Back on the Wagon – Day 1

Shortly after my last post in June, I completely crashed. I have several mental illnesses and succumbed to such a deep depression, that I had to be hospitalized and re-medicated (I’d gone for nearly 2 years un-medicated). I spent 10 days in the psych ward and they didn’t care that I was on a low-carb diet. I was told to eat what I was given or not eat at all, and by not eating at all, I would be put into isolation and on suicide watch. Needless to say, after two days of barely eating anything because most of the food was high in carbs, I ate what I was given. Once again, I’ve gone nearly two months one a semi-lchf diet. Today I’ve rededicated myself to the LCHF diet.

Here are the whys of it all:

  1. My bs readings have again been off the wall – low 400s most days. Today, I managed to lower my bs by 145 points by sticking to LCHF without taking any insulin
  2. The edema in my feet has been out of control. Today, for the first time all summer, I’ve had no puffy feet.
  3. The neuropathy pain has just gotten worse. Today has been my first pain-free day all summer.
  4. I’ve felt more mentally alert today. Not even my medication has over-secreted brain fog.

Today has actually been a no carb, no protein day. I’ve only had two cups of BPC with unsweetened almond milk, coconut oil and Kerrygold butter. I have to stay away from the stevia. Although it doesn’t increase my bs on its own, it does make me crave carbs. There are too many sweets and bread in the house thanks to Dad and brother, so I cannot allow anything to cause cravings.

It sucks to go through all of the “low carb” symptoms again though. The dizziness and the lethargy. I’ve got my electrolytes though, so that has helped tremendously. I also received a late evening energy boost from the fat. Hence, why I am able to sit here and write these notes.

Tomorrow, I will eat a salad with egg for my dinner meal, but only BPC before that. I want to see what happens when I add some veggies and protein back into my diet. If it goes ok, I will continue that route. If not, I will probably do the fat fast for a few more days.

 

LCHF Week 14 – Health Observations (Nov. 26 – Dec. 2)

It’s been 2 weeks since my last update. I fell off the wagon a bit (went out of ketosis) during the Thanksgiving weekend because I indulged in a small slice of chocolate pudding pie. It was bad. Caused my BGLs to go into the 300s and stayed high for about 5 days. I’ve learned my lesson well. And as a result, I’ve had to go back on insulin. *sighs* Oh well, we live and learn and this is a learning experience! Onward to the updates:

  1. I’ve decided to give up the BPCs. I love them, I really do, but I’ve decided to get my fats from real foods instead of just eating pure fat. So I am upping my intake of avocados and olives. I will still be using coconut oil and butter, but in my cooking only.
  2. I am keeping my protein at around 50 grams per day because too much keeps spiking insulin and increasing my BGLs. As a result, I have been eating less fish because it is so high in protein and lower in fat. The only exceptions are tuna, trout, salmon and sardines. However, I am limiting these to about 3 grams servings. I will be adding pork and beef back to my diet, but again at only 3 grams servings. Eggs are still my best friend and I eat 2-3 of these at a meal.
  3. I am avoiding the scale. It’s not that I am not losing weight, but I have learned that my weight shifts quite a bit. Some days I am down 2-3 lbs, other days back up again. This is a motivation-buster. Instead, I am measuring my waist. Down 4 inches! I read somewhere that each inch is about 5 lbs of weight loss, so yes, I am down 20 lbs. I was able to get back into some clothes that I haven’t worn in about 3-4 years and that is a motivation-enhancer!
  4. My energy levels are still high, my mood enhanced, my brain is sharper, my eyesight is great and especially the night vision, hair and skin still soft and shiny, pain in my body still greatly reduced… so all systems are a go!
  5. Constipation has not been an issue since I add psyllium husk to my diet. I plan to add chia seeds to my diet soon (with coconut milk, yum!) because of all of the great benefits I have read about them in regards to fiber.
  6. I am drinking much more water and green tea these days. Giving coffee a slight rest (still having 1-2 cups per day though).
  7. Sleep is still a bit of an issue for me. Some days I sleep well, others not so well. I have cut out all caffeine after 4 pm and this does seem to help some. Now if I can just get on a regular sleeping pattern. That is the hardest part.
  8. I am still having some issues with the neuropathy in my feet, but this does seem to be improving. I started taking my B-vitamins at night which seems to be helping.

Well, that about does it for this update. On a good end-note, one of my cousins came to visit recently and he said he could tell a definite change in my weight and overall health. Yay! A big score there.

 

LCHF Week Five – Health Observations (Sept. 24 – 30, 2015)

Strange things have been happening this week, so I will dive straight in

  1. My fasting BGLs have been between 145-165 almost every morning. I have no idea what is causing this. I have been doing IF (Intermittent Fasting) from 12-16 hrs each day and I wonder if my body is just so insulin resistant that it has gone haywire trying to find something to burn for fuel since I am keeping my carbs below 20 grams each day. It is supposed to be going to the next best thing for fuel, fat, but is it actually burning proteins instead? I hope not. I need that for muscles.
  2. The good news is that after I eat, up to 2 hrs later, my BGLs have been coming down to 99-117. That is a good sign that my body is actually processing glucose correctly.
  3. The neuropathy in my feet has been insane this past week. I’ve been experiencing a lot of burning. Soaking in cool water and then applying some Aloe Burn relief gel has been helping some.
  4. No aches and pains this week. Which is a godsend.
  5. I don’t know what my weight is yet. I have lost 5 lbs on my last weigh-in which was 8 days ago. I go to see my GP tomorrow, so will have my numbers to report in then.
  6. I’ve been experiencing an overall heating sensation with my body. It doesn’t begin until I have that BPC in the morning with the coconut oil in it. I am wondering if it has anything to do with the coconut oil, or if I am experiencing hot flashes due to menopause. Either way, it is not really bothering me and I am not sweating a lot, just fell overly warm.
  7. I still cannot get over how soft my skin has gotten. I still have some dry spots, like on my legs, but my face, hands and arms are super soft and look so much younger than my 49 years.
  8. I’ve slept more this past week, averaging about 10 hrs of sleep per night. This has kept me from taking naps during the day. I don’t really miss the napping as my overall energy levels are still pretty high.
  9. I’ve cut back to just having BPC in the morning and then eating around 2-3 in the evening. I am staying full all day and haven’t felt the need to snack or even eat more than the 2 meals.
  10. I began taking some sea salt in the morning to help the dizziness and taking ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) at night. Both of these seem to be helping me keep my body hydrated and blood sugar under control a bit.
  11. Overall, my mood has stayed high, I have more energy, my eye sight continues to do better especially at night, and I just feel better.

Some tools that I have been using along with this WOE are dietdoctor.com, watching videos by Dr. Jason Fung and Gary Taubes on Youtube, and sticking with my macros and caloric intake on FatSecret. So far, so good! I will post my test results tomorrow when I return from the doc.

LCHF Week Four – Health Observations (Sept. 17 – 23, 2015)

There’s not much to report this week, just a few things that have been different than the weeks before.

  1. I began having constipation issues about 6 days ago. I thought maybe it was the BPC because it was the only change I had made. I stopped drinking it for two days, but that still didn’t help. I drank it the next morning and BAM! Bowel movement. Still don’t know what caused it, but I am regular again.
  2. I am experiencing the aches in my hips again. I haven’t changed my diet that much, so I have no explanation for it.
  3. The neuropathy has worsened also. No explanation for it either.
  4. My BGL has been up and down like crazy. I was having some extreme lows, so I dropped the amount of Levimer and Novolog on my own. Keeping an eye on my BGLs to make sure they don’t go high again. Mornings seem to be the highest. Was told that maybe I am making cortisol in the night. Not the best thing for wanting to lose fat.
  5. Still eating 2 meals a day and doing the BPC early mornings. Still averaging around 1700 calories because of the high fat in the BPC (around 650 calories just for it). Not sure if that is slowing the weight loss, but I’ve only lost 5 lbs in a month.
  6. I am sleeping longer hours, but I am also taking the amitriptyline for the neuropathy and that makes me sleep. Getting around 8-12 hrs of sleep the past 4 days.
  7. I’ve had a few occasions of indigestion and even one acid reflux attack. Still better than what I was dealing with before beginning this WOE.
  8. My mood has remained high. No depression or even feeling low.

I do plan to add more walks to my regiment of weight lifting and tai chi. Cutting back on the number of eggs I eat a day from 3 to 2 in order to get my overall caloric intake down. I’d like to get to under 1500, but not sure that is feasible unless I just have the BPC and one meal per day. Fat is still the highest on my macros and I am managing to keep carb intake to under 20 still.

My biggest challenge this past week has been avoiding the donuts and cookies that my dad insists on keeping in the house in plain sight so that I see them constantly. Thankfully, my will power is holding out and I haven’t gone off plan.

I have added a sea salt and lemon drink to my morning routine. I haven’t had any dizzy spells since adding it. Still using reg table salt with iodine added to salt my foods so I don’t run low on iodine.

Overall, I think I am doing well still with this WOE. No cravings, despite the temptations.

Neuropathy — You Evil Beast!

I know that neuropathy has nothing to do with LCHF eating. However, I am diabetic and I DO have neuropathy, so I will be discussing this insanely aggravating, painful dis~ease.

There are a number of ways that neuropathy becomes a problem:

  1. Consistent high glucose levels over a period of time
  2. Chemotherapy
  3. injuries
  4. surgeries

There are probably others, but these are the ones I have learned about through my research. Basically, those little nerve endings no longer do their jobs, misfire, or are just dead (usually results in amputation). My research has shown that once they are gone, they do not grow back. Those of us with neuropathy will only continue to have more pain. However, I have been doing some research that shows that R-Alpha Lipoic Acid can improve those nerve endings that are still there, but just misfiring. I’ve just begun taking it, so I will have to let you know later on if it works.

I have noticed that since I gave up “bad” carbs, the pain in my feet (where most of my neuropathy is) has lessened. I still have some sharp needle-like jabs now and again, but not the constant aching as before. I am hoping that as I continue with this WOE, the pain will lessen even more.

Here are some things I have found that helps with the pain when I do have it:

  1. compression hose – since I also get swelling in my feet and ankles, these have greatly decreased both the swelling and the pain.
  2. Magnesium – I take 1000 mgs at night and it keeps the jumping, racing feeling in both my feet and legs (I have RLS too) from occurring. I take it about 30 mins before bedtime and it does help.
  3.  Topicals – A good general topical that I have found that works (when feet are just achy but not cold or burning) is Amish Origins Deep Penetrating Pain Relief Ointment. It is a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way. If my feet are freezing and painful, I use Capzasin-HP. Again, it is also a little pricey, but it heats up my feet and keeps the pain down for a little while so I can sleep. And finally, when I get that burning feeling in my feet, I use Aloe Sunburn Relief gel. It is very cheap and can be found at Walmart and some Dollar Stores. It soothes my feet and calms down the burning feeling.

I know I will always have this dis~ease, but I am grateful that I have found some products to reduce the pain and maybe help maintain the few nerve endings I have left. If anyone knows of any other products to help with this painful dis~ease, please let me know in comments.

LCHF Week One: Health Observations (August 27 — September 2, 2015)

Here is a list of observations I have made on my health since beginning the LCHF WOE on Aug. 27th:

  1. My glucose levels have come down drastically. Morning fasting numbers range from 80-115. Before each meals, my numbers have not been above 135 and are usually around 115. Two hours after meals, my numbers have been as low as 98, but never higher than 135. Before bedtime, no higher than 130 and often as low as 80. Before this, my numbers ranged from 175 at the lowest to as high as in the 300s.
  2. I have been averaging about 2 meals a day (breakfast and dinner) with maybe a snack before bedtime, if needed. I stay full for up to 6+ hours now.
  3. I have had no cravings for sweets or breads (my main weakness).
  4. Before this WOE, I had episodes of severe constipation. Eliminations came about 2-3 times a WEEK. Now I have eliminations on average of 2 times per DAY.
  5. Allergies have reduced. Less frequent sneezing fits, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches.
  6. I now sleep on average of 6 hours per day and usually in 3 hour implements. Three hours between the hours of (10/11 pm to 1/2 am and 11 am/12 pm to 2/3 pm). I have more energy.
  7. My mood is elevated (suffer from depression and anxiety), I am less fatigued during the day, very little brain fog, and clearer focus.
  8. My night vision has greatly improved and my overall eyesight is sharper.
  9. Very little acid reflux unless I eat too many acidic foods like tomato sauce.
  10. My hair is shinier, my skin is smoother, my nails are growing better and not brittle, my joints are looser, very little swelling in my ankles and feet, and the pain is minimal from the neuropathy in my feet.

How This Journey Began — My Story

When I was 35 (back 14 yrs ago), I weighed 307 lbs and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Here is me at 307 lbs.

at307lbs

All the doctor told me was to take these pills (metformin and glipizide) and cut out sugar and processed sugary foods. I struggled over a period of 6 years to lose 60 lbs on various diets — Vegetarian, Lower Carb/Low Fat, Weight Watchers, and a few I made up myself. The results was a slow weight loss and increasingly high blood glucose levels. In 2005, I was put on two insulins, Levimer (slow acting) and Novalog (fast acting). Even being on metformin and these insulins, I struggled to keep my blood glucose levels down and kept gaining weight from the increases in insulin. My overall cholesterol was high and I was gradually feeling the effects of neuropathy in both of my feet. Needless to say, I was a mess.

Before I get to how I came around to the LCHF diet, let me tell you about my own experiences with dietitians and nutritionists. The current  ADA standard guidelines are 45 gm of carbs per meal for women and 60 gm for men. It is suggested that you eat 3 meals per day plus up to two snacks per day (15 gm for women, up to 25 for men). I was told to eat low fat and lean proteins. I could chose from whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, fruits in moderation, low fat dairy, and of course lean mean meats like chicken and fish, to go easy on beef and pork, not to eat too many eggs, and use oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil and margarine, definitely no butter and as little animal fat as possible. Saturated fats was a no-no. Mono and Poly fats were the way to go.

The effects of this diet were devastating! Not only did my blood glucose levels stay high (175-300 on average), but my cholesterol continued to climb, my hair became brittle and began falling out, my skin was ultra dry, I began having severe joint pain and the pain in my feet from neuropathy was excruciating!

Just a note: I did not overindulge in cakes, cookies, candy, pies, white breads, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. I ate a few of those, according to the guidelines, in moderation. I was told that if I wanted a sweet, to save my carbs for such things. If I wanted rice, switch to brown —  I did so. If I wanted pasta, switch to whole wheat — I did so. If I wanted potatoes, eat sweet potatoes — I did so. If I wanted bread, switch to whole grains — I did so. As long as I stuck to the 45 for meals and the 15 for snacks, I would be okay. I was NOT okay! And I have NOT been okay for the last 14 years eating this way.

On August the 27th of this year, I decided to make a drastic lifestyle change in hopes of saving what’s left a good life for myself. I began doing some extensive research into Low Carb eating. I’ve known for a while that eating fewer carbs helped my blood glucose levels. I’d already begun to cut back on carbs, eating on average of 50-75 gms per day, as opposed to the 150-165 gms as recommended by the dietitians and nutritionists. I was still doing the low fat and lean meats. I stayed hungry all the time and craved carbs like crazy! This led me to further research and lo and behold I came up with the solution: High Fats! But not just any kinds of fats — coconut oil, olive oil, butter, avocados, and animal fats (I will discuss fats further in another post). I also learned that when you lower your carbs, you must add fat! My carbs are now 20 gm per DAY or lower. I’ve continued to eat the leaner meats, in moderation.

The results have been amazing! My blood glucose is in the “normal” ranges now (80-140) at any time during the day and as of today (9/2/15), I’ve only been on this WOE for 7 days! I will be making a post later about my observations from the first 7 days of this diet, so stay tuned for that. I have no idea how this is affecting my cholesterol, my A1c or if I have lost any weight. I will be seeing my PCP on Oct. 1st and will post my lab results then.

I do recognize that the LCHF WOE is NOT a fad diet. I will have to eat this way for the remainder of my life if I want to maintain healthy weight and glucose levels. I am in this for the long haul.

Note of Caution: It is not recommended that Type 1 diabetics eat a LCHF diet due to possible low blood sugar readings.