Small Eating Window – Early Results

So I’m on day four of my eating window experiment. My routine is simple:

  • I have a big coffee with some cream when I get up at 6:30.
  • I eat lunch between 1:00pm and 2:00pm.
  • I eat dinner between 6:00pm and 7:00pm.
  • No snacks between meals.
  • No food after dinner.

I’ve been eating very low carb for the last four days. For a couple of days I’ve gone full carnivore. I’m planning to have a very light lunch today, maybe a couple of handfuls of walnuts and a square of 95% chocolate. I’ll have a steak for dinner…with melted butter on top!

Blood Glucose Results

There has definitely been an improvement in my readings when I wake up in the morning (6.5 mmol/L, 7.1, 6.8, 7.0). This means my blood is getting into the low sixes and high fives during the day.

With a bit more fasting, I think I’ll be able to get my blood glucose into the non-diabetic range which is 5.7 mmol/L and below.

Wellbeing

Energy levels have been great and I feel a bit more focused in the mornings and early afternoon. It’s a similar feeling to multi-day fasts. Given that I’m not eating for around nineteen hours between dinner and my next lunch this isn’t a surprise. I’m essentially on a nineteen hour “mini-fast” every day.

Sustainability

This is an easy one to maintain I think. I haven’t had any big food cravings. I do miss the idea of having bacon and eggs in the morning. However, I can always have this at lunch. Who’s going to stop me?

Conclusions

I’m going to fit a one-day coffee/water fast in next week and see if that continues to bring down my morning blood glucose readings. Overall, I’m very encouraged with this new intermittent fasting regime.

Fasting Roundup

So after a week of indulgence, I followed a fat fast for four days. This was to combat high blood glucose and inflammation. I combined the fasting with some moderate exercise. These were the results.

Blood Glucose

On Monday morning, my reading was 12.6 mmol/L. The next three mornings were 7.4, 6.6, 5.6.

I can’t think of a faster or more natural way to get my blood sugar down.

I could start shooting insulin, but this is not necessary for me if I exercise sufficient discipline.

Exercise

I went for a long walk on Monday and also lifted some heavy things: five circuits of press-ups, planks and dumbbell curls. Tuesday and Wednesday were long walks as well. That was it. Nothing fancy or very intense.

Wellbeing

I could feel myself feeling better on Monday night. This may sound absurd (maybe it was completely psychological), but I did feel physically and emotionally better by the first twenty-four hours. Taking in breaths felt good. It was akin to that feeling one gets after a run. When I checked my glucose shortly after this feeling of slight euphoria, it was 6.4 mmol/L. What can I say? Was it all in my head? Firstly, there’s evidence that people do feel euphoric when fasting. Second, I did have elevated blood glucose for a few of days. I did have systemic inflammation. Also, the booze from the week before could have been affecting me still. Surely those factors are going to have deleterious effects on my physiology that will translate into suboptimal wellbeing and a feeling of malaise.

As for the rest of the days, I felt great. As I’ve written before, fat fasts are very easy compared to water fasts…for me anyways. The results are the same, so why kill myself on a water fast?

Breaking the Fast

I broke my fast yesterday morning with my egg yolk “cakes”. They were from my four hens of course. I had a bit of cheese for lunch and a handful of walnuts. I made my red Thai curry last night which had tons of good veg: cauliflower, broccoli and courgettes. I ate a little too much for dinner, but my glucose was still good this morning: 7.4 mmol/L. I didn’t feel hungry when I woke up so I skipped breakfast. I’ll either skip lunch too or just have a little bit of something. We’ll see if I’m hungry.

Conclusions

So I had another successful fast. I feel better; the inflammation is gone; I was in ketosis (a bit of keto breath); and my glucose levels are back to normal. My energy levels are great and I slept very well last night. I also lost a bit of weight. My jeans were loose around the waste yesterday despite the belt. The only negative was that I ate too much last night. My stomach had shrunk, and I went a little overboard with the vegetables. I need to be a little more disciplined there.

Beating Inflammation Quickly

This is a quick follow up to my most recent article on inflammation and blood glucose. This is day two of my fast and my blood glucose was 7.4mmol/L this morning. Given that it was 12.6 yesterday, this is a massive improvement.

How did I get it down so significantly? It was a very simple protocol:

  • Fasting
  • Exercise
  • Drinking a lot of water

I feel a lot better too.

I’ll write a little overview of this fast on Friday.

Increasing Insulin Sensitivity

As a Type-2, I need to do all I can to help my body work as efficiently as possible with the limited insulin my pancreas makes. Through experience, trial and error and research these are the strategies I use.

Supplements

I have written about some of the following supplements. The others will get their own posts in due course:

  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Bitter Melon
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Resveratrol
  • Evening Primrose
  • Gymnema Sylvestre
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Probiotics
  • Apple cider vinegar

Diet

Obviously, the keto diet minimises the need for insulin. However, there are some foods I eat that supposedly help with insulin resistance. One of the argument seems to be that these foods have anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory properties that, in turn, promote insulin sensitivity. Still, I cannot eat these foods with reckless abandon or my blood sugar will go up:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts

In contrast, there are many foods that I avoid beyond the obvious ones because they likely promote insulin resistance with me.

Carrying Fat

Being overweight increases insulin resistance. Fortunately, since adopting the paleo-lifestyle my weight has dropped massively. I’m guessing I’m somewhere around seven percent body fat today. My weight is just below 12 stone (168 lbs). I used to be over 15 stone (210 lbs).

Exercise

This is one of the most important “planks” in my lifestyle and key to reducing insulin resistance. My regimen is a mix of walking, jogging, sprinting and resistance training. When I first started paleo, I followed Mark Sisson’s programme of lifting heavy things once a week. I’ve upped that to three to five days per week now. Why? Because I have found that resistance training has a very powerful and positive effect on my blood glucose. The jury is in and resistance training is key to improving insulin sensitivity.

Fasting

I’ve written tons on fasting, and its benefits for me. There many advocates out there who argue fasting improves insulin sensitivity. This is a regular part of my lifestyle through meal skipping and multi-day fasts.

Sleep

I wrote about this one the other day. Suffice to say, getting a good night’s sleep every night improves insulin sensitivity.

Conclusion

You can see from the above that I have to juggle a lot of balls to maximise my insulin sensitivity and overall health. Is it hard? Not really. One minor difficulty is the fact that I’m taking so many supplements that occasionally one or two fall through the cracks. For instance, I haven’t been taking apple cider vinegar as much as I should lately. The reason? It’s in a different cupboard than the rest of my supplements, and I simply fell out of the habit of drinking it. Shame on me.

Three Day Fat Fast – Day 3

Americans are missing out on Red Leicester

So I’m breaking my fast right now with some coffee and Red Leicester. Another fast out of the way!

Blood glucose? It was 5.7 mmol/L this morning. I was expecting it to be lower, but I didn’t do much exercise yesterday, and I may have forgotten to take my metformin before bed. Oopsy! Still, it was down to 5.2 when I got home from work.

I have to say it again. Fat fasts are a complete doddle. There’s very little craving for food during the day. If I’m feeling a bit of a pang, I’ll just have a little organic butter. Sorted.

I just got back from a six kilometre run. When I ran the same route during the water fast, I was in a bad way. Especially going up hills. This time round? No problems. I felt really good.

Energy was great today and only a very mild headache this morning. That went away a few minutes after having a big pinch of sea salt.

Conclusions

I don’t see myself going back to three or four day water fasts to be honest. Why? Fat fasts are so much easier, and the benefits are pretty similar. I’m in ketosis, autophagy still happens, but I don’t have headaches as much, and I’m not that hungry.

I’ll keep with the three-day fat fasts once a month and cycle in the odd one-day water fast here and there.

My next experiment is going to be time restricted eating. More on that later.

Three Day Fat Fast – Day 2

So day two down. What did I eat? Same old same. Double cream in my three coffees, a tablespoon of organic butter and three tablespoons of organic coconut oil. Total calories: 900.

My blood glucose was a near stellar 5.9 mmol/L this morning, which is a great improvement on yesterday’s reading of 7.6.

I’m guessing I’ll wake up in the low fours tomorrow.

High energy, no headaches and feeling very good.

The only downside is that I’m the cook in the house, so I’m the one cooking dinner even though I won’t be eating.

What’s on the menu? That lovely chicken curry courtesy of Meridian.

Three Day Fat Fast – Day 1

Despite the continuing Holy War on coconut oil and butter, I’m on another three-day fat fast. I woke up this morning with a respectable 7.6 mmol/L blood glucose level. I’ll be curious to see where I am tomorrow morning. I’m hoping for the fives, but I’ll likely land in the sixes.

How do I feel? Great. Fat fasts are so much easier than water fasts. The simple reason is that the fat satiates my appetite, so I don’t feel hungry. My energy levels are also very good. One of the big bonuses of consuming coconut oil for me is the fact that about half of the fats are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT). Medium chain fatty acids are easier to break down than long chains, so I have quick energy after consuming coconut oil.

What have I eaten today? Three tablespoons of coconut oil, a tablespoon of butter and 200ml of heavy cream. Total calories? About 900.

I went for a nice long walk today, and I’m probably already in ketosis.

More tomorrow.

Three-Day Fat Fast

I’m expecting a sugar spike on Monday morning due to the pork chop I’ll be eating the night before. In any event, my three day “fat fast” will start after that pork chop. I’ll only eat the following for three days: coconut oil, butter and double cream in my coffee.

Advocates claim that fat fasting is for those who are already fat-adaptive and able to easily cycle into ketosis. Of course, all the benefits that are associated with ketosis such as autophagy and anti-inflammation are part and parcel of the fat fast.

I’ll do a rough count on day-one, but I doubt my caloric intake will be above 800 calories.

One of the great benefits for me with fat-fasting is that there are really no cravings for food. If I have a bit of a pang, I’ll just have a tablespoon of coconut oil or butter. No more pang. This was also the first type of fast I did before moving on to a water/black coffee only fast.

Dull headaches can be a nuisance on day one, but again, I follow Dr Mercola’s advice and eat a couple pinches of sea salt. The headache goes away in a few minutes.

I’ll post Day-One on Monday.

Sitrep – Two Weeks after Fasting

The new regimen since the fast is paying big dividends. My blood glucose levels have ranged between 6.2 mmol/L and 7.8 mmol/L when I wake up. That means that my blood glucose is getting into the “fives” during the day.

The diet is definitely keto with my carb intake somewhere below 30g per day.

The vegetables, if I choose to have them, are kale, rocket, chard or broccoli.

My blood crept up a little last week to 7.8 when I woke up (thank you Old El Paso taco spice), so I skipped dinner that night. Result in the morning? 6.4 mmol/L.

I feel awesome: very sharp and alert. I think it’s the ketogenesis combined with going on the wagon. Not that I drank that much mind you, but even a couple of glasses of wine can make me a little foggy the next morning.

I’ve also had the self-discipline to limit myself to one square of dark chocolate per day (90% cacao or above).

So, it’s onwards and upwards.

When it comes to red wine, I’ll have to go full-teetotal. Maybe I’ll nurse a glass if I’m at a dinner party.

Which leads to my next problem: what to do with my whisky collection? I know some keto advocates say one can have spirits since they have zero carbs. But let’s face it, alcohol isn’t good for us. I refuse to let anything stop this virtuous upwards spiral.

I don’t know. I don’t imbibe the “water of life” during the summer months. I’ll do a little experimenting when the autumn comes round.

If I can have the odd dram with no ill effects then I have, in essence, a lifetime supply of the stuff in my cabinet. If I do have ill effects? Then I will launch the Great Scotch Giveaway!

Given how well I’m doing since the fast. I will post my situation reports every fortnight from now on. I am planning on another fast in about a fortnight too: a three day “fat fast.”

Sitrep – One Week after Fasting

Readers will know that I went on a four-day, water/black coffee only, fast last week. My blood glucose levels came way down. On the morning of Day 4, my blood glucose was 4.1 mmol/L.

I’ve done similar fasts in the past, but I could not maintain ideal blood control due to bad habits: mainly red wine, too much protein, too much dark chocolate and too many nuts.

So where am I today one week later? Blood glucose is far better than in the past. My numbers, up until yesterday morning, were between 5.7 and 7.6. Unfortunately, after too many nuts and meat protein on Thursday night, I woke up with a reading of 8.6 mmol/L. Now historically, this is not that bad a reading for me. However, there is no way I’ll reach my 5.7 HbA1c this autumn if I tell myself “It’s not so bad, you’re sugar will go down during the day.” It will go down, but not enough.

So what to do?

Simple. I had a small breakfast on Friday and then went on a 24 hour fast. Result. I woke up this morning with a 6.2 mmol/L. This is my way forward I think. If my morning reading is above 7.6 then I have to go on at least a one-day fast to get close to optimal blood glucose.

We’ll see how this goes. It’s essentially intermittent fasting, but dictated by my blood-glucose readings.