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. ;-))
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:
- I think eating carbohydrates causes blood sugar issues
- I think blood sugar issues may exacerbate inflammation
- 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:
- Returned to initial Leptin Reset staying low on carbohydrates (under 25 grams)
- Began taking Krill Oil
- 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 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.
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?