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August 01, 2016

Monday Moron Medical Monitoring, Session 3

Update: Tubal informs me that not all cinnamon is healthy -- most cinnamon sold is Saigon/Chinese/Cassia cinnamon, which has high levels of something called coumarin, which is potentially dangerous, especially when taken every day as a supplement.

This is all news to me, so I am really just conveying what a few glib minutes of internet searching has disclosed. Apparently Ceylon cinnamon, aka "True cinnamon" or "Cinnamon Verum," is much, much lower in this potentially dangerous component chemical.

I really don't trust the herb/supplement industry very much. I just ordered Ceylon cinnamon, but I have a strong suspicion that's mostly going to be the cheaper Saigon/Chinese/Cassia cinnamon too, no matter what it says on the label.

For the moment, I'm stopping taking cinnamon until I can talk to a doctor or nutritionist.

A quick grab-bag of stuff:

First of all, a major Warning: No one who has diabetes type one should try any kind of low carb diet, and no one with diabetes type two should try it except under strict supervision by a doctor.

People with diabetes type one can't produce insulin and clear glucose out of their system. Apparently if they start producing ketones on top of the glucose already in their blood, they will go into a syndrome called ketoacidosis, which is potentially fatal.

People with diabetes type two are also at risk. They can try this, but only if a doctor is stepping them through it and keeping an eye on their system.

The Keto Flu. Laura W mentioned this to me over the weekend. Coincidentally, I had just heard about it from another source the same day she mentioned it.

When I first went into ketosis, I felt shot out of a canon in terms of energy. But a few days later that subsided and I felt meh.

I think that's some kind of variation of the keto flu. When you start producing ketones, your body will start shedding water. You can become very dehydrated and wind up feeling nauseous and sick, or, I guess, you can become partially hydrated and just not feel energetic like you did when you first went into ketosis.

The cure is to drink lots of water. It should be pointed out that while people look online for miracle supplements, they tend to ignore the one dietary supplement with the most impact on their health -- water.

Another consideration is that when you switch to a healthy diet, you are, accidentally, suddenly reducing your salt consumption, because most crap food is loaded with sugar and salt to give it some kind of palatability. Reducing salt is generally good, but the body needs some salt, too. It helps it retain water -- if it loses too much salt, it starts releasing water (in urine) to get to the salt % in the tissues it wants.

So if you're had that initial jolt of energy, only to lose it, you may just need to start drinking more water, and adding a little bit of the salt you might have inadvertently cut out of your diet.

One way to get those electrolytes and salts you might be shedding is by drinking the so-called "superfood" that became a craze a couple of years ago -- bone broth. When you simmer bones in water for hours and hours, it leeches the protein out of the marrow and bone, but also the minerals like potassium and magnesium and calcium and sodium you need to retain fluids.

I gotta tell you, I just had this this weekend and, taste-wise, it's awesome. There's something that just tastes right about it, like chicken soup just tastes right. It's an ancient thing -- humans were boiling bones forever -- and just seems to be a good re-connection with our past.

I can't guarantee it did the trick of restoring water to my body, but I almost don't care, because it's just generally good even if it has no additional health-related effects. Give it a try. (If you don't feel like making it yourself (though I'm told it's easy as hell to make, and cheap too), some Whole Foods type restaurants are selling it.)

The Most Important Exercise-- Sleep. I can't guarantee the bone broth did the trick for me yesterday, because I had another variable change as well, and I don't know what fraction of the credit to assign to either of them.

But Saturday night I went to bed early and got nine and half hours of sleep, of which my Jawbone tracker said five hours were of the deep, highly-restorative kind. (Lately I've been getting just two and a half or three hours of deep sleep -- and feeling like hell.)

Yesterday, Sunday, I had sustained energy all day long. I lifted (squats only -- shoulder is still on the mend), got in 17,000 steps, did about two weeks of housework that needed doing, shopped, etc.

I was also on a 24 hour fast and did the exercise fasted. Felt fine. (The reason I was on a 24 hour fast was sort of by accident -- when I realized I'd be going to bed early Saturday night, I just didn't bother to have my second meal, so I entered Sunday having not eaten since 3:15 pm Saturday afternoon.)

If you're not exercising, then let sleep be your physical exercise. A lot of good things happen in sleep -- your body pumps out human growth hormone (which retards aging), you repair and build muscle, etc.

If you are exercising, you actually need sleep all the more, because your body has additional repairs it has to make from the (useful) strain you put on your body while awake.

On Trackers: Someone asked about fitness trackers. For beginners, I'd strongly recommend the Jawbone Up 2. Here's why:

1. It's currently very cheap. On Amazon, you can get one for $37.50. That's like three X-rated DVDs. And I don't mean the shit ones, I mean the ones with high production values and characters with names and stuff.

By the way, these things tend to get damaged or get lost (sometimes they fall off your wrist, etc.), so it's kind of nice to have a cheap one. Like cheap sunglasses, it's nice that you can lose them and just go, "Meh. Who cares."

2. The Jawbone tracks your sleep very well. What gets measured gets improved -- and if you have a daily goal of a certain amount of sleep, it's helpful to have a record of it. The Jawbone is good at nagging you to do stuff like get in your steps.

3. Certain trackers measure your heartrate. The Jawbone 3 does, but some say it's not very accurate, and you have to check your phone to see your heartrate, because the device has no display.

The Fitbit Charge HR shows you your heartrate in real time, but that device is like $110.

I just don't think that a beginner needs to know his continuous heartrate. If you get big into an exercise kick, you may want to know when you hit your peak cardio heartrate and so forth.

But I just don't see beginners getting much actionable information out of this (fairly expensive) feature. I always check mine (I have both the Jawbone UP 2 and the Charge HR), and it's kind of interesting to know how long I was in cardio or peak heartrate, but I'm not really sure what I can do with that information. When your heart is pounding, you kind of have a sense of it's really pounding or just elevated.

Unless you're an athlete or getting to be close to an athlete, I don't know if that level of detail about your heartrate is really necessary.

So for me, to keep costs low, I'd just get the cheap Jawbone 2. It nudges you into getting a good night's sleep, and it pushes you into walking. And walking is a good exercise, and it's especially a good exercise for getting into basic shape to do other exercises. It's scalable -- you can go as slow as necessary at first, and then, as you get into shape, pursue a much more physically demanding race-walk gait -- and puts little strain on the joints even as it starts to toughen them up and prepare them for more rigorous exertions.

I'll do a post on walking some other time, but, as with any exercise err on the side of caution in the early going. Yes, you could probably push yourself into a 40 minute hard walk the first time, but if that then results in you being limpy and gimpy for two weeks and not walking, you haven't really advanced the ball any.

Oh yeah: and stretch. A lot.

By the way, I think the product is cheap because it's end-of-cycle and they might have some new replacement coming out. But I don't really know why a beginner would need much more than what's here.

Don't blame me if you buy it and then in two weeks they have some new model announced. To be honest, I'm not really sure what they could add.

Odds and ends:

1, I broke through my resistance point and got down to 180. The last time I lost weight, I got down to 180 -- maybe 178 -- then stopped. It's now my intention to use 180 as the staging area to get where I really want to be, which is 165 or 170.

This is the whole reason I started this thread: So I don't just stop at 180. Losing the first 20 or 25 pounds is, in the scheme of things, kind of easy. Beginner's Gains, they call it -- it's relatively easy to get dramatic results in the beginning of a regime, because you have so much room for improvement.

It's losing the next 20 that's the trick. Interest wanes. And it gets harder to lose each pound as you get closer to your goal, so you go from seeing quick gains to much more hard-fought, inch-by-inch gains.

Point is, for me, now I'm in the tough patch. But I'm kind of psyched. I'm now ready to do the tough thing that I didn't do last time.

2. I figured out why my fat fast didn't work two weeks ago. I thought I had a great idea -- I'll make a bunch of onion dip, then dip broccoli in it. Sour cream is full of fat, and broccoli is low-carb, so I'll be getting a meal that's almost all fat.

Here's the problem: broccoli is low-carb-ish, not low-carb. You just can't eat as much broccoli as you like and stay in ketosis -- it has six grams of carbs per cup.

And I had about three or four cups of broccoli when I went apeshit on the onion dip.

I thought I was eating really healthy with all that broccoli -- well, yes, broccoli's still good for you (and boosts your Free testosterone by bonding with an enzyme which, left unchecked, would convert your testosterone to estrogen), but it does have carbs, and you can't just have as much of it as you might want as you can with meat or eggs or cheese. (Well, cheese has some carbs too, but just a few.)

It's was a good plan and I'm still doing the broccoli-and-onion-dip thing as a way to add fat into my diet. But now I'm just having a cup of broccoli with the dip as a side-thing along with a meal, not as the meal itself.

3. I just found out that some people, once they get keto-adapted (that is, once they're burning fat regularly and their bodies are accustomed to doing so), stop peeing the acetylacetone that the ketosticks check for. They may still be in ketosis, but their bodies stop making that particular ketone in favor of another one, one that that the urine test strips do not measure.

That means that after a month or two of being in good ketosis, your keto strips might start telling you, falsely, you're not in ketosis anymore.

If that happens to you, you'd have to invest in a blood ketone checker, which requires a prick of the finger, or buy a breath ketone checker.

I just bought a couple of those but only one arrived. I'll let you know if they seem to work next time.

Not everyone will stop producing urine-eliminated ketones. I'm still pushing them out. And this sort of conversion only happens once you're keto-adapted. So people who have only been doing this a short period should probably take a negative result on the ketostick as an actual negative and try to figure out what they did wrong. (Like with my broccoli bonanza -- sometimes you just wrongly think something is fine for ketosis, but it's not.)

So: Tell me your GAINS, brah!!

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posted by Ace at 05:11 PM

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