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Thread: new to Primal, what is Carb Flu? page

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    Madison's Avatar
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    Question new to Primal, what is Carb Flu?

    Primal Fuel
    Hi, I love what I've been learning, it has really turned on the light bulb cause primal makes so much sense. I've been yo-yo dieting for years, and I completely understand "chronic cardio" - I did so much cardio a couple decades ago that i really burned out on it and over the past 15 years have kind of gone backward. I'm glad to know there is a term for it!

    I've been in the process of going primal, but I've been feeling in a mental fog the past several days, and I'm not sure what's up. I just saw another post about carb flu-due to switching fuels-can this be explained more? I've never heard of this before. Getting some information about this could help a lot!

    I've been doing pretty good so far. I haven't felt like I'm being deprived, that's for sure...my rings fit again! Wow, that's a start!

    Also, when I do pushups, my triceps want to cramp up very easily (kind of like a charley horse in the calf) and I don't understand why...any thoughts? Lack of vitamins?

    Another thing: I can't do squats or lunges because I need a knee replacement surgery, but not really ready to get my knee sawed up, so I do what I can to avoid pain...are there alternatives to squats?

    I know I have a lot of questions here, so thanks in advance if you can get through this whole thing!

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    Here you go.

    Regarding exercise cramps, that's probably due to a lack of salts/electrolytes. I never used to add salt to my food, but now I've become an auto-condimenter.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
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    Madison's Avatar
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    I don't know. I've been eating a lot of salt-laden crap for years, pizza, fast food, you name it! and I've been experiencing these cramps for quite a long time as well. I don't think it's salt. and I do add salt to everything!

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    For cramps make sure you are adequately hydrated, salted, and have enough calcium. Calcium helps transport fluids in the muscles. Most people don't seem to know the importance of calcium as it relates to cramps.

    Muscle Cramps And Calcium | LIVESTRONG.COM

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    magicmerl's Avatar
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    I said 'salts', not salt. Sodium chloride isn't the only salt we need. The first thing I would look at is a possible magnesium deficiency, followed by potassium and calcium.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madison View Post
    I don't know. I've been eating a lot of salt-laden crap for years, pizza, fast food, you name it! and I've been experiencing these cramps for quite a long time as well. I don't think it's salt. and I do add salt to everything!
    Here is the phenomenon about which magicmerl was talking. It makes interesting reading anyway:

    The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt II The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

    I guess whether it really gets to the bottom of it is another matter, and sure it can't explain cramping in the context of consumption of food such as carb- and salt-laden pizza.

    But I think it was "mental fog" as opposed to cramping you were originally pointing to?

    Yes, I would think it could be switching fuel substrates. See if it goes way in a few days, and maybe in the meantime eat a little fruit, if you get anything like that. If it doesn't go away soon, post again, and see if you can get any more suggestions.

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    lissee's Avatar
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    I'll let others speak to the low carb flu. (But quickly and basically, your body's switching from eating stuff it's had to cope with and now you're giving it the good stuff. It'll take a moment for the body to switch gears. Bad bacteria in your digestive system will die off, and good stuff will replace it. This also results in lots of symptoms, you might google herxheimer reaction and you'll get tons of info.) How long your carb flu lasts and how severe it is depends a lot on what types of things you were eating before you started eating Primal.

    Last year when I started eating Primal, I would get brain fog, and then moderate headaches in the afternoon. When I started supplementing with Magnesium these symptoms went away. I don't know if the magnesium helped me get over that last hurdle of sugar withdrawls or if it really did cause the brain fog and headaches to go away. I just know it helped me. (I'd been low carb, no sugar, no bread for about 3-4 weeks when I started taking magnesium.)

    Also, I've heard a lot of chatter that magnesium can help with muscle cramps. Just don't take too much at once because it has a stool loosening effect, if you supplement, you'll have to experiment to see what level works for you. (The excess magnesium that you don't absorb ends up drawing water to the colon.)

    Wow, that was a lot more than I planned on writing. Sorry for the ramble. Okay, so why I jumped in here was to say congrats on the rings!! I have a whole set of rings that just started fitting me! (I've lost 40 lbs.) And it's been very exciting, so I wanted to say congrats!

    And then also, for your knees, I don't have exercises, but I do know people have had a lessening of pain in joints through long-term adherence to this way of life. Once you've got the hang of the basics, try adding more gelatin to your diet, focusing on mineral rich items like bone broth.

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    Lewis hit a home run. Start putting Celtic or Himilayan salt on your food and drink a cup or 2 of Bouillon every day and you should feel better.
    Paula Primal since 9/24/2010
    "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

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    For me the carb flu felt like I was on sinus medicine. My body felt fine but my head was in a daze all the time. That lasted a week, maybe week and a half.
    If I just said LOL, I lied. Do or do not. There is no try.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madison View Post
    Another thing: I can't do squats or lunges because I need a knee replacement surgery, but not really ready to get my knee sawed up, so I do what I can to avoid pain...are there alternatives to squats?
    Sorry, you did mention several things, including muscle cramps and the above, all of which I missed until I read lissee's interesting post.

    I think this sounds like a question for a specialist: I'm not going to suggest any exercises either.

    I don't see how you work the muscles to much of an extent without putting the knee through its full range of motion. Presumably, you can stand up and sit down without pain. But doing that kind of motion only taken further and with weight added seems unwise. Perhaps you could see a physiotherapist or an osteopath or something. Or you might well benefit from a few Alexander Technique lessons. The teacher will assess how you're "using yourself" and soon spot if you're habitually doing something that puts a strain on the joint. You should be able to find a teacher in your area through AmSAT:

    American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) |

    Besides that, the dietary removals and additions lissee suggests should help. At the least you could take some glucosamine and chondroitin:

    Questions and Answers: NIH Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial Primary Study | NCCAM

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