2

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What are you tips for improving mood and motivation on paleo? Cortisol?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 15, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Ive never been an irritable person. But I have felt highs and lows, but mostly Im referring to energy levels. Before paleo, my highs and lows would swing considerably throughout the day, Im sure reflecting accurately my blood sugar levels. Now I feel pretty even, But with one slight problem. My energy level tends to be just a couple notches lower than I would like. My motivation is even lower than my energy levels. Infact its possible that my energy is just fine and its just my motivation.

It seems like I am more reluctant to tackle problems, or to be ambitious. I've always struggled with this on some level, but Ive always had that upswing in mood to help me. I think it may have something to do with cortisol the stress hormone and my seemingly inability to take on things that stress me.

I love feeling middle of the road, not being addicted to carbs, but I hate that I am growing apathetic. I generally have a very low carb diet and have been afraid to add too many carbs because I don't want to experience that old up and down of blood sugar. I enjoyed being independant of this, but I need help... Any suggestions?

Also do carbs really help, or at the end of the day is it a simple matter of having enough calories to provide for all your energy needs?

I have been losing weight about 3 lbs a week I weigh about 320 now. With paleo my calorie intake has naturally decreased to about 2500, If I keep that level but substitute natural carbs in, will I feel better in general?

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 17, 2012
at 01:20 AM

I don't recommend forcing it AT ALL, Nathan H. I drifted into it gradually by eating a large meal at the time it was most convenient to eat and not eating again until I had hunger pangs in the stomach, not just brain urges. If I was busy I waited until it was convenient. Over time I settled into 1 main meal and a second one on some, but not all, days. You know, it's no biggie if you never do it but it does help some people. The key is to listen to your gut rather than your brain.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 17, 2012
at 12:48 AM

Not easily. Eating a serving of sweet potato for example will be at around 25 net carbs, which only leaves about 5-10 net carbs for the rest of the day (if that's your personal limit). So you can't have potatoes/yams/parsnips, but you can have carrots, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, which are pretty starchy, but have fewer carbs. Greens and the cabbage family are the suggested veggies.

F4225d2219f7ca44bf62c4209ce7b5f9

(80)

on March 17, 2012
at 12:20 AM

can a person be on ketosis and still eat 1-2 servings of starchy vegatables a day?

F4225d2219f7ca44bf62c4209ce7b5f9

(80)

on March 17, 2012
at 12:19 AM

I tried fasting for a partial day. It brought back my old feeling of deprivation, as a recovering binge-style eater, I don't think IF will work for me. But next time I "forget" to eat maybe Ill just see how long I can take it. I appreciate the suggestion but it may be a while before I do IF

F4225d2219f7ca44bf62c4209ce7b5f9

(80)

on March 15, 2012
at 08:28 PM

Hmm, I see alot of references to IF on here, but I don't know much about it, I will read up on it a bit. Thanks

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4 Answers

2
2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

on March 15, 2012
at 08:54 PM

I had a fairly volatile mood pre-paleo that seemed to follow blood sugar drops since I would get irate, angry, and lightheaded when I was hungry, and I basically would need to eat immediately. I fixed it when I stopped eating bread and oatmeal everyday and replaced those with fat and protein. Now I eat starchy foods like potatoes and sweet potatoes everyday without having those same issues. Also, for mood, I've been prone to apathy and have been treated for depression with drugs and behavioral therapy. While I would never knock the behavioral therapy, it was valuable, fish oil really helped. I used to take it everyday, but now I don't seem to need it as much anymore, and I'm the happiest I've ever been and actually feel life. Disappointing, in some ways, that what I thought was my normal way of being could have just been a nutritional imbalance.

1
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 15, 2012
at 08:45 PM

I would go with a Paleo-ketogenic diet, up to 30-40 gr of NET carbs per day, and cooking with coconut oil (among all the other kinds of Paleo foods, e.g. http://eugenia.queru.com/2012/03/05/top-10-must-eat-paleo-foods/ ). Ketones change the chemistry of the brain, and reportedly, people with mental disorders found relief (I read about a woman who went off her bipolar medication within 6 months too).

I tried Paleo-keto for weight loss purposes (I'm still in ketosis in fact), and what I found instead was this: http://eugenia.queru.com/2012/03/07/bliss/

F4225d2219f7ca44bf62c4209ce7b5f9

(80)

on March 17, 2012
at 12:20 AM

can a person be on ketosis and still eat 1-2 servings of starchy vegatables a day?

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 17, 2012
at 12:48 AM

Not easily. Eating a serving of sweet potato for example will be at around 25 net carbs, which only leaves about 5-10 net carbs for the rest of the day (if that's your personal limit). So you can't have potatoes/yams/parsnips, but you can have carrots, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, which are pretty starchy, but have fewer carbs. Greens and the cabbage family are the suggested veggies.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 15, 2012
at 08:15 PM

You didn't mention whether you've tried any kind of fasting yet.

If you've adapted well and are able to burn either glucose or fat, fasting has positive effects on both mood and energy for many of us.

There are 2 dominant types discussed here, IF (intermittent fasting) and ADF (alternate day fasting.) Don't try either one if you're not comfortable, but if you're interested there's a ton of information about both online.

I've practiced both and, on each plan, I noticed better mental focus and consistently high energy.

F4225d2219f7ca44bf62c4209ce7b5f9

(80)

on March 15, 2012
at 08:28 PM

Hmm, I see alot of references to IF on here, but I don't know much about it, I will read up on it a bit. Thanks

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 17, 2012
at 01:20 AM

I don't recommend forcing it AT ALL, Nathan H. I drifted into it gradually by eating a large meal at the time it was most convenient to eat and not eating again until I had hunger pangs in the stomach, not just brain urges. If I was busy I waited until it was convenient. Over time I settled into 1 main meal and a second one on some, but not all, days. You know, it's no biggie if you never do it but it does help some people. The key is to listen to your gut rather than your brain.

F4225d2219f7ca44bf62c4209ce7b5f9

(80)

on March 17, 2012
at 12:19 AM

I tried fasting for a partial day. It brought back my old feeling of deprivation, as a recovering binge-style eater, I don't think IF will work for me. But next time I "forget" to eat maybe Ill just see how long I can take it. I appreciate the suggestion but it may be a while before I do IF

0
Fb10cf8e5dbac271762e13721181d5dc

(453)

on March 16, 2012
at 08:02 PM

This is almost a PH cliché and hopefully not too hard to take seriously, but, if you do dairy, or butter at least... maybe try butter. Nothing gets my spirits/energy up like a tablespoon or so of pastured butter with breakfast, for some reason. It's so silly, but hey, it works for me! Some people have the same experience with Coconut Oil too, but I don't so I just get to sound like Paula Deen.

I did ketogenic for a while when I started paleo, and since starting paleo my depression is, as far as I can tell, gone. I spent a whole dark winter without reaching that "hopeless" point, which is pretty unprecedented for me. But I'm not sure if it was the ketosis or just the better quality of food. I've upped carbs a bit because that's just more sustainable for me right now, and I still feel pretty great most of the time, if all the other variables are in place (sleep, stress...). I'd experiment with different levels of carbs if I were you, I've heard people here say they've experienced better moods with more carbs as well as those who do better with fewer. FWIW, I haven't experienced blood sugar problems with a moderate intake of real food carbs, not even fruit or sweet potatoes, but I do when I eat off-plan and have too many chips or Lärabars or something.

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