Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Listening To My Body

Officially down with a nasty head cold. It wiped me out yesterday and I decided to take a sick day today despite the fact that I had no classes today so it's a bit of a waste. I'm prepared to take tomorrow off as well, but I think I may have turned the corner, thanks to a surprising action...

The Day O' Meat started off as expected, albeit with a longer sleep-in than the usual Tuesday. I broke my fast with the remains of last night's chicken - I don't know what they do to make the carcass so extra tasty (and I probably don't want to know), but the saltiness of the meat between the bones drives me nuts! I found myself absent-minded eating the bones - when the ribs separated into two sections, I noticed that the chicken's spine had mysteriously disappeared... Yum! So apparently I was hungry. Maybe I needed marrow nutrients...

A couple of hours later, I grilled up some bacon for lunch, before heading back to bed:

Now, when I grilled up that bacon, I was ignoring a gnawing sensation in my stomach that was demanding fruit, of all things. Now, I've never really craved fruit in such a visceral way before. I know what psychological cravings are, and what blood sugar cravings feel like, but this was something completely different I tried to shut it up with bacon and sleeping...

However, when I awoke, the demand for fruit was still there. I wondered whether my body was calling out for vitamin C, or some other nutrient that it wanted to help fight off the cold. So I decided to experiment and listen to my bod. I made up a pancake of 90% egg / 10% almond meal, fried in coconut oil, and defrosted a handful of blueberries, adding a couple of 100& cacao duds for good antioxidantory (it's a word now) measure.

I felt better almost instantly! The ache behind my eyes went away, and my ear/throat stopped aching. Well! I can't know whether the improvement was the result of something in the meal or just the placebo effect, but considering my cynicism going into the experiment, I wonder if the latter was negated... Either way, it makes me wish that there was more vitamin C in Mark Sisson's Master Formula, and I'll have to keep and eye out for sweetener-free C next time I'm in the pharmacy, ready for next flu season.

So tomorrow will need to be the start of Meat Month, although I indulged in a very meaty dinner to complete the day - bacon and minced beef! Oh how glamorous...

I'm heading to bed with a little bit of lingering throat/ear soreness, but with any luck I'll wake up feeling much healthier.

Has anyone else ever followed their instinct when it comes to finding a natural remedy for an ailment? I figure this is just one step up from getting rest when you're fighting any illness, or rubbing bruises...


Deanna said...

Wow, I leave the blog community for a while and a lot changes! I got too curious from your blog and have tried ultra-low carb. I haven't gone zero-carb because I get too bored (I dunno, something about beef, beef, beef, beef, and the occasional chicken being the only meats available in Texas), but I'm liking how I feel! I still like my veggies, though, so now they're the condiment to my meat. I can't wait for your primal holiday treats -- my mom especially could use to be treated to some low-carb, primal deliciousness.

Jezwyn said...

Hey Deanna! Glad you're having a lovely VLC experience :) I'm lucky that my meat'n'egging isn't too constrained given my access to all sorts of meat - I'm hanging out for Christmas crayfish already!

I like veggies too, they're perfect as a condiment. I'm going to be strict for now though to maximise and maintain ketosis.

My first holiday treat is almost fully conceptualised, and I'll start playing with my idea in the kitchen soon!

Anonymous said...

Hello Jezwyin: I think i will workout twice a day this week in order to create a caloric-deficit so i could eat a bit more of turkey on thanksgiving day. I will only eat lots of turkey and nothing else on that day :-)

Susan said...

I use a vitamin C supplement, but I used to get buffered vitamin C as a powder from a health food store. It's really tart and nice to sprinkle into water and other drinks.

Also, don't forget vitamin D! Even people who live in sunny climes can be deficient (I live in Los Angeles and I'm still usually on the low side of normal). Vitamin D helps modulate immune function. I take 2,000 IUs daily but you can go much higher when you're feeling ill.

Oh, and as far as listening to my body when I'm ill, I always want to drink quarts of homemade chicken or beef stock. Easy to do -- just save up those bones!

Jezwyn said...

Haha, thanks Susan! All the Vitamin C supplements I've seen are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners, so I'll be sticking to my grass-fed meats for now, and berries if I get that pang again. I might have a look at what iHerb has to offer the next time I'm looking to ship stuff over.

And yes, I know my Vitamin D stats. Who of all of us following health these days hasn't been blown away by all the D3 hype pouring out of the research community this year? I started at 10K per day a few months back, but now I take 20K per day, bumped up to 50-60K these past few days to help my immune system bounce back.

I can't do plain meat stock - just like lemonade, it was something I was always fed when I had gastro as a child, so the taste, or even just the smell, of either liquid makes me want to heave :) Damn conditioning!

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hello again Jezwyn; I have a question. I admit that i am not doing a complete 100% zero-carbohydrate diet, because of the fact, that the whey protein powder i use, has 3 grams of carbohydrates per scoop. And i use 3 scoops a day (9 total grams of carbohydrates just for the whey protein powder).

So i think i take like 10 to 15 grams of carbohydrates a day.

My question is, should i follow a diet low or moderate in fat, so that the fat i take won't be accumulated as fat, because i am eating 15 grams of carbohydrates a day?

The thing is that I've heard that in order for the fat we eat not to be stored as fat in our bodies, our insulin-levels would have to be real, real low, and like you said that can only be achieved by not eating any carbohydrates at all in our diet.

And I've even read in the Protein Power book by Dr. Eades that even protein intake rises a little bit insulin-levels.

So again, my question is, when people take in about 10 to 20 grams of carbohydrates a day should they lower their fat intake or do you think that eating 10 grams to 20 grams of carbohydrate a day won't elevate insulin-levels at all?

So like I said, it's almost impossible for me to follow an 100% zero-carb diet (The best i can do is 10 to 15 grams of carbohyrates a day)



Jezwyn said...


Okay. Listen. I've said this a bunch of times. Everyone's body is different. You have to work out what works for you.

That said, there are a few truths that apply to everyone.

1. You won't accumulate fat if you are not taking in more fuel than you need.

2. High insulin levels encourage the body to hold onto fat for as long as those levels remain high, but even then those stores are released after a while if needed by the body.

3. You can most certainly accumulate fat even if your insulin levels are kept freakishly low.

A recent study on the Paleo diet showed the individuals following a Paleo diet, including 250g carb per day, still showed improvements in insulin sensitivity. Ergo, for most people, 20g or less carbs are not going to have much of an impact on blood glucose, provided those carbs are not of a high glycaemic load.

With your 15g carb, and adequate protein, your fat intake should make up a good 60-65% of your daily calories. In anyone's book, this is a high-fat diet. Yes, protein can be insulinogenic, but only if your body is desperate for the glucose. Your bod needs about 30g carb per day, so you are providing it with half its needs, and the rest it will convert from the protein. IF you have lowered your carbs, and then you start lowering your fat, that means all you'll really be eating is protein, and that comes with all sorts of risks. You MUST be eating fatty meats, not lean, for optimal health.

You said:
"The thing is that I've heard that in order for the fat we eat not to be stored as fat in our bodies, our insulin-levels would have to be real, real low, and like you said that can only be achieved by not eating any carbohydrates at all in our diet."

I did not say any such thing. Look around at the skinny people who continually stuff their faces with pastries and cakes and lollies - their insulin levels are sky-high, and yet their bodies still know how to use that fuel (redundant cycling, etc) because they have a sensitivity to insulin. Once blood sugar levels are normal, the insulin goes away. The only need to keep insulin levels really low is for people who are particularly resistant to insulin, where the slightest blood sugar spike floods the bloodstream with insulin, keeping that fuel trapped in the fat cells for too long. And that fat will only come out if it's needed - i.e. if our other cells need the fuel. Otherwise, it stays put and accumulates. Without the interference of insulin, this manner of fat accumulation is more difficult, since the human body desires to remain in homeostasis rather than endlessly packing on the pounds. And again, some bodies find this easier than others.

I can't tell you - no one can - exactly how your body will respond to a particular way of eating. If you really want to know about your own insulin sensitivity, etc, go get blood work and glucose tolerance testing done. But realistically, you only have a little bit of weight to lose. Give low-carbing time to show results before you drive yourself crazy micro-analysing. Your progress will inform your understanding much more than obsessing over theories.

Penty said...

Look into "Emergen-C Lite", sold at iherb. It's a Vit C mix (plus a few other minerals and the like) with only 1g of carbs.

It's like a gatorade type sports drink but no sugar and no real amount of salt.