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Old 03-02-2013, 06:45 PM   #1
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Too much meat in diet causing discomfort

Hi there,

this is a question from my friend. She was once a vegetarian and previous to that only ate chicken breast as her protein.

I've convinced her that protein is healthy and necessary in one's diet. She is no longer vegetarian. Her meals are less carb based and her protein preference is still chicken breast.

So, she agreed to "Sugar Detox" with me, which is basically the Atkins diet. I wanted to get more strict with my meals although I have been low-ish carb since 2009.

Long story short, she doesn't like eating so much meat. It causes her physical discomfort, indigestion...etc. The first couple days of the detox, I was also having stomach pain and diarrhea so I attributed the problem to just a change in diet. We are about a week in and I feel great, but she has not adjusted and complains after every meal of bloating, indigestion and nausea. She takes Super Enzymes but they only help a little bit.

We eat a lot of chicken, cook with coconut oil, salad as vegetables, nuts occasionally, coffee + cream or almond milk. No grains, legumes fruit or sugar.

I would appreciate any tips, sorry for rambling.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:58 PM   #2
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First of all, eating a "lot of protein" is not Atkins. With Atkins, you should only eat moderate protein for several reasons, one being that it can be converted to glucose in the body. Atkins is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate WOE. The exact number one needs is individual, but a lot of chicken breast or any other protein isn't good for anyone.

Secondly, if she ate very little meat before this week, I'm not surprised she's feeling uncomfortable. Vegetarians who add meat back into their diet usually do, at least for a short period. And if she's eating a lot after almost none, of course she's feeling ill. It'll pass, but maybe not quickly enough for her.

I usually advise everyone in the world to stay away from unfermented soy, but if she's used to eating it, she might want to use soy to ease herself into eating more meat. Meaning, eat that maybe twice a day, and then a meat meal once. Then slowly add back more meat.

Thirdly, just chicken does not a good diet make. There are so many options, do not get stuck on chicken breasts day after day.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:06 PM   #3
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There are several vegetarians on here who do Atkins... between eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts and tofu, its not that hard. For her, it would be esp easy if she wants to occasionally have chicken.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:05 PM   #4
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I agree with the posters above.

I think that it takes our bodies time to switch from one kind of diet to another, and how much time varies from person to person. I went from 40 years as a vegetarian to being a non-vegetarian low carb eater about a year ago, and I eased into it by relying a lot on eggs and dairy (and nuts after the first 2 weeks) initially. I had to learn how to cook meat because I hadn't done so for decades. I deviated from induction a bit by letting myself eat full-fat cottage cheese and more than 2 ounces of cheese per day, from the start; that may or may not be a good idea for your friend.

If your friend doesn't opt for lowcarb vegetarianism, she might consider adding limited amounts of fish to her diet (such as salmon). That's a lot easier than, say, a beef roast or steak to adjust to, as a former vegetarian, IMO. And fish such as wildcaught salmon have Omega 3 health benefits not found in chicken breast, so that would be a good choice to add next.

Ground beef was also relatively easy for me to adjust to; I used it in casseroles, along with tomato sauce, cheese, and lots of vegetables (such as George Stella's low carb lasagne), so it wasn't so glaringly carnivorous a dish. But whatever the choice, it's a good idea to start small when making a major change in macronutrients.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laranda View Post
Hi there,

this is a question from my friend. She was once a vegetarian and previous to that only ate chicken breast as her protein.

I've convinced her that protein is healthy and necessary in one's diet. She is no longer vegetarian. Her meals are less carb based and her protein preference is still chicken breast.

So, she agreed to "Sugar Detox" with me, which is basically the Atkins diet. I wanted to get more strict with my meals although I have been low-ish carb since 2009.

Long story short, she doesn't like eating so much meat. It causes her physical discomfort, indigestion...etc. The first couple days of the detox, I was also having stomach pain and diarrhea so I attributed the problem to just a change in diet. We are about a week in and I feel great, but she has not adjusted and complains after every meal of bloating, indigestion and nausea. She takes Super Enzymes but they only help a little bit.

We eat a lot of chicken, cook with coconut oil, salad as vegetables, nuts occasionally, coffee + cream or almond milk. No grains, legumes fruit or sugar.

I would appreciate any tips, sorry for rambling.
Be careful of the coconut oil that you use for cooking. That causes GI problems or nausea for some people initially; many have to build up the amount that they eat, starting with just a teaspoon or so. Consider using olive oil, ghee, or butter instead for some cooking; it may be the coconut oil rather than the meat that is causing her distress (or some combination of the two).
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:05 PM   #6
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I agree with many of the points people have made:
a. Atkins is NOT a high protein diet: she probably only needs between 50 and 100 grams of protein a day, which really isn't a lot. Two to three small (4 oz) servings of chicken, beef, pork, or fish will get her there.
b. And it's most likely the coconut oil, not the meat, upsetting her stomach. I love coconut oil, but it can certainly lead to GI distress at first. Use just a teaspoon of coconut oil, and substitute butter or olive oil for the rest, in moderate amounts.
c. Eggs are another great food, and former vegetarians are often happier with them.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:51 AM   #7
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I consider Atkins to be a high protein diet. They recommend 3 to 4oz of a protein food (ie. meat or alternate) per meal which is high. Most of the meals are protein based with high fat and minimal carb. For some people this could be too much, because proteins are also found in dairy and plant foods. I used to track my macros meticulously and found I could easily meet my protein requirements using 1 serving of tofu and 100g of meat at dinner. 100g is roughly 3.5oz. I could have easily been a vegetarian and still met my protein requirements, using eggs and hard cheeses.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Punkin View Post
I consider Atkins to be a high protein diet. They recommend 3 to 4oz of a protein food (ie. meat or alternate) per meal which is high. Most of the meals are protein based with high fat and minimal carb. For some people this could be too much, because proteins are also found in dairy and plant foods. I used to track my macros meticulously and found I could easily meet my protein requirements using 1 serving of tofu and 100g of meat at dinner. 100g is roughly 3.5oz. I could have easily been a vegetarian and still met my protein requirements, using eggs and hard cheeses.
Which edition of Atkins? I have the 2002 book but it's been awhile since I read it. 3 oz of chicken breast has 20 g protein, lean ground beef about 15 g. That doesn't seem awfully high to me.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:04 AM   #9
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I have always had problems digesting red meat even though I love it! I take a supplement called HCL with Pepsin whenever I eat protein. It definitely helps with the digestion.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Punkin View Post
I consider Atkins to be a high protein diet. They recommend 3 to 4oz of a protein food (ie. meat or alternate) per meal which is high. Most of the meals are protein based with high fat and minimal carb. For some people this could be too much, because proteins are also found in dairy and plant foods. I used to track my macros meticulously and found I could easily meet my protein requirements using 1 serving of tofu and 100g of meat at dinner. 100g is roughly 3.5oz. I could have easily been a vegetarian and still met my protein requirements, using eggs and hard cheeses.
3-4oz of meat or the like gives someone about 65-90g of protein daily. That's about right for lots of people, though of course there are those who need more or less.

That is moderate protein. Not quite sure why you think one protein in a meal is a lot, but for most people, it's not. Eggs, meat, tofu, nuts, those are all strong protein sources, and eating enough to feed your muscles, but not too much, so that the excess is converted to glucose, necessarily means that the goal is to eat moderate amounts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punkin View Post
I eat somewhere between 50 and 60g per day. The only actual protein foods I eat are 1 egg (7g) and about 100g of meat a day (roughly 20g to 30g). The rest comes from the trace grams of protein that is found in veggies, cream, cheese and nuts. I am 5'3 as well.
That's moderate protein. Unless you aren't following Atkins?

I aim to eat about 120g of protein daily, trying to preserve my 154lbs of lean body mass. But that's still not a huge amount. I eat about 5oz of meat, or a combination of meat and egg, in two meals, and get the rest from other sources.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by laranda View Post
she doesn't like eating so much meat. It causes her physical discomfort, indigestion...etc.
These symptoms could indicate low stomach acid. The cure and test for it are super simple. Drink a little apple cider vinegar diluted in water before eating. They also make tablets for this that are more convenient to carry around if this is the problem she is experiencing.

Google 'apple cider vinegar low stomach acid'.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Punkin View Post
I consider Atkins to be a high protein diet. They recommend 3 to 4oz of a protein food (ie. meat or alternate) per meal which is high. Most of the meals are protein based with high fat and minimal carb. For some people this could be too much, because proteins are also found in dairy and plant foods. I used to track my macros meticulously and found I could easily meet my protein requirements using 1 serving of tofu and 100g of meat at dinner. 100g is roughly 3.5oz. I could have easily been a vegetarian and still met my protein requirements, using eggs and hard cheeses.
The current version of Atkins recommends 4-6 oz protein 3 times a day, and goes on to say that 4 oz servings are enough for a modest-sized woman, while big guys will need 6 oz per meal.

For me, since I'm not a big breakfast eater, I do the equivalent of 2 oz meat for breakfast, and then 4-5 oz for lunch and again for dinner.
So
B=2 eggs, or 1 egg and a a piece of bacon, or 2 oz cold leftover meat
L= a nice salad w/ 3-4 oz meat and an oz of cheese or an egg
D= 4-5 oz meat, cooked veg, and/or a small salad.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:57 PM   #13
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Hi guys, I'm checking in

To clarify, I didn't mean to imply that she eats tons of meat, but in comparison to what she used to eat, she now eats more meat. I can measure it because we eat/cook most meals together. I'm not sure if that would provide more clear info about her diet.

Anyhoo, she doesn't eat seafood, and can do only small amounts of beef. Because protein is filling and there was an initial hunger with eliminating the filler that carbs provide, she increased her intake of protein. However, she's not consuming whole chickens Also, she has an athletic build and works out (strength training).

Just to provide a little extra background, diabetes runs in her family. Her mom has it, and my friend is already pre-diabetic. If she lost some weight I know she would get out of that risk factor group. So, that's why I sound like such a meddling friend

I really appreciate all your help and various opinions. I'm off to google low stomach acid. Thank you again!
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:18 PM   #14
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Remember, increase fat when you're hungry. It'll help more than protein.

Let us know how she does, okay?
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:13 AM   #15
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Yes, I found that was too much protein for me. All I eat a day is 1 egg and about 3 to 3.5oz (meat) at dinner. I get somewhere between 50 to 60g of protein total protein, including the trace amounts found in veggies and high fat nuts. My sister and I started atkins at the same time and we are of the same height and she was eating 3-4oz of protein at every meal and had no problems. Not me, I had to keep reducing the protein until I found the right amount. It just depends on the person.

Last edited by Punkin; 03-04-2013 at 05:14 AM..
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:36 PM   #16
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Stomach acid is actually reduced when carbohydrates are restricted, but it may take a week or longer to adapt, especially for someone who consumed a primarily carbohydrate diet beforehand. How much fat is she eating?

A lot of people, including myself, experience bad stomach problems in the first few weeks of ketoadaptation. This does not mean that it is bad, it is just your liver mainly trying to change gears.
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