It was past 3pm, Thursday, July 21, 2022. Our last meal, lump cabbage dipped in Cheeze Whiz and Kewpie Mayo, was around 10pm (Wednesday). So it’s been 17 hours since my last eating. This was my daily routine, except for a few “cheat” days.
It’s my sixth month of low-carb (low-carb) intermittent fasting.
My LCIF journey began around February 2022, at my wife’s tireless urging. My weight was around 75 to 76kg after that, although my normal ideal weight should have been 62 to 67kg.
My BMI was then 27.3 (at 76 kg, considered ‘overweight’, which is the state I’ve been in for most of my adult life). Fortunately, today it’s down to 23.3 (at 65kg), within the “normal” range.
This was helped in large part by a low-carb lifestyle, along with intermittent fasting, along with more aerobic exercise.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
⚪ BMI is a mathematical formula used in nutrition science and is defined as body mass divided by the square of body height. It is expressed in units of kg/m².
⚪ It is a useful and inexpensive screening method for weight category – underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obesity.
⚪ While BMI does not directly measure body fat, it is moderately correlated with more direct measures of body fat, and correlates with as many metabolic and disease outcomes as it is with more direct measures of body fat.
So all these years, I knew I was overweight. But I didn’t feel a strong urge or need to do anything about it. I’ve been taking diabetes medication for 8 years, including a 500mg per day dose of the insulin-boosting combination Sitagliptin/Metformin. Another doctor later referred me to Glimepiride, which is also an anti-diabetic medication.
Why did we go with LCIF?
set of reasons. But our biggest “why” is health insurance. Among HMOs, I have learned that most now avoid people who list diabetes as a “pre-existing” condition. I don’t blame them. It is a chronic and irreversible condition. Some insurance companies can still enroll you, but at very high rates (>$2000 per year).
Here’s another: The diabetes medications I was taking didn’t seem to work, and my doctors simply increased the dose as the condition persisted, seemingly with no hope of remission. I’ve never tried to lose body weight before, thinking I never needed to, despite my knowledge of my overweight status.
LCIF trip for wife
My wife Tweet has been on a low-carb, intermittent fasting regime much earlier than I have been, since October 2021. One time she turned the scales over 90kg and was taking a number of medications, including high blood pressure pills.
Since starting her own LCIF, her weight has dropped to 76kg today. She’s looking to cut it further by continuing the course.
what do we eat
Here is a snapshot of a typical modern day meal:
10 p.m., Wednesday: Salad Just chop the cabbage with mayonnaise and cheese.
8:30 a.m., Thursday: Water, coffee (Before the trip to the market and the farm, seedlings of fruit trees are planted.)
3 p.m., Thursday: Snack, avocado slices (1); 2 eggs and 10 chicken dumplings, coffee (without sugar).
Most days, we only stick to two meals a day (TMAD), or one meal a day (OMAD).
This morning we passed the local market before driving to the farm, which is about 7 kilometers away, where I planted some seedlings of avocado and rambutan on my grandparents’ farm. It was a good substitute for a workout, and a bonding time to celebrate a special day (our 15th wedding anniversary).
Typical meal | timing
Water, sugar-free coffee, sauteed cauliflower (whole fist) chicken adobo (3 pieces chicken), vegetable spring roll (6 pieces), and apple cider vinegar (for spring).
Gelatin, chia seeds, all-purpose cream, and lemon-infused water (“calamansi”).
3 medium eggs with tomato, sauteed in coconut oil, tuna “picadillo” (2 pieces), fried fish (4 pieces), squash sauteed in ground beef (full fist), water.
Most days, our food consists mainly of proteins (ie meat, fish, eggs, nuts and almonds) and large amounts of vegetables. For coffee, we avoid sugar substitutes, and have learned to live with the regular brew.
Low-carb journey, here’s what it means:
Less or no rice (sometimes we prepare low glycemic index rice).
> Little or no bread/noodles/noodles at all.
> Little or no sugar/honey/maple syrup.
Here’s the long and the short: Besides living an active life, LCIF has actually lowered my blood sugar to normal levels (see video), where it was above normal before, despite the medication.
Just to be clear: We don’t follow a “no carbs” or “no carbs” diet – completely eliminating digestible carbs from our diet.
Carbohydrates — found in grains, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, pasta, bread, and baked goods made with wheat — produce glucose, an important source of energy. But excessive intake leads to problems (carbon toxicity). Glucose is so important, that as part of the magical inner workings of our body, the liver supplies sugar (or glucose) by converting glycogen to glucose in a process called glycogenolysis.
Consult your doctor
We do not advise anyone to adopt a low-carb, intermittent fasting lifestyle: it is best to consult your doctor first. That’s what we did with Dr. Josephine Chua Rogo, a licensed medical practitioner and low-carb advocate, who organizes “Advanced Classes” at LCIF.
We don’t get into the details of counting calories either. Here’s another disclaimer: We do allow some “cheat days,” when we indulge in carbs (pasta or pizza!) – maybe 4-5 days out of 30 days a month.
But once you’re down the LCIF route, or kick your high-carb habit, you don’t want to lose your “gains” (or in my case, lose weight, normal blood sugar, and skip diabetes medication).
Normal weight goes a long way
Obesity is a complex disease characterized by an excessive amount of body fat, which is the scourge of modern times. But experts also say that any diet that helps you shed extra pounds helps improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
I wasn’t overweight, but I was overweight. I remember my endocrinologist in the Emirates was upset with me – when I told him I was unable to resist my ‘normal’ intake of rice and bread (ie ‘unlimited’ rice, especially at night).
Can I go back to a high carb life/eat all I can?
Our food choices, weight, blood sugar levels, and overall health are entirely up to us – it’s not the doctor’s responsibility. They can only give good advice.
In our experience, every expert we consulted was right about money at LCIF, because it also promotes overall health.
Only now I realize that anti-diabetic drugs will not help much. If I overindulged in carbs and sweets as I always did, with some compliance exercise, it was just a downward spiral toward ill health from there.
Of course, we can choose to indulge in any diet rich in carbohydrates. But now that we now know better what works and what doesn’t, the choice is entirely up to us.
Carbohydrate alternatives for bread based on wheat flour?
There are a number of them available online (also check your local supermarket).
Wheat or rice substitutes:
> Low glycemic index rice (eat in moderation)
Foods to eat and avoid
On a low-carb diet, most calories should come from healthy, natural sources, including:
Lean proteins, such as eggs, fish, and nuts (almonds, walnuts)
> Good fats like olives or avocados
[Once clear of inflammation, and reversal of illness is achieved, our LCIF coach told us that it’s OK to indulge our cravings once in a while.]
Low carb diet
People on a low-carb diet also limit fruit intake because fruit also contains fructose, a type of sugar (a sweet carbohydrate) — although most people consider fruit a better alternative to sugary snacks and processed foods.
A healthy, low-carb diet suggests limiting your intake of the following:
> Processed foods (packed meals and salty snacks) and spices
> Foods high in sugar (cakes, candy, pastries, biscuits, soft drinks, juices)
> starches (white bread or white bread)
> Potatoes, including chips
> Other starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, taro, cassava)
Whole-grain bread, lentils, and beans are also high in carbohydrates (but they can be an important part of a healthy diet). They can be eaten only in moderation or as an alternative to unhealthy carbohydrates, such as muffins and pancakes.
Some simple ideas for our meals include:
>low sodium cheese
> High-fiber smoothies with avocado, frozen berries and
> Fried eggs and vegetables in coconut oil
lunch and dinner:
> Grilled or grilled chicken
> Cauliflower rice with vegetables
> Roasted Nuts Salad
> Hamburger without bun or cheeseburger
> Pizza with cauliflower crust
> Chicken stuffed with vegetables and cheese
> Tuna, including canned tuna and tuna slices
> Nuts | fruit (in moderation)
In terms of exercise, I use my body weight for resistance training — with chair dips, incline push-ups, and Belgian split squats, among other things.
These are moderate body weight aerobic exercises. In combination with LCIF, I have found it to be an effective method of strength training. I try to stick to 150 minutes of exercise a week.
So can LCIF really reverse type 2 diabetes?
It seems it can. Or should I stock up on metformin until today. Dr. Samir Rahmani, a renowned Bariatric Surgeon based in the United Arab Emirates, explained In this article, diabetes can be reversed and the role LCIF can play in it.
Note: This is not medical advice. Consult your doctor first if you plan to follow a low-carb intermittent fasting regimen.