Pity Party’s Over

Yep, done feeling sad.  Now I just need to figure out what the hell to do to move forward.

I ordered a stationary bike today.  Moderate cardio exercise – about 30 minutes a day – has previously done an amazing job of lowering my blood sugar.  Check out the graph on this post I did 2 months ago.  Exercise is the best thing I know to combat Type 2 Diabetes.  Now as for what to eat…

I tested orange juice again this morning – a half cup again, this time with 3 eggs and coconut oil.  At 1 hour my blood sugar was at 150.  Although the American Diabetes Association says to shoot for blood sugar below 180 1-2 hours after a meal, that seems high to me, and I want it lower than that.  I want it at 140 or lower at the 1-hour mark.  Jenny Ruhl from bloodsugar101 states the following:

Research conducted with human patients, mice, and pancreas beta cell cultures all point to a single threshold at which elevated blood sugars cause permanent damage to your body. What is that level? 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L) after meals.

The research she provides to support this statement is here.

So hm….now 1/2 cup of OJ is too much, at least in the morning.  Not only that but I was hungry again at that hour mark.  I ate 2 more eggs, went shopping, and 2 hours later I was DYING of hunger.  I mean DYING.  It felt like hypoglycemia, though if I would have tested myself my blood sugar probably wouldn’t have been low.  Came home and chugged a cup of OJ to make the pain stop.  Blood sugar instability is no joke.

I should also mention, in the past week my weight has begun climbing rapidly, even though I’m not drinking mass quantities of milk and OJ anymore.  I think I’ve gained 3 pounds this week, in addition to the 2 I’d gained over the past month.

So to summarize:

  • My tolerance for carbohydrates is very poor (though this is probably not new…I just didn’t know about it).
  • My hypertension has worsened since I increased my salt consumption.  My blood pressure has increased about 10 points – both systolic and diastolic.  Just checked it – it’s 155/109 right now.  I used to be in the 140s over the 90s.
  • I’m gaining weight (and no, it’s not muscle).

Ok, currently this doesn’t seem to be working for me.

Let’s take a moment to discuss the elements of the Ray Peat approach that I do like and that have been helpful:

  • Liver – My skin is very happy and I am really glad my family is all willing to eat it.  Put 4 oz of liver into Cronometer and just see how many nutrients this stuff has.  I wouldn’t have tried it without knowing about Peat.
  • Progest E – I can’t say for sure that it’s had a dramatic effect yet with regard to estrogen management, but I have noticed an improvement in mood symptoms related to my cycle soon after I take it.  I’ll definitely continue with this.
  • Dairy – I like dairy a lot and had no idea how many nutrients are in it till I started entering what I ate into Cronometer.  I have no problem digesting it, and the only reason I all but gave it up was because Paleo told me to.  Dairy and I are happy to be back in communication.
  • Avoidance of PUFAs – Dr. Peat’s thoughts on the detriments of polyunsaturated fatty acids make a ton of sense to me, and I’m happy to avoid them going forward.
  • Vitamin E – I’ll continue to supplement with this.  I never would have known how beneficial this vitamin is.
  • Raw carrot – I like carrots and am happy to continue eating them.  Peat says a carrot a day reduces endotoxin and provides a natural antibiotic effect.
  • Coffee – I was happy to learn that coffee has many nutritional benefits.  Currently I can’t drink it because without sugar added it makes me hungry.  But I hope to drink it again.
  • Avoidance of things that increase estrogen, serotonin, and prolactin.  Still learning about these.

Elements of Ray Peat’s work that I plan to learn more about and possibly incorporate:

  • Aspirin supplementation
  • Red light therapy
  • Lifting weights/light strength training

So what parts am I giving up for now?

  • Sugar.  I’ll be fairly low carb again to get my blood sugar under control…but who knows…maybe with exercise I’ll be able to tolerate it again.  But seriously…sugars and starches have not been treating me well.  They’re basically off the table for now.

There are some things Peat advises that don’t ring true to me:

  • Avoiding vegetables unless they are very well cooked.  Something about toxins…I don’t know.  This sounds goofy to me.  Veggies always made me feel really good.  I’ll be eating salads again.
  • Avoiding fatty fish.  I don’t know about this.  Probably need to research more, but I’m not really clear as to why he recommends this, except that omega 3 oils are unsaturated and thus unstable/easily oxidized.  How could it be that EVERYONE EVERYWHERE says that eating salmon is good for you and Peat says it’s not.  I haven’t read the research, so for now I’ll just say I’m doubtful.

Ok, that’s really all I have to say today.  Back to somewhat low carb, for now.  This isn’t the end of my health-seeking pursuits, of course.  Just a pause, and hopefully a return to baseline.

Downhill From Here?

There’s nothing like data to snap you out of denial.

Stupid data.

It was nice thinking I was “Pre-diabetic.”  I mean, everyone I know is pre-diabetic.  It’s practically a rite of passage into adulthood in my world.  Both of my parents take Metformin.  My husband is in the “Pre-D” range and has been for years.  My friends are either there or will be soon.

But to be diabetic….it’s disappointing.  I feel like I’ve failed.  I crossed a line into the land of the deadly chronic diseases.  People die of this shit.  My father in law is minus a foot because of type-2 diabetes.

I cried a few times yesterday.  Today I just felt sad.

I don’t know much about this.  Sure I can test my blood sugar, but I don’t know how much damage I’ve done at this point.  I read things about beta cells – they die, apparently, when you’re diabetic…and some folks say they can come back.  Maybe the damage is minimal.  It’s only been a month or so of eating higher carb.  If I took my A1C right now it would probably be bad.  I’m really fortunate to have my Ray Peat Facebook groups.  There are some critical thinkers there that caused me to question things and test my blood sugar after meals.  I’m glad they did.

I like Ray Peat.  I think he knows a lot of things.  I’m not sure if I trust him with my life though, and right now I’m questioning whether or not to include carbohydrates in my diet at all.  Today I tested 8oz of orange juice with eggs for breakfast.  At 1 hour my blood sugar was 170.  Not good enough.  4 ounces tested ok yesterday…I guess I could do that.  But why.  Why bother?  It’ll just make me hungry.  I know RP says to eat carbs with every meal so the liver can detoxify PUFAs…or something like that.  It would be nice if some other geniuses would corroborate his theories.  He’s such a lone wolf in the world of health and nutrition, and I’m out of time for experimenting.

Just feeling a little hopeless and discouraged.  I ordered cynoplus from mymexicandrugstore.com. It’s a T3/T4 supplement, and maybe I need it.  I don’t know.  I’m wondering right now if I’m ever going to feel energetic and alive again.

Maybe it’s downhill from here.

I wonder if my blood sugar is high when I drink too much wine and eat mozzarella cheese?  Let’s find out.

143.

Not too bad.  Maybe I’ll have wine and cheese for breakfast too.

I’ll come around…Just processing things.

Good night.

Diabetes

I didn’t do a glucose tolerance test.  Jenny Ruhl, who manages this informative site says the following about diagnosing diabetes:

If your blood sugar went over 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/L) at any time you tested, you just registered a diabetic blood sugar level and should consult with a doctor as soon as possible. Two random tests results of 200 mg/dl are considered diagnostic of diabetes according to the Diagnostic Criteria for Diabetes Mellitus published by the highly conservative American Diabetes Association.

Yesterday my blood sugar was almost 300…and over 180 at the 2 hour mark after eating.  It wouldn’t be hard for me to get the same result again, I don’t think.

So I guess I’m diabetic.  The time during which I ate low carb I was probably diabetic too…but it was managed/masked by never eating carbohydrates.

Awesome.

Tonight I listened to Ray Peat’s KMUD interview on the subject of Energy Production, Diabetes, and Saturated Fats.  Here are my notes from the interview:

On Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids:

  • “Essential Fatty Acids”  – vegetable oils, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).  Scientific evidence is hugely against their use as a part of a healthy diet.  Cites an anecdote in which someone went on a very low fat diet and lots of symptoms improved – improvement was likely because he eliminated PUFAs that were causing problems.
  • Linoleic acid causes heart disease and cancer and it’s been marketed as preventing heart disease.
  • In the 50’s they were feeding mink lots of fish, and they developed an icky disease.  Fish oils seem to be toxic as well.  When the omega 6 oils seemed to be incriminated as causing heart disease, the omega 3s were promoted instead.  They’re both bad.
  • The safe oils are butter, stearic acid, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, beef/lamb fat, and olive oil.  Chicken fat and pork fat are as bad as corn oil because those animals (non-ruminants) are eating corn.
  • Stuff growing in the ocean has access to trace minerals, but things grown inland (e.g., farmed fish/shellfish) will be deficient in these unless they’re being given an appropriate diet (and they’re probably not).
  • Randall found that when you raise FFAs, you inhibit ability to oxidize glucose.  Stress increases FFAs, and oxidizing glucose is what you need to overcome stress.  Counterproductive.  Our systems are designed not to eat PUFA.  The PUFA turn on the stress hormones that interfere with the energy, which results in more stress hormones.  Body is designed to work on saturated fats.  We happen to be living in a time where poisonous fats are prevalent and promoted.
  • Butter turns off adrenaline, ACTH, cortisol, while corn oil turns them on.  The excitotoxic system of the brain is turned on by PUFAs.  So PUFAs = inflammation, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, block use of sugar so blood sugar remains high
  • People with cancer have lots of PUFA in their body, according to a study.  Putting rodents on a diet of saturated fat prevents/delays breast cancer.
  • Adding PUFAs shorten lives of animals with tendency toward heart disease.
  • Niacin is effective for heart disease and diabetes – lowers the FFAs.  That isn’t being promoted by anyone because it’s so cheap.
  • Liver is high in niacin, as well as other animal foods (milk, eggs).
  • Fish in the Amazon have fat that is almost as saturated as butter.
  • Cows bacteria detoxify unsaturated fats that they eat, so (I think he was saying) industrial beef is not as bad as chicken/pork.
  • Vitamin E actually destroys PUFAs.

On Diabetes:

  • Diabetes is an energy deprived state.  Alzheimer’s is becoming known as diabetes of the brain.  Inflammation = a failure of energy.   Diabetes – all you can do with glucose is make lactic acid (and you can test for this).  Doesn’t produce enough energy for normal function.
  • Diabetics are forced into fat burning mode, and that would be ok if it was saturated fat being released.  The fat cells prefer to burn saturated fat, so these get burned first.  Our tissues become more concentrated with PUFAs over time, the older we get, because that’s what’s left after the saturated fats are burned off.  Then when we’re under stress and don’t get enough sugar we have to burn PUFAs which damage mitochondria, destroy genetic material inside mitochondria, which gives rise to cancer.  This only occurs in the presence of PUFAs.
  • People who change diet take about 4 years to eliminate most PUFAs, though a thin person can change over to saturated fats very quickly.  If you eat frequently and avoid stress causing foods and don’t let self get hungry enough to have stress hormones release FFAs, you can quickly switch over to an efficient metabolism.  Frequent eating, always with sugar and always with absolutely NO PUFA, allows slow disposition of toxic fats.  Our liver treats PUFA like it treats other toxins.  If it has the energy, it attaches them to sugar and prepares them to be excreted.
  • If you lose a lot of weight quickly you’re stressing liver (high liver enzymes).  If liver stays energized (frequent feedings, good nutrition) it can slowly eliminate these fats.  But when under stress you damage cells and you knock out the enzymes that are needed to detoxify.
  • What to eat?  Fruit and cheese (the host says this…not Peat, but he agrees with it).

The Takeaway Message:  Don’t eat Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs).  They’re poison and they give you diabetes and cancer.  To fix your metabolism, eat frequently, always have some form of sugar, make sure nutrition is good, including niacin.  Wait up to 4 years for the damage to be repaired.

I don’t know if he’s right or not.  Jenny Ruhl says that diabetes is caused by genetics and poisons in the environment (BPA, Phthalates, pesticides).  Conventional wisdom says diabetes is caused by eating too much.  Doctors say diabetes is caused by eating sugar.  I say who the fuck knows.

My plan going forward is as follows:

1.  Exercise.  Some form of exercise every day.  Guess I’ll be taking a lot of cold walks this winter.

2.  Blood sugar testing.  This morning I had 4oz of orange juice and 2 eggs cooked in coconut oil for breakfast.  An hour later my blood sugar was 133.  Ms. Ruhl says ideally you want it below 140 at the one-hour mark, so that qualified.  I’ll keep testing different things to see what I can get away with.  I don’t want to damage myself by subjecting myself to high blood sugars for hours and hours every day…so I’ll be testing conservatively.  This may look low-carbish at first, but only until I can increase glucose tolerance.

3.  No more PUFAs for me.  I don’t know how anyone eats healthfully without spending a ton of money.  It pains me to review our finances and see how much we spend now on groceries…and that’s with chicken and fish still in the mix.  Oh well.  It’s probably cheaper than losing a foot or something.

And on that cheerful note, good night.

My Body Is A Science Experiment

…and this experiment is failing.

Today I measured my blood sugar…every hour, from 8AM till 7PM, and documented what I ate, so I could learn the effect that my new higher-carb diet is having on my endothelium.  Well, I learned.  And it isn’t good.

8:00AM – Fasting blood sugar today was 138 mg/dL.

It’s been on the rise, and these days it’s high whether or not I eat starches.  I got up twice in the middle of the night last night and had a snack, trying to avoid the Dawn Phenomenon (stress hormones causing a large release of glucose into the blood).  Didn’t work…but it was better than yesterday!  Yesterday’s fasting blood sugar was 147.  These are the highest fasting blood sugar readings I’ve ever recorded…and I’ve been recording them with some regularity for the last 20 months or so.

8:45 AM – Breakfast: 5 grapes, milk with honey mixed in, 8oz of orange juice.  About 10 minutes later I realized there wasn’t much protein or fat there and I had 2 eggs scrambled in coconut oil. Here’s the breakdown of my breakfast:

  • Calories: 536
  • Protein: 22g (18% of calories)
  • Carbohydrate: 76g (54% of calories)
  • Fat: 17g (29% of calories)

9:45 AM – 1 hour after eating

  • Blood sugar: 295

WHAT?!?!

Holy Schnikeys!  I’ve never seen a number like that on my meter.  That’s like…really fucking high!  I washed my hands – cuz maybe there was a drizzle of honey stuck on my finger or something – and then tested again…still fucking high.

  • I felt fine, a little low energy.
  • Temp and pulse were good – 98.7 and 87, respectively.

10:45 AM – 2 hours after eating

  • Blood sugar: 186

Ok, now this is where I started to get worried.  It’s one thing to clobber my body with a bunch of simple sugars and have my 1-hour post-prandial reading be high (…or really fucking high…) but the 2-hour reading shouldn’t be over 140, even by pretty conservative standards.

Uh…hm.  I guess maybe I’m diabetic?

Well, there are ways to determine this for sure.  What a doctor will typically do, given my fasting blood sugar reading and my post-prandial sugar levels, is order a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT).  This involves the patient ingesting 60 grams of easily-digestible carbohydrates and then measuring blood sugar every hour for the next 3 hours.  I had this done when I was pregnant at 28 weeks (and I failed…hello gestational diabetes).  Well, I don’t need no stinking doctor…I can measure out 60 grams of carbs and see what my body does for the next 3 hours.  And I’m going to do this tomorrow.  So stay tuned.

Ok, back to my freak out.

OMG OMG OMG…diabetic?  Like for reals diabetic?  Without the “pre-” in front of it?

Anyway, on with my day.

At this point I was questioning everything.  Maybe Ray Peat is brilliant but doesn’t really know shit about impaired blood sugar management?

11:45 AM – 3 hours after breakfast

  • Blood sugar: 112 (whew…at least I’m prolly not gonna die TODAY.)
  • Temp: 98.8
  • Pulse: 86
  • Blood pressure: 141/89
  • Felt ok, no hunger, low energy

12:00 Noon – Ate lunch.  Decided to do another test.  My body didn’t like simple sugars much so how about complex carbs?  Ate a really big meal of the following:  7oz boiled potatoes, 3 T. butter, 3 T. sour cream, an egg, and some cheese.  The meal was 52% fat, 39% carbohydrate, and 9% protein.  And a lot of calories.

1:00 PM – 1 hour after eating

  • Blood sugar: 94

Wha?  What the hell is that?  I’m diabetic dammit!  Where’s my 3-figure blood sugar reading?  Are potatoes some kind of miracle food that lowers blood sugar?

  • Temp and pulse remained steady at 98.6 and 88.
  • Felt ok, no hunger, a little lethargic.

2:00 PM – 2 hours after eating

  • Blood sugar: 133.

My notes next to this reading in my notebook say, “Weird.”

I guess it’s not that weird though…the huge amount of fat I put on the potato slowed the absorption of the sugar into my system.  Didn’t hit at one hour, it hit at 2 hours.  But even that hit is pretty mild.

3:00 PM – 3 hours after eating

  • Blood sugar: 125
  • Temp/pulse: 98.6/88
  • Hunger – 0

4:00 PM – 4 hours after eating

  • Blood sugar: 113
  • Temp/pulse: 98.8/84
  • Hunger – 0

5:00 PM – 5 hours after eating

  • Blood sugar: 102
  • Temp/pulse: 98.8/85
  • Hunger – 1

So summary up to this point:  Eating simple sugars gives me the blood sugar of a diabetic.  Eating potatoes with lots of fat keeps me satiated for 5 hours and doesn’t have much impact on blood sugar.  Not what I would have expected!  And then….

5:45 PM – Ate dinner.  More potatoes (4 oz), 1 T coconut oil, 1 T sour cream, and an egg.  The meal was 61% fat, 11% protein, and 27% carbohydrate.

6:45 PM – 1 hour after eating

  • Blood sugar: 161

Huh…well, maybe I needed to really douse those potatoes in fat the way I did at lunch to suppress the rise in blood sugar?  Whatever.  So confusing.  No fun when your experiments aren’t replicated.

Didn’t get to check my blood sugar at the 2 hour mark because I was putting my little girl to bed, but I checked about a half hour later.  it was 125.

Overall summary:  Simple sugars make me diabetic.  Potatoes aren’t magical after all.  Fat is magical but only in extremely large quantities.  Interestingly, the potatoes and massive quantities of fat were so satisfying I ate about 500 calories less today than yesterday, with no hunger.

Going Forward:  It’s time to get serious about managing my blood sugar.  I’m going to do the homemade GTT tomorrow, just to get a baseline, and then after that I’m going to be limiting carbohydrates to about 15g per meal. I’ll also be exercising most days – probably a combination of light cardio (e.g., walking) and lifting weights.  I’ll continue eating Peat-friendly foods, and I’ll continue tracking my temps and pulses.  If they suffer or if I start feeling depressed most days I’ll think about adding T3.

On a side note: One thing is for sure….No matter what, I’m going to keep eating liver.  My skin looks amazing!  Love that Vitamin A.  Old acne scars have even disappeared.

Will report the results of my Glucose Tolerance Test.

Today I’m thankful to have the time, the means, and the intellect to be able to experiment like this and interpret the results.  I’m a very fortunate person indeed.

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday.  Happy Thanksgiving.

A Day In the Life of My Physiology

Today I kept track of everything I ate, when I ate it, how I felt physically, and my temps/pulses so I could identify patterns.  I’ve learned a few things.  But first, the data:

6:00 AM Wake up:

  • Temp: 97.9 deg F
  • Pulse: 76
  • Breakfast: 2 oz cheese, 8 oz orange juice, 1 Tbs coconut sugar (mixed into the juice)

7:15 AM – 1 hour later:

  • Temp: 97.9
  • Pulse: 75

So, unchanged.  In an interview I heard last week, Ray Peat said temps/pulse unchanged after eating breakfast indicates too much protein/not enough carbohydrate to get the thyroid going.  Ok, then.  I wasn’t hungry at this point but I then ate the following:

7:15 AM – More breakfast – 8 oz skim milk with 1 Tbs coconut sugar added

8:10 AM – 1 hour later:

  • Temp: 98.1
  • Pulse: 80

Well, I guess that helped a little…temp is still a little low for me.  So….

8:15 AM – More breakfast – 1 Tbs honey

9:00 AM (45 mins later):

  • Temp: 99
  • Pulse: 80

Ok, that’s more like it.  But geez.  That means my total breakfast was 566 calories, 23g protein, 80g carbs, 19g fat.  Lesson learned: in order to wake up my thyroid for the day I need 3-4 times as much carbohydrate as protein.  Now all of this would be great…those are reasonable calorie and macronutrient totals for a meal…except then….

…then I started getting hungry.

Up till this point I wasn’t particularly hungry but I was eating to raise my temperature (and in the process shut off stress hormones – primarily cortisol – from overnight.)

At 9:45 my hunger shot up to a 4 (out of 5 – my own personal Likert scale).  So I ate 4 oz orange juice and 1/2 ounce of cheese.

At 10:10 AM (a half hour later):

  • Temp: 98.6
  • Pulse: 74
  • Hunger = 2

Pulse/temp were dropping a bit.

I was getting tired of being hungry so I ate some sausage.  Meat always kills my hunger.  But then I realized, Oh Nos! If I eat too much protein and not enough carb my temp will drop further and stress hormones will turn on!

…so I ate 2 tsp of coconut sugar.

At 10:45 I felt exhausted.  And still hungry.  Ate grapes and cheese.  Took supplements and some caffeine.

11:30 AM:  Still hungry.  Ate homemade blueberry gelatin.  (protein + sugar + nutrients…perhaps the perfect food?)

12:00 Noon – Still hungry.  Tired of being hungry.  Ate eggs and didn’t even bother adding a carbohydrate.  I just wanted the hunger to end.

1:00 PM:  Hunger much better now (probably from the eggs squashing it like a bug).

  • Temp: 98.6
  • Pulse:88

Fine…whatever.  Let’s just think about something else now, ok?

1:45 PM:

  • Temp: 98.9
  • Pulse: 87
  • Hunger: 0

2:00 PM – laid down for a nap with my daughter.

2:40 PM: Woke up with a startle, heart pounding hard.  (<– classic sign of adrenaline turning on.  Not enough sugar in body.)

  • Temp: 98.0
  • Pulse: 90

Got up and ate grapes, honey, milk, and a little cheese

3:40 PM

  • Temp: 99.4
  • Pulse: 94

Wow!  My body really liked that grape/milk/honey/cheese combo.  An hour after eating it I was all toasty warm in our 66 degree home.  I felt great too.

For the rest of the afternoon I felt pretty good.  Finished the day off with liver for dinner and some chocolate.  Today’s macronutrient breakdown was as follows:

  • Calories: 2355
  • Protein: 131g (24%)
  • Carbs: 240g (39%)
  • Fat: 99g (37%)

What did I learn today?

1.  My body doesn’t know what the hell to do with sugar.  Concensus among Peatarians is that you have to give your body time – months or even years – to fix what’s broken.  Can I be patient?  Yes.  Will I change anything in the meantime to keep from making myself absolutely insane?  Yes.  Modifications in the meantime will be as follows:

  • No more white sugar or coconut sugar for a while.  There are nutrients in fruit that support the metabolism in ways plain sugar just doesn’t.  So I’ll stick to juice, whole fruit, and some honey for carbohydrates.
  • I’ll increase dairy, which is a more complete food in itself.  That way I don’t have to spend a lot of energy trying to match the perfect amount of carbohydrate with the perfect amount of protein.  I think I’ll also increase milk and decrease cheese.  Too many calories in cheese.

2.  I have almost no idea how to decrease calories (in order to lose weight) without causing stress hormones to increase and undermine my efforts.  When I’m hungry, I’m going to eat.  If I don’t eat, adrenaline will increase and I’ll stay fat.  I just need to keep fiddling with this and find a way to eat in which I’m not so hungry.  Maybe more protein in the morning and less carb?  Maybe a big-ass breakfast (BAB) that’s 50% carb, 25% protein and 25% fat?  Dunno.  Maybe be patient and let my body heal.

3.  This chick is pretty amazing.  Emma Sgourakis is a Peat-expert in Australia, and I love this article she wrote about sugars.  I’ll need to read it several times, but it made some things very understandable.  Must read more of her blog.

So anyway… all this data: Will I do this every day?

No.

But I might do it again.

Blahs

Today I’m feeling sort of achy and tired.  I really really really hope I’m not getting another cold.  I’ve used the Progest E for the last two days (haven’t used it today yet), and I’m wondering if that is making me feel tired.  When I was having infertility treatments 4 years ago I was on high doses of progesterone and they made me really sleepy and a little loopy.

It’s also a very grey day…snowy and cold.

Blood pressure is running high the last couple of days.  Just now it’s 152/105.

Fasting bood sugar…also high at 125 or so the last few days.  Last night I got up in the middle of the night and ate something to prevent stress hormones from rising…but still the high blood sugar.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing wrong.  Or maybe I’m doing everything right but this isn’t working.  Things have been significantly confounded by being sick recently – I’m still not completely over it, and as I mentioned above there’s always the risk of a new bug entering my microcosm.

I’ve incorporated bag breathing today – someone on some forum said it’s recommended for lowering blood pressure and increasing CO2 in the blood.  Blood pressure is unchanged.  Dunno about the CO2.

My temps and heart rate are good, according to the Peat crowd – high 98s for temp and high 80s for pulse.  I feel full, like maybe I’m eating too much. I still haven’t gotten the hang of eating this way yet.

Going to go play a video game now.

Progest E and Milk

My cycle is super screwed up.  If you’re male or otherwise offended by discussion of my period, I give you permission to leave.

Ok, where was I?  Yeah.  My cycle.  In the last 2 months I’ve had my period 3 times.  And before that it was 10 weeks with no period.  So a bit unpredictable.  I’m not sure what’s up with the current extremely short cycles I’ve been having lately – 3 of em! – since October 1st…but I’ll tell you what.  I don’t like it.  And it’s not like they’re these cute little 3-4 day jobs either – no, they last 7 or 8 days each.  So I pretty much have my period, have a 10 or 12 days off, and then I have another one.  Awesome!

It wasn’t always like this.  For a long time I had 25-day cycles.  Every 25 days I’d get my period.  It was a bit shorter than most people – I guess the average cycle for most women is 28 days – but it was predictable.  Then almost 3 years ago I had a miscarriage.  Since then they’ve been all over the place…sometimes long cycles, sometimes short.  It makes it very hard to predict exactly when I’m going to be really really moody.

Well today was 10 days after day 1 of my most recent period.  My mood was not good.  I felt like killing someone.  I had a headache.  These are not common things for me anymore, especially since I started eating Peat-style.  I took a guess and decided that maybe I’m ovulating today – it’s exactly halfway through a 20 day (ridiculously short) cycle, so maybe…?  I just ordered Progest E, which Dr. Peat recommends for balancing excess estrogen in the system, particularly beginning on ovulation day and throughout the rest of the cycle.  So today I took 3 drops of it.  My wanting to kill someone went away within 10 minutes.  All of my other obnoxious hormone-related symptoms went away within a couple hours.  I feel back to normal.  Placebo effect?  Maybe.  Or maybe it actually did what it’s supposed to do.  I’ll keep taking it for the next 10 days.

In other news…my fasting blood glucose was 129 today – higher than I like it, of course – but I’m not surprised.  I find it’s higher in the AM if I don’t eat in the middle of the night, due to the release of stress hormones.  Still, my body isn’t storing enough glycogen to get through the night.  It’ll come in time I’m sure.  But today I decided to test my post-prandial blood sugar to see if I’m actually showing signs of insulin resistance.  From what I understand, you want your blood sugar to be below 140 after 2 hours.  So I ate breakfast (orange juice with sugar added and cheese), and tested it 2 hours later – it was 118.  Oh good.  Well, I’m not too worried then.  I’ll keep tracking my fasting blood glucose though because it makes a nice graph.

So I took my little girl off of milk about 6 months ago.  I did this because Jack Kruse told me to and I trusted him without requiring much explanation or proof.  I no longer feel that he’s trustworthy, and I now realize there are a lot of nutrients in milk that she should have access to.  So I’ve been gradually introducing dairy again into her world – first with butter, then with cheese, and a few days ago I started mixing regular cow’s milk in with the flax milk she currently drinks.  In the last few days she’s developed skin problems – 2 different rashes on her face and a small rash on her arm.  She tolerated the cheese and the butter really well, so I think there’s some additive in the milk that isn’t working for her.  I hope that’s all it is.  I’ve been giving her liver to make sure she has enough Vitamin A – and oh my god, she loves it!  She never asks for more meat, and she asked for more liver twice!

Speaking of Jack Kruse, I prowl around his forum now and then to see what he’s up to.  He seems to be recommending the use of crystals now.  *shm*  I could say more, but it seems pointless and a little mean.  I will say this though – several of the regulars over there have been complaining of iodine supplementation causing thyroid problems.  Be careful with that stuff, people.  High TSH is not as meaningless as some people would have you believe.  (To Jack’s credit, he doesn’t recommend iodine supplementation, so I can’t point the finger at him for that one).

Updates and Things Learned

Ok, a few updates first…

1.  Had Vitamin D testing done.  Back a couple years ago Jack Kruse told me that I’d know for sure if my daughter was going to have hormonal problems (like myself and my mother) by testing her vitamin D level to see if it was low.  So I bought an at-home test from zrtlab.com.  Didn’t realize I needed 12 friggen drops of blood though, and I could never bring myself to administer the test with her itty bitty finger.  So I finally decided to use it on myself.  My vitamin D level is currently 67, after about 5-6 months of supplementing 10,000 IU about 4 days a week.

2.  Acute health problems are better now.  Finally, after several consecutive colds, I’m almost all better.  It’s been over 3 weeks.  Its been difficult to evaluate all the Ray Peat inspired interventions when I’ve been feeling like crap for other reasons.

3.  High blood pressureAs I mentioned in previous posts, my blood pressure has been particularly troublesome lately.  It’s been going higher and higher – yesterday at one point it was 160/106.  Holy Schnikeys!  It has increased since following Ray Peat’s recommendations to add salt to everything, in an effort to cause a hormonal change that would result in lower BP.  Unfortunately, this has not been my experience. I think what’s going on is unrelated to the salt, however, and is instead related to consuming so much liquid.  Today I didn’t add salt to anything, and the first half of the day I didn’t drink a ton of milk/OJ/coffee – instead I ate cheese, and a little OJ, and no coffee.  Well, my BP was down to a more respectable 136/88 without medication this afternoon.  Then before dinner I drank 16oz of milk and had a small meal…and I was REALLY full.  Now my BP is up to 159/98.   I tried to add magnesium: oral supplements, magnesium oil, epsom salt baths….Sometimes BP was a little lower afterward, but usually it went even higher.  So my conclusion….I’m DONE with all of the following, until further notice:  adding salt to beverages, drinking meals, supplementing with magnesium.  I’ll continue to salt food to taste, but that’s it.

In other news, I’m still a little in love with Dr. Ray Peat.  I listened to 2 of his interviews yesterday (this one and this one) and the man is brilliant.

Some things I’ve learned are important (for me, anyway) when following Peat’s nutritional advice:

  • My meals must be balanced.  They have to include carbs, protein, and fat for best results.
  • For me, meals should be small – a couple ounces of protein/fat and 2-3 times as much sugar/carbs.
  • Meals must be frequent – like, every 2-3 hours.
  • For me, starches are out.  I don’t feel good when I eat them – my mood changes and my metabolism lowers.
  • It’s amazing what you can learn if you take your temperature and pulse before and after meals. (More info on this below.)
  • I’ve learned that regardless of what I eat before bed I make stress hormones the second half of the night.  Peat says that it can take some time for the liver to adjust and be able to store enough glycogen to sleep 8 hours without stress hormones kicking in.
  • I’ve noticed throughout my day that when the stress hormones are about to kick in I get slightly more irritable, I feel colder, and I stop wanting to talk to people.  What’s cool is since I’ve been eating sugar I am MUCH more interested in talking to people and playing for long periods of time with my little girl.

I took notes on Peat’s latest KMUD interview, which became available a few days ago.  It was a call-in show, but a lot of the content of the actual interview focused on Hashimoto’s, and later on the significance of temperature/pulse taking.  Disclaimer: These are not direct quotes from Ray Peat; this is me paraphrasing – and by definition that means it’s my interpretation of what RP said.  Also, I only listened once, so don’t quote me.

Here are the notes I took while listening.

Regarding Hashimoto’s:

  • Hashimoto (in Japan) became interested in this because people in Japan have a very iodine-rich diet which blocks the function of the thyroid gland, which causes an increase in TSH to overcome the blockage.  Rising TSH makes the gland work harder as the organism shows signs of decreasing thyroid function.
  • If part of the body is stressed, the immune system is called in.  What we call an autoimmune disorder is just the immune system trying to clean up a mess.
  • Measuring the “severity” of the disorder by how many antibodies are present is misguided.
  • What we really want is to get TSH down.  TSH itself causes many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, increasing inflammation.
  • T4 (Thyroxine) is the standard treatment for Hashis. This will suppress the TSH, though some people need T3 to suppress the pituitary.
  • Women have more thyroid disease than men – estrogen interferes with the liver’s ability to convert T4 to T3.  If liver isn’t converting effectively and you give them T4 to treat the hashi’s you’re going to exacerbate their hypothyroid state.
  • Therefore with women it’s likely to be better to treat with “complete hormone” (T4/T3 combo, I think he means.)

Re: Pulse/Temperature

  • Hypothyroid (which I’m going to call “hypoT”) people have low tissue metabolism – circulation to extremities can be relatively poor – therefore when taking temp also note how cold your extremities feel.   If your temp is at all low and your extremities feel cold, your metabolism is probably low.  Same if you can’t eat many calories without gaining weight.
  • Healthy people should evaporate about 2 quarts of fluid in a day.  HypoT people tend to retain water.
  • Pulse and temp of fingers/toes in a cool room are more sensitive indicators than temp alone.
  • An ideal measure of metabolic rate would be measuring O2 input and CO2 output.

Interpreting temperature/pulse:

  • High starting (basal) temperature and then temp falls after breakfast = Stress hormones overnight.  RP says he’s seen this in someone who alternated between depression and mania.  When manic, not sleeping much, her temp would fall (adrenaline).  RP suggested she take T3 to keep pulse/temp steadier throughout the day.  Within a few days she stabilized.
  • High temp and normal pulse rate = Cortisol could be high in order to get enough heat to the extremities.  If this happens, adrenaline is lower to allow heat to escape.  If temp falls after you eat, pulse will get slower still.
  • Low starting temp and it falls further after breakfast = stress hormones plus hypothyroidism.
  • Low starting temp that doesn’t change after eating = probably didn’t eat the right things.  If you get enough sugar, protein, nutrients, and if the thyroid is functioning at all the liver should start producing T3 and warm the body up.
  • Low pulse that rises after breakfast = “T3 is going up from eating some carbohydrate and increasing their general energy, their blood is circulating more.”  RP has seen this most often in women when higher estrogen is blocking thyroid.  They get cold when they get hungry.  When they eat they warm up, pulse increases.
  • High pulse that rises after breakfast = Too much protein, not enough carbs to balance it.  If you already have hypoglycemia, this makes it worse and causes a surge of adrenaline.  If you feel good when the pulse goes up, good things are happening in your body.  If it doesn’t feel good that’s from eating too much protein in relation to carbohydrate.
  • High pulse which is lower after breakfast = That’s the carbohydrate lowering the adrenaline.  Temp goes up, pulse goes down.  This is good.
  • If your temperature hasn’t stabilized by 10-11AM = In a hypothyroid person (especially woman with high estrogen and low progesterone) temp/pulse might both fall later in the morning, or adrenaline may kick in with fast pulse.
  • If temp doesn’t reach 98.6 or pulse never gets over 70 in the afternoon = probably not optimal, blood tests might show some problems – might have high TSH indicating that you’re driving endocrine system very hard.  When things are running smoothly endocrine system doesn’t have to work very hard, tissues do all the work.
  • RP says he’s worked with fat people who would wake up every hour/hour and a half.  RP got them to set alarms to wake themselves up before these wake time and eat carbs.  Within a week they were sleeping through the night and they began losing weight.  They were increasing their blood sugar.  The Dawn Phenomenon (high fasting blood sugar) is the stress hormones rising at night.
  • On average people have the greatest ability to resist stress, recuperate from injury if temp/pulse is a little above average.

Random questions from callers:

  • A caller asks about the effects of radiation re: Fukushima – Keep your metabolic rate up – this accelerates the repair process faster than the injury.  Stress creates signals from the injured cells that travel through the rest of your body.  Progesterone and thyroid are protective against radiation.  Magnesium is the element that is most closely involved in repairing radiation damage after thyroid is activated.
  • Caller asks if Valerian (for sleep) is habit forming – RP says it’s a safe thing to take but it can be habit forming.

Will update with blood pressure results while implementing my new plan.

Ups and Downs

I’m having some ups and downs with my Peat plan.

Yesterday I felt good when I woke up (well, aside from the nagging common cold that has consumed me for the past 3 weeks)…and then by bedtime my weight was up 5 pounds and my blood pressure had skyrocketed to 156/110.  I have no idea what caused that.  I didn’t eat a completely Peat-friendly diet – I ate at someone else’s home for dinner and couldn’t control what was served, but still I didn’t do too badly.  I didn’t eat as much salt yesterday as I have been for the last week or two…This is frustrating.

My weight has been wildly up and down, and there’s nothing to explain it other than water retention…due to…who knows what.  I’ve never gained and lost so much in such short periods of time.  I can go to bed and wake up 4 pounds lighter.  But then I’m 4 or 5 pounds heavier again that night.  I don’t feel good…but like I said I’ve been sick, and haven’t felt “good” for a while.

In all I’ve gained a pound or two of fat eating in accordance with Peat principles.  From what I understand that’s not unusual.  There are lots of hormonal changes that take place, particularly in the beginning, and particularly if you’re coming from a low-carb diet. Some people ride it out…a lot of people struggle and drop out.  It really is a lot to manage.  The only reason I can see to do it is that there are moments that just feel great – when I feel peaceful and alert, and it occurs to me that this is how things SHOULD feel.

Some positives though, are that my heart rate and temperature are up all the time now – my metabolism seems to have picked up.  I’m usually too warm actually, and I’ve been opening windows (which is weird in Wisconsin in November).  My waking temperature is usually about 98.0 and it usually gets up over 99 at some point in the day.  Heart rate is almost always in the 80s now, but sometimes in the 90s.

The blood pressure thing is killing me though.  I’m going to try upping magnesium to 1000mg/day plus epsom salt baths and see if that makes a difference.

Blood sugar has been in the neighborhood of 120 in the mornings.  Not great, but it was worse on low-carb.

That’s all I got today.

Sodium and Hypertension

I’m particularly interested in Dr. Peat’s thoughts on high blood pressure.  Mine climbed to “high” over the last year, beginning when I was under a lot of stress in California.  I decided to review and paraphrase his article, “When energy fails: Edema, heart failure, hypertension, sarcopenia, etc.”  Here are my notes:

  • Things start to fall apart with health when the body has trouble renewing cells and tissues.  Muscles and bones shrink and get weaker, fat increases while muscle decreases, collagen replaces cells. When cells aren’t renewed and collagen is used to patch up tissues, there is inflammation.
  • We should think of metabolism as what is needed to sustain cell/tissue regeneration.  If this is diminished, generalized inflammation develops. Things that interfere with energy production: Too much iron/not enough copper, endotoxin, PUFA accumulation, not enough thyroid hormone, increased nitric oxide, serotonin, histamine.
  • Preeclampsia (Toxemia of pregnancy) = a state of generalized inflammation.  Research showed it was caused by malnutrition, and is cured by adequate protein, salt, and calcium. Doctors used to recommend reducing salt intake to cure/prevent it, but this actually caused it to happen more.
  • If pregnant woman’s blood volume doesn’t increase to match the needs of the baby (or if it decreases as in Preeclampsia), blood pressure will increase.  Increased blood pressure is compensating for smaller volume of blood.
  • Regular old “essential hypertension” (the kind I have) also = less blood volume. In both preeclampsia and essential hypertension there is increased aldosterone, which causes a retention of sodium and loss of potassium and ammonium.  Reducing salt intake causes more aldosterone to be produced, while increasing salt lowers aldosterone.  Aldosterone causes capillaries to become leaky, causing new ones to grow.  Increasing salt lowers aldosterone and reduces this leakiness. 
  • Sodium helps maintain blood volume, which tells the kidneys to stop increasing blood pressure and aldosterone.  It also prevents edema and maintains blood volume. When energy metabolism fails (in diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyper estrogenism, and starvation), the body loses sodium. Eating carbohydrate, adding thyroid hormone, insulin, or progesterone increases retention of sodium.  Fructose is the best to consume for this.
  • Low sodium = Increase in adrenaline. Studies show that if people salt their food to taste and stop with the low-salt diets adrenaline drops and they sleep better.  PMS symptoms also improve.
  • Increased estrogen = sodium loss.  After age 30 the body starts producing more aldosterone and cortisol and less sex hormones.  Progesterone helps normalize sodium in the body and protects against harmful effects of aldosterone, excess cortisol, estrogen, and adrogens.
  • Stress increases the need for energy.  When glucose isn’t available cortisol and free fatty acids (FFAs) are formed.  These interfere with body’s ability to use glucose.Mainstream medicine still thinks glucose (sugar) causes diabetes.  But research shows that glucose is used for energy production, lowers FFAs, and regenerates cells.  FFAs are the destructive ones.
  • Aspirin decreases the release of FFAs, lowers aldosterone, helps to lower blood pressure if taken in the evening, to prevent FFA  increases at night.  Aspirin also increases insulin sensitivity.
  • Low salt diet increases FFAs, leading to insulin resistance, atherosclerosis.
  • All organs are affected by loss of control over water in the body.  “High blood pressure is one of the adaptations that helps preserve or restore energy production.”
  • Lowering inflammation and FFAs and improving body’s ability to utilize glucose will lower blood pressure.  Lowering BP without improving energy production (like with drugs) causes other problems.

Takeaway message:  Eat salt.  Salt food to taste.  If you have high blood pressure, gradually add more salt and allow hormonal changes to normalize sodium levels so kidneys can stop signaling to increase blood pressure.

OK!  Working on that.  I eat a lot of salt now…at least it seems like a lot.  At least a teaspoon a day.  I should start measuring.  My bloating is gone (i.e., aldosterone production has dropped so less edema), but blood pressure remains high.  I’ll keep at it.