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I Feel Better Than I Have in Weeks!

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Chocolate On My Face

At the Height of the Carbfest ;-)

I have been feeling pretty crappy for the past few weeks.  My last “daily report” was on February 6th, when I recounted my experience at the naturopath’s office.  Sometimes I just don’t want to confess that I’m feeling so crappy, I get sick and tired of hearing it so I don’t want to burden everyone else.  As it turns out, about mid-January I relaxed on the Leptin Reset and stopped tracking my carbohydrates.  I’ve kept up with the big protein breakfast because it helps me get through the day without feeling hunger.  But I keep reading all over the place how eating low carb is not only killing my metabolism but it’s totally a bummer having to eat this way (I don’t really find it all that horrid to be honest).  And then I read in Mastering Leptin: Your Guide to Permanent Weight Loss and Optimum Health that we shouldn’t go too low on carbohydrates because we might not be able to eat carbohydrates again.  Let me see if I can find that quote in my Kindle version. Yes, here it is:

The Atkins diet is the worst popular diet on the market today. It seeks to solve insulin resistance by eliminating or drastically reducing carbohydrates. This type of calorie manipulation can work for a period of time; however, it turns individuals into carbohydrate cripples. When a person breaks down and eats carbohydrates, leptin problems come back in spades. The diet is doomed to eventual failure for the majority of people who attempt it.

Richards, Byron J.; Mary Guignon Richards (2009-02-17). Mastering Leptin: Your Guide to Permanent Weight Loss and Optimum Health (p. 198). Wellness Resources Books. Kindle Edition.

But I can’t seem to find how low is too low for carbohydrates in this book.  Worse yet, is that what I’ve done?  Cripple myself?  But I wasn’t doing low carb GAPS until I started the Leptin Reset.

Now Dr. Kruse, on the other hand, believes that we need to stay quite low carb, even ketogenic at certain times during the year.

At any rate, I love carbohydrates, and when I started the Leptin Reset I was stunned at how many carbs I’d been consuming on the GAPS Diet. I love vegetables, especially when they are smothered in butter, and I would happily eat 2 or 3 cups of vegetables with meals.  I have noticed in my two years on GAPS that I am super sensitive to the higher carbohydrate vegetables, like butternut squash, carrots and beets.  I found that if I ate those at supper then it was likely that I would have sleeping problems that night.

One of my readers, Isabelle asked me in the comments recently, “Is all this discussion of the dangers of going low carb making you crazy too? When I eat more than one piece of fruit a day or legumes my digestion is very unhappy. But at the same time I have insomnia and cold hands and feet and dry eyes so wonder re my metabolism. These have gotten worse after a few years of low carb. Sigh— It is hard to know what to believe.” Yes, Isabelle, it is making me a little bit crazy. I guess I am very impressionable and I start thinking maybe I need to eat more carbohydrates, too.  Even though time after time I’ve experienced depression after an increase in carbohydrates.

I’ve also learned it seems eating carbohydrates are for me a slippery slope, extra portions of vegetables and before I know it a few Pink Blossom Mini Cupcakes, some Coconut Pecan Frosting on a cupcake or two, some Coconut Almond Candy Clusters, some incredible lemon curd, a few chocolate hearts (all GAPS legal, mind you!) and suddenly I’m ready to end it all.  (For the record, the photo above with me and chocolate all over my chin was my husband’s attempt to get an incriminating photo against me, possibly for purposes of blackmail. ;-))

Bite Size GAPS Legal Chocolate Hearts

So this is my theory, and I am going to have to explore it a little further… but here are the pieces I think are linked together:

  1. I think eating carbohydrates causes blood sugar issues
  2. I think blood sugar issues may exacerbate inflammation
  3. I think my depression is tied to inflammation.

I think eating carbohydrates makes my blood sugar higher.  My blood glucose runs high, which makes me suspect I may be pre-diabetic.  In 2005 at the age of 41, my blood glucose was 103, the range being 65-99.  In October 2011 my blood glucose was 100.  In November, 4 days after I began the leptin reset: 86. On January 23 (a couple of weeks after I relaxed on my carbohydrates), I had my blood drawn again and my blood glucose was 95.  Now I realize that these numbers are not the same every single day, throughout each hour of the day, but I think they do say something. Although I’m within the range of 65-99, 95 is still very close to 99.

My ferritin levels are high, and have been since testing last year in October, and this is supposed to indicate inflammation. In October 2011, ferritin was 195, with the range being 13-150.  In January it was even higher: 233.

So… this is all just my theory.

I felt better yesterday, than I have in weeks.  Usually when I don’t sleep well I feel dreadful, but Wednesday I got maybe 5-6 hours, but still managed to get up and go to work and was awake and didn’t feel depressed or even negative.  I was out late with my husband last night and I was not really tired until it started to get close to 10pm.  I slept very well last night and even though I got up a couple of times I went right back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 9:30 this morning. In comparison to what I’ve been going through the past few weeks, night and day.

Today I feel pretty good, although I am aware that I need to take it easy and not overwhelm myself trying to do too much.

On Monday, I inadvertently began three things at once:

  1. Returned to initial Leptin Reset staying low on carbohydrates (under 25 grams)
  2. Began taking Krill Oil
  3. Began the Cold Thermogenesis Experiment (face dunking only)

Lowered my carbs again

I have in the past, since being on GAPS, experienced this phenomenon of consciously making a point to get lower amounts of carbs, and watching my depression lift.   When I’m in a funk, I don’t know what is going on.  I only know I don’t feel well, I’m afraid I’m never going to get better, I’m worried about my thoughts making me sicker and not sure how in the world to have a positive attitude, and I’m not sure what to do to make myself feel better.  Within 24 hours of cutting my carbohydrates to less than 25 grams (total carbohydrates, not “net”) I begin to feel better.  The depression lifts, but I still feel negative and have negative thoughts about many things, and feel no joy or enthusiasm for life.  In the next 24 hours, the negative feelings cease.  By the third day, I feel like my body is giving a huge sigh of relief, that the burden has been lifted.  Here is an article by Dr. Andrew Weil discussing the connection between depression and inflammation. (Although I should say I don’t think I’ll be adhering to his anti-inflammation diet).

Krill Oil 

Krill Oil is said to reduce inflammation.  When a person has an autoimmune disease, they have inflammation.  I have thyroid antibodies for both Hashimoto’s and Grave’s, although both are suppressed, these are autoimmune diseases.  My high ferritin levels indicate that I have inflammation.  Perhaps taking the krill oil had an effect of reducing inflammation?

By doing just a bit of research on the Internet, I find that depression and inflammation are hypothesized to go hand in hand.  So it makes sense to me, although I’m not a doctor or a scientist, that lowering inflammation will decrease depression.  I also found that diabetes and depression are closely linked.

Cold Thermogenesis – Dunking My Face in Ice Water

Finally, I began the Cold Thermogenesis outlined by Dr. Jack Kruse in his blog post here: Evolution of the Leptin Rx.  Could I already be feeling better having done this procedure only three days, and just dunking my face?  It seems unlikely.  But it is not so bad, especially after several dunkings.

Me Dunking My Face in Ice Cold Water

Dunking my face into ice cold water on my bathroom counter

After my face has warmed up a couple of minutes it turns bright pink

After my face has warmed up a couple of minutes it turns bright pink

All I can say is I am going to continue dunking my face in ice water and start planning for the next stage.  My friend Kristina said in the comments that many are reporting that they are not using the compression shirt but just doing ice packs directly to the skin.  I think as it grows warmer in Arizona this will get easier and easier, simply because it will feel WONDERFUL to be in ice water, but I think that defeats the purpose somehow for when you get out of the ice water it is as if you are in a furnace.  So much for adapting oneself to the cold. ;-)  I will also continue the krill oil and the low carb version of the Leptin reset.

So what about you?  How is your GAPS Journey coming along?  Have you tried the Leptin reset?   What about the cold thermogenesis? 

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14 comments to I Feel Better Than I Have in Weeks!

  • Jen

    S- You are looking great!! You look even younger than you did before! That first picture of you is cute.

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Jen, girlfriend, you are so sweet! :-) Hubby instructed me to spread chocolate on my face, I honestly had not gone that nuts over chocolate syrup made from honey and cocoa and coconut oil. :-)

    [Reply]

  • Good that you feel bether. I must say Icewather suits you better on your face than an chocolate mask. I’m in week eleven and still have not all the leptine sesitivety signes. But I go on. I have no bath so the thermog from JK is difficult, bud I do take a cold shower. I stopt counting carbs. Buth I lost my sweetthoot. I eat allot of lowcarb veggies. I just started juicing again because it is importend in the GAPSprotocols I learned las week when I was attending the GAPS-practitionertraining in Londen, bud I make less and only 10% low carb fruit en two Eggs and some sourcream in it. I made a kind of dr.JK/dr.NCM shake; I liked it. I feel good today, and me too I don’t mention when I don’t feel good.

    [Reply]

  • Coreen

    Man, I guess everybody’s different. I think I inadvertently went too low carb. I was starting to be tired and was gaining weight. Now I’m doing Matt Stone’s RRARFing (includes *increasing* carbs and eating beyond appetite) to bring my temps up. My waking temp has gone from 97.21 to 97.92 in 3 weeks. Feelin’ much better. :)

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Coreen, yes, I think you are right. We are all different. I am so curious about all of this. I’m sure age factors in, as does nutrition over the years. And I’m sure MTHFR has a big impact. I’m curious, since you’ve been doing the RRARF have you lost weight? How long have you been doing it? I guess we all just have to try and see what works. I remember low fat dieting worked for me pretty well. But then it backfired. I’m glad you are seeing a temperature rise – do you know where you are at in your cycle? I know that can have an effect too, if it is before, during or after ovulation. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    [Reply]

    Coreen Reply:

    Starlene, Well, I’m 41, been doing GAPS for abt 6~7 months (GF for a year before that) and RRARFing for 24 days. Good point – my lowest temp was day 1 of cycle and highest temp towards the end. I’m curious to see what temps Aunt Flo will bring in a few days. I gained about 4~5 pounds then learned it’s better to shovel the food in mostly at breakfast and lunch, then have a normal dinner, laying of the fruit & honey in p.m. I went back down a couple pounds. The theory is that once you get your metabolism revved up, it’s easier to drop the weight. Not that this is about the weight to me. A better metabolism should help all aspects of health. We’ll see! :) Do you check your temps?

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Coreen, I don’t do basal temps, but I do get an average temperature each day by taking my temp at noon, 3 and 6pm – this is to track adrenal function. I’m 48, my periods are irregular in the last year. Like you, weight loss isn’t my goal, but it is not fun when the scales climb instead of go down when we are eating so healthy… today my average temperature was 98.4°F. Have you tried the leptin reset?

  • Coreen

    You are NOT 48! Look at that beautiful skin!
    Ya, I don’t enjoy seeing the scales climb. ;) It was about the time I was wondering why I started gaining weight and losing energy and wondering what I was doing wrong in my diet when Cheeseslave posted about carbs and started talking about Matt Stone. I clicked for me – “THAT’s what I need!” The biggest change I’ve noticed so far is that I don’t feel like going to bed at 8p.m.
    98.4 isn’t too shabby, is it?
    I’ve been hearing about the leptin reset. Perhaps I should add it to my list of a zillion things I wan’t to read up on. :)

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Coreen, lol, thanks, yes, I will turn 49 in May. :-) I’m glad eating more carbs is working for you, it is wonderful when we figure out what to do to make our bodies work better. The leptin reset has been awesome. The best part about it has been losing the cravings. Which I didn’t even realize I was having them. But now, if I don’t get the 50 grams protein I’m starving within a couple hours (as opposed to 4-5 hours and sometimes being able to go from breakfast to dinner) and hungry every couple hours all day long. It’s such freedom not to experience that. Of course now I’m also doing the cold thermogenesis and in Stage 1. Thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

  • I too have depressive thoughts when I eat too many carbs. I have always noticed that particular foods relieve depressive feelings when I have them. Cheese, spicy foods, and salt all work quite well for me when I am feeling down. If you read “Younger, Thinner You,” by Eric Braverman, MD, he cites research that particular foods elicit particular neurotransmitters in our brains. Salt, for example, elicits serotonin (i.e., the neurotransmitter that is increased in the neuronal synapse by Prozac and other SSRIs), which is probably why it can cure my blues. Now, if only I liked salt;-) I read Dr. Braverman’s book long before I became interested in eating real food, but I think his account of what foods elicit which neurotransmitters is a valuable one. Prior to discovering real food, I also followed an e-book called “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle,” by fitness expert Tom Venuto. Venuto says something to the effect that the body can become too used to either low-carb or low-fat and that sometimes you just have to switch things up to cure a weight loss plateau. I lost and kept off much weight following Venuto’s advice. Venuto’s print book, “Body Fat Solution,” is also wonderful and is one of the best discussions of the psychological aspects of eating that I have ever read. Maybe the truth lies in between low-carb and low-fat. Maybe if we do what makes us feel best (i.e., low-carb vs. high-carb/lower fat), but intersperse a day of the opposite, every couple weeks or so (while remaining GAPS legal of course), then we can feel good and stay svelte long-term.

    This is my first time stopping by your blog. So happy to have found a fellow GAPS person! As for your dunking your face in cold water, this hypothyroid gal finds you very, very brave! When I get cold I literally feel as though I may cry . . . big tears! I am intrigued by all of this Matt Stone-esque carb/hormone talk I am hearing as of late. I will have to read about it soon.

    I like all of the food photos on your site. If it is all GAPS legal, then maybe I will hurry up and look into this hormone resetting theory that involves more carbs! Your food photos look too yummy!

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Nicole, thanks for the books you’ve suggested here, I will put them on my list. Very interesting that *salt* can help with depression!? I have never heard that, although it makes sense because I think my depression is tied into my adrenal fatigue and Celtic salt is good for the adrenals.

    I meant to tell you when I commented on your post http://www.non-toxicnurse.com/do-we-really-need-to-worry-so-much-about-toxins/ that I found you through the comments at Healthy Home Economist, the GAPS testimonial from Gina. Awesome testimonial! You had mentioned you were doing GAPS, so I visited because I too like meeting others doing GAPS. :-)

    The cold water dunking is not as bad as I thought it would be, and I think it is helping me to feel better, but who knows. I’ve been on a mission to try and figure out my adrenal/thyroid puzzle for the past several months and keep going back and forth on medicating myself. Dr. Jack Kruse says this cold thermogenesis can heal the adrenals and thyroid so I’m willing to give it a shot.

    Finally, yes, all my recipes are GAPS legal!! Of course the dessert ones are now off limits for me. Before I started GAPS I had a lot of trouble with eating fruit and sweets because it would cause me to have a low blood sugar drop. I do not experience that now, and I think I get lulled into a false sense of security and instead of limiting myself to one cupcake, maybe once a week, I make a batch and eat 1 or 2, then the next day another 1 or 2, etc. and then I seem to crave more carbohydrates and it’s just a slippery slope. I am going to try and be more mindful of having baked goods/desserts, etc., and maybe I can have my cake and eat it too. :-)

    Thank you for stopping by and visiting! I’ve just subscribed to your blog by email and look forward to your updates.

    [Reply]

    Nicole, the Non-Toxic Nurse Reply:

    Thanks for subscribing by e-mail. I tried to subscribe to your blog by e-mail last night, but it said subscribing by e-mail was not an option. I have yet to sign up for a feed-reader.

    That is great that your desserts are GAPS legal! We have been avoiding sweets aside from birthdays and special occassions, because my husband and I will do exactly what you said happens to you: the two per day plan with increased cravings.

    [Reply]

  • It works now and I am subscribed. Thanks:-)

    [Reply]

  • Terri Jo

    Way back in the late 70′s when I was just a spring chicken I had a boyfriend who was a body builder and together we were really into the Cold Thermogenesis. My morning shower would be water warm enough to get clean and then was followed by 15 minutes of cool, cooler, cold water coming down on the back of the neck. This is the area where BAT (brown adipose tissue) can be increased. We also swam in an ice pool that was at the gym. My diet was very low carb, albeit low fat as well, but I did all the things that athletes did back then to keep a lean, mean body. So…..did the thermogenisis work? Was it all the “excercise” my boyfriend & I did, not to mention the time we spent in the gym! I am fat now; would I be fatter without that regime? Is it the diet that caused me to be fat now? All the diets? All the bingeing? Or that I stopped the cold therapy after a year or so of doing it every day. I don’t know. I do know that after each cold session I was ready for the day, invigorated. So no matter what has brought me to where I am I just want to find something that will get me back to being comfortable in my body, being able to do physical things without pain (fibromyalgia) and to stop this freaking struggle. So….you go girl.

    [Reply]

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