The Founder’s Diet

[Last update: 05:10CST 2013-02-11]

Several people have asked about the diet plan I’m following. I’ve made some tweaks to my original plan, and I’ve updated the supplements I’m taking. This post will always contain the latest plan and comments about any changes.

NOTE: I am not a physician nor a dietician nor a nutrition expert. This is not medical advice. You must consult your own personal physician or nutrition professional before you start any diet or take any supplements. I am not qualified to suggest any particular plan to anyone and I post this only to let people know what has worked for me. I cannot provide any personal advice!

The reason I include the disclaimer is that governments are trying to prevent individuals from providing health information. It seems they find this information so dangerous to their power that they are now trying to block anything that contradicts their failed diet advice.

My plan is based on personal research and experimentation. It isn’t “Atkins” (i.e. I don’t allow myself unlimited protein), it’s not “Zone” or “Sugar Busters” or any other specific plan. It might resemble those, but I’ve developed it from my own research.

The general basis for this diet comes from reading several books and podcasts (references here).  The primary goal is to reduce carbohydrate intake to no more than 40g per day, and preferably no more than 20g per day. I set my limit at 20g of ‘known’ carbohydrates (since it’s hard to know 100% because the FDA doesn’t require accurate reporting of carbohydrates and uses inaccurate methods to calculate them). To do this, a wide range of foods are now ‘off-limits’. Here’s the outline

  • Eliminate all corn and corn-based products (except distilled spirits like whisky)
  • Eliminate all potatoes and potato-based products (except distilled spirits like vodka)
  • Eliminate grains and most grain products (no wheat, flour, bread, pasta, rice, beer, etc)
  • Eliminate all vegetable oils except for Olive Oil
  • Eliminate all high fructose corn syrup (avoid added sugar of any kind, but accept sucrose over HFCS if there are no options)
  • Eliminate all boxed, prepared foods (almost all shelf-stable foods are very high in carbohydrates)
  • Reduce fructose to a bare minimum

I write most grain products since I will use things that have minimal amounts of wheat (e.g. gravy, very light breading) so long as the total carb count is less than 4g per serving. I also use low-carb tortillas as wraps for sandwiches (either La Tortilla Factory or Mission, 3g for the small, 6g for the large).

As for fructose, I cut out all fruits except a cup of berries for lunch each day and drinking 6oz of red wine at dinner. When I first had my blood work done everything was good but my fasting blood sugar was 110 (right at the top end of healthy and bordering on pre-diabetic). I eliminated the fruit and wine for 3 days and had the test done again. The new fasting blood sugar was 99. It appears based on this that I do not handle fructose well. This is possibly the remnants of insulin resistance, and may improve with time and weight loss. If not, then fruit will be out permanently. I’ve cut my wine intake to no more than 3-4 times a week. Note that distilled spirits have sugar alcohols and don’t really affect insulin, so they aren’t a problem. Good thing I like vodka and whiskey!

Note that I don’t say eliminate all fructose at this point because things like carrots, red bell peppers and the like have small amounts of fructose.

I cook with butter or Olive Oil and use heavy cream to thicken sauces. I use lots of different spices and vary my recipes by using them. Almond flour makes a nice breading as well, and it’s very low carb.

I also allow exceptions for special events. I will eat a ‘normal’ Thanksgiving dinner, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc, but eat smaller amounts of the carbohydrate-laden foods. Same goes for Christmas dinner. Also, on birthdays, I will have a small piece of cake. I allow myself a treat of ice cream about once a month, but it has to be very high in fat content and low in sugar content (e.g. a premium ice cream made with real milk fat, usually Eddy’s Grand Butter Pecan).

So, what do I eat each day? Here’s a sample menu:

  • Breakfast: 6 strips of bacon, 2 eggs, tea
  • Lunch: Wrap with ham, salami, chicken or turkey, cheese, vegetables (mix of broccoli, celery, red bell pepper, radishes, pea pods, cauliflower)
  • Dinner: Salad with high-fat dressing, bacon bits, blue cheese crumbles, 6 to 8oz of meat (beef, pork, chicken, fish), vegetable (broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, Chinese vegetables, etc)
  • Snack: pecans, walnuts, almonds (if I need one – not every day)

You’ll note that this is anything but a low-fat, reduced meat, high fiber diet recommended by the government. I followed their plan for years and almost developed adult-onset diabetes and was over 100 pounds overweight! It’s my opinion that following government nutrition guidelines will kill you! And I’d say my labs (see below) put paid to the notion that dietary cholesterol raises serum cholesterol (it simply does not) and that a high-fat diet will increase atherosclerosis (it doesn’t).

My exercise routine is to do 20 minutes on the elliptical machine 3 times per week and some strength training (weights) 3 times per week. On the elliptical I do 30s as fast as I can go, then 4.5 minutes at a normal pace, then repeat until 20m is done. At the end, I do an additional 30s as fast as I can go. These high-intensity intervals are excellent for blood sugar regulation, muscle building and overall health.

I’m also taking several supplements:

Aspirin 72mg
L-Carnitine 1000mg
L-Arginine 1000mg
Centrum Tablets
Glucomannan 4g
Fish Oil 6900 mg Fish Oil, EPA, DHA
Vitamin C 2000mg
CO-Q10 200mg
Green Tea Extract 315mg
Ginseng Complex 650mg
Potasium 99mg
Vitamin D 5000iu
Magnesium 500mg
Chromium 400mcg
Calcium 600mg
Rhodiola Rosea 500mg
Biotin 5000mcg
Niacin 500mg
D-Ribose 4500mg
Alpha Lipoic Acid 600mg

If you refer back to my blood work, you’ll see that I have pretty much everything in balance:

Element Result Normal Range
Total Cholesterol 125 125-200
HDL (“Good”) Cholesterol 45 > 40
LDL (“Bad”) Cholesterol 62 < 130
Non HDL Cholesterol (includes VLDL 80 < 150
Triglycerides 91 < 150
Total Cholesterol-HDL ratio 2.8 < 5.0
Glucose 99 65-99, 140 is diabetic
Hemoglobin A1C 5.3 >6.0 is diabetic
Sodium 140 135-146
Potassium 4.8 3.5-5.3
Chloride 105 98-110
CO2 28 21-33
Calcium 9.6 8.6-10.3
Alkaline Phosphate 70 40-115
White Count 6.0 3.8-10.8
Red Count 4.76 4.2-5.8
Hemoglobin 15.6 13.2-17.1
Platelets 166 140-400

Blood work on 2012-12-06

Pretty much everything is right on target, nearly in the middle of the zone.

Health Status Update

For those of you following my diet, I wanted to let you know that I just had a complete physical and blood work. The results were nothing short of amazing. Here are the numbers:

  • Total Cholesterol – 125 (Normal range is 125 to 200)
  • HDL (“Good”) Cholesterol – 45 (Normal range is > 40)
  • LDL (“Bad”) Cholesterol – 62 (Normal is < 130)
  • Non HDL Cholesterol (includes VLDL) – 80 (Normal is < 150)
  • Triglycerides – 91 (Normal is < 150)
  • Total Cholesterol to HDL ratio – 2.8 (Normal is < 5.0)
  • Glucose – 99 (Normal is 65 to 99 on some measures, 70-110 on others, 140 is diabetic)

All of the other readings (e.g. Sodium, Potassium, Blood Count, Calcium, CO2, Chloride, Bilirubin, etc) were almost exactly in the center of the range. In other words, my blood work was pretty much perfect. My blood pressure is 132/70, which is a bit higher than I’d like to see (though the doctor is OK with it given my weight and all of the other factors). I suspect that dropping another 25 pounds will bring that down as well.

One note on the glucose level. It’s a bit high (and in fact, it was 110 the first time I was tested). This is most likely due to my body still recovering from insulin resistance and not regulating glucose properly. Between the first test and the second test, I cut the berries and wine from my diet and dropped the glucose by 10%. More than likely, I have to avoid fructose entirely, at least until I see my fasting glucose come down to the 80’s or so.

My weight loss is now at 62 pounds. I have another 25 to go to get to the weight I want to be at. My doctor is OK with that, but he would prefer about 35. He’s working from the ‘standard’ tables that show me as ‘obese’ at anything over about 190 pounds. I don’t agree with those tables, and given the blood work, I’d say that my risk levels from those extra pounds (according to the chart) are nil.

Stay tuned for more politics. Next post should be coming by the weekend!

More On Food and Diets

I have been working on other posts, but so many people are asking about my weight loss and diet, that I felt I needed to make an additional post to answer the most common questions and add some additional information, and provide a resource list. I promise to get back to The End of the Republic Series soon!

Remember when you read this that I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist. You should not simply trust anything I write to reflect YOUR personal situation. I’m talking about my personal situation. If you apply what I’m doing, after consulting with a professional, great! Don’t simply take my word for it because I am not an authority!

The first important thing to note is something I recently discovered—that nutrition labels are highly inaccurate when it comes to carbohydrates. You can’t trust them. See this great FAQ on labels for the details. The gist of this is that since the labels are designed to report protein, fat and sodium they do a terrible job of reporting carbohydrates accurately (and can under-report them by 20% without any violation of the federal label guidelines).

I get asked about calories all the time. I am NOT counting calories in any way, shape or form. As of today, I’m down 35 pounds. All of my research has come up with the point that a calorie is not a calorie. The base problem with the ‘calorie’ (or ‘food calorie’ or ‘kCal’) is that it is based on excess heat generated by using a calorimeter to measure the energy content of food (i.e. the ‘calories’). The thing is, your body is not a calorimeter! It does not treat all ‘fuel’ the same way nor process it the same way. Each of the three types of fuel (carbohydrates, protein, fat) are metabolized (‘burned’) in different ways and cause very different reactions in your body.

A number of people have come to me with their ideas of what they can eat, almost always some ‘low carb’ bread. As noted above, don’t trust the label. See this example for why you shouldn’t trust the label. Frankly, the evidence (both scientific and anecdotal) shows me that it is pretty much impossible to eat any kind of grain if you are trying to lose weight on a low-carb diet. Even small amounts of grains will cause an insulin spike (though not all grains cause the same spike). Once or twice a week since I started, I have eaten a flatbread that is about 5g of carbs, but only on days when I am sure that my carb count is very low otherwise (e.g. if I have half a grapefruit, no way I can have even those 5g of carbs additional due to the sugar in the grapefruit). And frankly, I was using that flatbread to help wean myself off bread (I love bread). I’m going to stop these once the box is gone (3 more ‘slices’) since I don’t need the crutch at this point.

I have a hard limit of 20g of ‘known’ carbs for any given day, and try for 10g or less. I say ‘known’ carbs since lots of foods have small amounts of carbs (including broccoli and other green vegetables) that are difficult to count. I’m referring to things like fruits or the aforementioned flat bread, the occasional low carb/high fiber tortilla (for fajitas, tacos, etc). If I can keep that under 20 always and under 10 mostly, my weight loss is relatively fast. A couple of times that I ‘cheated’ early on (once a burger & fries and the other time a gyro and fries), I wrecked my weight loss for a week. I learned that I can’t cheat. And the longer I’m on this and the more I make small changes and experiments, the more I’m convinced that even when my goal weight is reached, I won’t be able to have much in the way of carbs. The way my body reacts to them indicates that I don’t metabolize them very well. Maybe that will change. But if it doesn’t, it won’t bother me.

Getting back to the title of my original post (‘Everything the Government Told You About Food is Wrong‘), the government’s recommendations, with the exception of sweets (candy, soda, desserts, etc), are about as far off-base as they could possibly be. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I’ll mention two very important items here. Note that the isn’t my usual complaints—in fact they are more akin to complaints by The Gent or by Peaceful Dissent.

Firstly, giant firms like Monsanto, Corn Products, ADM and others have a serious stake in selling carbohydrates. So do the producers of ‘shelf-stable’ products (think snack foods, boxed pasta, boxed mashed potatoes, cookies, crackers, etc) such as General Mills, Nabisco, JM Smucker (think Hungry Jack mashed potatoes), Frito-Lay (think Doritos). Add to this the trucking companies, grocery stores, etc, and you have a massive delivery system for carbohydrates that provides lots of jobs and tax revenue. Is it any surprise that this is supported by the government?

Secondly, the pharmaceutical industry makes significant profit from drugs that counter all the adverse results of carbohydrate intake. Drugs for high blood pressure. Drugs for high cholesterol. Drugs for impotence (yes, many of the cases can be directly tied to carbohydrate intake). Drugs for Triglycerides. Drugs for weight loss. Again, we’re talking jobs and taxes. It’s not in the interest of any of these companies to encourage a change from the current situation. Why would they? If everyone adopted the eating habits I’ve taken on, most of those drugs would not be necessary! Could it be that the solution to the American health care dilemma is a low-carb diet? Yep. It sure could.

In closing I’ll respond to the many people askeingabout my weight. When I started, I was at 287(!) lbs. I’m down to 252 with a goal of 200. According to the BMI rules, I would still be overweight, but BMI is a generalization. I’ll see how I look at feel at 200 and decide what to do at that point. Check out the graph:

The Founder's Weight Loss Graph

The trend-line for my weight loss looks good.

Resource List

Podcasts by Steve Gibson

Books

I’ll  have more to say on this later to keep you appraised of my progress – and I’ll add resources to this list as I find them and decide they are useful.

A Personal Note – Everything the Government Told You About Food is WRONG!

While I’m putting the finishing touches on my next installment in the End of the Republic Series I thought I would take the time to let you know about something personal—I’ve managed to lose quite a bit of weight and significantly improve my health in the past few months. I’ve dropped more than 2 inches in my waist and just over 30 pounds in the last 8 weeks. I sleep better. I snore less. I have more energy. Pretty amazing. How did I do it? I’ll take you through it from the very start. And at the end, I’ll explain the title.

It started in the most unlikely of places – Episode 209 (August of 2009) of a technical podcast on IT (Information Technology) security, called ‘Security Now‘. On the show, hosted by Leo Laporte, Steve Gibson, of GRC, discusses all manner of technical issues, with a focus on security. I’ve been listening to this podcast from the beginning and as of this writing, episode 359 was just completed. I highly recommend this podcast if you are at all interested in how computers and the internet function at very low levels, IT Security or just technology in general.

In Episode 209, diverting from his usual topic, Steve Gibson discussed his research and personal experience with Vitamin D. It was very informative and after doing my own research on the topic, I began taking Vitamin D supplements. Now, remember, Steve Gibson is not a trained physician or nutritionist – he’s a scientist and researcher. For several hundred podcasts I’ve heard him present information, hypothesis and evidence in an impartial manner. I trust him, but I also do my own verification (in so far as I am able). As he says, talk to your doctor before you take supplements, modify your diet or start exercising.

Fast forward to May of 2012. Steve and Leo released the following podcasts:

The Sugar Hill—Part 1

The Sugar Hill—Part 2

These podcasts were eye-opening. Fundamentally, the USDA/FDA guidelines for eating are not just bad, but they very likely responsible for the increase in obesity, metabolic syndrome, Type II diabetes and a host of other health problems! Now, being a skeptic, I had to check this out myself. Steve gives some sources and I checked out others on my own. I encourage you to do the same thing—do not take my word for it, nor my experience as a suggestion that this is right for you. I’m not in a position to give that kind of advice! Let me repeat that—I am not in position to give you advice on your diet or health! Check with a doctor or nutritionist!

Before I go further, let me add that I have not adopted any specific ‘named’ diet plan (e.g. Atkins, South Beach, Zone) nor diet method, nor do I follow any specific author totally for my guidance. What I have done is make my own synthesis of all of the material and adapt it to my personal situation, and then adapt my lifestyle to this synthesis. To be clear, I am not ‘on a diet’, I have permanently changed my eating habits.

After listening to these podcasts, and doing some reading on the net,  I started with The Rosedale Diet and this is the basic general blueprint for my new habits. Dr. Ron Rosedale explains how diet affects two very important hormones—leptin and insulin, and how issues with these hormones cause significant health issues. After reading his book, I did a few obvious things, such as no more soda, no more candy and no more salty snacks. Then I incorporated a number of his ideas into my daily eating (cut back potatoes, rice, corn and wheat), and increased vegetables. That began to produce weight loss, but I wanted to know more.

The next book I read was The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. This book is more technical from a medical point of view, but the information in it is amazing. If you can get past the medical jargon (Google is your friend) then this book has pretty much everything you need to know. I incorporated more ideas from this book, which included (counter-intuitively, eating more fats and proteins, cutting my total carb intake to 20g or less per day). This is when things got radical – I was losing a pound a day and feeling pretty awesome in the process.

There were a few moments that second week when I clearly had some minor issues with my blood sugar levels. They were way too low for the amount of insulin my body was generating (to keep up with all those carbs I was eating), and so I got that “you haven’t eaten in too long light-headedness” feeling.  Some call this the ‘Atkins flu‘ as your body adapts away from carbohydrates. It was sporadic during that second week and the beginning of the third. And then, it went away.

Around the fourth week, I began to feel lethargic and run-down, and following the advice in the podcasts and several books, I began increasing my sodium intake. It turns out that a low carb diet is naturally natriuretic (i.e. sodium leaves your body through your urine). This causes low sodium levels, which can cause low potassium levels which in turn can cause low magnesium levels. All guaranteed to make you feel lousy. Obviously, I couldn’t’ go back to salty snacks made from grain or potatoes. The simple solution? A cup of beef or chicken broth made with off-the-shelf bullion cubes. That did the trick and I was back to feeling awesome again.

After the first 3 weeks, when the ‘Atkins flu‘ symptoms were gone, I started a simple exercise program. The first part is a 20 to 30 minute walk every day after lunch. If I can’t do that (and there were days when it was over 100 here in Chicago), I’ll do 2 miles on the elliptical machine (though I don’t like that as much as walking). I also took the advice in Dr. Rosedale’s book and do a 20 minute workout about an hour before bed. This is a simple workout with very low weights and lots of reps, with a goal of getting my heart rate up, not building strength. My current repetoire, with weights used per arm in parenthesis, is

  • 3×15 chest presses (15lbs)
  • 3×15 sit-ups (5lbs)
  • 3×15 bicep curls (15lbs)
  • 3×30 squats (5 lbs)
  • 3×15 hammer curls (15lbs)
  • 3 25-second long ‘planks’

I do the reps fairly quickly and only allow 30 seconds or so between sets and 60 seconds between exercises. I’m getting in shape, building by endurance and losing weight at the rate of about 5 pounds a week. 30 down, 50 to go!

Now, about the title of this article, and how all of this fits into ‘No Consent”. Bottom line, if you follow the government’s eating plan (high carbs, low fat, limited meat), you risk obesity, diabetes and host of other health problems! In fact, evidence suggest that doing pretty much the opposite of what they saywith regard to carbohydrates, proteins and fats is the correct approach to healthy eating! Don’t take my word for it. Read the following books and see the evidence for yourself:

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health
Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

These books discuss all the bad science that has led to the USDA dietary guidelines. As a note, since the USDA/FDA guidelines were introduced, obesity and diabetes have spiked, and as I said above  that looks to be a direct result of the war on fat and the promotion of carbohydrates. I won’t go into the details, but the books (plus the ‘Art and Science of Low Carb Living’ mentioned above) lay out the case against the government’s “healthy” eating plan. It is a plan that is based on faulty, refuted science, that distorts the studies, ignores contrary evidence and pushes the agenda of the farm states and dovetails nicely with the anti-meat agenda of the radical left. It’s politics plain and simple. And it’s killing you.

If that’s not evidence of government failure, I don’t know what is. The science is clear, other anecdotal evidence agrees and, most of all, my personal experience so far agrees. So check it out. If you do, I’m sure you’ll come to a similar conclusion. Of course, check with a doctor or nutritionist before you do anything. Don’t just take my word for it.