Problems

#1 Low energy levels
#2 Low physical fitness
#3 Cyclical mood and motivation

Desired Results

  • Improved health
  • Physical fitness: lean and strong
  • Sharp, clear thinking
  • Good mood with plenty of energy and motivation
  • 6-8 hours of sleep and wake up refreshed
  • Clear dreams, dream recall, and frequent lucid dreams
  • To be motivated to continue with this eating system long term
  • Reduce time spent on food planning, related reading, thinking and other food work
  • Spend $10-$15 CAD per day on food

There are two rules to follow:

Rule #1: Consume nutritious foods.

Rule #2: Avoid foods with low nutritious content.

Pretty simple.

Day-to-Day Maintenance

Grocery shopping is done once per week.

Workouts are done in a fasted state, typically 20-22 hours after last meal.

14 day meal plan is built using spreadsheet.

Food Project Timeline

On day one:

  • Quit caffeine & sugar
  • Started eating OMAD (one meal a day)
  • Started paleo diet

First 6 weeks (July 31-Sept 10) Ketogenic diet started on Sept 5th. 

  • I felt better at the gym.  I looked forward to my workouts.
  • My level of discipline increased. It was much easier to stay disciplined. I could focus easily.
  • I enjoyed people more. I felt more relaxed.
  • My teeth were noticeably cleaner.
  • My motivation was low.
  • My brain was often dull.
  • I needed to sleep a ton.
  • Certain evenings I felt low.  Then other evenings I felt positive. Usually I felt good in the mornings. This is mostly due to quitting sugar and caffeine.
  • Under my eyes felt tired.
  • Sept 7, 2017 Blood Glucose at 5.1 mmol, Ketones at 0.9 mmol. This is two days after I started keto.  Measurement taken at 7 PM, 3 hours after eating.
  • Sept 9, 2017 Blood Glucose at 4.6 mmol, Ketones at 1.4 mmol. Taken at 7:33 AM.
  • July 31 weight: 180 lbs, Sept 10 weight: 171 lbs

6 – 8 weeks (Sept 11 – 24 ) Plant-based diet started on the 13th

  • Creativity has increased.  Thinking is sharp.  Thoughts pop into my head which are clear solutions to problems. My mind is active.  It is easier for me to picture ideas, systems, or physical places.
  • Sleep time has decreased.  I began to wake up early,  around 5 AM.
  • Focused work is easy to do for long periods of time.
  • Mood is way, way better.  Feel good pretty much every evening.
  • Motivation is high.
  • A couple days after I switched to plant-based, my throat got a little sore. It was sore off and on for 4 days.
  • Get tired around 1-2 PM. The afternoons seem to be a lull for me. It can make me irritable. My mood is still positive, but irritable. But then I get a second wind around 5 PM.
  • Under my eyes still feels tired. I am wide awake, but my body feels a little sleepy. Almost like my mind is more awake than my body.
  • I started to take supplements necessary for plant-based eating: B vitamin, Potassium Chloride, Vitamin D, Chromium, Choline
  • Had first lucid dream in 3 years.
  • Had best workout in a long time, in terms of how I felt.
  • A headache that started coming and going.
  • Had a day where I was too tired to finish my workout. Then I didn’t feel good when I ate my meal later either.
  • Sept 14, 2017 Blood Glucose at 3.6 mmol, Ketones at 4.6 mmol. Taken at 6:30 AM.
  • Sept 24, 2017 Blood Glucose at 4.9 mmol, Ketones at 3.4 mmol. Taken at 8:47 AM.
  • Sept 11 weight: 171 lbs, Sept 24 weight:  169 lbs

8 weeks (Sept 25 – Oct 1)

  • Skin is more clear.
  • Had a day where I was exhausted. I slept for 9 solid hours and still needed to nap.
  • Afternoon lull is there some days  and some days there is no afternoon lull.
  • Under my eyes is feeling less tired, but I can still feel it occasionally.
  • Dreams are very vivid.
  • Moods are good. Motivation is good.
  • Energy is medium. I have enough to focus well, but I don’t feel high energy.
  • Some mild brain fog days.
  • Still have a headache that comes and goes.
  • Had second and third lucid dream.
  • Sept 25 weight: 169 lbs, Sept 27 weight: 168 lbs.  Once I hit 168 lbs, I increased calories back to maintenance.
  • Oct 2, 2017 Blood glucose at 3.5 mmol, Ketones at 4.9 mmol. Taken at 8:15 AM. This is at the end of first 14 day meal plan. Net carbs were 40 g to 50 g.

9 – 10 weeks (Oct 2 – Oct 15)

  • Increased net carbs to 65-73 g per day.
  • Had fourth lucid dream. (at start of week)
  • Dream clarity is high.
  • Sleeping 7 – 9 hours a night.
  • Mood, motivation, and energy is good initially. Energy, mood and motivation declined over the week.
  • A little brain fog after 1 PM some days.
  • Headaches have disappeared.
  • I am more tired lately. Brain fog too today. (Oct 8-11). Since increasing net carbs, there has been a definite increase in sleep. Looks to be close to an hour increase. Also haven’t been writing out dreams as much. Possibly because of being so tired and not waking up as sharp. Feeling hungrier on increased net carbs.
  • This may be the toughest period so far. (Oct 11) Mentally, I am finding it difficult to stay disciplined. Thinking about meat a lot today. Thinking about sugar and caffeine. My mind has been foggy for the last four or five days. I am having to remind myself that I am looking for an optimized diet. I am also decreasing my water intake as of today, because of stomach issues from too much insoluble fiber. And I am increasing psyllium powder intake to 1 tbsp a day (up from 1 tsp a day).
  • Oct 12, 2017 Increased coconut oil to 140 ml. Today, I decided that I was at a fork in the road. I either had to give up what I was doing or double down and recommit to it. There wasn’t an option to just keep going as normal. I chose to double down and refocus. I find it interesting that I am on the tenth week and it is psychologically so difficult right now. If coconut oil increase doesn’t bring very quick changes, I am returning to lower carb.
  • Oct 13, 2017 Slept full 8 hours, even after a nap of one hour yesterday evening. This morning and last night focus was improved slightly from last few days.
  • Oct 14, 2017 Ideas have started popping into my head again. Thinking is more clear.
  • Oct 15, 2017 Cut carbs down to under 30g net today.
  • Oct 5, 2017 Blood glucose at 3.4 mmol, Ketones at 5.1 mmol. Taken at 8 AM. This is after first 3 days of 65-73 g net carbs. Previous evening was 73 g net carbs.
  • Oct 7, 2017 Blood glucose at at 4.6 mmol, Ketones at 2.3 mmol. Taken at noon.
  • Oct 14, 2017 Blood glucose at 4.1 mmol, Ketones at 3.3 mmol. Taken at 9 AM

11 weeks + (Oct 16 – current)

  • Decreased net carbs to under 30 per day (starting Oct 15)
  • Oct 17, 2017 Blood Glucose at 4.0 mmol, Ketones at 1.8 mmol. Taken at 9 AM. I took a measurement this morning, because I could tell my body has switched over since I decreased my net carbs a couple days ago. I am more alert and I needed an hour less of sleep. I find it odd that my ketone range and my blood glucose range are both in the same area as before. I expected them to be different. Obviously, it is not my ketone level or blood glucose level which is affecting the way I feel mentally. My guess is that my brain switches over from burning carbs to ketones once the carb intake gets low enough, even though my body still has tons of ketones floating around.
  • Oct 18, 2017 Weight: 166 lbs. Increased my calories to 3182

Mental Game: Philosophy & Motivation

Philosophy: Food is medicine.

Motivation: create an audio recording of benefits to diet changes (listed below). Listen to 3x a week.

Social: Don’t worry about OMAD when eating out. Eat salad or vegetables.

Cheat days: do not do.

Benefits to Diet Changes: My Motivation Fuel

  1. OMAD (form of intermittent fasting)
    • Saves time. Simplifies everything.
    • Easier to eat healthy.
    • Autophagy: body gets rid of faulty parts, stops cancerous growths, removes diseased cells, removes worn out cells.  Then the body recycles these cells.
    • BDNF Increases: supports survival of neurons. Encourages growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. These functions are crucial to staving off neurological diseases. BDNF is vital in learning, memory, and higher thinking. It is also expressed in retina, motor neurons, kidneys, saliva, and prostate.
    • Insulin Sensitivity Improved: this accelerates fat loss. Makes it less likely food is stored as fat.
    • Human Growth Hormone Increases: stimulates growth, cell reproduction, cell regeneration, increases muscle mass, and stimulates immune system.
    • Reduces blood pressure.
    • Mitocondria: increases the number of mitocondria in nerve cells. Mitocondria supply cellular energy. They oxidise glucose to provide for the cell. Also are involved in signaling, cell differentiation, cell death, and control cell division and cell growth.
    • In animal models, it improves cognitive functions and brain structures
    • Reduces blood pressure
  2. Quitting Caffeine/Sugar
    • More stable energy
    • Easier to wake up in the morning
    • Less irritability and anxiety
    • Improved mood
    • Sleep quality is much better
    • Healthier teeth
  3. Ketogenic
    • Increases mental focus and performance.
    • Improvement in mitochondrial function. See description above for what Mitochondria does.
    • Reduces hunger levels
    • Body uses fat as a fuel source. This reduces energy crashes.
    • Ketones protect against oxidative stress in parts of the brain. Ketones are the “fat fuel” that your body produces which the body can use as a primary source of energy.
    • Reduces blood sugar levels
    • Insulin (fat storage hormone) levels drop. Better for weight loss than low fat diet.
    • Diet has been shown to have benefits for a wide range of health conditions
  4. Plant Based
    • I had heartburn while doing ketogenic diet with meat. I only did the meat version for a week. This went away when I switched to plant-based foods.
    • Instantly started sleeping less initially
    • My ability to focus increased
    • Moods improved
    • Skin became more clear
    • Increased insulin sensitivity
    • Protection against cardiovascular diseases, cardio metabolic risk factors, some cancers and total mortality.
    • Lower carb plant diet performs better than high-carb lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. In terms of lipid lowering, which improves heart disease risk factors.

Fallback Plan

In case this diet isn’t producing positive results, have a fallback plan which is a series of steps

This prevents an immediate transition from focused diet to a day of doughnuts dipped in coffee.

Here are the steps back.  If the diet isn’t working…

  1. Step back from tracking everything.
  2. Step back from plant-based food.  Add fish, and eggs.
  3. Step back from focus on fish and eggs. Go to Paleo.
  4. Step back from strict paleo. Incorporate cheese.
  5. Step back from ketogenic diet.  Increase carbs.
  6. Step back from paleo. Continue eating OMAD.
  7. Step back from OMAD.

The Circle + 80/20

  • Equipment: food scale, Precision Xtra Blood Glucose & Ketone Monitoring System, Fitbit Alta HR,
  • Spreadsheet: to track micronutrients, macronutrients, and costs
  • Experience:  Paleo & vegetarian diet, <33 g carbs, <75 g carbs, <50 g carbs, OMAD, ketogenic
  • Other: Fitness Project
  • Strong fallback plan, have already seen benefits from Food Project, have tested many variations of the food I am eating
  • Definite Results: ketogenic, OMAD, quitting caffeine and sugar
  • Possible Results: plant based

Outside Circle

  • Carb up day effects
  • Cheese, meat

Behind-the-Scenes

Meal Plans: Rotation for 14 Day Cycle

Use the same meal plan for 14 days.  Don’t make any changes to the plan until the 14 days are over.

Meal Plan 1 During Cut: Maintenance Calories – 500

Hemp Hearts: 200 g +65 g if workout day
Raw Broccoli: 200 g
Collard Greens: 50 g
Crimini Mushrooms: 50 g
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: 350 ml
Blueberries Frozen: 50 g
Sunflower Seeds: 40 g
Almonds: 25 g
Walnuts: 25 g
Pistachios (shelled): 25 g
Supplements: 1/2 Pill Vitamin B Complex: $0.07, 1/2 Pill Chromium $0.06, 3x Vitamin D 1000 IU $0.18, Choline $0.14

Non- Workout Day Totals: 2035 Calories. 156 g Fat, 71 g Carbs, 36 g Net Carbs, 95 g Protein.  Cost: $10.19 CAD ($8.35 USD)
Workout Day Totals: 2403 Calories. 184 g Fat, 76 g Carbs, 38 g Net Carbs, 116 g Protein. Cost:  $11.32 CAD ($9.28 USD)

Meal Plan 2 During Cut: Maintenance Calories – 500

Hemp Hearts: 200 g +65 g if workout day
Raw Broccoli: 200 g
Collard Greens: 50 g
Crimini Mushrooms: 50 g
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: 350 ml
Spinach: 50 g
Sunflower Seeds: 30 g
Almonds: 25 g
Walnuts: 25 g
Olive Oil: 15 ml
Blueberries: 50 g
Onion: 25 g
Tomato: 160 g
Carrots: 50 g
Cucumber: 180 g
Supplements: 1/2 Pill Vitamin B Complex: $0.07, 1/2 Pill Chromium $0.06, 3x Vitamin D 1000 IU $0.18, Choline $0.14

Non- Workout Day Totals: 2059 Calories. 155 g Fat, 84 g Carbs, 47 g Net Carbs, 92 g Protein.  Cost: $11.69 CAD ($9.58 USD)
Workout Day Totals: 2428 Calories. 183 g Fat, 92 g Carbs, 49 g Net Carbs, 114 g Protein. Cost:  $12.83 CAD ($10.51 USD)

Meal Plan 3 During Cut: Maintenance Calories – 500

Hemp Hearts: 200 g +65 g if workout day
Raw Broccoli: 200 g
Collard Greens: 50 g
Crimini Mushrooms: 50 g
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: 350 ml
Almond Cashew Butter: 30 g
Walnuts: 25 g
Pistachios: 30 g
Blueberries: 50 g
Sunflower Seeds: 30 g
Supplements: 1/2 Pill Vitamin B Complex: $0.07, 1/2 Pill Chromium $0.06, 3x Vitamin D 1000 IU $0.18, Choline $0.14

Non- Workout Day Totals: 2032 Calories. 156 g Fat, 73 g Carbs, 40 g Net Carbs, 94 g Protein.  Cost: $10.46 CAD ($8.57 USD)
Workout Day Totals: 2401 Calories. 184 g Fat, 81 g Carbs, 43 g Net Carbs, 114 g Protein. Cost:  $11.60 CAD ($9.51 USD)

Rotation for 14 Day Cycle #2

This cycle, I am trying to increase my carbs and still stay in ketosis.

Meal Plan 1

Hemp Hearts: 220 g
Raw Broccoli: 150 g
Crimini Mushrooms: 50 g
Romaine Lettuce: 100 g
Olive Oil: 30 ml
Coconut Oil: 45 ml
Avocado: 125 g
Cucumber: 180 g
Tomato: 180 g
Onion: 50 g
Carrot: 150 g
Bell Pepper: 70 g
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: 250 ml
Balsamic Vinegar: 50 ml
Sunflower Seeds: 30 g
Pumpkin Seeds: 15 g
Flax Seeds: 25 g
Supplements: 1/2 Pill Vitamin B Complex: $0.07, 1/2 Pill Chromium $0.06, 3x Vitamin D 1000 IU $0.18, Choline $0.14

Totals: 2850 Calories. 224 g Fat, 121 g Carbs, 65 g Net Carbs, 99 g Protein.

Meal Plan 2

Hemp Hearts: 200 g
Raw Broccoli: 200 g
Crimini Mushrooms: 50 g
Collard Greens: 50 g
Olive Oil: 30 ml
Coconut Oil: 60 ml
Avocado: 60 g
Cucumber: 180 g
Tomato: 180 g
Onion: 30 g
Carrot: 125 g
Pistachio: 25 g
Almonds: 10 g
Walnuts: 10 g
Pumpkin Seeds: 15 g
Chia Seeds: 50 g
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: 250 ml
Balsamic Vinegar: 50 ml
Supplements: 1/2 Pill Vitamin B Complex: $0.07, 1/2 Pill Chromium $0.06, 3x Vitamin D 1000 IU $0.18, Choline $0.14

Totals: 2918 Calories. 232 g Fat, 123 g Carbs, 65 g Net Carbs, 97 g Protein.

Meal Plan 3:

Hemp Hearts: 200 g
Raw Broccoli: 200 g
Crimini Mushrooms: 50 g
Olive Oil: 30 ml
Coconut Oil: 60 ml
Almond Cashew Butter: 30 g
Collard Greens: 50 g
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: 250 ml
Cucumber: 180 g
Tomato: 180 g
Onion: 30 g
Carrots: 70 g
Sunflower Seeds: 50 g
Balsamic Vinegar: 50 g
Banana: 50 g
Blueberries: 50 g
Supplements: 1/2 Pill Vitamin B Complex: $0.07, 1/2 Pill Chromium $0.06, 3x Vitamin D 1000 IU $0.18, Choline $0.14

Totals: 2811 Calories. 225 Fat, 110 Carbs, 73 g Net Carbs, 92 g Protein.

7 day shopping list for first week:

Hemp hearts: 840 g
Raw Broccoli: 1250 g
Crimini Mushrooms: 350 g
Collard Greens: 200 g
Romaine Lettuce: 300 g
Olive Oil: 210 ml
Coconut Oil: 375 ml
Avocado: 495 g (4 avocados)
Cucumber: 1260 g (3.5 cucumbers)
Tomato: 1260 g
Onion: 270 g
Carrots: 840 g
Bell Pepper: 210 g (1.5 peppers)
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: 1.75 ml
Balsamic Vinegar: 350 ml
Sunflower Seeds: 190 g
Pumpkin Seeds: 75 g
Flax Seeds: 75 g
Pistachio: 50 g
Almonds: 20 g
Walnuts: 20 g
Chia Seeds: 100 g
Banana: 100 g (1 banana)

MCT Diet: 60% of total calories are fat. 30%-50% of total calories are MCT. (reference)

Rotation for 14 Day Cycle #3

This cycle, I am trying to keep my carbs under 32 g to see how I feel. Calories at 3182. 110 g protein. 32 g net carbs. 272 g fat.

Meal Plan 1

Hemp Hearts 200 g
Unsweetened Coconut Milk 250 ml
Flax seeds 75 g
Walnuts 50 g
Almond Butter 50 g
Sunflower Seeds: 25 g

Raw Broccoli 100 g
Crimini Mushrooms 50 g
Avocado 125 g
Tomato 100 g
Romaine Lettuce 100 g
Olive Oil 30 g
Coconut Oil 30 g
Balsamic vinegar 7.5 ml