Detoxification & The Paleo Diet

Detoxification & The Paleo Diet: Managing expectations

If you have just started on the Paleo diet and your previous diet was very different you might experience some detox symptoms for the first week or two and this is to help you understand what is happening.

If your former diet has included grains, dairy, processed foods and sugar all these foods include toxins which will have accumulated in your body for however many years you have been eating them. Water soluble toxins get removed on a daily basis but those that are fat soluble are stored in tissue. Our bodies are very adept at removing things that could be damaging from immediate circulation, but if they cannot easily be excreted they are put into tissue storage.

If you diet and lose weight or when you give your body toxin free nutrient dense foods these toxins become liberated from storage. During weight loss fat stores are broken down, so liberating stored waste, and in healthy food regimes the body has the nutrients and energy to start removing products that could be damaging to health. In both instances your body will start “detoxing”. The long term outcome is always beneficial but the process is not always comfortable. So this is to give you an idea of what to expect so that you can understand what is happening and most important so that you do not give up fearing your diet is hurting you.

Any of the symptoms below are possible, some people will fare worse than others. These symptoms might last for a few days or a few weeks, depending on how much built up waste needs to be liberated and removed and how quickly it happens:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Cravings
  • Mucous production
  • Diarrhoea,?constipation
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Brain fog
  • Increased thirst/urination/appetite

SO, during those difficult moments when you are wondering whether or not to continue, remember that after the storm comes the clearing where you will experience:

  • More energy
  • Emotional balance
  • Clarity of mind
  • Fat loss/muscle gain
  • Strength gains
  • Fewer aches and pains
  • Less sinus congestion
  • Fewer allergic symptoms
  • Digestive ease
  • Clearer skin
  • Fewer colds

It will all be worth it.

So long as your diet contains nutrient rich foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables, a feature of the Paleo diet, I usually do not recommend many supplements are taken during the detoxification period. The body needs green foods and bitters to promote bile flow, vitamin C to optimise function of Phase 1 and 2 detoxification enzymes.

If you have been on, or are on, medication you also need other nutrients found in green tea and turmeric to make sure phase 2 liver detox enzymes are synchronised and working to their best, to override the phase 1 binding of some groups of pharmaceuticals. These could be useful additions for people who have come off medication, but needs thought and consideration before being taken by those who are still on the medication.


PS Email me if you wish on

Last updated on 16th December 2014 by


6 thoughts on “Detoxification & The Paleo Diet: Managing expectations

  1. Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for these! Whilst I’ve not experienced much in the way of the symptoms of detoxification, apart from the odd headache here and there – It’s always re-assuring to know that these symptoms are expected!

    I’m finding that I do have a lot more energy than before, a lot less sinus issues & weight loss.

    For how I’m feeling now, it’s been incredible for me – And I would urge anyone who is suffering the symptoms to continue on, because it will definitely be worth it.


  2. I seem to be having times of feeling great, light and ‘clean’ and others of cravings/headaches/tiredness. Also I have lost a couple of pounds in weight but that seems to have stopped. – I’ve been on the Palao diet for about 4 weeks. Suggestions please

    1. What you describe is normal for the first 2 weeks, but not usually much longer. Are you drinking plenty of water? Are you exercising? I probably need to know a little more about you and your former diet to really help. Do you want to email a little more background? me

  3. I have been 80% Paleo for a month now and am experiencing allergy-like symptoms for the first time in my life. Runny, itchy eyes and my sinuses hurt like heck. Today my body aches again…and I was thinking these symptoms might stop soon?

    1. Hi

      It sounds as if your body is beginning to detox, unless of course you have contracted a virus. The symptoms you describe could e a result of either of the above. The next few days will determine what is happening. If this proceeds into an viral infection that will run its course, but if it continues in the same way then we need to look more deeply at what is happening.

      If you do reach this point and want help then please email me your diet, symptoms and any previous medical history, plus details of your health before you started on the paleo diet and I will see if I can help you identify what is happening and why and how you can modify the symptoms. Best wishes

    2. The same thing happened to my friend and he was just into Paleo for weeks. I’m no expert but I think the results differ from one person to another and some could have allergic reactions, making it not advisable to everybody. I hope feels better though.

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