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Maybe primal doesn't work for everyone...

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  • Maybe primal doesn't work for everyone...

    So I've been really into this paleo/primal thing...researching, advocating, getting stoked to see what I feel like after 30 days. But it's finally been 30 days and the results are...I feel pretty crappy! I thought I was getting better, but now I'm back at the beginning of my work week I realize how tired and weak and lightheaded I am after mild lifting and walking all day. 4 pm and I can barely keep my eyes open.

    So I think this whole fuel from fat thing really makes sense, and the rest of it, and there are obviously a lot of people out there having great results. But I wonder if this isn't optimal for everyone? Maybe it's great for half the people out there, and the other half it isn't quite it. Now I have a very sensitive stomach to grains and legumes, so I thought this must be perfect for me....but no. Not so far anyway!

    I'm thinking maybe Mark's carb curve isn't necessarily accurate...maybe some people actually need over 200 g of carbs a day from veg and properly prapared whole grians. Has anyone encountered situations like my own where it hasn't worked out? I'm totally down with the high fat, moderate protein thing, but is this just not going to cut it with 100-150 carbs? I've noticed most people starting have a lot of fat too, perhaps this outline is more for fat people than people who are already a good weight?

    What's going on?! Ahh!
    Sorry...just really into this primal thing and it just isn't working for me so far. Input appreciated. I feel like at this point I should re-introduce carbs...but I want to beleive it can work just the way it's been said to...and it feels like giving up. I suppose it's more of a compromise really.

  • #2
    1st, what are your current weight/height and what are your goals? Also, Male or Female?

    2nd, give an example of a typical day worth of meals, what you eat, when you eat etc.

    3rd, How much sleep do you get, and is it in a dark room? Do you wake up to an alarm clock? When do you go to bed?

    If you answer these questions we can help, but you haven't given any information so far, so we can't really suggest anything.
    "You don't have forever to change yourself."
    Stefan Molyneux
    Freedomain Radio

    "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."
    Mark Twain


    • #3
      Be honest, have you been pretty strict for the 30 days as in 80/20? Did you feel the initial carb flu and did it go? If not maybe you need to keep plugging away until you pass through the carb flu?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Northrun View Post
        I'm thinking maybe Mark's carb curve isn't necessarily accurate...maybe some people actually need over 200 g of carbs a day from veg and properly prapared whole grians. Has anyone encountered situations like my own where it hasn't worked out? I'm totally down with the high fat, moderate protein thing, but is this just not going to cut it with 100-150 carbs? I've noticed most people starting have a lot of fat too, perhaps this outline is more for fat people than people who are already a good weight?
        I think most of the community here will probably have to disagree about the "properly prepared grains". Soaking legumes and preparing grains properly takes a lot of effort to do it for a sustained period of time. Even if you were to incorporate grains there are so many better nutrient dense foods that are so better for you than most grians. If you really need a carb source you can always include sweet potatoes in the mix but I would only advise that if you are training and if you have already reached your weight goals.

        Like B Knight has stated above, we would need a lot more information about yourself to help you and to give you more advice. I really think 30 days is too short of a time to really tell, and like the others have said have you been 100% compliant?

        I never struggled with weight but the reason I went paleo was to rid myself of allergies and digestive issues due to chronic cardio and many years of conventional eating. The first 30 days were tough but I am thankful because it did help me regain my health and I feel healthier than ever. I have been paleo/primal for over 2 years and even though I train/play pretty hard I still have a hard time eating more than 150grams of carbs each day. But each person is different, and that is why we need more information from you.

        Good luck!
        "If man made it, don't eat it" - Jack Lallane

        People say I am on a "crazy" diet. What is so crazy about eating veggies, fruits, seafood and organ meats? Just because I don't eat whole wheat and processed food doesn't make my diet "crazy". Maybe everyone else with a SAD are the "crazy" ones for putting that junk in their system.


        • #5
          It's just a question of getting your carbs dialed in. It is true that some folks require higher carbs. (IIRC, it's in the range of ~20-25% of the population.) You're barking up the wrong tree about the grain thing, though.
          "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


          • #6
            Hey, so:

            Age: 22 Height: 5 7" Weight: 128-133lb Sex: Male

            Goals: Gain weight, more energy, more stable energy, heal digestive tract and not be bloated anymore. Mood stabalizing, though anxiety issues largely better since cutting oats, spelt/kamut, coconut. Clearer mind (have been experiencing some brain fog and light headedness for 2 months before primal, but it had improved dramatically until the new diet).

            Food History: Went gluten, dairy, egg free 2 years ago. IgG blood test showed intolerances to the following: all gluten grains, oats, coconut, eggs, dairy, almonds.

            I have experienced much better digestion and mental clarity/energy since removing gluten, was 100% free for 1 year, then began eating spelt and kamut and oats for most of a year to varying degrees. Cracked down 2 months ago on the food intolerances and felt a lot of relief from anxiety and up and down energy swings, as well as facial twitching and muscle spams that were getting pretty bad.

            How I eat now: My 3 main meals are pretty much always meat and veg. Grassfed beef 5 days a week, quality pork, chicken, salmon, cod, basa, tuna, other fish. I add olive oil liberally to meals, saving chicken fat to cook with, as well as beef roast juice. I am trying to find a source quality of lard or tallow so I can increase my fat intake without using too much olive oil. I include yam and squash, and banana quite commonly with meals, especially on lifting days. Snacks are often fruit, nuts, maybe sunflower seed butter on celery sticks, or some leftovers occasionally.

            Estimated average intake: carb: 90-150g fat:100-150g protein: 100-160g. Of course calories come from fat. Calorie count I think usually falls between 2200-3000. lifting days are heavier of course.

            Supplements: vitamin D, digestive enzymes, fish oil.

            Exercise: Lifting weights 5x5 2 times a week. Do internal martial arts 1-2 times a week. Sometimes yoga once a week. Active job, walking the whole time and lifting boxes frequently.

            30 days started off well feeling good and energetic, but hit a crash on day 4-5. Got a bit better, but since then it's been varying degrees of feeling light headed, weak, tired. Much more noticable when I am at work because I am active, but it only takes 1-3 hours to feel totally beat. Some times when doing nothing of note I am still dizzy. My digestion has been overall much better. Less bloating/gas, better formed stool. Urine has been quite dark/yellow though, despite drinking equal amounts of water. Possible cheats: had 3 beer one weekend, and puked at 4 in the morning(unusual...), some rice flour in bison pepperoni, in tiny amounts, but haven't eaten it for 2 weeks). Again had rice flour, maybe 1 tsp as thickener in a shepards pie on the weekend, which had potatoes, also a cheat since I am avoiding nightshades and potatoes aren't down with everyone. So pretty good, nothing extreme. Oh, also had some raw organic milk last friday which seemed to treat me okay. I sleep usually 8-9 hours a night, sometimes a little more, somtimes less, dark room, alarm clock 3-4 times a week.


            • #7
              I don't know much about the energy levels issue but thought I'd just throw in there that you're not meant to save chicken fat to cook with. It's pretty high in PUFAs. And you're only meant to cook with olive oil sparingly and at a low heat for a short period of time. If you cant have butter maybe you can have ghee (they say it doesnt contain lactose)? Alternatively you can cook sliced marrow bones and use the fat that drips off onto a dish below to cook with if you dont eat bacon (bacon grease is easiest to collect.) Last resort, macadamia oil should be more stable than olive oil.

              Also, personally, I can get 8-9 hours of sleep and still be really tired and lethargic but it really matters when I get that sleep: early to bed and early to rise is much more energizing even if it is a massive effort. Also, I keep my curtains open so that the sun wakes me naturally and slowly- pretty sure that's how it would've worked for Grok!


              • #8
                Sounds like a long bought of carb-flu. It can take up to 6 or even 8 weeks to be fully keto-adapted. Try another 30 more days before you decide to bail. Remember, it is always darkest before the dawn.


                • #9
                  You mention that your urine is dark yellow, and that's the reason for your lightheadedness and feeling week--you're dehydrated. Urine color when properly hydrated is clear or very light yellow.

                  You may think you're hydrating properly, but often it's more than the amount you drink. For example, I have problems with low BP caused by dehydration. I thought I was drinking more than enough fluids. My cardiologist told me that because I was deficient in salt/potassium, the water I drank (always during and after working out) was just going right through me and not hydrating. He suggested I consume a sports drink (for the minerals) after my workouts, and that solved my problem.

                  You need to investigate the cause of your dehydration. It's not from Primal eating.


                  • #10
                    I think you are suffering some nutritional deficiencies from the gut issues and removing a lot of different foods from your diet. The facial twitching and muscle spasms maybe magnesium deficiency. I would go to a naturopath and get a full work up. You probably need supplementation for a while. Also, I think you should increase your carbs.


                    • #11
                      I'm going to recommend the opposite. I dont think your body is getting keto adapted because of the amount of starchy carbs you consume. I would suggest cutting back on it all for at least 2 weeks at 100%, which will mean cutting back on your exercise as well. Let your body get fat adapted..then increase carbs/exercise again.
                      Primal since March 2011

                      Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs


                      • #12
                        Keto adapted my doesn't work for everyone (hint: highly active people).
                        If you feel bad with that much fat, replace it with starches - potatoes, carrots, beets, bananas, lots of green veggies but keep fat low (50-60g is more than enough).


                        • #13
                          You might want to try the Perfect Health Diet - basically it's Paleo with more carbs including regular white rice, and vitamin supplements. I'm currently somewhere in between that, and Primal at the moment.

                          Doing the very low carb thing is intended as a temporary weight loss activity. It has knock-on benefits like getting hunger and cravings under control. I disagree with the person above who told you to go 100% no starch.
                          If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):


                          • #14
                            Yeah, if weight GAIN is one of your goals, VLC probably isn't what you should be doing. I'll echo tfarny's suggestion of The Perfect Health Diet.


                            • #15
                              YMMV but Coconut oil is the friend of all who seek energy.