22

votes

Are paleo adherants hypochondriacs?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 02, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Just scan the questions for a while... you'll find dozens of "I have such-and-such symptom, am I dying?!" questions. Or the "Hack my bloodwork" questions.

  • Do some folks focus too much on being sick as opposed to simply just living healthy?
  • Are paleo folks more susceptible to placebo and nocebo effects?
  • Is the constant pursuit of health via minute tweaks and hacks to diet/supplementation a good thing?
  • Does it attract hypochondriacs or does it turn us into hypochondriacs?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I quit asking questions. There's an inordinate emphasis here on dietary info and little interest in lifestyle paleo discussion. How to get rid of motorized transportation, or curing planar fasciatis, are simply zero interest topics. I like food discussions, but most everything else here reminds me of general hospital.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 14, 2013
at 12:59 PM

Interesting you bumped this old thread, I was getting irritated by the hypochondriac-esque questions lately... Food is out to kill us, our bodies are fragile, etc... ugh, so frustrating, that a little knowledge turns folks into chicken littles!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 14, 2012
at 11:24 AM

Everyone dies. Health is everything. There is both under and over care. Most people on diet and lifestyle changes start with over care, because they have previously under cared. People who never experience any difficulty health wise have little motivation to care, unless they are educated well about it. In truth its a balance most people get wrong one way or the other. Once ive done enough good research on info available, personally, ill stop coming here so much and just eat and live well..

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 14, 2012
at 11:17 AM

Everyone dies. Health is everything. There is both under and over care. Most people on diet and lifestyle changes start with over care, because they have previously under cared. People who never experience any difficulty health wise have little motivation to care, unless they are educated well about it. In truth its a balance most people get wrong one way or the other. Once ive done enough good research on info available, personally, ill stop coming here and just eat and live well..

6cf053a9f3d692b4787d068e7daca7ea

(55)

on June 04, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Luisa, I feel like I might be having issues similar to yours. Would you mind reading my post and seeing what you think? http://paleohacks.com/questions/123399/hack-my-mystery-illness/124667#124667 If you'd like to email me, let me know!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 04, 2012
at 01:04 AM

You didn't answer any of my questions Matt. What were your reasons for going paleo (if you are in fact paleo)???

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 03, 2012
at 11:20 AM

+1 Because Cody posted "Tenderness by General public" on his blog.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 03, 2012
at 10:38 AM

@Renee how soon before big pharma invents a new disease called the Latin name for "failure to blindly obey medical authority without questioning"?

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on January 03, 2012
at 09:05 AM

Good point Matt, I certainly wouldn't be here if all my problems were solved by reading any one 'Paleo guru's' book/blog. Or conversly if I didn't have any issues/problems.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on January 03, 2012
at 09:00 AM

I denied for years, even after seeing the effects of low-carb or Paleo, that I was glutose intolerant. I took a celiac test not more than a week ago because I've eliminated everything else and have come to the conclusion that a diet that embraces the core ideals of Paleo is the only one that works for me, like it or not. I could only wish that this was all in my head.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on January 03, 2012
at 08:58 AM

I found out pretty early that I was lactose intolerant, violently so. I was also lucky enough to have a father who cared to wake up early enough to send me and my siblings off to school with either biscuits and gravy or pancakes nearly every day, unfortunately I spent my high school career noting where every bathroom was and having a lot of close calls.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on January 03, 2012
at 03:38 AM

Yes, oh god yes. 'I can't lose weight, I think I'm leptin resistant.' I'd add that most do not understand the orders of magnitude importance of most issues. For instance, secretion of HGH from intervals... not really important.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 03, 2012
at 03:10 AM

Oh, great, pictures of poop! Finally I can put this stupid Android tablet to good use! Oh dear god... =D

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:52 AM

It's the making mountains out of molehills, not seeing the forest for the trees that's the problem. And yes, we want you to post a detailed log of your bowel movements, there's been a couple questions here on PH asked you to "grade" your own poop (complete with images!)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:48 AM

Maybe. As a recovering perfectionist, "practicing" perfectionists get on my nerves.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:45 AM

I'm not saying that doing paleo and hacking isn't a good thing. It's more of the making mountains out of molehills.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:25 AM

That's very astute. I've noticed some horrified reactions to something as mild as saying you ate a cheat food at a party. Plenty of other comments, though, are moderate and open-minded.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:17 AM

@matt for me it started out 80% diet and ended up 20% diet. The less fat you are the more you need to hunt and gather. Which leads to real hunger, the primary motivator for paleo lifestyle. I agree with you that the 80% works for fat people. But I doubt that obesity was an issue in the paleo period. Dieting is a Neolithic response to a Neolithic issue.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 03, 2012
at 01:21 AM

I guess you're talking about things like, for example: my boyfriend got muscle cramps after starting paleo, so he changed X and it went away. He got diarrhea on paleo, so he changed Y and it went away. I don't see what's wrong with that. If you know what's causing it, why not change things to fix it ?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2012
at 01:15 AM

I'll do you better: **coconut** fed bacon, nitrate-fre and organic.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 03, 2012
at 01:00 AM

If I say yes, will you give me some nitrate free grass-fed bacon to cure me of my ailment? Please, doctor?

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 03, 2012
at 12:52 AM

@Renee how soon before big pharma invents a new disease called the Roman name for failure to blindly obey medical authority without questioning?

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 03, 2012
at 12:50 AM

+1 for Rudy Rucker, he's one of my favorite scifi authors.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:24 PM

I don't listen to Chris's podcast often enough, but I did hear that in one of the few I've listened to.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:23 PM

@thhq: As they say in weight loss, diet is 80%. I'd expect a good portion of PH questions to be diet, after all the gospels of Paleo mostly deal with diet. I think non-diet questions are good, but some just seem to be really stretching it to fit into the paleo framework/philosophy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:22 PM

@thhq: As they say in weight loss, diet is 80%. I'd expect a good portion of PH questions to be diet, after all the gospels of Paleo mostly deal with diet. I think non-diet questions are good, but some just seem to be really stretching it to fit into the paleo framework/philosophy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Yep, separating placebo from benefit and nocebo (which is my new favorite word) from detriment is tough. Heck, don't separate placebo from benefit, just enjoy whatever comes your way, but don't pysch yourself into negative territory.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:17 PM

I make no claim that hypochondriacs are paleo! ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:16 PM

I was initially quite dismissive of paleo because of the strength of things like the placebo effect. I actually started paleo as a critic, not looking for any benefit. I wasn't going to suffer any placebo effect, but could perhaps experience some sort of null nocebo effect. To my surprise, I experienced positive effects going paleo, which should be quite real. That's the meat of my question really: how much of paleo is in our heads?

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:56 PM

Orthorexia is real, and the fact that you are using its lack of widespread acceptance by mainstream medicine as a justification for its lack of validity strikes me as rather ridiculous, given Paleo's lack of acceptance by the mainstream. The orthorexic obsessively eliminates so many foods out of fear of their potential harmful effects health-wise that she or he becomes underweight, malnourished and sick. It's an eating disorder just like any other, and I predict will only continue to rise in this age of health food stores, detoxing, cleanses, etc. But that's just my n=1.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:33 PM

I look at as an exercise in inclusivity rather than avoidance. If I include more mussels and crustaceans in my diet I exclude the need for junk food.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:31 PM

By the way, I really like your idea about focusing "too much on being sick as opposed to simply just living healthy" being a problem. That ties in with what Chris Kresser talks about a lot, where some people come to his clinic with better health than he has and their self-assessment would have him think they're dying right there. I do think it's much healthier to focus on the good stuff than the negative. And there's so much more to health than nutrition.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:26 PM

thhq, I'd love to see more lifestyle questions. If you post 'em, I'll upvote 'em. :)

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:08 PM

couldn't have said it better myself.

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on January 02, 2012
at 06:09 PM

"Meatspace" makes me think of Rudy Rucker books...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:23 PM

Woah, woah, don't be so defensive. Of course, I have an opinion on the matter. The hypochondriacs of the community irk me a bit. The fact that everything must be rationalized through a paleo framework... that's not logical.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:15 PM

Maybe I should change the question, are **paleo hackers** hypochondriacs? ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:14 PM

I know a couple hypochondriacs in meatspace myself. If they think something is wrong, they will make themselves physically ill. But I think you're quite likely on the right track when it comes to folks posting at PH, and sort of lines up with another question/theory I have.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:12 PM

True enough, but I think quite a few folks tend to blow little things out of proportion and actively hunt for symptoms.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Also, it's really an excellent answer.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:18 PM

+1 for "meatspace."

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16 Answers

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20
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 02, 2012
at 03:02 PM

I've never met anyone in meatspace who is actually a hypochondriac. In my experience, when people have bizarre or myriad health complaints, it's because there is something wrong with them and it just hasn't been figured out yet. I don't personally feel I could judge whether or not someone I interact with online is a hypochondriac because there's just not enough info to go off of. Granted, my circle of people in meatspace is narrower than online, so maybe the demographic here is different from the people I know in my life. I just think it's more likely that people here are suffering than that they are making mountains out of molehills. I admit I'm biased, though: I grew up watching my mom suffer in pain from fibromyalgia and get told by doctor after doctor that it was all in her head. And on a personal note, if I had paid more attention to those niggling health complaints when I was younger, I would have caught my celiac disease earlier. But I'm also still of the opinion that people who have to think about what they're eating (people who follow diet after diet) are likely doing so for a good reason. People with healthy digestive tracts (like my husband) just don't think about these things. And who would want to, unless something were wrong?

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on January 03, 2012
at 08:58 AM

I found out pretty early that I was lactose intolerant, violently so. I was also lucky enough to have a father who cared to wake up early enough to send me and my siblings off to school with either biscuits and gravy or pancakes nearly every day, unfortunately I spent my high school career noting where every bathroom was and having a lot of close calls.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:18 PM

+1 for "meatspace."

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 03, 2012
at 12:50 AM

+1 for Rudy Rucker, he's one of my favorite scifi authors.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on January 03, 2012
at 09:00 AM

I denied for years, even after seeing the effects of low-carb or Paleo, that I was glutose intolerant. I took a celiac test not more than a week ago because I've eliminated everything else and have come to the conclusion that a diet that embraces the core ideals of Paleo is the only one that works for me, like it or not. I could only wish that this was all in my head.

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on January 02, 2012
at 06:09 PM

"Meatspace" makes me think of Rudy Rucker books...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Also, it's really an excellent answer.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:14 PM

I know a couple hypochondriacs in meatspace myself. If they think something is wrong, they will make themselves physically ill. But I think you're quite likely on the right track when it comes to folks posting at PH, and sort of lines up with another question/theory I have.

17
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Think of the sampling bias here. Only the people who need help are asking questions. So it looks like everyone is a hypochondriac.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:12 PM

True enough, but I think quite a few folks tend to blow little things out of proportion and actively hunt for symptoms.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:23 PM

@thhq: As they say in weight loss, diet is 80%. I'd expect a good portion of PH questions to be diet, after all the gospels of Paleo mostly deal with diet. I think non-diet questions are good, but some just seem to be really stretching it to fit into the paleo framework/philosophy.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:26 PM

thhq, I'd love to see more lifestyle questions. If you post 'em, I'll upvote 'em. :)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:17 AM

@matt for me it started out 80% diet and ended up 20% diet. The less fat you are the more you need to hunt and gather. Which leads to real hunger, the primary motivator for paleo lifestyle. I agree with you that the 80% works for fat people. But I doubt that obesity was an issue in the paleo period. Dieting is a Neolithic response to a Neolithic issue.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I quit asking questions. There's an inordinate emphasis here on dietary info and little interest in lifestyle paleo discussion. How to get rid of motorized transportation, or curing planar fasciatis, are simply zero interest topics. I like food discussions, but most everything else here reminds me of general hospital.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:22 PM

@thhq: As they say in weight loss, diet is 80%. I'd expect a good portion of PH questions to be diet, after all the gospels of Paleo mostly deal with diet. I think non-diet questions are good, but some just seem to be really stretching it to fit into the paleo framework/philosophy.

4
05b7714f0b6942fc350e4271c6382c46

(125)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:12 AM

I'd lean more in the direction of calling Paleo-ites PERFECTIONISTS. I'm more of an 80/20 guys, BUT when I have gone 100% my OCD kicks in and I have to be perfect, at the entire thing. And fully understand, every little thing.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:48 AM

Maybe. As a recovering perfectionist, "practicing" perfectionists get on my nerves.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:25 AM

That's very astute. I've noticed some horrified reactions to something as mild as saying you ate a cheat food at a party. Plenty of other comments, though, are moderate and open-minded.

4
19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 03, 2012
at 01:19 AM

Speaking as someone with a diagnosed disease that gave me:
* Wet green diarrhea of the kind that even if I ran, I might get to the toilet too late.
* Extreme light sensitivity, when I went to shopping and grocery stores, I'd have to close my eyes and hold on to a friend and have him guide me.
* Severe brain fog (I could not think logically, I put a hot-off-the-stove pot on the vinyl floor and burned a hole, I would nearly put my hand in the working blender luckily realizing just in time that wouldn't be a good idea)
* Severe depression and suicidal thoughts (you would too, if you went from a math/science genius to a complete idiot who puts her hand in the blender)
* So many things that I don't remember now that they're in my past.

Did that make me an hypochondriac? Maybe you think so.

Do some folks focus too much on being sick as opposed to simply just living healthy?
I think you've got it backwards. If you've been really sick, to the point you want to kill yourself and get it over with... then you came to Paleo, got cured... then you truly want the best possible for yourself. "Just living healthy" is sometimes not enough to make you healthy. I "lived healthy" before I got sick.

People can simply live healthy, but that doesn't mean there are some things that they'd like to improve.

Are paleo folks more susceptible to placebo and nocebo effects?
Just kidding. I can tell you that I no longer have any of the problems listed above, it's hardly placebo. If you'd like, I can write a detailed log of my bowel movements? Just kidding.

Is the constant pursuit of health via minute tweaks and hacks to diet/supplementation a good thing?
It's up to the person doing it, and it's no one else's business. If you got some trouble, and you want to figure out what's causing it, it's good to change 1 thing and see if that's it.
I personally don't do the tweaks/hacks, but I know I need to cut dairy, it's one of the things that makes my guts go batshit crazy. But for another person, dairy could be completely fine. Hence the desire to find out through hacks/tweaks.

Does it attract hypochondriacs or does it turn us into hypochondriacs? So you are REALLY saying that I'm a hypochondriac, that my (for example) diarrhea existed for many years, and suddenly it's gone... you're telling me that's all in my head? You're telling me that I missed those family dinners in vain? (I was too embarrassed of having diarrhea around them, but you're saying the diarrhea didn't exist, I was just pretending?)

No wonder people think you're trolling them! :-P

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 03, 2012
at 01:21 AM

I guess you're talking about things like, for example: my boyfriend got muscle cramps after starting paleo, so he changed X and it went away. He got diarrhea on paleo, so he changed Y and it went away. I don't see what's wrong with that. If you know what's causing it, why not change things to fix it ?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:52 AM

It's the making mountains out of molehills, not seeing the forest for the trees that's the problem. And yes, we want you to post a detailed log of your bowel movements, there's been a couple questions here on PH asked you to "grade" your own poop (complete with images!)

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 03, 2012
at 03:10 AM

Oh, great, pictures of poop! Finally I can put this stupid Android tablet to good use! Oh dear god... =D

6cf053a9f3d692b4787d068e7daca7ea

(55)

on June 04, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Luisa, I feel like I might be having issues similar to yours. Would you mind reading my post and seeing what you think? http://paleohacks.com/questions/123399/hack-my-mystery-illness/124667#124667 If you'd like to email me, let me know!

4
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on January 02, 2012
at 03:13 PM

  • I think that "some folks" in every realm of life focus too much on being sick, rather than on living healthy.
  • All human beings are subject to "placebo" and "nocebo" effects. However, whether or not something is better through the power of thought (placebo) or through a physical action is irrelevant -- what is important is the positive change.
  • For me, the pursuit of better health through tweaking my nutrition (including supplementation) is the process of finding OUT whether a given change is a good thing. As an example, I recently gave up nightshades for a while, to see whether my overall health would improve and things like my dermatitis would flare less. For me, the change from the removal of nightshades was too insignificant to justify continuing to deprive myself of peppers and tomatoes (both of which I enjoy). So by doing the 'hack', I discovered that, for me, in this instance, my quality of life was improved by not taking the minuscule improvements and high deprivation factor of removing nightshades. On the other hand, keeping grains, including rice, out of my diet and keeping my carb levels controlled (75g or less per day) provides a SIGNIFICANT improvement in my health and mobility... so for me, THOSE tweaks are going to stay in, because they add to my quality of life. For most folks, we tweak to obtain OUR optimum... but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is someone ELSE's optimum.

  • I don't think it either attracts or turns us into hypochondriacs. Some portion of the population are hypochondriacs -- this is true of the paleo community as well as any other community. In addition, because we're bombarded with health-related information a LOT through the media, I think our generation has become substantially more inclined to hypochondria. I also think that, if someone is already inclined that way, ANY nutritional or health program -- especially one relating to food and nourishment and body awareness -- might tend to foster obsessive behavior in someone who is inclined that way. However, for some folk, having the structure and knowledge in place, and having the ability to manipulate the foundations of the nutritional concept to meet their own body's needs furthers responsibility, not obsession.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:33 PM

I look at as an exercise in inclusivity rather than avoidance. If I include more mussels and crustaceans in my diet I exclude the need for junk food.

3
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 02, 2012
at 03:57 PM

Ah, the old Medical Student's Disease. It's possible that when people that are new to paleo read about all of the Neolithic diseases, they think to themselves, "I show symptoms of these!" or "I want to avoid this."

But that's a completely different thing than hypochondria. Certainly removing just wheat, as Dr. Davis shows in Wheat Belly makes a huge difference, and improves health to the point of being noticeable.

In my own case, I'm a geek. I prefer to learn about something deeply and so I dig up as much information about everything I can, whether or not it personally affects me, because it's interesting, not because I suffer from this or that. I could see how someone who knows me well might claim something like orthorexia, but even that's false, as I do eat some CAFO meats, for example, based on the risk level. (i.e. I'll happily consume lean CAFO beef, but I'll avoid CAFO eggs, chicken, farmed fish.)

But even Orthorexia* is a made up disease, and it's not even recognized by the medical establishment. If I were paranoid, I'd say it was an astroturf campaign by the crap-in-a-box peddlers to lessen the impact of the loss of sales of their products, by negatively labeling anyone who wishes to be healthy.

But hypochondria is an actual mental disease, in the same way as full blown depression is not "My dog kicked the bucket and my wife ran off with my best friend, and my pick up truck has four flat tires."

So I'm more inclined to say that people who come here looking for answers are doing just that. Some of them may have been diagnosed with an issue, others could not find an answer, for example, they might have a sensitivity to gluten, but the commercial tests, that only look for one out of the 16 (or whatever the number is) of gluten antibodies, and show all the symptoms and improvement when eliminating wheat, but show negative on the test, are no longer trusting of the mystique of the white coats and authority of the medical system that has failed them.

I myself was never diagnosed with a wheat sensitivity, but, I can tell from the changes I experienced, some of which may well be placebo effects, that I no longer feel pain in my joints, despite having had severe damage to both my knees, I no longer have brain fog, no longer have weekly headaches, lost a lot of fat, lost the nightly GERD, and when confronted by a tall staircase, I now experience the urge to run up it, 2 steps at a time, when I previously would cowardly choose the escalator instead, and I've also developed an immunity to cold. So n=1 and all that. :)

Certainly, you could say that the one time this year I accidentally exposed myself to wheat, and experienced headaches, diarrhea, shivering, and a sensitivity to cold, that the particular episode might have been an nocebo effect. Sure, I suppose some of those symptoms could have been in my head, but I personally doubt it. :)

I find myself saying, "we are all n=1 experiments," and this is true in the sense that we're experimenting on ourselves and it's not a double blind experiment, so we can easily skew the results to placebo/nocebo by knowing what we are testing for, and expecting what the results should be. But in the end, we are discovering what works for us.

We are here because we were damaged by our old Standard American (replace with wherever you live on this planet) Diet, but because of our environment and our genes, we were damaged in slightly different ways, so what works for everyone might not work for us specifically. That doesn't mean it's all in our heads, just because there are differences.

Some of us do better on higher carb, some on starches, some on fruit, some at VLC or ZC. Some do better with certain exercises, some do better avoiding dairy, others embracing it, some have problems with nightshades or eggs. Some of us can even tolerate some grains. For example, Robb Wolf can eat corn tortillas occasionally, where others would have severe reactions.

But all of us here follow something we call paleo, or primal, or whatever other word the authors of the book we've read decided to call it so as to carve out a separate niche for themselves.

And yet, we can share our experiences and possibly help others with the same kinds of n=1 issues. My n=1 issues may not match yours, but if they do, I'm happy to share what I know that worked for me. Maybe it'll work for you as well. Then again, it might not. So you'd have to experiment and become an n=1 yourself.

And hopefully, you'll return the favor to the new folks that show up here looking for help, and are suffering from the things you've got knowledge about.

*Edit: Here's what Wikipedia has to say on Orthorexia, for those who haven't looked it up:

Orthorexia nervosa (also known as orthorexia) is a term used by Steven Bratman to describe people who have developed a fixation with healthy or righteous eating and has been referred to as a mental disorder. It is not a medically recognized term. Bratman claims that in rare cases, this focus may turn into a fixation so extreme that it can lead to severe malnutrition or even death.

(Emphasis mine)

Here are the so called symptoms of Orthorexia.. If you're eating paleo you'd trigger 2-3 of these right off the bat, possibly more, marking you with a mild case of orthorexia.

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:08 PM

couldn't have said it better myself.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 03, 2012
at 12:52 AM

@Renee how soon before big pharma invents a new disease called the Roman name for failure to blindly obey medical authority without questioning?

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 02, 2012
at 07:56 PM

Orthorexia is real, and the fact that you are using its lack of widespread acceptance by mainstream medicine as a justification for its lack of validity strikes me as rather ridiculous, given Paleo's lack of acceptance by the mainstream. The orthorexic obsessively eliminates so many foods out of fear of their potential harmful effects health-wise that she or he becomes underweight, malnourished and sick. It's an eating disorder just like any other, and I predict will only continue to rise in this age of health food stores, detoxing, cleanses, etc. But that's just my n=1.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 03, 2012
at 10:38 AM

@Renee how soon before big pharma invents a new disease called the Latin name for "failure to blindly obey medical authority without questioning"?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:16 PM

I was initially quite dismissive of paleo because of the strength of things like the placebo effect. I actually started paleo as a critic, not looking for any benefit. I wasn't going to suffer any placebo effect, but could perhaps experience some sort of null nocebo effect. To my surprise, I experienced positive effects going paleo, which should be quite real. That's the meat of my question really: how much of paleo is in our heads?

2
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 02, 2012
at 03:02 PM

the ones that work in hospitals are, the ones that get all the free lab tests done while the rest of the insurance paying crowd rarely get labs ordered. you know them, they are the ones that post personal data that would make a hospital director cringe and the fear of a HIPPA fine. those are the hypochondriacs. most paleo eaters are not. they just know somthing special about humans and diet that most people dont. its simple really. food can make you sick and food can make you well again. if these folks are so well, then why are they having labs done?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:15 PM

Maybe I should change the question, are **paleo hackers** hypochondriacs? ;)

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on January 03, 2012
at 09:05 AM

Good point Matt, I certainly wouldn't be here if all my problems were solved by reading any one 'Paleo guru's' book/blog. Or conversly if I didn't have any issues/problems.

1
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on January 14, 2013
at 03:11 AM

I think most diets tend to attract hypochondriacs as you put it for the simple reason that most people decide to go on a diet because they feel something is wrong, whether that be health related or weight related or whatever reason. These are the people who know something is wrong, and they are just trying to figure it out. I mean if I were the apex of absolute health what would be my reason for posting questions like that or trying new diets? Lol.

I guess the exception would be the people who have always enjoyed eating this way and living this way and stumbled across this forum out of search for like minded peeps to connect with and what not.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 14, 2013
at 12:59 PM

Interesting you bumped this old thread, I was getting irritated by the hypochondriac-esque questions lately... Food is out to kill us, our bodies are fragile, etc... ugh, so frustrating, that a little knowledge turns folks into chicken littles!

1
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on January 03, 2012
at 05:38 PM

I think that going paleo can make a person more sensitive to their body's signals, and that this can make them sound hypochondriac, or at least unreasonably fussy.

A year ago (we started paleo mid-January), I would have rolled my eyes at someone who said they wouldn't eat something because of gas or bloating, because gas (and bloating, other digestive issues, minor joint pain, bad moods, etc.) was just a normal part of life. Now I understand that it doesn't have to be, and avoid those foods because the discomfort isn't worth it. I think this is especially true of addictive foods - they seem worth any discomfort, and avoiding them over a seemingly minor issue like gas seems utterly bonkers until the addiction is broken.

1
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 03, 2012
at 11:17 AM

Just the thought of being a hypochondriac makes me feel ill.

1
5294cf643205004fc805ccf41dd4e58a

on January 03, 2012
at 12:46 AM

Those of us who are genuinely sick and struggling to tame symptoms that interfere with "healthy living" might be kind of put off by the question "Do some folks focus too much on being sick..?" We ARE sick. Sometimes it takes minute tweaks to correct a problem; it can take endless tweaking to solve some persistent symptoms. I think the constant tweaking and observing responses to it can make a person hyper-aware of how their body responds, and thus perhaps notice symptoms more easily than someone used to relatively good health who has never really had to pay a great deal of attention. It can make you insane but it's also the only feedback system we have. Usually minor symptoms are followed by major ones if action is not taken to resolve them. I'm relatively new to PH, but perhaps you've never had a major/chronic illness and that's why you don't quite understand how obsessive one can become when trying to tackle chronic issues. Or maybe I just need to do more reading around here to see the hypochondriacs.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2012
at 02:45 AM

I'm not saying that doing paleo and hacking isn't a good thing. It's more of the making mountains out of molehills.

1
8c8e71eb729c0edb4786c6f3ba8614e4

(568)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:29 PM

On one hand, I think many people here started Paleo because they had/have some sort of symptom or problem. On another hand, I think there are also people who are changing their lifestyles who are trying to be extremely mindful of how they feel, which can lead to wondering over every different feeling or potential "symptom". I wouldn't call it hypochondria unless they're actively self-diagnosing diseases though.

Most probably fit into both categories a bit. I'm pretty sure I do. I've caught myself having placebo effects before. As I'm new here, I can't quite say yet whether what I am currently going through is a placebo or not.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Yep, separating placebo from benefit and nocebo (which is my new favorite word) from detriment is tough. Heck, don't separate placebo from benefit, just enjoy whatever comes your way, but don't pysch yourself into negative territory.

0
Bdc4873264ec9dbec27505e678dabce0

(432)

on November 02, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Are you afraid this forum is making you sick?

0
5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on January 03, 2012
at 03:10 AM

There are definitely plenty hypochondriacs out there (and here), but the vast majority of people are just blissfully ignorant. It's like when you have driven the same car for 5 years and something changes, its subtle, but you know its different now. You take it to the mechanic and they test drive it for 5 minutes and tell you everything is fine and they are the "expert" so you just accept that it's "in your head", knowing deep down you are right. Honestly though, there are so many little parts on a car that can go wrong, just like your body, and even the experts don't know what is going on until the take everything apart... on human beings its even more complex though. Just imagine, really, the most intelligent scientist only has so much time and tools to "look under the hood" and he probably doesn't know where to look, especially if he doesn't take the hypochondriacs seriously.

0
6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:18 PM

My mother is a hypocondriac. She is also malnourished. She won't touch anything with fat in it, and everything she eats comes out of a box or can. So I think your theory is flawed at best, unless my mom is just the exception. ;-)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 09:17 PM

I make no claim that hypochondriacs are paleo! ;)

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:03 PM

I think a lot of people turn to Paleo because they are sick or because they KNOW that life was not meant to be lived tired and feeling crappy.

How hard is that to figure out?

Why the hell are you here? Do you even eat Paleo? Or are you trolling? Seriously...

If you are eating Paleo, what was YOUR deciding factor? You just stumbled upon it and thought it sounded good? Really. You sound kind of judgmental and your question appears leading, like you want people to agree with your idea.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:23 PM

Woah, woah, don't be so defensive. Of course, I have an opinion on the matter. The hypochondriacs of the community irk me a bit. The fact that everything must be rationalized through a paleo framework... that's not logical.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 03, 2012
at 11:20 AM

+1 Because Cody posted "Tenderness by General public" on his blog.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 04, 2012
at 01:04 AM

You didn't answer any of my questions Matt. What were your reasons for going paleo (if you are in fact paleo)???

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