Thursday, September 14, 2017

My Philosophy for a Good Life

On my business card and in my email signature you will find the following words:

"Move - Be Still - Nourish - Sleep - Awake"

Those 6 words are the distillation of my philosophy for life that I have developed over the last several years of my personal development journey. Here is the meaning behind them:

Move - Everyone needs to be active during their waking hours. I am not saying you need to work out 3 hours a day. In fact, I would not recommend that kind of intense workout unless your profession depends on it. What I want you to avoid is going and sitting in a chair 9 hours a day at work, sitting in a vehicle commuting 1-2 hours a day and then going home and sitting on the couch another 4 hours watching television. We all need to get outside and just walk around more. We need to spend more time with our family and friends playing outside. I am always inspired when I see families in my neighborhood out for a walk together after dinner. Everyone should try to get out to a forest and "bathe" in nature as often as possible.

Be Still - Everyone needs some quiet time to themselves to let their brains decompress. Some may do this through mindfulness meditation. Others may just go sit outside and watch the wind blow the leaves of a tree. Just 10 minutes a couple of times a day can be very useful.

Nourish - A large part of what I do is teach people how to nourish their bodies by eating real, nutrient dense, food. This is certainly an important aspect of nourishing yourself but definitely not the only aspect. You also need to nourish your spirit and your mind. Humans are naturally curious social creatures. We thrive when we are learning new things and contributing to our community. Find something you have always wanted to try and try it. Better yet, find a group of people who are interested in the same thing and contribute your resources to that community while you are learning about something new.

Sleep - I cannot under-emphasize the importance of this aspect of your life. Sleep helps your body rebuild and lets your mind sort out your thoughts. I know many people who chronically deprive themselves of sleep. They justify this by saying that they do not have time to get a proper nights sleep but I also know these same people will spend around 2 hours a night watching television or checking on their social media feeds. If you feel that entertainment is more important than sleep, you will find that you will still struggle with achieving your health goals even if you do everything else perfectly. Ideally, you should fall asleep effortlessly at the end of the day and wake up on your own the next morning. I challenge you to try to get your sleep optimized before you contact me. I will bet that you will see a big improvement in your health without needing any guidance from me. If you sleep is on target and you have continuing health issues, that is the time to reach out to me.

Awake - There is the obvious meaning of this, we all want to wake up every morning. I mean that of course, but I also mean awake on a deeper level. Awake means that you should really take a look at your life. Are you happy? If not, what is causing your dissatisfaction? Awake is not a destination, it is a journey. Awake is the perfection you should constantly be seeking for your own well being and personal development. This may sound selfish but your personal satisfaction with your life will affect everyone in your family and community. Everyone loves being around happy and optimistic people. If you are doing the 4 other steps above then being developing your own happiness will be the result of taking care of yourself and those around you.

Life can be fantastic if you want it to and you put the work in to make it that way. I hope you have a fantastic day!  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My New LCHF Dyslipidemia Hypothesis

Once again, I have to thank Rhonda Patrick from Found My Fitness for presenting some fascinating information.  In her podcast titled "Does Saturated Fat Cause Heart Disease?" she lays out an argument that some people with a specific genetic polymorphism may be better off by consuming more polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and less saturated fats.  The polymorphism in question has to do with the fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO).  Using her free genetics tool and my raw data from 23andme, I have learned that I have genetic variants that influence my genetic obesity and diabetes risk in the following ways (quoted text from her genetic report):

  • Increasing my risk of obesity by 1.3 fold "due to a shift from energy-burning adipocytes (brown adipose tissue) to energy-storing adipocytes (white adipose tissue). This results in adipocytes storing more lipids and more body-weight gain. In addition, this genotype is associated with reduced thermogenesis (the burning of fat to produce heat) in response to cold exposure and this genotype and may result in less fat burning in adipose tissue during cold exposure."
  • Increasing my risk of obesity by 1.67 fold "particularly in the context of a high saturated fat and low polyunsaturated fat intake."
  • "An intermediate increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes due to high production of ghrelin. Higher ghrelin levels are associated with over-eating due to lack of satiation."
  • "Saturated fat may have a negative effect on blood glucose and insulin levels and increases type 2 diabetes risk."
Having heard this new information, I am going to develop a new LCHF and lifestyle regimen to see if I can further reduce my blood lipids.  For background, using a LCHF nutrition protocol and increased physical activity, I have been able to bring my T2DM and sleep apnea under control and I have improved my blood lipids without the use of cholesterol lowering medications.  That said, my lipids are still not ideal.

Armed with this new information, I will take the following steps for a 4 week period:
  • Substitute PUFAs for saturated fats
    • Increase my consumption of fatty fish
    • Replace farmed meat with lean game meat
    • Replace butter with olive oil and avocado oil
    • Supplement with fish oil daily
  • Increase brown adipose tissue
    • Increase cold water exposure
    • Reduce my covering while sleeping to a sheet or one thin blanket
  • Maintain my current level of physical activity
Once I have completed this 4-week trial, I will then conduct a NMR lipoprotein profile to see what changes occur.  Once I have the data, I will post an update.

Keto Shopping List

Here is my non-exhaustive shopping list to help get you started.  Along with the items listed below you can get any kind of beef, fowl, or fish.  Most sausage will be fine but do look at the ingredients and avoid sugar if possible.  Try to get as many organic, raw, pasture raised, grass fed, etc, as you can.  You are getting all your nutrition from these foods so splurge a little.  It will not be that big of a total cost difference as you might think, e.g., you might pay an extra $3 a week for pasture raised eggs. (Subject to change) 

Kerrygold salted (cooking) and unsalted butter (coffee)
Heavy whipping cream (coffee, whipped cream)
Gouda or Edam cheese (vitamin K)
Pastured Eggs
H-E-B Natural Bacon
Frozen Green Beans
Frozen Broccoli 
Frozen Asparagus
Frozen Brussel Sprouts
Frozen Organic Blueberries
Shelled Whole Walnuts
Kale/Spinach Blend Salad (salads or smoothies)
Real Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (blood glucose control)
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Himalayan Sea Salt
Liquid Stevia Sweetener

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Growing Cost of Diabetes

In 2013, the American Diabetes Association published a study that showed that the national cost of diabetes had increased to an estimate of $245 billion, a 41% increase from a study done in 2007.  If this trend remains steady, the national cost of diabetes could be nearing $350 billion by 2018.  Let's give that some perspective:

  • $1,100 per person per year in America
  • The cost to build 33 Gerald Ford class aircraft carriers (every year)
  • The cost to pay the salaries of all US military personnel for 28 months
  • The cost to fund the entire national transportation budget for 3.5 years
  • 26 years of revenue for the NFL (based on 2016 estimated revenue)

That is a lot of money and this is just for diabetes.  If you were wondering why the cost of your insurance is going up, it is not just price gouging by the medical industry.  It is also due to that national epidemic of people consuming poor quality foods who's profitability is being subsidized by federal agricultural policy and very effective marketing.  

Now for the good would cost individuals with diabetes very little to get most of this money back.  If people make the decision to vote with their dollars (and stomachs), most of this expense could be recovered by simply adopting a low carbohydrate, healthy fat, appropriate protein diet.  Many people, including me, have put their diabetes into remission by simply eliminating most processed foods and refined carbohydrates from their diet and replacing them with mostly whole unprocessed foods.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Kresser Describes Cholesterol on JRE

Chris Kresser describes "Good" vs. "Bad" cholesterol to Joe Rogan.  I think he does a great job explaining what the lipoproteins do and their relationship to the actual cholesterol they transport around your body.  Starts at 2:02:55.

Video Link

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Potential Effect of Fasting on LDL-C Measurement

I was recently listening to a "Livin' la Vida Low-Carb" podcast where Jimmy Moore was interviewing Dave Feldman from the Cholesterol Code blog.  Dave is testing a hypothesis that his LDL-C measurement is inversely correlated to the amount of fat he consumes in his diet during a few days prior to his lab work.  He believes that the liver upregulates the production of vLDL in response to the drop of chylomicrons carrying dietary fat in the blood (@ 14m 57s).  During the podcast the idea of the the LDL concentrations in the blood increasing as the length of the fast done before a test is done increases is also discussed.  Jimmy questioned if longer fasts would result in higher LDL concentrations (@ 32m 28s).  Dave speculates that LDL concentration increases would still be seen with fasting periods around 72 hours but that he has not done any testing to support this hypothesis yet.

Coincidentally, a few weeks before I had heard this podcast, I had decided to do a 24 hour fast before my routine lab work to see if that affected any of my tests.  I was shocked to find that my LDL-C had shot up 99 mg/dl in my June testing after it had been testing exactly the same on my two previous rounds of lab work.  After hearing the podcast with Jimmy and Dave, I paid for another lipid profile out of pocket to see if my LDL-C results would come back down after a 14 hour fast.  My LDL-C did drop back down by 67 mg/dl with  a 13 hour fast.  It would be interesting to see how the LDL-C changed day to day during a continuous 7 day water fast.  For now though, I will stick with the 12-14 hour fasting period prior to my lab work.

Here are the results from my blood lipid tests discussed above.  Note that all other measurement stay relatively consistent compared to the large jump in LDL in June after the 24 hour fast:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cinnamon Paste for Blood Glucose Control and Lower Lipid Concentrations

I heard a reference to taking cinnamon to help control blood glucose in a podcast I was listening to. The research I was able to find was not the best but there appears to be some evidence supporting cinnamon's ability to help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce triglycerides and LDL particles.  Cinnamon seems to be a fairly safe, inexpensive and tasty supplement so I have started a personal experiment to try it out. The dose I decided on was 6g per day based on one study I looked at. I take it 3g in the morning and 3g before bed. There are some forms of cinnamon that have higher concentrations of a liver toxin so you should look into ordering some Ceylon cinnamon or supplement capsules if you plan to try this yourself.  I have only been trying this a few days so it is hard to say what the long term efficacy will be but the first few days I have tried it, I am seeing about a 12% drop in my average daily blood glucose. That could be partially due to many other factors so I will have to monitor my glucose for a few weeks to see if there is a trend. I will also be getting some blood work done in a few weeks to check my lipids. 

If you are going to try this you have the option to take it in pill form or as a loose powder. Powder is much less expensive so that is my preferred option. One problem is that cinnimon is not really soluble in liquids and tends to create a protective shell when you pour something over it. Anyone who has seen anyone take the "Cinnamon Challenge" is familiar with this phenomenon.  If you are following a high fat diet and you are not sensitive to dairy, you can try my cinnimon paste recipe. It is fairly tasty and effective.  I also add cocoa powder, which has its own potential health benefits, however I am am using it in this recipe to help thicken the paste and to improve the flavor.

Dave's Cinnamon Paste:

Ingredients (includes affiliate links)

  1. Add all ingredients to a small container
  2. Slowly begin to mix the dry powders with the cream using a small whisk or spoon.  (You do not want to mix too aggressively until all the cinnimon is suspended in the cream or you might start to see puffs of dust coming out of the container)
  3. Continue mixing more vigorously until you achieve a thick consistency.  (You may need to add a little more coco powder to thicken your paste up)
  4. Enjoy your paste slowly using a spoon 


Article:  Cinnamon and Diabetes: An Update
              "Cinnamon may indeed be effective, at least for some people, in lowering blood sugar levels. Yet many diabetes medicines do a better job."

Study:  Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes
              "intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes"

Study:  Cinnamon Use in Type 2 Diabetes: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
              "The consumption of cinnamon is associated with a statistically significant decrease in levels of fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, LDL-C, and triglyceride levels, and an increase in HDL-C levels"