Category Archives: Cold Thermogenesis

Benefits of Cold Showers

The Benefits of Cold Showers (Yikes!)

Benefits of Cold ShowersHi! I've been wanting to tell you about my experience with taking cold showers. I can also tell you I've never imagined saying those words. I am one of those people who feels like cold showers are torture and so when one of my Facebook friends said exactly that, “This is torture, Starlene, next you'll be water boarding yourself” I could relate. I can definitely understand why someone would think I'm nuts to be undergoing icy cold showers.

“Warm showers have become one of the hallmarks of comfort in our culture, so converting our showers to cold might seem unthinkable.

But what if you knew that taking cold showers could enhance your immune system, increase circulation, strengthen your metabolism, increase your antioxidant count, act as an anti-depressant, improve your relationships, and make you feel vibrantly alive?”

~Kenton Whitman – Rebooted Body

Disclaimer: Due to the way cold conditioning works, please check with your health practitioner to be sure your body can withstand a short spike of blood pressure and that your heart is healthy.

If you've followed my health journey you may recall that I was doing some cold conditioning back in March 2012 so I was already aware of some of the benefits. I lost momentum and completely stopped but several weeks ago my friend Jessica posted on her Facebook timeline about cold conditioning by taking cold showers.

Some of the things that caught my eye:

  • Helps adrenal function
  • Helps thyroid function
  • “Grows” brown fat
  • Tolerate cold better
  • Immune system works better

The author of the article, Kenton Whitman talked of how his wife had been dead set against the practice but took him up on his challenge to try it for just 8 days, and ended up loving it! And so although I really, really, really, really love hot showers and hot baths, and just the mere thought of taking an icy cold shower makes me shiver, I decided to take the plunge.

I got started the next day. First I took a quick comfortably warm shower to soap up and rinse and then I turned off the hot water. WHOOO! It is hard not to shriek from the difference in temperature but I forced myself to stand there facing the cold water (hitting me from the neck down) for one full minute. I counted one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, etc., turned off the water and was done for the day.

It is hard to turn off the hot water, knowing soon the cold water will hit my body, and it is hard to stand there in the cold water, but I feel it is helping me to handle stress in my life. I asked to work an extra 8 hours each week because my boss broke her shoulder in December, and I had been struggling to keep up with trying to do both our jobs. It is stressful at home. I think the exercise of willing myself to stand in the ice water helps because I have to consciously will my body to relax, instead of standing all tensed up.

  • 2-3 days 1 minute front side
  • 2-3 days 1 minute front side, then 1 minute back side
  • 2-3 days 2 minutes front side, then 1 minute back side
  • 2-3 days 2 minutes front side, then 2 minutes back side

When I had worked my way up to four minutes, I decided to start making a quarter turn at 1 minute intervals. So 1 minute front side, turn to the left for one minute, 1 minute back side, turn to the right side for one minute.

After working my way up to four minutes total, I decided to add on one more minute on the front side. By that time, it is almost pleasurable to stand there as my body has already become accustomed to the cold water.

Little things I notice:

  • Once I turn off the hot water, the cold water becomes even colder close to the first minute
  • It takes from 10-30 seconds to endure the cold water and stop gasping – LOL
  • I do not feel cold once I get out of the shower
  • I do feel like I am in a better mood and can cope better for the day

I have tested the water at its coldest which is only 59°F. It saddens me to think that within a few short weeks I will not be able to take my cold showers.

Wait, did I just say that?

Actually, knowing my time is limited is incentive to do it while I can.

I don't cold condition every single morning, only on the days I go into the office. And there have been days when I didn't get enough sleep and feel so grumpy and depressed that it just makes me start crying while the cold water is running over my body, because it feels like punishment… so I just skip those days. I tried cold conditioning to see if it would help my mood and I just don't know if it did or not.

What about you? Have you tried taking cold showers? Would you try it for the health benefits?

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Cold Thermogenesis Stage 1 – Ice Water Face Immersion Tips Dr. Jack Kruse

I Don't Like Cold Water!!

I've been doing Stage 1 of Dr. Jack Kruse's Evolution of the Leptin Rx, Cold Thermogenesis seven days. Today will be the eighth day.

Here are some tips from what I've learned doing this the last few days.

  1. Take a deep breath before you lower your face into the water. (Duh. But I didn’t think of that initially).
  2. Use a bowl or dishpan on the counter next to your bathroom sink. It is the right height for me, and comfortable placing both my forearms on either side of the bowl, resting on the counter while immersing my face. This also allows me to easily see my face in the mirror.
  3. Have two receptacles so that as the water in one warms up due to your face being immersed you can switch out to the second one.
  4. Another idea we are trying is to keep a large stainless steel pot filled with water in the freezer, or course this turns into ice. I pour water into the pot on top of the ice to make my first batch of ice water, and pour water in on top of the ice so that it is chilling the water for when I need to make the water colder in the bowl.
  5.  I have a battery operated clock hanging on the wall in my bathroom and it is pretty loud as the second hand moves, so I can count the seconds that I’m holding my face in the water.
  6. So far the longest I have been able to hold my breath has been 60 seconds. The other times are 35 or 45 seconds.
  7. I’ve been dunking my face 7 to 10 times in the cold water.
  8. Have a towel and tissues nearby, and a clean top (water drips down your chin onto your shirt). The tissue is for your nose… if it’s anything like mine it may begin to run profusely with the 4th or 5th dunking.
  9. It’s going to hurt at first, so just dunk until you can’t stand it, wait a few seconds or a minute and try again.
  10. After 4-5 dunks your face will begin to get cold enough that it won’t be so painful.
  11. Initially 50°F water will be very cold and painful, but after a few times immersing your face you will be able to tolerate colder water. After 4-5 dunks I have been chilling the water to 44°F and can tolerate it.
  12. As you keep your face in the water, the cold water draws the heat from your face into the water, so the layer of water next to your skin becomes warm. If you move your face back and forth this will make the water close to your face colder.
  13. After 4-5 dunks, you will find you don't need to wait more than removing your face long enough to get another breath and then you can go back into the water again.

And here for your viewing pleasure, me dunking my face in the ice cold water. 🙂  Thanks to my husband for videotaping and trying to make me think I held my breath for 30 minutes! 🙂

This is the thermometer gun you'll see my husband use at the very end of the video:

This is one of his professional tools and what he had taped to my face to see if he could get a reading:

If you're looking for more inspiration, Patty put up a great video today and today also begins her Cold Thermogenesis Challenge.

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Chocolate On My Face

I Feel Better Than I Have in Weeks!

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? 

I

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Cold Thermogenesis by Dr. Kruse – Heal Your Thyroid and Adrenals?

 

Dr. Kruse has been busy writing some monster posts. This time it's  about adapting your body to cold by immersing yourself into ice cold water. Well, to be honest when I first read this blog post: The Evolution of the Leptin Reset I saw this:

I hope you all realize that not everyone will need it. Some will need it because they have special needs that they face. This blog is designed for those who have been previously left out of the the reset protocol. Those people are gastric bypass patients, HCG users, those on exogenous steroids, chronic pain patients, and those with T2D and metabolic syndrome as a few examples.

And I thought to myself, this doesn't apply to me. As I read over the blog post that first time, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention, apparently. Because the next time I read it all the way through, more carefully, I found this:

If you have a gastric bypass, T2D, chronic pain and on narcotics, adrenal fatigue, or poor sleep this addition will likely shock you at how well it helps you.

Adrenal fatigue. Poor sleep. That's me…

And then in this blog post: The Holy Trinity CT-4 I saw this:

When it shreds fat mass,  it makes leptin fall dramtically while increasing TRH in the hypothalmus and demolishing reverse T3 levels. No, you do not need to eat Moose thyroid to have reproductive fitness if you are cold adapted  as was recently reported in a podcast. You might have to eat that moose thyroid if you are warm adapted mammal though!!!

In cold, it is like throwing gasoline on your thyroid gland. It just wakes up no matter what its prior condition,  because the brain takes full control of it all by driving all thyroid production by its hypothalamic TRH spike driven by the cold stimulus! This happens even if your thyroid gland is in a surgical pan in some Operating Room in the world.

You will radiate heat in cold, even though your body temperature is lower. My wife can’t believe how I radiate heat from my body now. You might be asking how do we bypass T3, T4 and rev T3? It up-regulates all thyroid function regardless of the T3, T4 or reverse T3 status because the brain is driving the thyroid function. It does not even require an intact thyroid gland!

Demolish reverse T3 levels?

Fix your thyroid even if it has been removed by surgery?

Whoa.

I gotta confess. After being so strict on the leptin reset in November, December and the first part of January I started sliding. During February I went a little hog wild with carbohydrates, after all some people seem to think it's such a buzz kill to eat low carb. But as I've discussed on my blog before, I apparently do not tolerate carbohydrates well at all. Eating too many carbs can push me right into a depressive funk and it's difficult to find my way out. I've been having trouble sleeping again and one night last week I told my husband trying to get a full night's sleep has become one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do in my life. Because if I can't sleep, I can't make myself sleep. I just lay there and it's sheer torture knowing I have to get up and go to work the next morning. I have to stay in bed twelve hours, just to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep. Thank God my boss has given me permission to set my own hours or I would have had to quit my job and right now I'm the sole breadwinner. Quitting my job is not an option at this point in time. Maybe at some time down the road, but not anywhere near that I can see. It used to be that I could just get up and go. Force myself to get out of bed and face the day. Sure I cried in the shower, begging God to help me find the strength. But now I cannot even force myself. Please remember if you are new here or not completely familiar with my journey thus far, that I had great improvements in the first six months on GAPS. And I felt better than I had for years at my one year anniversary, but then 2011 was a very difficult year wherein my husband did his best to try and make his business success, but in the process it was super stressful for me, tons of chronic stress, and finally in August there was the Attack of the Jalapeno Peppers which landed me in Urgent Care after three weeks of pain, itching, and swelling to my face. I've been trying to get back to where I was in December 2010 since about September of 2011.

I am pretty sure my current sleep problems are related to the higher consumption of carbs… Monday night my sleep was horrid and in spite of staying in bed until 8am on Tuesday morning I had to drag myself out of bed and get dressed and go to work. While driving to work on Tuesday morning I sobbed on the phone (using my earbuds) to my wonderfully sympathetic and understanding friend, and it hit me right in the gut that I had to get off the carbs. I had to resume eating less than 25 grams of carbs and this time I had better pay attention. How many times will it take until I understand?

I feel much better tonight, and I was even able to skip lunch today. That fast. Just two days on low carb and I see dramatic changes.

Now back to the cold thermogenesis… I've decided to give it a whirl. Dr. Kruse says to start with your face, and he outlines the process and the stages here: The Evolution of the Leptin Reset.

I'm set up in my bathroom with a bowl that is big enough to hold about 1 gallon of water. My husband has been helping me. He's been putting a bucket of water in the freezer to get it super cold and he has all the fun tools for measuring temperature. Actually, this one belongs to me:

I bought it a couple of years ago to ascertain where the leaks were in our home – this product works great for detecting air leaks around your doors, windows and even cracks in the wall. It also works well to figure out the temperature of your skin. You could also use a Kitchen Thermometer.

After you read Dr. Kruse's outline, here are some tips I'd like to share with you from my experience thus far:

  1. Take a deep breath before you lower your face into the water. (Duh. But I didn't think of that initially).
  2. Use a bowl or dishpan on the counter next to your bathroom sink. It is the right height for me, and comfortable placing both my forearms on either side of the bowl, resting on the counter while immersing my face.
  3. Have two receptacles so that as the water in one warms up due to your face being immersed you can switch out to the second one.
  4.  I have a battery operated clock hanging on the wall in my bathroom and it is pretty loud as the second hand moves, so I can count the seconds that I'm holding my face in the water.
  5. So far the longest I have been able to hold my breath has been 60 seconds. The other times are 35 or 45 seconds.
  6. I've been dunking my face 7 to 10 times in the cold water.
  7. Have a towel and tissues nearby, and a clean top (water drips down your chin onto your shirt). The tissue is for your nose… if it's anything like mine it may begin to run profusely with the 4th or 5th dunking.
  8. It's going to hurt at first, so just dunk until you can't stand it, wait a few seconds or a minute and try again.
  9. After 4-5 dunks your face will begin to get cold enough that it won't be so painful.

Click here for a few more tips I've found over the days.

Here are the articles at Dr. Kruse's, some of these are HUGE posts. I have been copying and pasting them into Word, enlarging the font to 16, printing them to PDF and sending them to my Kindle. (This saves paper and gets me away from the computer screen).

Patty over at Loving My Guts is having a cold water challenge beginning on March 12th. Hop over to her blog and join in with her challenge if you are into it.

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.