Why I Quit The Paleo Diet After 1 Year: A Woman’s Perspective

20 Reasons Why I Quit The Paleo Diet After 1 Year - A Woman's Perspective

These are the 20 reasons why my husband and I quit the Paleo diet exactly a year ago. I’m grateful to it for showing me the beauty of whole foods, but it has also damaged my body pretty bad.

As time passed, my thoughts crystallized and I was able to work out the best kind of diet for my own body, which is really called “Listen To Your Body” diet. Thanks to Ayurveda, I’ve been able to rediscover my intuition, find balance in my life, and make peace with my body.

If you, guys, are interested in what I’m eating these days, I’ll be posting much more about it very soon. I’ve just filmed a What I Ate In A Day video and I’ll also be talking about what my “diet” looks like now, so watch this space. I promise, there will be no silly restrictions and fanatical ideas: just nourishing and delicious food.

As time passed, I was also able to look back, reflect, and see all the things that went wrong after one year on the Paleo diet. You see, the problem is that the majority of Paleo gurus and leaders are men and they really aren’t the best people to advise women. The Paleo diet may work for a lot of men (however, not all – just look at my husband’s case), but women’s bodies are different.

This article about women’s health and fertility in the Paleo For Women blog was instrumental in my switch to a different way of eating. It finally gave me a perfect explanation for a lot of the issues I was having on the Paleo diet, especially anything related to beauty or hormones.

Of course, fertility is very important to me as I’d love to have a baby in the future, so if a diet isn’t good for my fertility, I ain’t gonna do it!

Plus, we are all different and need different things. One diet doesn’t work for everyone, right? I’m sure you knew it already. But it took me years to learn this lesson.

If you’re wondering what sort of Paleo we were doing, we were following the Primal variation of the Paleo diet (as the one promoted by Mark Sisson on marksdailyapple.com). It allows mostly raw, organic dairy, although we tried a strict version without dairy as well and it made us even more miserable.

We tried staying at around 100-150g of carbs and we also tried low carb below 50g, but it was a nightmare.

If you want to hear all the detailed explanations behind each reason, watch the video:

Otherwise, here are the 20 reasons why my husband and I quit the Paleo diet after one year:

  1. The Paleo diet sapped all my energy. I was in such apathy that sometimes even getting up from the sofa or saying a word was too much of an effort for me. It also made my energy fluctuate A LOT!
  2. I had the driest skin of my life. Yet it was also very bumpy and rough.
  3. The Paleo diet weakened my teeth enormously. In just a few months, my gums recessed more than they have since my teenage years. My teeth became very sensitive to cold and sweets. I also got 6 new cavities in just 6 months on the diet.
  4. My hair was dry and oily at the same time. It was impossible to style as my curls looked limp. My naturally curly hair suddenly started to lose the curls. I also started experiencing a worrying amount of hair loss.
  5. I started having problems with concentration and memory: losing trail of thought in the middle of a sentence, not being able to concentrate when trying to write or do anything creative, my brain was lagging behind my tongue, so it was difficult to speak or make videos.
  6. My hormones got out of whack. My periods went from heavy, but regular to still heavy, super long, slow to start, and… OK, that’s the weirdest bit. They were stopping and then two days later starting again. Has it ever happened to you? It completely went away a few months after I quit the Paleo diet.
  7. The Paleo diet gave me headaches for the first time in my life. They weren’t migraines, but nagging, low-grade tension headaches most afternoons, which made doing anything so much harder.
  8. I got constipated, which might not be such a surprise because I’ve always been quite irregular in that department. However, the Paleo diet took it to another level. I really struggled. Even my husband Luca, who has always been very regular, started struggling with it.
  9. I had no energy to exercise after the first 6 months.
  10. Weight started creeping up after the first few months, no matter how clean we ate or how low our carbs were.
  11. I was never OK mentally and spiritually with eating so much meat. You can’t be truly grateful and appreciative when you eat it every single day, usually even more than once a day. Being an ex-vegetarian, it just wasn’t cutting it for me.
  12. I’m a very laid back and peaceful person, but the Paleo diet made me aggressive and irritable. My poor Luca started wondering if I was really the same sweet girl he married all those years ago!
  13. I got depressed for the first time in my life. It was horrible. Do you know that feeling when you’re overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and anxiety, but when you try to think logically, you can’t find any reasons for them? Yet the sadness doesn’t lift? That’s what the Paleo diet made me feel. I have quite a few tips for those of you that are suffering from this type of depression, so look out for those in the future,
  14. I realized that a lot of the Paleo claims are bullshit (excuse the word). Paleo people ate low carb? Nope. People haven’t been eating grains long enough to adapt to them? Nope. Science is such a flexible subject. You can bend it as much as you like it, so please do your own research.
  15. I kept getting weird underskin bumps on my neck and under my jaw. According to Chinese medicine, they were signalling clogged up liver and a diet that was too heavy for me. Yup, it sounds right because those bumps are gone.
  16. The Paleo diet made my ankles swell up on hot summer days. That never happened to me before.
  17. Both Luca and I became prediabetic after one year on the Paleo diet. Never had problems with blood sugar before, now we do. We’re slowly getting back to normal and I still think that a blood glucose meter is the best tool any health conscious person can have.
  18. The Paleo diet made me age more in that year than I’ve ever aged in a year before. That might be subjective, but that’s what I feel looking at my photos from just before and after the year on the Paleo diet.
  19. My nails became weak and started having white spots all over them. Ayurveda would explain that as malabsorption of minerals due to excess Vata. I couldn’t agree more and yes, the white spots are gone now.
  20. Apparently, I missed one of the points in the video. Oops! 🙂 So here it is: the Paleo diet made me bloated after most meals, especially after dinner. It was making any kind of social life impossible. I was always prone to get bloated, but every single day? Numerous times a day? That never happened to me. Again, that’s all due to excess Vata.

So these are my 20 reasons for ditching the Paleo diet. It was a horrible diet for us, but it might be different for other people.

Listen to your body. Don’t ignore your heritage: if your ancestors have been living on grains and potatoes for centuries, you might not thrive without them (yes, that’s me!). Do your own research. Take everything with a pinch of salt. But most importantly, don’t feel compelled to follow diet gurus blindly.

Don’t be afraid to accept that you’ve been wrong and that what you’re doing isn’t working.  If we didn’t make mistakes, there would be no progress.

I hope you found this blog post interesting and/or helpful. If you share it, you will help my blog grow and reach more people, so I would be very, very happy and we would prevent lots of women (and men) from potentially risking their fertility and health (and mental health). Knowledge is power!

If you’d like to be in the loop when I’m not uploading videos or writing blog posts, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also subscribe for email updates, so you’ll never miss any new blog posts.

Now it’s your turn to tell me: have you had any bad or good experiences with the Paleo diet or low carb diet, whether you’re a man or a woman? Are you following it? Did you in the past? Or are you thinking of following it? Let’s discuss!

Lots of love,

Vita xx


Never miss a post!
Join the others who've found my articles helpful! Get DIY beauty, delicious recipes, motivation and so much more straight in your inbox.


  1. I can give you the only diet you should ever need. Ready? Eat everything! But: use only quality ingredients, prepare everything simply, eat everything in moderation. Oh and do stuff to burn some calories. Regular yard work. Walks. Weekend football. Whatever.

    Promise you, it works.

  2. Peggy White says

    Very interesting read. None of this has been my experience.

    I came to Paleo through Whole30 and it has been fantastic for my sense of wellbeing.

    I still have dairy, and after the first 30 days re introduced rice, potato and sweet potato without ill effect.

    Yes, we are all different and what suits one person does not necessarily suit another.

    I think that one of the main benefits for me has been the exclusion of sugar and bread/wheat from my diet. I think the exclusion of these items has probably been the biggest change factor for me and so I am so glad to have realised this at the tender age of 65. Here’s to the rest of my life without those life threatening (for me) ingreditents.

    • You have included rice and potatoes back into your diet, so that might be the reason why it’s working well for you. You must be getting enough carbs. It’s so good to know that you found the perfect diet for yourself. Thanks for sharing your experiences! xx

  3. AnnieBananie says

    What do you think about “Whole30”? I just got the book….. its by the Hartwigs .

    • Hi Annie, I’ve read the book as well a while ago. I think it’s still too restrictive, but it’s a great framework for an initial clean up of the diet. Good luck if you’re going to try it! xx

  4. Hi Vita, glad to see you back. You are not the only person who has experienced these and other symptoms while following a certain diet. I sometimes read Heather Pace’s Sweetly Raw blog, where she ate all raw vegan diet. She experienced some serious health issues as well, and changed to basically a whole food diet that incorporated all food groups (including meat) and cooked some of it. I think all of these diets: Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, etc. have a great basis meaning they all use whole food ingredients and very little processed, but then get extreme when eliminating a certain food group. I’ve noticed there are all sorts of people who claim that their health issues improved following a certain diet, but I’ve seen where the same issue cleared with a Paleo diet for one, for another it was a vegan diet. How can that be? Because instead of eliminating meat, or dairy and grains, they switched from a processed food diet to one that is mostly whole. I think that’s key. Also, everyone’s body is different, what works for one person doesn’t work for another.

    I came across a great article on Greatist.com from Nia Shanks. She basically has said the same thing you did in this post. I’m glad you’re feeling better and have found something that really works for you!


    • Hi Gail, you’re absolutely right. I also often think that the success of different diets lies in the fact that people eliminate all the junk. On the other hand, I also believe that people come with different metabolic types or constitutions as Ayurveda would call it. And that’s the reason why some people thrive being raw vegan, others do well with Paleo, yet others do best with a variety of all the different food groups. Thanks for such an interesting comment. I’ll definitely look up that article by Nia Shanks. xx

    • Veganism by definition isn’t a “diet” and therefore other than not having meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products there is no particular recommended way of eating at all. You could eat nothing but junk food and be vegan, or could eat all wholefoods and be a vegan. It is frustrating that veganism gets caught up in these dietary fads because it isn’t a “diet” per se. You can balance your protein, carbs and fats however you like. I just wanted to clear that up because you can’t really say that someone had an issue clear up with the “vegan diet” because there is no one shoe fits all diet for vegans.

  5. Funny timing Vita. I have been arriving at the same place over the last month. I could not eat the volume of meat, also having been a vegetarian for most of my life. I too am Vata by the Ayurvedic system. I recently found this type test that was very helpful: http://drkateklemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/The-Metabolic-Type-Self-Test.pdf

    • Hello Roxanne, thanks so much for that test. it was very interesting and I completed it straight away. I came out as a Mixed Type and that’s the result I consistently get whenever I do similar tests. Also, in Ayurveda, both Vata and Pitta are almost equal in my body, but then Kapha isn’t far behind, so what I need is a bit of everything. Gald you’ve been arriving to similar conclusions! xx

  6. For many years my diet was primarily vegetables, fruit, dairy, fish, poultry, wheat products, olive and coconut oil, and some sugar. No red meat or pork products. After developing a post-Lyme hypothyroid condition, gall bladder removal combined with menopause (winning combination!!) the weight crept on despite modifying my diet and adding exercise. Decided to try Paleo last September, which was fine at first. No gluten helped my thryoid tremendously, and I added grass fed beef to my diet. I took enzyme and ox bile supplements to help digest the meat since I have no gall bladder. Felt fine at first, but over time felt more toxic. My usual perfect complexion became dull and the rosy cheeks became pale. I didn’t lose any weight until I went dairy free (except for ghee) a few weeks ago. So much of what you listed here, Vita, I experienced first-hand. Reassuring to see it wasn’t only me! I totally agree that Paleo is hard on the liver. I’m back to my primarily produce-based diet with only fish and occasionally chicken, no gluten or dairy this time, limited sugar (even dark chocolate has a little bit!), and certain carbohydrates such as buckwheat and black rice.
    Vita ~ a question for you… The Paleo diet effected my teeth and gums the same way as yours. I’m thinking since the meat in the body creates a heightened acidic environment, the body pulls calcium from the bones and teeth to balance the pH. What have you done to heal your teeth and gums since giving up Paleo. Thanks for a great article! <3 ~ G.

    • Hi Ginger, I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling so much with the Paleo diet as well. I wish it came with a warning.

      I’m actually still struggling with my teeth and gums as well. Some days they feel much better, but then other days (like today) they are totally killing me. I’ve been doing a lot of different things, but so far nothing has given me consistent results. I’ve recently discovered that the contraceptive pill blocks the absorption of various minerals and vitamins (including vitamin b12, zinc and vitamin c, which are vital for healthy teeth and gums) and I’d been on it for 10 years before my healthy lifestyle journey started. So I’m pretty sure I’m deficient in many things after so many years of use. I’m going to try to supplement all of those nutrients and see if it makes a difference.

      In any case, I find that my teeth definitely feel better when I have carbs and proteins together.

      Another thing that came to my mind is elimination diet. Have you tried it? Gluten and dairy of course are the most famous culprits, but then there are many more others, such as nightshades, citrus fruits, nuts, etc. which are also worth investigating.

      Once I know a bit more about this issue and if my mouth starts to consistently feel better, I’ll surely write blog posts about it. For now, it’s too early for me to speak. I hope you will find peace with your body very soon! xx

  7. Can I ask how/what your are eating now? What have you changed?
    Paleo has definitely changed my life, my husband’s life and more recently, my parents!! I will say I did go too long without enough carbs. I’m realizing I need to incorporate healthy carbs back into my diet for fertility reasons. I struggled with daily bloating and some constipation as well. I started taking a really good probiotic and that solved that problem! What fixed your bloating after quitting Paleo?
    Other than that, I am the healthiest I’ve been in my life! I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. I think I’ve been sitting here for like, 5 hours now reading and watching videos!!!! Addicted and learning so much!!!!

    • Hi Leah, I’m so glad you’re enjoying my videos! It feels so good knowing that I was able to keep you entertained for hours. 🙂 Actually, the only two things that managed to fix my bloating for good were pretty much giving up anything with fructose (mostly fruit, honey, and sugar – I have something called Fructose Malabsorption) and having regular 24h fasts and intermittent fasting. I feel that having time for the gut to rest, cleanse itself and recover on a regular basis has been the most helpful thing ever. xx

  8. For 15 months ago I read a very convincible book about LOW carb high fat diet and thougt I must try on my own body just because it sounded so unbelievible. I was normalweight already, but i lost 7 kg, got better skinn, stronger hair(i lost a lot after 3 months with LCHF, but now it’s growing fast and thick), perfect mood and perfect physical form – i Will Run half marathon next Year :).
    So- big big YES to good and natural fat and big no to bread and sugar.
    I’ve also made health check and my blood values are highest possible, good for blood donator :).

    • Yay, that’s awesome! I’ve been low-ish carbs as well for the last 10 days or so because I’m trying to lower my prediabetic sugar levels. So far it’s going great, but I don’t see it as a long term solution for myself. Just to give my body a rest and a chance to rebalance, then I’ll try to find my carb ceiling or my sweetspot. Thanks so much for sharing your story! It’s very inspiring! xx

      • I’m confused. You are going back to low carb to fix your pre-diabetic blood sugars yet you stated above the low carb paleo diet was the cause of your pre-diabetic state?

        • No, I didn’t go back to low carb. I tried it again for a couple of weeks and it was a disaster: my blood sugar went through the roof. As soon as I reintroduced grains, my blood sugar was perfectly balanced again. The Paleo diet was definitely the cause of a lot of my health issues.

  9. Hi Vita,
    Thanks for your video. It’s awesome that I found you on youtube and now your website because I’ve been having similar worrisome symptoms from the Paleo/LCHF diet. It’s great to know that I’m not the only one that is having issues. I initially tried the diet to help with sports performance, losing weight and acne issues but after the initial benefits I starting having trouble with insulin resistance (blurry vision and postural hypotension-dizziness from low blood pressure when standing up from a lying position after introducing a few grains/potatoes back into my diet). Also, I’m just getting over a gum infection and your experience gave me an AHA moment about why my gums are receding so fast and having so many teeth problems. I’m trying to rebalance now and am eat higher healthy carbs and less meat protein in my diet and it seems to be helping a lot with all the negative symptoms and the weight is dropping off as an added benefit! I’ve lost a lot of respect for medical doctors who don’t understand the holistic approach to nutrition and health. I think we should all try to figure out works best for us as individuals and not rely on general sweeping assumptions based on textbook health and wellness. I hope you find your carb sweet spot and effectively manage your sugar levels. All the best to you and your husband on your food journey!

    • Hello Dorris, I’m sorry for such a late reply! I’m so glad you found me! You know, I recently tried Paleo again and it was a disaster. I definitely need my legumes and some gluten-free grains. I reckon that a lot of these issues we’ve had with the Paleo diet could be due to magnesium deficiency. Paleo diet is naturally low in magnesium, plus higher protein requires more magnesium in order to process it. It’s definitely something to look into. There is a great book called Magnesium Miracle. I agree with you, it’s really important to listen to ourselves and find what works for you. It’s not worth looking up to doctors and waiting for solutions because they just ain’t gonna come. 🙂 xx

  10. Oh dear. Poor you. It sounds like your gut microbiome took a hit when you reduced your carbs and resistant starch. Maybe investigate how you can look into specific gut problems like overgrowth of candida, parasites and excessive pathogenic microbes and archae species compared with symbiotic and commensal microbes. Also have a think about whether you might have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with slow gut transit through your small bowel. You might want to look into different types of probiotics, maybe even soil based probiotics and raw fermented foods or a gut healing diet like SCD or GAPS. Although other dietary things to investigate are safe starches and resistant starches as per the Perfect Health Diet approach to paleo.
    It also sounds like the stress of altered gut flora and low carb might have pushed you into pyroluria (which is a real condition! It’s just not well enough researched). Maybe read up on the signs and symptoms of this and do the pyroluria questionnaire to work out whether it would be worth getting tested for this, as supplementing with zinc, P5P, biotin, magnesium and evening primrose oil might be beneficial for you.
    Great to incorporate bone broths from ethically raised pastured/ wild animals and do some nose to tail eating, especially liver, but make sure your vitamin D levels are adequate and you have enough vitamin K2 when you’re eating foods with lots of vitamin A.
    I love that you are mindful of animal welfare. Have you looked into the work of Alan Savory of the Savory Institute on using holistic management and large herds of animals to reverse desertification and improve the topsoil?
    Best of luck on your journey.

    • Hi Catriona, thanks for all the tips and insights! I already use bone broth (I even made videos about it), and I think the real reason why I failed on the Paleo diet was magnesium deficiency (the Paleo diet is notoriously low in it, plus eating more protein needs more magnesium to digest it). I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which got aggravated by lower carbs. Finally, I kept eating lots of fruit to get extra carbs and fruit is a huge no-no for my bodu. I do much better with starches for carbs. I’ll look into Alan Savory’s work. It sounds very interesting! xx

  11. What? Just because it didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it’s not a good lifestyle for others.
    Look up paleo and pcos.
    I have this condition and paleo has saved my life, my cycles are normal, I’m ovulating, I feel better,my insulin resistance is under control.
    I’m strict paleo.

    • ¨The fact that it works so well for you doesn’t mean that Paleo diet is healthy for everyone. Just like the fact that it ruined my health doesn’t prove that Paleo diet is bad for everyone. We are all different. Also, if you came to Paleo from the SAD diet full of processed foods and sugar, of course you would see amazing results. But if you come to Paleo from a healthy, balanced diet like I did, your health might suffer.

      • What makes you think I came from a bad diet?
        Nothing about what I said makes that valid.
        You literally just said what I said in the beginning which was “just because it doesn’t work for you. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for others.
        Which is exactly what you repeated back to me..
        In fact healthy or not, it is proved to be the only ‘diet’ that has worked for people with certain conditions, or do you just think that all conditions come from processes food?
        I ate REALLY good before, but I made exceptions for whole grain bread,maybe some potato here and there, protein bars after a workout.
        My weight gain was rapid once my condition took over , I was in the gym 5 nights a week for two or three hours switching weight trains and cardio, I was also a package delivery driver.
        the fact you say it’s claims are bull maybe you had something wrong with you and paleo made it worse..
        I just find it hard to believe that eating natural food is the cause of your problems.. Unless you just ate a bunch of red meat.
        We might as well start bashing vegans too for their strong restrictions.

        • Did I say that the Paleo diet doesn’t work for everyone? No! All I said was to be careful and watch for the signs I talked about, especially if you’re a woman. A lot of people coming to the Paleo diet come from the SAD diet or from restrictive diets, such as veganism. Naturally, they see great results for a while. You say you were eating whole grain bread in the previous diet. Perhaps you were gluten intolerant and that would explain why the Paleo diet made such a difference. If when you’re talking about Paleo, all you mean is a natural, whole foods diet without gluten, sure it’s amazing. But that can’t really be labelled Paleo. I’m against labels, not against clean eating. All labels and taboo is give people eating disorders (nearly made me orthorexic, too). Also, you mentioned vegans, sure I could talk a lot about their restrictions as well. What happened to a normal, balanced, varied diet that our great grandparents grew up eating?

  12. Paleo isn’t something like ‘Atkins’ or ‘south beach’ in fact it isn’t a diet at all!
    It’s referred to from Paleolithic times. Maybe the word “paleo” was the best way to explain this to people.. Wasn’t vegan but i don’t do dairy and never have,( and yes my vitamin D levels are great),I’m not gluten intolerant. I’ve been tested for it.
    it is in fact not a diet or even meant for use in weight loss.

    Once again, it doesn’t work for everyone but does for some.. You don’t have to keep trying to find reasons for why it works for me, it just seems kind of lame to really complain about a healthy lifestyle when your main concern seems to be the ‘standard American diet’ seeing as you keep referring to it.

    Take it from someone who has personally watched people live a successful paleo lifestyle and watched women become pregnant who have been trying for years prior.
    Paleo isn’t just about what you eat.

  13. But it seems you have an autoimmune disorder. Paleo is not suggested for autoimmune disorders in the first place.

  14. So that being.. This is paleo perspective from a woman with an autoimmune disorder.
    To say “from a woman’s perspective”. Is like saying “drinking milk from someone with lactose intolerance”. Ehhh.
    Instead of saying “especially if you’re a woman” maybe you should be saying “especially if you have an autoimmune disorder”.
    Because I know how harsh ingestion is with people who have crohn’s.. And well.. Paleo worked. But eating certain foods treat us all differently.

    • Unfortunately, the Autoimmune Paleo is one of the most pushed diets for anyone with autoimmune issues, which is a bit of a disaster if you ask me. By the way, I attribute my autoimmune issues to the Paleo diet. I’m not the only one: just look at so many female Paleo bloggers who have Hashimoto’s, hypothyrodism, etc. (The Paleo Mom being one of them) Also, you’re on the verge of being offensive, so if I get one more comment from you like this, I’ll have no choice, but to block you. If you’re so sure about your diet, no need to attack others so aggressively. I’m sharing my experiences on my own little corner of the Internet. I’m not coming to your space preaching to you so forcefully, so please show some respect.

      • Hello Vita,
        Thank you for sharing your experience with the paleo diet. It’s interesting and not at all surprising that different people can respond so differently to various ways of eating.
        It was likely either trolling or ignorance, but I do find it bizarre that the poster above would state that paleo diets aren’t recommended for autoimmune conditions – and then use that as ammunition – when a quick google search proves the exact opposite to be true. I, too, have Hashimoto’s, and it was all the the internet hype that duped me into believing that grains (especially gluten-containing grains) and dairy, along with many other decent and nutritious foods, *must be* destroying my gut and endangering my health.
        So I tried the autoimmune paleo diet and stuck with it for three months, keeping it as varied as possible considering all the restrictions. I attribute the marginal benefits I initially experienced to feeling empowered by my dietary decisions, since I believed that I was doing the right thing for my body. All the veggies helped too, as they would in any dietary template.
        But there were problems, too. After a while, I developed a few symptoms that were similar to what mentioned in your video: irritability, anger, mild constipation, mild abdominal discomfort at night, sore hands and dry skin. I also got sick of eating so much meat. So I started my reintroductions and had no issues with any of them. Not even gluten.
        Now I eat anything I want and practice moderation. No more diets. I feel better with more carbs, way less meat and plenty of variety. Learning to ignore dietary dogma has probably been one of the best steps taken towards better health.
        Just figured I’d share in case my experience is helpful to you or others 🙂

  15. Hello
    There is also an important aspect which was not mentioned here. Following the paleo diet costs a lot of TIME! Some people just don´t have the time to spend so much time in the kitchen. I am on paleo but I make exceptions because sometimes it´s just very difficult and absolutely not practical. I have an 8 hour full time job and travel 1 hour to get to my working place. So, after work if you want to make sports or just want to relax, it is a pain in the a….. to do some cooking, then cleaning the kitchen, travel to the healthy food store to get your organic foods, etc. Thus, when time is short, I make exceptions. But the idea behind paleo is good: to eat unprocessed, natural organic foods, local and seasonal. By the way, another important point is sports. People who are very sporty need a lot of carbs. It is extremely difficult to get enough carbs with paleo and I personally don´t think that low carb is healthy. It is NOT! I experienced it myself. Low carb just doesn´t work for me. I felt sick all the time, my energy levels decreased, I got aggressive and moody, I had horrible headaches, muscle cramps and felt dizzy all the time. NEVER AGAIN!

    • True, but this is not just about Paleo. Any whole foods diet demands a lot of time. Whether you cook meat, vegetables or grains, it’s going to take time if you cook everything from scratch at home. I guess it’s a choice that each of us have to make at some point: we must either find time for cooking now somehow or spend lots of time for sickness in the future. It’s sad, but it’s true. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with low carbs. So good to know I’m not the only one. xx

  16. Hi Vita,

    I am glad you are now feeling in better health. I was not surprised however at a lot of your symptoms that all seem to potentially stem from hormonal imbalances as a result of your meat heavy paleo diet. Meat, dairy and eggs are known to encourage the body to produce testosterone (yes, even in females) which is probably why this diet will have worse effects for females than for males. An excess of testosterone and an out of whack hormone system would explain several of your symptoms such as issues with your skin and hair and periods, your mood turning irritable and aggressive and even your headaches. I say this because I have an autoimmune disease which causes my body to produce extra testosterone and these are all symptoms I have as a result of this.

    I have found good results with just having a good balance of carbs, protein and fats (without resricting any one of these important macro-nutrient groups like a lot of fad diets do) and personally I only stick to plant based wholefoods with my fats only coming from whole sources such as avocado, nuts, seeds and whole olives (i.e. no vegetable or coconut oils).

    • I don’t agree with you at all that meat, dairy, and eggs increase testosterone or cause any other hormonal imbalances in women or men. Humans have been eating them for millions of years. It’s what we’re made to eat. The problem with the Paleo diet is that due not being able to consume so many different food groups, people resort to eating large quantities of animal products, which then causes problems. Moderate amounts of animal protein with gluten free grains, legumes, lots of cooked veggies, and fruit have restored my health to glorious health. I am not eating the way my ancestors have eaten for hundreds of years. So glad that your way is helping you with your autoimmune issues! Ultimately, we all just need to listen to our bodies. It will tell us what the right diet for us is. xx

      • Your quote: ‘The problem with the Paleo diet is that due not being able to consume so many different food groups, people resort to eating large quantities of animal products, which then causes problems.’

        This is a straw man argument. This is not a problem of the Paleo diet. This is a problem of people executing it incorrectly. Paleo is *moderate* protein intake and the original interpretation is to make up the rest of diet with plenty of non starchy veg and healthy fats. The current thought processes are shifting and the diet can be adapted to a higher starch intake if the LCHF version does not work for someone. Never was the diet intended to be high animal protein. If this was your mistake you could have easily adjusted your diet to higher carb paleo.

        Funny, for each of your negative reactions to paleo I have had the exact opposite reaction (i.e., anxiety/depression improved, acne and bumps on neck resolved, moisturized improved skin/hair, lower leg edema resolves). I eat several 1-3 servings of starchy *non gain*carbs per day following the Paleo diet. Each person has to find what works for them, but I felt the need to comment because when I see people complain about Paleo or Whole30 it often seems to be the result of eating too low carb for their personal context, eating too little overall, too many nuts, too much raw veg etc

        • Your comment is typical of someone who believes that their diet is supposed to work for everyone on this earth. I understand because I was like that myself when I believed in the Paleo diet. Wish I’d listened more to other people and to my own body, instead of being so stubborn and closed minded as I was at that time. Good for you if the diet has resolved your issues. In my case, a diet with lots of carbs from grains, legumes, and potatoes resolved all of my issues. Go figure! We’re all different. xx

          • “Your comment is typical of someone who believes that their diet is supposed to work for everyone on this earth.” Nope, not really; that is not what I was thinking or implying.

            Your answer did not address the point I was making, either.

            My main point was that you are misrepresenting the diet.

          • Sure, because “I did it wrong”, That’s also a typical answer of someone who is blindly believing in their diet, be it Paleo or vegan.

        • Sigh….again not what was said or implied by me. But this will be the last I waste time commenting

          So defensive!

  17. Interesting! I like paleo recipes because they’re usually crap-free, but also agree that a very low- or no-carb diet is not a good long-term option. I’ve been on an almost no-carb diet for health reasons (long story — digestion is whack and I haven’t been able to get it sorted yet), and these are *exactly* the symptoms I’ve developed. I’m pretty sure it’s nutrient deficiencies, pretty much.

    I’m 100% convinced that the issues we have digesting (real, not processed) grains, etc. as a culture are more about toxic pesticides, and about what we’re *not* eating than about the actual grain. Our gut bacteria are pitiful here in the West, and good gut bacteria are essential for digesting things like grains well. People have been eating grains for thousands of years AT LEAST, and we’ve only had widespread digestive issues for, at most, a few decades. Common sense, then, says the grain is not inherently the problem.

    • Most of the symptoms I talked about in this blog post were all due to hypothyroidism and adrenal issues, all exacerbated or started by the Paleo diet. I totally agree with you that it’s kind of funny when all the blame is put on grains when just a 100 years ago people were eating grains and were incredibly robust and strong. It’s not the grains, it’s the way we prepare them, the way we fortify them and spray them with stuff, it’s all that sugar and processed food, etc. And of course the antibiotics that mess with our gut bacteria so badly. xx

  18. I was following paleo diet for 6 months and felt great, like im on the top of the world but then my body start to crash. I got panic attacks, lose of sex drive, wound wont heal, depression, strange prrssure in head, muscle cramps, constipation, blurry vision, bad sleep and so on.Now i introduce sweet potato,legumes,red rice,bananas in my diet and i feel better every day.

  19. I ate paleo for about 8 months but then I stopped for about a year. My recent asthma test was significantly worse, so I tried going back to paleo, but I’m three weeks in and I’ve decided it’s not good for me. I have such a hard time eating enough food so I am always hungry. The extreme restrictiveness of paleo is not healthy for me mentally, either. I was incorrectly accused of having an eating disorder when I was in high school, and the subsequent food journaling and whatnot to show I was okay really destroyed my relationship with food. I worry that I will become orthorexic if I continue such a restrictive diet. My issue now is that I’m not exactly sure what I should eat anymore. Obviously you can’t know this exactly, but maybe you could suggest some resources? Thank you.

    • Hi Sadie, I’d suggest looking into Matt Stone’s “Diet Recovery” (just ignore the junk food, the rest is gold) and Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions”. They’re perfect for recovering from orthorexia and from being afraid of food because you think it’s unhealthy (like grains or legumes). Sally goes into detail about proper food preparation and is a real food/nutrition bible. xx

  20. Thank you for this! I had a recent resolution to go strict paleo and then I went even further with GAPS. I’ve never felt worse, headaches, dizzy spells, constipation, angry, anxious, insomnia, acne and a bit agoraphobic because I can’t leave the house… I’m hungry all the time! I’m also a bit concerned that it’s made me hypothyroid. I thought maybe if I did it long enough my body would adjust but after reading that you did it for a year I think it’s doubtful.

    I recently started adding rice (soaked) back to my diet and I’m planning to re-integrate my beloved potatoes soon. I did loose about a kilo of weight on paleo/GAPS and my stomach is flatter but I feel I can attribute that to the lack of calories with such a restrictive diet. It’s very hard to get enough carbs on paleo or GAPS. I’ve also found a lot of studies that show bone broth yields almost non-existent amounts of minerals and is probably not the panacea that we are fed to believe it is. Yes if you go from big macs every day to paleo you are going to reap awards initially. But I wasn’t a junk food eater before paleo and it’s not given me any good results. I had so much more energy before paleo, I used to jog and do HIIT every other day…now it’s a challenge to get out of bed, and maybe I can do a really simple yoga practice. I can’t wait to get my energy back! Thank you!

    • Your experience sounds excactly like mine, and I feel better than ever now eating plenty of potatoes, grains, and legumes. Hope you get your strength and energy back very soon <3

    • I just wanted to add bone broth always made me sick, I followed GAPS for a while as well. I did the 24 hour bone broth. I tired chicken, beef, and fish (eww) My nose would get stuffy when consuming and I felt nauseated. I kept telling myself it was die of.. when in fact I think I was allergic. It still happens when I try years later. Maybe from the gelatin.

  21. nermin akıcı says

    I tried autoimmune plaeo for three months. I am so regretful for ever trying it. Because now I can’t control my blood sugar. In the first month after I quit the diet, my insulin and glucose tests were very low. However in the second month they began to increase immediately. They are still in normal ranges but closer to upper limits. Now I do not know what to do. I am afraid of eating carbs or fruits. Do you have any idea how long it takes to get back to normal and how ı can get back to normal? My body started to show neuopathetic aches especially on my hands and feet. I need help!!!!!!

    • Oh boy, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. I had problems with my blood sugar while I was on the diet, but when I quit it, my blood sugar became more and more stable. Now I don’t have any more problems. Paleo diet can slow down thyroid function (that’s what happened to me) and can tax adrenals as well, so those two could be the reasons for blood sugar issues you described. Have you checked your thyroid health? It would be a good idea to check your saliva cortisol levels as well. xx

      • I have already hashimoto hipotroiditis. My tyroid functions are not bad at the moment. My blood cortisol is between normal ranges. However I wake up in the middle of my sleep. There is always a taste of sweet in mh mouth. My insulin level was 2.7, in the second test 4.7, in the third 6.7. It is jumping. My fasting blood glucose level was 80, 86,91.

        • Blood cortisol isn’t accurate at all and it’s also just one test. You need to get the saliva cortisol test done to find out the real situation. It’s tested four times in 24 hours, so you get the full picture. Your fasting blood glucose level still seems perfect though. xx

  22. Reading your reasons for quitting paleo was like reading my own list! I had eaten a paleo diet for almost 7 years, the last 2 years I had developed another Autoimmune disease, psoriasis, and ate AIP for almost 2 years to finally arrive at the conclusion it isn’t working.
    I have been drawn to Ayurveda for some time now. I finally took the plunge about 3 weeks ago. My psoriasis is looking great! I am definitely going thru a detox, however I feel lighter not eating so much meat. I fell as though Ayurveda is actually teaching me to take care of myself.

    • Hi Chriss, Ayurveda played a huge role in my recovery from diets, too. It helps you truly understand your body and give it what it needs. Glad you’re doing so much better! <3

  23. This is interesting. For me, I have been paleo about 80% of the time since I healed an autoimmune disorder of the gut. I healed with the help of a grain free diet, and other natural treatments. I find for me on grain, dairy, white sugar free I have tons of energy, my hair and skin looks amazing, no acne, balanced moods, no bloating, and my weight stabilizes. When I add in white or brown rice, wheat, corn, and refined sugar I get acne back, my stomach becomes very bloated, constipation sets in, I got sores on my scalp, and I feel drugged. I get what I call “sausage fingers” as well the morning after eating. Very bloated hands. I also put on weight very quickly. Even with all my health benefits that paleo brings me, I STILL find it very hard to sick to working full time and mom of 3 in our culture. Which is why every few months I continually try non paleo foods to satisfy my tastes buds, but then I have negative symptoms. and end up going back. I CANNOT go low carb paleo, I have tried many times for the supposed benefits and I become insanely depressed, anxious, and cant sleep on it. I become crazy according to my husband. I do loose weight on it and we have a saying, would he rather have me, “skinny and Bit**y (on low carb) or “big and happy” (on moderate to high carb) ..He chooses the latter. I have read many people go low carb to heal depression but this is not at all the case for me. I NEED daily sweet potatoes, high carb veges, and fruit or I dont’ do well emotionally.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. I would say that strengthening digestion is the option I would choose rather than eliminating food groups, but of course we’re all different. I’m just really happy that you found what makes your body so much happier and healthier. <3

  24. I’ve been paleo for about a year and a half and I suddenly look OLD! My years of tummy trouble and acne have faded, but have decided to eat more gluten free grains and I am feeling way better! My question is do you feel like you were able to regain some of your youthfulness after you began to enjoy a life with more carbs?

    • Yes! Paleo diet aged my skin a lot! I feel that I’ve been able to regain most of the youthfulness as my health recovered after coming off the Paleo diet. It took a couple of years though. xx

  25. Thank you so much for all of your sharing about this. Its hard to find much online about the dangers of going paleo for some people, and that seems to be me. I would like to understand better how it can impair the thyroid & adrenals- could you recommend your sources of info on this? Its hard to find anything more than just the statement or opinion that it can be true. Also anything more about how going paleo can end up impairing rather than healing the gut balance?

    I have been on paleo for 3 weeks and am feeling weak with no energy, barely any appetite, depressed, sluggish mentally and having constant bloating and low grade stomach pain. Also my husband says I have a bad odor coming from me internally. I’ve been told by my naturopath that I need to keep going on the diet to heal my gut, but I really don’t feel like it is right for me and I want to start reintroducing carbs. Do you have any recommendations about how to do so safely? As a test I ate one slice of italian bread one day and felt a reaction of phlegm in the back of my throat and got a vaginal yeast infection, so does that mean I am intolerant of it, or will my tolerance to it return once I wean myself off paleo with safer choices of carbs? I never had problems eating bread before and now I’m worried that I’ve really messed up my gut balance & made myself intolerant to more foods that I used to be able to eat.

    The reason the diet was recommended to me was because based on a water spit test given to me by my naturopath, I thought I might have had an underlying candida problem, but having researched it more thoroughly I know longer believe that I do, because I don’t have enough of the symptoms. Although the fact that I got a yeast infection so easily, maybe I really do? I’m waiting for the results of a blood test to see. But I’m confused about whether the diet uncovers the truth about what I may be intolerant to, or is the intolerance a result of the diet? I just feel like I’ve only ended up wreaking havoc in my gut and now I don’t know how to rebalance it in the right way for me. My only issue before was that I was maybe feeling more tied than I should, but that could be because I just urned 50 and am officially in menopause. (I had problems with endometriosis before and felt better after a partial hysterectomy last year.) I felt like my diet was just fine before, eating mostly whole foods we prepared ourselves with some crackers, chips and bread thrown in, and only occasional sweets. I wish I’d never even tried paleo because I felt better before going down this rabbit hole! Any advice you can give to help me get back to normal would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Jacki, read this article, it’s just one of many about this topic. If you google “low carb damages thyroid”, you’ll find lots of information. Paleo advocates will argue that Paleo isn’t necessarily low carb. However, it’s very difficult to get enough carbs (and by enough I mean at least 150-200g of carbs) without overeating fruit or sweet potatoes. Sure, the current version of Paleo diet now allows potatoes and rice, but the traditional version doesn’t, and honestly, it’s becoming totally pointless by allowing more and more foods in order to appeal to a wider crowd.

      When I was on the Paleo diet, I couldn’t eat any bread, anything with sugar, rice, etc. without suffering from issues. It was incredible! My blood sugar was jumping to almost diabetic levels as well. Only after a few months of eating everything did my blood sugar stabilise again.

      Bacteria in your gut is adjusted to certain kinds of foods that normally dominate your diet. When you suddenly change your diet, the bugs starve and different (often bad or not so beneficial) strains can take over. Once you reintroduce foods, you’ll need weeks or even months for the bacteria to adjust to it again. Humans aren’t meant to radically change their diet from one day to another.

      For candida, copper is what’s needed. Try liquid chlorophyll, it’s a great source. It’s a great idea to add some zinc as well at a different time of the day.

      I can only share my opinion, but I believe food intolerances are just a symptom, not a root cause. It’s very likely that in your case absolutely everything is caused by a hormonal imbalance thanks to menopause (it was for me too, but due to quitting birth control pills after a very long time). If you haven’t already, check your estradiol and progesterone levels. Paleo diet with the low carbs also could have exacerbated the hormonal imbalance even more. Hope this helps! <3

  26. The Paleo diet warms up our bodies very much. This is the main reason for constipation. The intestines are the root of our life. Constipation is a start of many health problems about which you mentioned in the article. We need to eat the cereal to keep the balance of our body. The cereal improves intestinal peristalsis and effectively chills our overheated organs. Paleo is just fashion diet and nothing else.

  27. Sounds like you were doing a low carb version of paleo. Paleo is really just a while foods diet that eliminates grains, industrial seed oils and refined sugar. It is not low carb unless you want to for a short time to lose weight. O

    • The original Paleo diet from the days when I followed it, excluded any kind of grains (including rice), legumes, and potatoes. So the only way to get enough carbs was by overdosing on fruit and sweet potatoes. Not healthy at all! xx

  28. Thank you, Vita. I have Hashimoto’s too, I am gluten free and following paleo diet. On NDT and iodine, now my lab tests are OK. The problem is thet my cholesterol has increased, I have tried everything to minimize this but I have to take a very low dose of statin. I could not sleep anymore, and I hate eggs in almost all meals, I hate egg for breakfast, I hate those paleo breads with eight, ten eggs and cream cheese! Everything smells and tastes eggy! I cannot imagine eating salad or meat either, and I hate leftovers! So I quit paleo and introduced rice, quinoa, beans, potatoes to my diet. Rice and beans are the staple daily food in my family. My mom has 92, my father 87, and they are so healthy! Now I am doing great! My hair is not falling down anymore, my sleep is restored, I have enough energy for running and workout everyday. My husband realized how I am feeling better and told me: “Please, listen to your body!” It is what I am doing now. Everyone is different. All the best for you and your husband, Vita. God bless you.

    • Yes! Experiences like yours are exactly why I wanted to share my story. You have perfect examples of health in your family. All you need is to mimic their diet and lifestyle as well as you can, and you’ll have your key to good health, too. Thank you so much for sharing! xx

Speak Your Mind