Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fat Fast is Calming my Stomach

I don't know much about inflammation. What I do know is that immune cells can run amok, mistaking your own tissue for invaders, damaging it and inflaming it. It's also called autoimmune reaction and it can be systemic, throughout your body. And it's miserable.

Food, especially wheat and dairy, is a major cause of inflammation for some people. We focus on carbs around here, but it's funny proteins that cause problems from paranoia to arthritis: gluten, gliadin, whey and casein, for instance. The proteins can also come from your own body: serious injury can cause a release of the DNA from your mitochondria, tiny organelles in your cells, but with their own DNA separate from yours.(1) Interleukin-6 is an inflammatory protein your body makes; homocysteine (another protein) may cause inflammation when there's too much of it.

How do we get these rogue proteins under control? Tess wrote a post on systemic enzymes, calling them THE BEST anti-inflammatory supplement. (Emphasis in original.) I have some enzymes at home, but they're not systemic, and my stomach was so painful and bloated that I didn't want to wait on an order to get here. Besides, I have a hard time swallowing pills, and some enzymes are hell on your tongue. So I'll keep the systemic enzymes in mind as a backup plan and figure out a way to get them down the hatch if I need them.

What else is a good protein slayer? Probably ketones.How to make ketones? Fasting is one way.

In a study of men and women observing Ramadan, a month-long period of intermittent fasting among Muslims, homocysteine, interleukin-6 and especially C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker) decreased compared to a control group.(2) I don't know whether the study measured ketones, but since the subjects fasted for 12 hours at a time, they might have been in ketosis. Ketones, says Dr. Michael Eades, "stimulate the process of chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA). What is CMA? It is 'a cellular process that allows cells to remove proteins, organelles [like mitochondria -LM], and foreign bodies from the cytosol [the watery interior of the cell] and deliver them to the lysosomes for degradation'."(3)

Some people love intermittent fasting. I HATE it. I ended up going on a binge when I tried it--and I've never been a binge eater. So how to crank up the protein-slaying ketones? The new fat fast,(4) of course. I once joked to a friend who does juice fasts now and then that she ought to do a bacon fast. I had no idea there really was such a thing.

I was at work when I had the idea and realized the lunch I brought was too high in carbs and protein. Luckily, I had a jar of coconut butter and had about 1/3 cup of it instead of my lunch. I downloaded the book Fat Fast Cookbook tonight and had the deviled eggs (one serving, or two eggs halves) and some coleslaw. Those were the fattiest eggs I've ever had--full of mayonnaise, bacon and avocado. I thought, this is how food should be--full of fat, not dry. You eat every few hours (which I prefer) and stay around 1000 calories per day. It's a fast, so it's a temporary and not permanent way of eating.

So I've spent half a day on the fat fast. The book doesn't make any claims about inflammation or helping your stomach, but my stomach feels normal. Not hungry or inflamed as it was this morning and has been for awhile, just normal, even after eating a bunch of raw cabbage. Back when I had an acute infection of H. pylori, the bacteria that cause ulcers, I wished I could just stop eating for awhile. I think this fast is as close as you can get to that without starving yourself or taking drugs. You don't have to put much of the food into your sore stomach since fat packs a lot of calories into a little weight. Simply eating causes inflammation.(5) The only bummer about the Fat Fast Cookbook is that so many recipes call for sour cream or cheese, which I love but can't eat--it's those funny proteins. Even though it's after 10pm and I don't feel hungry, eating a regular dinner is a habit and it was a mental adjustment to have just a snack.

I've felt calm but sharp and alert with no headache on roughly 20 grams of carbohydrate since breakfast. So much for needing 130g of carbohydrate a day to run your brain--but regular readers already knew that.

  1. "Deadly Inflammation, but No Sign of Infection" by Lauren Shenkman, Science Now, March 3, 2010.
  2. "Inflammation and Intermittent Fasting" by Dr. Michael Eades. Protein Power blog, August 13, 2007.
  3. "Ketosis Cleans our Cells" by Dr. Michael Eades. Protein Power blog, February 27, 2006.
  4. The Fat Fast Cookbook by Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan and Rebecca Latham. CarbSmart Press, Sparks, Nevada. 2013.
  5.  "Inflammation and Diet" by Dr. Michael Eades. Protein Power blog, July 10, 2007.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Lori. I wish I could find coconut butter in a local shop, maybe I'll have to order online. Doing a fat fast-type diet helps me with all sorts of things. Ketones are good.

tess said...

I'm glad you're feeling better! I love the FF cookbook, though it IS dairy-heavy.... Your ice-cream recipe strikes me as a perfect "meal" on a hot summer day, before bedtime. Do you have the Enig-Fallon book, "Eat Fat Lose Fat"? There's a good-sized section on coconut-based recipes which are probably adaptable to fat-fasting use.

Lori Miller said...

Your friend's experience inspired me, too.

Lori Miller said...

Haven't seen that book; I'll check it out. Some ice cream probably would be good tonight.

tess said...

i just finished reading the reference articles -- interesting stuff, especially the last! no wonder i feel better when eating less....

Exceptionally Brash said...

I just read about the fat fast and it sounds intriguing. I have been using the typical fat-fast mini-meals as snacks, and trying Peter's cooked eggs mashed in butter.

Lori Miller said...

Tess, there's such great stuff on Dr. Eades' blog. If I had access to only one web site, it would be his.

Lori Miller said...

Good call on the ice cream: the lemon is 89% fat (without pistachios); the XXX chocolate is 87% fat.



tess said...

i have a gripe with Mike Eades -- he doesn't post often enough. ;-)

Lori Miller said...

Agreed! I wish he'd quit arguing with Twitter trolls and write some posts instead.