If you read my last update, basically what had happened was I delved into my blood work and talked about my cholesterol being a big concern.
I’ve been following the Vertical Diet to a tee exactly how Stan would advise it, and was eating one pound of lean 90/10 ground bison per day, 4 eggs per day, long story short I was hitting all the diet goals outlined in the book relative to my body’s individual specific energy requirements for my current goals.
Cholesterol Before The Vertical Diet
It’s funny because one of my doctors told me that cholesterol needs three months before it can be adjusted in your blood work before your body adapts and that was absolutely not the case.
I had my first round of blood work done September 15th before I started the Vertical Diet.
September 15th my total cholesterol was 3.36 millimoles per liter, LDL cholesterol was 2.46 millimoles per liter.
HDL was a bit in the toilet at 0.63 millimoles per liter.
I needed that to go up and that was part of the reason why I was doing the Vertical Diet in the first place, in order to see if I could bring that number up.
My triglycerides were okay, but HDL was too low.
HDL needed to go up about 0.36 millimoles per liter to be acceptable by laboratory reference range standards.
My diet was pretty much absent of dietary cholesterol prior to starting the Vertical Diet.
Basically all I ate for protein prior to this diet was chicken, egg whites, Whey protein powder, stuff like that without any significant amount of saturated fat.
My diet was very low in healthy fats too, so I was hoping I could bring that up with this diet.
HDL is greatly affected by Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) so that's likely why mine is low in the first place.
Hardcore supplementation with Citrus Bergamot and other supplements that would address that, as well as just living a healthy lifestyle, weren’t raising it to the extent that I needed either.
That was one of the main goals of the Vertical Diet I outlined in my introduction to the log in week one.
Obviously one thing that was concerning going into this diet was that there's a lot of preconceived notions about red meat and eggs and if they're bad or good for you.
A lot of people assert that you will get plaque buildup in the arteries, high levels of inflammation, LDL will get cranked to the roof, etc.
And others will claim there is no issue at all and all of that is untrue.
I wanted to see for myself because there's a lot of people who have conflicting opinions on this.
Whether they be vegans, carnivore dieters, paleo, keto, or even other people doing the Vertical Diet, there's a lot of people that seem to have strong opinions but haven't done bloodwork on themselves.
Granted everyone has their own genetic predisposition, people with certain genes and alleles are just going to have high cholesterol via their own genetic predispositions, accompanied with their dietary choices.
One guy who eats a certain amount of dietary cholesterol could have his blood values spike significantly just due to his genetics, and another guy could maintain perfect blood work eating like crap.
I wanted to see what would happen in my own body because there's simply too many people giving out blanket statements of eggs and red meat are healthy, or red meat and eggs aren’t healthy.
So, I wanted to see for myself.
My Cholesterol Levels After Eating 1 Pound Of Red Meat And 4 Eggs Per Day
I was eating a pound of grass-fed 90/10 lean ground bison per day and 4 eggs per day.
These were the 2 foods I knew could significantly impact my blood work.
As I mentioned, my LDL and total cholesterol were good prior to the diet.
About 6 weeks later, I got bloods done again on October 27th and what came back was brutal.
My cholesterol basically doubled and went up to 4.77 millimoles per liter, and my LDL was 3.74 millimoles per liter.
This is way too high obviously.
I knew for a fact that something in my diet was causing this massive spike because I've never had cholesterol or LDL way out of range, even on supraphysiological amounts of anabolics in years prior.
Also, my HDL only went up to 0.79, so it was still too low even with all these changes in my diet with all these new foods.
A slight boost of HDL going up 0.16 millimoles per liter is nothing to write home about.
Having my LDL and total cholesterol spike way up just to get a 0.16 boost in my HDL really wasn’t worth it.
So, as it stood October 27th, my LDL and cholesterol were significantly out of range and they needed to come down.
Was It The Red Meat Or The Eggs That Raised My Cholesterol And LDL?
I wanted to see which foods were causing this spike specifically.
I didn’t want to cut both the red meat and eggs out at the same time because at that point, you're basically sacrificing the accuracy of your assessment of what's going on.
If you cut out both and everything fixes itself, how are you going to determine which of them was causing your issues in the first place.
My plan was to drop all 4 of the eggs, but keep the 1 pound of red meat in my diet, and then get bloods done again a few weeks later.
If my levels were still too high, I'd be able to tell exactly how much they went down (if any) from eliminating the eggs, and then I’d be able to cut out the red meat and then do another blood panel a few weeks later to see exactly how much the red meat affected my blood work as well.
Eating Eggs Doubled My LDL And Total Cholesterol (Not Red Meat)
November 20th, I had my blood work checked again.
My doctor told me I need to wait several months to check my Cholesterol levels again accurately.
I knew this was complete garbage information though as the body changes quickly when there are dietary changes.
You work through these things pretty quick and if you make a significant change in your diet, it's going to be reflected in your blood work within weeks.
You would think he would’ve clued in on this based on the fact that he had already seen my cholesterol double in a little over a month from introducing the eggs and red meat into my diet to begin with.
I had my bloods done about three and a half weeks later, as I figured that was more than enough time.
What happened was really interesting.
As you know, I cut out all four eggs. That's the only thing that's changed in my diet.
I’m still eating a pound of red meat a day at this point.
My cholesterol went down to 2.79 millimoles per liter, so that's now perfect.
LDL went down to 1.7 millimoles per liter, which is better than it's ever been, and it's actually on the low end of the reference range now.
HDL cholesterol only went down 0.02 to 0.77, which is a more than worthwhile tradeoff to get my total cholesterol and LDL down to optimal levels.
Red Meat Inflammation – How Much Inflammation Did I Have From 1 Pound Per Day
One of the main concerns when it comes to these types of foods, especially red meat, is potential inflammation.
I was thinking okay, well, I'm cutting out the eggs and I'm getting bloods done anyways, which is going to be indicative of what red meat on its’ own does, so why don't I pay to get my c-reactive protein checked (the high sensitivity test is the one you’d want).
So that’s what I did, I had a high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test to see how much inflammation was in my body caused by eating 1 pound of red meat a day.
Keep in mind this is high quality red meat; this is not McDonald's or other crap with trans fat and other garbage in it.
My C-Reactive Protein was less than 0.3 milligrams per liter.
And when I say less than I mean their detection limit is 0.3.
They couldn't even read my C-Reactive Protein because my inflammation was so low.
Their reference range starts at 4.8, so if you have less than 4.8 then you're considered “healthy,” but obviously the lower the better.
You don't want any inflammation in your body, as that's where heart disease, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and lots of other major health issues can stem from.
That blood test result was big for me because I was really worried about the pound of red meat per day and I truly had no idea how that would impact my C-Reactive Protein, especially given all the sugar in this diet.
As concerning as the red meat was the dextrose post-workout, orange juice shots throughout the day and the cranberry juice.
Most people know that combining sugar with fats is one of the worst things you can do.
Sugar in general is not healthy in any capacity.
In my opinion, there’s a significant amount of sugar in the Vertical Diet, which was very concerning for me.
One thing this set of blood work revealed to me though, and seems to be reinforced in various clinical studies is that if you're an athlete who trains hard and can make use of the sugar effectively, it's not nearly as unhealthy as it would be for somebody who's sedentary and is taking in that same amount of sugar.
The sugar actually gets put to use to rebuild muscle tissue, shuttle nutrients, and replenish glycogen stores very quickly, and it doesn't seem to spill over into potentially causing health issues, based on my blood work at least.
I can't say for certain whether it’s totally risk-free or not, but obviously having dextrose with fructose post-workout and having all these shots of sugar throughout the day were kind of a concern for me in combination with red meat, which on paper would be the ultimate combo for heart disease and major issues related to inflammation.
But, much to my surprise, inflammation was not even detectable in my body in any capacity.
So, that was a major relief because I was pretty concerned about that, and then the cholesterol completely correcting itself (and actually improving from my baseline blood work) was amazing.
It completely fixed itself just by eliminating eggs.
What I Learned From Weeks 7-14
What I concluded via those last three and a half weeks was that my body can't handle eggs.
To be clear, that’s not me saying that you shouldn't eat eggs, but I do think you should get your own bloodwork to see how your body responds.
It's pretty interesting to me that I can get away with eating all this red meat and it entirely came down to the eggs.
It had nothing to do with the red meat at all, which is totally contrary to what most people would try and tell you.
For me, 4 eggs per day literally doubled my LDL in weeks, and then eliminating them literally halved them in three weeks again.
Changes In The Vertical Diet (For Me)
Obviously, eggs are not going to be in my diet now.
What am I doing to replace the nutrients I would normally get from the eggs?
The choline, I get from my Nootropic formula Gorilla Mind Smooth, which has no stimulants in it.
It has 600 milligrams of Alpha-GPC per serving, which is enough to fulfill my daily choline needs.
I added in a Selenium supplement, Vitamin K2 supplement (MK7 version), and a Biotin supplement as well.
These supplements are all super cheap and bioavailable, so I wasn’t too concerned about removing eggs from my diet.
It's not like the eggs were an integral part of hitting my daily nutritional requirements, so eliminating them wasn't too big of a blow to my overall quality of life because I can replace those physiological needs with very cheap supplements that are proven to work.
It's been another 4 weeks since I had that blood work, and it's now week 15.
Am I Still Following The Vertical Diet?
I'm still following the Vertical Diet to a tee.
The only thing that's changed is getting rid of the eggs, and as of more recent I've added in psyllium husk fiber because I want to hit my soluble fiber requirements.
It hasn't hindered my digestion, if anything it has helped it.
I guess this is going to be very individually specific food to add in because there are polar opposite opinions on fiber as well.
Some people like fiber and claim it aids their digestion, and there are people that think fiber is the devil and wrecks digestion.
For me personally, it's working well.
How Do I Feel On The Vertical Diet After 14 Weeks
I feel really good, I wake up in the morning and I'm way more rejuvenated than I would be otherwise prior to the diet.
I feel a lot better in general honestly.
Quality of life is up, energy levels are up, and my Thyroid is looking to be on the upswing.
Thyroid Recovery Update
I had an updated blood panel done.
My free T3 is at 3.59 picomoles per liter.
In my opinion, that's not great but it's not bad. It’s a significant improvement from my last panel less than a month prior, which was on the brink of hypothyroidism.
Ideally I would be at 5.0, which I will keep on working towards.
My Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO antibodies), thyroglobulin antibodies (TG antibodies) and Reverse T3 looked ok, although the TPO antibodies should be lower.
My TSH was also too high, and my Free T4 is low.
The end goal is a TSH close to 1.0, and a Free T3 of 5.0 or higher, with nearly undetectable antibodies ideally as well.
I'm pretty happy with everything so far.
I think it should be noted though that you could have like significantly worsened blood work from the eggs in the Vertical Diet if you're prone like me to drastic changes in lipid profile.
Especially if you're on TRT.
Regardless if you’re eating eggs, not eating eggs, following the Vertical Diet, following a Vegan diet, following a Carnivore Diet, whatever it is, check your cholesterol levels consistently at least a couple times a year, get a full Hematology panel done, get your Thyroid panels done, get an EKG done, get an echocardiogram, get all your health markers checked.
Your health isn’t something you want to mess around with, so just because some “expert” you saw on YouTube or on TV is telling you that something is healthy for you or unhealthy for you in a general context, double check your own blood work to confirm that before you dive in and adopt a diet long-term assuming it will work for you too.
There are plenty of guys who can eat eggs and have perfect blood work.
I am not one of those people.
The same will likely apply for you in regards to some other food that you eat on a regular basis, or are considering adding in.
Get your C-Reactive Protein checked too because inflammation is going to be one of the main pre-determining factors for potential health complications that could occur down the line cumulatively (heart disease, cancer, etc.).
Just because some expert says eggs (or any other foods) are fine, that doesn't mean it is also going to be fine for you. So, keep tabs on your bloods.
The Vertical Diet Download
If you want to read through and try out the Vertical Diet for yourself, you can download it here: Vertical Diet & Peak Performance Detailed Program Notes 2.0