Thursday, April 05, 2012

Update on my Primal Blueprint life - 3 month checkpoint

So, I eat "weirdly" now*. I've mentioned the Primal Blueprint once or twice on the blog since I started it in January, but only once or twice as promised in this post back in January. Here are some of the major bullet points about my new "life" now:

1.) I don't eat grains. (This is not 100%...I eat croutons on salads from time to time - maybe once per week, or so, and sometimes, the call of a cupcake or half a donut is just too much for me to bear! And beer hasn't completely been eschewed as of yet. So I'd say I'm about 90% grain free at this point.)

2.) I "lift heavy things" twice a week for 45 minutes.

3.) I sprint every 7 - 10 days or so (which for me means warm up for 5 minutes, and then alternate running as fast as I can handle it for 30 seconds, and then walk for 15 seconds...I do that for 5 - 10 minutes, and then I cool down for 5 minutes, and then I die on the floor of my basement)

4.) I eat yummy fats like ghee (clarified butter), avocado, bacon fat, duck fat, olive oil, and coconut oil. Also raw cheddar cheese. And full fat greek yogurt from Trader Joe's. That shit is so good, y'all.

5.) I eat meals that consist of protein, fat, and veggies.

6.) I fast once or twice a week. This means that I eat dinner at about 6:30 or 7 p.m. on Thursday night, and then don't eat again until 12 p.m. on Friday. I drink iced tea, but that's it. This week, I also did this on Tuesday morning.

7.) I get out in the sun for a few minutes of as many days of the week as I can. Preferably duing a short walk during the workday.

Here are the basic reasons why I do what I do:

I avoid grains because they fuck with my insulin production.

I lift weights because it's a challenge to my body and helps me lean out and get strong.

I sprint to kind of shock my system every week or so, and wake things up. I'm not very good at sprinting yet. I'm working on doing it for longer periods of time over the next few months.

I eat "good" fats because they are super-satiating. Which means that I eat fewer calories overall because I'm just not hungry for them. Also, they make everything else I eat taste even more delicious.

My carbs come from things like vegetables and fruits. I eat white rice about once or twice a month. I eat sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and squash when I crave them. I cannot WAIT for cherry season, but right now I eat a lot of blackberries, plums, nectarines, and apples. We have fish around twice a week. We eat a lot of buffalo and grass fed steak we order online. We eat lamb about once a week. Standard side dishes for us are green beans, broccolini with parmesan, brussels sprouts, artichokes, and mashed pumpkin squash. We eat quite a variety of food, basically.

Fasting is done for many reasons throughout the Primal Blueprint community, but for me, it's more about controling my hunger than anything else (like extending life expectancy, and weird shit like that). I'm trying to lose weight, if at all possible. So that's the primary goal with it for me. It doesn't mess with my metabolism, but rather an intermittent fasting (or "IF") program helps to increase my secretion of growth hormone (which is a primary fat burning hormone), which has been proven through tests to increase significantly through fasting. It also helps to decrease fasting insulin levels. This, in turn, helps release stored triglycerides, which gives the body more of a chance to burn those stored fats.

I had some blood work done last week, as a marker at the 3 month point of me living this Primal Blueprint way. Now, the last time I had any blood work done was 2 years ago, because the numbers were so depressing at that point that I was all, "Fuck it!" and didn't want to really pay attention to it all for a bit. But here's how the big stuff compares:

2010 Numbers
Cholesterol - total: 190
Triglycerides: 192
HDL Cholesterol (i.e. the good kind): 41
LDL Cholesterol (bad kind): 111

2012 Numbers
Cholesterol - total: 235
Triglycerides: 142
HDL Cholesterol (i.e. the good kind): 57
LDL Cholesterol (bad kind): 150

LDL cholesterol numbers can vary from day to day (even hour to hour) depending on how you ate the day before, exercise, the fact that that was in a "high" range this time around doesn't bother me. I don't really give 2 shits about my LDL, actually.

What I DO care about is that my triglycerides are way lower than they were 2 years ago. The nurse practitioner even asked me what I was doing to get that number down! I told her about Primal Blueprint, and she said she was going to Google it when I left. :D

Also, the HDL being SO high is really awesome. It means my liver and gallbladder are processing fats really well. And having a healthy liver (and processing fats properly!) is super-important in my world.

I don't really care about longevity of life. I care more about quality of life. And I feel good, and happy, and I'll be checking my numbers again in another few months to see where they stand.

As always, let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to answer them for ya!

*According to standard US dietary guidelines, I eat weirdly. In my mind, I eat like I should eat. So, there's that. :/


Alisha said...

Yay! I'm so glad to hear you are liking this new lifestyle! I'm coming up on one year and can't imagine ever going back.

faithstwin said...

I still don't see how fasting helps anything- and I know you brought up how I have to do it before some bloodtests but there's a medical reason for it. If you feel like it is helping, I understand but there are too many reasons why I don't think it's such a hot idea.

Faith said...

There was a Type I on the boards the other day asking about fasting, and I was surprised to hear how he did it. He's been Paleo/Primal for a long time, though, but still...he fasts every day. It seemed weird to me.

For me, though, it's a part of the "experiment" of it all at this point. My blood tests showed that something is helping those HDL numbers to be as high as they are. And the fact that fasting intermitently has been proven through tests to have an effect on triglycerides might be a big part of why those are so low for me, too.

Still waiting for my stomach to shrink more! But my upper body has already started to get much more defined over the last 3 months. And my trainer thinks she can see a definite difference in my gut. I dunno. Remains to be seen for me. I have some jeans I wanna wear this summer...

faithstwin said...

It isn't hard for me to fast- I just don't take insulin. *shrug* Or take less, I guess. And though I am not *on* any diet per say, cutting out the majority of any gluten has definitely made a difference in my blood sugars (I've been doing my 3-tests-daily in prep for my 3 month endo visit in a week and a half) and when I *do* eat any bite of gluten (I haven't cut it out entirely, just cut waaaaayyyyy back) it makes the sugars spike in funky ways.

thedirtyknitter said...

2 questions?!
Where do you get your buffalo meat?

My hubs HDL #s were low (39) he's super skinny, works out 5 days a week, is always wanting "low/no fat" options @ grocery. Should I be getting him to eat more good fats to up that #? I don't really understand how it works.

Sounds like you are having great success w/ this!! Keep it up :) & thanks!

Faith said...

First things first, we get our buffalo from a website called Buffalo Gal. She also sells grass fed Scottish Highland beef. We stock up regularly, and keep a bunch of both on hand in the freezer.

You might check out Mark's Daily Apple for more info on why good fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil on salads, etc...) are helpful for the HDL side of cholesterol, dirtyknitter. He says it all so succinctly, and all. He has a Primal 101 page that gives the run down on ALL of the guidelines for the program, so if you go to his website, look for that page (I think there's a link on the right hand side of the main page) and see if it helps answer the questions you have.

Avoiding bad oils like canola, vegetable, and crappy inventions like rapeseed oil will help a LOT. If you can't get your hands on grassfed beef, or buffalo (some stores around the metro sell it, too. Our two Hen Houses we frequent have it on hand in their freezer area, usually), and can only get grainfed beef, just be sure to trim as much of the fat as possible from the cut you buy. The fat is what holds on to the toxins that develop in grainfed cattle. So while the meat itself is ok for you to ingest, avoiding the fat is key.

Fluffycat said...

I hadn't heard of Primal Blueprint but I have a few friends who have done Paleo which seems similar. Did you actually buy his book or just get tips on the website? I'm really impressed with your HDL numbers and lowering triglycerides, I need to do both of those, and I'm also looking for something that will keep me out of the pre-diabetes range for glucose, which it seems like this plan would do.

faithstwin said...

Fluffycat- I can tell you what you need to do to stay out of pre-diabetes without buying a book or dieting, per say: stay away from bread, sugar and wheat. Even fruits with high sugar content: grapes, cherries, watermelon, and things like tomatoes.

Eat more lean protein such as chicken and turkey and eat some fish a couple times a week.

Oh, and take it from a long time diabetic: eat your fiber. It makes a HUGE difference in how your body metabolizes glucose.

Faith said...

True story, fluffycat. She knows of what she speaks! :)

I use the website for all kinds of stuff - recipes, making fun of people (in my head...I'm not a fan of being a troll!) On the forums, reading new posts and tips from Mark - but we also have his original book. Both are good references for info, but the book is easier to search, IMO.

Fluffycat said...

Thanks for the response! I just took a pre-diabetes class this week at Kaiser, and there was a moment of "oh so carbohydrates turn easily into glucose" that made me really rethink how I'm eating now. I might end up having to get the book at some point. Thanks for the recommendation!

faithstwin said...

See, comments like Fluffycat's make me understand just how differently I have been taught over the past 25 to 30 years (my 32 year diabetic anniversary is coming up in July/Aug). And don't think it's an 'obvious' thing either, Fluffy: I have known for a LONG time how my body feels after I eat some pizza or a burger or even a healthy turkey sammich. I feel like crap unless I counteract those feeding acivities with an extra (and I'm talking a good amount) shot of insulin. And THEN I feel like crap because I have taken so much insulin! It's a sick cycle. But these past 2-3 weeks of taking my blood sugars 3 times a day along with the cutting way back on gluten? I have seen a crazy difference. I knew eating that piece of bread made things go up in bad ways but I had nooo idea how long the effect lasted (literally the entire day).

Diabetes is no laughing matter. I used to curse God that I had diabetes and not HIV because we get soooo little funding for our cause and they have every celebrity under the sun helping them. Type II is actually a relatively lucky situation to be pre-conditioned with: you have a CHANCE and you can DEFINITELY reverse what is going on with your body. I am happy to see that you realize that and are taking steps to beat it.