Friday, July 13, 2012

Getting fat is a good sign that your digestive system is working...(aka adventures in low-carb eating part 1)

But that's about the only good sign that weight gain heralds. Except that I do try to get fat eating only delicious food and drink. So there's that.

Really I should give this post a different title that would reflect what I have been up to. But it's related in a way because I am trying for a very low-carb diet right now.  Not to lose weight (wouldn't say no to a 10 pound loss, but not my current goal) - no, I'm trying this because I just have to face the music. I have to listen to the Oldies station and ignore Alternative. Except now, this may be "Alternative", so WTF. Let's just move on.

I finally read a book that I have been actively avoiding for at least 2 years.  It's called "Dr Berstein's Diabetes Solution" or something very close to that.  Any diabetics in the audience heard of this book?
Here's the amazon link for The Diabetes Solution - there are tons of reviews and opinions you can peruse.

Well, Dr. Bernstein is a self proclaimed heretic among ADA experts, and his methodology is largely derived from experimenting on himself.  That last part actually appeals to me since as a scientist, it is easier to think of trying changes as experiments rather than mandates from a doctor who will proclaim you "non-compliant" when you are unable to produce the textbook responses they expect. Disclosure: this is a major pet peeve of mine? the whole concept of "non-compliance" in diabetes. Non-compliant to what? Your guess in the dark about what might or might not be a relevant tool or habit for my particular body and lifestyle? I require some serious logic and evidence based medicine before I will blindly comply to anyone's directions when it comes to my body. I'm a scientist and a veteran diabetic so don't treat me like a neophyte. Don't just assume that I'm sitting around eating any sugary treat I an get my hands on while not taking my insulin at appropriate time. And when I do make bad choices, don't treat this as a major moral failing.

That's all I'm asking. I have yet to have a doctor who has themselves have to deal with a chronic disease like diabetes. seriously, I just think the majority don't get it.

Bad patient anyone?  That's just how I do.

Anyway, back to Bernstein's solution. I resisted reading the book for so long because I thought it would be more of the same. Like a reformed smoker preaching to you about the evils of tobacco, or any type of addict or reformed "sinner" who has seen the light and has the discipline to live "right". And if you just tried hard enough, you wouldn't have these problems, and THEREFORE (conclusion not based on logic) all your health problems are your own fault. Like I don't already tell myself all that bullshit everyday of my life on my own, even though I KNOW it isn't a fair accusation to rain down on my own head. BUT HE DIDN'T WRITE THAT WAY AT ALL!  He was very compassionate about the suckiness of diabetes, the fact that none of us "caused" our diabetes, and that the guidelines we get are confusing, conflicting, and often just wrong.

That got him in my door at least. The guy is more than sympathetic to the foibles of humanity and acknowledges the folly of all the different ADA, AHA, and USDA guidelines on nutrition, particularly as applied to diabetes.

Here's the major yucky-sucky - this guy targets a total of 30 grams of carbs per day, including the 5 or 6 grams (no matter how complex) from your cups of green leafy veggies. He doesn't eat any fruit or any kind of recognizable carb based food aside from veggies. And no tomatoes, carrots or beets in his opinion.
Fruit is out of the question.

Now, I can't live with that in its entirety - no berries? what? no tomatoes?  I can live with spaghetti squash instead of noodles, but no marinara? c'mon!! And I have to make at least 4-5 pies per year. Cake and cupcakes I can bake and not eat. Even more cookies I can actually turn away from. mostly. But pie?  I still consider pie a balanced food item and don't put huge amounts of sugar in mine to start with.

okay. But I read the book. And then the same week a piece came out in the NYTimes about how a calorie isn't necessarily a calorie. ("What Really Makes us Fat") And that the low-carb diets really do have a different effect on your metabolism than high-carb low-fat diets.  By then I'd been living it already for 2 days. I got through the 4th of July without a single cupcake, cookie, or sugary cocktail. It wasn't that hard actually - lots of meat and salads around everywhere.

Bernstein wants diabetics to maintain 83 mg/dl. That's his magic number. you can allow higher for insulin takers, and for gastroparesis irregularity. So I'm shooting for 70-120 as my target range.  Some days have been tougher, but with smaller amounts even it is easier to calculate and not OVER calculate in the wrong direction to a huge degree.  So I have had a couple of days of stubborn highs. And a couple of scary lows. But not many - much fewer than with a "regular" diet. The highs are in the 140-180s instead of the mid to high 200s. The lows come on slower so I've only badly over-treated one time. I am on day 14. Two weeks.

I don't think I can eat this way every single day for the rest of my life. But if the splurges become notably infrequent, that would be okay. I don't like the bG excursions that follow even though I can usually rein them in within a few hours. I think it may be tenable to live the great majority of my days taking in low-carb and high protein. I've been wearing CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and I have to say that it feels nice to see the flat lines.

So low-carb I will stay for the time being. I'm curious to hear about other's experiences with experiements like this. We are all built differently and change over time. On the other hand, I'm always open to new ideas!

Getting f

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