One of the best parts of becoming a student of your own body when you make the decision to finally take back control of your own health is just how fascinating it is to take regular assessments of where you stand with various aspects of your health. As many of you know, I’ve been actively engaged in a purposeful and constant state of nutritional ketosis for the past 18 months and I’ve never been this lean and healthy in my entire adult life. Yes, I still have more work left to be done but I’m headed in the right direction.
While the thought of consuming a very low-carb, moderate protein, very high-fat diet may make most doctors and dietitians shudder in fear for my health, the fact is I’m doing just fine eating this way thank you very much. In case you are wondering, I am still testing my blood sugar and blood ketone levels twice daily just to keep an eye on things so that I stay on track. It certainly keeps me honest about my progress and is providing me some outstanding added information that I may choose to include in my next book Keto Clarity: Unleash The Health Benefits Of A Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet coming Summer 2014.
I’ve had a few random health tests run recently and thought you might want to see how things are going for me. Check it out:
Through a company I found online called Life Line Screening, my wife Christine and I were able to have a series of various non-invasive heart health assessments done without needing to go see a doctor. They measured for carotid artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease, osteoporosis, and the obligatory BMI. As you can see from the results above, I’m doing pretty good. This coincides well with my CT Heart Calcium Score of “0” earlier this year. WOO HOO!
When I was looking at some blood tests to have run online, I came across this one from Private MD Labs that tests for food allergies to various things, including cow’s milk, wheat, corn, peanut, soybean, pork, beef, fish/shellfish, whole eggs and chocolate/cocoa. Thankfully none of them came back as a positive result. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and celebrate eating a bunch of wheat, soy, corn and peanuts, but I’m happy to know at least on a basic level that I’m not allergic to any of these foods. One of these days I’m going to find a way to get an ALCAT Food Allergy Test run–widely considered the “gold standard” in food allergy testing. I need a naturopathic physician or other holistic health professional to help me get that one run.
An Exercise and Nutrition PhD student at Clemson (SC) University named Collin Popp contacted me recently stating he’s a “big fan” of my podcast and has been an ardent follower of Paleo for the past four years. Since I only live about an hour away from his campus, he invited me to visit his lab to have my resting energy expenditure (REE) measured to determine the number and kind of calories used from fat or carbohydrates/protein at rest. Knowing that I eat a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet, Collin was curious about my results. I did this test last week and here’s a picture of me in the space apparatus getting tested:
Having a plastic dome encased over your face for a half-hour is not very much fun and I was a little bit dizzy when I tried to stand up afterwards. But the results were pretty amazing–my energy requirements at rest requires 2,093 calories to maintain and I’m burning (not surprisingly!) 63% of my calories in the form of fat. NICE! While the remaining 37% of the calories are described as “carbohydrate” calories, I asked them if this would also include the gluconeogenesis from protein. The response: “That’s probably what most of it is from.” Fascinating! I guess you can conclude that I’m pretty well fat-adapted (keto-adapted) using fat at my primary fuel source. It’s interesting to note that I’m not burning just fat, but predominantly fat. Robb Wolf said as much on my Ketogenic Diet & Performance panel at the 2013 Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta back in August.
While I was at Clemson, they also ran a DXA scan on me using a state-of-the-art $100,000 machine they just started using. Unlike the other DXA scans I have done in the past which had an arm that starts at your head and works like a fax machine taking images of your body working its way down to your feet measuring for body fat mass, lean muscle mass and bone mineral density. Additionally, the third test above is of my lumbar spine looking further at the bone structure. Technically, I’m still considered between overweight and obese, but certainly in a lot better position than I was at my last DXA scan in November 2012. I’m in the 85th percentile for total body fat percentage for men my age–but I’m determined to improve on this even more! They said my bone density and lumbar spine test results were just fine. AWESOME!
Finally, I wanted to share these results from a CT scan of my pelvic region because I’ve been having some pain in my lower back, specifically to the right-hand side, that has persisted for the past few months. I had no idea what what causing this pain and I suspected I might have kidney stones. So I got this test run that showed all of my internal organs looked good. In fact, the radiologist said my kidneys were completely clear of any stones. However, he did notice on the images that I have significant degenerative disc disease in the L 4/5 and T 10/11 areas of my spine. When I called my mom about this, she said, “Oh yeah, son, I forgot to tell you that your mom and dad both have this.” Gee thanks! I’ve been to see a chiropractor friend to help with some of the pain and it’s something I’ll just have to deal with for the rest of my life. Lucky me, right?
Here are a few other blood tests I’ve had run:
That’s about it for now. I’ll keep monitoring my health using strategic testing to keep an eye on my progress. How’s YOUR health?