Update on My LCHF WOE

It has been a LONG time since I have updated this blog. The biggest reason is that I fell off the wagon for many months. Christmas broke me completely. Yes, it has been that long. Not only did my family make tons of sugary, starchy treats, but extended family and friends contributed to the mix as they came visiting. It all became too much for me with all that sugar and starch in the house and I succumbed to the Carb Collective.

I tried to get back on the WOE in January, but only half-managed. By April, it was clear that I had totally blown it. The little bit of weight that I had initially lost (11 lbs) hadn’t come back, but I was at a clear standstill. May came and went and saw my blood glucose levels completely out of control. Some days the levels soared into the 400s. I only take my basal insulin these days (slow acting) and metformin and not the fast acting insulin because too much insulin actually makes me crave carbs, and we are not talking the good for me carbs like veggies either.

So beginning yesterday, I have rededicated myself to the LCHF WOE. I have made tweaks to the diet for me because of my blood glucose levels. Here is how I am eating now:

  1. lots of raw leafy green vegetables (up to 5-6 cups per day) – a variety of lettuces, cabbages, spinach, kale, and dandelion greens (picked straight from my yard!) – I make a huge bowl of these chopped and eat a salad a couple of times a day
  2. Other raw veggies (about 1/2-1 cup per day) – cucumber, red/green/yellow/orange peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes (less than 1/4 cup per day), onions (about 1 tbsp chopped), mushrooms – I cut these up into a huge bowl and add a mixture to my greens salad
  3. 3-6 ozs of protein per meal – eggs, tuna, trout, salmon, bacon, pork chops, small amounts of beef, and dark meat chicken
  4. I still eat some cooked vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower, but I am limiting those to about 1/2 cup at a meal once or twice a week.
  5. I am getting my fats from HWC in my coffee, MCT oil (I use this for a salad dressing with ACV), coconut oil (for frying and sauteing), fatty meats and small amounts of grass-fed butter.

So far I am eating a lot of salads with protein added. I do plan to eat some soups later on this summer as the vegetables start coming in from the garden. The biggest change that I have made is eating more raw veggies and only a moderate amount of protein (too much spikes my bs levels). I am keeping the fats still fairly high, but not consuming as much dairy as before – just the HWC in my coffee and the small amounts of grass-fed butter.

How has this affected my BS readings? Well, on May 30th my BS (at its highest) was 404. Yep, that was before I rededicated myself and the last bad carb I ate was a chocolate cookie. Today, after eating the raw salads for a couple of days, my BS reading was 179.

I am not aiming to lose weight this time around. If it happens, then I will celebrate. I grew too frustrated before when the weight didn’t come off as it was for everyone else and that is why I went off of the diet.  My main goal now is just to keep my blood sugar levels down.

Strange Observations #5

Pork Rinds – I have always enjoyed eating these, long before I began this WOE. I always preferred the BBQ flavored ones to the plain. However, there are three little items in the BBQ flavored ones that I avoid now: dextrose, MSG, and maltodextrin. Two are sugars and the MSG, well it is just an evil monster hidden in foods that cause you to want to eat and eat and eat the product because it “enhances the flavor” and screws with your taste buds. I used to consume a whole 12 oz bag of BBQ Pork Rinds in one sitting!

I’ve noticed though that I am enjoying the flavor of just the plain ones now. I guess my taste buds are changing with this WOE and the BBQ ones (ate just one of my dad’s yesterday) now just taste nasty to me. I also don’t feel the urge to just over-consume on the plain ones. Now I can just snack on like 5 or 6 rinds and feel totally satisfied.

I get my crunch on and don’t go off plan!

Shopping Excursion (09-11-2015)

Yesterday, I went in search of LCHF appropriate foods at my local Walmart and Krogers. This was not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. I envy people who have Trader Joes and Whole Food stores readily available to them. I also long for the days when I was able to work, make a decent paycheck and could afford good quality foods every week. Sadly, this is no longer the case for me. I am on disability and have at most $350 to spend per MONTH on food I can eat. So for me, it really came down to choices, availability, and price.

Choices – I live in a small rural area. Walmart, Krogers and Foodlion are the closest grocers available to me without driving 45mins to an hour to get to a Whole Foods. The choices for organic, grass-fed, free-range and GMO-free foods are near impossible to find. I do admit that there are more and more organic foods being introduced in my area, but they are pricey (will go into that in a moment) and not as much variety.

Availability – As I alluded to above, there just isn’t that much “good for me” stuff available and what is available is in smaller amounts. At my local Krogers (where I do most of my shopping), I counted 5 available fresh organic vegetables – celery, avocados, squash, lettuce/spinach, and broccoli. That was it! In the freezer section, all they had was peas, carrots, and broccoli, in combo bags. Peas and carrots are not LCHF appropriate foods. There were no available grass-fed varieties of meats at Krogers, and only ground bison available at Walmart. There are free-range eggs available at both.

Price – Since I am on a very tight budget, and since there is such a limited availability and choices of organic, grass-fed, free-range, non-GMO foods, there is none of the price reductions you would see at Trader Joes and Whole Foods where they are able to get mass amounts to keep prices lower. When faced with the dilemma of buying 1 cartons of 18 ct. reg eggs @$3.39 each or 1 cartons of 12 ct. organic, free-range eggs @4.99 each, I am afraid I would have to go with reg eggs and just hope for the best. This problem also arose with meats, vegetables, and some dairies. There is just no way on my limited budget with limited availability that I can afford to eat organic, grass-fed, free-range, non-GMO foods.

Did I mention that I do not have the available transportation to get to a Whole Foods? Well, I don’t. No car of my own and no available alternate transportation (bus or train). So a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

My grocery cart:

At Walmart – 8 bags of regular pork rinds (bought them out), package of pork steaks (4 to a package), 2 large bags of vegetables (1 just broccoli, the other a Normandy mix), 2 family size bags of brussel sprouts, 1 bag of mixed mushrooms, 2 jars of Dukes mayonnaise, and a package of sausage patties (12 patties – only one I could find without added sugars). There were a few other non-food items tossed in, but I ended up spending about $90 at Walmart.

At Krogers – 3x3lb ground beef (75/25 fat), 5 packages of smoked sausages (on sale), a whole chicken, chicken thighs with skin (4 to a pack), ham steak, 4 packages of bacon, 3 cartons of 18 ct eggs, 2 quarts of HWC, 3 packs of butter (sorry, no grass-fed Kerrygold here), a variety of whole fat cheeses, 4 packages of cream cheese, 2 containers of whole fat sour cream, 10 cans of chunk light tuna, 3 lg cans of salmon, 2 cans of corned beef (no hash), 2 jars of coconut oil, 1 jar of alfredo sauce, 4 packs of frozen spinach (so I don’t waste the spinach!), 4 avocados, a bag of romaine lettuce (3 to a bag), a small head of cabbage, celery, some spices, and 3 bags of pork rinds (bought them out too). Total came to $213. That leaves me with just a little over $40 in case I need something desperately at the store later in the month.

Things I wanted, but could not afford/find, etc.:

  • steak – lots available, but the price was just too high
  • corned beef brisket – price was just too high
  • bone-in pork chops – price was too high
  • cauliflower – zero available as just cauliflower in the frozen section, available fresh looked like they were on their last legs
  • zucchini/squash – just not enough money left over for them
  • other spices – OMG! the prices on spices is outrageous!
  • grass-fed beef – none available

Well, so that was my excursion. It is very difficult to find “good” foods in my area. It is even harder to afford the few I did find. So I will just have to be satisfied with my frankenfoods and pray that I get enough real nutrition between what I eat and the supplements that I take.

LCHF Week Two: Health Observations (Sept 3 – 9, 2015)

A list of health observations for week two of this WOE:

  1. My glucose levels have gone as high as 165 (before dinner) and as low as 74 (at morning fast) this week. So I am still not getting excellent control as I would like. I contribute this to the lessening amounts of coconut oil in my diet this week. Still taking the same amounts of both insulins and the Janumet. I still have 3 weeks before I see the doc, but if something doesn’t change, there is no way he will be reducing my meds.
  2. I’ve had a couple bouts of nearly 2 day insomnia attacks this week. Staying awake the first time for 46 hrs and 44 hrs the second time with only on average of about 4 hrs sleep in between. The past two days, however, I have been sleeping a bit more, around 5 hrs per day.
  3. Although the overall pain in my body has decreased (like in both hips and lower back), I am still having a few issues with the upper left side of my back just below the shoulder blade (long story about how THAT happened).
  4. A couple of days this week, I have actually felt hungry, like insatiably hungry! I contribute this to my attempt to stretch out the last bit of coconut oil that I have and therefore not consuming as much of it and more of butter. Butter does not seem to stave off my hunger like coconut oil does. I have managed to stay on plan though and when hungry, only eating protein. (Dad’s cookies have only barely tempted me once, and I smacked my hand and said, “They are poison!” and walked away)
  5. My skin is continuing to get smooth and I don’t have to even use as much lotion on my hands and feet now.
  6. I’ve noticed a bit of hair loss. I’ve been told that can happen on this WOE. Something about needing to up my protein levels to prevent that, I think. Must do more research on this. I’ve been completely bald from chemo and my hair is just now getting a nice length to it again, so I don’t want to lose it again.
  7. On a couple of occasions, I have actually felt like the nerves in my feet are trying to work correctly. There has been a reduction in numbness and tingling, but this feeling only lasted a few minutes and then they went numb again.
  8. I am still continuing to have daily (sometimes up to 3 per day) eliminations. Today has been only one. Again, I contribute this to less amounts of coconut oil. It has been wonderful to not be dealing with constipation.
  9. My mood has continued to stay elevated. I haven’t felt depressed, anxious, or out of sorts.
  10. Before I began eating this way, the connective tissue under both of my knees felt strange. Almost like they were hardening? I really don’t know how to explain it. After 2 weeks of LCHF though, they feel smooth and elastic again.
  11. I am getting anxious to know if I have lost any weight. October 1st seems so far away, which is when I will be getting weighed at the doc’s office. It does feel like I’ve lost some inches in my stomach. Before LCHF, my midsection felt hard, flabby but hard, if that makes any sense. Now it is soft, like doughy, and yes, still flabby. It is where I carry most of my weight.
  12. I’ve not had nearly as much swelling in my feet this past week. That is probably due to water weight loss, which I am told is the first to go on this WOE.
  13. I have become obsessed with the bones in both wrists and my collarbone. I can actually feel and see them now. Strange, I know, but it’s been so long since I have seen or felt either and I am strangely intrigued by this.
  14. I am hoping that with the lessening of overall pain in my joints and my feet from the neuropathy, that I will soon be able to get out and do some walking. I miss walking. It was my favorite means of exercise.

Strange Observations #3

Sleep… when I was consuming a high carb diet, I slept constantly. Sometimes up to 12 hours per day. I led a mostly sedimentary lifestyle, so yeah, it’s no wonder the weight stayed on and I was tired all the time. Since I began this LCHF WOE, I have only been sleeping about 6 hours per day and usually only in 3 hour implements. The past week, I’ve been sleeping even less than that. The first couple of days I slept maybe 4 hours within a 48 time period. The next few days, 3.5 hours within a 44 hour time period. I was so in need of sleep night before last that I took a 100 mgs of Trazodone. Normally, that would have knocked me out for 8-12 hours. But, I only slept 3.5 hrs.

I explained my dilemma to my brother and he said, “Maybe the high carbs was causing the trazodone to give you that much sleep.” Hmmm, he may be right!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not going into sleep dep or anything like that, just a mild case of insomnia. I just really enjoy sleeping. I love dreaming. Hell, most of the time my dream world has seemed more real than this one. I did manage to get a nice 5 hrs sleep midday yesterday. It felt good, but sadly I don’t remember dreaming.

In further developments, I think I have solved my issue with Chicken. I have been eating skinless, boneless chicken tenders just sauteed in coconut oil with some garlic powder, pepper and salt. And I think the issue is that the chicken is not absorbing any of the coconut oil, or not very much of it, so it is staying a leaner meat. With just some cheese or a pat of butter on my vegetables, I was definitely not getting many grams of fat with my meal. So, I began making chicken salad instead, using a full fat mayonnaise and a full fat sour cream for the dressing and viola! I have not gotten sleepy after eating it! Yay me!

Now to make it through the next two days until payday when I get some really good foods in here to eat!

Onward and upward! Embracing Fat! Loving this WOL!