sugar

Journal Entry 281 – Skin Battle

Life:

Pretty normal week for me following the bachelor party. It took me a day or so to get back into the swing of things at work. I don’t remember the last time I had 5 days off from work. I barely drank any alcohol last week, because of the massive flare of skin issues I had from the bachelor party. I can honestly say that it has helped tremendously. Sarah and I did go to The Wine Loft on Saturday night to meet up with some friends, but I only had a glass and half of red wine. Cool place though.

I have also been drinking my new cocktail of 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp of baking soda, water, and crystal light 3 times a day.  This has played a big role in healing my symptoms. I have been playing around with things that cause my symptoms to flare. Hot water, sweating in the gym, too much meat and fat (this is a big one), excess sugar and alcohol :(. All of these make sense, but the excess fat was kind of surprising. I noticed that when I keep my fat under 55-60 grams, my skin feels better and looks better. When I go higher than this it can trigger some flares. Sugar mainly refined is very similar. This, in my opinion, has to do with inflammation. Fasting or eating lower calories can really help control the itching. Certain meals I can eat and have zero symptoms. It is still largely trial and error at this point though. I have also been bathing in baking soda and rubbing it all over my body, including my scalp, which can flake a lot. This helps to bring oxygen and carbon dioxide to the dry skin and prevent flaking and accelerate healing.

The Hokies continue to dominate and the Giants continue to lose. The Giants did look better this week though, so I guess that’s a plus.

Joe Rogan is the man. Probably one of my top 5 favorite people of all time at the moment.

Workout:

I set up an everyday upper body workout, but I quickly realized I don’t have time to do this on my lunch break. I have time to do a max of 4 moves at the gym for roughly 3 sets. 3 moves are even better. I decided to stick with my old routine of 4 days lifting push/pull. The other 3 days will be some light cardio.

Diet:

As I have alluded to above, I have been playing around with this area of my diet. Lower fat seems to help as well as less sugar. That being said I still eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, even though they have a lot of sugar. Protein is adequate but not excessive and I have not been eating a ton of meat. My carbs have been pretty high recently and my calories have been elevated as well.

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Journal Entry 202 – More Carbs and Fat Loss

I remember back the first time I lost weight, I didnt ask anyone what they thought or what was the right way or the wrong way to do it. I simply stopping drinking sugary drinks and switched to diet and I watched my fat intake, so that it remained low in my diet. It definitely wasn’t high protein and considering dietary fat was kept low it was definitely high carb. I also didnt count calories either. In eighth grade, I dropped down to 130lbs at 5ft 8in tall. I looked good for the height I was as well. Dont get me wrong I had no muscle and wasn’t even remotely interested in lifting weights or exercise then. The only thing I did was play basketball after school and sports during gym time. I remember at one point I would literally eat a bag of sour patch kids at night and the next day my teeth hurt so bad I couldnt eat for like 10 hours haha. Point being carbs and fat loss have gotten a bad wrap. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that once calories come down, fat loss occurs no matter what. Now there are plenty of things that can throw this equation off. Thyroid can slow down, testosterone can drop, cortisol and growth hormone can become abnormally high and the result is your body becomes resistant to these hormones and to fat loss. The body suffers a so called “adrenaline diabetes” and your body is basically constantly fueled by stress and adrenaline and needs copious amounts of coffee to keep going. Not a great state to be in. Usually in this state you usually have zero appetite, but when you do get an appetite you crave salt and sugar like no other. Most people think this is a bad thing, but if your body is begging for it, then trust me its not a bad thing.

Carbs may be the solution to end this stress fueled metabolism. Carbs are the only macronutrient to basically signal to your body that it is well fed.  Cortisol and stress are very beneficial, but only when counterbalanced with a period of feeding and relaxation and adequate calories and carbs. Research shows even when calories are adequate, but carbs are not then thyroid will get suppressed big time. Thyroid is needed to turn cholesterol into sexual hormones, so guess what happens when your thyroid is down. Low sex drive. Not to say you won’t have any sex drive, but it will be greatly reduced. When it comes to protein and fat, you need what you need to build muscle and absorb vitamins and minerals, but this really isnt a massive amount. .7 grams multiplied by your lean body mass in grams is likely to be sufficient. I would honestly go slightly higher to .8-1 grams per pound of lean body mass, but again more isn’t really better. The amount of dietary fat you need is roughly .2-.33 grams per pound of lean body mass. If you weight 170lbs and have 155lbs of lean body mass, then 31-51 grams of fat is likely sufficient. For protein it would be 109-155 grams. Lets cut down the middle and go 41 grams of fat and 132 grams of protein, this equals roughly 900 calories a day. I wouldn’t go much lower than 11x lean body weight in calories when trying to successfully lose fat and maintain muscle and this an aggressive approach. For the example, it would be 1700 calories total – 900 from protein and fat = 800 calories. The rest of these calories go to carbs or roughly 200 grams. That’s a decent amount of carbs that will keep your muscles, liver, brain and central nervous system properly fueled while you burn fat. If your lightly active and burn lets say 2300 calories a day, then 2300 – 1700 calories consumed = 600 calories worth of body fat. By eating sufficient calories and carbs and also enough protein and fat, your prevent the above situation where you constantly fueled by stress hormones and adrenaline. You also dramatically decrease muscle loss by eating more carbs and your muscles look and feel stronger when working out. This leads to more calories burned during exercise and more fat loss overall. A diet setup this way, especially if your active, which in my opinion everyone should be, then your energy, health and metabolism will be much better. I also highly recommend overfeeding once a week. Carbs can help prevent dramatic decreases in metabolism, but I still think a calorie deficit all the time is not a good idea. If your trying to lose fat then you want to overfeed or at least eat a maintenance level of calories at least once a week. Two- three days if your leaner and are trying to drop into the single digits of bodyfat. 4-5 days if your trying to maintain and build muscle. I think underfeeding is still good to because calorie restriction does have benefits if used properly. But again you can still underfeed with plenty of carbs in the diet.

A diet like this is also much more flexible and diverse then one that has you eat 300 grams of protein and 100 grams of fat to ensure your “getting enough protein.” Or a keto diet that has 150 grams of fat and >30 grams of carbs. Good luck sticking to that one. Lets say your with family or friends and they want you to try a recipe out that has more than 30 grams of carbs. “Sorry, but I can only eat 30 grams of carbs a day for the rest of my life, no can do.” Makes you look and feel kind of bad. And since your body basically forgets how to digest carbs, especially after going very low for long periods of time, you usually get pretty fat soon after reintroducing carbs. You better off avoiding situations like this. Also once your leaner and not diabetic, then all carbs are essentially the same, so you can basically eat any source you want. This includes fruit, sugar or starches. I personally would recommend more starches, 1-3 pieces of fruit and a little sugar, but I wouldnt worry too much about it, as long as the amount is controlled. So in my opinion, carbs are essential and should be consumed regularly. If you are on a keto or very low carb diet, then my advice would be to pick a calories range between 11-12x lean body weight and start eating more carbs and less fat like my example above. This will allow your body to get used to eating carbs again, but since your in a deficit you wont gain any fat. Once you feel good and less bloated after meals then start bumping up the carbs and calories closer to maintenance or just start cycling calories, while leaving protein and fat constant.

On a random note, most cultures run on carbs for the majority of their fuel intakes.

My workouts got a little thrown off this week due to my trip to Virginia Tech for the football game. I was gone from Saturday – Monday and got back Tuesday, so I just started my split Tuesday this week. Hit full body and after a weekend of bad nutrition, didn’t perform too bad. Currently in my training, I really dont care about the weight lifted, but more the feel. Been aiming for roughly 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets depending on the move. I really like this pump training though and its a nice change up from going heavy. I also try to hit roughly 5 miles a day through walking and daily activity. Still lifting 3 days a week every other day and go for a run two days a week. My diet was pretty erratic this week, but doing 3 days of a deficit on rest days, 3 days of surplus on workout days and 1 days of maintenance on Friday. Macros are similar to example above, but roughly 150 grams of protein, 45 grams of fat and the rest carbs. I also have some drinks on some nights. 😉 My weight is also roughly 172lbs this week.

Been eating a lot of the Trader Joe’s ready made rice and pasta mixes. Pretty healthy overall and very easy to make. They also make tracking much easier because its already portioned out. Highly recommend gnocchi alla sorrentina. Its a pasta with a red tomato sauce and some cheese. Macros are very good on it. The vegetable fried rice, asian style, is very good as well.

Some pics from the week:

Current Physique Pic

Current Physique Pic

PF Changs Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with White Rice

PF Changs Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with White Rice

Shrimp with veggies and a sweet potato

Shrimp with veggies and a sweet potato

Coors Light at BDubs

Coors Light at BDubs

Naked Tenders with French Fries. Also had a lot of dipping sauces.

Naked Tenders with French Fries. Also had a lot of dipping sauces.

Panera Breakfast Sandwhich

Panera Breakfast Sandwhich

My view of the VT game

My view of the VT game

Cooper Hawk Mediterranean Dips appetizer.

Cooper Hawk Mediterranean Dips appetizer.

Cooper Hawk Life Balance Chicken Giardiniera

Cooper Hawk Life Balance Chicken Giardiniera

Lean meat, potatoes, veggies and a crab rangoon

Lean meat, potatoes, veggies and a crab rangoon

Trader Joes Pasta with two slices of Butter bread. High Carb day meal

Trader Joes Pasta with two slices of Butter bread. High Carb day meal

Extreme pizza with a salad and some tequila

Extreme pizza with a salad and some tequila

Journal Entry 190 – 2 on 1 off

Log:

IMG_2432

Week 35

6/06 – Missed – 3000 calories – 10000 steps – 5 miles

6/07 – 173.4lbs – 2500 calories – 9700 steps – 4.8 miles

6/08 – 174lbs – 1700 calories – 14800 steps – 7 miles

6/09 – 174lbs – 2050 calories – 13100 steps – 6.2 miles

6/10 – 174lbs – 2250 calories – 6300 steps – 3 miles

6/11 – 175lbs – 1800 calories – 13500 steps – 6.4 miles

6/12 – 175lbs – 2050 calories – 12000 steps – 5.7miles

Average Weight – 174lbs /  Average Calories – 2200

Blog: 

My body temperature is still roughly around 97.2 degrees. Still too low in my opinion and it needs to get raised back up. Been doing more research on the topic and some of the information on the internet is comical. There is so much bad information out there its no wonder people get confused. You could type in one topic and get 20 different articles all saying different things. The only way you can separate fact from fiction is to know a decent amount about the topic in the first place or to get it from a really trusted source. A good example of what I’m talking about is an article about foods that raise body temperature and the top two foods were water with lemon and peanuts. Both of these foods do nothing. Cayenne pepper was mentioned, which is true for a very short time, but does nothing long term to bring it up, unless you eat it at every meal.

Since I’m a minimalist, I like to keep things simple. The best foods to raise metabolism are Salt, Saturated Fat, Sugar and Starch or the 4 S’s. I did not make this up, but it was discovered by independent researchers who studied Ray Peat. I have to agree, because I noticed a superfood that encompasses all of these in one: pizza. No one is ever in a bad mood after eating pizza and that’s is mainly because it has 4 of the main stress fighting foods in it. I notice every time I eat pizza, my mood and energy instantly improves. This is only true if its real pizza, not a thin crust, gluten free homemade pizza with no cheese on it. I’m not sure what that is, but its not pizza. I also noticed foods that contain a mix of these usually work better. Meaning the foods have salt, starch and saturated fat vs just one of these in isolation.

Also calories are important but if you eat 2000 calories worth of vegetable oil vs 2000 calories worth of cheese pizza, then these will have two different effects on the body heat. Also when you eat may make a difference. If there is a time during the day where you find yourself very stressed out ,then that would likely be a time for a big stress fighting meal or a least a good sized snack with the 4 S foods included.

As for Sugar Vs Starch being better than the other, I really dont think it matters. There is a lot of research showing that the difference is negligible and starch usually fits better into normal meals. Although fruit would probably be better during the day due to it ease of consumption as a standalone snack.

Another important thing I learned from Charles Poliquin is the interaction of the 4 main neurotransmitters. Dopamine, Acetylcholine, GABA and Serotonin. The first two are exciatory (promote energy) and the last two are inhibitory (promote relaxation) All these are necessary from proper brain functioning. If you have too much of some of these and not enough of the others, then your brain becomes unbalanced and this leads to mood issues, anxiety, low energy and inadequate recovery. The thing is though these do NOT function in isolation. Meaning you would have to eat nothing but carbs to get the GABA and Serotonin release, but you would miss out own the dopamine and acetylcholine, which would lead to sluggishness and fatigue. The best way to avoid this is to include protein at each meal, with carbs and fat and some fiber to control the release of all these of these hormones. This kind of confirms my belief that balanced meals are usually superior and why these hormones also confirm that including the 4 S’s at a meal would be superior to any of those in isolation. If you only eat protein and fat then you only get a release of the first two hormones, which is good for energy, but bad for relaxation. If this is carried out for a long time then you become unbalanced and can develop anxiety, low mood and low motivation. Vice verse eating like an obese person and only eating a lot of carbs void of protein, healthy fat and fiber than your GABA and serotonin are too high, which leads to sluggishness, laziness, becoming overweight and poor energy levels. Balance is key.

Workouts:

My new workout schedule is 2 on 1 off repeat. My split is Chest/ Tris, Back/Bis, Off, Shoulder/Upper Chest/Traps, Legs and Abs off Repeat. So basically a 5 day split with 2 rest days, although there are no specific days of the week that I do a certain muscle group and they tend to float around. I actually really like it. I noticed upper body and Full Body workouts are very fun to do, but they kill me the next day, especially if its mainly compound movements. I mean I could be out for days after these workouts. I also like to isolate certain muscles like traps and rear delts and by doing full body workouts I just end up either doing way too much or leaving out too many muscle groups I want to hit. I felt the best way to address this, is to give each muscle group its own day and hit it every 6th day like a normal bodybuilder. Tom Venuto said this is his preferred way to training (meaning 2 on 1 off) and he occasionally likes to do (2 on 1 off 2 on 2 off)

Also getting rid of the real heavy weights and focusing on form for anywhere between 6-12 reps. I usually shoot for 8-10 and if the weight is too heavy 6 is usually the least amount of reps I can get. I also can knock these out in around 45 minutes or so and really been enjoying it so far. It’s similar to a Bro Split, but not quite the same. Also ego is taking a hit because the amount of weight I’m using has dropped on most exercises, but this doesnt mean I have gotten weaker, just that I’m focusing more on the muscles and not just about getting the weight up at all costs.

Nutrition:

Average of 2200 calories this week. Still playing around with different foods and everything. My breakfast is pretty much always two scoops of protein powder mixed into pudding with fruit, lunch is usually meat, veggies, eggs (hardboiled) and cheese and dinner contains the bulk of calories and carbs with adequate, but not excessive protein eaten at dinner. I always have some type of dessert that is roughly 100-150 calories that is mostly carbs. Body temp is rising, but still needs to be higher. May bump the calories up a little more this week and may play around with different foods to see its effects.

Pics from the Week:

IMG_2453

Meat, veggies

Meat, veggies

3/4 cup of black refried beans 1 cup of spanish rice 3oz of chicken 3 corn tortillas fat free sour cream

3/4 cup of black refried beans
1 cup of spanish rice
3oz of chicken
3 corn tortillas
fat free sour cream

Meat, veggies, potatoes and butterbread

Meat, veggies, potatoes and butterbread

Meat and Veggies

Meat and Veggies

Meat. veggies and toast

Meat. veggies and toast

Meat, veggies and toast

Meat, veggies and toast

Vino

Vino

Meat, veggies and crackers

Meat, veggies and crackers

Journal Entry 189 – Ray Peat May Be a Genius; PLP

Log:

Week 33

5/30 – Missed – 2500 calories / 200g of carbs / 8200 steps – 4.2 miles

5/31 – Missed – 2050 calories / 150g of carbs / 4500 steps – 2.2 miles

6/01 – Missed – 2000 calories / 170g of carbs / 14000 steps – 6.6 miles

6/02- 174.4lbs – 2100 calories / 200g of carbs / 9800 steps – 4.6 miles

6/03 – 173.2lbs – 2050 calories / 205g of carbs / 11500 steps – 5.4 miles

6/04 – 173.0lbs – 2100 calories / 190g of carbs / 14200 steps – 6.66 miles

6/05 – 173.0lbs – 2400 calories / 160g of carbs / 12160 steps – 5.75 miles

Average Weight – 173.4 lbs – Average Calorie Intake 2170 – Body Temps 97.2 -97.7 (Morning)

Blog:

I must admit, reading Ray Peat’s work or at least reading others blogs that have dissected most of his research are some of the most interesting concepts I’ve read in a long time. Mainly from an evolutionary standpoint. Learning about how different foods grow in different areas and how certain foods have certain effects of the human body. He seems to be pretty unbiased as well. Meaning he does recommend certain foods over others, but does some from a research perspective.

The basis of his diet are foods that influence the metabolic rate and reduce stress. Most of his recommendations seem to fly in the face of a lot of “health foods” that many people, including myself eat. But what makes a food healthy? I mean red meat is a very rich source of nutrition, but try to tell people that red meat is healthy and they will look at you like your insane. The reality is red meat is very healthy, especially for humans to consume. Ray peat places a large emphasis on sugar in particular. Not necessarily all carbs, but seems to favor fruit, especially over grains. I noticed that Ray Peat seems to select foods that have one thing in common: the complete absence of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat which is commonly used and grown in the U.S. seems to be the real reason people are obese, mainly by preventing the use of sugar by the muscles as a result slowing the metabolism. It makes perfect sense when you read the rationale behind it. I mean donuts, potato chips, salad dressings, and many other junk foods are all high in polyunsaturated fats. Mix that with lots of sugary drinks and due to the poly fats inhibition of sugar in the body and the lack of exercise and you have a perfect storm for fat gain.

So Ray Peat basically says cut those poly fats out and eat more foods that dont promote fat gain and cellular damage. Mainly Saturated Fats (coconut oil, dairy fat, cheese) and avoid the unsaturated fats. A good example he gives is about an avocado. Leave an avocado out in room temperature and what happens? It oxidizes immediately and beings to spoil. Why is this? It has to do with being in room temperature, which is not its natural environment. Consume this in your body, which should be 98.6 degrees and it may cause some oxidative damage. Saturated fats dont do this because of the double bonds they contain. At room temperature they are stable and dont break down. This makes them safer to eat, especially considering the temperature of you body.

Ray Peat also states how adequate sugar shuts off the stress response. Stress is very good in small doses, such as exercise, but most people have too much stress in their daily life and if you combine that with exercise, you get a scenario where your stress levels are way unbalanced with your recovery. You want to strike more of a balance between good stress and recovery from that stress. So Ideally when you eat, you want to end your stress levels or at least keep them at bay. Sugar prevents the body from breaking down protein as fuel, which greatly accelerates muscle gains. It also helps to prevent adrenaline and fat burning hormones from surging too high and allows the thyroid to accelertate and power the metabolism.

Very interesting research, but I’m not going to follow all of his recommendations. He did state that the most important thing to worry about is to eat foods that support the metabolic rate. As long as you eat a diet high enough in carbs or sugar, adequate protein and amino acids and some, but not a ton of saturated fat then your metabolic rate will be very good and along with it you health and energy levels. Also the most important thing is enough calories. If you want to cut fat keep the calorie deficit moderate, so that you can still keep your metabolism high when cutting.

I could talk about this all day, but Ill leave it at that. One more thing is he seems to place a large emphasis away from seeds, whole grains, lots of fiber as well. These foods seems to encourage fat gain by slowing metabolism and inhibiting nutrient uptake. Again as long as your not eating nothing but these foods, I don’t see a huge issue, but shouldn’t make up the bulk of the diet. Again as long as your body temperature is high and look good and maintain a healthy body temperature, then that is by far the most important thing for you physical and mental health.

Training:

Sat – Pull

Sun – Push

Mon – Walking Only

Tues – Pull

Wed – Walking

Thursday – Push

Friday – Walking Only

First two days were more machine based and higher reps and the last two workouts were strength based. Hit 50lbs around my waist for 5 reps and Benched 200lbs for 4 reps. My first time going for strength in awhile, but most of it was intact from last time. I think I will stick to the 4 day split to balance recovery and working out. I’ll likely stick to the push, pull, legs split as well, with push and pull workouts rotating each week. I’m also doing PLP recommended by Chad Waterbury. Basically doing Pushups/Lunges/Pullups every single day. You start with 10 reps and add in one rep everyday for 60 days. Obviously the beginning is much easier then the end, but I really like this idea. I mainly use it as a warmup to more workouts. Keep in mind that this is in addition to your other workouts.

Nutrition:

I was talking with a resident of Williamsville about their nutrition and the person said something I found very interesting. We were talking about ideal food sources and the resident wanted to try a meat free diet. I said it could be done, but likely not a good idea long term. The resident brought up that humans likely don’t need that much meat, because we don’t have claws. I thought the statement was funny, but he had a point. Humans are not pure carnivores, because if we were we would have fangs and claws, yet we don’t. This likely means that a very high fat, high protein diet with low carbs (meat) is not a natural human diet. We aren’t omnivores either though, because we do have strong jaws and teeth and strong muscles that help with energy and finding food. Again this points the need to strive for balance in diet.

My own diet is starting to include more carbs in general. As I showed in my log, my carbs didnt drop below 150g all week nor did it last week. I’m introducing them slowly, because I know for a fact that if you got from roughly 100 grams a day to 300 grams, your body’s metabolism will quickly be overwhelmed and store fat. I’m using body temperature to slowly increase carbs. Meaning the higher my body temperature the more carbs I eat. I’m also not eating just fruit, but a lot of potatoes and other carbs sources as well. My main goal is to limit a lot of polyunsaturated fat or at least keep it to small amounts. I also noticed that if you eat a high fat diet, its almost impossible not to get a lot of polyunsaturated fat in your diet. That is unless your diet is almost all coconut oil and butter, but that diet would get very old very quickly. My Macros are roughly 220g of carbs / 170g protein / 50-60g of fat. The plan is to keep protein and fat stable and bump up the carbs. If I drink some alcohol, I will usually just take the carbs away and sometimes fat.

My body temperature this week was around 97.4 and it started at 96.6. Not bad for two weeks. If anything I have actually lost fat as a result. My body weight has been hanging around 173lbs down from an average of 175lbs on the higher fat diet. So basically ate more, lost more. No problems there. Calories averaged about 2200 and my estimated maintenance should be around 2600 or so for a normal day. I have noticed my appetite has gone up as well. I feel like this is natural considering a higher body temperature requires more energy.

I’m still eating most of my carbs (starches) at dinner time and most of my fruit during the day. You wouldnt believe how much food you get to eat at the end of the day by doing this. Massive amounts of food. Been doing a bean, corn, chicken mix with taco seasoning and corn tortillas on the side. Almost tastes better than Chipotle. Also throw in some fat free sour cream. This meal usually has upwards of 100g of carbs and pretty low poly fats. I’m still playing around with different recipes though.

Still feel like there is lot more I want to say, but will probably end it here. Some pics from the week:

Beans, corn, onions, lean meat with corn tortillas and salsa on the side

Beans, corn, onions, lean meat with corn tortillas and salsa on the side

Rioja Vino

Rioja Vino

Bertuccis - Calzone with salad

Bertuccis – Calzone with salad

Taco's same as above

Taco’s same as above

1 whole egg, 6 egg whites Broccoli, 3 potatoes and 1 slice of butter bread

1 whole egg, 6 egg whites
Broccoli, 3 potatoes and 1 slice of butter bread

Lean meat and blend of white and sweet potatoes with veggies

Lean meat and blend of white and sweet potatoes with veggies