Fat saved me and I wanted to share the story of my BIG fat success. There was a time in my life where if you mentioned to me that you were “fasting, you might have seen a glazed expression come over my face. Not that I did not believe in the health benefits of fasting, it’s that I could not go for more than 2 hours without food.
I spend many years wondering what was wrong with my and thankful my religious belief did not depend upon it. For years I suffered from headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, and the feeling that my stomach was eating itself.. Of course, it made sense that we should partake in regular fueling intervals of two to three hours. I could go no longer than that.
It certainly was not for lack of trying. I knew that many religions fasted. However, for all the hoopla over it…I personally was unable to realize the benefits. Ancient wise men and many Eastern religions still practiced fasting regularly. I could not even skip breakfast without dire consequences. I was not ancient but, I sure was about to get wise.
Calorie Restriction and Fasting
Tens of thousands of articles can be found on websites like PubMed and also according to Dr. Julius Goepp, M.D., who wrote in his column for LIFE EXTENSION magazine:
“The most scientifically validated way to extend lifespan (from single-celled organisms to mammals) is caloric restriction. This technique has proved to boost lifespan by nearly 100% in some species.”
If a single celled organism or an elephant could do it. Why couldn’t I? Do I deserve a slightly shorter life as deemed by my own physiological ineptitude? Please say it isn’t so!
In the late ’90s, when I was told by my Naturopath (Dr. Peter Glidden) http://www.glidden.healthcare felt an elimination diet was in order. One that would include removing grains and gluten, dairy, and corn.
What the hell WAS I supposed to eat? Fruit, lettuce, and meat? But also, what about that brown rice I was eating every day? I arranged a small pity party for my Italian self. I played my violin in my head, as I mourned the loss of pasta and sauce.
Of course, after over a decade of suffering and just wanted to find the health I truly deserved. A health status I worked very hard to reach but…I was puzzled. Would the pain be worth the gain?
Goodbye Grains-Bye-Bye Pains
Along with elimination of grains I would eliminate nightshades – tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant. The foods mentioned above are called deadly nightshades. Good riddance, I thought.
I figured the less variety I have, then the easier it would be to pinpoint a problem. NO PROBLEMO! I never really liked veggies anyway. Thanks for the OUT, I thought silently. Additionally, what good are tomatoes if pasta is off the menu?
So, I undertook the elimination diet with the mindset that I have had with most everything else in my life. “JUST DO IT!” Thanks, Nike (TM). I have used your motto a lot over the years. It looks like it is going to have to serve me well, yet again.
Big Fat Liars
Most of the “trusted” resources and government agencies I relied upon regarding my health were all in agreement. Saturated fat was at the top of the food pyramid like a red-headed stepchild. ( No offense, as redheads are my favorite)
However, I had to place a “caution” label on my evaluation of this program until I saw some results. Interestingly, the research I found on the food pyramid which glorified grains made me realize that perhaps, these agencies wear a disguise as a government body that presumably watches out for our health. How naive!
Therefore, if you are still trusting the conventional wisdom, I encourage you to wash the glitter out of your eyes sunshine, because that is not the case. Dorothy, you are not in Kansas anymore! Food is BIG business. They are BIG FAT liars.
BIG FOOD+BIG GOVERNMENT= BILLIONS of dollars in revenue for cheap food that caused you to need medicine and health care. Everyone wins but you and me.
The Big Fat Experiment
With new regimen in hand, I pulled out my recent copy of Dr. Atkins’ book – Atkins Diet Revolution. I knew the book would come in handy one day.
Dr. Atkins would explain that the first week or so may be tough as my body shifts from one fuel source to another. In other words, switching from glucose to ketones. Caution that I may feel “under the weather” for a while until my body shifted fuel sources prepared me for what may come.
Could it be much worse the severe insulin resistance I was already experiencing? Or, the belly pain that came because I could count my weekly bowel movements on two fingers? I was ready for this.
Every day I would pee on a stick simply because it gave me hope that when the stick gets darker, the hunger begins to subside. From what I remembered, you could FEEL when you were in a sweet spot.
Long-lasting energy and freedom from symptoms would be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I was ready to nose-dive into that pot.
Goodbye Egg Whites, Hello Yolk
I did pretty well but still had guilt over eating egg yolks and fatty meats. And then came the dawn.
Lab tests would be my checks and balances. Inspect what you expect has always served me in the past. However, a starting set of labs would indicate that perhaps I was not yet at the pot of gold. I sure felt like I was. Ahh…ignorance is bliss.
The bad news was that I was still relatively insulin resistant, as indicated by a fasting insulin reading of 8. I managed to slip some fruit into my plan and, it was quite clear to me – my body was keeping score behind the scenes.
My fasting glucose was 97-110, and I had lots of these small, dense LDL. I would come to learn that these small LDL particles meant I was a prime candidate for heart disease or stroke. Being always the overachiever, it was game on. Blood sugar – YOU ARE GOING DOWN!
Additionally, to make matters worse, I displayed inflammatory markers on my (hs-CRP), and inflammation is the root of all disease. High sensitivity C-reactive protein – hs-CRP for short, was the hallmark of poor cardiovascular health. HOW CRUEL, I thought – THIS IS A JOKE RIGHT?
Fat, GLORIOUS Fat
What was I missing in my low carb, high protein diet that was still wreaking metabolic havoc? THE FAT – I was missing the fat. No more egg whites for me. And, I would also cut back on the fruit that seemed to have crept in. Newer science as well as bloggers on the scene led me to some truly validated information.
A ketogenic diet is supposed to be high in FAT, not high in protein.
It began with coconut oil.
The first tablespoon of coconut oil almost made me gag. I would have to go slowly. Butter still caused a bit of distress, but ghee was fabulous, so I put it on everything. 1/2 an avocado a day helped to “up” the fat grams ante.
However, I will share something but ask you for NO JUDGEMENT. Putting bacon grease in my salad dressing was a daily ritual—olive oil, bacon grease, and Apple cider vinegar to be accurate. Was I crazy, or was I a genius?
I was praying that my new science was right because my meals looked like a heart attack on a plate. However, the follow- up lab results I am about to share might shock you to the core. They did for me.
The Shocking Outcome
Below, focus on the yellow area. This is something that is rarely looked at on regular doctor visits. Those yellow sections indicated that my earlier low fat diet caused small dense LDL. The kind that cause real problem because they would put me at risk for stroke.
The set in the middle shows that some of the numbers went up a few months after starting a very high fat diet. But within a 6 month period those scary numbers would all but disappear.
And you thought fat was bad! I was now in the most minimal risk for a cardiac event.
In one year, my HDL “good cholesterol as it’s called “went up 20 points. From 80 to 100! I aced the hallmarks of happy cholesterol.
No longer did show any measurable small dense particles to get under the lining of my arteries. I increased my “big fluffy particles” and dropped my fasting glucose to about 83. My hs-CRP came in at LESS THAN 1, which is ideal.
Additionally, my calf pain was long gone. Also, I dropped an additional 6 lbs.
I showed NO signs of any inflammatory markers whatsoever. Like many, I suffered no menopause brain nor weight gain. Enjoying the energy of a twenty-five-year-old with a lean body and NO body aches was absolutely all due to my BIG FAT DIET.
Turning Skeptics To Believers
I indeed caught the attention of my doctor. He asked me to be HIS health coach and coach for his patients. He was astounded with my results. Now I can take part in the great benefits of fasting regularly.
I will continue to eat LCHF (low carb/high fat) for the rest of my life. Though we are all bio-individual, as mammals are, we rely on certain things. My N=1 experiment paid off in significant ways.
Fats are essential for our brain, nerves, hormones, DNA responses, and so much more. While my lifestyle choices may not be for everyone, for me – There is a fat chance this will ever change.