Sigh.. I hate to be doing this, but I am at a loss.
Paleo was really the "cure-all" for me at first. Almost immediately, my anxiety and lifelong depression cleared up, my energy changed dramatically, my skin brightened, and my digestions issues were gone.
At the time, I had a lot of time to prepare all of my foods, carefully watch my supplements, and get the required amount of sleep. However, I now work about 40 hours in a restaurant and another 20 in an office. Needless to say, going to bed at 10pm and bounding out of bed at 7 a.m. ceases to exist, and my meals are often rushed and sometimes have to occur at the restaurant.
In the beginning, I could eat dairy, eggs, nuts, raw honey, nightshades alcohol, etc. Now, I can't eat any of it without being out at least 24+ hours. Even vegetable oils give me a headache, and I can't do any nightshades. I wouldn't mind giving up dairy or sugar (even nuts!) - but the others make my diet incredibly restrictive. And being intolerant to that many foods just doesn't seem right. Something else seems to be "off".
I have had some slip-ups. Gluten free oats, relying on honey, and soy-free, gluten-free chocolate naturally sweetened (absolutely killed my stomach). Not entirely terrible, but sure, not perfect. So I've switched back to my normal 100% paleo, but it's just not doing the trick. I'm exhausted all the time, irritable, and my stomach is constantly aching.
I understand that my lifestyle is taking a major toll on my diet. I also realize everyone is different, but I feel like I've tried every combination, and nothing is working.
So PaleoHacks... does my body just need a break? A detox? Suggestions for a vitamin or supplement that might band-aid this while I transition back to a normal 9-5 workweek? Something that might help me digest food in general? Does it sound like something else is going on here .. or just anywhere else I could look for help?
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I just want to say I'm sorry you're having a tough time.
Speaking for myself, it's hard to thrive above a certain level of stress or fatigue. Your thoughts above sound like you're pretty high on both issues, so that will be working against your attempts to manage your food balances.
I suspect the break you need is mental rather than dietary. That said, if you have a list of "safe" foods that cause you the least problems I'd definitely try to rely on them as much as possible right now.
On the mental side, anything you can do to settle your mind and find momentary calm as often as possible will help everything else.
Think kind thoughts to/about yourself!
I recently read this article: http://eatsleepmove.com.au/dear-paleo-its-not-you-its-me/
I know you're aware of the effect of lifestyle on your health, but I thought I'd share it to emphasize that tweaking your diet won't necessarily fix everything (or anything)--the root of your problems may be stress. It's super tough, but please try and be kind to yourself! Even if you just take five minutes to meditate before bed, it's better than nothing!
It could be that damn elimination diet paradox. Things get better, a lot better because of removing things that were aggravating to your system, and then hitting the wall when deficiencies start to show up. It is a bitch of a dragon to chase. I'm still chasing it. It is hard to hit a moving target because as what you eat changes, your gut biome shifts, and what you can tolerate and digest well can shift over time.
Personally, I'm taking a little break to experiment with legumes right now because out of nowhere I started craving beans like crazy. And so far so good. Do you have any cravings you've been fighting because they are off plan? If so, it might be worth indulging them for a short while to see how you respond.
Another thought just occurred to me, is the pain after eating instantaneous? If so, you could've picked up a stomach bug, developed and ulcer, or be having issues with your gal bladder. Some bacteria and parasites can screw up your digestion so bad it won't matter what you eat, eating is just going to hurt until they are dealt with. It is worth a doctors visit and poo testing to find out what is going on inside of you if things feel off in spite of trying to eat well.
If you like broth, doing a soup intensive diet might not be the worst idea for a while too to make your veggies and meat easy to digest and get some of that brothy goodness down to your gut lining.
If you don't think it is an ulcer, you could try what an old pal of mine called "chemotherapy in a bottle". He claims hard booze in liberal doses for a day or two will kill anything nasty. Not sure going on a bender is the best advice, but he seemed to avoid needing to go to the doctor more than the rest of us back when I knew him.