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1 month in-some issues with energy, headache. Detailed/long. Support/suggestions please?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 24, 2012 at 7:06 PM

I've been Paleo about a month. I have been very strict about it and the very few deviations have involved dairy (cheese, organic ice cream), which I don't eat a lot of. After a year of depression, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, etc... I was feeling very optimistic to have had several good clear days with some increased energy and almost no anxiety without any medication (something I never thought I could do without), overall less moody. My sleeping problems almost non-existent. I have permanently quit smoking. Point being: I am serious about feeling better.

A few days ago I started feeling low energy, irritable again. Headache for a few days. Sunday night I couldn't sleep, tossed and turned for four hours in the middle of the night. Woke up yesterday morning with an attack of vertigo (BPPV...coincidence?) which I hope to get rid of this week. I'm willing to do anything to feel better and so I got really motivated to go to yoga class, but don't dare with the vertigo...should be able to start in a few days.

My headache is almost gone, but I still feel fuzzy and low energy. I am not waking up as well in the morning as I was for a couple of weeks prior. I don't feel alert in the a.m. like the early part of last week. I am trying higher carb intake now to see if it helps. My history is that of being tired in the morning and very anxious at night. This is nowhere near that level now, but still it's bothersome. I've dropped 20lbs over the last year and am no longer considered overweight (maybe 22-23 BMI). I am 37.

My eating habits now are: coconut oil once a day, plenty of kerrygold butter, nirtite free bacon, 1 cup arugula, kale or baby broccoli, 1/2 to 1 cup blackberries w/ 2tbs heavy cream, lamb or beef, raw salmon or tuna about 2x/week, homemade broth (made with 1 large beef marrow bone, 1 pig's foot and bone-in chicken thighs) 1 to 2 cups daily, uncured salami, small amount of olive oil every so often, 1 cup coffee and 1 cup green tea daily, mushrooms...These foods are pretty much my daily staples. Occassional shellfish. I just started making sure to use iodized sea salt daily.

Supplements: concentrace minerals (mostly for Mg, taken before bed in my broth), coQ10, DHEA (7-keto), Alive multi-vitamin, B12 w/ complex, choline, D (prob. total 7000 or so daily), cod liver oil and fish oil, borage oil (may eliminate?), k2, and sam-e. I'm starting to rotate them and mainly making sure the b12 (morning) and mg (night) are daily.. I'm trying very hard to eliminate the depression.

So my plan moving forward: eliminate foods that may irritate me, including eggs, garlic/onions (seems to cause headache), chocolate, nuts, and keep things just very simple for a month, increase carbs to 75-100g (was around 20 for two weeks, now been up around 50-60 some days with about 50-60g protein) AND excercise at least twice a week to start (I'm beginning the yoga as soon as i'm not dizzy, hopefully this week), working up to 3-5.

Any better suggestion? Especially regarding morning energy levels and thought clarity... I'm seeing some results but am ready to improve, fine-tune, etc... I need some solid, logical goals to focus on so I don't move backward. Impressions of food intake? I think I should add a small version of sisson's big ass salad each day. Just seems like a good idea to me. Also...if my energy levels really dip, should I eat more of something or should I try an IF? My calorie intake feels sufficient (1200 to 1600).

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 25, 2012
at 02:30 PM

I wish I could answer your question - it is a mystery to me. I don't know. But eating oils bothers me. Oh, one time I have decided to make an experiment - I wiped my face with EV olive oil (used it as a moisturizer) - and my skin got all itchy. The same happened with five other oils, coconut included. But my skin loves shea butter. On some days I feel more energetic, and on some days I have very little energy. I have noticed that on my "High energy" days I eat more grass-fed meats and bone broth. I think keeping a food dairy is a great idea. I get headaches from consuming salt. Good luck!

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 10:42 PM

I was thinking about it and I'm really getting more fat than anything for breakfast. I could pick up some minimally processed, lean meat sausage. I'm not liking eggs right now. Any other good a.m. proteins?

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Great. I've seen a lot of people who read a few things online and then quit taking meds cold-turkey, no docs involved. Very bad stuff. Glad this isn't the issue for you!

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Ha.."veggies". Beggies?

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Lots of really great ideas here. I'll mess around with the carbs, trace minerals, get rid of coffee for tea, and probably try out a light box. I think the candle/salt bath things sounds amazing. I try to tan bed and sauna once a week.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:19 PM

For D I take a sublingual 5000 in the am and the fish oils usually in the am, but not always. I am having trouble with trace minerals. I take ConcenTrace and I'm not sure what doses it provides of minerals,but I add it to my broth daily,and I have a good multi, is that sufficient? I will try the cronometer and see about deficiencies from there, thanks for the idea.I definitely eat a minimum of 1200,but the 60 g of protein already feels like a lot to me.I'll eat a good sized portion of steak or two small lambchops on arugula, a cup of chicken broth and maybe a little bacon or salami as a snack.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Are your reactions to the oils/butter GI reactions? Just curious. I've been nauseous over the weekend for the first time, but I don't think it's the oils? I definitely think you are right about the beggies. I think eggs and onions have been contributing to my really headaches, but I'm not certain. I'm keeping a food diary now so I can eliminate what I need too and I'll follow your advice on the veggies and tubers.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:04 PM

sage, ok I am thinking about it...I would say the first 3 weeks I was under 20 g to try to reset my metabolism and over the last week have increased and now averaging around 60. Examples: sweet potato chips, 1/2 cup organic ice cream on a few occassions, some cheese, blackberries (have had most days for the whole month), occassional oranges...

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 07:30 PM

Oh, yes. Should have specified since this came up as a question before. Been of antidepressants since August (they quit working), doc knows and supports food/excercise approaches. Took anti-anxiety med for about a month end of 2011, didn't really help so quit. Diet is working much better anyway, so no-brainer for me. I no longer feel like crawling out of my own body to get away from the discomfort. I'd call it a 200% improvement.

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5 Answers

2
D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on January 24, 2012
at 07:54 PM

There's lots of ways to go with this, but don't try them all at once:

  • are you taking all your vitamin D in the morning? That works better than split for me
  • sleeping in a totally dark room and getting good sleep?
  • how are your trace minerals? Selenium (I use brazil nuts), copper, iodine, zinc, chromium...use cron-o-meter or your tracker of choice to see where you are. I noticed a huge difference in energy when I fixed my deficiencies.
  • 50-60 g protein seems quite low to me; I average 100 g per day (34 y.o. F, 5'4", active)
  • are you positive you're getting enough calories? Appetite on LC can dip very low, and combined with glycogen depletion, can sap you and make you anxious. If your 1200 is really sometimes a 900 cal day, that could be the answer.
  • more carbs, and play around with timing...I do best with lowcarb breakfast, then progressively more through the day to total 100-150g. 30-50 g carbs alone as my last input makes me sleep like a baby, but you'll have to balance that against your weight loss goals.
  • coffee, whether regular or decaf, messes me up for about 48 hours just like you describe. I think I'm unusual in this regard, although not unique. Caffiene is fine, but coffee is bad. So is chocolate. :(

Honestly, your diet looks varied and great, except perhaps the trace minerals. My instincts say if more carbs doesn't fix things, maybe it's a circadian rhythym thing...are you getting morning sun very first thing, ideally on a walk? I use a lightbox on rainy or lazy days and either of those methods really perks me up. Also be very good about your light hygiene for the hours before bed- no tv, computer, super-bright rooms...the last hour before bed is for Epsom salt candlelight baths and reading (at least, in a perfect world-)

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Lots of really great ideas here. I'll mess around with the carbs, trace minerals, get rid of coffee for tea, and probably try out a light box. I think the candle/salt bath things sounds amazing. I try to tan bed and sauna once a week.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:19 PM

For D I take a sublingual 5000 in the am and the fish oils usually in the am, but not always. I am having trouble with trace minerals. I take ConcenTrace and I'm not sure what doses it provides of minerals,but I add it to my broth daily,and I have a good multi, is that sufficient? I will try the cronometer and see about deficiencies from there, thanks for the idea.I definitely eat a minimum of 1200,but the 60 g of protein already feels like a lot to me.I'll eat a good sized portion of steak or two small lambchops on arugula, a cup of chicken broth and maybe a little bacon or salami as a snack.

1
6e37f170409bc1b100c880c57508c5fd

on January 24, 2012
at 09:42 PM

Dr. Kruse suggests eating within one hour of getting up. I have never eaten until after my morning run (don't run anymore; I hike instead), so I wasn't sure how I was going to manage that. And he recommends eating your first 50g of protein at your first meal.

I had difficulty thinking about eating so early so I started off with 10am-still better than 1pm. That abated my headaches, dizziness and tunnel vision. Then I started to eat within the hour. That totally made the difference. Funny, I could go until 1pm and not feel hungry but it messed with me apparently in other ways.

After a year, I can have 2 am coffees with full fat coonut milk and hike for up to 4 hrs before I need to eat. Brunch between 10-1 and I feel great until dinner at 6:30.

HTH, Sandra

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 10:42 PM

I was thinking about it and I'm really getting more fat than anything for breakfast. I could pick up some minimally processed, lean meat sausage. I'm not liking eggs right now. Any other good a.m. proteins?

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 24, 2012
at 07:42 PM

I will be honest with you - just by looking at the foods that you list I can tell that you are not eating enough vegetables.

I am gluten intolerant and I am recovering from gastric erosion. Brussel sprouts, spinach and Chinese cabbage are my daily staples, but I eat a huge variety of vegetables. You need to rotate your veggies and your protein sources. Do not forget about tubers - carrots, rutabagas, celery root, turnips, parsnips. Be careful with tuna (mercury). Try not to eat too much.

I cannot have eggs and onions, leeks and night shades - my stomach cannot handle them. But I am okay with garlic and ginger for some reason. I cannot have any oil or nuts. I don't know why, but every time I try any oil (so far I have tried extra virgin olive and coconut) my body tells me "no". I have tried consuming butter, my body does not like it. Oh,and my body hates citrus fruit. My body does not like salt - any salt at all, no matter how good and natural it is.

So here is my advice:

  1. Increase your vegetable intake. Eat only vegetables that your body wants. Take a plate and mentally divide it in three parts. One part should be green veggies, another part - tubers and one third - lean grass-fed meats or fish.

  2. Trust your body. Eat not what you want, but what makes your body feel good. Eliminate all the foods that your body does not agree with.

  3. The best source of fat is fish fat (wild Alaskan salmon). It is expensive, I know, but just so you are aware of this.

Talk to your doctor - make sure your doctor knows about your diet and medication. When I told my doctor what I eat, he said I was doing the right thing, listening to my body.

Good luck!

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Ha.."veggies". Beggies?

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Are your reactions to the oils/butter GI reactions? Just curious. I've been nauseous over the weekend for the first time, but I don't think it's the oils? I definitely think you are right about the beggies. I think eggs and onions have been contributing to my really headaches, but I'm not certain. I'm keeping a food diary now so I can eliminate what I need too and I'll follow your advice on the veggies and tubers.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 25, 2012
at 02:30 PM

I wish I could answer your question - it is a mystery to me. I don't know. But eating oils bothers me. Oh, one time I have decided to make an experiment - I wiped my face with EV olive oil (used it as a moisturizer) - and my skin got all itchy. The same happened with five other oils, coconut included. But my skin loves shea butter. On some days I feel more energetic, and on some days I have very little energy. I have noticed that on my "High energy" days I eat more grass-fed meats and bone broth. I think keeping a food dairy is a great idea. I get headaches from consuming salt. Good luck!

1
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on January 24, 2012
at 07:41 PM

it could have been the carbs; you say you were consuming 20g for 2 weeks and just bumped up? what was the intake for the first 2 weeks prior to shifting down to 20g?

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:04 PM

sage, ok I am thinking about it...I would say the first 3 weeks I was under 20 g to try to reset my metabolism and over the last week have increased and now averaging around 60. Examples: sweet potato chips, 1/2 cup organic ice cream on a few occassions, some cheese, blackberries (have had most days for the whole month), occassional oranges...

1
2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on January 24, 2012
at 07:18 PM

"After a year of depression, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, etc... I was feeling very optimistic to have had several good clear days with some increased energy and almost no anxiety without any medication (something I never thought I could do without)"

First of all- you got a doctor's okay to stop taking medications? I'm thinking particularly antidepressents. Quitting some antidepressents will present a whole range of "side-effects" that will be completely separate from diet. (Not calling you stupid, just don't want to assume!)

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Great. I've seen a lot of people who read a few things online and then quit taking meds cold-turkey, no docs involved. Very bad stuff. Glad this isn't the issue for you!

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 24, 2012
at 07:30 PM

Oh, yes. Should have specified since this came up as a question before. Been of antidepressants since August (they quit working), doc knows and supports food/excercise approaches. Took anti-anxiety med for about a month end of 2011, didn't really help so quit. Diet is working much better anyway, so no-brainer for me. I no longer feel like crawling out of my own body to get away from the discomfort. I'd call it a 200% improvement.

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