I have been eating Paleo for just over a year now. I like the diet quite a bit. When I tighten up and go pretty strict, I feel awesome. However the main reason that I don't go strict very often is how awful I feel when I eventually cheat, either by accident or on purpose. Sometimes when I crash, it is not so bad, but other time I crash, and crash hard. At its worst, for the first few hours my stomach goes into revolt, my bowels become schizophrenic, coupled with some nausea and headaches. Then for the next day so, it feels like I have a background hangover, but my stomach eventually settles down returns to normal, then back up to Paleo goodness.
I mainly eat Paleo for the sense of physical well being it gives me. The side benefits of anti-inflammation, and staving off diseases of affluence are certainly a close second, but just plain feeling good is king for me. Currently, my strategy is to "poison myself" just a little bit every day to keep my body familiar with how to deal with cheats. I don't feel as good as I do at the peak of strictness, but the crash is MUCH softer.
The obvious solution is to simply not cheat. Clearly my stomach prefers to eat Paleo all the time, and the benefits are clear. I think it might speak to the legitimacy of the diet when falling off the wagon hurts so bad, but on the other hand, it sometimes feels like I am giving myself a food allergy (kind of like when long time vegetarians eat meat). It is also nice having the diet self regulate. Knowing that if I cheat, I will feel terrible is a great way to stay strict. However, I really want the option to eat from the forbidden menu at times without feeling like I was punched in the guts for a day.
I was hoping that someone knows of a good way to preempt this. Is there an enzyme pill that makes digesting grains/gluten easier on your stomach? If I plan out a day in advance when I know I want to cheat, does fasting help lighten the blow?
Sometimes eating fully-adherent-paleo cannot be attained for whatever reason. Dr BG of the Animal Pharm blog has a post specifically listing what supplements lessen the "hangover" of cheating as she was traveling outside of the country and would not always be in control of dietary choices.
It is easy to tell people "if you feel terrible eating that crap you should just never eat that crap geez!" However, life is life and sometimes experiences, social interactions, travel, etc are more important than being perfect so don't suffer unnecessarily. It goes without saying that optimal paleo nutrition is the ideal situation and the supplements she has listed should not be part of a regular cheat program (you seem to be aware of that fact anyway). I have never used any of them either, so I cannot say if they work or not.
I take Source Naturals Enzymes- I THINK it's called "Essential Enzymes," I don't have the bottle handy. Very very helpful for my odd gluten cheat. I took 3 capsules with a cupcake last week & felt fine; normally I'd have a 3-day bloatfest.
I just don't understand how people can delibertly screw up their digestion with neolithic food and feel awful afterward because the body is saying...Get this shit out of me!
It's like going to the doctor and saying my head hurts when I hit it with a hammer.
And then asking the Doc...What can you prescribe so my head doesn't hurt? Doc says take these pills everytime you know you are going to hit your head with the hammer.
I had a slice of pizza today...... and now I feel like I have been poisoned. I knew before hand I shouldn't eat it. But I think part of your mind tells you it won't hurt that much. I think there are probably "lesser evils" that would be safer options to cheat with. I'll probably be sticking to those. I hate feeling this way.
There are specific enzymes for digesting gluten. Try searching Amazon for Glutenzyme or Glutenease. They have great reviews but I haven't tried them. Most suggest taking them before the cheat, but several said that they work great as an after pill- like when you realize that you just accidentally ingested gluten. For all around cheating (as in- not just a gluten issue) I think Jules recommendation sounds great!
I take the same essential enzymes, and I really can't see any difference. An important thing to remember is that many enzymes do not even make it very far into the intestines for digestion of starches because they are peptides and are easily broken down in the stomach and duodenum. So their effectiveness would very from person to person, depending on the amount of proteases your tract and flora make.
If you cheat, I would instead take activated charcoal, ginger, licorice and/or peppermint. Charcoal can help absorb toxins and the others have been shown in studies to help the GI tract. (I drink them as teas).
I do recommend cheating as seldom as possible though. First year med school: the absorption machinary of the small intestine decreases when it is not used. So, for example, if I go without dairy for a few weeks, my intestines will down-regulate lactase (the enzyme that breaks down milk sugars)... So if I then cheat with milk, I won't have the ability to break it down---> providing yummy food for opportunistic gut flora. Not to mention the fact that many people down-regulate insulin receptors when they eat low carbs---> which leads to spikes in blood sugar that can be uncomfortable. (but these get up-regulated again after a few days if your cheating lasts for a few days...)
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