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.
More labs, with current (or most recent) results in RED.
This lipid panel was run in October, 4 months ago. My diet was largely unchanged – well, until last week – for at least 6 months, so I’d say this is pretty likely to represent my current state of health. Doc also ran Vitamin D and TSH last week. TSH isn’t bad. Woo hoo! Vitamin D is low despite supplementing between 2000 and 5000 IU daily for the last 5 years. Huh. Interesting. Maybe I need some sun.
Starch Solution Update (Day 6)
Yesterday I said something I’d like to retract. I said this diet is not easy to follow, but actually that’s not true. It’s actually quite easy. I love eating starches and the diet guidelines say to eat until satisfied – no counting anything. I expect it’ll be harder when I try to eat out or at someone’s house. It’s basically a low-fat vegan diet.
From the McDougall website: The McDougall Program Basics
- A diet of plant foods, including whole grains and whole-grain products (such as pasta, tortillas, and whole-grain bread), and a wide assortment of vegetables and fruit.
- Plenty of spices and usually small amounts of sugar and salt to enhance the flavor of food.
- Exercise as simple as a daily walk.
- The exclusion of animal foods, including red meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, and fish – all of which provide toxic levels of fat, cholesterol, protein and, very often, infectious agents and harmful chemicals.
- The exclusion of all oils including olive oil, safflower oil, and corn oil. Oils are nothing more than liquid fats that increase obesity, which in turn, depresses immune function and contributes to the most common chronic diseases.
My Comprehensive Metabolic Panel from last week. Current labs are in RED.
The most obvious problems: High glucose (non-fasting) and A1C, high BUN, high BUN/Creatinine ratio.
- The A1C is obviously indicative of Type 2 Diabetes.
- The high blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and B/C ratio could indicate kidney issues of some kind. I’ve noticed over time that the more meat I eat the higher my BUN is.
- Low potassium – a result of taking hydrochlorathiazide, a diuretic I take for hypertension, combined with my recent lower-carbohydrate eating. Bad combination for retaining potassium especially when I react poorly to (and thus avoid) a lot of high potassium foods.
- High ALT – while not outside the reference range, this is not a healthy ALT level, and it indicates fatty liver to some extent.
I’m on Day 5 of the Starch Solution. It’s not an easy diet to follow – no fat, tons of starch, vegetables and some fruit, no animal products. I check my blood sugar frequently throughout the day to see if all this starch is going to put me in a diabetic coma. I have eaten high carb diets before, but never with an A1C of over 7. Yesterday – Day 4 – I checked and a few times throughout the day my blood sugar was over 250. I took a deep breath and pushed forward. Today my highest reading was 204 – most often it was closer to 150. Improvement!
I’m eating a lot of rice (white and brown), corn, refried beans, split pea soup, tortillas, seaweed, apples, spinach, cucumbers, and – when I get hungry – bread. Grains FTW! I am hungry more often because my overall calorie intake has probably dropped. At this point my weight is stable at 208.8. My energy and mood are good.
Where to start.
I have decided to stop eating meat. For a while at least. Maybe forever. I had some labs done last week and my kidneys are not happy. I’ve been trying to eat low fat and low carb (newsflash: can’t really be done) because I have been determined to get my blood sugar under control. Honestly, I have been on the fence, unwilling to commit to either low-fat or low carb. Low fat means higher carb = blood sugar spike. Low carb = feeling like crap. Blood sugar spike…feeling like crap…blood sugar spike…feeling like crap. I have been undecided LITERALLY since the last time I wrote on this blog over a month ago.
I finally gave up and decided to just go with mainstream medicine. Get a mainstream doc – the one at the clinic down the street – and throw myself on their mercy. Poke me, drug me, whatever. Just help me. I gave up. Went to a doc and got some labs done. My kidney labs are terrible (BUN of 29 and BUN/Creatinine ratio of 45, with a reference range of 7-25). My HgAIC is 7.21 (>6.4 is diabetes). I’m not getting better, I’m not staying the same. My condition is worsening.
A year ago I followed a low-fat plan that resulted in a return to normal blood sugars. I’ve decided to do that again, only completely eliminate meat. What the hell, let’s eliminate all animal products and really give my kidneys a break. Reduce protein, maximize starch. I googled it and hey…this has a name. Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution.
I’m on day 4 of this program. It’s not terrible. Dr. M. says that all Type 2 Diabetes is curable. Great! I’m in! It’s a high-starch vegan diet. No animals. No added fat (and not much non-added fat). Starch, vegetables, fruits.
It all feels complicated right now. I want to share my labs. I want to tell you how much I don’t like my new doctor. I really just don’t have time. One day I will.
Yesterday and the day before I was at a conference. I found myself eating a slightly low-carb diet over that period, mostly because I couldn’t control when I would be eating next and I knew eating fewer carbs would control my blood sugar during the day. Today my fasting blood sugar was down to 136 – the lowest I’ve seen in a long time.
In the past low-carb diets have failed me, perhaps because I did them to the extreme. No carbs at all, or very very few – like, under 20g per day. In this case I ate probably 100g throughout the day and didn’t stress about it too much. Maybe this is a direction. Or maybe my glucose meter is malfunctioning because my house is freezing.
I know exercise is a key part of getting well. I’m working 12+ hour days right now – sometimes over 15 hrs/day without much of a break as I’m learning new skills and covering for people who are out. This too shall pass, but when I say I’m busy, I mean I’m really busy.
I forgot how to do this. It’s been a good 6 months since I followed any kind of structured diet or exercise plan and I don’t know how anymore. I’m like all the other people in the world who say, “Yeah, I know I should exercise but I just don’t have time!” Or, “yeah I know, but pizza is so good!” In other words, I’ve become what some people might consider a resistant loser, but what I am calling “health challenged”.
I’m not sure what to do.
So I’m just going to be in the not knowing today because I’m too busy to think about it. I’m sure being so busy is contributing to my health problems, though I don’t feel particularly stressed – just busy. Anyway, I gotta go. I hope to suck less tomorrow.
I suppose it’s necessary to have a where-the-hell-am-I-now post, for the sake of comparison. Oh and by the way, I’ve decided to curse a lot more in 2018. Hope that doesn’t offend, but it if it does, too fucking bad.
Current weight: 210.8
Current fasting blood sugar: 164
2-hr postprandial blood sugar – don’t know, I just woke up.
Blood pressure: 141/90, heartbeats per minute: 82
What I’m eating: Low fat, lowish carb, generally low-histamine, not counting calories and eating to satiety. The lowish carb is not to induce a state of ketosis – it’s to keep my blood sugar under fucking 300. I would like to increase carbs as my blood sugar drops over time. Example: For breakfast I just ate 2 eggs fried in chicken broth (no additional fat), a bunch of random veggies (onions, garlic, brussels sprouts, mushrooms), a couple tablespoons of kidney beans. For lunch I’ll probably have something similar, but maybe chicken breast instead of eggs. I’ll be keeping fat around 30-40 grams a day on average, but not planning on counting anything at this point.
Exercise: Walking on a treadmill or eliptical during my lunch break, yoga in the AM for 10-15 minutes.
That’s it for now. Gotta do yoga. Learn to de-stress.