It’s the Insulin, stupid!

 

Steve before
Steve 87 kg
Steve After
Steve 71 kg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you did not know yet, I am a subscriber to the notion that insulin is the root cause of lifestyle disease. Or rather, insulin resistance. Insulin – isn’t that something they give to diabetics? The man in the street might well know nothing more than this. The fact is that we all have (and need) insulin in our bodies to survive.

The problems start when you don’t have any or you have too much. Having none is a condition known as diabetes myelitis, or T1D. In this case, your pancreas stops producing insulin and you die. You waste away. Unless you get insulin from other sources as medicine injecting into your body. It stops your muscles withering. It requires the monitoring of blood glucose levels to be able to regulate the insulin dose.

The cause of Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is by one of two conditions. The pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to maintain control of blood glucose. The second is where the pancreas produces enough insulin to control glucose in the blood. The resulting high concentration causes diseases – lifestyle diseases.

The diseases caused by T2D include retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke. Also, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea and cancer.

Insulin Resistance (IR) is the term for elevated levels of insulin in the blood. This is whether of not T2D is present.

This makes me more worried about IR than high cholesterol. This is why I have cut sugars, refined foods, bread, potatoes, rice and pasta from my diet. I have replaced them with saturated fats. Animal fats and vegetable fats. Dairy fats. Butter, cheese, cream, meat with fat, oily fish, avocados, coconuts. Cold-pressed virgin oils (flax, olive, coconut). Nuts – walnuts, coconuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almond nuts. Seeds -Chia, sesame, hemp, flax.

I still eat some carbohydrates: leafy greens, berries. Other fruits and vegetables that have a lot of fiber. 100 grams max. per day. I enjoy my food.

I was born in 1953. That made me 62 at the time of writing. I do not want to be ill. I do not want to have to visit the doctor. I do not want to take medications. I want to live a full life with no restrictions. That is why I eat a low-carb diet. To keep my insulin levels at an optimal level that will stabilize my blood glucose levels.

It is that simple. Anyone can do it.

I want to enhance this, so I do other things. I follow a protocol. This protocol integrates nutrition, breathing, building immune resilience, structured movement and mindfulness.

I swim. I bike. I do yoga. I exercise 90 minutes every day. I expose my body to sunshine when I can, to get vitamin D. I am aware that I need to balance the oils (omega-3 vs. omega 6).

I take magnesium and zinc tablets and vitamin c tablets as required. I take magnesium to control the amount of calcium in my blood. Calcium in the arteries is a reliable biomarker of impending heart attacks. More so than cholesterol or LDL.

I weigh 71 kg. That is the same as I was when I was 22. I was 87 kg a year or so ago. People ask me if I am ill. I say “Why?” They say “Because you are so thin”, so I say “Are you ill?” and they say “Why?” and I say “Because you are not thin”.

I hope this is an inspiration for you. I wish I had read this 30 years ago. Never mind. I live one day at a time – to the full.

(Follow me also on Sakharoff.com)

 

Swim for your life!

I have got a crazy goal – to swim 2,500 metres freestyle on my 100th birthday!

Crazy, isn’t it? WHY???? I hear you scream.

Because 1) You need to have goals in life and 2) When I am swimming, get to around 1500 metres and think of stopping, I say to myself, “Steve, if you cannot do it now, how on Earth do you expect to do it when you are 100!”

So why bother? Because swimming is damned good exercise.

Since I was 8 years old I could swim; in our town, we had a very good swimming instructor, Vic Levitt, who thought that every child should be able to swim. Great man, Vic! I never really got into swimming, though, preferring soccer, rugby and squash.

However, squash at a high level becomes risky after 35 and rugby suicidal. So I started to seriously swim some 25 years ago (running was not a realistic option – flat feet!). I started off doing a length (25m) and having a breather. I swam once a week and built up through 1,000 m breast stroke to where I am today – 2,500 m or more. I “cheat”, according to my family, because I wear flippers, but I do it in about 50 minutes.

Swimming is good for the following reasons:

  1. You exercise many more muscle groups than with running or cycling
  2. You are buoyed by water, so there is no gravitational pressure on joints
  3. Water “gives” to pressure, so you cannot over-strain joints and muscles
  4. Combined with Buteyko breathing, it helps respiration.
  5. It is ideal if you are obese, have arthritis or are pregnant.
  6. It increases flexibility, endurance, muscle tone, strength and cardio-respiratory conditioning without straining your heart.
  7. Acts as an ideal lymphatic pump, helping clear your lymph system of toxins.
  8. After an hours swimming, you release oxytocin , the cuddle-drug, into your bloodstream which makes me feel like I am floating for several hours.
  9. You also meet like-minded people at the beach or in the pool or in the sauna afterwards.

It is important that you swim correctly. I swim TI (total immersion) freestyle with a little bit of latitude due to the flippers. If you want to learn this, visit Terry Laughlin’s Youtube pages. Many women try to keep their heads above the water, which causes neck problems. Get some goggles or a face mask to avoid this.

Personally, I don’t like swimming in the sea. Therefore I am very glad to swim in a local pool that has Denmark’s best water quality. It is not overheated either.

One thing the Buteyko breathing is taught me is how to swim a full length underwater. I generally do this every 10th length. You feel like a dolphin, but alas, I have not mastered moon walking with my flippers or leaping 6 metres in the air.

I also do a “high intensity burst” every 10 lengths between underwater swimming. This is supposed to be very good conditioning for the body. I give it everything and swim 25 metres in 15 seconds on one breath. It is absolutely exhilarating!

I have also been inspired over the years by the octogenarians who swim on a daily basis at the pool. I am working towards swimming at this age and beyond.

So, get your swimming togs out and go down to your local pool. If I can do 2,500 lengths at 61, so can you and who knows? We could start a  100 (25m lengths) at 100 club!

 

 

 

 

Please Close Your Mouth When You Run Past My House!

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What is wrong with this picture? Yes, yes, they all have blurred faces. I have done that to protect the guilty!

The problem is that they all have their mouths open while they are running. Is that a problem? It is not that they have bad breath as they run past my house on the bi-annual “Griseløb” . No, they are possibly causing immense damage to their bodies.

Why? Each and everyone of them is hyperventilating. They are expelling all of their carbon dioxide. I hear you say “That is a good thing, isn’t it? – Isn’t respiration  about getting oxygen in and CO2 out?”. Wrong – that is a bad thing. And yes, getting oxygen in is correct. How would we otherwise stay alive? But where do you need the oxygen when you are running? In the muscles, the cells and the organs.

If you are not retaining some of the carbon dioxide in your bloodstream (the “Bohr Effect“), you are not releasing the oxygen from the haemoglobin. Moreover, it is lowering the PH value of your cells (“acidosis”) and their are some enlightened doctors and researchers who say that this creates conditions for cancer.

How do you counter this? Learn to breathe in and out through your nose only. It is called Buteyko breathing and has long been used to cure asthma. Another good reason to breathe through your nose is that the nose extracts the majority of the microbes we don’t want in our bodies, before they get to the lungs. It also warms and moistens the air that you inhale.

Misha Sakharoff has written an excellent piece on this “Asthma is common among Olympic athletes – but why?”

They knew about this in India a long time ago with Pranyamic breathing. As they say “The more you control your breathing, the longer you will you live”, and this is especially true when we are exercising heavily.

So at the next Griseløb, I may well stand outside with a big sign “Luk munden”, which means “close your mouth”!