Belly bloat and other confusion

by (1078) Updated September 23, 2011 at 7:06 AM Created May 27, 2011 at 7:23 PM

I've done some research within PaleoHacks to try and find some reasoning with regards to my belly, but I still am confused (which doesn't take much).

For example, today I woke up looking like I swallowed a boulder. I'm tired, cranky, have dark circles under my eyes and am constantly scratching my scalp. I will cop to the fact that I did have homemade tamales yesterday and a gluten-free blueberry scone. Yes, I have sinned :(

Now a little more back story (I'm 30, F) - I made the choice to go gluten-free almost two years ago. Before that point, I literally though I was dying. After I quit gluten I was almost a new woman. But the gut was still swollen. I was desperate for anything- I tried all the fads with dieting (while GF) but still felt like crap. I even try to work out extensively but always have a knack for hurting myself- my muscles and connective tissue are so tight.

So anyway, here I am, pleading for advice. I read Robb's book back in December and it has clicked with me. But as I search on I realize my foray into Paleo has tossed me into the ditch from time to time like eating too many almonds, d'oh I should lay off the apples and other fruit and consider scaling back on dairy. My stomach scares me, really it does. I still feel sharp pains that will knuckle me over and the bloatedness makes my stomach feel hard as a rock. Perhaps this is a gut flora issue? Are there things I should be adding or subtracting from my diet? I will say I do generally get 8-9 hours/night of sleep although I do have a hard time going to sleep. My stress level is ok, but I do run my own business and am in school pursuing my masters.

I appreciate any advice and will answer any questions to the best of my ability. I feel like a new baby with everything and I am confused. Thank you!

Oh and here's my recent lab workup:
HDL- 45
Trig- 181

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9 Replies

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1724 · May 27, 2011 at 8:52 PM

1) Your bloodwork results clearly indicate that you eat too many carbohydrates and not nearly enough saturated fat. Triglicerides should be under 100 on Paleo, and HDL should be over 60. Period. Eat more meat. Eat fewer carbs.

2) You need to fast. You should add at least a 12-16 hour DAILY fast (i.e. stop eating after 8 pm and ingest no calories until 8 am or even until 12 noon). This will take care of bloat. After a while, return to 12 hour daily fast and do 1x per month 24-30 hour fast.

3) You need sleep. Dark eye circles are a combination of not enough fat in your diet and not enough sleep.

4) Exercise no more 2x per week until you get things under control. No cardio. Short, high intensity workouts only. Sprinting and weight lifting. This is primal / paleo.

5) Did I mention you need meat in your diet? Eat fatty cuts of grass fed beef. Slow braised meats. Bone broth.

6) Screw "gluten free" products. Greens. Veggies. Meat.

Best of luck!


8753 · May 27, 2011 at 9:06 PM

You'd be surprised how food intolerance can get a hold of you and cause these issue (maybe in combo with others). You might consider getting some allergy testing done.

I personally am sensitive to coconut oil, it has the opposite effect on me for some reason, so I use it sparingly and use lots more olive oil and ghee. So test it out on yourself slowly as you would with any new food.

An elimination diet might be in your future to try and figure out whats really bothering you. (remove dairy, all processed foods, no bottled/canned/jarred food or seasonings either, only eat nuts/beans if you've soaked and dried them, eggs, test your proteins one by one)

If you start a probiotic, review all ingredients! Also start with just a bit and work your way up to a full pill, otherwise (am speaking from experience) you might suffer worse side effects, probiotics can cause trouble to a compromised system in crisis if taken at too high a dose.

Digestive enzymes might be of help (also allergy free), but you've got to be more strict with your diet and also take the enzymes before, during and after a meal that might contain suspect items for you. Dont start by adding in these things until you've done the allergy testing.

Get yourself tested with a good gastro dr./allergy dr. and dont accept anything short of a solid, well researched, well reviewed diagnosis specific to you.

77348 · May 27, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Eat more meats and add more saturated fats like coconut oil or grass-fed animal fats so you get satiated and don't crave crazy things like gluten and sugar and other cheats. Cut out all processed foods, don't eat out especially if you are sensitive to cross contamination from gluten. Many are and don't realize it, especially people who haven't done enough research on gluten. It's one of the worst neolithic things, rivaling some industrial toxins especially today since grains contain more gluten per weight than ever.

Whether you goto the doctor or not add virgin coconut oil to your diet. It is too good to pass up, it has so many uses!

Coconut Oil benefits and uses:


Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.


Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Skin Care:

Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care. Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.

Heart Diseases:

There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.

Weight Loss

Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.

1078 · May 28, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful answers. I've made some changes already and look forward to seeing how it goes. I even changed my birthday meal reservations to a pure gluten-free restaurant that prides itself on absolutely no cross-contamination, so I can hopefully enjoy socializing without worrying if I'm going to be sick. I'll update as I go, since I know I'm not the only one with this concern that pops into this website.

220 · May 27, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Your story sounds like mine. It sounds like dysbiosis and possibly food intolerances. Eat grass-fed antibiotic/hormone free meat and vegetables mostly with limited fruit, berries are good. Stay away from any sweeteners for a while until your symptoms get better, then do a little raw honey if you want something sweet. I'd stay away from all dairy for a while, with your past issues with gluten, you may not be digesting it. Try a rotation diet where you eliminate suspected foods for a while and then reintroduce them. Don't eat things that you know make you sick. Get your thyroid, adrenals, and progesterone/estrogen ratio checked by a holistic doctor or naturopath. Take an allergy free probiotic daily for the bloating...Jarrow's is good.

280 · May 27, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Your story sounds EXACTLY like mine. Now, step away from the corn masa and do not return! I'm sure someone else will post something more insightful, but after going gluten free and feeling better, but not great I stumbled on Primal and Paleo and after removing the corn, rice, soy, and dairy from my diet I am literally a new woman. I didn't realize that people DIDN'T hurt after they ate and that your tummy is not supposed to balloon up after each meal.

Best of luck to you - keep tweaking, you'll find your formula soon enough!

7946 · May 27, 2011 at 7:44 PM

I think with your symptoms I'd bypass random people on the internet and head for a Doctor.

1078 · September 23, 2011 at 7:06 AM

Hey all, people have asked for an update so here you go:

I've not really gotten any better and I actually walked away from Paleo for a bit because I was getting too obsessed with the details. I am going in to see a ND in a couple of weeks to have a battery of tests run on my hormones. We suspect estrogen dominance and possible hypothyroidism. The clinic also has an acupuncturist/dietitian who has a Paleo background so I feel good about seeing her as well. I have a good support system in trying to get my life back on track, so we'll see how it all goes! I'll post my results when they come in. Perhaps that will give others the incentive to follow suit and/or compare.

Thanks everyone!

138 · September 01, 2011 at 9:12 PM

A bit of a late answer but check out these links

This may have some relevance, Good luck!!!!

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