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Thread: GF Going Paleo, Feeling Scatter-brained, trouble sleeping— carbs too low? page

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    astrummortis's Avatar
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    Question GF Going Paleo, Feeling Scatter-brained, trouble sleeping— carbs too low?

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    Okay, so recently my GF's decided to stop eating grains (Except rice) and beans (except soy lichithin). She reports feeling better in terms of gut health: we've both seen some slight lower stomach bloating go down and her stomach hurt after eating beans once after a few days off of them, which tells me they were irritating her.

    That's all fine and dandy. I've also been trying to get more fat into her diet: two eggs in the morning, cooking her veggies food in grass-fed butter, more olive oil. We've stopped having her eat so much vegetarian-organic-processed food and started introducing more hormone-antibiotic free (low fat) chicken (she hates animal fat connected to meat).

    I believe her caloric numbers are okay, due to the higher fat and an extra meal in the morning (she never used to eat breakfast, but has more morning energy with it).

    The issues are thus, and kind of annoying because she has bipolar (the crazy swings of which we're trying to get her out of with the diet) and possibly depression (though it's hard to tell it with the bipolar.) She's also interested in clearing up her skin.

    We have not gotten rid of dairy. One thing at a time.

    Anyway, now to the issues: she's had trouble sleeping the past three nights, waking up at five hungry and not being able to get back to sleep and stressing herself out about it. Last night she woke up briefly but got back to sleep on her own. She's also had lower energy levels, which is the annoying part because we're trying to stabalize her.

    Now, I have a couple of theories, but I'd like to hear from you, especially other women on your experiences. I think she's either 1) experiencing 'low carb' flu just because we replaced 100-200 grams of carbs a day with fat, or 2) she's getting off of gluten/antinutrients and its messing with her system.

    I estimate that she was probably getting 3-400 g carbs a day and is now down to 150g-200g carbs a day. Her family has a history of hypothyroid and I don't want to mess up her system, so I'm not interested in dipping her carbs below 100grams. Not even 150 grams, really.

    Thanks everyone.

    I should also note that I'm female, insulin-resistant, with abdominal fat deposits and naturally high male hormones. She's completely the opposite (as opposite as females can get, I suppose) so I don't have the personal experience with these issues. High-fat/low-carb works wonders for me.

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    KimchiNinja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrummortis View Post
    Okay, so recently my GF's decided to stop eating grains.
    How recently though? People feel like absolute crap for days/weeks. Fuzzy brain, super low energy levels, changes in sleeping patterns are well know things that happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    How recently though? People feel like absolute crap for days/weeks. Fuzzy brain, super low energy levels, changes in sleeping patterns are well know things that happen.
    Yeah, I'm thinking along this line, too. She'd taken them out early last week, but Easter happened and she and I were both guilty of partaking in some glutenous affairs. (one cupcake for her, a nibble of bread as well)

    When she wants to know why she feels like crap if this is supposed to be so good for her, I want to be able to give her a reasonably comprehensive answer, even if it's not 100% sure.

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    Could be carb flu and electrolytes. I experienced the same restless nights on low carb. I'd suggest upping salt, have a potato with last meal, and OJ or a banana before bed with some milk and honey or maple syrup, pinch of salt wouldn't be a bad idea. Good thinking on not wanting to aggravate any underlying or predisposition to hypothyroidism.

    Keeping carbs at 200g a day or so leaves a good amount of room for fruit. Suggest she eats that and use plenty of salt!
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrummortis View Post

    The issues are thus, and kind of annoying because she has bipolar (the crazy swings of which we're trying to get her out of with the diet) and possibly depression (though it's hard to tell it with the bipolar.) She's also interested in clearing up her skin.

    We have not gotten rid of dairy. One thing at a time.

    Anyway, now to the issues: she's had trouble sleeping the past three nights, waking up at five hungry and not being able to get back to sleep and stressing herself out about it. Last night she woke up briefly but got back to sleep on her own. She's also had lower energy levels, which is the annoying part because we're trying to stabalize her.
    As far as sleep cycles go, I go through periods where I am waking at 4am or 5am every day. Sometimes it takes an hour to get back to sleep. I either read, get up and do something, or just lay there and do some relaxation/meditation stuff. I have never NOT been able to get back to sleep eventually. I try not to stress about it. I think it happens more often during stressful times in my life, or on days when my diet has been less than typical. (a form of stress maybe).

    Taking a magnesium supplement seems to help. When I know I'm going to bed anxious, I'll take dimenhydrinate (motion sickness/anti-nausea) because it makes me drowsy.

    You dont' say how long she's been eating this way. I think you need a good 6 to 8 weeks to get past carb flu and notice any subtle changes than can be attributed to something other than coincidence. Being women, we are hormonal, cyclical beings...there are still going to be fluctuations

    There is no rule that primal/paleo has to be low carb, especially if weight loss is not your goal. Just eat high quality real food for now, and get used to how your body feels when eating this way. Also, is she eating *enough* food??? I don't mean caloricly...I mean to satiation. Ignore calories and carbs and eat till full.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrummortis View Post

    When she wants to know why she feels like crap if this is supposed to be so good for her, I want to be able to give her a reasonably comprehensive answer, even if it's not 100% sure.
    Could be carb flu. In retrospect, "the flu" I had one weekend early in my primal transition -- it was at the tail end of a head cold -- was probably carb flu. In addition to typical flu symptoms, I was sweating abnormally and had the weirdest BO coming from all over my body, not just pits.

    My recommendation for right now is to to eat primal foods that make you feel good. Forget about macros and calories and a balanced diet...just eat fantastic, indulgent, REAL food. This isn't a diet, there should be no suffering or restriction.
    Sandra
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    Quote Originally Posted by j3nn View Post
    Could be carb flu and electrolytes. I experienced the same restless nights on low carb. I'd suggest upping salt, have a potato with last meal, and OJ or a banana before bed with some milk and honey or maple syrup, pinch of salt wouldn't be a bad idea. Good thinking on not wanting to aggravate any underlying or predisposition to hypothyroidism.

    Keeping carbs at 200g a day or so leaves a good amount of room for fruit. Suggest she eats that and use plenty of salt!
    Thank you, we've been keeping an eye on that for her, too! We're going to keep stocked on bananas and she'll be having white potatoes as a very regular part of her meals. (she doesn't like sweet potatoes). I can definitely add more salt, and I've also wanted her to keep well hydrated during the day so I've been stressing sipping water throughout.

    Sandra- thanks for all of that. She's been doing this since last monday, I know it can take a while and I'll help her be patient.

    The bipolar issue is the biggest thing with the sleep cycle. She sleeps better if she eats yogurt or a banana before bed, so we've stocked up. Hopefully she'll sleep all night tonight like normal... because it's usually only a bipolar episode that keeps her up like that, usually.

    Since she has no weight to lose I plan on making sure she's eating everything she wants that's good, whole, natural, and healthy! You're right, I want this to be as awesome for her as it was for me, because I feel da*n good.

    On a flip side, she has been able to concentrate better than before as long as she's eaten something with long-term satiety *plus* a starchy vegetable. I think having both together is the best thing for her, along with some greens. It's the periods where she's getting hungry where she's having a bad time.
    Last edited by astrummortis; 04-05-2013 at 05:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astrummortis View Post
    When she wants to know why she feels like crap if this is supposed to be so good for her, I want to be able to give her a reasonably comprehensive answer.
    When people spend decades running on carbs and suddenly shift to fat it requires time for the body to adapt. And that's about it. There's lots of other things we could say within that, like maybe the stomach is adapting, and the brain is adapting, and blah blah. But overall the body is in a state of change.

    The problem is a lot of people break that state of change every time it gets hard, so they never truly make it thru "carb flu" to the other side. Easier just to do it once and never go back. It took me three days of utter hell. My woman was absolutely DEAD for one full day, then bam she came back to life and was fully adapted. And she was the worlds biggest cargo-addict, I thought she would be knocked-out for a week. So it really must vary from person to person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    When people spend decades running on carbs and suddenly shift to fat it requires time for the body to adapt. And that's about it. There's lots of other things we could say within that, like maybe the stomach is adapting, and the brain is adapting, and blah blah. But overall the body is in a state of change.

    The problem is a lot of people break that state of change every time it gets hard, so they never truly make it thru "carb flu" to the other side. Easier just to do it once and never go back. It took me three days of utter hell. My woman was absolutely DEAD for one full day, then bam she came back to life and was fully adapted. And she was the worlds biggest cargo-addict, I thought she would be knocked-out for a week. So it really must vary from person to person.
    Yes, it probably is as simple as 'low carb flu' though at first I was like 'seriously? eating 200 grams?'

    She's decided a good dessert will be a banana fried in grass-fed butter, w/ a dab of honey, and a date-only date roll before bed. Sounds good to me.

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    Thank you, everyone, I'm happy to report that she's out of the carb flu. Last night she went to sleep effortlessly and slept through the night. I can see her energy levels are stabilizing and I'm so ridiculously happy for her I could cry. Sorry about that, I'm a bit of a cheese over the mass benefits primal has offered both of us now. Hopefully she keeps in great spirits.

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