So You’ve Changed Your Diet or Stopped Drinking Coffee and Things Have Gotten Worse? Here’s What to Do…
Recently, I have been celebrating with clients who have eliminated foods from their diet that they felt they needed to let go of. As we celebrated, the question came up: “Why am I having other symptoms though?”
The common theme in symptoms from giving up artificial sweeteners, coffee and artificial food dyes (in gum, candy, and other foods), were:
- Low energy
- Bowel changes (loose bowels, constipation)
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling stuck or like a basket case, in some instances
These kinds of symptoms can often lead a person right back into the foods or habits they had just let go of!
So here’s something to keep in mind, when you are changing food habits…your body will go through an adjustment period. Some of this can be chalked up to “detox,” but others are simply “start-up” symptoms. Startup symptoms are when your body is finally getting what it needs to keep the engines flowing. What was once stuck is now kicking into gear. As the engines start up again (nervous system, hormones, digestion, energy, etc.), your body is revving up in unpredictable ways. During this time, I’ve had clients report changes in bowel habits (even things like green stools!), a high blood pressure or high cholesterol reading, weird blood test results that used to be normal and are now out of whack and more.
It’s very important to be loving and kind to yourself through this time. Beware of going into alarm mode. This is a time to respect the process of your body. Talk to your health practitioner and explain that you have made these changes. Sometimes, you have to ride the wave through the changes so that your body can readjust into working normally again.
Find Healthy Comforts in Your Life
If you have had a lot of stress and you are also going through this or if it’s winter (when moods tend to be lower), symptoms can feel even more magnified.
This is a time to take things easier, do less, slow down and find healthy comforts in your life. Dance, go for a walk, gather with friends, take a bath, do some skin brushing, get a massage, plan more time for sleep, read a fun novel, meditate, spend time with your pet…whatever brings you joy and comfort!
Avoid jumping into things and changing too much at once. It will only push the body through more chaos and it won’t be able to settle as easily.
Listen Carefully to Your Body
You may find that you feel much better in some ways. Perhaps you are sleeping more deeply, finally dreaming after having no dreams, feeling calmer or feeling an underlying “waking up” of your energy. Maybe you are feeling more positive in ways you hadn’t before, even if they are just small glimmers. These are all signs that your body is waking up and adjusting to a healthier state.
Here are some things to consider that might get you through these times (please discuss them with your doctor or health practitioner though, because there may be contraindications if you are on medications, have certain health conditions like migraines or other areas to consider…remember, I am not a doctor! I have seen this work though and Julia Ross covers a lot of this in her books, The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure, including contraindications to watch out for):
- If you’re giving up coffee and feel depressed, exhausted or like you need some support with mood and concentration – the amino acid L-tyrosine can help. L-tyrosine is all natural and can feed the thyroid. It also helps boost dopamine, the motivation and rewards hormone. Keep in mind that you want to start with a small amount first because it’s energizing. You’ll know you’ve had too much if you feel too wired or if you can’t sleep that night.
It’s best taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Now Brand has a pure L-tyrosine powder. You can take half or 1/4 the recommended dosage to start and add more if you need it.
Remember to look at contraindications first and talk to your health practitioner!
- If you’re giving up artificial sweeteners and you are having mood or energy issues (or cravings) – the amino acid DL-phenylalanine (DLPA) might help. This is energizing and mood boosting. If you don’t need more energy and just need the mood support, D-phenylalanine (DPA) is a better choice.
Contraindications to be Aware of
Just like L-tyrosine, there are contraindications to be aware of before taking this supplement, so look into these and talk to your health care practitioner before taking it. Companies like Bulk Supplements sell the pure powder, so you can customize the amount you take. This is another supplement you’d want to start small and see how you do with it. You could take 1/4 the suggested amount on an empty stomach first thing in the morning (it’s energizing, so don’t take it too late in the day!) and see how it goes.
These amino acids are the breakdown of protein and can be very helpful in giving up addictive substances like coffee and artificial sweeteners. Once your body is replenished with these nutrients, you won’t need them anymore. Listen to your body — if these work for awhile and then stop working, it’s likely because you don’t need them anymore!
There are other ways to support your body if taking amino acids does not resonate with you: acupuncture, massage, and other body work along with walks and light exercise can really help. Infrared saunas, Epsom salt or magnesium flake baths and meditation are also really wonderful. Anything that gently supports your body in cleansing, de-stressing and relaxing is a great option to love yourself through these times of physical and emotional change.
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