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.

Daily Snapshot

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.

Happy 2018

Things have gotten worse for my health.  For that reason, I’m going to re-commit to this bloggy.  I’ve missed writing but was embarrassed to come back and talk about what has been going on.  But what the hell – here I am.

I’m now a big fat diabetic.  I stopped testing my blood sugar for a while because I just couldn’t deal with myself.  I was being avoidant.  Well, I’m done with that.  My glucose is solidly in the diabetic stratosphere, and I have trouble bringing it down now.  About a week ago I tested it a couple hours after a high-carbohydrate meal and it was about 350.  Yes, 350.  (For those unfamiliar with blood sugar ranges, that’s big fat diabetic territory.  A normal fasting blood sugar is under 100, ideally under 90.  Normal for 2 hours post-postprandial – after a meal – is under 140.)  I tested again an hour later (so 3 hours after eating).  It was still over 300.  An hour later it was about 270.  I got on a treadmill to bring that shit down as fast as possible.  Wasn’t wearing the right shoes.  Fuck my shoes.  Wasn’t wearing the right bra.  Fuck my bra.

I better watch it or the google bots are going to classify this as a porn site.

35 minutes on the treadmill, tested again and it was under 200…and it dropped to under 150 over the next couple hours.

This shit scared the hell outa me.  I’m now one of those diabetics that is going to need insulin.  Or dialysis.  Or a prosthetic foot.

I have since committed to a different diet – one that has successfully brought my blood sugar down in the past.  Your average low-fat diet.  Nothing special.  No one to pay for their secrets.  No brand name.  Just stop eating so much damn dietary fat.  I test fasting glucose and postprandial glucose and typically make graphs out of the fasting numbers for simplicity.  I look forward to this graph in a couple months… My fasting glucose is was nearly 200 a few days ago, and since then has started to drop.

I should probably track what I eat but I don’t know if I have the energy for that.

I’ve also started doing yoga and walking.  I plan on working up to running.

This isn’t a New Years thing – the timing is purely coincidental.

My doctor increased my blood pressure medication at the end of December because it had climbed higher – over 180/95, while taking 2 medications to control it.  He also added a blood sugar medication but because I’m a shitty patient I decided not to take it and instead try to control blood sugar with lifestyle.

I’m going to blog daily about this so stay tuned if you’re interested in what I’m eating, how I’m exercising, and whether I still have both feet.

Side note…the law of attraction might be a thing…but ignoring health problems doesn’t make them go away.  It just doesn’t.

I won’t lie, it’s hard for me to put this out there.  I feel like a loser and a failure right now.  I’m sure someone is laughing at me and I’ll probably get a mean email from someone telling me I suck.  I accept that.  I’m putting this out into the world, not because I need it for accountability.  Believe me, I’ll never again need external motivation to work toward better health.  I’m hoping that I can help someone else in the same place as me.  I know it’s hard to know who to believe…so I’m going to take you on this journey with me.  And I’m going to be honest so you know you’re not alone.

High Fat/Low Cal – An Experiment

I got discouraged by high hunger and inability to reduce protein or calories, which was resulting in very slow weight loss.  So a few days ago I tried something new.  I ate fat all day long. And guess what – I can’t say the hunger disappeared completely, but it dropped so low I was able to keep overall calorie intake very low:

3-2-16 diet.png

I know peanut butter is not an ideal food – I make it a little better by pouring off the peanut oil and mixing in melted coconut oil.   But the point is I’ve struggled for years with reducing calories because of hunger.  Hence, my fatness.  Once I reduce the insulin-generating foods significantly (protein and carbohydrates) I’m able to eat much less. I did this 2 days in a row and lost 4 pounds (down a total of 6 now).  Here was day 2:

3-4.png

The last 2 days I’ve increased calories to over 2000 and haven’t lost any more, but haven’t gained anything back either.  I’m considering alternating 2 days of very high fat/low calorie with 2 higher-calorie days for a while.  Today is another high fat/low cal day.  All the while I’ll be continuing LCHF.

Now that I’m pretty sure it’s protein that’s been keeping me hungry I’ll be adding vegetables back into my diet.  Hey here’s a fun keto tip…Did you know that sauteed radishes taste a lot like fried red potatoes?

2016-02-29 14.32.58.jpg

I make them with a lot of butter or bacon grease (ideally from grass-fed beef bacon, if I have it), salt and garlic.  Fry them until they’re soft and some of them are browning (about 10 minutes).  I would probably cook them a little longer than the ones in the picture.

A 16-oz bag of radishes is dirt cheap ($1-2), has 72.6 calories, 3.1g protein, 15.4g of carbohydrates (7.3 of which are fiber), and 0.5g fat, and has the following micronutrients:

radishes

Obviously the macro/calorie load shifts when you add a bunch of fat to the pan.  And that’s what makes them so delicious.   Best of all I can eat a whole bag of radishes cooked up like this without noticeable endotoxin problems (e.g., depression) and without any impact on my blood sugar.  I can’t say that for potatoes.

Hey one last thing on the topic of eating straight oil and calling it a meal.  I have been feeling great on the days I do this – focused, high energy, great mood.  I’m not sure if it’s the MCT oil itself or the reduced brain fog from having lower insulin.  I’ve been smiling for no good reason.  When you catch yourself doing that it’s a wonderful thing.

 

Not Done. (And labs).

Yeah, I’ve decided to come out of retirement.

That last bout of depression was the worst I’ve experienced.  Not the longest, but the most severe.  I don’t know what’s going on with me.  Things are a bit better now.  Just milldly depressed. Thanks to friends who commented or emailed…I appreciate your support.  I really don’t mean to be this drama mama.  In real life I don’t seek the spotlight at all – I’m content for no one to notice me in the room.  I’m really not all that dramatic.  The blog is a reflection of what’s in my head though…it’s a side of me that no one in my real life gets to see. I guess there’s depression drama in my head.

I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday.  She’ll be checking the labs she ordered and seeing how this beta blocker is doing for my blood pressure.  I’ll also be talking to her about whatever the fuck it is in my abdomen that’s pushing against my ribcage for the last few months.  This might result in more (and expensive) tests, and that’s just going to have to be ok.

So how did I do?  Metabolic panel first:

metabolic panel 7-1-14

The diet I’m currently following is 95% starch free – I’d say most days I eat none, every few days I might have a bite or two of something with starch in it.  Also, it’s 95% free of glucose and fructose.  Very little juice, fruit, or table sugar.  I’m eating mostly protein, fat, and vegetables, leaning harder on the vegetables and bone-broth based soups than I used to when low-carbing.  I’m getting most of my carbohydrate calories from milk (lactose) and vegetables, around 100g of carb a day.  My diet when I had these labs done was about 50% fat, and the rest split between carbohydrate and protein.  When I became severely depressed, I had eaten a couple of bananas (they’re high in potassium, trying to bring down blood pressure).  No more bananas. Stupid starch.

Ok, let’s see what’s changed over the last couple of months:

Blood sugar and Hb-A1C are a bit improved but still high.  Not high enough to be considered diabetic though (diabetic = 126 on the fasting glucose, and 6.5 on the Hb-A1C, according to the values that came with the labs).  The far right column on the chart is the current lab “normal” ranges, which vary a bit from the previous lab I used.  The doc ordered these, so I used their lab.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is better now, at 26.  I attribute this to bag breathing.  I haven’t done a lot of it, but for a week or so I did it once or twice a day, while trying to normalize my blood pressure. It didn’t help my blood pressure, but seems to have made a difference in CO2 level.  I’ll continue that once a day.  Traditionally people breathe into paper bags when they are hyperventilating – I’ve been using plastic gallon-sized “food and bread bags” from my local supermarket.  Not as noisy as paper, and not as rigid as Ziploc bags.  You just make a seal over your mouth and nose with the bag and breathe normally, in through the nose, out through the mouth, until it becomes a little difficult to breathe – at that point the oxygen is about depleted, and it’s time to stop.

BUN/Creatinine ratio is slowly dropping, probably because I don’t eat as much meat as I used to.  I still eat it every day, but it used to be every meal.  Now a lot of my protein comes from dairy and bone/oxtail broths and soups.

Everything else is unremarkable.

Ok, now for the lipid panel:

lipids

Again, this is about a month into eating 100-120g of carbohydrate daily, with very little fructose/glucose or starch in my diet.

  • Total cholesterol dropped almost 50 points.
  • Triglycerides almost halved.
  • HDL up from 30 to 42.
  • LDL able to be computed now.

I guess I don’t handle carbohydrates well.  More veggies, less carbs. When I eat this way I feel good.

The recent depression has been related to eating starches, as usual.  They’re off my plate permanently now.  Or until I can figure out why that happens and fix it.

Bicycling: Effects on Fasting Blood Glucose

Ok, I’ve been bicycling for 7 days now, attempting to lower my fasting blood glucose (FBG).  Before I get into whether or not this is having the desired effect, let’s look at my history of using this particular exercise to reduce FBG.

In the Spring of 2011, a good 9 months before entering the online world of nutrition gurus, I bicycled every day for a couple weeks.  At this time my blood sugar was in the pre-diabetic range.  I was eating a standard American diet (SAD), probably not much sugar, some starches, some processed food, diet coke every day, still eating gluten.  Here were the effects at that time of bicycling and tracking calories:2011 Blood Sugar

Now, I don’t recall exactly what “tracking calories” meant – I didn’t have a blog back then so I can’t revisit those dates and see what I was doing.  Knowing me though, I was trying to stick to around a 1500 calorie diet.  As you can see from the graph above, bicycling + tracking calories was a good thing – my FBG was in the 90s within a few days and in the 80s within about a week and a half.  I was biking for about 30 minutes at a time on flat terrain, moderate intensity – just enough to sweat and breathe a little harder but not enough to be exhausted. I stopped because I got sick (I don’t remember what with) and the temperatures outside soared to over 110 degrees.  Got out of the habit and didn’t restart.  Maybe because my diet was consistently making me depressed.

Fast forward to September 2013 – my next experiment with biking.  Here’s a graph of my FBG then:

2013 blood sugar

This was a month before I began my Peat-inspired lifestyle.  Fasting blood sugar at the time was mostly in the pre-diabetic range (under 126) with occasional higher spikes.  I began a “lower-cal diet” and bicycling, and continued with that for almost 2 weeks. “Lower-cal” at that time meant shooting for 1500 net calories (after exercise).  I remember being kinda hungry – but I didn’t really spend a lot of time researching low-calorie high-nutrient high-satiety foods at that time.  About 50% of my calories were in the form of fat, 25% protein, 25% carbohydrate.  Other than that, nutrients weren’t really on the radar yet.

During that time my blood sugar stabilized around 100 (a good 15 points lower), with dips into the 90s as early as 6 days into the program.  If I had continued the trend may have continued.  I stopped because my focus at that time was weight loss, and I wasn’t losing.  My temperature and pulse were dropping, and new-found information from Ray Peat world made me think my metabolism might be suffering.  So I stopped.

Ok, so now let’s look at today.  I’ve been bicycling with NO dietary change, for 7 days now.  As in the previous exercise programs I’ve been biking for 30 minutes or so, medium intensity, flat terrain.  Let’s look at the data:

FBG May 2014

Blood sugar is….remarkably stable.  And unchanged in the last week. NO CHANGE.  It may have been unrealistic for me to aim for the 90s within two weeks, considering my baseline level is higher now, but I would hope to see at least SOME movement in the right direction.

So what’s missing?

Well, the previous two times I biked regularly I was also counting calories, shooting for around 1500 calories per day.  Over the past week I haven’t been monitoring what I eat at all.  My weight is down a pound or so and I haven’t been overeating, but I haven’t been counting anything.  I tend to eat around 2200 calories a day when not attempting to reduce, so it’s safe to say I’ve been consuming at least that much.

So it appears that for me, blood sugar management is going to involve not just regular exercise but also a reduced-calorie diet.  I don’t know if it has anything at all to do with eating low-fat….just low-energy (calorie).  I’ll have to research ways to stay full.  Hunger has always been the obstacle to me sticking to a reduced calorie diet.

I’ve started counting calories today.  Will continue on with bicycling.

Score one for conventional wisdom.

New Plan 3.0

I’ve been eating starches for almost 2 week now, and they make me feel like taking a nap. Every time.  Some of the common reasons folks get tired in the middle of the day are sleep deprivation, lowering of stress hormones, and food intolerance.  Hm…There’s no way I’m this sleep deprived.  There’s no way my stress hormones are super-high and the starches are lowering them, thus revealing my “true fatigue” (cuz if that were the case, sugar would have made me sleepy too). There’s no way I’m intolerant of every kind of starch…is there?  Is it possible white potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, and gluten free bread/pasta are all making me tired because my body is completely intolerant to all of those foods?  No.

I don’t know why this is happening, but it sucks.  I can handle about 1/4 cup of potatoes with a meal before I get too tired to function.  And even then I don’t have much energy.

So my conclusion – for now – is that I won’t find the solution to these problems in my diet…because EVERYTHING (with the exception of maybe milk and dill pickles) seems to be killing me or killing my enjoyment of life.  Or both.

So here’s my new plan:

I’m going to focus instead on exercise.  The last time I got in the habit of bicycling every day my blood sugar improved dramatically, dropping to within normal ranges within a week. I stopped because it got cold outside and because I was afraid my slowing pulse meant my thyroid wasn’t happy.  Things are more dire now….because now I have diabetes, for realz. Uncontrolled diabetes.  A couple days ago my fasting blood sugar was 155 – not an all time personal record or anything, but too flippin high.  When I first started eating starches my fasting blood sugar dropped to between 110 and 120 for a few days (don’t know why) – now it’s above 130 every day.

Yesterday I started biking.  I biked today too, and will tomorrow.  And the next day.

So what to eat?  For now, mostly Peat-friendly foods, without much of a plan. Someone on Facebook linked to this interesting study about saturated fats causing greater insulin resistance than monounsaturated fats.  They found that among people who ate less fat than the median (I think it’s less than 37% of calories, but I’m not sure and don’t have the full-text of the study), monounsaturated fats (e.g., olive oil) promoted insulin sensitivity, while saturated fats caused greater insulin resistance.  Can’t say I’ve ever heard that before.  I do eat about 40% of my calories in the form of saturated fats right now, so it may be a good idea to try substituting some olive oil, and reduce fat overall.  So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to be crazy about it, but I’ll stop adding fat when its not necessary, and swap out some of the saturated fat for a while.  Olive oil has more PUFA than either butter or coconut oil, but that’s just going to have to be ok.  For now.

I predict my fasting blood sugar will be in the 90s within 2 weeks.

My resistant starch + probiotics experiment continues.  I’m so scared to up my potato starch intake because of the extreme GI distress it caused me before.  But I must.  Maybe tomorrow.

If my blood sugar isn’t under control within 1 month, I’m going to see a doctor and get medication.  I feel like my time to noodle around has run out.

I’m so tired from eating starches – even just 1/2 cup of potatoes or rice – 15g of carbohydrate – that I find myself avoiding them.  Low carb is no good for my thyroid.  High sugar no good for my triglycerides.  Out of time, out of ideas.  If exercise and olive oil don’t fix this very soon I’ll have to give in.