I thought it was finally time. After years of dragging my feet, I feel like I finally had the motivation and rationale to detoxify myself.
My recent research has suggested that many of the physical and mental unpleasant conditions I had been experiencing for a while but had been more severe as of late – brain fog; mild, self-diagnosed OCD – may be tied to leaky gut syndrome (gut dysbiosis), internal parasites or, my most-hypothesized culprit, candida overgrowth.
Candida is a yeast fungus that makes it’s home inside the digestive tract that breeds on sugar and other refined carbs. A yeast infection is the common term for candidiasis (candida overgrowth) of the vagina.
When “leaky gut” manifests – which is a loosing of the cellular junctions of your intestinal walls – candida can permeate these walls so that toxic byproducts get into the bloodstream, resulting in a myriad of problems.
For years, the irritating symptoms waxed and waned, but were never really enough to persuade me to actually begin a detox protocol. These included tinea versicolor, perpetual bad breathe, fatigue and brain fog, weight loss (but visceral fat gained), the occasional bloody stool and potentially depression, but I suspect this last condition should not be attributed solely to poor gut microbiome or parasite…
However, there is much scientific evidence confirming that 80–90 percent of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin is created in the gut.
What finally convinced me to take initiative was the hypothesized insight I gained through my research to suggest the thinning hair and dry, flaking skin I had been experiencing may actually be due to something more than just stress; for example, an autoimmune disease – like hypothyoidism – resulting from intestinal parasites, or leaky gut syndrome, or maybe just as a result from a poor gut microbiome/mycobiome itself.
I had been toying with the idea of partaking in an Ayahuasca ceremony – which I still intend to undertake in order to come face-to-face with the deep-seated sources of stress – but decided to forgo it for the time being, and first pursue the less intense path to clarity. Especially given my uncertainty as to the root cause of my symptoms.
Like I said, my hunch was that it stemmed from fungal overgrowth in the gut – compounded by poor diet and stress – potentially spanning all the way back to summer 2019 when I had taken an oral corticosteroid (antibiotic), Prednisone, for a prolonged period, to combat a severe rash from contact with a Chechen tree, aka, the black poisonwood tree.
Many of its side effects aligned with the symptoms that I experienced. You can see for yourself what some of the unsatisfied customers to whom it was prescribed in the past had to say, here.
You see, antibiotics are intended to suppress the immune system, but they also destroy bacterial microorganisms living in the large intestine (gut). To be exact, roughly one-third of them within five days of taking it, according to gastroenterologist Dr. Robynne Chutkan.
Interestingly, the chemical glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, was first patented as – yup, you guess it, an antibiotic. The chemical, which has been linked to increased risk of cancer, autism and a variety of endocrine system disorders, was found in 80-90% of sampled wheat flour and wheat-containing products (like pizza, pasta and crackers), and 67% and 63% of soybean and corn products sampled, respectively.
Glyphosate in Roundup isn’t the only instance in which chemicals can have adverse effects on the gut microbiome, creating leaky gut and ultimately leading to autoimmune and psychological disorders.
Many hand sanitizers contain the chemical triclosan, which is toxic to gut microbes, as well as being a known endocrine disruptor, which can cause thyroid problems and other hormonal issues.
Based on the evidence, the chemically-induced sterile environment we increasingly find ourselves in – which was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic – is clearly not benefitting our internal world. But that’s a topic for a separate post altogether…
One of the functions of these bacterial microbes in the gut is to keep the fungal microbes in check, and vice versa. So, in the same sense, taking an anti-fungal medication can have the consequence of creating a bacterial overgrowth. It is a symbiotic relationship, in which one serves to keep the other in check, preventing it from growing to an unfriendly level and becoming pathogenic.
Whatever was ultimately the source of my discomfort, through my research I discovered one diet that was proclaimed to be a surefire cure for leaky gut syndrome and all of its ancillary physical and psychological conditions and symptoms, some of which I was myself experiencing.
GAPS Diet Protocol
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet is something that has been touted to heal leaky gut and autoimmune diseases, as well as being claimed to cure a variety of psychological conditions, including general brain fog, depression, autism, bipolar disorder, OCD and ADD/ADHD.
The diet relies mainly on bone broth and fermented juices and vegetables (which contribute to gut microbiome health), especially in the early stages. It also requires removing foods its creator thinks contribute to heightened toxicity in the bloodstream via a leaky gut, including refined sugar, grains (especially the conventionally-produced variety), and starchy vegetables.
- Do not eat meat and fruit together.
- Use organic foods whenever possible.
- Eat animal fats, coconut oil, or cold-pressed olive oil at every meal.
- Consume bone broth with every meal.
- Consume large amounts of fermented foods, if you can tolerate them.
- Avoid packaged and canned foods.
My Ideal Diet
– Glyphosate and endocrine distruptors (endocrine distruptors & gut disbiosis culprits)
– Oxalic and phytic acid (phytoestrogens)
– Inflammatory agents (sugar and omega-6)
– Solid but not overcooked pastured-raised or organic eggs; unpasteurized greek or homemade yogurt and kefir; aged cheese; shellfish/seafood (non-fried, or fried in coconut oil w/coconut flour); liver and other organ meats; grass-fed or organic beef; avocado; cooked spinach, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies (to reduce oxalate and phytic acid content); chlorella supplements; dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao; less sugar, ^ magnesium, iron, antioxidants, however, a lot of oxalate)
– Fermented veggies (sauerkraut, cauliflower, asparagus, carrot)
– Still avoid artificial colors and other additives, and commercially produced grains and starches (glyphosate)
– Omega-6 and sugar ok, if food is organic
– Toast using sourdough bread, organic if possible
For those readers who are interested, I chronicled my journey in a fair amount of detail. The daily log of what I ate and how I felt is pretty lengthy, so I relegated that aspect of the post to the end. You can skip it that component here.
For the majority of readers – who simply want the takeaways – here are my discoveries.
Insights after Eight Days on GAPS:
- Energy/fat adaption
- What was curious was that I typically had more energy after a large, carb-packed lunch than I did after one which was predominantly protein and fat. I think that the fact I felt more satiated after gorging on empty carbs than ketosis-satisfying fat and protein that is a testament to how off-kilter my gut microbiome was.
- Didn’t seem to ever reach fat-adaption stage, as energy level and brain fog weren’t much improved by day nine
- More energy at night on day nine after adding starches, grains back into the mix
- What was curious was that I typically had more energy after a large, carb-packed lunch than I did after one which was predominantly protein and fat. I think that the fact I felt more satiated after gorging on empty carbs than ketosis-satisfying fat and protein that is a testament to how off-kilter my gut microbiome was.
- Candidiasis/fungal infection
- Skin of face still had not cleared up much, however there had maybe been some improvement in dandruff, hair mites. Over the few days previous, I had noticed some scabs at the front of my hairlines. They looked worse than anything I had seen before, but I took that as a sign that the parasites or bacteria was dying off. By day nine, the scabs mostly had been flaked off.
- Bad breath seemed to have maybe? scaled back a bit, but athletes’ foot/toe fungus hadn’t seemed to improve much. I would get a whiff of the bad breath when I would come up from bending over in a pose during my regular qigong routine. I think it had to do with my neck and throat muscles being relaxed, allowing for an open pathway to the stomach that I could actually smell it, suggesting the root cause to be just clenching or contracting the neck and throat muscles—or so I thought…
- This really made me second guess the whole thesis of candidiasis as the cause of my symptoms, rather potentially stemming simply from emotional and structural stress and holding tension in the muscles instead
- However, since I was experiencing other symptoms in addition to muscle knots, exclusively (like dandruff and scabs on the scalp, visceral fat, and brain fog), the underlying cause had to be more than simply tensing up. And the more I learned about cortisol (also commonly known as the stress hormone), the more I am convinced that elevated cortisol levels was actually at the root of the issue—but more on that later…
- Body composition
- Muscle protein breakdown (MPB), especially in biceps, glutes, and visceral fat reappeared after day 1 starting back on carbs.
- Begun to get the impression that 16hr intermittent fasting day-in and day-out without proper anaerobic exercise (HIIT, strength training) may have me withering away.
- Sugar/carb cravings
- After the first several days, I had seemingly less cravings for sweets, but it was certainly possible I just had less thoughts or impulses about them because they were taboo, and were pushed further to the back of my mind with each day. Either way, I had less instances of wanting to act on those impulses. Now that I’ve back on starches for a few days, I’m intrigued to see how this plays out.
- Update (one week later): The cravings absolutely came back. Dopamine-induced thoughts of what my next fix will be plague my head, and in some instances even had kept me up at night.
I know the diet is meant to be pursued for months, and ideally at least 1.5–2 years for the full phase. So to discount it after only 10 days may seem a bit premature.
However, the insights I had gathered through my observations regarding my symptoms resulting from factors other than simply gut disbiosis led me to investigate other potential sources of my symptoms.
I was listening to a podcast in which doctor Zack Bush was being interviewed about the microbiome, when he started to go into depth about bacterial overgrowth. Naturally, my ears perked up in a major way.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, he chooses the metaphor of using glyphosate on crops in comparison to candida overgrowth to assert that:
Candida’s not actually the problem. The exact same phenomenon happens on a farm. Most of the farms in the Midwest are drowning under Roundup-resistant weeds. They’ve sprayed so much Roundup that the weeds have genetically-modified themselves so that they can maintain, so now they have these vicious weeds that [farmers] can’t run their tilling equipment or harvesters through because they’ve got trunks on them, and so they’ll destroy their equipment.
Since these places are getting overrun with weeds, they come in and spray more weedkillers, or we come in as physicians and spray now an antifungal instead of antibiotics to try to kill the candida, or the herbicide to kill the weed.
And what happens is we further destroy the ecosystem’s recovery, and we cause greater problems in the next few months. As soon as you stop spraying a farm, within a single season you can see all of the weeds gone. Just go in and plant a variety of cover crop, and you’ll see and the weeds disappear. No herbicides, no spraying, the microbiome comes back into balance and the soil systems and the flora come back into balance around that.
In the exact same way, if we see somebody with candida, we need to rush to create biodiversity rather than kill the candida. The candida is not at fault, I would argue it’s not even overgrown. It’s grown to exactly the right level to start the recovery of the process. Because if you wipe out the bacteria with an antibiotic, the fungal community has to start the fuel production process for a new ecosystem to start. You can’t have any fuel without microbiome.
So if you just took a probiotic and wiped out the bacteria, you’re now left with maybe a few protozoa and the fungal world to start that regenerative process of fuel production, resource development, trafficking of resources to and frow in the gut, and into the human body. And so the yeast is going to overgrow exactly to the level of damage done and need to recover it. What it’s doing is providing a substrate to new bacteria.”Dr. Zach Bush, Your Microbiome and Health
For me, this was very inspiring to hear, and opened my eyes to other ways of curbing my symptoms beyond a stringent dietary regimen that made me feel lifeless.
So I really delved in. And as it turns out, it’s not just antibiotic usage that leads to candidiasis. Steroids, smoking, stress, diabetes, and nutrient deficiency are all factors from which candidiasis can stem.
Most of these risk factors can result in a weakened or undeveloped immune system or metabolic illnesses, both of which are also significant determinants of the likelihood of candidiasis—systemic factors for oral thrust (candidiasis of the mouth) include diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s syndrome, immunosuppression, malignancies, and nutritional deficiencies.
I had never heard of Cushing’s syndrome, so it didn’t take me long to look up what it is when I saw this listed as a risk factor. And it didn’t take me much longer to come to the conclusion that this was the source of my agony, resulting from chronic stress.
Many of the symptoms resulting from Cushing’s are those seen in metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance, hypertension, obesity, and elevated blood levels of triglycerides.
Additionally, Cushing’s can also cause baldness or extremely dry and brittle hair. The excess cortisol may also affect other endocrine systems and cause, for example, insomnia, reduced libido, and impotence in men.
Cognitive conditions, including memory and attention dysfunctions, as well as depression, are commonly associated with elevated cortisol, and may be early indicators of exogenous or endogenous Cushing’s. Depression and anxiety disorders are also common.”
Other striking and distressing skin changes that may appear in Cushing’s syndrome include facial acne and susceptibility to superficial fungus infections (malassezia).
The skin rash, tinea versicolor, is also due to infection by this fungus. Which, you may recall me mentioning earlier was one of the conditions I first experienced when I got the inclination I had candidiasis after prolonged use of the antibiotic glucocorticoids, Prednisone, in the summer of 2019.
But, as I wasn’t under much stress at that time, I think what I experienced then and what I was dealing with more recently were separate incidents altogether.
The skin rash has since subsided, though it took months, if not years. It’s likely it was initiated from the antibiotic overuse, and never was even really candida. Or maybe I’ve had candidiasis this entire time, unbeknownst to me.
However, what is clear to me is that this more recent occurrence was indeed candidiasis, and was certainly catalyzed by chronically-elevated cortisol levels.
The more I learned about the dangers of chronic prolonged stress and Cushing’s syndrome, the more my focus shifted away from diet (especially preoccupation with what I was ingesting), and towards methods for mitigating stress and improving wellbeing.
Researching techniques for stress reduction and wellbeing improvement jogged my memory of a video I had seen a few years earlier, which offered a ton of insight into health as a whole, and into chronic overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, or a habitually-active stress response, specifically.
In the interview, Dr. Lissa Rankin, author of Mind Over Medicine and founder of the “Whole Health Cairn” health model, says that:
“We think that making the body healthy means eating a healthy diet and exercising, and taking our medications and getting our screening lab tests and seeing the doctor once a year. But the reality is, if you’re in chronic repetitive stress response whenever you’re not meditating; if you’re in chronic repetitive stress response because of your rigid diet; if you’re in chronic repetitive stress response while you’re working out with your personal trainer, none of those things are going to help.
No amount of Kale is going to counteract the toxic effects on the body of being in chronic repetitive stress response. The single best thing you can do for your clients and patients is to facilitate them coming into relaxation response for as much of the day as possible.”Lissa Rankin, The Future of Medicine
Through my first-person experience, I’ve found this assessment to be spot-on. Especially the part about the stress response because of a rigid diet.
Sure, refined sugar and carbs and cooking oils high in omega-6 cause inflammation, candidiasis, and a myriad of symptoms, like thinning hair. But what’s the sense in avoiding them if your habitual preoccupation creates chronically elevated cortisol levels, Cushing’s syndrome, and ultimately leads you to the same result—perhaps even faster than from poor diet alone?
And that’s not to mention all the other negative symptoms that come with heightened cortisol production which I previously outlined.
Here’s more or less the sympathetic and parasympathetic mechanisms by which serotonin and cortisol and are secreted:
- Sympathetic nervous system (“fight-or-flight”)
- Stress response = amygdala > hypothalamus > pituitary gland > adrenal glands release stress hormones
- When constantly in sympathetic mode the body is at risk, and the heart takes the brunt of the stress
- Leading cause of death in US is heart disease
- Parasympathetic (“rest-and-digest”)
- Body is in homeostasis
- Operated by hormones of relaxation response, endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin
- The body only produces these natural self-healing hormones when in parasympathetic mode
For me, the takeaway from this whole experience is that only we have the ability to diagnose the underlying conditions/root causes of what ails us and creates sickness. And ultimately, it is up to solely the individual to truly heal one’s self.
Techniques for Self-Sufficient Healing and Improved Wellbeing
By following the inner pilot light, and asking ourselves what we can personally do to introduce more relaxation responses in our lives, we can determine the changes we need to make to reduce stress, improve the relaxation response, release the natural self-healing hormones like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, and reduce inflammation, the leading cause of (autoimmune) disease.
However, we need to have the drive do this—we have to really want it for ourselves, and often it may be difficult to find the motivation to overcome your addictions, or what ails you.
One thing I’ve found to help is pinpointing the specific benefit you want to realize, and not letting it slip from your mind. I have used this strategy in the past when I wanted to curb my tendency to grind my teeth while sleeping.
Since crooked, chipped teeth are something that can’t be fixed without spending a small fortune (especially for someone without dental insurance) and the smile is one of the first things people notice about a person, it wasn’t difficult for me to take the suggested measures to stamp out my bruxism (teeth grinding).
These include things like reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption before bed, and exercising or doing relaxing activities like meditation and taking warm baths during the evening hours. These last several techniques boost melatonin levels, the sleep hormone that works directly in contrast to, you guessed it, cortisol.
The reason cortisol levels may be unnaturally high in the evening is that it raises blood sugar, creating short-term bursts of energy demanded by the adrenal glands if the nervous system is in a stressed, sympathetic state.
So again, this was another instance in which fixing my issue comes down to managing cortisol levels.
In the more recent case of what I presumed to be leaky gut/candidiasis, my initial intention was really never to fix the root cause – fungal overgrowth – but rather the symptoms. Thus, by keeping my sights set on alleviating these particular symptoms, I could stay motivated to continue pursuing the diet.
I was concerned specifically with scalp dandruff/hair loss, bad breath/athlete’s foot, and maybe most importantly, OCD symptoms. However, since I discovered through my research the symptoms of excessive cortisol are by and large the same, my focus has shifting to techniques for mitigating the hormone, many of which I mentioned already when describing my pursuit of alleviating teeth grinding.
These include getting adequate sleep, meditation and breathing practices, self-massage, and sun exposure, exercise and movement in general – which boost serotonin and counteract cortisol overproduction – and of course, diet still.
But these days I’m a bit looser with my formerly-stringent dietary restrictions.
I’m currently in the process of trying this reset protocol. Needless to say, I will post about the outcome when it’s completed.
Disregarding the protocol, my revised, typical daily food consumption is as follows:
Typical Daily Diet
– Two cups coffee w/ tsp of ghee
– Four pasture-raised eggs fried in coconut or olive oil with dried basil
– 1/2 medium avocado
– 10-25 g dark chocolate (70% cacao)
Mid-Afternoon Snack (4-5pm)
– Green tea w/ tsp of coconut oil, a dash of turmeric and three drops liquid stevia
– Bean tamal, ground beef memela (corn tortilla, refried beans, cheese and meat) or 1 cup beef consumé and one beef taco w/ two corn tortillas
– 1/2 medium avocado and cheese with several baked (cooking oil-free) tostadas.
– 2 cups whole milk yogurt with 1 drop stevia, tsp of chia seeds or tbsp of pecans.
For those interested in specifics of my GAPS diet experience, read on below for the epicly-lengthy log I kept. And try not to fall asleep before making in through the first three paragraphs.
GAPS Diet, day 1:
– Broke 23hr fast with homemade chicken bone broth, followed by roughly a cup of homemade plain yogurt for dessert. I started my morning with several cups of black coffee, as I was unaware that coffee and caffeine, in general, is not permitted on GAPS.
– I had gorged at a buffet as my “last meal” prior to starting GAPS the day before, and what a meal it was. Complete with scrambled eggs, sauteed poblanos, onion and calabacitas (zucchini), fish stew, 6-plus tacos dorados (taquitos), black beans and a handmade tortilla, with a bowl of cereal for dessert, I think this carb and protein-heavy meal had a lot to do with why I felt energy-depleted and unsatiated after a meal of predominantly protein and a bit of fat and sugar; I had quit the high intake of carbs cold turkey, with no adjustment period to allow my body to become better fat-adapted.
– Again, lack of research on my part led to a cup of green tea between meals, and the caffeine content provided a much-needed boost of energy. For dinner, I started with a bit of sauerkraut brine (juice), and followed with more bone broth and yogurt. I could feel like my body was losing mass – not sure if it was fat or muscle – after dinner and while laying in bed before sleep. For example, my rings and shorts seemed to be a lot more loose-fitting around my fingers and waist, respectively. However, I also felt like my inflammation had subsided quite substantially, as I was able to crack various joints that had been built up with toxins or holding stress and tension.
I seemed to have slept fairly well considering the lack of carbs and everything else, only waking twice when I needed to pee, and being able to fall back asleep pretty instantaneously.
– Despite learning in the morning that coffee was forbidden on the introductory phase of the diet, I started the day with my usual 2 cups, as I had not planned an alternative “cuppa” to sip on as I woke up, reading in bed. I had read that in later stages of GAPS, coffee is permitted, as long as the strength is weak enough you can “read the paper through it”, and the complimentary coffee offered by the hostel certainly fit the bill there, I told myself. My resolution was to begin sans-coffee the following day, opting instead for herbal tea in the morning.
– Had semi-solid bowel movement later in the morning, and was slightly tempted to return to the buffet for breakfast, as I had read on Healthline.com’s overview of GAPS webpage that you can move on to the next stage of the introductory phase “once you are tolerating the foods you have introduced. You are considered to be tolerating a food when you have a ‘normal’ bowel movement.”
However, I knew this was still probably from the Sunday feast, and that even on stage II there’s not much I could eat at the buffet anyway, so I persevered, and relegated myself to the usual regiment of bone broth and yogurt.
I opted for the advised-ginger tea for my snack between meals. I also decided to add some raw honey, which is permitted on the GAPS diet, in order to stabilize my blood sugar.
For dinner, I returned to more bone broth w/ fermented juices and had yogurt for dessert, to which I added roughly a tablespoon of honey to lift my blood sugar.
– I began the day with half a cup of coffee after waking and immediately drinking some water with lime. I thought a little caffeine may revitalize my energy, as it was still depleted first thing after rising, which is very atypical. However, it didn’t seem to make any substantial difference, and I swore I would kick the caffeine the following day.
As I was nearly out of bone broth, I consumed all I had left, and supplemented it with a bit more yogurt than usual, to try and keep my calorie intake up. I proceeded to brew a new batch of broth with the bones I had left to have it ready for dinner time.
One insight that came to me was that I was leaving the hostel much less, only one time for each of the first two days I was on the diet, and on this third day I didn’t even leave. I realized most of my expeditions were in pursuit of food, and now that I had everything I needed (or was allowed), I didn’t have much of a reason for leaving. The only other time I would leave was in the mornings to practice qigong in the park, and because of my general lack of energy and wanting to allow my broken toe to heal, I had been conducting my morning routine at the hostel. I also had more mental capacity, as I wasn’t expending nearly as much energy grappling with planning the day, both in terms of trips I needed to make to secure items, or what I would prepare for my next meal or when to have it.
I prepared some more ginger tea – this time with more honey – for an afternoon snack, and it again seemed to balance my blood sugar for several hours. I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer the “keto flu” symptoms would persist for.
For dinner I had a tall glass of the freshly-stewed bone broth w/ fermented asparagus juice added, and about a cup of yogurt, no honey added. I also supplemented with magnesium and zinc before bed as I occasionally do, but this made it three consecutive nights. I had increased frequency largely to ensure I was getting the usual amount of magnesium I typically would be getting from food.
– I rallied my willpower and was finally able to skip the coffee, opting for some Ginko bilbo tea instead. However, in order to reduce my keto flu symptoms, I added roughly a teaspoon of ghee I had bought the day before, technically advancing me to the second phase of the introductory diet. The added fat content seemed to help the symptoms subside, at least temporarily.
Since I had moved myself on to phase II – despite still not having a “normal” bowel movement in over two days, or much of any movement, period – I cracked a raw egg in my morning cup of bone broth, which is permitted during the second stage. At first, I felt satiated from the extra boost of protein, fat, and nutrients (essential amino acids, choline, selenium, and B vitamins) but the feeling quickly dissipated, leaving me again feeling like my blood sugar was crashing. Added some honey (1/2 tbsp) to the roughly 12 oz serving of yogurt I had for dessert to compensate, but it didn’t seem to help much in terms of stabilizing glucose.
I had begun adding sea salt to my water the previous night, and I to do this again to ensure I was getting the amount of electrolytes my body required. I also came to the conclusion the lack of energy may be plain ‘ole dehydration, as the lack of carbs in my diet had certainly reduced my body’s ability to retain water.
Had more energy at night after a qigong practice and some ginger tea with a bit of raw honey in the late afternoon. Had a cup of bone broth for dinner, and cracked an egg in the cup to supplement the essential nutrients I had been missing. For the first time, I also added a few pieces of the onion and carrot that had been stewed with the broth. I wasn’t sure if this was permissible on stage II, but I felt I needed some carbs to keep the keto flu at bay. I found out later that it was allowed. Had roughly a serving-and-a-half of yogurt for dessert, as had become commonplace. Supplemented with magnesium before bed.
– Again skipped coffee in the morning in favor of some ginger tea with about a teaspoon of ghee. Felt generally like I was becoming better-fat adapted, as I had more energy this morning than the four days previous, and was able to walk around town and the market for an hour-plus as I scavenged for bone broth ingredients without feeling like I was going to pass out.
Prior to going out, I primed my stomach with a few teaspoons of fermented asparagus juice before feasting on the last of the bone broth I had left and choked down a raw egg that I had beat into the cup before adding the broth. Also had the last few spoonfuls of the yogurt that were leftover before heading out to keep my blood sugar up as much as possible.
Bought a fresh bag of yogurt while out and about, and when I returned devoured roughly two servings as I started stewing the bones that I picked up, as I had no other food to compliment the yogurt.
Tested the bone broth in the evening for my dinner after beginning with a few more teaspoons of fermented asparagus juice. I also ate a few pieces of the onion I had added to the stew with it, to add to the pro/prebiotic component, as well as to get some fiber/carbs, as I ditched the honey altogether on this day five. Had another rough serving of yogurt for my dessert.
I didn’t supplement with magnesium before bed in order to cycle one day off after taking it the previous four nights. That didn’t seem to prevent me from falling asleep in a timely fashion, however, as I felt energy depleted within an hour or two of eating, and bed-rid myself around 9pm to watch an episode of Westworld before dozing off.
Though my face blotches and bad breath weren’t clearing up as quickly as I had hoped, my hair seemed to look a bit more illustrious, and I could feel I was certainly purging toxins and blockages from my joints and muscles. I was able to crack a lot of joints and just felt generally looser, especially in the groin/”Kua” region, during qigong practice in the morning.
– Started the day with a (normal) bowel movement, finally!! Broke “fast” (~12hr) with herbal tea and a half teaspoon of ghee, followed closely by two krill oil capsules (the first day taking fish oil while on diet), and two teaspoons of fermented asparagus juice, followed by a cup of bone broth with a few pieces of stewed onion.
Since I had the first solid stool, I felt like moving on to the next stage was appropriate. Went to the store and got some eggs, three of which I lavishly fried (softly) with some ghee and sea salt. I was going to add onion, but opted instead, for the first time all week, for some actual sauerkraut – not just juice – I had fermented and gifted to a woman at the hostel as an appetizer while I waited for the eggs to finish. I tried having some mashed avocado that a guest had left as a side, but it was past its prime. I had a few bites, however, and idk if it was due to that or just moving to the next stage too fast, but my stomach felt a bit uneasy after the meal, and all the new foods I had introduced that day. I also had a few spears of my fermented asparagus and several bites of another sauerkraut my friend had given me to try, which contain curcumin and black pepper. I indulged in a half cup of semi-weak coffee for the first time in three days, but didn’t make it past more than a few sips. Any of those sources could be the culprit. It was difficult to pinpoint since I introduced so many novel foods and liquids on the same day.
After discovering the distance, took a cab to a panel discussion on native corn with two women friends also staying at the hostel. Glad we opted for that route over walking uphill the entire way there, as it was sunny mid-day Oaxaca, and the dehydration/low blood sugar had begun to set in by the time we took our seats. Stayed for the discussion and a brief native dance of the Guelagetza, the annual festival that was taking place. Had a few glasses of water, and sampled a spoonful of some “miel nada más,” which was excellent, and provided me the boost I needed to make the trek back to the hostel in the sunny afternoon. Very parched after arriving, so drank a half liter of water, and had a cup of yogurt to get some protein and fat back into my system after the energy expenditure.
For dinner, had a bit more asparagus and sauerkraut in their juices with a cup of bone broth that contained a few pieces of stewed carrot and onion. Finshed up with a serving-and-a-half of yogurt that I opted to add a bit of tumeric to. Took a magnesium w/zinc supplement and added some himilayan salt to my water before bed to boost my electrolytes.
– Started the morning with a tall glass of water as I brewed some herbal tea (meant for digestion/constipation), which I added a few drops of stevia and a teaspoon of ghee to. After my qigong practice, had about a teaspoon of ACV and heated up just under a cup of bone broth and decided to try coffee again. After the bone broth, I sipped on the coffee – with sea salt added to balance out the acidity – but after I ingested about 4 oz’s worth, determined that this was probably the source of my slightly upset stomach the previous day. So I decided no more caffeine was best.
I then hit the road to look at an apartment and get some more bones for the last batch I potentially would be making at the hostel with my well-in place system, so you bet your ass I was going to make it count. Very thirsty by the time I got to the rotisserie restaurant, but still had a good talk with the sweet little owner-grandmother there.
Anyway, quenched my thirst with a tall glass of water when I returned, and got straight to work on the broth and fried up four eggs in ghee, this time with sauteed onion. Had some sauerkraut as a side, but – I think, largely because I forgot – I didn’t have any broth with the meal. Don’t know if it was because of this, or simply the cooked eggs just sitting in my stomach, but I felt like the food wasn’t moving through me like most other times I had eaten since on the diet.
For dinner I had a some asparagus juice to start, a cup and a half of broth with some of the stewed onion, then decided to move on the stage IV: cooked meat, actually three pan-fried sauteed shrimp that had been gifted to me two nights before, and kept warning me that shellfish goes bad very quickly. I used this rationale to advance stages maybe a few days early 😉 I think it was worth it, the garlic shrimp tasted amazing, and I made sure to remove the few kernels of whatever the small grain she cooked it with was. I had nearly a cup of yogurt for dessert with a touch of turmeric mixed in, but then decided I also should finish off the four asparagus spears I had left just to get some carbs. No magnesium supplement before bed, but seemed to sleep pretty well regardless.
– Began the morning with a tall glass of lime water, and then a few teaspoons of fermented asparagus juice, as I had already mentally committed to having a coffee this am. I strained my broth from the night before as I sipped some more water. With the few minutes this task had taken and the fact the pot was still brewing when I tried to get a coffee, actually had given myself nearly 90 minutes before consuming caffeine, which is supposed to deter the tendency to get anxiety or that cracked-out feeling later in the the day. I added Himalayan salt to cut the acidity roughly a teaspoon of ghee to the cup to get some calories in my system before starting my qigong routine. Don’t know if it was solely due to the coffee, but had a fairly normal bowel movement before practice, which was encouraging. I also noticed that the caffeine and fat seemed to energize me throughout the better part of the morning, definitely more than each day during week 1.
I certainly had largely given up preoccupations with fasting length and feeding windows, as my primary concerned turned to blocking muscle protein breakdown. In light of the this insight, the last several days I had been trying to consume some broth in a timely manner post-workout, in order to build what little muscle was possible. I continued that routine this morning, breaking my ~14hr fast with about a cup of the freshly stewed broth, adding a bit more asparagus juice in the mix. Figured I’d save the sauerkraut for later to have with the eggs I was about to buy from the natural market store.
I proceeded to sauté some white onion in ghee, and then fried three eggs with it, while paying mind that I didn’t overcook. Supplemented the meal with maybe a serving of sauerkraut, and finished with a bit under a cup of yogurt to balance out the fat component of the meal, as well as for the benefit of getting a few carbs from the sugar. However, this didn’t seem to boost my energy much. I think it was due mostly to lack of fat adaptability, still, as a had drank a fair amount of water all morning, and doubted it was a symptom of dehydration. Though it is possible I wasn’t drinking enough to keep even keel with the coffee, especially considering it is at the moment more diuretic than usual, as my depleted carb intake has been preventing water retention.
Napped for about an hour mid-afternoon, and then made dinner. Started with a bit of asparagus juice, and a cup of bone broth. Also had the last little piece of whitefish I still had leftover from the night before; unfortunately, I had already eaten all the shrimp 😦 Tried some carrot I had been fermenting, but it was hardly fermented, and seeing as raw veggies shouldn’t be introduced until stage 5 – and that I had barely toed the line onto stage 4 – decided to stop after one carrot stick. Instead, then, opted for some sauerkraut, and had about a serving of yogurt for dessert. Supplemented magnesium before bed.
Rushed to bathroom for a massive purge after I had already laid down… In an attempt at common courtesy, I flushed quickly after the first spurt to purge the air of the foul scent, thus failing to check the quality of the dookie. Big mistake, as I am now very interested to know what kind of toxins came out, because I haven’t had a bowel movement like that in years.
– Finally cracked on day nine, but it was premeditated. Had some artisanal white bread in the fridge that I had been gifted three days earlier, and looked far too lush to just throw away.
– Started the day as usual, with a bit of asparagus juice after a tall glass of water with lime, followed closely by coffee w/ghee and sea salt, and two krill oil capsules to maximize my energy. Walked to the park to work out. It was a good practice, but I still felt drained of energy while walking home. At that point, I committed to bring starches back into the equation. Had the usual cup of bone broth when I arrived home, followed by four eggs fried in ghee with sauteed onion. After a while I had some a few spoonfuls of sauerkraut to prime my stomach for the refined carbs that were about to hit it. I proceeded to slice to pieces of bread which I toasted, and ate one with queso manchego and the other with butter. This was also the first time I had cheese since starting the diet. I then had two bites of a piece of chocolate walnut banana bread I procured three days earlier as well for dessert. My system seemed to handle all these newly-introduced foods fine, and my stomach felt settled. I felt a bit lethargic, as usual since beginning the diet, but perhaps a bit more dehydrated than usual, as I nearly fainting upon getting up from laying down a few hours later.
I then had a mid-afternoon snack before qigong class at 5pm to energize myself, consisting of a cup of bone broth and a serving of yogurt. I re-upped with the same components post-workout, this time adding another slice of toasted bread with butter for dipping in the broth, and the second half-slice of banana bread for dessert along with the yogurt. Skipped the magnesium supplement before bed.
Similar diet to previous nine days, but no cheese, and added a bean tamale into the mix. After, I felt probably the most satiated I’ve felt since starting the diet, maybe because of the combination of the lard and the carbs. I also had a small piece of homemade dark chocolate with rosemary, which was the first time I reintroduced cacao.
Despite coming off diet, wanted to follow up by documenting one final day, as it provided some good insights. Even though I drank four glasses of the night before, and by my recollection the room was spinning a bit when I shut my eyes, I still felt better rested upon waking the next day than I had many of the nine days previous.
Second Attempt, Day 1:
– Tsp of homemade kombucha
– Fermented carrot juice
– Bone Broth (3-4 servings, with a few small pieces each of stewed carrot, onion and chicken)
– Yogurt (4 servings)
– Ginger tea with two tbsp raw honey
– Tbsp Fermented carrot juice
– 1/2 cup of Coffee
– Bone Broth (4 servings, with a few small pieces each of of stewed carrot, onion and chicken, like day one)
– Yogurt (3-4 servings)
– Ginger tea with one tbsp raw honey
– Tsp virgin coconut oil
– an old probiotic capsule
– Tbsp of fermented carrot juice
– Ginger tea w/Stevia
– Tbsp ACV
– 1.5 servings of chicken bone broth w/ a few bites of stewed veggies and meats
– A bit less than 1 serving of yogurt
– Ginger tea w/ tsp of raw, local honey
– 2 servings chicken bone broth w/ small piece of stewed carrot, onion and chicken
– 1 cup yogurt
– Solid, regular stool first thing which I rationalized to move to stage 3:
– Tbsp of fermented carrot juice
– Ginger tea w/stevia and tsp of ghee
– Tbsp ACV
– Krill oil capsule
– A generous serving of chicken bone broth
– Three eggs fried in ghee w/ well sauteed onion
– Coconut flour pancakes (2 eggs, 1.5 tbsp coconut flour) w/ ~tbsp raw honey
– 1.5 servings bone broth with one stewed carrot, quarter onion and one piece of chx
– One cup of plain, homemade yogurt
– Magnesium supplement
– 10 drops living silica
Interestingly, I noted that despite sleeping less than 7 hours, had more energy during the morning than three previous days. May be due to:
– The two cups of coffee I drank and hour after waking, added sea salt to both cups and tsp ghee to the latter)
– Fat adaptation setting in?
– But most likely, adding the coconut flour in the mix (literally ;), as my assumption was that the lack of energy was a “keto flu” symptom from cutting all grains and starches, and almost the entirety of the carb component, from my diet.
– (Last) probiotic capsule
– Tsp fermented carrot juice
– Tbsp ACV
– Two cups chx bone broth
– Four eggs fried in coconut oil w/ sauteed onion
– Tsp fermented carrot juice
– 1 1/2 cups chx bone broth with small piece of stewed meat, carrot
– ~2 servings yogurt w/ 1/2 tbsp raw honey
– 2 servings sauerkraut
– Tbsp fermented carrot juice
– 2 cups organic coffee w/ tbsp ghee