Better Magnesium Absorption

I’ve been concerned that I’m still not absorbing enough magnesium, as the tops of my feet still get yellow-y sometimes (but not bright yellow like before).  Either I need to change magnesium supplement brands, or I still have Celiac damage affecting intestinal absorption.

Per Dr. Mark Hyman’s book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, I tried his “Detox Bath” and increased the amount of Epsom salts in my bath to 2 cups and added 1/2 cup baking soda. Wow!   I’m definitely absorbing it now!

The recent increased numbness in my feet was greatly reduced before I even finished my bath. FYI….I also don’t recommend straying too far from the bathroom the next day!  I’m not sure if it was the extra Epsom or adding the baking soda that helped it to absorb better, but I’ll definitely add this to my routine!

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Facing Hard Facts

I wanted to like this CAD/CALP carb cycling diet.  I really did.

I still think that if I’m in a situation where I’m extremely stressed out (like a recent project I did) and feel I MUST have sweets and carby foods, that partitioning my carbs into a one-hour period daily will do the least damage as far as gaining weight.

However, attempting this CAD/CALP diet the past couple weeks has comfirmed for me that next to gluten, sugar is my #2 issue.  Every time I do the carb meal my legs swell up and get numb.  My heart has been pounding strangely too.  I keep passing out from hypoglycemia. Clearly my health situation is too extreme for big daily swings between low and high carb, and more moderation is needed.

This experiment has reminded me why I did Paleo in the first place – it removed all the chemicals and food sensitivities I was having issues with, including sugar.

So…..looks like it’s back to what worked before, Paleo with low to moderate carbs. I’m adding back moderate amounts of fruit and nuts,  but I’ll save any starch, sweets and alcohol for dining out/social events only.

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Carb Cycling Redux

Ok – I had both good and bad results from carb backloading, so I’m going to customize a bit.

I was trying the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet approach, which has worked for me in the past.  Essentially you do very low carb for 2 meals and then you get a free meal, preferably at dinner. Guess both me and my pancreas are getting older so I had some issues this time.

The good part:  I LOVED that I had no appetite and lost 4 lbs in 4 days. Sweets and packaged foods lost their appeal. My cognition/focus improved as well.

The bad part:  Occasionally dehydrated, dizzy, hypoglycemic.

What I SHOULD do is just cut back my carbs gradually down to about 50-70 net carbs/day.  It worked for me before.  But I’m really sick of tracking.  Plus I’m going on vacation soon.

It didn’t work when I had my carb meal at breakfast or dinner, but lunch seems ok.  I think also I was having fruit, starch, a drink and dessert all at once and my insulin spiked too high then my blood sugar crashed later.

There is a newer version of CAD called the Carbohydrate Addicts Lifespan Program (CALP) that advocates a more moderate approach.  Having basically a regular meal that includes protein and veggies 1/3 each and only the remaining 1/3 is glycemic carbs.  I think fat would also work to give more absorption.

So for now I’ll try it again with a carby treat meal (like gluten free pizza) really just once or twice a week and otherwise a normal meal plus a little something extra for lunch, or switch to dinner if I have plans with friends.  It’s hard to avoid some kind of starch/fruit when dining out or at a friends house, even if it’s gluten free.  If I do have dessert I’ll have just a few bites or choose something higher in fat.  I’ll avoid more glycemic drinks and stick to vodka/tequila when possible or at least dry wine.  Cider really seems to affect my blood sugar.

And if this doesn’t work, it’s back to carb counting!

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Cognitive Improvements

So – wow.  I’ve been posting that I’d noticed some cognitive decline recently.  I’ve been casually taking some supplements like B12, MCT Oil and Glutathione to help improve my memory and focus.

I use a Fit Brains app on my smartphone and my score had declined by about 1000 points. Taking me from excellent to average which alarmed me.

Recently I saw some improvement and was in the very good category, up to about 67% compared to my age group overall. I was seeing incremental improvements of 2-10 points usually when I played.  More like 2-5 points usually.

Well – wow!!  Today it seemed super easy and I did amazingly well.  In one category I went up 200+ points and another I went up 300+ points.  This is super encouraging!!!!!

I think my malnutrition from gluten intolerance is finally getting fixed.  I’ll still finish out the supplements I already have but it’s a good sign.  

I had experimented with carb cycling earlier in the week to reduce my insulin levels.  I lost 4 pounds in 4 days but abandoned it due to fatigue and dehydration.  Maybe I need to revisit that carb back loading concept, since this is such an extreme improvement.  I can try easing into it more gradually.

Update – the categories that improved were visual and memory.  Memory & focus are the two worst for me currently (I do have ADHD also).  I went back and did another exercise but only gained a couple more points.  The first test I did today was on a new device so maybe it calculated my improvement based on an earlier saved score.  My overall percent didn’t go up which is weird. However my scores on the first test were like 100% so I know they were good.  So not sure if it was a glitch, but I am still optimistic! 

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Paleo + Carb Backloading

As I’ve posted before, I’ve seen great physical results and better lab results with the Paleo diet, especially removing gluten 100% from my diet.  

I’ve consistently kept off 20 lbs for about 15 months.  However,  I have been yo-yo-ing another 15 lbs for the past 6 months due entirely to eating too much sugar (and other foods that convert to sugar, like chips).  My feet/legs also swell up if I have too much sugar.

I went back to low-carb Atkins for a bit and lost the weight, but my hair started thinning again and my fatigue returned.  Prior to that,  most of my remaining fatigue was resolved with Vitamin D supplements (6,000 iu/day).  

So my new solution – in addition to eating Paleo and 100% gluten free – is “carb backloading.”

Although my blood sugar levels are almost normal now, I have had a lifetime history of insulin & leptin  issues, since infancy.  The good news is that my pancreas is also abnormally resilient.  Per my doctor based on my previous pre-Paleo diet insulin levels, I should have become an insulin-dependent diabetic 10 years ago.  He said my levels of insulin at that time were toxic, except that I’d built up such a huge resistance to insulin.

Soooo… I think my insulin levels are still higher than normal although my other markers have improved.  I still have 60 lbs of mostly central obesity to lose.  Obviously a low-carb ketogenic diet is the answer, but if I don’t eat at least 45-70 carbs/day it impacts my thyroid negatively,  as much as 25% of function per lab tests.  I feel better at about 100 carbs/day.

Enter my solution:  Carb Backloading.  Based loosely on “The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet” from the 1990’s.  I eat a ketogenic diet for 23 hours a day.  For 1 hour per day (dinner is best) I can eat insulin-spiking foods like: fruit, starch, nuts, sweets, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.

The rest of the day is like Atkins “induction” phase with only meat, eggs, veggies and fats.  Coffee & tea are also ok. Cream, butter and cheese are also allowed if you can tolerate dairy – I use ghee.

Technically you can “pig out” during the one hour, but I don’t plan to do that often.  I have already lost 2 pounds in 2 days by pushing my higher carbs foods to the end of the day.  My appetite is totally gone as well! And I don’t feel sick like I do on Atkins “induction” phase.

Obviously I won’t be able to do this every day or on vacation, but if I can follow this approach most days I think it will really help with insulin control.  I was eating more fruit and nuts throughout the day than I’d realized.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

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Endoscopy & Colonoscopy Results – 1st Time Since Going Gluten Free / Paleo

I had my post scope follow-up visit today and it was good news!  Now that I’ve been doing a gluten-free, mostly Paleo diet, I’m showing low intestinal inflammation for the 1st time in 14 YEARS!!!!

This is huge.  The Gastroenterologist was optimistic for the first time ever, rather than concerned and regretful.  He told me to keep doing what I’m doing!!

I DID have one polyp that was massively inflamed, but he thinks that was from before.  I only cut out gluten 100% as of January.  So I have to go back in a year for colonoscopy #9 (and another upper GI scope), but things are finally looking up long term!!!!!!

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AIP Progress

After a couple weeks on AIP, I’ve fallen off the wagon.  I think after my surgery and 3 days of subsisting largely on regular ginger ale, I’ve confirmed that my biggest inflammatory trigger is actually SUGAR.  My whole left foot is numb now and my calf is partially numb as well.  My right knee is very swollen and painful.  I think the bed rest probably didn’t help my insulin level or vascular health either.

So with that in mind, I reintroduced corn tortillas with a little grass-fed butter on Saturday and did fine.  I just can’t eat large or frequent amounts of corn or dairy due  to potential gluten cross-reactivity.  Plus, I’m actually allergic to dairy (confirmed by allergy test) but can tolerate ghee.

Sunday morning I tried reintroducing 2 pastured eggs cooked in a little bit of ghee and a cup of black coffee with good result. So maybe it was the sugar from the meringues and not the egg whites that I reacted to before I started AIP.  I’ll continue to reintroduce foods slowly, but will plan to transition off AIP for now and focus on reducing sugar instead.  I’m going to start tracking carbs again to keep my sugar level in check  – just limiting to a moderate 150 net carbs/day for now and working my way down slowly to about 60 or 70 net carbs.  Can’t go too low or it impacts my thyroid.  I’ll continue to focus on unprocessed foods but probably cut down my fruit consumption a little.

After my summer vacation I think I’ll try the Autoimmune Protocol diet again for a longer period.  It’s pretty restrictive but I do think it was helpful.  I’d like to stay on it until all my symptoms resolve completely, and then reintroduce foods more slowly after a longer period of abstinence, maybe 2-3 months, to check for reactions.

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