How Intermittent Fasting Caused My Insomnia and Belly Fat

by Ann Marie Michaels on October 17, 2011

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Fat belly's

I’ve been trying to solve a few health riddles lately, including insomnia and baby fat on my mid-section that won’t budge.

A lot of people like to tout intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. Turns out it’s not such a good idea, at least in my experience. I know, I know, I’m an n of one. But stay with me.

I wrote a post last week about my revelation that excess cortisol (from hypoglycemia) was causing both problems: Is It Wheat Belly or Cortisol Belly?

Everyone’s badmouthing gluten these days, and it seems like every time I turn around, someone’s telling me that eliminating wheat from my diet will help me lose weight. But what wheat haters typically don’t account for all the other factors at play, including hormonal imbalances and nutrient deficiencies. Hormonal imbalances and nutrient deficiencies can be caused by physical and psychological stress, including skipping meals or not eating enough at meals, and malabsorption.

Yes, there are many people who cannot digest gluten. I was one of those people 15 years ago when I was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant. I spent two years healing my gut and could eventually eat wheat again with no symptoms. For those people who are gluten-intolerant, they do need to avoid gluten. But I don’t believe everyone needs to avoid gluten. Of course, that’s another blog post.

In this blog post, I’m going to focus on my current interest in how skipping meals and latent mineral deficiencies interplay to cause belly fat (among other problems including insomnia, adrenal fatigue, diabetes, etc.)

I’m not aiming to write a post that is a conclusive treatise on the right way to eat for all people. I just want to share what’s been going on with me, the discoveries I’ve been making lately, and how I’m helping myself.

A History of Beating Up My Adrenal Glands

After decades of drinking caffeine, smoking, overworking, skipping meals, and drinking too much alcohol, I’ve really done a number on my adrenal glands.

However… I’m slowly but surely getting on track. I quit smoking in 2007 when I found out I was pregnant (I never smoked a lot, maybe 1-2 cigarettes a day — but that’s too much!). I quit coffee and all forms of caffeine last year.

I quit drinking wine every day a couple months ago (I’ll have an occasional glass of wine now. The last time I had a glass of wine was a week ago when we went out to dinner.) I also stopped eating chocolate and carbs at night.

And now I’m doing my best to try to relax, get enough sleep, and to not overwork.

What Happened When I Stopped Skipping Meals

I also stopped skipping meals a couple of months ago, per the advice of Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure. Eating 3 square meals per day, along with taking amino acids, is what help me nix my daily wine consumption.

Here’s what is fascinating to me: all this time when I was skipping meals, I thought I just wasn’t hungry. I’d read about how intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, so when I skipped a meal (usually it was breakfast or lunch,) I felt proud of myself for not needing to eat.

When I quit drinking coffee, I immediately noticed that I starting feeling hungry in the mornings. This was something I had never experienced. Duh — caffeine is an appetite suppressant.

But until recently, I still wasn’t really very hungry. I would eat breakfast, but not very much, or I’d skip breakfast altogether. Or I’d eat breakfast but skip lunch.

Some of my readers commented that they thought I wasn’t eating enough back when I posted a log of what I was eating. I protested that I just wasn’t hungry!

Zinc and Magnesium Deficiency

I recently learned that zinc deficiency can cause you to lose your appetite.

I found out that I was deficient in zinc by taking the zinc tally test. (You can order a Zinc tally test online: Metagenics, Zinc Tally, 4 fl oz (120 ml). If the liquid tastes like water, you’re deficient. If it tastes really bad, you have enough zinc.)

Why would I be deficient in zinc? I eat plenty of red meat, liver and shellfish.

Ah ha! Alcohol depletes the body of zinc.

I also learned that drinking alcohol rapidly depletes the body of magnesium (by the way, sugar, including chocolate, caffeine, and white flour do the same thing).

Magnesium is one of the main nutrients needed by the adrenal glands. Magnesium deficiency causes a whole host of other problems including insomnia, insulin resistance and diabetes, and PMS.

It’s actually pretty easy to become deficient in magnesium because our soil don’t have a lot of magnesium, thanks to modern chemical fertilizer. If you are eating low carb, it’s even easier to become deficient. Some of the best sources of magnesium are whole grains (especially wheat).

If you’re eating low carb and avoiding whole grains, you need to make sure you eat a lot of nuts. And they have to be soaked/dried nuts, because unsoaked nuts contain phytic acid which block minerals. If you don’t eat a lot of soaked nuts, other good sources include kelp and other sea vegetables and nettles and dandelion. Not exactly the kinds of things most of us eat every day.

There are lots of other things that can cause magnesium deficiency, including eating a diet rich in saturated fat (uh oh — that would be me!) and being low in vitamin D. I need to write a whole post about magnesium deficiency, what causes it, and how to rectify it.

A Vicious Cycle

Here’s how it would typically go for me: I would skip breakfast or lunch and by 5 pm, I’d be starving. I’d reach for a glass of wine because my serotonin and blood sugar levels were so low. (I used to love to have a glass of wine while I was making dinner.) But my instant fix resulted in long-term damage.

The alcohol crutch caused zinc deficiency and magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is needed to produce serotonin, so now I needed even more alcohol. And the zinc deficiency made me lose my appetite and I’d skip more meals. Skipping meals was making me hypoglycemic, which was stressing my adrenals and producing excess cortisol. Excess cortisol results in weight gain, particularly belly fat.

You can see how skipping meals can cause belly fat. You skip meals, you ignore your hunger, you reach for coffee or chocolate or wine (or cigarettes or what-have-you) to keep going, and the blood sugar crash and stimulants cause your adrenal glands to pump out cortisol. Excess cortisol = belly fat.

The insomnia is caused by high cortisol at night, which again is caused by not eating enough throughout the day. Insomnia is also caused by magnesium deficiency.

And even if you don’t drink, it can still happen to you. Maybe you’re doing intermittent fasting or skipping meals or not just not eating enough at meals, and you reach for chocolate or caffeine to give yourself an artificial boost. Caffeine and sugar also cause the body to waste magnesium.

Nutrition to the Rescue!

The first step was to stop skipping meals and take amino acids to help me lose the cravings for wine. I was able to do this in a matter of a few weeks, thanks to Julia Ross’s book, The Mood Cure.

I started taking a zinc supplement and B vitamins to replenish what my body had lost. I started taking a multivitamin called Now Foods True Balance, plus extra zinc and a B complex supplement.

I was still trying to solve the insomnia. I found that when I took magnesium before bed, I slept through the night (I have found that Seriphos helps, but not on its own — only when I take it with the magnesium). I’m also going to add this tonight (it just came in the mail): De-Stress 30 Caps – Biotics. (I’ll let you know how it goes.)

I also ordered a chelated magnesium supplement (magnesium glycinate) which just came today. Magnesium citrate is not very easy to absorb and can cause loose stools. (More on this in an upcoming post about magnesium deficiency).

In addition, I’m also taking an herbal adrenal supplement, as well as 5HTP and melatonin in the evening.

High Cortisol and Hypoglycemia

When I discovered that I have hypoglycemia and excess cortisol (verified by a saliva test,) I wanted to learn more about cortisol and blood sugar. I then read a book called The Cortisol Connection Diet by Shawn Talbott.

While I don’t agree with everything in the book (he advocates a lower fat diet,) I decided I’d try eating more often as he advocates in the book. He recommends eating 3 meals a day (as Julia Ross does) but for those of us with messed up cortisol and screwy blood sugar, he also recommends punctuating those meals with balanced snacks.

I think it’s kind of similar to Matt Stone’s RRARF plan of overfeeding in order to restore metabolism.

Eating More Often to Avoid Hypoglycemia and to Lower Cortisol

The idea is to eat more often so you don’t have a hypoglycemic crash. This way you avoid those cortisol surges every time your blood sugar drops. In theory, if you can keep your cortisol from spiking, you can help your adrenals heal AND you can help stop that nasty belly fat from accumulating. And, in theory, when your adrenals aren’t pumping out cortisol in the middle of the night, your insomnia should go away.

Here’s how the diet plan goes:

7 am – Snack
9 am – Breakfast
12 noon – Snack
2 pm – Lunch
5 pm – Snack
7 pm – Dinner

I guess it seems kind of silly to have to remind yourself to eat every 2-3 hours. But for me, this is necessary. I was so used to going for 6 or 8 hours, or even as long as 16 hours without eating (from dinner to lunch,) it’s not easy for me to break away from work and eat. So this schedule really, really helps.

Here’s a sample day*:

7 am – 2 TBS Fermented cod liver oil/ high-vitamin butter oil blend, decaf coffee with raw milk
9 am – 2 eggs fried in butter, 1 piece of sprouted wheat bread with butter and jam
12 noon – 1 apple, 2 teaspoons peanut butter
2 pm – Grilled cheese on sprouted wheat, 1 cup of raw milk
5 pm – 1 banana, 1 handful soaked cashews, 1 cup kombucha
7 pm – Pork sausage, soaked brown rice and lentils cooked in bone broth, sour cream and naturally fermented raw sauerkraut, 1 cup kombucha
9 pm – 1 cup of raw milk

I’m also drinking lots of water, kombucha and decaf herbal tea throughout the day. It’s important to stay hydrated, particularly here in Las Vegas where it is very dry.

Lastly, I’m not exercising except for walking. I’m also wearing a sleep mask at night and making sure I get 8+ hours of sleep. I go to bed as early as I can each night and I sleep as late as I can every day. The whole idea here is to reduce stress.

Reactions and Results

So far I’m absolutely blown away at how much more I am eating. I would have never eaten this much back when I was skipping meals and drinking wine. I feel calm, rested, relaxed, and most of all, happy! I sing and laugh a lot more these days.

It’s so interesting to me because I honestly wasn’t hungry before (see above) and secondly, I thought it was bad to eat all these carbs. I think so many of us have become downright carb-phobic these days. I was forcing myself to skip meals, thinking I was doing something good. No wonder I craved wine and sweets at night — I was starving!

I’m still pleased to report that I have zero cravings for wine or chocolate. Every time I go to the store, I pass the wine and sweets and they hold no appeal whatsoever.

The insomnia is beginning to dissipate. It’s too soon to report on how my belly fat is faring. I measured myself today. However, I think it will take some time.

I’ll continue to keep you posted.

Oh, and I need to order a thermometer so I can start taking my temperature throughout the day a la Matt Stone and Dr. Rind. I’ll start tracking that, too.

* In case you were wondering, I’m not on GAPS anymore (obviously). Neither is Kate. I decided it was too difficult with moving to Las Vegas (we moved last Sunday). Seth is on the full GAPS diet and will stay on it indefinitely. He feels great and has already lost an inch or two. We may put him back on the intro diet sometime down the road when things aren’t so hectic.

Photo credit: Fat belly’s by Yersinia on Flickr
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{ 114 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgan October 17, 2011 at 7:36 PM

I’m really looking forward to your post about magnesium deficiency! I used to take CalMag citrate before bed and it made such a difference in my anxiety and sleep (among other things). Glad things are looking up for you!

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Sarah B. October 17, 2011 at 7:38 PM

I started drinking water with apple cider vinegar in the morning…after a day or so I started feeling extremely hungry. I realized I had not been eating enough…I just wasn’t hungry. I think the ACV helped cleanse my liver (or start to) and I was able to feel hungry.
I’m excited to read about the belly fat…I haven’t been able to lose mine and have a hard time sleeping. Definitely cortisol and adrenals. Thanks for this post!

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deb October 17, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Nice detective work AM! I use magnesium malate and do use Natural calm but not too much!!! Accidents will happen….
:-)
Good for you on figuring out what works, I can’t wait to see you!
xo
deb

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cheeseslave October 17, 2011 at 8:52 PM

LOL Debbie!!!

I’m going to try the magnesium glycinate tonight. I’ll let you know how it is.

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cheeseslave October 17, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Sorry I meant IONIC magnesium — that’s the one I bought.

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Tiffany @ The Coconut Mama October 17, 2011 at 8:57 PM

AM – Would dolomite be a good supplement for Magnesium?

I’m still eating a small snack before bed and it is really helping me with my sleep! I too have a hard time eating enough throughout the day, but I’m working on that =)

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cheeseslave October 17, 2011 at 9:27 PM

@Tiffany I am not sure about dolomite. The ones I have read about are magnesium glycinate, magnesium taurate, and ionic magnesium.

I thought I had ordered magnesium glycinate but I just looked and I had changed my mind in mid-order — I ordered ionic magnesium made by Trace Minerals Research.

The other thing that is good is magnesium oil which is absorbed transdermally. I’ll post more about this when I post about magnesium.

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Stephanie October 17, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Glad you’re figuring out your health hurdles – one thing though is if you’re drinking black tea, I would cut that out if your goal is stay hydrated here in the desert. Just drink water or water with lemon, since black tea contains tannins that dehydrate you and kombucha is non-hydrating as well.

~Steph x

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cheeseslave October 17, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Hi, Stephanie

I don’t drink black tea. I avoid all caffeine. I’m just drinking herbal teas like peppermint and Roobios.

I drink kombucha for the probiotics, B vitamins and enzymes. I only drink a cup or two per day. Mostly I drink water and herbal tea.

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FarmerKimberly October 17, 2011 at 9:17 PM

Not eating enough is a huge problem for me. I often find myself saying that I forgot to eat lunch and people think I am crazy. “How can you forget to eat lunch?” Well, because I keep busy and I don’t get hungry and . . .

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cheeseslave October 17, 2011 at 9:29 PM

@FarmerKimberly I can totally relate!!! I did that for DECADES!

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Ann October 17, 2011 at 10:29 PM

I got very excited two years ago about treating magnesium deficiency, but opted to go with a magnesium chloride lotion. It comes in a pump bottle, and 8 sprays from the pump bottle contains 100 mg of elemental magnesium chloride, which is absorbed transdermally. I chose to go this route for two reasons, the first being that it was one less supplement that I had to swallow and metabolize, and the second being that being absorbed by the skin made it available to my body in a much more immediate way. I was told by a Naturopath that the transdermal magnesium is the quickest way to increase and maintain your magnesium levels. Some days I can feel it work within about 15-30 minutes after application. I feel calmer and less stressed. Like you, I do this before bed to assist with sleep.

I have also learned recently that epsom salts can be used transdermally as well, in bathwater. My son has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and we are on a very strict stretching and flexibility regime with him. One of the rewards he looks forward to is a nice long, warm soak in epsom salts water. I use three cups for a half-filled tub of water.

I get my magnesium lotion from http://www.magnesiumdirect.com

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cheeseslave October 17, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Hi, Ann,

Yes I ordered some magnesium oil as well. It has not come in the mail yet but I look forward to trying it! I’ve heard very good things about it.

Doesn’t it make you wonder about all this other garbage we put on our skin? I mean, if magnesium can be absorbed so quickly via our skin, what happens when we rub on lotions with a bunch of chemicals?!

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cheeseslave October 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM

Oooh after reading on that site, now I can’t wait to get my oil!!!

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Ann October 17, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Yes, and I’ve thought about that also since I started using this. And the things we DON’T mean to rub on our skin that we probably come into contact with without even knowing it!

The oil I ordered has an added agent to help it absorb – something called “skinSORB-5 Absorption Technology”, and it does cause a bit of prickling (my adult daughter screamed like a banshee when I put some on her foot) but I don’t even really feel much anymore. It doesn’t seem to bother my husband or son at all.

The other thing you might notice is the “stickiness” of it. It’s not really sticky, but I can’t think of another way to describe it. My husband says it’s like when you step out of the ocean and the sea water dries on your skin, does that make sense? It could be annoying I suppose. The literature that comes with the product says that you will have absorbed all you are going to in 30 minutes, and if the feeling of it on your skin bothers you, you can always put it on 30 minutes before you shower and then wash it off.

My sister can’t stand the stuff and uses an oral mag that her naturopath recommended. She was told to take it until she experiences loose stool from it, and then back of slightly. I keep wondering, what would I rather do, have my skin sticky or have diarrhea?

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AmandaS October 1, 2013 at 10:52 PM

I ordered a large amount of magnesium chloride, and diluted the crystals with demineralised water to make my own much cheaper magnesium oil. (65% or less dilution, dilute more if its itchy…you’re deficient that’s why its reacting)

I use it as a deodorant – only when I’m not shaving though!!!
and I rub it around my waist, front and back.

Mark Sircus has written a fair amount on magnesium oil if you want to google him.

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Vanessa October 17, 2011 at 11:02 PM

having an epsom salt bath before bed is really good to help sleep. I always thought it was the fact that it was helping you detox that made you tired, but maybe it is just the magnesium is needed by the body?

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Yes, it’s probably both.

Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral — it helps us destress, helps muscles relax, and helps us sleep.

And anything we do that aids the body in detoxification should help us sleep better.

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Otter October 17, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Very interesting, I also went back and read your Wheat Belly post.
I’ve noticed that taking probiotics before bed keeps me from waking up at 4AM. After reading this post I googled around and it seems there is a correlation (mostly in fish, but also in humans).

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Hmm I wonder why. I have also read that people who take a liver support supplement such as milk thistle find that it helps them sleep at night. We do detoxify at night, and most of the detoxification happens via the gut so that makes sense. Maybe I should drink kefir or eat yogurt as my bedtime snack.

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Skye October 17, 2011 at 11:52 PM

How weird that eating a diet high in saturated fat depletes magnesium… I’d never heard that before. Funny, though, because when I recently had everything tested the one thing that was low was magnesium. And, no doubt like most people on here, I eat a lot – and I mean A LOT – of saturated fat. ; ) I couldn’t understand the low magnesium, but I do now! Ha! Oh well. I’ll just have to keep supplementing. The saturated fat consumption isn’t about to change!

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Michelle October 18, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I was wondering the exact same thing! I thought saturated fat was good? The more I read these blogs, the more confused I become. I read Eat Fat Lose Fat and have been taking the coconut oil before each meal as recommended. My head is spinning….

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM

@Michelle

Saturated fat is good!

However, minerals are also very important and most of us are deficient. The people Dr. Weston Price studied ate 4 times the amount of minerals people got back in his day (1920s and 30s). We get a lot less today.

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Michelle October 18, 2011 at 1:13 PM

I am just curious how your weight is now that you have been eating more. (You do not have to answer that if you do not want ), LOL. I know you have been trying to lose, so I am just curious if eating more and lowering cortisol has helped you lose any. Also, do you do any sort of exercising (besides parenting :)))

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 1:30 PM

I have not weighed myself. We are in Vegas and I packed the scale into the storage bin.

However, I am the same size/measurements and am wearing the same pants/dress size as I wore last May when I had lost the weight on 4 Hour Body. Actually I just measured and I lost 1/2 inch in my waist since the last time I measured.

It’s only been a week since I have been eating 6-7 times per day so we’ll see what happens!

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Oh and no as I said above I’m not exercising other than cooking, housework and walking (but not a whole lot of walking — I’m too busy with the other stuff and working)

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Anne October 18, 2011 at 1:36 AM

Thanks for sharing! :-)

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Betsy October 18, 2011 at 2:43 AM

I’ve used De-Stress. Great stuff!

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Josefina October 18, 2011 at 2:57 AM

I was under the impression that bone broth was a good source of minerals, including magnesium.
In our family we’ve opted to eat grains processed only as it seems very few traditional peoples ate their grains whole (souring, soaking and sprouting alone don’t seem to eliminate the bad stuff in the bran and germ).
I’m assuming the magnesium is lost in that process.

A very good and timely post. I always tell people who don’t eat enough, to eat more. And I’m no longer amazed that people who complain about overweight often restrict their calorie intake. And those who are healthily skinny tend to eat a lot of food. That’s no coincidence.

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Yes, bone broth does have magnesium. It also has a lot of calcium, and from what I have read we need to have the right ratio of calcium/magnesium — about 2 to 1. Most of us have much more calicum than magnesium these days.

100 years ago, this was much easier to do — before the advent of modern chemical fertilizers. It was easy to get enough magnesium because our soil was not depleted.

Nowadays, it’s much more difficult. If you eat a lot of dairy like I do, you’re getting even more calcium and not enough magnesium. Cut out whole grains and that’s even less magnesium. If you add in wine, sugar, chocolate (cocoa has a lot of magnesium also a ton of sugar) and/or caffeine, now you’re seriously wasting magnesium.

And yes, refined grains do not have magnesium, which is why I don’t think it’s a good idea to eat white rice or white flour. Whole grains do need to be soaked/sprouted/fermented, however, to reduce the phytic acid which blocks minerals.

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Josefina October 18, 2011 at 9:30 AM

While refined grains don’t contain minerals, I don’t see that a problem. For example, northern people have relied on lichen as a staple food, which besides pure carbohydrate, don’t contain much in the way of micronutrients.

People still maintained good health because they included other nutrient dense foods in their diets. There are quite a few examples of diets based on refined grains, African millet porridge for example. I haven’t yet come across cultures that specifically ate their grains unsifted. However, refined grains still need to be fermented, which is why store bought flours won’t do.

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Skye October 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM

I’ve been making that fermented African millet porridge (ogi) a lot recently, and I never thought of it being “refined”, but it’s true – you do throw out all of the bran surry, which is quite a bit of the millet! You’re left with just the fun millet flour, I guess you could call it.

I would never tell anyone it was ok to eat white flour, or eat it myself, but I have to say that while reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration I got the distinct feeling that it’s the not actually the white flour that’s the problem – it’s eating so much white flour that it replaces high vitamin and mineral foods.

So, in a way I guess I’m agreeing with you Josefina – even though I don’t want to because refined grains are the enemy! ; ) If you eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods, I think you probably can eat refined grains without doing a lot of harm. ALTHOUGH, that said, you can’t escape the fact that refined grains shoot into your blood stream a whole lot faster than whole grains.

Just out of interested, what processed or refined grains do you eat? In what form? And how do you prepare them?

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Skye October 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM

*”fine” millet flour, that should be ; )

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 10:36 AM

@Skye

You are correct! This is why Dr. Price called white flour, sugar and vegetable oils “the displacing foods of modern commerce”. They displace the traditional, nutrient-dense foods.

Here’s what we eat:

Sprouted whole wheat sourdough bread (Alvarado St. Bakery). If I could find a decent whole grain sourdough bread in stores, I would buy it — but I haven’t found one. I’d make my own but right now we don’t eat enough bread and my husband is on GAPS (will do maybe in the spring).

Sprouted whole wheat or spelt crackers – I make them — recipe is here: http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/05/26/sprouted-whole-wheat-crackers/ and you can find sprouted flour here: http://villagegreennetwork.com/marketplace/flours-grains-legumes?pid=1” target=”_blank” I also buy whole wheat sourdough crackers sometimes if I’ve run out of my homemade crackers.

Soaked oatmeal (I just bought some sprouted oatmeal from To Your Health – you can find them here: http://villagegreennetwork.com/marketplace/flours-grains-legumes?pid=1” target=”_blank”)

Soaked granola (from Joshewea’s Garden)

Soaked/sprouted cornmeal (also from To Your Health http://villagegreennetwork.com/marketplace/flours-grains-legumes?pid=1” target=”_blank”) or sometimes we eat storebought corn tortillas (they are soaked in lime — just not as long as we would like so I prefer to buy the To Your Health sprouted cornmeal and soak it)

Sprouted/soaked brown rice (again from To Your Health, or if I run out of that I buy regular brown rice and soak it in rice soaking water)

Brown rice pasta — occasionally.

Occasionally we will eat soaked whole wheat couscous.

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Skye October 19, 2011 at 4:36 PM

AWESOME – thanks so much for sharing all of this! Very helpful. I also wish desperately there was a whole grain sourdough available in stores.

And of course that is what Weston A. Price calls them, the “displacing foods”! I’d never thought of what he was literally saying. ; )

One other thing I would remind you and everyone of, even though I’m sure you all remember it – Weston A. Price found that it was the FRESHNESS of the grain that made the biggest difference to the amount of health conferred by that grain. Freshly ground grains were loaded with their natural vitamin properties and could alleviate disease, whereas stale grains did not. So never buy grains from grain bins, and if you can, get a grain mill and grind your own grains fresh! (I’m saving for that Jupiter grain mill Sally Fallon recommends in Nourishing Traditions – I don’t think it can be beaten)

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cheeseslave October 19, 2011 at 6:18 PM

@Skye

“Weston A. Price found that it was the FRESHNESS of the grain that made the biggest difference to the amount of health conferred by that grain. Freshly ground grains were loaded with their natural vitamin properties and could alleviate disease, whereas stale grains did not. So never buy grains from grain bins, and if you can, get a grain mill and grind your own grains fresh! (I’m saving for that Jupiter grain mill Sally Fallon recommends in Nourishing Traditions – I don’t think it can be beaten)”

That is SO TRUE!!!! This is why I invested in a grain mill (which unfortunately is packed away right now in a storage bin until we move to our new house). I also plan to get an oat flaker/roller so I can roll my own oats. In the meantime I buy sprouted oats and sprouted flour from To Your Health. It’s freshly ground/flaked and then shipped. I store it in the freezer.

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Skye October 19, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Yes, an oat roller! I want one of them too! How amazing to eat your own freshly rolled oats!!! Definitely going to start buying To Your Health flours in the mean time as well – I went to their site when you posted the link earlier and couldn’t believe how many more flours they have since last time I looked! And obviously they’re an amazing place to buy sprouted grain when you do have a grain mill. Get that baby outta storage!!! ; )

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cheeseslave October 19, 2011 at 7:56 PM

It will be in storage until the spring. My husband is on GAPS and we’re living in a condo until we buy a home in the spring. So I’ll continue to live off of To Your Health grains for a while!

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 10:28 AM

@Josefina

Refined grains don’t contain minerals, it’s true. You can get minerals elsewhere but how many people are eating lichen on a daily basis?

Further, refined grains such as white flour can spike blood sugar, which causes a crash which causes the adrenals to pump cortisol. This makes us waste magnesium.

Traditional cultures did sift/sprout/soak and/or ferment their grains. But there is a big difference between sifted and refined.

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Josefina October 18, 2011 at 3:11 AM

I forgot to mention about loosing weight after starting to up your calorie intake. According to the study ‘Biology of Human Starvation’, weight gain typically increase for a period of three months after eating more. At that point, there should be a steady weight loss. I’ve never had a weight problem despite being hypoglycemic so can’t give you a personal account of whether that happens in most cases or not. I’m sure everyone’s different.

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Yes, Matt Stone writes about that on his blog. Interesting stuff!

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Andrea October 18, 2011 at 6:10 AM

Is there any danger in taking a magnesium supplement while pregnant? I seem to remember reading somewhere that it can keep your baby from eating enough calcium.

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 9:21 AM

Not that I know of. Most of us have too much calcium in relation to magnesium.

From what I have read, adequate magnesium can help prevent a lot of things in pregnancy/childbirth from preclampsia to gestational diabetes.

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Erica October 20, 2011 at 1:09 AM

I take a combined calcium/magnesium supplement. Through four pregnancies, it’s helped me with hydration, swelling, sleep (I get insomnia if I don’t take it), Charlie horses, and blood pressure, and I’m guessing other things too, like stools.

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Amy McDaniel October 18, 2011 at 6:13 AM

I was wondering if you were still take Seriphos for your adrenal glands and belly fat and if it was working for you.

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Yes I am taking Seriphos to help me sleep at night (which in turn should help the bely fat). I also started on De-Stress last night, and I’m taking melatonin, 5HTP, and magnesium.

I’m still waking up at night — lately it’s been closer to 3 or 4 am. Grr! I woke up last night hungry, so I had some cheese and milk, and took some melatonin and De-Stress and went back to sleep.

I decided this morning to cut out the 1-2 cups of decaf. I doubt that is having an effect but you don’t know until you try. It does still have caffeine. I’m also going to increase the magnesium today and take an epsom salt bath before bed.

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Megh October 18, 2011 at 6:40 AM

Wow, there is so much information packed into this post! Thank you so much for sharing — it gives me a lot to think about. My husband’s been on a weight plateau for a long time; I hoped that GAPS would help with that but it doesn’t seem to have made a lick of difference. He really wants to lose the beer belly weight, but in a healthy way, and we’ve yet to figure out what that is. I am going to have to do a lot more research based on your observations here, and maybe I can figure out something that he can try that will work better for him. Thank you again!

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Marina October 18, 2011 at 6:47 AM

not eating enough is a problem for me too! I always feel a lot better when I have 3 meals, and 3 snacks. But then when you are tired, you don’t have the energy to make yourself something, and don’t eat then..but I know you have to eat to have that energy!!! :) i always feel great when we go to an all inclusive 1 week vacation and I eat a LOT and feel very great, and don’t gain any weight because we swim, bike, etc a lot too.

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Yeah when we went to Italy for a week, I ate TONS and felt great.

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momawake October 18, 2011 at 7:14 AM

Here’s another reason to lower your cortisol level. Just saw this today from Natural News.
http://www.naturalnews.com/033895_cortisol_bone_loss.html

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Erica October 18, 2011 at 7:16 AM

Hi Ann Marie,

Do you make your own bread, or do you buy bread? If so, which brands do you think is best?

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 8:59 AM

I haven’t been making my own bread because my husband is on GAPS and he is gluten-intolerant (so even before GAPS he couldn’t have gluten).

I am going to be making him coconut flour bread and almond flour bread.

For Kate and myself, I buy sprouted bread from Alvarado St. Bakery. I would love to make homemade sourdough but it will have to wait until Seth has recovered (or at least until he doesn’t crave it anymore).

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Jennifer Scribner, NTP October 18, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Excellent post! What a great example of you share about how we can suppress our bodies signals about what we need, while thinking we’re doing something great. I think intermittent fasting can work for people who are already really healthy, but for those of us in blood sugar and adrenal recovery, which is most of us, eating regularly and often is necessary.

Also – we’ve just started GAPS and it’s definitely for a time when things are settled!

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM

The sad thing is that so many people out there are recommending super-low carb and intermittent fasting for people like us.

And I don’t know very many people who aren’t in blood sugar and adrenal recovery.

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NancyO October 18, 2011 at 8:49 AM

This post and the others in this vein define my roller coaster. The trials I’ve done with grain-free, nearly no carb, calorie confusion (I could go on ad nauseum) landed me squarely in nutritional no man’s land when I hit menopause. A recent bout with adrenal fatigue, mineral defiency, coupled with a thickening middle (I’ve never had a weight problem other than being under weight at times) had me more confused than ever! Your posts have been timely for me! Thanks!

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Morgan October 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Do you think you could include some magnesium in pregnancy related facts in the upcoming post? I did some late night googling (shame on me, I know) and was very surprised by how magnesium seems to tie together lots of ‘little’ or seemingly unrelated issues. You might have opened Pandora’s box!
Thank you!!!

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cheeseslave October 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Yes, I will!

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Nicole October 19, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Great post! Since you haven’t mentioned your thyroid I’m assuming that it is not an issue. However, I realized that I have many symptoms of adrenal fatigue (not tested) plus hypothyroidism (tested). Criss Kresser (the healthy skeptic) wrote a great article about hypothyroidism and mention that the piturary and adrendals have a role in its function.

I look forward to your posts on magnesium and I’ll start taking mine at night too!

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cheeseslave October 19, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Hi, Nicole,

Yes, I had my adrenals and thyroid tested. My cortisol is normal in the morning, low in the mid-day, low in the evening, and rising (in range but high) at night.

Thyroid is normal to low-normal. (T4 is normal, sypmtoms of thyroid deficiency are minimal. T3 is normal, but lower than optimal. TSH is normal.) It also says I don’t have Hashimoto’s.

I think what I really need to focus on is healing the adrenals and then the thryroid will balance.

I’ll test again in a month or so and see how I’m doing.

I used the transdermal magnesium (magnesium oil) last night and I slept great! I woke up once but that was because my daughter fell out of the bed. :-( But I fell right back to sleep. I was also amazed this morning because I had such a perfect bowel movement. I’m excited to use it again tonight and see how I sleep! (Maybe I should give my daughter some too so she goes to sleep earlier!)

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Steven Wright October 19, 2011 at 6:50 AM

I too had a zinc deficiency, I used the zinc tally taste test and had similar results (tasted like water). My biggest gripe was not being able to smell or reduced taste. It was amazing what happened after supplementing for about 6 weeks. I literally hadn’t been able to smell in over a year. My story on it is here
http://scdlifestyle.com/2010/05/could-zinc-deficiency-be-robbing-you-of-your-taste-and-smell/

I agree on the magnesium deficiency! If your really wondering about cortisol production I would recommend getting a 24hr saliva test done. It’ll run you about 150-200 but will give you clear direction if your high/low, your other hormones are out of whack (mimicking a cortisol problem which is what happened to me), or if your release curve is reversed. Diagnos-Techs lab makes a great one.

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cheeseslave October 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Hi, Steven,

Thanks for your post! I think it’s so interesting that we can be zinc deficient eating a traditional foods diet. But if we have digestive issues, or if we consume caffeine or alcohol or take various drugs — it can destroy our zinc levels.

Good suggestion — I didn’t get the 24-hour saliva test done (5 tests) — I just did the one that tests 4 times. I’m going to give it another month or so on my new protocol and then I’ll retest, and I will do the 24-hour test.

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Amy October 19, 2011 at 8:03 AM

I’m glad you’re revising your stances on carbs and dieting. I’ve seen major gains from being unrestrictive with my eating. You’ll probably realize, once you do, that you don’t need large amounts of saturated fat. My “happy point” is pretty moderate – plenty of carbs, some protein, a moderate amount of fat.

One warning, though: since you’ve been low-carb you may experience rebound weight gain once you start eating carbs again. From following Matt’s blog, I can say that people following low-carb diets and IF have seen the most amount of weight gain once they start following the plan (long-term dieters do, too). The metabolism takes time to heal. Just be prepared in case. The solution, if that happens, is making sure your fat levels are not too high.

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cheeseslave October 19, 2011 at 12:10 PM

@Amy Thanks good tips.

I haven’t been low-carb since May when I stopped doing 4 Hour Body so I don’t know if that helps anything.

I’m trying to be moderate and eat a really balanced diet. I’m trying not to eat as much with fat and I’m increasing my carbs. I still end up eating 50-60% fat as hard as I try.

However, I’ve been doing this for over a week now and I haven’t gained — in fact, my pants feel looser. So we’ll see what happens!

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Michelle October 19, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Reading these comments just affirms that there is not perfect diet for everybody. It is a process of trial and error and finding what works best for you! Personally, the more fat I eat (not protein, but fat from avacado, coconut, nuts, etc) the more weight I lose. However, carbs make me bloat, even though I even take digestive enzymes before each meal and probiotics daily. Plus, I really don’t understand how somebody following WAPF could possibly reduce fat, with all the full-fat dairy and butter and cream! ;)

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Skye October 19, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Why would you want to limit your fat, Ann Marie? Interested. My fat level is also around 50-60%, and I don’t think I’d be able to lower it from that either! But I feel really good at that level, and it’s the level I’ve arrived at naturally by following what my body wants (usually lots of butter and whole milk!).

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cheeseslave October 19, 2011 at 6:19 PM

I guess I have just been watching the fat since I’m increasing the carbs. When I was eating lower carb, I ate more fat.

We’ll see how it goes!

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Skye October 19, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Oh, of course. Makes sense!

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amy October 20, 2011 at 3:37 PM

It’s my personal feeling that the WAPF puts a bit too much emphasis on fats. Sure you don’t want to go too low, but too high has its downsides, too. Matt has pointed out that high-fat items like butter actually are very low in minerals, so when you get 50% (or more in many cases) of your calories in fat you are missing out on a lot of minerals. He thinks (and I agree) that you’re better off getting more of your calories from mineral-rich foods. I can’t take CLO, but for people who take that, you probably don’t need to be relying on butter for vitamin A either. Now I tend to use fat like most people’s grandmas did: a pat on toast or rice, rather than drowning food in butter.

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cheeseslave October 20, 2011 at 5:07 PM

@Amy

The Weston A. Price Foundation states that fat consumption really depends on the person. Some people need more and some people need less. However, they recommend more fat than what the USDA does.

WAPF also ecommends more *saturated* fat. The USDA is saying we should drink 1% milk and avoid saturated fats like butter, cream, cheese, bacon and eggs, and they say we should only use oils (not fats) like canola oil.

I don’t think Matt Stone recommends any particular combination of macronutrients. He doesn’t promote or tear down any macronutrient. He promotes the “High Everything Diet” and is always saying, “Just eat the food!”

I disagree with you that most people’s grandmas only used a pat of butter on toast or rice. It’s true, they didn’t drown their toast in butter, but they did cook their eggs in plenty of bacon grease. I personally find that one little pat of butter doesn’t do jack on my toast. I don’t put a whole stick on but I use enough to really enjoy it (usually anywhere from 2 teaspoons to a tablespoon).

If you look at an old cookbook from the turn of the century, you’ll see recipes containing lots and lots of saturated fat — from Eggs Benedict made with lots of butter, pies and doughnuts fried in lard, cream-based soups and almost all of their “salads” seem to contain mayonnaise.

Regarding cod liver oil, Dr. Weston Price always gave people cod liver oil AND high-vitamin butter oil because they work synergistically.

Lastly, the food we ate 100 years ago was much richer in minerals because they weren’t using modern chemical fertilizers. We also were not exposed to as much fluoride and mercury, which displace minerals.

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amy October 20, 2011 at 5:32 PM

I definitely agree with a lot of this, and I think demineralized soil is a big problem, but I don’t think having a lot of butter addresses this. I take a good multi but it would be preferable to remineralize our soil. I believe in more fat than the USDA recommends, and definitely more saturated fat. I drink whole milk. But I still think moderate fat is probably best, and for me it definitely is. While old cookbooks definitely had more fat, people were more active then, too. My grandmother who was born in the teens and has lived a long life has always had whole milk, etc., but was always very moderate in her diet. Balanced meals were her thing.

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cheeseslave October 20, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Like I said, it’s different for everyone. Some people do better on a very high-fat diet with a lot of meat and others do better on a moderate-fat diet with more grains, beans, etc. Moderate fat is best for you, but it wasn’t best for the Inuit, for example. Everyone is different.

I also wonder if a lot of people who join the WAPF movement go heavier on the fats, particularly the saturated fats, because we have been starved of fats for so long. Maybe we really need it.

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Skye October 20, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I definitely think that’s true, Ann-Marie! Once I started eating WAPF and ALLOWED myself to eat fat (after being a fat-fearing vegan for years), my body took over and demanded fat – and lots of it! – at every meal! There definitely seemed to be a deficit my body was making up for, and I’m happy I followed that and ate all the fat I craved. That was about a year and a half ago now, and I have probably only backed off (naturally) a little since then, sitting, like you, at around 50-60% of calories from fat. That amount seems to be right for me, and if I was to try and go less I would be back in the land of denial and suppression! No thank you!! Never again. Listen to your body and it will tell you clearly how much fat it wants. And yes, some bodies need a ‘moderate’ (relative to what though, I wonder? The amount we’ve been told to eat in recent decades?) amount, and some need a whole lot more than that.

Ann October 20, 2011 at 6:52 PM

I agree about WAPF guidelines and fat. When I discovered “Nourishing Traditions”, and “Real Food What to Eat and Why”, I was OVER. THE. MOON. I had been eating fats anyway, and feeling extremely guilty, but I just couldn’t tell myself no.

I believe that upon giving ones self over to a more traditional diet, it is easy at first to overdo on the fats – especially if you’ve wanted them and denied yourself, or had a lot of guilt about them – for me that meant that everything got the butter treatment for about a month. I was putting butter on things no human probably EVER thought to put butter on! I was so happy to have the “green light” to eat my fats, and there was no stopping me!

Now, several months later, I still use natural, traditional fats, such as coconut oil and butter, ghee and cream, but I don’t find that I need it all the time, all day long. I eat as much as I like, but when the novelty wore off, I realized that not everything needed “that” much fat. Believe it or not (I still don’t!) it almost makes me sick now if I put too much better on things.

It has become obvious to me that when you give your appetite and body what it wants with good quality foods, you will find a balance. I believe I am not meant to eat too many carbs, like mashed potatoes, white rice, or bread, because I don’t feel very good after I eat them – so I put my butter (or other saturated fats) on less starchy veg instead. To me that’s my body guiding my nutrition choices, and I don’t worry about being low-carb.

Michelle October 21, 2011 at 5:55 AM

I just watched the documentary Fat Head on Net Flix last night. What a great documentary about the lipid hypothesis and the government’s role is replacing saturated fats with unsaturated vegetable oils and commodity items such as grain. Sally Fallon and Mary Enig are even interviewed in it!

Sara September 4, 2012 at 7:53 AM

I agree that people used to be more active, but the macronutrient that supports extra activity is carbohydrate, not fat. If you feel people are less active now, cut your carbs, but leave the fat alone.

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Kendahl @ Our Nourishing Roots October 19, 2011 at 8:29 AM

I really love hearing the updates on how you are doing. It mirrors so much of what I am going through as well, and it helps to know that I’m not the only one dealing with all this. I’m on full GAPS right now, along with my 6 year old (who has had two sets of ear tubes in his life, and chronic sniffly noses), and my husband and other son are on a WAPF diet (they get sprouted toast, I’m jealous!!)

I have about 50lb. I want to lose, but I have found several steps between where I am now and losing that weight. Last year I did Eat Fat, Lose Fat and had coconut oil three times a day. I didn’t lose weight, but I dicovered that I was having die-off symptoms, I was sleeping better, and I had more energy during the day. Then I went on GAPS in March of this year: more die-off, still better sleep and energy. I also took dessicated grass-fed adrenal gland occasionally, as well as cod liver oil and a lot of whole food B vitamin complex. I was healing my adrenal gland!

So that brings me to now: healing the thyroid, cortisol levels, and using amino acid therapy to heal neurotransmitter deficiencies. I have healed, or am healing from, my depression, anxiety, and PTSD (abuse). I am amazed every day by how powerful food can be. It’s like a new life!

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Kendahl @ Our Nourishing Roots October 19, 2011 at 8:31 AM

Oh, and I’m so glad to hear that Seth is staying on GAPS. It seems to be helping.

And I’m looking forward to a year and half from now when I can have sprouted toast again. Grains and I are just taking a little time apart from each. But we’re truly meant to be together in the end :)

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Ann October 19, 2011 at 8:57 AM

I love that – that’s what I used to say about cheese – now I don’t even try to make the break – with us it’s love!

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Ann October 19, 2011 at 8:59 AM

@Kendahl – where were you finding the grass-fed adrenals? Did you think it worked for you? How?

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cheeseslave October 19, 2011 at 12:23 PM

@Kendahl

Yes I’m taking dessicated adrenal glands too (Standard Process) only I don’t take it every day… I feel like I am taking so many supplements already! LOL!

I’m also taking some adaptogenic herbs inc. ashwaganda (it’s in a formulation for adrenal support for women).

I’m amazed at how much happier and calm I am. Seth notices a BIG change in me. It’s incredible that all I needed to do was EAT MORE GOOD FOOD. :-)

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jeanmarie October 19, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Wow, there is so much food for thought to chew on here, and in the comments. Thanks, as always, AnnMarie!

I first became aware of the importance of magnesium in about 2002-2003 when I was training for a marathon. I had been to see Julia Ross (who advised me to skip the marathon, which I didn’t, but it did burn me out as she feared), and I followed a link from her website to some page all about magnesium. The thing that really caught my attention at the time was the claim that if you take ample magnesium, your sweat and poop won’t smell as much! It seemed to be the case, but I gradually stopped taking so much. I’m not currently eating grains, in an attempt to figure out what is causing the red bumps on my face that I’ve had for almost 5 years now. I think I may need to drop dairy next. Wheat definitely bloats me up and, since I can eat unending slices of toast slathered with butter (or really good sourdough untoasted, slathered with butter), it packs on the pounds for me. I’ve lost a few pounds, yay, but the bumps remain. I want to do GAPS but my partner isn’t supportive and I just think it would be too stressful for me to try it right now and have to make myself a GAPS breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Just can’t manage it right now, but I bought the books to read to help me gear up to do it someday.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to avoid going too low carb (eating more squash and sweet potatoes, occasionally a little white rice or corn on the cob or sprouted corn tortillas, beans, etc). What you said about low carb spiking cortisol sounds right to me. I don’t think it necessarily has that effect on everyone, but since I’ve been through adrenal burnout before, I may be susceptible. So I’m trying to follow your suggestions. I hadn’t thought much about zinc lately until you mentioned it. I took more of the Zinc Tally I had in my cupboard and, yup, it still tastes tasteless to me. (I don’t suffer from lack of appetite or ability to smell or taste, however.)

QUESTION: Do you know whether it’s ok to take magnesium and zinc together? Some minerals don’t absorb well at the same time.

Also, I’ve been waking up at night with painful legs lately and am wondering whether I’m getting enough calcium. I don’t drink milk, do make and drink bone broth, but not daily. I stopped taking calcium supplements after reading that they cause serious heart etc problems (probably from lack of D and K, but ??). But I’m taking some calcium tonight to see whether that helps my leg pain. Or maybe it’s the big dog that sleeps with me!

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cheeseslave October 20, 2011 at 11:26 AM

@Jeanmarie I don’t think there is a problem taking magnesium and zinc together at least I don’t see anything about it in everything I’ve read. Plus there are a lot of multi-mineral supplements that contain both.

http://www.ehow.com/how_3954_absorb-magnesium-supplements.html

Painful legs sounds more like magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is known to help with restless legs and any kind of muscle cramps. Increasing calcium could make it worse.

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jeanmarie October 20, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Thanks, AnnMarie. It’s only one night, but I didn’t wake up with painful legs last night, after taking both magnesium and calcium last night. I took more tonight. I also got a trace mineral supplement. I eat a pretty good diet but obviously something was lacking!

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jeanmarie October 20, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I should add that it wasn’t a charley horse. I’m not sure what restless leg syndrome feels like, but it was generalized pain throughout my legs, maybe that was it. I only took a relatively small amount of calcium (~400 mg), and a higher amount of magnesium (~500 mg). Taking magnesium alone didn’t seem to work, as I tried that for several nights. I’m trying to get more regular in my consumption of bone stock. I have it several times a week, but I’m trying to have it every day.

I’m also following the suggestion to take milk thistle at night. I hadn’t been taking it for awhile but still had a supply, so I’m doing it nightly now.

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cheeseslave October 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM

@Jeanmarie I am loving the magnesium. I’m taking 800-1000 mg per day now and I’m sleeping through the night and I have the best bowel movements. They were good before but they are AMAZING now. LOL! I love how this is not TMI with this group!

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Skye October 21, 2011 at 12:02 PM

HAHA! Magnesium is the BEST for amazing bowel movements! It has completely solved occasional constipation for me. Now I almost need to go after every meal! Amazing! ; )

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jeanmarie October 21, 2011 at 10:52 PM

AnnMarie, you crack me up! I’ve been taking ~400 to ~500 mg a night, maybe it’s time to go higher. I have found in the past, though, that if I do that I simply get loose bowels, and I’m assuming that means less absorption of nutrients. (Is that mistaken?)

OK, so how do you SMELL now on 800-1000 mg a day??

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cheeseslave October 22, 2011 at 4:51 PM

I’m not sure but I think when you start having loose stools, you’re taking too much (or the wrong kind) and you’re not absorbing it. So you have to watch your stools and when they get too loose, you back down.

Yes, it is amazing, I have no more body odor. And I have stopped wearing deodorant. I’m just using coconut oil and corn starch.

My underarms smell like baby skin. No more stink! It’s incredible!

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Kim Kinnaird May 24, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Jean marine,

Maybe you are sensitive to corn in the supplements. I noticed my last bottle of magnesium had a hidden corn ingredient. The last time I had bad leg cramps I also was taking drugs with hidden corn ingredients. The leg pain stopped when the drugs stopped.

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amy October 20, 2011 at 3:44 PM

@Jeanmarie, it may be candida. I started taking threelac (a probiotic formulated specifically to clear up candida) only a week and a half ago to clear up candida, and it’s amazing how quickly my skin has cleared up. I definitely am not candida-free yet, but after suffering from acne all summer, my skin is almost entirely clear. In doing research online, I discovered that a ton of skin issues are linked to candida. Bloating issues can be caused by candida, too. I’m having success with threelac so far, but of course am only a week and a half in, so we’ll see how it plays out long-term. But it’s a lot easier than going on GAPS, so maybe it’s worth a shot. No dietary changes are needed except avoiding sweets.

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jeanmarie October 20, 2011 at 8:54 PM

I don’t think so. I had chronic systemic candidiasis for a long time and am very familiar with how it manifests in my body, and this isn’t it. I cured myself of it several years ago when I switched to WAP dietary principles and added lacto-fermented foods and more good fats to my diet. I tried Three-lac a few years ago (as well as many other probiotics, and antifungals, etc etc) and found it to be a waste of money for me. I’m glad it’s working for you, though!

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Diane October 20, 2011 at 7:25 AM

http://www.humet.com/acatalog/ToxicMetals.pdf
This article by Kaayla T. Daniels talks about toxic metals preventing you from getting well even on a good diet. It might be a part of the puzzle concerning both insomnia and belly fat. I’m wondering if we particularly accumulate toxic metals when we are pregnant?

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cheeseslave October 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Yes, heavy metals can be a problem. Acc to Andrew Cutler, mercury in particular always impairs mineral transport.

I don’t think there’s necessarily a correlation between pregnancy and accumulating metals. We accumulate metals when we are exposed to them via amalgam fillings, lead paint, aluminum in cookware and deodorants, etc. We are also more likely to accumulate them when we are not detoxing properly primarily via the intestines and the liver.

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NancyO October 21, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Question here…and it may be a really dumb one, but what do you know about any of the liquid colloidal mineral supplements? I’ve never been inclined to take any supplements except those targeted at specific issues (Standard Process recommended by my dr.), but these liquids always grab my attention because I’m aware of the demineralized soil, etc. Any thoughts?

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Neil October 21, 2011 at 9:23 PM

Hey, it’s a shame that IF couldn’t work for you. It’s a great lifestyle for people who use it wisely and who suit it. Some people just don’t get on with it though.

I think the biggest problem we have in diets is that one person finds something that works **for them** and pushes it as though it will work that way **for everyone**. Glad you’ve found something that suits you.

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Jake November 7, 2011 at 8:21 AM

Oh my this sounds like me exactly! I am really interested to hear how your changes have/will effect your belly fat!

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Bex November 23, 2011 at 7:59 AM

Just a thought – you say that people talking about wheat/gluten being bad for you don’t take malabsorption into consideration. What if it is the grains (and legumes) in your diet CAUSING malabsorption? Both things contain anti-nutrients which make absorption more difficult and could very well be the cause of any deficiencies.

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Sneaky Spency January 5, 2012 at 1:36 AM

I was a little bit disheartened to read your article, as I have had good success with IF in terms of energy, mood and weight loss. However, I was confounded by some of the things you mentioned in your article…

1. You have no food log from your intermittent fasting trial, so it’s difficult to make suggestions.

2. You complained about how hungry you were throughout the day? I find that very strange… I experienced this for about a month, but then it vanished all together. In addition, did you know that the most common form of intermittent fasting (to my knowledge) as prescribed by Mark at Leangains.com promotes the idea of consuming food within a 6-8 hour feeding window. I don’t understand why you have to skip lunch to do this, or skip 3 meals to do this. I don’t see the difference between having 3 meals starting with lunch or having 3 meals starting with breakfast. You can even have your breakfast, but it will just be an earlier dinner, and if anything… that’ll cause insomnia.

What I do is sometimes I just have a colossal meal after a workout, other times I’ll split my calories between 2-4 meals within the 8 hour period. It’s really not that hard, and if you include more healthy dietary fats and oils in your diet (coconut oil for instance has been shown to decrease depression and regulate mood http://www.ehow.com/about_5507448_coconutoil-cures-depression.html) you can really consumed very calorically dense meals, that are very low volume and easy to digest.

3. You said you were soo hungry that you resorted to break your fast with alcohol and chocolates? I mean good god… you must have sent your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride by doing that! Everything I’ve heard about alcohol and it’s effects on blood sugar have been very negative. I don’t understand why you couldn’t have eaten an apple while you were cooking, or like a piece of cheese, or maybe some ham? From what little information you’ve provided in either of your two articles about your trial, it seems to me this is what caused you to have such lousy success with IF: breaking your fasts with alcohol and sweets.

Exercise is also vitally important for proper control of blood sugar, perhaps inclusion of an effective, healthy exercise regimen (20 minute interval sessions on a stationary bike, 3x a week would have probably been a very good, time-efficient and easy way to accomplish this.)

I really think had you done more research and planned your nutrition more… appropriately… you might have had different results. I also think that, rather than concluding that intermittent fasting is bad and it causes you to gain weight, when I don’t believe that’s true at all, rather breaking your 16 hour fast by drinking liquid sugar (in the form of alcohol) and then eating pure sugar, completely destroys your blood sugar stability, wrecks your mood, causes insomnia and causes you to gain weight…. when doing IF you are meant to break your fast with a nutritionally balanced meal, and especially one high in protein. I just don’t understand why you couldn’t have bought some whey and had to drink right before dinner. Or even simpler, some cheese?

That said, I’m happy you have found a diet that works for you. IF is not for everyone, and you really should have your health, nutrition and exercise nailed down before you take on such intense dietary endeavors. :-) Good luck.

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Ann January 5, 2012 at 6:02 AM

I think you missed the point, here. Ann Marie wasn’t fasting purposely – she was fasting carelessly. Her intent was never to fast, she just had a lifestyle that was not conducive to regular meals. She broke the fast with alcohol and chocolates because that’s what she craved, not because that’s what she thought would be good for her!

The whole lesson here, was that intermittent fasting is NOT a good thing. Ann Marie is suggesting that she is RECOVERING from the harm that she inadvertently did herself because by eating and living carelessly, the result is that she was intermittent fasting. I’m sure she might wonder why anyone would do this on purpose!!

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Sneaky Spency January 20, 2012 at 5:04 AM

I’m not sure where you read that she was ACCIDENTALLY intermittently fasting. I can’t find that anywhere. Although, it is well known that many people do indeed intermittently fast unknowingly (just by skipping breakfast really.)

She did indeed mention in the beginning that many people “tout that intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight” (which it is. It’s excellent and there is quite a bit of empirical evidence to back that up. Martin Berkhams following, cross fit trainers and paleo dieters are just a few examples of very large circles of people who believe in the science behind intermittent fasting and have had success with it.) In fact, she even said that while she did not have success with it, she acknowledges her statistical insignificance.

I think it’s wrong to say that intermittent fasting is not a good thing. It offers health benefits beyond body composition, weight maintenance and hunger control. Breaking your fast with sweets and alcohol is not a good thing. Imagine waking up in the morning and breaking your 8+ hour fast from the night with chocolate and wine. How is that healthy?

What she was doing, was basically the equivalent of drinking wine and eating chocolate first thing in the morning for breakfast, instead of something like eggs and bacon, fruit or cereal.

There’s no logic in saying intermittent fasting is bad, based on Ann Marie’s trial with it, merely that it is bad to break a fast with alcohol and sweets – It’s bad to consume those things anyway.

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park chi February 27, 2012 at 6:07 PM

I have never seen IF actually cause high cortisol, as with coffee. Theres a ton of info based on the research of ray peat, ori hofmekler, mercola,..

I have seen more people get screwed up on gaps style diets, paleo diets, etc.

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Colleen March 7, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Thanks for this post! I have gone off gaps because I was getting stressed about all of the preparations! I have a 15 month old who I am still nursing and a 3.5 year old (I suspect both have candida issues). I’m experiencing a lot of insomnia lately and anxiety. I’ve had adrenal problems for a long time, but was going to try and heal my gut first. Now I don’t know what to do! I tried a candida diet with anti fungals but gave up in it after a few weeks because i was feeling so deprived!
I guess my question is– do you know about safety with any of these supplements with nursing? I’ve read to stay away from 5HTP while nursing… I am so sleep deprived which is making my anxiety worse. *sigh*

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Bear August 9, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Hi.
I just wanted to point out one thing in regards to intermittent fasting.
You talked about skipping meals, if you remove a meal from the 3meals/day plan, you’re creating a huge unsafe caloric deficit which is not the same thing as intermittent fasting.

There are many ways to implement Intermittent fasting but it still requires you to eat the same amount of calories as if you weren’t doing it.

Lets say your maintenance caloric intake is 2000 kcal/day.
You create a small deficit of 10-15% lets say 1800 kcal/day
IF you decide to skip breakfast and eat both lunch and dinner that means you need to eat 900 kcal in each of those meals, it does not mean to remove a third of your daily caloric needs from the day.

Intermittent fasting does not change what or how much you eat, only when.

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Sharon August 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I found this post while doing a search on skipping meals and insomnia. A while ago, I learned that if I go too long without eating that I have problems sleeping and as a result, I have set meal times which I try to adhere to as much as possible. I also discovered that when I don’t eat enough, I’ve also had trouble sleeping. This is the first website (or anything) that I’ve found which confirms that. I’m so happy to have found you.

I take a magnesium drink each night to sleep and that has helped immensely but it makes me agitated and can wreak havoc on the plumbing sometimes. I also have major issues with belly fat and would love to be able to do something about that.

I desperately want to learn more and would like to be in touch with others who are interested in this. I guess I’ll start by reading more of your posts and by reading The Mood Cure and some other books by the same author.

One book that helped me discover the need to eat on time was called The Sugar Addicts Total Recovery Plan. It also taught me the importance of protein.

Thank you so much for this.

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Shar August 12, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Joan Mathews Larsen warns that tryptophan should be used instead of 5htp, as 5htp, the artificial and pharma substitute for the real tryptophan can cause sudden death from heart attack. I have heard of this very scenario. I suggest checkin gout the sordid rise of 5htp (hint-soemthing to do with an FDA ban on tryptophan for all the USA, yes, suspect) and a careful look at what JML had to say about it. Here is their web site contact information http://www.healthrecovery.com/contact-us . The book, Depression Free, Naturally ISBN 0-345-43517-6 footnote warning on page 27.

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Brigit September 4, 2012 at 7:08 AM

Cheeseslave,

I’ve been exploring your blog for a couple of weeks since the anti-paleo post a while back. I note a number of people commenting that they believe you have a propensity for half-truths and that you sometimes extrapolate falsehoods from real science. I don’t know you well enough to make a judgement- but as an RD, I can tell you that a cup of coffee would act as an appetite stimulant and not a suppressant. The caffeine raises insulin and the lack of blood sugar triggers hunger. It doesn’t reach the point of suppressing appetite until you’ve had yourself perhaps 3 large cups or the equivalent of most of a 12 cup pot. It isn’t likely that your morning coffee was suppressing your appetite.

What’s more likely is that previously, your last meal of the day had been low in carbohydrate and your body was in ketosis by morning… and this very much DOES suppress appetite. It’s theorized that is it this adaptation that allowed primitive humans to go out and GET their breakfast without being debilitated by hunger. I also note that you’re a big proponent of raw dairy (as am I), and if you were putting cream in your coffee, your body may have accepted it as a morning meal- and because it was one primarily of fat, ketosis was maintained.

Brigit, RD

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kpop February 4, 2013 at 8:39 PM

i don’t think you fasted properly, i mean if you didn’t consume any sugar’s or carbs or juices or anything during your fast… i don’t see how it was affecting you so negatively.. i mean 18hr isn’t really a fast per say… our body doesn’t get any negative effects from not eating until the 30-40-60hr mark… if anything you should have felt better. more dopa-mine in the system, lower blood pressure… a level’d out blood sugar. i think something is missing somewhere.

it makes absolutely no difference when and where you eat throughout the day. something’s off in your diet, skipping meals is not fasting…. (0 calories or carbs) while fasting drinking juice or sugars even cream breaks your fast… then i can see yourself starting to feel like crap. lol your not even fasting your just spiking your levels.

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kpop February 4, 2013 at 8:40 PM

forgot to mention in a healthy person!

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