Hack Paleo Flu?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 24, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Hi All, I'm looking for some advice on the dreaded "paleo flu". I started paleo on July 7. I felt fantastic the first week! I'm in love with this lifestyle!! During the middle of the second week I lost all energy and the ability to focus on tasks. I'm assuming this is what people mean when they say "paleo flu". We are eating as much grass-fed and organic as possible. I was eating 75-100g of carbs a day from my calculations last week so I have increased it to 100-150g a day as of Sunday but I still feel the same. I am not really eating any nightshades, using root veggies for most of my carbs. I have 1-2 pieces of fruit a day such as green apples, cherries, nectarines etc. I am eating squash, zucchini, spinach, kale, peppers etc. I am medically prescribed 2 protein shakes a day due to a small bowel resection 10 years ago. I also take prescription multi, 1000 IU of vitamin D 5 days a week, and 325mg of iron a day. I had an iron infusion 1 month ago bc I don't absorb very much of it from food due to the resection. All my labs are normal now and my supplementation is all RX. Oh I also get 1000mcg of b12 every 2 weeks bc I don't make enough intrinsic factor. I am getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night and I drink water, water, water 2-3L a day. I hope I haven't left out any details, if I have just ask. Any advice or reassurance would be greatly appreciated. :-). I'm also doing push ups, squats, planks, and walking 30 mins at about 3.5- 3.8 4-5 days a week!



on July 24, 2013
at 10:57 AM

I've also lost close to 10 pounds

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on July 24, 2013
at 01:20 PM

JStanton of Gnolls.org has an excellent post on the Low Carb flu, explaining WHY it happens and what may help with it: http://www.gnolls.org/1984/

Looking at his recommendations vs your situation, it looks like you're naturally gravitating towards what he suggests: higher levels of carbohydrates and exercise. If those things still aren't helping now (and keep in mind that most people stay in the LC flu, even with those adjustments for 2-3 weeks, as your body won't adapt overnight), the two things I'd recommend are making sure you are getting enough fat in your diet and potentially shifting over to weight lifting instead of body weight exercises (though body weight exercises should be giving you all need in terms of exercise honestly...). The best recommendation I can make is to stick it out for another week or two; if it still hasn't improved, then it may be time to start doing some N=1 testing to figure out what your specific issue may be.

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on July 24, 2013
at 01:53 PM

Thank you both for your responses! I have started adding some sea salt to my food this week because I also read about that. I am getting plenty of good fat from avocados, coconut oil and coconut milk, nuts and seeds, bacon, meats, etc. I'm going to stick with it even if it takes a while longer to improve because I just enjoy it. =-) I will check out your link when I get home tonight. Thanks again!


on July 24, 2013
at 01:19 PM

Sometimes it just takes time for the body to adjust. You might not be getting enough sodium if you have gone from processed food to paleo. Add a little sea salt to your diet. Stick it out another week or so, and usually the energy comes back greater than before.


on July 24, 2013
at 01:51 PM

Yup, sounds about correct. Most people have a transition where they suffer really bad at first, but then it gets better. My journey was different.

1st week: I'M GONNA DIE. Muscles sore all over. Vomiting. Bloating. Blurry vision. Inability to tolerate a lot of noises. Snappish. 2nd week: Extremely angry. Didn't want to study. Didn't want to work out. Attempting to give up when my muscles were twitching like crazy. 3rd week: Surprisingly, got better. Muscles aren't so sore. Stomach is a beat disagreeable, though. I can lightly jog now. 4th week: Lies. I felt like crap again. Migraines. The flu--literally. 5th week: Still feels like crap. At this point, I was literally going to Walgreens everyday and staring at the Bluebell cookie dough ice cream. Five Guys burgers are telling me to embrace them. My muscles weren't sore, but they felt really limp. 6th week: Flu is over! I decided that I had to eat the fat, and yes, perhaps ditch the low carb. So, I was now eating 35% fat and around 80 grams of carbs. I could not do some intense yoga. 7th week: Feels good, surprisingly. I did quasi-cheat when I realized that my mom put sesame oil in the kimbab. :( But it was a tiny bit. Still, I don't think my gut was particularly happy, as I had a rumbly gut for two hours. I still had the occasional migraine, but my keratosis pilaris was getting better, and so was my cystic acne, so I persisted. 8th week: It sucks. My thighs are numb! I don't even know how this happened. I'm stuck on this week, and I'm freaking out. I will go another week to see if it goes away.

All in all, I think you are like me, where the transition period is longer than others. Yes, it may be longer than 30 days. One of my friend's fathers was unfortunate enough to have a seven month transition period! But he stuck with it! Don't give up!

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