It has now been one month since I started my initial fast. I have reintroduced many foods and have had two sets of post-fast blood work, one after ten days and the other after 24 days (right before writing this). My eating patterns have been based on intermittent fasting, beginning with time restricted eating over ~8 hours and fasting for ~16. Basically, I was eating lunch and dinner, I then started mixing in some slightly longer fasts, of lengths up to ~42-hours. I am currently in the middle of an ~60-hour fast because I wanted to move some meals around, but I don’t expect this to be the norm.
Introducing real foods has gone very well. “Fake” foods have caused problems…
I started with homemade bone broth on Day 7 and that was a little iffy, but I read that when you cook it over two days, you get high levels of glutamate. That caused me to be nauseated and a little weird feeling. I remade the broth, only cooking it for a few hours, and those symptoms went away for the rest of Day 7 and Day 8. As time went on, I was able to mix the two and did not have any problems.
After the bone broth, I introduced organic spring mix with Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinaigrette (Day 9). I then added avocado (Day 10), and then chicken thighs (Day 11). Continuing to eat the previous day’s additions, on Day 12, I added a mix of berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), and then jalapenos grilled in olive oil (Day 13). All was going well, and I really loved the food I was eating. It didn’t matter that I was eating basically the same thing over those seven days, I was satisfied and the food was amazing.
Since the jalapenos went so well, I thought I would be brave and add some red wine (still Day 13). Immediately, my face turned red, likely from the sulfites. The redness faded pretty quickly, but I did get a headache, despite drinking the appropriate amount of water. I also tried a small piece of dark chocolate that day. That seemed okay.
The next day (Day 14), I added tomatoes and since that was fine, tried guacamole and cassava flour chips on the same day. Until this point, my weight had still been decreasing; however, the morning after eating the carbohydrates, it started to increase. Coincidence… not likely!
On Day 15, I added pickled garlic and olives with jalapenos. Then, organic hummus and baby carrots (Day 16). I also through in some cauliflower rice that day. The next day (Day 17) was broccoli rice and ground sirloin with mushroom seasoning. Still going strong, but my weight was slowly starting to increase. I now had enough items to mix and match, and every meal was delicious! I assumed everything was just starting to equilibrate out because of the long, initial fast. But, in the back of my mind, I was still thinking about those cassava chips.
My husband and I had dinner the next night (Day 18) at a Vegan restaurant called “Loving Hut”. I ordered fried spring rolls, brown rice, soy protein and broccoli, and a piece of banana cake. Everything was so amazing!! Unfortunately, my face turned bright red very quickly again, but the food was great and filling. Since my face was already red, I decided to have a beer after dinner. It didn’t seem to have an effect on me. I didn’t take my blood sugar, unfortunately, so I don’t know how it responded to the carbs. I felt okay, however.
Day 19 was a disaster. I had plans to go with some friends to a local pub for their birthday party. I brought my lunch to be good, but I ended up having one extra beer. I’ve never been the “munchie” type before, but on the way home, my body was convinced it was starving (it wasn’t). The only answer for my hunger was Wendy’s. So, I gave in….
I couldn’t even finish my food because I felt so horrible. I went home and took my blood sugar an hour after eating, and it was 115mg/dL. That didn’t seem so terrible, so I went to bed with stomach issues. At 5am the next morning when I woke up, my blood sugar was still high, at 113mg/dL. I had plans for Day 20 to go to a brewery for crawfish and beer, so I decided to fast until that point.
Before eating, my blood sugar was back down to 90mg/dL, but after eating, it went up to 145mg/dL! Luckily it came down quickly this time! But, I wasn’t liking the direction things were going in.
I decided to fast the next day (Day 21) to get everything back under control. It’s like my diet spiraled out of control from the cassava chips day (Day 14) through Day 20.
My weight increased almost 4 pounds. I was not liking my decisions or my weight. I knew I had to do something, so I fasted as part of a corporate fast on Dr. Fung’s intermittent fasting group. I would fast Day 21 and Day 24, and eat my previously tested and introduced, real food diet on non-fasting days (sticking with the 8/16 feed/fast timing).
I introduced a couple of new foods during that time: Day 22 was pineapples and green beans, Day 23 was a healthy meal out at Zoe’s Kitchen. I did notice that 5 pita chips had an effect on my blood sugar, just like the cassava chips had.
I weighed myself on Day 25 and I had lost the four pounds and then some, now hitting my lowest weight since I started. I was back to feeling great! That night, I knew I would backslide some because my husband and I were going to Austin, but I made decent restaurant choices and the negative effect was minimal. One day of fasting upon our return brought me lower than I was before we left.
The next two days, I basically stuck with foods I have eaten, even restaurant ones, and I’m still doing well. I even had a Diet Coke yesterday at the Grand Reopening of my local McDonald’s (I chose not to eat). I am fasting today and tomorrow because we have plans to go to another brewery and celebrate a friend’s birthday on Saturday.
I got yesterday’s blood work back and it’s fantastic! My cholesterol has come down to 221mg/dL and LDL is down to 158mg/dL. My triglycerides were 92mg/dL. My liver is looking perfect, and my insulin was 3.2mIU/mL.
I think I’ve figured out how to make intermittent fasting work with my lifestyle to keep my weight constant or trending downward. I can use periods of feasting and fasting, staying as low-carb as possible, but let the system work around my schedule, rather than me work for it.
I’ve learned that fake foods taste no where close to as good as real foods, and one small piece of dark chocolate is completely satisfying. I also seem to be able to have beer and wine in moderation, but facial redness is likely.
When I eat too many carbs, like rice at the Thai restaurant, and my glucose goes up, I can balance that with fasting. I am very pleased with where I am!!
I’ll do my next measurements Saturday morning and will share the cumulative results!