Your Questions Answered: Biohacking, Low Carb + Results
I get daily questions about what I eat. This is probably for two reasons, 1. I’m a nutritionist and everyone wants to know what a nutritionist eats, amiright?? And 2. I’m getting closer and closer to remission each day and anyone who has a chronic illness wants to be in remission, amirightagain??
Before I can go into what I eat, besides the fact that it’s always changing, I need to prep you with a little history.
I’ve considered myself a “biohacker” since I first learnt of the term back in 2014, when I was trying to conceive William. I didn’t totally understand the wide range of things to hack and I didn’t understand the significance of little tweaks, tracking (logging numbers) and sticking to other numbers (macros/calories).
When I’m not in biohacking mode, I tend to just kind of go through the motions and eat “intuitively,” do the same ol’ same workout routine at the gym whilst checking all the apps on my phone and just not quite living “optimally” for me. Now, we’re all different and what works for me does not mean it will work for you and vice versa. For me to not be in biohacking mode is monotonous. I don’t do well with monotony. I need to be challenged, I need to see changes, growth, etc.
So after about 6-8 months of doing the ordinary, a few kilos gained and blood work showing higher numbers than is ideal, I decided it was time to get back into biohacking mode. The other reason for getting back into this mode is because I believe going through everything and anything I ‘prescribe’ to my clients. I give each client a protocol to follow for 4-6 weeks and if I expect them to stick to it (compliance is key to results), then why not show them that I too am sticking to a plan?
I am currently eating very low carb/ketogenic for four weeks minimum, with carb-loading days on day 15 and day 30. Although, I might do a carb-load or “carb refeed” once a week because I am working out 4-5 days a week, which is depleting my glycogen stores; I can just feel it. *NOTE* This is the cool thing about biohacking and really getting to know your body – you know when your body is no longer doing well eating a certain way or when your body needs something – more on this in just a minute.
So today is day 15 for me: THE HOLY GRAIL OF CARBS!! I love fruit so much. Other carbs I can pretty much do without, but I loooove fresh fruit. With it currently being the best season (late June) in the UK for produce (in my opinion), doing keto was a difficult decision for me at this time. Anyway, I am already loving today. I’ve had 3.5 cups of fresh organic celery juice, bowl of oats with almond milk + maple sugar, a black coffee with collagen peptides and a juicy organic pink lady apple. Seriously in carb heaven and looking forward to some rice and more fruit today. Before I think too much about carbs any longer, let me tell you a bit about what I’ve been eating over the past two weeks.
- MCT/Collagen coffee, sometimes Bulletproof
- Big Salad for lunch with low starch veg, protein, avocado and olive oil
- Tuna, egg or chicken salad made with mayo and eaten over mixed greens
- Nut butter and celery
- Eggs on eggs on eggs + greens
- Smoked salmon
- Coconut yogurt, strawberries and macadamia nut butter… on repeat almost every evening
- Bone broth
- Pili nuts
- Bunless burgers/steak +greens
- Cheddar cheese (been trying to be dairy-free and I think this was one of the signs I was ready for a carb-load)
- Lots of leafy greens, asparagus + broccoli
My macros, on average, are 5% carbs, 25% protein and 70% fat. Some days they fluctuate with a bit higher protein or a teensy bit higher carb, like 9%, but all in all, those are my current percentages. My daily calories are around 1700, unless I work out with a good sweat, I eat an additional 200ish. Now, before you run off thinking these macros and calories will work for you, hold your horses. I am 5’10”, relatively active and have very low muscle mass. My burn rate is very different from someone who is even the same height as me. This is where personalization is important.
I’ve done a lot of keto/low carb in the past. In fact, most of my pregnancy with William was “bulletproof,” with the exception of those damn Krispy Kreme cravings. Last time I did keto, I didn’t see any difference in my weight, which started to piss me off. The difference between this time and then is the whole “intuitive” eating thing. Last time, I was just eating loads of fat, all day, any time of day, in any amount, but it was “intuitive”. This is a common misconception with keto; just eat a lot of fat and no carbs and you’ll lose weight. WRONG. You still need to follow guidelines with calories, exercise (aka glycogen depletion) and any hormonal issues/leaky gut going on in your body.
So here is how the biohacking comes into play: At the beginning of this current protocol, I weighed myself, measured the circumference of my arms, legs, waist, hips and chest and I wrote down all the numbers; YOU CANNOT HACK IT, IF YOU DON'T TRACK IT. Simple as that. I will measure again at the end of four weeks and let you know my progress. I also had blood tests taken a few weeks ago and I will have the same blood tests done in about two weeks. I will share those numbers with you as well.
I will tell you this much that I know right now, is that in two short weeks:
- I’ve decreased my weight by 4.6kg/10.12lbs
- My skin appears to have improved slightly, although it could be my cycle as well
- No anxiety at all the past two weeks (this is probably due to journaling as well)
- Confidence has improved (this is probably due to journaling as well)
- Not sure sleep has changed – I tend to have decent sleep
- Inflammation has definitely decreased – I can feel it; cooler joints, more mobility
- Been able to increase weights at the gym
- Less pain in my elbows (these are my most troubling joints these days)
- More flexibility with my yoga practice
- Seems like I have more energy, especially in the afternoons I haven’t noticed an afternoon lull, like I usually get
Signs I was ready for a carb-loading day:
- Short temper – everything was really annoying me (truth)
- I had to decreasemy weights and reps at the gym the past two days – NOOO!
So, with that said, I’m about ready to start making my carb-laden lunch. I am keeping my carb-loading days quite clean, with foods like white rice, sweet potatoes and fruit. Overall, I am feeling well and I look forward to results that the next two weeks will bring. I hope this answered many of your questions. As always, please leave a comment/questions below.