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Back at the retreat, I return to my room, climb into bed and am given some apple juice and – rejoice!
The glucose tolerance test consisted of a fasting blood test (I was asked not to eat or drink anything except water from 9pm the evening before).
One tick where I complied against my gut feel (deep down I knew I was fine)- As I sat in the waiting room on the morning I was so nervous I was really ready to do a runner. Well, I certainly know about the later: Sticky Bean is growing well and strong, as well as being very fidgety and active. Although week 28 is around the time the foetus turns head down, I have so much space in my tummy that this Sticky Bean is still doing somersaults.
I think I can concentrate enough during laps that I don’t let my tummy “dome” (when the bottom layer of tummy muscles come out through the top layer… this pushes the top layer even further apart.)  However, I have been racking my brain how to keep me on track with this regime and realised I have to set myself a target. Yesterday I swam 500m in 45 minutes comfortably, about 15 years ago I swam 5k across a choppy lake without prior practice and after summer spent lounging around…so I know I have the stamina in me.
The real story is that the number, size, and density of cholesterol particles in your blood (LDL-P and HDL-P) are far better predictors of heart disease risk. The best way to measure your heart disease risk through LDL cholesterol is to measure the number of LDL particles in your blood, or LDL-P, which you never get checked unless you have a fancy test called a lipid nuclear magnetic resonance test – or NMR test for short. You can look at particle size.  As a general rule (this is NOT always the case, however), the larger the LDL particles, for a given LDL-C, the fewer the particles (which is what we want).
Below is graph of my overall change in changes in HDL-C, LDL-C, and TG, along with the ratio of my TG to HDL-C, based on the “standard” cholesterol panel. As I stated above, a better marker of risk with respect to LDL is particle number, LDL-P – the fewer particles, the better; and you can estimate this by measuring particle size, or through concentration of ApoB. Unfortunately, I only started doing regular VAP testing about a year ago, over one year into my “experiment” of progressive carbohydrate restriction.  Hence, I can’t show my progress as longitudinally with VAP as I can with standard cholesterol testing.
Below is figure showing the change in my VAP panel over a seven month period, between January and July 2011. Keep in mind how my diet changed between January and July – I reduced carbohydrate intake from approximately 150 grams per day of “good” carbs to less than 50 grams per day.  I also increased, dramatically, my intake of fat, including saturated fats. Despite the amount of time I’ve expended on explaining all of these nuances of “cholesterol” numbers, I am not entirely convinced that I am healthier today because my cholesterol numbers are better.  I wonder if I’m healthier today because of something else, and that whatever else is making me healthier is also correcting my cholesterol problem? If I had to guess what is really making me healthier today, besides being less fat, I believe it is the combination of how sensitive I’ve become to insulin and how much less inflammation I have in my body, especially in and around my arteries.
As I mentioned above, findings #1, 2, and 4 are almost universal in folks who abandon carbohydrates, while finding #3 is somewhat variable. Which of these is most important?  This is an obvious and important question, but one I don’t really know the answer to (nor does anyone else, for that matter).  If I had to guess, I believe observation #4 is the most important because insulin resistance is the underpinning of metabolic syndrome.


People have said things to me like, “Well it’s great that you’ve reduced your risk of all diseases associated with metabolic syndrome, but wouldn’t it be funny if you got hit by a car tomorrow!”  All kidding aside, this misses the point. I know I’m going to be sick, but when I try to walk to the bathroom, I feel faint and lights start flashing in front of my eyes. In exchange for a diet that's heavy on 'healthy' juice (think: a mix of fruit and veg), we're promised healthy, young, radiant skin, potential weight loss and an improved clarity of mind. It is very easy to let the Littlins and Oh-so-lovely-daddy feel the movements because this Bean is a reliable fidgeter.
All sounded very normal to me and to the professional.  She also measured my bump- it was 33 cm (about 5 weeks ahead of the average of 1cm per week). The only thing I could think of was to do a sponsored swim- set a date, a length and name a cause.
Well, there are two: what can I actually measure that predicts my risk of heart disease, and how does diet affect these these things I can measure? Basically it’s a test to measure how much insulin a person needs to keep their glucose level constant, despite the addition of glucose.  The less insulin one requires, the more insulin sensitive one is. I then had an hour wait (which wasn’t too bad as I had some lovely company of other mums and mums-to-be) till the next blood test- this gave the “sugar rush” levels of blood sugar and then they tapped me for another small file of blood a futher hour later. My tummy shifts are a great source of amusement and distraction during bedtime stories especially. However that’s not a surprise- my physiotherapist (who I’m seeing for the SPD), said that my muscles have split considerably. The plan is to exercise… but there’s not much I can do with the SPD.  Aquanatal classes are too far away (in Bicester) and I’ve had to give up on those.
This goes on for several hours, before I pull myself together enough to lurch downstairs to seek help.
One camp promotes extreme juicing [where you only consume juice] as a way to cleanse your body for around 10 days. Food is a status symbol like never before, and there’s no middle ground when it comes to the obsession with what we put into our mouths. The other camp thinks that juicing should be treated as a handy supplement to your daily diet; allowing you to increase antioxidant intake from an avalanche of vegetables that you wouldn't otherwise consume in one day. It’s either all (I give you the fetishisation of home baking and the ubiquitous cupcake) or nothing (the rise of fast-based diets).
The thought that we can obtain all of our nutritional needs from our diets alone is now somewhat of a long lost dream.
Nutrient levels in the foods we eat are much lower than they once were, thanks in part to over-farmed soil and the often ridiculously convoluted routes to market that some of our fruit and veg undergoes.
When I’m interviewing celebrities and the conversation turns to their health regimes, a significant proportion name-check Vale in awed tones.


He says his own asthma, psoriasis, eczema and hay fever were all kicked into touch when he began juicing.
Rosemary Ferguson, the model turned nutritionist and naturopath, will publish a book, Juice (Ebury), in April, and does an annual juice fast at a retreat in Turkey. A common negative comment on juicing is that it "contains too much sugar and not enough fibre" – which has more than a grain of truth to it, if you are drinking fruit juices without other fibre in your diet [fibre is found in whole foods and slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream].
In 2010 the Australian filmmaker Joe Cross released a documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which showed him embark on a 60-day juice fast, ditching six stone and a chronic autoimmune disease in the process; a film that eight million people have now watched.
The claims made by juicing proponents are as big as the money involved: these elixirs can purportedly do anything from aiding weight loss and helping skin conditions to curing arthritis and cancer. This involves eating normally five days per week and fasting (well, consuming 500-600 calories) on the other two. But it might not taste quite as nice the first few times you try it if your taste buds are used to high sugar fruit juices!
Dr Robert Lustig is the author of Fat Chance: The Hidden Truth About Sugar, Obesity and Disease and has spent 16 years treating childhood obesity. As most vegetables contain over 90pc water, you'd need to eat ten times the vegetable's normal weight for it to come with a high protein source such as meat or fish. A vocal anti-sugar campaigner, his lecture on the topic has been viewed five million times on YouTube. The argument basically falls flat – especially when you take into account the importance of complete proteins, and other macronutrients. For example, let's say you are the type of person who grabs a snack on the go without keeping track of what you are eating: a juice cleanse, even for just 3 days will really make you realise just how often you go for that snack without realising it. Glucose is removed from the bloodstream by insulin, but there’s no equivalent hormone for fructose. That job falls solely to the liver, which, if overwhelmed by fructose (say, if you’re drinking gallons of juice), can convert it to liver fat. This increases the likelihood of insulin resistance (hello diabetes), furred arteries and heart disease.
At the end of few days juicing, you will become very aware of the food you eat, your taste buds will be highly sensitive, helping you to appreciate every mouthful, and foods will taste sweeter, helping you to curb your sweet tooth. If you are juicing with non-organic vegetables, you are likely to be flooding your body with pesticides, which is certainly not detoxifying. I might buy a green juice at Pret A Manger when once I’d have grabbed a Diet Coke, and I do occasionally knock up an apple, kale and cucumber concoction to help face a hangover, since the idea of eating greens with a bacon sandwich seems ridiculous.



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