Monday, August 18, 2014

Gluten-Free, 3 Months, Lab Results

I just got my lab results back for 3 months gluten-free.

As a recap, just over 3 months ago I went from taking 2000 mg Metformin daily, along with an ace inhibitor for blood pressure, to no medication, when I changed to a gluten-free diet and eased major restrictions on sugar and fat intake.  My daily fbs has been between 100-120 (112, 3-month average).  I've been eating lots of cheeses, fatty meats (pulled pork, ribeye, etc.), and I allow myself to indulge in sweets daily, provided they're gluten-free.  I go to bed each night with a bowl of Corn Chex with a handful of blueberries thrown in. There are these chocolate covered fruits from Costco I love to snack on, and sometimes I'll stop at a gas station and get some Reeses Pieces or a Butterfinger.  I've tried a couple of gluten-free bread replacement thingies, but most of them are inedible, so none of them are a regular part of my diet, but Duncan Hines Betty Crocker makes a phenomenal GF devil's food chocolate cake mix, so that'll be a monthly treat, I suspect.

I describe all of this because I haven't allowed myself this sort of indulgence of my sweet tooth in years, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it without the same sort of consequences prior to eating GF (though there are still some consequences).  I still feel phenomenal, but I have not been exercising much for about 2 months, since my walking buddy, Hunter, a 10 year old Golden Retriever of great personality, got sick and passed.

So, when we look at my lab results, let's keep in mind that, for the past 3 months, I've been gorging on sweets and fat well beyond any traditional recommended diet for a diabetic, and the only restriction I'm placing on my food is that it be gluten-free and free of sodium nitrates/nitrites (which I've found gives me sciatic nerve pain, and blisters on my feet, while uncured meats don't).

I started about a year ago with the diagnosis of diabetes with an A1c reading just over 10.  On a traditional diabetic diet (low carb, no sugar, low fat) along with exercise and doubling my daily intake of Metformin from 1000 mg to 2000 mg/day , I was able to bring it down to 7.1 just before switching to gluten free.

On the gluten-free diet, with minimal exercise, no medication, and no diet control except for removing gluten, I've continued to drop, albeit minimally, to an A1c of 6.9.  For reference, normal is considered 4.8-5.6.  I'm sure if I restrict the sugars again, I'll be able to get to "normal" easier - but damn it's nice to be able to eat sweets without having to take a nap, feel awful, get moody, or have a high blood sugar reading the next morning.  Same with mashed potatoes.

I also had my lipids tested.  In December of 2013, 3 months into a strict "diabetic" diet, my triglycerides were 318 (normal is 0-149).  This time, they were 113.  My HDLc was nearly the same; 34 prior, 35 this time (target is over 39), but the other big change was VLDL and LDLc.  My VLDL dropped from 64 (normal is 5-40) to 23, and my LDLc increased from 94 (normal of 0-99) to 142.  Now, according to traditional interpretation, a high LDL is of concern, but since they also took my VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) and I see that it dropped dramatically, I'm not worried as VLDL carries the triglycerides and is what aggravates atherosclerosis, and likely other amyloid problems as well.

Pulled pork and grilled Ribeye - well, boy, there's fat in them there meat; it's what makes it taste good.

I suspect my body just needs more time to heal after a lifetime of gluten before things settle into "normal", whatever the hell that is. Autophagy, I understand, can be a slow process, but I suspect the LDL's will convert to HDL's as more of the amyloids eventually work out of my system.  More exercise will help; but going GF hasn't cured laziness, I fear.

Otherwise, going gluten-free and maintaining it has been relatively effortless, I'll add; certainly compared to starving myself, treating sugar as the devil, and feeling guilty when inevitably indulging, and trying to exercise when fighting fatigue and constant lack of energy.  Sure, I miss a couple of things, but with what I've been able to add back into my diet, it's not much of a loss, and eventually I'll figure out how to make a decent loaf of gluten free bread - hell, maybe even some French Bread for a po-boy.  If not, using a fork is good enough.

Do I still recommend trying GF to everyone else in the world?  Hell, yes!  Yet...  I'm no longer the evangelical convert.  I've found most people are happy with their ongoing, slowly worsening health problems, and they already know everything about it and how to deal with it so don't care to listen or read about new ideas, let alone believe any of it.  I suppose it's the same-but-opposite of the instant-expert syndrome I've been suffering from after going GF.  Not that I'm giving up on spreading the good word; it's just tiring, so I don't talk about it much unless asked.

I still maintain my research pages, however, so if you haven't checked them in a bit, take a peek.