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Sudden indigestion, lack of appetite, what the...?

by 297 · July 26, 2011 at 05:27 PM

I've been about 80% paleo since September 2010 (I ate dairy, rice, and added raw sugar to coffee). In the end of June I gave it all up. I also stopped eating nuts and significantly cut down my fruit intake. With the exception of butter, ghee, and heavy cream, no more dairy. I'm still drinking coffee, but I've cut it down to two cups a day. The only way I'll stop drinking coffee is if I'm dead.

I've been very good, haven't cheated, and felt fine up until recently. For the past week or so I've had next to zero appetite. I'm down to one meal a day and I'm not particularly keen on eating even that. Yesterday I ate 3 eggs, 2 oz steak, 6 cherry tomatoes and 1/2 avocado at around 2 pm. I did a HIIT workout at 6 pm, ate an orange after, but nothing else. Except water.

Then at around 5 am I woke up with... I'll call it indigestion, but frankly, I don't know what it is. It's a feeling like there's a heavy hot rock sitting in my stomach. Some gurgling (very little) and lots of burping. It was bad enough that it kept me up. I've drunk tons of water and it's better somewhat, but it still isn't gone completely. This has happened twice now. Last time it was also many hours after I'd eaten.

Haven't eaten anything new or done anything new apart from giving up non-paleo foods. My energy level is just fine. I'm sure I'm not sick. Any ideas what's going on?

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5 Replies

77322 · July 26, 2011 at 04:15 PM

This totally happened to me after a couple of months of IF. I realized that I was eating too much at once and my body couldn't digest it properly. I went back to several small meals and found that my energy level improved and became more balanced and that nasty indigestion went away. I also found that if I ate too much protein with one meal the same happened. Now, I'm starting to get my appetite back whereas with IF I felt like my internal signals were off.

Oh - and green tea and increased water consumption helped me digest better too. I'm baaaad at not drinking enough water so I added a cup of green tea AFTER my meals and that was a helpful addition to ward off indigestion.

77322 · July 26, 2011 at 04:59 PM

Lack of stomach acid (yes, maybe due to eating too much meat, but maybe it's not that at all). Supplement with hydrochloric acid for a while and should return to normal. Take one HCL capsule once you begin eating (a protein meal). Next meal add one more HCL capsule. And so on, until you feel warm in your stomach, then back off one capsule. Stay at that amount for a couple of weeks. If your stomach starts to feel warm during that time, back off another capsule. I am not up here much any more so email me if you need help with this and find it useful.

187 · July 26, 2011 at 05:27 PM

Sounds to me like your gut bacteria is out of balance. The good bacteria in your gut help you digest and if they're out of kilter you can't digest your food and it will ferment in your gut leading to wind etc. Tim Ferriss talks about eating sauerkraut with every meal or at least breakfast. If not sauerkraut (you can make your own) then plain yogurt or supplement with a good quality acidophilus complex. Let us know how it goes and what it turns out to be. Good luck, Amanda

7571 · July 26, 2011 at 04:05 PM

It's pretty common to experience lack of appetite in the heat; is it really hot where you are? FWIW, I've had this too a few times- sudden loss of appetite and feeling like my food is sitting in my stomach forever. I wasn't sick either. I just kind of figured it was one of "those things" and it went away in a couple of days so I didn't worry. Appetite naturally fluctuates anyway.

15261 · July 26, 2011 at 04:41 PM

The same kind of thing happened to me after being really gung-ho for about 3 weeks. Not the exact same symptoms, but lack of appetite, especially for protein and fat, less energy, poor sleep, and poor digestion. This was after a month of the exact opposite.

I got a little too into the low carb thing and was eating almost exclusively protein and fat, probably something like 10-25g carbs per day. I already had a decreased appetite and was eating basically one big meal a day. One day I sat down in front of a nice juicy ribeye steak and couldn't take a bite. I had overdone it.

To get back on track, I ate a low-protein meal 1-2x per day for a couple of days (i.e. fruit and yogurt, or just fruit, or a big serving of vegetables dressed in olive oil), which is normally non-Paleo, but this is what my body was craving. After a couple of days I felt better, and after that I made a point of mixing more carbs, vegetables and fruits into every meal, and to be sure I ate at least two solid meals a day. I still stay in the 50-100g carb territory which is "low carb" for many people, but can include a lot of vegetables if you pick the right ones.

The fasting and "one meal a day" thing works for a while, but for me, not long term. If I try to pack a day's worth of calories into one meal, I can do it one or two days, but after a few more days it doesn't work.

This is where Mark Sisson's version of this diet makes a lot more sense to me than other approaches, he advocates lots of fruits and vegetables -- about twice the amount of protein, by volume -- with every meal. I think it is a mistake to try to go 100% carnivore.

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