The End of…The Plan

Ok, 2 days on The Plan was enough for me.

I revisited the Carrot Soup they had me make yesterday – it was on the menu again today for lunch.  I took a couple bites, thinking to myself, “Exactly how much is my health worth to me?  Enough for me to choke down this awful bowl of carrot mush?”  No.  Not that much, apparently.  I guess I’d rather go full on metabolic syndrome than eat that again.  Down the trash disposal it went.

I did stay on plan most of the day.  I was feeling completely unsatisfied by seeds and leaves and I did have a piece of plain, unseasoned, unsalted chicken for lunch, along with my seeds and leaves.  Without it I just kept thinking about food.  I was hungry.

But the deal breaker for me…is the water.  For the last 2 days I’ve drank the requisite 100 oz of water (one ounce for every 2 pounds of my current weight).  Yes, I was peeing all the time, and yes that was inconvenient.  But I don’t wanna die so I am willing to do this.  Well, I started feeling “off” tonight…like, pressure around my carotid artery.  I know that sounds weird, but usually when I feel that way I’m either getting sick or my blood pressure is too high.  So I tested my blood pressure.

160/104.  With resting heart rate at 91.

WTF?  I was thinking, how could this happen?  No salt for 2 days, nothing but seeds and leaves and some very plain organic chicken.  Why the 20 point increase in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings?  Then I remembered a time, years ago, that my husband accidentally took too much of his blood pressure medication.  As his blood pressure was falling over the next few hours, I googled, “How to raise blood pressure.”  The answer?  Eat salty snacks.  Drink lots of water.

Drink lots of water.

That’s the only change I’ve made recently that might possibly be having an impact on my blood pressure.  Is it possible that drinking beyond my actual thirst to what feels like an extreme 100 oz/day (by 7:30PM, according to The Plan) caused this?

So I took one of my husband’s BP meds (I should have my own, I know…but I don’t want to be diagnosed with high blood pressure right now because that will make it more difficult to get health insurance when I need to buy it in 6 months).  And now I’m drinking some white wine…a powerful diuretic.

I’m going to check my BP again right now:

152/92.  Resting heart rate still high – 93.

Ok, coming down.  What a mess.

Biohacking can be dangerous, boys and girls.

The Plan – Day 1 Review

Ok, I’ve completed what was supposed to be Day 1 of Lyn-Genet Recitas’ The Plan.  I definitely have a few comments to share.  First things first though:

  • Weight today: 201.8
  • Total loss: 0.8 lbs.

So the menus for Days 1-3 are intended to be full of things that people typically don’t have a poor reaction to, to create a baseline by which to compare other foods later.  Here’s what I ate yesterday.  Recipes are in the book and sometimes on The Plan’s website:

  • Breakfast: Flax granola (1 cup) with blueberries (1/2 cup) and rice milk
  • Lunch: Carrot ginger soup with sunflower seeds, steamed broccoli drizzled with orange oil, 1/2 of a pear
  • Snack: apple
  • Dinner: Sauteed kale, onion, zucchini, shiitakes, with spicy coco sauce.

Items added in that are NOT on plan: 3 chicken thighs, at various points in the day when I was STARVING.

Seriously?  Seeds and kale?

Who can eat this stuff and not be hungry?

I was so hungry at 3 different times today, including waking up ravenous at 1:30AM last night.  I’m sure that’s why there’s not much of a loss on the scale – I didn’t follow the plan.  But WHO COULD?  I’d like to meet this wonder woman.

In all fairness, I didn’t follow the plan exactly.  I skipped the mixed greens with pumpkin seeds at lunch and I didn’t have the grated carrot and raw grated beet salad with pumpkin seeds at dinner.  I somehow doubt those would have really filled me up though. I skipped them because I didn’t have time – it took all of my free time to make that carrot soup and to chop and sautee all of the dinner vegetables along with making the coco sauce. I had spent about an hour on each meal and was done.

Part of the problem here is the recipes.  They kind of suck.  I don’t mean the food sucks, I mean the recipes suck.  They have the potential to be delicious, but they tend to say things like, “add cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne to taste” rather than telling me how much of these things to actually add.  I mean, that’s seriously lazy recipe writing.  I’ve never used turmeric in a recipe.  Are you really going to make me completely guess as to whether 1/2 a teaspoon or 3 tablespoons need to go into this recipe?

So the carrot soup came out really bland (but it might be good if there was an actual recipe with actual directions in actual amounts) and the coco sauce was way too sweet for me (because while I had to guess at the amounts of all the other spices, it did actually say “a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar” – too much.)

So I was starving and ate chicken – essentially because she says in the book that pretty much everyone can tolerate chicken.  I don’t know if that’s true but she claims to know more about this than I do.

I’m beginning to wonder if people lose weight on this ONLY because you drink 1/2 your body weight in oz. of water each day (for me that’s 100 oz per day) and because you’re eating bird food.  It may have nothing at all to do with identifying food intolerance.

So I’m going to keep going because I really do like the theory she’s proposing.  Today I’ll eat more of everything.  Maybe I just didn’t eat ENOUGH kale yesterday.  Maybe having ENOUGH kale and zucchini would have resulted in a happy satisfying feeling that lasted me through the night.  Ok, I’m going to stop being such a smart ass now.

Seriously though, today I’ll eat more of everything and we’ll see how this goes.

The Plan – Day 1

I suppose I should start by providing an update on the things I’ve been trying recently.

Iodine – I was taking 1/8th of a drop of 2% Lugols per day and depression/lethargy set in again after about a week.  I haven’t been feeling depressed otherwise…at ALL…in fact, I can honestly say that right now I’m the happiest I’ve been in years.  So I know it was the iodine.  So I stopped.  Again.  I was taking the cofactors as well, but probably not enough of them.  I’m going to give it a try again after a while…when I have time to be depressed.

Nutritional Ketosis – Did this for 3 weeks.  I tested my blood ketones twice a day and was in ketosis, but after the first few pounds I stopped losing weight.  Toward the end I started regaining the pounds I’d lost.  Not only was I watching/tracking ketones, I was cutting calories, and tracked every bite that went into my mouth.  I was averaging 1800 calories per day – that’s at least a 400 calorie deficit for me, and that doesn’t take into account extra calories burned each day exercising (yoga).  So, there’s no reason I should have been gaining weight, especially when the blood testing strips (and the urine testing strips) said I was in ketosis.  So I stopped.

23andMe testing – I got my results. The things that stood out most for me, without yet doing much research, are that I have an elevated risk for coronary heart disease, and that I DON’T have the most obvious genetic markers for ovarian and breast cancer.  I do plan on running my results through lots of online tools to learn more and to identify specific genetic factors that I may be able to influence with lifestyle.

The Plan – Today I started a new plan…literally called, The Plan.  I read the book by Lyn-Genet Recitas, which details an interesting theory – that food intolerances are what make us fat, by increasing inflammation which raises cortisol, which causes the body to store energy as fat.  Well, that might explain why eating a low-calorie diet isn’t resulting in weight-loss for me.  Basically it’s a 3-phase plan: 3 days of detox, 17 (or so) days of testing common foods for systemic intolerance, and then phase 3: ongoing testing of other foods I want to have in my diet.  Supposedly you identify the foods causing you physiological inflammation and eliminate them (or at least drastically reduce consumption) and your body rejoices by releasing unneeded weight. Your daily weight is how you measure inflammation – the degree to which your weight goes up the next day, with water and food consumption being fairly constant, is the degree to which you need to avoid the food you tested the previous day.

I was hesitant to start The Plan because it’s full of stuff I have to cook.  I like cooking about once a month…other than that I’m happy to stick something in the crockpot and let it cook itself.  But I’m determined to get to the root of my difficulties with losing weight.  I suppose a shorter (albeit more expensive) method of doing the same thing would be blood testing for food intolerances.  I am inclined to do this the hard way though…partly because of money, but also because going through this process, if it works, will teach me to identify problematic foods and can result in pretty dramatic weight loss during the process.  I’m ready to get started.

So today is Day 1.  Starting weight…is high.  202.6 pounds.  Each day I’ll check in briefly and talk about how the previous day went, and what the scale had to say.

Overdue Update

Well I’m definitely overdue for an update.  Several things to report.

1.  Neither I nor my daughter have Pyroluria.  I guess this is a good thing.  Nothing to fix.  I was hoping there would be something to fix.  But really, this is better.

2.  I’ve begun taking iodine again.  My last experience trying to supplement with it didn’t go well, and I concluded that maybe I didn’t have enough of the cofactors in my system (selenium, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, and sea salt) to support the Bromine detox that showed up.  So I supplemented with just those for the last couple of months and I’m restarting Very Slowly.  I’m following Grizz’s advice in this thread, and taking only a fraction of a drop of Lugol’s 2% every day.  Basically I filled a 16-oz water bottle with water and added a drop of Lugols.  Then every day I measure out 2-oz of the water and drink it.  So basically I’m taking 3mg of iodine a week.  A week.  How crazy slow is that?  Anyway I got through a week with no significant depression, acne, or throat issues so I think I’m on the right track.  Starting today I’ll double the dose – so 1/4 drop a day.  Maybe I’ll keep it there for a couple weeks.  Those detox symptoms completely kicked my ass.

3.  I’ve been doing DDP Yoga every day for almost a month now.  I can tell I’m getting stronger because the moves are getting easier and I’m becoming more flexible.  I’m proud of myself for this one.  I’ve been wanting to be someone who does yoga for about 15 years.  It’s about time!

4.  A week ago I started doing Nutritional Ketosis.  Basically it’s a high-fat, moderate protein, low carb diet designed to get the body into a state of ketosis (fat burning and producing ketones for energy).  I was really inspired by Jimmy Moore’s N=1 with nutritional ketosis.  What I was doing (low carb/paleo) wasn’t working and I was starting to feel really frustrated.  I’m down a few pounds doing this approach already.  I’ve ordered ketone blood test strips – not cheap, but I think worth it. This Canadian pharmacy had the best price I found (thanks to Jimmy Moore for the link).  These are different than the ketone urinalysis strips that you can find at any drugstore.  The advantage to monitoring blood ketones is greater accuracy with measurement.  Also, according to Volek and Phinney who wrote The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance (and who coined the term “Nutritional Ketosis”), you can stop producing ketones in urine after a while even if you’re still in a state of Ketosis.  Blood monitoring is always more accurate.  While I’m waiting for the test strips I’ve been using the urinalysis strips though.  They’re better than nothing.

So basically I’m shooting for a diet in the area of 1600 calories at 85% fat, 15% protein, and 5% (or less) carbohydrate.  I find it pretty easy to get to 80% fat, and pretty challenging to get it up to 85%, so typically I’m somewhere in the middle.  After one week of doing this, here’s what I notice.  I do get hungry sometimes but that’s because I’m doing this with an eye toward keeping calories low.  Jimmy Moore didn’t watch calories, and Volek/Phinney say “eat to satiation” – not low cal.  I know if I ate to satiation I’d eat way too many calories, and I need to see some results.  I think for ME (maybe not for everyone) but for ME calories matter.  So I’m watching them and trying to stay about 500 calories below what my body needs given my current activity level.

Another thing I’m noticing – when you eat this way you’re never really full – there’s none of that feeling like you ate too much.  Fat just doesn’t take up much space in your stomach I guess.  But I do find that I’m completely unaware of the effect of food on me 90% of the time.  I feel light and energetic and there are no ups and downs.  Just sustained energy for hours at a time.  The purpose of eating this way is to turn the body from a “sugar burner” into a “fat burner,” which can take weeks.  After fat adapted, the body can use excess body fat for energy.  Well, I’ve got lots stored.  Have at it, body!

Another advantage to eating this way: it’s cheap.  I’m eating full-fat dairy, eggs, a little meat here and there (but not much), butter, coconut oil and coconut butter, and some veggies here and there.  It’s been interesting finding ways to make almost pure fat taste like regular food.  One day when I have more time I’ll share the recipes that I’ve been relying on (and that I’m soon to discover).

So generally things are going great in my world.  Still waiting for 23andme results. Will update as things come up.

Waiting

I am So. Sure. that my daughter has Pyroluria.  I’ve been reading lots of stuff about it and everything fits.  I actually hope she does have it at this point because it’s completely manageable with vitamin/mineral supplementation.  Folks on the facebook group where I learned about Pyroluria agree that you get a normal kid once supplementation is started…often within days.

I think I have it too.  But I’m less worried about me.

The other day my little one was lying in bed trying to sleep (insomnia is one symptom).  I was lying next to her because she won’t go to sleep alone (anxiety is another symptom). This was after about 8 or 9 tantrums in one day and she was just worn down (behavioral/emotional problems are another symptom).  She said to me, “Mama…I don’t know why my feelings are hurting.”  She’s 3.

I’m a behavior analyst.  I know all about behavior problems.  I fix them for a living.  This isn’t a behavior problem.  This is biological.  I’m sure of it.  There’s something going on that is causing her to have a very hard time tolerating stress.  Moving (again) was a big stressor for her.  She said goodbye to people she loved.  I know you wouldn’t think a 3 year old could form deep attachments to people outside family…but she did.  They do.

Apparently when you have Pyroluria and you experience stress your body produces Kryptopyrroles, which bind to zinc and vitamin b6, causing them to be eliminated from the body rather than being absorbed.  So you become deficient in these nutrients, but you also become deficient in other vitamins/minerals that rely on zinc/B6 to be absorbed (including magnesium, manganese, and some others I don’t recall off the top of my head).  Plus apparently Vitamin B6 is responsible for Serotonin synthesis – which is why mood symptoms are prevalent among those with Pyroluria.

I sent off the samples to the lab yesterday and they were received today.  Their website says answers within 4 working days.

Can’t wait.