Monday, January 7, 2013

Paleo Struggles

From an email from

"In my work with hundreds of patients around the world, I've found three common obstacles to fully adopting a Paleo diet. 
Issue #1: Low stomach acid 
"If you're switching to Paleo from a standard American diet, or even from a "healthy" vegetarian or low-fat diet, chances are you've been eating a lot more carbohydrate and a lot less animal protein. This can lead to a decrease in stomach acid production, which in turn reduces the output of digestive enzymes required to breakdown and assimilate everything we eat. 

"When you switch to a Paleo diet your digestive system will go through a transition period while you're "re-training" it to eat more nutrient-dense foods. If your stomach acid and enzyme production are low, this can be quite a shock to the system.
Issue #2: Sugar cravings and energy dips "It's not uncommon to experience intense sugar cravings and energy dips when you first transition to Paleo. This makes perfect sense from a scientific perspective: your body has become adapted to burning carbohydrates for energy, and it takes time to make the switch to burning fat as the primary energy source. 

"When your energy dips, your body craves quick sources of energy - usually sugar and other carbohydrates. This can make sticking with a Paleo diet extremely difficult.

Issue #3: Nutrient deficiencies "Some people do see amazing results immediately after adopting a Paleo diet. But often your body has some catching up to do before you'll begin to see these more tangible results. 

"Both the standard American diet and plant-based, low-fat or vegetarian diets are deficient in key nutrients that keep your body in balance and functioning smoothly on a cellular level. These cycles control important process like energy production, detoxification, and hormonal balance. 

"If any one of these cycles is disrupted, the symptoms of that imbalance could mask any progress you make as you transition to a healthier diet. In short, it may prevent you from enjoying the benefits of your efforts."

Solution?  Wait through the "craving stage" and eat as much fat as you can stand, while supplementing electrolytes and water (and some find glutamine powder helps with the fat adaptation transition). Keep learning, read Chris' blog to stay on top of the best transition strategies, and work on the careful experimentation that can help you get out of the SAD cycle of sickness.

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