Recovery Run

img_0490Recovery runs are easy workouts that may flush out lactic acid build up, which can help prevent delayed onset of muscle soreness and speed up recovery. Something athletes do after a half marathon or marathon or during training to recover from high intensity sessions like intervals.

My runs at the moment are simply recovering from surgery.

Since The Big Day (17 July, the date of at the triple bypass) I’ve been slowly getting back to normal activity through walking and then stretching to longer walks and then more brisk walks.

At today’s parkrun at Yokine, Western Australia, I got into what I’d call normal running.

I started off walking and then decided to run a light pole, walk a light pole to see how I’d feel.

I certainly didn’t run the whole 5km today but towards the end of the run I felt that my cadence was coming back and the rhythm was feeling like something familiar.

Bypass image
Image courtesy of Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery

It’s still a bit “jumpy” where the surgeon took the two mammary arteries to use be, but certainly better then last week.

I also felt a tingling in my left thumb where the radial artery was taken from to help with the surgery.

The left arm is healing really nicely too, thanks to John Ranger, the guy who performed the suturing. He’s done an amazing piece of work.

It’s is almost nine weeks since the surgery and in terms of realising how after you’ve progressed, it’s more the things that don’t happen that make you realise its all coming together.

For example, just 3 or 4 weeks ago, my mammary arteries would cause a nerve tingling that was very aggravating. Now that’s completely gone! But you don’t realise it’s gone for a few days, if you know what I mean.

So, the progress is definitely there and just when you think something doesn’t look or feel right, it seems to go away.

I’ve never had heart surgery before (and hopefully never again) so I’m not really sure how this is supposed to go! But, so far so good!

Reversing or Curing?

reversing-diabetic-complicationsSince I’ve been diagnosed and accepted diabetes (I was diagnosed in 2009, I just didn’t accept it then!) I’ve been researching about how to manage it. During that research you come across terms like “reversing” and “curing” diabetes.

I’m all for finding a real cure but I think we need to be sure we’ve actually cured the issue and not just “managing really well” before we call it a cure.

So my question is: can we actually cure diabetes or just reverse it? Or, does it matter? If an individual can develop a lifestyle that manages their blood sugars and other indicators well enough that the consequences of diabetes are halted or slowed to a crawl, that may be enough. But is that a cure?

Let me try to explain what I’m talking about.

Curing

To cure diabetes means, to me, that a person reverts to a metabolism where, like non-diabetics, they can eat pretty much what they like and their blood sugars behave like a non-diabetic. (The FBH* can eat pretty much what she wants and at the 2 hour post meal mark, her Blood Sugars are back within the right markers.)

Of course, it’s healthy to eat responsibly anyway but the odd “binge” would not have any long lasting effects and a GTT (Glucose Tolerance test) would substantiate this.

It may take a while of eating the right foods, adopting an improved lifestyle, getting more exercise but in the end the body’s function reverts to normal and blood sugar issues and diabetes truly becomes a thing of the past.

That would be a cure!

Reversing

Reversing is very similar in terms of eating a healthy diet, developing a more active regimen, reducing stress etc. but where any digression results in an adverse GTT.

That’s not to mean diabetics cannot have a cheat day every now and again but they do so knowing a blood test will identify said cheat day! If that is the case, I don’t think I’ve cured anything.

Does it Matter?

I think it does, especially with social media influencers are spruiking♥ their version of reality and many people looking for answers. It’s a case of “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) in many cases.

I’d happily say I’ve cured myself or, I followed this lifestyle or regimen and now, for the past x months my blood sugars have never been better and I don’t even watch what I eat anymore.

I just want to live a very happy life, have a good lifestyle and eat well – which all make me feel good, energetic and less grumpy – again, ask the FBH!

So simply adjusting my habits will have a positive effect.

But cured? Not at the moment.

Healthier? Sure!

Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d be keen to hear your success stories and how you’re managing your T2D.

*FBH – Far Better Half (aka, the wife!)

♥Spruiking – speak in public, especially to advertise a show. (Australian slang)

 

The Big Saturated Fat B@stard!

 

Healthy-fats_800_480_85_s_c1

The demonisation of dietary fats and saturated fat: villain or hero? Episode #346

This is a podcast featuring Dr Zoe Harcombe. It’s 33 minutes long so if you are interested in this topic around health and diet, I encourage you to listen. Not only does she convey some very interesting information, Zoe is really easy to listen to and her passion about the topic comes through.

A couple of really interesting points for me:

  • the question as to whether saturated fat really is the enemy. What I am learning on this journey is that there are many factors that can affect someone’s health and it may point to things like cholesterol, sugar and saturated fat but let’s not be too quick to point the finger until we rule out other aspects that may be contributing (like a sedentary lifestyle for one obvious example)
  • the other point is similar and that with the US and UK Diet Standards were not based on evidence based research. To this end, Zoe states that these standards are based on a study involving 2500 men (no women) and that these subjects were already unwell (or, all had prior heart disease). So it’s quite amazing that the 220 million Americans and 56 million Britons at the time were being guided by 2500 unwell men!

It’s almost hilarious that the world diet is being governed by this small group! That’s a group small enough to be celebrities in this day and age.

All that said, as this blog’s approach is to do what works for me, this constant research into the history of the current diet is interesting and, perhaps, not all it is cracked up to be. It also means there are a lot of people (dieticians, nutritionists, doctors etc.) who are promoting the standard diet without fully knowing the background or consequences. Don’t get me wrong, use whatever diet works for you, but it appears not every diet suits everyone and that includes the Standard Dietary Guidelines of various countries.

Have a listen and see what you think. Comments welcome.

Cheers!

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Yep, that’s me!

There I was tracking my blood sugars quite nicely thank you when I decided I’d earned a “cheat day”. A “cheat day” is a day where I can eat anything I want within a 24 hour period and then get back on the wagon.

I asked the Twitter-sphere for advice on cheat days and here are a couple of responses:

You think I’d take their advice, huh?

I knew there’d be a period of adjustment to my blood sugars and was happy to accept that. I just didn’t realise how long they’d take to get back in check.

These are my blood sugars over the past couple of weeks.

The numbers on the left (4,5,6) indicate the week of tracking. The numbers on the right are the weekly averages. You’ll note a 1.07 increase this week over last week!

Can you tell which days the cheat day affected? Candy will do that to you!

Needless to say I am reviewing the value of cheat days and looking more at how to continue a healthy eating streak for as long as I can.

The funny thing is I feel a lot better when I’ve been eating cleanly over a period of time that it starts to take effect. The last thing I really want is to feel slow and sluggish, which sugar does for me.

Cheat days? Not worth it!

Keep Going …

These were the words my GP used when we discussed my blood work the other day.

I was a little surprised. The numbers mostly went in the right direction and quite markedly so. But I was still expecting a response like: “The results are fine, nothing to worry about.” All delivered with little emotion.

But his actual comments were: “Your blood results came back excellent! Whatever you are doing, keep doing it!”

And he knows exactly what I’m doing: Low Carb/Healthy Fat.

He even wrote it on the blood work request as LCHF 6/52 – meaning 6 weeks of last 52.

On my visit last week there as a fairly strong view that my bacon, eggs and grilled tomato were flying in the face of the advice of a registered professional dietician. Which, in fact, they were.

I’ve known my GP for a while now (30 years in total though not always seeing him as my GP due to life changes and distances) and he is a great guy. We’re the same age, give or take 10-15 days. My visits are always pretty quick but we always have a bit of a chuckle and a chat.

To be fair, I did try the dieticians advice for a couple of weeks and I saw my blood glucose fasting rise marginally in the morning. Not a lot and certainly not enough to stop the regime without an alternative. But I have an alternative.

In addition, I need to manage my blood sugars and my cholesterol – even though some studies suggest that cholesterol and saturated fat are not the cause of arterial plaque but I’m not that game to lose the statins just yet.

Without further ado there are my blood results. The main thing is to look at the recent history to see the changes, not just the one off results of the 28/08/18.

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The main score here is the LDL. It’s below the “magical*” 2.0, which is what I have been working on for a while. So the Doc was pretty happy with that and I assume the Cardiologist will be as well. And to come down a whole point from 09/16 can’t be bad.

If my HDL had remained at 0.9 my Coronary Risk Ratio wouldn’t have been listed as H (High). So close!

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 2.32.50 pm

Blood sugars also went in the right direction. the HbA1c (NGSP) dropped 0.8 and Estimated Avg Glucose dropped 1.2 points.

Of course these reductions are a one off. I’d like to close the case right here. But I think it prudent to get a couple more checks before I go solo! For any test to be valid it needs to be repeatable.

* There is lots of research that discounts the LDL level but I’m not about to trust that yet. The same goes with saturated fat and while I am consuming a healthy fat diet, the statins will remain until I see a further dramatic drop and/or there is consensus on the point. I’ve dodged a heart attack once. I don’t plan walking into one if I can help it.

Progress Report 1

Measuring-ProgressAfter yesterday’s post on constant movement I am very conscious of what I’m doing today. I gotta practice what I preach/observe.

So this is an update on all of that less than 24 hours later.

 

 

Todays’ stats:

  • Fasting blood sugars: 6.0
  • Weight: 82.3kg (target 78kg)

The BS of 6.0 is three days in a row so a big tick for consistency but I’d really like to see some 5.x in there.

Why 6.0?

My diet yesterday was a bit higher in sugar being Father’s Day. A roast pork was good but the rolled roast turkey, while delicious, had some stuffing that may have contributed to the reading. Along with 2 glasses of red wine and one of champagne. Oh, and the amazing brownie/mousse made by my son-in-law.

I did end the night with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV). The benefits of which can be seen here by Dr Eric Berg.

Overall, the 6.0 this morning is self inflicted and easy to address.

Weight?

Pretty steady. It hovers around that figure so that is working for now, as long as I keep up this constant movement idea. Obviously I’d like to see it go down.

I do see a lot of posts ands research about addressing diabetes. One of which is losing weight. That doesn’t really apply to me (thankfully) so it’s just a lazy 4kg to lose but that last few can be hard.

Today

I’m now trying to follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG). Whereas previously I was experimenting with Low Carb.

Breakfast

  • Steel cut oats (half a cup, cooked)
  • 1/3 cup no fat milk
  • 2 scrambled eggs
  • 2 x espresso coffees with pouring cream (the cream has to go!) 😦

2 hour blood glucose reading: 8.7 – not good!

Morning Snack

  • Granny smith apple – big tick
  • Long macchiato with full cream milk – maybe not a big tick

Movement day has been 4,380 steps of which around 3,000 was walking the dog.

While I can check my blood sugars throughout the day the key factor is the morning, fasting BG level so I’ll report on that mostly.

Lunch

  • 2 tbsp of ACV
  • 400ml sparkling water
  • 1 x slices of Helga’s low carb soy and toasted sesame bread
  • 80g roast chicken, no skin
  • 4 x brussel sprouts
  • 1 cup spinach and rocket
  • 1/2 carrot, raw

The chicken was leftover from Saturday and had to be eaten. I struggled to pit the skin in the bin and not eat it. It is so delicious. Anyway, trying to follow the guidelines.

Afternoon snack

  • 30g nuts – likely walnuts

These will satiate and provide the right nutrients until dinner.

Dinner

  • 2 tbsp ACV
  • Chicken dish of some sort – haven’t decided yet.
  • Lots of vegetables

 

Constant Movement (and other things …)

Villa Oliveti
Villa Oliveti, Pescara, Italy

I’m speaking purely from observational experience. I know observational studies are not that reliable but I’m not writing a paper so take this for what it is.

It’s also inconclusive but I still think there are benefits to be gained.

While reading the Pioppi Diet by Aseem Malhotra and Donal O’Neill, they observe that a diet is more than just food. It is lifestyle, the culture, the location and a range of other variables, many of which may simply be fortunate than by conscious design.

I see this in my wife’s family, particularly her and her parents.

The following are simply observations, don’t shoot me! I also realise many could cite counter examples. Again, just observations.

My Wife’s Parents

Amadeo and Giselda, Italians from a small village (Villa Oliveti) in the Abruzzi region. Local farmers who migrated to Australia in the mid-50s to settle in Guildford, WA.

Mum and Dad both worked jobs during the day and then came home to a half acre property of which most was tilled and turned into a vegetable garden.

There was constant work and things to be done. Tend to the garden, make dinner, housework, more gardening if light permitted and only then, sit back and relax, go to bed and do it all again the next day.

The gardening was constant and hard work at times. The rotary hoe used to break down constantly but the soil still needed to be worked. So it was.

Dad made his own sausages from the pig he’d keep out there back and fatten up over time so the meat you ate could not have been fresher and guaranteed of no added hormones or chemicals.

The annual tomato sauce making ritual started at 5am. You had to be there at 5am which, for me, meant getting out of bed at 4am! WTF!

Because it was a production line everyone played a role which developed the social aspect. But first, coffee. Espresso to be exact and my god, how good!

Then on to the sauce and how we made it. And how our sauce was the “best in WA” and no-one could make sauce like ours and it was only Mum who could make Lasagne properly so don’t even try, girls! (Yes, a little sexist back then). Yada, yada, yada. It was an all-day affair. Usually on a Sunday.

But it was family and, after a few years, being an Australian from a completely different background you get used to it, look forward to it and enter into the banter along with everyone else. Even, perhaps, more than my wife who grew up with this ritual. It was a great social event on the family calendar.

The fundamental family environment was never ending from a constant movement point of view.

Dad would often say to me: “Bill, slowly, slowly”. And he was right. There is no rush with gardening. Take your time and do it properly. It’s not a task to be finished. It’s an activity to be enjoyed. If it took all day, so be it. The point was you weren’t so knackered that you were useless the next day.

Mum and Dad lived like this until they passed away. Dad at 87 and Mum at 91.

Neither had diabetes or heart disease. Mum could still easily touch her toes 20 times the year she passed away.

The simple point to make here is, with our current sedentary lifestyle, if I may categorise it as follows:

“Work in order to finish your tasks as quickly as possible so you can sit down and relax … 

versus

… a lifestyle where there is always something to do, going about it slowly and methodically and only rest when you need to.”

I’m not suggesting people are lazy or hate work and don’t want to be constructive and productive. What I am suggesting is there may be benefits in the latter approach above that will help our overall health by constant movement and constructive socialising that we may inadvertently be missing out on by only looking at diet to address whatever malady besets us.

Yes, diet is important. We are what we consume. But consumption isn’t related only to food and drink.