Potato Starch Day 2: Waiting to Explode

This morning, I mixed a teaspoon of Bob’s Red Mill potato starch into a half cup of full fat goat milk kefir and drank it up.   I’m already getting more used to pungent taste of the Kefir.  I’m still waiting for the gassy bulletproof explosion or crazy sex dreams that I’ve been warned about.  So far neither has happened.

In the afternoon, my new probiotics arrived: Primal Defense Ultra and Prescript-Assist.   I haven’t researched these probiotics much. I’m following the leaders at FreeTheAnimal on this one.  They really look like soil when you break them open.

2014-03-29 07.02.38

I was so excited about the new probiotics and lack of gas that I had to make another kefir drink for dinner. How does “kefir gut bomb” sound?

Mix with immersion blender for frothy goodness.

2014-03-29 07.03.05

Food Diary:

Breakfast: 4oz goat milk kefir, 1tsp potato starch, 2oz butter, 1/2oz MCT oil
Lunch: 2oz sprouted almond/mulberry trail mix, 2oz butter, 1/2oz MCT oil
Dinner: 5oz lamb, homemade broth, 4oz goat milk kefir, 1tsp potato starch, 2oz sprouted trail mix
Snacks: 1/3 bar of dark chocolate, 2oz semi-sweet chocolate, bag of seaweed snacks, few tsp honey, some macadamias, more sprouted trail mix

Total calories: 2476 kcal

Ketosis: Based on the ketostix, I was in a strong ketosis in the evening after dinner.  In the late evening I snacked on some semi-sweet chocolate chips and was not in ketosis in the morning.

Weight: Down 0.8 lbs from 215 to 214.2 between day 2  and 3.  (I’m a 5’8″ male for reference).  Today is also weekly measurement day for me.  242 inches total for 8 sites.

GI: Amazing on both day 2 and day 3.  Zero gas and great BMs with good volume after a month of IBS-D like GI distress.  On day 2/3 at only 2 tsp PS, the credit here goes more to my restricted food choices rather than the potato starch.

FBG:  86mg/dL in the morning of day 3.  This is a great number for me.  After a night with some sweet chocolate I might see a swing in either direction but not today.  Don’t worry I plan to test this with much bigger PS+carb intakes.

The Potato Starch Craze

I dipped a toe into the potato starch craze yesterday.

1/2 tsp of Bob’s Red Mill mixed into half a cup of full fat goat milk kefir.  I used an immersion blender to mix it.  Helps give it a nice froth.

Results: No gas, no bloating, and healthier digestion this morning than I’ve had all week.

Much more to come.  I moved up to 1 tsp this morning. Soil-based probiotics should be arriving in the mail tomorrow.

A Year of Blood Glucose Testing

I’ve been playing with a Precision Xtra glucometer for about a year now. I bought 50 test strips and used them throughout the past year.  My goals were:
  1.  Identify what sort of metabolic damage I have
  2.  Identify a way of eating that will generally keep my blood glucose as low and tight as possible.
I was inspired by this Chris Kresser post:“How to prevent diabetes and heart disease for $16″

“Test your blood sugar first thing in the morning after fasting for at least 12 hours. Drink a little bit of water just after rising, but don’t eat anything or exercise before the test. This is your fasting blood sugar level.

  1. Test your blood sugar again just before lunch.
  2. Eat your typical lunch. Do not eat anything for the next three hours.Test your blood sugar one hour after lunch.
  3. Test your blood sugar two hours after lunch.
  4. Test your blood sugar three hours after lunch.
    …. On the third day, you’re going to do it a little differently. On step 3, instead of eating your typical lunch, you’re going to eat 60 – 70 grams of fast acting carbohydrate.

Then he sets some ideal results (mg/Dl):

Fasting blood glucose: <86
1 hour post carb meal: <140
2 hours post carb meal: <120
3 hours post carb meal: baseline

I was also inspired other N=1 experiments from Jimmy Moore with Nutritional Ketosis and the BJJ Caveman’s work with nutritional ketosis/carb nite.

I did not design a very good experiment though.  I never came close to 3 consistent days of testing like Chris describes.  The data I collected has major problems.  First, I didn’t even consistently test fasting blood glucose as opposed to mid-day or evening readings.   Second, my diet was very inconsistent.

 
Some observations after a year of playing with the glucometer and 50 strips. I used about 25 strips in 2013 and another 25 in 2014.  All numbers are mg/dL:

  • My average BG in 2013 was 92 without much carbohydrate restriction.  Highest BG was 115.
  • My average BG in 2014 was 84 while restricting carbohydrates to <50g on most days.  Highest BG observed was 95.
  • 3-5 days of low carb dieting seems to drop my fasting blood glucose into the 60-70 mg/dL range
  • When eating carbs with each meal, BG seems to float around 100-110 throughout the day
  • When restricting carbs, BG seems to stay much closer to 80.
  • When restricting carbs, the day after a 250g-300g refeed my BG can vary greatly.  It might be 10 points higher than average or it might be 10 points lower than average the next day.
  • 60-70 feels different depending on how many days I have been since a large carbohydrate load. The day after a refeed I might have cold hands/feed and be tired at 65.  3 or 4 days afterwards it might not bother me at all.
HbA1c scores:
  • 5.4 in November 2012
  • 5.2 in May 2013
  • 5.5 in December 2013
I just ordered 100 more glucose strips and 30 blood ketone strips.  I’m looking forward to better using them for some more consistent testing of my cyclical ketogenic diet.

A Year in Unblogged Hacks

I want to provide only well-researched or quantitative material on this blog.  I took a year off blogging to try and achieve those things and to be sure, it’s not going well.  So I’m back anyways and I’ll be sticking to things I excel in: personal experience based on sketchy data and speculation.

Since I’ve been gone I’ve been:

  • Trying out the Precision Nutrition Lean Eating Program
  • Taking an organic chemistry lecture and lab to help me better understand the science of nutrition
  • Experimenting with the “Perfect Health Diet” and long diet break in 2013
  • Experimenting with a cyclical ketogenic diet in 2014
  • Working on my digestive issues
  • Focusing on my sleep
  • Exploring different emotional and psychological strategies
  • Meeting Mark Sisson at PrimalCon Lake Tahoe and Chris Kresser at his book signing in Berkeley
  • Attending meetups in the San Francisco Bay area ranging from Paleo to Biohacking to Futurism

Coming up I’m excited about PaleoFX in a few weeks.  I’m also looking forward to trying my hand at some hands-on biolab work at the Berkeley Biolabs.

How I improved my Cholesterol and Vitamin D levels with WellnessFX

In an earlier post, I describe a blood test I took in November through WellnessFX.  With only a few changes, I have been able to improve some of these markers in just 4 months.

As a reminder, here was my action plan to improve some of the markers:

I switched to a moderate carbohydrate diet based off The Perfect Health Diet in early 2013.  Otherwise I have followed this plan quite well.  I also lost about 5 lbs.

I had a follow-up test done at the end of March and saw some great results.  The second test was not through WellnessFX, but I mocked-up my new scores alongside their original graphics.

Increased Cholesterol

During my WellnessFX consult in November, my practitioner tipped me on to the idea that the low cholesterol that I have had all my life could be the result of malnutrition.  While my physician was not on board with this idea, I was concerned enough about my low HDL and low testosterone to make a change.

For those of you unfamiliar with the idea that cholesterol might not be such a bad thing, I’d recommend this article by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride: “Cholesterol: Friend or Foe?”.  Dr. Mercola also has an article on this topic: “The Truth about High Cholesterol”.

I was already eating copious amounts of saturated animal fats.  In order to improve digestion, I eliminated Gluten from my diet and adding Now Foods Betaine HCL and Now Foods Super Enzymes.  With these two changes, I was able to raise my total cholesterol by 28%.  My new HDL-C score also takes me out of a high risk area for cardiovascular disease.  This increased total cholesterol should provide my body more building materials to create testosterone and other hormones.

Lipids_Feb2013

Increased Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplementation seems to be one of the favorite topics of the Paleosphere and my WellnessFX practitioner felt I should be supplementing.  I used these Green Pastures Cod Liver Oil and Life Extension Vitamin D3 supplements to increase mine 62%.  I do also make an effort to get sun exposure each day.  Unfortunately with the winter temperatures that sun only seems to hit my face, head, and hands.   I may add brief weekly tanning into my wellness regime.

There is another possibility here which is that my low cholesterol was preventing my body from generating sufficient Vitamin D.

Regarding Vitamin D supplementation, Todd Becker makes an excellent point here about how this supplementation could be a bad thing in his post at gettingstronger.com: “Why I don’t take Vitamin D supplements”.    I have to say that I was not amused by getting the stomach flu and a two-week cold over the past few months.  I am also in favor of the most natural way of fixing a problem.  In his other excellent post “An Alternative to Vitamin D supplements”, he suggests calorie restriction, intermittent fasting, brief strenuous exercise, and general hormetic stressors (such as cold showers) as alternatives to Vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin_D_Feb2013

Elevated Liver Enzymes

The final piece of the puzzle during my WellnessFX consult was my Liver Enzyme levels.  My practitioner felt my liver was working overtime to process toxins in my body and suggested Apex Energetics Clearvite-SF, a protein powder designed to help detoxify the liver.  I will confess that this sounded like some new age voodoo magic to me – I am still not comfortable with the generic word “toxins.”   In addition, each serving contains 15g of carbs which did not jive with my low-carb diet.  What I did do was take a Thorne Research SAT capsule each morning.  This product contains Silymarin (milk thisle), Circumin (tumeric), and Cynara (artichoke) – all of which are purported to help the liver.

As you can see from my updated test results, some of my Liver Enzyme tests improved and some worsened.   My action now is to double my dose of the SAT and further reduce my alcohol intake .

I found a great resource “When and How to evaluate mildly elevated liver enzymes in apparently healthy patients”  that also describes Liver enzymes in much more detail.

I would also add that my physician was not concerned about these scores.  I’ve had some slightly out of range Liver enzymes scores like these since my first blood work over a decade ago (they blamed Ephedra back then!) yet I am still keen to try and improve them.

ALT_Feb2013

Is your favorite Nutrition Guru juicing?

I recently read this post “Is HCG the Dirty Little Secret of Low Carbers” at a blog called “The Carb-Sane Asylum.”  In the article the author first speculates that popular paleo blogger Jack Kruse is taking HCG.  She then goes on to discredit another Gurus arguments in favor of Low Carb because that person had taken HCG.   But this is the the kind of thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night and here I am at 3 AM wondering: are my favorite internet gurus juicing?  

As far as I am concerned, any nutrition or fitness guru should be viewed with suspicion like a competitive athlete when it comes to expectations for the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs.  These are people whose careers are based on their own performance and body image.  Many have access to cutting edge medicine.  This means that the advice we consume, especially the results of n=1 self-experimentation, needs to be taken with some suspicion.

Don’t get me wrong, I think they have the right to do whatever they want with their body.  In the same way, they also have the right to keep that use private.  And they also have the right to share their advice.   I believe that their advice can co-exist with their right to privacy.

While I don’t think this is something they should have to disclose, two people stand out to me an examples who are even more credible because they admit to using hormone replacement therapy:

One of my favorite podcasts is the Joe Rogan Experience.  Joe Rogan is a comedian, MMA commentator, and podcast host who is also very interested in health and fitness.  One of his primary advertisers is a company called Onnit that sells nootroptics, supplements, and fitness equipment like kettlebells.  Joe Rogan advertises this gear in every episode, but he’s also admitted to using Hormone Replacement Therapy.  He’s 100% open about this which I completely respect. When I listen to thoughts about taking a $60 bottle of mushroom extract to get better performance in the gym though, I definitely take this into account.

Another person that I respect is the Bulletproof Executive Dave Asprey who mixes biohacking and quantified self techniques with anti-aging principles.   Dave says he can lose weight and grow abs on a 4,000+ calorie ketogenic diet and I believe them – he posted photos to prove it.  Dave is also very open, even in his most recent podcast, about taking advantage of testosterone replacement therapy and nootropics like Provigil.  Based on his overall philosophy, I know and expect him to use a variety of other chemical and mechanical techniques to achieve this.  That’s awesome, it’s what I expect from him.

Do you think it’s OK for people to give health advice if their taking performance enhancing drugs?

Week in Review 3/04 – 3/10

Weight: 216.8 lbs (up from 213.2)
Average Calories/day: 2300 (up from 2294)
Average Carbs/day: 233 (up from 187)
Average ZEO sleep score: 87.5 (average for 2013: 89.4)
Average waking temperature: 96.4
Average steps per day: 6,863  (from 7,382)

Exercise

Lift#1: Squat 285x5x3, DL 285×5, OHP 105×5
Jiu Jitsu: 45 minutes
Wrestling: 45 minutes

Comments

Hopefully this increased weight is water from salt/creatine, but I did get distracted this week on my carb counting and we can see the results.

My MMA practices are so unpredictable, this week there were two very light practices.  I also had 2 pretty sedentary days with only 2,000-3,000 steps.

I received some new blood test results this week.  Will share them in separate posts.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.