The low carb flu, caffeine withdrawal, sugar withdrawal, constipation, cravings, depression, etc. Some people experience side effects when transitioning to paleo. Are there ways to make this easier, less painful and less stressful for newbies? How fast is too fast and how much stress should we put people under all at once? I am thinking especially of older or less healthy people who might not as easily be able to handle sudden change.
In my experience, you can get a lot of benefits of paleo without being as low-carb as some people are. Eat fruit, yams and squash to your heart's content. If you do want to go very low-carb you can do so once you've gone a while without gluten and junk. It should be much easier at that point.
Also, I don't know anything about this, but I remember Art Devany saying that supplementing with magnesium also helps.
I would recommend plugging your daily eats into some nutrition software to see where you may be deficient.
In terms of making a general change and giving your digestive system a chance to adjust, I had my Mum swap to a Paleo breakfast every morning, and eating whatever she wanted the rest of the day. Then she added a Paleo dinner, keeping a sandwich at lunch, until she was ready to get rid of the bread and bulk up the fillings. Her experience went smoothly that way.
Depending on how potentially "sick" the person maybe (ie: highly gluten intolerant), it may be hard to avoid some pretty severe symptoms. I'd say to ease someone in possibly as follows...
Just my thoughts...
Please consider a magnesium and potassium supplement. When you cut the carbs your insulin output drops sometimes dramatically. High insulin retains lots of water. When insulin drops, excess water is flushed out along with copious amounts of magnesium and potassium. Adding back 90-300mgs potassium and 400-800-mg magnesium will help in the transition. Use magnesium citrate or aspartate, avoid magnesium oxide as it is the least absorbable. Read the labels carefully, I was fooled the first time when buying a magnesium Citrate Complex only to find out there was oxide as well in it. When it comes to caffeine, stair-step it down. Cut consumption by 1/3 per week and do it over a few weeks. Don't go cold turkey but "go for" the cold turkey. Garnish with warm butter and sea salt.
I get people to drop sugar and wheat, then ease them into the rest... Omega 6s quickly follow.
Sugar is harder for most than wheat I've found.
Cold turkey is best for getting them to actually stick with it
Dr. Kurt Harris' notes might be of help:
"Overall, the biggies for discordance remain:
1 Cereal grains (Insulin effects, lectins, phytates, gliadin proteins)
2 Fructose as a high % of calories in a food abundant environment (Hormonal effects)
3 Carbs as a high % of calories in a food abundant environment (Insulin effects)
4 High O-6 PUFA consumption (imbalanced eicosanoid production with immune dsyfunction, inflammation and cancer promotion)
5 Inadequate animal fat intake might be #5, as it is both the consequence of and much of the solution to 1-4."
They are in this post:
I agree that those who are older or have health challenges might need to make changes in small increments, or work closely with a doctor in making the changes.
These guidelines on starting a low-carb diet, might also be of interest:
There are two distinct ways of beginning a low-carb diet. The method you choose is up to you, but here are some guidelines:
If you fall into any of the following categories, you would be well advised to follow Method 1 to begin your low-carb diet. This is the slow-start method.
If you are over 50,
If you already have one or more degenerative diseases such as diabetes or heart disease,
If you started originally with Method 2 and had poor results or undesired symptoms,
If you are the type of person who likes to start things slow and easy,
A low-carb diet can benefit almost anyone. However, if your body has already been damaged by a lifetime of eating a high-sugar diet, then it might be beneficial to allow your body time to get used to the new way of eating....
Method 1: Two Week Primer
If you are like most people, your typical daily intake of carbohydrates can be as high as 400 grams or more. On the slow-start method, we need to bring this down to no more than 100 grams per day for the first two weeks of your diet.
So, for the first two weeks, plan meals containing about 30-35 grams of carbs each, enough protein to add up to your estimated protein requirement, and the rest of your daily calories should come from fat sources. Eat as much as you want, until you are no longer hungry, but not stuffed. Also, drink at least 64 ounces of water every day--more if you are seriously overweight.
You may or may not lose weight during this primer period. But, you should at least have started feeling better. Once the first two weeks are over, you can skip to the next two-week period as outlined below, under "The Next Two Weeks." You are now on the same diet as those who started off with Method 2."
Here is the link to that page:
Hope this helps a bit. If you were thinking of "older" as older than 70 rather than older than 50, the process could well need to be much slower. I don't have any good links handy on that age group, but could look, if needed.
All the best to you.
Mine lasted longer than it should have. Turned out I needed my dose of prescription Metforman increased. Made all the difference. Some people may want to consider the possibility of insulin resistance. Also get the thyroid checked. These things all seem to go together.
Cold turkey worked for me - as did bacon and pot roast and salmon....
When I first did Protein Power about 11 years ago I remember that the quickly dropping weight counterbalanced the sugar cravings - success being it's own reward and all - but I never felt particularly bad. I think one way to "feel better" during the transition is to not overly restrict my food intake. That doesn't mean I should eat seven pounds of pemmican (gack!) or eat a lot of "candy cigarette"-type food. I would just want to avoid feeling too deprived.
I'm still pretty new to this, but I learned about paleo/primal about a month ago and started incorporating paleo-friendly recipes here and there during the week. We still went out to eat sometimes, and we still had grains & sugars in the house - just not at every meal.
Each week, i would incorporate more paleo meals into my weekly meal plan/grocery list, but we would still do totally off the map meals once or twice a week. Last week, i said we're doing this all the way this week and seeing how it goes. Did all the grocery shopping on Saturday, so since sunday afternoon (had a pastry at church in the AM) I've been strict on foods (husband has been about 80%, but he doesn't need to lose weight) and never got the "carb flu" or headaches or anything. I was surprised, but i think it's because i eased into it.
I intentionally did not give up my Coke Zero this week, though...i didn't want caffeine AND carb withdrawals at the same time or I knew i'd throw in the towel! Maybe next week, I'll work on switching to iced coffee with coco milk...