Saturday, February 6, 2010

Swotting Up On The Endocrine System & Stuffing My Face

As well as re-reading a lot of posts on blogs I already following, with this new lens aimed at metabolic function and how it is affected by nutrition, I'm also blogroll-hopping to find new lands of endocrine-exploration. Some follow paleo principles, avoiding neolithic foods, and some don't. I'm accumulating knowledge in a sprawling and all-encompassing manner, and I do not plan to regurgitate it all back out in posts here, since the metabolism is yet another area of health where scientists have not found all the answers. But as I go, I'll be sure to add notes in my posts where particular choices have been made with metabolic process in mind.

Here are just some of the web pages I wandered through today that I found thought-provoking and informative (some stuff I already knew, some stuff I didn't, not that I agreed with everything, necessarily - read critically, says GGP the English teacher...):

Ways To Boost Metabolism - A basic starting point, good for its notes about coconut oil. I took some CCO today, and I've been drinking white tea all day. My hands are like radiators right now...

A 7-step Plan to Boost Your Low Thyroid and Metabolism - points out the link between environmental toxins and hypothyroidism, as well as looking at the causes of chronic inflammation. His 7-step programme also looks good, especially the nutrition notes and heat therapy idea...

And here's an example of what NOT to do - Twelve Ways To Revive & Boost Your Metabolism. Yikes. Utter bollocks until she starts talking about muscles.

I'm reading through the info on the Schwarzbien Principle again. Highly thought-provoking, but not something to take as gospel.

The colourfully named 'The Diet-F*cked Blog' is written by two 18 year old kids who suffer from burned-out adrenal glands and compromised thyroid function. Whilst the blog seems to be stagnant (although there's an odd post asking for your email if you want to subscribe since the blog needs to go 'on the down-low'), there's some really interesting information that is essentially a translation of Ray Peat's ideas placed alongside anecdotal experiences.

To read more about Ray Peat's ideas, check out his articles on thyroid function.

Dr. Kharrazian is an expert in the field of thyroid functionality, but very little of his work is available online (that I can find). I have found reference to his ideas paraphrased in forum comments, but for more details I'd have to buy his book (and I'm not about to do that). The take-home idea of his, at this stage, is that it may well be possible that all of the potential causes of hypothyroidism can be eliminated without the need for medical/drug interference.

From a comment by Erin on a post on The Fabulous Foragers Forum:

From all the reading I've been doing (based upon the experience of people practicing functional endocrinology like Dr. Kharrazian and Nora), the consensus seems to be in favor of lower (not super-low/no) carb, moderate protein, higher fat for healing the endocrine system. Even Dr. Schwartzbein echos this, too. A low(er)-carb, higher fat diet (without all the excess protein!) resets leptin functioning, which then helps insulin, which then helps adrenal function and so on down the hormone ladder.

This comment, based on access to texts that are not available to read online as far as I can tell, tends to support the idea that KKwasniewski's The Optimal Diet is a good way to go. Although I've always felt fine, I've often wondered whether the amount of protein I consume when on a carnivorous WOE is unnecessarily high, and potentially dangerous. I watch my caloric breakdown carefully (i.e. keeping my percentage of calories from fat up to at least 65%) but this doesn't take into account total caloric intake. So if I futz around with Kwasniewski's ideas, here's what I come up with:

If I take 1g of protein for every 1kg of my ideal bodyweight (for which I'm using 65kg, which may be a little lower than my ideal - I don't know since I've never been there in my adult life!), that says I should consume 65g protein, providing me with 260kcal.

My optimal fat consumption range is therefore between 162g and 227g, providing 1458kcal to 2043kcal.

I should then, so Kwasniewski states, consume at least 35g carb but no more than 50g carb, giving me between 140kcal and 200kcal from carbohydrates.

Overall, my minimum caloric intake should be 1858kcal and my maximum 2503kcal.

This is supposedly a healthy eating plan for my goal weight, so eating at this level should encourage my excess weight to leave. But since I'm insulin resistant, it might help for me to consume a lower level of carbs... So theoretically, if I then cut back on my carb allowance (but maybe not to zero if I am to preserve metabolic function), then I should aim for 65g protein, 162g to 227g fat, and around 5g carb, resulting in a caloric intake of 1738 to 2323kcal. Looking at caloric restriction alone, I know that I don't lose fat at this level whilst consuming 20g carb, but perhaps I could on a ketogenic diet... And I've shown before that I can lose fat on a carnivorous diet consuming up to 2400kcal per day, so that may prove the Kwasniewski ranges are quite optimal... Maybe I'll play with this idea more post-ADF experiment.

From what I can tell, my iodine levels are fine, and my hormone test pre-PCO diagnosis suggested that my thyroid was functioning well. However, it cannot be denied that iodine deficiency is becoming a significant problem within at least the Westernised world, and especially those of us who shun fast-food, which is loaded with iodised salt. As Sue pointed out in a comment, Richard Nikoley's own experiences with hypothyroidism and iodine, and the comments which follow, are worth a read for anyone interested in metabolism.

In 2008, Matt Stone completed a 30 day trial of an all-meat diet, noting the therapeutic effects it had on digestion, skin & dental health, IBS, obesity (noting that "an all-meat diet is pretty much a sure thing for weight loss"), acne, blood pressure, and sugar/flour addictions. He touches upon the question I'm currently interested in - whether the carnivorous lifestyle can 'heal' the damage done to the digestive and endocrine systems by previous ways of eating (the usual SAD: high PUFA, high refined carb diet). Whilst this post didn't really answer that question, the comments took the discussion into interesting territory, and are certainly worth a read (until it turns into a weird argument about Charles Washington...)

It seems like everyone is interested in discussing iodine and thyroid function at the moment, including Diana Hseih, who has personal thyroid issues and is blogging about her experience, Hunt.Gather.Love, Dr. James Carlson, and we're promised that Dr. Michael R. Eades will soon be tackling the topic in depth.

In between the reading, I - of course - managed to find time for some really good eatin', especially since Organic Direct just delivered a new month's supply of delicious pastured meat!

Friday - Fasting
Adding to the scrambled eggs noted last post, here's a shot of the HUGE blade steak I easily put away before we headed out to the theatre.

Saturday - Feasting
Started the day with a sleep-in, then satisfied my hunger with lamb chops and fried egg, aw yeah...

A light lunch of smoked salmon followed...

And topped off the day with gorgeous salmon sashimi, followed later by a spoonful of metabolism-boosting coconut oil and a few pots of organic white tea.

Sunday - Feasting
Today is my first shot at keeping my protein intake around the 65g mark, and boosting my fat intake to at least 160g. Carbs will only be coming from animal products for now, so the number will fall as it wishes...

So I started off with a crab meat pancake - 140g crab meat, 3 eggs, and 50g coconut oil, mixed up and poured into a heated frying pan greased with butter. This made two large pancakes (next time I'd use a smaller pan to make smaller cakes - easier to flip) and I topped them off with more butter. I only got through one and a third pancakes though... Spark tells me it's around the 83% fat mark! Phwoar, talk about satisfying!

Then, for a late lunch, we picked up a rotisserie chicken and I ate the drumsticks plus some extra skin, mmmmmm!

Finally, I'd fulfilled my protein need for the day, but not my calories, so I turned to the most palatable fat in my kitchen - double cream! Yum!!

But the highlight of my day was not something I ate, but was still one of my culinary creations - today's article on Mark's Daily Apple is a post revealing my Sunflower Sesame Crackers, plus one of my dips, Prawn Paté!

Worker Bee's effort looks good, though not as golden as my batches of crackers, one of which will be my demo for my own recipe post later today. So now you know why I made all those dips, and the secret snack I alluded to throughout that recipe post... :) I hope you give them a go, and let me know what you think!

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