I gave up the Paleo diet after hearing from my dietician I could go into a coma if I continue this weight loss plan of no bread, pasta, grains or dairy.
This got me to reflect back on the last six weeks of a diet for weight loss that could have put me in the hospital.
It started innocently enough. After a year of going to the gym and losing a nominal amount of weight that I had gained after my twins were born, I switched gyms and hired a trainer. He suggested my going on the Paleo diet that basically consists of a protein-based, no dairy, no-carbs diet.
My body goes through carbs withdrawal
At first, without doing much research on the weight loss program, I just took all the bread, pasta, grains and dairy out of my diet eating strictly proteins and a few vegetables. The first couple of days were pretty brutal while my body was adjusting and I really craved the cereal and milk I used to eat every morning.
Green eggs and Ham
I started my day out eating eggs and bacon or sausage. Lunch was tuna or a chicken breast, snacks were a handful of nuts, and then dinner was a chicken salad or ham and more eggs. The only carbs I got came from the vegetables or small amounts of fruit I ate.
How to lose weight fast!
After a couple of days, I noticed a spike in my energy levels and increased mental clarity. Then after losing five pounds after the first week, I was the newest convert in this no-carbs religion.
Theory behind the Paleo Diet
I started doing some research online and found a whole industry about the Paleo diet with books, recipes, and on-line shopping lists.
The theory is that thousands of years ago during the Paleolithic Era (hence, the “Paleo” name), the cavemen ate only meat and vegetables and that humans were not made to digest carbohydrates, which are made of grains containing gluten (which most people are allergic to) and lectins (which are hard on the gastrointestinal tract).
The theory further states that dairy is not made to be ingested by humans past the baby stage and that most people are lactose intolerant anyway.
In addition to losing weight quickly, mental clarity, and increased energy, trials have shown that this diet is known to improve decrease type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, improve athletic performance, reduce autoimmune disease, eliminate acne, and improve sleep, among others.
Losing stamina, nearly fainting
After about two weeks on the eating plan, my stamina during workouts at the gym had decreased so my trainer suggested adding some fruit to my morning breakfast and then eating a handful of berries or a small glass of orange juice thirty minutes before arriving. However, I was still noticing that I had decreased energy and had to nap just to get through each day.
After four weeks on the diet, I almost passed out during a workout and my trainer stopped our session and made me a fruit smoothie which perked me up within ten minutes.
I had lost twenty pounds already, but I was wondering if I was causing any damage to my body.
I made an appointment to see a dietician and after a two-week wait, I finally got in to see her.
She was appalled after hearing my daily intake of carbs, said I was taking in far too little, and made the comment that “there is a reason the cavemen didn’t usually live much past thirty.”
She explained to me that our brains need carbs to work, and the liver generates these carbs, so when the liver runs out of carbs to provide to the brain, the brain can eventually simply shut down and one can go into a comatose state.
For some people, the Paleo Plan can be a success, but it was not for me. There is a chance I did not do the plan correctly, but I do not plan on trying again to find out.