Fiber and Your Health

The cause for poor health produced by the American diet is pretty clear. Most Americans do not eat enough fiber to satisfy even the minimum requirement, even though the American standard is set very low at 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams for women (aboriginal communities can eat up to 100 grams of fiber — personally, I think the standard for men should be 75 to 100 grams per day).

What happens when you don’t get an adequate amount of fiber from a diverse group of plant foods is that you undermine the good bacteria in the gut. These bacteria produce the metabolites or short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that help to maintain the lining or barrier of the intestines as well as the blood/brain barrier of the brain.

If those SCFA are not produced in adequate amounts, this leads to the leaky gut syndrome in the intestines and permeability in the brain’s blood/brain barrier. Once this happens, you get toxins, pathogens, etc. escaping into the blood vessels from the intestines and into the brain through the blood/brain barrier, leading to widespread inflammation and ultimately, if chronic, various autoimmune diseases.

It all starts with inadequate fiber in the diet. That’s the underlying cause. There is no mystery to it. (Note: Using fiber powder is by no means an equivalent substitute for getting your fiber from actual plant foods.)

Anti-Inflammation Cocktail

Salt

Reading Fuhrman’s Eat For Life. Has a very interesting section on salt. Views salt from the evolutionary perspective of what humans in the bulk of their existence have taken in, that is, just the salt in the food and nothing more. That’s the amount our bodies through all those perhaps millions of years the human body is accustomed to need.

But then he compares that to the modern diet where everyone adds salt to virtually everything, so our current salt intake is spectacularly above where it should be. So we eat way too much salt compared to what we should be consuming, but worse, that amount of salt changes one’s taste buds to having to expect virtually everything one eats to be salty. So the current modern salted diet has radically changed the modern taste buds.

Only by drastically reducing salt can someone eventually get back to taste buds as they were meant to be, where one can pick out the more subtle flavors of various foods.

So the current heavily salted diet leads to high blood pressure and poor health, but also undermines one’s sense of taste. Goes on to say that his Nutritarian diet will lead to this reawakening of one’s true taste buds, and so you will get much more enjoyment out of actually tasting a variety of unsalted foods.

Easy Health Tricks

5-Day Mimicking Diet

I’m on day 3 of the 5-day mimicking diet. 800 calories per day, except the first day I went without food entirely.

Focus on the mimicking diet is minimizing protein so to maximize the amount of autophagy. Less than 20 grams of protein per day, except that first day was 0. From Longo’s book The Longevity Diet.

Really want the body to have to scavenge for protein wherever it can find it — all those wayward (and cancerous?) cells.

Longo says a healthy person should do this 3 times per year. Someone with diabetes much more often.

I knew I could do this because I did one similar 800 calorie day before and it wasn’t difficult. I thought I could boost the benefit by not eating that first day, which I knew I could do because I’ve done 48-hour fasts before.

Those more strenuous fasts one has to work one’s way up to them imo. Not sure I want to do a 5-day water fast because I do notice with a 48-hour fast that my energy level goes down significantly. One must feel very depleted after 5 days with no nutrition — really don’t want to experience that level of fatigue.

Insulin Spikes

Insulin Spikes

It has only been just recently that I’ve come to realize the importance of keeping blood glucose levels steady compared to having large insulin spikes and the inevitable crashes, as when blood glucose levels drop severely, that’s when one feels very fatigued. Having steadier glucose levels that don’t vary that much means you avoid that fatigued state. That’s the benefit. No doubt, this has a very big impact on one’s mood. I would venture to guess that depression and low glucose levels go hand in hand.

Cutting Carbs, Cutting Protein

Cutting Carbs, Cutting Protein

When I started this, I was 10 lbs. from my ideal weight at 140, having lost 40 lbs. over 3 years with 20:4 intermittent fasting. Now I’m only 3 lbs. away. A 2-day per week Keto approach broke through that plateau at 150 — and at the time it was starting to climb. When I get to 140, I may cut back to only having 1 Keto day per week — that should be able to keep my weight vert steady.

Mind you, I don’t really think the Keto diet per se is a very healthy one with all that fat and such low fiber, and it doesn’t come close to the nutrition one gets from a GBOMBS diet (that’s very obvious when you compare the two in cronometer — a typical Keto day to a typical GBOMBS day), but I do appreciate what it can do with such a low level of carbohydrates relative to ketosis.

Similarly, I’ve been thinking one might get a benefit from drastically reducing protein if one is about to do a longer fast for the sake of autophagy. Similar logic. I’m very interested in all the health benefits for someone my age of autophagy, particularly potentially with fighting cancer. I’ve been planning to do a 5-day mimicking fast starting as per the guidelines in Longo’s book The Longevity Diet — for the sake of autophagy. The 2 days before that begins, I will be cutting protein down to an absolute minimum.

Bread Frustration

Just Criminal!

I was walking the other day and picked up an empty plastic soda bottle someone had tossed negligently on the ground. I habitually look at the ingredient list of every food and so looked at the amount of sugar in this 12 oz. bottle. 73 grams — criminal! Just criminal!

Where is our government to prevent this kind of thing? Nowhere, that’s where — despite the epidemic of diabetes.

Autophagy

Nutrition, A Soft Science

Nutrition is a soft science because it is in fact very difficult to prove anything when it comes to food. The reason is that everyone’s diet consists of a wide range of different foods, so that it is virtually impossible to show that for any specific food, here are the consequences, as all the other foods in one’s diet will have played a role too.

This is the reason why there is so much controversy in nutrition on virtually every point or aspect of different diets. It almost seems as if for any given issue, there will inevitably be “authorities” arguing for both sides of the coin. For instance, there is a huge debate in nutrition over how unhealthy, as in heart disease, saturated fat is — those who argue that it should be avoided at all costs and those who argue just as vehemently that it is harmless.

And also there is the camp that points out that correlation doesn’t prove causality, i.e., that two things happened to be very correlated could just be random chance and not causal at all. This is the argument that attempts to debunk many of conclusions drawn in the famous China Study that had such an impact on the course of nutrition as science (I don’t buy the argument here; I think the conclusions in the China Study are indeed causal). But in the absence of the type of concrete and irrefutable proofs that you can arrive at in other sciences, the argument that correlation isn’t proof has some weight.

And if this confusion of conflicting opinions isn’t bad enough to begin with, you must consider this: that not all the so-called “experts” on nutrition out there are speaking from a purely disinterested point of view where truth is the objective, but in fact are putting out ideas that support an agenda of a particular food industry. So you have pundits from the meat lobby throwing verbal grenades against the use of soy as a protein alternative because, according to these shills, it promotes estrogen in men! In fact, a huge percentage of the nutrition literature is pure propaganda from writers paid for and in the pockets of particular food industries. They are not telling you THE truth, but THEIR truth.

So what is the layperson to do with such a welter of contradictory and even perverse points of view in the “science” of nutrition? First, don’t give up. Second, keep listening to various experts and soon enough, you will find ones that are more convincing in their arguments. Third, when you have enough experts that you have come to trust, if they have common views about specific foods and specific diets, then that majority opinion among these experts that you have come to trust is what you ultimately have to go with. Not proof certainly, in the scientific sense, but definitely an educated guess.

My Experiment

My Experiment

I’ve been doing this experiment now for about 10 years in retirement. It has been an acceleration of what I was doing before retirement, as I have taken it to a much more intense level.

You see, I’ve grown a bit skeptical of the medical community being in a position to ensure my health. It seems what they offer relative to major illnesses and a general deterioration in one’s health is either pills (bandaids really) or surgery — not real cures.

Which brings me to nutrition. I believe that nutrition plays a huge role in one’s health. You are what you eat is literally true. And I think for the body to achieve maximum health, you have to feed it optimum vitamins and minerals. It’s just that simple. As the ancients understood, treat food as thy medicine. So instead of thinking that the medical community can safeguard my health, I came to believe that nutrition was the main pillar of health, not doctors.

As a consequence, the experiment has been to eat a diet that maximizes nutrition to as high a level as possible, which of course means that you have to have knowledge of nutrition. I’ve been reading about nutrition now for 25 years. I started reading about it in the mid-90s when I was seriously overweight and needed to find a diet that would help me lose the weight (a high fiber diet was the discovery then). So I have the knowledge, guided mostly by Joel Fuhrman and his Eat To Live treatise, but many other books and videos.

I call myself an “almost vegan,” as I’ll go for 6 months totally vegan and then 6 months where I eat a small amount of turkey, back and forth, but very little meat even when I’m eating the turkey (a single slice a day max).

I use cronometer and plan every meal precisely. I also do 19:5 intermittent fasting. My most recent major change has been to try to introduce more variety in my meals, so I started to use the service Leafside for their soups and sweet bowls, but even with those, they are just the starting point, as I add many and various nutritional powders to each to achieve true nutritional excellence. (Note: Leafside plugs their meals as nutritious certainly, but also very easy to make, which they are, but I didn’t go with them for that reason — ease of preparation. I just wanted to introduce a significant level of more variety in my diet with these 12 meals per month, as variety itself is a significant aspect of nutrition — the more the better. I also liked the endorsement by Michael Greger, a recognized authority on nutrition, so I knew from the get-go that their meals were of a high standard nutrition-wise.)

I’m always on the lookout to ratchet up the nutritional intensity of my diet, even with tiny little changes at any time. Now, what I eat on a daily basis is nothing like what anyone else is eating, I’m pretty sure. It is a totally unique diet that has never been done before — by anyone.

So the experiment continues.

Dragon Fruit

Diet

Put myself on a real diet for 3 weeks — new thing for me as I have never done any kind of diet before.

Idea is to have a calorie deficit from 500 to 700 calories compared to what I normally eat — each day.

So I’m on the 11th day and there has been absolutely no change in my weight, despite having serious overall calorie reduction. Strange.

Perhaps the weight loss will appear suddenly and sharply, as in, say, losing 2 pounds from one day to the next. The body has its own mind.

Canelo

Over 60?

Most nutritionists recommend that people over 60 increase the amount of protein in their diet, as the older have less ability to metabolize protein, so the same amount of protein means less is actually absorbed by the digestion of the body. As a consequence, to get adequate amounts those who are over 60 have to increase the amount of protein in their diet to actually utilize the same amount that their bodies metabolized when they were younger.

The only question is how much should be the increase? On the high end is the recommendation that those over 60 should have 1 gram of protein for each pound of weight. So someone over 60 at 150 pounds would need 150 grams of protein in their diet. This seems a bit excessive to me, but there is no way of knowing what the right amount for the increase should be.

But the risk, if you are not getting enough protein when older than 60, is that poor absorption would reduce this amount still further, and therefore possibly lead to serious muscle loss — muscle loss being a cardinal issue for people over 60.

Support Your Immune System