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The Paleo Transition – What to Expect When you Cut the Crap

January 10 2017 – Jessica Timmons


Remember a few posts ago when we said we weren’t going to try to convince you that eating Paleo is the way to go? Eh. If you’re hanging around this site, you’re probably at least mildly interested. So today, let’s talk about the transition period – what you can expect when you cut the dietary crap and start eating better.

First, a disclaimer. Your transition period will be just as individual as you are (you special little snowflake), so your personal tolerance to things like grains, legumes, dairy and refined sugars, plus how much you were consuming, will impact your body’s reaction to coming off them. It’s a detox, by any other name, and it affects everyone differently.

In general though, it’s normal to feel, well, not great when you start eating a Paleo diet. For some, it means headaches or general sluggishness. For others, it’s feeling nauseated, foggy or downright exhausted. And for most people, it’s a serious case of the crankypants. So what’s the deal with all that?

Don’t worry – this is to be expected. Whenever you make a big change to your diet, it follows that your body will react. When you go Paleo, you’re slashing refined carbs – and if you ate like a typical American does, you were eating a lot of those. That means you had a steady source for glucose conversion, and significantly cutting into that can lead to headaches and nausea. There’s even a name for this particular phenomenon – the low-carb flu.

Ideally, you’re replacing those refined cards with nutrient-dense and fiber-rich carbs like sweet potatoes and any of the myriad of squash in the world, which will make you miss empty carbs a whole lot less. And bonus – more fiber means more filling, more satisfying meals.

You’re also getting rid of a host of anti-nutrients when you go Paleo – stuff like lectins and phytic acid, both of which are next to impossible for us to digest and cause problems like inflammation, gastrointestinal trouble and nutrient deficiencies – which may contribute to the fog you feel stuck in for a little while there.

But the thing is, a few days or maybe a week or two into this whole eating Paleo thing, you’ll suddenly feel better. You’ll actually feel amazing. You may notice that you’re already leaning out, and that those cravings that were a normal part of your day just a few weeks ago aren’t bothering you anymore. You’ll notice more energy, more clarity, even better sleep and brighter skin. No more uncomfortable bloating after a carb-heavy dinner (we’re looking at you, pasta and garlic bread).

And that’s when you’ll know – the Paleo bug got you.

So the million-dollar question is, do you have to feel terrible to start feeling amazing? Nope. Tune in Friday and see how to transition to the Paleo diet as painlessly as possible (spoiler - a few Ice Age Meals in the freezer will help).