Search

Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing

Tag

intermittent fasting

Food first.

What is keto? I can’t begin to blog about my training without beginning with nutrition.

I know I’m going to bungle this, but I’ve always believed if you can’t clearly articulate a basic understanding of The Thing*, you don’t have a full understanding of it. So here goes my extreme layperson version:

When we eat food, our bodies begins a series of chain reactions to process the food that goes into our stomach. One of those reactions is to deal with the rise in our blood sugar (blood glucose) that occurs when we eat certain foods. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar a lot, protein raises it a little, and fat raises it almost not at all. Our meals and snacks are usually a combination of all 3 of those macronutrients, and acids and enzymes go to work breaking down the food during digestion.

Our bodies carefully monitor the sugar that is in our blood, and it has some choices about how to maintain the level it wants. Our pancreas secretes insulin, which directs the body to put a certain amount of the glucose into our muscle cells, and when those are replenished, the rest gets stored in the liver and fat cells for later use.

A keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet that results in lower insulin levels. A consistent reduction in carbohydrates results in your body going into a metabolic state known as ketosis. This means that the body burns fat instead of glucose, because a) there’s limited glucose to burn, b) there’s plenty of fat available, and c) the fat storage hormone insulin is low enough for our bodies to access the fat in all of our jiggly fat cells. The fat we burn can come from what’s on our plate or what’s on our body.

The fewer carbs that we eat, the more consistently we can reduce our insulin response, and the more we become fat-burners instead of glucose burners.

This is far too simplistic an explanation to describe the many components, down to the cellular level, that are active in our organic, self-replicating bodies.

We humans have the ability to burn sugar or fat. As long as we restrict the sugars/carbs going in, our body is forced to seek sources of energy elsewhere. Not only does this give us a steady stream of energy (even lean folks have enough body fat to fuel for hours), we don’t experience crazy hunger surges. We can only store so much glucose in our blood and in our muscles, and once that’s depleted, and insulin is low, the body resorts to burning fat for energy.

There are some great analogies that help us picture what is happening when we are fat-burners instead of sugar burners.

Here’s Dr. Jason Fung on his fridge-in-the-kitchen/freezer-in-the-basement analogy (video version). And this is it in blog form.

There’s another illustration that describes switching from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner is similar to reworking a mechanical engine to burn a different type of fuel.

I’ve also read another comparing burning sugar to burning twigs and leaves, and burning fat is a big log on a nicely-banked bed of coals.

At some point all of these analogies collapse, as analogies do, but you get the general idea, and maybe one of these would be helpful.

I think my explanation was a little messy and wordy. You would be much better served hitting up a few good Google search links to get a more comprehensive understanding of ketosis and the ketogenic diet. Both of the following are awesome, but heavy on the science:

This site is called ketoschool:

The concentration of glucose in your blood is the critical upstream switch that places your body into a “fat-storing” or “fat-burning” state.

This site/blog is among my favorite: Virta Health  – it’s LOADED with good information and clear science.

I’ll post more extensively soon about what I specifically eat, but it’s pretty simple: meat, fat, dairy, eggs, nuts, and low-carb vegetables.

I don’t want to finish without adding this little thought: I’ve been working on understanding nutrition science for years. I’ve experimented with paleo, primal, and all the buzzwords in this category. It’s taken me a while to get it all dialed in, and I’m still tweaking and learning.

I’ll also write a post soon about what I would suggest if you are just starting out, because this way of eating (WOE) is so drastically different than the standard American diet (SAD), I think it would be overwhelming to jump from SAD to keto.

I’ll repeat my disclaimer here that I fully embrace that there is more than one way to skin that proverbial cat. This is what has been working for me and my body and my training.

Thanks for reading.

*This works with financial investments, studying for the Bar Exam, defending your non-evidenced beliefs, and explaining your politics. 😉

 

c1f542d98d3b38311fbcc741357644d3-1

 

 

 

 

But are you surprised, really?

I don’t place much value on conventional wisdom.

This blog has served me through the years as a place to sort out my thoughts, express my feelings, absorb my rage, share my positions, and relate my experiences. I initially created it to write about endurance training, then it wandered into life on the farm, then religion, politics, the intersection of religion and politics, and now this entry circles back to endurance training.

I’ma do it again.

For those readers who haven’t followed this blog, I completed an Iron-distance race in 2010, the year I turned 50. It was wonderful and gratifying and difficult, and now I want to do it again.

Training for an ultra-distance race requires a progressive, linear plan that includes nutrition, running, swimming, cycling, recovery, research, and race planning, among other things. It’s my plan to compete in an Iron-distance race in either 2020 or 2021, which means my path to completion begins now.

Back to my opening sentence.

Conventional thinking holds that training for a race such as this is best promoted by the standard nutritional dogma of high carbohydrate, moderate protein, and low fat. Science teaches us that the human body can burn different types of fuel, glucose/fructose or fat. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is one in which carbohydrates are abundant, ubiquitous, and inexpensive. Looking at high-performance through that lens, it’s reasonable to deduct that, since we do burn glucose, and a lot of fuel is required for endurance performance, one should consume volumes of this macronutrient in the form of carbohydrates, up to and including during the endurance event itself.

Here are 3 of the first-page Google results to “nutrition for ironman training”.

Men’s Journal:

Load 1/3 your plate with complex carbs.Energy is essential for an endurance athlete, and nutrient-dense carbohydrates—like potatoes, rice, and whole-grain pastas and cereals—replenish glycogen and stimulate insulin production.

Triathlete.com

Your body also needs a lot of carbohydrates to support training and recovery. Your carb needs can easily increase from 5 grams per kilogram per day to 8-plus grams when training jumps from an hour to two or more hours a day (a jump from 350 to 580 grams of carbs per day for a 160-pound athlete, and from 275 to 430 grams of carbs per day for a 120-pound athlete).

Livestrong.com

Most of the calories in your diet should come from carbs — 55 to 60 percent. That’s because carbs are your body’s preferred source of energy, especially when working out for a long period of time. Getting enough carbs also spares protein, so you don’t burn muscle when training. For proper fueling, most of your carbs should come from complex sources, such as whole-grain bread and cereals, beans, pasta and potatoes.

Or.

Not.

I’m not terribly keen on conventional wisdom. It lulled me into accepting religious dogma for years. It betrayed me as a young adult into believing debt was a “financial tool”, which would serve me well as I matured. And nutritionally, IMO, it has kept millions of Americans (including me at one point) unhealthy, overweight, and unhappy.

So I’m not relying on conventional wisdom this time. I’m using my own research. I’m using my own data. And I’m using my own body.

61873868_10219206750660446_5299423845747261440_n

I will write about that which I am an expert: Me.

This biohacking, experimental, n=1 journey upon which I’m embarking will be based on loads of personal data: blood glucose and ketone testing, sleep patterns, fasting schedule, stress management, weight, training stats, mood, activity, workouts, nutrition choices, bio-feedback, and sensations.

At the present moment, I’m describing myself as a fat-fueled, high-fat, low-carb, moderate-to-high protein, intermittent-fasting human being. I seek to be in ketosis most of the time, which simply means being in a fat-burning mode rather than a sugar-burning mode. I’ll use the shorthand “keto” often to describe this state.

I won’t insult the scientists, researchers, and doctors by trying to lay out all the science-y stuff myself; I’ll post several resources that I have used to reach my current conclusions about nutrition (critical word “current” – science is ongoing, as is my learning). Nutrition science is not my field, it’s not my formal education, and at best I could only give a layperson’s interpretation of the incredibly complicated process of nutrition.

It’s my intent to have this blog be the journal of the journey. I commit to both honesty and transparency in relating my progress. My general plan is to compete in a Sprint triathlon or two and an intermediate triathlon this summer (2019), continue training through the winter, then compete in a Half-Iron, then a Full Iron in 2020, with wiggle room to delay til 2021 if beset by injury or illness or life circumstances. This will be in addition to various road- and cycle- races that catch my fancy and fit my schedule.

Buckle ups, buttercups. Here we go.

Thanks for reading.

 

Suggested resources – These are just a few of my favorites. There are scads of resources currently for the keto lifestyle. I’ll add specific topic links as I write about them.

Books: 

(If you shop at Amazon, and don’t have a dedicated non-profit that will receive a small contribution as you shop, please consider Recovering from Religion. Click here to set up your Amazon Smile account.)

The Complete Guide to Fasting: Jason Fung, MD

The Big Fat Surprise: Nina Teicholz

Eat Rich, Live Long: Ivor Cummins and Jeffrey Gerber, MD

Protein Power:  Micheal Eades, MD and Mary Dan Eades, MD

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Gary Taubes

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: Jeff S. Volek, PhD, RD and Stephen D. Finney, MD, Phd

Death by Food Pyramid: Denise Minger

Websites/blogs:

marksdailyapple.com

www.proteinpower.com

www.dietdoctor.com

www.idmprogram.com

Podcasts:

LowCarbMD

The Fat Emperor

2KetoDudes

fullsizeoutput_3b8a

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑