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.

The Great Garlic Experiment – Day 3

Well, aside from actually eating garlic 3x a day, I feel completely normal today.

Mood is good – not over the top, but a solid “good”.

Body feels fine.

Still aware of what I’m now unscientifically calling my enlarged spleen.  But it seemed more enlarged yesterday.

I still don’t stink, according to my husband.  Not really much gas either, which I expected considering that garlic contains inulin, a prebiotic fiber that should be feeding good bacteria in the colon.

Bathroom requirements and habits are unchanged.

I wonder if my “domestic organic” garlic is indeed what it says it is.  What if I have garlic that was surreptitiously irradiated?  Maybe I’ll find and try a new garlic for tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll up my probiotics to 2 tablets per day.

In any case, I’ll continue this for 7 days.

That is all.

A New Phase

Welcome to Lanie’s House of Surly.  I seem to have taken a turn from depressed to irritable.  Two sides of the same coin, I suppose.  At least this way I can get some things done.  Depression sucks.

Know what else sucks?  High blood pressure.  It seems to me, after a month of being on beta blockers, including a failed attempt to get off of them, that they do nothing for me and I can manage this bitch completely by better managing my intake of minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium).  I just took my blood pressure.  159/91.  That’s on beta blockers, and with NOT watching mineral intake for a week.  (And my meter measures low, by the way.)  That’s eating a generally healthy diet, not using the salt shaker, but not being so obsessive about it that I avoid all food that contains sodium.  I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, and I think I’m going to be informing her that it is NOT “fine to just stop taking [beta blockers]” after taking them for only 3 weeks, and that I’d like a diuretic instead.  As well as a better plan to get off of these physically addictive craptastic pills without sending my adrenaline and blood pressure to the moon.

I’ve been reading Ray Medina’s blog lately.  Very interesting stuff, and he seems to be just a regular person – not a scientist or a doctor – just a guy who has done a ton of his own research on the role of gut bacteria in health.  Just like Ray Peat seems to think everything comes back to the thyroid, Ray Medina blames the ills of society on pathogenic gut bacteria.  I don’t know who’s right, but RM makes a lot of sense.  He seems to recommend a gut-healthy diet, something along the lines of Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet, which is basically Paleo plus “safe starches”.  Yeah, I tried eating “safe starches” and I haven’t felt happy since.  After spending hours reading his blog and not finding answers to my specific issues, I wrote to him to ask:

Q: Is there such thing as a pathogenic bacteria that may cause an endotoxin problem only in the presence of starches?

A: Interesting question.

Gut pathogens, like most living organisms, utilize glucose and iron for their metabolism, although not all. Lactobacillus bacteria, for example, do not require iron for growth. Other pathogens like Candida can utilize both glucose and ketones for their metabolism. I suspect this is why so many low-carb dieters are beset by yeast infections even when glucose intake is low.

It’s impossible for me to tell whether your problem is caused by bacteria or yeast. It may be one, the other, or both.

We know that lipopolysaccharides can initiate the inflammatory cascade that results in depression. Translocation of these types of gram-negative bacterial components to systemic circulation is dependent on their concentration in the gut, whether they are kept in check by beneficial bacteria, the condition of the mucus that coats the digestive tract, the state of the cells lining the gut wall, and the tight junction proteins that bind them together.

Best regards,

Ray

He states on his site that he’s not all about giving people medical advice, so I was pretty happy he even wrote back.  What I take from his answer is that lipopolysaccharides (LPS, also known as endotoxin) can cause depression.  Various factors, such as the balance of good bacteria vs. bad and gut leakiness have a lot to do with whether they become problematic.  Ray Peat says basically the same thing, and recommends eating a raw carrot salad daily to address this (antibacterial carrot + oil + vinegar).  Ray Medina stated also that yeast may be playing a role.

Who the hell knows.

I’m not sure what to do about this.  Medina recommends a probiotic (he has his own, the production of which has been discontinued) and there are others he seems to think highly of. None are the soil-based probiotics recommended by Nikoley and crew.  The challenge with probiotics seems to be getting the microbes to survive the stomach acid, which kills most of what we ingest. I ordered one of the last 5 bottles produced by Medina himself.  Add it to the collection.

In other news, I got a Fitbit Flex for my birthday yesterday.  I’ve walked 7800 steps today.  That doesn’t include the steps during which I was pushing a stroller, because apparently it doesn’t count those.  Awesome.

Ok, I’ve lost interest in writing.  Time to go be surly somewhere else.

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.

Gut Health Update

Last time I took probiotics was when I was trying to do The Plan.  The author of the book recommended a good probiotic, and I went out and got one.  I took them for 2 days, and they made me feel terrible – TMI, but I was in the bathroom a lot.  I stopped taking them but kept them in the refrigerator for the last 4 months, hoping to use them at some point because they were really expensive – like a dollar a pill or something.  I mean, they were like the Rolls Royce of probiotics.  I figured I wasn’t up to the probiotic challenge, but didn’t think about it too much.  This was after my first round of antibiotics, but oddly I didn’t connect the two.  I blamed the probiotics for being too strong.

So now, in my quest to have a fabulously functioning gut I’ve begun to take them again.  I take them with a teaspoon of potato starch, which is a prebiotic (food for bacteria).  So I send them down the hatch with a nice meal for the little guys…and now, 4 days in, no worries.  Hm.  No GI distress, no problems.  Interesting.

I’m going to continue in this manner for a full week.  At that point I’ll continue taking them but will increase the amount of potato starch again.

That’s the plan.   Till tomorrow.