Insomnia, PAW (Post Acute Withdrawal) Food Opioids


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I have been repeatedly failing the first days of Whole30 because of what I suspect to be (animal) food opioid PAW (Post Acute Withdrawal) symptoms.

Even though I don't drink alcohol, most of what I Googled / YouTubed on alcohol and/or opioid PAW symptoms matched to a T what I experience when I go full Vegan.

In short, it's almost like I wake up during the night (after 4-5 hours of quality / dreamtime sleep) to get a food "hit", and can't go to bed until I get said hit. Give me ice cream, and I go back to sleep rather fast. (Sugary stuff works, sometimes, but never as well as dairy).

I am posting this in the Vegetarian / Vegan part of the forum because I feel best when *not* taking in meat. My appetite and stomach function best when I leave meat out of my diet. Next to (intermittent) fasting, nothing puts my gut back on track faster than eating vegan.

Through repeated trial and error, I have found out I have a real hard time getting dairy - more specifically: caseomorphins - out of my system.

  • Phasing meat out, no problem.
  • Phasing sugar out, not that bad.
  • Phasing caffeine out, almost impossible for me (to function, but I stop my intake at 3PM at the latest).

Phasing out dairy ... Help! :unsure:

Side note: In the second half of my forties. Before 40, I could eat/digest pretty much anything at anytime. Now, I'm rarely (if ever) hungry in the morning, and don't feel fully awakened (mentally and metabolically) until 3pm. I just find it really bizarre how the ex earlybird in me is transforming into a takes-forever-to-start locomotive.

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I'm not sure what to tell you about the dairy, but the way to get back to being a morning person is basically to act like a morning person. Set an alarm, get up, eat breakfast within an hour of getting up, get out into the sunshine as early in the day as you can for at least 10-15 minutes. Set a bedtime, come up with a night routine/sleep hygiene habits to follow and go to bed. Repeat every day, even on days you don't have to get up for anything. It's hard, it sucks, but it will work -- I've always been more of a night owl, and when I do these things consistently, I'm almost a full-blown morning person, which I would've told you my whole life was impossible. (Here's basic info on sleep hygiene if you need it:, and here's an article explaining a bit about the importance of breakfast: I know intermittent fasting has a lot of proponents, and many people find it helpful, but maybe skip it until you get back to your usual early bird self and are feeling good. (Here's Melissa's take on IF:

My guess on the dairy is that you're going to have to just give it up and deal with the consequences until you get through some period of adjustment, just like what happens when you give up caffeine -- it sucks for a bit, and then your body adjusts. Anytime you're making big changes in what you eat, be sure you are eating plenty of good, healthy foods, including healthy fats, adequate amounts of protein (if you eat eggs, a serving of eggs is as many whole eggs as you can hold in one hand, which is probably 3-4), and lots of veggies. (You can download the meal template here if you need it: )  Drink plenty of water (at least 1/2 oz per pound of body weight, so a 120-lb person needs at least 60 oz a day, more if you're working out hard or otherwise sweating a lot). Salt your food to taste. 

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