Monday, August 6, 2012

Off in the Weeds

I never finished my series on Food Rewards, because I started a new plan, the Leptin Reset diet of Jack Kruse (see his website Jack's Blog. My Leptin Prescription. Briefly, the plan requires eating the "Big A** Breakfast" with 50 grams of protein, doing no snacking, eating a basically paleo diet, and eating your last meal 4 hours before bedtime. Easy! From the very first day, I lost all my cravings for starchy, sugary foods. Just like magic.

Cravings have always been a problem for me. I can use my resolve to not eat the Food Rewards kinds of foods: junk food, fast food, candy, popcorn, gluten-free cookies, etc. etc. etc., but eventually the strongest resolve fades in the face of overwhelming cravings for these foods. With the Leptin Reset diet, I could stay on the plan because I had no cravings at all. I ate my big breakfast, I was not hungry until lunch and then not much, and ate a modest-sized dinner.

It caused me to reexamine the whole concept of Food Rewards. Attempting to regulate my eating using the concept of Food Rewards (all during 2011) took me into the weeds as far as weight loss was concerned. The secret is carbs, causing insulin to be released, eventually causing insulin resistance and leptin resistance. My fasting blood glucose was not much below 100, much too high for good health, though not overtly diabetic. I tried at least 6 or 7 times in 2011 to get back on the weight-loss bandwagon, but to no avail.

The usual time for people to be on the Leptin Reset diet is 6-8 weeks. I was on it for 29 weeks, starting Jan 1st 2012. I think I have reset now. My fasting BG is around 80. I have lost 26 pounds. I can now eat a moderate amount of carbs at breakfast and not have a blood sugar crash before lunch (as would always happen before). My fingernails have stopped breaking, and my color is better.

The Rewarding Foods

Just to say another few words about Food Rewards: what are the rewarding foods? Foods high in starches, and/or sugars, and/or fat, and/or salt. Before agriculture, finding a stash of fruit was the occasion for a big feast (because you WANTED to gain weight for the winter). Convenient for fruit to be available in late summer and fall, just when you wanted to put on weight. Just like a bear heading into hibernation. BTW the bear has been coming into our yard, to tear down the chokecherry bushes. I'm worried about the nearly-ripe plums on our two trees. He only shows up in the night, after we are asleep, but can do a lot of damage to the fruit trees in the course of eating his fill.

Fat alone is not one of the rewarding foods. Sitting down with a nice stick of unsalted butter is not anyone's idea of a binge. You can't keep eating plate after plate of steak, like you can eat bowls of popcorn. Steak is satiating. Butter is satiating. But have a nice stack of fresh steaming baked potatoes, or a big bowl of popcorn, and a little salt, and that stick of butter can disappear in a hurry.

The meals I've been eating are simple: meat/poultry/fish and two or more veg for supper, a light lunch with a couple of brazil nuts, a little meat, some raw veggies, and for breakfast side pork or ground pork with an egg or goat cheese, or perhaps an omelet. Very satisfying. Now that it's fruit season, I have one or two pieces of fruit daily, usually from our yard. Very rewarding meals, with fresh clear tastes not burdened with too many spices or sauces. No commodity foods, nothing from a factory, nothing from confined animal feeding operations (CAFO). No grains. That's a shock, huh? No grains. No bread, no pasta, no GF desserts. In a Yahoo group I belong to, someone asked what they could put their sandwich filling on, since they are eating gluten-free and low oxalate. My answer, a bit facetious: a spoon!?

I will speak about low-oxalate foods in a future post. This has been another big change in my eating patterns, which poses a few challenges for local eating, but not insurmountable. In two years my fibromyalgia pain has dropped by 90%, so it's certainly worth it to avoid spinach, chard, rhubarb, chocolate, and other high-oxalate foods.

In some ways, I've relaxed the rules on local eating (e.g. the Brazil nuts), but in other ways most of our food is more local than ever, with meats and eggs from northern Colorado, veggies and fruit mostly from our garden and fruit trees, or from Colorado, with only a bit from California. Cheese made in Colorado. I'm still using a little olive oil from California, a little coconut oil from Asia. Tea from Asia, coffee from central America (but not often). Nothing from packages, nothing prefabricated, no ready-to-eat meals. Occasional dining out. With the food cooperative I manage, we continue to have better and better sources for local foods. I buy most of my foods through the coop.

A fun blog: The Diet Doctor. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt is Swedish, and his blog supports LCHF (low carb high fat) eating. Sweden is 2nd lowest in Europe for obesity (after Switzerland). Food CAN be rewarding without being high-carb.

Next post: Eating locally with food restrictions.

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