‘The Magic Pill’ – A Documentary

 

On April 2, 2018 I started a very strict ketogenic diet. The main reason was not to lose weight.

It was to prevent what seemed to be the onset of diabetes.

Mom, Dad, Sis, and Bro all got it – my siblings got in their 40s. I didn’t, maybe because I’ve been trying at least to maintain a low carb diet since the early 2000s, but at the beginning of my 50s that number began to climb toward a fasting number of 125 – the definition of diabetes. I began taking metformin and got the number to go down.

That was a few years ago.

Fast-forward to 2018.

While never having diabetes, I spent my own money monitoring it. I began finding that fasting number beginning to come close to 125 – and sometimes leaping into the 140s. i would measure throughout the day and many times it remained elevated.

Because of my family history this set off alarm bells.

On April 2 I began a strict keto diet and have maintained it since. I’m down about 13 pounds, which is a nice side effect, but it wasn’t the focus this time.

Within 2 weeks my blood glucose went down between 20 and 40 points. At certain parts of the day it even goes into the low 80s.

I stopped the metformin about a week ago – and my blood glucose is fine – still touching the 80s during the day.

I eat mainly pastured butter and fatty meat, and zero carbs except for green leafy vegetables and stuff like asparagus, pickles, kimchee, sauerkraut, celery, cabbage – the very low carb veggies.

What has exasperated me in some of the chatter in Vegan circles is an absolutism in their chosen path – like there’s no other way to good health. Being a Vegan is *a* path – and a path with heart – but it’s not the only path. I am not here to say ‘I’m right and they’re wrong’ – I don’t see this as a zero-sum game. And you might notice so far my trademarked snark absent. I do that as sport, though sometime people do get hurt – which is never my intention. I’m being serious here.

What I have envied in the Vegan approach is a spiritual aspect – keto / Atkins – whatever you call it – has always been a Yin without the Yang to me. I’ve buried my nose in the science and found it plausible enough – and my personal experience corroborating it – that I have a scientific belief – but I found it spiritually empty and so my journey to become a ‘Cranky Buddha’ did not fit with my diet.

Now I feel I’ve found the Yang in ‘The Magic Pill’. The documentary shows people experimenting with a keto diet of whole foods and eliminating insulin to treat their Diabetes, eliminating chronic asthma, lessening the symptoms of Autism in 2 children, dramatically reducing epileptic seizures in one child, and appearing to lessen symptoms of early dementia in one woman.

But that’s not the point. I knew these were outcomes reported on a ketogenic diet that are being investigated.

Where I found my Yang was in the last half-hour. In there it shows how we have perverted our natures and ourselves through agriculture – and it does so elegantly.

We have paid the price in chronic health conditions almost unseen before the 20th Century because we have worked against the natural order of nature.

I’m not quite there yet myself, but I believe I an heading in the right direction – and this documentary lights the way in that it frames the keto experience as a natural expression of our humanness. The science behind Keto is attempting to catch up with what Humankind has known for tens of thousands of generations – except for the most recent where we have lost our way.

If you’re a Vegan, I still encourage you to watch. Maybe afterward you can check out the Facebook group ‘Vegan Keto Made Simple’. You won’t find a nicer group of folks on Facebook – I guarantee you.

For you folks either on a low carb / keto diet or doing your research, you shouldn’t miss it either.

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Keto is the Bitcoin of Diets

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For all you folks who do not spend their lives reading charts, a little explanation. This chart is from Google Trends, a tool that lets you see how often search terms are entered into Google. You can also compare one search term to another.

Now what the above chart shows is that the term ‘low carb’ (in blue) has been chugging along and has been steadily been gaining interest. It’s a far cry from the obscurity after the ‘Atkins Craze’ of 2003 popped and people moved on to the next trendy diet.

An interesting thing to note: see those little spikes in interest regularly spaced on the blue line? That happens every January when people decide to go on a diet as a New Year’s resolution.

Now take a look at ‘keto’ (blue line). Back when I started this blog, nobody would have known what Keto meant.

Well, things have changed. Look at that spike – keto is the Bitcoin of diets right now. It used to be called ‘Atkins Induction’ but after Atkins died the term was dropped because it seemed too harsh. Atkins himself recommended a diet of 20 grams of carbs or less, moderate protein, and high fat only for the first two weeks – then you were supposed to begin adding more carbs back in.

I ignored that advice back then and instead tried to stay in ‘Atkins Induction’ indefinitely.

I was ‘keto’ before ‘keto’ even existed.

Today, keto is everywhere. People who’ve only learned about the diet a year ago prop themselves up as experts, start Facebook pages, and build businesses around this diet. I got nothing against free enterprise, but it seems to me some of these folks are going off half-cocked. There’s one guy who advocates eating nothing but bacon for 30 days. Compared to him, this blog expands your choices to meat in general – and water.

The bacon guy is trying to build a nice little business off of this – you can join his special insider program for about $100. I bet he’s doing OK – it’s pretty easy to separate desperate obese people from their money.

I don’t want to imply anything bad about the guy. He seems sincere, came up with a trick that worked for him, and figures he can make a buck off of it. It also seems to work for a bunch of people – so who am I to nay say? Nothing wrong there.

The only problem I would have – and a big reason I have never tried to sell anything nor claim that I am right about anything (read my disclaimer here) – is that I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending *any* diet to *anybody* because I ain’t no doctor.

Anyway, ‘keto’ – like Bitcoin – is in a bubble. I have spent a lot of time in the past year on these Keto Facebook pages and there’s a lot of hopeful folks who stream in, asking the same questions asked the day before, unwilling to read the pinned posts, who just want a magic bullet. These people don’t want to do the work – they just want to lose weight fast. I don’t blame them, but as more and more people stream in, try the diet without doing their homework, get bad advice from people on the page as ignorant as they are, they will give up, tell their friend that keto doesn’t work – and the bubble will pop and we’ll be on to the next diet fad. This happened in 2003 with Atkins – and has been happening with great regularity for over a century.

The thing is: I believe keto works for a lot of people. I think, like most diets, it can be hard. I think you need to do your homework, and be able to tease out the good information from all the bad information out there.

I will even go so far as to say that there is probably a lot of bad information on this blog. I’ve been writing for 11 years and my thinking on the diet has changed.

If I plan to start posting regularly, I think I also need to go back and either edit old posts or delete them entirely.

So moving forward I’ll be ‘The keto blog with the low carb name’.

Hey – AT&T stands for ‘American Telephone and Telegraph’ – and a telegraph hasn’t been sent in the US since 2006.

Pigs Fly – Day 17

Thursday, July 21, 2016

 

266.8 at morning weigh-in.

Not the best of days. Did all right during the day – and part of the evening as well – having my burgers and cheese – which I don’t seem to tire of.

Went off the rails while watching part of the Republican Convention, having cheese, lettuce, and mayo on a slice of bread, the moppings of the hamburger grease on a half slice of bread, and ate way too much of a Lindt chocolate bar with blackberries that I got for Father’s Day.

I went to bed before the candidate spoke. Not all that interested.

Calories: 2645
Net carbs: 83g
Protein: 119g
Fat: 200g

Pigs Fly – Day 16

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Morning weight was 266.4.

The previous day ( which I did not have time to document) showed me at 1300 calories and 45 net carbs.

I think I can attribute a lot of my nearly 12 pound loss to portion control rather than low carb as I’ve been (on the whole) better at reducing the overall amount of food I’ve eaten than at choosing low carb foods.

For example: I ate a baked yam – no butter or other flavors added – at midnight as I had to work (don’t ask).

I have a sneaking suspicion that, at least for me, a small amount of carbs might be OK as long as I rigidly adhere to portion control – and portion control is easier without carbs because carbs make me hungry.

On this particular Wednesday I did the daytime in what is becoming the norm: coffee and Atkins shakes. This isn’t proving a big deal – I’m kinda used to it.

When I got home there were 2 hot dogs and cheese on a single bun, 1/2 peanut butter(!) and jelly sandwich on a single piece of bread, a fat slice of tomato. and a slice of Margherita pizza my daughter ordered.

A few glasses of MiO-flavored water also accompanied dinner.

The guesstimate for the day was:

Calories: 1350
Net carbs: 86g
Protein: 73g
Fat: 75g

 

 

Pigs Fly – Day 14

Monday, July 18, 2016

My weight this morning was 269.4. Not quite sure why – I’ll blame it on fluid retention.

Seeing the number still under 270 is nice – I’ve been unable to hold it there for very long since February.

It’s a small victory, I guess…

I woke early – before 4am – probably because my back was sore rather than any bursts of energy from a low carb day on Sunday. It was going to be a stressful week and out of the gate it lived up to every expectation.

I wasn’t myself, however. My brain was sluggish – or perhaps things were moving too quickly for me to keep up – I wasn’t the only one who seemed to feel this.

My day ended up being a long and stressful one. I didn’t get out of work until 7:45pm and a power line down made me take a detour so even with little traffic at that time I ended up home 8;45pm.

I ate nothing all that time except for coffee, atkins shake as creamer, and psyllium with water. I wasn’t feeling particularly hurgry nor out-of-sorts, but I did feel that I needed to eat something – althouugh part of me toyed with just going straight to bed.

When I got home I had the same from the previous night – 2 burgers, each with 2 slices of cheese topped with ketchup – though I bought the reduced sugar version to cut the carbs.

Ha! like that mattered! Mentally fatigued and physically tired, there was no controlling an urge for junk – especially when right in front of me. Someone had bought pound cake and I ate 3 slices. At this point I was so spent I don’t remember what else I had – a glass of milk perhaps? I also had a half bagel with butter.

The guesstimate for the day were:

Calories: 2900
Net carbs: 201g
Protein: 140g
Fat: 168g

 

 

Pigs Fly – Day 13

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I awoke at 4am with my stomach hurting. I drank 16 ounces of whole milk, which did make me feel somewhat better…for a while.

Then a sudden rumbling in my gut made me think it prudent to make my way to the bathroom.

Boy, was I right.

Whatever got into me wanted out – and it did so without decorum.

I went back to bed with my stomach still hurting and had a fitful sleep until about 10 am.

At noon I had the psyllium husks with water.

I was content until evening when I had 2 broiled hamburgers, each with 2 slices of American cheese with ketchup on top.

As a snack I had a cup of ricotta cheese with the EZ-Sweetz pure Splenda sweetener. I used to eat this when I first started low carb. I didn’t much like it now. It had almost a gritty texture.

Maybe not this go-round.

Totals:

Calories: 1572
Total carbs: 63g
Net carbs: 53g
Fiber: 10g
Protein: 104g
Fat: 101g

 

Pigs Fly – Day 12

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I was 268 when I got up. I felt sick and dazed however. I’ve been fighting a chest cold and it knocked the stuffing out of me.

I went back to bed and slept until nearly 4pm.

I ate…something around then – i think it was leftover scrambled eggs and butter on a slice of bread – then some toast on rye bread with butter.

Then I snoozed again.

Later I got up and had some wine and cooked up some kielbasa with sauerkraut and had that on some more bread.

I stayed up until my daughters came back from a movie then went to bed.

Too wiped to tally, but I’d guess the calories were not too high though the carbs probably were.