Feel like crap yet?
During the first few days of starting a low carb diet, some people experience what is known as the “keto flu” which occurs while your body is adapting to burning ketones instead of glucose. The basic symptoms that occur are: headaches, nausea, upset stomach, brain fog, and fatigue. Basically, you just feel like utter crap.
While this only last a couple of days, I’m pretty sure there will be times that you think: “why the heck am I doing this?”. I mean, I sure as heck have. Even this morning, I woke up with a massive headache and contemplated stuffing my face with those carb-laden products that still cover the shelves of our pantry. And most of us will quit and go back to the way we’ve been eating for most of our lives. But I’m really making an effort to change my relationship with food. I just really want to feel good in my own skin again.
So, what steps should we take to lessen these signs? To let us push through when all we want to do is raise the white flag?
First: you’re probably dehydrated. See, when you consume carbohydrates, your body converts the carbs over to glycogen which is stored in the muscles for energy. For each gram of glycogen stored, you gain 2.7 grams of water, which is retained because your kidneys hold onto sodium in response to carb consumption. Without carbs, you drop that water weight. Which means you need to drink a heck of a lot more water.
During the first few days you’ll also want to limit your protein and eat much more fat. Since your body transforms protein into glucose, it’ll slow down the transition. The best way to speed up the process, though? Eat all the fats. I’m talking cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped burger, with a side of mayo. And coffee with heavy cream. The fat consumption will hurry your body into ketosis and end the transitioning period, therefore ending the flu-like symptoms.
Lastly, a low carb diet will lead you to be deficient in magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Magnesium is depleted due to its role in insulin metabolism, and both sodium and potassium are excreted from this natural diuretic diet. So, another way to alleviate these “keto flu” symptoms would be to supplement these depleted electrolytes. Drinking a homemade electrolyte drink with meals can help replenish some of these electrolytes, and helps to keep you hydrated. Two for one – score!
Homemade Electrolyte Drink
serves: 6 * calories: 4 * fat: 0 * protein: 0 * net carbs: 0.2 * potassium (mg): 49.6 * sodium(mg): 69.9
- 1/4 c. erythritol
- 1/2 c. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
- 6 c. water
Place all ingredients into a pitcher and mix together. Drink with meals.
You can purchase a magnesium supplement such as natural calm and add about 2 tbsp. in. However, this was not available at my local store, so I take a 250mg tablet each evening before bed. Magnesium helps to relax, so it’s supposed to promote a better night’s sleep.
It tastes just like a sweet and salty lemonade!