Just The Essentials
This health crash seems to go on and on. It's October and I have a health issue I call the October effect, meaning my health tends to get worse at this time. This year I'm determined not to let that happen. There's not much room for more "worse" to happen. I won't bore you with the complaints, but I will tell you how I keep from letting it get worse. Since it seems to be working at the moment.
I had an insight too. We have bred many foods to be larger and sweeter than necessary, and firm enough to ship huge distances. In the process, the content of all that good stuff (polyphenols, anthocyanins, catechins, etc... henceforth I will call them Super PACs) that are medicinal has gone down. One of the few places we can still get full strength unmodified Super PACs is herbal tea and green tea.
So I've temporarily swapped my normal coffee habit for green tea with hibiscus.
I decided not to try to avoid jury duty so I was playing hurry up and wait last Monday. While I was there, there was a lot of general chatting and at one point we got on the subject of health. A woman there echoed the opinion of many others that I may have "mast cell activation syndrome." Let me break that down to simple terms: it's like saying constant histamine activation that doesn't stop with antihistamines.
There are some expensive new drugs that are meant to stabilize overactive mast cells. And I'm definitely going to talk to an allergist about this and many other things. But the important thing to know about it is that we've been removing mast cell stabilizers (such as quercetin) from our food systematically by breeding food for shipping, instead of flavor. Some Super PACs are mast cell stabilizers. They're not as powerful as drugs, but they're not nothing.
Herbal tea, onions and apples really are good for you.
I also knew that if I ate anything, I might trigger a food reaction. And I couldn't take that risk while I was trying to complete my jury duty, so I fasted on nothing but coconut oil. Ever since Celiac has become active, my tolerance for many other foods is iffy. And I recently tried to get back on a drug that used to help me. But this time I had a bad reaction. Again (second time!). So I was taking no chances.
There are various instructions out there for how to fast on coconut oil. It's a keto fast, but if you've been eating carbs, I don't recommend you do this right off. The body adjusts to what you've been eating and taking spoonfuls of coconut oil suddenly might catch your body off guard. OK so with that common sense warning, here's what I do. Do this after being keto for at least two weeks (for this you need a quality book on the subject like Mark Sisson's or the Wahl's Protocol, or at least reading this).
Every two hours, I take one tablespoon of coconut oil and drink 8 oz of water. After 24 hours have passed, I eat a 100% Paleo meal (no dairy, no grains, no legumes), and continue to eat once every 24 hours with coconut oil every two hours in between. The meal is meant to provide fiber and salt, and if the fast goes on for longer than three days I add a multivitamin to the mix. Other than required medications, and the aforementioned multivitamin, I take no supplements.
In this way, I was able to show up and do my civic duty. The people in court settled, so we were not needed and I got to go home after one day. That was actually a huge relief. I really should have gotten a doctor's note. Despite all my precautions, I spent much of the day, trying not to make grimace facial expressions because I was in pain sitting in a chair like that, and the ambient noise was painful to me. It took two days to calm down enough to sleep properly and I'm still in more pain than usual.
This "calm down enough" thing. It's not traditional anxiety. It's an after effect of an easily overstimulated nervous system. It's like when you're in the sun as a child and you've got tons of energy to play in the water. But then after a while, your circuits are blown and you get sleepy and relaxed. Imagine being stuck in the high energy state. All evening, all night, past midnight... until early morning, still awake, still high energy, but pretty soon you're too exhausted to move.
I think this effect is from ME/CFS. It doesn't go away with diazepam. I've tried. Diazepam type meds help reduce the anxiety, but they don't actually fix the deeper nervousness so I can sleep. And for me, they stop working in as little as a few weeks (that might be just me, I have a lot of odd reactions to drugs). It's like my nerves figure out how to go back into a high energy state.
I'm not sure how long I will go on like this, on the coconut oil fast. But it's helping a lot. I had to switch to a good tasting one. From Spectrum to Dr. Bronner's, but besides that it's been really easy to do, without snags. I could really feel the layers of inflammation coming down. After a while I had just two hot spots of pain, my knees and my lower back. They hurt a lot, but at least it was a limited area. Now they're getting less painful over time.
So for the moment, I'm sticking to the essentials.
Question for you: I'm experimenting with coconut porridge recipes. I like this one at the moment, but I add chia seeds to help it thicken, and I toast the coconut flakes before using. It's really a wonderful breakfast, naturally gluten free, and worthy of taking the place of oatmeal, especially the low sugar recipes out there.There are lots of variations, usually involving tons of sugar: Hawaiian Coconut Milk Pudding, Coconut Halwah, and even crossovers with oatmeal and coconut together. Drop me a line if you have a favorite, especially one with low or no sugar added!
General warning about keto websitesI shouldn't have to do this, but this is the reality we live in.
Be sure you're reading a trusted source about keto. There's a lot of fakery in keto information. Such phrases as "golden ratio" and such will fool you if you're just starting out. There is no such thing, each person has to find what works for them in nutritional ketosis. Don't be fooled by misinformation.
Here's a demonstration of one great keto website that is being cybersquatted by low quality keto sites. This has been going on for years. It merely emphasizes the high quality of Ellen Davis's site that it's worth squatting with similar names.
Legit site, run by a woman with a Master's Degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition:
Squatters (I won't even activate their links on my page):
Both the squatters seem to think that keto is just for weight loss. That's the first red flag. The second red flag is... who is writing the content of the site? If you can't tell easily, then that's suspicious.
See my series on what a real keto diet looks like so you can protect yourself from iffy weight loss schemes. Or read the wonderful books from any of the following authors. As time goes by these names will be only dimly remembered, the way we remember Jethro Kloss today. So I'll list more than necessary.
- Dr. Eric Kossoff , Ketogenic Diets (medical, mainly about epilepsy)
- Dr. Wahls, The Wahls Protocol
- Mark Sisson, The Keto Reset Diet
- Robb Wolf The Paleo Solution (um, a bit harsh toward vegans but still a good book)
- Dr. Axe, Keto Diet
- Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt (Diet Doctor website)
- Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Executive
- Dr. Mercola Fat for Fuel
- especially for athletes Dr. Phinney and Dr. Volek, Art and Science of Low Carb
- Jimmy Moore, Keto Clarity (diabetes and obesity focus)
- Dr. Perlmutter, Grain Brain (neurological reasons to be keto and paleo)
- Tasha Metcalf, Keto, A Woman's Guide
- Maria Emmerich, Keto-Adapted (starts with personal stories from her coaching business)
- Mark Hyman MD, Cleveland Clinic, podcast
- Dana Carpender, (lots of recipe books for low carb or paleo)
- Any of the Atkins books, at this point they're a bit dated, but still good.
Keto is not a mainstream diet plan, and it carries the Atkins stigma, so it's likely many people and even doctors will be confused by it. Don't defy your doctor's advice willy nilly, but do take into account that they may not understand what keto is except that it's a "fad" in their opinion. Get more opinions, ask the nurses, ask around, consider this, this and this. But pay attention if they give you honest warnings like "hey you don't have a gallbladder anymore, go easy on large fatty meals" because that's the kind of advice you can use.