Following part 1, here I continue outlining the many highlights of 2023.
- General nutrition changes.
- I can only share some details, albeit restricted in order to not solicit unintended angst amongst relatives, direct or indirect, work or not-work. Please read my public Concerns & Assurance Statement for more details.
- Nothing that I opinionate, share or disclose ~ may act as health panacea or may serve as pre-existing clinical overrides for another individual.
General Nutritional Changes & Processed meat intakes revisited.
Here I’m presenting my retrospect and why I believe, at least from my experience – that there are still workable and acceptable exceptions in the world of processed meat. Those clinging to the “clean-eating” dogma may skip this section altogether.
I am sharing this purely for purveying workable ideas. For sake of conveniences and that if you are living the same restrictive WOE and WOL patterns in your current household, then these may relate to you.
The very first of these exceptions, is undeniably, liverwurst or liverpate. If you are not allowed to cook any meat all, this should be highly rated, in my humble opinion thus far – at getting the most bioavailable Vitamin A. No competition. We can certainly debate carrots being a possible alternative. But they are not proteins judging by their 0.7g per 100g.
Next is corned beef. I have featured this in my Frugal Protein sources. Despite monotonous palate, at least we have a source of protein that is easily fulfilling, transportable, reasonably priced (even amidst worsening inflation), and requires no cooking.
After that, chicken loafs. At the very least, I’d rate them one (1) step up more useful than TVP.
And lastly continuing my own pledge for self-experimentation – I began reintroducing beans once again. Cannelini, kidney beans, and chickpeas all in canned forms. Unfortunately none of them still agrees with me as 100% gut friendly. But the appeal of it as a makeshift protein source did nonetheless appear viable to me. Hence I incorporated these as part / during carbohydrate allowance days. Albeit, I have to wait until Mondays to purge them out (with some needed relief) .
Moving on, I have had many insightful updates. However given the limited time, I can only summarise based from my own writing, as I am thinking-out-loud on these, item by item. Subject to amends for readability.
Long story short these are supplements that, in my humble opinion, are absolutely essential. For but not limited to Stress handling, sleep quality, mental outlook, and general composure. Suffice to say this year have saw me decline to all these surrogate markers.
Pre meythylated vitamins & methylation support
Accordingly to my recent genome test and to prepare me for the month(s) of big nutrition & cooking restrictions ~ I decided to order at least a month from advance from moving out ~a multi vitamin that offers pre-methylated micronutrients. Methyl B12, folates, and a handful of other novel conveniences – Vitamin D at 2000IU capsule though not much and full spectrum of Tocopherols (Vitamin E variants alpha to delta.)
I used to belong to the multi vitamin skeptics. I once believed they were useless and only turn your pee to an expensive golden urine. Whilst I do feel there is a cumulative, though not entirely direct improvement to the above quality of life (QOL) criterias ~ I hereby posit a change of mind, that a multi vitamin can indeed be worth it in the long term view; should many nutritional gaps persist indefenitely.
Considering the pre-methylated formulas that is deemed necessary, at least as per my nutrigenomics test suggest ~ I am beginning to realize their importance. That despite added expense, the particular brand above offer a variety of other contingents worth considering.
Although a question remains. How much or how far of a time frame ~ that this supplement actually acts as contingency? Very difficult to tell at this present time.
Choline ~ Phosphadytl Choline and Choline Bitartrate
Before I get to explain why Choline is important, I still feel obliged to provide a brief context surrounding methylation. For simplicity sake, Methyation is by technical definition ~ an exchange of a chain molecule consisting one carbon and 3x hydrogen atoms, taking place amidst all metabolic processes firstly as select nutrients are required to initiate these . To name a few ~ Vitamins B2,B6,B12, B9 (folate), choline and betaine.
As the above micronutrients gets used up, the next step here is that we end up with “Methyl donors”, or “Methyl Groups”. The major / common ones are known so far as Creatine, Phosphadytyl Choline and SAME (S-adenosylmethionine). These finally then pre-empting the rest of our biochemical processes ~ protein synthesis, immune function, psychology health, only to name a few.
We can be deficient or compromised in our machinery at processing converting and handling numerous byproducts of methylation, thereby affecting both mental and physical state. “Homocysteine” is one of them that may be familiar to most people as a marker for CVD, but with numerous subjectivities ahead, this remains debate-able.
Chiefly my concern here, is intake of Choline. I previously emphasized their importance, many times in my pace of eating videos as they are crucial part for maintaining digestion / HCL efficacy. But this year, I am noticing a lot more detriments particularly towards mental health. And I suspect my Choline intake as possible casuality – considering I have declined all choline-food intakes (due to WOL/WOE restrictions during my temporary accommodation) ~ for nearing a good four-month period towards ending of 2023.
Digestion problems, Slowed gut motility, poor/questionable mental health to name a few. The latter, I argue is more serious. I am talking about lack of general composure, resilience and ability to withstand serious conversations. Such taking place amidst public situations and involving multiple stakeholders, on one or two occassions people were hinting that something is wrong with me. That ~ Coinciding with my most stressful period this year – involving heavy discussions amidst pressing overtimes, outstanding-list of backburner obligations, financing, family politics, and (undisclosed) potential dispute(s) involving multiple stakeholder(s) regarding my future mortgage / living prospects.
Suffice to say, I have had a lot.
It was only until bringing in either 1). copious amount of eggs. or 2). choline supplementation helped me reclaim the above psychology resilience I need, day in and out. Irrespective fasting windows or not.
Determining which of the two types of Choline (PBC or Bitartrate) is more effective is difficult. Given their exorbitant / esoteric price tags my thoughts are still preliminary. Both are absolutely essential supplements in my opinion, that runs for almost no more than a month for each initial purchase.
Suffice to say, Choline Bitartrate is the one that offer the most immediate and palpable result. Very similar to how I feel when taking ALCAR, especially for the very first time.
Vitamin B3 / NR / NMN.
I am simply once again trial and erroring one (1) supplement, isolated each at a time as accordingly from my 2022 nutrigenomics panel.
Vitamin B3 is a huge topic that deserves its own Self-Meta. For bit of context, Vitamin B3 / NR (Nicotinamide Riboside) / NMN (Niacinamide) is often touted as an NAD+ precursor. NAD is one of many biological currency(s) to maintain energy stasis; just like ATP and methyl donors. Plus, they act as co-enzymes (to support hundreds of enzymatic reactions); on top of its non-obligatory function towards transfer of electrons, as one expects in the ETC chain.
Beyond the proclaimed famous treatment of the three “D”s ~ dementia, depression and dermatitis ~ Vit B3 has been a supplement for what many deems essential in the autoimmunity circles and also interestingly ~ type-1 diabetes. Yet others ~ experience delerious effects. Namely there appears to be some concern correlating their intakes with elevated surrogate marker of CVD; namely homocysteine. This however, obviously remains limited to my own reading as this is just one (1) observational finding. And that whether or not this is mechanistially tried,true and settled, remains debate-able.
Suffice to say my own experiences at various dosages, at most up to 1g per day ~ has been subtle in terms of QOL. There still is, although infrequent ~ experiences that mirror my earliest experience on taking for the first time in 2022. That is ~ there were a noticeable but not entirely depressing ~ decline in my overall ‘satisfaction’ or ‘motivation’ outlook of mental health. Simply listening to music, did not sound motivating to me at all. In other words – I felt somewhat “uninterested” to outside stimuli. This made me wonder how could something it is intended for be so beneficial in one instance, yet detrimental for another? My speculation, in addition to the above, is lack of methyl donors. Upon supplementing with Creatine Monohydrate (quite literally just finger pinch amounts on top of foods) I felt somewhat normal again.
As a training ergogenic I feel that NR has a potential merit. This year I habituate between typically no more than a full tablet or 500mg worth of NR with some beneficial effect on overall resiliency.
Distinguishing the two types (NR – nicotinamide riboside and NMN – niacinamide) I have trialled thus far suggests no discernable differences. Perhaps my dosaging protocol for each must be different, I do not know. But I know for certain, that despite their elusive and subtle effects – Vitamin B3 remains likely banked in my list of tinkering, for the next year to come.
Here is what my typical week-in-the-life sample looks like:
- Monday. Uppers feature training. Typically up to 8 exercises, <1 hour. 18:6 ~ 20:4 LCIF. Fasted training.
- Tuesdays. Lowers feature training. Typically up to 8 exercises, <1 hour. 18:6 ~ 20:4 LCIF. Fasted training.
- Wednesdays. Additional Accessory training up to 7 exercises, or rest (depending on workload / stress / scheduling). 18:6 ~ 20:4 LCIF. Fasted training.
- Thursdays. Uppers feature training. Typically up to 8 exercises, <1 hour. 18:6 ~ 20:4 LCIF. Semi-Fasted training with small calorie intake typically <100 kcals.
- Fridays. Lowers feature training. Typically up to 8 exercises, <1 hour. 18:6 ~ 20:4 LCIF. Fasted training.
- Saturdays. Carb allowance / refeed days but on 16:8 IF. Additional Accessory fasted training. Typically up to 7 exercises, <1 hour.
- Sundays. Carb allowance / refeed days but on 16:8 IF. Additional Accessory fasted training.Typically up to 7 exercises, <1 hours.
My training still revolves around the Gironda’s volume training. No more than 8×8 workload per exercise, times up-to-ten (10), less than 45 seconds of rest inbetween sets ~ typically represents my training day for about up to one hour. I would not go beyond RPE scale of 6.5-7 of 10 in terms of intensity. If I feel confident, that is my joints and connective tissues allow for curious additional (< 2) sets of 10/20% extra weight intensity then sure, I will extend a set or two. But generally speaking, I don’t subscribe to being all out mental in the gym. Brief-recuperation, Time-under-tensions, mind-to-muscle connection, are my daily goals.
This year, the biggest difference or challenge I should say is to extend these up to seven (7) training days. The reason for this is self-obligation to reclaim my own privacy, just that little bit extra away from home.
Sustainable? I would say so far, yes. But not, without warranting adequate calorie intakes. This year saw me the need to raise to 2200 kcals per day during my 18:6 ~ 20:4 feeding window. For saturdays and sundays – these hover around typically no more than 2800 kcals.
So what is this “Additional Accessory Training”?
These are every-other-day training. Backs and lowers are always my weakspots. Considering their very large and complex muscle groups, were I be honest about modern life – they’re underutilized a lot.
Hence I cater these accessory training around no more than eight total exercises. Typically outlined below as a loose example although subject to variation of their order:
- Brief cardio as typically 50kcals on stair master, level 12-13. Or up to 100 kcals brisk walk and run under 7 mins.
- Seated calves 6×8-10, 60kg.
- Reverse smith lunges (with foot platform) 6×10 (5 each leg) 22.5kg progressively to 30kg each side.
- Back extensions with 10kg / 15kg plates depending on L4/5/S1 nerve tensions, 6×6.
- (after brief recuperation in washroom) Seated cable rows 6×6 57.5kg/61kg alternating.
- Reverse cross overs (on the small cross over station) 6×6 5kg.
- Finishing with stiff legged deadlifts, with long time under tension attempts 15kg (on each end, olympic bar). 6×4-5s.
The Calorie intakes
Due to increase of fitness training, and the overall stress both psychological and physiological ~ my daily intakes hover around 2200 kcals.
Another reason for this increase is also due to the fact of the many nutritional gaps, thereby imposing sub-optimal methylation status for month(s) on end saw me the need to consume enough calories, in general to make up what is missing.
Refeed or carbohydrate allowance days this raises to typically no more than 3000 kcals depending on satiety.
The Fasting / Feeding Windows
My timing of feeding and fasting window throughout 2023 have undergone notable changes. Chiefly among them are the timing(s).
I am prohibited to use the kitchen at 11PM. Cut off feeding window therefore revolves around typically no forther 11;30pm. Hence, majority of difference here is that I have to somehow prepare and cater a large(r) number of calories amidst restrictive meal setting well beforehand, in my temporary household.
During the first few weeks, I actually find it difficult intake all that much needed calories. Hence I decided to slowly instead introducing small(er) solid foods to both coincide my 18-20 hour break-the-fast with that also as a small postworkout calorie.
In other words – actually eating solid foods, as my post workout. A few public stares aside, here are my most favoured to the least minimum:
- Up to three Eggs (boiled) prepared in microwave from work.
- Commercial liverwurst or liver pate.
- Any can of sardines, but usually in brine or water is fine.
- Canned chicken (with mustard ideally, as this typically have higher protein value).
Given unpredictable stress at times, I had to shift my feeding / breaking-the-fast sooner to comfortably accommodate the needed increase in calories. This can be anywhere from 4 or 5:30PM with solid foods – as per to the above as ideal examples subject / depending on their availability.
To be continued.
Next I shall discuss any other reflection. Before wrapping my final thoughts on 2023.