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Paleo and GAPS experiences please….

Blog Forums Dieting Sucks! Paleo and GAPS experiences please….

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    Wow, this is all so fascinating. It really makes me wonder why so many of us have had DISASTROUS results doing this, while others seem to thrive.

    I see that heart palpitations seem to be a common issue. Anyone have any idea why this happens? And once it starts, will it ever end??! I started getting them almost right away on GAPS, and now that I’m refeeding, they don’t seem to want to go away….


    paleo was the nail in my ‘adrenally fatigued’ (aka starvation, but yes it damn near killed my adrenals) coffin.
    So bad, so exhausting. There is no WAY I can eat that amount of roughage and sweet potatoes anymore. I do alright with meat and fat, but I need some damn rice. and ice cream. ugh. And yes, I had a lot of lethargy, nausea, heart palpitations…it was much too low carb for someone who was struggling with overexercise to begin with. Of course, I DID get very lean, so I guess it works, at the expense of well-being.


    I did paleo/low carb for years. I had all the same problems pop up like many of you already mentioned. If it wasn’t for my health turning to crap and Johnny Lawrence educating me I may have never changed!! So blinded I was.


    Johnny Lawrence- as in the Karate Kids nemesis?


    Yes. He is also a forum moderator here.


    This all makes sense, but there is one lingering point I can’t get over. I started exploring all of these ‘healthy’ diets because I was eating a standard American diet of whatever I wanted and I felt like shit. So I sought a better way, which is what most of us here have done. I am now more screwed up than ever, but adhering to Matt’s ideas is just going back to the starting place of eating whatever I want and feeling like shit. I don’t see how this solves anything?!


    @cooking, you are right, up to a point. That COULD be a problem. My thinking is that people who are super-paranoid or super-restrictive just need to have a period in which they put aside all dietary guidelines and eat. I don’t think that should be a long-term strategy for most. I am back to eating mostly “clean” food without all the dietary guidelines. Fruits, vegetables, meat, some grains. If I do eat “junk” it’s occasional and I don’t feel guilty about it or think it’s going to destroy my health. However, you are right. If people eat indefinitely in that way, it could lead to problems.

    The Real Amy

    Cookin, I second what Thomas sad. You are right, the standard american diet probably won’t get you anywhere good. The unrestricted eating is supposed to be temporary. Then, Matt recommends a better diet. I eat mostly organic and local. Whole grains, some refined grains, legumes, meat, fish, fruits and veggies, some dairy. Very little junk. Once you start eating what you want, you often find that what you want is a healthy square meal, rather than a bag of cookies.


    I’ve never done GAPS since it seemed like too much work, but I’ve done variations on paleo and low carb and none were sustainable. If I wanted to never go out to eat or experience new foods, I could have stayed low carb forever, until all I ate was coconut oil and grass fed beef. No thanks.

    I did intuitive eating (i love junk food, and love to eat rich foods) for 10 years and while the fatigue and chronic blood sugar swings that ensued were not fun, in some ways I feel that I was healthier eating that way since I wasn’t so obsessed with how food was “affecting” me. I wish i’d never started dieting and just allowed my set point to stay and focused on moving around and maybe making my food higher quality, even if it was 230lbs.

    Like most people here, i am striving to find a balance now without falling back into a black hole. What I like about eating the food is I have energy and am not such a huge bitch. So, that’s something.

    Steven e

    I did GAPS in spring of 2012 to address gut issues and general chronic illness stuff. I had already been on full GAPS since January, but it didn’t seem to do much for me, so I went on intro in the spring. I stayed on the intro diet way too long waiting around for my digestive function to normalize, so I was way low carb (in spite of eating as much honey as I wanted, which wasn’t much because I just couldn’t choke down very much) and almost no fiber. I was basically starving. At first all my inflammation went away and I slept well. I had firm stools, too firm actually, but exciting after decades of pretty unhappy stools. I lost the blood sugar swings and became “good at being hungry”. And my digestion was much better. No gas or bloating etc… that lasted like a couple of weeks. Then I stopped relishing the boiled goat (ate three whole goats in a very short space of time! Just now losing my squeamishness over boiled or poached meats), carrot juice, coconut oil, butter, avocado and honey that was almost all of my diet and was unable to eat very much. I basically experienced a Loss of appetite for food, sex and life. I almost stopped eating, and starving to death seemed like it would be easy and maybe not such a bad idea. After all, if all food was going to kill me, but I couldn’t at the food that would fix me, what’s the point? I lost a lot of weight off an already light frame. Extremely lethargic. Poor sleep. Depressed. Crazy food neurosis. I’d go in the kitchen and look for something to eat and everything was forbidden, so I’d just go back to bed. Finally added vegetables and some potatoes, but I was way too far gone to do gaps with “safe” starches. Found the cheese slave gaps fail post and ended up here.

    At first I thought I’d do a sort of a “GAPSish rrarf.” Don’t ask me what the hell that was supposed to consist of! Then I just ate what I wanted “within reason”… WAPFish I guess, but still pretty neurotic and not eating consistently enough. Then about three or 4 months ago, I totally went for it. Now I’m 30 or 40 pounds over comfortable, Pretty bad digestion, usually pretty fatigued, legs hurt, poor sleep, acid reflux on and off. The good side is that I’m pretty well adjusted regarding food, higher body temps (though unstable, especially at night), almost no heart palpitations, libido is pretty good and I have less blood sugar emergency feelings than I used to. I had quite a few improvements immediately on re-feeding, notably, stronger and more muscular and just more stable feeling as well as more confident. Everyone said I looked healthier. My muscles seemed sore from growing, even though I was just doing my usual work around the place. But now I sort of feel like I’ve slipped in many ways. I Have to admit to horrible break up stress during almost the entire re-feeding phase, which may very well have had a strongly negative effect on my progress, especially since it has affected my sleep. The quelling of “Orthorexia Neurosa” is great, and the increase in body temperature is encouraging. At least I can measure that and I can actually feel the difference.

    Steven e

    Having got through the initial re-feeding phase, I am naturally gravitating toward more nutritious foods like vegetables and meats. I never ate much real junk food though. Just not interested and the few experiments in that realm left me feeling really cruddy.


    Steven, how awful! Reading your story, thinking if I had just received an animal that had been through what you have been physically, I’d expect it to take a year to be in good health. I’m a farmer, so I think that way ha. So anyway, keep at it.

    To the OP I went more low glycemic to start, if I ate fruit it was like a quarter of an orange or half an apple, ate very little grain (except once a week I ate all I wanted of dominoes thin crust). I slowly lost weight (been overweight since a kid and started all this at 199.9 lbs). After about 5 or 6 weeks, my chronic lower back pain subsided. I remember the moment it stopped hurting. I was at the theater and I thought “something’s different” The I realized it was a lack of pain in my back. Anyway, I did this for a while, then eventually got off grain (except that once a week pizza, which I was careful not to overdo but I ate pretty good (I tested my blood sugars, didn’t want it over 140). I was really happy. But then I stopped losing weight at the lower 170’s after like a year. I was really wanting to get to about 150. So then I cut carbs more, below 100. Lost a few more lbs, upper 160’s woohoo! Then I really went and did it. Ketosis, 1,200 calories (later I learned I burn nearly 3,000 on a lighter day). Boy was I cranky! Get out of my way. And I was tired and I was obsessed with when I got to eat again and what I was going to eat. And it was just all eggs and cheese and fat wads. Because I was doing moderate protein ketosis too. So I lost down to the lower 160’s started eating more like 1,500 calories because I was starvin Marvin. Stuck. No energy, cold, felt like crap, constipated. That’s when I started rrarfing, that was like back in March. I’m back in the 170’s again but I fell pretty awesome. Ran 5 miles this morning. I’m not starving, in fact I’m not going to hit my calorie goal today, no way. I poop now.

    Only thing is, my heels are cracking again. Other than that everything is pretty much better. Hormones can be a little whacky but that comes with *any* change.


    Oh and I meant to say, I was tired as could be when I started eating again, for a while, but it did pass and energy replaced it in waves. I might be tired 5 days in a week and energetic 2, a couple weeks later I might be tired 3 days that week and energetic 4. At this point, a tired day has become a rarity and I mostly have energy as long as I get my sleep. I took a crapton of naps in the beginning.

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 9 months ago by Ashley.

    2 years Paleo. I still ate some fruit and starches but boy did I eat a shite load of meat and eggs + guzzle soooo much water.

    Pros – Abs, Decreased allergies, Eating whole roast chickens for lunch.

    Cons – Fatigue, Dizziness, Jaw pain, Anxiety, Depression, Low Blood PRessure, No sex drive, Acne, Night sweats, Constipation, Low Body Temp, Reseeding gums/Gingivitis, increased alcohol sensitivity.

    Its a shame because I did enjoy eating that way, and I love the concept. But if somethings not working its time for change.

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 9 months ago by OldMate.

    My story. Grew up in Eastern Europe where traditionally was eating a very Weston Price type of diet ? home cooking, lots of fermented rye breads, raw dairy, seafood, all parts of animals, pristine seasonal produce, kind of a ?Sally Fallon’s dream? diet. Never had any major issues with health then ? except for seborrheic dermatitis which I developed at the age of 15 (my brother had it too) and some digestive bloating occasionally around my period.
    At the age of 35, however, I was diagnosed with celiac disease and my skin and digestion started getting considerably worse, so I got on a quest to figure out what to eat to cure my problems. It was also the year I immigrated to Canada, got separated from my great traditional diet and got introduced to the world of tasteless industrial foods (the hardest ?cultural shock? to overcome).
    That was 10 years ago. I settled on a high-fat, very low-carb version of paleo incorporating lots of raw foods, and was doing that, by and large, for about 9 years. That included periods of Kwasniewski’s Optimal diet, AV, Maker’s Diet, Specific Carbohydrate diet, your basic Primal Blueprint, etc.
    First couple of years were amazing. My skin completely cleared up, for the first time in my adult life. I thought I was cured. I felt great, lots of energy, kind of a maniac state all the time, digestion improved. Then I started running into trouble. First came periods of shortness of breath, heart palpitations, pains in my chest, and truly horrid constipation. All that followed by frightening low sugar episodes and panic attacks. Then my energy plummeted. My dermatitis returned with vengeance. I started having stomach pains and almost daily uncomfortable bloating. Then depression came. Years of no drive, lethargy, complete absence of energy, you name it. That was the time I started experimenting with AV-inspired diet and also tried Specific Carbohydrate diet. No matter what the diet was, it never exceeded about 30 – 50 grams of carbs a day, since I was so orthorexic that the mere thought of eating more of those killer carbs would make my palms sweat.
    Finally, last fall I developed symptoms which I was not able to ignore any longer. On top of everything else, I developed extremely dry throat and mouth and the sensation of a hard lump in my throat. Felt like I couldn’t swallow and was chocking all the time – a truly terrible feeling. That came together with constant burping and heartburn which I never had in my life! All I read about heartburn before was that it is caused by sugar, processed foods and starches, which I ate NONE! My panic attacks and debilitating anxiety episodes became a daily occurrence. It became obvious that something was seriously wrong, and my ‘super-healthy diet? was not just useless but was probably the one to blame. ?????
    That was the turning point, from which I started my slow healing journey back to ?normal?. Cut most of the salads, fruits and veggies out. Stopped eating ridiculous amounts of meats, fats, broths, etc. Slowly returned starches, white grains, easy to digest fruits like bananas and oranges. The lump in my throat started disappearing, so did burping, heartburn and panic attacks. Slowly but steadily, within about 6 months, my energy returned back, depression and constipation were gone, all other symptoms were gone! I basically went back to normal and that felt almost like a miracle.
    I am now very diligent about eating enough carbs and have potatoes, rice, taro etc. at every meal. Not to forget honey, bananas and oranges. Gluten-free pizzas, pies and breads are back to my menu as well. That is supplemented with butter, cheeses, eggs, seafood and meats if I want them.
    My seborrheic dermatitis is still here ? but I just made peace and learned to live with it.
    And I gave myself a word that I will never be back on any type of a ?diet? again ? especially ?paleo? – ever.

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