Friday, September 7, 2012

My First Year

   I have a major milestone to report in this post. September 1st marks my first year being on Paleo. It has been a long year with plenty of criticism thrown at me by truckloads. I have been called an extremist,  a criminal, and my behavior simply indecent. This was an experiment that I conducted on myself after much studying. The Paleo Diet made sense to me, and I started to feel better within few weeks after. Few of my friends joined with me and their health greatly improved as well. A friend lost over 65 lbs. and basically had to replace his entire wardrobe. Another, friend lost over 30 lbs. and stopped taking his cholesterol and diabetes medications. I hope my friends will share their stories in the future. There are few more stories which I won't bore you with, my goal is to explain my own personal experiences and share my journey with you. Here is one year in snapshot.
  • September 1st, 2011 started my Paleo plan starting weight 170 lbs. 
  • Zero consumption of breads, tortillas, or naans (Indian bread). Consumed no rice for the first 11 months, just recently incorporated a small quantity of boiled rice in my diet. Maybe once or twice per week. Boiled rice taste good in various soups.
  • Zero consumption of corn and legumes.
  • Zero consumption of desserts, cakes, cookies, soft drinks, and juices.
  • Consumed very little dairy products. Only heavy cream in my coffee, or butter in my soups.
  • Consumed about 1400 eggs this year, on the average 3-4 eggs per day. There has been days when I consumed 8 or more eggs. This translates to about 372 grams or 0.82 lbs. of cholesterol consumption this year.
  • I probably consumed about 300 lbs. of meat this year. Mostly beef, chicken, fish, and some lamb. 
  • Consumed liver, brain, heart, kidney's, bone marrow, and cow feet soup once a month or every other week.
  • I consumed ample amount of fresh cooked and raw vegetables. Consumed very little fruits. 
  • Consumed various nuts like almonds, macadamias, cashews, and Brazil nuts in low quantities, but consumed them regularly as good snacking option.
  • Did not give up coffee, drank decaf and regular. Also drank plenty of tea and water.
  • This past year I basically ate foods that I could look at, read all the ingredients, and importantly be able to pronounce all the ingredients.
  • Kept up with my hiking, golf, ping pong, and just being active with the kids in my back yard. Hiked Mt. Diablo (Concord, California) several times, hiked Rockville hills regularly (Fairfield, California), and hiked Mt. Whitney (Eastern Sierras, California).
What it did to my body? 
  • Lost 20 lbs. and the weight stabilized at 150 lbs. I am not losing any more weight. The weight loss was quick and then it stabilized within  couple of months. The waist size went from 36 to 34 and now all my 34 size pants are way too big. I can comfortably fit in waist size 32 pants.
  • Numerous stomach issues, like bloating and excessive gas disappeared.
  • The joint pains in my hands completely went away.
  • Mouth feels cleaner, no excessive bad breath.
  • Waking up in the morning and coming out of bed is not a chore. No excessive pains and aches.
  • Simply more energy.
  • Recovery time after hikes or other extraneous activities is quick. 
  • My recent blood pressure is at 106/60 pulse rate of 65 BPM and BMI at 25.
  • Several friends and family members told me that I look younger and healthier, but few concerned souls out there told me that I look horrible as If I am on drugs.
  • My lipid panel is listed below.
NameCholesterolHDLLow density lipoprotein calculatedTriglyceride
Standard range< 239 mg/dL> 40 mg/dL< 129 mg/dL< 199 mg/dL
  • As you can see from above that I was treading some dangerous waters back in 2007. The ratio triglycerides to HDL was 3.9. This is the most important ratio to worry about. Anything above 2 is bad. I also remember reaching around 180 lbs. of body weight. Between 2003 to 2007 I was drinking lots of diet coke and eating out at fast food places. Also working a part time job, so frequenting Taco Bell, and Burger King every day did not help my cause.
  • Around 2008 started hiking regularly. The period between 2007 and 2011 hiked and simply became more active. Started to cut down on the fast foods. Although, did not give them up completely. However, gave up diet coke. Then shortly after gave up all types of soft drinks. There were weeks when I hiked 20 plus miles per week. As you can see my numbers improved but only slightly. The  most noticeable change was in my triglycerides. It went from 167 to 58mg/dl. The ratio triglycerides to HDL improved from 3.9 to 1.3. My over all body weight stabilized to around 170 lbs. and then it stopped! No matter how much I exercised I could not break the 170 barrier. 
  • October 31, 2011, these numbers represent, me on Paleo for two months. I have lost about 10 lbs. at this point and the lipid panel is looking great. The triglycerides to HDL ratio is at 1. A sharp decline in total cholesterol from 182 to 152 mg/dl, and sharp decline in LDL. Basically my body responded positively to this new adopted lifestyle, thus explaining the sharp decline. It is common to observe extreme outliers when data is observed in small samples, but over a large sample the data ends up following a standard bell curve as you will observe in the next bullet point.
  • Let's fast forward a year later to the present. I had my blood works done last Tuesday on September 4, 2012 and the last line represents the latest test results. My HDL has been highest it has ever been. A decrease of 14 points in cholesterol, an increase of 4 points in HDL, a decrease of 16 points in LDL, and a decrease of 10 points in triglycerides from a year ago August 4, 2011. My weight is down to 150 lbs. As mentioned above that I probably consumed 1400 eggs and about 300 lbs. of meat in this time frame. I can not even begin to calculate the amount of cholesterol I consumed this year. Yet all the numbers are down and well within range. The triglycerides to HDL ratio is at 1. This ratio represent the type of LDL cholesterol in your body. The researchers are now discovering that there are actually two types of LDL cholesterol: big foamy molecules and small dense molecules. The big foamy cholesterol molecule is the good cholesterol. The TG:HDL ratio of less than 2 means LDL molecules are big and foamy and will not get stuck in your arteries. But really don't be afraid of cholesterol. Cholesterol is needed for many important functions in the body. The most important of those functions is to travel the body and build cell membranes. The liver manufactures 1000-1400 mg/day of cholesterol and fills the gap depending on the dietary intake. So if we consume more cholesterol through food then the liver production of the cholesterol is throttled down and the inverse is true when the dietary cholesterol intake is low. If nature intended the cholesterol to travel and rebuild the cell membranes then why would it allow it to get stuck in the arteries, the only medium of its travel? 
  • Here are my glucose numbers. Frankly, I was expecting a big drop in my glucose levels. I was expecting this number to be in the mid-eighties, but some how this number is staying at mid-nineties. My family history of diabetes on both sides of my parent makes me an ideal candiate for developing diabetes. And around my age is when diabetes start to surface its ugly head anyways. So at this point, I am happy that my glucose is stable.

    NameGlucose, fasting
    Standard range60-99 mg/dL
What is next?
  • One thing for sure, I do not see me going back and eating grains in the near future. Gluten free is the life for me. I believe I had the celiac disease for years with my overactive stomach and simply accepted it as a sad fact of life. Now that I do not have those bad stomach issues, I have no desire to go back and get them again. At this point I simply have no desire to eat bread or any other grain product. I simply do not miss them or have any cravings for them.
  • I would focus more on eating omega 3 fortified eggs and more grass fed meat. Yes, it is expensive, but spending the money there is well worth the investment. It is a well known fact that grass fed ruminants' meat and range free chicken eggs have higher amount of omega 3 fatty acids. 
  • Incorporate more coconut oils and coconut product in my diet. Coconut is a miracle food and should be part of a healthy diet.
  • Try to get more sleep. 
  • The Paleo life style will continue for another year. Hopefully have my blood work done next September and go from there.
  • I am working on a blog post titled "Paradise Lost" and I plan to turn that into a book. I have plenty of research around that subject to do this year. It may be a two year project.

   I have really enjoyed the Paleo life style. I never worry about counting my calories and do not worry for the weight to come back. The weight simply does not come back. The winter time is especially good, the rainy season keeps me in the house and I do not gain a single pound. In the previous years, I always gained 5-10 lbs. in the winter and in the summer months I lost them. Not the case any more. THE WEIGHT SIMPLY DOES NOT COME BACK. Creating new recipes is exciting. Talking about food and what it can do to you is great around the family. My children have picked up on this and they constantly ask me questions about the Paleo Diet. I know how to make several delicious soups that my family loves. Of course, none of my children have given up their junk foods yet, but training and exposure is there and may click for them later in their lives. I think I have talked enough about blood works and it is truly time to stop, it is Friday evening start of a weekend, the kids are allowed to stay up tonight and are watching some TV, I simply can not get enough of blood, so I am going to watch an episode of True Blood...:-)


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