Eating Better and Feeling Worse? Read This!
So often I get the question, why am I feeling worse if I am eating better?
First off, we have to be intentional to define what eating better really means. For most people, especially around January 1, eating better means trying to eat perfectly “clean,” with zero sugar, and completely organic. This isn't what it takes to be healthy, but this absolutely can cause you to feel some withdrawal symptoms. I explain this in the video here:
If you are more of a reader, I got you!
Reason 1: You are Detoxifying (Herxheimer Reaction)
So these symptoms can be detoxification symptoms, most notable when we have built up high amounts of toxicity in our bodies. In severe cases, these can look like flu like symptoms as listed below. The more extreme your symptoms, the more extreme your body is having to detoxify. This is called the Herxheimer Reaction:
Congestion or runny nose
Sweating / chills
Itching / skin rashes
Body aches / weakness
Constipation / diarrhea
Brain fog / lethargy / vertigo
Joint pain / muscle cramps
While frustrating, this is your body trying to respond to HUGE swings in your intake. The bacteria in your gut feed on sugar, so especially if you are going on an extremely low sugar or carbohydrate diet, you are essentially cutting off the food supply of the overgrowth of bacteria. While this is a good thing, it may not feel so great at first!
What to do about it:
If you want to follow this extreme approach, it will take anywhere between 3 -12 days for your symptoms to decrease, so drinking tons of fluids and giving your body rest would be the best bet... OR I WOULD RECOMMEND A BETTER OPTION.... I would encourage you to ditch the ALL OR NOTHING, cold turkey mentality. This can be really hard on your body and will convince you that health is hard (or horrible!) and it's not supposed to be.
Ease into a healthier lifestyle by focusing on what you are adding into your diet, rather than what you are taking out. you will feel so much better, and even if you are easing into a zero sugar/ processed food protocol, by the time you get there, you will not have as many toxins to have to rid the body of.
Reason #2: You went 0-100 with your fiber intake
Fiber is what adds bulk to our stool. In other words, it is going to make your poop a lot firmer, increase your bowel movements, and get you regular. WOO! Fiber also distends the stomach making you feel fuller, can slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, and is a phenomenal (and essential) addition to any healthy lifestyle. Fiber is found in almost all natural foods like fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, avocados, starches, whole grains, you get it.
SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?! Going from a very low fiber diet to a high fiber diet very quickly can be a huge shock to your system. (!!!) This can mean that we have significant changes in our poop, maybe you are feeling a lot gasier, or maybe you are not pooping at all! All of these are very common signs that we went too hard too fast on the fiber.
There’s one family of vegetables that can be especially hard to break down on a system that hasn’t been eating a lot of fiber. Cruciferous, or Brassica vegetables. These are your brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc… these have a really rigid cellulose structure around the plant that our bodies have to work hard to digest. And a healthy system, these foods are magical, full of nutrients, vitamins, and even cancer fighting properties! But if you’re experiencing a lot of gas or feeling really backed up I would encourage you to lower your intake of these foods until you can ease your fiber intake higher!
So overall, back down on the fiber and ease into it, instead of being a 0-100 psycho who can’t stop farting.
I hope this helped! If you need support on how to make sustainable, healing changes to your life and your body, reach out, we would love to help you in your journey! This is how we do it