Category Archives: Nutrition

Omega 6 : Omega 3 Ratio Update: Back to 1:1!

In my last O6:O3 update, I noted that my eating pattern and aggressive supplementation had driven my O6:O3 ratio to 0.7 to 1, resulting in diarrhea and some more stomach upset than normal.
The next 4 months after my last test results, I retained my eating pattern but stopped O3 supplementation almost entirely. I only supplemented when I ate out (5g of O3 at any meal that I ate out), and I would take 2.5g whenever I ate my new favorite snack: organic macadamia nuts, which unfortunately have a high component of O6 in them despite being good for you on many levels.
As the 4 months progressed, I noticed that my stomach distress went away. I did notice that over time, my nose did get a bit more stuffy, whereas before this time I had very little episodes of stuffiness. In previous updates, I noted that I was amazed that my seasonal allergies had literally disappeared during my transition to a <1 to 1 O6 to O3 ratio. However, I find it may not be related to this transition of O6:O3 ratio as global warming has gotten more severe and could throwing more dust and pollen into the air, and I've been riding my kids to school on my cargo bike and spending more time outside huffing and puffing. Still the allergies have not been debilitating as in previous years before manipulating my O6:O3 ratio. At the end of the 4 months, I tested my O6:O3 ratio again and got 1:1! How interesting that nearly no O3 supplementation, minimizing O6 intake (ie. steaming vegetables, using only organic grass fed/finished beef tallow for cooking oil), and eating only grass fed/finished beef and wild caught fish has resulted in a ratio of 1:1. I intend to hold my eating and very light supplementation pattern for another 4 months to see if this ratio changes. It was also interesting to note that despite having the same pattern over the previous two cycles, I measured 0.9 to 1 and then 0.7 to 1 four months after. This suggests that potentially the body is still undergoing a transition in ratio, and that maybe 4 months, the estimated time to turn over all the blood cells in a human body, is not accurate in my case and I could be still turning over past that time.

Omega 6: Omega 3 Ratio Update

I did a follow up OmegaQuant test and was shocked to find my O6:O3 ratio had continue to move from 0.9:1 to 0.7:1!
I didn’t change my eating or supplementation pattern since my last OmegaQuant test that yielded the 0.9:1. But it was interesting that all that taking of O3 supplements (around 6.3g per day) and removing all that O6 out of my diet (steaming all vegetables, cooking with grass fed beef tallow, no olive oil or other plant based oils) yielded an even stronger O3 showing against O6 in my body.
I asked my researcher friend on what happens if I my ratio goes so far to the other side in favor of O3. Literally no research exists as to what happens to the human body in this condition. I must be a biological anomaly right now in the 21st century; the prevalence of O6 in the typical human diet doesn’t easily allow for a guy like me who is willing to hold a consistent eating and behavior pattern for months.
The only paper he found was this one: Phase I Clinical Study of Fish Oil Fatty Acid Capsules for Patients with Cancer Cachexia: Cancer and Leukemia Group B Study 9473 by C. Patrick Burns, Susan Halabi, et al., Clinical Cancer Research Vol. 5, 3942-3947, December 1999. These researchers gave upwards of 21g of O3 supplements to cancer patients. What was interesting was that they found gastrointestinal distress, like diarrhea, accompanied such large doses of O3 supplements.
This was precisely the symptom I was experiencing more of over the last few months. I noticed that my stomach was having more diarrhea episodes now, whereas before I hit even the 0.9 to 1 I would rarely have diarrhea or even any kind of stomach distress.
Altered fat composition intake and thus fat metabolism? Altered gut bacteria make up? More gut bacteria that processes O3 fatty acids that also causes diarrhea and stomach upset? This all is new and nobody really knows, or has researched it.
Today, I decided to stop all O3 supplementation (except in cases of eating out where I could not control the quality of my food and I would continue my 5g supplementation at every meal where I ate out) and then retest in 4 months to see what changes happened. I think that there is some evidence that 1:1 ratios is best, and I’m betting that if I pull back my ratio closer to that, my GI distress should go away. We shall see.

Reaching an Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio of 1:1

In March of this year, I met up with some folks working in the area of inflammation and how it relates to every non-communicable disease out there. The concept of the inflammatory model for disease is a new emerging area of study and I’m excited for what comes out of it, which in reality has always been known, but never comprehensively put together nor with treatment protocols created.
The field is very broad but one of the most significant instigators of inflammation in the body is the imbalance of Omega 6 (O6) fatty acids, which is pro-inflammatory in our bodies, versus Omega 3 (O3) fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Both are necessary components in humans and are required for proper body function. However, the Western diet has, over the last century, come to be dominated by O6 due to the proliferation of vegetable oils. Any vegetable oil that you use in cooking, frying, salad dressings – anything – is literally almost all O6 and no O3. Even olive oil, which is great for you by a lot of measures, is still 11 to 1 in ratio of O6 to O3. Check out this Wikipedia page on the ratio of O6 to O3 in typical oils. It also talks about typical ratios of O6 to O3 in other foods as well.
Note that industrial farming has also increased the O6 content of foods. For example, grain fed beef has a lot more O6 in it than O3, when compared to grass fed/grass finished beef. This is seen in other animals and fowls as well.
The average Western human has a ratio as high as 25:1 (O6:O3), with a range of 10 to 20:1, given a diet rich in vegetable oils, fried foods, sugar, and processed carbs. Anthropological studies put ancient humans with a very natural diet at a ratio of 1:1. Some have estimated a healthy range between 2.3 to 1:1.
Two great resources on the topic are:
Omega-6/3 Fatty Acids: Functions, Sustainability Strategies and Perspectives by Fabien De Meester (Editor), Ronald Watson (Editor), Sherma Zibadi (Editor)
Fish, Omega-3 and Human Health by William E.M. Lands
With that in mind, I set out to see what it would take to move my own ratio to 1:1, taking me all the way back to caveman status, and, of course, hopefully lowering my inflammation.
As with any experiment like this, I began with an O6:O3 test. Omegaquant’s blood spot fatty acid tests are perfect for this. You can measure just O3, or do trans fats, or do a full fatty acid profile. You just prick your finger, smear your blood on the card, and mail it in. Results are sent back to you via email. I would change my diet and hold it constant for 4 months; which is about how long it takes for all the blood cells in your body to die and be reborn. When the cells are reborn, you want them to be reborn in a different fatty acid ratio environment.
I used the Omega-3 Index Complete test, pricked my finger, smeared it on the card, and sent it in. This was March 28, 2016. A week later, the results came back with a ratio of 1.6:1 (O6:O3)! I thought I was eating healthy but didn’t think I would have a value that was that close to 1:1.
My diet and eating pattern back then was like this:
Bulletproof fasting:
Bulletproof coffee with 1 Tbsp Brain Octane
Glass of water with 11g BCAAs, 1 Tbsp MCT oil.
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 4 capsules = 2560mg O3
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega + CoQ10, 2 capsules = 1280mg
Total O3 supplements = 3840mg
Supplements were taken in the morning without food.
Hamburger patty, cooked in olive oil, or Salmon mostly, or other fish, cooked in olive oil.
Hamburger was either Whole Foods pastured raised or grass fed. Chose either.
Salmon was chiefly Whole Foods Atlantic Salmon, farm raised. Other fish was whatever Whole Foods may have: snapper, sea bass, black cod.
Olive oil is Whole Foods brand organic virgin olive oil.
Stir Fried Vegetables, likely one of: broccoli, snow peas, spinach. Cooked in olive oil.
Rib-Eye or New York Steak or Hamburger. Steak cooked on my NuWave Oven (I’ve had mine for 2 years, so check out more recent models.) Hamburger cooked in olive oil.
Stir Fried Vegetables, likely one of: broccoli, snow peas, spinach. Cooked in olive oil.
White potato or Yam, baked.
Eating Out, Snacking:
While the above was a sample of menu of when I cooked, I probably ate out for lunch often during the week and got takeout with the familiy multiple dinner times. This could be Armadillo Willy’s barbecue brisket, or takeout Chinese. Occasionally it would be seafood from a restaurant. Sometimes I’d eat sweet potato fries to substitute for baked potato or yam. On business trips, it was just eat whatever was out there.
I did snack on Bulletproof chocolate every day (small square or two). I would fly every weekend and eat trail mix in the airports.
Still, pretty good that I reached 1.6:1 eating like that. I thought that moving from 1.6:1 to 1:1 would be fairly straightforward.
For the first phase, I thought I would try to supplement my way to 1:1. In the Omega-6/3 Fatty Acids book, there is talk of needing upwards of 10g of O3 per day to balance out O6 in the typical Western diet. I increased my Nordic Naturals to add another 4 capsules of Ultimate Omega, raising my daily intake in the mornings to 6400mg. Again I would take these all at once in the morning, with no meal. I also added a liquid Nordic Naturals Omega 3 supplement of 1 tsp, which was 1600mg of O3. So now my total was about 8000mg per day. Surely if the book said 10g would take someone on a normal Western omnivorous diet to 1:1, 8000mg on my already great diet should take me there?
I didn’t make any changes to my diet at all.
4 months later, on 8/16/16, I sent in another Omega 3 Complete test and got it back a week later. My O6:O3 ratio was 1.4:1.
With supplementation of 8000mg, it only moved my ratio about .2. In examining what could have been done better, I realized:
1. Somebody pointed out to me that it is not just a game of increasing O3, but also reducing/removing O6. When I examined my diet, I noticed a bunch of things that could be removed. These were:
a. I stopped cooking with olive oil. I bought a steamer and resolved to steam all my vegetables. I also would cook my hamburger with beef tallow from a butcher shop called Belcampo, who sells beef raised on their own farms and are totally grass fed and grass finished. They’ve even tested their beef and found it to be 1:1 O6:O3 ratio! I figure the beef tallow from them must have a good O6:O3 ratio as well.
b. I would buy and eat only grass fed grass finished beef. So I started visiting Belcampo more, and I would only buy the Panorama grass fed grass finished beef at Whole Foods.
c. I decided that for this trial, I would focus solely on wild caught salmon which has the largest amount of O3 in any fish. While by some measures, farmed Atlantic salmon has the highest amount of O3, I decided to stay away from it due to it being farmed.
d. No more snacking on nuts at the airports. While they may provide good nutrients, they are also loaded with O6.
e. No avocados either. Lots of good fats in there, but still lots of O6.
f. As for eating out, there isn’t much I can do there except ask for steamed vegetables whenever possible and staying away from any sauces or dressings. Also I would stop eating any fried foods.
2. I read somewhere that supplementation with O3 doesn’t work as well as eating O3 in foods. Also on the bottle it recommends taking the O3 capsules with meals which is NOT what I did. So I resolved to take them with meals. I also thought about how food is digested and potentially the timing of the doses is necessary, to align especially with meals with higher O6 content so that you can balance it out at that meal’s time. So I broke up my dose into lunch time and dinner time.
I changed my dose to:
With lunch:
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 2 capsules
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega + CoQ10, 2 capsules
Total = 2560mg
With dinner:
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, capsules
Total = 2560mg
If I ate out, I would add an additional 4 capsules at each meal to hopefully throw in a ton of O3 alongside higher levels of O6.
In essence I was reducing the amount of supplementation, except when I’m eating out, and hoping that eliminating any and all sources of extra O6 would bring me back to a better ratio, or hopefully 1:1.
I therefore embarked on the most spartan and most consistent eating pattern I’ve ever done.
4 months later, on December 15, 2016, I sent in another test and the results came back a week later at 0.9:1! I actually overshot 1:1 by .1! Wow!
Some notes:
1. I look forward to the development of more advanced tests to determine inflammation in the body and want to get tested. The traditional test of hsCRP is only for acute inflammation and not chronic low grade inflammation which, hopefully, is lowered for me given my new ratio.
2. I did observe some health effects during this process.
a. Even at 1.6:1, I was suffering from some pretty severe dry eye. As I moved through the year improving my ratio and diet, the dry eye get measurably better. Unfortunately it did not go completely away. There is some research showing good results from treating dry eye with O3 supplementation but it only moved me a little bit and not all the way. I continue my search for dietary interventions to totally cure my dry eye.
b. My seasonal allergies literally went away during this process. I used to have constant allergy problems with nasal drip irritating my passages and throat. It would happen many times during the year. But now, I rarely get them. Allergies are inflammatory problems by nature, and I think the improvement of my ratio and my diet has made a huge improvement here. Despite my great ratio of 1.6:1, I had to move beyond it to see the improvements.
c. My skin is less dry. I used to get a rash on my hands if I didn’t apply moisturizer, after going through some days of normal bathing but also washing the dishes and hand washing. But now it seems much better, or more tolerant of the typical washing that happens.
3. It’s really interesting that at a ratio of 1.6:1 didn’t have me already at a better place with respect to the above issues. However, I think it’s the improvement in diet and removal of stuff I was putting in my mouth, during the exploration of how to get to 1:1, that really made the improvements. At this point, I am not sure it was O6 that was the *sole* problem. There could have been other inflammatory foods I was eating that were causing the problems, or it was a combination of O6 and eating other inflammatory things. These conditions tend to be multi-factorial, and there are a lot of things that could be working in combination to create the conditions.
4. My wife was amazed that I could literally eat the same thing every day without getting sick of it. I think that there is opportunity to use spices to mix things up. I also ended up adding pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi to add different flavors.
You have to realize that if you care about your health, you’re going to need to stop eating what is out there. It is really making our whole population sick. My parents both died of heart disease because they dutifully followed government and medical recommendations on diet. I remember seeing lots of corn oil, the removal of beef and concentration on eating fish and fowl (fowl is one of the best sources of O6; you can’t buy fowl that is not fed by manufactured feed) which ended up being more fowl than fish. There was no control over eating sugar or sweet things either. I also saw the passing of my father in law from lung cancer; his diet had no controls whatsoever – neither did his smoking. And I’ve also got another relative with severe Type 2 Diabetes. This person has been in the hospital multiple times due to organ failure and has been on dialysis for over a decade. I have seen these things happen in my family and now realize they are totally preventable – you basically just need to stop listening to the government, stop reacting to popular marketing (just to throw two things out there, check out: How Breakfast Became a Thing and how the sugar lobby has worked their way into every health organization in the US.) and even your doctor because all the advice they are going to give you hasn’t done anything for the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer – you name it, the incidence of all non-communicable diseases is rising sharply.
Yes, it tastes wonderful. But like all things, you can choose. I chose to give it up because my health is more important to me than needing to experience the sensory excellence of some cooking. And I’ve seen first hand what terrible things can happen to you when you get one of those non-communicable diseases. Time to choose.

The Carb Back Loading Update 12-17-16

Here are my stats from my Omron Body Monitor on Saturday 12-17-16:

Weight 139.6 lbs
BMI 21.9
Fat 13.3%
Muscle 41.6%
RM 1516
Body Age 28
Visceral Fat 5

Given that I started out around 168 lbs and at 25% body fat early in 2016, this is an amazing result! And I’m only 5’7″ so losing nearly 30 lbs off my already small frame is still astounding, sometimes frightening to me.
Two comments and results:
1. I remember reading Muscle and Fitness magazine when I was in high school and college, and through my 20s. I would lift weights and occasionally I would try to get “ripped” like bodybuilders and go for low body fat and more definition in my muscles. Following those diets never seemed to work. I would carve the fat off all meats, and eat a lot of chicken and salad. I tried eating little to no fat, but didn’t change much with carbs or sugar. I never got “ripped” and would try and give up many times.
Now along comes some more sophistication. I combine CBL with Intermittent Fasting (IF) and am eating fat, and more than I have ever eaten in meals and now I maintain a more “ripped” look daily without any effort.
2. This whole year I’ve been taking blood tests to track a bunch of things. The most interesting change was in my cholesterol.
In January, I saw:

Total Cholesterol 342 (High)
LDL 232 (High)
HDL 61 (Good)
Triglycerides 164 (High)

I was still drinking butter in my coffee along with MCT oil which apparently for some people will raise cholesterol. I had not started CBL at this time.
Across the year, I worked at lowering cholesterol and getting my numbers into better ranges. I stopped butter in my coffee which did lower cholesterol, and tried not eating so much beef for a time which didn’t change my numbers at all.
Recently in November, I saw:

Total Cholesterol 174 (Good)
LDL 96 (Good)
HDL 68 (Good)
Triglycerides 50 (Good)

What a massive movement in all numbers and all for the better!
Granted now people have different viewpoints on cholesterol and its role in predicting disease. My functional medicine doc told me that with high HDL and good LDL particle size, I should not worry so much about cholesterol numbers being so off. But after CBL and changing my body composition to what it is today, I managed to drop all cholesterol numbers into positive ranges.
High triglycerides are associated with high visceral fat. I went from a 7 back earlier this year to a 5 (units unknown) as measured by my Omron. I think losing all that fat between my organs really made a dent in my triglyceride numbers. My current body composition definitely had a large effect on my cholesterol numbers.
Even my normal doc said that I was in his top 5 for those who were able to improve numbers via dietary interventions (Being the competitive guy I am, I replied asking how I could be #1?).
Next on deck is to slowly come off thyroid supplements and see if the improved body composition has also brought my thyroid back online properly.

My Beginner’s Guide to Diet and Nutrition

A friend asked me how I would recommend improving diet and increasing fat loss. Here are my recommendations for someone who is just starting out:
Here is a rather long email on weight loss. Suffice to say that I have tried a number of things and a lot of it is garbage. Note that this includes what a registered dietician or nutritionist will tell you. It is really sad. Here is a list of known prominent health orgs supported by Coke and Pepsi, and their messaging has been manipulated over the years. How can we trust our highest medical organizations with this kind of sponsorship?
First I’ll tell you what I recommend, and then list some resources to read if you feel so inclined.

  1. Changing your eating habits is a behaviorial problem first and foremost. Please keep this in mind. Keeping on target and not breaking the process requires discipline to form the new habit and abolish new ones. So be prepared to make this a behavior modification project alongside the actual diet itself.
  2. Remove all added sugar from your diet.
    What is not allowed: soft drinks, fruit juices, candy, sweet desserts, cookies, cakes, muffins, anything in a can or in a box or wrapper, sauces, salad dressings. Start reading labels; you’ll be surprised how much added sugar is in everything even if you do not perceive something as sweet.
    What is OK: fruit, bananas. Anything that is grown. (Do note that in cases of severe obesity, you may need to remove even this sugar).
    Notes: Despite being supported by Coke/Pepsi for many years, the American Heart Association has finally come out and said that sugar leads to obesity and heart disease. That link is to the recent announcement of a guidelines for *children*. You should know i’m leading an effort at PAUSD to limit/remove all added sugar from school grounds and activities. this is a major health issue for children right now. I did not have time to approach the OFJCC however on this issue.
    Results: Most people should lose 5-10 pounds if you really remove sugar within 2-4 weeks.

  3. Remove all white and processed carbs from your diet.
    What is not allowed: rice, potatoes, anything in a box or bag, breads, pasta. This includes brown rice and whole grain breads.
    What is OK: green vegetables. you can try to add back sweet potatoes later, but not advisable in the beginning.
    Notes: Remember breads are processed carbs using flour, no matter what’s in it. When you get carbs in processed form, it is delivered in concentrations that enter the blood stream faster and in greater quantity than when delivered in the original food.

  4. Try fasting. The easiest way is to simply skip breakfast and break the habit of requiring food in the mornings. Then eat lunch at 12noon and eat dinner before 8pm. If you absolutely need something in the morning, then try skipping dinner. Eat within a 8 hour window but shift it towards the morning. So eat between 7a and 1pm.
    What is OK during fasts: Drink water or coffee and that’s it. If you feel hungry, just drink some water. Filling up your stomach will help reduce pangs of hunger.
    Notes: There is no scientific basis for eating breakfast, or 3 square meals or even 6. Breakfast was ultimately created by and popularized by marketers early in the 20th century to sell more cereal:
    When you practice fasting, the body stays in fat burning mode longer. Since you are not taking in any food, you are forced to use up fat stores to provide you with energy.

  5. Increasing activity is always a good thing, but not before addressing what you eat and how/when you eat. Exercise by itself is not a good consistent method for weight loss. Conscious nutritional changes are almost always required. Note that when weight loss occurs with people exercising, it is nearly always because of unconscious diet changes that happen due to body needs and a general sense of needing to be more healthy.


  1. Cook everything yourself.
  2. Shop at the edges of a supermarket. Do not venture into the middle except for spices! This is where all boxed and processed sugars and carbs are.
  3. Remove all processed carbs and sugars from the house. If you do not buy it and it’s not sitting in your cabinets or refrigerator, then you will be less likely to eat it.
  4. Eating out is nice, but ultimately detrimental to diets. Restaurants are notorious for selling you stuff that tastes good. How they achieve that is generally through food that is not has healthy as options you would find and cook yourself. Read Real Food, Fake Food by Larry Olmstead. I don’t agree with his recommendations, but his reporting does raise the question of what restaurants are doing.
  5. Just because you walk into a Whole Foods does not mean you are buying healthy things to eat! Likewise, organic isn’t necessarily equate to healthy but it’s better than non-organic.
  6. If you must buy something manufactured, read the label. You’d be surprised how much sugar is in everything processed now.
  7. Pre-planning is necessary for our busy lives. Make sure you make time to cook each day, sometimes preparing meals days in advance like on the weekend for the week. I often buy the pre-cut vegetables in a box at Whole Foods just to save time when cooking.
  8. Always remember: eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. You need many different fats to properly function and many people don’t get enough of the good fats and way too much of the bad fats. Note that vegetable oils contain almost 100% of unhealthy fats and cooking without them is a good idea. That includes olive oil which is better than the others but still has a high percentage of unhealthy fats. Saturated fats are not the demon they were made out to be.
  9. Eating sugar certainly does make you fat. For a good read on the subject, check out Gary Taube’s Why We Get Fat. Eating sugar causes insulin to be released in the body which signals fat cells to store sugar/carbs/fat in the bloodstream as fat. For years we were told it was a calories in/out model where to lose weight we must eat less and exercise more. This is inconsistent with how the body works. Unless you get control over what you put in your mouth, exercise alone will lead to inconsistent results, likely not the result you want. Or you will find that it is unsustainable as you workout for more hours during the day while trying to avoid eating too much, even as the body is craving more due to need to recover post-workout. It’s why people often lose weight in the beginning, only to gain it all back later.
  10. Most of the recommendations come from Tim Ferris’s most excellent book 4 Hour Body. I love how he basically takes everything and tries to optimize it. I think that simplifying it is the best way to go. I find that other nutrition systems tend to overcomplicate things. They come up with complex calculations and meal plans which boggle the mind. To me, keeping it simple makes things easier. Just stop eating sugar and processed carbs. Skip breakfast. That’s it and it works great.

Good luck and let me know if you have questions!

The Carb Back Loading Update

Carb Back Loading has been giving me some pretty awesome results. Back on April 6, I measured myself with my Omron Body Monitor and got:

Weight 157.6 lb
Body fat 18.9%
Muscle 38.8%
Visceral fat 8%

Today, June 25, nearly 3 months later, I got:

Weight 149.8 lb
Body fat 17.0%
Muscle 39.7%
Visceral fat 7%

Contrast this from when I trained Ironman, I would start the season at 154 lbs, and as soon as I started training, I would drop to 151 and I would hang there for months, until about 1-1.5 months before the race. At that point, I would be peaking and my training distances would be maximal – think 3 hour runs weekly along with 6 hour bike rides the day after, not to mention swimming 4000m. It was only at this point, after 6-7 months of training, that my weight would start falling to race day weight of about 147 lbs. Then, 2 weeks after the race, my training volume would be lower due to recovering from the race, and my weight would go back to 151 lbs. until the next race.

If there is anything I’ve learned, it’s that losing weight is not driven consistently nor effectively by exercise. Sure, if I got to Ironman level training volume, my body would eventually adjust its setpoint. But who is willing to put themselves through that? And I’ve seen many who reach the Ironman starting line who are clearly not very skinny at all.

However, when I employed CBL – or more accurately, nutrient timing along with Bulletproof fasting – things only got enhanced when my training volume went up and it was nowhere near the volume of Ironman level training. My workouts today are about an hour tops, and with an 8-15 min kettlebell HIIT session about twice a week, resistance training about 4 times a week. Clearly something else is at work here and it showed me that exercise was not the number one factor for weight loss. Nutrition by far has a greater effect!

I just read Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. It finally gave a consumer readable explanation of how we really get fat, and why everything we have been taught about diet is totally wrong. Highly recommend it. It also details research that shows that exercise has little or no effect on weight loss in general and that exactly what you put in your mouth does.

Where to go from here? Besides getting to my kettlebell certification, I am now playing with reducing the amount of carbs I eat and seeing if I can get to no carbs. There is some research out now that shows that athletes can still get optimal performance with low/no carbs. I believe it is because most athletes don’t complete the adaptation period from their previous carb heavy diet to no carbs, and there are side effects like fatigue during this time – some of this is talked about in Why We Get Fat. When I first started a low/no carb diet, I was on the training path to the LA Marathon. I didn’t feel any kind of low energy effects at all. I did take gels during my long runs as well as during the race, as well as do the controversial carbo load the night before. The race itself wasn’t problematic from an energy standpoint either. So I do think it is possible to get there and I’m now seeing if I can get there too.

2 Weeks of Intermittent Fasting

Last Sunday I ended my very short experiment on Bulletproof intermittent fasting. I weighed myself and got the numbers: weight = 155.8lb, body fat % = 21.3%. 2 weeks back when I started, I weighed 154.8 and body fat % of 21.5%. No real move at all.
My buddy QuantifiedBob pointed out that I really need 60-70% of my calories need to come from fat. That was not something I was tracking and I don’t think it was reached. I usually eat a ton of protein due to my working out and so this probably derailed the experiment in having a meaningful move in body fat %.
Oh well. It was fun to try. At least I didn’t get hungry during the times I wasn’t eating. Bulletproof Coffee with butter and MCT Oil took care of that. I shifted the fasting time from the suggested 2pm to 8pm to 12noon to 6pm. Eating lunch therefore became easier, but I rushed to finish dinner by 6pm, often ending after that. I don’t think that mattered much as some fasting guides say you can have the eating period be 8 hours long, not 6.
I also may not have done it long enough to see real results. Someday in the future, I’ll have to try this again. Also I want to try protein fasting and see if there are noticeable, positive autopagy results.

Trying Intermittent Fasting

Two days ago I decided to try Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting. I had hosed my back and couldn’t really do any workouts as I recovered so my eating requirements are more flexible – perfect time to try intermittent fasting!
I am trying to eat within 12noon and 6pm only, taking a BP coffee w/ butter and/or MCT oil in the morning and maybe another cup later on if necessary. So far, it’s going easier than I thought. I thought I would get hungry but not even a little bit. I’m still dialing in when to take my handful of vitamins and how much to eat and when, but it’s all kind of interesting.
I weighed myself on my Omron Body Monitor on the second morning and realized I didn’t go to the bathroom, either solid waste nor urinate. So after going, I took my measurements again. It just shows that a simple thing like going to the bathroom or not can affect your numbers.
Before going, my weight was 155.8 lb with body fat of 23.1%. But after going both passing solid waste and urinating, my body weight was 154.8 lb and body fat 21.5%. So I lost 1 lb of body weight plus dropped 1.6% of body fat instantly – whoo hoo! Still, it shows that you have to hold as many variables consistent as possible when you measure or else the results could be off. For kicks I measured myself again and got 155.0 lb and 21.9% body fat. So at least my scale was within some bounds of error and not totally off after consecutive measurements.
Gotta remember to hold the variables constant – probably weigh myself after I go to the bathroom.
More on intermittent fasting in a few weeks!

Eating as Training and a Discipline

My coach Charles Maka at EVOUltrafit likes to say that most humans can’t do the most basic things. The basic things like breathing and, the topic of this post, eating properly are things that somehow most people can’t do the right way and have lost the ability over the years.
A few months back, I posted about my discovery in Eating for Recovery, where I figured out I was not eating nearly enough to recover properly, and that through eating more, I could recover overnight from a tough workout.
Along with that revelation, I learned a bunch of other things:
1. Eating is TRAINING.
I used to be more cavalier about my eating. I read about other athletes attempting to optimize their food intake but I never tried it myself until my discovery. So at the very least, eating is a part of training along with other stuff I never really paid enough attention to, like stress, sleep, etc.
But as I got deeper into my discovery, I also figured out that eating itself is training. It takes a lot of work to eat in a way to optimize your goals. You can think of it as training an additional 3 times a day (assuming you eat 3 times a day). What if you miss an “eating workout”? What if you workout too much, as in eat too much? Or too little? What if you do the the wrong thing in your eating workout, as in eating the wrong thing? What does that do to how well you achieve your goals?
2. Eating as DISCIPLINE.
Every day, my wife asks me, “what shall we eat tonight?” My answer is always, “I don’t care as long as I can get a 1lb of beef.”
Eating takes discipline to execute in a way that is supportive of your goals. On many days, I am running around stressed looking for someplace where I can get a decent 14-16oz of beef! It takes a ton of discipline to keep eating with a pattern and a plan, when you are running around all day doing the normal things people do.
Then all day, I practice keeping a running total in my head of how many grams of protein I have eaten so far, and then work like hell to make it up in case I don’t get close to my goal at lunch time. I have a strong motivator – if I do not eat enough, inevitably the next day I wake up sore and unsure if I can complete a normal workout.
3. Tracking progress is a pain so simplify.
I have tried food tracking apps but nothing really works for me. I now just have a Google Docs spreadsheet where i type in all my daily data: workouts, stool, sleep, and food. In this way, I can see everything in one screen and not in several places where I don’t have an easy way to connect it when I need to analyze.
But then, do I track each food and also their exact amounts? I do write down the composition of my meals. But it was too hard to deal with every part of the meal. How do you estimate the weight of a pile of string beans? Or a filet of salmon? Tim Ferriss wrote in 4 Hour Body that he used to bring a small scale with him and ended up weighing everything before he ate it. I thought this was too unwieldy and I deemed it unnecessary. So I settled on getting good at tracking only meats, fish, and poultry and their associated protein content.
I memorized the typical protein content for beef (1oz=6g protein) and fish (3oz=17g protein) although many sources cite varying conversion factors. That’s too complicated, so I simplified by memorizing just those two. For chicken, I look it up since I don’t eat chicken very often. I also memorized the protein content of my protein powder and collagen supplements.
Then I familiarized myself with cuts of meat and fish and approximately how much they weigh, in case I went to a restaurant and didn’t know the exact weight of the meat on the meal. Most of the time, I would just asked the waiter and sometimes they would know and sometimes not.
Then I tracked mentally only the protein intake of meats and protein/collagen supplements. It was too difficult to figure out how much broccoli or other vegetables I ate alongside my meats so I passed on that. Once I crossed 1.5 times my body weight in grams of protein of only meats and supplements, I was OK.
4. What you eat is pretty important.
Eating the right things is also super important. So eating enough protein is my primary aim; the other goal is to not eat crap or undesirable things. For example, I am on a low/no carb diet with high protein and high fats, so eating in this fashion works for me to keep me from putting on pounds in an inappropriate manner. It is a shame that this also means that most restaurants don’t have much to offer when I am eating to this plan.
This also requires discipline, although for me it has become a standard part of my life now and is not hard to execute.
5. Timing of meals is important.
Experimentally, I found that eating the bulk of my protein as close to my workout, or generally by lunch time, creates better recovery results than if I complete the bulk of my protein intake by later in the day.
intake before/after workout
eat as soon as possible after. found out recovery is better by a bit, less tight in the mornings.
if morning workout, dinner is too long time but better than not eating it at all.
6. Create the ability to regulate eating from day to day.
Overeating is always on my mind. Do I really need to take in 1.5x my body weight in grams of protein every day? Probably not. Thankfully I do not have some innate attraction to food where I cannot get enough of it regardless of whether I’m full or not. Taking in 1.5x my body weight in grams is definitely taxing the limits of what I could eat in a given meal! So I had to build up the ability to eat that much protein per day AND down-regulate that back to about 1x body weight in grams protein on days I do not workout.
6. What is the goal with your body weight and composition?
At the moment, I am attempting to put on weight to be able to handle heavier kettlebells. So eating this much has put on 10+ lbs of weight, mostly muscle since I can still wear most of my regular pants. If I ever get back into a sport where lower weight is more desirable like Ironman racing, I will see what kind of adjustments to make on this kind of eating plan. Is it still 1.5x my bodyweight in grams protein or less?
9. Getting sick of eating beef is a challenge.
I was eating grass fed beef exclusively, about 1 lb at lunch time on workout days. Then I found it was harder and harder to eat that. Some of it was because I haven’t perfected quick cooking of beef yet using a pan. But I think the other difficulty was that I was simply eating so much of it that I was getting tired of eating it. So now I’m working in grass fed lamb, which seems to be a lot juicy (fatter?) than beef and by the way it’s half the price!
10. Monitor your body as much as possible.
As a new biohacker, I am working with a functional medicine doctor on making sure my blood numbers are all in range and that nothing bad is happening due to this diet and the heavy demands I’m placing on my body.
11. Old guys like me need more protein than younger guys, according to this article from T-Nation, Protein Pulsing for Muscle.
Fine tuning my eating and nutrition has definitely helped my training in ways I never imagined. Now I can’t help but look back at my early years of triathlon and wonder how I could have progressed, had I been eating properly.

What I’ve Learned About Diet and Fat Loss

After I read 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss early last year, I tried a whole bunch of things: deadlifting, ASR Speed, and…his fat loss diet slightly modified.
4 Hour Body’s diet was actually quite involved. But I didn’t do it all. I only did 2 things: I took the supplements and I removed all sugars and white carbohydrates from my diet.
When I started, it was about a month from the LA Marathon 2011. Normally I drop weight pretty significantly about 1-1.5 months before a big race. After a long period of training, and the build up of distance towards the end as I peak, my body sheds weight like crazy. I usually get down to about 147 lbs. right before a marathon or Ironman. After the race, I gain it back within 2 weeks and I’m back to about 150 lbs.
I discovered something significant with this diet. I dropped weight to the marathon, but then I kept dropping weight through the race and plateaued underneath my typical race day weight!
Since then, I have not trained for Ironman; nor have I kept up significant endurance training either. BUT my weight has still stayed down around 142-146 lbs WITHOUT any kind of long distance training.
What have I learned from this? Something pretty significant.
When I eliminated all sugars and white carbs, I removed all things like soft drinks, candy, ice cream, pies, white rice, bread, pasta – everything processed like potato chips and cookies. I only ate things that were natural and I had to cook in order to eat, or I ate it raw.
I learned that the body can lose the ability to burn fat simply because of the presence of more easily accessible sources of energy. Remember that sugars are most easily metabolized into energy; next comes complex carbohydrates, and then last are fats. If my blood stream were constantly filled with sugars and carbs, then why would my body ever want to burn fat? IT DOESN’T HAVE TO. So it stores fat and it just sits there. However, if I eliminate the sugars and carbs, my body has no choice but to relearn how to metabolize fat more effectively. Thus my weight and my body fat percentage has come down to an all time low.
Think about what is typically filled with sugars and carbs: stuff that is made by big companies with huge marketing machines. Big factories who take stuff and load it up with stuff that only tastes good. You love eating it. In fact, you may be mildly or wildly addicted to it to the point where you can’t even let go of it.
But filing your body with all these easily burn-able energy sources just means that we store fat more and more and then we become overweight and then obese.
A while ago, I had thought that it was all about calories in versus calories out. So yes that is true to a degree. I took my calories out level to the level of Ironman training in order to drop my weight significantly. But now I know that is not accurate – it isn’t quite necessary to burn calories at the level of what you take in, or the other way which is to limit calories in. These can work but can also be very difficult to sustain.
It is much simpler in concept to remove sugars and white carbs, thus depriving your blood stream of all this easily burn-able energy source and thus force your body to find its energy source elsewhere, or relearn how to metabolize fat more effectively.
This is also much harder in practice.
I’ve found that most people just don’t have willpower to enact such a change. They’ve been duped by the marketing machines since childhood and that eating this crap is so natural that they can’t stop.
I read recently that 75% of the US population is now considered obese. This is insane. All I can say is, stop being duped by the marketing machines of big food companies. Build your willpower and eat better by eliminating the crap they are selling you – you’ll be thinner and healthier as a result.