Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Since getting back to low-carb yesterday my body has already adjusted again. My weight was down a pound to 137.6, mostly water loss probably. Of course this time I was just dropping from about 80-100grams/day of carbs to under 50grams/day since I just cut out the sugar. Yesterday I felt a little tired at the end of the day. Today my energy level is back to (my new) normal.
Today I probably ate a little more than yesterday and exercised a little less.
I did about an hour of walking, 20 minutes of strength training and just 15 minutes of jogging, total calorie burn about 600.
Breakfast was plain yogurt with blueberries, flaxseed meal and nuts
Lunch was a big plate from the salad bar at our food co-op with spinach, romaine lettuce, tomato, radish,, cucumber, red onion, mushrooms, walnuts, smoked mozzarella cheese, chicken (dark meat), and vinaigrette with at least 5 tablespoons of oliveoil.
I enjoyed a cup of coffee (half decaf) with lots of half and half afterwards.
Dinner was browned ground beef, stir-fried kale (in coconut oil) and a hard-boiled egg, all with generous amounts of melted cheese on top.
I decided to experiment with making low-carb ice cream again. I added almost a quart of heavy cream to pack of frozen blueberries in a metal bowl, added about 2 tablespoons of Xylitol for sweetener and stuck it in the freezer. The frozen berries make the cream freeze faster. To keep it smooth I stirred once about every 20 minutes and after 2 hours I had ice cream.
I may eventually buy an ice cream maker if I can find one that does not require the use of a ton of salt.
In any case, I had a big bowl (about 1 ) of homemade blueberry ice cream for dessert.
I love low-carb eating.
My guesstimate for total calories for today is 2500.
I have been thinking about low-carb eating a lot lately. When I tell people that I'm on a low-carb diet nobody even blinks and everybody acts like that is a completely normal thing to do. But when I tell people that I don't eat any grains or beans I get surprised looks and people ask me why. This tells me that many people don't really understand the reason for eating low-carb. They may have heard about the Atkins diet a long time ago and even believe that it works but they can't imagine anyone eating that way long-term. In fact, sometimes I can barely imagine it myself, not because there are any foods that I miss, just because I'm surrounded by foods that are high-carb everywhere. Just today I walked into a Starbucks and realized that there is NOTHING that fits into my eating style. I also intentionally walked into a local bakery and asked if they carry any gluten-free items. The sales lady told me, "yes, but only on Wednesday". I asked what the ingredients in the bread are and she said she had no idea. I thanked her and left.
I also ate at a Chinese restaurant the other day and asked what gluten -free choices they had. Surprisingly they told me a couple of dishes I could order and said that if requested they can use a soy sauce without wheat in it. We ended up ordering green bean chicken and hot and sour soup, both very tasty and the portions were enough to take some home. There was probably a little sugar and a little corn starch in the soup.
Monday, April 02, 2012
Today the weather was finally spring-like.
It was time to get back to running after taking about one month off to mostly devote to ice skating.
I'm going back to running at least 3 times/week, maybe as much as 6 times depending on how I feel. I will also do more horseback riding again after the ice-skating season is completely over next week.
Today I ran for 30 minutes, 2.3 miles, average heart rate 134.
I also spent about 2 hours walking and 20 minutes strength training so my total calorie burn was about 1000.
My carbs are back to under 50 net carbs for the first time in a while today.
Breakfast was some blueberries, plain full-fat yogurt, walnuts, ground flaxseed
Lunch was a hard-boiled egg, some pumpkin seeds, a piece of cheese and a small glass of full-fat raw milk.
Dinner was a duck-egg omelett with mustard greens, tomato and cheese.
Sunday, April 01, 2012
For those of you who don't know who he is, Caballo (real name Micah True) was made famous by Chris Mc Dougall's book "Born to Run".
He lived a simple life in the Copper Canyon of Mexico with the Raramuri, also called the Tarahumara Indians. He was known well among ultra-runners and "Born to Run" spread the word about him.
I only met Micah True once when he was on a speaking tour in the United States and gave a talk in a small venue near where we live. The topic was not running, minimalist running or ultra-running but the concerns of the people he made his own, the Raramuri. He was passionate about them because they had touched his heart and he did everything in his power to help them with humility, grace and enthusiasm. He was the organizer or the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon and a tour guide for people who wanted to visit the Copper Canyon, all in order to support the Raramuri. When asked about his shoes he said they were good because he got them for free. When asked what he eats to help his running the answer was corn and beans.
He was my role model as a runner, not because of his speed or running style but because of his character. He was a winner wherever he went because he treated people with kindness, sincerity and warmth. I'm very sad he is gone, but he deserved to be in heaven.
Sunday, April 01, 2012
As I experiment with eating low-carb, primal and wheat-free I'm discovering more and more connections.
In October of last year, after running a very good but very difficult trail half-marathon I started wondering about what I could do to improve both my cardiovascular fitness and running speed and my body composition (fat vs. muscle). At this point I knew that both were likely affected by hypothyroidism, primarily TSH levels that had been somewhere between 7 and 12 for years, that were due at least in part to having had part of my thyroid removed. I had other symptoms that are typical of mild hypothyroidism, including lack of energy in the afternoon, low body temperature (below 97) in the morning and frequent sleeplessness at night. Occasionally I also noticed what seemed like a reduced ability to deal with high stress levels, possibly due to sleep deprivation.
I already ate what I thought of as a thyroid-friendly diet, avoiding PUFA's (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and avoiding soy, raw cruciferous vegetables (cabbages, broccoli) and peanuts. This brought my T3 and T4 levels in the normal range and lowered my TSH to about 6 or 7.
I had already eliminated most sugar from my diet and all grain I ate was whole-grain. My weight has been in the normal range (BMI around 25) for many years now but I knew that I still qualified as "skinny fat", with a fairly low percentage of muscle and a fairly high percentage of belly fat for my size and weight in spite of exercising almost daily and consistently for 1-2 hours/day at low to moderate intensity.
So in October I decided to get a little more systematic in trying to improve my fitness and health. I started running according to the Maffetone method which recommends capping one's heart rate at about 180-age during all runs for at least several months to build a strong aerobic base and avoiding any speed workouts or other anaerobic workouts incl. strength training. For me this would have corresponded to about 70-75 % of maxium heart rate using the 220-age method.
The Maffetone method also includes nutrition recommendations and life style recommendations which I partly followed. I had some improvement in my running over several months and again assumed that the slowness of my progress was due primarily to thyroid issues. Overall I felt that I was still making progress both in my running and general well-being.
At the beginning of the year my husband decided to try gluten-free eating to improve his own health and we both did a fair amount of reading about gluten and grain. About a month later, after reading "Wheat Belly" I decided to go wheat-free. I noticed an increase in energy in the afternoon and evenings and better sleep at night within about a week. After reading Gary Taubes' book "Why we get fat" I decided about two weeks later (around the mid-February) to try to go low-carb by eliminating almost all grain, beans and sugar and limiting fruit to the less sweet varieties for a while. The "almost-all" is because I decided that there is no reason to worry about either small amounts of grain or sugar when they are served at social functions or when they are the only food available. My hope was to reduce body fat without paying much attention to calories eaten or to weight. It took about 2-3 weeks to lose an inch of belly fat which was a great start.
I have since experimented a little to see what happens if I eat some sugar but no grains and found that as my carbs increase to more than about 100grams/day my weight starts climbing up a little but all the other benefits of eating low-carb remained, especially not getting any food cravings and having higher energy levels.
So yesterday I pushed the envelope a little to see what would happen. In the early evening I ate a whole gluten-free brownie that was made with rice flour, butter and lots of sugar and must have had about 500 calories at least. I was expecting to get hungry a few hours later, which did not happen, probably because the brownie also contained a lot of fat in the form of butter.
But for the first time in quite a few weeks I woke up at 3 am and could not go back to sleep. After over an hour of lying awake I got up and decided to start writing this blog ( accompanied by a large cup of coffee)
I suspect eating brownies or other similarly high-sugar foods, even gluten-free, will be VERY rare from now on. Since I don't crave sugar or carbs any more this is going to be very easy.
Most of the sugar I get will come from raw whole milk products (lactose) and some fresh fruit and the total is still not going to be very much.
I will also continue running using the Maffetone method except I will start adding a little strength training back into the mix. I'm looking forward to seeing how this will go while eating low-carb.
Tomorrow I will report on the book by Mark Sisson "The Primal Blueprint".
Saturday, March 31, 2012
This is the adult beginner's group doing their first "performance". I'm the one with the blue umbrella that collapsed half way through. We had lots of fun and that's what exercise needs to be all about.
My goal for next year is to get some better skates, get some private lessons and hopefully I will do my first little solo performance at the same show.
Figure skating is a great sport for people who love to move to music and have decent balance. Not too much strength or speed required to start with.
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