Three-Day Fast Results

Well, I’m very close to cracking it. I started this blog fifteen months ago as a hobby, but I thought it would help me make a few more changes to my lifestyle. Why? In order to get my blood glucose down to 5.7 mmol/L.

My last two HbA1c readings, which is a three month blood glucose average, were unspectacular: 7.6 mmol/L. I was doing long-term damage to my body. After the last reading, I was planning to discuss going back on insulin with my doctor. Then someone, out of the blue, recommended Jason Fung’s The Diabetes Code; it’s been gold since then.

I’ve written about this therapeutic approach to fasting already, but last week I decided to have a three-day fast, and then go right back into Dr Fung’s programme. That’s to say, I had a three-day fat fast (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), ate Thursday and fasted again on Friday. My morning readings for the next week or so were between 6.4 and 5.0 mmol/L.

Over the last fortnight, I’ve had only one morning where I woke up with high blood sugar (9.2 mmol/L). Reason? I had too much dark chocolate and too many nuts the day before. As a result, I’ve got rid of the chocolate altogether this week. I just can’t be trusted. If I want a snack, I’ll have a spoon of almond butter with some cacao nibs. This has helped my blood sugar as well.

So having been on Dr Fung’s fasting regime for over two months now what’s my plan? I’ll be doing this indefinitely. The typical week will be three days of fasting (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), but once a month it will be four days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday).

I am really looking forward to my next blood test!

Thanks again Dr Fung.

Fasting Update

Following Dr Fung’s fasting protocol of three, thirty-six-hour fasts per week has really helped with my glucose levels. I eat pretty much what I want keto-wise, and I did some experimenting to see how much very, dark chocolate I can get away with on eating days. Not as much as I hoped, but still more than one square. I’ve been still waking up with my blood somewhere between 6.0 – 7.6 mmol/L. As I wrote a few weeks ago, this is far better than 9.5 mmol/L or worse.

Strangely, one of the things that really spiked me last week was breaded chicken breasts with almond flour. I only ate one breast. It’s curious, and I can’t put my finger on what’s causing the spike. Other than that blip, however, it’s been far better than the old status quo.

That said, I want to break the back of having above normal glucose levels. So I started a three-day fast last night and won’t eat again until Thursday. I’ll only have a bit of cream in my coffee and some coconut oil when, and if, I get really starved.

So the plan is to fast from Sunday evening until Thursday morning, fast again on Friday and eat at the weekend. We’ll see how that goes. I may repeat the process indefinitely or go back to my normal week of skipping meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Watch this space.

Diabetes Code Follow Up

Dr Jason Fung Diabetes Clinic - DiabetesWalls
The Real Deal

I said a couple of weeks ago that someone suggested I read Dr Fung’s The Diabetes Code if I wanted to beat the dawn phenomenon. Well I finished the book. It helped with the dawn effect and a lot more. It’s a gamechanger. I’ve been following his fasting programme for two weeks now, and I’ve had only two mornings above 7.6 mmol/L. The vast majority of my readings have been between 6.1 and 7.4. Dear Reader, you need to remember that I have been waking up for months somewhere between 8.8 and 11.0 and usually at the higher end of that range.

So what is Dr Fung’s fasting programme? Simple really: three 36 hour fasts per week. That means I don’t eat on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Combined with my whole food, high-fat, low-carb diet and a lot of exercise this looks like the way forward to 5.7 mmol/L.

The benefits of Dr Fung’s regimen, beyond the much better blood glucose levels, are clarity, energy and a feeling of euphoria which comes with fasting. I’ll keep you posted on how this goes. According to his book, a lot of his patients come off their meds completely after a few months. We’ll see.

By the way, I should mention that Dr Fung has a completely different view of Type 2 Diabetes than the mainstream. He does not believe it is the inability of cells to take in more sugar that is the problem. His view is that the body’s cells already have too much sugar; the body compensates by producing more insulin which pushes more sugar into the cells, but eventually the cells reach saturation and the sugar ends up in the blood stream. What the individual must do is burn off the sugar that is already in the cells. For Type 2s more insulin is not the answer. How does Dr Fung recommend getting rid of the sugar? Low-carb, whole food diet, exercise and fasting. That’s it.

I had two out of three. Therapeutic fasting was the final piece of the puzzle it seems. Thank you Dr Fung!

Jason Fung – Diabetes Code

So I had my phone consult with my diabetes nurse last week. These were the numbers:

  • HBa1C – 7.4%
  • Total cholesterol – 7
  • Kidney Function – normal
  • Blood pressure – 110/70

Pretty mediocre. I’ve worked hard trying to get my HBa1C down to a sub 5.8% but haven’t been able to crack it. I’m not worried about my total cholesterol which I’ve written about before. What’s a paleo diabetic to do? Consider insulin?

Not yet doggone it! I started listening to the audible version Dr Jason Fung’s Diabetes Code: Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally a few days ago. It’s a good book which I recommend to other diabetics out there.

At the end of each chapter, Dr Fung provides the reader with one of his patient success stories. In each case, so far, the patient has been able to reduce or greatly improve his diabetes through eating a low-carb, high-fat diet, exercising and fasting. You, Dear Reader, know I do all these things. However, this is the difference: Dr Fung has his patients fast every other day for 36 hours.

I’ve never tried this. My fasts have tended to be reactive. If my blood glucose was high, I’d go on a fast for couple of days. Dr Fung’s approach seems much more therapeutic. Maybe this is approach for me?

So here’s my plan. I’ve been waking up for a couple of weeks in the 8.6 to 10.0 mmol/L range. Very bad, I know. So I’m on a three-day fast, which I’ll break on Wednesday night. From there, I’m going to start Dr Fung’s fasting regimen.

We’ll see how it goes. Watch this space.

Fasting Again…and Struggling a Bit

So my plan was to go on a five-day water and black coffee fast this week. I got to Monday evening and cheated a little. For some reason I just didn’t not have the discipline and fortitude to push through. The cheat was a little bit of roast chicken skin (I had cooked a roast chicken for the missus). I got through to Tuesday afternoon, and, again, I was jonesing for something. I had a bullet proof coffee. On Wednesday, I started the day with another bullet proof coffee and had two more coffees with cream later in the day. I even nibbled on a little left-over roast chicken.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Weak indeed!

My stomach was really weak this week and my will. On a positive note, I’ve averaged about three hundred calories per day and my blood glucose is excellent. I hit the gym on Monday and Wednesday and energy levels were good. I was starting to feel a little gassed on the elliptical though. I’m surely in ketosis and my healthy cells are likely gobbling up the old, crusty cells.

Nevertheless, I’m going to have to work on my will power during water fasts. Fortunately, about three minutes of internet searching came across Dr Berry who has some good advice. Not sure about the toothpick technique though. I was a hayseed growing up, but we all have our limits. Enjoy.

Autophagy

My blood was seriously high a couple of days ago (14.4 mmol/L) due to (my) human weakness. Too much food and alcohol based merriment: red wine, too much meat, dark chocolate. Sure, all of this would be a good example of moderation in normal people: I didn’t get drunk; I ate no refined sugar; my few carbs came from vegetables, etc. Unfortunately, I’m not normal. My pancreas is substandard. My “moderation” led to hyperglycaemia which is very bad.

Sidebar: I’ve decided I can’t have wine even for a few days on special occasions. A glass at Christmas, on my birthday, etc. okay, but sadly that’s all I can do now.

Even though I’m going on the water/black coffee only fast next week (for five days), I decided to go on a 3½ day fast to get my blood down. I’m on day three right now and woke up with a very good reading: 6.8 mmol/L.

Which brings us to autophagy. I’ve said a few things about this before. It is literally when your body eats itself. Old, broken cells and other microscopic detritus get gobbled up by your healthy cells. Metaphorically, it’s a house cleaning. Fasting promotes autophagy.

A good overview can be found below in the first minute. There’s also a good discussion on ketosis, even though the chap uses it to plug for his ketone testing kit. We all must make a living.

Happy New Year dear reader! Let’s hope 2021 is a bit better than 2020.

Three Hour Eating Window

Long time readers will know that I keep to a six hour eating window during the weekdays (1:00 and 7:00pm). At the weekends, I’ll usually eat breakfast at a conventional time (Naked bacon and Naked sausages and eggs) and skip lunch.

I played around with a smaller eating window last week. My window was from 5:00 to 8:00pm. I did it for two days. The one exception, and purists feel free to pile in on me, was cream in my coffee during the day.

What were the results? Unsurprisingly, my energy levels were fine given that I’m used to fasting. I was sort of busy during the afternoons on both days, so I didn’t miss my lunches too much. I was going to go for a third day “in the window”, but I found myself very hungry at lunchtime so decided to eat.

Blood glucose? Not a big surprise, but it came down a bit compared to previous days. Since I was pretty much on a twenty-hour fast each day this was to be expected.

A duckduckgo search or a browse around Youtube reveals all kinds of people arguing for tight eating windows. I see their point, since it is a form of intermittent fasting, and one would likely reach autophagy from time-to-time. Still, I can’t see myself adopting this as a lifestyle. Once in a while. Sure. Every day? No chance.

Why not? I tend to feel hungry at lunchtime. I also get to eat lunches with my wife, and I’d miss that too. Given that I do skip meals all the time and have several fasting days each month, I don’t think a super tight window is going to bring any new benefits.

Conclusion

When I read Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint all those years ago, one of the most compelling arguments he made for paleo was that once you were through the carb withdrawals you could eat whenever you felt hungry. The fact that my diet is very high fat, I don’t tend to feel hungry that much. However, if I’m hungry at lunch, I’ll eat. If I’m not, I’ll skip. That’s how I’ve lived for years. Except for fasting days, this will continue to be my philosophy. Good luck to you super tight window people, but it’s not for me.

Butter Fast

Since being sidelined with this gluteal/sciatic pain, I haven’t been able to go to the gym as much as I’d like. Less heavy lifting and less elliptical means higher blood glucose for me. I slow roasted some pork belly over the weekend for my better half and had a little bit too. The result? An upset stomach during the night, gastric reflux and a high reading on Monday morning (10 mmol/L). I’ve explained in previous posts how pork can have a negative effect for many people; however, I had had some inconclusive results from my summer pork experiments.

Anyways, I decided on another fast. But what kind? I had a lot of butter in the fridge, so I decided to see how that would play out. Butter when I was seriously hungry and cream in my coffee. I had already planned to roast a chicken on Tuesday, so the fast went like this: 48 hour fast, roast chicken on Tuesday night and then a 60 hour fast. I broke the second fast about twenty minutes ago with some West Country Farmhouse Cheddar (I’ll write more about this cheese next week).

How did my body respond to the butter? Good but not great. I didn’t have the same energy levels compared to fat fasts which incorporate coconut oil. I mean I was okay, but not optimal. My blood also did not come down as fast as it usually does.

By Wednesday evening, I decided to have a spoonful of coconut oil and had a couple of more spoonfuls on Thursday along with the butter. I did feel better for it. Was it the MCT in the coconut oil? I don’t see how since grass-fed butter has medium chain triglycerides too. Maybe it was because it was the front end of my fast, and I didn’t give my body enough time to adjust. Does coconut oil have more MCTs? I did a bit of research but couldn’t find anything.

Another drawback is that eating butter becomes a bit cloying. By Thursday, I was not looking forward to a large pat of butter. I still ate them because I was hungry, but it was not a great experience. Funnily enough, it’s the opposite feeling with coconut oil. I hate eating a spoonful of it when I’m not fasting. I’ll usually force it down with a gulp of coffee. Yet, when I’m fasting I don’t have much of a problem eating a spoonful or two of coconut oil. Strange.

My blood glucose did come down by this morning. Indeed, it dropped rapidly over the last day. I woke up this morning with a very good 5.7 mmol/L. Now that I’m back to working out to something like a normal level, I should be able to keep my blood sugar in the “sweet spot.”

Conclusions

Butter is great. I love it. It makes pretty much all things better. I don’t subscribe to the MSM lies and propaganda about this wonderful food either. How anyone can believe the “information” that comes from the corporate media is beyond me. That deserves its own post.

That said, the butter fast was not as positive as I had hoped. I think I’ll stick with my normal fat fast which is mainly coconut oil with some grass-fed butter and cream in my coffee. I’ve written about the health benefits of coconut oil in the past. Indeed, it healed my thyroid. Why give that up?

Fung on Fasting

Dr Jason Fung is a rock star when it comes to all things fasting. I’ve been listening to some of his lectures and interviews whilst in the kitchen and have benefitted a great deal in understanding just how important fasting is for my health. He’s a good motivator too. He has a folksy, matter of fact way of speaking that is quite charming. It’s probably because he’s Canadian.

https://www.youtube.com/user/drjasonfung

Further Reflections on Intermittent Fasting

So I’m over a week into my experiment. My morning blood glucose readings continue to be in a much better range: 6.4 mmol/L, 6.2, 6.6, 7.1. Moreover, I’ve been testing my blood in the afternoon and readings have been below 6.0 mmol/L.

My diet is virtually no carb save for the small amount from cream in my coffee and a little bit of cheese here and there.

My roast chicken looks better!

My wellbeing, if anything, has been better across the last four days. Those who have ever fasted may know that a mild sense of euphoria can manifest itself. Well, I’ve been experiencing euphoric moments, off and on, for days. I’m guessing that’s a combined effect from the intermittent fasting and lower blood glucose.

My energy levels continue to be excellent.

I slept very well last night and the night before…eventually. I woke up though with an upset stomach that did not go away for an hour or so. Could it have been a bit too much grass fed roast beef? Maybe. It may have been too many supplements or even the fact that my stomach has probably shrunk a bit due to the small eating window. I cut back on the supplements last night. I’ll reintroduce the two I cut out (cinnamon and gymnema sylvestre) and see what happens.

Conclusions

As I said to my better half yesterday, I think this is my new way of living. It is sustainable. I don’t mind eating my first meal at 1:00pm or 2:00pm. I believe with a couple of one-day fasts over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be able to get my HbA1c into the non-diabetic range. Watch this space.