fish, eggs, bone broth

  2. Vegetables except for nightshades (but I have re-introduced sweet red pepper)

  3. Seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) - I am re-introducing those

  4. 100% dark chocolate, no sugar added, just cocoa mass as my Paleo junk food

Now for my question


Yesterday I had a very low energy day.

Today I had very little energy till about lunch. After lunch I was sitting there, thinking - OMG, my life is horrible, I can't even wash dishes, I have no energy left. I am so exhausted all the time. My life sucks.

I felt that even though I had a good lunch, I still wanted something, but I was not sure what it was. Then I had some pumpkin seeds. Then I had some sunflower seeds. But it was not helping, I still felt sluggish plus my stomach started to bother me.

Then I ate one bar of 100% cocoa mass (no sugar). It is 2 oz only. For about 40 minutes my stomach was hurt (as always when I eat chocolate, because I have gastric erosion).

Then I felt a sudden burst of energy. I washed all the dishes (there were tons of them), vacuumed the whole house, mopped the floors, did laundry and washed the bathroom. Then I went shopping to two different shops and ran two errands. I mean, I had more energy today than in the last two weeks combined.

The difference about my food intake today compared to yesterday when I was fatigued out:

  1. Today I had salt
  2. Today I had eggs
  3. Today I had the whole bar of chocolate

Now, I know this might sounds crazy to you... because it sounds crazy to me too but this is God's honest truth. I don't know what to make of it.

What in the world is going on?

Any ideas?

Could it be that I have low blood pressure? Could it be because chocolate is a stimulant and has caffeine? Could I have a sluggish liver and chocolate triggered something? Could it be the eggs?

I am totally lost. But I want to feel more energetic and I will do whatever it takes to get my energy back.

Again, any ideas are welcome. There are no right or wrong answers, all of it is just pure guess.

Puzzled and confused,

Me :)

P.S. I have found that Paleohack people are more open-minded and flexible than folks from any other boards. Thank you for being friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming. I love you all <3

03bb06ced2ae02a265909342d4cf3e75

(793)

on March 04, 2012
at 11:15 PM

That sounds like a perfectly good question to ask your body before you eat something! I've always tended to have low blood pressure, and I've recently discovered that adding salt to my diet made me feel a whole lot better. I used to be fatigued and stressed out, and salt helped. When I was eating SAD (lots of bread and grains), salt always made me feel terrible, so I thought I had to avoid it. But without grains, I think my body needs it. You might want to try upping the salt for a few days, even if you don't feel like you want it, and see how you feel.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:32 PM

I am going to experiment some more to see if it was indeed chocolate or not. If it is chocolate, I am buying enough to last me a lifetime. Have you ever heard of "Death by chocolate"? At least I will have enough energy for spring cleaning!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:29 PM

Thank you for your response. Just wanted you to know that I have never been depressed in my whole life and don't really know what depression is. I am probably one of the happiest people I know. So it is not about my mood - it is about my physical energy levels. Nothing psychological, I swear. Thanks for your warm wishes. Tomorrow I will eat exactly what I ate today except chocolate to see whether it is chocolate that made such a huge difference.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:25 PM

My caloric intake for the day is about 2,000 so I would not call it VLC. I totally, totally agree with the carb thing. I eat carrots, beets, parsnips and rutabaga. My stomach does not tolerate pumpkins, squashes, rice or potatoes. Thanks!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:23 PM

I only eat it when I feel like it. Before eating something I always ask my body (I know, I know, sounds crazy), "What is it you want?" Recently my body wanted salt. But yesterday it did not want any. Today it wanted it again. So this is the reason. I hope it makes sense to you, even though it sounds odd.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:21 PM

Thanks for your answer! I cannot have olive oil, avocado and butter. I eat chicken livers, but cannot stand Macadamia nuts. Wild Rice and squashes bother my stomach. I gave up berries for the reason I wanted to have more energy - there was no difference, but I am not going to re-introduce them for a while, I enjoy not having fruits. Thanks again! :)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:08 PM

Are you eating VLC (very low carb) for a reason? Many people report fatigue on VLC. Paleo is not necessarily low carb. People have eaten starch for millenia. If you tolerate it, white rice or sweet potato are just a few of the good sources. I know you said you didn't want other foods added to your regime, but quite a few people do better on more carbs. (And some seem to do better with less).

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:02 PM

It also contains caffeine...

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4 Answers

3
Df6dabaf4b1ef3d5db980ad64c501a5b

on March 04, 2012
at 10:07 PM

I would suggest altering one variable at a time so you can more clearly see the effect each one has on how you feel.

Chocolate is definitely a stimulant, as others have noted, so that would seem likely.

However, it struck me as odd that you don't normally eat salt. Is there some reason you restrict your salt intake?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:23 PM

I only eat it when I feel like it. Before eating something I always ask my body (I know, I know, sounds crazy), "What is it you want?" Recently my body wanted salt. But yesterday it did not want any. Today it wanted it again. So this is the reason. I hope it makes sense to you, even though it sounds odd.

03bb06ced2ae02a265909342d4cf3e75

(793)

on March 04, 2012
at 11:15 PM

That sounds like a perfectly good question to ask your body before you eat something! I've always tended to have low blood pressure, and I've recently discovered that adding salt to my diet made me feel a whole lot better. I used to be fatigued and stressed out, and salt helped. When I was eating SAD (lots of bread and grains), salt always made me feel terrible, so I thought I had to avoid it. But without grains, I think my body needs it. You might want to try upping the salt for a few days, even if you don't feel like you want it, and see how you feel.

2
9e678f5a6119e0937a4087faccbba263

(115)

on March 04, 2012
at 09:52 PM

Your "burst of energy" Moment

Dark chocolate and eggs have plenty of fat that will give you energy and positively effect your hormones.

On a more secondary note:

Eggs contain a source of choline which has a positive impact on the brain.

Dark Chocolate contains polyphenols, particularly flavanols which also maintain healthy brain function by improving blood vessel function.

Do some research into Nootropics, there are some great supplements that will give you better focus and energy for the day. I recommend a supplement called Neurostim by mindnutrition, I've had great results so far.

The Main Issue

My guess is a lack of overall calories from fats or/and carbohydrates. Introduce some other healthy foods to your meals such as olive oil, Macadamia nuts, avocado, eggs, liver, butter for fats and maybe introduce some healthy carbohydrates (depending on your dietary goals) like sweet potato, Squashes, Berries, Wild Rice (if tolerated) . . . find a balance.

Another problem could be due to your digestive issues which can cause lack of absorption with many nutrients. Start sorting this out (Glut Flora, Balancing Acid levels, Enzymes etc) and see if this was causing deficiency.

Hope this helped

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:21 PM

Thanks for your answer! I cannot have olive oil, avocado and butter. I eat chicken livers, but cannot stand Macadamia nuts. Wild Rice and squashes bother my stomach. I gave up berries for the reason I wanted to have more energy - there was no difference, but I am not going to re-introduce them for a while, I enjoy not having fruits. Thanks again! :)

1
9b47142b8ed1074a94b5654410740530

on March 04, 2012
at 09:27 PM

I seem to remember from somewhere that raw chocolate contains phenylethylamine (sp?), which is considered a stimulant. I think it also has an impact on serotonin, allowing it to remain in the synaptic gap for a longer period of time than normal. If it does something to serotonin, that might give you a buzz for a while.

To be honest with you, I don't really know if it was the coco mass that gave you the burst of energy. But based on your experience, and based on what I read about phenylethylamine ... I'm goin to get me some!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:32 PM

I am going to experiment some more to see if it was indeed chocolate or not. If it is chocolate, I am buying enough to last me a lifetime. Have you ever heard of "Death by chocolate"? At least I will have enough energy for spring cleaning!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:02 PM

It also contains caffeine...

1
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on March 04, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Hi, VB. I found that my energy level became more constant when I started making particular things more constant. I started following Dr. Richard Bernstein's recommendations for eating constant amounts of CHO and PRO from breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch, and supper to supper from day to day. This constancy in carbs and protein, at certain times, day to day, gave my body a schedule for blood sugar and all the hormones related to hunger, digestion, satiety, etc. That helped me tremendously.

I also do Callanetics, stretches and yoga for seniors each morning, which helps me immeasurably. That kind of slow rhythm of exertion, rest, stretches, rest, has given me strength, poise and endurance, and is ever improving.

Going to sleep early, and at pretty much the same time, every night helps me greatly. I also need regular sunshine time and rests.

I sometimes chuckle, because I didn't start doing all these "regular" things until I became middle-aged and needed to feel better. Much of that eat regular meals, get regular exercise, and go to sleep at regular times, is exactly what older folks have told younger ones for generations.

Don't know if this will help you, but thought I'd give it a try.

P. S. As to the chocolate, along with its carbs, fat, sugar, and magnesium, it has quite a few mood-altering ingredients. I posted about it in this thread earlier today:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/102445/is-there-a-healthy-upper-limit-to-how-much-unsweetened-processed-cocoa-powder-sh/102517#102517

I wish you joy and success in your experimenting. :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 04, 2012
at 10:29 PM

Thank you for your response. Just wanted you to know that I have never been depressed in my whole life and don't really know what depression is. I am probably one of the happiest people I know. So it is not about my mood - it is about my physical energy levels. Nothing psychological, I swear. Thanks for your warm wishes. Tomorrow I will eat exactly what I ate today except chocolate to see whether it is chocolate that made such a huge difference.

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