Dealing with illness is never the nicest of things as one of the first things we ask ourselves is what caused it (or sometimes‘who gave me this’)? Yet dealing with illness when you’re on a diet can be even more perplexing as aside from all the usual causes we are also tempted to analyze whether or not it’s our diet that could be the cause.

Now let me say straight away that there are some diets that do cause temporary upsets particularly when you move away from your habitual range of foods and move on to something more healthy. After all no one expects to feel worse if they have changed to a more healthy diet but that’s exactly what can happen. Here’s why…

Firstly our bodies get used to a certain range of foods and the microbiome in our digestive tract gets comfortable handling it at every stage of the process from the acid levels of our stomach through the enzymes and bacteria that are used to break down the food right through to how much water is extracted as the food passes through the final stages of the whole process.

All of that is a relatively finely balanced process and even in normal circumstances,a slight variation in any of the processes can make us feel out of sorts.

As an example, I would argue that constipation is often caused by not consuming enough water particularly if you habitually eat or change to eating what might be considered quite dry foods.

So you can imagine that as each stage of our digestive process only really work swell between quite close tolerances, a move to any form of excess in any of the different food groups can cause a whole range of discomforts from a slight touch of diarrhea (or constipation at the other end of the scale) through to terrible stomach cramps and feeling like it’s the end of the world with mount vesuvius erupting in your bathroom!Now it’s well known that a low carb, paleo or keto diet does require a drastic change in what one eats so it no surprise that during the early stages the body grumbles quite a lot due to the changes being forced on it.

Anyone on a low carb diet for instance will have heard about ‘low carb flu’. A phrase that has also been adopted and adapted by the paleo and keto community as well to give paleo or keto ‘flu’.

These flu-like symptoms of headaches,fatigue or weakness, constipation and bad breath are simply the body responding to the change in diet as it has to not only increase any enzymes,bacteria and so on necessary to digest the changing proportion of foods being eaten, it also has to find another way of fueling itself and that will in turn mean a change in the level of certain hormones as an example.

So now I get to the important part and that’s dealing with illness…If after commencing a new diet you start to feel a bit off then first look at the obvious – are you eating anything that’s very much different from what you have been used to eating? Ask yourself the following…• Is it higher/lower in fibre?• Is there less/more fat?• Does it contain more/less water? Has the amount of leafy green veggies gone up or down? Am I eating more protein?

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list but it does serve to encourage a range of questions that seek to find out what’s changed and by how much.

And if you do notice a drastic change in your consumption of one or more food types then you have two clear options.

In the first case, see what others have experienced during the initial stages of the same diet you’re on and see how they overcame the period of upset and try doing likewise.

Basically see it through the temporary upset.If it’s not something that seems to be a common malady others on the same diet have experienced, then look at the list of foods you inspired by the questions above and at the very least reduce say any unusually high consumption of the most likely suspect foods and once things have settled down reintroduce them progressively until you are at the levels specified by your diets.

Of course do, do your own due diligence and make sure it’s not something unrelated to your dietary changes. For instance:•

Have you been on holiday and bought something back with you?

Are you going through a stress fultime at work or at home?

Have you recently had a change in medication?

Has little johnny brought back something from school?

I’m sure you’ll think of many other things to look for…

The key is not to simply assume it’s diet related but to carefully analyze what’s going on in your life and having done so, do what needs to be done to solve the problem in a way that works best for you.‘

Till next time,

Mark

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