Hi there. Believe it or not, I’m still alive. And still going! (Incredibly hard to believe since I’ve given up coffee for this week. May consider weaning off coffee to reduce anxiety and to increase better sleep, but we’ll see.)
Below are some notes taken so far on my 7-day fast for the past few days.
Day 4 Fast Stats:
Fasting Glucose: 92 mg/dL (not sure why it rose higher than usual here)
Ketones (BHB): 5.4 mmol/L
Weight: 125.4 lbs
Mood/Energy/Other notes: Mood pretty good. Energy on the medium side. I did a quick workout in the morning, but didn’t push myself too hard. Did some gentle yoga stretches. Tried to be productive but ended up getting lost watching an almost three-hour-long (why does it have to be THAT long?) Joe Rogen podcast with Dom D’Agostino. It was highly enjoyable, especially since I’m always hungry to learn more about ketosis and how ketones are a signaling molecule, akin to a drug, to pathways in our brains, helping to reduce inflammation and a plethora of other health benefits. As someone who once took anti-convulsants for bipolar disorder type 2, I know first-hand that I feel my best when my GKI is low (ideally under 8 or lower) when my ketones are up and my fasting glucose is low. Whenever I let myself go for longer periods of eating refined high carbs and foods with sugar, grains and starch, my GKI goes up to through the roof (I’m talkin’ 60 or so, and that’s when I’m actually still registering ketones) and my my fasting glucose shoots up to prediabetes levels (130s to 140s). Anyhow, I digress. I’m just continually fascinated at what ketosis can do to your brain, heart, liver, gut and overall health. Later that night, I had a sudden urge to plan meals for the following week, when I’d break my fast to eat carnivore meals. My friend and I are planning to go for a total of 60 days on carnivore (which means it’ll end on March 6 for us, my sister’s birthday). When that day arrives, I’ll decide whether or not I’ll want to continue eating carnivore, or cycle back into a more modified carnivore with some occasional vegetables, or just regular keto/paleo/primal, which is what I usually try to follow most of the time. I was carnivore for about three months back in 2018, when I was in the best shape of my life, both mentally and physically. So it’s hard not to want to feel and look good when something is so obviously working. Yet I do love vegetables from time to time. So we’ll see.
Day 5 Fast Stats:
Fasting Glucose: 65 mg/dL
Ketones (BHB): 6.6 mmol/L (Whaaat??!)
Weight: 123.8 lbs
Mood/Energy/Other notes: Surprisingly calm and blissful. Energy even on the high side throughout the day. I did yoga in the AM and also did a complete THENX beginner workout at the gym, completing two sets of jump chin-ups (16 reps total). Usually I have trouble lasting more than 15 seconds when it comes to doing mountain climbers, but when the 30 seconds were up, I actually kept going! Ran out of time because I was meeting a writing friend via Skype (we meet every morning to work on our novels together), so only did 2 sets out of 3. But I was mighty proud of myself given I was working out in a fasted state. I also wondered if my extra strength came from doing 20+ days of strict nose-to-tail carnivore, something my good friend I are doing, as well as my husband, to do as a reset for our mental and physical health?
Productivity-wise, I did much more than I usually am able to do, in terms of focus. I was surprisingly very detail-oriented and didn’t go into my usual beat-myself-up-for-not-getting-more done mode, feeling utmost compassion for myself and ease. I felt grateful to have work that felt meaningful and of service to others (I was updating and compiling a list of resources for those searching for more info on the ketogenic diet as it pertains to cancer; and since this is a topic that hits me personally, I felt blessed to be able to help others find info I’d give to my own loved ones–in fact, I’d love to revisit these resources myself to re-read!). Today, I had no problems cooking breakfast and making lunch for my teenaged kid, even though my senses were heightened and I could smell the bacon more intensely than usual. Still, I didn’t feel any desire to eat. Just happily sipped water with Redmond Real Salt and during special moments, sipped peppermint tea. In between the 25 minute pomodoros for writing and work, I used my 5 minute breaks for push-ups and yoga poses like the locust pose, which sends my heart beating like a hummingbird, a pose I learned from a yogi professor San Francisco State University many years ago, that induces courage.
Random inspiring video that I wanna share
Some photos that show some of what I’ve been tracking and carnivore eating before and during my fast:
The above shows some of my screenshots from the app I use to track my health: Heads Up. They have a fasting timer built into the dashboard so that I can track other metrics I care about especially during this 7-day fast (most notably, my GKI, fasting glucose, ketones, weight and meditation time), so if anything goes amiss, I can easily shoot this info to my holistic nutritionist or doctor. It also, quite honestly, motivates me to keep going. For someone who was once prediabetic and starting to see my fasting glucose creep up above 100 the past several months, it’s tremendously satisfying to see how simply resetting this month with a nose-to-tail carnivore diet and adding this 7-day fast has brought the trend back down. I can literally imagine inflammation going down as IGF-1 decreases and autophagy kicks in, blasting any potential tumors too. And again, as the wife of someone who was diagnosed with cancer back in 2014, I am really hyperaware about preventing cancer. It’s interesting to note through the graphs above how all the numbers are trending in the direction I want them to go. Fasting glucose is trending down. Another cool thing about the Heads Up app is that you can see immediately, on-the-go, your dashboard of daily stats. You can also see monthly and yearly averages too. There was one year, between 2017 and 2018 when I averaged a GKI of 6 for an entire year! I love that. It keeps me honest. So when I tell someone I’ve been keto, I can actually quantify it with data that proves it. For my fasting glucose, you can see that my average is SO much better this month (92 average) as compared to last month (106). Seeing this progress just gives me so much joy and motivation to keep on going! It’s also fascinating just how high my ketones went on Day 5 of my 7-day fast (6.6!), which probably has to do with me being mostly keto-adapted having been keto since end of 2014, on and off. Last year while living in a RV full-time in Mexico, carb creep was an issue as we began to eat out more and more, drinking wine most nights, feeling like we were on vacation at times. Although my husband and I were keto and low-carb as much as we could, my numbers show that things could’ve been better. But such is life, and traveling and enjoying new cultures and new food is part of the enjoyment of life. So no regretting. Just starting from now. A reset.
The photos above show my “last supper” before embarking on this 7-day water only fast. I ate and made the most delicious carnivore waffles made simply with eggs and ground beef! It’s from Maria and Craig Emmerich’s new Carnivore Cookbook. She even has a carnivore hollandaise sauce that is to die for. I made it using duck fat which makes topping the waffles that much more decadent. The day before that I made our family Maria Emmerich’s carnivore Scotch Eggs. I didn’t have the prosciutto to wrap around before baking, but it was still off-the-charts delicious. My kid ate it for breakfast two days in a row! I made her soft-boiled eggs and it makes my mouth water just typing this just how good it was, the mouthfeel of eating it. Highly recommended! I never thought of it before, but Scotch Eggs are definitely a carnivore delicacy. Not pictured is salmon roe, which my husband and I have been eating regularly. I’d like to eat it daily to provide more Omega-3s into my body and brain. We also try to eat organ meat like liver into our weekly meals, usually mixed in ground meat like hamburger or sausage patties or meatballs. I’m not quite there where I can eat the liver or heart whole. My mom, who came to the U.S. in the 1960s from Taiwan, loves eating nose-to-tail. As a child, I watched her nibble on chicken necks, feet, eating whole fish while gnawing on the bones. She made bone broth on the regular, Chinese style, and she’d mix in organ meat into home-made sausages. She was doing this stuff before it was trendy. Now, unfortunately, she’s more into buying processed and refined carbohydrates from stores where she can get the “best value,” buying bread, muffins, frozen entrees with a bazillion ingredients on it, often eating out and feeding my dad, who has diabetes type 2, and my 85 year old aunt with Alzheinmers, food from McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Subway. It’s crazy how her eating and cooking habits have changed over time. My dad, who was in the hospital for surgery, having neuropathy so bad from diabetes, actually had my mom sneak in his favorite drink of all time: Coca-cola!
Anyhow, I digress. My husband, who is mostly nose-to-tail carnivore now, happily seared the pork chops above in the photo a few days before my fast. The photo on the bottom left is a carnivore breakfast for my teenaged son before he took off for school. It’s a carnivore waffle with a giant omelette filled with smoked salmon and goat cheese. He’s not carnivore or keto, but will eat some of the food we make from time-to-time. The picture in the bottom middle is of my habit tracker. Since 2016, I’ve been using a bullet journal (Leuchtturm1917) to track new habits (did I write? did I meditate? Did I stay on track with eating? Did I drink wine?) and metrics I care about (fasting glucose, ketones, GKI, weight, period). But for Christmas, my husband bought me a journal that’s made by James Clear of ATOMIC HABITS, a book I had bought and devoured on Kindle. He didn’t realize that I had already read it, so he bought me the hardback version too. I keep it by my bed to stay on track. I should also mention that I transfer some of the health data I jot down in the habit tracker into the Heads Up app, so I can track and trend and chart my progress over wide swaths of time (how did I fare over the last year? how about the year before? how about since 2016, when I officially started tracking in Heads Up?), and can correlate with lab tests such as those I get via LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics such as my A1c, thyroid and lipid panel, markers I wanna track such as my inflammation biomarker: CRP. Once a month, I also do a “Measuring Day” where I measure my waist, hip, chest, calves, arms, weight (which I avoid measuring daily, except during a long fasting interval), just to see how I’m progressing (or not). Again, this keeps me motivated to keep on track. And when I fall off, as does happen with life, I’m usually cognizant that this correlates with situational stressful life events (ex. when my sister’s friend killed himself back in 2018, I completely stopped carnivore eating, and when another good friend’s husband committed suicide successfully end of October in 2019, I found solace in food as I tried to be the best possible friend I could for her, yet feeling like I wasn’t doing enough; this while juggling parenting and working). Anyhow, the last photo on the bottom right is a photo of me texting my accountability partner, who is also resetting with a carnivore diet for her type 2 diabetes. We text each other every day and I appreciate all of her highly knowledgeable insights on food and nutrition. I feel blessed to have a good friend that is also into carnivore and keto and we can both keep each other motivated and on track. Knowing that she is doing this too makes it so much easier!