For many years I have been an advocate for and practicioner of a primal / paleo diet and lifestyle for several years. Earlier this year I had been back on Tim Ferriss’s 4HB diet and on December 1, 2018 I decided to recommit to a paleo lifestyle (inclusive of only free range / pasture raised animal sources and clean 15 vegetables) and reset and re-establish a baseline from my previous testing.

Experiment 011: Paleo / Keto Reset

Introduction: I have been wanting to get back into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after five years or so out of the game. More over, being a few years older, I wanted to see if I could get back to “my fighting weight” (Lightwegith / 167.5 lbs / 76 Kg) without cuttingn weight; which is important because A) I’m older now, and B) that has been a huge barrier to my competition performance in the past.

Start Weight Goal Weight Exercise
179 lbs (mid day w/ gi) 167.5 lbs (mid day w/ gi) Daily: 20 - 30 min dog training, 20 min light BJJ drills; desk job M-F

Results / Log:

  • Week 1: Paleo food list, no starch
    • Day 7: 172 lbs (mid day w/ gi)
  • Week 2: Plaeo, no starch, no fruit
    • Day 13: 167.5 lbs (mid day w/ gi)
    • Day 14: 40 min BJJ drilling @ higher intensity: moderate fatigue, strong headache, blood sugar 94 (see Experiment 012 below)
  • Week 3:
    • Day 15: 159 lbs (morning, undies only, after peeing); serious potential for MMA @ 155 (light) and Boxing @ 152 (welter)
  • Day 21: 70.5 Kg / 158.6 lbs (morning, undies only, after peeing); estimated mid-day weight w/ gi: 165 lbs.

Outcome: The results speak for themselves. A ketogenic plaeo diet was vrey effective for losing weight in my situation. For critical supplementary information one should understand how long it takes to enter ketosis and “how carbs really work” with regard to “water weight.”

Experiment 012: Paleo / Keto Performance

Introduction: EXP011 Diet (Paleo Food List @ ~2000 cal, 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbs) may negatively effect performance during higher intesity activity (see note above). Blood sugar was normal (94) in testing and urine ketones (were note measured due to later finding out my test strips were expired and giving inaccurate readings). References: optimal ketone level, converting mg/dl to mmol/L.

Option A: Assess for electrolyte deficit and supplement training days with sports drink (e.g. TKD diet)
Option B: Eat more calories overall and maintain macronutrient ratios.

Results / Log:

  • Intervention (Option B): 1TB grass fed butter in pre and post workout shake (daily ~2200 cal, 65% fat, 25% protein, 10% carbs)
  • Day 17: 40 min BJJ drilling, 20 min BJJ sparring, no issues in training or for the rest of the day.
  • Day 18: 20 minutes intense CrossFit style BJJ drills and conditioning, again no issues during training or after.

Outcome: The simple intervention of just eating more to fuel the workouts made me feel much better. I didn’t have to do anything fancy with regard to glucose timing or TKD / CKD (target ketogenic diet / cyclic ketogenic diet). I simply ate about 200 - 300 calories more split between the meal before my workout and the meal after. As for electrolytes and other micronutrients, see below.

Experiment 013: Paleo / Keto Nutrient Profile

Introduction: Initially I had only planned on my very strict ketogenic paleo diet to be a temporary measure to get to competition weight. That is, staying paleo all year round, but only going ketogenic 2-4 times per year when a competition rolls around. However, I was surprised that I actually felt pretty healhty, energetic, and sustainable during the first two weeks, so during the third and final week of my testing I logged my food intake into cronometer to see if I had any major micronutrient deficits. This also serves to put some science in the debate with those who assert the dietary measures above will be lacking. Notably, I wanted to avoid dietary supplements and get nutrients from whole sources where possible, however I do drink a grass fed whey protein shake twice per day for convenience though.

Results / Log:

*Average: 2263 cal @ 65% fat, 27% protein, 8% net carbs

RDA Vitamins / Minerals
> 100%: 8: B12 (171%), B6 (113%), Folate (111%), Vitamin A (648%), Beta-carotene (875%), C (275%), E (112%), K (200%)
75% - 99%: 7: B2 (77%), B5 (95%), Calcium (80%), Copper (97%), Iron (209%), Sodium (113%), Phosphorus (8%)
50% - 74%: 4: B1 (60%), B3 (54%), Maganese (78%), Selenium (61%)
25% - 50%: 4: D (27%), Magnesuim (50%), Potassium (49%), Zinc (37%)
< 25%: 0

*when I manually added Iodine there was a warning message from Cronometer acknolweding that their database had a “very low number of enteries identifying iodine percentages.”

Outcome: Notably, there were no major (<25% deficits). Most (15) nutrients tracked were in the > 75% category which is also good news. 4 were between 50% and 75% which I’d still consider an acceptable level. Finally, the 4 poorest performers (below 50%) were Vitamin D, Magnesium, Potasium, and Zinc. Of note, those last 3 are electrolytes which were questioned in EXP012. After some breif Google-ing of these vitamins; there isn’t anything fancy that needs to be done here other than adding more variety to the things I was already eating. That is, substituting some of red meat for fatty fish (Vitamin D, Magnesium), adding leafy vegetables (spinach and kale) to my breakfast (Vitamin D, Magnesium, Potassium), and variety to my nut / seed intake (Zinc). As noted the above data was only taken over the course of 7 days, so there wasn’t an opportunity for a ton of variety (i.e. only one trip to the grocery store).

I’m taking a short break (about a week) to enjoy the holidays (but still trying to get good nutrients in too between the festivities!), but very shortly into the new year will begin a longer term follow up analysis of the micronutrients listed in EXP013 – perhaps a term of 3-4 weeks.

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