Getting Off the Roller Coaster!

I've been asked by several type 1 diabetics, "Why eat LCHF?" or more directly, "Why eat so limited?" or "That seems so hard!"

So I am writing this blog to answer those questions and concerns.

Why eat LCHF?

     Way back in 1996, I was pretty sick, even though a diabetologist told me I was fine because my A1C was 6.5. I had 2 frozen shoulders and 2 frozen hips. My whole body was stiff, I was only 38, but I felt old, and I simply could not play with my kids. If you are young as you read this and 38 sounds old, it's not, not old enough for a healthy person to feel as old as I did. I asked the doctor what to do. She recommended I see a surgeon. Well, no thanks! I think this was when I became sure that I didn't trust modern medicine beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I looked around for answers until a friend, also a type 1, sent me an article, via snail mail, about frozen shoulder and diabetes by Dr. Richard Bernstein. He explained that frozen joints were a complication from high blood sugars experienced when someone has type 1 or 2 diabetes. So that was my answer, uncontrolled blood sugars was the cause of my stiff joints. And did I mention I was also dragging myself around, feeling pooped all the time? Dr. Bernstein had a set of cassette tapes explaining how a type 1 diabetic could learn to control their blood sugars. I ordered the cassette tapes that day! I listened in rapt attention and started his program the next day. He promised a book coming soon, which I bought as soon as it came out. 

I felt a sense of immediate determination. Within a few months of beginning the Bernstein program as stated in his book, Diabetes Solution, I felt energetic, and all my joints were totally normal. For the first time since I was diagnosed (1971), I felt amazing! 

The explanation went something like this: 

Eat no food that raises blood sugar, so you can take less insulin, and take insulin timed carefully to match the food you eat which keeps your blood sugars in a constant state of normalcy. Then, expect normal blood sugar readings and completely normal A1c. That means your blood sugar will seldom go in the low ranges and seldom go in the higher ranges, and you will be off the roller-coaster!!! Dr. Bernstein's book was written back in 1997 but has still not been accepted by the American Diabetes Association, primarily because he disagrees with their recommendations of a high carb diet. The Bernstein diet continues to offer all diabetics a plan to prevent and heal all complications caused by blood sugar problems. Dr. Bernstein was and is still ahead of his time. He was an early proponent of LCHF.

 Why high fat?

     Dr. Bernstein's book, Diabetes Solution, said very little about fat, and even the later editions from 2008 still say very little. But, if asked, he might say that the amount of fat is irrelevant. Your choice.

      After reading newer books on how to achieve the best health, I am convinced that the right kinds of fats are important for improving health for anyone. One of those books that I am reading right now is Maria Emmerich's Keto-Adapted. She explains that consuming certain fats, incorporated into the ketogenic diet, are the best strategies for more than just achieving your ideal weight, although many start there with the diet. The high fat ketogenic diet is also beneficial for all autoimmune compromised individuals, including type 1 diabetics. Tremendous benefits have been demonstrated in type 2 diabetics, as well. Her book is filled with testimonials from many people who were dealing with autoimmune conditions, interspersed between her just scientific enough explanations of how this all works. So, yes I am recommending her book, again: Keto-Adapted. 

Here are some of the important points I gleaned from her book:

😄 the fat supplies the additional calories lost from leaving out the carbs;

😍 Saturated fat supplies the essential fatty acids that feed the brain, joints, and immune system;

😛 These "good fats" keep you satiated, so there will be very little if any cravings for carbs. That is the difference I see in my Bernstein days from 1996-2003 -- even though my health was improved dramatically, my cravings were uncontrollable. Now, with the emphasis on saturated fats like coconut oil, bacon fat, bacon, lard, raw butter and plenty of it, I experience absolutely no cravings. I have never, ever felt this satisfied, before or since my diagnosis. 

How can you limit your diet so much? 

Most people would say! "I want to have fun and eat a normal diet." As I said, all the fat enables feelings of satiety and keeps me happy. And while I get to eat so many of the foods I love, I really don't miss anything. As a diabetic, I wasn't eating sweets anyway. I haven't eaten grains for the last 18 years, so I don't miss bread. When I see paleo and low carb recipes for bread, they just look foreign to me. Even a low carb bread would be too high in carbs for me. I manage my blood sugars and insulin on 15 grams of carbs a day. And I'm counting the carbs in eggs and vegetables like lettuce and kale. But with all the fat, I don't miss the carbs, really!

I eat such delicious food like fried eggs, and bacon, vegetables sautéed in bacon fat, eggplant fries, grassfed burgers, and raw butter. Plus, I make an adventure out of locating and purchasing my food, tracking down local farmers to find amazingly beautiful seasonal vegetables, going to the farms or Farmers Markets to buy the best grass fed meats and raw local butter. To keep the cost down, I often buy less expensive cuts, like ground beef and short ribs, which I slow cook in water for a long time. This has the added benefit of making a nourishing bone broth which I consume daily. Since I buy no packaged food or drinks and very rarely go to restaurants, our food costs are lower than most!

Beautiful, raw butter fro, grass fed Jersey cows

Beautiful, raw butter fro, grass fed Jersey cows

fewer of these lows...

fewer of these lows...

And more like this!

And more like this!

What is LCHF and Why all the Excitement?

The letters, LCHF, stand for "low carb high fat." I had been eating this way for a while before I ever saw the letters. This diet has become increasingly popular, I spite of the limitations.

I had been on lots of fad diets in my life, always searching for the best diet to help me live a happy, healthy, longer life with type 1 diabetes. Actually to tell you the truth, I believed for many years that diet In general would play a role in healing this so called "dis-ease." Yes, I still believe in healing, getting better, improving, "getting off of insulin". All that. 

 At this point my main focus is being the healthiest I can be, and since insulin is a drug that we really don't know what "they" put in it, how it's made, are the additives safe for long term use????  The way I see it is be on the diet that allows you to take the least amount of this foreign substance as possible.

The fewer the carbs, the less insulin you have to take, good. But are there any other reasons I want to be on this diet?  

Way back in 1996, when I first heard Dr. Bernstein on those primitive cassette tapes, he explained why this diet and life style was so important for all diabetics, but particularly type 1's. If you eat very low carb, 30 grams of carbs or less, the less insulin you have to inject, the safer your life will be. When you go low, you won't go dangerously low, because if there are any miscalculations they will be very slight. Dr. Bernstein took a nearly 500 page book, Diabetes Solution, to explain this. So that's my quick summary of the idea. Less insulin=less danger, basically. I highly recommend Dr. Bernstein's book.

But since 1996 when I first started Dr. Bernstein's low carb approach, there has been a lot more research and experiences of people following similar protocols with quite amazing benefits. 

Healing arthritis, hypoglycemia, acne, many autoimmune conditions, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer's disease and obesity are among the conditions I've heard helped by this diet.  

There have also been several books written on the ketogenic diet, basically that's what the LCHF diet is called scientifically. The ketogenic diet was first implemented for type 1 diabetics before the discovery of insulin and also for children with epilepsy then and now, still. Children put on an extremely low carb/high-fat diet at John Hopkins hospital, would become seizure free. The book I find interesting on this diet is The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance, where doctors, Voltek and Phinney, describe how the low carb diet improves endurance and athletic performance across the board.

To me, it starts to sound like this LCHF diet is good for everybody! 

Since I began the LCHF diet 5 years ago in about 1 month, specifically January 1, 2010 what has healed for me? Osteo-arthritis in my knuckles, pain in many of my joints such as knees, hips etc. improvement in moods, better sleep, better more balanced blood sugar numbers, less insulin needed, increase in happiness.

In my translation the LCHF diet is percentage-wise, 75-85 % fats, like coconut oil, lard, raw grass fed butter, duck fat, lard, bacon fat, 15% protein from free range eggs, grass fed meats, fish and 5% carbs from local farm vegetables, light ones like kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce ect. In other words, no grains, no fruit, unless no more than a handful of local berries per day, no potatoes, sweet potatoes or winter squash. Is this possible you ask?

ln my world it is not only possible but necessary. I am the healthiest I have ever been.  I am on 1/3 the amount of insulin I used to be on before the diet and my blood sugars are almost always in normal range, meaning normal for a normal person without diabetes.

Here's a list of my day's food

Oh first, my personal rules for creating health:

1. I eat some form of fermented foods every day, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir

2. I never eat any processed food. If I eat anything out of a package, it has one ingredient like powdered colostrum, maca, Brazil nuts, coconut

3. I eat as close to 100% local farm food, within 100 miles of my home

4. All the meat I eat is humanly raised on pasture eating their natural diet

5. If I eat fish it is wild caught

6. I use only stevia as my sweetener and make sure it has only stevia, no added ingredients like malto dextrin or magnesium stearate. 

Note: these are my rules, mine only. I live in Maine, one of the easiest places to eat food from local farms. Interestingly a state with one of the shortest growing seasons. It takes effort, knowing local farmers, driving to farms and nearby farmers markets. And I admit I am a fanatic, most people aren't willing to go this far, but I will say my health has increased dramatically since I started eating LOCAVORE- style 5 years ago. 

My daily intake, food log:

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs and 2 pieces of bacon. I fry the eggs in bacon fat.

Lunch:  this is the meal that changes every day and this is my dinner or the largest meal of the day, example 4 ounce grass fed burger, sautéed veggies like kale and onions, or broiled Brussels sprouts, whatever is in season from a farm. Use coconut oil or saved bacon fat.

Supper: if you decide to follow my diet you could just repeat the same idea as the lunch or my delicious snack supper. 1.5 ounce of raw grass fed butter, mixed with 2 teaspoons of Surthrival colostrum, 1/2 teaspoon maca (a Peruvian radish that balances hormones), 1/2 teaspoon Dandy Blend (a powdered dandelion beverage with a coffee flavor, low carb) and Mucuna (a superfood that is a predopamine which means it is really good for your brain and memory and useful in the treatment of Parkinson's disease) and powdered stevia to taste, Now brand or Kal brand.  Mix it all up and eat with a tiny spoon. I also eat 4 Brazil nuts and 2cups of herb tea.

This is my personal story and it is what works for me. What works for you?

image.jpg

Here's a picture of me on my porch

image.jpg

A lunch of baked chicken, coleslaw and Brussels sprouts and garlic, sautéed in bacon fat

image.jpg

my delicious breakfast

image.jpg

snack supper of 4 Brazil nuts and my butter mash-up

Pre-Gaps Jitters

I just about don’t know where to start. I announced that I was going to start the GAPS intro diet on October 1.

Well. sort of. I am hoping to find the sweet spot where the GAPS dietketogenic diet and the Weston A. Price/Farm-to-Table diet intersect.

I have been successfully integrating the Farm-to-Table and the ketogenic diet for about 6 weeks.

With this diet, my husband, Denny, has brought his Pre-diabetic blood glucose numbers back down to perfect ranges. And my Type 1 diabetic numbers have become perfectly balanced on a small amount of insulin injections. Happy, right?