Those of you who follow my blog regularly will recall I interviewed Phil back in November.
Phil switched to a low-carb life-style September last year in an effort to manage his diabetes. His early results were spectacular. He lost 14 lbs / 7kg in 3 weeks, and he cut his use of insulin to a third of what it was previously.
Phil has agreed to update us on his progress periodically. Here is the latest instalment.
What has happened since we last spoke in November?
My weight has stabilised at 85Kg. I probably could lose a few more Kg, but everyone I meet notices the loss of weight.
My ill fitting clothes were getting embarrassing, so I have had to buy a new suit, and lots of new clothes.
And I feel fantastic. None of the drowsiness that I used to have almost every day. Generally I am full of energy.
What challenges have you come up against in maintaining your new life-style?
Every time I find myself in a different place or situation, finding something suitable to eat can be a challenge. I used to be very flexible and would eat whatever was available. But now it is the opposite. But then, when I do find something, I almost always feel really happy with what I have eaten and rarely regret not having what I would have eaten. If that makes sense.
How do people react to the changes you have made?
Everyone seems to be very respectful of it. Last week we went to dinner with friends and they went to so much effort to make the meal suitable for me. I was moved that people react so well.
What have you learned over the past two months that have caused you to make further changes to your life-style?
I have learnt that this way of eating can be really enjoyable. And the benefits are clear. I have done lots of reading, which led me to stop taking the Statins that my doctor had recommended.
What are the health questions that pre-occupy you at the moment?
The main thing that I haven’t sorted out yet is my exercise. I love doing exercise, in particular running and playing football. But I was finding it hard to manage the sugar levels. Then I got an Achilles problem that was not going away. I am seeing a specialist about it and he recommended a change in exercise routine.
What changes to your health do you hope to see in the coming months?
Once my Achilles is sorted I am looking forward to starting a new regime of exercise. I hope to get back to my old fitness levels and lose a few more Kg.
Hi Peter, I spent last evening scouring your blog and planning to start things off, and, duly inspired,started this morning by cutting out milk from drinks, and have had none of the other non paleo items, which has been great much to my surprise considering how much I usually eat in the dairy/pasta/bread/grain family. I did, however, find myself scratching my head somewhat at breakfast time, wondering what the breadth of choice is in this area…..so, my question is – what sorts of things do you have for breakfast? I went for a couple of eggs in the end, but shouldn’t think it’s wise to plump for that each day. I did look up a couple of websites, and whilst they had sample eating plans, they were rather more exotic that my lifestyle affords me to be….I thought of mushrooms, obviously cold meats (which is a continental thing isn’t it?). I don’t fancy veg for breakfast really….so, I wondered what sorts of breakfasts you usually have???
Look forward to your thoughts….
Firstly, congratulations on getting started, Richard.
Most mornings I have 2-3 rashers of bacon along with 4 eggs either scrambled in butter or fried sunny side up in coconut oil. Some mornings I supplement this with a bowl of full fat greek yoghurt. Other mornings, I will have a salad of whatever vegetables we have in the fridge. I dress my salad in olive oil, lemon juice and I season it with a little salt. I particularly like salads that include some avocado. I also sometimes have spinach or mushrooms.
I consider eggs one of the best wholefoods around, and I eat in the region of 25-30 a week. I used to eat more when I was really focused on weight loss.
Some people are concerned about the high cholesterol in egg yolks, but studies have shown dietary cholesterol does not increase your blood cholesterol materially. Here is one such study: link
If your doctor insists eggs raise your risk of heart disease, then I would say it’s time to look for another doctor. It’s a good indication that he or she does not bother to follow developments in medical research, and personally I would not want to discuss my health with a doctor who is intellectually lazy. But each to his own, off course. You can also refer your doctor to this blog post if the topic of cholesterol comes up: link
If you can afford it, I would go for the best quality produce. This means organic free range eggs and nitrate free bacon. But, on balance, it is more important to eliminate the grains and sugar from your diet than worry about every breakfast ingredient being organic.
Paleo/Primal dieters, who are more purist than I, consider bacon a processed food and will either not eat it at all, or try not to eat it every day. To get around this I hear a lot of primal dieters say they make extra dinner in the evening, and have the leftovers for breakfast the following morning. I sometimes do this also. I personally think it is ok to eat bacon regularly, though, and I never seem to tire of it. It feels like a treat every time I have it!
For anyone who is about to start a paleo inspired diet, I strongly recommend taking a blood test early on, and to repeat it after 4-6 weeks. After this inital period, I would test every 3-6 months. You are about to make some dramatic changes to your diet, and blood tests will help spot if your physiology responds adversely in any way. I predict your health markers will improve along with your body composition, but every person is different. In the beginning there is also the possibility that you get one or two things wrong and don’t make the progress you expected. A blood test will give you clues about what to change to get back on track.
You should also bear in mind that I am not medically qualified. I am just some guy who had some success loosing weight. You should not take my advice (nor anybody else’s for that matter) without testing independently that your body is responding well to your new diet.
I am about to have a new blood test, Here are the health markers I plan to request. The last four on this list are not generally included in a standard blood test and some may be unfamiliar to some doctors:
- HDL cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol
- Triglycerites (low is best)
- Fasting serum insulin
- Blood glucose
- High sensitivity C-reactive protein
- Omega-6/Omega-3 blood assay
- Vitamin D3
It is also worth exploring the materials I provide links to in my blog posts. Aside from changing your diet, the best thing you can do for your health is to be curious about how your body works and what is good for it. I would also invest a little money and little time reading a book by one of the leading lights in the ancestral health movement. Here is a list of my current Top 3 books on ancestral health: link
If you want more inspiration for Paleo/Primal breakfast dishes, here is a cookbook we use a lot in my family:
Hope that helps. Good luck and keep the questions coming!
Many people believe dietary fat increases cholesterol and that this leads to heart disease. In the medical establishment this is known as the Lipid Hypothesis. A growing number of research scientists now believe this hypothesis is oversimplified and mostly wrong. Despite this, most doctors still advocate a low-fat diet rich in wholegrain along with a preference for vegetable oils over animal fats.
Chris Masterjohn has made a name for himself on the blogosphere by addressing common misconceptions about cholesterol. In this article he analyses the available literature on the topic, and gives his view on what the real truth is.
Ask your doctor to read this if he or she has concerns about the fat content of a Primal diet.
Here is also a brief video primer: