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4 weeks on primal and still have low carb flu?

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  • 4 weeks on primal and still have low carb flu?

    Hey everyone,

    I've been trying to follow the Primal Blueprint for the last four weeks. I've cut out all grains, legumes and dairy and have been sticking to a diet that's about 60% fat, 30% protein and 10% carbs. I've temporarily given up almost all fruit and starchy vegetables. I haven't done much extra exercise, but my partner and I have kept up with daily 30-40 minute walks with the dogs after work.

    I'm 47, 6'2' and was 193# when I started (canonical skinny fat ectomorph) down from a high of 200# at Christmastime. I'm down to 184# today which is great.

    My typical food consumption day is:

    breakfast: 3 eggs, spinach, sweet pepper strips omelet in butter + (bacon/sausage - organic/nitrite/nitrate free) + 1/4 avocado + organic salsa
    lunch: 1 - 2 cups spring mix lettuce, 1+ cup chicken breast + fixings (tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocado) + 3 tbs balsamic vinegar/olive oil
    dinner: meat (pork chops, hamburgers on portabella caps, steak, salmon) + 2-3 cups of vegetables (zucchini, brussel sprouts, kale, collard greens, green beans, summer squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, turnips, cabbage) cooked in coconut oil with onions and garlic + dinner salad (same as lunch but smaller).
    snacks: macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, coconut milk, berries.

    drinks: water, green tea, peppermint tea.

    plus 1 multi-vitamin and 3 fish oil capsules per day (CAFO meat for now, sorry).

    Joint pain that has plagued me since my 20s is gone, weird gum/tooth pain is gone, acid reflux is gone. Losing the fat off the skinny.
    I seem to be stuck in the low carb flu. Occasional headaches, intermittent brain fogginess, fatigue. When I walk "too far", my legs cramp up. It was really bad about 3 days in...but it still lingers quite a bit.

    I'm sort of waiting for the "if you make it 30 days, you'll feel great." My partner and my brother both started primal at the same time as I did and haven't had nearly as much of a problem as I have adapting (my partner none at all, my brother for only a few days).

    Now, I was eating a ton of carbs before I went cold turkey (80/20 for me is an invitation to 50/50): oatmeal, bananas, juice, fruit at the bottom yogurt, bread, rice/potato/quinoa, entire bars of Lindt dark chocolate). But from what I was able to glean on the forums, the low carb flu doesn't usually last this long.

    Is there something I should or shouldn't be eating? I'm not sure what I'd eat more of...I do sometimes skip lunch because I'm never famished eating this way. However, I do probably have cortisol problems so I'm not intentionally doing any IF right yet. Is it unusual for the low carb flu to last this long? Suggestions? Ideas?
    Last edited by Geeky Grok; 03-01-2011, 06:29 PM.

  • #2
    I fight "carb flu" symptoms by drinking 1-2 cups of bouillon per day to avoid electrolyte imbalance. I also supplement with extra potassium 99 mg 2x/day for leg cramps and magnesium 250mg 2x/day for sleep issues and regularity (sorry TMI). These are simple, inexpensive things that you can try that have helped myself and others. Hope it helps.
    Primal since 9/24/2010
    "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

    Created by - Free Weight Loss Tools
    MFP username: MDAPebbles67


    • #3
      @Pebbles67, thanks for the tips.

      I read about the bouillon in Taubes' book. I've tried it a few times and it seemed at least comforting although I worry about sodium (not that I put extra salt on my food anymore anyway). I'll try the potassium and magnesium supplements as well. When I saw the RDA on potassium, I wasn't sure how much to take to make a difference (since one tablet is only 3% of the RDA).


      • #4
        It will pass. Be Patient.

        The more carb/sugar addicted you were prior to PB, you will take longer to shake it. For two weeks I could not move. I slept, felt so nauseous I wanted to die, and slept more. Lightheaded, could not work out, and then magically, one day I woke up feeling Fabulous. I managed to suffer it out, and have never looked back. Just be patient. it will happen.


        • #5
          I second the Mg and Potassium suggestion. Adding them helped me immensely.
          Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )


          • #6
            Interesting. I started only last Saturday and have basically felt fantastic right out to the gate. I am not sure if it is a coincidence but I (liberally) salt my cooked greens and meats and every morning I drinik 24 ounces of water with an electrolyte drink (this one has zero sodium or sugars).

            I started the electrolyte drink before I made the switch after getting really dehydrated a couple of months ago with calorie restriction and exercise. I add it mainly to make me drink the water at 4 am when I am up drinking my coffee. Without it I would likely not drink it.

            I would also suspect there is a chance that your total calories is a bit low.


            • #7
              Originally posted by jammies View Post
              I second the Mg and Potassium suggestion. Adding them helped me immensely.
              I third this.


              • #8
                Make sure the Magnesium and Potassium are chelated. This helps them to absorb better.


                • #9
                  You might try making your own bone broth and adding sea salt to it. It is really easy to make. Much better than store bought.


                  • #10
                    Cillakat mentioned that it took her 8 week to become keto-adapted. It's taken me 3.5 months, but I didn't go super low carb right away.

                    There is light on the other side! You may need to eat a bit more fat once you hit your desired body composition.
                    Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
                    Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
                    Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the replies. I'll stick it out and try some of the suggestions.

                      The one suggestion I'm not sure what to do with is the calorie one. There were a couple days in when I was recording in FitDay where I was surprised at how few calories I'd eaten but I was completely sated. I seemed to have corrected for that by making sure I get plenty of salad dressing and adding the nuts/berries for an afternoon snack. Nevertheless, I'm not sure I could force myself to eat more (and I'm not sure what I would eat!).

                      BTW, is it gross that I could eat a tablespoon of coconut oil right out of the jar? It tastes like a tropical vacation. So far, I only lick the spoon clean...


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Geeky Grok View Post

                        BTW, is it gross that I could eat a tablespoon of coconut oil right out of the jar? It tastes like a tropical vacation. So far, I only lick the spoon clean...
                        LOL, many here can do that. Some can eat butter by the stick too. To each their own.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Geeky Grok View Post

                          BTW, is it gross that I could eat a tablespoon of coconut oil right out of the jar?


                          • #14
                            I still remeber the day, it was 6 weeks into being primal that I jumped out of bed like I got an expresso injected in me. That was when the flu was over. Almost 1 year now.
                            "Don't dream it, be it"

                            -Dr. Frank-N-Furter


                            • #15
                              Going cold turkey on carbs is tough, but in my humble opinion i do not really see the value of cutting them down so quickly. Parsnips, Butternut Squash, yams, fruit(yes fruit) are good sources of carbs.

                              If you are trying to lose weight, for instance, and come from a grain/junk background, then these sorts of carbs are going to help you, in my opinion. May take longer to lose the weight, but who really cares. I have seen many people go from high carb to low carb quickly and have a torrid time doing so.