Not Looking Good

I don’t think I’ll be able to continue eating this way.

It’s so restrictive and I’m struggling to get enough actual nutrition.  A lot of vegans rely on nightshades (potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes) and other high-histamine foods (e.g., bananas, and avocados) and they’re not too afraid of nut and seed oils.  They are also not restricting fats, as I am in order to reverse hyperglycemia (i.e. diabetes).  So I’m left with a lot of legumes that are giving me nonstop gas, dry salad leaves, and vitamin deficiencies.  I’ve started having fantasies about eating eggs, ferchrissakes.  And then there’s the wheat problem.  I think most vegans can eat carefully selected breads and tortillas – but I’m not doing well with wheat either.  When I eat it my mood takes a turn and I feel tired all day.  I stop losing weight and my hot flashes get worse.

I’d really like to get at the root of my own inflammation, but I don’t know if this is worth it.  It’s been nearly a month since I’ve eaten meat, dairy, or eggs and it’s been several days since I felt really good.  I feel like I’m relying on vitamin supplements, and my blood sugar is still too high after eating.

Maybe I’ll stay off dairy and add organ meats, seafood, and eggs back in.  I just don’t wanna anymore.

Starch Solution – Day 23

Blood sugar this morning was 102.   Weight 204.  Yesterday’s post-meal blood sugar was 225 – I had eaten a bunch of rice and corn with no fiber, fat, and not much protein, so that’s pretty much as bad as it gets, but still that’s too high.  I’m going to have to be more careful about food combinations to be sure there’s something in there blunting glucose.

I have an amazing and easy split pea soup recipe to share.  Get a 16oz bag of split peas.  Rinse them.  Throw them in the slow cooker on high for 10 hours with 8 cups of water, a Tbs of salt, some diced onions and garlic.  The end.  I use this split pea soup all the time – I’ll have it over rice or spinach, or with mushrooms – it makes everything taste better.

I’m going to get labs done at the 1 month mark to see if things are going in the right direction, so probably next Thursday.   I have really gained an appreciation for how easy it is to get your nutrition from meat and eggs.  This vegan stuff requires a whole new plan.  I’m such a whiner.

Nutrition Update

Here I am on Starch Solution, day 21, and I have some updates.

  • My blood sugar was 83 this morning.  The highest it got before this was 197, so that’s over a 110 mg/dL drop.
  • Blood pressure still a bit high, despite 2 medications.  I recall seeing on some documentary that the blood pressure gets high due to endothelial damage that interferes with nitrous oxide production, resulting in more rigid, inflexible veins.  Given that there’s tissue damage involved I would assume it’ll take longer to reverse this.  I hope it can be reversed because I’m tired of these meds.
  • It occurred to me that I’m putting myself at risk of gallstones by eating so little fat, so I bought some raw pumpkin seeds – a good source of nutrients, they say!  Ate a tablespoon of them yesterday morning and felt sick all day.  Mmmm…oxidized rancid polyunsaturated oils.  Excellent.  Threw the bag away and will not be trying that again.  Need to find a way to slightly increase fat intake – up to, say, 20g/day – without exposing myself to all the PUFA.  I guess coconut oil on vegetables or something.
  • Trying to get more potassium in the diet I bought a can of hearts of palm.  Tasted ok but my tongue swelled.  Done with those too.
  • Did I mention my fasting blood sugar was down to 83?  Weight is also down about 5 pounds.



Here are screenshots from Cronometer detailing what I ate yesterday.  I made no effort to be perfect – this is very similar to what I’ve been eating recently.  Well actually the Toasted Cinnamon Squares were not an every-day thing…but they were really good so they might become an everyday thing.




So maybe I have a little work to do.  This probably explains my increase in canker sores.

If I add in my multivitamin and vitamin D capsule it looks like this:



Even with supplementation I’m lacking choline (used to get it from eggs), calcium (used to get it from dairy), chromium (don’t know where I used to get that), and potassium (have been low for a long time).

I know it’s ideal to not need supplementation, but I’m going to start with these nutrients as they seem to be the harder ones for me to get.  Fortunately Cronometer’s Oracle tells me where to find good sources of these nutrients:



Uh oh…it’s all animal stuff.  Gonna have to do more research.



Hm…lots of dairy…fortified cereal and other stuff… Maybe just more spinach.


Hm….that doesn’t seem to be an option for the Oracle.  I’m going to have to do further research on this one too.



Ok, well this gives me some ideas.  So many high-potassium foods are high in histamine (avocados, bananas) or are nightshades (tomatoes) so I’ve been having a hard time with this one.  Looks like I could be trying hearts of palm and bamboo shoots, among other things.

The Starch Solution – Day 17

A quick summary of recent events before I get to my current update.  I’ve been so pressed for time my writing has been very sporadic over the past few months.  I feel the need to fill in some of the blanks.

A year ago I managed to drop my blood sugar significantly by eating a low-fat diet.  At the time I wasn’t testing my post-prandial blood sugar though – only my fasting blood sugar.  As I look back on that now I wish I had done both because it left a window of doubt open for me as to whether a high-carb low fat diet could actually reverse the signs of Type-2 Diabetes.  Sure, my fasting blood sugars dropped into the 80s within about 6 weeks, and yes my HgA1C dropped from 6.4 to about 5.9, but there was still a SHADOW of a doubt.  How could virtually all of modern society be saying that sugar causes diabetes and I was finding that not to be true?  There was some serious cognitive dissonance going on.

My success last year was cut short by stress.  We moved to a new home –  a home that needed a lot of work – last June.  In the big picture of stressful life events this isn’t particularly high – it was a good move, after all – hopefully an improvement in life circumstances.  The details surrounding it made it stressful though, and it became all but impossible to stick with the incredibly restrictive diet I was eating at the time.  I was following Weight Watcher’s “points” system, which always left me feeling just a little hungry.  I think the life stress in addition to the stress of feeling borderline hungry was just too much.

I started eating like a “normal” person – eating grains, fat, whatever ended up in front of me at mealtime.  I didn’t go off the rails or anything – I wasn’t eating at fast food restaurants or binge eating – I just wasn’t restricting anymore.  My blood sugar and my weight crept up again until in January 2018 I was again at my high weight of 212 and my fasting blood sugars were nearing 200 mg/dL.  One day – for kicks – I tested my blood sugar in the middle of the day.  It was around 350 mg/dL.

Whoa – what the hell happened there?

I started exercising THAT DAY.  I exercised 5x a day for 2 weeks, 30 minutes each time on the treadmill with my heart rate at 70% of maximum.  My blood sugar remained unchanged, my weight wasn’t moving, and I wasn’t feeling any better.  Plus I was pressed for time, and that 45 minutes a day amounted to pretty much all of my discretionary free time each day.  I didn’t blog much during this period because I was just too busy.

I quit working out.  Sure I probably should have stuck with it but I needed that time for other things, and I wasn’t seeing ANY results.  I should have seen SOMETHING shift in 2 weeks.  At the time I was eating a diet low in both carbohydrates and fat.  It was incredibly hard to stick to and I was failing at that too.

I decided to go to a doctor.  To give up.  Go on statins, Metformin, whatever.  Sure I’d probably get Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s from the side effects, but at least the meds might help me live longer and avoid complications of diabetes for a little while.  The doc ran labs (here and here) and once I saw that BUN of 29 – a direct result (in my opinion) of my high-meat diet – I decided to make a change.  I had been sort of looking for a “sign” to tell me which direction I should commit to – low fat or low carb – and that was my sign. I was done straddling both sides of the fence.  I was afraid my blood sugar was going to skyrocket – I was still traumatized by seeing 350 on my meter – but what I was doing wasn’t working and have had repeated failures with low carb over the years.  That’s when I found Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution.

(BTW – The doctor did write me a prescription for a statin and for a pill to manage blood sugar.  I picked them up but haven’t taken them.)

Here’s my fasting blood sugar since I started the Starch Solution:

Fasting blood sugar

Well good news.  Carbohydrates don’t cause diabetes.

I’m still not sure what causes diabetes – I suspect it has to do with toxicity and/or damage caused by polyunsaturated fats – but I do know that carbohydrates themselves don’t make diabetes worse. Now – carbohydrates in the presence of fat – well, that’s a different story.  If I add fat to my diet I don’t get these results.  Ray Peat talks about the Randle Cycle, and I’ve referenced it in this blog before.  Here it is again:

The antagonism between fat and sugar that Randle described can involve the suppression of sugar oxidation when the concentration of fats in the bloodstream is increased by eating fatty food, or by releasing fats from the tissues by lipolysis, but it can also involve the suppression of fat oxidation by inhibiting the release of fatty acids from the tissues, when a sufficient amount of sugar is eaten.

Short version: Sugar and fat compete.  Choose one and go with it.

I think it’s important to add that I’m not feeding my child a low-fat diet or a particularly low sugar diet.  I mention that because I don’t necessarily think someone with a healthy metabolism has to choose – “all things in moderation” is the rule I follow with her.  BUT if you’re like me – and hundreds of millions of people are – and you have a deranged metabolism – choose one and go with it.

That being said, I found that low-carb eating caused my thyroid labs to get worse and caused my hair to fall out.  I don’t know if everyone has that experience, but I sure did.

Anyway, progress is currently being made!

What am I doing these days?  Still not exercising.  I promise to start again when I have more time.  I’m eating a low-fat high carbohydrate diet heavy on starch – lots of split pea soup, beans, rice, corn, spinach, kale, squashes, mixed stir-fry vegetables (no oil), apples.  I found I wasn’t losing much weight until I stopped eating bread and soy sauce – basically wheat products – so I’m currently on a vegan, low-fat, wheat-free, nightshade-free diet.  So no potatoes, peppers, or spicy foods.  I miss the nightshades far more than I miss meat, eggs, or fat – I love spicy food.  I just don’t feel good when I eat nightshades – I get achy and irritable, which for me means increased inflammation.  So yes, my diet is a little more limited than I’d like but over time as my systemic inflammation drops I hope to add some things back in.

I haven’t been tracking what I’m eating, but I promise I’m never hungry for long – that’s because I eat when I’m hungry.  No more walking the fine line between ok and hunger the way I did last year.  Starving = eat.  I eat at any time of day – even right before bed.  The downsides of this diet are clearly nutritional in nature.  I haven’t yet learned how to eat a diverse enough diet to avoid nutritional deficiencies and I’ve already been dealing with increased canker sores (B vitamin deficiency?) and muscle soreness, especially in my legs (potassium deficiency?).  I’ve doubled up on my multivitamin in the meantime, which makes canker sores disappear within hours.  My sleep is great.  I feel great every day.  I’ve had to stop supplementing the vitamin C and magnesium I’ve been taking for a long time because it increased stool softness too much.  Makes me realize how constipating it was to eat a lot of meat.

Till next time.  I hope to have a food/nutrition log to show you.

The Starch Solution – Day 10

I’ve been feeling overall really good.  Eating this way – low fat starch, fruit, and veggies – is way easier than I expected, and I actually love what I get to eat. I don’t even miss the fat at this point.  I did eat at someone’s house yesterday and brought a dish – a 3-bean salad – so I’d definitely have something there I could eat. I’m pretty determined to stick to this.  I have a ton of energy and my husband tells me my mood is better.

This is the second time I’ve been on a low-fat diet to kick my blood sugar’s ass.  I did this last year – it wasn’t a plant-based diet at that time, and I was eating a lot of dry chicken breast, white rice, and fruit.  I felt a lot hungrier then than i do now. I probably could have added more starches then but I wasn’t in the habit of thinking that way.  It would be an interesting experiment – eating a low fat vegan diet and then adding in lean meat to see the effect on health markers.  Who knows…maybe I’ll even do that.

My fasting blood sugar has dropped to under 120 every day.  Post-prandial blood sugar is still over 200 sometimes – higher when I eat bread or tortillas, and lower when I eat simple whole grains or legumes.  Weight is down a couple pounds, and I’m not counting anything – calories, grams – nothing.  I eat until I’m satisfied.

I did take a step backward one day this week after I ate a banana.  I have a history of not tolerating bananas well – maybe because of the histamine in bananas? – and I was hoping that had passed since the last time I had one a year ago.  Nope, still made me feel terrible – angry and tired, like my brain was inflamed.  No more bananas.  It took about 36 hours after eating it before I felt good again.