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Resistant Starch Update: Day 23

Today is day 23 of my resistant starch experiment.  4 tbsp a day in 4oz goat kefir with all 3 SBOs.  So simple but so effective.
This is the single most powerful intervention I’ve ever experienced.  My IBS-D symptoms have vanished without a trace.  The freedom I now have to eat a variety of healthful foods is powerfully liberating.  For months, maybe a full year, I wasn’t able to get the veggie intake that I wanted.
My health practitioner is not quite sure what to make of it.  At first she thought the resistant starch was “gumming up the works.”  At week 3 see seems more willing to accept that it’s working.  I have such an increased feeling of well-being that I have little doubt it is working. Last week I pulled out the motorcycle for a full commute in San Francisco traffic: that only happens when I’m feeling my best.
I do think some variety would be best though and will move towards that soon.  Increased GI resiliency had already allowed me to drastically increase the variety of different foods that I’m able to consume.  I even at a catered Thai curry at work last week – much to the surprise of my coworkers.
A few days ago I took the RS dose at night and finally remembered a dream for the first time in too long.  Recovering my ability to remember dreams could be a great indicator of health.
I’m tracking weight, FBG and occasional food intake to share later.  More excitingly, I should get the results of a full metametrix GI panel next week.
Here’s a days worth of meals.  This many carbs would have wrecked my digestion 3 weeks ago:
  • butter and mct in coffee
  • 2 ground beef sliders on gluten-free bread, cole slaw, few tater tots
  • frozen yogurt with blackberries and a few m&ms-corn tortilla chips (3-4 servings), salsa, cheese
  • 1 tbsp honey and a date
  • goat kefir, goat yogurt, 4T potato starch blended into 1/2 frozen banana
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6 Ways to Prevent Paleo from Extinction

One of my favorite panels at PaleoFX 2014 this year was “Building Not Burning Bridges in the Paleo Movement.”

building bridges

Building Bridges: Michelle Norris, Jonathan Bailor, Dr. Deborah Gordon, Mark Sisson, Diana Rodgers, Robb Wolf

Topics discussed ranged from working together with the Weston A Price Foundation to working with corporations to bring Paleo to their employees.  Mark Sisson threw down some great comments about how he is working to bring new people into the Paleo fold.  Robb Wolf talked about his work that has helped improve the health of police officers and fire fighters in the City of Reno.
At the end of the panel, Michelle asked each member for some tips to help keep Paleo from extinction.  Here they are:
  1. Support Farmers and Farm to School initiatives.
  2. Bring newcomers into the fold by going after specific life issues like helping with weight loss or PCOS.   Offer a short term cure first to bring them to Paleo.
  3. Post more local and seasonal recipes.  Talk and blog about where you get your food and who your farmers are.  Focus on sustainability
  4. Support the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
  5. Say only things about Paleo that people can’t disagree with.  Politicians do this!
  6. Support Paleo vendors who make Paleo friendly products
Here were some of my favorite tweets from the panel:

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