April 28, 2014

Carb Deficiency

I'm having a hard time distinguishing whether my frequent headaches and restlessness lately are solely products of the stress of finals, or if the low-carb aspect of paleo is contributing. Today is my first of four final exams.

I planned to get up at 5:45 and go to the gym around 7:00 which would've been completely doable earlier this semester. Instead, I couldn't get out of bed and ended up cancelling on a friend and sleeping until about 7:30. I felt okay waking up, made breakfast - egg whites, chicken sausage and a sliced peach - and then studied for a little bit. By 10:00 I was hungry again, extremely tired, had a headache and felt like I could throw up. The other weird thing was that the TV was giving me anxiety. I thought laying in bed and watching TV would help me relax, but it made me more nervous.

Yesterday I was reading information on a paleo community Facebook page that said low-carb diets can have adverse effects on some people, including anxiety, weight gain, exhaustion and so many others.

Basically I have 3 hours to turn these feelings around so I can walk into the exam feeling like a human-being. I called my mom and she said "You need to eat something. Forget about the 'diet' and eat something, even if it's a piece of toast and a Coke." Really, that sounded like sacrilege to me. But, more importantly, I don't want to get sick right before an exam. I haven't had bread in four months, and I haven't had a Coke in probably a year, if not longer. Nor do I have any of these in my house... Yay for a paleo pantry!

I did remember that I had rolled oats in the back of the pantry. So, I made a bowl of oatmeal with coconut milk, pumpkin, pumpkin spice and some brown sugar. I'm hoping that helps. It felt good knowing there wasn't any refined sugar or absolutely terrible ingredients in this "carb fix." For those of you needing a boost of carbs and not wanting to completely stray away from the main principle of paleo, i.e. avoiding processed "crap," try white rice for a healthy, natural load of carbs. Update: I learned that oatmeal is not AIP or paleo and may cause issues for people with strong food sensitivities. Therefore, white rice and other starches such as white potatoes and plantains are safer than oatmeal. Personally, oatmeal soothes my stomach, so it is best for me. It may not be best for everyone.

For people without medical food sensitivities: Most importantly, listen to your body. Simply knowing you can say "I was 100% paleo today." is not more important that your health, well-being and state of mind. If you need to "binge" on a bowl of oatmeal, or really a Big Mac at this point, because you are having serious symptoms, then do it. At the end of the day, you're the only one having to live in your body. Although, I would advise staying away from the Big Mac and having something you know will not cause exacerbated adverse effects.

Has anyone else had effects from low-carb, or do you think it's mostly coming from the stress of finals? I love paleo, but if its effects become adverse after a while, that may be something to consider.

12:24pm Update: I think the oatmeal made a big difference. I also took an Aspirin, drank a dark chocolate almond milk and had a few cashews just before leaving the house. I have an Uberbar and turkey jerky with me for the exam. Wish me luck!

4/29/2014 Update: I ate oatmeal with breakfast this morning again. I feel 100% better today than I did yesterday.

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