The Hard Way

Well, there are two different things I’ve learned the hard way lately.

Back in May and June I was having hot flashes.  I thought I’d kick their ass by smothering them with progesterone.  For two days I took about 100mg/day of Progest E. My hot flashes disappeared after that, and haven’t returned. Success!  However, my blood pressure shot up, so I stopped and decided to take a break from progesterone altogether until the second half of my next cycle, allowing my progesterone level to drop over time.  That next cycle was a long time coming –  I think it was a 7 week cycle, so I basically took a month or so off the progesterone.  I started it up again a month ago at 3 drops, each day during the second half of my cycle.  Here’s what I noticed over the past month:

  • PMS has returned
  • Ovulation pain has returned
  • The single (but stubborn) blond whisker on my chin has returned
  • Acne has returned

All this time I thought the liver (vitamin A) was making my skin beautiful…looks like it was the progesterone keeping estrogen in balance.  All the other stuff sucks too.  So I’ve again increased my dose to about 30mg/day.

Here’s the other thing I learned the hard way.  Gut bugs grow back.  I stopped eating raw garlic, except for maybe once or twice a week, and I was also trailing off on the probiotic/prebiotic combination I’ve been taking in the mornings.  I figured my gut is fixed now!  I don’t need such silly things!  Here’s what happened when I did that:

  • Heartburn returned when I eat starches
  • Gas and bloating returned when I eat resistant starch (in the form of bananas or cooked/cooled rice)
  • Depression hasn’t returned, but my mood has taken a dip away from “happy” and toward “fine”.  Mood just isn’t quite as good.

So I’ve started eating raw garlic again yesterday – 1 clove a day for now and we’ll see how it goes – and I’m taking the prebiotic daily again.  So far that’s been going great.  Today for the first time in 4 or 5 days, no bloating, no gas, no heartburn.  I even had some rice with dinner to test it, and feel fine.

So back to more Progest E and back to probiotics/prebiotics.  I don’t know when or if I’ll be able to get off of these things, but I know now is not the time.

So how about a summary of my low-fat, low calorie eating, now that 1 full week has passed.  One week down and the following things are noted:

  • Weight lost: 1/2 pound.  Yes, you read that right.  I followed a low fat (less than 22g/fat per day) and low calorie (less than 1600 calories most days, one day with 1800 calories I think), and I lost half of a measly pound.
  • Blood sugar is under 120 more often but not always – about every other day.
  • Hunger isn’t bad.  I do get bored eating this way though. I would do it if the results made it worth my while….but so far, just meh.

I’ll continue on for a little while, and see how it goes.

Many lessons learned. No breakthroughs. Just another day in the journey.

Low Fat, Peat-Style, Day 4

Small change of plans.  The starches I’ve been eating (rice, specifically) seem to be causing me heartburn.  It’s gotten worse each day – yesterday I needed to swallow baking soda in water 3 times to make it stop.  Today I had only a quarter cup of rice with breakfast this morning and I’ve had heartburn off and on all day.  I guess this suggests somethings still not quite right with my gut.  I’ve been reading Ray Medina’s GERD series, but every time I try to read what might be causing my discomfort I fall asleep.  Seriously, I’m only on the first post in the series and I’ve fallen asleep 3 times reading it.  haha.  Sorry, RM!  You’re pretty brilliant but GERD is boring.

So for now anyway, starches are off the menu.  I don’t think I need them though.  I’ll stick to the other low-fat foods I’ve been eating and be sure to include the carrot salad every day. I’ve been skipping it lately…not so crazy about raw carrots.  But they really do the trick and keep the gut healthy.  I did go and get a bunch of organic garlic too, today.  Between the two things hopefully I can manage to eat starches again sometime.

In other news….I’ve been eating around 20g of fat per day for 4 days now, and the last 2 days my fasting blood sugar has been under 120.  Usually it’s around 135.

That’s it for now.  Bye bye starches.  Again.  It’s like a bad relationship.  We just keep breaking up over and over again.  Alas…those relationships never work out long term.

Low Fat, Take 2

I’ve decided it’s time to tackle one of my remaining health problems…my weight.  I’ve got 60 pounds to lose.

So, for the last 2 days I’ve been following a Peat-inspired lowish calorie (1500-1800 cal or so) and low fat diet. I was inspired by Denise Minger’s presentation at the Ancestral Health Symposium earlier this month. Here it is:


I feel like I’m pretty stable now.  My hormones and digestion is good.  No more depression.  Not much anxiety.  Feeling good most of the time and great some of the time.  It’s time to take a risk. MORE CARBS. LESS FAT.  Much less fat.  I’m eating about 20g of fat a day now.  Which, surprisingly, isn’t that hard when you can tolerate starches.  I’ve been having rice or potatoes with an egg and juice for breakfast and I’m just not that hungry until about 1:00 or 2:00PM.  Then more rice and cottage cheese for lunch, maybe a snack in there somewhere, and a fruit smoothie for dinner.  Skim milk at every meal, coffee when I feel like it.  Eating high fat, it was very hard to stay below 2000 calories per day.  Suddenly it’s easy.

I’m interested to see if this will have an effect on my blood sugar.  Perhaps, as in Minger’s video, it will improve.

The only struggle I’m having with this so far is at night.  I’ve been getting hungry in the middle of the night – so much so that I need to get out of bed and eat something (milk with honey or vanilla yogurt).  Hopefully this will resolve.

I’m going to give this a week or two and see how I feel.  If my mood is still good and the scale is nudging downward I’ll continue it.

Rough Day

I felt terrible yesterday.  I attribute it to taking NAC the day before. Nothing else was different.

Why did I take NAC?  Well I decided to take N. Acetyl Cysteine for several reasons.  First, I had a bottle of the stuff I got a while back.  I don’t remember why…I think I was concerned about detoxing estrogen more quickly or something, so I got this as well as DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate, in the interest of helping my liver to function more effectively and eliminating excess estrogen. Well, my “enlarged spleen” is no longer enlarged most days, but I noticed it was back to being enlarged on Monday.  Monday was Day 14 of my cycle – estrogen was probably at its highest and maybe my liver was having trouble detoxifying everything.  I really have quite the fantasy life about processes I know little about.

Anyway, I decided to take NAC on Tuesday.  The next day (yesterday) my lymph nodes were swollen and I became very depressed…just like the pre-garlic days!  Awesome.  I  guess maybe I stirred things up and increased endotoxin in the blood stream or something.  Anyway, it was a complete waste of a day.  I got no work done, I did almost nothing productive, my concentration was terrible and I managed to delete the text of a file I needed for work, I had massive food cravings…just a mess all around. In the midst of my feeling like a squashed bug yesterday I entered “cysteine” into the search box on Ray Peat’s site.  Guess what!  Cysteine, like tryptophan, is anti-metabolic and anti-thyroid.  NICE TO KNOW!

I feel better today but won’t be taking NAC again.  In fact, you know what else?  I won’t be taking ANYTHING again that Ray Peat doesn’t explicitly recommend (exception: dill pickle with liver gets to stay). I’m going full-on Ray Peat Groupie.  Peatarianism.  I’m gonna be a devoted cult following, light-bathing, orange juice guzzling PEAT FREAK. When I do what he says to do I feel great.  When I start second guessing it because of labs or because someone on the internet has some great idea, I lose my footing and feel like crap again.

All you non-Peat internet people, I’m not listening to you anymore!!!

Edited to add….

Ok, I just remembered Ray Medina’s work has been immensely helpful to me as well.  Ok, he’s the only non-Peat internet person who is an exception to my new rule.  Basically if your name isn’t Ray, your authority is suspect!


I found out today that I haven’t been taking anywhere NEAR 600mg of magnesium daily.  I’ve been using this powdered bulk supplement, which I’m pretty happy with.  More magnesium = lower blood pressure.  Hooray!  However, today I found this information on the product, and it indicates that the quantity of the product consumed is NOT ANYWHERE NEAR the amount of magnesium consumed.  In fact, the product is only 18% elemental magnesium.  So I’ve been taking about 600mg of the product, which is equal to….108mg of magnesium.  That’s not a lot!

Is it possible magnesium is this powerful!?

I’m going to double the dose today and see how things go.  Maybe my blood pressure issues will be completely resolved if I’m actually taking 400mg of magnesium a day (the US RDA).

I’m also increasing potassium.  I’m going to kick my metabolic syndrome with minerals!

Recent Wins and Fails

Hm….It seems it’s been a week since I’ve written anything!

Time for an update post.  This will be disjointed and possibly rambling.  I just haven’t been struck by the literary genius lately.

  • Depression is still gone.  Yay for garlic!  If I wouldn’t have been screwing around with starches (a la the Perfect Health Diet and the Resistant Starch craze) I wouldn’t have needed it. But I did. So I did.
  • I’ve eliminated starches again…not because I have to but because I want to.  It’s time for me to get serious!  I can’t be dilly dallying around any more!  Ray Peat says starches aren’t optimal food, so I’m done with them for a while. Plus someone on the internet told me he fixed his high triglycerides by eliminating starches…and I believe everything I read on the internet.  So I’m in!
  • I’ve increased my magnesium supplementation from 200mg/day to 600mg/day in the last few days.  My blood pressure has dropped 10 points.  I’m going to keep increasing and see if it improves further.  I figure I’ll get up to 1g a day, and if things aren’t better I’ll drop back to where I am now.  Blood pressure today was 138/88.  Yesterday it was 132/76.  Crazy low for me!  I took it 3 times to make sure it was right.  By the way, I stopped taking my blood pressure medication 5 days ago.  I’m done with it.
  • Still taking niacinamide and aspirin 3 times a day.  I find it very relaxing.  My pulse dropped into the 70s from the 80s when I started that.  I attribute that to reduced stress hormones (thanks, niacinamide).
  • I’ve had some real culinary FAILS lately.  I tried making liver pate using beef liver.  So awful.  I tried making pancakes out of 1 banana and 2 eggs…cuz I saw it on the internet. It tasted like a flat hot banana.
  • A culinary WIN today.  This video:

I never liked fruit much (and perhaps this contributed to my current state of poor health).  But through sheer will and determination I’ve found a few items I can tolerate.  Watermelon is one of them.  I actually really like it.  OJ also….excellent.  Grapes can be good too.  The rest of them…ok in a smoothie, and that’s about it.

  • Another culinary WIN, learned today.  I figured out how to eat liver without gagging.  For a while there I was eating it raw.  Sounds gross, but actually much easier for me than chewing it cooked. It was the perfect way to avoid both the taste and the texture of liver. Then I learned that there are some pathogens (e. coli, for example) that can survive being frozen, so I stopped eating it raw.  The last couple of weeks I’ve just choked it down.  But today I decided to eat it with pickles.  Crunchy, strong-tasting Vlassic dill pickles.  Every bite of liver has a pickle companion.  Like this:


The pickle completely kicks the liver’s ass!  The crunch and sharp pickle taste overpowers the liver’s ick!  I’m not afraid of you anymore, Liver!

Hm….what else…I guess that’s about it.  No starches, yes fruit and honey.  Yes magnesium.  Yes pickles and liver.  I guess that about covers it.

Till next time!