Nutrition Journal

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bender22

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Hi everyone,

I’m starting out a few diet experiments on myself and decided to journal it on here.

I know diet and nutrition isn’t directly related to the theme of these forums, but your diet affects everything from the way you feel, think and even influences anxiety and depression. So indirectly it is.

Journaling the process helps keep me accountable and better track my progress but may also help others on here who are interested in nutrition.

A bit of background on me… I’m 27, overall very healthy and in good shape around 77-78kg, 180cm tall, low body fat and decent muscle. I don’t suffer from any bad health conditions. Since I was about 19-20, I’ve eaten a pretty healthy diet, consuming very little junk food most of the time and exercising at least 4-5 times per week.

My energy levels are generally very stable, I rarely suffer from afternoon fatigue. I don’t have any issues with putting on fat, if anything gaining weight is a challenge for me. My sleep is generally pretty good, usually 7-8 hours sleep every night, except weekends.

So overall, everything is pretty good. The only real issues for me are hair loss, dental health and focus/attention.

My hair has been slowly receding and thinning out since I was around 17. It’s not terrible at this stage but is getting worse. I have a small bald spot at the crown, which has got worse in the past 18 months.

In the past 4-5 months, I’ve been noticing a lot more hair falling out when I wash my hair or brush it. This was happening around 3-4 years ago but up until this year, I rarely noticed any significant hair shedding when I showered. It's got me concerned.

Obviously genetics plays a big part in hair loss but I’m convinced diet must play a role as well and there seems to be evidence to support this. So I’d like to see if any dietary changes will have an effect on my hair.

Dental health is another problem for me. Since I was 18, I’ve had an awful lot of cavities. Just recently I’ve had to get 5 fillings done…which is freakin expensive!

Besides flossing, I follow all the standard dental advice…brushing my teeth twice a day, drinking lots of water, avoiding sugary foods. And even when I started flossing regularly it didn’t make much difference.

I’ve just finished reading the book The Dental Diet by Steven Lin. He says there is a strong connection between diet and dental health. Really interesting read.

Aside from the obvious minimizing sugar advice, he also says cutting back on grains, getting plenty of vitamin D (from the sun and food), Vitamin K2, fibre and eating fermented foods to increase the balance of good bacteria in your mouth help.

And the other problem is focus or attention. Just mental performance in general, I guess. When I am able to focus on something, I’m very productive and work well. But I’ll have a lot of days where I just can’t focus on anything and don’t seem to think clearly.

This seems to be pretty common in our modern, excessive stimulus world. And it’s probably a result of many things, not just diet.

But many books have been written on diet and mental performance. I’m sure diet does influence focus and mental performance to some degree. I find that food cravings and a serious focus and productivity killer. It’s very difficult to focus on something when you’re getting up to go to the fridge every 10 minutes haha.

I’ve been taking modafinil (usually no more than once a week) and usually I notice a serious improvement in focus and mental performance when I take it. But I’d rather not have to rely on a drug for this. If I can lift mental performance with diet alone, that would be much better.

The plan is to experiment with a few different dietary changes (eg. Eliminating grains, eliminating sugar, etc..) for 2-4 weeks each and keep track of what I’m eating and how it affects my hair, focus, teeth and anything else relevant….That’s what this journal is for.

I’ll try to update at least once a week with my diet for each day during the week and observations.

My first experiment is going to be eliminating all grains – including bread, pasta, rice, cereals, oats, etc..

There are a lot of advocates for removing grains from your diet. I’ve read the book Wheat Belly, which makes a pretty compelling case against grains.

There have been a lot of grains in my diet – especially oats, rice, bread and sometimes cereal. So it will be interesting to see what impact a grain free diet has.

Oats has been my staple breakfast for a long time and it’s going to be hard to go without them!

I’m starting today and will continue for at least 2 weeks, possibly 4.

I’ll report back with my first update soon!
 

TheSkaFish

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I think this is a great idea, Bender. I've been thinking a lot lately about a lot of these things you've mentioned, like how your diet affects energy level, focus, and of course your appearance and the confidence that goes with it.

I don't know much of anything about nutrition beyond vague notions of "protein good, carbs and sugars bad", so I'd definitely like to know more about building a balanced diet that lets you lose weight, but keep energy levels up and not leave you feeling hungry and weak all day. Looking forward to hearing your findings!
 

bender22

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TheSkaFish said:
I think this is a great idea, Bender.  I've been thinking a lot lately about a lot of these things you've mentioned, like how your diet affects energy level, focus, and of course your appearance and the confidence that goes with it.  

I don't know much of anything about nutrition beyond vague notions of "protein good, carbs and sugars bad", so I'd definitely like to know more about building a balanced diet that lets you lose weight, but keep energy levels up and not leave you feeling hungry and weak all day.  Looking forward to hearing your findings!

Thanks! I'm not an expert but I have done a lot of research on nutrition so feel free to post any questions in here any I can try to answer them.

**DIET OVER PAST 12 MONTHS**

To give everyone an idea of what I've been eating until this point, I thought I'd touch on my diet over the past 12 months. It's not really a lot different to my diet over the past 5 years, besides a few changes here and there. 

FOODS I EAT IN HIGH QUANTITIES
  • Chicken - usually skinless grilled chicken breast. I'll use it in salads or with brown rice
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Eggs
  • Rice milk - has been my preferred milk and I have it with oats + smoothies
  • Greek yogurt
  • Protein powder
FOODS I EAT IN MODERATE QUANTITIES
  • Sourdough bread - have been eating a lot more in the past 6 months
  • Vegetables - probably not as much as I should have but have increased this recently
  • Fruits
  • Beef
  • Dark chocolate - often 2 squares per day
  • Nuts and seeds - I'll usually have chia seeds with my oats
  • Sweet potato
FOODS I EAT IN LOW QUANTITIES
  • Cereals - generally I try to avoid them but at times they would belong in 'moderate' category
  • Fish - mostly tuna, sardines and salmon
  • Pasta - for about 2 months, earlier this year, pasta was in the high category but I cut it out because I suspected it was causing extra hair loss
  • Cheese
  • Beans - I was eating quite a lot up until 6 months ago. Probably going to start eating more again
  • Regular full cream milk - try to avoid it as much as possible but will have it at times
  • Ham and pork
I think that covers most of it. Could be a few things I've forgotten. 

This diet has served me pretty well, aside from the few issues I mentioned in my first post.

**DAY 1 & 2 OF NO GRAINS**

11/9/19
6am: Banana + muscle mix powder with almond milk (unfortunately one of the in ingredients in the powder is oats..which is a grain. But I only just got this stuff and wanted to try it out..might eliminate it in week 2)
Also took modafinil after breakfast

6:45: Gym 

8am: Coffee protein shake with almond milk

9am: mashed potatos and steak

1:45pm: Boiled potato, sweet potato, cauliflower sauce (homemade) + pumpkin soup (homemade)

7:30pm: Omelette

Notes: Focus was pretty good all day (probably mostly due to modafinil) Felt really good after workout. Few cravings later in day

12/9
6am: Banana + muscle mix powder with almond milk
8am: Matcha protein shake
9am: Tuna + mashed potato
12:30pm: Pumpkin soup
2:30pm: Chicken salad - I eat this regularly...it contains grilled chicken, spinach leaves, pineapple, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, olives, sauerkraut, topped with olive oil
4:30pm: Muscle mix with almond milk
7:30pm: Baked beans (homemade), potato and sweet potato

Notes: Energy and focus pretty good all day..had a lot of cravings in the afternoon
...........................

I'm trying to switch predominately to almond milk from rice milk now. I've always used rice milk for several years now because I like the taste of it over other non-dairy milks. But I've just been reading about the arsenic (which is a carcinogenic) in brown rice and rice milk. I was aware of this before and chose to ignore it. 

But now I've been reading about it again and decided it's probably best to minimise my rice milk at the very least. Fortunately I've found a good almond milk, which I've been using and tastes pretty good.
 

bender22

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13/9
6am: Muscle mix shake + yogurt, peaches, chia seeds
8am: cocao protein shake
9am: baked beans
1:30: chicken salad
7:30: beef burger - I cheated here and had a burger with the bun. Had a friend visiting and we went out to a restaurant with amazing burgers...I couldn't resist haha

14/9
8am: omelette
9:30: green tea protein shake
1:30: salad with beef, pork, spinach, black beans, cheese..
4:30: muscle mix shake
8:30: chicken Cesar salad

15/9
9am: yogurt, peaches, chia + muscle mix shake
11am: potato, sweet potato, avo, tomato
2pm: bbq chicken + sauerkraut
7pm: baked beans, chicken, potato

16/9
7:30: Fried eggs, tomato and ham
11:30: beans, asparugus, potato, chicken
3pm: potato, sweet potato, avocado, cauliflower sauce
4pm: muscle mix with full cream milk, banana, yogurt and chia
6pm: Matcha protein shake
7pm: chicken, potato, sweet potato
Notes: focus wasn't great during the day. Still getting hair shedding 

17/9
6am: muscle mix + yogurt, peaches, chia
7:30: cocao protein shake
8:30: chicken, potato, sweet potato
12:30: veal
3pm: chicken, sauerkraut
8pm: chicken and vegetables
Notes: focus was pretty bad all day but that was probably more related to a dispute I had with someone in the morning, rather than diet. Felt tired and unmotivated in the afternoon

18/9
7:30: scrambled eggs + baked beans
11:30: potato, sweet potato, avocado, cauliflower sauce, tomato
4:30: chicken salad
7pm: chicken, vegetables, cauliflower sauce
9:30: yogurt, peaches, chia
Notes: food cravings throughout the day, focus was okay but not great. 

19/9
7am: scrambled eggs + baked beans - had modafinil after breakfast
12:30: chicken, potato, sweet potato
3:30: smoothie bowl - frozen berries, banana, protein, chia, shredded coconut, almond milk, yogurt
5:30: coffee protein shake
7pm: steak + mashed potato
Notes: hurt my back at gym. Focus was very good for most of day..but probably due to modafinil

.............................
Over a week in now. Besides the burger and oats in the muscle mix shake I have been pretty successful with eliminating grains. Can't say I've noticed much difference with anything yet. Energy levels, focus and so on are all about the same as before. Still noticing hair shedding when I wash my hair.

Aside from the meals listed, I've also had snacks in between like dark chocolate, raw carrot, nuts, seeds...but not grains or processed food. Most days above I also went to the gym, except for weekends.
 

bender22

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Getting close to 3 weeks now. I have started adding some rice in over the past few days but aside from that, I haven't had any bread, oats, cereal, pasta, etc...

I can't say I've noticed a big difference with anything so far. My focus and energy levels are much the same as before. Hair shedding has continued, although it did seem a little better the last few times I washed my hair.

I got a haircut last week and took some photos of my scalp. The hair loss has got worse than I realised, especially at the crown. It must be from all the hair shedding over the past 4-5 months. And it's got me pretty concerned.

The past few days I've been doing some research on hair loss. I listened to an interview on Dave Asprey's podcast, where he interviewed a hair loss expert who seemed to think stress is a major contributor to hair loss. Which is something I've heard before. 

I have been a bit stressed over the past few months, which may have accelerated the hair shedding. So I'm going to focus on ways to reduce stress over the next month, like starting a regular meditation practice again. Which is something I haven't been doing for about 6 months. 

Another thing mentioned on the podcast was a possible link between the gut and hair loss. In the dental diet book I read recently, the author also talked about the affect your gut microbiome has on your teeth. And there is a lot of information about how your gut influences mental performance. So I'm going to start focusing more on gut health. I'll be eating more fermented, probiotic foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, kefir (tried it for the first time yesterday and loved it). Also getting plenty of fiber will be important, because good bacteria feed on fiber. 

When I was doing some research on hair loss, I also came across one resource that talked about calcification - the build up of calcium in blood vessels. This can occur in the scalp, reducing blood flow to your hair follicles, leading to hair loss. They suggested Vitamin K2, which helps get calcium to your teeth and bones (where it's supposed to go) instead of blood vessels.

The Dental Diet book gave the same advice about Vitamin K2, because you want calcium going to your teeth. 

Brie cheese and natto (a fermented Japanese food) are supposed to be two of the best sources of vitamin K2. I'd already started eating brie cheese since reading the dental diet book and I just bought some natto yesterday but am yet to try it. 

Over the next week, I'm going to start re-introducing grains - mostly oats and rice. And I'll focus on controlling stress, gut health and vitamin K2. 

September 20 - September 29

20/9
6am: scrambled eggs + baked beans
10:30: chicken salad
1pm: potato, sweet potato, tomato, avocado, cauliflower sauce
4pm: yogurt, chia, peaches + muscle mix shake
8:30pm: steak + veg
Notes: a lot of hair shedding in shower

21/9
8am: muscle mix + yogurt and peaches
10am: matcha protein shake
2pm: chicken salad
8ppm: cottage pie (frozen meal)
Notes: I forgot to record this day at the time, so I may have forgotten a few things. Also had a late night slice of pizza

22/9
8am: yogurt, peaches, chia
10am: scrambled eggs, baked beans
1pm: potato, sweet potato, tomato, avocado, cauliflower sauce
6pm: sheperds pie

23/9
7am: scrambled eggs + baked beans
11am: muscle mix shake
2pm: sheperds pie
4pm: chicken salad
6pm: coffee protein shake
7pm: sheperds pie
notes: a lot of hair shedding in shower

24/9
7am: muscle mix + strawberries
12pm: smoothie bowl
3pm: potato, sweet potato, tomato, avocado, cauliflower sauce
4:30: matcha protein shake
5:30: sheperds pie
9:30: yogurt, peaches, chia
notes: took a long time to get to sleep

25/9
5:45am: muscle mix + yogurt and peaches - also had modafinil 
7:30: cocao protein shake
8:30: sheperds pie
1pm: fried eggs, tomato, ham, baked beans
4:30pm: chicken salad
9pm: butter chicken (frozen meal)
Notes: focus good, much less hair shedding

26/9
6am: muscle mix + yogurt and peaches
8am: cocao protein shake
9am: smoothie bowl
2pm: chicken salad
6:30pm: steak and veg

27/9
7am: scrambled eggs + baked beans
9:30am: chicken salad
3pm: smoothie bowl
5pm: banana protein shake
6pm: steak + mashed potato
Notes: started doing meditation again

28/9
8am: scrambled eggs - had modafinil 
12:30: chicken salad
*forgot to write down what I had in afternoon, think it was just some snacks like fruit, nuts...
9pm: coffee protein shake + beef stir fry with white rice
Notes: went out until 2:30am and didn't feel tired/drained as I usually would that late. 

29/9
8am: muscle mix + baked beans
10am: coffee protein shake
11:15: beef stir fry with white rice
3pm: chicken salad
6:30pm: beef stir fry with white rice
9pm: yogurt, chia, peaches
notes: was expecting to feel pretty tired in the afternoon/evening after late night but felt pretty good. Did some meditation + exercise in the morning and a bike ride late afternoon which probably all helped.
 

bender22

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30th September - 7th October

30/9
7:30: Scrambled eggs + baked beans
11:30: Iced coffee with coconut oil + butter
2pm: Beef Stir fry
3:30: Muscle mix
5:15: Matcha shake
6:15: rice + chicken & veg
9pm: yogurt, chia, peaches
Notes: Felt very motivated, switched on in evening (6pm onwards) - much more so than usual

1/10
6am: muscle mix, kefir, banana
8am: matcha shake
9am: beef stir fry
12:30: potato, sweet potato, avocado, tomato
3:30: coffee protein shake, natto, rice, baked beans
6:30: rice + veg

2/10
6am: scrambled eggs + baked beans
1pm: Sandwiches + rolls (beef/salad)
5pm: chicken salad
9pm: cottage pie + yogurt, peaches, chia

3/10
6am: muscle mix + yogurt peaches, chia
8am: cocao protein shake
9am: chicken, rice, veg
12:30: chicken salad
8pm: beef burger + fries (prefer to avoid this but was out for dinner with some friends)

4/10
7:30am: scrambled eggs + baked beans
1:30: chicken salad + kefir
3pm: muscle mix
5pm: matcha protein shake
6pm: rice, chicken, veg

5/10
8am: oats, sultanas
9:45: iced coffee + butter & coconut oil
2pm: fried eggs, tomato, ham, baked beans, natto
4pm: yogurt, peaches, chia
8:30: coffee protein shake, rice & veg
Notes: having modafinil in the morning and coffee at 8:30pm is a recipe for no sleep lol

6/10
7:30: muscle mix, yogurt, peaches, chia
9:30: coffee protein shake
10:30: chicken + rice
2:30: chicken salad + cereal
7:30: beef patty, egg, tomato + veg
Notes: felt surprisingly good despite very little sleep.

7/10
8:30: oats + sultanas
10:30: matcha shake
11:30: rice + chicken and veg
3:30: scrambled eggs + baked beans
8pm: beef patty + veg
9pm: cereal + chia & sultanas

......................................

Main focus over the past week has been getting plenty of vegetables, fiber and probiotic foods in my diet. Also been doing daily meditation - 10-20 minutes per day.

Still getting quite a lot of hair shedding which is frustrating. I'll give it a few weeks to see if some of these changes like meditation, more fiber and probiotic foods have any impact. And try to keep everything else in my diet consistent.
 

bender22

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Hair shedding seems to have slowed down in the past week, which is encouraging. I've stopped using minodoxil (hair loss treatment) in the past few weeks because although it's supposed to stop hair loss, it can increase hair shedding in some people. So I'm wondering if that's making a difference.

Have been feeling a bit stressed out and anxious recently but I think that's more so a result of other circumstances, nothing to do with my diet. 

I've been doing meditation nearly every day recently, which I have been enjoying and has made me feel calmer.

No major changes to diet in the past week - just getting plenty of vegetables and fermented foods.

9/10
7am: oats, sultantas, chia
12:30: rice, chicken, veg
6pm: sweet and sour pork + rice
9pm: yogurt, peaches, chia

10/10
5:40am: muscle mux
7:40am: matcha shake
8:30: chicken, rice, veg
1pm: rice + veg
5pm: salad
7:30: beef patty, egg, veg
10pm: cereal

11/10
7:30am: oats, sultantas, chia
12:30: muscle mix + tuna
5:30: scrambled eggs + baked beans
8:30am: butter chicken

12/10
8:30am: oats, chia, sultanas 
10:30 =: matcha protein shake
11:30: chicken + rice
3pm: baked beans + natto
5pm: coffee protein shake
8:30: lasagne + veg

13/10: 
8:30am: oats, chia, sultanas
11am: chicken salad
3pm: yogurt, peaches, chia
6pm: sheperds pie

14/10
7:30: scrambled eggs, baked beans
1pm: sheperds pie
5pm: chicken salad
7pm: matcha protein shake
8pm: chicken, veg and rice
9:30: yogurt, peaches and chia

15/10
7am: oats, chia, sultanas
1pm: sheperds pie
4pm: muscle mix + apple
6:30: cocao protein shake

17/10
7am: oats + sultanas
1pm: sheperds pie
4pm: muscle mix + sheperds pie
6:30: cocao protein shake
7:30: chicken, rice, veg
9pm: yogurt, peaches, chia

18/10
6:45: oats + sultanas
8:45: cocao protein shake
9:45: rice + chicken and veg
1:30: chicken soup
4pm: oats, sultanas, chia
8pm: chicken, rice and veg
notes: much less hair shedding

19/10
9am: oats, sultanas, chia
10:30: coffee + coconut oil and butter
2pm: scrambled eggs and baked beans + kimchi
4pm: coffee protein shake
9pm: stir fry with veg, chicken and kimchi
Notes: less hair shedding, felt good late afternoon/evening
 

ladyforsaken

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Wow this is effort, bender... much salutes on your discipline. I suck at following diets I set for myself. :c
 
R

Rosie007

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Hey bender, your food/nutrition diary is a super method of monitoring your food intake. One of my patients is diabetic, so keeping a diary on food intake and blood sugars helps them keep a tally. Also, a diary can reveal nutitional parallels in relation to mmols.

Your discipline is excellent. :)
 

bender22

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Thanks LF and Rosie. Rosie, you're right, nutrition diaries have a lot of benefits. I find it really helpful to look back over what I have eaten and connect the dots..or at least form hypotheses about how the food is affecting mood, energy, focus and other outputs.

The hardest part is writing it all out haha.

The hair shedding has almost stopped entirely, which I'm very happy about. I'm fairly confident that it must have been the hair loss treatment I was using that was causing it. I'm happy that I've identified the cause and stopped it but at the same time annoyed that I suffered 6 months of excessive hair shedding that probably could have been avoided.

My focus and attention has generally been pretty good but still could be better. I ran an experiment last week to see what would give me the greatest lift in productivity and attention at work out of modafinil, bulletproof coffee (coffee with coconut oil and butter, which I drink cold) and a tough workout in the morning.

The modafinil won and gave me a very productive day at work. The bulletproof coffee had the next greatest impact and the morning workout, the least impact. The workout was a leg workout, which is usually the most challenging of the week and I trained at a fairly high intensity. I did feel good soon after the workout but that wore off quickly and there was no significant effect of focus throughout the rest of the day.

I'll try to post all my foods/meals within the next day or two.
 
R

Rosie007

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Hey bender, carbohydrates give us a feeling of comfort, but when had for lunch (eg. pasta meals) we can feel sleepy mid-afternoon. Recognise patterns and adjust according to how you feel. If it's not too much hassle, record the quantities by weight.
 

bender22

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22/10
7:15 oats, chia, sultanas + modafinil
1:30: stir fry
4pm: muscle mix + banana
6:30: cocao protein shake
7:30: chicken, rice, veg
notes: good focus, no cravings

23/10
7: oats, sultanas, chia
8:15: coffee, butter, coconut oil
1pm: rice + veg
4pm: muscle mix + yogurt
6:15: matcha protein shake
7pm: rice, chicken, veg, kimchi
9pm: brie cheese and carrot
Notes: focus pretty good, no cravings

24/10
5:40: muscle mix + yogurt, chia, peaches
7:20: cocao protein shake
8:20: rice, chicken, veg
1pm: baked beans + natto
5pm: chicken salad
8:30: potato, veg, sardines
Notes: focus not quite as good as past two days

25/10
6:15: oats, chia, sultanas
8:15: matcha protein shake
9:15: rice, chicken and veg
1pm: smoothie bowl
3pm: cereal, chia, peaches
9pm: steak, veg
notes: tired and lethargic in afternoon

26/10
7:30: oats, chia, blueberries
10:30: steak, veg
2pm: scrambled eggs, kimchi, baked beans
4pm: coffee protein shake
8:30: sweet and sour pork + rice

27/10
7:30: oats, chia, sultanas
10:15: matcha protein shake
11am: rice, chicken
2pm: chicken salad
4:30: scrambled eggs + baked beans
7pm: sweet and sour chicken + rice and veg

28/10
7am: oats, chia, sultanas
7:30: bulletproof coffee
1pm: chicken, rice, veg
4pm: muscle mix + banana
6pm: cocao protein shake
7pm: rice, chicken and veg
9:30: cereal + chia

29/10
7am: scrambled eggs, kimchi, baked beans + modafinil
12:30: cake slice (someones birthday)
1:30: rice, chicken and veg
4pm: muscle mix, banana
6:15: cocao protein shake
7:45: rice, chicken, veg
notes: modafinil didn't seem to have much effect, focus okay but not great

30/10
6:30: oats, chia, sultanas
8:30: bulletproof coffee
1pm: rice, chicken, veg
4pm: protein bar
5pm: chicken salad
9pm: rice, chicken (frozen meal)

31/10
5:40: muscle mix + cereal
7:15: matcha shake
8:15: rice, chicken, kimchi
1pm: rice, chicken, kimchi
5pm: chicken salad
8:30: schnitzel + veg
notes: a little more hair shedding than the past week. focus and motivation very low during day

A few things to note...

Since starting this journal, all the rice I've been eating has been white rice. For the past 10 years, I've eaten almost entirely brown rice and no white rice. There are a few reasons for the shift -

1. Rice and rice milk have fairly high levels of arsenic (a carcinogenic) and it is particularly high in brown rice and rice milk. I've had a lot of brown rice and rice milk over the past 5-10 years, so I've probably consumed a lot more arsenic than I should. So to reduce my arsenic intake, I've switched from brown to white rice, which has much lower arsenic levels than brown. I've also switched from rice milk to mostly almond milk.

2. White rice has less phytic acid, which stops you from absorbing minerals

3. White rice is a good source of resistant starch, which is good for the gut

4. Asians eat a lot of white rice and have good hair haha

Really trying to figure out ways to hack focus and attention, which is very up and down for me. In the past month, since making some diet changes and taking up meditation again, my focus and attention does seem to have improved. But there are still some days, like yesterday where it's not very good. 

I did get up early to go to the gym yesterday, which meant I got less sleep than usual. That could possibly have something to do with it. So next week, I'm going to experiment with making sure I'm getting at least 8 hours sleep every night and good quality sleep. In the past, I would read for an hour before bed and I would always sleep really well when I did that. But somehow I got out of that habit. So I'll try that again next week.

Last year, I read a good book about sleep by Shawn Stevenson (would highly recommend it). I'll go back and read my notes on that.
 

bender22

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As I mentioned in my previous entry, I've been trying to improve my focus and attention this week by getting more/better quality sleep. So far, it seems to be having a positive effect. There does seem to be a correlation between the amount of sleep I'm getting and my attention/focus the following day. Although it's probably a little early to draw any conclusions for sure.

I love the awareness that tracking this stuff brings to your life. Even in the 1-2 months I've been actively tracking my diet in this journal, I've been able to considerably reduce my hair shedding and make some improvements in my focus and attention. 

I'm going to do some more research into the 'quantified self' movement which I remember reading about several years ago in Tim Ferris' 4 hour body book. It took my interest at the time but I sort of forgot about it. The basic idea behind he quantified self movement is measuring/tracking all kinds of things related to your health and other areas of your life....eg. how many books you read, how long you spend online, how much time you spend listening to music..

Getting a Fitbit or some other fitness tracker would probably be a good starting point to help me measure things like heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep, steps, etc...

I'm also considering trying some tests like hormone saliva panels, gut bacteria tests, 23andme DNA test. It would be interesting to have some data on the state of my health. The DUTCH test looks very interesting as it appears to be the most comprehensive and accurate hormone test around. It also measure DHT, which is associated with male hair loss. So that would be interesting. It's pretty expensive though. If anyone has experience with these type of tests, let me know. 

1/11
6:30: oats, chia, sultantas
8:30: matcha protein shake
9:30: rice, chicken, veg
1:30: muscle mix
4pm: scrambled eggs, kimchi, baked beans
9pm: rice, kimchi, veg
Notes: some hair shedding, focus was good

2/11
8am: oats, chia, sultanas, blueberries
1pm: scrambled eggs, baked beans, kimchi
2:30: cereal + chia
4pm: coffee protein shake
6pm: schnitzel + veg
9pm: yogurt, chia, peaches
notes: almost no hair shedding, hungry most of day

3/11
9am: oats, chia, sultanas, blueberries
12pm: baked beans + sardines
3pm: scrambled eggs, kimchi, baked beans
6:30: beef sausages + veg

4/11 - slept 10pm - 7am
7:30: oats, sultanas, chia
8:30: bulletproof coffee
1:30: rice, chicken, kimchi
4pm: muscle mix, protein bar
6:15: matcha protein shake
8pm: chicken korma + veg
9pm: yogurt, peaches, chia
Notes: focus was good

5/11 - slept 10:30 - 6am
6:15: oats, sultanas, blueberries, chia
11am: protein bar
1pm: chicken korma, rice, veg
4pm: ' '
6pm: matcha protein shake
7pm: chicken, rice, veg
Notes: focus not bad but not as good as previous day. A little hair shedding but not much

6/11 - slept 10:45 - 6:45am
7am: oats, sultanas, chia
1pm: rice, chicken, kimchi
4pm: muscle mix
6pm: cocao shake
7:15: potato, sausages, veg
9pm: cereal + chia
notes: focus decent but some food cravings

7/11 - slept 10:40pm - 6:20am
7:15: oats, sultanas, chia, blueberries
8:15: bulletproof coffee
12:30: chicken salad
3:45: ' '
6:15: matcha protein shake
7:15: rice, chicken, veg
9pm: yogurt, peaches, chia
Notes: focus/drive pretty good all day. Good gym session in afternoon

I've also been adding collagen to my protein shakes for the past week, which is supposed to be good for hair.
 

bender22

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Just when I thought I'd got the hair shedding under control, it comes back. Last Friday, Saturday and Tuesday night when I washed my hair, I noticed a lot of shedding. But then last night I washed my hair and there was almost no shedding.

A few theories I have about what could be causing and preventing it..

Deep breathing - I started doing some very deep breathing exercises around the time that the hair shedding subsided around a month ago but hadn't done this for a few weeks. Perhaps the deep breathing increased blood circulation to the hair follicles making them stronger.

Collagen - hair shedding seemed to start up again since I started taking collagen. No idea why this would happen. I stopped taking the collagen on Monday or Tuesday and then last night (Thursday) there was almost no shedding.

Bulletproof coffee/fats - Wednesday and Thursday morning, I had bulletproof coffee in the morning and on Thursday evening experienced almost no shedding. Maybe the saturated fats from the butter and coconut oil are good for the hair?

Overtraining - the week leading up to when I had the worst hair shedding, I was training pretty hard in the gym. This past week, I was still training every day but not quite as intense. 

It's very difficult to know. It could be related to one of these things, a combination of them or something completely different. I think I need to keep even more notes (probably not on here, but in my personal notes) including things like how hard I trained, stressful events, meditation, etc... so I can pinpoint possible causes when I do have the shedding. 

My focus and attention has been extremely good this past week. I've noticed a definite improvement in focus on days I had bulletproof coffee in the morning. I might try making bulletproof coffee with MCT oil instead of coconut oil. Techincally bulletproof coffee is supposed to have MCT oil, not coconut oil.

Even when I didn't get a great sleep during the week because of light, noise, mosquitoes.. I still had good focus after having bulletproof coffee. The focus and attention I had on Wednesday was comparable to a good day with modafinil.

Also, my food cravings have been pretty low this past week...which definitely helps with productivity. The last few days, food cravings have been basically non-existent. 

Just got my fitness band delivered a few hours ago. Very keen to start tracking heart rate, sleep, etc.. Which I'll report on in here.

8/11 Slept 12pm - 6am
6:15: muscle mix shake
HIIT training
8am: scrambled eggs, kimchi, baked beans
11:30: chicken salad
4:30: oats, chia, sultanas
9:30: chicken, rice + cereal and chia


9/11 Slept 12 - 7
7:30: oats, chia, sultanas
11am: chicken salad
2pm: rice + veg, kimchi
4:15: coffee protein shake
5:30: butter chicken
9pm: cereal + chia


10/11 Slept 2am - 8:30am
8:45: oats, chia, sultanas, berries
10:30: matcha shake
11:30: butter chicken, basmati rice
4pm: baked beans, natto, kimchi

11/11 Slept 10:30 - 6:45
7:15: oats, chia, blueberries, sultanas - had modafinil 
1pm: sweet/sour chicken, rice, veg
4pm: muscle mix
6:15: cocao protein shake
7:15: rice, chicken, veg

12/11 Slept 11:30 - 4 (bad sleep..partly caused by modafinil and light in bedroom)
5am: oats, chia, blueberries
7:15: matcha protein shake
8:15: rice chicken and veg
1pm: sweet/sour chicken. rice, veg
5:15: cereal/chia
7pm: scrambled eggs, kimchi, baked beans

13/11 Slept 11:30-7
7:30: oats, sultanas, chia
8:30: bulletproof coffee
1:30: chicken salad
4pm: muscle mix
6:15: cocao shake
7:15: rice, chicken, veg

14/11 Slept 11 - 6:45
7am: oats, sultanas, chia
8:30: bulletproof coffee
1pm: chicken salad
4pm: oats, chia, blueberries, sultanas
6:15: cocao protein shake
7:15: rice, chicken, veg
 

bender22

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Hair Shedding
Since my last update, I had one day where my hair shedding was pretty bad but other than that it has been under control. (I just measure hair shedding when I wash my hair - which is usually 3-4 times per week). The day when it was bad, I'd got very little sleep the previous night so I wonder whether it was related to that.

Mental performance
Focus and attention have been pretty good for most of the week, except Thursday (21/11). I didn't get to bed until after midnight the previous night so that may have affected Thursday's mental performance. I'd say that in the past 3-4 weeks, my overall focus, attention and motivation have been as high as they have been in the past 12 months. 

Also starting to find ways to get a big boost in mental performance for the day without needing modafinil. Which is good because modafinil is having way too much negative impact on my sleep. I took it on Monday morning and had a very productive day but then couldn't get to sleep for hours that night.

My focus and attention have been extremely good today (it's 3:30pm as I write this). This morning I did about 15 minutes of HIIT sprint training, followed by a 10-15 minute walk. Then a bulletproof coffee after the walk. I also got a very good sleep last night. I'll be interested to test that combination of HIIT training in morning, followed by bulletproof coffee to see if I can reproduce the focus I've had today.

Heart Rate and Sleep Tracking
My fitness tracking band arrived a week ago so I've been tracking heart rate, sleep, steps. My average resting heart rate is around 55 BPM most days. Which would suggest I'm pretty fit. It tends to fluctuate a lot during the day but I'd say my average during the day is between 70-80.

The band also measures sleep, which is interesting..although I don't know how accurate it is. My overall sleep time has generally been pretty good but my time in deep sleep seems a bit low. It's a bit early to draw any conclusions from this but I'm keen to look at the relationship between deep sleep time and mental performance and overall mood. 

15/11 Slept 10:45 - 7
7:15am muscle mix shake
8:30: cocao + protein and water
9:30 oats, chia, sultanas
1pm: scrambled eggs, baked beans, kimchi
5:30: steak and veg
9:30: miso soup

16/11 Slept 11:30 - 7:15
7:30 oats, chia, blueberries
10:30 scrambled eggs, baked beans, kimchi
11:30 bulletproof coffee
5pm steak + veg
9pm: chicken salad

17/11 Slept 1am - 7am
7:30 oats, chia, blueberries
12pm chicken salad
3pm smoothie bowl
7pm butter chicken + rice

18/11 Slept 10:30 - 6:45
7am oats, chia, blueberries
1pm butter chicken, rice
5pm chicken salad
7:15 matcha shake
8:15 chicken, veg, rice

19/11 less than 4 hours sleep
7:15am oats, chia, blueberries
1pm: butter chicken, rice
4pm: muscle mix + collagen
6:15 cocao protein shake
7:30 chicken, rice, veg, kimchi

20/11 slept 11-7 (but deep sleep was low)
7:20 oats, chia, blueberries
8:30 bulletproof coffee
1pm: chicken salad
5:15 scrambled eggs, kimchi, baken beans
7:30 chicken kiev, vegetables

21/11 slept 12:15 - 6:45
7:10 oats, chia, blueberries
9am: cocao + protein
10am muscle mix
1pm chicken salad
5pm cereal, chia, sultanas
7:30 chicken kiev + veg
 

bender22

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I'm not going to bother typing out my exact diet for a while, unless I make any major changes. That just takes too long. And it's mostly the same as it has been the past month - oats for breakfast, a lot of rice and chicken, chicken salads, vegetables and gut friendly foods like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut. 

I'm still keeping a hand written record of each day. If anyone is super interested, I could upload a photo of that.

But I will continue to post a weekly update in here, mostly just commentary and any interesting observations. 

Hair Loss

There has still been some hair shedding during the past week but not too serious. I'd still like to be able to reduce this. 

I got a haircut a few days ago and thought that would be a good opportunity to get some new photos of my hair. Particularly the crown area, which is difficult to see without taking photos.

And I was pretty happy with these photos. Maybe it was the lighting...but the crown area appeared a lot better than it was when I took photos about 2 months ago.

The bald spot was much less visible and there seems to have been some new hair growth in that area. 

So it seems like some of the changes I've been making are helping. Out of the changes I've made, I would suspect those which have made the biggest difference are:

1. Lowering stress through regular meditation. Also listening to more music that makes me feel calm and relaxed.
2. More vegetables, fiber and fermented foods. There is very little research into the connection between hair loss and gut health but I have a gut feeling (excuse the pun) that there is a connection. 
3. Stopping minodoxil 

I'm going to try to make a habit of getting regular photos of my hair to track progress. Until now, I've only been doing this ad-hoc. I downloaded the Day One app. It's a journaling app that allows you to take photos and upload them directly into the app. That will make it easier to collate all the photos and dates. 

Focus/Productivity

My focus and mental performance has been pretty good throughout the week. 

I've been closely tracking my deep sleep (as measured by fitness watch) during the week to see if there is a connection between deep sleep and mental performance. But there doesn't appear to be. 

I had one night where I recorded 2 hours, 56 minutes deep sleep (my average is probably about 1.5 hours) but I didn't notice any significant increase in mental performance following that big deep sleep. 

While I'm pretty happy with the improvement in focus/productivity/mental performance I've been able to achieve in the past month, I still feel like there is room for improvement.

I want to feel like I do when I take modafinil but without needing to take modafinil. 

Low libido

Something else that occurred to me during the week is that I seem to have very low sex drive for a 27 year old male. This isn't something new...it's been like that for a long time. In fact, I'm not sure if there's ever been a time where I've had a high sex drive.

This is something else I'd like to improve (through diet, exercise and other natural means..not drugs).


I think the best approach to improving your health is to identify anything that doesn't seem normal (even if it's nothing life threatening or overly serious). Because everything in the body is connected in some way if you can resolve one issue, that can have a flow on effect and end up resolving other issues. 

The point I'm trying to make is that...even though a low sex drive is nothing life threatening, it's a sign that something is not functioning properly. It could be a chemical or hormonal imbalance. And if I can discover what's not functioning properly to cause the low sex drive..that could have a flow on effect that ends up improving my hair loss, energy, mental clarity etc..

From what I've read, low libido is often associated with low testosterone. Which is interesting, considering the relationship between testosterone and hair loss. Which brings me to my next point...

DUTCH Test

While I can sit here and speculate about what's causing my hair loss or low sex drive..I really don't know.

I could say maybe it's low testosterone and then start intermittent fasting or taking fish oil in an attempt to increase my testosterone. But if low testosterone isn't actually the issue, then I'd be wasting my time and potentially do more harm than good.

The only way I can really understand what's going on inside my body and what could be causing hair loss and other issues is by getting some data.

The test I'm looking at is called the DUTCH test (it's a urine test). From the research I've done, it seems to be considered the gold standard in hormone testing. It's supposed to be more accurate than blood tests.

It measures hormones like testosterone, DHT (which is most commonly associated with male pattern baldness), cortisol and estrogens. 

It's not cheap...about $400. And for a while I've been weighing up whether it's worth it. But I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and order the test. 

General Mood

Something else, I've noticed since making some of these dietary changes over the past few months is that my overall mood has improved. Not that it was bad before but it's definitely better now that 2-3 months ago.

I'm not jumping up and down with excitement or anything. But I just feel very content and happy with life.
 

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SKIN CARE PRODUCTS & TOXINS

About 10 days ago I started using a mens skincare face wash product twice a day. It did make my skin feel good but I noticed soon after using it that I was shedding a lot more hair than usual.

I looked at my diet journal and couldn't see anything out of the ordinary that should cause that much hair shedding. The only real change I could think of was introducing the skincare product. Which made me wonder whether maybe there are certain chemicals and toxins in the product that disrupt my hormones or perhaps my body is particularly sensitive to them and it results in more shedding. 

When I started to think about this it made me wonder whether toxins and chemicals could the culprit behind my hair shedding. Since moving cities earlier this year, my exposure to toxins and chemicals would have increased a lot. And that has coincided with the increase in shedding.

In my old city, I had a filtered water tap and I was using a lot more organic, chemical free products for cleaning, soaps, shampoos, etc. Since moving, I've been drinking mostly bottled water (which contains BPA) and tap water (which contains all sorts of stuff). And I've been using mostly cheap soaps, shampoos, washing products that contain chemicals.

This is just a theory that the toxins and chemicals are contributing to my hair shedding. I don't know for sure. But I'm going to try limiting my toxin and chemical exposure to see if it makes a difference.

During the week, I bought new soaps, body wash, glass containers for foods and threw away those skincare products. Going to try to get a filtered water tap installed here too.

INTERMITTENT FASTING

In 2018 I started doing some intermittent fasting but haven't done it this year. 

One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is that it gives your body more time to do it's own detoxification and clear those toxins out of your system. So I decided to give it another try during the week.

On Tuesday night, I stopped eating at around 7:45pm and then fasted until 1pm on Wednesday. I had a roughly 7 hour eating window on Wednesday and was able to fit 3 meals then stopped eating around 8:30pm and fasted until 1pm Thursday.

I did have a bulletproof coffee both Wednesday and Thursday morning during the fasting period (just coffee, water, butter, coconut oil, no milk). Apparently you still get the fasting benefits as long as you're not consuming protein and carbs during the fasting period.

My focus at work was pretty good both fasting days.

I washed my hair Thursday night and there was still some shedding but definitely not as much as earlier in the week.
 

bender22

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Update

I went home for Christmas/New Year and got a bit off track. Being that time of year, my diet wasn't quite as good but it wasn't terrible either.

Now I'm back into more of a routine and eating like I was before.

For the most part, I've been feeling good. Several people commented when I went home for Christmas that I was looking very fit.

But unfortunately, my hair fall has been worse than ever. Just before I went away it was really bad. It did subside a little towards the end of the two weeks I was home for. But in the past few days, it's been pretty bad again.

It's really bothering me. At this rate, I'll hardly have any hair by the end of 2020. It's definitely my top health related priority for now.

I think I'll get some blood work done to see if there are any thyroid issues, hormones imbalances or nutritional deficiencies that could be causing the excessive shedding.

I'm also going to try eliminating some food groups for a while just in case I'm sensitive to something, which could be causing some kind of autoimmune response leading to hair fall. Starting on Friday or Saturday, I'm going to eliminate dairy, legumes, oats, chicken, soy, nuts and seeds.

Dairy, legumes, soy, nuts and seeds are some of the most common food intolerances so it makes sense to test eliminating these. And I'm eliminating oats and chicken because I eat so much of them and could possibly have developed an intolerance to them.

I'm hoping to continue this for 3-4 weeks, to give my body time to adjust. If the hair shedding subsides during this time, I'll reintroduce each group one by one to see if I can identify the problem. Aside from the hair, it will also be interesting to see how my body responds in other ways.

Heart Rate Variability

I've just downloaded the HRV4 app a few days ago. It measures your heart rate variability, which is a measure of your parasympathetic nervous system and gives you all kinds of insights into your stress, recovery, etc. 

K2 Supplements

When I read the book, The Dental Diet by Steven Linn he talked about Vitamin k2 being maybe the most important nutrient for dental health. I've had far more dental problems than I'd like in the past 10 years, so I'm going to try supplementing vitamin K2 for a while.

Some of the best dietary sources of K2 are natto, dark chicken meat and cheese. But I'm eliminating all of those over the next 3-4 weeks so hopefully the supplements will work.

The theory is that K2 transports calcium to your teeth and bones where it's supposed to go. Instead of your arteries and other places you don't want calcium. One theory of hair loss, it that calcification can occur in the scalp, making it difficult for the hairs to grow. So hopefully K2 might have pro-hair benefits as well.
 

bender22

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For the past 3 weeks I've eliminated dairy, nuts, beans, peas, oats, soy, chicken and whey protein. Just trying to see if I could have any food sensitivities. 

But it doesn't seem to have made any difference. I haven't felt any different, mental performance has been roughly the same and it hasn't stopped my hair from shedding unfortunately. If anything, my hair shedding has got worse.

My diet over the past 3 weeks has included mostly:

  • Smoothies made from coconut milk, blueberries, cherries, eggs, rice protein powder, cocao, cinnamon and ginger. This has been my go-to breakfast
  • Cocao and banana smoothies with coconut milk after workouts..with rice protein powder
  • A lot of fruit..plums, grapes, cherries, apples, banana, peaches
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Cereals
  • Vegetables - mostly carrot, brocolli, cauliflower 
  • White rice
  • Sauerkraut and kimchi
  • Some tuna and salmon
  • A little bread
Over the next few weeks I will re-introduce dairy (mostly cheese and maybe kefir), oats, beans, eggs, chicken and nuts. 

I think I'm going to focus more on keeping carbs and sugars a bit lower (especially on non-workout days), increase fats, increase fermented food intake again and maybe try a few days per week of intermittent fasting.
 

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