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Any suggestions or concerns with this diet & fasting plan? (Features 2-day weekly ketogenic fast & lots of root vegetables)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 14, 2012 at 1:44 PM

(This question was originally worded as "Is this diet plan optimal?". After I got some answers, I realised that wasn't what I wanted to know, so I've reworded it)


The background

I'm in the middle of Chris Kresser's Personal Paleo Code program and I'm liking how I feel on it. I'm still on the strictest version of his 30-day reset program. The only carbs allowed are sweet potatoes, but I've been eating root vegetables as my carb source and been feeling fine.

When I reach his "Reintroduce" step, I'll be adding back eggs, nightshades (including potatoes), dairy and white rice and recording my reaction. From past experience, I'm confident that I will be entirely tolerant to all these things. Assuming that this will turn out to be the case, I've planned the following diet for myself, to implement when I've finished re-introducing all these foods.

I do a fair amount of walking, but am mostly sedentary (and unavoidably so, due to my job).

I just want, as far as reasonably possible, to optimise my health, mood and longevity. I don't have a specific ailment in mind and I'm not looking to change my weight.


Weekly meal plan

Every day I'll have one main meal, which I'll probably eat over 2-3 servings during the day:

  • Mondays: Oily fish and raw vegetables wrapped in nori.
  • Tuesdays & Wednesdays: Stew consisting of stewing meat (beef or lamb), organ meat (lamb liver, lamb kidney, beef kidney or chicken liver), and coconut oil.
  • Thursdays & Fridays: Salad of low-carb veg doused in a huge amount of coconut oil. No snacks.
  • Saturdays: Meal of meat, veg, ghee and, often, white rice and potatoes.
  • Sundays: Meal of meat, veg, ghee and, often, white rice and potatoes.

Every day, I will restrict eating to an eight-hour window.

I'll add turmeric wherever it doesn't spoil the taste.

All ingredients will be organic, wherever possible.


Snacks

From Saturday to Wednesday, I will snack on the following food, ad libitum:

  • Bone broth
  • Yoghurt
  • Mature cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Eggs
  • Oily fish
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Fruit

I will not snack on Thursday and Friday.


Supplements

I will supplement daily with Vitamin C, Magnesium and fermented cod liver oil.


Anticipated benefits

With this diet plan, I hope to enjoy an ample supply of all nutrients and no significant anti-nutrients.

I'm also hoping my plans for daily 16-hour fasts and Thursday/Friday ketogenic fasts will be enough to give me all the benefits of authophagy and ketosis. In particular I want the ketosis to be strong enough to significantly undermine any ketosis-susceptible infections I might have. Conversely, I'm hoping that these fasting plans are not so extreme that they'll induce any unwanted side-effects.

I'm hoping the net result will be something closeish to optimal health, mood and longevity.

So, if anybody could be bothered to read all that, what do you think? Anything else I could do to improve the diet? Is it enough to induce powerful autophagy and ketosis?

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on March 14, 2012
at 06:04 PM

Thanks for the response. I agree with what you say, and I've edited my question to turn it into something more useful.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on March 14, 2012
at 03:34 PM

Haha! You'd probably change your mind if you saw it. Soggy slow-cooked carrots floating with chunks of meat in a watery haze of oily-brown bone broth doesn't look too appetising to most people. Tastes great though :)

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 14, 2012
at 02:50 PM

More that it's impossible to hit that moving target. I think it's worth having the option to simply not eat for the whole day. It doesn't necessarily need to be the thursday or friday. It may only be something you do once a month, but it ought to come fairly easily. If nothing else it would be good because it's all too easy to force yourself to eat when you have a set plan like this, whether or not you really want to.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on March 14, 2012
at 02:08 PM

Thanks for the feedback. Is the abundance of root vegetables the only reason you think it's not optimal, or did you just mean that it's pretty-much impossible to plan a genuinely optimal diet, because everyone is different and always changing? Do you think it's worth making the fasting side more extreme?

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3 Answers

1
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on March 14, 2012
at 04:40 PM

No, it's not optimal; here's why: It's impossible to optimize when you have multiple inputs and multiple observables.

It's easy to solve an optimization in one dimension. If you have only one thing you can change and one thing you can observe, that's a 1D optimization problem, and it's pretty easy to solve. We do this kind of thing all the time. For example, what's the speed you should drive to maximize gas mileage. Now, for your car, you can test this. You vary the speed and measure the gas mileage. You have one input (speed) and one observable (mileage), so you can find the optimal solution to your problem.

But if we change that into a multidimensional optimization problem, you no longer can solve it easily - in some case's it can't be solved at all. This is like saying, what's the optimal carb:protein:fat ratio to lose weight. Well, we have one observable again (weight), but now we have three (really 2) inputs (ratio of carbs, protein, fat while keeping everything else constant). Since we still have one observable, it's probably a solvable problem (for a given individual), but it's a non-trivial solution.

What you're asking in your question is that you want to have many inputs (food, activity, etc) and optimize on many observables (health, mood, longevity). This is an unsolvable problem. You cannot optimize on more than one observable. For example, a low-protein, low-calorie diet has been shown a bunch of times to increase longevity. But you'll be cold, miserable, and have no sex drive. So if you want to optimize on longevity, you can do it, but you'll suffer while living long. If you want to optimize on mood, the best thing is probably cocaine and hookers. It'll make you happy, but you'll probably die young of a heart attack. Granted, there is some correlation, things that make you feel good will also make you healthier and live longer, but there are things that are contradictory among those three, so there is no right answer.

So this is a bit of a rant, and I don't mean to sound too much like a smart ass, but there is no point in every trying to be "optimal" when you have many inputs and many observables. You have to find the balance that works for you and what you find important.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on March 14, 2012
at 06:04 PM

Thanks for the response. I agree with what you say, and I've edited my question to turn it into something more useful.

1
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 14, 2012
at 02:49 PM

It's pretty tough to know the answer to your question. Individuals are highly variable and your needs may change over time. It looks really good, though.

Mind if I come over to have what you're having?

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on March 14, 2012
at 03:34 PM

Haha! You'd probably change your mind if you saw it. Soggy slow-cooked carrots floating with chunks of meat in a watery haze of oily-brown bone broth doesn't look too appetising to most people. Tastes great though :)

1
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on March 14, 2012
at 01:57 PM

It's almost certainly not optimal. Not that it's crazy to aspire to such a thing, but I think it can be dangerous to assume that your needs won't change. It looks good though, and probably far better than most cavemen would have been able to regularly eat. Depending on your activity, my instinct would be that it's not really going to get the full benefits on the fasting side - particularly if trying to undo a lifetime's worth of abuse. If nothing else the large pile of veg will still be hard on the digestion. However it's hard to weigh all that, and difficult to say you'd be unhealthy with this plan.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 14, 2012
at 02:50 PM

More that it's impossible to hit that moving target. I think it's worth having the option to simply not eat for the whole day. It doesn't necessarily need to be the thursday or friday. It may only be something you do once a month, but it ought to come fairly easily. If nothing else it would be good because it's all too easy to force yourself to eat when you have a set plan like this, whether or not you really want to.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on March 14, 2012
at 02:08 PM

Thanks for the feedback. Is the abundance of root vegetables the only reason you think it's not optimal, or did you just mean that it's pretty-much impossible to plan a genuinely optimal diet, because everyone is different and always changing? Do you think it's worth making the fasting side more extreme?

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