• Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

sledge_antilles

Fundamental question as I rebuild

Recommended Posts

As usual I've written much more than I expected to. Little bit of my current story up front, actual question at the end if you want to skip.

 

I ate a vegan diet for five years. I initially switched to it to be healthier, and to encourage my family to be healthier by having it rub off on them over time. It sort of worked. Not really. All that I really managed to do it seems was give myself some nutrient deficiencies. Low iron storage, low B12, low testosterone, more than likely low protein, and deficient levels of Vitamin D. I was starting to drag the last several months (looking back over some previous posts I made I can read between the lines and see it starting to build over time) and then last month it slammed into me like a truck - heavy/weak limbs, off-balance, dizzy, incredibly tired (two naps a day after a full night's sleep), pins and needles in my arms and legs, weird blood pressure fluctuations, shortness of breath, chest pain. It hasn't been fun. Probably the weirdest one was moments of lost proprioception, so I couldn't tell where I was in space. I would be walking along normally but my brain couldn't tell where my legs were. Or I would put my arm over my head and it would "disappear" from my ability to sense it. Really strange.

 

I'm not out of the woods, yet, but I'm starting to rebuild. Though every day is still a little different in terms of symptoms I think/hope I'm slowly starting to get cumulatively better. Aside from my myriad of supplements (which I mostly plan to discontinue eventually) I've reintroduced eggs and fish into my daily menu, and will probably move to chicken next.

 

A friend explained her essentially paleo diet to me and piqued my interest. And since I knew a lot of NF folks follow this framework I figured this was a good place to ask around. I'm very much a "why?" person - in that I have to understand the reasoning behind something or I have a hard time following through at all. I've spent several days looking through any threads that seemed relevant on this board and it's been quite helpful.

 

I don't need to lose weight - quite the opposite, I've always been skinny, and I was trying to put weight over the last year. I put on about 8 pounds or so but it was incredibly difficult. I was just getting ready to switch to an intermediate lifting program when all these symptoms started. My BMR is ~2400, and I tried to eat 2800-3000 calories a day while I was lifting. It was a real struggle as a vegan, and I only managed to make it work with multiple bagels and peanut butter, and lots of rice-and-bean based bowls. It seems like it will continue to be a struggle using a paleo framework, too. I already didn't eat any refined sugars or too much natural sugar as they've given me migraines since I was a kid. And I think I'm going to leave dairy off the menu, too.

 

My question comes down more to the concept behind paleo/primal, which is, at least in part, as best I understand to train your body to burn fat as its primary energy source. In the posts on this board where people need to increase their calorie intake or are trying to bulk they're encouraged to add more safe starches to their diet, thereby increasing the amount of carbs they eat. Is this counterproductive to training your body to burn fat primarily? Or do you have to increase your fat intake as well in the process, making it more about ratios than anything else?

 

Thanks to the community as always. All y'all are an invaluable resource.

 

Stay on target!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Training your body to burn fat is a weight loss thing, not a building muscle thing. I mean, you eat fat because your body needs it as a building block. You eat carbs because you need those blocks too. They each are turned into different things. 

 

Steph Gaudreau http://stephgaudreau.com/ is very much in the balanced camp. For a while, paleo became low carb, but there's not really a reason for it to be, and as a lifter she finds she needs the carbs for performance. You may be able to find some good answers in her podcasts, or even her cookbooks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Magess said:

They each are turned into different things. 

 

Fat and complex carbs are actually both turned into glucose for cellular energy, but fats (and protein) are also used as a start point for certain other cellular components.  Protein (amino acids) can also be broken down for glucose, but it's a progression of Carbs > Fats > Protein when it comes to energy sources and degree of difficulty the body needs to go through for them to be just energy providers, rather than building blocks.  That said, we could pretty much eat mostly carbs with minimal amounts of fat and protein and our bodies could still create the things needed for a healthy body (see:  The Agricultural revolution).  The idea of fat adapting your body and performance is essentially eating less carbs so that your body is forced to use fats more readily, probably by just having those energy-breakdown enzymes pretty much always around.

 

So that said - at the end of the day, Paleo/Primal eating is about losing weight.  There really is no way around it.  It looks to change the standard American diet to something more natural by emphasizing meat and vegetables, and pushing the more calorically dense (usually by being simple carb heavy) things away.  Yea, there's talk of all carbs being evil, rice is bad, grains are bad (which is certainly true if you've have Celiac's disease), anti-nutrients, phytotoxins... I find most of that to be bullshit.  And I EAT mostly primal/Paleo.  We wouldn't have survived nearly as far in life if we didn't have those things the movement tries to demonize (again see: Agricultural revolution).  Do some people react poorly to some foods?  Absolutely.  Should they then eat those foods?  Only if they think the reaction is worth it.  Does this mean EVERYONE should avoid these foods?  Hell no.  It's like saying don't eat peanut butter because some people are allergic to it.  It's silly.  And as things have move forward, even the hardcore Paleo people have had to recognize that for performance reasons, we usually need a carb boost.  Yea, it can be lots of fruit for energy.... or maybe two slices of bread.  A bowl of rice.  Pretty much most starchy things they called evil a few years ago.

 

So yea, Paleo is not exactly primed for heavy training without modifications that are going to go against the common understanding of its "rules."

 

That said, you CAN eat more calories eating Paleo by eating a lot more fats, that would also get increased.  So you end up having peanut/almond/cashew butter.  A whole avocado instead of a half.  Use three tablespoons of olive oil instead of one.  Butter on all the vegetables.  Because otherwise, yea, eating meat and veggies only means you won't get enough energy to fuel training.  It's doable on just fat, but a lot harder and if you workout you'll probably be sluggish until the body realizes it needs to switch to fat.  But it also very much depends on how you train, I think, at the end of the day.

 

I train fasted for morning workouts, but I have yet to find a reasonable way to make it so my body can subsist on fats for evening workouts.  It is better for me to eat well, and then at night have a carb+fat bomb that sustains my workouts much better.  By no word of a lie, chocolate covered almonds have saved me more times than I can count - the carbs start me off okay, and then the fat sustains the rest of the workout.  Either of those alone?  Doesn't work nearly as well.

 

I'm rambling now.  It's been a slow morning for me, sorry.

 

TL;DR: Paleo is for weight loss, be more liberal with fats if you're going to need more calories, and carbs aren't evil and are actually how our bodies metabolically prefer to obtain energy, fat adapted or not.  But at the end of the day, Paleo guidelines are good for just healthy eating not filled with crap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got some good info here - so here's my 1/2 a penny worth.

If you aren't trying to lose weight - and it seems you are trying to gain - there's not a frickin' thing wrong with carbs.  Really - ANY carbs - unless of course you have a condition where you can't\shouldn't consume a particular class (see Celiac's for gluten as an example).  I wouldn't take that as permission to go on a cupcake binge and you may want to limit that type of sugar - but rice, bread, past, etc. are not inherently bad for you - they're just more calorie dense.

 

I think what you really want to look at (and what I do - in spite of needing to lose weight) - is reduce the amount of preservatives and "crap" in the typical American processed food diet.  This is what I'm doing - and even though I'm not tracking calories - I've actually lost weight as I've been more "mindful" of what I'm eating.  I refuse to completely cut out carbs (mostly because my body literally shuts down - more than the "low carb flu" phenomenon).  But I'm making my own bread and working harder to make my own meals from scratch (at least when I'm not traveling).

You say you're adding back fish daily.  I know in general that's considered healthy - but I want you to be aware of the type of fish and the amount of mercury.  I'd hate to see you add back the protein you need only to require chelation therapy due to mercury poisoning.  Consider adding in chicken as well to limit that exposure.  While the breast is super lean - the thigh meat has a LOT more flavor - and it sounds like you might need some of the fat in there anyway....

 

Best of luck!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm Paleo-ish and trying to add some weight for muscle. Most of the experts agree you are going to need more carbs to do this. I do  carbs from sweet potatoes and potatoes, but  I find that it is hard (and a bit monntonous) to get them all from safe starches. So, I also do quinoa, rice, and oatmeal. I'm allergic to wheat, so I can't do that. I try and focus on about 80% of my diet being non-super processed. And eat beef, it is super packed with iron, so it will help build back your body, Try liver too, it has even more nutritional benefits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has all been informative and very helpful - knew this was the place to turn to! :)

 

Much obliged to all of you for the thoughtful and in-depth feedback. I don't have the energy to do it right now, but I want to come in later and ask a couple follow up questions to some specific points made.

 

Again, I really appreciate your feedback!


Stay on target!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aright...so I was out for a while (5 months?) as this progressed. I've spent that time in a lot of tired fog bouncing around between doctors (attentive, informed, kind doctors) as well as a couple of trips to the ER for kidney stones - yeehaw!

Long story short I had a follow up with an endocrinologist this morning who has been monitoring my thyroid labs and had ordered a test to check for immune system responses to foods. She said that although my antibody tests were negative, family history, my symptoms and the long-term look at my thyroid and other labs since this whole shebang started is consistent with Hashimoto's, so she's operating on that assumption right now. The food testing results showed a severe immune response to egg whites, and a moderate-to-mild response to a bunch of stuff including chicken, cod, gluten, casein, cashews, black beans, coffee and coconut. That list was a little hard to stomach - pun definitely intended.

So I'm still processing all of this - wanted to post about it so I can get myself back into the game and start really figuring out how to rebuild. Looking forward to the next challenge to experiment with all this new information.

 

Stay on target!

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/1/2016 at 10:24 AM, RisenPhoenix said:

 

Fat and complex carbs are actually both turned into glucose for cellular energy, but fats (and protein) are also used as a start point for certain other cellular components.

 

I do not believe the fat > glucose metabolic pathway exists.

 

Cells are capable of burning fat as-is, as long as it is an aerobic reaction.  Hence why low carb diets and intense (read anaerobic) exercise don't mix too well.  You need the carbs and/or protein for glucose production to fuel anaerobic exercise.  

 

That said, the creatine-phosphate system can be recharged by fats (and aerobic metabolism, but it takes longer solely aerobically), that system is responsible for max uber short duration work (like lifting singles/doubles).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Waldo said:

I do not believe the fat > glucose metabolic pathway exists.

 

 

Fat to ATP pathway

 

Correct, looks like it's not a conversion to glucose; rather, a straight conversion of parts of the triglyceride into ATP, via a lot of individual steps.

 

Didn't know fat could contribute to creatine-phosphate energy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, PaulG said:

 

Fat to ATP pathway

 

Correct, looks like it's not a conversion to glucose; rather, a straight conversion of parts of the triglyceride into ATP, via a lot of individual steps.

 

Didn't know fat could contribute to creatine-phosphate energy.

 

Creatine-phosphate is a direct store of ATP, not a fuel that is used to create it.  Recharging it is typically done as fast as possible (so aerobic and anaerobic are mixed), but when glucose is low, fat is a bigger contributor.  This is why you're out of breath a bit after a heavy single.  Also why real heavy workouts go pretty good when cutting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be precise, the glycerol "backbone" of triglycerides (the "fat" stored in adipose tissue) enters glycolysis after a bit of modification, but the fatty acids, which represents by far the greater energy bound in a fat molecule, do not.

 

So, you're both correct, but Waldo is more relevant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now