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Posts Tagged ‘fertility’

On Supplements and Brian Peskin

January 31, 2010 18 comments

I’m sort of coasting on the high of not being an evolutionary dead-end as a member of the species. I’ll be even happier if I can repeat such stellar performance next month. And there’s been such interesting, heartening stuff on the web these days.

But I should really keep thinking…

If going “paleo” triggered such dismal results of hypothyroid and amenorrhea, I wonder:

What is lacking in the paleo diet that causes this?

Well, the #1 suspect so far seems to be iodine, or possibly minerals in general, depleted from the soil by industrial agriculture that leaves farmland where “The cycles-the hydrological cycle, the mineral cycle with its nesting nitrogen, carbon, and calcium cycles-have been disrupted by the human activity of agriculture, an activity more like war than anything else” (The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith, p. 104).

Traditional fertility foods include seafood, dairy, and organ meats (Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck, p. 51). These foods supply a good amount of fat (generally present – in some fashion – in paleo diets), and minerals (which, due to soil depletion, might not be).

Hence the “conventional wisdom” of the Paleo eating philosophy: Eat clean, whole, real food. Preferably organic. Preferably grass-fed. And even though, ideally, you should be able to get more than adequate nutrition this way, maybe you should take supplements, because food raised on depleted soil isn’t what it used to be, and our toxic and stress loads are chronic in ways we were never meant to deal with.

So, supplements.

Read more…

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Not exactly weight loss food

January 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Just ate a cup of full fat unsweetened Greek style yogurt with peanut butter (natural style, no sugar added). Anti-paleo foods both, but full fat dairy is supposedly good for fertility levels (and yogurt has beneficial bacteria…or so they say). The peanut butter was for flavor.

Just read “The Sugar Fix,” which poses some interesting hypotheses about fructose, but still hasn’t convinced me that glucose and starch are entirely harmless. It’s entirely possible that grains are harmful for reasons having nothing to do with their carbohydrate content (reasons such as gluten, allergens, and anti-nutrients). Natural unprocessed tubers are probably fine. Maybe I’ll try a day of low fat, high potato-content to see if it helps my leptin levels. Gah.

Dinner was some ground chuck, a salad with olive oil, and two glasses of white wine. Breakfast was two eggs scrambled in olive oil with a tsp of butter, and a cup of broccoli with a 1/4 cup of tinned organic tomatoes on a bed of shredded cabbage. Two dried prunes as a snack.

Went up a phase in the TT bodyweight workouts. I usually have no problem with the majority of the exercises, but then one or two will completely kick my duff for two weeks or so. Siff squats. Hands on the ball pushups. 1-legged squats. Of course, I have never been able to do chinups or pullups, but I got a late start even trying, being a girl and all. I might be getting better, though. There’s hope for me yet!

Back! To the Kitchen

January 25, 2009 Leave a comment

There are three thoughts standing in the way of my going dairy free:

  1. The recent studies in which women who ate more full fat dairy had higher measures of fertility than those who consumed low or nonfat dairy…I’m not sure about the fertility measures of women who consumed an equivalent amount of fat from non-dairy sources (or what those non-dairy sources would be). Obviously, there could be an unidentified nutrient/nutrient group specific to dairy fat (D3? K2? Other?) that comes into play, but who knows? (I’m not lactose intolerant even though I do come from Asian stock. Maybe because I was adopted as an infant and fed milk continuously from a very early age. No way to test this. Do the benefits of, say, full fat unsweetened yogurt outweigh the possible costs? Do I, personally, suffer from any of these adverse reactions without knowing it?)
  2. All the hype surrounding the probiotics in yogurt
  3. I do like a teaspoon of coconut milk in my coffee in lieu of cream. However, every time I open a can of coconut milk for this purpose, at a good deal of the contents eventually go bad before I can finish the can. So I buy cream instead, as it seems to last longer. (Should this immediately make me suspicious?)

With this in mind, I’m going to take today to attempt to make some coconut milk yogurt. That way, I get some non-dairy fat and probiotics, and I can set aside a few teaspoons of coconut milk expressly for use in coffee and use them before they have a chance to go rancid.

I’m a bit gunshy, because I have failed this recipe before.

Quasi-rhetorical questions re: carbs, leptin, and other

January 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Or: I’m in ur experimunts, cnfoundin ur vriables

Weirdly, I’ve been amenorrheic since August, not long after I took up intermittent fasting. TMI, no doubt, but it’s my blog, and I’ll whine if I want to.

What is weird about this is that my body fat percentage is still pretty normal, even high (somewhere between 17-20%), and these days I spend only about 2-3 hours of the week resistance and interval training (just in case overexercising caused the problem).

My latest hypothesis about the cause (a fasting-precipitated drop in leptin, followed by continuing insufficient leptin) prompted what was probably an ill-advised (although at least premeditated) binge on simple carbs (honey, cereal, bread) about two weeks ago.

It hurt. It hurt with pain, a racing heartbeat, rapid weight gain (mostly fat, some inflammation), and reactive skin. It has taken the past two weeks of careful eating and exercise to feel, physically, more like myself. Yikes.

However, I’m still amenorrheic. Either the hypothesis is a bust or the sugar didn’t boost leptin high enough or long enough. I don’t think I can bear going through that again (heart palpitations? scary, you guys), so I decided to just add more fruit to my meals (mid-day probably best). I’ve also started eating breakfast more often, moving from a 15 hour fast 5x a week to a once weekly 20 hour fast, if that.

Quasi-rhetorical questions include:

Is glycogen actually beneficial for muscle cells? Harmful? Neither? Both in different situations?

Chronically elevated insulin would appear to be harmful. Therefore, insulin resistance would appear to be harmful. But are (very) occasional insulin surges in the absence of fat harmful in the long term (as is marathon running, with all that oxidation and stress)?

It seems like Gary Taubes thinks leptin resistance is a marker of metabolic syndrome, but not a cause. In contrast, there is an actual, physical mechanism by which insulin locks fat into cells. Fair enough. But also: Lyle McDonald seems to indicate that leptin does play a role (hence my admittedly fail-tastic self experimentation) in that it sends a signal to the brain as to the body’s state of energy availability. According to McDonald, Leptin scales with 1. body fat percentage, and 2. carbohydrate metabolism within fat cells. Falling or low leptin or leptin resistance registers as starvation and prompts hormonal adaptations that allow the body to conserve energy. In my understanding (or lack thereof), when there is excess energy (sugar) insulin traps the fat inside fat cells, causing fat gain. When there is an energy deficit, declining levels of leptin prompt hormonal changes that protect against fat loss. Leptin resistance causes (mal)adaptations as well.

If, as McDonald says, “Leptin and insulin also both change with changing food intake; leptin levels can drop significantly within a few days of dieting even with no change in body fat levels. Insulin changes meal to meal,” this might have implications for both carb ingestion and intermittent fasting, and the trick would be to find the optimal time tables for each. So, insulin may be the primary mechanism for obesity, and lepin may be a secondary cause (in that it stops the overweight from losing the fat they’ve gained).

No doubt the real story is infinitely more complex, but it’s intriguing so far.

Where would that leave the oft-referenced Paleo people? A moot issue, possibly, as for them energy supply was what it was – either high or low – and if it was intermittently low enough to cause starvation-level drops in leptin, it was never chronically crazy high enough to induce leptin resistance, at least long-term. And if it was generally high (as hunter gatherers tended to be a well nourished lot), well, even the most indolent of hunter gatherers…er…hunted (intermittently?) and gathered (steadily?), and shared their meals with their tribe (probably damn near always). Pure conjecture, of course…

Another question: When does the taste of sweet (fructose containing sugars) track, in nature, with dietary fat? Never? Rarely? Seasonally? My wish list includes a time machine and a microscope powerful enough to show atoms and molecules in action in a human being. Dream big, I say.