I’ve gotten really inspired to optimize my health long term these past couple of weeks. During November I have been preparing, testing and figuring out what healthy routines to add to my life. From December I have a year long challenge to get to a place of optimal health and having healthy routines in place. The building blocks of my healthy life is diet, exercise, sleep and miscellaneous and I thought I would share what I do within each area with you. This is not really a health blog so I will leave others that are more knowledgeable than me to explain the science (non of the links are advertising). My over all goal is to live in tune with the animal that I am and feel energized, strong and healthy. I have some issues with my micro biome in my gut so I’m working on healing that too.
I follow the Bulletproof diet/Paleo way of thinking about food. Both are low carb diets that focuses on healthy fats, vegetables and protein from organic and grassfed animals and excludes gluten, dairy products and sugar (including fruit). This is good for restoring healthy bacteria in the gut. At this point in time I haven’t eaten gluten or dairy for almost two months. Now that I have a black and white rule that I never eat gluten or dairy it will be so much easier to keep it up. I’ve noticed when I start inventing reasons that I can eat X this one time it is so much harder since I have to make an active decision every time I’m faced with gluten/dairy which is at some point every week. It is so much easier to just have an automatic no programmed in my brain.
My stomach can’t take alcohol so I have barely had any alcohol for the past year. And for the past couple of months I think I can count the glasses of wine/bubbly I’ve had on one hand. It has been very interesting to navigate socials scenes sober since alcohol is such an ingrained part of humans socializing. It was hard to begin with but now I don’t even think about it and my social circles are used to me not drinking.
I do a version of intermittent fasting. We eat dinner around seven o’clock and then don’t eat until lunch the next day around 11 which leaves a fasting window of 16 hours and eating window for 8 hours where I eat lunch, a snack in the afternoon (boiled eggs, coconut cream yoghurt that I make myself or nuts) and dinner. I drink Bulletproof Coffee in the mornings which keeps the hunger at bay and the energy high in the mornings. At night I have started making golden milk (Swedish) that contains tumeric which is anti inflammatory among lots of other health benefits.
I haven’t gone cold turkey on sugar though but if you exclude gluten and dairy most unhealthy things are off limits and since we cook mostly from scratch we’re not exposed to that much hidden sugar in food. What I do treat myself to is dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao), berries and the occasional homegrown apple in autumn. And I still eat some gluten free carbohydrates in small portions now and again like rice, sweet potato and rice noodles.
I love collecting data on how my body works so I did an experiment where I measured my bloodsugar after I had eaten different foods. My first experiment was eating beef stew, one day with rice and the other without rice and measured my blood sugar level every half hour for 3 hours. The results were facinating! A normal blood sugar baseline on a fasting stomach is 4-6 mmol/L. My average is 4,5 which is shown with the red line. The blue line is with rice and the yellow without.
Having low blood sugar levels are key for living a healthy and disease free life and the Bulletproof diet advocates food that keep blood sugar stable and low. This leads the body to use fat instead of carbs for fuel and doesn’t lead to sugar rushes and dips.
I have also collected data through a blood test (that I payed for myself) to figure out what supplements my body needs. My functional medicine practitioner helps me with what I need to eat more of and what supplements I need to take. The blood test showed that my values where mostly in a healthy range. I’m a bit low on vitamin B and vitamin D so I will supplement with freeze dried beef liver tablets for vitamin B (I can’t get over the taste of liver so I have a problem eating it) and eating some vitamin D tablets. I am also going to test my gut bacteria so that she can help me figure out what’s going on with my stomach.
Most of the things I have written about above I already do to some degree so there aren’t that many new habits connected to my diet that I need to add. I just have to become stricter and not cheat. This has gone well for the past two months so now I just have to keep it up. To follow my progress I keep track of a lot of parameters in a little book that I make notes in everyday. For diet I write down if I’ve stuck to not eating gluten and dairy, if I have had something with sugar, if I’ve had alcohol and how my stomach is feeling on a scale from 1-5.
I have learnt that diet plays the largest role in over all health. When I was 20-23 I exercised intensively 5 times a week (I was in a dance crew) but was also a student and ate like crap (a badly balanced vegetarian diet with lots of carbs and junk food) and drank quite a lot of alcohol. Even though I was exercising all the time my stubborn flab on my body refused to go away. From when I was 24 and started to eat paleo (and started eating meat again) all that extra flab melted away and has never come back even in periods where I have exercised very little. It is very nice to have the switch so that if I have cheated a lot and started to notice some extra flab I just get stricter with my diet and it disapears. Diet is the key.