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Adding potatoes after 10 years of VLC: ouch!

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  • Adding potatoes after 10 years of VLC: ouch!

    OK, after reading all the discussions about certain starches being appropriate, I decided to add in a few more carbs. This is after 10 years of LC primal (ie, no gluten whatsoever for those 10 years, usually carbs below 30 to 40 grams a day; often VLC at less than 20 gm a day).

    Yesterday was the big day: I roasted 2 small potatoes, 1 parsnip, 1 rutabaga, 2 beets, and 4 carrots (the potatoes and parsnip are the only unusual veggie for me, although I haven't eaten a lot of the others recently). Then I ate far too much since I was hungry. An hour later, my stomach was killing me, but I figured it might be because I had overeaten, not because the potatoes or parsnip was special.

    Today my stomach still hurts.

    So, for now, I'll probably keep eating root vegetables, but stick to rutabagas, beets, and carrots for now. Adding in carbs is scary after all these years--and getting an immediate feedback of pain didn't help matters!

    I'm 52, have celiacs, am generally in great health, but I wouldn't mind losing 3 lbs of menopausal weight gain which is being a little stubborn. But really, I'm at a perfectly fine weight and size, so this is about vanity not health. But in trying to lose those few lbs, I've cut out lots of veggies and berries that I used to eat in abundance (my partner is an organic veggie and berry farmer, so I've been spoiled). I know that's dumb, so I'm adding the veggies and berries back in and cutting back a bit on nuts and cheese, which I can easily overdo.

    My questions for discussion are:
    -has anyone else had pain when trying to add back in some taters?
    -is there really a good reason to add starches in?
    -I'm happy to increase carbs to between 50 and 100 grams a day, in the interests of eating reasonable amounts of colorful veggies and berries. But what modifications will I have to make to keep from gaining weight?
    Last edited by tiva; 01-30-2013, 09:47 AM.

  • #2
    Sounds like you definitely over did it. That's a huge swing and it's not really a surprise your body is having trouble with it. Add carbs back in slowly so as to avoid shock.

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    • #3
      I added potatoes and rice back in after 2 years without and carbs around 50g.

      I had a lot of gas the first week or so, but it disappeared and I'm now able to eat 2-3 potatoes or a lot of rice daily and have been keeping my carbs in the 100-200g range for over a month now.

      Here's what I have noticed, and you may too.

      Downsides to re-introducing starch/carbs:
      - Increased stool size, sorry for TMI, but it's a reality.
      - Extra weight from increased stool size. You will be carrying around and extra2-3lbs of, how they say, 'faecal matter' in your bowels. Extra weight is also from fully stocked glycogen stores in muscles. LC causes a state of glycogen depletion.

      Upsides:
      - Weight is more stable; even though my weight crept up a bit, I don't experience weight fluctuations like I did on LC.

      - The changes in stool composition are due to an increase in gut microflora, which is generally considered a 'good thing'. Poop is composed of 75% water and 25% dead bacteria. More bacteria = more poop. Along with this admittedly gross observation, I find I can now eat things that were off-limits on LC...Kimchi, sauerkraut, cooked cabbage, and certain fruits would cause severe stomach bloat and gassiness, now I can handle eating these foods without any gas or problems. This is due, I believe, to an increase of the bacteria that digest these foods.

      - Increased exercise ability. In the past month, I've nearly doubled the number of pullups I can do and find exercise in general much easier. Some of my weight gain is probably new muscle, as my waist measurement has not increased at all.

      - Meals are more enjoyable. I am including potatoes, rice, or plantains with every meal. I find meals extremely satisfying as I must have been getting bored with LC. I don't have as much urge to snack immediately after eating dinner on nuts, chocolate, and cheese as I was doing when on LC.

      - As I'm the cook in the family, everybody else is happier I'm back on rice and potatoes as it makes a well-rounded meal.

      - It was an easy transition; I basically added about 450 calories of starch to my day, so I cut back a bit on nuts and butter, easily allowing for the new source of calories.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tiva View Post
        -is there really a good reason to add starches in?
        Just to single out this question: Some will say there is zero need for starches/carbs. However, your body needs about 150g of glucose a day to survive unless you are in sustained ketosis. If you do not eat the needed 150g of glucose, your body will readily manufacture it.

        When your body manufactures glucose, it does so through a secondary process. This has been the subject of many debates, whether or not it is optimal to create glucose from protein when it is so readily available when eating starch in the first place.

        Obviously the fact that I am alive after 2 years with nearly zero starch proves you don't NEED starch to be alive.

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        • #5
          I did the same as you, tiva. Stayed low carb (well, honestly more like low-starch!) for two years, then this barrage of carb-love started rolling so I cooked a few sweet potatoes and ate them. Three days of clogged gut with pain every breath, I finally checked in at the ER! First time in my life I've ever done that! It wasn't my gall bladder or anything, all the diagnostics came up clean. They let me go, and twelve hours later I rediscovered jet propulsion. So now I'm not sure what to think, exactly. Are fruit sugars enough? Aren't honey and chocolate plenty? Is it really worth adapting again? Sounds like it, lately. And sweet potatoes are SO AFFORDABLE, it would be nice to be able to eat them again. I've been eating bananas, like one a day, and it hasn't been pretty. I'm at a loss, too, because both sides have made good points. It probably makes sense to eat them since I'm lifting heavy now. I hope more info pops up for folks like us.
          Crohn's, doing SCD

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          • #6
            Thanks for the different perspectives! It's really interesting to hear about the experiences of those of you who have gone through similar changes.

            I know I may have just overdone it on the taters and parsnips (I had perhaps one medium tater and a half a parsnip, but on top of the beets and carrots. I ate half the total tray of roasted veggies, not all of it!).

            Several years ago, I ate a lot of apples, beets, carrots, and squashes because we had super-bumper crops, and I was trying to only eat stuff we grew or our neighbors grew (they raised the beef and milk; we raised the veggies, fruits, and chickens). I felt really good that autumn and didn't gain weight (but it wasn't a fair test because I was on sabbatical from my academic job for the year, and being away from faculty meetings can make anyone joyful). I juiced a lot just because we didn't have space for all the veggies, and much to my surprise, juice worked just fine for me.

            But I didn't eat potatoes, even though we grew a ton of them. They've been stuck in the same mental box for me as bananas, rice, and other evil sweet starchy things. Imagine my surprise when Archevore man (Kurt? sorry, I spaced his name) and Mark Sisson started suggesting maybe tubers weren't so bad.

            Necessary? After 10 years without them, I'm thriving. But who knows--maybe I'd been thriving even more with 'em.

            Next time I try them, I'll have just a bite or two!
            Last edited by tiva; 01-30-2013, 11:40 AM.

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            • #7
              I was on low carb for a half year only and have problems with several carbs. Especially sweet potatos give me bloating and stomach cramps. It also seems everything I have avoided is not tolerated well anymore. Even milk products.
              Currently eating strict Paleo, no rice or potatoes. I want to increase carbs and make sure my ratio of carbs, protein and fat is right for me.
              30, 5'5" and 108 lbs (formerly 100 lbs)
              I don't work out but I chase and nurse a toddler all day

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              • #8
                If you ask me, your 10 years of thriving on <50 g carb/day is a better argument than all the biochemistry spouted by the starch warriors. Stick with your original carb plan.

                Can you lose those stubborn 3 pounds with a 3-5 day fast? Winter is a great time for fasting because there are no fresh berries to tempt you.
                5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by oxide View Post
                  If you ask me, your 10 years of thriving on <50 g carb/day is a better argument than all the biochemistry spouted by the starch warriors. Stick with your original carb plan.
                  Then the 2 months I was on VLC and felt like I was dying says what? Let me guess, adjustment period? I guess it only works when it supports your argument.

                  See how silly anecdotes sound in this context.

                  Your stomach lining is mutated, you'll have discomforts while adjusting, it's just common sense. When you remove something completely for a long period of time, it's taken over by something else, when you add it back in, it's viewed as a foreign object until you return to normal.
                  Last edited by Derpamix; 01-30-2013, 12:53 PM.
                  Make America Great Again

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                  • #10
                    Derpa, probably electrolyte imbalance.

                    Yep, you added your carbs back way to fast. Add them back a bit slower. Maybe 50-80 range the first week, 80-100 range the next week then 100-150 after that.

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                    • #11
                      But I did the special paleo electrolyte drink!

                      I think the fact I was already in good health attributed to my symptoms. I was functioning fine, before, and removing carbs from my diet so suddenly did me in. I probably would have died if I wasn't saved by Ray Peat.

                      I will take a moment to quietly bow at his altar.
                      Make America Great Again

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                      • #12
                        This forum is certainly more entertaining than the LC forum I usually hang out on, where we're always very supportive. Supportive is good, but it's fun to watch you guys argue.

                        And yes, I can lose the couple pounds with a fast (not a complete fast, but fast-5 usually works, or else a protein fast. Or I can just go back to induction, cut out the nuts, limit cheese and cream, and eat a little less. But that's too simple, so instead I play around with nutritional ketosis, very low carb, etc).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Derpamix View Post
                          I probably would have died if I wasn't saved by Ray Peat.

                          I will take a moment to quietly bow at his altar.
                          Be careful Derp... this could be you soon... Renee and girls speaking in tongues - YouTube
                          "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                          In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                          - Ray Peat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OP, for what it's worth I did six months VLC / LC, reintroduced starch recently and feel a million times better for it. My diet's now moderate - high carb, and I feel great and haven't put on weight. Everyone's different though.

                            Reintroducing starchy carbs is worth it for the increase in libido alone...! IMHO
                            Last edited by YogaBare; 01-30-2013, 01:38 PM.
                            "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                            In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                            - Ray Peat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Reintroducing carbs is worth it because thy friggin taste good! Nuff said.

                              But I must be patient for now...

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