Good Times

I’ll get to the resistant starch stuff…later.  That’s going to take a little research and a little discussion that I’m too tired to articulate right now.  But we’ll get there.

Today, just for a minute, I want to talk about how much better I feel now than I did 2 months ago.  Two people in my life this week commented to me that I’m not moody or depressed anymore.  One of those people has asked me for help with his mood problems. I gave him a Ray Peat-inspired shopping list and told him to buy some lights.

I few months ago when I started following Peat’s recommendations I never felt at peace.  I realize this now only because now I have stretches of time that I feel GREAT.  Like, peaceful and happy and content with my life exactly as it is.  A complete lack of anxiety or depression.  Back in November I started having these moments.  They were fleeting, but they were there.  Just in the last week or so those moments have been lasting longer – for hours sometimes!  I have no idea what is happening biochemically in me that causes that feeling, but it’s fabulous.

This week I got my period and had no PMS.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I had a mood swing that lasted all of 5 minutes which made me cry for no good reason.  That was it.  My PMS used to last days.  DAYS.  And now it’s over in 5 minutes.

Also, this week, my hunger stopped being so crazy.  I feel like a normal person again, and have for the last 5 or 6 days.  No crazy appetite.  WTH?

I’ve got the whole family on the Peat plan now.  I make Peat-friendly meals and we all eat them.  My daughter used to get rashes when she drank milk.  She would get them around her mouth and in random areas on her body.  She also used to have keratosis pilaris (KP) on her arms and cheeks. Turns out that milk doesn’t CAUSE these skin problems…milk causes an increase in nutrient metabolism, requiring more vitamin A.  The deficiency of vitamin A causes skin problems.  Now she gets plenty of vitamin A in her diet and no longer has rashes or KP.  Brilliant!  Thanks for making that clear, Dr. Peat.

Anyway Peat offers no quick fix, no express train to a lean body.  But if your goal is to be happy and to feel at peace, even while carrying those extra pounds, this (for me, anyway) is the way to do it.

I Am a Robot

Huh…I guess I lied about that whole needing a break from blogging thing.  Oh well…I’m sure that’s neither the first nor the last time I’ll do that.  So damn moody.

And speaking of moody, I’ve been learning that I’m a complete and utter robot, and that so much of the discomfort I feel in life comes down to two things – not having enough sugar in my diet and not having enough progesterone in my body.  For long periods of time I’ve been an irritable, tired person — increasingly over the past 2 years, but I’ve had serious bouts before that.  It wasn’t until I learned of the joys of consuming simple sugars that the fatigue started to dissipate, after many months of low-carb.  And it wasn’t till I tried progesterone supplementation (specifically Progest E) that I realized I’m not a jerk.  The estrogen in me is a jerk.  Or maybe the prolactin.  Hard to say – I think they’re in cahoots.

Now, when I get hungry/tired/cold, I drink orange juice or eat sweet fruit, and within 10 minutes I’m satisfied, alert, and warm.  (Juice does the trick faster.)

When I find myself being a bitch, thinking Ray Peat is an idiot, or hating something about my life, I take 6 drops of Progest E and within 20 minutes I’m calm, nice, and happy.  And a much better mom/wife.

It’s fairly amazing.

So next time I’m on here complaining about something, just tell me to go drink some juice and hit the progesterone.

I now accept that I have no free will.

Estrogen Sucks, Part 2

Have I mentioned that estrogen sucks?  Why yes…yes I did.

It has become very clear that high estrogen is one of my biggest health issues. I’m mad at myself for exacerbating this by ADDING estrogen  (BHRT)…for a period of 8 months (See blog posts between July 2012 – March 2013 for details and to watch my transformation from high-functioning full-time working 182 pound adult to demoralized part-time working 203-pound adult).  On the other hand I’m glad I know what’s really going on with my moods, and now what there is to do is treat it.  I’ve started supplementing with DIM and milk thistle, and have ordered calcium D-glucarate.  Each of these is instrumental in eliminating excess estrogen.  I’m continuing the progesterone (Progest E, 2 doses a day of 10mg each).  Over a period of 2 days my headaches went away, my breast soreness has diminished about 90%, and my dark mood has lifted.

What I don’t understand is why the effects of estrogen have recently gotten so bad.  I’ve never had breast soreness within the first week of my cycle before, I’ve never had headaches associated with hormone changes before, and usually my depression is pre-menstrual, not mid- or post-menstrual.  Why is this happening now?

Bottom line, I’m not sure.  I don’t think it has anything to do with adding progesterone a month ago. This really seems to be an estrogen problem, and progesterone makes it better almost immediately after dosing.  The other thing I changed in the past month is I changed from skim milk to 2% milk for a few weeks, and then gave milk up completely after I realized it was making me asthmatic. I have continued eating cheese though, which doesn’t cause as many problems with my breathing.

I’ve been doing some research:

This study says dietary fat in dairy is a source of estrogenic hormones. This one says that goats milk has much less estrogen than cow’s milk (both regular and organic). This study says both estrogen and progesterone are increased after drinking commercial milk, and this one says there is a “considerable quantity of estrogens” in milk produced from pregnant cows, and that intake of animal products (especially milk and cheese) are highly correlated with hormone-related cancers. (On the other hand, this one is a meta-analysis which indicates dairy product consumption does not lead to breast cancer, and that estrogens in dairy are minute.)

Maybe it’s time to give up cow dairy altogether.  I think it’s also time to add more fiber to my diet – it helps eliminate estrogens so they don’t get reabsorbed into the bloodstream.

Unfortunately, the more I experiment with Ray Peat’s recommended dietary approaches, the more problematic my own symptoms become. I can’t conclusively tie my recent high-estrogen problems with dairy, but I don’t know what else would have caused them.

I think it’s time for me to follow a more conventional high-vegetable/fiber moderate calorie diet, and get a lot more exercise to manage my blood sugar.

Next post: Resistant Starch.  Another experiment in the works.

Asthma and PMS

I went to my PCP because of my never-ending coughing and wheezing last week.  I have asthma (diagnosed 11 years ago), and I wasn’t sure if I had a bug or if I was having an allergic reaction to something.  The doc’s approach?  She gave me a steroid inhaler and some antibiotics and a cup to spit some phlegm into the next morning for the lab to analyze.  I used the inhaler and things started getting better right away. Threw away the antibiotics and the lab cup.  If I had just been someone who didn’t know anything about intestinal flora I would have just taken the antibiotic (which it turned out I didn’t need at all) and not questioned anything, and then had to deal with a gut imbalance for however long going forward, and all the implications that go with that.  Stupid medical establishment.  Thanks for the inhaler though.

I’m definitely in the throes of PMS.  I hate it.  I keep telling myself to just not think – keep distracting myself – because none of it is real.  The hatred I feel toward some people right now…not real.  The despair I feel about my job right now…well, that might be real, but it becomes overwhelming when I’m “hormonal”.  Just get through the day.  Just get through the day.  Actually watched TV last night.  For like 3 hours.  An effort to distract myself.  It worked.

Here’s a thought I had yesterday.  Maybe the stress associated with having “horrible”  hormonal balance actually increases cortisol.  I mean, when my Pg and E2 are off I feel angry, sad, and anxious.  Maybe by getting my hormones in order I’ll also be able to get my adrenals in order.  I know it’s not as simple as all that.  I still need to learn to manage psychological stress better.  But man…that would be a good start.

Speaking of anger and toxic emotions, I’m a little annoyed at Dr. K. today.  In the comments of his latest blog post he’s now saying that coconut oil is NOT for everyone and that saturated fats should not be eaten all the time – not because of heart-clogging properties, but because it competes in your body with DHA, and you want DHA to be the winner.  I understand that his theory is probably evolving as he does all of these blog posts and consults.  And I wish he could just say that…that his theory is evolving as he learns more.  But instead he says he’s known this for the last 7 years…”  And when people ask him to resolve the discrepancies between his statements now and those made months ago he says something passive like, “Well it depends on your labs.”

I feel sometimes like he’s my crazy genius uncle who shows up drunk to Thanksgiving every now and then.  Gotta love the man, and I respect his intellect and his efforts very much.  But, like everyone, he’s not perfect.

Collecting Data and Refining the Diet

CT yesterday was 30 minutes at 50 deg F.  It was fair.  I’d give it a 3 out of 5.  Being 2 days further in my luteal phase than the last CB (which felt too frigid to finish), there’s not a lot of support for the idea so far that cold tolerance decreases as a woman gets closer to getting her period (which finally showed up late yesterday, by the way…17 days late…).

Mood yesterday was fine.  I’m excited to be collecting data on all this stuff now.  After a few months I’ll have loads of cool graphs to post.  I now collect data on all kinds of stuff using Bento for the iPad (the app is on sale for only $5 till the end of July!).  Here’s what I’m currently collecting data on:

  • Hours of sleep
  • Sleep quality
  • Mood
  • Energy Level
  • AM Satiety
  • PM Satiety
  • Caffeine intake
  • Whether I ate any of the following: Dairy, sugar, grains, alcohol, snacks, MSG, or nightshades
  • Whether or not I had my BAB
  • Meal contents
  • Reactions after meals: (pain, apathy/depression, bloating/gas/GI distress, anxiety/irritability, tired/sleepy, cravings)
  • Whether or not I have my period or PMS
  • CT (duration, rating (1-5) of the experience, core temp before, water temp)

I wish my whole life was studying nutrition and health and collecting data.  That’s how much I like it.  Ok, and having a family too.

Found out yesterday my favorite pastured pork chops from the farmer’s market are slathered in MSG.  I should have known because they’re so good and they come pre-seasoned.  Fortunately they stamp the ingredients right on the paper wrapping…there it was..the 5th ingredient…monosodium glutamate.  Didn’t even try to hide it under the guise of “Natural Flavors”.  I was in the middle of cooking them up when I realized it…and told myself, “Well, having it one more time won’t hurt…” but then I got over it and didn’t eat them.  Won’t be buying those again.  It’s ok, really…I should be eating more seafood anyway.  But really…where else is this crap hiding?  My diet is becoming very simple these days. The next thing I’ll probably be giving up is the chicken I’ve been eating. This stuff isn’t organic, but it’s not really conventional either, and it says no hormones/antibiotics/MSG, etc. I should probably just stick to grass fed meat, eggs, wild-caught seafood, veggies, and fat…and be done with it.  It’s lacking in variety, but if the processing behind these foods is what’s keeping me from losing weight I need to eliminate them.

So that’s it then.  No more processed food till I figure out what’s up with my body.  It’ll be difficult in some social situations, but I’ll just have to figure it out.

Hormones, Parenting, and No CT

I skipped CT last night.  I felt tired all day yesterday and after a long day of driving, socializing, and toddler-care, didn’t want to do anything resembling being responsible.  So I watched a not-bad movie about food addiction, and then went to bed.  I barely had the energy to get under the covers.   Serious fatigue.  The hormonal madness wasn’t over yet either…had a fight with my husband (94% my fault).  At least it was short.  Unfortunately I think I inadvertently taught my daughter to curse.  It really sucks, losing it like that.  I’m trying to get my health in order as much for her as for me.  More, actually.

I baked up a couple pounds of cod yesterday and ate it for dinner and also breakfast today.  I has about 1/3 as much omega 3 oil as salmon, so I may not be buying it much in the future, but I had it already thawed and ready to go.  Anything to boost my cold tolerance.  I suspect the problem I had a couple days ago is less about omega 3s and more about hormones, though – specifically, low progesterone.  That’s what causes all the mood symptoms associated with PMS, right?  I really need to fix this hormone issue.  It’s affecting my relationships, and my ability to enjoy my life and my job. That’s how much these few days a month sucks.

I’m also feeling very deprived of alone-time and time for things I think are fun and relaxing.  It seems very much like I have too much to do – all work and no play makes Lanie a dull girl. Not sure what to do about that.

Baby’s tugging at arm to go do a puzzle with her.

Gotta go.

Any parents reading this?  At what point in a child’s development does a parent get their life back a little?