Thursday, November 17

The Legos of Low-Carb

In the end, it's all about each person putting together the building blocks of what they find works best for them. Like legos, it can be fun, it can be creative, and it can hurt like hell when stepping on them.

Comments here and in a forum about the 'Truth About...' post have given me a lot of food for thought. From the back of my brain, up popped my Evil But Occasionally Right Twin, to have a little talk with me about the long list of Where I've Gone Wrong, Where I've Gone Right, and Why I Owe It To Readers to post that. It seemed to feel that other post translated like, "You're dooooomed! Doomed, I tell you!"

I explained to the Little Voice that the post was just fine on its own, and that I have the noted info in other posts here and there. But IT thinks that while I'm depressing the crap out of everybody, I should at least provide a succinct list of what really does work for me, what doesn't, and maybe most importantly, what I haven't tried, and considerations I haven't addressed.  That way, people can say, "Ha! You see! She has not investigated (thyroid disease, pancreatic tumors, or eating only fish eggs while living at 30,000 feet elevation and fasting only days of month that start with the numbers 1 and 2), so how can she possibly say that for the super-obese there is a limit to fat loss or that regain is close to inevitable? She hasn't tried everything!"

In what time I've had, I have been completely redesigning the blog. I added pages, if you see the tabs up top, "collections" of posts, like recipes, fat politics, or psychology, for example. But this was nagging me, so, let's see what we've got.

Stuff that is critical to my feeling well.

This may or may not relate to fat loss (does when I am losing, doesn't when I am regaining). But it certainly relates to my being functional, as much as possible.

1. Protein protein protein. 

Animal Protein = amino acids = the building blocks of life. The difference between my body after 10 days of 100++g/day animal protein, vs. say, 60g, is unbelievable. It's running up my porch steps instead of two feet at a time like a little kid, holding on to a handrail. It's walking to the store and making dinner, instead of starving because it's too much effort to get up and go to the kitchen.


  • It takes energy to intake the protein, but without protein I haven't energy to go get it. 
  • This is hugely affected by my lack of appetite. 
  • There is a limit to the protein you can eat as food, even trying.


  • Allegedly we should intake gelatin to get the 'other' amino acids; the ratio is imbalanced if you eat mostly muscle meats. You can buy a type that doesn't "gel" and can go in cold or hot liquids. It still has some taste unless it's very small amounts in a strong tasting food. Probably a great thing to put in say, sauteed mushrooms/veggies/sauce that you want to make a gravy, or in thick blendered drinks. Alternatively and preferably, make tons of "bone broth" as this has gelatin and those amino acids in it.
  • If you have issues with arachidonic acids (I cannot see that word without thinking of spiders. How did these words get so similar??) then red meat is probably not for you. 
  • Animal protein also includes fish and eggs and cheese in my book. I don't even count plants.

Misc. Details: 

  • Drinking whole or 2% milk for all the protein did not work for me. I had more energy than 'none' but felt quite weak, not only that I had no 'motive energy' but even had to ask my kid to open jars for me. I also got deep/cystic acne near lymphs with that (from two separate periods of trying it, so I do think that's what it related to), so unless you have access to raw milk, the processing may have some less than ideal effects, done in mass dosage. (That was another experiment that was not low-carb.) 
  • Sometimes eating meat for all the protein doesn't work ideally either, because it's a ton of meat, which is a ton of money, which is a ton of planning shopping prepping cooking cleaning, which is a ton of stuffing it down your throat when you aren't hungry.
  • I've found that a lot of meat, with a couple snacks of protein drinks, plus some supplements of full spectrum amino acids, plus something with bone broth or gelatin, seems to work best for intaking a lot of animal protein with less money, less bother, and more variety.
  • Note that Low-Carb diets range dramatically in recommended protein intake. Literally from like 60g to 140g for the same sized person -- and those sizes are generally limited to 250# top weight defined.

2. Supplements.

In the next couple days I'll post the list of supplements I've gathered recommendations for from the people online I've come to respect. But to make a short list here, even when I am not doing a 'full' supplement panel, I tend to do much better if, every day for several days running, I have taken: A multi-vitamin; a multi-mineral; a B-Complex addition; and D3 (sometimes, also E and K2).

Stuff that screws me up

1. Anything that looks like a grain.

Gluten is the devil, period. I know some people can eat it (although research suggests it isn't good for anybody, it's just that many people the reactions are not external/conscious). Not only does it give me allergies, asthma, acid reflux, brain fog, but it gives me lethargy (reduces energy). That's bad. Aside from that, if I ingest it near ingesting soft-dairy, it will make me crave milk (even if the dairy was sour cream). Aside from that, if I eat it combined with fructose -- a perfect example might be a piece of whole wheat toast, with fruit-only diabetic jam -- I am ravenous for grains/carbs/sugars the entire day.

If I were an evil genius plotting the downfall of my nefarious enemy--who, in the comic book in my head, must also be fat, since otherwise he would look cooler than me--I would ensure he had a small dose of grains and fructose, preferably together. This would ensure my cruel victory and I could laugh MWAHAHA where is your willpower?!?!

OK maybe not. But I'm sure this would work. All I lack is a Nefarious Enemy.

Also: it's not just effects at the time. I have found I am affected a day or two AFTER eating them. A journal buddy of mine who has read a lot on brain chemistry and its response to food says that what you ingest actually may not kick in for hours or days. It makes it harder for people to see the correlations.

Also: corn too. I can eat corn tortillas without it seeming to bring on cravings or noshing desire hours or days later, unlike gluten grains. However, it's difficult to eat just one of them and they have about 10 carbs each, and even when I am not eating LC, I notice that anytime corn tortillas are involved, it seems like I eat a lot more than usual -- I even notice later that I am over-full. I think there is something in that grain that sparks me, even though I don't react to it quite like gluten.

2. A lot of LC sweets.

Although I have spent a decent chunk of the last 5 years on VLC to ZC -- as much by accident as design -- still, I am not really as averse to sweets as most people that eat that way tend to be. I think artificial sweeteners such as sucralose are probably more toxic than sugar alcohols and stevia (just wait and we will find out the 12 ways it kills us. Note that stevia is not approved probably because it's harder to corner the zillion dollar market on since anyone can grow a stevia plant and many companies can get the licorice taste out of it.), and I think eating dense sweet fruit as a sweetener (eg often dates/pineapples are used for that) is not the most healthy thing either, but it's not like this should be done often enough to kill you anyway.

On the other hand, due to sucralose it is possible to make a whole lot of food that is sweet and to spend a good chunk of LC time eating things with sweetener. If that works for you, great, but for me, eating regular sweet stuff (or other crappy stuff that is technically LC) prevents my palate from adapting and being happy with what you've got. ("Designing Your Appetite" was my rant about LC faking-it.) When I'm eating very little sweeteners, I can taste the sugar in onions and peppers and tomatoes. When I'm eating a lot more sweeteners, I am less sensitive to more subtle sweet, and I tend to need "more" sweet when I add it to something. It also tends to fuel a slight sugar-noshing tendency, and then I find that I want diet drinks, I want more coffee with sweetener, I want more LC treats, or whatever. I'm not against LC sweets, they're great. I have just found that if I start to overdose on them it can send me spiraling offplan eventually.

Stuff I haven't tried.

I am sure this list is endless. I am sure that I could continue my "but wait, I'll try this instead!" efforts for the rest of my natural life and never run out of options.

OK back to the point. Stuff I haven't tried. Let's see.

1. I have not had access to grass-fed meats/dairy in order to "do" primal or paleo well at all.

2. "" "" "" in order to do Peat-inspired eating properly.

3. "" "" "" in order to do  Archevore/PaNu properly.

This might give you the idea that maybe the Omega 3:6 issue is a much bigger issue than realized and that had I done this, maybe results would be different. Who knows, maybe it is a much bigger issue.

4. I have not tried, let me see:
South Beach
Body by Science
Raw Meat diet
Raw Vegan diet
RBTI which I know zip about but journal buddies have mentioned
I invented the Cinnamon Toothpick Diet, inspired by the original KimKins diets, but I haven't tried it :-)

The Leptin Reset diet (which requires doing primal/paleo as its base)

So, if you're figuring that a different approach to eating might have a different result, then a huge focus on (a) Omega 3 balance and (b) seafood -- which I don't eat -- would definitely be doing something different than I have done.

I have also not had extensive testing to see if I have any of 97 possible disease syndromes, from cancer to autoimmune thyroid disease. Given my size, actually, I have 'issues' with every organ including the brain, that is a given. Hopefully not actual full blown disease. Nothing's impossible. I loathe the entire topic of medical stuff, I can barely get myself to go to the doctor for serious injuries, and my observation of the nightmare of years of friends struggling to get docs to listen/agree, testing and not getting all the tests desired, bad reading of results, docs insisting on crap like statins or artificial thyroid that just screws people up worse, hasn't improved my reaction to all things medical. 

Apparently it is not an uncommon for the slightly Type-A personality defect I seem to have, to consider illness a bit of a form of weakness and to be extremely uncomfortable around it. (I hate hospitals!) That's me. So, if you go and look for every possible disease and condition and reading outside textbook ranges that you may have, that would be doing something I haven't done. Of course you'd probably end up prescribed all kinds of drugs which would kill you in some other way.

OK my duty is done. The Evil Twin is silent! I have built a little doorway to "what I haven't tried" so if someone wants to SEE that, now they can. Moving on!


1 comment:

Jim Purdy said...

"There is a limit to the protein you can eat as food, even trying."

That's good, isn't it?

That means it is a self-limiting all-you-can-eat diet.