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Thread: 4 weeks on primal and still have low carb flu?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Maryland
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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).

    Pros...
    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.
    Cons...
    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 at 05:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Hudson Valley
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    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 MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools
    MFP username: MDAPebbles67

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Maryland
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    @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. #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. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
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    OMG - I'm so happy to hear that. I decided to go primal ten days ago. I haven't had a hard time staying away from the grains and sugars and processed foods but starting two day ago I've felt awful. Nausea, headaches, fatige, low energy etc. I thought I was getting sick. I'm losing pounds/inches already but will be glad when I feel better. Now I know just to keep with it and things will improve! Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    2
    Hello everyone,
    I've been on PB for about 2 weeks and to be honest I don't feel well at all. I struggle with all the same symptoms as above, headaches, fatigue, lethargy, irritable, fogginess, trouble thinking, a tightness at my temples and not being mentally sharp and in general I have no motivation. I hope this passes soon because it is actually starting to affect my performance at work. I eat about 75g of carbs/day, do you think I should increase it? Calories are correct according to Fitday.com.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    365
    Quote Originally Posted by Wade View Post
    Hello everyone,
    I've been on PB for about 2 weeks and to be honest I don't feel well at all. I struggle with all the same symptoms as above, headaches, fatigue, lethargy, irritable, fogginess, trouble thinking, a tightness at my temples and not being mentally sharp and in general I have no motivation. I hope this passes soon because it is actually starting to affect my performance at work. I eat about 75g of carbs/day, do you think I should increase it? Calories are correct according to Fitday.com.
    In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, i would say yes, increase your carb intake. I'm not sure i really understand the low carb all or nothing mentality, it's not healthy to me.

    Eat things like parsnip, skinless yams(and butter gaaah), squash, and some fruit etc, because.....and understand this....they are not evil. Going from high refined carb/sugar diet to a low carb diet is pretty hellish, and i think unnecessary. Many people just make themselves unhappy.

    The key to this way of eating is first- Quality. That means quality protein, carbohydrate, and fat. I'm not saying eat yams 3 times a day, i'm not even saying starchy root veg 3 times a day. i'm not saying, eat 10 pieces of fruit a day. But don't deprive yourself of this stuff just because of something you've read. These carbs are still 'primal'. When you have the quality of food down and are comfortable with that, THEN think about dialing in the food choices to an even greater degree. It depends on your goals.

    With that said, i still think that if one is low carbing it, it would still be beneficial to eat a yam every now and then, and the starchier veggies when you feel you need to. But first of all you need to get used to eating quality food, and not dig yourself into a no carb hell-hole.

    Thats my 2 cents, may or may not be right, so take it or leave it. But getting oneself caught up into the dogma of low carb/zero carb is a one way street. Strachy veg is very useful if your activity level is quite high also.
    Last edited by Rocco Hill; 03-02-2011 at 02:27 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    4,518
    I second the Mg and Potassium suggestion. Adding them helped me immensely.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by jammies View Post
    I second the Mg and Potassium suggestion. Adding them helped me immensely.
    I third this.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Spokane, WA
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    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.

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