It begins. Stay tuned as I hack this condition. I will share my wins and frustrations as I learn how to stave this off.
It begins. Stay tuned as I hack this condition. I will share my wins and frustrations as I learn how to stave this off.
Short post today because I want to say only one thing:
You must listen to this podcast.
If you are: keto, thinking about keto, curious about keto, just getting into biohacking, have any health issues you want to find a way to get rid of, looking for a way to increase energy, looking for a way to lose weight, want to erase brain fog, want to improve your memory, or human in any way, you MUST listen to this podcast.
This episode is from BioTrust Radio and it features Shawn Wells (my biohacking mentor, formulator of most of the supplements I use and founder of Zone Halo Research – you can find him on Instagram @zonehalo, or on his website). It is called The ABCs of the Keto Diet: Avocados, Bacon, Coconut oil, and beyond! You can find it on iTunes as well as here.
I am fired up about this episode because not only is it everything keto, it goes into so much more that we are all struggling with. It may be a long episode (just short of 2 hours) but it is worth every second. Play it in the car while stuck in traffic if you have to, just get through it. It is jam packed with great information. Shawn Wells is a wealth of information and we are fortunate that he shares it with us…and for free! You will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t take advantage.
So, happy listening! Hope you find something useful.
Most of my life I struggled with low blood sugar. I was tested on multiple occasions and everything was functioning properly, so I can only assume that it was because of an undiagnosed eating disorder that led to me not eating right, or just not eating at all at times.
When I started having health issues several years ago, having too much blood sugar never occurred to me. However, after studying insulin resistance for the last month or so, it looks like it is time to consider it as a factor.
What is insulin resistance? In a nutshell, its when your body stops using the insulin it produces. This leads to results in your cells not using blood glucose, which means the means the sugar you ingest stays in your blood. As you can imagine, this is not a good thing. It causes weight gain, lethargy, brain fog, hormonal disruptions, and can lead to type II diabetes.
According to and article in Everyday Health, titled What is Insulin Resistance? Everything You Have Ever Wanted to Know, “insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas, and it plays an important role in metabolism. Your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream after you eat a meal. Insulin allows sugar in your bloodstream to enter into muscles, cells, and fat. This hormone is also important because it stops sugar from accumulating in your bloodstream. The more you eat, the more insulin your body releases to regulate your blood sugar and keep it within a healthy range.”
For an explanation of the process, Medical News Today outlines what is known currently as the following process:
In other words, resistance results in the manufacturing of more and more insulin to keep blood sugar within a normal range, and eventually your pancreas can no longer keep up. This eventually leads to pre-diabetes and finally, diabetes.
Factors that can cause insulin resistance are age, diet that includes excess alcohol, high amounts of sugar, processed foods and dairy, lack of physical activity, and stress. Family history, steroid use and certain health conditions, such as PCOS, can also contribute to insulin resistance.
Testing for insulin resistance is difficult because while your pancreas is working, it is providing the amount of insulin needed to control the blood sugar, even if it working overtime. Apparently there is no test for the amount of insulin being produced, just the concentration of sugar in your blood.
Insulin resistance can be controlled with diet and lifestyle changes. A low carbohydrate diet combined with regular activity can reduce or reverse the effects of insulin resistance. Intermittent fasting can help regulate blood sugar and aid in controlling insulin resistance. Lack of sleep, smoking and chronic stress all contribute to insulin resistance. Making lifestyle changes to ensure adequate rest, reducing stress and stopping smoking will also assist in controlling insulin resistance.
And yes, diet and lifestyle changes means cutting out foods that contain sugar or convert to sugar.
The effects of insulin resistance sounds like my laundry list of issues that caused me to start biohacking. Due to an eating disorder outlined in my book (restriction of foods to an extreme level that left little on the menu, healthy or not) I certainly had the diet issues. Once I added chronic and extreme stress, my body broke down. I was extremely lethargic, I gained weight rapidly despite restricting calories to an unhealthy level, I couldn’t think straight and couldn’t recall basic words and my memory was non-existent. I also felt like what I was experiencing mimicked a metabolic condition – all of which is what insulin resistance can do.
During all my blood work, I was tested for diabetes and my blood sugar levels were found to be in the normal range. However, I think this bears more investigation and perhaps more testing. Definitely more experimenting with Intermittent Fasting, the Keto Diet and things yet to be discovered.
If you want more information on insulin resistance, there is a great article from NIH (National Institute of Health) that you can find here.
Check back in for updates as I biohack this. Let’s see what we find out!
Exe-what?? That is what I said when I first heard the term exogenous ketones. Had it not been from someone I trusted (the almighty Tim Ferriss, who you can find here) I probably would have thought it was something made up and overlooked it. However, when Tim says try something, I have learned to try it – with some exceptions, of course – and now it makes my list of top hacks.
Exogenous ketones are BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) salts. Ketones are produced naturally and used for energy by your body when fasting or when carbohydrates are restricted. They are referred to as energy on demand, and in my experience, that is exactly what occurs. Ketones are easily accessible to the brain, more so than glucose, so when in a state of ketosis or taking ketones, the brain also has a ready supply of fuel. This adds to clarity and focus, and often enhances mood as well.
Exogenous ketones are essentially packaged ketones that are ready for you to take when needed. Common uses are before a workout, to extend a fast, to provide instant energy and focus if you are in an afternoon slump, to get back into ketosis after consuming sugar, or added to your morning coffee.
There are powders, liquids, bars, drinks, creamers…whatever tickles your fancy, there is a way to get your ketones. I started with a liquid that tasted like sea water and looked like…well,I probably should not say what it looked like but let’s just say it was not my favorite presentation. I tried disguising the taste in all sorts of concoctions and finally decided to just down it. The result was worth a moment of sea water and besides, who hasn’t drank sea water on multiple occasions without getting the energy and focus afterward. I tried a few different types of powders, coffees and creams after that and finally settled on my favorite, Keto/OS from Pruvit. It is combined with powdered MCTs and the jolt of energy, mood enhancement and focused mind that I get is worth dealing with its odd taste. (You stop noticing the weird taste after a while, I promise.) I have the caffeinated version for mornings, the non-caffeinated version for any other time of the day, and the Kreme for midday hot cocoa (Keto Hot Cocoa – half a mug of water, half heavy cream, a heaping scoop of cacao, and a packet of Kreme. Tasty and good for you too!).
When I am asked about ketones by someone for the first time, I often recommend KetoForce’s Keto Sports liquid, which you can find by clicking this link. It is a good entry into what exogenous ketones can do for you without some of the interesting side effects of the more powerful ones (also known as disaster pants – see the Bulletproof blog here for an explanation of that.) It is what I started on as well.
If you are ready to go straight to the top (in my opinion, at least) you can find Keto/OS or other Pruvit products through my affiliate link here or by going to their website.
I am not joking when I say this is energy on demand. I wish I had known about this when my daughter was little, and wish more people knew about it now. We don’t have to be tired all the time, we just need exogenous ketones!
Let me know if you have questions, and if you have tried them, what your experience has been with exogenous ketones.
After being a slave to my blood sugar for years, I knew fasting wouldn’t work for me. I tried those juice fasts everyone did back in the day, and I was ready to kill someone on day 2, so that was it for me. I was NOT trying it again, I didn’t care who said what. Enter a hormonal imbalance and a hefty tire around the middle, and suddenly I was a little more open-minded.
I was all in for the low carb diet and even adding fat back into my diet. My energy skyrocketed when I did that, and the pounds melted off, until that dreaded last ten pounds. Reluctantly, I agreed to try Intermittent Fasting for a few days, mostly because my mentor promised I would see a benefit and I wanted to prove him wrong so he would stop hounding me about it.
The theory behind intermittent fasting, also known as IF, is that it forces your body to use its stored fat instead of having a steady supply of food to use. By restricting calories to certain intervals, it prompts your body to release Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and insulin, both of which are the primary hormones that cause release of fat stores. Insulin also regulates blood sugar, and when properly released into your system, you can use your stored fat for energy instead of crashing.
I decide to go for a 16 hour fast because that apparently has the best benefit. I thought I was going to die at about hour 12. I was used to getting up, having bulletproof coffee and working out, followed by breakfast. But on this morning I watched the sunrise over black coffee, worked out fasted and was then flat on the floor until hour 16. Keep going, my mentor said. I was promised it would be worth it and that it would take a few days to adapt.
It took three days to adapt. Those three days were rough, I have to admit. On day three, I limped through my workout, made it to hour 16 and gulped down a bulletproof coffee, and then it hit me. I had more energy than I knew what to do with. My brain was firing on all cylinders and then some. I was insanely happy. A new day had dawned for me, and I was officially in.
So much for proving my mentor wrong. It was looking like I was going to have to tell him he was right.
I kept it going to for a few weeks, during which time I was so energetic and happy I could barely stand myself. I even had someone tell me I was too happy and needed to be brought down, because no one wants to be around that. (To that I said ‘Fine!’ and walked away. If I am too happy for you, that is your issue, not mine.) My waistline decreased noticeably, and so did my appetite. It all but went away and I would forget to eat. Who forgets to eat!
I still wasn’t entirely convinced for some odd reason, so I let the fasting go when I went away for a weekend. I noticed an immediate change in energy and mood. When I returned I went back to it, and BAM! Back to being happy.
Ok, I said to myself, this is the real deal. I played with timing, anywhere from 12-16 hr fasts, even going as high as 26 hours on a couple of occasions. I have found 16 hours to be my sweet spot, when I get the most impact on energy, appetite and mood.
Unfortunately, as I write this I am just coming off a lengthy illness, during which time both the keto diet and IF fell off for me. My mid-section can tell, so I am getting back into both again and it feels amazing to be doing so. I graduated into 16 hours of fasting this time, so I didn’t feel like I was ten seconds from a murderous spree. It took about a week and I am back to 16 hour fasts and back to feeling the way I like to.
If you are interested in trying IF, graduating into it is a good way to do it. Start with 12-14 hours, whatever you can handle, and work up from there. Before long you will start to notice changes in your appetite and it will feel natural to go longer and longer. Once you have experienced the elevation in energy and mood, you will want to keep going. Experiment with different fasting and feeding periods to find what works for you. A 9am – 5pm feeding period works for me, and fasting overnight. (I do take exogenous ketones pre-workout to give me enough energy to get through a strenuous workout; watch for the blog post on that.) You can vary your fasting/eating times to tailor it to your schedule.
Don’t believe me yet? Here are a few resources for you to do your own research.
Here is a Google search of people who have had success with IF.
Here is a post on LifeHack, a biohacking website.
Here is an article from Healthline Magazine.
Here is a post from Diet Doctor.
As with anything I post about, I recommend you do your own research. If you decide to try it, let me know what you think. I would love to see you on one of the above searches as a success story!