Thursday, February 27, 2020

Retrospective #376: “I have gone off carbohydrates almost entirely.”


A couple of days ago (Retrospective #374), I told you the story of a man I met only once, and then only briefly, at a New Year’s Eve party. I was, no doubt, “juiced”, and probably rattled on a bit about my Way of Eating (WOE). I related how I had lost a lot of weight, and otherwise greatly improved my general health, on a Very Low Carb (VLC) diet. I then apparently gave him a card for my website, www.theNutritionDebate.com. I honestly expected nothing to come of it.
A few weeks later he emailed me, “I have gone off carbohydrates almost entirely…and lost 10 pounds.” I replied congratulating him on his success and his motivation. I asked, “What was the trigger for you?” He said, “My doctor had me tested for diabetes and suggested I might be pre-diabetic – hence the urgency for weight loss.” I asked, “Why Very Low Carb?” He had doubts, he said, but, “I am hoping I will do myself more good than harm.”
In terms of mental reservation, given the fat phobia most people have learned from bad government guidelines, and from the medical establishment and the media, that was a fair place for him to be; notwithstanding that, however, my casual acquaintance took the next step. In his words, he foreswore “carbohydrates almost entirely.”
THEN, 6 WEEKS LATER I GOT THIS UPDATE: “LOST 40 POUNDS AND AM TAKING ONE-A-DAY ‘SILVER’ DAILY.”
I was thrilled for him and pleased that I had at least been a catalyst. It was just serendipity that I had been there (sort of) at that moment to help him point the gun at the right target, CARBOHYDRATES, before pulling the trigger.
My “new friend” had the 3 keys: 1) the motivation, 2) the courage, and 3) the pertinacity to stay with it. All three are critical, but the “catalyst” for him was my bibulous rant on New Year’s Eve. So, what’s your “trigger”?
In my case, way back in 1986, I was diagnosed a Type 2 diabetic. In 2002, 16 years later, I till eating a “balanced” (55-60% carbohydrate) diet as I had been for my whole life. And I had recently gained enough weight that I was too fat to weigh in in the doctor’s office. So, before my next appointment I went to a fish market and stepped on a commercial scale and “discovered” I was 375 pounds! I was shocked. That was my motivation. Then serendipity stepped in for me.
As I opened the door to my doctor’s waiting room, he was standing at the nurse’s station and said, “Dan, have I got a diet for you!!!” Turns out, six weeks earlier my doctor had read the New York Times Sunday magazine cover story: “What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie,” by award-winning science writer Gary Taubes. He tried the diet Taubes promoted. Lost 17 pounds in 6 weeks, and liked the effect it had on his lipid profile. So, he suggested that I try it too, and I did.
The third factor, your firmness of purpose, or dogged determination, may seem to the uninitiated (or the misled) to be the hardest of the three, but it’s not. After just a few days of adjustment, while you use up the stored glycogen energy in your liver, or immediately if you’re already keto-adapted, you become accustomed to eating mostly protein and fat. You no longer crave carbs because your blood insulin level has dropped enough to allow access to your body’s fat stores. Your body then breaks down that fat when the calories you eat aren’t enough to maintain energy balance.
But your body can’t do this 1) if you eat enough carbs to raise your blood insulin level and/or 2) you eat more food than you need to maintain energy balance. But you won’t, if you listen to your hunger signals, because WHEN YOUR BODY IS BURNING ITS OWN BODY FAT, YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY. Your body is feeding on its own fat stores, so it doesn’t tell you, “I’m hungry. You must feed me with food-by-mouth.” That’s what makes this easy. You won’t be hungry (after I period of adjustment) because your body is content to feed on its own fat stores. And it makes sufficient essential glucose from amino acids (from digested protein) and from the glycerol molecule freed up when body fat (triglycerides) break down. And in the process, it will make ketone bodies, which your brain will love.
So, what’s happening with my “new friend” who lost 40 pounds in two months after “going off carbohydrates almost entirely”? I don’t know, but if he sticks to a Very Low Carbohydrate eating plan, both he and his doctor will be very happy – he a lot healthier and happy with the weight loss and his doctor with that and all his improved lab tests, including his cholesterol panel.  Yours will be too. All you need now is that “trigger.” What will it be for you?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Retrospective #375: A New Year’s Eve Conversation, Part 2 of 2


This column and the previous one, from 2017, like every column in the Retrospective series, were originally published weekly. In the Retrospective series they have been edited for size, format and content and are being published daily.
Part 1 of this 2-part series (Retrospective #374) relates how “Bruce” lost weight easily by “going off carbohydrates almost entirely” for two weeks. I met Bruce casually at a New Year’s Eve party and gave him one of my cards. He decided to check out my website, www.thenutritiondebate.com and then to try Very Low Carb (VLC) eating. In our earlier conversation that evening, Bruce told me that he had lost 10 pounds. Our conversation continues here:
Dateline: January 14th (still later the previous evening)
You’re welcome, Bruce. Weight loss was my original motivation (in 2002) for eating VLC because, like yours, my doctor thought that being overweight was a cause of T2DMThey were both wrong, as Gary Taubes and many other experts in physiology and medicine have now exhaustively and conclusively proved. See my Retrospective #5 or Gary Taubes's "Alternative Hypothesis" in "Good Calories-Bad Calories" (2008), a heavy but solid, evidence-based read.
An easier read would be, "What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie," the New York Times Sunday magazine cover story of July 7, 2002. Google it. My doctor read it, tried the diet himself, and recommended it to me. That's when I got interested in low carb for weight loss. And, incidentally, it started the modern revolution in dietary science that so much of the orthodox profession still continues to dismiss. That's why Taubes, who won the National Science Writers’ Association award 3 times, wrote GC-BC. Sadly, he was to be disappointed by the medical community’s response to his book. 
INSULIN RESISTANCE IS THE CAUSE OF T2DM. IT IS ALSO THE CAUSE OF OBESITY, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.  Insulin is the transporter of glucose in the bloodstream, and so long as there is enough glucose (from carbs) circulating in the blood, insulin levels remains elevated and blocks the alternative fuel, body fat, from breaking down to fatty acids to maintain energy balance. The body saves this fat, a more dense source of energy (9kcal/g vs.4 kcal/g for carbs and protein), for long fasts, including famine and winters (from a Paleolithic/historical perspective).
My current focus in this column is on "Pre-Diabetics," newly diagnosed Type 2s, and those who, like you, have been told they "might be Pre-Diabetic." The medical societies have been very slow to revise standards for diagnosis, but they have been doing it. They just haven't gone nearly far enough. There are many clinicians today who have, however, and many who just may classify you unambiguously as Pre-Diabetic, or even a frank, incipient Type 2 diabetic.
I hope you have a baseline A1c on a recent lab test, because it you stay on your VLC Way of Eating, you will see it drop, perhaps significantly, and perhaps even out of the range of Pre-Diabetic to below 5.7%. That should be your goal.
I also hope you have a baseline metabolic panel or at least a lipid (cholesterol) panel with which to compare your next lab tests. After doing this Way of Eating for awhile, my HDL more than doubled from 39mg/dl to 84mg/dl (comparing 15 average tests for both). And my triglycerides plummeted by two-thirds (from around 150mg/dl average to below 50 average. Both values have stayed there for many years now. My latest cholesterol test: TC 184; HDL 91; LDL 84; TG 46.
Dan
BTW, after one day of eating Very Low Carb, I had a hypo and called my doctor. He told me stop taking one diabetic oral med. Later that week he cut the other two in half TWICE, later eliminating one. Now I just take 500mg Metformin.
Dateline: February 29th (6 weeks later)
I emailed Bruce to invite him to another party, our annual Mid-Winter Wing-Ding. He replied:
Hi Dan,
Thanks much for the invitation, but I am in Jensen Beach for January only.
LOST 40 POUNDS [my emphasis] and am taking One-a-Day “Silver” daily.
Bruce

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Retrospective #374: A New Year’s Eve Conversation, Part 1 of 2


This column (and the next), from 2017, like every column in the Retrospective series, were originally published weekly. In the Retrospective series they have been edited for size and content and are being published daily.

It all started at a New Year’s Eve party after a New Year’s Eve dinner party. I was pretty well juiced by that point.
Email in my inbox dated January 14th:
Hi Dan,
I met you in the community room [at the] New Years Eve [party]. [We talked)], and [I] was inspired to try to lose weight. Since New Year’s I have gone off carbohydrates almost entirely [my emphasis]. I have lost about 10 pounds to date, but I understand the first 10 pounds are inconsequential. Anyway, this diet naturally has a higher ratio of fat than my previous diet/non-diet. I have been reading your blog at
www.thenutritiondebate.com. I am hoping I will do myself more good than harm on this diet. Any tips for the beginner?
My reply later that evening:
Hi Bruce,
First of all: Congratulations! 1) on your being motivated and acting on that motivation, and 2) on your actual success. It's true that the first 10 pounds are the quickest to lose, although not necessarily the easiest.
Some people experience hunger (which seems to go away after a couple of days as the glycogen stores in the liver and muscle are used up and you transition to burning fat (breaking down body fat, i.e., triglycerides, into fatty acids and using them for energy and ketones for brain food.). Also, some people feel weakness, which is addressed by making sure you get extra salt (seriously) to compensate for the loss of salt/water weight (half of those 1st 10 pounds).
Depending on how much you eat, and how much you have to lose, you should be able to lose at least 2 pounds a week going forward. At one point (almost 10 years ago), eating 3 meals a day, very low carb, I lost 100 pounds in 50 weeks. 
Thanks for reading my blog. I post every Sunday (at www.thenutritiondebate.com). Please keep me posted on your progress, and feel free to ask questions. I'd be happy to connect you to other resources including an on-line forum for Type 2s. Are you, btw, a Type 2, or Pre-Diabetic, or have you been told you have Metabolic Syndrome?
Dan Brown
His reply, still later that evening
Hi Dan,
Thanks for getting back and thanks for the encouragement. My conversation with you on New Year’s Eve inspired me to get started and that I would have a possibility of success. To answer your questions, my doctor had me tested for diabetes and suggested I might be pre-diabetic – hence the urgency for weight loss.
Bruce
Well, this answer from Bruce put him perfectly in the crosshairs of my new target audience: Pre-Diabetics and those whose doctors have told them, “You might be Pre-Diabetic” or “We’ll have to watch those blood sugars.” At that point they tell you to lose weight (knowing you’ll most likely fail on the dietary advice they give (eat a calorie-restricted, low-saturated fat diet and exercise your ass off). At that point, they’ll start you on a regimen of pills leading, as your disease inevitably progresses on that diet, to injecting insulin).  
Realizing this, I was motivated to elaborate – unsolicited – on my previous reply. Later that evening I wrote to Bruce again, and that message, and his amazing reply to me (six weeks later), will be the subject of my next column. I can hardly wait to tell you! (Spoiler alert: Bruce continued to lose weight, big time!)

Monday, February 24, 2020

Retrospective #373: The “blame the patient” game

When your doctor writes in your file, “patient non-compliant,” let me be clear: I don’t really think that he or she, who is perhaps an internist/cardiologist (like mine) or maybe a family care doctor, is being disingenuous They almost certainly, or for the most part, believe in the advice they have given you. They advised you how to lose weight (exercise more and eat less, of a calorie-restricted balanced diet), they believed you could lose weight.  And when you failed to get the results they expected, eating this a “healthy low-fat diet” (avoiding saturated fat), they concluded it was because you didn’t follow their counsel. So, they deduce, you must have cheated! You were “non-compliant!”
Why do your doctor expect this result? Because the Clinical Practice Guidelines for each of the practice specialties, and the governing medical associations (the AMA, AHA, ADA, etc.), all told them to. That is the result of virtually all of the patient cohorts who were given this advice before you received it. So, the explanation – the reason – must be that it was the patient who failed to follow it…the patient who was non-compliant. That, by the way, is also when the Clinical Practice guidelines tell them to start you on drugs to accomplish what YOU failed to do.
It never occurs to your doctor that it could be the advice they gave you that failed to produce the outcome they (and you) desired. The advice to eat a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet has now been in place for over half a century – since the time any doctor in practice today went to medical school. The advice was first popularized by the publicity given to the treatment of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower after his first heart attack in 1955. Before he died 14 years later, he was to have 7 myocardial infarctions, 14 cardiac arrests, and at least 1 stroke, but never mind….
The advice to eat a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet was also strongly espoused by a University of Wisconsin physiologist, Ancel Keys. The bad science, publicized in his “Six Country Analysis” (1955), and later compounded in his “Seven Countries Study” (1958), has since been widely discredited, but never mind….
By January 1961, Keys was on the cover of the then popular Time magazine and had joined the Board of The American Heart Association. And to this day the AHA and the AMA and the ADA still espouses a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet. The evidence that this advice is faulty – in fact, that it is the virtual opposite of the heart-healthy diet that you should be eating – has existed from “the beginning,” according to a timeline from Diet Heart Publishing.
The evidence supporting a healthy diet has now been well documented in the last 20 years, starting with Gary Taubes’s, 2002 New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story, “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie.” It was followed by three seminal books: 1) Gary Taubes’s “Good-Calories, Bad-Calories”; Nina Teicholz’s, “The Big Fat Surprise”; and Gary Taubes’s, “The Case Against Sugar.” There are many, many others, but these three are among the best.
What got me going on this minor rant was an article in Medscape Medical News in 2017 that described the efforts of scientists to “reprogram” alpha cells in the pancreas to regenerate new beta cells in mice. These are the cells that make insulin until, as in Type 1 diabetes, they are destroyed by an autoimmune disorder. Or they just wear out from overuse due to Insulin Resistance, as in Type 2 diabetes.
What set me off in this article was the suggestion that an artificial pancreas or similar advance “may enable tight glycemic control with minimal patient intervention” (my emphasis). That would be great news for Type 1s, but from my perspective (as a long-term Type 2) it just reinforces the notion that “minimal PATIENT intervention” was the only course of treatment available for Type 2s in the clinical setting, SINCE PATIENTS ARE “NON-COMPLIANT” AND FAIL TO ACHIEVE THE DESIRED OUTCOMES WHEN THEY FOLLOW DOCTOR’S ADVICE. THUS, THE PATIENT IS TO BLAME!
But what if you, the patient, took control of your diet and your metabolic health, and ate a healthy, very low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet, including heart healthy saturated fat, without concern for dietary cholesterol? What if you did this and the outcome was a big weight loss and a lab report with a greatly improved cholesterol panel?
 Or, you could just follow the dietary advice given to President Eisenhower in 1955. Remember that outcome?

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Retrospective #372: My 10-week, 30-lb challenge, 5th week’s Progress Report


Note: This “Retrospective” was originally written in early 2017 and reports of an alternate-day fasting experiment I undertook with the goal of losing 20 pounds in 2 months. This week I upped the stakes. Read on to see how.
I’ve changed the title of the “2-month, 20-pound” Challenge to a “10-Week, 30-Pound” Challenge. The reason is that it quickly became clear to me that I was going to over achieve my goal. This is the new mid-point report.
Another reason is that I have a doctor’s appointment coming up in Week 11, and I wanted to capture both the best A1c and weight loss improvement possible. The challenges will be that, for a large part of the final 2½ weeks, the unique circumstances that gave rise to my beginning this gambit will change: 1) I will not be alone and preparing all my own meals, and 2) I will at times be “on the road” and eating most of my meals in restaurants.
That being said, the necessary adjustments will be good for me. They will allow me to transition to “real life” while at the same time being under the gun to preserve continue the gains. (See how easy it is to undercut one’s confidence and resolve?) Reference: for the Challenge, see Retrospective #368, for the 1st week’s Progress Report, see Retrospective #370, and for the 2nd week’s, see Retrospective #371. Now, back to the new mid-point Progress Report
Week 3: Having gained 1 pound in Week 2 (after losing 11 in Week 1), I was confident the “progress…was not really lost,” and “it [the progress] will show up on the scale this coming week.” Well, I lost 4 pounds in Week 3.
Better yet, my Fasting Blood Glucose (FGB) average dropped again, from 88 (3.8mmol/L) to 86mg/dl (3.7mmol/L). The actual readings were 81, 104, 90, 78, 84, 83 & 79. The 104 was a surprise. It came after a supper of veal kidneys cooked in onions and mushrooms with Marsala wine and a salad of Romaine lettuce, mushrooms, hazel nuts, shredded cheese and my homemade vinaigrette made with white wine vinegar. Go figure! Tonight, I’m having the 2nd half of that kidney dish, with another salad, so we’ll see what happens.
Changes in Week 3: Going forward I’m going to cut my morning coffee from a 16oz mug to a 12oz mug. That should reduce the heavy cream from 2oz to 1½oz. I found that I had swallowed all my supplements with only half a cup and the 2nd half of the cup was just an indulgence. The idea came to me after reading a blogger who was looking for people to join him in a 30-day coffee fast. I like coffee, but I am not addicted to it, and I don’t want to be.
Week 4: Well, it wasn’t the veal kidney and salad supper that gave me that anomalous 104mg/dl FBG (5.8mmol/L) last week. The same supper the 2nd time produced a FBG of 74mg/dl (4.1mmol/L) this morning. Conclusion: anomalies happen. Now, once again, THE BIG NEWS THIS WEEK: MY FBG AVERAGE PLUMMETED AGAIN, FROM 86MG/DL (4.8MMOL/L) TO 77 (4.3). I HAVEN’T SEEN FBGS LIKE THIS EVER! True, on my own initiative, but with the concurrence of my doctor, about a year ago I increased my dose of Metformin from 500mg/day to 1,500. I had read somewhere that 1,500mg was considered a “therapeutic” dose. The inference I drew from that was that a dose of less than 1,500 was not therapeutic. And since I have been a diagnosed type 2 for 30 years, and on a reduced dose of 500mg for the last 15 since beginning VLC, it seemed appropriate to me that my medication should be therapeutic. But I think my doctor never suggested an increase because he thinks my diabetes is already “in good control.” I’m not blaming him. That’s the guidance he gets from the ADA, Medicare, etc.
And, IN WEEK 4 I LOST 2 MORE POUNDS, BRINGING MY TOTAL WEIGHT LOSS IN THE FIRST 4 WEEKS TO 16 POUNDS.
Week 5: I’m settling into a groove. MY WEIGHT DROPPED BY ANOTHER 2 POUNDS IN WEEK 5, BRINGING THE 5-WEEK TOTAL TO 18 POUNDS. And my weekly average FBG continues to drop. This week I had 3 readings in the low 60s, and MY FGB AVERAGE THIS WEEK DROPPED TO 70 MG/DL (3.9 MMOL/L). Recapping my weekly FBG averages: 119 before starting, then 100, 88, 86, 77 and now 70. I hope they level off now. If not, I’ll cut the Metformin. My goal, though, is a lower A1c, so I am willing to have “low” readings so long as I feel I am in no danger of hypoglycemia.
Conclusion: I can’t believe that I have been so blind in my diabetes self-management for these last 15 years!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Retrospective #371: My 2-Month, 20-lb Challenge, 2nd week's Progress Report


Note: This “Retrospective” was originally written in early 2017 and reports of an alternate-day fasting experiment I undertook with the goal of losing 20 pounds in 2 months. The early results are quite remarkable. Read on to see how.
When you read this post, I will be 5 weeks into my “2-month, 20-pound challenge,” but I write it after 2 weeks “in.”  The first week I lost 11 pounds and lowered my FBG average by 19 points to 100mg/dl (5.6mmol/L). I did this by strictly following a program of eating 5 Low Carb meals prepared at home by me (2 or more at a time) and then fasting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Note that in the first week I did not dine out once, as planned.
This week I report on week 2 of the challenge. Based on my FBGs this week, I have also revised the terms, to extend the duration from 8 weeks to 10½ weeks, to coincide with my next doctor’s appointment (4/18). My goal is to get the best A1c possible, lowering it from 5.8% to 5.5%, hopefully lower.  Note, however, that after 8½ weeks I will no longer be preparing my own meals, and my eating pattern will include more “dining out.”
Week 2 began uneventfully, with weight stable and FBGs in the mid-nineties. As the week progressed, my weight and fasting blood glucose (FBG) both dropped until I was down 3 pounds by Friday. I gained one back Saturday and 3 more by Sunday. So, my net for the week was up 1 pound; net for 2 weeks: down 10 pounds.
Saturday was the first day that I ate “out” in almost 2 weeks, and I ate too much (2 meals – albeit “low-carb”), and I drank too much. I don’t regard the 1 lb. gain as much of a setback, though. The progress I made during the week was not really lost. I am confident that it will show up on the scale this coming week.
The big news, and the main reason I am reporting this week, is what happened to my FBG (and presumably my serum insulin). MY FBGS THIS WEEK WERE: 94, 92, 95, 89, 81, 80 & 83. AVERAGE: 88MG/DL (4.9MMOL/L). Recall that in the 1st week my average was 100mg/dl (5.6mmol/L) and in the week before I began the challenge it was 119mg/dl (6.6mmol/L). With FBGs like this week’s, and a stable blood sugar during the day, I think my A1c goal is reachable – if I continue to follow this Very Low Carb Way of Eating…and with a little help from 500mg of Metformin. We’ll see.
Other observations, comments and changes from the original “2-month, 20-pound” challenge:
     Cooking for myself has not been as onerous as I thought it would be. In fact, I’m enjoying it. In the weeks ahead I envision preparing all my meals at home. Since I always make enough for 2 days minimum, that means only cooking 2 or 3 meals a week, since I will be fasting 2 days (at least) every week.
     All day fasting is easy. The first week on the day after a full-day fast I had a “snack” (1H-B egg) or a “light lunch” (2 H-B eggs). This week I did not. And I was not hungry on the fasting day or the day after.
     The quart of heavy cream lasted only 16-17 days. I use it only in coffee, so, alas, I put 2oz/day in my cup.
     I have a new Snack: a few “whole artichoke hearts in water,” and a Light Lunch: ½ can (60g) of “Sell’s Liver Pate.” Also, Bumble Bee is now packing the same wild caught Brisling Sardines as the King Oscar brand, in the same Baltic Sea factory, in EVOO (and Hot Jalapeno Peppers), and at a lower price point. 
     Virtually all my cooked suppers are stove top. I love fish, especially cod and similar species. It’s usually the least costly “wild caught” fish in the case, although it may have been flash-frozen at sea, then thawed by the fishmonger at point of sale. I’m going to check out frozen cod next time I see it. I’m fussy about country of origin.
     My veal supplier has given up, so I need to find a new source for my veal stew and veal kidney recipes.
     I loved the tripe dish I made last weekend. The smallest frozen honeycomb tripe package in the butcher’s case was 2 pounds, so I made it and had it 4 days in a row. I don’t mind eating the same thing multiple days in a row; in fact, if I like a dish I made, I look forward to having it again. (I can’t believe Jason Fung in his “Fructose 3” blog post this week said he couldn’t imagine someone eating tripe 2 days in a row. Jeez!)
The next report will catch up with the lag in reporting; it will be at mid-point (5 weeks into) my new, extended 10½-week challenge. Then, the last report (at 10½ weeks) will have a final weigh-in, and hopefully an A1c and lipid panel. My doctor is very good at reviewing the lab report and mailing it to me the same day his office receives them.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Retrospective #370: My 2-Month, 20-lb Challenge, 1st week’s Progress Report

Note: This “Retrospective” was originally written in early 2017 and reports of an alternate-day fasting experiment I undertook then with the goal of losing 20 pounds in 2 months. As you will see, it was quite remarkable. Read on to see how.

“As you read this, I will be 4 weeks into my 2-month, 20-pound challenge, but I write this after only 1 week “in.” If you don’t know what prompted me to do this, read Retrospective #368 to learn my motivation and other particulars.
The short report: IN THE 1ST WEEK I LOST 11 POUNDS AND LOWERED MY FBG AVERAGE BY 19 POINTS TO 100MG/DL. If you’re overweight (as I am) and prediabetic or a 30-year diagnosed type 2 (as I am), even though theoretically my type 2 diabetes is “in remission,” and that outcome doesn’t pique your interest, you may as well stop reading.
The “challenge” is to stay on my current eating pattern 5 days a week and to fast on the other two. My current eating pattern is coffee with pure stevia powder and a slug of 36% full whipping cream in the morning. Then, only if I am hungry during the day, to eat either a light lunch (smoked herring in brine), a “big” lunch (a small can of brisling sardines in EVOO), or a snack (H-B egg). My main meal (supper) is a stove-top preparation of cod with vegetables or a veal stew. Alternatively, I occasionally make tripe in salsa roja or veal kidney with mushrooms, onions and Marsala.
This week I had cod with tomatoes, green olives and red pepper flakes Sunday and Monday. Then, I bought 2 pounds of tripe and made 4 suppers: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I fasted on Tuesday and Thursday. On fasting days, besides morning coffee, I had 1 red wine spritzer at “happy” hour; on “feasting” days I had 2 red wine spritzers.
Next week (M, W) I will do different cod preparations (fennel and/or celery in chicken broth). I’ll also make a romaine salad with mushrooms, hazel nut pieces and shaved Pecorino Romano, with my homemade vinaigrette dressing.
During the last week I ate a light lunch (2 H-B eggs) the day after the 1st fast day and a snack (1 H-B egg) after the 2nd fast day. Saturday, I had a small can of pork liver pâté for lunch. There was no other need or occasion to have “lunch” or to snack during the day or after supper all week. Saturday night, after attending a jazz concert, I went “off plan” and stopped at a restaurant on the way home (in February in New York) and had 2 stingers in front of a roaring fire.
And that’s all there was to it, folks. Eleven pounds (okay, half or more of that was water), but the pounds just dropped off after each full day of fasting. My body maintained a high metabolic rate (translation: I felt great and had lots of energy and no hunger or cravings). It did this by transitioning from obtaining energy from the food I ate (S, M, W, F, S) to obtaining energy from breaking down and burning body fat on Tuesday and Thursday.
My perennial goal is to maintain my FBG average below 100mg/dl (and maintain it low and steady during the day). I hope thus to reduce my A1c from the current 5.8% to 5.5% or lower, perhaps as low as 5.0%.
My interim weight goal for this 2-month challenge is to get down to 228 (BMI=32). That’s still considered “obese” in the BMI chart. So, I can’t derive too much satisfaction from the first week. I have to persist and be satisfied with a slower pace going forward, spurred on each week by the 2 days each week of my modified form of full-day fasting.
I know that this is entirely reasonable because several years ago I lost 100 pounds in a year (without full-day fasting) by strictly adhering to a Very Low Carb program (30g/d). But the fasting part is not difficult since you don’t experience hunger or cravings. As I read in a tweet this week from @SBakerMD, “Beat cravings and you win.” He’s right, of course. That’s the beauty of a Very Low Carb diet. By the way, Dr. Baker eats an all-meat (grass-fed) diet (“zero carb”).
So, that’s the 1st week’s progress report. I’ll write another next week (2 weeks “in”). I expect progress to slow a lot, but I am hopeful that my FBG average will drop below 100 and that the weight loss will continue apace.
I fully expect to continue to have a stepped-up metabolism, to feel great and have lots of energy…and no hunger, including on fasting days. Because my body is already “fat adapted,” that is burning fat (body or dietary) at its primary fuel. That is why I’m not hungry ever, and why I feel pumped even (especially?) when I’m full-day fasting.