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CRONing: a personal journey (page 4)
In late October 2000, I switched to a new physician. I was very careful in selecting my primary-care physcian (PCP) this time; I wanted to know precisely how my body was reacting to the CRON diet. Fortunately, I found one who was not only aware of calorie restriction, but was genuinely interested in my health. Based on the material I had absorbed form the mailing list as well as Walford's and Sears' books, we came up with a fairly complete set of tests that would gauge my health. The results were amazing. Total cholesterol showed a dramatic reduction and was now in a very-desirable range. Individual cholesterol components -- HDL, LDL and VLDL -- were also improved, as were the triglycerides. My WBC was still a bit high, especially when compared to normal CRONies but it had dropped since the pre-CRON test done in 1999.
At this time my weight was 127 lbs. I was not really sure how low I wanted to go but I had finally become aware that I dropped weight too quickly. Therefore, I decided to increase my calorie intake slightly (from 1700 to 1950 kcals). My body fat was a mere 3% at this time which may have also been an issue. (Today -- 2006-04-03 -- it's at 1%! Although my medical results continue to show improvement, the low BF issue still concerns me.)
In late November of 2000, I also began a fairly extensive supplement regimen. Previously, I had relied mostly on commercial, off-the-shelf products like Centrum Silver. However, discussions on the CR SOciety List as well as material in the (then) newly published Walford book, Beyond the 120 Year Plan, and the Zone books, convinced me that I needed all the help I could get. Again, I turned to the poll data, which asked whether folks took supplements. One individual, Michael S, had written a particularly extensive report on supplements and resources where one could obtain them. Specifically, the resources included LEF.org and NetworkAntioxidants.com (NA). Armed with this knowledge, I decided to go with NA as my main supplement source and LEF to cover things that NA did not include. Today, I mostly supplement from AOR products -- these products were formulated by a fellow CRONie and life extensionist.
Because I was taking 18 hours of classes, and working full time, I could only devote as much time to reading list posting as well as further researching CRON as I wanted. This lead to several oversights on my part. One significant mistake I was making, until late spring of 2001, was not balancing my Omega 3 and Omega 9 fatty acid intake (i.e., to a ratio of 1:1). Unfortunately, the DWIDP software will not let you do this. Instead, one has to go back to the USDA database and do the math themselves (this  summer, someone on the list dug up KIM, a free program that does the work for you). Using KIM, I came up with a several "fat recipes" and saved them in DWIDP. Here is an example of a balanced (1:1) daily fat menu:
Food List : BalancedEFAs1.fls
NUTRIENT TOTALS Abs. Values %RDA/SA
Calories 722.01__cal 37% UE
Now, I just apply one of these "recipes" to everyday meal plans -- this ensures the fact that my fat ratios are balanced. I have also found that there are oils, available in health food stores (OmegaNutrition, Barlean's) that come pre-balanced. These come in handy when I am especially busy.
[2006 update: I switched to Nutribase diet software in 2002 which does allow one to balance Omega-3:Omega-9].
In July of 2001, I had more blood work done. Cholesterol had improved even further and, I am pleased to report, WBC had gone down substantially, though not quite as low as many CRONies. In any event, I attribute the improved results to long-term CRONing, the Zone diet and, perhaps, the inclusion of cutting-edge supplements.
Also newly tested was my thyroid. I had thought that my metabolism was high because I have always been "bone skinny". But tests revealed no abnormalities.
The only point of concern was a very low testosterone
level. This was another new test -- but the low levels are similar
to other males practicing CR. Needless to say libido is extremely low,
as many other CRONies will also claim.
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