Cold Thermogenesis: One Month Into the Cold

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So this week brings about the close to the 4 weeks since Paleo FX.  Over the last 4 weeks, I’ve been implementing some protocols that I learned while in Austin.  Most notably: Jack Kruse’s Cold Thermogenesis and Leptin Reset Protocol, Bulletproof Coffee, turning the lights out as soon as possible once the sun sets (the hardest to do by far) and a full Ketogenic Paleo diet.  I must say, so far, I’m feeling pretty good.  I know it’s only been a short month but I am noticing positive changes in my mood, mental clarity and slight body composition shift (which is good considering I’m not doing any physical activity due to my nagging ankle injury).

As I said, I’ve started to implement various protocols that I learned about while in Austin, TX last month.  I don’t have a bathroom scale since I find when I did have one, I would check my weight everyday and that kind of obsession isn’t helpful and total weigh is only a number.  There are too many other variables to consider to make weight mean anything.  Because of this, I don’t really have a starting weight other than what I weighed in at when I saw my GP a couple weeks before Paleo FX.  I did however start taking pictures every Monday morning so I could get a visual of any physical changes that I’ve made since I started these new experiments.

Cold Thermogenesis:

As I mentioned in my previous post on Paleo FX, I was able to speak with Dr Jack Kruse about using cold thermogenesis (CT from here on out) to help in my quest to treat my epilepsy without the use of medication.  You can read (much) more in depth on CT on Jack’s website here.  Below, is the process that I’ve been following for CT.

Every morning within 30 minutes of rising, I have been eating a large, protein and fat laden breakfast, usually containing at a minimum of 50g of protein and around the same amount of fat.  My protein sources came mostly from 3-4 pastured eggs, 3-4 strips of pastured, uncured bacon from US Wellness and/or chorizo sausage, usually I have been making that into a large scramble just for the easy quick route.  I would also finish up my meal with about a pint glass full of ice cold water.

After my large ketogenic breakfast, in the style of Tim Ferriss from his chapter on CT in The 4 Hour Body, I have been taking cold showers for 10 minutes.  I start each shower with room temperature water just so I can get in comfortably and soap up/shampoo.  Then I’d set a timer on my waterproof watch for 10 minutes and turn the water down as cold as it would go.  I would let the water hit the back of my neck/trapezius area for 2.5 minutes, then turn around and let the water hit my chest for 2.5 minutes and so on until 10 minutes had expired.  In the beginning this was very difficult.  It was such a shock to get hit with that cold water that my whole body tightened up and I shivered like crazy.  But after a couple  weeks, I found that the showers were no big deal and it’s quite refreshing now.  The 10 minutes have turned into extra time to think about what my day is looking like.

For the past few weeks it’s been relatively cold here in LA (high of 55 degrees on some days), so I’ve also made it a point to wear as little clothing as possible (shorts, t shirt and flip flops) and drive with my vent turned to cold on full blast with the windows down.  This was not fun for the first week but I really credit it to speeding up my tolerance to cold.

At night after work, I started with the face plunges in cold water that Dr Kruse talks about.  I filled my bathroom sink with cold water (no ice at first) and would plunge my face in and hold as long as I could.  I would repeat this process for a total of 3 plunges per night trying to last longer each time.  I would do this at the end of the night right when I was getting ready for bed.  The whole point of this step as I understand it, is to activate the mammalian dive reflex, something that all mammals have in order to stay underwater for long periods of time and even prepping the body for colder temperatures.

I also started utilizing ice packs strapped to my torso (while wearing a compression shirt)  for about 20 minutes at first and over time lasting up to an hour.  I did this by using two or three ice packs strapped from my chest down to my stomach.  I was really unpleasant at first but much like the showers, I was able to adapt fairly quickly and it was really easy after awhile especially while watching tv after dinner.

After about 2 weeks, I worked up the courage to try ice baths.  I’ve taken ice baths before and they are absolutely brutal.  In the past, I haven’t been able to last longer than 5 or maybe 10 minutes so I wasn’t really looking forward to these.  In an effort to make it a little more tolerable, I decided to wear my compression shirt and shorts for the first few rounds of ice baths.

In order to get my bathtub to below 60 degrees, I found that I needed about 30-40 lbs of ice as well as a few frozen ice packs and frozen water bottles.  Once I got my tub down to about 59 degrees for the first time, I SLOWLY got into the tub and let the water only come up to my hips at first and every few minutes, slowly allowing the waterline to reach higher and higher eventually going all the way up to my neck line.  The first time I did this, I experienced shivering like I never have before.  I only lasted about 20 minutes.  I’m working my way up each time though, taking about 2-3 ice baths per week.  The latest time for me is now 40 minutes and then the shivering starts, so I’m definitely on my way.

Results (so far):

As I mentioned earlier, I’m definitely feeling a positive difference since starting the CT and Ketogenic Paleo regimen.  Not only physically but mentally as well.  It’s too early to tell which is more responsible for these changes but I would definitely bet that because I’ve upped my overall fat intake, in particular coconut oil (for the MCT’s and their ability to metabolize into ketone bodies faster), that is at the very least partially responsible for my improved mental performance.

I know I mentioned that I don’t have a bathroom scale at my house so I’m using my weigh ins when I visit my doctor.  As it happens, I visited him just previous to my trip to Paleo FX and I weighed in at 217 lbs.  I also recently saw my doc again on April 10th to get some hormone blood panels done (results posted in another post), and I weighed in at 210 lbs so I’m definitely moving in the right direction.

One more thing to note is that since I’ve been utilizing CT, my persistent ankle injury has less chronic pain.  The pain is still there but it definitely feels  better throughout the day with less bouts of pain.  Hopefully this will aid in healing my ankle so I will be able to train once again.

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