Ratha (papertygre) wrote,

1 week nutritarian

So as mentioned in my last update I am trying the "Eat to Live" diet as part of my reduce-blood-pressure trial. I figure I might as well go all out on the extreme health nut protocol because high potassium intake may be necessary for BP reduction as well as reducing sodium. So I've been at it for one week now.

Finding #1: The food isn't that bad. Raw greens are pretty good if you chew them enough, and a low-calorie, high-vegetable meal is pretty satisfying, at least for an hour or two. Favorite recipe so far is Tabouli (with chickpeas instead of bulgur, and no oil).

Finding #2: Not as hard to eat out as I feared. I have gotten very nice salads at a mall Japanese restaurant and at Calamity Jane's. At the Skillet restaurant I got a big bowl of steamed brussels sprouts.

Finding #3: I came down with a cold on Friday. At the time I was dead certain it must be some kind of detox reaction from the diet. It's not clear what else is to blame since no one around me has been sick and it's the middle of the summer and after all I had just made this semi-major change. But still, who knows.

Finding #4: So far I'm basically hungry all the time. 1-2 hours after each meal I start feeling a gnawing sensation in my stomach, and it comes and goes, but mostly is a dull ache all of the time. I started tracking my calorie intake in cronometer because I was worried that I was not getting enough calories. It turns out I am getting plenty -- at least 1500 calories every day that I have checked. So here is the controversial bit: Fuhrman says that stomach cramps are not real hunger. He says this is a manifestation of the body detoxifying during the respite from digestion between meals, and most people in the West avoid this sensation by eating heavily enough and frequently enough that they never go through such detoxification. So his advice is that if you stick with it, these sensations will go away, and eventually you will experience a neutral "throat hunger" when you need to eat. OK, so I'm ready to buy this, but what I want to know is, how long will it take? None of the material I've been able to find seems to say. Some of the testimonials just mention "a few days" of discomfort. One of the testimonials, for a girl with debilitating headaches, said that it took 3 full months for the headaches to resolve. So do I need to be prepared to put up with this hunger sensation for 3 months? As long as I'm getting enough calories and protein it doesn't seem like there's any danger, but I am dying to know what is going on here. Why do I feel weak (is it just the virus)? Why does the hunger kick in sooner if I have a green smoothie for breakfast instead of solid food like oatmeal? Is because of the lower overall carbohydrate intake? Is it related to the fact that a higher percentage of my total carbohydrate is now coming from fructose instead of starch? Is it related to the lower phytonutrient content in the oatmeal breakfast compared to the green smoothie? Is it related to the faster time to clear the stomach for a liquid meal, which brings on the detox process sooner? Some combination? Something else completely?

Finding #5: Sleeping a bit less. I've been waking up after about 7 hours of sleep (although generally I try to snooze till my alarm). Also lost 5 pounds in the last week apparently.

Finding #6: Blood pressure is not coming down yet. I've had two outlier readings with systolic in the 120s in the last two weeks, but still consistently getting in the 140s over 90s. This is discouraging (particularly since with this diet so far I am putting up with what amounts to constant pain) but I need to be more patient.
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