How to make your transition to fat-burning as painless as possible
Converting your body over to being able to burn fat as its primary fuel rather than sugar is absolutely essential for good health. When you’re just starting out (or restarting) on the keto way of eating, the transition period can be a little rocky, because the change-over process can create some rather unpleasant side effects. This is often referred to as the “Keto Flu”. You’re not actually sick, but for a little while you may feel like you are. Multiple factors will influence how quickly you’re able to make the transition, but in general it can take anywhere from several days to several weeks or even months.
So what can you do to minimize the effects and (hopefully) shorten their duration?
First let’s take a look a some of the symptoms you might experience.
A lot of keto flu symptoms are very similar to those you would experience with the actual flu, such as fatigue, dizziness, dehydration, a feeling of weakness, headaches, and feeling cold or having chills. Additionally, you may experience things like brain fog, nausea, constipation, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, bloating and bad breath. Sounds like fun, right?! NOT!
Whereas the regular flu is caused by a virus, keto flu is caused largely by nutritional imbalances in the body. Also realize that when you start giving your body the proper kinds of foods and in the right amounts, as you will on the keto diet, it will begin to heal itself. This means that stored toxins are being released into your system so that they can be eliminated. Such an overload of toxins can most certainly make you feel unwell.
Send In The Cavalry
Fortunately there are things you can do to help minimize these symptoms and make your transition to fat-burning easier. Nearly all of them can be managed with the addition of electrolytes, B vitamins and potassium to your diet. Let’s look again at these symptoms and what you can do about them.
First, regardless of any symptoms you may be experiencing, it’s extremely important to be sure you’re drinking enough water every day. This is important for keeping yourself hydrated and for flushing toxins out of your body.
As you transition to fat-burning, your body will begin to release more water. This often causes your electrolyte balances to be thrown off, which can result in many of the symptoms on our list. The best way to replace them is by using sea salt or Himalayan salt. Add it to your food or water, or even just dissolve a little in your mouth whenever you feel the need. Coconut water is another good source of electrolytes.
B vitamins are also something you will want to be sure you’re getting plenty of every day. Deficiencies can result in headaches, fatigue and a feeling of weakness. It can even cause you to experience very vivid dreams! Some of the best food sources of B vitamins are avocado (these are also high in potassium and other vitamins), fish (salmon and sardines in particular), dark leafy greens, pork loin, chicken, liver and other organ meats and eggs. Nutritional yeast is also a great source; it can easily be added to any food you like. Vitamin B supplements can be taken as well, but it’s always best to obtain your nutrients from foods whenever possible.
Potassium also plays a role in decreasing keto flu symptoms and is necessary for the proper functioning of many of our bodily systems. It is present in many of the same foods that contain B vitamins.
If ÿou experience muscle cramps, adding some Vitamin K2 to your diet can be beneficial. Food sources of this vitamin include organic egg yolks, dark meat chicken, goose liver, some cheeses, such as Brie and Gouda, and fermented foods like organic natto.
If you are experiencing bad breath, this could be an indication that you’re eating too much protein, and/or that you’re having trouble digesting what you are eating. Try tweaking the amount to see how it affects you. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (one that contains the “mother”) is a great digestive aid. You can add a small amount to a beverage, or if you’d rather, to your salad dressing.
You may not be able to avoid the keto flu altogether, but by being sure to get sufficient amounts of these nutrients, you will go a long way towards making the switch as easy as possible! Sometimes things get worse before they get better, but don’t give up! I promise you will eventually come out on the other side feeling great!