High Carb Low Fat – Day 6

Fasting blood sugar this morning: 135.

Well, hm…

This morning I had a message waiting for me from a friend who read yesterdays blog post, in which I commented that I was having hot flashes since increasing my thrice-daily dose of niacinamide from 100mg to 250mg.  She informed me that niacinamide shouldn’t cause a “flushing” response and that what I was experiencing was likely a stress response.  Niacinamide inhibits the release of free fatty acids from the cells, allowing the body to gradually detoxify itself of stored polyunsaturated fats. Ray Peat says this is a good thing.  Well, if there are fewer fatty acids released into the bloodstream, you need enough fuel in the form of food (specifically, sugar) or the body turns on stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) to break down proteins/muscle for fuel.  In other words, if you’re going to take large doses of niacinamide, you better be eating a lot of sugar – and you probably need to be able to store it well to be used throughout the day.  I guess my 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein wasn’t enough.

This explains my still-high fasting blood sugar, despite eating low fat for 5 days now.  Stress hormones are turning on and staying high overnight because my body is out of fuel.

Well, I got this information this morning, and set about to eat lots and lots of sugar today to see if I could turn off the hot-flash stress response.  But today, despite eating 100 grams of sugar more than usual, I continued to have the hot flashes.  So maybe my body isn’t storing glucose effectively yet.  Maybe my current physiological state can’t handle that much niacinamide without invoking a stress response.  So tomorrow it’s back to 100mg 3x a day.  I felt fine on that dose.  I predict my fasting blood sugar will be under 120 again within 2 days.

Here were my macros today:

crono

And my nutrient breakdown:

nutrients

The nutrients look a whole lot like they did yesterday.  Actually, that’s how they look just about every day.  Almost enough folate and potassium, short on manganese, and everything else looking good.  I checked into sources of manganese – looks like spinach is a good source.  Other than that, there’s nuts, fish, and a bunch of other things that are high in PUFAs.  I’ll make spinach tomorrow.

Sugar: Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

I’m really struggling to eat Peat-ish and remain low fat.

I’ve given up starches because they were making me feel depressed.

I’ve given up eating lots of meat because it’s high in phosphorous.

I’ve given up alcohol because it made me depressed.

And now I’m reducing fat.

I’m trying to determine whether it’s all fat (not just PUFA) that blocks cells from using available glucose, keeping blood sugar high.  My blood sugar has come down over the past week of lower-fat eating, but I’ve also completely given up starches at the same time.  I’m trying to avoid changing more than one thing at a time, but the starches had to go.  They were really messing with my mood.  In the past when I gave up starches but kept fat intake (and sugar intake) high my fasting blood sugar would reduce from really high (140-150) down to the 120s, and that’s what it’s done again this week.  I’d like to continue my low-fat eating for a while and see if it improves further.

Now about that…You know what’s left when you give up starches, most meat, and fat?

Sugar. Currently 200-250g of it.  And maybe some vegetables, and some lean meat. Just a whole lotta sugary sweet stuff – fruit and fruit juice, milk, honey-sweetened coffee, marshmallows.  Anything to keep me from being hungry and also not add to the dietary fat total. If I have a couple ounces of cheese and 2 eggs per day I’ve about maxed out my allowed fat intake.

I don’t even really like sweet stuff.  I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, and now my diet is centered around it.  Day to day I’m feeling pretty good, but I fear this is unsustainable because I just don’t really like it.  I’m coming to dread my next sugary coffee/milk/orange juice.  I know low-fat cheese is an option, but even that has 4g of fat per ounce.   I’ve identified one brand that doesn’t have much in the way of unwanted fillers.

Anyway, my weight is down a pound this week…I guess that’s good, and I hope it continues.

I’ve been tracking what I eat on Cronometer.  I don’t know what my baseline (maintenance) number of calories of fat grams is – I haven’t tracked that – but considering how I feel when I restrict calories/fat, I suspect I was maintaining my current weight on 2500-3000 calories per day and over 95-100g fat. A few weeks ago I was trying very hard to lower overall calories without making an effort to reduce fat, and I was averaging 1807 calories and 83g of fat per day.  Hunger was (and still is) preventing me from going lower.  This past week I averaged 1966 calories per day and 58g fat per day, and it was a struggle for the above mentioned reasons. The totals for the last 2 days of the week skewed the average because I was starting to tire of all the sweet food. I think I’ll try to stay under 50g of fat per day – that would be challenging but maybe not unrealistic.

Otherwise, I’m meeting all of my micronutrient goals, and my phosphorous/calcium ratio is about 1:1.  It’s really just a matter of being bored with the taste of sweet.

Onward.

Stress Hormone Overnight Test

Just a quick note – I ate some sugar along with protein and fat (and a glass of wine) last night before bed and this morning my fasting blood sugar was 108!  That’s the lowest it’s been in a long time.  Plus, this morning I felt hungry when I woke up, but I don’t feel hungry all morning long despite eating, as I typically do.  Amazing!

Score 3 for Ray Peat

Yesterday I decided to do some blood glucose (BG) testing while drinking orange juice.  I’ve been turned off from OJ because I tested my BG after drinking it in the morning and it was high – like in the 170s.  I tested again in smaller quantities, but I always felt really hungry after drinking just a little so what’s the point?  Well, I’ve since learned that the hunger you feel when you eat fruit is your true hunger.  Low carb dieting raises stress hormones, which reduce appetite.  No wonder people lose weight on low carb – their cortisol is suppressing their drive to eat.  Until 6 months later when they (might) realize their thyroid doesn’t work anymore.  Anyway, hunger means there are no stress hormones running around, so eat, dummy.  One problem with this though – I have been hesitant to keep eating juice or fruit because I didn’t want my blood sugar to be high all day. What a conundrum!

Well, I decided to turn to science to get some answers.  I drank 12 oz of orange juice at breakfast and then 3-4 oz every hour.  Here were my readings:

  • Fasting blood sugar: 127; Temp/pulse 98.1/79
  • 9:00AM – 172
  • 10:00AM –  139
  • 11:00AM – 115 (temp/pulse was 98.6/79)
  • 12:00 – 115
  • 1:00 – 74 (after 30 minutes mild/moderate exercise)
  • 2:00 – 97
  • 3:00 – 106

Huh.  So for some reason there’s a big spike at first but then blood sugar is low all day.  Weird!  I did it again today to see if the results would replicate.  Had breakfast with about 10oz juice.  Here’s what I got:

  • Fasting – 124; temp/pulse 98.0/85
  • 9:00AM – 119 (tested at 1 hour and 20 minutes after breakfast)
  • 10:00AM – 106 (temp/pulse 98.8/75)
  • 12:00 – 101
  • 1:00 – 107
  • 2:00 – 112

At that point I stopped testing every hour.  Good enough!  I did take one more test though, after 30 minutes of stationary biking.  Blood sugar was 72, similar to the previous day after biking.  I thought it was weird that I didn’t feel hungry at all with blood sugar that low.  Then I remembered…About 10 years ago I used to do martial arts (Aikido).  I would train hard for an hour and a half, and leave the dojo feeling really good, but not hungry.  Then about an hour later I would become ravenously hungry.  Now I understand why!  The workout was causing a stress response – cortisol and/or adrenaline were suppressing my appetite.  After relaxing for an hour or so the stress hormones would lower and my true hunger would be revealed.  This is why Peat (and others) are opposed to exercise – it raises stress hormones.  I guess I knew this intellectually, but it makes a lot of sense now having experienced a complete lack of hunger after exercising, while my blood sugar is getting very low.  Interesting.  I’ve been doing 30 minutes of biking and 15 minutes of yoga per day for the last week.  Maybe instead I’ll do 30 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes of weight lifting.  Less continuous stress.

The other thing on my mind has to do with progesterone.  Ray Peat did an interview that was aired last week, in which he answered lots of questions that had been submitted by listeners.  Well, prior to the interview I submitted a question.  My question appeared in the second hour of the interview, and was as follows:

I’ve recently started taking Progest-E, and it has helped my cyclical mood symptoms very much.  I’ve been taking it days 14-28 of my cycle.  I hate to stop taking it because I have PMS (moodiness) the day after I stop.   Would there be any harm in just continuing to take it non-stop for a while, even if it means I miss a period or two?

Dr. Peat’s answer:

I’ve known quite a few women who took it every day and kept cycling without any problem.  But what they should be aware of is that if you take a little bit extra just before the expected time of ovulation it will trigger early ovulation, and then if you stop taking it or take less it will bring on an early menstruation.  So if you’re going to take it every day, it has to be every day the same amount.

If you’ll remember I really REALLY didn’t want to stop taking my Progest E after day 28 last month. In fact, I kept taking it and taking it and finally stopped against my will to have a period.  Then I started up again on Day 4 of my cycle – a full 10 days before I was supposed to start up – because the symptoms of high estrogen were unbearable.  I was depressed, bitchy, and puffed up.  It sucked.  So I started my progesterone early.  Well, surprise surprise…my period came 10 days early.  And it’s very possible I dosed a little too high before ovulation.  That Ray Peat.  He sure does know some stuff.

More news: after about 10 days of probiotics my gut is still messed up.  I tried taking two teaspoons of potato starch today (far less than the 4 Tbs many people are downing at one time) and still…not good. Gut mad at me.  I don’t know what it will take to fix what is wrong, but I’ll continue with the probiotics for now.

And the orange juice…3-4 oz an hour.

Oh one more thing – suddenly my body is ok with cheese.  I have completely stopped eating fatty chicken and most eggs, cutting my PUFA intake to almost nothing.  Could that be why my asthma isn’t kicking my ass right now?  I had like 4-5 oz of cheese today…and no problems.

Ok, blood sugar…progesterone…and PUFA.   I can’t deny it any more.  All the crap he says is coming true for me.

I think Ray Peat is right.

Resistant Starch and Oranges

There’s been a lot of discussion about Resistant Starch (RS) in the Paleo world lately, most of which has taken place over at Free the Animal.  I haven’t read all of the posts, threads, and comments relating to this topic, but I’ve read enough to pique my interest.  RS is basically the isolated starch from potatoes and other foods that is resistant to digestion in the body – it behaves in the body like a fiber rather than a typical starch.

Many people seem to be having very good results with supplementing with RS (mostly, in the form of potato starch), and there is research backing the anecdotal results.  Most commonly, folks are lowering their fasting blood glucose and are increasing their body’s ability to tolerate other carbohydrates without causing a big spike in blood sugar.  Well, that sounds exactly like what I need, right?  Other benefits I’ve read about include lowering cholesterol and improving markers of thyroid function (specifically, increasing body temperature).  Additionally, when you eat it, it passes undigested (resistant!) into the large intestine where favorable bacteria have a field day and crowd out pathogenic (bad) bacteria. Lastly, it reportedly regulates bowel function – if you’re constipated it gets things moving.  If you’ve got loose stools (or even parasites, according to one report) it firms things up.  Last advantage – it’s dirt cheap (like $3 a pound) and widely available.  I got a bag at the store across the street.  The only negative side effect people seem to be posting is extra gas, but most folks indicate that resolves after a couple of weeks.

Well, my husband and I both decided to give RS a try.  He’s insulin resistant, and I’m certainly having blood sugar management problems of my own, so we’re most interested in finding a way to improve in this area.  Before starting we got a baseline of our body’s ability to tolerate carbohydrates.  About a week ago, first thing in the morning, we each ate an 11 oz. baked potato with nothing on it but salt.   Then every 15 minutes for the next 3 hours we took blood sugar readings.  Here are our baseline results:

Potato Baseline

Mine is in the blue – as you can see my blood sugar was over 200 for well over an hour, topping out at 255, and took a long time to recover.  Sorry, body, but that’s kind of diabetic.  David’s was better but still got fairly high (189 at the one hour mark), but he was back to normal after an hour or so.  So here’s our plan:  Start supplementing with potato starch, give it a month or 6 weeks (research seems to indicate it takes 4 weeks for your body to respond fully to supplementation), and then do the test again.

We also had lab testing done this week, including fasting insulin and the “Comprehensive Wellness Profile” offered by Direct Labs, my favorite place to order labs without a doctor censoring me.  I should have my results this week – I’ll post when I get them.  We’re going to get another set done in 6-8 weeks after supplementing with RS.  Additionally, we’re testing fasting blood sugar every day.

So let me tell you briefly, and with as little TMI as possible, about my own experience so far taking potato starch.  I decided to simply stir it into a quarter cup of water or so – some people mix it into yogurt or kefir to get extra gut-health benefit.  The recommended dose is 4 tablespoons a day.  Research indicates more is not better, and less than 1 Tbs has little or no value.  I started with a teaspoon a day, to see how my digestive system was going to respond. The teaspoon test went fine…increased it to 2, and then 3 teaspoons over the next two days.  All of that went well.  Then I decided to try a tablespoon.  Well, that didn’t go well.  It felt like there was a war in my intestines for about 24 hours (and perhaps there actually was).  It was painful and I was in the bathroom a lot the next day.  So I started again, smaller.  3 teaspoons a day.  Now I’m up to 4 doses a day of 1.25 teaspoons each.  No problems.  My husband has had no problems other than a little gas – and he’s already up to 4 tablespoons a day.   From my reading, my response is unusual – almost no one is reporting serious GI upset, but it was really bad for a day there.  I wonder if the more unhealthy your gut is to start, the more “cleaning house” needs to be done.  Maybe that distress meant I’ve gotten rid of some bad guys hanging out in my gut.

Anyway, this post is getting long.  Here are a couple really good links on Resistant Starch supplementation and benefits:

On another topic, I’ve again embraced Ray Peat’s dietary wisdom.  On a whim I decided to try eating whole oranges with protein, having had a hard time with hunger and blood sugar regulation when I drank juice.  The whole oranges keep me satisfied a little longer (I get hungry after 2 hours instead of 1), but I can tolerate that.  Also, my blood sugar is under 130 an hour later.  I’m not sure if it’s the resistant starch having an effect or if it’s eating the fiber of the orange that slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, but it any case I’m going to keep doing it.  I have so much more energy eating fruit than I do when I eat starchy foods or skip carbs altogether.  So I’m going to keep it up.  Also going to get some lights (like this with this) in the next day or two…cuz Ray Peat said to:

Light, especially the red light which penetrates easily into tissues, activates the formation of new cells as well as their differentiation. It affects energy production, increasing the formation of mitochondria, and the activity of the DNA methyltransferase enzymes. Red light accelerates wound healing, and improves the quality of the scar, reducing the amount of fibrosis. The daily cycling between darkness and light is probably an important factor in regulating the birth and differentiation of cells.

My many N=1 experiments are going to be very confounded: lights, reducing PUFAs, Resistant Starch, eating fruit sugar again, etc etc…all of it is going to leave me wondering what’s working and what isn’t.  Fortunately, my husband is ONLY changing one thing –  the addition of RS – so we’ll have a good idea of how well it works in a month or so.

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

Reconsidering Options

I really wanted Ray Peat’s work to be The Answer for me. I think Peat’s work benefits some people greatly – in fact, it may be the most brilliant nutrition and health advice ever.  But when it comes to deciding what I should put in MY mouth at mealtime, I don’t think it’s for me.  Here’s my analysis:

The Pros:

Progesterone – I had given up on sex hormone supplementation after my disastrous encounter with the Wiley Protocol.  I blamed progesterone for the fact that I gained 20 pounds, had heart palpitations, and became so fatigued that I could barely get out of bed.  At the time I concluded that progesterone was the culprit because I found a website on which a bunch of lay people decided it was so.  I was so fatigued and depressed I would have believed anyone.  Recently I’ve started supplementing with Progest E, the progesterone supplement developed by Ray Peat himself.  I find Progest E alone – without the estrogen that Wiley had me taking – to be wonderful, balancing, and soothing.  I imagine I’ll take it for the rest of my life.  Estrogen, not so much.

Liver – I’ve gone on and on about how eating liver once a week has made my skin look great.  This week I tried eating all 4 oz raw, washing it down with milk.  I thought it was a lot easier than trying to eat it cooked.  I’m considering just having an ounce or so raw every day or two.

Shellfish, bone broth, raw carrot, coffee, aspirin, vitamin K2 – all of these things I don’t mind taking or using and will continue to do so, just because the promise of better health is worth the effort.  I also love the smell of broth cooking in the crock pot.

The Cons:

Sugar – Yesterday I tried all kinds of things.  I tried a teaspoon of granulated fructose with breakfast and tested my blood sugar after – it was up 25 points at one hour and up 35 points at 2 hours. That part was ok, but also I felt hungry soon after, despite eating a 300 calorie meal.  So I ate ANOTHER 300 calorie meal and paired it with the smallest wedge of an orange ever.  It was a clementine orange – small as a baby’s fist, and I ate one small section of it.  An hour later my blood sugar had dropped 50 points and I was hungry again.  I then ate several hundred calories of protein/fat along with a very small amount of sugar (cuz Ray Peat said to), and within 45 minutes I was hungry.  Now, keep in mind, a pure protein/fat breakfast – without any sugar – normally keeps me satisfied for hours.

I thought about eating for 5 hours straight.

This is what pisses me off about those who say people get fat because of “food reward and palatability” (translation: fatties get fat because they eat too much cuz food is so damn tasty).  I HATE BEING HUNGRY AND WANT NOTHING MORE THAN TO JUST BE DONE EATING ALREADY.  IF I DIDN’T GET HORRIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE I’D BE CONTENT TO NOT EAT AT ALL.

So at that point I was fed up (not literally) so I got fed up (literally).  I ate a huge meal that would keep me satisfied for the rest of the day – it included all kinds of terrible things, including mayonnaise (PUFAs!), bread (gluten!  starches!), and industrial meat (inhumane! hormones! antibiotics! PUFAs!).  Some might call it a binge.  It was less food than I used to eat back in my binge-eating days, but I guess it was a binge.  And FINALLY, I was done being hungry.  That meal lasted through the rest of the day, all night, and well into today.  I didn’t get hungry again till 1:00PM – almost 22 hours later.  It was wonderful.

Dairy – I’ve had some sort of nasal congestion or phlegmy cough for the last…oh, about 6-7 weeks.  About the same amount of time I’ve been following Peat’s dietary recommendations.  I thought I was just getting one cold after another.  But it occurred to me today that maybe the addition of lots of dairy into my diet was causing this.  I’m going to take a break from dairy for a few days and see if my forever-cough clears up.  Then I’ll add it in again to see what happens.

So what’s next for me?   I’m fairly desperate to lose the 5-or-so pounds that I’ve gained in the last 2 months since eating carbs.   As well as the 20 pounds I gained following the  Wiley Protocol.  As well as the 40 pounds I was overweight when I started this blog.  So now, I’m going back to eating what makes me feel good – mostly low carb with small amounts of potatoes here and there.  I know low-carb isn’t ideal.  But what I’m doing now – getting fatter and hoping there’s magic in milk – isn’t doing my health any favors.  No more fruit.  No more sugar.  Maybe no more dairy.  I’m going to stay away from PUFAs as much as I can.  I’m going to exercise at least 30 minutes a day to manage my blood sugar.  I’m going to count calories again, and stay at or around 1500/day.  Finally, I’m going to continue to supplement with thyroid hormone, so my broken metabolism has a shot at making it’s own steroid hormones.

It’s possible my body will be running on cortisol till the day I die.

Right now, I’m ok with that.

That’s all.

Starches, Sugar, Diabetes, and PUFA

Every so often I get research fatigue.  It’s the head-spinning sensation that comes with reading endless contradictory information about health, diet, exercise, and nutrition.  Red meat – high in heme iron (so it’s bad!) but high in carnitine and low PUFA (so it’s good!).  Dairy – high in iodine (so it’s bad!), but high calcium to phosphorous ratio (so it’s good!). Fructose – increases triglycerides (so it’s bad!), but increases metabolism (so it’s good!) but causes weight gain (so it’s bad!) but has a lower effect on insulin (so it’s good!).  I can’t stand it anymore.

My weight has been up and down a lot – now it’s up.  I’m not feeling good anymore.  I don’t know if my feelings of well-being associated with eating Peatarian were just a month-long diabetic sugar high or if something positive was actually happening metabolically.  I’ve been experimenting with potatoes, trying to find a way to get some carbs in and also keep my blood sugar stable.  Eating 1/4 cup of boiled potatoes, along with protein and fat, keeps me from having blood-sugar swings…but also makes me feel dull and lethargic.

Today I listened to Ray Peat’s interview called Glycemia, Starch, and Sugar, in Context.  I was driving at the time (for 3 hours, through a blizzard I might add), so I couldn’t take notes, but what I took from it is the following:

  • Diabetes is caused by Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) in the diet and in the system.  Stop eating PUFAs and within a couple days you’ll be more insulin sensitive.
  • Potatoes have some unique and magical properties, but the magic is in the juice – not in the starch.  If you juice a raw potato and drink (or cook with) the juice, there are ketones (or ketone acids?) available that are very healing and can perform miracles like make insomniacs sleep and heal severe digestive problems.
  • The problem with low-carb diets is the following:  The body releases insulin to process the amino acids in proteins.  When insulin rises, the body needs to raise blood sugar to avoid hypoglycemia.  If there’s no glycogen (sugar) stored in the liver cortisol is released instead, which increases blood sugar.  Cortisol suppresses thyroid function and immune function, and lowers metabolism.
  • Starches can cause bacterial problems in the gut.
  • Fructose is misunderstood and is awesome.

There was more, of course, but listening from my own insulin-resistant context, this is what I heard.

I haven’t done a great job of getting PUFAs out of my diet.  I keep eating chicken.  I should stop doing that.  It’s worth a try, to see how much of a difference it would make for me to stop that.  I’m not even sure why I do.  (Edited to add my inner monologue after I hit “Publish”:  I know why I do.  I really like meat – I like that it keeps me from being hungry.  I hate being hungry.  And chicken is inexpensive. I can’t even believe how much money we spend on food already.  If I upgraded to higher-quality meat I’d have to get a full-time job again. Seriously. Ok, instead, I’ll work on eating less meat, more dairy, more gelatin for protein.  /moment of self-awareness)

I’m tired of thinking about it.  For now.

No more PUFA for me.

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.

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.