Dairy Fail

Well this is interesting. Since I added dairy back into my diet 2 days ago, the follow things have happened:

  • I didn’t sleep well the first night
  • My mood faded from awesome to blah (but that could be because I didn’t sleep well).
  • I developed nasal congestion so I didn’t sleep well the second night.
  • My face broke out in a few small pimples
  • I’ve had a few hot flashes
  • My appetite increased – yesterday I brought a lunch to work and it was gone by 10am.
  • My breasts are slightly swollen and painful the way they used to be when estrogen was high
  • Blood sugar is up (fasting bg today of 115)
  • My gnawing hunger has returned this morning
  • I’m up 2 pounds today.

I didn’t even eat a ton of dairy – yesterday just one slice of cheese.

Really? Am I one of those people who shouldn’t be eating any dairy? Well, that’s a bit disappointing.

Crikey.

I may try again with goat cheese at some point, but for now, back to plain old Paleo.

Dairy and Education

I’ve started and stopped a couple of posts over the weekend but have yet to finish one.  I guess I didn’t really have much to say.  Sometimes I want to write but my brain is blank.

Well, here’s something.  About a month ago the practitioners I’m working with challenged me to go dairy-free for a month to see if it affected how I feel.  Well I did, and I feel great…but I also recently changed my diet an started taking a bunch of amazing supplements, so it’s hard to say that giving up dairy made the difference. I have decided to add the dairy back into my diet, for a few reasons.  First, I think weight loss might speed up if I can cut some fat out of my diet and low-fat dairy is a great way to do that.  Second, I’m really getting tired of meat and vegetables.  If that’s what I have to eat to be healthy I’ll do it, but I’m not convinced yet that that’s the case.  Third, I’m afraid I’m not getting enough calcium.  I’m just not confident I’m getting enough via veggies and currently I’m eating a lot of meat (i.e., high phosphorus).  I don’t want another slew of cavities like last time I went Paleo.  I’d like to swap out some of the meat with low-fat dairy.  Not milk so much, which is fairly high in sugar, but things like Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.

So yesterday I added dairy back in.  I’ll give it a week or so and see how I feel.  It might come back out again.  I felt good after eating dairy again yesterday – no signs of physical distress – and the scale was down a pound today to 200.4.  I’m down about 7 pounds in the month of March, and I’ve lost about an inch an a half off my waist.  I’ve already started shopping in my closet for clothes I haven’t been able to wear for a couple of years.

I listen to podcasts every day on my commute to work.  The podcast by Christopher Kelly at NBT is really good – great guests, and I always learn a lot – It really syncs up well with the very things I’m interested in learning about right now.  A few days ago the guest was Dr. Bryan Walsh, a naturopathic doctor (sidebar: how come my current version of Windows spell check doesn’t recognize words like “paleo,” “naturopathic,” or “podcast” yet?  Get with it, Windows).  I was immediately endeared to Dr. Walsh when he said he didn’t want to talk about himself much and wasn’t very good at self-promotion (I hear you, Dr. Walsh…that’s why I’m no longer self-employed.)  Love humble people.  Anyway, turns out he’s got an amazing website with a whole video course aimed at health practitioners.  Of course I don’t fall into that category, but I’m really interested in learning about biochemistry and physiology, especially to the extent that I could learn to interpret labs and help myself and my family.  Plus it’s just cool stuff.

I signed up for a free trial membership and watched a couple of the videos and I’m amazed at how brilliant this guy is – not just with regard to the subject matter, but he’s also a really great teacher.  He presents everything in a way that is easily understood and repeats things frequently to help you learn.  It looks like it costs $300 (temporarily discounted from $400) for the first level course (there are 4 levels total). Levels 2-4 are “coming soon.”  I’m very likely to do this. I wonder if he would consider putting a “contact us” button on his site somewhere.  I’d hate to invest money in something and have no way to contact the service provider if something goes wrong.

For now, off to work.

Blood Sugar Update

Current blood sugar graph, depicting my fasting blood glucose (blue) and my readings  two hours after meals (red), over the past month:

bgupdate

Things have stabilize around 100 for fasting and around 90 for post-prandial readings.  I’d like to see this improve further – like, I’d be satisfied in the 80s for both of them.  I started eating macadamia nuts a couple weeks ago – they’re dry roasted, which isn’t ideal given their high unsaturated fat content.  I have a small handful once a day – sometimes twice.  I’m going to get rid of them and see if it makes a difference.  They were a convenient snack at work in the late afternoon, but maybe they’re holding up progress.  Nothing else has changed – diet and supplements are the same.

Over just the last couple of days I’ve been making efforts to reduce fat in my diet (macadamia nuts notwithstanding).  I did eat Chinese food the other night though.  Meme would shake her head about the PUFAs that were probably in that meal.  I had to though…my husband got a new job and we had to go out and celebrate.  He picked the restaurant.

I continue to feel awesome every day.

The PUFA-Diabetes Link

In the comments a few days ago, Meme – a long-time follower of this blog – wrote a couple of really amazing posts about reversing Type 2 Diabetes.  In them she asserts that Ray Peat is correct in that it’s polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) (not sugar!) that cause what is commonly known as insulin resistance and T2D. She did her own N=1. She lost weight using a high fat, low carb diet and remained diabetic (unable to tolerate carbs). Introducing sugar again led to a 40lb weight gain.  Here’s the really cool part:  She then switched to a very low fat, PUFA free diet and lost most of that weight, PLUS REVERSED THE DIABETES. 

Here are her comments, Part 1 and Part 2 (edited to add some paragraph breaks for ease of reading):

Hi Lanie, You asked “So if you have diabetes and make the symptoms of diabetes go away does that mean you no longer have diabetes?” Unfortunately, the answer is NO. The hallmark of a diabetic person is the inability to oxidize glucose. Sugars cannot get in to the cell to be used for fuel, so it stays circulating in the blood (HYPERglycemia) and gets spilled in the urine as a safety measure to protect the body’s tissues and organs. You will no longer be diabetic when you can eat anything you want and can effectively use that food for fuel at the cellular level.

Sugar does not cause diabetes. PUFA suppresses the thyroid gland and poisons the mitochondria and that is the true cause of diabetes. I have proven this on myself through an experiment that I did last year. I told you about it last summer, but I’m going to refresh your memory: I was morbidly obese and pre-diabetic for 20 years. I did a high fat low-carb diet and lost close to 80 pounds (I’m a 5’2″ 48 year old female). Losing the weight improved many markers for me, blood pressure, cholesterol, hormones, etc. However, when I tried to eat blueberries or any fruit I suddenly became FULL-ON diabetic, despite eating NO sugar or grains for three years. That’s when I realized that sugar does not cause diabetes, it was something else in the food supply, namely the ingestion of PUFA.

Ya gotta get your calories from somewhere, when I was low-carbing I ate TONS of avocados, nuts and nut butters, seeds and seed oils, bacon, chicken fat/skin, fish oil etc. All of it was “clean” and organic, but PUFA nonetheless. In adding fruit back to my diet (when I discovered Peat in November of 2013) I immediately gained nearly forty pounds and became fully diabetic by March of 2014. The way out of that scenario was not easy (or pretty), but I’m here today, six months after the end of my experiment to reverse diabetes/reduce estrogen, weighing in at 135 pounds and can eat anything I want (including tons of chocolate, OJ, fruit, potatoes etc). Also, I no longer take thyroid medication after being on it for 15 years.

I sincerely hope you are doing your low carb diet in a severely PUFA restricted manner (NO fast food), otherwise you will surely find yourself right back at square one with a very limited diet and still unable to eat and have energy like a normal person. I did my experiment last summer and quit in September 2014 so as not to stress my body through winter, I had NO idea the metabolic results would be so dramatic and permanent. My experiment was simple, but not easy. I ate absolutely NO starch, NO PUFA and very low saturated fat (under 20 grams a day). LOTS of protein and vegetables and fruits for six weeks at a time and then I took a break cuz it’s tough. On the break, still absolutely NO PUFA, only saturated fats. Then repeat for another 6 weeks. As a former morbidly obese diabetic, I urge to do whatever it takes to lose the fat, but above all else avoid PUFA like the plague as that is the TRUE CAUSE….I know, such a long winded answer to your question 😉

And when I asked for more information, she said this:

I removed starch because it was causing terrible blood sugar issues and also gut bloating (you’ll recall the raw garlic Shock & Awe). I drastically cut fat so that whenever my body needed fat, it would pull from my more than ample reserves. This left fat free dairy, very lean meat, gelatin, seafood, fruit and veg. I used non-GMO 100% pure fructose powder (in coffee etc.) cuz Peat says that form of sugar is more easily used by diabetics. I started the fructose at the end of March 2014 and I was tolerating OJ and all fruit very well for sure by July, so three months. I was very strict with zero PUFA and NO starch.

Every six weeks I took a break and ate tons (prolly too much) of saturated fat like whole milk, brie and rice crackers because it was I was sick of “dieting”. I noticed on these breaks that I was tolerating alcohol waaaay better too….still being very strict with PUFA. After a brief break I did another 6 week round, it helped me mentally to know that it wasn’t going to last forever. I did three rounds total and quit in mid September. I kept protein high, like always 100 grams at least and some days even more because I was hungry. I did the high protein to prevent muscle loss, keep my liver happy and it helps with satiety.

YES, the low fat was key because it gave my liver a break and forced the use of my stored fat. I always kept myself in a caloric deficit, some days a deeper deficit than others, but NEVER at the expense of nutrition,,,,which is where Cron-O helps enormously. I always made sure that all nutrients were covered. I supplemented a TON of B vitamins to help with sugar tolerance.  This wasn’t easy, there were times where I had headaches and was grumpy and hungry. I mitigated the stress as much as possible using all of Peat’s recommendations (bag breathing to increase CO2, thyroid meds, Progesterone, vit. E, aspirin, B vits. etc.).

End result was 38 pounds of fat loss, NO muscle loss, blood pressure is 130/80 instead of my previous 170/100. AND I can eat like a normal person. I chowed down through the holidays and actually had to go off of my thyroid medication because I was getting too much. My metabolism was so vastly improved I was SHOCKED. I had been on thyroid meds for 15 years. I don’t track on Cron-O anymore (pretty much never want to see cucumbers and Fage 0% fat yogurt again, lol).  And like I said earlier, it’s been six months since I quit last September and I weigh 135 lbs. I eat intuitively and whatever I feel like eating (which includes potatoes or popcorn or rice with lots of butter on occasion), any and all fruits and lots of OJ daily.

I was very scared when I did my experiment, but I had no other choice. I had already tried every other option and the only things my doctors were offering: Lipitor, Metformin and ace inhibitors. I’m going to start exercising now that it’s Spring, I haven’t felt this good in over TWO decades….so yeah, it appears that rapid fat loss can deplete PUFA in less than 4 years and literally fix a myriad of serious health issues. The first round I was very calorically restricted and it was a difficult adjustment, I think I took a two week break before I started Round Two. The second round was much easier in a many ways because I was tolerating sugar so much better, I found that I didn’t have to be so strict with my calories as long as I kept fat very low, like 10 or 15 gms a day and I could have more carbs while keeping protein high always. I think I only took a one week break before I started Round Three, I was eager to get to my goal, didn’t want to lose momentum as I had found my stride so to speak….and I really just wanted the whole thing over with.

I never made it to my goal, which was 125 lbs. I got to 132 and said GOOD ENOUGH!!! I didn’t want the stress of dieting especially as the days grew shorter. I gained 3 pounds back over the winter, who cares, I’m still within 10 pounds of my goal and am choosing to exercise the rest of it off now that I know that I am cured of hypothyroidism/obesity/diabetes/hypertension. I know it’s only one old gal’s experience, take it for what it’s worth, but I’m tellin ya based on my experiment, I think Peat is 100% correct.

Fercrissakes, would someone please write a journal article on Meme’s experience!?  The world needs to know this shit!

Working with Nourish Balance Thrive I have been able to regain a sense of balance in my life, get off the blood sugar roller coaster, and reduce the high insulin that was keeping me perpetually hungry.  Low-carb eating and supplementation has facilitated this, returning me to near-normal blood sugar levels within 6 weeks.  After reading Meme’s comments I’m pretty confident that once I lose weight (and reducing dietary fat seems to be key here) and eliminate the stored PUFAs housed comfortably in my fat cells that one day I’ll be able to eat a more diverse diet.

Now that my hunger is all but gone and I have consistent energy throughout the day I’m going to gradually reduce dietary fat and see if we can’t move this train along a little faster.

PUFA no es bueno, friends.

Edited to add:

Meme has these final words on the topic:

When I was doing the diet rounds I ate NO starch and very very low fat. I do think the no starch was every bit as crucial as the low fat. I’m pretty sure that starch from refined grains contributes to the diabetic issue. So while I can eat starch now in the form of potatoes and rice with no issues, I still do not eat REFINED grain products for the most part, especially no wheat. Reducing Estrogen (produced by fat cells, but also from the environment) was also a major factor for me in restoring thyroid/liver/gallbladder/pancreas health. I think some how the PUFA and excess estrogen synergize and ruin everything.

I wanted to make sure I got all the details in there.  If there’s anyone else out there with a similar Peat-tastic story to share, I’d love to hear it!

Biochemical Bliss

Fasting blood sugar this morning: 98

First time below 100 in years!

Right now I feel amazing almost every day.  Not just every day, but all day every day.  I’m sure this is because of the supplements I’m taking because this is easily and by far the best I’ve ever felt in my life, and I’ve been off and on low carb diets for 20 years.  I know I’ll probably need to stop taking them at some point, which scares me.  It’s worth whatever they cost to feel good all the time.

I’ve come to believe this week that it’s not true that “Folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be” (Abraham Lincoln).  I wanted more than anything to feel happy for so long.  I made myself even more miserable, blaming myself for not being able to have a sunnier outlook.  I labeled myself a “pessimist” at times, and a “realist” at others – never an optimist. Now I can see that when your body is working the way it should and you’ve got the right building blocks to make the right chemicals, the barriers to happiness are removed.

Happiness is a state of biochemical harmony.

Progress

Some very cool numbers to share today:

A graph:

BS15

Fasting blood sugar:

  • Yesterday: 105
  • Today: 106

My fasting blood sugar has dropped 20 points in just the last 2 days, and 50-60 points from where I started.  Here’s another:

2-hour post-prandial blood sugar:

  • Yesterday lunch: 92
  • Yesterday dinner: 86

Also a drop of 40-50 points.

So if you have diabetes and make the symptoms of diabetes go away does that mean you no longer have diabetes?

Also, my weight dropped 2 pounds to 204.6 a few days ago and today it dropped another couple of pounds to 202.8.  I’m now at my Pre-Peat weight.  Next goal – to get back to my pre-California weight.

Obamacare Math

Well the weight loss curse may be broken – I’ve dropped a couple pounds and it seems to be staying off.  Huzzah!

Blood sugar is the same – 120s in the AM and generally 100s 2 hours after meals.  My doc wanted to see me in 1 month after starting Metformin.  I quit taking Metformin after 5 days because the side effects were awful.  I’m really glad I did because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have known it’s possible to get my blood sugar under control without it.  I’m not going back for that 1 month appointment.  I’m hoping my blood pressure will drop before my next “blood pressure” appointment.  I’ve got another 4 or 5 weeks before my script needs renewal.

So what else – I haven’t had a period in 2.5 months.  I think this is the longest its ever been.  Let’s see…hot flashes….no period….just have to put that into my mental computer…ah yes.  Menopause.

So  I’m going to go off on a little tangent here.  It’s peripherally related to health.  It’s about health care.  Last year I was self-employed and my husband worked full time but did not have health insurance available as a benefit.  So we signed up for insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Obamacare).  I was in favor of the Affordable Care Act on a political level because I believe heath care should be provided to everyone regardless of their financial means. I guess that makes me a socialist, and I can live with that.  But this isn’t about politics….this is about money.

We signed up for the cheapest health plan available to us through the Marketplace.  The premium for the plan was $804 per month for my family of 3.  They asked no health-related questions – this was just the cheapest plan available.  It had a really high deductible – like $12,000 per person – so it covered almost nothing.  It did allow us to go to the doctor a couple times a year for just a $30 copay, which was nice – but we spent almost $10,000 on treatments, prescriptions, labs, doctors and dentists that weren’t covered at all.  So we paid $804 per month plus all of our actual medical costs.

At the time we signed up for the Healthcare Marketplace policy our income was lower.  So we qualified for a tax credit (subsidy) to offset some of that $804 per month.  The tax credit was in the amount of $365 per month.  So our actual bill was about $440 per month for health care. Still not cheap, but it seemed affordable.

Well I ended up getting a job in November so we made more money than expected last year.  Enough that we no longer qualified for that tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit you have to make less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)  So now I have to pay BACK the $3285 that the government subsidized.  In other words, they said hey – we’ll help you out here and you can get affordable insurance.  Here’s some money to help.  But in the end they took it back because we made too much money. Ok, it’s no fun owing the IRS money but I guess I can understand that.

But here’s the best part.  As a self-employed person (which I was most of the year) I can deduct what I spent on health insurance premiums.  If I do that, however, our Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) falls below the 400% threshold and we DO qualify for the tax credit.  But the credit then affects how much we can deduct for self-employed health insurance premiums so I adjust that and then we DON’T qualify.  It’s a bizarre circular calculation that probably not too many people will have to deal with….but I do.  It applies to people who show a profit from self-employment, whose household income is right around 400% of the FPL, and who have Obamacare health insurance.

There appears to be a way to reconcile this for the purpose of doing 2014 taxes.  I’m not bad at math but I just couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around the solution to this puzzle.  Oh well.  I’ve got a month to figure it out.

Anyway, next time back to our regularly scheduled programming.