Jenna’s N=1 and Accountability Thread

(Jenna Ericson) #41

This was a great podcast and very relevant to what I’m doing:

The beginning talks about coronavirus, but then it gets into polyunsaturated fats and the discussion is very interesting. Apparently the amount of polyunsaturated fats stored in our body has gone up from somewhere around 5% 100 years ago to 15 or 20% today! I had mostly been talking about the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 storage, but I hadn’t really thought that the total amount of polyunsaturated fat storage could increase that much. This podcast also said that burning these polyunsaturated fats can cause your mitochondria to be dysfunctional or damaged so that’s great :frowning:

One thing I wanted to note is that I’m pretty sure that my n=1 is working. I’m down to 127 lbs today, so again, slow going, but I’ve noticed that my waist size has gone down and I’m pretty sure I’ve been feeling the effects of burning the PUFAs for energy. I’ve felt generally more tired, achy, and irritable. I’ve decided I’m going to stop focusing on trying to do a carnivore diet and just focus on avoiding omega-6 fatty acids. If I use animal products I will try to get them from grass fed/pasture raised ruminants and I will be avoiding nuts, seeds and of course any processed foods that would contain vegetable or seed oils. I’m off to the grocery store and pretty excited to eat some non-meat things!

(Jenna Ericson) #42

I thought I’d check in with an update. So I expanded my diet to include a wider variety of foods than when I was aiming to eat mostly animal products. This started out well, but I hit a snag after eating a few of the wrong things and ended up gaining some weight back. I did hit a new low of 126.8 at one point, but I’m at 128.4 lbs now.

One thing that was strange to me recently when I was trying to eat a mostly carnivore diet was that I was hungry all the time, tired, and never satisfied. For me, I think part of this had to do with the amount of protein I was eating. Looking back at my log, there were a few lower protein days when I also didn’t eat a lot of calories, but for the most part I was eating between 70 and 150 grams of protein. I know there is a huge debate over protein in the low carb community and elsewhere, but I think people often overlook the reason for this debate, which is that depending on your metabolic status your body may handle protein very differently from someone else.

For example, if you are completely metabolically healthy, you are probably able to eat as much protein as you feel like eating and not see any ill effects. However, unless you have spent your whole life living in a secluded fishing village on the Island of Crete, you are probably somewhat insulin resistant. The more insulin resistant you are, the more insulin you will secrete in response to protein, meaning that it’s going to kick you out of fat burning mode more easily. I had forgotten from past experiences with keto that I have a similar response to protein that a type 2 diabetic does. I remember Richard talking about protein on 2KD and how the optimal amount seems to be somewhere around 18% of total calories. When I eat much more than that I end up feeling a little like I’ve eaten too many carbs, except more tired because my body is having to turn protein into glucose rather than getting glucose from carbs I’ve eaten. Anyway, now that I’m eating less meat I’m able to have more control over how much protein I eat and I think that has been and will continue to be beneficial.

I’m also thinking about being better at tracking my exercise and looking into how that affects my progress. I think there are a lot of reasons why exercise can be effective in losing weight or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. What I want to look into most with regard to exercise is how it might help burn intermuscular fat. I have a feeling that PUFAs tend to get stored in muscles more than other kinds of fat, so if this fat can be targeted with exercise, which I suspect it can, that could be important for me to consider going forward.

(Jenna Ericson) #43

I have been thinking about the connection between mental health and diet recently and had a bit of a revelation. My hypothesis thus far has been that seed oils/vegetable oils contribute to insulin resistance and have helped lead to many of the health issues of the developed world. Since these omega-6 oils are inherently inflammatory I believe they can have an effect on inflammation in the brain, leading to mental illness.

I think that what is so insidious about the presence of these oils in our diet is that they can have downstream effects that lead to feedback loops of disease.

I am interested in figuring out how certain processes in my body work and in doing so have tried to be very self aware. I have noticed that at times I tend to experience certain symptoms such as fatigue and depression. I would not generally consider myself a depressed person, but I have been trying to figure out why I have these low periods that seem to come and go and are not a result of any specific event. I have started to believe that they are a result of using omega-6 fatty acids as a fuel source because I feel the worst after eating something containing a high amount of these oils or if I am burning body fat for fuel.

My recent revelation is concerning the action of dopamine in the brain. I would say that compared to other people I generally have a lack of anxiety and fear and that my experience of happiness is somewhat dulled in comparison to other people’s.

We talk a lot about insulin resistance, but what if there are other hormones that we can become resistant too? For example, can one become resistant to dopamine? Here is a link to a clinical trial that found that obese individuals have fewer striatal dopamine type 2 receptors (DRD2) than normal weight individuals:

Having less receptors for dopamine would mean that there would be more free dopamine hanging out in the brain. If you think of how someone gets resistant to something it is because there is more of that substance present for longer than it should be. Dopamine fasting has become a trend recently and I think that this is an attempt to address what I am referring to as dopamine resistance.

I hypothesize that the connection between diet and dopamine resistance is our diets put too much stress on our brains and bodies and as a result, the brain tries to make more dopamine available by down-regulating the number of dopamine receptors in the brain.


Hi Jenna, I have been reading your thread with interest and admire your scientific approach to improving your health. I too have a history of disordered and restrictive eating and have to be really careful not to be too rigid or extreme in my keto-ing, as it can send me down an unhealthy psychological pathway that begins to feel a lot like dieting. But then again, I would probably get much better results if I was a little more rigid and tracked properly! I’m not always sure where the line is between making excuses for oneself, and exercising a healthy amount of moderation and flexibility. So it’s a bit of a balancing act isn’t it.

I can say from experience that when done consistently (even if imperfectly) low carb eating has an enormously positive effect on the feelings of self-esteem and self-discipline that help with mental health, and give me the confidence and momentum to keep going and keep making improvements. My own struggle is to remember this and act on it, when making my daily choices. Also, the end of a relationship is an excellent time to be focusing on your health in my opinion, and I hope your n=1 is giving you a sense of optimism about your future! Good luck on your journey.

(Jenna Ericson) #45

It’s been a long time since I’ve participated here and I have really missed this forum! In my previous comments I talked about my mental health and since then I’ve experienced a lot of psychological ups and downs.

Last spring I started experiencing some pretty scary shifts in my perception of reality and ended up checking myself into a hospital. In the hospital they said I likely had bipolar disorder and had been experiencing an episode of psychosis.

Since then I’ve been learning to take control of my mental health and have been continuing to search for answers. As far as diet, my big focus before was on avoiding omega-6 fats. I have continued to try to avoid them for the most part-somewhat unsuccessfully at times. I’ve tried to do keto on and off also, but would really like to commit now. I’m hoping it will help with my mood, which has been kind of low lately. I’m really excited to come back to keto and to see how it impacts my mental and physical health.

I also just wanted to say “hi again” and oversharing is one of my favorite ways of doing that :slight_smile:

(Laurie) #46

Hi Jenna, and welcome back! Thank you for checking in. Good luck re-committing to keto. I hope it helps you.


Hi Jenna. Welcome back and I hope you are feeling in a better frame of mind these days. Well done you, for being so proactive with getting yourself the medical care you needed. Personally I have come to see proper, timely self-care (especially for my mental health) as simply a sign of being a mature adult, rather than weakness or self-indulgence, as I used to when I was a lot more foolish and naive!! I hope you are able to feel good about the forward momentum you have gained and things you have learned.

Since you have been doing research you may already be aware that some studies have been done on BiPolar & Keto?
I am also re-committing to keto after a long break myself. I’ve noticed it definitely helps with low mood, but only to the extent it doesn’t impact my sleep too badly. Still experimenting on that front.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

(Bob M) #48

I’d say one of the most “famous” people who I know has bipolar is Amber O’Hearn. She had to go carnivore, though, to address it.