Ratha (papertygre) wrote,

7 week nutritarian

A quick update. Weight is 124 lbs, down from 135-140 at start. I had to take my watch band in a notch, and my size 6 jeans are now a bit loose (where before, my size 8s were tight). Blood pressure is down from a 7-day moving average of 140/88 (not infrequently above 150/90 and with some systolic readings above 160 and some diastolic 95 or higher) to a current 7-day moving average of 130/85 -- about a 10-point improvement in 7 weeks.

Generally, feeling pretty good. Once in a while I'll have a headachy evening where I'm not good for anything but lying down, but mostly, have plenty of energy. Oh, one more thing that's weird: I'm on my second period since starting the experiment and it's *really* light. I haven't used anything but pantiliners and it's day 6. I read a bit on the member forums and apparently it's not uncommon for healthy young women on a nutritarian diet to quit menstruating altogether, but they can still be ovulating even if so. (Update: This was just my body acting weird again. I spotted for a week, had a couple of days of bleeding, then spotted a couple more, finally finishing up on about the 19th.)

On a typical day I get about 1200 calories. This is with eating until quite full and usually being satisfied for 4+ hours after. Macronutrient ratio is about 66% carb, 21% fat, 13% protein. I have been experimenting with a 2 meal format (intermittent fasting style). It is no longer that hard to go for long periods without eating. On the plane back from Austin on Sunday I had lunch at 2pm Austin time (noon Seattle time) and didn't get home till 10pm to eat dinner; not hungry at all in the meantime. I do feel hunger sometimes, like now (just woke up and my stomach is cramping a little), but it is comparatively mild and tolerable. Mostly, when going for long periods between meals, I feel a strange kind of boredom not getting to eat, or sometimes a little mental panic that if I don't eat maybe something bad will happen to me.

I'm finding as I go along that I'm less and less interested in "cooking" elaborate soups and dishes for my meals. I'm gravitating toward 1-3 ingredients for soup (for example, split pea: peas, onions, garlic.) When I add things like spices it tends to come off as an affectation and a distraction. My dad gave me the book "Living the Good Life" by Helen and Scott Nearing, about checking out to rural Vermont and living off the land, and they ate mostly salad, soup, and fruit, too. Simple and easy.

Here's today's menu:
- Breakfast: fruit: 1 mango, 1 lb strawberries (400 calories)
- Lunch: 1/2 of a big salad with 1 head red leaf lettuce, 1 bunch dandelion greens, 1 leek, 3 radishes, 1 heirloom tomato. Topped with vinegar and eaten with 2 oz raw pistachios. (400 calories)
- Dinner: The other 1/2 of the salad with 1 cup adzuki beans. (400 calories)

This is not ideal because there is no cruciferous vegetable, and also no mushrooms or flax, but pretty good. I needed to pack a dinner today but otherwise I might have steamed some kale to go with the beans.

While I was in Austin on Saturday I attended a One-Day Immersion with Dr. Fuhrman. Here are my notes. I learned a few useful things:
  1. My vascular surgeon who placed my stent told me to take a baby aspirin for the rest of my life. I experienced some doubt when I read that Dr. F discourages taking a daily aspirin for heart patients because the healthy diet should be sufficient protection and the aspirin does increase risk of certain issues like macular degeneration. However, at the seminar he mentioned that people with stents have a nidus of inflammation that never goes away so he does recommend the daily aspirin in that case.
  2. It can take 3-5 months to feel "true hunger" due to the time it takes for excellent nutrition to build up body stores. He had a little martial arts analogy and 3-5 months was the Brown Belt stage.
  3. The reason why calorie restriction doesn't seem to extend life in humans as it does in animal models is apparently related to IGF-1. The typical human consumes 30% of calories from animal products and this is enough to keep IGF-1 high. Apparently the optimal IGF-1 levels couldn't be achieved unless calories were restricted AND the proportion of animal products dropped below 10%. I'd like to see the references on this but it is good to see a hypothesis.
  4. Nuts are crucial. He said the link between nut and seed consumption and health is one of the best established in medical literature. For a long time I was fat phobic and avoided them on general principles but this encouraged me to make a point of having 1-2 ounces a day.
There are a few things I'm still a bit skeptical about:
  1. He had lots of claims about studies showing intake of white rice and potatoes raised cancer risk, diabetes risk, etc., due to the high glycemic load causing AGEs and other badness. However what about the rural Chinese with brown rice, Okinawans and Kitavans with sweet potatoes, etc.? I suspect high glycemic load is not inherently bad and according to the research I'm familiar with it doesn't necessarily increase insulin resistance, actually it can improve insulin sensitivity.
  2. He claimed that humans are dependent on a particular element in cruciferous vegetables for our immune systems to work properly. I do think my immune system is positively affected on the diet, but this claim seems extreme. How did the indigenous Inuit live as long as they did then?
  3. Fuhrman says that dairy raises IGF-1 more than meat even, yet 2 of the longest lived cultures in the world -- the Hunza and the Ikarians -- consume cow and goat milk, respectively. Need to look into this. Were the amounts of dairy they used small by our standards (below the 10% threshold)?
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