This is my first post here.
I had been close to Paleo for a long time last year before I ever heard about the diet. I was doing it more for reasons of Candida/yeast/psoriasis/etc reasons. I have always ate generally pretty consciously but looking back now I certainly was always binging on carbs in one form or another.
After a bout in the hospital for quinsy (and an intensive antibiotic treatment) I broke out in head-to-toe psoriasis (assuming from the nasty antibiotics). I talked to a dermatologist about it, simply to confirm it's origin. When I proclaimed that I avoid medicines and that I was intending on healing my psoriasis with diet he thought I was a madman.
Anyhow, I followed a well-planned diet that, looking back, closely resembled Paleo and I was able to rid myself of 99% of the psoriasis. Of course, at that point, I drifted back into breads, sandwiches, etc.
Fast-forward to today. After flopping back and forth with the Paleo thing for quite some time now I have finally cut out all gluten, grains, sugars, etc. All was going well the first 2-3 days until I got hit like a ton of bricks with, what I am now learning is, carb flu. My problem though is that it's intense. Perhaps abnormally so. I wanted to ask your opinions to see what I can do to at least ease the symptoms.
I know this is a bad way to describe it, but it's like the beginning stages of when you ingest psychedelic mushrooms. The stage where you have IMMENSE brain-fog and when you go to talk, you feel as though someone else is doing the talking. I can not think at all straight, I am losing all vocabulary and reasoning skills. I am TIRED. It's unreal. Like I am on my deathbed or something. I feel like my limbs weigh hundreds of kilos each! I also feel that feeling you get after your first glass of wine - you know, where you move your head and the picture is slightly delayed. It's unbearable feeling like this all day. Also, my sexdrive has been shot to hell (the ladyfriend is not so pleased about this).
Luckily for me I have never much cared for sugar crap like sodas, candies, etc so I have NO problem not "cheating". I also may have been a heavy carb eater in the past but for at least the past 8-9 years, minus one or two ultrarare occasions, I have always avoided prepackaged, processed "junk". I just need to adjust since I think I went too hardcore in the opposite direction too quickly.
Here is the breakdown:
- I bike/walk everywhere, everyday, rain/shine/snow/sleet/etc. This is my only mode of transit so there's never a time where I am not on my bike/feet unless I literally don't leave my house - which is rare.
- I live in Berlin. This summer has been impossibly cold and lacking sunshine (worse than usual). I can only imagine I am Vitamin D deficient.
- I work on a computer, indoors. This is usually 5x per week.
- The psoriasis/skin issues ARE genetic however I believe that they can be marginalized. Working in doors and crappy weather doesn't help. Also, I am sure I have leaky-gut syndrome and a systemic fungal issue. They are always better with proper diet and sunshine.
- Typically 2-3 eggs in the morning (usually fried with yolks uncooked) cooked in either coconut oil or pig lard, along with possibly bacon, lamb, or sheep.
- I was, until very recently, eating yogurt. Organic of course but it was still pasteurized. I have decided to give up dairy until my raw milk order comes in next Friday in which I intend to make yogurt and butter.
- For lunch, usually Mark's "Big Ass Salad" with chicken or some ground beef or steak with some stir-fry.
- Dinner is a toss-up. Lately it's been wild boar, beef, and/or some fatty fish like mackerel or sardines. I'll also do salmon when I can get wild-caught.
- Snacks sometimes included in season berries (right now blue berries) and/or grapes. I was eating a grapefruit every morning but that has stopped recently, too.
As of today, since I have been feeling literally like death, I have incorporated steamed sweet potatoes into my routine along with 1-2x daily bone broth (I'll steam my veggies on bone broth also and drink it after). I also picked up some more leafy greens like spinach.
I am trying to be conscious about my fat intake, but as we are all aware, after so many years of being told the opposite it's rather hard to get into the routine. I cook with coconut oil or lard, I'll sometimes smother my veggies in butter, I am trying to straight-up eat coconut oil. I WAS taking flaxseed oil but read too many negative things so I am only reserving that for salads with olive oil.
I just don't understand. It's also VERY possible that I am simply not eating enough but I feel like I am. I can not stress enough how hard I am being hit with "low carb flu". It's starting to worry me as I can barely function day to day.
Also, side-note. I am getting easily 9+ hours of sleep per night. Perhaps my sleep schedule is a part of the problem. I go to bed around midnight and sleep until 10am or so.
Any thoughts, suggestions, help, etc is more than welcome. This is a wonderful community and I am pleased to be a part of it now. I just need to work past this horrific stage.
ADDED I should also mention that I am one of the impossibly skinny, eat anything, kind of guys. I 28 years old, weigh around 128lbs/58kg and am 5'10"/178cm tall. So this is definitely not about weight loss, if anything, I would be happy with some "good" weight gain.
UPDATE After a visit to my doctor all of my levels look great. Liver, kidney and thyroid were perfect as well as vitamin levels. It turns out though that I have EXTREMELY low blood pressure. This makes perfect sense to the symtoms I have been experiencing. Also, this runs in my family (Mother has the same). I am now focusing on fluid intake and veg-based carbs (sweet potatoes) along with my current setup. I can't remember the exact number but I believe he said 80/62 which is just far too low.
asked byscabadaska (180)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on August 13, 2011
at 04:05 PM
Frankly, I think you are starving. With your energy output which is naturally built into your everyday, your size, weight and stated difficulty gaining weight, I think you need to rethink what you are eating.
You mention "yeast/candida." Why do you think this was/is a problem for you? What specific symptoms do you or did you have? Candida overgrowth can be very real, but "cadida" is also thrown around by alot of people as a sort of be-all-end-all background for all illness.
In your case, trying to starve out candida which may or may not exist may result in starving YOU.
I'd suggest that you have a demonstrated metabolism and lifestyle/activity level and likely age (as in you are a young person) that very much ups your need for good carb with every meal. In my opinion, this would look like: At least one potato per meal, fruits which are high starch/much higher carb fruits such as bananas, more than once a day, snacks which include a combo of some protein + starchy carb. In your case, I'd throw the "big ass salad" out the window for now and replace it with a much more dense meal, including starchy carbs and starchy fruit aand fat, all "anchored" with protein.
If your symptoms do not abate asap, see a healhcare provider. (Had to cut this short as have to go somewhere !)
Later addendum: The symptoms you describe could easily be HYPOGLYCEMIA and are infact, highly consistent with what I have experienced in the past. The degree of brain slowing/fog can truly be pronounced. However, this is a peer to peer support board, not a healthcare treament or advice board. But I'd give odds that if you rework your diet as described, you will have an abatement of these symptoms, which, by the way, if they go on and on can become serious.
I'd also suggest that you have the inherent metabolism + age + activity level + history of fighting to GAIN weight that would make you a good candidate for learning about how to prepare some types of grains via soaking etc to render them a healthy part of a diet for you. You can find info on this on the Weston A. Price foundation site. It is true that this needs also to be balanced with your psoriasis picture, so, mamking the other changes first and seeing if they solve the immediate symptom issues would likely be the best route. Then you can do some research.
Your question, in my opinion, is an excellent one to demonstrate exactly how and why "paleo" is a super healthful way to eat, but must be individualized taking into account the above cited factors as well as individual health issues.
on August 17, 2011
at 05:30 PM
Most people get over it within three weeks. (There was a controlled experiment on bicyclists which showed that, as well as other reasons to say that.) A lot of people get over it in a day or two, or don't have it at all.
How long were you on low-carb and feeling bad? I can't tell exactly when you added or removed the grapefruit and sweet potatoes.
Since you've emphasized how intense it is, I don't know if what you're experiencing is the standard problems -- lethargy, low-brain-power, nausea -- or if something worse is wrong with you.
on August 13, 2011
at 04:03 PM
You need to eat more fat. I find that one tbs butter each meal helps. You could go for two to be on the safe side. It makes a world of diffrence. Try eating a big piece of meat for lunch instead of the salad (Have a side of veggies that you would normally put in the salad) Great that you have stopped flax seed oil.
on August 13, 2011
at 01:00 PM
8 weeks of low-carb flu, exactly as you describe, was my experience. Paul Jaminet has said that he believes adding additional coconut oil can reduce symptoms of low-carb flu. While in my experience it doesn't eliminate it, I don't know if it reduces it as I can't do a side by side trial - only with...or without. Still though, it won't hurt and may help so keep at it. iirc, he recommends 4-6 tbsp per day.
It seems wise to add the sweet potato and in fact, you may want to aim for 100-150g carbohydrates per day (Jaminet again) rather than a very low carb intake of 50g or less. This would allow you to reap many of the benefits of reduced carbohydrate intake and the benefits of higher fat intake.
Benefits of ketosis could be gained by fasting 1-2x per week for 16-24 h.
Someone, in the comments of one of Emily Deans blog posts, made a good case for ingesting nothing during a fast aside from water - not even cococnut oil or cream. Even the coconut oil components can apparently stop autophagy, which at this point, appears to be (mainly) the mechanism by which fasting is beneficial.
There is inexpensive, finger-prick, Vitamin D blood test available (nearly world-wide) as part of a study: http://www.grassrootshealth.net/
Consider supplementing with 5,000-6,000 IU of D a day for a month, then moving to 2,000 IU per day. Because your body fat is very low, your levels will rise quickly and chances are that you do not need as much D as some others.
Sounds like your diet is right on track. Do your best to eat liver once a week and other organ meats as much as possible. Excessive reliance on muscle meat appears to be problematic in a number of ways. The inclusion of bone stock is fantastic. Keep up the good work. It may take some time to feel better but you will. Just don't go lower on the carbs - continue to ingest plenty of safe "starches" (tubers without skin, white rice etc). Jaminet makes an interesting case for rice syrup which is both surprising and interesting.
If you're not already, it would be worth reading his blog. http://perfecthealthdiet.com/
Oh, and regarding flax oil - I'd stop it completely.
on August 13, 2011
at 12:47 PM
My problems in the beginning was much like yours. I felt like a total retard. However, this went over quite fast. It was at it's worst the first week. The second and third week, everything just became funny. Me and my roomie, who also started paleo at the same time, would sometimes end up at the floor laughing. I quite miss that, felt like we had ate a lot of mushrooms or something...
However, I started to feel a bit tired after some time. I could not quite figure out why, so I counted my kcals. It came as a bit of a suprise to me, I was only eating 1200 kcal a day! After this, I started eating a can of sour cream (34% fat) as a snack, and I also had 50g of butter in my coffee and just added butter to everything in general. After a little while I felt much better, and I later switched out my fat kcal to more coconut oil. All my old PRs in the gym got smashed, and my mental clarity in school was better then it had ever been.
Eating enough fat can be really hard in the beginning. Rougly count your kcal to find out if you are seriously under eating. The carb flu should be over within a week or so.
on August 16, 2011
at 11:11 PM
Hi. I also have psoriasis and am having very similar symptoms. I just started paleo, and I like reading Mark's Daily Apple. A woman named Peggy Emch runs a blog called The Primal Parent. I asked her about how she keeps up her energy levels while eating so little carbs. She told me that the body takes a while to get used to a low carb diet, but eventually can adopt metabolic flexibility, and start to burn fat instead of carbs for fuel.
"...A body can use either fat or carbohydrates as fuel. Most of us use carbs. So, when we don???t give it the fuel it expects, it runs low on energy. However, a body can also function perfectly well (if not better) using fat for fuel (called ketosis) instead of carbs. Until your body makes this metabolic switch, you will feel fatigued as you deprive your body of the carbs it???s used to utilizing for energy. In time, though ??? up to two weeks on a low carb diet ??? your energy should sky rocket as J. Stanton described here. (Richard Nikoley will be participating in a podcast on Monday in which they discuss low carb. I have no idea what it???s going to be about but I intend to listen.)"
The above paragraph is from her entry on Aug.13, titled "Q&A: Affording paleo, Intermittent fasting and cortisol, low carb energy, and raw meat starter list".
Here are two links that I think will be helpful:
Psoriasis sucks ass. Lets keep in touch. I look for more information on how to heal everyday.
on August 13, 2011
at 03:36 PM
may be a long shot, but i wonder if the yogurt was keeping "fungal issues" in check, and maybe that is causing/exacerbating symptoms? also in that vein: could it be "die-off" (from fewer carbs)? i'm not sure how I feel about the die-off hypothesis, but it's something to consider.
i myself have some sensitivities that seem fungal in nature (i avoid yeast), and generally manifest as brain-fog, heavy limbs (esp legs), psoriasis, depression, and occasionally a lady-yeast-infection. but i don't want to be one of those posters that projects my 'thing' onto everyone else -- just sharing for the purpose of exploring possibilities.
welcome to p-hax!
on August 13, 2011
at 03:36 PM
It is always a good idea to read one of the low carb diet books from cover to cover before starting low carb, because they have helpful tips and suggestions for dealing with the first couple of weeks. I wish I had done that, it would have saved me lots of bother. The Rosedale and Protein Power plans are very paleo-friendly.
on August 26, 2011
at 02:28 PM
don't know if you read this already, but...
"In GAPS patients low blood pressure is usually due to an overgrowth of histamine-producing microbes in the gut. When the person goes through die-off more histamine will be released, so the blood pressure will go down even more. When the blood pressure drops too low, the heart rate may increase causing palpitations and irregular heart beat. In women in the second half of the menstrual cycle pathogens feel stronger and produce more histamine, which drops the blood pressure and can give palpitations, feeling faint, nausea, headaches and mood swings. This happens because the second half of the menstrual cycle is ruled by progesterone, which is an immune suppressing hormone; as the immune system gets suppressed, the pathogens thrive. So, it is important to keep pathogens under control in order to keep your blood pressure from dropping too low. That is why in the second half of the cycle reduce fruit and honey and have more meats, fish, eggs and fat. To keep your blood pressure higher use coffee enemas and drink good quality organic coffee (made fresh from ground coffee).
on August 21, 2011
at 07:39 PM
I can't agree more how it's not a like a feeling of depression but rather a feeling of being on drugs when you are sober.
My biggest question is are you drinking coffee regularly?
I think we both have adrenal fatigue and no matter what, it takes long time to recover.
I'm staying with Paleo, riding out this fatigue, because in some ways I feel like I'm slowely healing, but it's not always clear.
No coffee was when I only felt like I trully began healing.
on August 21, 2011
at 06:55 PM
Thank you for the Apple Cider Vinegar tip. I'll try it out. But I am curious as to how it affects a person who has psoriasis. Is it because drinking ACV will balance the ph level of the body?
In one of your responses, you wrote that you will now include steamed sweet potatoes in your diet. I know that avoiding processed, or any type of sugar in general would help alleviate psoriasis, and I know that sweet potatoes obviously contain sugar. Have you made it your decision to include swt.potatoes in your diet as an exception? I eat the Korean type almost every other day, and I'm beginning to feel guilty about it because it contains sugar.
Korean swt.potato looks like this: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=1848
on August 13, 2011
at 03:46 PM
This flu everyone speaks of is all about the change in absorption of nutrients from the gut during a dietary change. It is all about the brain gut axis and is tied to neurotransmitter substrate construction. I will be get into some of that detail today or tomorrow when I get out of surgery.......ties into how the brain and gut work synergistically.
And more to your point.....once you understand it you can treat it successfully and limit it.