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Susann1988

Eating AIP, not getting enough calories

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Hi everyone,

I started AIP due to IBS and two Autoimmune diseases on Monday (August, 11). I didn't know anything about Paleo beforehand and just dived in after reading about the basics of AIP (what to avoid, what to eat etc.). I'm already skinny and I don't want to lose weight. In the beginning I didn't worry about this and just ate as much as possible of what is allowed. But on day 3 I got into ketosis and since then I've been monitoring my carbohydrate and calorie intake to make sure this doesn't happen again. I've been able to get enough carbohydrates through more fruits and sweet potatoes with every meal (are sweet potatoes with every meal ok when doing AIP?), but I still don't get enough calories. Most days I only have around 1500kcal. I already eat meat or fish with every meal, eat 3 meals a day, eat at least 2-3 types of different vegetables with the meal, I try to add more oil to my food, I try to have avocado everyday, I eat fruits as dessert after every meal and I often eat even though I don't have any more appetite. How does everybody else manage to get enough calories on AIP? Do you have any advice? The problem is, I would still be okay if I lost up to 11 pounds, but that would really be the max I could afford to lose. And I also don't feel good with having too little calories, I can't concentrate as good as usual and my vision feels less clear than usually. Other than that I feel good though, my IBS is really calming down, so I really want to go on to tackle IBS and my autoimmune diseases completely.

I hope you guys can help me :)

PS: I haven't even started doing any sports yet and aren't working right now. So once I'll be starting those things I'd even need to up my calorie intake to around 2000 kcal or more :/

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And I also don't feel good with having too little calories, I can't concentrate as good as usual and my vision feels less clear than usually. 

 

We don't recommend counting calories, and honestly that number doesn't really tell you much.

 

That said, if you aren't feeling good and aren't concentrating well because you are not eating enough, then you should simply be eating more. If you don't have the appetite to eat enough to sustain you in three meals, you might try 4 or five meals per day for a while, just make sure these meals are well balanced with protein, vegetables and fat.

 

What makes you think you were in ketosis? While starchy vegetables are a good idea, I would caution against eating tons of fruit in an effort to increase carbs. Eating sufficient vegetables should be enough to prevent ketosis.

 

Here is a post from paleo mom with more specific suggestions on the type of fruit (more glucose than fructose) and the type of starchy veg (not sweet potato but winter squash, pumpkin, etc) that you might tolerate better.

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Hello missmary,

thanks for your fast reply.

I know that many people advice against counting calories while doing AIP, but I also read in Blogs from rather underweight people that they monitor their calories and also the vitamins, minerals etc. to make sure AIP can have the effects it's supposed to have by getting everything the body needs. I would love to stop monitoring, but I would just end up with eating only 1000 kcal per day. That just happened today. I felt so stuffed after breakfast and lunch that I wanted to skip dinner. To make sure it was okay I counted the calories and ended up with only 1000. Do you think this would really be okay if I kept doing this for weeks? And what do you mean by "that number doesn't tell you much"?

I can't imagine to eat even more meals than I already do as I feel so stuffed already. When you say I should get enough carbohydrates and calories by eating enough vegetables, I wonder what amounts of vegetables you manage to eat because even if I eat 1kg of plantains (2,2 pounds) I would only end up with 1220 kalories and that's already the vegetable with the highest calories. And since I'm also supposed to eat different vegetables I would even need more than 2kg (4,4 pounds) of vegetables per day. Same goes for carbohydrates, I feel like I could only reach about 45g of carbohydrates per meal if I eat plantains, yam, taro or sweet potato. Otherwise I might need to eat a kilogram of vegetables per meal just to get enough carbohydrates. I don't say this to prove you wrong, just to explain why I find this so difficult. Maybe you or other people in the forum could tell me how much vegetables they eat per meal? And what kind?

I don't eat tons of fruits as I'm only allowed to eat up to 20g fructose per day. So I tend to eat 2-3 bananas per day plus some blueberries/peach/watermelon... until I reach a max of 20g fructose.

Thanks for the post of the paleo mom, I already read that before. The problem is that I can't find most of the fats that are allowed where I live (Germany, and I know I have to keep looking) and I also seem to not tolerate everything related to coconut well. That makes it more difficult to get more calories.

I'm pretty sure that I was in ketosis because the first days I did not take care of that. I ate just as much as I liked and the kind of vegetables I wanted to eat and almost no fruits. So looking back at my food lists I ended up with way under 50g of carbohydrates per day and on day 3 after breakfast I only had about 17g of carbohydrates and I got a migraine. I haven't had one in several years but I know what it feels like from childhood. So I went to bed. When my bf looked up my symptoms related to paleo he found that it had to do with ketosis so he gave me bananas and sugar. I felt way better after only a few hours of resting and I was able to eat furing the migraine which I can't if I have a normal migraine. I also usually need a full day to recover and can only stay in the dark and sleep until it's over, but that day I started to feel better after the food and only a few hours of resting and was able to get up and go on with the day after that.

Regarding the sweet potatoes, I did not understand your response well. Is it okay to eat sweet potatoes with every meal if my body seems to do okay with it?

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There was a time that I believed that nutrition and energy and weight were all part of a math equation that could be calculated. I though if I ate the right number of calories and burned the right number of calories, consumed the right ratio of macronutrients and the exact right number of grams of carbohydrate that I could control my weight and energy and health. I was pretty disappointed when I realized that I could not, when, despite 100% compliance on my calorie counting and exercise regime that I did not lose weight the way I was "supposed" to. Here you are, not wanting to lose any weight, but the problems with the numbers are the same.

 

There are many reasons for this.

1. The numbers are wrong. They just are. You think bananas have 7 grams of fructose, the internet says they have 16 grams. I'm pretty sure every single banana you meet will have a different amount of fructose. How big is it, how ripe is it? This matters. 

 

2. The numbers don't tell us the important stuff. The body doesn't work like a bomb calorimeter or a chemistry set. There is a complex set of factors that determine how much energy and satiety we get out of food. The food we eat interacts with hormones that determine how energetic we are and how active we are. It also helps determine how hungry we are. 

 

3. The body is actually--despite our terrible treatment--quite resilient. Going lower than 50 grams of carbs on a single day is not likely to put anyone into ketosis. For most people, it takes consistently low carbs/high fat for a long time before that happens (if I am an example: it was probably a year or more of relatively low carb/high fat before I started to have symptoms of ketosis). *

 

So, that's the bad news (for those of us who love weighing and measuring and quantifying things).

 

Here's the good news: you don't have to do it. When you consistently feed your body nutrient dense whole foods, most people will come to a place where their own body will tell them what they need. It takes time for the body to balance out and it takes time to recognize the signals but eventually, for most people, this way of eating really does become a self-regulating system.

 

My recommendation is this: first, try as hard as you can to stop stressing about food and eating--especially about numbers but stress of any kind is really just blurring the picture. You need calm. Second, start following the meal template at every meal. Don't eat 2.2lbs of plantains or 3 bananas. Eat a palm-size portion of meat, a thumb-size portion of fat and 2-3 cups of a variety of vegetables, including some starchy ones every day. If you can't eat that amount of food at that meal. Put it away and try again when you think you can stomach it. Keep doing this until you have eaten three template-sized meals, and if you are hungry again, have another. Once you have done this for a few weeks I feel confident that your appetite will support eating them in full-meal portions, but it is ok if you have to split it up for now. 2-3 cups of vegetables, three times per day is ample carbs, but feel free to add one or two portions of fruit per day if you are still hungry after finishing the full template meal.

 

Normally we suggest "regular" whole30 if it is your first time, adding AIP restrictions only after your first 30 days getting used to the program. But, if you feel strongly that you must do AIP right now, the recommendations are the same. Just use the AIP shopping list instead of the regular shopping list to make your food choices. Based on that list, I would leave sweet potatoes in. You can always try without them at some time in the future if you think they cause issues for you.

 

*EDIT: I came back to add this, because I don't want you to think I am discounting your experience. In fact, I'm encouraging you to pay close attention to everything you experience. The episode you describe doesn't sound like ketosis to me, but it happened. My guess is this was straightforward low blood sugar from not eating enough, but maybe hypoglycemia or something of that nature. I'm glad you are feeling better.

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Thanks for the long reply. This makes me feel better as I really started to stress out. I will try to follow your advice in the next days and see how it goes. I hope I will feel okay with it. I stil feel like I need a lot of calories and carbohydrates especially in the morning, but I hope I'll figure it out. Like today, I had 1 1/2 soup plates full of soup (cauliflower, sweet potato, red kuri squash and carrots) and 4oz of ground beef, 2 bananas, a raw carrot and I still felt weird and got a headache, so I had lunch early and only started feeling alright after eating another plate of soup and 4oz ground beef+pork and a half banana. Any ideas why my body seems to need so many calories and carbohydrates in the morning?

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Are you getting enough fat?

 

Ah ha. I think praxis project has pointed out a good possibility. Previously, I understood that you were not hungry, but experiencing signs of not enough food intake, but it sounds like you do experience this as hunger. If you have appetite but the volume seems too much for your stomach, fat is an excellent suggestion. More fat (you don't list much) will give you more nutrition and satiety with less volume. Make sure you have at least that "thumb-size" amount at every meal and you may find your need for carbs is slightly less...if the volume still seems like too much you can still try splitting your meals up into more than 3, but making sure to have that fat will also help.

 

I wonder, if you fed your low-blood sugar moments with protein and fat as well as carb, if you might not find yourself crashing less often?

 

Try following the meal template really rigorously and find out.

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You got me right missmary, most of the time I neither feel hungry nor have enough appetite to eat as much as I probably should. Regarding the fat, thanks for the advice, I already try to add ass much oil as possible to everything. I cook all the vegetables with water and oil, I put oil on top of the sweet potatoes when baking them, I either fry the meat and the fish in oil or add oil to it when baking, I add oil to salads and soups and I try to eat avocado everyday etc. so I don't feel like I could add any more. Do you have any advice how to get even more fat into my meals?

I was also wondering about how bad it is if I use only avocado and olive oil for baking and cooking? I haven't been able to find any tallow yet, the lard I found had spices in it so I couldn't take that either, I don't seem to do well with coconut oil, I only found palm oil that was mixed with palm kernel oil so for now olive and avocado oil are my only options. i read I should only use them on salads not for baking and cooking, but I didn't find the reason for that, yet. Can you tell me what the problem is with it?

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Olive oil breaks down at high heat (similar to the seed oils), so it's not great for cooking.

 

Can you make your own ghee/clarified butter from butter?  (heat butter until the milk solids separate, skim/strain and use the pure fat that's left)

 

Much of the oil you cook with remains in the pan (check your pan after the food is gone to see!), so you're not eating as much as you may think.  One trick that I used to make my husband "like" his vegetables was to sprinkle on slivered or sliced almonds on top, the crunch makes him enjoy the vegetables more.

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The last article I read on it pointed to non-organic OO having the pesticides breaking down into possibly carcinogenic chemicals, but I can't find that article now (it was a few months ago and I can't remember where I saw it!)  

 

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/defending-olive-oils-reputation/#axzz2H2g4NAni seems to say that generally OO is fine, and he is a pretty reputable guy.

 

Doh, I'm sorry, I didn't read the AIP list closely enough.  I've been known to bake a ton of compliant bacon in the oven and save all the fat that drains, and cook in that (it feels so indulgent, and adds a little bit of the bacon's smokiness to the dish).

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Thanks for the link, wendelina!

That sounds like a good idea, do you have any recipe? I'm so new to paleo and haven't been a great cook + a vegetarian before, so making bacon and my own lard etc. still seems so difficult to me.

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Susann - I can get duck fat and goose fat from european delis here in Australia, they're both kept in the fridge usually. Not sure if there are kosher delis, but they may have these also, chicken schmaltz is rarely available here in Australia.

 

You can make your own animal fats to use, roast some chickens (Nomnompaleo has a great Julia Child recipe), roast a pork belly or other fatty cuts. Keep your bacon fat. The main thing is that they are rendered (cooked).

 

If you're scared to make your own, do a lot of meat roasting and catch the juices, you may well end up with a good puddle of something to use :)

 

Oh, and I love this immersion blender mayo: http://thehealthyfoodie.com/fail-proof-home-made-paleo-mayo-whole30-compliant/

I particularly love it with salmon cakes!

The only fail I had with it was putting the unblended ingredients into a jar the blender didn't fit inside  :P

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For making batches of bacon, I usually do something like this: http://nomnompaleo.com/post/2196045950/bacon-from-the-oven

 

I don't always line my pans with foil because I'm lazy, but as long as you have a good jar to pour the hot fat into before it solidifies, you'd be okay.

 

Then I use the bacon for things like bacon bits for a salad, or I'll reheat it in a sautee pan to go with eggs, etc. for breakfast, or throw it in for flavoring in a sauce for dinner ... 

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Thank you praxis project and wendelina!

@praxisproject I went to a super huge supermarket today and they had one type of lard, but it wasn't organic, so I decided not to take it. But I've been asking around in Facebook Paleo groups and got at least one place I can go look :)

And I've got more good news:

I know I'm not supposed to count calories, but I decided to keep doing it for a little while until I feel more secure and guess what, with the advice of 3 cups of vegetables with every meal I managed to get more than 2100kcal today. Yay :)

I probably won't manage this everyday,but it feels good to know that I can do it :) 

Thanks for all the advice!

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If you can't get organic, try for not-factory-farmed. Outside of the US, this kind of farming is much less common.

 

You can never have too much avocado ;) It's really good with bacon

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I know but so far I've been only able to find lard that is either factory farmed or with herbs (unnamed which and I need to be careful because of AIP). I still hope to find some. I wish there were more people from Germany doing AIP...

But thanks so much for all the advice!

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I have done a number of whole30s but this time I am trying an almost AIP (keeping eggs, potatoes, tomatoes).

Without the fruit triggering cravings, I am finding I don't need as much food. I have been having breakfast as my largest meal.. Ground beef and cooked veg or soup, protein and salad for lunch and meat and 3 veg for dinner. On the days I do feel a bit odd in the afternoons, I have a can of tuna in oil with cherry tomatoes or a carrot.

I cook with olive oil, in my kitchen our temps don't get up high enough to worry about the oil breaking down into inflammatory biproducts

Keep it below smoke point to keep the flavour...

This link may not be true http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/whats-cooking-with-olive-oil/frying-with-olive-oil/30470 but

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