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Paleo newbie needs advice! Feeling tired/anxious/feel like all I do is eat meat

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 22, 2012 at 1:11 AM

Hi All

I've recently learned that I have an autoimmune disease and have been advised to follow a paleo diet, excluding nightshade plants which are tomatoes, eggplant, potato, chilli and capsicum. I also have food intolerances which include yeast, eggs, peanuts, cashews, shell fish, wheat durum, rye, corn and brazil nuts.

I've been following this change in diet in the last week....At breakfast I tend to have a bowl of avocado, sweet potato, spinach and salmon or mince, broccoli and carrots. Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, so steak and veg or chicken, salad and sweet potato or vegetable curry. Dinner also consists of tuna zucchini spaghetti or chicken and veg stir fry.

Exercise consists of 3 one hour boot camp sessions a week which include about 3.5kms of running and 5 stations consisting of say push ups, sit ups, lunges, bicep curls etc. (2x20 reps)

My issues are;

  1. Some afternoons I'm so tired and lethargic by the time I get to boot camp I have no energy to work as hard as I have in the past

  2. The past 3 days I've been so anxious when I wake up in the morning, it usually lasts for a couple of hours but today its been longer

  3. I don't know what else I should eat for breakfast

  4. I feel like all I do is eat meat

Apart from the anxiety I feel great, I haven't craved chocolate or bread or wine, basically anything that's bad for me.

Any advice would be extremely helpful! Thanks guys!

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on October 27, 2012
at 01:24 AM

Fiveish weeks on and I feel Fab! No more anxiety or tiredness, exercise is much easier to do and I've lost a few kilo's. I don't feel like my diet only consists of meat because I mix things up and have found some awesome websites with great recipes. This is definitely a lifestyle choice...forever!

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on October 27, 2012
at 01:17 AM

Thanks UncleLongHair. I battled through those tough couple of week and I can honestly say since writing my original post I am on top of the world! I have a routine now and have found so many websites with great recipes. Breakfast can be a bit hard at times but I get around it much easier now, and weight loss isn't an issue so I'm all about the carbs.

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on October 27, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Thanks for your advice Katy. I have graves disease and whilst my symptoms (and thyroid) are under control, I've had changes in my eye which I'm desperately trying to control. I'll check out the website and see how the food log will assist me.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 20, 2012
at 08:57 PM

4-7 days is the height of feeling like dookie when making a switch to a lower carb diet, definitely give yourself permission to take a week or two off while you shift gears, otherwise you are just adding more stress to an already labor intensive process, there is a lot going on under the hood right now.

A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

(951)

on October 03, 2012
at 01:32 PM

I am not usually hungry for breakfast, so I don't eat it. When I do it's usually light, yogurt with fresh berries and nuts, for example. For a while I always had beef jerky around for snacks, look at ingredient lists most have large amounts of MSG. For quick out the door yet satisfying breakfast keep some boiled eggs around.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on September 24, 2012
at 09:36 PM

I have no personal experience with pre-workout carbs. I know the paleo world likes post-workout because you're more insulin sensitive just after a workout, so you can refill your glycogen stores without the same insulin spike you normally get with carbs, and apparently post-workout carbs speeds recovery. That's what they say, anyway.

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:32 AM

Thanks Michael. It makes sense and I did think to myself that I wasn't getting enough carbs. Will having carbs pre workout benefit me? Weight isn't an issue so I'll give this a go and hopefully I'll be full of energy in no time. Appreciate your comments.

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:29 AM

Thanks eakthecat. I think I could be anxious because I don't know what to make myself in the morning. I've got coconut oil in stock so that's all good, and I'm taking vitamin B and D at the moment. I've had a look at a few more paleo websites/blogs and I can't believe how many recipes there are! It's just finding the right breakfast recipes. Thanks for your advice, appreciate it!

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4 Answers

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0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on October 20, 2012
at 11:31 PM

People report that the first few weeks are the toughest adaptation period, and this was true of me, peaking at around 12-15 days. There are numerous theories about this which you can read about here (this topic comes up a lot), for instance some say that most people are either carb-adapted or fat-adapted and switching from one to the other can produce flu-like symptoms.

Eating a high fat diet and becoming "fat-adapted" (i.e. getting your body used to deriving a substantial amount of its energy from fat instead of carbs) works well for some people, especially like me who were carrying around 20+ pounds of extra fat. I am energized by a low-carb, high-protein diet, but not everyone is.

Some people, perhaps those that don't have a lot of extra body fat, seem to have trouble with a low-carb, high-fat diet. Some people need the carbs, and Paleo doesn't necessarily mean low-carb. You can eat plenty of carbs in the form of vegetables and fruits, though you should avoid too much sugar / fructose.

I do have limited selections at breakfast, fortunately I really like eggs and have a source of awesome pastured eggs, and so I have 2 eggs for breakfast almost every day. Besides that I eat berries and full-fat yogurt, or just coffee with cream. I've learned that a zero or low carb breakfast is best for me.

You might try upping your carbs for a while, many folks report better mood and energy when increasing carbs. You didn't say if you were trying to lose weight or change your body composition, the reason that many people avoid carbs is to lose weight or fat, but that might not apply to you.

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on October 27, 2012
at 01:17 AM

Thanks UncleLongHair. I battled through those tough couple of week and I can honestly say since writing my original post I am on top of the world! I have a routine now and have found so many websites with great recipes. Breakfast can be a bit hard at times but I get around it much easier now, and weight loss isn't an issue so I'm all about the carbs.

2
629b9895e282d0ef15b465b064100f83

on October 20, 2012
at 08:32 PM

What type of autoimmune disease do you have? Are you sure that the fatigue you're feeling isn't a symptom of the disease, as opposed to the dietary change? I also have autoimmune disease and fatigue is a big part of it. You may want to consider taking a break from your exercise routine until you get your symptoms under control.

Are you tracking your food through an online food log? I found it to be very helpful in making sure that I'm eating enough calories. Just from looking at your food list, it's possible that you're not incorporating enough fat into your diet. Try fitday.com for an online food log.

A week isn't a long enough time to evaluate if the diet is helping you or not. I would hang in there for at least 30 days before deciding if you are noticing any progress. In the first few weeks, your body does go through a detoxing process, so that could explain the anxiety and tiredness you are experiencing.

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on October 27, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Thanks for your advice Katy. I have graves disease and whilst my symptoms (and thyroid) are under control, I've had changes in my eye which I'm desperately trying to control. I'll check out the website and see how the food log will assist me.

2
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on September 22, 2012
at 04:46 AM

The boot camp requires serious glycogen stores until you're better fat-adapted, but your lowish carb may not be repleting your glycogen stores. The mechanism your body uses to get adequate glucose could lead to jitters (long story). So probably you want to up your carbs post-workout. Alternatively, if weight is an issue and you don't want to up your carbs, then lower your exercise for a few weeks until you're better fat-adapted, and then gradually increase the boot camp intensity.

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:32 AM

Thanks Michael. It makes sense and I did think to myself that I wasn't getting enough carbs. Will having carbs pre workout benefit me? Weight isn't an issue so I'll give this a go and hopefully I'll be full of energy in no time. Appreciate your comments.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on September 24, 2012
at 09:36 PM

I have no personal experience with pre-workout carbs. I know the paleo world likes post-workout because you're more insulin sensitive just after a workout, so you can refill your glycogen stores without the same insulin spike you normally get with carbs, and apparently post-workout carbs speeds recovery. That's what they say, anyway.

0
A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

on September 22, 2012
at 02:19 AM

When I first started I was trying to lose weight, so I was near 0 carb. I added a lot of fat and my plates were about half meat half veg. I did have some anxiety at first, but my energy level was actually higher. My veg was usually cooked in coconut oil, butter or bacon fat. If you can get to a larger town or city get coconut oil for your stir frys. You can also order online or use clarified butter. Are you supplementing? You may need to add vitamin D, B, magnesium or iodine. Add some fermented foods or pro and prebiotics, they will help heal your gut and improve digestion and immune system. Your energy level may also increase given more time, after all your body is healing.

Check out some of the more popular websites. Marks Daily Apple has some free ebooks with recipes, exercise routines and primal intro. There are plenty of books from Richard Nikoley, Chris Kresser, Loren Cordian, Michael Eades and many others. They all also have blogs that may give you some direction. The more you learn the more you will be able to tweak your diet for what works best for you. Just keep reading and keep going. You are on the right track.

02a1f0bc7c70a3eea170eaf6f35ceb1d

(5)

on September 24, 2012
at 07:29 AM

Thanks eakthecat. I think I could be anxious because I don't know what to make myself in the morning. I've got coconut oil in stock so that's all good, and I'm taking vitamin B and D at the moment. I've had a look at a few more paleo websites/blogs and I can't believe how many recipes there are! It's just finding the right breakfast recipes. Thanks for your advice, appreciate it!

A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

(951)

on October 03, 2012
at 01:32 PM

I am not usually hungry for breakfast, so I don't eat it. When I do it's usually light, yogurt with fresh berries and nuts, for example. For a while I always had beef jerky around for snacks, look at ingredient lists most have large amounts of MSG. For quick out the door yet satisfying breakfast keep some boiled eggs around.

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