Sunday, 20 February 2011

In Preparation

I have spent the last couple of weeks preparing to go primal, by reading books and forums, finding recipes, making shopping lists, buying food and clearing out the cupboards of rubbish food. It's not something you can just decide to do tomorrow without knowledge of what you are doing and why, and what problems you might face.

On reading the forums at Mark's Daily Apple I noticed that the majority of people experienced 'low carb flu' during the transition period. Symptoms include:

  • feeling foggy and light headed
  • unable to concentrate
  • trouble sleeping
  • weak
  • lethargic
  • achey muscles 
  • headache

This is because the body is used to employing easy glucose carbs and now must create glucose from fats and protein. This is a little more complex for the body to so but is entirely natural, it can just take some time for the process to get up to speed. I am fully expecting to feel like this for at least 5 days, as this is what happened when I did the Atkins diet, which is also low carb (lower carb and a lot less healthy). I have bought some potassium, magnesium and L-Glutamine supplements to ease the low carb flu symptoms during transition. The potassium and magnesium replace that which is lost in the extra water that is secreted from the body; carbs contain a lot of water and can cause bloating so quite a bit of water is lost during transition, and these good salts escape with it, resulting in a deficiency that can cause muscle cramps. The L-Glutamine can help fuel the brain while the body is adjusting to it's new fuel source.

I don't expect to be able to do any good quality work during this transition period, and plan to avoid social contact for fear of insulting or scaring someone; I become socially inept when my blood sugar is low, as my brain reserves what little fuel is left for basic functions such as moving and breathing, whilst the higher, more human functions are left somewhat wanting. I apologise in advance to anyone who may be in the receiving end of my low carb flu wrath. On the bright side, once I am through the transitionary period, I expect to feel full of energy, a bundle of joy and brimming with scientific inspiration.

Today I have emptied my cupboard of uneatables and coated my kitchen worktop with them, with the intention of organising them into bags and dumping them on my unsuspecting friends. Consequently, my cupboards were rather bare, until I went foraging at the supermarket, and a wonderful local store called International Foods. I have never been to International Foods before, but I shall certainly go there again as it sells most forms of coconut, nuts, seeds, ghee (clarified butter), nut oils and a plethora of huge bags of herbs and spices. It sells a lot more than that, but these are the foods that are hard to find elsewhere.

So the transition begins on Tuesday as I am going to a lecture on stem cells tomorrow and I would like to be able to successfully negotiate a bus journey without falling over, slapping someone or missing my stop. More importantly, I would like to be able to concentrate during the lecture because it's really interesting stuff, and network with potential future research collaborators without giving them the impression that I'm an irritable bitch from hell. Which I'm not. Mostly.

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