The Dreaded Detox

So you’ve signed on to Paleo Plan and you’re 5 days into it.  You’re not feeling the amazing effects of the diet that so many others before you have, and in fact, you feel worse!  Naturally you’re asking, “Is this really worth it?”  Almost everyone who is on the Paleo Diet or similar plan has been right where you are – you are not alone.  Let me explain what’s going on.

This way of eating is pretty different than a normal American diet, so there are a lot of changes you’ll be making.  These changes will NOT go unnoticed by your body.  What I mean is, you may experience some (or a lot of) detoxification symptoms, including intense cravings, headaches and fatigue.

Why?  You took out a lot of toxins from your diet, in the form of phytic acid and lectins in grains and legumes, preservatives and other additives, refined flours and sweeteners, and dairy (which is more toxic to some than others).  Since you’ve probably been eating these things your whole life, your body is going through some serious withdrawal.  But it’s also finally getting a chance to clean out some built up toxins.  Without all of the harmful foods constantly bombarding your liver and other organs, and with the addition of tons of nutrients and protein from the fruits, vegetables and meats you’re now eating, your body is going to take the opportunity to do some much needed cleaning. This purging is exactly what causes the symptoms you may be experiencing right now – the toxins are in your circulation being dealt with instead of being suppressed.   It’s like when you do a good deep cleaning of your house – you turn it upside down before it looks immaculate.  In the first 3 days to 3 weeks, you may (or may not) experience:

Mood swings
Intense cravings
Sinus drainage
Flu-like symptoms
Brain fog
Increased urination
Increased appetite
Increased thirst

When I first went Paleo, I remember having to pee about 25 times a day and feeling like I was walking through oatmeal for the first 3 weeks.  Walking up a flight of stairs was a big accomplishment.  I was so tired and groggy – I just wanted to sleep, but then on the 21st day everything finally cleared and I felt fantastic.  A lot of people only experience symptoms for a few days to a week, and there’s really no way of predicting how long your detoxification period will last.

If you are a coffee or other caffeinated beverage drinker and you’re giving that up, you should almost undoubtedly expect some symptoms.  Caffeine is an addictive substance, as you know, and your nervous and endocrine systems will need some time to re-boot.  Maybe warn your significant other that you might not be the sweetest, most docile partner for a few days…

So during those difficult moments when you’re wondering whether or not this diet is in fact hurting you – not helping – remember that after the storm of detoxification subsides, you may very well experience:

More energy
Emotional Balance
Clarity of mind
Fat loss/Muscle gain
Strength gains
Fewer aches and pains
Less sinus congestion
Fewer seasonal allergy symptoms
Digestive ease
Clearer skin
Fewer colds

And that is why you’ve chosen to do this.  Stay strong – it WILL be worth it.

What are your experiences with detoxification?  Any words of wisdom for your fellow Paleo Planners?

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  1. Lesley

    I stumbled upon this and it encouraged me so much to continue. I thought something was wrong with me. Everything I read told me I should feel energized, “like a new person” but I felt so lethargic, runny nose, just darn tired. I could totally relate to walking through oatmeal. I am on day 19 today and feeling a bit better. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Michael

    Oh thank god for your info! I have been on and off low carb for three years and never felt like this! I blame the dairy and coffee well day 5 now, not happy to wait another week but I am hoping to feel better than my low carb rountine. Mike

  3. steve

    I struggled from the start, the first day I needed a nap at 2 and another at 4 and was in bed for the night at 8. If got a little easier after a week, and then after a month I started to feel better.
    Now when I get up in the mornings I feel like working out, not guzzling coffee. There are moments when my wife says you need to eat…but she hands me an apple verse a carb.. down 15 pounds my first month which is not bad… within 5 pounds of my goal

  4. Lisa

    I actually felt great before I started paleo, no headaches, regular digestion, plenty of energy without any caffeine, but I wanted to get more lean so I decided to try paleo. I’m at 5 1/2 weeks now and I’m still not adjusting. Now I have frequent light headaches, my digestive system is a wreck, and my energy is low, and the worst part is that I haven’t lost a pound or leaned out at all. Are there some people that take over 6 weeks to adjust??

    • Neely


      This sounds terrible – I’m sorry to hear it’s not working for you. Taking over 6 weeks to adjust is not normal at all; I think there must be something else going on here. Are you eating regularly enough? It may be that your blood sugar is not being regulated. Are you eating heavy Paleo carb sources like sweet potatoes and squash or tapioca products? You might want to try doing that if you’re active. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you might be sending your body into starvation mode if you’re not getting enough carbohydrates, especially if you don’t really need to lose much weight. Check out this post here about using carbs to feel better and even lose weight. You may also have started to eat something in mass quantities that your body doesn’t like – for instance, almond butter or even some vegetable or fruit. You can be sensitive to any food, and your symptoms sound like they could be a food sensitivity. Please email me if you need any further help with this. Good luck to you.

      Neely Quinn
      Nutrition Therapist
      Paleo Plan

  5. Rita

    Thank you for this article — please post more on this!! My boyfriend and I are doing Paleo and are in week two. We’ve both already shed several pounds and have been amazed by how our appetites have changed. My boyfriend who has always been an insomniac, has also been sleeping so soundly he sleeps longer than me. So, we’ve been happy so far with the results, but the downside is we’ve been facing terrible fatigue. In particular, i’ve been having body aches, grogginess, and difficulty concentrating and head aches. We are just wrapping week two though, so hopefully the fog will lift soon!! Any other info you could post on this would be fantastic!

    • Neely

      @Rita – Keep up the good work. You’re right – the fog will lift soon. Remember that it may take up to a month, so don’t give up!

  6. Sarah

    A week in and I was sick as a dog for two days…insane headache, vomiting, and diarhea. Luckily the worse of it went away quickly and I am feeling better now. The headache still lingers but I am just waiting to “detox” and hopefully I will be good to go.

  7. nutrimentalist

    I’m pretty stunned about this round of detox symptoms: sinus drainage galore & lots of fatigue. I’ve been eating 80% grain free and zero cane sugar for about a year now. Clearly that last 20% is something my body is happy to get rid of!

  8. Happy to have found this! It’s Day 3 and my brain is climbing the walls but my body is dragging the earth. I feel freaking HORRIBLE. I just want it to be over. lol

  9. Robin

    Thanks for this post! I suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, so I am used to the side effects of the diet you listed. However, mine have been so much worse than they normally are. I have been having intense, uncontrolable cravings for sugar :-( Today, I gave in and had a handful of jelly beans and felt awful afterwards (mentally). Otherwise, I have been 100% paleo for 10 days. Today was a setback, but your post has helped me understand that I am not alone and that I CAN DO THIS!! Thanks again!

  10. Kay

    Thanks for the post, I had just decided that I would give it three more days before giving up! I’m a week in and have actually gained about 3 pounds! I am totally constipated and am breaking out like a teenager. I’m very frustrated. I went from a pretty carb heavy diet to tons of veggies and fruit and fish… I’m going easy on the nuts, so I’m confused. Are my symptoms normal???

    • Neely

      @Kay – Honestly, almost anything is “normal” during detox. It’s hard to say at this point if you’re having a reaction to some of the foods (or maybe even just one of them) or if you’re just detoxing. I’d give it another week. Make sure you’re eating enough protein (meat) and fat, as you need them a whole lot to get through this detox period. Let me know if you want extra help. Good luck and keep going!!

  11. jessica

    Thanks for sharing! The first 2 days were a breeze, but day 3 started with a migraine and “flu” like symptoms. I am determined to stick to this lifestyle. Glad what I am feeling is normal, now only if I could fast forward the next few weeks!!

  12. Jessica

    I am on day 8 of this and I feel great I’m down 5 pounds I now need to detox from coffee and reading all this I am a little worried. I have not felt sick at all maybe that is because I still drink coffee?? Thanks for sharing Iam going to take this one day at a time and still have 15 pounds to go :]

  13. debra Lee

    I also am on day 10 down 5 pounds of which I think is water weight. Still fatigued but feeling good about my efforts. 100% no grain, dairy, or sugar Still drink coffee and read conflicting messages about it from different blogs. I think I should quit as I feel it more intensely as I get cleaner. The jitters are my adrenals are going crazy.
    I hope for energy and better sleep as my sleep problems have worsened. I imagine its all part of the detox. Super important to drink the water at least half your body weight
    In ounces. Good luck to you all.

  14. Alistair

    Hi Neely,

    My question relates to detox & breastfeeding, my wife & i have been eating paleo but my concern is that whatever her body removes through detoxing is going into her breast milk.

    Can you offer any insights into this?

    Obviously we want to be healthy but we dont want to put any toxins into our baby.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Neely

      @Alistair – Very good question. It’s true that toxins can exit the body through breast milk. However, you have to ask yourself if it’s better for your child to have the toxins from the foods your wife was eating or the temporary toxins from the detox period. It’s hard for me to say what you guys should do at this point, not knowing your wife’s health status or your child’s. Are either of them having detox symptoms? Are they very intense or just uncomfortable? If they’re just uncomfortable, I’d say it’s worth it to keep going. Make sure your wife is drinking a LOT of water to flush things out, moving around quite a bit, not wearing super tight bras (the lymphs need to be able to flow in that whole area), eating enough calories in order to keep her milk production up, eating enough carbohydrates to do the same, and eating enough fat to balance things out. Now is not the time for a super high protein diet. Lean AND fatty meats, coconut milk, coconut oil, plenty of fruit and sweet potatoes, and lots of veggies. The baby needs lots of fat and sugar at this time – that’s what breast milk is mostly made of. If you guys want any more help, I’m available for private Paleo coaching. Otherwise, good luck to you!

  15. Tracy Seman

    Great article. I have a few clients struggling through their 30 days and being able to show them another person perspective is very helpful. I keep telling them the same things you’ve posted. I 100% agree with the 3 weeks till you really feel better and lose cravings for old foods.

  16. Amy

    Thank you SO much for this article. I’m day 3 and have a lingering mild headache. Glad to hear that it’s normal. My question is rapid weight loss at the onset of the diet. I’ve already lost 8 pounds which seems extreme to me, but I’m feeling fine except for the mild headache, mild carb cravings, and mild fatigue. Keep in mind I have over 100 pounds to lose.

    • Neely

      @Amy – If you have that much to lose, then it doesn’t really surprise me that you’d lose so much in the first week. A lot of it is water weight in the first couple of weeks. It will probably slow down a bit. Congrats on your success so far!

  17. Tamra

    I just wanted to share that I’m on Day 28 and this past week has been wrought with muscle pain and fatigue. I’m not giving up though as the weight loss is worth a few days of feeling like ick! :)

    I can already feel the benefits of Paleo…and love it. As long as I start feeling better in the next week :).

    Thank you for all of the good information.

  18. Rachael

    I’m not 100% Paleo yet, but I have been dealing with most of the detox symptoms, and I just thought I was getting sick and the fatigue was due to being sick. I guess my question is, would I also experience the detox symptoms even though I am not completely Paleo?

    • Neely

      @Rachael – It’s certainly possible. Anytime you clean up your diet at all you may experience symptoms.

  19. Rachael

    thank you :)

  20. Jason

    5 days into it and not feeling so great. Having an opposite reaction to just about every positive feeling I was hoping to feel. I have a light headache most of the day along with a lack of concentration, but the worst is this fog or feeling of being disconnected from reality. I have been eating a lot of protein, veggies, and nuts, and two or three fruits per day. I was previously in fairly good shape but now I could not even think about working out, and I am having a hard enough time making it through a full day of work (luckily I work alone, I could not imagine having to work in a social setting with my current lack of focus). I even woke up this morning feeling like I used to after I would go out and drink too much.
    Any tips on making the transition any easier to cope with?

    • Neely

      Drink lots and lots of water. Try to make yourself go for light walks or do other light exercise so that you can keep flushing out toxins. Eat plenty of fat and protein, only organic foods of possible (no need to stress your liver out anymore with pesticides). Stay strong and know that this is totally normal. It’ll be worth it!

  21. Susan

    Hi Neely, Thanks for the info. Have you heard of anyone getting a detox rash? I have been on the diet since Dec. 6, 2011 with some breaks. I was very exhausted and dizzy the first month. I started getting a rash around my shoulders and neck that has now gotten very bad the more strict Paleo I am. This is not normal for me. I thought at first it might be too many nuts so I cut those out. Now I am going to cut eggs out. Just not sure if it is a food I am eating more of that is causing a new food allergy or some strange detox. On the good side, the diet has really helped my digestion problems and my knee pain. I have also lost about 13 pounds. Thanks in advance if you have any ideas.

    • Neely

      @Susan – It sounds more like a food sensitivity or allergy at this point. Your detox shouldn’t last that long. Are you eating foods you didn’t really eat before? Eggs and nuts were a great place to start. If those aren’t working, then it’s time to start thinking outside the box, like pork, beef, chicken, lamb, tomatoes, bananas, and ANY other foods. Glad to hear it’s working for you in other areas, though!

  22. jerrad

    My wife got me to do paleo with her because it is popular with her crossfit gym. She had flu-like symptoms last week, but has been fantastic since then. Infact, she cheated and drank on a girls’ night and credits the diet with having absolutely zero hangover the next day. This is our second week, and I have phased into it. I was not aware that peanuts are a no-no and last week purchased some, and finished them out of hating to throw them out. Otherwise, I was fully paleo. One day after stopping the peanuts, I now have the headaches and weak feelings described by others here. I have increased my water intake, but to no avail. I have three questions. 1. Could the intense cross-fit exercise be helping my wife speed through her detox phase better than my sedentary exercise existence right now; 2. If I could draw a correlation to the peanuts, should I first try increasing fats with something like olive oil and dial-back leaner protein a bit until the detox is over?; 3. Is it ever advisable to just say to heck with it and go on a full liquid/herbal detox for a week to power through it and hit the reset button on my system before proceeding further into paleo?

    I ask for solutions because my job is rather intense and I cannot afford to be foggy for very much longer before people will take notice as work output suffers. Thank you so much for this article and your continued work!

    • Neely

      @jerrad – Congrats on taking the Paleo plunge with your wife! To answer your questions, 1. I kind of doubt that intense workouts during a cleanse would help the detox along. I usually suggest light exercise to keep things moving, but not intense exercise that will tire your body out further. 2. Yes, fat is always something I suggest to eat quite a bit of, especially during detox. You want your body to get used to eating Paleo foods in the proportions that your body is designed to eat them. Not saying that everyone will do well on the same proportions exactly, but much of the body’s preferred source of fuel is fat. I’m not a fan of just eating lean meats, either. Saturated fat is actually quite good for us and necessary. In Cordain’s first book, he told us to eat mostly lean meats because he knew most people would be eating factory farmed meat with less than ideal fatty acids. If you’re eating pasture raised meats, eat the fatty cuts, too.

      The quicker you can get used to eating lots of fat instead of lots of carbs (SAD carbs, that is), the better off you’ll be. That’s why, 3. I don’t really ever tell people to do fasts. Part of the detox period is to learn how to eat Paleo, and to get your body used to eating Paleo. Not to get it used to eating nothing but juice and herbs. Plus, most people are pretty toxic and need a lot of amino acids to make glutathione and other things necessary for detoxification. You don’t get much of that from juice. I understand your job is intense, but I can only imagine that staying on the path you’re on will yield results more quickly than a fast. So, in summary, eat more fat, eat plenty of protein, do light exercise (even walking) and drink at least 2 liters of water a day. Get enough sleep, eat enough calories, and you should be good in a week or so. Detox shouldn’t last more than a month, so I’d say if you’re still struggling after that amount of time, you should look at other things like food sensitivities to Paleo foods, caloric intake and carb intake. Which, by the way, you need to be eating enough carbs for your body type, too. You don’t have to be super low-carb on this diet. Eat sweet potatoes and fruit regularly and see if that helps. Good luck!


  23. Jason

    Neely I commented on day 5 and am now at day 26, and still feeling the brain fog and fatigue. I no longer am getting headaches, and there was a period that I was feeling “almost normal” but now I feel almost as out of it as I did at the start. I have tried to up the fruits a bit and to eat some sweet potatoes but nothing has helped. I have lost 15 pounds, but I did not really start this to lose weight, I just wanted to get healthier, not sure that it is working. Any ideas?

    • Neely

      Hi Jason – Are you eating enough calories overall? Start tracking your food in or a new one called to figure out how many calories and how much fat, carbs, and protein you’re getting. Check back in with me after doing that for about 3-5 days with your results and your stats (weight, height, desired weight, and activity level). We’ll do a public troubleshooting session here to help people do this on their own.

  24. Jason

    Neely, I have been eating about the same amount every day. I start the day with a two egg omelet with some peppers and onions, a side of salsa, an orange, a handful of almonds or cashews, a large glass of water, and coffee.
    Lunch has typically been 8oz. fish (mostly salmon), a cup of veggies, more nuts, another orange or apple, and water. Occasionally I will substitute a paleo approved chicken sausage for fish.
    I will snack on baby carrots, nuts, and sweet peppers, and drink water throughout the day.
    Dinner has been my largest serving of meat, either a whole chicken, a pork roast, beef roast, sweet potatoes or carrots (cooked). The dinner meal has almost always been a slow cooked meal (for convenience) which leaves me with plenty of leftovers for a couple of days. and I also have a mixed green salad with balsamic and olive oil.
    I ran the calories a couple of different ways and it looks like I am getting about 2,300 per day with 62% fat, 23% protein, and 15% carbs. I try to drink at least 1/2 a gallon of water per day, but sometimes I might drink as much as 3 cups of coffee along with that.
    I have been very active on some days and sedentary on others, typically I am as active as my body allows me to be, my work is fairly labor intensive, and I am on my feet all day, but I am self employed and have not been working as hard or long as normal because of my grogginess.
    I am 30 years old, 5’10” and went from 185 to 170 and I would not want to lose much more. I do gain and shed weight fairly easily, even when I was eating sugars. I would lose through exercise and gain through over indulgence, but would typically stay around 170-180 for the last ten years.
    I did feel a lot better today than yesterday when I wrote, but I just never know what I am going to feel like day to day. I have yet to feel the clear headed and rejuvenated feeling which was a main reason that I wanted to commit to this lifestyle change.

    • Neely

      Jason – Ok, here are my suggestions. If you want to go about this systematically, I would try one thing at a time to figure this out. My first suggestion is going to be to cut out the coffee. I know you probably love it, but I have heard so many people tell me that cutting out coffee gave them more energy. Try that first. If after 3 weeks (it probably won’t take that long), you’re still feeling groggy, then you’d add either more fat or more carbs. If that didn’t work, then I’d start to take a look at food sensitivities. The first food I’d consider removing would be nuts, since they’re quite hard on your digestive system. Start with the coffee, though. When you drink coffee, you’re drinking a stimulant drug, causing adrenaline and cortisol to be released in your body, which when done chronically can cause symptoms like fatigue and grogginess (as well as a long list of other symptoms). It’s causing a blood sugar spike, which is followed by a blood sugar low, and that’s exactly what you’re trying to avoid on the Paleo diet to begin with. Read this post for more info on coffee’s effects on your body.

      Let me know what you think, if you’re willing to do this, and if you have any questions. If you don’t have questions, then let me know how you’re doing in a week or so. Good luck!

  25. Caroline

    I started the paleo lifestyle almost 2 months ago now. I have MS and I heard it could help. It was going great at the beginning, I felt an increase in energy, I felt less hungry then before, I lost a couple lbs (who doesn’t like that), but in the last 2 weeks I’ve stated craving old ‘naughty’ foods (I haven’t had any tho), I’ve been lethargic, sleepy, and my legs are so heavy. Could I be starting detox symptoms 6 weeks into it?

    • Neely

      Caroline – Are you eating enough food? Do a diet journal online at or and find out how much you’re eating. Also, do you exercise or are you active throughout your day? If you’re not getting enough fat or carbs, you’ll feel fatigued. Keep me posted.

  26. Caroline

    I went to and I appear to be getting enough nutrients. (I’ve been following the ‘minding your mitochondria’ diet from dr. Walh’s (3 cups of greens – 3 cups of colored veggies – 3 cups of sulfur foods). But now that I’m analising everything, it does seem that I’ve had way more almonds the past couples weeks (earlier i was using hazelnut flour and switched to almond flour 2 weeks ago). Could an allergy to almonds cause fatigue and general weakness?

    • Neely

      Caroline – Yes. Definitely. Take the almonds out and see if it makes a difference. If it doesn’t, write me back and we’ll brainstorm.

  27. Jessica

    Hi, I’m on day 10 and I have a few questions. I started paleo because I have pretty bad IBS-D and I was hoping it would help with that. I’m not eating nuts and very little fruit as I know those are hard for IBS-ers to digest. The first week my bowel movements were awful and then for a few days they got less frequent and more formed. Now since last night I’m back to the dreaded D. Do you think I’m still detoxing, could paleo not really help with IBS or could I be sensitive to a food I’m eating? Thanks!

    • Neely

      Jessica – You could definitely still be detoxing, but even if you aren’t technically detoxing, remember that healing takes time. You may suffer from the dreaded D for months sporadically as your gut heals, but I think it will become less and less frequent as time goes on. However, yes, you may be sensitive to something you’re eating. I’d give it a month and keep doing what you’re doing. If the diarrhea doesn’t get better, then start looking at foods that may be causing it and potential supplements to help your digestive system heal. I wrote a blog post on that here:

      Good luck!

  28. Kelly

    I started Paleo one week ago and I’ve been strictly following it and getting about 50-75 g of carbs daily [eating veg/fruit]. It IS working – I’ve lost 5 lbs this week and I have never been able to lose weight before on any diet. It also seems that I was probably allergic to wheat or something I’m not eating any more because I’ve completely lost all symptoms of the serious GI problems I’ve had my whole life. I am so hopeful that this is the answer I’ve been looking for. However, this detox period is getting really rough. I went from feeling hungry and light headed the first couple of days to feeling worse and worse until now on day 8 when I feel exhausted, flu like body ache, total brain fog [can’t think or concentrate], extreme irritability, and today I’ve had several episodes of my heart racing for no apparent reason. I really feel *awful*. My question for you is – have you ever known anyone who stuck with Paleo and these symptoms did not disappear? I’m willing to stick this out for at least a month, but I’m so worried this is going to be permanent! Can you reassure me that it does eventually get better? Are there ever people who don’t recover from this as long as they eat Paleo?

    • Neely

      Kelly, I’d say put your food into an online food journal to see how many calories you’re eating. It’s easy to not eat enough, which could be causing your symptoms. Are you working out a lot? You may need even more food if you are. But it could just be the detox that’s doing this. I’d say stick with it for at least a few weeks and then decide if there’s something else going on that’s causing your symptoms. My detox was awful, too. Hang in there!

  29. Kelly

    Thanks so much for your response! I’m eating right around 1600 calories a day, but I do work out a lot. However, I felt *dramatically* better today so I’m hopeful that I’ve reached a turning point… I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you for your help!!!

  30. Wendy

    Hi Neely,

    I have been on a completely grain-free paleo plan for about 5 weeks. I have a wheat allergy and have been mostly gluten-free for about 6 months and also a corn allergy that I largely ignored until starting on my paleo plan. I have 100 lbs to lose and have lost about 12 in 5 weeks. I think this is pretty so for having made such drastic changes in my diet. I have been 100% adherent on the no grains aspect of this, have made it through the cravings.. and am now enjoying the ability to say no to things because I’m simply not hungry. I still consume dairy products (full fat Greek yogurt, raw milk cheese and occasionally organic whole milk). I have come-and-go fatigue and haven’t yet started to exercise. Is that what my body is waiting for to start shedding weight? I’ve never had an easier time sticking with something.. and this is my forever way of eating. I’d just like to get this extra weight off so I can enjoy life – now!

    • Neely

      Hi Wendy- So happy to hear you’re having success so far! I know you’re anxious to lose the weight, but 12 pounds in 5 weeks is over the standard 2 pounds per week, so I think you’re doing awesome!the things I would suggest are to try exercising, like you said. Also, stop drinking caffeine as it stresses your body out and can inhibit weight loss, and maybe experiment with taking out the dairy. Knowing you have those other food sensitivities makes me think you likely have an issue with dairy, too. Those things often go hand in hand. If all that doesn’t work, then you’d start looking at calorie intake. Keep me posted and good luck!

  31. Kelly

    I just wanted to report back and thank you for this site. I am just over 2 weeks into this and I feel great! I’ve lost 8 pounds and after Day 8 I never felt sick any more. I would not have known to stick it out without your website and I am so grateful to you! Thanks for taking the time to help others!

    • Neely

      Kelly – You’re so welcome! I’m happy to hear it’s working out for you!

  32. Wendy

    Thank you so much for your reply. After reading some of the other comments and your replies to them, I realized last night that my daily carbs are very, very low. I rarely hit 30 carbs.. I am going to try to bump that up a bit, wisely (sweet potatoes?).. and see if my body might be a bit happier. I am going to exercise as well. I read in a couple of places that 50-100 carb grams is a good range for weight loss, less than that continually might keep my body holding on, thinking it’s starving? I am enjoying intermittent fasting as well (not eating from 7pm to 11am the following day).. and perhaps I’ve just shocked my body and it thinks it needs to hold on for dear life. A big part of the 12 lbs I lost was water, I was very aware that I was retaining fluid when I started. Can you offer your opinion on a good carb range for weight loss? What I read was 100-150 to maintain, 50-100 to lose.. less than 50 and you’re in ketosis, which is good in short bursts, but not daily. I think I’ve confused myself. :)

    • Neely

      Wendy – Yes, try between 50 and 100g carbs a day. But if you’re exercising a lot, you may need to eat more. Also, get used to the diet for a while before you try intermittent fasting. You need to get your blood sugar under control and THEN think about dabbling in IF. Otherwise, yes, you’re shocking and stressing your body when it’s already been stressed for too long in terms of food. Good luck to you!

  33. Susan

    For the last several months, I assumed I was “eating right.” However, the biggest lesson I am learning is that “my” definition of eating right differs from my body’s definition. Previously I was eating balanced meals (that included dairy/traditional carbs); working out 6 days a week–but with not much results other than subtle body changes here and there. I was building some muscle, but not burning much fat.

    Today is my 6th day on Paleo (or what I call detox-day 6). The first few days were rough and I had lots of issues going on within my body. I knew the headaches were a given (hello, coffee addict here), but each day there was a new, odd thing going on. It wasn’t until I saw the detox withdrawl list (just yesterday) that I had that “ah ha” moment and said “no wonder!” Before reading the list, I had experienced 7 of the withdrawl signs. But the irony is that they only lasted a short time. It was if my body was saying “ok, this isn’t working–let’s try something else to get her attention!”

    But i’m sticking with Paleo and I feel like i’m getting over that hump. I have dropped 4lbs in the last 6 days and have more stamina in my workouts as well as feeling stronger. I still eat throughout the day–I try to get at least 6 meal times in (3 meals and 3 snacks); but the Paleo way. Even when I know it’s close to a meal time, i’m not “starving” as I use to be in the past. It all feels like it’s coming together in the right way and I feel so much better knowing i’m taking great care of the body I was given.

    So to those of you who are just starting to detox, or in the thick of it–hang in there; you can do it!

  34. stacey

    I have been on the paleolithic way of eating for almost 4 months….I feel amazing….skin hair nails….healthier…I have lost 33 lbs…sleep like a baby…the first few weeks were tough but not impossible…I have no more cravings and feel like I have control…Best thing I ever did for myself….Love being healthier and seeing my family adopting the lifestyle!

  35. lauren

    i’m so happy to read this list! i’ve been on scd (which is similar to paleo) for a few months but ever seince the switch to paleo a few days ago i’ve felt terrible… i’ve also developed a weird bumpy rash across my whole chest and stomach… hopefully this is a detox symptom too?
    i’m really looking forward to getting over this hump and experiencing some of the benefits.

  36. celia gallegos

    I get real bad anxiety sometimes and am ready to start the paleo diet this week; however, reading this list is making me somewhat anxious of what I’ll have to deal with the first couple weeks…will going through these symptoms increase my anxiety at all?? Because I am definitely looking forward to what’s to come afterward! I would just hate to get too nervous/anxious before that….

    • Neely

      Celia – You may or may not experience any of these symptoms and it’s impossible to predict if you’ll feel more or less or the same amount of anxiety during the detox period. However, I will say that the end result will probably be worth a little anxiety if you do end up experiencing some during the detox. Good luck!

  37. celia gallegos

    Another question…I am planning on combining this with a crossfit workout. I am very petite so I don’t want to LOSE any weight (I’m about 100 lbs, 5 ft), but would like to eat healthier, gain muscle and tone up. Is paleo still a good plan for that??


    • Neely

      Hi Celia – That’s what size I am as well, and I don’t have any problems with keeping weight on. You’ll figure out how much food and how many carbs you need to eat over time to stay at the weight you’re at now.

  38. Kylie

    I am on day 5 and was wondering what in the world was going on with me today. After reading your list / article I feel like I must be on the right track. You have definitely been helping me through this experience and even though I am always doing google searches for different paleo questions I have I always end up back to your site.

  39. Kirstie

    I feel very frustrated right now. I have been doing a “modified” Paleo for three months now. The digestion seems better, less pains, etc…but I feel so awful right now. I have had very limited wheat and yet I still feel like I bloat after meals. Yes, even with just animal protein and veggies. I have had the worst spring allergies of my life. My nose feels consistently restricted due to swollen nasal passages. I tire easily during exercise. And I’m not nearly as thin as I feel I should be for how much I’ve changed my diet. I keep waiting for the miracle morning where I wake up and feel like a new person. I would like to be feeling BETTER by now, not worse.

    • Neely

      Hi Kirstie – I’m wondering what a “modified” Paleo diet is for you? You may need to go full Paleo for those allergies and other symptoms to go away. And even then, you may have specific food sensitivities that are causing these things. I mean to things like apples or pork or foods you think are benign – you can develop immune responses to anything really. Anyway, try going full, strict Paleo – and by strict Paleo I mean just meat, eggs, veggies, fruits and coconut products. Stay away from nuts, as they can cause problems for a lot of people. Do that for a month or three weeks and see if it helps. Then if you’re still having problems, you’ll want to have a food sensitivities test done. If you want, I can do that for you. Just keep in touch!

  40. Ogre

    I’m not going to lie, I’m on day 2 and I feel like I just got hit with a brick at a Slipknot concert.

  41. Kassandra

    I’m on day one of restarting paleo after being “off the wagon” for a few weeks. I feel like I’ve ruined everything with my little temper tantrum of being angry that I can’t eat the same things “normal” people eat. I know it’s not true, but it feels that way. Anyway, I can speak from both ends of this – right now it feels horrid, but I know from experience that when you’re completely on track you will feel amazing. As Dr. Michael Eades says in one of his posts, “If you’re three days into your stop-smoking program, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. If you’re in drug rehab, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. If you’re trying to give up booze, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. And if you’re a week into your low-carb diet, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. Actually, it’s okay to listen to it, I suppose, just don’t do what it’s telling you to do because if you do, you’re screwed.” Paleo is exactly the same way (and I do VLC or “very low carb” paleo). So yeah, listen to your body in the middle of detox, and try – as I’m trying right now – to hear those screaming cravings and random pains as a neon sign that you’re doing something right.

  42. Cp

    I’m on day 3 and slept a good 12 hours last night… I have headache, brain fog and a godawful taste in my mouth but I know it is for a greater cause I finally feel as though I am treating my body with some respect. I no longer feel guilty after eating and although I am detoxing right now I am trying to set small goals which is helping. This is coming from a 200lb pastry addict who ate 4 chocolate covered doughnuts as an after dinner snack! Gonna stick this one out, it doesn’t feel like a fad to me it feels right. No real cravings either and hunger isn’t as bad as it has been on other ‘diets’ I just can’t wait for all this crap to be out of my system! I woke up through the night 4 times to pee last night I have never drank so much water! :)

  43. Connie P

    Day 2 of Paleo and I feel like crud. My joints ache, I’m fatigued. My stomach is not happy. And I have this strange sensation of thermal heat inside (not sure how else to describe it) and chills. I would say that yes, I am in the throws of the paleo DTs! Seeing the trainer today. Hopefully he will have mercy on me! But probably not

  44. Ann

    Connie, i’m on day 3&feel the same way! Súper dizzy, feel like i have the flu-achey/chills/exhausted & sweating like a mad women! Hope this passes soon, got kids 2 take care of!

  45. alex stobe

    @Connie P – the strange sensation of thermal heat inside is your body starting to use fat as an energy source. Carbs have 4 calories per gram but Fat has 9 calories per gram. So your body is getting twice as much energy for gram of “fuel” it is now using. I have that feeling too – it’s weird but awesome!

  46. Morgan

    It’s great to know I’m not alone! Since I started paleo three days ago, I’ve been waking up at 8 to go to crossfit, and by the time I’m home around 3 all I want to do is SLEEP! My moods have been terrible, and everyone around is noticing. Ha! I hope these headaches and mood swings go away ASAP!

  47. BMels

    @alex stobe & Connie P – how cool that you guys can actually FEEL your bodies using fat as fuel!! That’s so rad.

    I’ve been on and off the paleo wagon for the last two years, but have been eating at least 70% paleo all of the time, and am recently back on the strict paleo lifestyle. I remember when I switched to full paleo for the first time ever after eating the standard American diet my entire life…wow, the detox outlined above hits the nail on the head.

    Then about 2 weeks into the diet I caved and ate a whole bowl of Nancy’s Natural mac & cheese spirals (comfort food of mine) and it was like all of the symptoms I’d felt through the detox stage happened all at once that night, but times ten. I think that these terrible symptoms you feel is what your body has been feeling all along, albeit probably more subtly, your whole life – you just got used to it. With all of those toxins working their way through your system it’s going to hurt…but not as much as it is eating that way again and reintroducing those foods.

    Stick with it guys!! It gets better than you ever imagined it could be!!!

  48. stephanie b

    I’m on day 6 on detoxing as well! For the first three days my stomach had this constant funny burny pain but thats gone away. And I can feel my body burning differently as well I agree its like this funky heat everywhere tingly feeling. Especially when I’m resting I can really feel it its crazy! You really hit the symptoms spot on and it makes me desk better I’m not alone in this. :) my latest symptom is headaches. But when I get them I eat a banana and drink a bunch of water as the banana can help because the headaches often signify a dip in potassium or its just dehydration. I drink so much water now haha and never have I peed so much in my life!

  49. James M

    I am in day 3 of my Paleo experiment coming off a low fat higher carb diet that drove my LDL cholesterol even higher (181) even while increasing my running above 25 miles a week! So this experiment is not to lose weight but to see if I can get that number and total cholesterol down (244).

    Has anybody had bad insomnia problems in the first weeks of Paleo? I am getting headaches but no surprise there even though I don’t consume caffeine. The insomnia is not fatigue based where I am so tired but can’t seem to doze off, it’s more like I am wide awake fired up and ready to go. I have been fearful of a pending collapse into extreme exhaustion do to a lack of sleep the past two nights but so far even the afternoon doldrums are not prevelant. Before Paleo I didn’t have much trouble with sleeping.

  50. Jen

    I am so glad I just read this! Yesterday my Google search was “nausea, paleo”, today it was “tired, headaches, paleo”. I do occasional cleanses and have a good grasp on a range health and nutrition “schools of thought”, but completely forgot about the detox stage! I have continued to have coffee (1-2 cups) each morning, and do eat plain, low-fat, greek yogurt with raspberries as a mid-morning snack. I have been doing this for only four days, and already feel the lightness of not consuming gut-irritating carbs and sugars. I do workout 5-6 times per week, quite intensely (I am not Crossfit type of intense though!). Is it ok to keep the plain greek yogurt? I know eating the yogurt and berries together might be a bit of a sugar spike in my day….will eating yogurt wreck my chances of getting lean and more fit from my workouts? I probably only have 5-7 pounds to lose, realistically. When does the weight loss kick in?
    THANK YOU! You guys are great!

    • Neely

      Jen – It really depends on whether you have an issue with dairy. I always tell people to take dairy out of their diet for the first few weeks to a month and see how you do without it. Then reassess after that time. You might find you feel less bloated, more energetic, have better skin, etc. if you don’t eat dairy. But if you find that you’re perfectly fine eating it, then I don’t see any reason it would keep you from your weight loss goals. The weight loss kicks in at different times for everyone, and sometimes it doesn’t kick in at all unless you start watching your calories/carbs, etc. If you need help, just let me know.

  51. Jen

    James (Sept 5),
    I am also having trouble sleeping! I assumed it was the stress of dealing with a lot with work and life right now. Is it part of the paleo detox?

  52. Ashley

    I plan to start in a week but have a few questions. I have been a smoker for close to 10 years and was wondering if anyone had quit smoking and done this at the same time. This is my plan and want to know what to expect. My family is doing this together and want to know if anyone has had their child participate as well. Is this safe for her. Also one last question my daughter has a tree nut allergy and coconut oil is everything what are my other options for meals she will be eating.

    • Neely

      Ashley – Yes, this is totally safe for your child, but read this blog post about it:

      As for smoking, I’m sure it’ll be hard to do all at the same time, but if you’re going to feel terrible in the beginning of smoking AND in the beginning of Paleo, you may as well do it all at the same time, right? It really depends on your personality how you want to tackle it.

  53. Shelley

    I am so glad I found this website. I am on day 6 and was thinking I would have to go to the doctor because my sinuss feel full, my head is cloudy and I feel dizzy.. not like im going to pass out, but when I move my head dizzy. bUT, from what I am reading.. it means it is WORKING! YAY! I hope it passes soon as I work and dont want to be saying silly things because I am not thinking straight LOL… today I was ready to just say.. pass me a burger.. but instead have my veggies and chicken and almonds

  54. Chris

    I am on day 2 of Paleo, and I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone that has posted on here. It really helps to be able to confirm that the
    horrible symptoms I am feeling are in fact the sign that I am doing the right thing. One thing I will add, is that there is a little voice that keeps telling you that if you just put the diet down and eat what you want, you can then re-start it and get a break.. don’t give in, I made that mistake before only to look back and wonder how good I would feel weeks later if I had stuck to my plan.
    We can all do this!!!!

    I will report back in a week.
    thanks all!

  55. Jacy

    Wow! so glad I found this column! This is day 5 and I thought I was literally losing my mind. My symptoms are headache and total brain fog! I am still running, but I am careful to have something right before and after my workouts to keep my energy up. I am going to stick this out, I will wait for the fog to lift. I believe the paleo way of eating is the way of life.

  56. Lisa

    OMG, I am so glad I found this! I too got up this morning and Googled “Paleo headaches” and it was the first search result. So helpful and the comments have been gold. I am on Day 3 and definitely have most of the symptoms, including the flu-like ones. But now I feel like celebrating them as they are a sign that my body is being reborn as it was meant to be, free from the toxins and impurities that I have been ingesting my whole life. Hallelujah!

    For the first time, although sometimes I *miss* certain foods, I have no real *desire* for them, because I have faith that the results of omitting them from my life will be so much better. I’m going full Paleo, but am still drinking coffee (1 cup/day), and today am so happy that almond milk agreed with me since yesterday’s coconut milk in my coffee made me extremely nauseous. Every day is a new adventure, but I’m loving it. My goal is to lose 30 lbs. and I’ve started a brisk walk each day as well. Day 1, I went 1.8 miles and yesterday was 2.25, which included a walk to the grocery store (for only “clean” items of course), then I carried them home! If you want to share in my journey and comment, I’m blogging at But I’ll be checking back here frequently. Thanks again!

  57. Dove

    I started paleo with my family. My husband is a Celiac and I just wanted me and the kids to eat better. I haven’t been on it long. I must be lucky because I have not noticed any particular detox effects, but I HAVE noticed that my bloat is gone, I feel lighter and more energetic, and it is easier for me to roll out of bed in the morning. My goal is for my family to eat as nature intended and for me to shed just a few pounds after having two kids in 3 years. I am loving paleo so far as it seems to be just an instinctive way for me to eat.

  58. corinne

    I’m so glad I found this! I was loosly paleo for a couple of weeks when I decided to say screw it… in a huge way.
    I reasoned with myself that I’m a perfectly healthy and lovely 27 year old, who lost her body issues years ago. Plus, it was my day off, and it’s my birthday month, and… boy howdy, I identified with every excuse I could think up.

    My Sunday was filled with a box of organic toaster pastries, an organic chocolate bar, nachos, a cookie, a brownie and more. oh god. so much more… I felt awful all through the night and immediately pledged to get back on the paleo wagon and to get serious about it. Working/living at a gourmet organic b&b, I knew it might be hard, but I also knew it was worth it. I quit drinking, knocked off the creamer and coffee, snuffed out my last occasional cigarette, and decided that it was time to feel as good as I possibly can, with no excuses.

    For the past four days, I’ve felt like a monster is seeping out of my pores. I have headaches, flu like symptoms, and I’m irritable as all hell (boyfriend verified). I’m constantly thirsty, and my muscles feel like I’ve been in a boxing match. But parts of me feel instantly better. No more bloat after meals, and my digestive system is rocking!

    But thank you for posting this. I just needed someone to tell me that it was going to be all right. I wanted someone to say that it was okay if I didn’t have enough energy to clean the Yurt today. I needed someone to tell me that one day soon, this will be over and it will all be worth it. Thank you! Thank you!

  59. Dani

    Thanks so much for posting. I’m on day 4, and I had to search “paleo first week and headache” as I’ve had one pretty much since the first day. Recovering Coffee addict. Lots of gluten, and a fair amount of sugar and salt pre-paleo. The strangest thing is that walking up the flight of stairs at work seems so hard. I’m not super fit but I do yoga and take long hikes and never feel fatigued after such a simple exercise. I was relieved to see these types of symptoms listed, and am really excited to keep going on this life-changing journey! I have eliminated nightshades as well, and after 1 month of paleo, will try paleo for autoimmune, as I think I might have some issues with nuts and eggs… but I thought eliminating SO much the first month would be too daunting and lead me to feel overwhelmed and not stick with it. Anyone have experience with the auto-immune protocol and did you start right away?

  60. Jessica

    Wow…the internal burn! Back and stomach for me. Thankful to know its a detox symptom. I knew I would have some, but they are different than I had imagined. Even having been gluten and dairy free for a bit first….still feel like I’ve been hit by a truck today. Day 4, here I come!

  61. dogdone

    I am in search of a diet to get rid of my horrid Fall sugar and generally eat eat eat cravings, especially butter! I also have some connective tissue disorder I think as well as arthritis. I took a food sensativity test for IgG and grains were OK but not cow dairy (but goat OK) and not eggs. Should I go on paleo and give up grains even though the test said they were OK? I’m so confused and want to eat all the time. I’ve put back the some of the weight I lost from calorie counting. Help!

    • Neely

      dogdone – Yes! Give it a try and see how you do on Paleo. Better than calorie counting :)

  62. Carl

    Day 5 here. I have been very strict paleo over the last 5 days. I am 100 pounds over weight and previously would eat out 12 times a week. Today was hell. I felt like my blood sugar was at 0 all day, my legs and arms ache and my adreline has been on over drive. I am going to eat a bit more meat tomorrow and see how I do. I am glad I found this because I was beginning to think I was crazy!

  63. Adam

    I quit smoking 10 weeks ago. I started Primal diet 4 weeks ago. The symptoms of detox/withdrawal were identical. I just kept telling myself it would be worth it. I was right-I’ve never felt better in my entire life.

  64. Amanda

    I started eating paleo about a week ago, with a few modifications to get me through the first two days: I had whole milk with my coffee. (Last night, I had a small cheat “treat” and ate two grilled fish tacos on corn tortillas.)

    On my second day, I had a debilitating tension or sinus headache and had to leave work. My boyfriend massaged my forehead, I took two Ibruprofen, and I drank plenty of water, and it eventually subsided. But I’ve been feeling similar, smaller headaches almost every day since.

    Now, I think that my paleo transition may be affecting my immune system. I rarely, if ever, get sick. I now have a very sore throat, mucus buildup, and strangely, lots of ear wax. These are my body’s cold symptoms. It doesn’t feel like the natural product of paleo transition…it feels like I’m sick.

  65. Molly

    Thank you for this article! I just emailed a friend to ask her if she went through a detox period when she started eating Paleo…then I googled it and found this :)

    I’m on day 5 and started my period yesterday, and to put it simply: I’m a MONSTER! :( I was just bragging to my husband how I’m not craving any grainy foods (we already avoided dairy and gluten, so it seemed like a natural transition to Paleo)…but apparently my cells are craving them and making me very irritable!

    Anyway, it was relieving to read this and I’ll stick with it to see how I’m feeling in another week or so.

  66. Jennifer

    I am absolutely thrilled to have found this blog; it has been most helpful. For me, I sort of “fell” into a mostly Paleo diet just by doing lots of research on what I needed to do to lose weight. I cut out the sugary foods, fast foods, sodas, and processed carbs. With that and exercise, I lost about 50 pounds. Pretty substantial stuff. However, once I got down to my “dream weight,” I found myself comfortable and indulging a little more here and there. I got into a new relationship and would dabble in pizza and a few desserts. I didn’t want to seem like the girl who was unnecessarily obsessed with her weight. (Read: How many times do you see a skinny chick turn down fatty foods and think: “WTF? Eat a doughnut! You’re skinny; you could stand to eat some more!”? Yea. The REASON she’s skinny is BECAUSE she says no.) Within three months, I packed 15 pounds back on. (Maybe I indulged slightly more than a “little here and there.”) I figured my intense exercise regimen would be enough to keep the weight off! I worked out 4-6 times a week, with a great mixture of cardio and strength training and yoga. I drank lots of water. Was this enough? No.

    After researching Paleo, I found out something completely new to me: weight loss and overall health is primarily diet. It was a huge WOW moment for me, especially because I’ve been nursing a foot injury for the last five months. I was so afraid to take time off of exercise to let my foot/ankle heal, because I figured I’d just BALLOON up and get fat. So I continually re-injure my foot.

    Taking a new approach now: Paleo diet with low impact cardio a few times a week. Lots of stretching and strength training of the core. Essentially, I’m going to cut my exercise in half but really amp up my eating plan.

    Within the last week, I’ve been about 90% Paleo, and I’ve already noticed a difference. I’m less bloated and my bowels have regulated (sorry for that TMI). My skin IS breaking out, though, which I assume is my detoxification from dairy… which is something that has always remained in my diet.

    I’m turning this comment into a blog entry in itself… Ha! Sorry so long!

    To wrap it up: I am excited to move forward with this diet and to have found such a supportive and helpful website.

  67. angela

    Hey everyone. My boyfriend and I cleaned out our apartment of all grains, dairy and processed food last night. We began eating paleo style yesterday and we were full of energy and up cleaning until midnight. We didn’t get to sleep until 3am which sucks but I feel very well rested today anyways with a minor headache. I’m 24 years old and I have about 53lbs to reach my goal weight of 150. I started my journey with weight loss around a year and 3 months ago and have lost a total of 23 lbs (that I know of) without cutting grains and dairy and extreme exercise. Its been difficult for me to lose weight so I’m hoping this helps me!

  68. josh

    I thought i was doing something wrong. I seriously feel worse now than before i started detoxing. I’m glad i read this. It seriously feels like someone is sitting on my head lol. I’m peeing more than i ever have in my life. Drinking more water than i thought i would. I was going to stop when i started feeling so bad. Now that i have read this i will try and stick with it. I plan on detoxing for 45 days.

  69. Momofateenathlete

    So, we on day 4 of this (w/5 kids ages 4-14) and my husband and I have headaches and are GRUMPY and the younger kids are all doing okay BUT my 14 year old daughter who is a very competitive athlete is really struggling… she feels Nauseated most of the day and has on and off headaches. Tonight she threw up a ton and says it “was really weird throw up”… didn’t want to ask… anyway, she has a tournament this weekend (10 volleyball games over 2 days) and I am afraid this is going to mess her up – she is the captain of her team and they need her. What should I do? She plays year round so I can’t wait until the season is over to do this. Should I be easing into this instead of just detoxing all together? Thoughts? Help!

  70. pam stauber

    Today is day 15…I am miserable; following the typical detox, I suppose. I have fibromyalgia and it seems to have flared up, big time. I have not lost any fact gained 2 lbs. I am not happy about that, because I thought this plan would be the answer to my weight issues. Am willing to keep on keepin’ on, hoping that everyone’s experience with this plan will become mine, as well. I don’t eat a lot of dairy..cream in my coffee-decaf, in the a.m., and yogurt occasionally. I also eat real butter when I have butter. Usually on veggies.

    • Neely Quinn

      Pam stauber – I hope it gets better for you! If it doesn’t, consider the idea that you’ve introduced a new food that your body doesn’t like (that you’re sensitive to). Coconut? Sweet potatoes? Lots more eggs than usual? You may want to seek the help of a naturopath who’s into Paleo if it doesn’t settle down in the next week. Best wishes.

  71. Ish Sarah

    I’m so grateful for this page because no where else online really explains the detox phase. I have been doing paleo for 22 days now and I’m still not getting better. Symtoms change but lately it has been an overal emotional, irritable, depression, kind of feelings. I get headaches and body aches. But mostly the emotional/mental part of it is really getting me down to a point where it is affecting my relationships and I avoid contact with people in person as much as possible. Is this normal for anyone going through this phase? And is there something I might be doing wrong? It seems hard to believe that one day (the end of the detox) everything will all get better. Any advice or tips would be so grately appreciated.

    • Neely Quinn

      Ish Sarah – That sounds rough. If it makes you feel any better, my detox lasted 21 days and I definitely had most of those things going on during that time. You may have other things going on, though. I have a few suggestions: try adding in some more carbohydrates (fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantain, tapioca flour, honey even) and see if that lifts your spirits any. Some of us are just not meant to be on a super low carb diet because it makes a lot of us feel really depressed. That’s what happens to me, too. I don’t know how many carbs you’re eating at the moment, but try adding a couple more sources per day and see how you do. No need to be miserable. This is especially applicable if you’re also active and trying to do a “normal” (read: pretty low carb) Paleo diet. The other thing I’m wondering is, did you also recently come off of cigarettes, coffee/caffeine, or diet drinks? Sometimes the detox from those can be way worse than you’d ever expect it to be, and that just takes time to abate. Also, in this time have you begun taking any drugs – over the counter or otherwise? It’s worth asking, since they can have such serious side effects. Lastly, make sure you’re eating enough food overall. You may want to just record what you’re eating in a free online journal like and see how much food you’re taking in, as opposed to how much food you should be eating approximately (it’ll tell you). Those are my suggestions. Good luck to you!

  72. Alysha

    I’m on day 7 and feeling very jittery, heart racing. This started on day 4, along with lightheadedness. I realized I wasn’t getting enough calories on that day, so I stepped it up. Since day 4, I have only felt jittery a little bit. But today is awful. I’m so jittery that I can’t sit still at work and my heart is racing like mad. Which is also giving my weird vision. Any suggestions to make it stop? It feel awful and scary (and makes me want to quit).


    • Neely Quinn

      Alysha – My suggestion is to eat more food and eat more carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, fruit… Are you on any medications? If so, you need to talk to your doc about what changing your diet like this might do to your prescriptions, etc. Also, are you drinking a lot of caffeine – any caffeine? Maybe stop taking that and any supplements that have caffeine or stimulants in them.

  73. Alysha

    Hi Neely,
    I was drinking coffee daily. I haven’t since day 4 because of the heart thing. I didn’t know cutting carbs could do that. I was actually actively avoiding high carb foods. Including potatoes. Pretty much just ate veggies, fruit, meat, and nuts. And I’m not on any meds, so I think you’re right about the carbs.

    Thanks so much!

    • Neely Quinn

      Alysha – I just want to be clear that it doesn’t do that to everyone. Cutting carbs can be really easy for some people, but not so much for others. When I cut carbs way down I feel awful too. If you’re active, it’ll especially hit you hard. Please keep me posted!

  74. Jen

    I started a 7 day cleanse diet. On day 3 now. Feel downright awful. But, I have lost 8 lbs in two days like that. I had 9 extra lbs of baby weight. I’m 5’11 and pretty athletic; the weight melted of through breast feeding and crossfit after 3 months. I am doing this cleanse to feel fresh again. We are mostly vegetarian, but you know how little treats add up…with the way I’m feeling now, I must have had a lot of yucky stuff in my system! Will follow up when cleanse is complete!

  75. Jen

    Update: something very interesting occurred on the course of day 3. After feeling like the sickest I’ve ever been (aches, pains, chills, sweat, nausea, foggy feeling), I took a 30 minute nap and went through a mean period of chills, then sweat it out and I felt so much better. The aches and pains? Still there, but want to see what happens over the course of 4 more days.

  76. Jessica

    I’m on day 15 and have gone through most of the detox symptoms listed here and am still struggling with a few. I mainly am doing this because I suffer from constant digestive issues (bloating, gas, etc) and have have Juvenille Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 9 (I’m 32). I am trying to follow the inflammatory/paleo diet which restricts even more things and man, I am overwhelmed!! I’ve been gluten free for almost a year and felt benefits right away but I swear I felt terrible again shortly after that. I think because gluten free diets are still high in sugar and grains.

    The hardest thing for me right now is the cravings for sugar (I love me some cookies and candies!). I cheated yesterday with one square of dark chocolate and felt guilty afterwards. So, here it is 15 days in and I’m still dealing with intestinal pains and gas almost everynight. The first week I had a headache everyday and that seems to have subsided a few days ago. Now the fatigue is overwhelming. I went to bed last night at 8:30 (on a Sat night!!). I just want to feel better!

    My question is: Is it totally not ok to eat grains of ANY kind, ever? I still have been eating brown rice with some of my dinners. I am staying away from potatoes, peppers, etc due to the inflammatory aspects, and am not a huge fan of sweet potates and yams so is there any way that brown rice is ok? I also have been eating all kinds of nuts (because that’s all I feel I can have for a snack) and have been recently reading everywhere that nuts are really bad for digestive issues. UGH!! I feel like I’m running out of food options. I also eat 2 eggs EVERYDAY and feel like this can’t be good for my cholesterol.

    • Neely Quinn

      Jessica – First of all, I’d suggest you not worry about the autoimmune protocol for now. When you’re first starting Paleo, it’s better to just do a basic Paleo protocol so you can get used to the diet without feeling totally overwhelmed and deprived. Once you’ve been doing it for a few months, see how you feel. THEN decide if it’s not enough, and if you need to start experimenting with the other potentially inflammatory foods (eggs, nightshades, nuts, seeds). It’ll also give you a better idea of what’s working and what’s not. Grains should be out for the first month. Add those potatoes back in instead. And the idea that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease is a myth. Just google “cholesterol paleo” and you’ll find a huge cache of info on that, including posts I’ve written.

  77. Lisa

    I am about one week into the Paleo diet and am starting to see the light. The few first days were extremely difficult. Not only did I have a lingering headache, but also had the so called “fog” to a point where I had a hard time managing to hold a conversation. After the third day, the fog lifted and along opened the gates of nasal drainage and chest congestion. Whether or not these symptoms are caused my recent diet changes, I’d happily take them over a clouded mind. What stands out to me the most is the fact that I have zero cravings for grains, legumes, ect. Prior to starting the Paleo plan I was eating an upwards of 3,000-4,000 calories a day, mainly from grains. My stress coping mechanism was to stuff my face with as much instant-calming/food coma-inducing foods as I could. Now I’m eating when I’m hungry and not obsessing about food. For the first time, I have found something I can easily do for the rest of my life without feeling deprived.

  78. Kerryjoy Chorizema

    Day 7 for me – from day 4 started having pains in gut – eventually very watery diahorrea. Since then experiencing the same – excuse the description, but its such a jettison and can be a lot of liquid. I feel weak and tired – have been living with Polymyalgia Rheumatica for 6 months – major inflammation = stiffness and pain for most of the day. My naturopath has me on buckets of anti-inflammatories etc. I’m trusting the Paleo diet is for me. I’m feeling anxious and would really appreciate your advice – with thanks.

    • Neely Quinn

      Kerryjoy Chorizema – You may want to consider that you’re eating something new that you’re sensitive to. Sometimes people don’t do well with coconut milk (the guar gum gets them or they’re just sensitive to coconut), the nuts, and some other things that you don’t normally eat many of on a normal diet. Maybe wait it out another few days, but start experimenting with those foods. It might be helpful to ask your naturopath for some guidance as well.

  79. Terry Sue

    I started low carb in December 2012. I cut out the Wheat, Rice, Potatoes. I upped Dairy because of the fat and immediately lost 15 lbs. I stayed at this weight for about 2 weeks no huge die-off or feel bad. I started surfing the web when I looked at the cross fit program. I saw a mention of the Paleo Diet. I thought wow I can have Fruit. So I figured I would switch over to Paleo. The problems started when I gave up Dairy and coffee. I felt like a mack truck hit me. I am having issues with my vision and alot of gunk going down the back of my throat. Also I have had a severe headache for the past 2 days and feel feverish. I do not sweat so I took a detox bath last night. That helped a little but the loss of vision has gotten me a little nervous. Has anyone else had symptoms like this?

  80. LucyT

    Hi All,

    Glad to see I am not the only one going through detox systems it is satisfying to know the body is healing itself! Even through all the brain fog, hot flushes, headaches and other flu like symptoms I am still feeling much better! One question for any of the women reading this discussion board – have any of you experienced very (very) heavy periods? I am hoping this is part of the detox process – the body clearing itself out if you will. I haven’t had them this heavy since I was a teenager. I am 37 years old and am hoping this isn’t yet menopause (no history of early onset in the family I might add). Any comments/thoughts???

    Cheers Lucy

  81. Laura

    Hi! On day four with on and off headaches nothing serious, tired, brain fog, hard to think of the right word. Not easy as I am a hairstylist and have to talk all day! Oh my, the clients are understanding. Sleeping really well, waking early and have more energy. I did do one in fared sauna and that seemed to make me super groggy and tired, but I pushed the liquids and am going back tomorrow morning again. I think it helps along with my swimming to get rid of the toxins. My acupuncturist advised me to go to the next level of health. So that may be part of the easy detox. Oh one thing I read too that really helped me, is to eat kale if you are having a sugar craving. Great receipts for salad with lemon and oil and garlic with some nuts…Boy that saved me a few times already. Made this journey a lot smoother. Thanks for all the above posts, makes me feel like I can do this for life. No weight loss, but I don’t weight maybe! :) Good luck peeps!

  82. Mike R

    I switched to a diet that resembles a detox with lots of raw veggies and fruit, switched coffee out for green tea (no sugar), minimize meat intake with the exception of an occassional organic chicken breast and fish. I have been making smoothies in the morning with organic veggies, fruit, and brown rice protein. Did well last week with the exception of a mild headache (probably caffeine withdrawal). A couple days ago, I developed a mild sore throat; it got pretty bad last night. After my hockey game last night, I developed flu-like symptoms, slept like crap, and woke up as if an asteroid fell on me. I’m attributing all of this to my blood stream flooding with toxins that have built up over years. As I’ve been reading, it seems I might be correct. Thoughts/suggestions? Thanks.

  83. Lisa

    Thank you for this article and thread. I am on day 3, and feeling just plain odd. But my biggest question – if you can address it – is about the fact that I have type 1 diabetes. I have read nothing but wonderful things about doing paleo for type 1, but my issue right now is that my blood sugars have spiked very high. Even after a meal of virtually no carbs (2 eggs and some spinach sautéed in oil) my blood sugar will be dangerously high – I have given myself some insulin with the meal. But it seems the more insulin I give, the higher my blood sugar.

    I guess I’m wondering if this could also be part of the detox? Have you ever heard of this before?

  84. Elise

    I’ve been on Paleo for 2 weeks now and have noticed I’m not retaining fluid in my ankles and knees already which is a good sign! However I’m a Type 1 diabetic and can’t seem to find anything online about Paleo and Type 1 diabetes. I see plenty of information about Type 2 diabetes and Paleo but this is not always relevant to Type 1 (insulin dependent). I’ve read that most people within a few days are losing weight on the Paleo, however even though I have lost fluid I haven’t seemed to lose any weight, if anything I’ve put weight on. My blood sugars are also very low in the mornings, maybe I need to adjust my long acting insulin at night. I have woken with blood sugar lows then need to eat sugar/carbs to bring my levels up to normal again. Is this just confusing my body? Is there a reason I have not lost weight? I’m not overweight, I’m fit and 31 yrs old, I exercise regularly, but was hoping that after 2 weeks on Paleo some weight would be lost. I do have clearer skin though and have been experiencing sinus symptoms, headaches, fatigue, nausea etc, so the toxins must be leaving! I have also not given up coffee as I love coffee too much. Could this be causing issues?

    • Neely Quinn

      Elise – Definitely talk to your doc about your insulin so you can adjust it as needed. I don’t know why you’re concerned about losing weight if you don’t need to lose weight. Do you want to lose weight? Paleo often will get you to a normal, healthy weight, so your body might just be fine where it’s at. Coffee can definitely affect all kinds of things in your body (see my articles on coffee), so if you really want to see for sure how it affects you, I always suggest that people take all caffeine out of their routine for a month, then add it back in (if they want) and see the effects. Often people notice they sleep better, have more energy, have better blood sugar control, have less achy joints, and the list goes on…

  85. Jackie

    Great article. I did the paleo diet in august 2012 and lost 15 pounds in that first month. Then I got sick with a bad cold so I stopped working out for two weeks, then I started losing motivation, birthdays, holidays galore… Yeah that old story… But now I am back full storm I need to lose the rest of my 25 pounds of pregnancy weight I put on a year ago. I am on day 3 and have had the headaches which im prone to anyway but ive also lost three pounds already! This happened last time and then it kind of slowed down but I do have to say, for me this diet is extremely effective in fat loss and I wish to see everyone succeed. Thanks for sharing the info!

  86. Sharyn

    Thank goodness I read this I am in week 3 or maybe 4 and I am sooooo tired . I can hardly walk up stairs at all. Waiting for the good stuff to kick in and theis “cold” to go away!

  87. Tracie

    Im on day five and have cut all the bad foods from day one (except my morning coffee which I dilute so i can add less cream and sugar). I feel icky and yucky, those are the only words i can use to explain how I feel. I have noticed a difference already, my stomach is not bloated and im not sluggish anymore but i stayed home from work today cause I just feel icky and my brain seems to be foggy. Will this last a long time? should I have not gone cold turkey and introduced this diet slowly? I have no cravings which is good im not hungry all of the time. Also the biggest thing I noticed is the my stomach and gut do not make any more noises :) It was like a groaning factory before.

  88. Rachael

    I’m considering putting my entire family (me, husband, 4 kids 6 and under) on a paleo diet. My daughter (6) has some really terrible behavior issues. She’d be considered textbook oppositional defiant disorder. We homeschool and our entire day is just getting her to comply with simple requests and treating others with kindness. We’re considering sending her to school but I don’t want to go there until we can at least make some drastic dietary changes. Anyway, we try to eat a traditional foods diet. We eat about 90% real foods. But we’re a busy family and are not always immune to the occasional chick-fil-a lunch or dinner! My 3 yr old also has eczema which I think is caused by dairy, so most of our meals are at least adaptable. I think the Paleo thing is going to be an OK transition… if I can convince them not to eat peanuts! :) I worry about my husband, though. he works very long, long hours in the TV industry and despite my efforts to pack a lunch, he does go with the crew and eat out and drinks a lot of coffee and tea to keep up… we’ve started using certified therapeutic grade essential oils and they’ve helped us in a lot of areas. I’m hoping they help with his energy so he doesn’t have to depend so much on the coffee. But he can not have the detox process affect his work. We’ve been putting a drop of lemon essential oil to help us detox our livers and drink more water. I guess my question is do you think lemon essential oil in our water will help us to get over the detox process quickly? I went on a 5 day sugar fast once and I was an ugly awful mess… which, I can’t really afford to do being around small children all day! They need for me not to be irritable all day long!

    • Neely Quinn

      Rachael – Unfortunately, I don’t think the lemon oil will do the trick, although it may help (a little). There’s not really any good way to get around it. It’s kind of like asking whether an alcoholic can get away with detoxing without feeling awful for a while. Make sure that first week isn’t super stressful, sleep as much as you can, drink water like it’s your job, put salt on your food, eat a lot of fat, and do NOT go no carb. Eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit, Paleo baked goods, etc, every day at least a few of those things, along with your other veggies. It will ease your transition – trust me.

  89. Jen

    What about cheating on the paleo diet? I’ve been doing paleo for about 6 months now. I took a cheat weekend as we were traveling. I developed severe flu like symptoms including a fever, chills, nausea, severe diarrhea. Do you think this is the flu, or caused by my grain binging?

  90. Kara Tullman

    This made me feel a lot better! I am on day 15 of a dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free diet (similar to paleo) for my fibromyalgia. I have been feeling ALL of the symptoms, which has been a struggle to deal with at college miles from home. The first week I had trouble cutting out fruits and other grains, but now I have found new types of nuts to compensate. I am wondering how long these symptoms will last, as my doctor only mentioned the idea of symptoms for 1-2 weeks.

  91. beverly

    Thanks for addressing detox issues! I’m on day 6 and while I don’t have headaches, the fatigue is huge. Like a couple of other posters, I have bowel issues. Not the dreaded D but frequent elimination (small. formed) with cramping. I had a wine habit (which caused a wine waist) so maybe it’s the liver cleansing itself? I’m drinking lots of water but barely eat anything simply because I’m not hungry. Anything ingested no matter how small seems to cause a trip to the toilet within 15 minutes.

    On the plus side, I don’t seem to have any sugar cravings and in order to stay on track, I cook up lots of meat at one time so there is always something carb-free and convenient to eat in case hunger strikes. The guy who wrote the Primal Blueprint eats lots of salads so that’s my next meal plan since they are a fave. If only I felt well enough to eat.

  92. Jessie

    OMG! Thank you so much for writing this, and thank you to all who shared your stories. Now I KNOW I am not alone in this. Sadly, I am only on day 3 of Paleo and I did give in (had coffee and toast) because I felt like my brain was going to explode. I have a history of migraines and this headache was nearing migraine status. I also couldn’t understand the nausea but now I see that it’s normal. Aside from that one lapse today, I do believe that I can stick to it because of the info provided here. Thank you all.

  93. Alun Thomas

    Hi folks,

    Just like to say well done for those of you who are trying with Paleo – it’s not easy at times to resist all that bad stuff! Ive been eating Paleo for a couple of years now and have transformed my body using this way of life. At the start, it’s difficult to know if you’re eating enough of the right things, too many veggies, not enough fat, too much protein etc, but usually, if your body is giving you bad vibes in the way of headaches etc ( as it did with me ), it’s maybe a sign that you need to tweak things slightly. Remember that Paleo is not low carb – it’s low processed carb. As long as you keep up the good fat intake ( which I assure you does wonders for fat loss and keeping headaches away , not to mention satisfying your appetite ) and DON’T watch your carb intake, you’ll minimise your side effects. A good way of ploughing veggie carbs into your body is to make smoothies , and a lot of them! PS: since your body has a difficult time dealing with lots of Fructose, don’t eat too much fruit. Dont skimp on the veggie carbs though guys, especially if you’re active like me. So, in a nut shell, things that halpe me feel wonderful? Avocado, fattie organic meat, LOADS of veggies, reasonable amount of berries, lots of butter, lots of nuts, coconut water, almond milk, and constant grazing – not meals.
    Hope this helps;)

    Check out ‘Paleo in a Box’ if you want some good advice.

  94. Heather

    Hi I’ve been Paleo for at least 6 weeks maybe a little longer. Lately the brain fog and fatigue has gotten worse, or at least pretty consistent. I am sleeping better thought, my first couple of weeks I couldn’t sleep at all.
    I am 5’3″, I weigh 110. I take in between 1500-1800 calories a day. My carb intake is somewhere between 17-20% of my caloric intake. fat is 57-60% and protein is 26-28%. so approximately 60-100 grams of carbs a day. I eat very little fruit. I use coconut oil regularly I was wondering if it might be candida die off? or maybe just transitioning into fat burning. I am hoping my body can adjust to using fat for energy.
    I do yoga and walking, some light arm and leg work but nothing too strenuous 4-5 times a week. I have worked up to a walk/jog interval training at times when I have enough energy. Any suggestions?

    • Neely Quinn

      Heather – I’d experiment with eating a little bit more food and some more carbs and see how you feel.

  95. Allison Gould

    Okay it’s only day 2 so I shouldn’t be complaining yet but man I don’t feel well. Woke up from a headache since yesterday and just feeling nauseas. I am originally a vegetarian- haven’t ate meat yet just fish but sort of scared to eat meat with these feelings. Any suggestions? Three years ago I became a vegan and I remember feeling really bad for 3 days and than the fog lifted. I hope this is a similar case!

  96. Stephanie

    I have leaky gut and 7 autoimmune diseases. I have started a strict paleo (was modified paleo for a while with white rice) and a low FODMAP diet. I am a week into it and feel awful. I have had a headache for 5 days :( I weight 103 lbs 5’5″ and and I am 37 yrs old and have some rheumatoid cachexia. I don’t think I am getting enough carbs. How do I know how much carbs I need? I need to gain some muscle. I do eat a tablespoon of coconut oil in my smoothie every morning. Lunch is usually a salad of spring greens with chicken, supper is a meat and a low FODMAP veggie. I eat citrus fruit or kiwi in between meals. I was on chemo shots and they messed up my intestines so I am trying to heal them to stop the leaky gut. How do I know how many carbs is for me? Thank you!

    • Neely Quinn

      Stephanie – Considering your complicated situation, I actually don’t feel comfortable giving you any advice without getting a history on you first. If you’d like to make an appointment with me, just email me at

  97. Stephanie

    I appreciate that, but I cannot afford it. I have done some more research and seems I need 100g for me.

  98. ellscee

    Thanks for this information. My husband I started our second week of Paleo. We are loving almost all of the recipes and are enjoying spending time in the kitchen with each other. It’s definitely a partnership in this journey! We have both been experiencing headaches and fatigue and couldn’t really figure out why. I was beginning to think that eating Paleo wasn’t a good fit. So, yes, thank you for this little article. We do plan to stay strong and are focused on the benefits you have listed! Thanks again!

  99. Andrea

    Thanks for the article! Is insomnia a normal part of the detox? I’m two weeks in, the first week was fine except for some low blood sugar- which I’ve alwys had. Now the low blood sugar is better but insomnia set in for the past week! Ugh!

  100. Rebecca

    Today is day 8 for me. I didn’t realize that I was having detox symptoms until I read this article. The first 5 days of eating paleo, I drank tons of water, I was hungry every 3 hours (on the nose), and I needed to pee every five minutes. Day 6 and 7, I felt great. I had energy and a clear head. Today I woke up feeling like I had a hangover. I think the amount of water I was drinking in the first few days was really helping me with any other symptoms.

    I decided to start eating paleo because I have sensitivities to potatoes and soy. I was searching for recipes to make my own chocolate desserts without soy and that is how I discovered paleo. Soy is in so many processed products so it was an easy decision for my to jump in head first. I am enjoying the freedom this way of eating has given me because I don’t need to constantly read food labels anymore. I eat whole foods without worry.

    I have lost 3 pounds so far. I also have hypothyroidism, so seeing any weight come off is a huge accomplishment.

  101. Christie

    Thank you, Thank you and Thank you! I am so grateful to read everyone’s post. I am in day 6 and yesterday felt like I was dying…. I kept thinking about how I needed to chuck the self-pity every time I said “crap this is so hard”. I would take a moment to remember that I was NOT trying to get off heroin, fight cancer or diabetes. Then I start crying because dang it, this crap is hard! When I was 29 I weighed 275lbs., I wore a size 26 and I started dealing with the reality that sugars were killing me. I started living by the diabetic diet plan, 30min of exercise a day and dealt with my emotional triggers (12 step program). I also have not eaten any chocolate or coco since September 19, 1999. It took me really three years to not want Chocolate. I have had three children and 2 normal size pregnancies and I have been able to maintain a weight loss over 100lbs and size 12 for 9 years, I am 42 now. A few years ago I started living life trying to be “normal” and guess what? It turns out that I am just not like the others :). In 2011, I found out after I had a hysterectomy (removed because of extreme pain due to inflammation) that I have interstitial cystitis which is an inflammation of the small tissue. I have been fighting the idea of this food plan for about two years because I kept saying that I knew what is best for my body….. only to watch my weight go up 25lbs. When I started this food plan I weighed 189 and because I have been told not to weigh for a month I don’t know how much I have lost yet. But I can tell that I definitely have lost weight. Today my goal is to keep consistent. I know that this extreme fatigue is normal because of all of your post. When I woke this morning it was not as bad as yesterday. The reality is that if I want something different in my life, I have to start today and keep doing this one day at a time. I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing because it feels right and fighting it feels wrong. Even though I feel like you wrote, “like I was walking through oatmeal”. I am hopeful to find a healthy weight that is even beyond that size 12 that I maintained for so many years. I am confident that it will come if I am willing, willing to do it when I’m with my friends, at family reunions or holidays. Did I say this was really hard? I may feel like crap now but I know from others experience that I can live a life that is healthier and one where my body is not in pain. The easier softer way is not so easy.

  102. Hannah Smith

    I am way too excited to read this post! I haven’t smoked a cigarette in 64 days. I quit drinking booze and sodas. Then I finally went total paleo. I am on my 4th day of detox and it has been the worst so far! Sneezing, runny nose, fever, headache & chills. Today was the first day I didn’t exercise though. I have only gotten out of bed a few times and feel worse than the past 3 days combined. Hopefully this will all be done with soon. I’m ready to be a lean, mean, fat burning machine!!

  103. Jay

    So glad I found this…coming to the end of my first week and feeling like i am almost unable to get up in the mornings! Exhausted, not able to function until after midday. This is the best plan I’ve ever been on for feeling full, im not hungry at all. I am finding it still difficult to get used to fats being good, if anyone had told me to cook with butter before i would have thought it insane. I am finding that I couldn’t stomach a breakfast in the AM though, and i’m concerned that this might be not such a good idea? Even if i’m not feelin hungry should I try and have something to kickstart my day? Or am I ok to wait til hunger kicks in between 11 and 1? Anyway, really hoping this tiredness will pass soon and looking forward to feeling good again, its been years :)

    • Neely Quinn

      Jay – It depends. Are you drinking caffeine in the morning? If so, you may just be suppressing your appetite with the caffeine, in which case you may want to take this opportunity and cut out the caffeine as well so you can see what kinds of effects it’s having on you. Most people adjust to the breakfast thing in the first month or so of going Paleo, and as your blood sugar starts to heal you’re probably going to be hungrier and hungrier in the morning. For now, just eat whatever you can stomach, a little or a lot. I think in the beginning it’s a really good idea to have a stable eating schedule so your body gets into a rhythm and you start to have sustained energy and better sleep. And yes, the tiredness will pass soon if it hasn’t already :)

  104. Sam

    Hi Neely, Thank you so much for your expertise on the Paleo diet! I’m so happy to have found your website! I’m sure I’ll be referring it in the coming weeks for the duration of my detox :)

    I’m on the Paleo diet as a last resort for my Eczema, which I’ve had on/off for over 2 decades (I’m 33).. So far, I’ve gotten most of the symptoms others are experiencing, but have lately been getting an unbearable headache after my afternoon snack of berries and nuts (usually almonds or hazelnuts). I’m suspecting I might have a nut allergy, do you know of a protein alternative to go with my fruit snacks to keep my blood sugar under control? I don’t want to have just sweets and risk spiking sugar levels..

    Thanks in advance!

  105. Jay

    Thanks got the advice. I was a big tea drinker but I’ve switched to herbal. I am feeling crappy! Low energy and small apetite, constipation and then sudden urges to go immediately. Quite nauseous. Morning exhaustion. Hopefully it will pass…it’s just not pleasant at all!

  106. caitlin

    I’m on day 11 and day 1 and 2 were pretty rough but after that I felt fine minus lack of energy when working out. My muscles are very fatigued. I have been training for a half marathon and was up to 8 3 is a struggle and haven’t been able to go over 4.. my half marathon is June 29…:/ I’m a little concerned ..and today I feel fluish..and am trying to decide if I’m catching. A bug or if this is from a change in diet.. considering I haven’t felt like this since iv started…?

  107. Kristin

    I just started paleo, I’m on day 2 an detox symptoms are already hitting me pretty bad. Funny thing is I actually started this last week but was going through detox an thought my body was jus “made” to eat spaghetti and bread, lol. So I sabotaged it, ate a big bowl of spaghetti an muscles that night an almost immediately felt better. Wasn’t until talking to my mom the other day that she told me “well duh, you were going through detox.” So I started back up an yes foggy headed with a slight headache, lil dizzy an peeing like crazy, lol. It’s going to be well worth it though, I can already tell I’m losing a bit of weight. Been trying forever to lose that last 15lbs an “wheat belly” but no matter how much I workout it never goes away. I woke up this morning with absolutely no bloating. Really glad I decided to try it again. :)

  108. Kristin

    *Also forgot to mention that yes my head felt better an I wasn’t as dizzy after eating spaghetti, but I gained 5lbs overnight and my clothes were a whole lot tighter :/ So I wasn’t completely feeling better after eating carbs again…

  109. Ber

    Thank you for this article it’s totally put my mind at ease! I’m week two into the paleo diet I had a few things last week I shouldn’t have but have been sticking to it 100% this week. I’ve been feeling tired alright and my digestive system is a bit all over the place at the moment and i have been feeling quite thirsty. I just wanted to know if you have been eating wrong most of your life is it going to take a long time for your gut to heal and for your digestive system to settle down and be a bit more normal?!!

    • Neely Quinn

      Ber – It’s different for everyone, really. You’ll just have to keep doing what you’re doing and see how you start to feel!

  110. Melinda

    I’m really glad I found this article, and the comments are very helpful too. I’m on day 6 and I’ve been doing well except for the normal things…mild fatigue, skin breakouts. Last night the thought of another meat meal just did not sound good at all. I was gagging on my first bite of salmon! LOL So I didn’t eat it, I just ate the veggies. This morning for breakfast I had a soup made with homemade chicken stock, coconut milk, chicken thigh, and sweet potato. It’s been about an hour since that and now I feel so nauseous. Also, my digestion (elimination) has slowed down. Am I eating too much meat? I’ve never been a big meat eater.

  111. DONNA

    I am 67 years of age and was encouraged by my daughter to go on Paleo Diet. I have been on it now for at least 7 weeks. I have been having so many problems with brain fog, weakness in the morning, high pulse in the morning (105etc). My gut his bloated and yet when I see my doctors and they run all the blood work they tell me everything is great. Yet I feel stressed due to the bloating in my gut. My sleep was bad so I had to go on Melatonian .. all in all I do not feel that great…Why???? I thought this diet was suppose to do wonders.

    • Neely Quinn

      DONNA – You may be eating something new that you’re sensitive to. Is there something in particular that you didn’t eat before that you’re eating a lot of now? Like nuts, avocados, or coconut products? A lot of people are actually sensitive to those things, meaning they give them symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, etc. Experiment with removing one of those items from your diet. Also, though, it sounds like maybe you’re not eating enough carbs. Are you eating fruit, sweet potatoes, and plenty of other veggies every day?

  112. DONNA

    THANKS FOR THE INPUT…. I do not like meat….. it seems so hard for me to digest…. nuts seem hard to digest as well… I have been tested food sensitive to eggs…. can I use protein shakes … if so what kind???
    I have had no appetite on this diet and find it very difficult to eat. I have lost 25 pounds in 6 weeks…. Should I go off this diet?

  113. Suzie

    Thank you for this! I am experiencing just about all detox symptoms on Day 5 (headaches, irritability, fatigue, thirst, brain fog, dizziness). I have about 90 pounds to lose. I’ve always been athletic though. I speed walk 2 miles per day, strength train, abdominals, squats, lunges, pilates, etc., etc. Went Vegan, Weight Watchers, First Place, diet pills, etc, etc & even briefly considered weight loss surgery. I could not lose weight & blamed it on being pear shaped, a mom, & having lots of subcutaneous fat that would not reduce. I went to my very vegan doctor a few days ago & learned about leptin resistance & HE surprisingly suggested the Paleo diet. It makes sense…finally. Now, I just have to resist body slamming my sons & husband & stealing their bread or sugary drinks during detox! Seriously, I’ve failed so many times & I want to be around for my grandkids. I will endure this detox period, if I know there is an end to it (kind of like childbirth!). The Paleo lifestyle seems like it’s the thing for me. My husband is even getting on board finally. He’s helping me strength train smarter, decrease my cardio, & keeping a video library of me to show me my progress this time. Here’s for HOPING again.

  114. Kate

    This describes me to a T- headaches, constantly drinking water and voiding like crazy, “wading through oatmeal.” It is not compatible with my work as a nurse! I’m eating almost every 2 hours, with each mini-meal consisting of lean meat, green and other veggies, and some berries. Snacks are almond butter and celery or apple. Is there anything that will quicken this process? It’s nearly impossible for me to concentrate at work (or anywhere else) after 7 pm. Please help

    • Neely Quinn

      Kate – try to put more carby vegetables (sweet potatoes), fruit, and definitely more fat. It’ll help you have more energy.

  115. Courtney

    I’ve been doing the paleo plan for a little over 6 weeks now and have already lost 17 pounds… Is this normal?! I’m happy about it but just want to make sure I’m not losing it to fast or maybe something else healthwise isn’t going on. Just wanted to see if the majority of people are having similar results?? I’ve also been mixing exercise into this program as well about 2-3 times a week.

    • Neely Quinn

      Courtney – It’s totally normal for people to lose that much in 6 weeks. People who have weight to lose tend to carry a lot of water weight around while they’re eating a typical American diet, and on a lower carb Paleo diet you lose that extra water in the beginning, which means lots of weight loss in the beginning. If you don’t need to lose the weight, then we should talk. But if you do need to lose it, then kudos to you! Congrats on your success so far :)

  116. Ricky

    I’m on day 12 of going Paleo (with IF 16/8) up until now i was feeling pretty good but when I break my fast I feel so tired. I will yawn and feel like I have no energy left. I also started cross fit this week, is it that I’m not getting enough food or is my blood sugar just spiking?. It lasts only 2 hours after which I begin to feel normal again. I’ve lost a about 6lb which I think is mostly water….

  117. Mikaela

    Im about a month in and I’m just starting to feel exhausted after initially feeling wonderful. Am I doing something wrong?

  118. Kathy

    Finally I found some where that made sense of what I am going through. I started the paleo diet ( modified) about 5 days ago and it feels like I have been kicked in the stomach. I have been seriously unhealthy for a long time but am tired of being sick and tired. I’m glad that I am not nuts and this is normal to have happen. I am diabetic type 2, and already been able to get off some meds. So I’m sticking to it, but could do nicely without the stomach flu symptoms.

  119. Lyn

    Thank you for writing this! I am a Paleo noobie(just started 4 days ago). I had a baby four months ago and have quite a few pounds to shed before I get to pre preggo weight. Most of all I’m looking forward to getting my energy and stamina back. I feel like my body is changing from the inside out but getting up in the morning has been quite the challenge, or at least more so than usual with a 4 month old. I think working out has really helped to boost the energy a bit for the rest of the day. Im very excited to see the road ahead without the 20 bathroom breaks! ;)


    Thank you for writing this! I have felt horrible the last three days. Extreme headaches and grogginess have been my symptoms. I felt like this diet WAS hurting me so I had a “normal” lunch today, took a Motrin and felt much better. Then I thought, what am I thinking?? I immediately went for a brisk walk and regrouped. I asked a friend who’s a strict Paleo, and she said, “Oh, yeah. You’re detoxing right now.” I immediately went online and found this article. LOL

    I’ve only been on the diet a few days, and I don’t plan on being strict with my plan, but I REALLY look forward to feeling better. I hope it doesn’t last 3 weeks, but I really appreciate knowing this is normal.


  121. hannahdear1

    Neely, I was on an almost paleo diet for a year before starting real paleo, so I felt like I didn’t have quite the terrible adjustment time as everyone else may. One thing I’ve noticed is that if I cheat for an extensive period of time – like having a latte every day for a week, or eating chips every day for a week – is that when I come back to pure paleo, I have extreme lethargy and bloating for a week or two. Is that normal, or is there perhaps something else I should look at.

  122. Kim

    I’m SO GLAD I found this article. I have been on the diet five days and feel TERRIBLE. Chills, fever, “shakes”, exhausted, and THIRSTY. I drank three gallons of water yesterday. I just can’t get enough water. I can barely walk across the room without getting tired. I sleep almost 12 hours per day. When I wake up I’m still exhausted. I am 5’7″ and weigh 263 pounds. My goal is to lose 100 pounds. I enjoy swimming and have always swam laps for one hour four times per week for years (without ever losing an ounce) and now I don’t have the energy to even drive to the pool. I’m also hypothyroid. The only good thing is that I am not as constipated as usual. Thank You so much for this article. I was about to give up but now I am encouraged to stick with it. I’m sure the symptoms will eventually go away.

  123. Rocco


    Many thanks for a GREAT ARTICLE here. It’s apparently helping lots of folks who are struggling with the Paleo diet.

    Here’s something I typically think of when I hear of people struggling with Detox Symptoms:

    Think of it this way, your body is struggling with being *addicted* to a lot of poison foods, much like a drug-addict struggles when they ‘kick the habit’. We all know that someone kicking say, heroin, or a similar such poison goes through a long period of symptoms as they withdraw. For many, they relapse back into ‘using drugs’ because the detox feels worse than the ‘cure’. This is worst possible thing one can do. I hope that makes sense.

    For this diet to be effective, one has to try and look *past* all the symptoms, as they WILL eventually go away as your body gets cleaner and detoxifies itself. If you’ve been hooked on poisonous foods for years, it will take some time to get this stuff out, especially on a cellular level. Sometimes many weeks depending on good / poor your diet has been leading up to this cleansing diet.

    Give it time folks, things will come right for you. But it *will* take some time. There is no magic-bullet.

    I hope this analogy is helpful to at least some of you out there.

    Keep up the good work here on this site!

  124. Alyr

    No way was I going to do a cold turkey. What’s the point, why not gradually cut out the toxic stuff. And I walk for a living so these detox symptoms were NOT gonna fly with me. You cannot just cut out EVERYTHING but meat and go extremely low calorie.

    Admittedly, I wasn’t a junk food/bad eater anyway and never ate prepared or fake food (like frozen meals, etc.). First I cut out man made sweeteners/sugars – the only sugar i ate grew in my food – fruit or a little milk/yogurt. Then anything else white like flour and all grains. Then cruised for awhile just on that. Then cut the dairy 95%. I still use Greek in smoothies. It took me some time to adjust to eating all that animal product again after years of not eating much. THEN I got to the point I was just eating animal product, veg and fruit. Maybe a sweet potato or two a week. And a half cup of yogurt in smoothie in the am. But I never ate just the fruit or yogurt without balancing it out with animal product and veg in larger amounts. Eventually I got where I needed to be – meaning about 2 servings of fruit or so a day. Not including tomatoes because I adore them and refuse to include in fruits. I guess I was lucky, no drama or detox. I still have a $30.00 jar of raw honey in reserve just in case that happens, though. :) Thank you for your blog, very informative.

  125. valerie

    Two physicians have recommended this diet for my husband. So we are going to do it together. I am really concerned about trying it as I have severe migraines. Any recommendations for those of us already prone to severe headaches?

  126. Lizzy

    Just want to second the thanks for this article! I’m on day 7 and for the last three days have been experiencing crazy muscle aches in my legs and hip. It doesn’t even quite feel like the muscles — more like my nerves are all agitated. And then today my digestive system went haywire.

    I was worried that I’ve been eating something that completely disagreed with me or that I have all kinds of food allergies that I never knew about. It never even occurred to me that I was detoxing. But now I’ll just chalk up the aches and pains to detox symptoms and ride it out.

  127. jenny

    i have a question. i didn’t see anyone post about converting from a vegan diet to paleo. is it even possible? i’ve been paleo-curious and interested if anyone has done this at all and lived through it? i have a very sensitive tummy which is why i gave up everything besides veggies and fruit.

  128. jodie

    All dietary changes should be slow to allow your body to readjust. Take out the worst food first: sugar, flour, junk food, etc. Grandually eliminate one more thing until you are on a paleo diet. Your body can re-arrange a lot to make what it needs, but it needs time.

  129. Rachel

    I have been almost completely Paleo for the last 5 1/2 months, and I am still battling the acne surge that took over my face when I first started. Any suggestions of how to overcome this detox part of the diet? Otherwise, I love it!!!

    • Neely

      Rachel – I’m actually wondering if you have a sensitivity to something you’re eating. The detox period definitely shouldn’t have lasted 5 1/2 months. When I eat certain foods, my face breaks out. I’d experiment with coconut products, nuts, and dairy if you’re eating any (butter included). See if that makes any difference. Also, if you’ve started taking any meds in the last 5 1/2 months, consider that it might be those? Good luck!

  130. Rebekah Kolbe

    I am going on Day 9 of Paleo to heal leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, a low immune system, and an in-remission autoimmune condition (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis). I am supplementing with whey protein (casein free), b complex, tulsi tea, turmeric, vitamin c, fish oil, kava, and G.I. Revive. Although most of these detox symptoms are symptoms I have grown an enduring tolerance to, today was miserable. I was experiencing the flu-like symptoms in addition to some faintness, ringing in the ears, and extreme fatigue which got me worried that I might be stressing my adrenals too much. My integrative practitioner recommended hydrocortisone for my low cortisol levels in the daytime, and although I have a prescription bottle of it, my gut (the intuitive kind, not the leaky kind) tells me to wait until I have made it through the detox period to see if my cortisol levels are still irregular.

    I went completely cold turkey from grains, legumes, nightshades, cigarettes, alcohol, and dairy over a week and a half ago. Although I had been weaning off of most of these things for months and only eating dairy and gluten very seldom, is it possible that I could be exacerbating my weak adrenals by cutting off too many dietary and lifestyle habits too fast? Would hydrocortisone do more damage than healing? What are your thoughts or recommendations?

    Thank you for your support and spread of knowledge. It is inspiring and grounding in a time that I most definitely and fully appreciate it.

    • Neely

      Rebekah Kolbe – You may have gone too low carb. I’m not sure what you’re eating, but try adding in more sweet potatoes, fruit, tapioca flour (see my recipes for crepes on the site) and other sources of carbs every day. See if that helps!

  131. Elizabeth

    Maybe I am an exception to the “detox rule”, but I am on day 4 of my Paleo journey and I am feeling great! I did have a headache on the first day, but that was due to not having had caffeine all day. I decided that a half cup of coffee would not kill me or ruin my plan, so I had it.
    Prior to this adventure, I tried every diet, fad, some pills, exercise effort that I could. Nothing worked. Even Weight Watchers counting points all summer, I have lost 0.6 pounds. So I figured that maybe its the bread and dairy. I love yogurt. I love bread. They don’t love me. Some family members have a dairy intolerance, but I don’t pay enough attention to my body to know if I do or not. And I have had some serious GI issues, that could be due to the wheat/gluten that I have been eating.
    I have yet to weigh myself from Monday’s beginning, but I can already tell how much better I feel in general. Not bloated, tired or irritable. Sleeping better and more focused.
    I am excited about this and hope that the weight will start to fall off. I have around 80 pounds to lose to be “in range” for my height/age, etc.
    Thanks so much for this blog!

  132. MiKayla

    I am so Glade I found this post! my body has been feeling like its giving up on me for about a week now. my mom who suffers from fibromyalgia gave me that diagnosis. I was telling myself it’s from running, working out, my old mattress, stress and so on but honestly nothing has changed in my life but my eating. I am almost three weeks Paleo and the first 2weeks i felt amazing and now like my body is just done with me. not willing to give up Paleo, working out or spending a ton of $$ on a new bed or doctor visits I did a quick search and came across this. thank you! thank you!!!

    • Neely

      MIKayla – Glad I could help! But remember that sometimes people feel awful because they’re eating too few carbs. Make sure you’re getting enough sweet potatoes, fruits, and other carb sources to fuel your working out, ok? Or you’ll continue to feel depleted and weak, which sucks :(


    I have been eliminating toxins through occasional detox diets the last 5 years or so. So I’m familiar with these symptoms. After finding out I had a wheat allergy about 6 months ago, I turned to gluten free foods (replacements) which weren’t actually making me feel as good as I knew I probably should. So I decided to try Paleo because I suspected there was something else I was eating that was causing problems (other ingredients in bread or dairy, food additives, etc.). Since two days after I started I’ve had allergy-like symptoms and headaches. I usually get headaches when I need to go to the chiro, but after reading this article it dawned on me that THIS is probably the culprit. I had completely not considered that I was “detoxing.” DUH!

  134. Mykez

    My detox has been brutal, had I known how bad I was gonna feel I might not have started! I knew I had to stick it out though as I felt like crap on my old diet for years and years, worse as each year went by. I attribute mine to gluten and dairy detoxing, cause that’s pretty much all I ate! I used to drink close to a gallon of milk a day, put cheese on everything, eat loads of pasta and very rarely ate any veggies or fruits at all, I was really bad.

    Here’s how my detox has been going, which was cold turkey on all dairy, all gluten, etc.

    Day 1 – felt fine waking up, wasn’t hungry much all day ate some organic chicken and veggies for dinner. Was surprised at how light I felt compared to my usual diet.
    Day 2 – was not hungry at all and felt extremely fatigued, walking upstairs was a major feat and I’d collapse on my bed. Started feeling a bit nauseous and dizzy.
    Day 3 – this is when it really began. I felt a little groggy waking up, and as the morning progressed started feeling VERY nauseous. Even when I drank water it would hurt. I didn’t intend on fasting at all for this detox but I couldn’t keep anything down, even the thought of food made feel ill. Had to pretty much lie around the house all day feeling nauseous and depressed.
    Day 4 – more of the same but even worse, he nausea and depression were really bad. I lied in bed all day or was in the bathroom; either soaking in the tub to try to help the nausea or pooping my brains out, lots of really bad things came out of my butt. I’m sure a lot of it was all the garbage in my gut that had accumulated form so many years of massive dairy intake. I also started getting a greasy discharge from my palms, it was so bizarre. Every time I drank water it would lump up in me and cause even more nausea.
    Day 5 – oh sheesh will this please end! Woke up feeling only slightly better than yesterday, which was hell. Still very nauseous all day but started forcing down fruit juice and antioxidant greens, and a little beef jerky for protein. More bathroom gymnastics with the same disgusting contents, lots of diarrhea. By evening time I had started to almost feel human again, but I still felt pretty weird.
    Day 6 – first day that I start seeing the light at the end! Still only having fruit juices and supplements for most of the day, but the nausea and bowel activity are way down and I actually had energy to go out and do stuff, hooray! Have only felt better as the day goes on.

    That’s where I’m at right now, I’m so glad I made it through the tough days because I never want to go back to old lifestyle, it was totally killing me and my quality of life. I’ll report back on further progress if I remember. Good luck all, and stick this out!

  135. Jason Turpin

    I’m on day 10 of paleo. I lost 9 lbs the first week and was felling ok. Now I have an itchy rash all over my body. I really did not add that many new foods except nuts. Could the rash be from detox? Or could it be nuts or another food? The inside of my mouth is normal. That’s why I don’t think its food. Help Please.

  136. mary

    Hi I am 3 days into eating grain free, dairy free paleo. I am doing this as I have heard it is a good way of eating if you have MS. I have struggled with headaches for all 3 days. I am assuming from reading everyones posts this is part of the detoxification. I’m barely drinking 6 cups of water a day and i am still drinking coffee in the
    morning. Will the headachds go away once I up the water and quit the coffee.

  137. Jenny

    Hi, I am starting week 5 of modified Paleo ( paleo + no alcohol, eggs, nightshade vegetables) and feel better and younger than ever! Started Paleo to see if a diet change would clear up severe psoriasis. Week 5, and my body is nearly psoriasis free! experienced headaches, fatigue, most of the symptoms everyone describes above through week 3-4. All I can say that for me, this change is worth it! Much prefer to have lesion-free skin than a glass of wine, bread & cheese or a chocolate bar! Wish i had tried this diet 10 years ago! Lots of energy now! Best of luck to everyone trying this diet – keep it up if you can!

  138. Barbara

    I am on day 3 of the 21 day Paleo Cleanse now. I am doing it because I have leaky gut and possibly some food intolerances too. Day 1 I was extremely tired – no caffeine – Went to bed early and slept for 9 hours. Day 2 had headache all day, a bit nauseous and lots of diarrhea, plus very tired but made it through my shift at work. Day 3 have a terrible headache and sore neck and a bit achy in the joints. On the plus side I haven’t had any bad stomach pains since following the diet, hope that continues. Keep it up everyone, there is an end in sight :)

  139. Heather

    Thank you! My Chiropractor actually suggested getting rid of all grains to help my ibs and inflamation. Im on day three and I am peeing every hour and losing my mind! I thought it was a uti but it doesnt hurt and a lot comes out every time. I suffer from bloat and constipation from my ibs. Ive already lost 10 lbs. When I went low FODMAP for ibs…im affraid if I lose much more ill be under weight. Any suggestions? Any for the urination too…will this go away or do I need to change something? I need sleep! I feel like pulling a bed into the bathroom!

  140. Sarah

    Hi! My step son has been wheat free for 4 weeks since we found out thanks he has a sensetivity. He is still extremely emotional, and angry. He is also wetting both day and night. He is 6. Is this normal at the 4 week mark? Thanks for any help!

  141. Nicole

    So I’m ready! My husband and I both went to the store and bought everything Paleo. We have decided to complete an 8 week challenge and then see what could be folded in at that point. First day was great! Then the night came.. we both tossed and turned all night and experienced multiple night sweats. Day 2, during the day we both felt normal (except for light headaches) yet again at night I start to feel awful (just me this time). I can’t sleep at all (which I normally have no problem doing and need more of) and I wake up 3-4 times with massive stomach pains and feel like I’m going to vomit. Is this normal?! I feel if I don’t get good sleep soon, my work will suffer. I’m trying really hard to stay positive and break through the detox stage!! Everyone has been complaining of symptoms of being over tired.. have you ever seen someone not able to sleep?

    • Neely Quinn

      Nicole – Yes, give it a few more days and see if it subsides. Make sure you’re drinking enough water, not overdoing any caffeine, and getting enough to eat. Sometimes low blood sugar can cause nausea and night sweats, so make sure you’re not going too low carb. Eat that fruit and sweet potatoes every day so you’re not making such a huge switch in the very beginning.

  142. Nicole

    Thanks so much!

  143. Melissa

    Hi Neely,

    I went Paleo about two weeks ago. I had bad headaches for a few days straight, but since those stopped I’ve had more energy and have felt a lot less lethargic than I used to. I’m still waiting for more detox symptoms, but maybe I just got really lucky and I’m done with it.

    My goal is to lose a significant amount of weight and be healthier overall. I don’t know if I’ve lost any weight yet, as I haven’t weighed myself, but I noticed only a few days in that my wedding band is no longer tight on my finger. It used to be that every morning it was uncomfortably tight, so at the very least, I’m less swollen, and that is very encouraging.

    The biggest problem I’m having is actually finding the time to cook all of my meals. I work until 9:30 at night and dont get home until almost 10. In the morning, I barely have enough time to get myself ready and eat breakfast, much less prep my lunch and dinner. Yesterday I took a banana and a baggie full of cashews to work for lunch because I simply didn’t have time to make anything else. Do you have any tips for those of us with limited time?

    • Neely Quinn

      Melissa – I’d suggest that when you do have time (even an hour), you cook up a batch of chicken/burgers/pork chops/other meat – like a pound or two in the oven, which takes no more than 15 minutes to cook and just a minute to lay out on the pan. And bake some sweet potatoes as well. Just put a few whole sweet potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil in the oven with the meat and then keep them in there for longer than the meat and turn up the heat to about 450 for another 40 minutes or so. This takes very little effort as all you have to do is put these things in the oven and then take them out. That way when you’re off to work, you can just grab a baked chicken breast, a baked sweet potato, and maybe an avocado and if you keep some coconut oil, salt, and some salad greens at work all the time, you’ll have yourself a delicious meal every day. It’s all about cooking in bulk when you have very little time.

  144. Barbara

    Hi Neely,

    I am on day 18 of the the cleanse and still not feeling 100% but definitely have a lot more energy and I have lost 3kgs so far which I am very happy about. Still getting lots of aches and pains in the joints and stomach ache. I am doing this for leaky gut and ibs so I have eliminated all grains, coffee, all dairy, nightshades, nuts and eggs as you recommend but still get a lot of stomach pains and gurgles and alternating between diarrhoea and constipation. I have followed the food plan in the 21 day Paleo Cleanse so I’m wondering if there could be something else that is affecting me. On the plus side, I sleep like a baby and have actually felt like doing things around the house more and people have commented on how clear my skin looks and how well I look. Do you think something else could be causing the upset stomach?

  145. Elizabeth

    Tell me about it. I just want a candy bar and a nap!

  146. Paul

    Im at week 4 of paleo and feel run down but last week I felt great? What gives?

    • Neely

      Paul – Not sure. Maybe you’re getting sick? Maybe you’re not eating enough food/carbs? Try experimenting a bit with how much and what foods you’re eating.

  147. Paul

    Thanks for the advice Neeley, I thought I may be sick also because ive been sneezing and having nasal discharge alongside a mild headache, but its lasted about a week and shows no sign of subsiding so maybe it is food related? Just feel a bit disillusioned at the minute because I felt so good last week. I am struggling to get enough carbs in my system aswell so that could be part of the problem? Any advice on good carbs apart from sweet potato? Thanks again

  148. Cara

    Hi Neely…thank you so much for your advice and posts. So much appreciated. I’m on day 8. I feel really good actually except for headaches the past 2 days. I’ve done just light exercise. My question is…I’m not really hungry. Sometimes I have to force myself to eat my scheduled meal. And sometimes my stomach is hungry, but I don’t want to eat for some reason, if that makes any sense. Is this normal? Should I eat if I know I’m low on calories but don’t want to eat? I have about 30 pounds to lose.

    Thanks for the meal plans and shopping lists…not sure I could do this without!

    • Neely

      Cara – That depends. Sometimes people aren’t hungry because they’re drinking too much caffeine and it’s suppressing their appetite. That can really mess with your ability to listen to your body and do what it wants you to do, so if that’s the case with you, try cutting down on the caffeine and see how you feel. But in general, I tend to just listen to what my body tells me to do in terms of when to eat and how much. If you’re not hungry, then don’t eat, but if your stomach is hungry and you don’t want to eat… Maybe it’s your head telling you that you shouldn’t eat because you’re supposed to be restricting calories because you’re trying to lose weight or something? Check your mental talk when you don’t “want to eat”. Or maybe it’s stress causing you to be too anxious to eat? Or it’s just the transition to a totally new diet and your body getting the hang of it :)

  149. Stacy

    Day 1 of my Paleo diet and I am already experiencing extreme nausea. After reading all the posts, I really dread the detox phase that is about to hit me. But, I figure I can’t feel much worse than what I have been feeling over the past 15 years. Every day I experience headaches, body aches, lethargy, and depression. So, all I can say at this point is Bring it!!! I dread the next few weeks but I am so anxious to see how I will feel after I’m done detoxing.

  150. Jane

    I’ve been on the Paleo Plan now nearly 3 weeks and I feel fantastic! The only thing I haven’t given up is coffee. My detox wasn’t too bad I just had headaches, dizzy spells and tiredness. I woke up on day 5 and felt like a new person so I hit the gym. So far I have lost 11lb.

  151. Jill

    I am an avid runner. Is this a diet I can do and still run and train for marathons? I am on day 1 and have a 1/2 this SATURDAY!! I just don’t want to be sluggish and have a miserable run. I was supposed to run today but I just can’t do it. I asked my trainer at the gym and she said to go ahead and start today and not wait until after the race but I am beginning to wonder if this is the right thing to do.

    • Neely

      Jill – I always tell my runner clients to NOT start Paleo right before a race. You will likely feel really fatigued for the next week, as so many others do. And it takes runners a while to figure out the right amount of carbs for them (you need a lot as a runner), so I wouldn’t want to be experimenting with this right before a race. No way. I say wait, unless you’re in a severe amount of pain right now. If anything, go gluten free and just sub all bread and pasta with rice for a while. You probably won’t detox as hard and you’ll still get your carbs. Email me at if you have other questions.

  152. Low Glycemic

    I discovered that I am pre-diabetic. So no more breads, fruits, or starchy veggies for me at every meal. I am going through the same detox symptoms even though I’m not doing paleo. These recipes are great for anyone that needs to have a low glycemic diet. The ideas are wonderful! I discovered that I wasn’t eating enough protein or enough fats & oils. Even though we are a fat hating country, you still need to have good fats. Eat protein, non-starchy veggies, limit your fruit intake, and for heaven sake put down that dinner roll.

  153. Gabe

    Do you have to give up coffee on Paleo? I currently drink two cups of black coffee in the morning. I’ve read both sides of it. Some are saying to give it up and switch to organic green tea. Other say as long as its organic coffee its fine in small quantities. Opinions?

  154. Amber

    Hi Neely. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and I have always struggled in losing weight. I have about 130 pounds to lose to be considered to be at my ideal weight– given my diagnosis with PCOS, how likely do you think it is for me to lose weight on the paleo diet if followed strictly? Also, I love to exercise, but am not sure how much or how vigorous my exercise should be at this stage ( day one of paleo )

  155. trishtallman

    I have been on paleo for one week. Have lost 12 lbs, but I do have a lot more to losee. Am very upbeat about paleo, but on day 6 I experienced flu like symptoms. On day 7 I felt much better. Will I continue to have these flu like symptoms for very long?

  156. Carolyn

    Day one… Feelin pretty darn good! Maybe this detox thing will pass me right by :)
    Day two…. Horay for coconut oil! Now, if I could only stay awake long enough to learn how to use it…
    Day three…. Got lost in the grocery store. “Where in the world did the meat department go?”
    Day four… Moments of clearity in the fog today! Just gonna need just a tad more sleep so I can …Zzzzzz
    Day five… More moments of AMAZING! Lots of grace for the rude woman behind me in line…maybe she’s detoxing :)
    So grateful for websites like this one :)
    Go You guys!!!!

  157. Nads

    Day 4 of being full Paleo for me – feeling soooo tired, foggy and cold! I’m in New Zealand so it’s summer here (well it’s supposed to be but it’s freezing) and I’m sitting in my office with my down jacket on! I also thought I was getting a cold as have a snotty nose and feel congested, so good to know this could be just part of the detox. I know this is for the greater good so while I’m feeling ratsh*t right now, I know I will feel better once my body adjusts from the years of crap eating that I have subjected it to. Have also been coffee free for a week now and have noticed that I am sleeping much better (apart from drinking so much water during the day that I still have to pee in the night…..grrr). I am really enjoying the meal prep and planning and its really much quicker cooking dinner for me and my kids – meat and salad and the kumara (known as sweet potato everywhere else in the world!) cooks so much quicker than stodgy old potatoes so dinner is on the table in about half an hour and we are all happy!!!

  158. Betsy

    I am on day six of a detox plan that started with a three day juice fast. (so day three of just paleo eating) I have been a big coffee drinker before this and have stopped drinking coffee as well. I had a headache for a few days, which I can assume was caffeine withdrawal mixed with toxins clearing out, but now I am having the worst leg pains. They totally feel like growing pains from when I was a kid. Can you tell me….is this normal?

  159. Vicki

    Day 2 of paleo and all I can say is…ugggggghhh. I am feeling so sluggish, my brain is fogged up and I need SLEEP! So grateful for this thread though. It’s awesome to know that this is all normal and I’m not alone. Hope that the payoff will be worth it. Will update in a week. Good luck everyone, and be gentle on yourselves x

  160. Wendy

    I was worried about diabetes until I lookup up excessive thirst associated with the paleo diet. I have approximately 80 lbs to lose and this was the only diet that made sense to me as far as a lifestyle change that will stick. I have yoyo’d with about 50 lbs and I am tired of gaining and losing the same weight. I must say that I was so tired and felt like I had the flu yesterday (day 8), I added freezed dried Moringa to my fruit/veggie smoothie this morning and I feel like the fog has lifted a bit. I’m not sure if I can contribute this to the Moringa or hopefully, I’m finally coming out of the fog. I have too much to do to go to sleep at 8:00 every night. :).

  161. Mary Anne

    I’ve spent the past two days researching this “diet”. Detox has been my greatest fear. I am utterly addicted to sugar, no question. But I have been battling Alopecia Areata for 15 years (since college). Have tried SO many things and seen SO many docs/specialists. It’s getting SO much worse recently. My boss told me about the auto-immune advantages yesterday morning, so the research started. I’ve been doing whole foods since July, only to watch my hair fall out even more. Willing to buy tonic from a peddlar at this point.
    Anyone had any experience with Paleo and Alopecia? Gonna take the next few days to cut back my grains and dairy….then start this full blown on Monday.

  162. Gary

    I’m two weeks in and feeling very sluggish/tired. I too have had headaches and sinus runs. I have done other detox programs and didn’t think of paleo as a means of detoxification but it makes sense. Actually, a more natural way to detox. Like many others, I’m glad I found this post. I needed some encouragement to continue the battle!

  163. Christine


    I started early January and I felt great in the first week, then I started to feel so tired, I just want to sleep. I am often very hungry and sometimes I don’t want to eat at all. I still drink my one or sometimes 2 coffees a day in the morning with organic cream in it. That is the only dairy I will eat. I feel like I am “stoned”, not that i ever take any drugs, but the feeling of foggy and a constant annoying light headaches. I just want to be alone and do nothing. I think way too much. It’s been 3-4 weeks now and I lost 10 lbs. My stomach is acting up in all ways. My eyes are heavy. Pain in my neck and back. I even started my periods too early. I am a mess, but I know it will get better soon, I sure hope soon. I am so tired!! I feel different and I look different in a strange way. I am changing. It feels good to read all of what you wrote. It kind of makes me smile, ya I hear ya!! I am not alone.

    Anyway, after all of that, there is no way in hell I am eating wheat or that other shit again. It was making me sick and I had severe eczema on my hand. It is going away now. I feel like a werewolf about to transform. LOL. Good luck Paleo pals. Thank you. Christine

  164. Lisa

    Is it counter productive taking Advil or Motrine to help with the headaches?

    • Neely

      Lisa – No, not if it helps you get through your day ;)

  165. ChiGirlNow

    Like so many others I appreciate your web site, and your generosity in replying to these questions.
    I am 60, have a hypothyroid, and continue to suffer from hot flashes to the point where I take a low dose of bio-identical hrt to manage this. And in retrospect was suffering many s/s of overall inflammation.: joint pains, fatigue, weird skin things, brain fog, a feeling of being toxic, almost impossible to lose weight, and an ‘uncomfortableness’ after having a BM. I had loose stools, and discomfort after defecating.
    In the Fall I started going towards a Paleo lifestyle. At first gradually (80/20). Like so many others I was amazed. I felt better than I had in years, dropped a few pounds, skin was clearer, and my bowels straightened out. Great! By the time I started on the 30 day challenge I was already 95%. Paleo. What I gave up primarily was my cream for the one cup of tea I had in the AM., and occasionally cheese.
    Things went well, until the 4th week. For the past 5-6 days, my gut has been much inflamed. Over the past days I have not been feeling well. I am achy all over, tired, and my bowel picture seems to have reverted to the pre dietary change mode, but worse.
    So my question is could this be a delayed detox picture? I really did not have any negative symptoms at the beginning.
    My diet has been fairly consistent during the Whole 30. Breakfast is usually eggs, with veg, or sausage and a sautéed apple in coconut oil. Sometimes 1/2 of a sweet potatoe, or some winter squash. Lunch: a large salad with chicken or tuna with homemade mayo, or olive oil and lemon. I have almonds for snacks or sunflower seeds. Dinner is meat, fish, or chicken and I get organic when feasible, with green veg, and paleo okay carbs such as squash, plantain etc. I eat 2 pieces of fruit a day.
    In the past few days I have eliminated raw veg, and mostly eating chicken and winter squash. Today is the second day I am lying low.
    I am confused, today is my 30th day. Any input would be very welcomed. Thanks

    • Neely

      ChiGirlNow – Sounds like you’re doing all the right things, and I’m really happy to hear you were having so much success! I’m confident you can figure out this issue.

      It’s hard to say what’s going on, but these are the things that come to mind:

      1) maybe you’re not getting enough probiotics in your diet. I’d go get like a 50 billion organism probiotic supplement from the health food store and take it once a day. Or get inner eco from a health food store (fermented coconut water). Or eat more cultured foods like raw sauerkraut, kim chi, etc.

      2) Could be you’re getting something in your diet you’re not aware of? Have you changed anything, even started taking a supplement in the last week that has weird ingredients, or a pharmaceutical change?

      3) You could be sick. Like, as in, a stomach bug. No way to tell really.

      4) You could be responding to one of the foods you’re eating all the time. My first inclination is the nuts and seeds. They give so many people problems that I’d experiment with those first if you think it could be contributing.

      But a detox 4 weeks after starting Paleo? I’ve never heard of that, so I think it’s probably something else. Give all these things a gander, decide what feels right to try first, and just keep listening to your body and gut feelings about things.

  166. Sunny W

    My journey is this…three weeks in and after the first week I had the most awful stomache ache ever…trully a cleansing…I felt terrible the next day literally had the shakes and all I wanted was a biscuit…so I cheated and had a biscuit (boy I felt better)…back on track and the end of week two I was so angry and hungry and I wanted a piece of candy (I LOVE CANDY) so I ate a big pull twizzler and I felt more angry (at myself)…my cravings for sugar is rediculous! Now the end of week three and I am in pain (horrible joint and muscle pain)…I have psoriatic arthritis, which is one of the reasons that I went on this diet. This could be a typical flair up, but do you think the joint pain could be from the change or the cheating? I have high hopes that this might help my joint pain, but I don’t think I’ll never cheat…I do love candy that much! And I do not want to be so angry about food!

  167. Julie P

    Hubby and I began our paleo journey Feb 1st. He is doing awesome. I am hot mess. Headaches. Hungry. My mouth is dry despite the tsunami of H2O I’m downing daily. I loved my wine after a long and stressful day in corporate America. Miss the wine but psyched I found this site. I’ve learned I’m not alone. My detox is just that and I am now hopeful my body will triumph from this Intense cleanse. Our goal is to do this for 30 days, hit the doctors office and see if paleo reduced our numbers. My cholesterol is over 300. I am nervous becoz I’m hurting myself becoz there’s a lot of beef, eggs and shrimp in this journey. Am I over reacting?

    • Neely

      Julie P – It’s common to worry about that, but just try it for 30 days and see! There are so many people who’ve improved their health eating this way! And the dry mouth may be due to being too low carb (or it may just be detox). I’d give it a few more days and if it doesn’t get any better, I’d add in more fruit and/or sweet potatoes. Good luck!

  168. Sherry C

    I’ve been taking an antidepressant for years because of post traumatic stress syndrome. I’ve read that this diet stabilizes moods. I don’t like the side effects and would like to stop taking them. I tried to quit once before and was a mess- emotional, moody, headaches. I’ve been on the paleo diet for 3 weeks. Does anyone know if I should be able to go off the antidepressant or does it just depend on the person and level of PTSD?

    • Neely

      Sherry C – Yes, it definitely depends on the person and the situation, and you should seek the help of your doc with this. But here’s my advice for what it’s worth. I would wait until you start to feel stable on the diet. 3 weeks on Paleo is not enough time (in my opinion) to really get into a rhythm with it. I’d stay on it and stick with it for at least a couple months until your blood sugar is under control and you’re not detoxing anymore. Blood sugar is one of the main factors (in my opinion) determining mood stability. So after you feel stable on the diet, and like you’re not going to go OFF the diet, then start experimenting with lowering your dosage (depending on what your doc says). He/she will hopefully give you advice on how to lower the dosage. For instance, I was also on an anti-depressant at one point in my life, and everytime I’d stop taking it in an attempt to get off it, I’d honestly get suicidal. It was intense. The only way I got off it was to do a no sugar diet for a while and then very slowly wean myself off the drug. I mean, like 2 weeks with 3/4 of the dosage, then another 2 weeks on 1/2 the dosage and so on. It was very slow, but it worked and I haven’t gone back on those meds since then.

      I hope this helps, but I can’t stress enough that you need to talk to your doc about this as I’m not a doctor or pharmacist…

  169. Kenny

    Day 5 and I’m feeling horrible. This is a good sign :) My body is detoxing on a whole new level. I had bread and dairy with every meal for the last 26 years.

    I see that lots of you suffer with Fibromyalgia. If you have been on the paleo diet for awhile and it’s not helping your Fibro then you should look inside your mouth. Do you have any silver mercury
    fillings? The reason I ask is because Fibromyalgia is mercury poisoning. 90% of mercury that humans come in contact with comes from silver fillings in the mouth. If your mother had any silver fillings then a great deal of mercury would have been passed to you in the womb.

    “A mother with mercury in her body will pass it into her baby. The level of mercury in the tissue of the fetus, newborn, and young children is directly proportional to the number of silver fillings in the mother’s mouth.”

    •The true cause of Fibromyalgia•

    A growing body of research and medical practitioners are pointing to heavy-metal toxicity as a probable primary cause of fibromyalgia. Up to 90% of mercury that humans come in contact with comes from amalgam silver dental fillings. Other sources include fertilizers, pesticides, seafood, coal burning plants, contact lens solution, vaccines, high fructose corn syrup, paint, batteries, dentures, air, soil, and water.

    Here are five examples:

    *A study done in 1990-1 by Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, Ph.D. of ten fibromyalgia patients found that all ten patients had heavy-metal toxicity, and all ten showed improvement with chelation treatments to remove the metals.

    *The website for South Bay Total Health , where Dr. Arlan Cage practices, says, “Of the Fibromyalgia cases he has seen, Dr. Cage has found that 100% have heavy metal toxicities. They may have elevated levels of lead, mercury, aluminum, or sometimes other heavy metals in their bodies, and usually have several. In fact, Dr. Cage is of the opinion that Fibromyalgia is heavy metal poisoning until proven otherwise.  It is these deep tissue stores of metals that are the true cause of Fibromyalgia.”

    *Dr. Mark Pellegrino on WebMD says: ” I believe heavy metal toxicity can trigger FM. Heavy metal toxicity symptoms include chronic muscle pain, fatigue, brain fog, headaches, numbness etc.(sound familiar?!) So there could be a FM-like condition present but also bona fide fibromyalgia as well.”

    *The staff at Pacific Medical Center of Hope in Fresno, CA, say, ” We have found that in the majority of cases, heavy metal toxicity (especially mercury) and an unbalanced intestinal system (dysbiosis) are at the root of this debilitating condition [fibromyalgia].”

    *”Many of today’s “mystery syndromes” that physicians don’t know how to treat at all – fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, asthma, IBS, anorexia, recurrent depression – aren’t mystery syndromes. They are just mercury poisoning. Treating them as mercury poisoning cures them, while the usual treatments are seldom effective in the long term.”
    – Andrew Hall Cutler, PhD, PE
    (PhD from Princeton University)

    If any of you have silver fillings in your mouth google “kickstarter you put what in my mouth”. It’s only a 5 minute video. It literally saved my life. I thought I had Fibro but turns out I just had mercury poisoning.

    Other mercury related problems: acne, anxiety, depression, IBS, high blood pressure, insomnia, panic attacks, hypothyroidism, thinning hair, failing vision, ringing in the ears, MS, ADHD, autism, food intolerances such as gluten and dairy, cold hands and feet, hypoglycemia, TMJ, Lyme, parasites, tight neck, sore back, and hundreds more.

    Don’t just rush out and get your fillings removed as it could make you very sick. There are special guidelines that need to be followed. Join Mercury Detox Support Group on Facebook and look for me!
    My name is Kenny G.

    This might be the missing puzzle peice for many of you :) Happy

  170. Catherine

    I began the Paleo diet three days ago….so far… so good. Thanks for the blog – it really helps to know what to expect. I have a 30 day plan and if it doesn’t I am going back to grains.The most annoying thing so far is that the trips to the bathroom are insanely frequent! Also, day three began some stomach pains but I am chalking that up to the changes. Hope I don’t get the “flu” since finals are next week.

    Best of luck to everyone!

  171. Erica F

    I have to say that my experience has been the opposite with the exception of the constipation. The first 5 days I was like the energizer bunny and my partner was actually worried about me. Though he was happy I was keeping the house so clean! Since then, it has toned down but I never felt any other the other symptoms.

  172. Carrie B

    I have yet to experience the detox feeling. I have been at this a week. Is that okay or am I not paleo enough? I am mostly a vegetarian, I eat fish, so I have had to modify the plans somewhat. Thoughts?

  173. jane

    Neely,I am 100 lbs. also and want to hold my weight.Can you give me an example of what a day of your meals might be? I have enjoyed learning from your website.Thank you!

    • Neely

      jane – I was just going to write a post on what I’ve been eating lately! Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, a couple ounces of smoked salmon, 1 cutie orange. Lunch – couple turkey slices, sometimes a couple salami slices, mustard, and half a baked sweet potato. Dinner – big salad of greens, cabbage, broccoli, chard, 4 oz of some sort of roasted meat (pork chop, turkey, lamb, etc), and a 1/4 cup of olive oil/balsamic/mustard/honey as dressing. That’s it. Sometimes on my big climbing days I’ll have half a tapioca crepe, some banana bread, and a couple macaroons thrown in there. To drink, all day I have either water or soda water with a bit of juice in it over ice. Sometimes I have port wine at night.

      But Jane, I’m in a projecting cycle in my climbing right now, which means that I want to be as light as possible. That means if I lose weight, I’m psyched. Not trying to be unhealthily underweight, but I have a few pounds to spare right now, so I’m eating on the lighter side. If you’re trying NOT to lose weight, then you will have to experiment with eating different amounts than I do.

  174. jane

    Neely,Thank you so much! I just wanted to get an idea of what someone my size would eat in a day to keep their weight up.I would love for you to do a post on it.I am learning so much from your website.I have lupus and have been following this paleo plan for 5 weeks now.My energy level is better than it has been in years,I am hopeful that my body will heal.My husband is following it with me and has lost 20 lbs.these last 5 weeks (he had it to lose) so we are both very happy! Thanks again!

    • Neely

      jane – WOW! What fantastic results! I could not be happier for you :) Congrats, and let ms know if you have other questions.

  175. Diana

    This post is amazing! I am on day 5 of nearly strict Paleo (minus my coffee, that’s next to go!). I feel pretty fatigued and tired today and after reading all the comments and your responses I come to realize it seems i am not eating enough. I’m a constant snacker so i rarely eat a large meal; i generally have small portions during the day. It’s hard to make sure i get enough carbs, fat, and protein on Paleo during the detox phase. Being slightly fatigued and groggy makes me not want to eat. Starting to track my intake online. Thank you for all the information! I feel much more motivated now :)

  176. Ashley

    Hi Neely,
    Thanks so much for this post,it’s helped a ton, however I do have a question! I’m 33 days in on my healthy lifestyle and I’m loving it! I started to get sluggish about 10 days ago, super sleepy mostly around 1:30 in the afternoon, I’m eating roughly 19-25% protein and 65% fat…. my carbs at 15……. I eat, should I say was eating 1200 cals (I use myfitnesspal) have dropped 23lbs yet now can’ t seem to reach the cal count…… should I just stop watching the cals? I also haven’t started working out yet, 3 more till I’m under 200 for the first time in 10 years! I plan to do lite cardio and weight training…….. should I be forcing myself to eat more and if I do will the need to sleep go away? I do not drink coffee anymore either!

  177. Vernita

    Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off
    the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or
    something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon.

  178. Amy

    Hi Neely,

    I’m on day five of my new diet. I’ve had to cut out caffeine, chocolate, gluten, dairy, soy and nuts due to an h pylori infection and horrible acid reflux. It’s started causing food sensitivities and I had to start cutting out foods. For the last few months, I’ve been having protein shakes every day, taking a garlic allium supplement, acidophilus, salmon oil, carotenoids, tre-en-en, a multivitamin, vitamin b and vitamin c. Taking all the supplements and cutting out all those foods have helped my digestion, but my acid reflux is still horrible. I get it even without heartburn. I’ve been feeling horribly tired the last few days and started experiencing a lot of dizziness. I’m trying to increase the amount of water I drink, but what else can I do? I’m also not trying to lose any weight … I’m actually trying to gain about 15 pounds! I’m 5’9″ and used to weigh 125-130, and now I weigh 112 because of h pylori! I used to eat a lot of sugary and processed foods, so I’m pretty sure these are detox symptoms. But because of my weight and the infection, my body is so sensitive to everything! Do you have any suggestions?

    • Neely

      Amy – Are you seeing a naturopath about this? If not, I’d HIGHLY recommend it. You might have some other stuff going on. From what I can tell, though, it sounds like you probably have a need for hydrochloric acid supplementation. Sounds counterintuitive, but that, and a digestive enzyme spectrum with every meal – are what I’d suggest, not knowing much else about your situation. of course, if you’re on an acid lowering drug, don’t do this. Definitely talk to a Paleo-friendly doc. You can find one at

  179. Donna

    Thank you for this post of hope. I am 4 days in and I feel like I’m getting so much worse. Scoured the internet and no other words of encouragement. I am strictly doing the paleo aip. Wow!! So sick the first two days (and I was only a tea drinker). I’ll do this 3 weeks and see where it takes me. And I am strictly adhering to the aip, everything. Pretty much nothing with a barcode ;-)

  180. Megan

    I was reading a lot of posts on this particular blog, and I’m on day 3 and def experiencing the detox symptoms, but what I don’t know is what is considered “fatty meats” and higher protein meats to help?

  181. Rachel

    Hi Neely. I’m new to Paleo and I have taken to calling you my Paleo Spirit Guide. This site, and your posts in particular, are fantastic!

    I’m on day 11, so I know I’m likely still experiencing some detox symptoms. However…I’m a bit concerned by the fact that I’ve had only 2-3 solid bowel movements since I began. The others have been nearly completely liquid. I’m also wondering if this could be related to the fact that I don’t have a gallbladder. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again for all the great info…and for sharing your personal story!

    • Neely

      Rachel – That is the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a while – thank you :) Yes, it could definitely be due to your lack of a gallbladder. Honestly, I’d work with a Paleo physician or a Paleo naturopath so you’re getting the nutrients and digestive aids you need. I always tell people who are having digestive complaints to try taking digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid with every meal, along with probiotics every day. But if that doesn’t help, definitely go see someone – you can find someone in your area at

  182. Trysten

    On day 6 and it’s 1:30 in the morning. This headache has kept me up all night! I finally gave in and took ibuprofen! Argh, I’ve always just popped the pills as soon as any kind of pain kicked in but have been trying to stop using them altogether, tonight I regret my pill popping because it didn’t even work, instead I finally gave into my moms essential oils and used peppermint, eucalyptus, and frankincense on my forehead and temples, headache gone within 5 minutes! If your detox headaches are out of control I highly recommend it.

    BTW, best paleo site, others are pretentious, hard to follow, and just plain not as good. Thanks, this info is really helping me through this major change.

  183. Ruth McCabe

    I am 67 and have been following paleo for about 6 months. I track my nutritional intake using myfitnesspal so I’m reasonably sure I’m getting enough healthy carbs and fat. Cals about 1600 a day. I drink over 2L water a day. I do weights and cardio twice a week and walking and general gardening and stuff in-between. My question is about nausea. Should I be experiencing this now? Occasional diahorrea. Slightly worried that at my age I may be over-taxing my digestive system. Advice very welcome.

    Other than nausea I feel fine. Should have said I don’t eat gluten just as a precaution. I’m not a coeliac.

    • Neely

      Ruth McCabe – Well, if you’re experiencing nausea at this point, it’s not from detox unless you’ve recently changed up your diet pretty drastically. Without knowing what you eat, I really have no idea what’s causing it. Are you on any medications? Have you started taking any new supplements recently? Are you getting enough carbs? Sometimes eating too low-carb can make people nauseous. Or you may have a food sensitivity to something you’re eating or drinking. Maybe it’s coffee? Are you more stressed than usual lately? It could just be from that, if so. There are so many possibilities really. I wrote a blog post on some of the reasons that people on a Paleo diet may be having digestive issues here: Maybe give it a read and see if it helps.

  184. Angie

    Help! I’m on day 6 and the past 2 days I am sad and crying. I’m also moody. I’ve been eating a banana with almond butter in the morning. Small black coffe in am. 1/2 panera Asian chicken salad (no strips, very little dressing) and either chicken grilled with vegetables or whole Asian salad.

    • Neely

      Angie – Try eating more carbs. You’re probably just carb depleted – that’s how I get when I don’t eat enough, too! Eat some fruit, sweet potatoes, and maybe even make yourself some muffins to carry you through the beginning phases. You’ll get it all figured out with time!

  185. Angie

    Oh I do est an apple at lunch

  186. Trish

    Neely – I want to thank you for diligently keeping up with all these questions. It made me wonder whether my almost 40 years of “stomach” issues were a gluten sensitivity… so I went paleo. In just a couple days I was cured! I didn’t realize how bad and painful my gut was until it all stopped! It’s been almost 3 months now and often I fondly think of you and how your dedication here has forever changed my life! You did what many, many doctors were unable to do. Thanks (with a big hug)!

    • Neely

      Trish – Thank you for that!!! I’m so glad you’re feeling better now!

  187. Deb

    I am on day 3 of Paleo. Starting to get a slight headache so I’m grabbing some Tylenol since I’m at work and just can’t go lay down! Question: I am hooked on a can of tuna with a half of avocado mushed in overtop some lettuce assortment. Can I have that every day for lunch??? I am totally hooked on the tuna/avocado mix! Is it okay to also have eggs & some veggies mixed in every day for breakfast? I am trying to snack on strawberries. Pineapples are really good and ripe in the store right now, how are they for Paleo? Are peanuts allowed? I ate too many of them for a snack last night and read on a different that they aren’t allowed. But almonds are? I need help with portion control for nuts. Just printed a recipe Paleo Crockpot Sausage and Egg Soup Recipe for the crockpot. Sounds good, hope it tastes good! Just found your site, so hope to look around later today.

  188. Jinny

    I am on day two and feel amazing! I really hope that this lasts and that I don’t have to got through this awful detox period.

  189. Georgia

    Hi there,

    I have been doing Paleo for about a week now, and have been extremely dizzy since starting. Is this a typical symptom of detoxing?


    • Neely

      Georgia – That’s sort of a weird detox symptom. Sometimes people get dizzy if they don’t eat enough calories and/or enough carbohydrates, especially if you’re working out a lot. I’d count your calories and carbs to make sure you’re getting enough. I use for that kind of stuff.

  190. SuSu

    Today is my 10th day, and I have a question. I keep hearing about the withdraw, the headaches and cravings. I have experienced none of these things. I’m actually loving this challenge. I’ve lost 5 lbs and 3 inches. Am I doing something wrong if I’m not feeling all of the withdraw symptoms?

  191. Susie

    Hi, this is my 9th day on Paleo, and I started out feeling wonderful about the whole thing! I was losing weight right away and had sky high energy. Now I’m feeling really fatigued and bloated. I’m sure the bloat is due to the added veggies. I drink lots of water and limit caffenine to 1 really weak cup of coffee a day (weaning myself off of it). I could use to lose about 70 lbs and I don’t want to lose this motivatioin. Any ideas?

  192. Susie

    Also, can a person have too many eggs a day on Paleo? It seems to be my fall back food when I’m really hungry as I have hard boiled eggs in my fridge all the time

  193. Cathy

    Hi, I started Paleo last Tuesday night — just sort of dove in. Haven’t had any grains, dairy, sugar, legumes or starchy vegetables/high sugar fruits since then. I have had wine a few times as the materials I’ve seen conflict on whether that is OK and I didn’t want to give up EVERYTHING. :) Then Sunday night I got what I thought was a cold, but now I’m wondering if it could be detox? The detox symptoms you mention seem more stomach-related — this is totally in my head so to speak with congestion and sore throat. I’m going to keep going because it just feels like a good idea to me and since I started I have totally not been hungry between meals or craving unhealthy snacks at night and that is HUGE. But I am wondering about the cold, and how long it may last. Thanks for any advice you can give!

    • Neely

      Cathy – It could be detox or it could be just a cold :) There’s no way to know really, and there’s absolutely no way for me to guess how long it might last. It just depends on your immune system and how well you take care of yourself during this time. Lots of water, LOTS of sleep, not too much exercise, eat enough but not too much and not too little. Good luck!

  194. Eva

    I have been on many kinds of ‘detox’ plans, schedules after illnesses and what advice I am missing here is, how important it is to drink enough water (hot or temperate) /herbal teas while you’re in detox mode. It can be quite detrimental to detox and not support your body in flushing it out. I therefore, also take Chlorella tablets/ powder that gather toxins, heavy metals in your body and help your body to eliminate them. Constipation during detox is a typical sign that whilst you are detoxing your body does not eliminate it. I know most people would flinch at the idea of enemas however, I found them most useful during strong detox. It is necessary though, to do it right.

  195. Eva

    Deb, peanuts are legumes, so I assume they’d not be Paleo food. Tuna is really good however, once it is in a tin, it has been processed, you’d need to check what other ingredients are in it. I’d also try to get fresh fish in addition so you wean yourself off the processed food. Just my experience…

  196. Lori

    I have also gone completely wheat, gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol free etc and am on day 6… I have also been taking a “detox” bath each night that I read about with epson salt and baking soda. My issue is that I am breaking out in a rash on my arms and legs. I am wondering if this is symptoms from the detox or if it might be the bath. I am going to stop the bath for a few days and see if it clears up.

    • Neely

      Lori – Definitely stop the bath for a few days and see if it clears up. I just started the “no poo” method where you use baking soda instead of normal shampoo. I found that the baking soda made my scalp really itchy and dry, and who knows – there may have been a rash on my scalp but I could see it because of my hair. It may have just been the baking soda. However, it very well could be detox. Just experiment and see.

  197. Michael

    I’m a little over 4 weeks into the paleo diet and I’m experiencing all but 2 of these symptoms right now, and this isn’t normal for me. I’m positive I’m going through detox; not only have I strictly been following the diet, but I’ve also recently started walking barefoot in the grass, which is an excellent way to detox believe it or not. I’ve even started using only water showers, so needless to say, my body is in shock without all these toxins and chemicals that I’m used to. I’m going to take an epsom salt / baking soda bath for 40 minutes and see if that helps.

  198. Kenneth

    Ah, thank you. Five days in and I’m so lethargic and hungry… Keep asking myself, What’s wrong? What I have been doing to my body my whole life, that’s what’s wrong. And I am finally clearing things up.

  199. Phil

    This is my first day on the diet – have some serious diarrhea already and a little dizzy. My question though concerns carbs and weight loss. Since I’m diabetic, I thought I read some where to only have like 20 g of carbs and if you wanted to lose weight then only have one fruit a day. Obviously, I must not be correct in that after reading many of these posts.
    I also seem to recall something about a cheat day where you could eat carbs galore(to a point) so that your body didn’t think it was starving – is there a cheat day on the Paleo diet? Wealth of info here – glad I found it. Thanks.

  200. Ebee

    well – day 8 and i am overwhelmed changes in cooking and having all the new ingredients in house. i don’t feel like i am eating the same thing over and over. I made some pumpkin muffins with almond flour and coconut flour that were really good. Give me that satisfying feeling to have that for snack. It is not cheap but I am thinking all the other junk that is sitting in the cabinets (for grandkids) was not cheap.
    Glad to know why I was having these symptoms. Others have said how great they feel………..

  201. Ebee

    please correct my grammar in previous post – ha! may be the fog

  202. Rochelle

    So I’m on day 3 of the challenge. Moodiness, flu-like symptoms and stomach issues are a checkety check! Hahaha…thank god for this website…I thought I was getting sick! And I never get sick!
    My concern is this: I’m struggling with how many calories I’m eating. I only hit 1000 yesterday and know that’s not nearly enough to sustain me, especially working out 4-5 days a week. I’m pretty healthy; really just need to lose about 5% more body fat. I’m coming off the low carb regimen, so the newest thing now for me is cutting out the artificial sweeteners, caffeine and dairy. I used to live off sugar free rock stars! :'(
    Is there a recommended caloric intake I should be aiming for, especially on gym days?
    Also, can I at least have vodka tonics? The holiday weekend is coming up…

    • Neely

      Rochelle – Yep, sounds like detox to me :) But eating that few calories will definitely make you feel even worse. I’d bump up your fat intake (just use more oil on your food)I don’t know what your caloric intake should be, as I have no idea what you weigh, how tall you are, or how active you are. I’d go to to get a rough idea. If you want your vodka tonics, go ahead – I love my gin and tonics! I just don’t drink them very often.

  203. Bianca A

    it’s been 3 weeks since i REALLY started to do paleo, even though I’ve had this program for a while. and
    Geeezzzzzz, this week was also the first week I started to feel amazing. Now I’m like obsessed about cooking paleo and eating paleo!

  204. Sharon May

    Hi thanks for this, I’m into week three, have been feeling dizzy, faint, sooooo tired and napping constantly, sometimes I can’t work cos I feel so bad. My symptoms are double because I’m curing candida with OTC treatments.

  205. Megan

    I am on day 27/30 of the Whole 30 Plan, and I have never felt worse. I feel nauseated, my digestive system is wreck, I have headaches, and I am constantly lightheaded. Is that normal? I am tracking my food intake and making sure I am getting enough calories/carbs. I have also tried to increase my water intake, thinking these may by symptoms of dehydration.

    • Neely

      Megan – the common causes of those symptoms are 1) not enough calories (are you sure you’re eating enough?) 2) not enough carbs (especially if you’re working out) 3) not enough salt.

      I’d try playing around with those things and see if you start feeling any better.

  206. Stacey

    I’m currently on day 8 of solid Paleo with no cheating and I’m having the worst headaches so finding this has certainly made me happier! Ive been hitting the gym every day but its been getting harder and harder but I am determined to stick it out for the 30 day trial I had set myself :-) Thanks guys!!

  207. E H

    I’ve read that plants in the nightshade family – tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant, and any spices derived from them (e.g., cayenne pepper, paprika, chipoltle, etc.) – in particular can be problematic for many. On the autoimmune Paleo protocol, they are forbidden, as are nuts and seeds (cumin, canola, caraway, nutmeg, mustard, sesame, and more).

    I say this because for those having extreme reactions, are you by chance eating more nightshade plants and/or nuts and seeds in these recipes than you had before by coincidence? Or eating sesame, mustard and cumin if you did not before Paelo? If so, modifying these recipes to cut out all nightshades and/or seeds may help you. Mickey Trescott is respected by several other Paleo-practitioners as being the authority on the autoimmune protocol. While even more restrictive than traditional Paleo, for those experiencing such extreme “detox” symptoms, her website may be worth a look. Here are convenient print-out guides she offers which give the what (not) to eat overview at-a-glance:

    So nuts, seeds, nightshades. I also question the, “drink lots of water to flush everything out” recommendation. Dehydration is unequivocally bad. However what constitutes sufficient hydration has alternate view points. Some believe that the accepted 8 glasses-of-water-a-day is actually over-hydrating: when your urine is clear, you are over-hydrated and eliminating necessary electrolytes and salt from your body. Added stressors, of course, while shocking your body in other ways with a new diet. This article explains it very well: For what it is worth, I drink less water than I did prior to reading this. I filter it, then add back the mineral drops and a bit of sea salt. It is impossible to isolate this as the cause, but fwiiw, my skin looks great, more plump, less lined. I am never thirsty, and if I am, I drink. What really hit me is this: animals drink when they are thirsty. They don’t drink “preventatively.” Now, if I’m working out in the sun sweating, I’ll err on the side of caution to avoid heat stroke of course! But not without added electrolytes/minerals/salt in my water.

    Two other Paleo resources to consider: – a former scientist, she really understands metabolically exactly the effects of eating different foods. Second, If you sign up for his free mailing list, you get access to 8 free e-books, with topics ranging from heart disease (and how the “accepted” wisdom re. low-fat, etc., might not be so wise!) to Thyroid issues, skin problems and B12 deficiency. Symptoms of lethargy can be – but are not necessarily – caused by B12 deficiency. Some grains are fortified w/ vitamins; conversely if you are eating farmed fish and/or mainstream meat/pork/chicken, the vitamin/nutrient content of those meats and fish may be far below what they would have been in “Paleo” times. If possible, organic meats from animals that have been fed what they are supposed to digest (e.g. grass for cows, free-range chickens, pigs that forage, etc.), are preferable because they naturally contain much higher nutrients than the same animals that have been fed man-made “feed.” Think of it as Paleo for cows: they were not designed to digest grain any more than humans were. It has consequences for them, and in turn, consequences for us. Considered this way, knowing this, would you really eat liver from a cow that was fed grain and corn? The organ that removes toxins from the body? It would be plenty full of those and overtaxed, to be sure. How could that not make you sick?

    There are many nuances to finding your Paleo-path. From what I’ve read, many of the sufferings here might possibly be alleviated by learning about and applying these nuances. Best wishes!

    P.S. It would be great if there were not only a regular and “cheat” weekly menu, but also an autoimmune menu: I believe this would help many people trying to establish the Paleo way of eating. Thank you.

  208. E H

    P.S. For those with IBS: since you have a leaky gut, and are still experiencing IBS symptoms, you likely need to tweak your Paleo. In addition to the above thoughts, in particular check out, because the author is in your shoes! This young woman was past IBS to the precipice of having her colon removed (!) but she turned it around through food. For her, the GAPS diet worked.

    To the authors: it would be really great to have a meal plan tailored to the GAPS diet as well as an autoimmune Paleo meal plan. Perhaps to start you could add an index, showing which recipes you already have that are “safe for all,” as it were. :) Cheers, and thanks for your service to the Paleo community!

  209. Tony Hassett

    I definitely had the headaches for about 5 days and coughing up phlegm. Also going to toilet a lot. It’s starting to clear now and feeling full of energy/skin glowing, feel great!

  210. Mandy

    I’ve been following an autoimmune paleo protocol for just over 3weeks. Ive also stopped using chemical-type shampoos and skin care. In the first week my skin broke out terribly. That has settled now, partly due to oil cleansing I think. My psoriasis is worse than it was before I started. And my ulcerative colitis (the main autoimmune I’m trying to control) has shown no improvement. I’m very dizzy most days, and struggling with low energy. With three young children I’m finding it all very hard. I’m excited about all that I am learning and the possible results, but questioning whether something isn’t right with the length if time detoxing seems to me taking.
    I’ve had a few “caves”, where I’ve eaten whatever because of cravings and just feeling overwhelmed I think. But obviously my body isn’t too happy with that, giving me bad back pain and headaches, and worsening my colitis. Feel I’m trapped in the middle- taking ages to heal but not able to going back! Should it take this long (would my cave-ins have lengthened detox period?) or should I look into something on the autoimmune protocol not suiting me?
    Would really appreciate your thoughts! Thank you!

  211. Mike

    I’ve been on the plan for 6 days and have been struggling with multiple detox symptoms. Going to tough it out with the hopes that I too will experience benefits after the detox is over.
    Male, 51, 15 lbs over ideal weight, previously practicing a moderately unhealthy diet.

  212. Tina

    People keep asking me if I add enough healthy fats to my diet since I started Paleo a few weeks back and I had many of the symptoms above. Now I just wanted to know, what is “enough”? I used loads of healthy fats (fried chicken in coconut or olive oil, ate avocados) in the beginning and gained 4.5lbs in the first two weeks (I also ate lots of nuts, which obviously contributed too), needless to say, that I avoid using a lot of fat now but also feel hungry all the time and want to make sure that it’s still enough?

  213. Laurie

    I am on day 5 of being 100% Paleo after being 85-90% Paleo (supplementing with rice and corn) for seven years. My usual high energy has plummeted back to the years when I used to eat refined sugar and the typical American diet. I am going 100% Paleo to try to cure allergies. Being 85-90% Paleo allowed me to cure Crohn’s disease. I am already thin and cannot afford to lose any weight, so yesterday I tried supplementing with a Paleo-friendly dark chocolate bar sweetened with raw honey. (It did have vanilla beans in it, but at least it was not rice- I rarely ate beans so no need to detox from beans) I felt better after eating the dark chocolate, but I don’t live in easy distance of the health food store. I relate to the walking through oatmeal- My muscles feel heavy and weak, as if I am a lead weight. I can barely make it up and down the steps. On days two through four, I was feeling moody. Today the mood lifted, but the lethargy and muscle weakness is still there. My fear is that because I am missing two sections of my small intestines, that this is too hard on my system. I also worry that in bulking up on berries, raisins and broccoli, that I am eating something that is unknowingly causing food sensitivities, as I have food allergies and sensitivities. Before, my snacks were rice based, and I was addicted to the Nana’s No Gluten Chocolate Cookies, eating three a day! Your article is one of three I read that has encouraged me to go on. However, I worry about when this will end. For me, this is painful as I am so active. Any suggestions? At what point should I be worried? I will keep trying for 30 days but if I don’t feel better by that point, I will return to supplementing with rice.

  214. Pam

    About a week in and yesterday felt terrible. I culled what I’ve learned from the myriad diets/detoxes I’ve tried and this seemed to help – much better today: chamomile tea enema (sorry!), peppermint tea, and vitamin B12 shot (easily found where I live, but might be a little tough for some to find). Hope you all feel better soon.

  215. Kate

    I have been Paleo for about 10 days. I had an intense craving for dairy yesterday and decided to get some frozen yogurt on a 90 degree day. I ate it and within an hour my stomach was gurgling and for the next 12 hours I experienced intense intestinal cramping and diarrhea. A very rare thing for me. It was like my body had happily gone off dairy then I threw in a monkey wrench with that one frozen treat.
    I learned my lesson. No more trips to TCBY for me!

  216. Emily

    I am on day three, everything food wise is awesome. I’m just going thru the cravings, sleepy-ness and the huge appetite where I just want to eat a whole loaf of bread Hahahaha I keep reminding myself this is better for me, all the detox will pass

  217. Kathryn Michelle M


    You may have addresse this already but I’ve not seen it. Is it common for women to have spotting between cycles after starting Paleo?


  218. Pete

    Not sure if this post is still open but my wife and I are on day 4 of the paleo diet. I’m tired, slight headache’s but that’s it. Hopefully my body will reboot within a week or two. Feeling sluggish is not a good thing since we have 2 little ones to take care of. Thanks for the blog this helped me alot.

  219. Penelope

    I’m on day 8 of 30 and feeling pretty darn good. I did weigh myself ( had hubby take out the scale I told him to hide from me) and I am down 3.5 pounds (scale re-hidden again:) I have a few hurdles that I want a cheat pass for…… You see I have no tummy issues (maybe just a soft one) and no diabetes or blood pressure concerns. I have a birthday/anniversary celebration we planned for only 1 night downtown and would really like a glass of red wine. Now tell me… Will that really throw my hard work out the window and make me have to start over again? I will continue to be strict w/ my paleo, but just want that 1 (or 2) cheat glass of wine. Does anyone have a free cheat ticket for me?

  220. Kristin B

    My whole family of 5 has been Paleo for 10 days now. I was warned that the detox was going to be difficult but it is so helpful to know in more detail that what we are going through is not unusual. I have Fibromialgia and the fatigue and body pain has been really bad since day 2 so the posts from others with similar experiences is encouraging. The other reason our family has gone Paleo is for my husband and daughter who both have chronic Complicated Migraines. My husband has had a constant migraine for over a year. His neuroligist has told us that there is nothing more they can do. He tried diet regulation for two years after he was diagnosed in ’96 with no effect. We are desperate enough to give dietary changes another go. Since starting Paleo his pain level and neurological symptoms have gone through the roof bad. My husband has the highest pain tolerance of anyone I know but this is another level. Do you have any suggestions? We try to avoid pain meds since all but the most dangerous (morphine ect.) help at all. He has given in the last two days as the pain has been crippling. Is this normal detox for someone with his kind of migraines?

  221. Kat

    I am curious about the seemingly bizarre type of weight loss that I’ve been experiencing. For the past 10 days, I’ve been eating meat, healthy fats, and fruits/veggies. In that time, I have lost about 7 lbs, which is all that I thought I needed to lose. However, it doesn’t look like I’ve actually lost any body fat. I’m smaller and I weigh less, but I look kind of pudgy, and quite possibly less muscular than before. Is it normal to lose a lot of muscle and/or water and hang on to the fat? Does this eventually reverse itself? I’ve never experienced anything like this!
    Thank you so much, the advice on this page has been very helpful!

  222. Jennifer

    Im on day 3, and have a very slight headache and a runny nose which is actually better than normal since i have chronic migraines and hemiplegic migraines. I expect things will get worse before they get better. I’m still drinking coffee with a dab of cream in the morning. I figure a tablespoon of cream wouldnt be too counterproductive. My question is this… if i plan to eventually cut out coffee would you quit cold turkey? I’ve switched from super sugary creamers to just cinnamon and a dab of cream then drink it black after my first cup. Im afraid of the coffee withdrawal symptoms more than the sugar/grain withdrawal.

    Kristin B- have him drink ginger root. I make a “tea” with it. 3 ounces water, 3 ounces almond milk and 1/4-1/2 inch cut of ginger root boiled for a couple minutes. I drink 2 cups every day and at least 3 when i have a migraine. I was on Botox,Depakote, Topamax, Elavil, and metoprolol for migraine prevention and now that I have incorporated ginger root in to my diet, my migraine pain is less severe and less frequent. I have actually come off most of my meds. :)

  223. Nicole

    I almost quit after 3 weeks of major detox.. Daily headaches, fatigue, and weakness… It has finally lifted and I do feel better.. More energy. I have lost 9 lbs in three weeks.. My goal is to not only loose weight but just start feeling better.. Alive and full of energy!

  224. Donna

    I guess I’m one of the lucky few. I’ve been doing Paleo for about 3 weeks. I’ve lost 14 lbs and I guess the detox hasn’t hit yet. Then again headaches and fatigue are what brought me to Paleo in the first place.

    I do have a couple of questions. There is lots of talk about getting enough calories and fat. 1. Well what if your just not hungry? I just don’t like to eat if I’m not hungry. Isn’t too much of a good thing still bad for you? 2. I have always had an aversion to the fat that is on the edges of meat, grass-fed or not. I can’t eat it no matter how crispy it is cooked (I’m gagging just thinking about it now). What are some other ways to get good fats in my diet?

  225. Laura

    I am 7 days in and have been strict except for coffee. I’m down 2 pounds after a very long plateau. I was constipated from day one until today but not one bit of bloating, fatigue, cravings or any other discomforts. I did notice a large increase in urination. Today, I had raw honey on paleo pancakes and then again with some coconut cream from refrigerated coconut milk. This evening, an intense wave of nausea hit me with sweats and weakness. This blog has been very helpful because the sensation was making me think it needed sugar. I sat with almond butter and special dark chocolate chips. I was wondering if the raw honey was the problem or maybe just the detox symptoms. I don’t plan on giving it up, but would like to know if other people are intolerant to the honey or possibly the coconut cream.

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Laura. I hope you are feeling better. Yes, raw honey can contain substances that might have caused your symptoms. Raw honey can be a source of botulism spores which can cause the symptoms you experienced in adults. (These spores can actually be fatal to babies which is why babies under the age of 1 year should never eat raw honey.) Raw honey also contains pollen spores that you might be allergic to and it might contain a substance called a grayanotoxin that can affect the nervous system and result in weakness, sweating and nausea. The coconut cream may also have affected you if you are sensitive to fructose or fructans, or if it contained and you are sensitive to guar gum or sulfites. However, these things cause GI discomfort more than sweating and nausea. Perhaps you were dehydrated, which can cause your symptoms or suffering from an unrelated illness? In any case, I wouldn’t eat any more of that particular brand of raw honey. Try a different brand or one made from different flowers. Or, you could always go with pasteurized honey.

  226. Mike

    It’s been a week for me on paleo & apart from feeling really tired on a few occasions I seem to be coping ok. I workout at the gym pretty heavy 3 times per week & cycle regularly as well. My concern is that anybody who I speak to who’s tried paleo (gym instuctors etc) says that you need to introduce some grains etc or you simply wont be getting enough calories or energy to do your workouts properly. Was wondering if you could comment on this for me please ? thanks

    • Aimee McNew

      Hi Mike,

      It’s true that you need more carbs than the average Paleoite if you’re working out frequently, especially at high intensity. But you absolutely don’t need grains to get more starches/carbs in your diet. Be sure to eat starchier vegetables like sweet potatoes, and definitely feel free to incorporate Paleo-friendly items like white potatoes and items made with tapioca flour, coconut flour, and almond flour. All will give you higher calorie counts, and thus, more fuel for your great workouts. Some who eat Paleo also incorporate white rice (a digestive-friendly and Paleo-approved grain) to get some good glucose fuel for workouts. It may be helpful for you to use a food tracking app for a few weeks to get an idea of how many carbs, fats, and proteins you’re getting each day, and how to make adjustments. There are many smartphone and online applications that allow you to do this. Best of luck!

  227. Elma Garcia

    Ohhhh, thank goodness I found this site. I thought something was wrong and I was getting sick which I found so odd since I havent been sick in almost a year. this morning i woke up with a sinus drainage and very weak and tired. not so much sleepy just weak. I started this to try and get lean while starting a new workout program and was starting to think that something wasnt right. I have done low carb before and then I remembered what that was like. my symptoms lasted 2 weeks. so I decided to google and see if I would have the same symptoms and sure enough. I will push thru this.

    • Aimee McNew


      Glad that you found helpful info here on our site! How long have you been detoxing and/or feeling sick? Be sure that, even with doing a detox, you’re eating enough food to fuel the necessary processes in your body and that you’re taking care to pay attention to the signals that your body is giving. Best wishes as you continue your journey of healthy eating! Please let us know if we can be of help in any way!

  228. Morgan

    Glad to have seen this. Everything I read says migraines will go away. Even when you google “Paleo diet increases migraines” nothing comes up. I am on day 4 and have had crazy migraines everyday. This article helped encourage me and let me know that my body is detoxing and essentially “freaking” out with presevatives, grains, and refined sugars being excluded from my diet now. I was about to throw in the towel because of these migraines. Thanks for the info that headaches can be common in the beginning.

    • Karen

      Hi Morgan,
      Stick with it and keep in touch. Our team is here to help. Your body will thank you for the fresh healthy foods you are putting.

  229. Organicgirlannie

    I am delighted to find this site.. Started my Paleo cleanse on Monday with very little problems until this morning..! I will confess had two glasses of wine last nite.. Not sure if that is causing my intense headaches.. But I have malaise, I’m nautious and have a headache and body ache .. Feels like the flu.. Any suggestions to help symptoms .

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Organicgirlannie,
      We are delighted that you found our site too! Sounds like you’re experiencing some intense detox/withdrawal symptoms and/or what’s referred to as the low-carb flu. You’re metabolism is making a dramatic adjustment to newer, cleaner fuels and you can feel pretty crappy while this adjustment takes place. The wine may have dehydrated you exacerbating your symptoms. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water during the cleanse. You may also want to increase your carb servings – sweet potatoes, squash, non-starchy vegetables – to transition a bit more slowly and experience milder symptoms, it’s up to you. Take it day by day and keep in touch! Sally.

  230. Mara

    I have spms Ben on the paleo diet 8 days not feeling any better than before. Still my legs ache, feeling out of balance, hand and feet are numb. How much longer before I start to see a change. Btw love the diet I love fruit and veggie ect…

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Mara, Sorry to hear you haven’t worked you way through the detox yet. I’m glad you’re enjoying Paleo and you will start to feel better but it may take some time. As your body clears toxins and transitions to fat burning from carbohydrate burning, you can feel pretty lousy. To ease the transition you can increase your starchy as well as non-starchy vegetable intake a bit and make sure you’re drinking enough fluids. You need more water during the detox to help your system flush itself out and maintain adequate hydration. Keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing as your Paleo journey continues! Sally.

  231. Barbara

    I decided to do this diet because I have fibromyalgia and heard that it will help reduce my pain, brain fog & fatigue. I’m on day 15 and I am determined to do this to improve my health. I’ve had a few days of fatigue & headache but what I’ve noticed is that my anxiety level is up. Is this normal? I’m sleeping worse than I did prior to the diet. I’m hoping this is something that will get better by day 30. Any thoughts?

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Hi Barbara,
      Congratulations on making the decision to go Paleo to improve your health, that is so exciting! I used the Paleo diet to overcome my RA. :-) The first month or so of the diet can be pretty difficult for many folks and is often referred to as the “low carb flu” or “paleo flu.” It can involve fatigue, brain fog, headaches, body aches, sleep disturbances, irritability, anxiety (as you mentioned), and a host of other unpleasant symptoms as the body ‘detoxes’ and adjusts to burning more fats (instead of carbs) for energy. The symptoms should pass in a month, give or take a few weeks. If they persist longer than this, or if you are concerned, it would be advisable to see a doctor. However it is very common to experience both of the symptoms you described within the 1-6 weeks of the Paleo diet, so hang in there! I had a headache for the first 5 weeks, and woke up one day and it was gone and I felt great. I’ve seen a lot of clients have various symptoms that just work their way out, and anxiety is a common one. Deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, and talking long walks (especially in nature) can all help to alleviate the feelings of anxiety. We wish you the very best of luck in your journey, and please do keep us posted!

      In good health,
      Kinsey Jackson, MS, CN
      Paleo Plan

  232. Tamra

    Thank you! This website and information has helped me tremendously. I have been on Paleo for a little over one month. I have been on “pure paleo” since November 5th. This is the start to my 45 day de-tox. Although I started October 8th, I did eat some dairy, and very little sugar. I felt that to get through a few “bumps” of stress at work, I would do everything but my Chai Lattes. Anyway, my muscles have really been hurting since day five. I walk 2 – 5 miles every day and have a strong body, but that has been difficult. Last night I could not sleep because of the ache in my muscles. I have had to take some “Goodies” aspirin and that did take away some of the pain, but I do not like taking meds. I use magnesium spray, Vitamin D, CoQ10, Iodine, and eat Kim Chi with most dinners (just about two tablespoons). I am a cyclist – but VERY overweight due to my love of food. I hope to lose 50 more pounds and have already lost 11 pounds. Please help! I also drink one gallon of water a day, and honestly…. have been following this perfectly. Thank you again for this service. It is priceless, because in my heart I feel you are saving lives.

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Congratulations on taking the Paleo plunge! How is your 45 day detox going? So many different symptoms can emerge when someone is first changing over to a low carb or Paleo diet, but most strange symptoms tend to disappear within a month to 6 weeks. Are your muscles still aching? Sounds like you are doing a good job with your supplements and exercise, are you following the Paleo Plan meal plan? Look forward to hearing how you are doing, and thanks so much for your kind words!

      Best regards,
      Kinsey Jackson, MS, CN
      Paleo Plan

  233. Barbara


    Thank you for your words of encouragement! I will keep you posted!

  234. Shannon

    I’m not sure if you have this in other areas of your site or not, but feeling crappy on Paleo, GAPS, and SCD is actually quite a common thing. I think all advocates of these types of diets should warn people. Many people go from eating a SAD to eating these grain-free diets actually feel worse and it’s not detox. These people with traditional digestive and inflammation issues usually have problems with oxalates and histamine. Giving up your grains (which is universally considered good) then eating loads of veggies, fruits, nuts, meats, ferments, etc, the people are usually exponentially increasing their histamine and or oxalate levels. Which can be fine for many (hence the remarkable healing stories with grain-free diets) but nightmarish for others (hence people getting extra ill–not from detox–from these types of diets). The internet is full of people who have gotten way worse on paleo-type diets. People need to be aware if they have histamine intolerance issues, or oxalate issues. and stay away from those while trying a paleo-type diet. It’s even more strict initially, but could be what you need to finally get healthy. CHeers :)

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Excellent advice Shannon, thank you for sharing! It’s hard to know when someone first changes their diet exactly what symptoms are being caused by what. I’ve found that after the first month or so, it becomes a little easier. We definitely encourage all of our friends here to pay close attention to what their bodies are telling them, and to notify a medical provider if they are at all concerned. It’s true that many people require additional testing or dietary restrictions to achieve optimal health, and I’m personally a fan of the “test don’t guess” philosophy. Thankfully we live in a time where some pretty innovative diagnostic tools are now available to help aid us in more difficult cases that don’t respond to diet alone, and Functional Medicine practitioners are usually pretty awesome in providing these sorts of services for patients! Another thing I like to encourage is regular food rotation so that excess bioaccumulation of any one food component does not occur in the body. Thank you for your insights Shannon, they are much appreciated!

      Best regards,
      Kinsey Jackson, MS, CN
      Paleo Plan

  235. Dan S

    Hi, just started on the Paleo diet and wanted to know how you can partner this diet with an intense weight training routine (5 days a week, 80% weight / 20% cardio) ? What do I need to focus on more with this diet? Can I still have my protein shakes and Creatinine? Any guidance here highly appreciated.

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Dan,
      Congrats on recently starting the Paleo diet! It’s an excellent nutritional plan for any type of athletic training. Your nutritional focus will be on both quantity and quality. The quantity of carbohydrate, protein and fat you eat depends on your energy expenditure and goals but on the Paleo diet, the quality of your nutrition stays constant – make sure to eat high quality protein, starchy and non-starchy vegetables and some fruit nuts and seeds. You may need to add in some “safe starches” such as white rice to meet carb requirements. I recommend The Paleo Diet for Athletes, an excellent book on the subject by Loren Cordain.

      All protein powders are processed and most are full of undesirable ingredients but you will have to decide if you are able to eat enough actual food to meet your protein needs. There are a couple of “Paleo protein powders” on the market such as PaleoPro if you decide to go that route.

      Regarding creatine supplementation, here’s an article all about it,

      I hope this helps! Sally.

  236. Sara

    I’m on day 10 of the Paleo and the first week I felt phenomenal. More energy and just overall healthier. I’ve always been pretty lean and am not necessarily doing it to lose weight, but to get healthy and help tone up. The past few days I’ve felt worse though. My headaches have been incredibly intense, and today I felt a bit feverish at times. I may need to increase how much I’m eating because some days I feel that I’m not eating enough. I’m hoping I’ll feel better in a week or so.

    Thank you for your info, and keep it coming please!

  237. Barbara

    Hi again, I wanted to report that I’ve been on the paleo diet for 9 weeks. I had blood work done to check my cholesterol and it went up 100 points! I’ve been eating more fish than beef, no dairy, lots of fruits & vegetables. The only thing I think I could have done wrong it is that I was eating potato chips (cooked in sunflower oil) and dark chocolate (60% cocoa). Both labels stated no cholesterol. My cardio doctor said that fools people. You need to look at saturated fat and that is high in both of those. I was expecting my cholesterol to go down since I wasn’t eating ANY ice cream or cheese! Any thoughts? Should I continue this diet and eliminate the chips & chocolate? I have noticed slight changes in less muscle pain and brain fog. Any comments will help. Thank you. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a happy & healthy New year!

  238. Barbara

    Hi Kinsey,

    Thank you for your response on November 11th. I’ve been on the paleo diet 8 weeks now and I am happy to say that the detox portion has been gone. My pain level & brain for are reduced also. The anxiety had been down for about a week now. My biggest issue is my cholesterol. I figured that this diet would lower it. I had blood work done last week and my cholesterol went up 100 points. (213 from 312) Have you ever heard of this happening? I thought with my eliminating dairy that it would drop. My doctor explained that the foods that say “No Cholesterol” but have saturated fats are the culprits. Coconut is one of them. What are your thoughts?

    Happy New Year, Barbara

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Hi Barbara!

      I’m so happy to hear that you made it past the “dreaded detox” and that many of your symptoms have resided. That’s all great news! Now let’s talk about cholesterol. Not to nay-say what your doctor has told you, but it is now well-established that dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol in the food we eat) contributes very little to blood cholesterol levels. So the notion of eating low-cholesterol foods to lower blood cholesterol doesn’t really have any scientific merit. Especially when we consider how extremely important cholesterol is in the body: our brain, hormones, cell membranes and other critical structures in the body REQUIRE cholesterol from the food we eat in order to function.

      Typical cholesterol tests are quite misleading. This is because they measure only the number of cholesterol particles (i.e. LDL, HDL, VLDL), which is NOT what puts a person at risk for heart disease. It is now understood that it is not the number of cholesterol particles that is the problem, rather it is the size of the particles that puts a person at risk for CVD. (In general, smaller LDL particles are more atherogenic, and more likely to cause plaque buildup, a precursor to CVD.) Newer cholesterol tests are now available, such as the NMR Lipoprofile test, which measures the size of cholesterol particles, which is a more “clinically reliable measure of LDL.” Moreover, data from the World Health Organization actually shows that CVD risk is elevated (not decreased) in people with lower cholesterol levels, which Zoe Harcombe did an excellent analysis of. You might also want to check out this Youtube video by Chris Kresser entitled “I have high cholesterol, and I don’t care.

      Below are a few more links that elaborate on why you should NOT fear saturated fat or dietary cholesterol from foods. Rather, you should embrace these foods knowing that they are (contrary to popular and seriously misguided belief) actually HEALTHY for us! If you are going to fear any food, it should probably be excess carbohydrates in your diet. Excess carbs in the diet not only make us fat, but they also contribute to inflammation in the body, which is now understood to be the actual ’cause’ of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and most other “diseases of modern civilization.” Barbara, I wish you the best of luck in all of this! I know from personal and professional experience just how frustrating it can be when you hear different and contradictory information from various “reliable” sources. I encourage you to do your research, and to share what you find with your medical providers!

      Best wishes,
      Kinsey Jackson, MS, CN
      Paleo Plan

      The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy

      Cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease

      Heart surgeon speaks out on what really causes heart disease

      We have got cholesterol completely wrong

      Cardiologist Speaks Out On The Myth of Bad Saturated Fat, Stating Carbs Are More Damaging Than Butter

      The Diet-Heart Myth: Why Everyone Should Know Their LDL Particle Number

  239. Diana

    Thank you so much for this article! My fiance Gary and I started with Paleo on New Year’s day, after about a month of planning. We’re just starting day 4 now and are both feeling pretty cruddy, so knowing that it’s normal really helps! Gary’s going to make some sweet potato chips today and I’m going to make some tapioca crepes that we can use to make wraps for lunch. That should help with carbs and maybe give us some relief. We’re not giving up!

  240. Justine

    I just started the paleo diet yesterday and went cold turkey but I woke up this morning almost too weak to feed my baby and then spent the next hour feeling horribly nauseous and ended up throwing up.
    I understand that my body is detoxing but it seems that all of the recommendations are to eat more and even thinking about food right now makes me want to run to the bathroom. Do you have any suggestions to help me out because I obviously can’t go much longer without eating, especially since I’m still breastfeeding and I’m just tempted to have some toast to help myself feel better…

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Justine,

      Yikes! You definitely need to slow down your transition to Paleo!! The Paleo diet can be very beneficial for you and your baby during nursing, However, during pregnancy and nursing, your transition to a new way of eating should be slow and gentle. The cold turkey method is definitely too disruptive and harsh for both you and your baby. Try starting with one Paleo meal a day and slowly transitioning to two meals and onwards and upwards until you can comfortably achieve an 80/20 Paleo diet where about 80% of your meals are Paleo and about 20% are not. Alternatively, as the following article suggests, you might start by going gluten-free instead of completely grain-free and gradually transition to Paleo. This article is about transitioning to Paleo during pregnancy but the basic message applies to nursing moms as well, Finally, this article provides more useful information on going Paleo while nursing, with a specific discussion regarding the effects during detox,

      I hope you are feeling better! Go ahead and eat some toast if you need to :-).


  241. Sunette

    Day 3 & the detox symptoms are horrible.
    I’ve got headache since day 2, but my husband is feeling extremely bad.
    Diarrhoea, cramps and his whole body is sore. With fever. He is ready to quit.

    Pls help?

    • Aimee McNew

      Hi Sunette,

      I’m so sorry you’re both feeling awful! A lot of the detox symptoms are based on how drastically you made dietary changes. The first time I went Paleo several years ago, I had the most horrendous headache for about a week. Now I urge those who want to go Paleo to do so in a step-level fashion. If you’re transitioning over from a standard American diet, I usually suggest getting rid of sugar first, but keeping grains and other carbs for a week or two while your body acclimates to having no sugar. The same for getting rid of grains, then dairy. If you’ve already tossed it all out of your diet, then I think to make the best of it, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water (half your body weight in ounces), get some light exercise each day (to help get rid of the toxins), and be sure that you’re eating enough protein. If you need more suggestions or help, you can email me at I hope you feel better quick! – Aimee McNew, Certified Nutritionist, MNT

  242. avital

    I feel like I have the flu. Uhhgh.

  243. Angela

    Hi, i’ve been on paleo for about 2 1/2 weeks, last year i did the whole 30 so i knew somewhat what to expect as far as fatigue, etc. (i only made it half way through the whole 30 because i got very ill) Anyways, i wanted to try paleo this year since its not so restrictive on foods… I’ve been enjoying my paleo banana bread and berry crumbles on the weekend! Anyways, a couple days ago i had a “cheat night” since my husband and I were going into Boston and had a gift card for a nice restaurant, so i had meat/fish but had some noodles, bread, and an alcoholic beverage or two as well… my question is, will this one cheat night throw me off quite a bit? (earlier in the day i had all paleo friendly foods) or will it just have a small effect and i shouldn’t worry about it too much? :) Thanks!

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Hi Angela,
      I wouldn’t even sweat it, and I’m glad you were able to use your gift card to have a nice dinner with your hubby! A cheat now and then generally doesn’t hurt most people (unless they have a specific diet-related disease). Sounds like you are doing a great job with the diet, keep up the great work!

      Best regards,
      Kinsey Jackson, MS, CNS
      Paleo Plan

  244. Amanda

    Hi everyone! I am currently on day 19 of my paleo style of eating and so far I love it. I have some eczema issues so I was directed by my nutritionist to eliminate not only gluten, grains, dairy, soy, corn, and sugar but also caffeine, alcohol, nuts, and nightshdes. The first two days of the detox were pretty rough as I felt extremely tired, had headaches, suffered chills, and occasional night sweats. After about day 4 or 5 I started to feel really great–my brain fog was starting to lift, I had more energy, I felt a lot more calmer and less irritable. My headaches, chills, and night sweats were also gone. My birthday was last Saturday and I did splurge on two chocolate covered strawberries but other than that, I’ve been following the plan perfectly. I also did dine out twice for my birthday but I ate steak, broccoli, salad (no dressing, croutons, peppers, or tomatoes), and a baked sweet potato if they had it (I asked for dairy free/nut free).

    Recently, (right around day 17) I started to feel tired and sluggish and I am noticing my headaches are coming back. I have been running 5 days a week and weight lifting twice a week and eating plenty of fats and protein (including lots of greens and veggies) my carb intake has been between 75-110 grams per day coming from sweet potatoes, squash, and fruit. My calorie intake has been between 1450-1550 on the days I workout. When I don’t workout, I usually eat between 1200-1350 calories which is within the range for my body. My concern is my energy levels have been really low and it is hard for me to do my runs and even have sex with my husband, as I am usually ready for sleep between 8:30 and 9:00 at night. I really like the Paleo plan and I feel I am doing the right thing for my health, I guess I just need reassurance that I will get over this hump and start to feel better again soon. Any thoughts or advice is greatly appreciated!

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Amanda,

      Congrats on going Paleo and taking charge of your health! Although it seemed as if you were coming out the detox, you may still be in the throws of it. You’ve made a huge change in your nutrition and your body can take quite a while to adjust. In my experience, the “low carb flu” generally hits people two weeks into their new Paleo lifestyle. Furthermore, you are doing quite a bit of exercise and you may find you feel a lot better if you increase your carbs just a bit, at least for the short term. Try adding 25 gm of additional carbs a day, or in your case, stay over 100 gms on all days, not just on the days you work out, and see how your feel,

      I hope this helps! Best wishes on your Paleo journey!


  245. Gary

    I am at the end of Day 6.. no toxic effects…feel pretty good. I am in Afghanistan on a NATO base with the US forces here as 62 year old contractor (computers). Looking forward to my weigh in this Sunday from last one last Sunday.
    But I have managed expectations. My roommate lost 30 pounds in one month. In some ways easier to out here and some ways worse. Tonight was the worst having to give up on a baked potato and sour cream (have not seen sour cream in almost a year) and of course my favorite Apple pie!…LOL but as we say out here “it is…what is…”and I had extra salad instead:)

    Thank you for this site and this blog it has really been helpful and a boost to the moral.

  246. Stefanie

    This is a super old post, but thanks to the Internet I came across it on exactly day 5 and feeling any of the symptoms you listed. Thanks for the post. I’m going to push through… But man… This all of the sudden got hard. Ugh.

  247. Gary

    WOW! I posted a couple of days ago…(the 62 year old working in Afghanistan) weighed in today…I lost 10 LBS! This was not water weight either…

    I have never seen anything like this. Week 2 here I come.

  248. Sean

    Dude, this is exactly what I’m going through! I’m two weeks into a paleo vegetarian diet and I’m a mess. While my digestion is much better and memory is sharper; I have terrible fatigue, mood swings like crazy, aches all over, sinus problems at times, and a general feeling of uncomfort. I can literally feel my body cleaning itself, which is awesome but feels like hell. I might add in some quality meats and fish for protein and good nutrition. But I’m hoping the negative symptoms go away soon because they suck.

    • Aimee McNew


      Sorry to hear that you’ve been experiencing such horrible detox symptoms. I would highly recommend adding in some grassfed/pastured meats and wild caught fish, not only because of the protein, but because they contain amino acids and other nutrients that will support detox pathways in your body, as well as many other body processes. I hope you feel better soon!

      Aimee McNew, MNT

  249. Mallory

    I am on day 8! Woke up nauseous with hot flashes and severe aches this morning, but after a few grapes I was back to normal! I’ve lost 7 pounds. Age 24, 5’4″ and 142 now, pretty athletic from college soccer too! Wanting to lose 10 more and hope I can by the end of 30 days! I can’t believe the changes, but it is so great to know I am not the only one with these symptoms. I thought I was doing it all wrong. Wonderful!

    Remember y’all…

    “If it was easy, everyone would do it!”

  250. Kelly Ramirez

    So I went on the Paleo Diet a week ago and two days ago I started feeling like crap, left work early thinking I had the flu, vomiting, nausea, dizzy, tired, weak, tremors, foggy. Today I had the thought diet change so I asked the google doc. This really encouraged me, especially cause I feel awful but I’ve been going pretty strong on this thing. Sticking it out! Thanks!!

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Kelly,

      Glad to hear you’re sticking with it!! Make sure you’re eating enough food and drinking enough liquid. You should start to feel better soon. Keep on keepin’ on and if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. We’re here to help!


  251. Tom

    I’ve started my Paleo restart and I had forgotten the low-carb flu from my previous Paleo restart. The turbo diarrhea and headaches the first five days has been tough. The mental fog hasn’t been as bad. I’m definitely craving some sugar, which I’ve gotten through some fruit. Stopping caffeine was tough too. I keep thinking – I ate my way into this mess and I will eat my way out.

    Reading this comments is a big help and I remember how I much better I felt the first time I did paleo – so I know it’s worth it. But I’m definitely ready for the headaches to stop.

  252. Michelle H

    I’m on day 15. Had really bad cravings last night for starburst candy and potato chips. Worst craving ever. Almost threw in the towel on this. But i ate some raisins, dark chocolate and almond butter and went to bed. This morning, it seriously feels like both my arms weigh 75 pounds each. I feel like I was beat up. I’m trudging through. My digestive system is very thankful for this, however. More regular now than i’ve been in 20 years. I’m not sure what’s going on with my muscles though, they just ache. I also have ear wax. Strange. And i keep blowing my nose. Had some dizziness yesterday. I have lost 2 pounds. My waist might be a tad smaller. I’m just wondering when the rest of me will feel as good as my “guts” feel!

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Michelle,

      Congrats on going Paleo and braving the Dreaded Detox!! Don’t give up, you’re doing great!! Your reaction sounds like a “low-carb flu” classic; a struggling metabolism in transition that needs to catch up with a newly happy and satisfied gut. As your metabolism adjusts to cleaner fuels, you’ll start to feel better. The detox might clear by the end of the week or it might take up to several more weeks. Make sure you’re eating enough food during the day to stave off nighttime hunger and drink enough fluids to flush out your system and stay hydrated.

      Best wishes on your Paleo journey! Sally.

  253. kayla

    Im so glad that I actually found this site to explain my symptoms while working on losing weight! The only thing is, its been a month now so far where I will have good and bad days but last 2 weeks have been very moody with everything else going on in my life. I knew something was up and at the same time I had to prescrip med for tension headache. One thing for sure is that when I am working out I feel good but then back to moody usually maybe 30 min later or so depending on what Im doing but usually moody for the rest of the day. I do know that Im not eating much due to tight budget which I know I should be and where I live I am comfortable just eat something that is grab and go nowadays unless someone takes off for a few days then I would cook. Mostly I have been eating chobani greek yogurt with mango, almonds, and eas protein powder which I know its not good for us but need it for work due to hunger along with almond milk and sometimes I eat strawberries and now into baby carrots as long they are moist and not dried. Here and there I will also will have cesaer salad with little dressing and no croutons.

  254. leesa

    I have done food elimination for at least 3 years little by little I did all this for my health not to loose weight but lost 100lbs, I have had some good results I have had lots of detox stuff as far as flu, headache, cravings, rash the list goes on. well I have auto immune issues , IBS and IC condition, a condition of the bladder and I heard of the paleo diet for auto immune disorders, well my diet was already pretty clean, no sugar, not even raw honey, no flour, no dairy, no gluten. my diet consisted of fruit, veg. organic meat, brown rice noodles, beans.
    I had a bad run in with my IC condition flared up the summer of last year and did not stop till just recently on this diet that is what pushed me looking for something to help and I came across an article about the paleo diet they said that for the auto immune problems that it has been highly successful that letting go of nightshades, beans any kind of grains was key and following the other guidelines of the paleo diet , so I stopped those things , well I am miserable I wouldn’t of thought that I would of had such a huge manifestation of detoxing, my body hurts so bad I want to scream, its hard to move, I am so tired, not sleeping well, constipation, dripping nose and this is been day 10. although my IC symptoms are gone at the moment (yee haw) I am miserable I would of thought that this would not have been that difficult based on how clean I feel my diet already was, is there anyone who would like to respond in anyway would be great.
    I am not going to spell check anything or try and make my wording perfect I am to sick to do so. this in itself wore me out. hope it makes since. thanks for listening

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Thanks for your comment. Your symptoms are very common when people are transitioning to Paleo. They should subside in a few weeks or less, so hang in there! If you are concerned, you may want to visit your doctor, but as I said, the symptoms you mentioned are all common side effects that the body goes through when making the transition. Thanks for sharing, and please keep us posted on your progress! We’re here to help! Here are a few articles that might help you gain a better understanding of the connection of diet to autoimmune disease:

      The Autoimmune Epidemic: Part 1

      The Autoimmune Epidemic: Part 2 Leaky Gut

      The Autoimmune Epidemic: Part 3 The Autoimmune Protocol

      In good health,
      Kinsey Jackson, MS, CNS
      Paleo Plan

  255. nana yaa

    I’m slightly relieved, as it seems others are experiencing body pain. In my case, I’m on day 6, and my breasts feel painful and tender… is this normal? If so, when will the pain disappear? I’m certainly still motivated, but this makes life rather uncomfortable and miserable!

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Nana Yaa,

      You posted this comment quite a number of days ago and I hope your detox symptoms are abating. If not, don’t lose hope! It can take a few weeks to start feeling better and the benefits to your health are worth the temporary, albeit dreadful discomforts. I haven’t heard of breast tenderness as specific symptom but everybody experiences detox differently so it could definitely be a side effect of the process. Perhaps the detox has exacerbated menstral cycle effects? Stay the course and please let us know how it goes!


  256. Naomi

    I was wondering if you have to stop drinking coffee or can you drink it black? I plan on starting the paleo diet on April 1st first time everbi have done the high protein and I enjoy it and can go without sugar and dairy I work 3rd shift so I am hoping the detox is not to bad as I need my energy I am an Lna in a busy hospital

    • Aimee McNew

      Hi Naomi,

      Drinking black coffee can be perfectly acceptable on a Paleo diet. It comes down to a person’s individual needs as to whether they feel they need to detox from coffee intake. If you’re drinking plenty of water, and you’re eating lots of veggies, I think that a few cups daily of plain black coffee could work just fine. Some folks find that caffeine, on the other hand, is counterproductive for detoxing or for weight loss, so it may be a good time to switch over to decaf. After a few days to a few weeks of being without the caffeine, you may find that you actually have more energy than you did while consuming caffeine. If you’ve been drinking a lot of caffeine, you may want to slowly decrease your intake before stopping completely, to avoid the dreaded caffeine withdrawal headache.

      Best wishes on your Paleo journey!

      Aimee McNew, MNT, Certified Nutritionist

  257. Jeremiah

    I am starting Paleo in a few days but currently take Prilosec for stomach problems. Do I need to worry about the diet making my stomach worse then it already is? Should I continue the meds or cut them out as well? Thanks

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Jeremiah,

      I’m so happy to hear that you’re going Paleo! When I went Paleo over two years ago I was on Prilosec too and a few weeks into the diet I was off it, for good. Here’s a really good article on GERD I recommend that you start Paleo and when the detox subsides see how you do without the Prilosec. The diet may be all you need to feel better! If you’re still having problems, certain supplements may help but make sure to check with your doctor who knows your specific medical history and current status and any possible contraindications there might be for you regarding digestive supplements. Wishing you the best on your Paleo journey!


  258. Dina

    I am into week 2 and I am still going thru adjustment although I expected it to be worse, because I used to be a heavy carb/gluten junkie. I am always thirsty and drinking a lot of water now. My face broke out and I assume it’s detox doing its job. Appetite changed for the better already- I used to be hungry all the time and used to binge eat all day. I now need 2-3 small meals a day and don’t feel any hunger. My goal is to reduce inflammation and related body aches, but for now the aches are only worse, probably detox. Lost 6 pounds in 6 days.

    • Karen

      Keep going. You are doing great. The aches should subside soon but it is different for every person. I hope to hear back from you in another 2 weeks for an update. :)

  259. Karen

    I am sat in bed feeling like I’m slipping back into CFS/ME after 2 years of feeling great. 24 days ago I gave up all gluten and 7 days ago I gave up dairy. I decided to give up dairy as I wasn’t seeing any change with just giving up gluten. I chose to give these up as I still struggle with some fatigue, occasional constipation and lots of brain fog. I’ve had CFS for many years and I’ve dealt with it by looking at how my body responds to stress. However, recently I haven’t felt well again and decided once and for all I needed to address my suspicion that food has a part in how I feel. Even though I ate very little gluten and only handmade organic bread, raw milk and real cheese, lots of veg and salad, free range meat and do some yoga, meditation and walking I still felt below par.
    Well today I almost caved in! I feel awful! I am so exhausted and my mood is really low. I am having to sleep most afternoons and I have terrible brain fog. Since yesterday I have been craving a cup of sweet milky tea – non in the house though! I am craving carbs but I’m not hungry! I feel like I’m back where I was 2 years ago and it’s scary. Could this really be withdrawal from dairy and gluten. Part of me just doesn’t want to believe it! Thanks for all the info……I will keep going.

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Karen,

      Hmmmm…Feeling terrible, not hungry, craving sugar…Sounds like a classic case of the dreaded detox to me! Yes, this could be symptoms of withdrawal from dairy and gluten and your symptoms may be exaggerated if you’re not eating enough food in general, or drinking enough liquid which can happen during detox. Make sure you’re eating plenty of non-starchy carbs (greens and cruciferous veggies etc.) and starchy carbs (yams, sweet potatoes, plantains etc.)as well as adequate protein and healthy fats (coconut products, avocado, olive oil etc.) Furthermore, make sure you’re getting adequate sodium and you’re hydrated. Consuming bone broth and other soups may help here. Keep on keepin’ on!


  260. Michael

    Hello, I’ve been eating paleo for 7 days now and I felt an increase in energy after the first 3 days, I felt a huge increase in strength in the gym, I weigh 350 pounds with 47% body fat, I’m trying to get down to 15% body fat. I lift heavy weights and do cardio on the elliptical. I lost 10 pounds in the first 3 days. I have massively adjusted my diet and this is the cleanest I have ever eaten in my life. I workout for 1 hour at the gym 4 days a week and 30 minute walks on off-gym days. Day 7 has rolled around and I’m getting the same symptom that I always have had in the past from low-carb eating, I am feeling fatigued, brain fog, the symptoms listed above, however the biggest and worst issue I’m having is bad body aches. Full body aches, my legs are especially bad. I can handle a little soreness from my upper body but my legs are killing me and they feel very weak. I used to eat a big carby meal and the pain would go away, but I don’t want to do that this time, I want to stick with it. Is this too low of calories? The elliptical says I burn 1000 calories a day, my BMR is 2200. I drink 1.5 – 2 gallons of water every day, I eat tons of vegetables, I cook my food in coconut oil normally, I eat 200 grams of protein each day, (Though the only non-paleo thing I’m consuming is isoflex protein powder so I can maintain my muscle mass, I have 191 pounds of lean body mass at 0% body fat)

    The weight loss is fantastic, I only consume fruit in a drink Mike Dolce recommended called The Purple People Cleaner. It has red grapes, apple, blueberries, strawberries in it as far as fruit goes, a plethora of vegetables + I added 1 banana and blackberries as well, I probably get 20 carbs a day from the drink, I’d say 15 of those from the fruit. I make a huge blender full and only drink 16 ounces of it a day and save the rest.

    Anyways, my main question is what is causing this terrible muscle pain where it’s hard to even stand let alone exercise? Is it muscle pain? It feels like it’s down to the bone in my legs. Low calories? Detoxing? Over exercising? (I don’t get this pain on high carb diets with the same amount of exercise)

    Thank you!

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Michael,

      Sorry for the delay in getting to this comment. At this point, you’ve been Paleo for 17 days, not 7, and I wonder if you’ve made any adjustments in your diet or exercise routine? The muscle pain is very likely the result of your very low carb diet combined with a lot of exercise. Due to glycogen depletion and concurrent water loss, you’ve probably lost a lot of electrolytes. The following article explains all this really well, Maybe your body has adjusted over the last week and you’re feeling more comfortable now but if not, you might try increasing your carbs gradually to the point where you feel better but are still losing weight. Start by going up to 50 grams a day and then increase by 20 to 30 grams at a time until find that sweet spot where you’re losing weight but have enough energy for daily activities and exercise. You might find that you can tolerate quite a bit of carbs and still achieve you goals. If pain persists despite changes to your diet and exercise routine, I recommend that you go see a doctor about it.


  261. Michael


    I was wonder if lots of leg pain / lower body soreness is to be expected when trying to lose weight on a low carb paleo diet. I consume about 20-30 carbs a day maximum all in the form of fruits or vegetables.

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Michael,

      Please see my response to your first comment :-).


  262. Brian

    I’ve started a “Stone Age” diet, I guess it’s like this one about 10 days ago, however, I was already 4 weeks into giving up wheat. My story is way to long and somewhat odd, but my belly just wouldn’t shrink no matter what I tried. I recently went to an Endocrinologist after another doc checked my HA1c at my request. I believe this is the first time I ever had it checked. It was 6.2%, so after checked around, I knew that is PRE diabetic. I have so many other things happening, this is not what I wanted. My endo said to go on a STONE AGE diet, which I guess is like this and she would retest A1c in 3 months. She said NO carb, and NO fruit for the most part. I have experienced detox as well. I’m going to consult a dietician as I want to see about small amounts of fruit. I don’t know what carbs I could use for energy but I go to the gym and trying to walk also. I think she is being a bit too rigid, but she did say based on my many symptoms, I built a complete resistance to sugar. Even toothpaste with Sorbitol, or Xylitol, and mouthwashes will give me a light headache.

    I will say my stomach bloating is gone and it’s shrinking, and cravings are gone. The latter happened just from elimination of wheat.

    I welcome replies or thoughts.

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Brian,

      I’m so glad to hear you’re seeing some progress and starting to feel better on the Paleo diet! Everyone has a different tolerance to carbohydrates and apparently your endocrinologist thinks you are extremely sensitive to them. Although her advise to eat Paleo is on target, a “no carb, no fruit for the most part” diet does not give you enough guidance. She probably means no starchy carbs such as potatoes and winter squash and no fruit. I’m glad to hear you’re going to consult a dietitian however, I highly recommend you find a Paleo dietitian to work with. Believe it or not, a conventional dietitian might actually load you up with carbs! We do personal Paleo coaching here at Paleo Plan, or you can search or for an ancestral specialist in your area.

      Wishing you the best on your Paleo journey,


  263. Michael


    I was wondering if you can go overboard on calories to the point where you’d stop losing weight by having too much fat on the paleo diet.

    I eat only vegetables and meat, I’ve cut out all non-vegetable carbs (Except for the carbs found in spices like Garlic Powder, Onion powder, etc)

    I probably get around 20 carbs or less per day from the vegetables I eat and I don’t eat nuts, fruit, or high starch vegetables.

    I eat about 24 ounces of meat a day, Fish, Turkey, Beef, Chicken, and pork interchanging between days. I eat a wide variety of vegetables to keep a balance. I also cook with coconut oil, (Occasionally olive oil) And I use Grass Fed butter on a daily basis on my vegetables and eggs. (I don’t have any milk or cheese or anything like that)

    But I noticed I use many tablespoons of butter per day, I use many tablespoons of coconut oil to cook vegetables and usually only steam about 30% of what I cook. And I use a lot of coconut oil to cook my meats. I was just wondering if this could be preventing me from losing weight and if I should step it down on oils. I also walk for an hour 3x a week and workout at the gym 4x per week. My exercise consists of lifting very heavy weights to prevent muscle loss, and doing 10 mins of HIIT on an elliptical and 30 minutes of low resistance to get my heart rate to stay around 155.

    Thank you very much for your guidance, I hope to hear from you soon I don’t want to get discouraged by not seeing results. (I’m also drinking around 2 gallons of water per day)

  264. Heather

    I have been attempting the paleo diet for about two weeks now. I have been going through detox and I didn’t even know it until I stumbled across this post. I figured that changing what I was eating would have some cleansing effects but I didn’t realize that it would really be like a “detox”. I have not really had many of the symptoms listed but I have been unable to resist my cravings. I have the most severe cravings ever. I never really ate many sweets or sugary things but suddenly I want to eat every candy, cake, cookie, whatever sweet thing I can get my hands on. this is where I have not been able to go 100% Paleo. Do you have any tips for the severe cravings? Before trying paleo I ate a lot of carbs like potatoes, pasta and rice. Do you think this has something to do with my severe cravings for sugar?

    Also, I eat a ton of protein and a bunch of fruits and vegetables almost all the time and I feel hungry 24/7. I feel like I’m starving. Is this detox? I just want to eat and eat and eat. I feel like I am eating every hour at least. I feel like I need something more! Proteins and vegetables and fruits don’t seem to be filling me up right now is this normal? What can I do to feel more satisfied?

    Lastly since I have not been 100% Paleo and giving in to my cravings, is this a major setback? Am I just making the detox period Longer by giving and my cravings?

    • Aimee McNew


      I am sorry things have been kind of rough as you transition into Paleo! How much fat are you eating? It’s great that you’re eating protein and fruits and veggies, but unless you’re getting between 40-50% of your calories from fat, it makes sense why you would be so hungry! Try cooking veggies in coconut oil, eating avocado, eating fattier “meats” like salmon, increasing egg intake, etc. If you’re already doing this, it may be about the macronutrient balance i.e. maybe you’re eating too many carbs at the moment. By increasing fats and proteins and decreasing carbs, your cravings should become more manageable. I understand cravings as I stopped eating all forms of sugar (even honey!) this year, and the first few weeks were intense. Feel free to email me if you need more help troubleshooting your food plan!

      Best wishes on your Paleo journey!

      Aimee McNew, MNT, Certified Nutritionist

  265. Mona

    I just found this article and I am very grateful. I’ve been dabbling with the Paleo diet. I’ve been doing a shake for breakfast and protein and fruit or vegetables for lunch, and by early evening I am nauseous and tired. And on some mornings I feel sore and tired. Is this normal?

    • Karen

      Be careful what is in your shake. There are many protein powders that contain grains. Try to make sure you are getting enough protein and fats to keep your body healthy.

  266. Mona

    Thank you for this information I will be going all the way Paleo and I’m glad to know that the symptom I am feeling are the normal process of detoxification.

    • Karen

      Can’t wait to hear how you do. Keep posting and let us know. We are here to cheer you on.

  267. Debbie

    This is day six for me and I have actually lost 9 lbs. I felt it in my clothes but was surprised it was so much weight gone. Not complaining at all! But today was especially hard. Every joint and muscle ached. I also have had interminent headaches and walking up 44 stairs to my front door is especially hard. I’m not out of breathe but each leg and foot feel like a lead ball is attached to them. I also really wanted my evening Merlot. But I’ve stayed the course. I know what it feels like to do a cleanse so I’ve been drinking lots of water and green ice tea.

    • Karen

      Keep going. We are so proud of you for taking “steps” towards a healthier you.

  268. Michael

    DAY 2 of the Paleo journey!

  269. Tara B

    Thank you for having this blog! My husband started about 4 days before me. I am on day 4 and he on day 8! His dr told him to go on it for a few different reasons. I thought to be supportive I would do it as well. I have a MAJOR sugar addiction. I have to have desserts everyday. I am 5’6″ and weigh 125 lbs. I have psoraysis really bad but only on my scalp. I have had it since I was 14 and I m 39 now. Will this really help it? I have tried everything. I have also noticed my connective tissue has broken down much faster than the average women my age. This is really hard for me but I am so determined.
    I cleaned out our entire kitchen and only have Paleo approved food. I then went to the local store to buy all new food and organic everything!
    I have a few questions:
    Can we use Baking Powder? It has corn starch in it? I see it in a lot of the recipes on here, but not sure if there is a special kind?
    They had a very small Paleo section. I was so excited. I found some Paleo energy bars. What are you thoughts on those? My husband thought it was counterintuitive? But the ingredients seemed all fine?

    side funny notes: We are having a pool party today. I have a meat, veggie and fruit platter. I told my guests it was BYOB… Bring Your Own Bread!
    Thank you again, I read everyone entry and it completely changed my mind set. Bring on the headaches!

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Tara B,

      Congrats on going Paleo with your husband! I LOVE your version of BYOB!! I do think the Paleo diet and lifestyle will help your psoriasis however, if you don’t find relief after a few months, you may want to try the autoimmune protocol (AIP) of Paleo which is a slightly stricter form of the diet (I know, I know…). Here’s more info on the AIP

      Paleo energy bars are OK in pinch but I wouldn’t eat them every day. Sticking to real foods is your best bet for nutritional diversity and nutrient density.

      Baking powder is generally not Paleo because it’s most often made from a base of corn starch. However, you can make your own, or buy a brand that doesn’t contain corn such as Hain Featherweight Baking Powder that’s made from potato starch.


  270. peggy

    I have SEVERE dry mouth…and the only thing that helps is chewing sugarless gum…is this a game-changer? It’s the only way I can exercise-have to have that gum!

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Peggy,

      Do you believe your dry mouth is a symptom of detox? I ask because if you have recently started Paleo and have drastically reduced your carbs, this could be the reason for your dry mouth and increasing carbs a bit might help. And of course, make sure you’re drinking enough water.

      But if you have to have gum then you have to have gum! Be aware that both regular and sugar-free gum almost always contain artificial flavors and dyes and sugar-free gum contains artificial sweeteners and/or sugar alcohols. Have you tried Glee Gum? It’s made from sustainably harvested chicle tress sap (yes, the real chicle!), it’s non-GMO and Fair Trade Certified. Sugar-free Glee Gum contains xylitol, a generally well tolerated sugar alcohol that is a proven cavity preventive. You can find out more info at


  271. Dennis

    Hello. I’m on Day 10. My background prior, about 10 diet dews/day, about 70 beers/week….not kidding. I’ve abstained from both and have a new mindset…getting healthy. However, today, I felt like my balance is way off and I’m a little dizzy. I assume it’s detox, correct? I’ve eaten tons of veggies and meat. Not as much fruit, but some, and I’ve franks tons of water. I started around 300, and am at around 290. Plz advise. Thx.

    • Aimee McNew

      Dennis, congrats to you for making such a health-conscious decision to go Paleo! You’re coming off of a lot of toxins and a MAJOR change to your body, so it’s very natural that you’re not feeling great! As a matter of fact (and unfortunately so) it may be a week or two before you really feel “good” from making this change. Make sure you’re drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water (maybe more), and try adding in some exercise each day to help move your body forward in the detox process. Dry-brushing your skin, too, can also be beneficial in ridding the body of toxins. Keep at it, in spite of the unpleasant feelings, because it’s well worth it when you get to the other side. If you have any more questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

      Aimee McNew, MNT, Certified Nutritionist

  272. Catherine

    So I started the paleo diet about a week before easter and was feeling great for weeks. Lately I’ve noticed extreme fatigue, dry eyes and lots of leg cramps! I figured I was going through a detox, but is the cramping normal? I eat a lot of bananas in a raw milk smoothies. Is there anything I can do about the cramping? It wakes me up at night!
    Thanks for any help

    • Aimee McNew

      Hi Catherine,

      Potassium is great for cramping, but for many people it comes down to needing more magnesium! How is your diet in magnesium-rich foods like spinach, nuts, seeds, fish, and avocado? You may also need to add in a high quality magnesium supplement, which taken before bed can really help to ease leg cramps and promote restful sleep! Most of the population (even Paleoites!) are often not at optimal magnesium levels, so it’s worth looking into! Also, are you eating enough food? The fatigue and dry eyes can be due to lots of things: not enough food intake, hidden food sensitivities, seasonal allergies, stress, leaky gut, hormone imbalance, and others. Without having more info about your specific situation, I would encourage you to make sure you drinking enough water (3L or 100 oz at minimum!), getting regular exercise, and eating an appropriate amount of calories for your body. If you have more questions, please send me an email!

      Aimee McNew, MNT, Certified Nutritionist

  273. Jinon

    Love this blog!
    I’m on day 11, and feeling bloated and bigger than ever :/
    I did Paleo last year, for three months, and never had these symptoms, and it was a great success for me. I’m actually upset with myself for ever stopping, so I decided to try it again. Im forcing myself to stay positive, and look at being Paleo as a life change, but I’m just feel awful. Normal?

    • Aimee McNew

      Hi Jinon,

      We’re glad you love the blog! There are so many factors that can influence bloating or detox symptoms (even from one year to the next). I totally get the frustration of wishing you had stuck with it, but don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, make sure you’re drinking enough water (3L or 100 oz is often a good average amount, although many people need more), and take a good look at your fat/carb/protein ratios. Even though paleo foods are paleo foods, some people do better with lower carbs, higher fat, or higher protein, or a mix of all three. Have you been eating enough veggies (or suddenly eating way more than normal)? Additionally, adding plant-based digestive enzymes 10 minutes before meals can help to reduce bloat and help food to digest better as your body readjusts. Probiotics, too, are a great way to balance out the bloat, but if you’ve been hitting kombucha or sauerkraut hard, it’s possible that you’re doing too many probiotics too quickly.

      If you have more questions, feel free to email me!

      Aimee McNew, MNT, Certified Nutritionist

  274. Liz

    I am on day 11 of the paleo and most of my cravings for non-paleo food are gone but I am more tired than usual. I am eating about 1300 calories a day and have about 30 pounds to loose. I haven’t lost much yet and I am wondering if this is because I am not eating enough or if it is just my body detoxing and adjusting?

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Liz,

      Well, your body is certainly still adjusting and yes, eating too few calories could be why you have less energy and a lack of weight loss (or maybe you just need more sleep?). You may want to try ditching the calorie counting for your first few weeks on the plan. Now that you’re recovering from daily blood sugar roller coaster rides, it may be easier to lose weight by paying attention to real hunger signals. Here’s an article on the subject,

      Finding out how much we really need to eat, as well as establishing other lifestyle habits that are conducive to weight loss and better health such as getting adequate sleep and stress management can take a while. Give your body a few more weeks to adjust, and start really listening to it. Here’s a little more reading for ya,


  275. Paula

    So I started doing clean eating on Monday 6/22/2015. Today it is 6/26/2015. A lot of what I am eating is very comparable to the Paleo diet. One thing that I am experiencing as a detox symptom that isn’t added here is acne. I had acne when I was in high school. I’m 39 now. As far as the sluggish feeling…I feel like dying. Literally. It’s bad enough I work nights (which I am at work now), but on my days off I have slept until 9:30 at night even. I work 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. This has been tough. I don’t have really any sugar cravings right now, but I am craving soda and breads. Also I am craving a big bowl of mashed potatoes. But I’m not eating them. I figure if it is this hard to detox, why in the world do I want to cave and have to start all over again. I just posted something on Facebook earlier about my detox symptoms. I’ll repost them here.
    Day 4 of eating clean:
    Here are My Detox Symptoms
    1. Acne, Oh my gosh!! I feel like a 13 year old girl again. I haven’t had acne since I was in high school. I now have 3 pimples on my chin, and one on my nose.
    2. Headaches. I had one on day 2 and one this morning. At least they are tolerable. They are just nagging.
    3. Food Cravings. Mashed potatoes, Fresh baked rolls, and Dr. Peppers…..uhhhh yes puleassse!! At least I’m not craving chocolate.
    4. Fatigue and Low Energy. It’s sad that sugar has been such a high part of my diet that it has always kept me falsely energized. I just want my energy back. Waaahhhhhh
    5. Irritability. Leave me alone please. Do not breathe when you are next to me.Do not think, because I will hear it LOL
    6.Congestion. Is it flu season? I think I have the flu. At least I feel like I do.
    7. Trouble Sleeping. Ahhh yes!! I keep thinking about the food that I am missing, which makes it hard to sleep. ;-)
    8. Brain Fog. What? What did you ask me to do? What’s your name? Who the heck am I?

    I have done other “diets” before, but this has probably been the hardest lifestyle change yet. I started out doing this actually to get off of processed foods and sugars to help my migraines, and I am sure it will. I have lost 6 lbs in 4 days, and the food isn’t horrible food at all. I just want my carbs (bad ones) back. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? Oh, sorry. I am irritable ;-) On a serious note, I know I will feel better once these detox symptoms will pass. I just didn’t know how bad they would be. Eh, this too shall pass…right?

    Thanks so much for sharing your post. It’s good to know that this could take a while. Cheers to a better health :)

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Hi Paula!
      Well I’m sorry to hear that you are having all those experiences, but the goods news is that it sounds like you are on the right track! All of the symptoms you mentioned are EXTREMELY common in the first month-ish of going Paleo, and “detox” is a general term we use to describe the variable experience that we go through after we quit bombarding the body with poisonous foods. At last the body is able to liberate enough energy to start healing itself! The cells (if given enough fats and fewer carbs) learn to utilize more ketones from fats for fuel (instead of glucose from carbohydrates). All of these changes take time and don’t feel all that awesome while they are occurring. While the “detox” period is definitely uncomfortable, it’s also (thankfully) temporary and should pass in a few weeks. If you’re really worried, go see your doc! Keep up the GREAT WORK and please keep up posted on your progress! :-)

      In good health,
      Kinsey Jackson, LMP, MS, CNS®

  276. C J Anderson

    I am 7 days into Paleo per recommendation by chiropractor. Adrenal fatigued, insulin-resistant, just barely measuring pre-diabetic, but have kind of bad peripheral neuropathy (feet/legs). Have not had typical “flu” symptoms as above, but when I have certain fruits (blueberries, cantalope, etc.) and even some other times, have worse Per. nueropathy “attacks” – evidently from glucose spikes. This is worse since I started Paleo. I haven’t seen any reference to PN above. Could this be part of detox? Looking for hope hear – in pain.

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Hi CJ,
      Congrats on taking the Paleo plunge! Sorry to hear about your health issues though. “Detox” symptoms can and do vary widely. It’s hard to know without taking a closer look at your situation, but if certain fruits/foods are triggering your symptoms, I would in general recommend eliminating them from your diet, at least temporarily. After 4-6 weeks have elapsed of eating strict Paleo, you will have a much better sense of what foods ‘work’ for you and which ones don’t. Please keep us posted on your progress, and hang in there! Things really do get worse before they can get better. Wishing you all the best!

      In good health,
      Kinsey Jackson, LMP, MS, CNS®

  277. PaleoChic

    My husband and I started our “new diet” last week and quickly realized it is completely paleo, which we have done before. Anyways, I felt TERRIBLE the first 2 days. I was exhausted and could hardly function at work. The next 2 days I tried convincing myself I was a little better, but I really wasn’t much. Finally my husband sent me an article about what people do wrong on paleo and there was my answer! I wasn’t eating enough salt! I had essentially cut all of the salt out of my diet and replaced with meat fruit and vegetables with salt-free seasonings. My grogginess could very well have been low blood pressure and the palpitations were legitimate. The fifth morning I woke up and added a little salt to my meals and snacks for the day and sure enough I felt better. The next day I did the same and I felt amazing! I’m still working through the afternoon headaches on day 9, but I’m definitely starting to see the benefits of this lifestyle, sleeping better, decreased cravings, dropped a few lbs, clearer skin, etc.

    The takeaway, definitely look at what you’re eating to be sure you are taking in a healthy balance…..and don’t forget to salt!

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi PaleoChic,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with detoxing and adding salt. I’m glad you found what was lacking and that you’re feeling better and seeing results! I hope the headaches clear up soon. Make sure you’re eating enough food overall, and drinking enough liquid. Here’s a little more info on salt,


  278. Neil Jackson

    Hey there.
    For the first time ever I actually feel fully motivated and prepared to change my life for the better with a good paleo diet and better exercise. I’m on day 5 and going strong except for one thing. I’m having trouble sleeping even though I’m tired because my calf muscles are randomly twitching every few minutes. It’s not exactly painful but is unpleasant enough to wake me out of a sleep. Is this a normal detox symptom or is this something I should address?

    • Sally Barden Johnson

      Hi Neil,

      Congratulations on embarking on a new healthy lifestyle! The muscle twitching is normal AND something you should address :). It could be that with your new diet and increased exercise, you’re dehydrated and your electrolytes are off balance. Drinking too much liquid can also throw off this balance but dehydration is more common. Make sure you’re eating enough food to support your activity level and enough liquid to hydrate, (I always keep a glass of water by the bedside which has helped me get through a muscle cramp or two.)

      Coconut water is a great electrolyte replenisher especially if boosted with some fruit and veggies and pinch of salt or two. Just blend everything up in a shake.

      Make a few changes, keep what works and keep on keepin’ on!


  279. Joy

    Thank you for this post! I’m on day 2 and feel so awful I can barely eat. As a heavy coffee and creamer (with sugar) drinker, I expected to be tired upon starting, but not this much and definitely not the nausea. In fact, I expected to be hungry all the time!
    Thanks for helping me stick it out despite feeling awful!

    • Karen

      Thanks for writing Joy. The change in you eating habits does cause some strange symptom, but the light on the other side is a healthy, rejuvenated and renewed life.

  280. Ashli W

    So happy to find this post! I am only on day 3 but I have been having a hard time since the get go. I am hugely addicted to carbs from like bread, pasta, etc., plus a huge sugar eater. Now that I am finally trying to stick with healthy eating sweets are all I think about and I’ve been feeling many of the symptoms described. So glad to read there is an eventual light at the end of the tunnel!

    • Aimee McNew

      Hi Ashli,

      I can so relate with how you’re feeling! When I first went Paleo and completely sugar/sweet free, I thought I was going to lose my mind. Once I made it through the first six days, however, I stopped craving all of that stuff and never looked back. It does get easier! To survive that first week, I tried every available non-food coping mechanism. I went for walks to get out of the house. I went shopping with friends. I spent a whole bunch of time on social media. I read books, watched movies, and pretty much everything else. If you can figure out a way to distract yourself enough to make it through, the rest of this will feel easier! If you need any extra support, feel free to send me an email! And keep up the great work!

      Aimee McNew, MNT, Certified Nutritionist

  281. chris

    Thank you… I am about 2 weeks in, and as well as all the physical symptoms, low energy, headaches, foggy brain etc. I have been feeling very depressed and lifeless. Extremely irritable and find it impossible to feel enthusiasm. I exercise 3 days a week doing short high intensity workouts, which I now find very difficult. I am keen to keep on going and make it till at least a month as I desperately want to experience the benefits, but is there something I perhaps need to eat more or less of, with regards to the depressive symptoms. I’m worried that its not normal, but don’t want to give up incase the light at the end of the tunnel is right around the corner… Please help. Thanks.

  282. chris

    Hi there. Really interesting and helpful article. Iv been on paleo now for just over 2 weeks. As well as all the physical side effects such as headaches, foggy brain, low energy etc. I have been feeling extremely low and very irritable. Both these are completely against my nature and its starting to concern me. I also do high intensity 20 min workouts 3times a week and am generally quite active. I am going to see how I feel at the 4 week mark. I desperately want to experience the benefits of paleo and don’t want to give up when I am potentially so close to getting there. Any advice?””

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Hi Chris!
      Thanks for your comments. It sounds like you are very much on the right track, so hang in there! Irritability, brain fog, low energy, headaches, sadness and other extreme emotions are all VERY common symptoms when someone is transitioning onto the Paleo diet. Don’t give up yet! It takes most people between 3-6 weeks to get over this ‘hump’, and the symptoms will subside as your body ‘detoxes’ and your cells convert over to being more keto-adapted (versus glucose adapted). I had the WORST headache for almost a month when I first went Paleo, and one day I woke up and it was just ‘gone’ and never returned. I hear this story a lot, and hope that you can say the same in a few days! Another thing to mention is that athletic performance may decline somewhat during this transition as well. Most Crossfitters I’ve worked with are able to increase their PR’s after they make it past the ‘dreaded detox’, but there is a period of time upfront that your workouts may feel more difficult and you may not be able to lift as heavy. This is totally normal, and this too shall pass! Please keep us posted on your progress Chris, and keep up the great work!

      In good health,
      Kinsey Jackson, LMP, MS, CNS®

  283. George

    Thanks for the great blog regarding Paleo detox. Several of us at work started this diet the end of May. June was a rough month at the office. I was a pizza, artificial sweetener, sports drink, and sports bar addict likely on the verge of serious insulin resistance. Once an avid soccer player and runner, I found little pleasure in either over the last several years as my body started to break down. The first month of Paleo was literally a complete fog.

    Now my body and mind have been completely reborn and rejuvenated. I had no idea it was as simple as just eating REAL food. I love REAL food. I now crave REAL food. My body now tells me what I should eat…be it steak, bananas, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. I literally just have to listen to what my body tells me at this point. Running 50 miles a week, don’t feel as tired after work, and enjoying playing soccer again. Thank God for eating Paleo.

    • Karen

      This sounds awesome George…Congratulations! Keep going

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