The Great Garlic Experiment – Day 4

Eating the garlic is getting easier.  I’ve learned to chew with my back molars – it keeps the sting of the garlic away from the parts of my tongue that are most sensitive.

I still don’t stink. My daughter did say to me tonight, “Your breath smells like I want to eat it,”  but I had literally just finished my garlic for the night.  So still, it’s not coming out of my pores or anything.  I must be a super garlic metabolizer!

Nothing out of the ordinary regarding digestion.  Maybe a little more bloating/gas.

Oh, here’s something interesting.  I’ve been eating starches every day since last Friday.  On Friday I had 2 pieces of bread (regular, glutenous bread).  I was on the road for work and didn’t pack enough food for the day, so I had a roast beef sub from Subway (no mayo, so at least really low in the PUFA department). I fully expected this to make me depressed, but it didn’t.  Sometimes it takes a couple days of consecutive starch eating to feel the effects, so I was happy about that.  The next day I didn’t eat much in the way of starch, but I think I had something.  Then each of the last 3 days I’ve had a couple servings of g/f bread and/or rice.  And no depression.  NO DEPRESSION.

In fact, I’ve been feeling fatigued and today around 6PM the fatigue sort of lifted and I started feeling more energetic.  I mean, like doing things I don’t even have to do.  It’s not often I feel that way.  The first 3 days of the Great Garlic Experiment I slept a lot.  Not all day or anything, but an extra hour or two each night, plus I took at least one short nap each day.  Today – no nap, plus I’m still up at 11:20PM.  Not much in the way of caffeine today – just 100mg in tablet form around 10:00AM.  No coffee or tea.  So there’s been a shift in my energy level.

My regimen each day is now as follows:

  • AM (before breakfast) – 1 probiotic and 1/2 teaspoon inulin powder dissolved in water
  • AM (after breakfast) – 2 large (or 3 small) cloves of organic domestic garlic, crushed and soaked in water for 15-20 minutes, drinking the water and chewing the cloves
  • PM (after lunch) – 2 large (or 3 small) cloves of garlic (prepared the same way)
  • PM (after dinner) – 2 large (or 3 small) cloves of garlic (prepared the same way)

Something seems to be working so I won’t mess with it.

Oh, and I went to 2 different fancy stores today looking for a different brand of organic garlic, since I fully expected to feel sicker than I do, which makes me wonder if the garlic I’m using was irradiated at some point.  One store had nothing organic, and the other store had the same brand I’m already using.  So it’s this or nuthin.

I Heart Intuitive Eating

Stopping measuring everything was the best thing I’ve done for myself in months.

Beginning 2 days ago, I only measure the basics upon rising – fasting blood sugar, temp/pulse, and weight – and then no more measuring for the rest of the day.  The purpose is for me to start making decisions about what and how much to eat based upon how I feel, not based on how many grams of protein I need to get in or how many calories I have left before I feel really bad about myself.  Since I stopped measuring everything my ability to interpret body’s signals is becoming very clear.

For example, I can now recognize two distinct kinds of hunger – hunger for sugar and hunger for a meal.  The hunger for sugar feels like a slight twinge of irritability or fatigue along with a need to eat something which I feel most in my mouth or head.  Hunger for a meal is a deeper feeling, kind of hard to explain, but it makes me feel hollow – like I really need to fill myself up.  I’m still learning to tell the difference in the moment, but when in doubt I have a few ounces of orange juice and if I’m still hungry 10 minutes later I eat something more substantial.

Also what’s great is I am learning how to control my energy levels.  If I eat too much meat I feel tired.  I now know that’s because eating protein out of proportion with sugar raises cortisol and lowers thyroid function.  Also, there’s lots of phosphorous and tryptophan in meat – a precursor to serotonin, which increases my nemesis, estrogen.  A few days ago I ate like 8 or 9 ounces of meat at once (I was worried about it spoiling and didn’t want to waste it.  Sometimes I’m such a tight wad) and within an hour I needed a nap.  When I woke up I felt all estrogen-y – sore breasts, irritable.  It’s clear to me why eating all that meat on paleo/low-carb gave me such a flat affect and made me tired.  Since then I’m becoming vigilant about having fruit or orange juice first – before protein – and only having 2-3oz of meat at a time.  If I do this my energy is high and my mood is good.  Dairy and gelatin are sources of protein that don’t make me tired.  And by the way, dairy no longer gives me asthma.  That’s over.

I’m going to continue on this way for a while – I know I probably won’t lose much weight eating whatever I want and when I want without counting calories, but right now my objective is to learn what my body needs.  Maybe after a couple weeks I’ll count something again.

Leptin Rx: Week 4, Day 3

I’ve been really busy with literally no time to post the last few days.  Work, baby care, sleep.  Work, baby care, sleep.  I haven’t had much time for myself.  Today I woke up a little early (thanks, baby) so I have a little time to post before work.  Things have been going well.  I had another situation a couple days ago where I was in the midst of a busy day and had forgotten my lunch at home.  I did have some Coconut Manna with me, however, and just a couple tablespoons of it substituted and got me through the entire afternoon.  I LOVE SO MUCH NOT HAVING TO EAT SO OFTEN.  That’s my favorite thing about all of this so far.  I have a friend following a low-calorie diet and he’s desperate to eat when 11:00AM rolls around.  He’s eating Cheerios for breakfast.  I’ve encouraged him to eat protein in the morning, but that seems to be unmanageable for him.  Maybe if I used big words like “reactive hypoglycemia” he’d take my suggestion more seriously.

Another really amazing thing I’m noticing is my energy level. I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with being leptin sensitive or leptin resistant…I think it’s just about having my blood sugar stabilized (still a bit high in the morning, but even all day).  I’ve become much more productive at work – less likely to hide out and focus on the aspects of my job that require less energy, and more likely to do the more challenging parts of my job (those that involve other people).  I didn’t tie this to my eating at first…but it’s every day now, and I was a “hider outer” for years.  I have the energy now that it doesn’t feel like I’m forcing myself.  I can just do it.  Also I’m able to focus and multitask better.

Following the Leptin Reset is easy.  The only challenge any more is the Big Ass Breakfast, but that’s not that big a deal.  Just gotta eat it and move on.  I have no cravings, not much between-meal hunger any more (but still hunger when meal time is coming up).  I’m going to take a commenter’s advice and get lab work done.  I’ll call the doc today.

Leptin Rx: Week 2, Day 6

Things are going along just fine…a few notes:

The Good:

  • I notice I have an increasing sense of well-being these days.  I think it’s a by-product of good blood glucose stability.  No ups and downs…just good sustained energy.  It feels kind of like my body is just humming happily along.  That’s not to say I don’t have any ups or downs mood-wise. I still do, although bad moments seem to pass much more quickly than they used to…now it’s a matter of minutes and then I’m over it, whereas before I had entire days that were consumed by bad moods.
  • Sleep has been great.  I notice that there’s no fighting sleep now…I used to be able to power through and stay up late, never wanting to miss anything…but now I just go to bed.  And I’m up early with no alarm every day.

The Bad:

  • I did drink alcohol yesterday.  It isn’t on plan, and may end up slowing down my progress, but I did it. I had 2 glasses of wine with dinner.  Fortunately, I have no other social engagements coming up that will involve alcohol.  I don’t feel any worse today, but I realize a lot of what’s going on with the Leptin Reset, I can’t feel.

Other stuff:

  • I notice my weight loss has come to a halt, and in fact I was up half a pound yesterday and 1.5 pounds more today.  I suppose this may be related to eating more food (e.g., the biggest BABs ever the last 2 days).  In other words, I’m not feeling hunger anymore, so I’m not losing any more.  If that’s the case, the weight loss was related more to eating too little rather than to becoming more Leptin Sensitive (LS).  Dr. K. says to forget about weight loss and just get LS…and don’t try to rush it.  The weight loss will follow.  I can do that.  I feel so much better every day now that it would be silly to be discouraged that the weight loss has stopped for now.
  • I ate a smaller BAB this morning…only about 6 oz of meat and 2 eggs (so about 50g protein) and it was 6 hours before I started to feel hungry.  I finally bought a kitchen scale so I can actually measure my food.  I’d like to get this BAB down to a science – the exact right quantity of protein and fat to be satisfied till the next meal, while ideally continuing to lose weight.  LS is my first priority.  Then weight loss.  But if I can have them both, that would be ideal.

Maybe I’ll take a little nap in the sun till the baby wakes from her nap.  Mmm…sun.


Leptin Rx – Week 2, Day 5

The Good:

  • Yesterday’s BAB was certainly enough.  I ate lunch about 7 hours after breakfast, and wasn’t hungry.  It was fabulous!  I did get a little too hungry just before dinner, but it worked out fine. My lunch was a little smaller than usual.  I’m looking forward to at some point not being hungry all day – apparently this is a benefit of being Leptin Sensitive.
  • My energy lately has been unbelievable.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so much energy for so many continuous hours.  I was going from 5:30AM yesterday until 9:00PM, and felt energetic the whole time.  Even when I was getting tired and thinking about going to bed, I still had energy to do things.  Remarkable.
  • My fasting blood sugar is improving.  With no exercise.  It didn’t improve when I was just eating low carb, but it is improving on the Leptin Rx.  I’ll post a graph in a day or two to show the progress.
  • Farmer’s market today!  I live out in the sticks – no Whole Foods here and very few organic options at the grocery store.  Today I’m going to go to the local farmer’s market to see if anyone is selling pastured eggs or grass-fed meat.  I’m excited.
  • Reassurance.  I’ve been doing more research on the web (here, here, here, here, and especially here, for example), and it has reassured me that I’m not killing my heart or arteries by eating fat.  I am amazed at the studies, looking at the relationship between high total cholesterol and death.  Looks like the BEST cholesterol level is 200-240.  WE ARE BEING LIED TO AND IT MAKES ME MAD!

The Bad

  • I’m waking up too early.  I’m sure this is related to my work schedule, which varies a bit depending on the day of the week.  Some days I need to be up at 5:15 and others I can sleep later.  Well, I MAY sleep later, but I no longer CAN sleep later.  I’m waking up around 5:15 every day now.  I guess this isn’t a bad thing so much, except my bedtime is migrating toward earlier in the evening…I don’t often go to bed at the same time as husband anymore, and I miss that.  I think the best thing for our marriage, though, is for me to get healthy.  We’ll work out these details later.
  • Money – there certainly is a financial cost for eating a lot of meat.  This is just something I need to get over. Being healthy isn’t free.  And what better to spend money on than my health?  My daughter will get a better mommy, David will get a better wife, and I’m already enjoying my life a lot more.  That’s all priceless.

I’m going to a work-related party tonight.  I’m not going to drink alcohol or eat anything off plan.  I’m interested to see how that feels.  I don’t think I’ve ever turned down a drink at a social function!  Nothing is more important to me right now than getting my health back on track.

Daily Review

I was less hungry today, after eating 75g of protein for breakfast, but I was still more hungry than I should be between meals.  I got hungry about 4 hours after breakfast, but my lunch hour was 6 hours after breakfast.  I think I should be able to make it till then.  One thing I didn’t do today was eat a lot of fat.  The beef I had for breakfast was pretty lean.  I supplemented with about 1 tablespoon of coconut manna, but I guess it wasn’t enough to really keep me satisfied.  Or maybe I just have to hang in there, and as I get more Leptin Sensitive (LS), my appetite will diminish.  In any case, I don’t want to be hungry, and tomorrow I’ll eat more fat.  I guess I’ll have eggs in addition to the meat.  There’s no way around it…it’s gonna be a Big Ass Breakfast.

I have run into challenges with dairy the last 2 days.  In both cases, I was eating out and I was eating burgers (no bun of course) that came with cheese on them.  It occurred to me to scrape the cheese off (since Paleo man certainly wasn’t suckling at a cow’s udder for nourishment, and therefore neither should I), but I was really hungry and I just ate the cheese.  In both cases, I wasn’t sure how long I was going to stay satisfied and thought the extra calories might help tide me over without snacking till the next meal.  I really need to manage this hunger thing.  I hate being hungry.

Here’s something amazing.  I was completely convinced I was an “emotional eater.”  I even did this online “Shrink Yourself” program a couple months ago, which is designed to help people identify the hidden emotions behind their compulsive eating behavior.  It was all very interesting, but didn’t help me to stop eating so damn much.  Miracle of miracles, as soon as I started eating a Paleo diet, I no longer have an overwhelming urge to cope with stress using food.  This doesn’t make a lot of sense…I mean, I was CERTAIN that I was overeating because of emotional stress.  Did my emotional stress just melt away over the last week and a half?  Aside from the hunger I’ve been feeling (which is still easily managed by drinking water, by the way), I have NO interest in eating to soothe myself anymore.  I’m not sure what to make of this.  It will require reflection.  I suspect, however, that there was a biological need to continue eating that I was suppressing to prevent weight gain, and when I was stressed I stopped caring and gave in to those biological urges.  Now those biological urges simply aren’t there.

In any case, things are going great.  I woke up this morning at 4:50 AM (25 minutes before my alarm) and now it’s 17 hours later and my energy hasn’t faded yet.  I really do need to go to bed now though, so it’s time to darken my environment and lie down.

Reflecting on Today

I was hungry today!  I guess I’m not getting enough protein for breakfast.  Apparently 6oz of beef (42g) and 2 eggs (12g) are not enough.  It was more hunger than I’ve had to contend with any day up to now.  Ok…so tomorrow I’ll up it like 10 grams of protein.  I’m not messing around here!  You wouldn’t think a 5’4″ female would need more than the minimum required (50g), but honestly, none of this is common sense.

After all, is it common sense that I’m dropping weight while stuffing myself full of food every morning (and I never go to bed hungry)?  Is it common sense that I am eating very few carbohydrates, yet have incredibly stable and sustained energy all day long?  Through a 10-hour workday and then home to entertain a 2 year old?

Ok, time for bed.  Can’t stay up late anymore.  Bad for the hormones.  More tomorrow.