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 – Week 6

You know how sometimes you hear the same thing over and over and then one day it clicks and you just get it?  And you wonder why it didn’t click the first 10 times you heard it or even considered it?  I’m having that experience right now.  Today I read this transcription of a talk given by Ron Rosedale in 2006 for the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP), entitled “The good, the bad, and the ugly of protein.”  Although much of this information is new to me (and a lot of it I’d have to spend more time with to really understand – leptin, MTOR, IGF-1, for example), the theme that too much protein can cause problems is one that has been recurring for me.  This passage jumped out at me today:

A high protein intake has endocrine effects such as it increases insulin, increases IGF, and we know these hormones increase the rate of aging. Furthermore the metabolic effect of high urea and many amino acids may exceed the kidney and hepatic system’s ability to metabolize and excrete the excess nitrogen.

In other words, when you use protein as a fuel, you take off the excess nitrogen, and then you have to do something with it. Because, it’s a poison. If you take too much, It causes acidosis in the blood and that causes redistribution of calcium and magnesium, and all sorts of things, and what the consequence are for that is manifold.

So what’s high.  Certainly above 1 gram per kilogram of lean mass is probably high.  Most people, I’ll put on .7 or .75 grams per kilogram of lean body mass.  But if I’ve got a diabetic, and I really want to reverse their aging, which means reverse their diabetes, because diabetes is a model of aging, I’ll put them down to .5 or .6 grams per kilogram of lean body mass per day.

A year ago when I was attempting to eat a ketogenic diet (but failing, cuz too much protein, but I didn’t realize it because I wasn’t bothering to test for ketones) my labs were disappointing.  High uric acid, high (bad) lipids, poor BUN/Creatinine ratio, struggling thyroid, high calculated anion gap (which can indicate acidosis).  After 4-5 months I was tired and irritable all the time and quit.  The above passage explains that maybe some of this was because of my high protein intake, which led to sustained high insulin levels and high nitrogen.  Too much protein = high insulin and difficulty eliminating excess nitrogen = metabolic acidosis and feeling shitty.

Rosedale goes on to recommend limiting protein and increasing fat consumption. Starting today I’m using his recommended 0.5 to 0.6 grams of protein per kg of lean body mass.  For me that is somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-70g of protein per day.  I’ve been eating twice that amount.  What do I have to show for it?  Overall good energy and sleep, but very slow fat loss and still relatively high hunger.  I’ll be using Cronometer to track my intake for a while to make sure I’m staying within that range.

Since my last update I’ve gained back a pound or so.  6 weeks of keto and I’ve lost about 4 pounds and a couple inches from my waist.  I’m not complaining….well actually, yes I am complaining.  It’s not easy eating a diet this restrictive and exercising 3x a week with so little to show for it.  I think the amount of protein I’ve been eating is a critical factor.  A possible confounder is that I’ve been eating butter in an otherwise dairy-free diet.  I’ll be eliminating that too for now.  I can always add it back in later to test for problems.

Keto – 1 Month Review

About a week and a half ago – 3 weeks into eating a LCHF diet – I added high intensity interval training (HIIT), as often as time permits, which isn’t much – I think I’ve had 4 sessions since I started.  I do 30 seconds of running uphill (5.5 mph, 6% incline), and then 4 minutes of slow walking (2 mph, 0 incline).  Repeat 4 more times.  So really I’m doing only about 5 minutes of hard work per week.  Since I started this I’ve lost 5 pounds and my fasting blood sugar has dropped from around 114, where it’s been stuck for 3 weeks, to about 102.  Post-prandial blood sugar (at 2 hours) is usually in the 80s.

I’m sleeping better, I have more energy, my mood is better than when I was eating carbs every day.

My usual diet:

  • Breakfast: eggs (1 whole egg plus 2 egg yolks cooked in coconut oil) and 1/2 of an avocado.  Sometimes a couple ounces of meat if I’m particularly hungry, but I notice ketones drop quickly if I eat too much protein.
  • Snack (because I can’t make it the 6 hours till lunch without one): bulletproof coffee (16 oz coffee with 2 Tbs unsalted grassfed butter and 2 Tbs MCT oil.  Yes, I’m using the actual, authentic mycotoxin-free upgraded coffee from Mr. Bulletproof himself).
  • Lunch: 1/2 avocado, 1-2 Tbs. homemade mayo, about 4 oz of chicken/fish/steak, a bunch of kalamata olives.
  • Snack – whatever coffee is still in my thermos, maybe some macadamia nuts
  • Dinner – a small-medium portion of whatever my family eats – last night it was cod cooked in butter.  I have been avoiding the veggies to see if it makes a difference one way or the other.

I’m hungriest in the morning, and have been eating till I’m not hungry anymore.  I might experiment with getting rid of that last egg white, and see if that reduces hunger by reducing impact on insulin levels.

Current supplements:

Medications:

  • Hydrochlorothiazide – 25mg/day (for hypertension)
  • Methyldopa – 250mg 3x/day (for hypertension)

I quit taking the Metformin.  It made my breasts stupid big and really sore and after 3 weeks it just wasn’t going away.  I figured I could manage without it eating Keto anyway.  So it’s gone.  Now, a couple weeks later, my bras still don’t quite fit.  Hot flashes are starting to come back as hormone levels return to baseline.

Marriage update:  Things are on cruise control.  It’s a real pain in the ass to split up.  For now, we’re just getting through the day to day, no movements in that direction.  He doesn’t want to split up and I’m not sure my life would be better if we did.  We get along well so it’s not painful.  Not the marriage I thought I had, but many things in my life are wonderful, so this is fine for now.

A request was made for my extremely easy homemade mayo recipe.  I have to admit it’s not MINE, exactly, because I got it from here.  I did tweak it a little so I’ll share the recipe as I make it:

Coconut Oil Mayonnaise

Equipment:

  • 1 glass jar with a mouth wide enough to accommodate a stick blender. I’ve used Vlasic dill pickle jars and 16-oz wide mouth Mason jars.  Both are great.
  • A stick blender (I use this one).

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of fractionated coconut oil (the kind that is liquid).  I use Carrington Farms, which is available at Walmart.
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice (more if you like it a little more sour)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  • Put everything in the jar.
  • Get the stick blender and put it in the jar, resting it on the bottom of the jar.
  • Hold on to the jar.  (<– Once I didn’t do this and the jar spun right off the counter onto the floor.  A serious waste of good ingredients).
  • Turn on the blender for 20-30 seconds, moving it up and down a little to incorporate all of the liquid into the emulsified mayo.
  • Done!  Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Some info about fractionated coconut oil is here.  Apparently it is liquid at room temperature because the long-chain fatty acids are removed, along with some of the health benefits of coconut oil.  I made the mistake of trying this recipe with regular (melted) coconut oil once and found myself with an unacceptably solid final product.  The fractionated oil works well for this recipe, and still has the health benefits associated with MCT oil, without the PUFAs found in other liquid oils.

I’ve tried this recipe with other oils.  Olive oil (“extra light”) tasted good but even good olive oil is 12% PUFA.  The same is true for avocado oil, though I never tried that one.  I tried it once with regular olive oil (not the “extra light”), and it tasted way too strong.  I tried making it in a bowl once, rather than in a glass jar…it didn’t emulsify.  It needs to be in the narrower container to come together.  I already mentioned my foibles with using regular coconut oil and letting the jar spin out of control….Ok, I guess that’s it. The recipe and instructions above has never let me down.

Oh and speaking of PUFA…check this out.  Michael Eades, a long-time leader in the low-carb community seems to be turning his attention away from blaming sugar and towards the evils of PUFA.  Very interesting.  And score one for Ray Peat.

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.

Keto – 2 weeks in

I started eating a LCHF diet 2 weeks ago.  I’m down only a couple pounds, which doesn’t surprise me really.  I’ve learned that for me it takes a little while for my insulin to drop enough to utilize body fat for fuel…at least, that’s what I suspect is going on.  Last time I kicked the carbs out of my life it took about 2 weeks to see anything measurable on the scale.  The scale is so passe anyway…all the cool kids are doing circumference measurements anyway.

Other than weight, I feel so much better now that I’m not eating stuff that feeds my endotoxin-prone gut.  Mood is better, energy is better, everything is better.  It’s easy to accidentally trigger that though – a raw salad or other gut-irritating foods and I’m right back there again, irritable and tired.   (Tried that yesterday so it’s fresh in my mind).   Generally things are going well.

I mentioned the metformin I started taking a few weeks ago is causing hormonal changes, as evidenced by the disappearance of my hot flashes a few days after starting it.  I guess that’s why it’s prescribed to treat PCOS.  I can’t tell what hormone changes exactly, but it’s making my breasts sore and bigger.  They didn’t need any help in that area, and I wish they would stop it.  I’m considering stopping the Metformin if this doesn’t go away.  I googled it and I’m not the only one with this symptom.  Apparently it’s not an increase in estrogen, or I would expect there to be a correlation with breast cancer in the literature…and there doesn’t seem to be.  The opposite, actually…Metformin may have an ant-cancer effect.  So maybe it increases progesterone or behaves like progesterone in the body?

Dunno.  Research for another day.