Sitrep – Six Weeks after Fasting

So it’s been six weeks since my four-day water/coffee fast. I also worked in a three-day fat fast a couple of weeks ago which had very good results.

How has my blood glucose been? Overall, good. But I had a little bit of a hiccup last week. Unfortunately, I had a three-day run where my morning blood glucose went from 8.4 mmol/L to 9.6 to 10.8. What happened?

It was a combination of things. I had a week off from work and binge watched two seasons of the Sopranos. The result? I wasn’t exercising as much, and I was nibbling too many nuts.

Also, I had three meals in a row where I ate too much protein. In particular, two were chicken breast based meals. I’ve written about gluconeogenesis before. Once again too much dense protein led to higher than acceptable blood glucose levels in the morning.

I’ve managed to get my blood glucose back to some normalcy through increased exercise, some intermittent fasting and more fatty meats. Yesterday, my morning reading was 7.2 mmol/L. This morning it was 8.0. The higher reading today was, again, due to too many nuts while watching TV.

Conclusions

I can’t have nuts in front of me on the coffee table. One handful becomes two then three then four. Also, when I do have chicken breast, I must exercise more restraint. I should be eating less than a chicken breast to be honest.

Over the next three weeks I’ll be playing around with meal skipping. I’ll also do a time restricted experiment to see how that affects my blood.

I’ve also found a new exercise routine that looks exciting. More on that shortly.

At the beginning of August, I’ll be going on another fat fast.

Until then. Less nuts!

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.

Four Day Fast – Day 4

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Food, food, glorious food. The fast is over, and I got to devour some baked salmon with hollandaise sauce tonight. Amazing!

The Good

After blogging last night, I checked my blood to see if my run had affected my glucose. It sure did. I spiked up to 6.8 mmol/L. Nevertheless, it came down quickly. This morning? An amazing 4.1!

Energy levels were great today, and hunger was very manageable. Like I said yesterday, knowing that you only have a few hours to go until you can eat keeps you going. I was certainly thinking about food today though.

No headaches today either.

Conclusions

The four-day fast was a great success. My blood glucose has hit the sweet spot. I’m in ketosis and a feel really bloody good.

I dropped about six pounds in the last four days. I’m guessing most of it was water, since I don’t see any noticeable loss of muscle mass. I’ll probably put most of that back on over the next month or so.

Now What?

The goal now is to keep my blood sugar in a tight range. Giving up the wine will certainly help, but I worry it won’t be enough. Dark chocolate is a problem for me; even 100% cacao tends to raise my blood a little because I have trouble keeping it to one square. I’m going to avoid that for the time being.

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Semi-carnivore

This is what I’m going to experiment with for the time being. I’ll cut my carbs down to a bare minimum with only the odd salad from time to time (my garden is loaded with kale, chard and rocket at the moment); some days it will be meat only.

I tried the carnivore diet a few years ago for a fortnight and the results were very impressive. I did it again last year with frankly poor results. The problem? I was drinking wine, which was, of course, loaded with carbs.

Stay tuned.

Four Day Fast – Day 3

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It’s masochistic writing this post with the steak photo in front of me, but this is all I’ve been thinking about for the last three hours. I’ve also been thinking about hamburgers ever since I saw the story about McDonalds opening in the UK again. I don’t even like McDonalds that much. If I’m eating a fast-food burger, without bun of course, then it’s a Whopper or a Grandpa Burger from A&W!

Anyways, I’m looking forward to breaking my fast tomorrow evening, but I’m obsessing over Saturday steak night with salsa verde even more than tomorrow’s salmon. So on to day three.

The Good

My blood glucose was an awesome 4.8 mmol/L this morning. So, I’ve gone from 8.5>6.7>4.8 in two days. Not too shabby.

Because I was worried about having a hypoglycaemic episode today, I checked my blood a couple more times: 4.4 and 5.0. I’ve felt very good all day with no headaches to speak of. I even skipped my metformin at “lunchtime”; I’ll do the same tonight.

I also decided to go for a run today because:

  1. It would take my mind off of being hungry
  2. I hadn’t done anything vigorous since Sunday
  3. I wanted to see how my body would react to the stress.

Result? I got around my route okay, but man was I breathing heavily up the hills. I struggled getting to those crests and had to take walking breaks several times. I also felt a little light headed once I got home. I’m guessing my hunter-gathering ancestors were not in fine fettle when they had to chase things after a few days of not eating.

I’m definitely in ketosis now, since I have the dreaded “keto breath”. One of the few benefits of the lockdown, I suppose, is that I can’t inflict my breath on anyone.

All in all, it’s been a very good day for blood glucose levels and general wellbeing.

The Somewhat Bad

The only downside today is my hunger, which really came on after work. Still, I’ve got less than 24 hours to go now. I can keep it together for another day. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel keeps me motivated.

Conclusion

The fast’s been a very positive experience thus far. Sure I’m hungry, but it wasn’t like that was unexpected. Also, if I can do it once, I can do it again if need be.

I’m starting to think about what happens after the fast. How do I keep my blood sugar levels in the sweet spot range after I break fast? More on that tomorrow dear reader.

Four Day Fast – Day 2

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It’s deja vu all over again. After a lacklustre day-one, I had great results on day-two.

The Good

As I guessed, my blood glucose dropped before I went to bed last night, and I woke up with a much improved 6.7 mmol/L. Energy levels are great. I also feel sharper mentally, and have that sense of just feeling good that some argue comes with fasting. Why the good feeling? It seems that since my body is being put under stress for want of food, endorphins kick in causing a feeling of euphoria. An hour ago my blood glucose was a very solid 5.4 mmol/L. Boom!

I’m probably in ketosis now with all its disputed health benefits. I know there are some hard-core types out there who worry about not achieving full ketosis or enough ketosis or whatever. Health and fitness is certainly my hobby, but I can’t get too worked up about optimal ketone levels. I don’t think my hunter-gathering Celt/German ancestors cared too much 10,000 years ago.

Autophagy is another benefit of fasting; given my readings today, my body is likely eating itself…but in a good way. If you haven’t heard of autophagy, it literally means self-eating. My body is sweeping up damaged cells and other bits like organelles and proteins. If you don’t believe me, check out the work of Yoshinori Ohsumi who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine a few years ago.

So in the final analysis, a very good day for blood glucose levels and general health.

The Bad

I am jonesing for food at the moment (shock, horror). I know now why I haven’t done a water/coffee fast for more than a year. It is bloody hard compared to my “fat fasts”. I’m drinking water hand-over-fist which satiates me for an hour or so. Still, I’m half-way to the baked salmon finish line on Thursday; moreover, there’s always a mental boost when you wake up on day three and realise you can eat tomorrow. I will soldier on for you, dear reader.

Another downside is the dull headache that comes and goes after day-one for me. This is a byproduct, according to some, of ketosis: the so-called “keto flu”. Dr Mercola, whom Google is waging war on apparently, argues that this is just due to low sodium. He recommends taking salt several times a day whilst fasting. That’s what I do, and it seems to work.

Conclusion

I feel great overall, and I’m looking forward to seeing my glucose reading tomorrow morning!

Four Day Fast – Day 1

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Long-time readers will know that I’ve been paleo for seven years which allowed me to give up insulin. I also dropped a bunch of fat. Things have been sticky for the last few years in that my haemoglobin A1c levels have ranged from 6.4% to 7.6%. Good, but not great. One of the reasons for creating this blog was to help push myself to achieve that golden sub-5.7% HbA1c.

Increasing the frequency and duration of my fasts is one way I’m trying to achieve this goal. Today was day one of my four-day, water and coffee only fast. How did it go?

The Good

Well, I feel good. My energy levels are the same as usual; after work, I went for a six kilometre walk and lifted some heavy things. As of two hours ago, my blood pressure is a excellent 123/77 at 63 beats per minute.

The Bad

The first day of a fast is always the hardest for me. Today was no different. I’m hungry, and the water-only regimen makes it harder than my typical “fat fasts” which consist of double cream in my coffees and the odd tablespoon of coconut oil. There’s nothing to satiate my appetite other than water, which only works for an hour or two.

The Ugly

I woke up this morning with a not great 8.5 mmol/L (153mg/dl). I still think this is a hangover from too much “glass here-glass there” wine drinking, and it will take a while for my body to adapt. What’s worse though is that I checked my blood an hour ago, and it was higher than this morning: 9.0 mmol/L.

What the heck’s going on here you might ask? I’ve eaten nothing all day, so one would think my blood sugar should have come down especially after an hour and a half of exercise. It could be a few things: the caffeine in the coffee, the exercise spiking my glucose again or my lazy pancreas.

I’m not ruling out the caffeine, which is going to be another experiment in July, where I will wean myself off this delicious drug. We’ll see what that does to my blood glucose. Nevertheless, I think this could be due to my pancreas not releasing much if any insulin because I haven’t eaten anything today. I recall reading somewhere that the pancreas, when damaged like mine, is a bit dopey and does not release insulin without food coming into the body. The consensus view is that the liver is releasing glucose into my body to compensate for the lack of food. That’s possible too.

Conclusions

So not the best of starts, but not terrible either. I was hoping for my blood to be a bit lower after my workout. Still, my blood tends to go down quite a bit between 6:00pm and 10:00pm for some reason.

I’m guessing my blood will be significantly lower tomorrow morning if the past is anything to go on. “Day twos” are usually very good energy wise as well. We’ll see.

My Four Day Fast

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I’ll have more to say about the ketogenic diet in later posts, and how it contrasts with paleo. For now, let’s just say it’s a more extreme form of the paleo diet, with even less carbs and higher fat. Take the standard food pyramid, invert it and delete the breads and sugars.

I’ve gone keto before, and the results were quite positive. My blood sugar levels were lower than normal paleo, and I felt better too. The fact that alcohol was a no-no during these periods obviously helped.

Why did I give it up if it was so good? The siren song of red wine, that’s why. No more!

One part of the keto lifestyle is intermittent fasting. I’ve done this a lot even while on normal paleo. If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat. Sometimes I forget to eat because I’m not hungry. This is one of the glories of paleo. It’s so high in fat that I feel satiated all the time. I don’t get hunger pangs anymore.

Keto goes a step further or it can go further if you want to go there. Instead of skipping a meal or two, one skips eating for a day or two or three, etc.

I’m going on a four-day fast after tonight’s Sunday roast chicken. Other than a black coffee in the morning and afternoon, there will be nothing else. I haven’t done a fast like this in a while, and, as I said, one of the reasons for this blog is to take my paleo-lifestyle to the next level.

I’ll update the site each evening about my blood levels and general well-being.

Youtube is full of videos on fasting. One chap I really find interesting is Dr Jason Fung: