Don’t put ghee in your BPC

For whatever reason, ghee is not a good substitute for butter when making Bulletproof Coffee.  It doesn’t blend well, and is like drinking an oil slick.  I regretfully had to dump the whole thing.

Macros for yesterday:

today

I stayed as low as I could on protein, and still 91 grams.  Fucking hunger.

I’m annoyed.

Keto – Day 25

About 3.5 weeks into a ketogenic diet and I’ve lost 0 pounds or inches.  I know what’s going on though, thanks to my handy Kentonix meter, which I got about a week ago.  Indeed my problem with low carb in the past (and the present) has been eating too much meat (protein), not enough fat.  It’s been extremely hard for me to eat 70%+ of calories from fat because it leaves me hungry.  Why is that?  Because my insulin is perpetually too high.  Becoming fat adapted – burning fat for fuel instead of glucose – is not something that happens overnight. About a week ago I dropped dairy again, since that seemed to work some magic last time around.  Since then my hunger has dropped off a little but I’m still nowhere near being able to fast more than 12 hours or so.

A few days ago I got a fasting insulin level to see exactly what it looks like after 3 weeks of no starch or sugar.  It was 20.7 (range 2.6-24.9).  That’s after 3 weeks of very low carb living.  So I added exercise this week – HIIT, specifically – based on the this study and others that indicate quick bursts of intense exercise can help lower insulin.  I think by eating 200-300 grams of carbohydrate a day for 4 months from September through December of last year I managed to raise my base insulin level so high that now it’s going to take time and intention to bring it down.  I wish I would have tested before starting low carb, but I didn’t.

In any case, I’m sticking with this because I feel so much better throughout the day now and my sleep is so much better.  When I eat too much meat the Ketonix lets me know I’m no longer producing ketones…so my diet is a lot of avocados, homemade mayo, spinach and kale for calcium and other nutrients, eggs, coconut oil, and some meat.  My hunger is dropping gradually.  This will be a slow and steady process.

Bicycling: Effects on Fasting Blood Glucose

Ok, I’ve been bicycling for 7 days now, attempting to lower my fasting blood glucose (FBG).  Before I get into whether or not this is having the desired effect, let’s look at my history of using this particular exercise to reduce FBG.

In the Spring of 2011, a good 9 months before entering the online world of nutrition gurus, I bicycled every day for a couple weeks.  At this time my blood sugar was in the pre-diabetic range.  I was eating a standard American diet (SAD), probably not much sugar, some starches, some processed food, diet coke every day, still eating gluten.  Here were the effects at that time of bicycling and tracking calories:2011 Blood Sugar

Now, I don’t recall exactly what “tracking calories” meant – I didn’t have a blog back then so I can’t revisit those dates and see what I was doing.  Knowing me though, I was trying to stick to around a 1500 calorie diet.  As you can see from the graph above, bicycling + tracking calories was a good thing – my FBG was in the 90s within a few days and in the 80s within about a week and a half.  I was biking for about 30 minutes at a time on flat terrain, moderate intensity – just enough to sweat and breathe a little harder but not enough to be exhausted. I stopped because I got sick (I don’t remember what with) and the temperatures outside soared to over 110 degrees.  Got out of the habit and didn’t restart.  Maybe because my diet was consistently making me depressed.

Fast forward to September 2013 – my next experiment with biking.  Here’s a graph of my FBG then:

2013 blood sugar

This was a month before I began my Peat-inspired lifestyle.  Fasting blood sugar at the time was mostly in the pre-diabetic range (under 126) with occasional higher spikes.  I began a “lower-cal diet” and bicycling, and continued with that for almost 2 weeks. “Lower-cal” at that time meant shooting for 1500 net calories (after exercise).  I remember being kinda hungry – but I didn’t really spend a lot of time researching low-calorie high-nutrient high-satiety foods at that time.  About 50% of my calories were in the form of fat, 25% protein, 25% carbohydrate.  Other than that, nutrients weren’t really on the radar yet.

During that time my blood sugar stabilized around 100 (a good 15 points lower), with dips into the 90s as early as 6 days into the program.  If I had continued the trend may have continued.  I stopped because my focus at that time was weight loss, and I wasn’t losing.  My temperature and pulse were dropping, and new-found information from Ray Peat world made me think my metabolism might be suffering.  So I stopped.

Ok, so now let’s look at today.  I’ve been bicycling with NO dietary change, for 7 days now.  As in the previous exercise programs I’ve been biking for 30 minutes or so, medium intensity, flat terrain.  Let’s look at the data:

FBG May 2014

Blood sugar is….remarkably stable.  And unchanged in the last week. NO CHANGE.  It may have been unrealistic for me to aim for the 90s within two weeks, considering my baseline level is higher now, but I would hope to see at least SOME movement in the right direction.

So what’s missing?

Well, the previous two times I biked regularly I was also counting calories, shooting for around 1500 calories per day.  Over the past week I haven’t been monitoring what I eat at all.  My weight is down a pound or so and I haven’t been overeating, but I haven’t been counting anything.  I tend to eat around 2200 calories a day when not attempting to reduce, so it’s safe to say I’ve been consuming at least that much.

So it appears that for me, blood sugar management is going to involve not just regular exercise but also a reduced-calorie diet.  I don’t know if it has anything at all to do with eating low-fat….just low-energy (calorie).  I’ll have to research ways to stay full.  Hunger has always been the obstacle to me sticking to a reduced calorie diet.

I’ve started counting calories today.  Will continue on with bicycling.

Score one for conventional wisdom.

New Plan 3.0

I’ve been eating starches for almost 2 week now, and they make me feel like taking a nap. Every time.  Some of the common reasons folks get tired in the middle of the day are sleep deprivation, lowering of stress hormones, and food intolerance.  Hm…There’s no way I’m this sleep deprived.  There’s no way my stress hormones are super-high and the starches are lowering them, thus revealing my “true fatigue” (cuz if that were the case, sugar would have made me sleepy too). There’s no way I’m intolerant of every kind of starch…is there?  Is it possible white potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, and gluten free bread/pasta are all making me tired because my body is completely intolerant to all of those foods?  No.

I don’t know why this is happening, but it sucks.  I can handle about 1/4 cup of potatoes with a meal before I get too tired to function.  And even then I don’t have much energy.

So my conclusion – for now – is that I won’t find the solution to these problems in my diet…because EVERYTHING (with the exception of maybe milk and dill pickles) seems to be killing me or killing my enjoyment of life.  Or both.

So here’s my new plan:

I’m going to focus instead on exercise.  The last time I got in the habit of bicycling every day my blood sugar improved dramatically, dropping to within normal ranges within a week. I stopped because it got cold outside and because I was afraid my slowing pulse meant my thyroid wasn’t happy.  Things are more dire now….because now I have diabetes, for realz. Uncontrolled diabetes.  A couple days ago my fasting blood sugar was 155 – not an all time personal record or anything, but too flippin high.  When I first started eating starches my fasting blood sugar dropped to between 110 and 120 for a few days (don’t know why) – now it’s above 130 every day.

Yesterday I started biking.  I biked today too, and will tomorrow.  And the next day.

So what to eat?  For now, mostly Peat-friendly foods, without much of a plan. Someone on Facebook linked to this interesting study about saturated fats causing greater insulin resistance than monounsaturated fats.  They found that among people who ate less fat than the median (I think it’s less than 37% of calories, but I’m not sure and don’t have the full-text of the study), monounsaturated fats (e.g., olive oil) promoted insulin sensitivity, while saturated fats caused greater insulin resistance.  Can’t say I’ve ever heard that before.  I do eat about 40% of my calories in the form of saturated fats right now, so it may be a good idea to try substituting some olive oil, and reduce fat overall.  So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to be crazy about it, but I’ll stop adding fat when its not necessary, and swap out some of the saturated fat for a while.  Olive oil has more PUFA than either butter or coconut oil, but that’s just going to have to be ok.  For now.

I predict my fasting blood sugar will be in the 90s within 2 weeks.

My resistant starch + probiotics experiment continues.  I’m so scared to up my potato starch intake because of the extreme GI distress it caused me before.  But I must.  Maybe tomorrow.

If my blood sugar isn’t under control within 1 month, I’m going to see a doctor and get medication.  I feel like my time to noodle around has run out.

I’m so tired from eating starches – even just 1/2 cup of potatoes or rice – 15g of carbohydrate – that I find myself avoiding them.  Low carb is no good for my thyroid.  High sugar no good for my triglycerides.  Out of time, out of ideas.  If exercise and olive oil don’t fix this very soon I’ll have to give in.

RS + Probiotics – Day 3

I thought I’d give a quick update.

I started with a small little teaspoon of potato starch 2 days ago, combined with probiotics, once a day.  So far so good – no change in anything perceptible, which is a good thing considering the negative effects I’ve had in the past.  I think I’ll give it a few more days of this and then maybe try to increase, either to one teaspoon of RS 2x a day or one larger dose.  That’s when all hell broke loose last time though so I hesitate.  Maybe I won’t do that.  I’ve now talked myself out of it.  This is how I am.

I stopped eating *so much* sugar.  I still eat some – like, yesterday I ate half a bag of M&Ms and one of my daughter’s Rice Krispie bars (poor planning, eating found-in-the-car-food), and a couple of Hershey’s kisses throughout the day, plus a glass of OJ.  Other than that I’ve been eating like a “normal” person – little planning, eating what feels right.  Still not eating things like wheat, corn, legumes, PUFAs, or other things that just seem bad for me for one reason or another, but not obsessing over it.  It’s kind of a relief from the dietary micromanagement.

My fasting blood sugar the last 2 days as been 113 and 116.  Rarely in recent history is it that low.  I attribute it to not eating so much sugar.

Since I wrote my last post about my new RS + Probiotics experiment I’ve gotten a few emails/messages from some concerned readers.  What about the risk of SIBO?  Or the risk of increased lactic acid caused by certain strains of bacteria?  These are good questions.  I don’t know the answers.  I can say that after weighing my options, this seemed like the best one.  If I screw up my health further I’ll look back on this and know I was doing the best I could.

Interestingly, I’ve been eating some potatoes and rice and my mood has been fine the last few days.  I doubt the probiotics have had an effect yet, but I’m wondering if maybe certain starches like these are fine for me and more processed starches (g/f bread, g/f pasta) are the problem.  Not sure why that would be – I seem to be doing ok the last 4-5 days as long as I avoid those.  Not exactly smiling for no reason or anything….there’s some anxiety, but no depression.  I can live with it.

I’ve been reading about Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet.  First impressions from his website are that he’s a really decent person, willing to share his knowledge and really trying to help people. I know earnestness doesn’t fix diabetes, but it’s nice to spend time at his site….gives me the warm and fuzzies.  I’ll be reading more.  He seems to have one foot in the resistant starch camp, but is firmly in the pro-digestible starch camp along with intermittent fasting.  Some of his ideas seem to be summed up here, specifically with regard to weight loss:

I prefer to train people in proportions and amounts. Proportions — try in your mind dividing your plate until four equal quadrants containing (1) meat/fish/egg, (2) sugary starch like potato, (3) sugary in-ground vegetables (beet, carrot), fruits, berries, and (4) low-calorie vegetables (mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, onions, celery, asparagus, kimchi, etc). Then flavor things with a sauce combining fat (eg butter, sour cream, coconut milk), acid (vinegar, pickle juice, etc). Use less fat if you’re trying to lose weight. Eat enough to avoid any significant hunger while fasting 16 hours per day.

He seems to generally favor a diet that is 30% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 55% fat.  More research is in order, on my part.

I’m getting my bike prepared for daily exercise (weather permitting). (<–Listening to you, Karin).  Hope to start as soon as it stops raining.  I do love my bike.

High Carb Low Fat – Day 8

Fasting blood sugar this morning: 117.  Nice to be below 120 again.  I’m not sure why but I have assigned 120 some sort of significance in my mind…I guess I was “prediabetic” for years and my blood sugars fluctuated between 100 and 120 – so when my fasting blood sugar is under 120 now it feels like I undid some damage.  I’m sure this is magical thinking.

Weight has been stable for the last 5 days at exactly 207.5.  I don’t know why, but since I started following the recommendations of Ray Peat my weight is exactly the same every day unless I eat starches…no ups and downs because of fluid retention.  Maybe it’s because I eat gobs of salt now and my body feels no need to retain water anymore.

Thermoregulation is still off.  Not as many hot flashes today, but still having them.  I wonder if it’s completely unrelated to niacinamide.  Maybe I’m in menopause!  All of a sudden!

Here are my macros today:

crono

Too much protein, but I just felt like eating meat today.  So I did…but it messed up my carb:protein ratio.  Fat % was good today at 21%, calcium-phosphorus ratio was shy of 1:1 by about 200mg calcium.  Overall, pretty good day.

So now, to avoid unwanted additives, I’m using bulk aspirin powder and niacinamide powder 3x a day.  I’m not sure how other people do this without feeling burdened by it…I mean, do they bring their little milligram scale to work with them and measure out their teeny tiny quantities of bulk supplements on their lunch break?  Definitely not as convenient as tablets.  Well, I came up with my own method so I only have to measure and dose once, first thing in the morning, and I can pair it with other nutritious food.  First, I get coffee brewing.  While I’m doing that I get out my little milligram scale and 3 pint-sized jars.  My coffee maker makes 24 ounces of coffee (it’s little). (Note: I make weak coffee so in my nutritional breakdown, above, I only record 12 ounces, even though I drink 24 ounces of coffee). 

Ok, so I get a bowl out.  I pour all 24 oz of coffee into the bowl, and add 3 tablespoons of honey and a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the coffee, and stir until dissolved.  Then I fill each of the jars half way with the coffee mixture. Then I measure out my aspirin and niacinamide and add them to each of the 3 jars, as well as a drop of Vitamin K2.  So now each jar contains 8oz of coffee, 1T honey, 1/6 t. salt, 100mg aspirin powder, 100mg niacinamide powder and 1mg K2.  Then I fill each jar up with skim milk.  Finally I put lids on each jar and shake them up.  Done!  Then I drink one in the morning, one at noon, and one around dinner time.  I do shake them again before drinking because the supplements don’t dissolve fully. They taste like sweet-salty coffee flavored milk.  It’s really good if you like sweet/salty combination foods.

So that’s my solution to the pain-in-the-ass bulk supplement situation!  I’m going to be bummed if it turns out I shouldn’t be pairing aspirin or niacinamide with coffee or milk for some reason.  I’d get over it though, so definitely tell me if that’s the case.

High Carb Low Fat – Day 7

Fasting blood sugar this morning: 125.  Heading in the right direction.

Hot flashes – almost gone.  Had 1 early this morning, and one about 5 minutes ago.  I completely skipped the niacinamide today in order for my body to stop doing whatever weird thing it was doing. I was feeling achy yesterday and today, as well as fatigued and a little irritable earlier today – around 7:00PM all of that stuff went away.  I’m wondering if the problem may not have been the niacinamide itself but some extra ingredient in the tablet. I did go ahead and buy pure niacinamide powder and received that in the mail yesterday…but over the past week I’ve been taking these tablets because I already had them. The ingredient list on the bottle states that it also contains “cellulose, stearic acid, silica, and magnesium stearate.”  I’m suspicious because niacinamide has a very short half-life, like it can be measured in minutes (about 45).  250mg was not a particularly big dose, even 3x a day.  I just don’t think the niacinamide itself would have continued to be problematic all the way into today.  Oh well…I’ll be increasing slowly to see if the hot flashes and other symptoms return. Starting tomorrow I’ll be using pure niacinamide powder – no weird ingredients.

Macros and nutrition today:

crononutrients

I really felt like I needed more fat today, so I did have a little more than I’m shooting for these days.  Fat was 27% of calories.  Calcium to phosphorus ratio wasn’t awesome today – I was about 600mg of calcium short of a 1:1 ratio.  Carb to protein ratio was not quite 2:1 – I was short about 30g of carbohydrate.  I could probably just go drink some juice…but that’s getting silly.

Liver for dinner tonight.  I have to say, soaking liver in milk makes it so much better.  I got out of the habit of doing that for a while and liver was starting to really bother me – the smell, the taste, plus sometimes I’d feel nauseated after eating it.  Then a few weeks ago I started soaking it in milk for a few hours while it thawed in the refrigerator, and then rinsing the liver before cooking it.  No more icky smell and the taste is milder.  Today I actually ate it raw.  Just easier that way sometimes.  Washed it down with a cold glass of milk.

Till tomorrow.

Update: I woke up at 12:30AM hungry, so I added 1/2 cup of orange juice and 1oz cheese to the above totals. It might make sense for me to post these the following day, to ensure all food consumed is accounted for.  But really….by the next day I don’t want to think about what I ate yesterday.