5

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Are there ways to make the transition to paleo easier?

Answered on January 01, 2015
Created October 02, 2010 at 3:29 AM

The low carb flu, caffeine withdrawal, sugar withdrawal, constipation, cravings, depression, etc. Some people experience side effects when transitioning to paleo. Are there ways to make this easier, less painful and less stressful for newbies? How fast is too fast and how much stress should we put people under all at once? I am thinking especially of older or less healthy people who might not as easily be able to handle sudden change.

Caa283a156faf23d5ed036334c247f8c

on December 31, 2014
at 08:42 PM

Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I'm not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I'd post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Kudos

21931febb562f36ba951155b37dd91c3

on December 31, 2014
at 06:55 AM

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Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on January 20, 2012
at 06:34 PM

I agree that you don't have to go so low carb as some. I also eat some organic dairy yet. I used to think that dairy was part of the problem with sinus congestion, but since I've dropped the grains, I'm finding that might not have been the case. I'm enjoying some fruit, yams and potato in moderation and have seen some good weight loss and health benefits already. I'm more focused on clean eating, like staying away from additives like MSG and whatever other junk gets dumped in processed foods. I'm also buying filtered water until I can get a drinking water filter. Too much chlorine in ours.

Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on January 20, 2012
at 06:27 PM

I originally went gluten free, but then found that it wasn't helping the health issues I was having, but in a way, part of the work was already done. Cutting the sugar was a tough one. Cold turkey though it took me about two weeks and the sugar cravings were pretty much gone.

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on October 04, 2010
at 02:54 AM

According to Dr. Bernstein almost all of his patients exhibit 1 or more auto-immune diseases besides their BS imbalance. 100% have exema. He himself has over 5. Whew, as if Diabetes isn't enough. Yet he is testament to keeping normal BS as a diabetic...healthy as a horse. Hum...that made a little hungry, I'm going to saddle up ride over to the post "Do you Eat Horse Meat".

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on October 03, 2010
at 08:18 PM

Caloric restriction is usually the first thing people try because they're caught up in the common calories-in-calories-out nonsense. I find that I'm caught between over-simplification and over-explaining. There doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 11:49 PM

BTW, I'd like to see someone try to stuff down 7 pounds of pemmican..

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 11:47 PM

I have actually never told anyone to restrict their intake. Usually, it just does not seem to be needed for success. Standard lowcarb eating advice is to always eat when truly hungry. Paleos usually do not restrict either unless talking about IFing. I personally think of calorie restriction as a method of last resort to be tried only after more standard paleo eating methods have been thoroughly tried and are clearly not enough. Of course, some people may be so very intent on getting those last few pounds off, wheras others are more satisfied with just general health.

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on October 02, 2010
at 09:58 PM

I've just ordered the Albion chelated magnesium, after popping magnesium oxide for a long time! Somehow I got confused (or misled) to think that was the best kind, and purposely searched for oxide... oh, well, too late now ;-)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:52 PM

Yeah, I don't really crave wheat. It's main convenience is as a vehicle for sandwhiches or burritos. But it's not particularly tasty and IMO rice noodles are just as tasty as wheat noodles.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:50 PM

Oh, I see why the mag supps now, or at least that is the idea behind them as being you need even more when losing water from your system. If you are already depleted it could make a big difference. I have read some recommending Albion Labs chelated magnesium as the best. Just by chance, that is the one I bought first and so far no side effects from it, so that is cool.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:47 PM

Good idea. I was thinking something along that line and was curious if anyone had tried it.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:46 PM

I suspect supplementing with magnesium helps many people because most people are deficient-a similar prob was with vit D except you can't get it from the sun.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:45 PM

I am speaking hypothetically. I personally didn't have much side effects.

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on October 02, 2010
at 03:52 AM

I don't think you need to give up caffeine, though the stuff that goes into coffee needs to change eventually. I use coconut milk and no sweetener.

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14 Answers

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6
02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on October 02, 2010
at 04:44 AM

In my experience, you can get a lot of benefits of paleo without being as low-carb as some people are. Eat fruit, yams and squash to your heart's content. If you do want to go very low-carb you can do so once you've gone a while without gluten and junk. It should be much easier at that point.

Also, I don't know anything about this, but I remember Art Devany saying that supplementing with magnesium also helps.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:46 PM

I suspect supplementing with magnesium helps many people because most people are deficient-a similar prob was with vit D except you can't get it from the sun.

Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on January 20, 2012
at 06:34 PM

I agree that you don't have to go so low carb as some. I also eat some organic dairy yet. I used to think that dairy was part of the problem with sinus congestion, but since I've dropped the grains, I'm finding that might not have been the case. I'm enjoying some fruit, yams and potato in moderation and have seen some good weight loss and health benefits already. I'm more focused on clean eating, like staying away from additives like MSG and whatever other junk gets dumped in processed foods. I'm also buying filtered water until I can get a drinking water filter. Too much chlorine in ours.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on December 31, 2014
at 05:13 PM

+1 on magnesium supplementation.  Magnesium is found in the bran of grains and I think a lot of people that go Paleo become deficieint in magnesium.  You can also lose it if you exercise a lot so the combination of Paleo and something like Crossfit can make you deficieint.

6
1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on October 02, 2010
at 05:08 AM

I would recommend plugging your daily eats into some nutrition software to see where you may be deficient.

In terms of making a general change and giving your digestive system a chance to adjust, I had my Mum swap to a Paleo breakfast every morning, and eating whatever she wanted the rest of the day. Then she added a Paleo dinner, keeping a sandwich at lunch, until she was ready to get rid of the bread and bulk up the fillings. Her experience went smoothly that way.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:47 PM

Good idea. I was thinking something along that line and was curious if anyone had tried it.

4
149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

on October 02, 2010
at 09:30 AM

Please consider a magnesium and potassium supplement. When you cut the carbs your insulin output drops sometimes dramatically. High insulin retains lots of water. When insulin drops, excess water is flushed out along with copious amounts of magnesium and potassium. Adding back 90-300mgs potassium and 400-800-mg magnesium will help in the transition. Use magnesium citrate or aspartate, avoid magnesium oxide as it is the least absorbable. Read the labels carefully, I was fooled the first time when buying a magnesium Citrate Complex only to find out there was oxide as well in it. When it comes to caffeine, stair-step it down. Cut consumption by 1/3 per week and do it over a few weeks. Don't go cold turkey but "go for" the cold turkey. Garnish with warm butter and sea salt.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:50 PM

Oh, I see why the mag supps now, or at least that is the idea behind them as being you need even more when losing water from your system. If you are already depleted it could make a big difference. I have read some recommending Albion Labs chelated magnesium as the best. Just by chance, that is the one I bought first and so far no side effects from it, so that is cool.

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on October 02, 2010
at 09:58 PM

I've just ordered the Albion chelated magnesium, after popping magnesium oxide for a long time! Somehow I got confused (or misled) to think that was the best kind, and purposely searched for oxide... oh, well, too late now ;-)

4
4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on October 02, 2010
at 03:39 AM

Depending on how potentially "sick" the person maybe (ie: highly gluten intolerant), it may be hard to avoid some pretty severe symptoms. I'd say to ease someone in possibly as follows...

  1. add more protein
  2. remove sugar
  3. remove gluten
  4. remove dairy
  5. remove legumes
  6. remove remaining grains like rice, quinoa, etc.

Just my thoughts...

3
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on October 02, 2010
at 05:10 AM

I get people to drop sugar and wheat, then ease them into the rest... Omega 6s quickly follow.

Sugar is harder for most than wheat I've found.

Cold turkey is best for getting them to actually stick with it

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:52 PM

Yeah, I don't really crave wheat. It's main convenience is as a vehicle for sandwhiches or burritos. But it's not particularly tasty and IMO rice noodles are just as tasty as wheat noodles.

Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on January 20, 2012
at 06:27 PM

I originally went gluten free, but then found that it wasn't helping the health issues I was having, but in a way, part of the work was already done. Cutting the sugar was a tough one. Cold turkey though it took me about two weeks and the sugar cravings were pretty much gone.

2
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on November 08, 2010
at 02:36 PM

Dr. Kurt Harris' notes might be of help:

"Overall, the biggies for discordance remain:

1 Cereal grains (Insulin effects, lectins, phytates, gliadin proteins)

2 Fructose as a high % of calories in a food abundant environment (Hormonal effects)

3 Carbs as a high % of calories in a food abundant environment (Insulin effects)

4 High O-6 PUFA consumption (imbalanced eicosanoid production with immune dsyfunction, inflammation and cancer promotion)

5 Inadequate animal fat intake might be #5, as it is both the consequence of and much of the solution to 1-4."

They are in this post:

http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2009/6/22/fats-and-oils.html

I agree that those who are older or have health challenges might need to make changes in small increments, or work closely with a doctor in making the changes.


These guidelines on starting a low-carb diet, might also be of interest:

"Getting Started

There are two distinct ways of beginning a low-carb diet. The method you choose is up to you, but here are some guidelines:

If you fall into any of the following categories, you would be well advised to follow Method 1 to begin your low-carb diet. This is the slow-start method.

If you are over 50,

If you already have one or more degenerative diseases such as diabetes or heart disease,

If you started originally with Method 2 and had poor results or undesired symptoms,

If you are the type of person who likes to start things slow and easy,

A low-carb diet can benefit almost anyone. However, if your body has already been damaged by a lifetime of eating a high-sugar diet, then it might be beneficial to allow your body time to get used to the new way of eating....

Method 1: Two Week Primer

If you are like most people, your typical daily intake of carbohydrates can be as high as 400 grams or more. On the slow-start method, we need to bring this down to no more than 100 grams per day for the first two weeks of your diet.

So, for the first two weeks, plan meals containing about 30-35 grams of carbs each, enough protein to add up to your estimated protein requirement, and the rest of your daily calories should come from fat sources. Eat as much as you want, until you are no longer hungry, but not stuffed. Also, drink at least 64 ounces of water every day--more if you are seriously overweight.

You may or may not lose weight during this primer period. But, you should at least have started feeling better. Once the first two weeks are over, you can skip to the next two-week period as outlined below, under "The Next Two Weeks." You are now on the same diet as those who started off with Method 2."

Here is the link to that page:

http://wilstar.com/lowcarb/theplan.htm


Hope this helps a bit. If you were thinking of "older" as older than 70 rather than older than 50, the process could well need to be much slower. I don't have any good links handy on that age group, but could look, if needed.

All the best to you.

1
9a2cb6e1ae3b17c7a680bb34c820faf2

on January 20, 2012
at 08:43 PM

I'm still pretty new to this, but I learned about paleo/primal about a month ago and started incorporating paleo-friendly recipes here and there during the week. We still went out to eat sometimes, and we still had grains & sugars in the house - just not at every meal.

Each week, i would incorporate more paleo meals into my weekly meal plan/grocery list, but we would still do totally off the map meals once or twice a week. Last week, i said we're doing this all the way this week and seeing how it goes. Did all the grocery shopping on Saturday, so since sunday afternoon (had a pastry at church in the AM) I've been strict on foods (husband has been about 80%, but he doesn't need to lose weight) and never got the "carb flu" or headaches or anything. I was surprised, but i think it's because i eased into it.

I intentionally did not give up my Coke Zero this week, though...i didn't want caffeine AND carb withdrawals at the same time or I knew i'd throw in the towel! Maybe next week, I'll work on switching to iced coffee with coco milk...

1
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on October 02, 2010
at 06:51 PM

Cold turkey worked for me - as did bacon and pot roast and salmon....

When I first did Protein Power about 11 years ago I remember that the quickly dropping weight counterbalanced the sugar cravings - success being it's own reward and all - but I never felt particularly bad. I think one way to "feel better" during the transition is to not overly restrict my food intake. That doesn't mean I should eat seven pounds of pemmican (gack!) or eat a lot of "candy cigarette"-type food. I would just want to avoid feeling too deprived.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 11:49 PM

BTW, I'd like to see someone try to stuff down 7 pounds of pemmican..

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 11:47 PM

I have actually never told anyone to restrict their intake. Usually, it just does not seem to be needed for success. Standard lowcarb eating advice is to always eat when truly hungry. Paleos usually do not restrict either unless talking about IFing. I personally think of calorie restriction as a method of last resort to be tried only after more standard paleo eating methods have been thoroughly tried and are clearly not enough. Of course, some people may be so very intent on getting those last few pounds off, wheras others are more satisfied with just general health.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on October 03, 2010
at 08:18 PM

Caloric restriction is usually the first thing people try because they're caught up in the common calories-in-calories-out nonsense. I find that I'm caught between over-simplification and over-explaining. There doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground.

1
3e7e7a6549f5b736feb331031805cf4b

on October 02, 2010
at 03:57 AM

Mine lasted longer than it should have. Turned out I needed my dose of prescription Metforman increased. Made all the difference. Some people may want to consider the possibility of insulin resistance. Also get the thyroid checked. These things all seem to go together.

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on October 04, 2010
at 02:54 AM

According to Dr. Bernstein almost all of his patients exhibit 1 or more auto-immune diseases besides their BS imbalance. 100% have exema. He himself has over 5. Whew, as if Diabetes isn't enough. Yet he is testament to keeping normal BS as a diabetic...healthy as a horse. Hum...that made a little hungry, I'm going to saddle up ride over to the post "Do you Eat Horse Meat".

0
90bcfafd2ef73fea5398c483c593349e

on January 01, 2015
at 12:12 AM

I stepped my carbs down over about one week. I had a neat little trick to make sure I only ate enough of them to stave off the nausea: I made the carbs really gross. I took some potatoes and quinoa and over-cooked them. They were soggy and mushy. I added no salt or other flavorings and kept them in the fridge at home and at work. When the nausea struck, I'd have a spoonful or two and the nausea would go away. Within days I needed no carbs at all...

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on December 31, 2014
at 05:24 PM

I did not drop caffeine, I just drink it without sugar.  My normal morning cup is coffee with whole cream.

Agree with other posters that low carb isn't necessarily for everyone and not for every situation.  I went low carb at first and it hink it helped "reset" my metabolism.  But after about 6 weeks it became really tough, especially when I was working out.  Now I eat pretty much whatever carbs I want though I work out 3-5x per week.

I did not stop drinking alcohol.  I mean do you live to diet or diet to live? :-)

0
Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on January 20, 2012
at 06:37 PM

Do what seems comfortable for you and ease into it. From a practical standpoint, plan your meals out and do your grocery shopping in advance.

0
2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

on October 23, 2010
at 04:33 AM

I've been writing a few posts on this, and just thought it would be helpful to share the latest one I did, about a variety of supplements (and their real food sources), that help ease the pain. I put a LOT of work into it, so really help it is helpful to someone out there!

http://paleolady.com/index.php/2010/10/magical-pills-and-magical-food/

I really wanted to share what I've found, and the post is WAY to long to put up here... Some of the info I got from paleohacks (which of course is recommended in the post!) Hope you find it useful...

0
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on October 02, 2010
at 03:41 AM

I had a hard time the first two weeks, although I didn't have the problems you listed. Maybe you should not give up so much all at once cold turkey. Do you have to give up caffeine?

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on October 02, 2010
at 03:52 AM

I don't think you need to give up caffeine, though the stuff that goes into coffee needs to change eventually. I use coconut milk and no sweetener.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:45 PM

I am speaking hypothetically. I personally didn't have much side effects.

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