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10th September
2010
written by Tellus

Preparations
This was a diet I had wanted to try ever since reading Primal Body Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas. Although reading her entire book and doing some research prior to commencing this trial I had not set up any detailed or even overview of a diet plan that would achieve the right amount of energy from fat while getting the right amount of quality protein on a daily basis. It was also during a heavily transitional period of my life after just having quit my job and remodeling my entire life, but at the same time I just felt like getting going on the experiment – in the spirit of Michael Masterson’s “Ready, Fire, Aim” motto. So that’s what I did, and even though I’m not entirely happy with the trial, I’m 30 days of experience ahead of where I would have been if I didn’t jump on it and got going 30 days ago.

Adaption
Being as I’m already largely paleo style in my diet, much because of my food intolerances to e.g. gluten and dairy, adapting to this fat for fuel diet is mostly a question of getting used to and comfortable with such small servings of protein. I have been heavily relying on meat, which has lead to a diet very high in protein. As explained by Nora in her book, excess amounts of protein in the diet is transformed to glucose in the body and long term being very destructive to one’s health. I have found new recipes and foods I like during this trial, and will continue adding to that to find more ways of attaining fat to the diet. Being intolerant to dairy products (which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone anyway) rules out a lot of highly available sources of fat. I have also been sceptical about coconut products, as I’m unsure if I might be having any sort of intolerance to that as well, but so far it seems to be working ok for me. It might be causing more nasal activity (I’m very prone to sinusitis), but not sure if it’s the coconut doing it or what’s been messing with that lately. I am going to spain for little over a week from tuesday, so if I continue consuming coconut during that trip and my sinus clears up I’ll know the recent turbulence is due to climate or other environmental factors..

Effect
On the periods where I stayed very compliant with the high fat low carb and appropriate protein system I felt good, my memory was clearer, energy stable, easier falling asleep at night and eczema less noticable. I did however have occasions where I let myself get some fruit or small amount of sugar containing foods, and that again led to larger cravings. I am not sure if this is because I was never 100% adapt to the diet during my trial. I have e.g. heard of other people trying this diet for some time, where one previous heavy drinker had one glass of beer and found no urge to continue drinking as oppose to earlier experience of never being able to have one or two beers without going full out. On several days I also didn’t pay enough attention to getting enough energy in my diet, which I also think led to some of the intense cravings. Of course if the body doesn’t get enough energy to get by it makes sense that I get cravings for the foods it is used to getting quick energy from. The overall effect has been very positive though, mostly noticable in the already mentioned effect on falling asleep, mental clarity/memory/concentration and stable energy throughout the day (except for some days with a 10-20 minute drowsiness in the middle of the day). My weight, which was on the low side before starting this trial, have seen little to no effect from the diet, with little less than a 1 kg rise.

Social
Association and habit are two hard things to break. Getting into new habits can be hard enough on it’s own, but mixing that with being social and partaking in activities we associate with alcoholic or sugary snacks can be quite challenging. Going to parties or out on the town with friends is without a doubt the hardest here, and to fully adapt the fat for fuel diet I think the best would be to shut off those things all together, but then again in our society that might be about the only time we get to be really social and meet new and interesting people. Most social activities are based around food and/or drinks with friends and new acquaintances. So that is something to consider before changing your diet that might exclude much of that. On the other side, as mentioned by briefly by example, after having adapted to a fat for fuel diet, it might be easier to e.g. have only one drink without any urge to continue, and as long as those “slip ups” remain infrequent can perhaps be conducted without any major ramification to one’s fat for fuel adaption. You might perhaps just experience an elevated body temperature as the body burns off the sugars. And for movie nights, I think the best thing to do is find alternative snacks that will not create an blood sugar and insulin spike – as those snacks might be so ingrained in our behaviour that it’s easier to replace them with something than try going for just water..

However good a diet is, I believe the social feasibility and acceptance aspect will always be the biggest concern for successful implementation and sustainability.

Livability
The social aspect is kind of hard, as most people live a carbish lifestyle, even believing they’re being very healthy because they’re told so by the government, doctors and infomercials. Nevertheless, I think the livability of this lifestyle is very high, it is just a matter of finding the foods that one can get easy access to on the go for the days not in full control at home. To be successful long term I think it is important to lose the emotional attachment to foods and get one’s emotions nourished by other means, while letting foods nourish our body and mind. Once the habit of live to eat is replaced with eat to live I believe all food choices will become much simpler, but to fully get to that point the adaption of fat rich nourishing foods are important so we get rid of all the body’s addictions to foods.

The trial is over, but it is said it takes 30 days to make a habit, and I think I’ll be continuing with a high fat diet – at least for the time being – so an update down the road on this is not unthinkable. I will however try a few other diets this and next year as well, but don’t be surprised if this is the one I’ll be returning to when everything is said and done 🙂

Concluding thoughts
I find this to be a good diet and the science behind it is good. I could have prepared better for the trial and I would love to have more detailed data throughout the experiment, but this time I didn’t find the time or means for that, and am very glad I just got started. If I do other diet experiments and decide to return to this diet again I might do another 30-day trial to see how I adapt back to it, and at that time I will make a point of getting more detailed for all foods and activities for the period.

That’s all for now… Good day, good evening and good night!

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