low carb flu

What causes the low carb flu?

Anyone who has read the Dia nutrition guide knows that drinking broth daily is essential to feeling your best during Phase 1 and avoiding the symptoms of the low carb flu, as you transition to fat metabolism. Lowering carbohydrate consumption lowers insulin production (which is hugely beneficial for weight loss, appetite control and overall health!), but as insulin levels drop our kidneys excrete excess water that has been retained throughout the body. This is a good thing (and it can explain how quickly we lose that bloated look and feel when we lower carbohydrates in our diet), but this flushing effect can easily cascade into dehydration and mineral imbalance if we fail to anticipate the phenomenon and guard our electrolytes. Actively avoiding dehydration is particularly important for breastfeeding moms (who should be drinking at least 2 cups of savory homemade broth, our Dia Phase 1 soup, or store bought bouillon every day during the 2 weeks of Phase 1). The good news is that dehydration and associated symptoms are preventable when appropriate steps are taken to consume adequate water and salt! With these tips, you can feel great as your body adapts to a new way of eating.

Pickle juice cure

Fill a large glass jar with lemon slices, water (filtered or mineral), and a pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt. Drink one per day or anytime you feel thirst or a headache might be coming on. Another option is to take a quick swig of pickle juice! Preferably a brand without synthetic food color.

“Epsom, take me away!”

Soak for 10-15 minutes in a warm Epsom salt bath 2-3x/week. When taken at night, this can relax you and prepare your body for an excellent sleep. But most of all, it provides a great, safe source of magnesium! We readily absorb magnesium through the skin, and this delivery method conveniently avoids the digestive impact of too much magnesium too soon when taken as an oral supplement. Some of you know what I mean… (think milk of magnesia). 🙂

Butter it up

When in doubt, eat more fat! As your body transitions from fueling itself primarily from glucose to fat (both the fat you eat and your stored body fat), it will have moments of freak out where it’s like – “hey! where did all the sugar go?!” To adapt as quickly and easily as possible, dramatically increase the fat in your diet during transition! This can include fats that naturally occur with proteins, like whole eggs, beef, pork, chicken with the skin, full fat cheese, etc. And it also will include added fat, like butter (on steamed/sautéed/roasted vegetables), olive oil (drizzled on greens), coconut oil (an excellent cooking oil!), fresh avocado, nuts, cream and coconut cream. I know it feels counterintuitive, especially when weight loss is a goal, but eating more fat will help you blaze through the metabolic transition as smoothly and comfortably as possible. Then, once you’re cruising in fat metabolism (you’ll know you’re there because you will feel a surge of energy that remains stable, a marked decrease in hunger, and a general sense of calm and well-being)… you can dial back slightly on the added fats until you meet your weight loss goal. The most common error I see people make (other than skipping the broth!) is to try to go low carb AND low fat – there’s a word for that: starvation! And it’s a recipe for failure.

Our goal is to deeply nourish your body and restore hormonal balance, allowing your body to healthfully relinquish any excess body fat that it no longer needs. Eating real, whole, unprocessed foods, complete proteins, natural fats, adequate salt and abundant vegetables will achieve this more easily and completely than you might have imagined possible.

By Leah Keller, Creator of The Dia Method. Learn more about Leah at leahkeller.com.