Tag Archives: leg cramps

My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 56 + Hidden Carbohydrates + Oysters

MPPH02842J0000[1]Weight: 155 lb

Transgressions: Ate oysters instead of fish, and 22 oz salad greens instead of maximum 14 oz

Exercise: Four hours of barnyard chores: clearing brush, moving rocks, adjusting fences.


My recent cheat day didn’t seem to set me back, other than increasing temporarily my desire for more carbs.

I tried the Morton Salt Substitute on my eggs this morning.  Tastes fine.  Even drank 8 fl oz of water containing one quarter teaspoon (1.2 g) of this potassium chloride product.  That’s 610 mg potassium in one fell swoop.  Regulators in the U.S. limit potassium in over-the-counter supplements to 99 mg.  But remember the potential health benefits of high potassium diets are tied to fruit and vegetable consumption—markers of potassium intake—rather than potassium supplements. 

My leg cramps could be related to deficiency of magnesium, calcium, or potassium.  This is probably an issue with most very low-carb ketogenic diets.  Easy enough to supplement, especially if you know that salt substitutes contain much more potassium than bottled potassium supplements.

I found an example of carbs sneaking into food you might not suspect: ham.  I bought some “fully cooked cubed ham, water added, ground and formed.”  A two-ounce (56 g) serving has 3 g of carbohydrate: dextrose and modified food starch.  Like many processed meats, it also contained sodium nitrite, which might be good to avoid.  Some studies link nitrites—a preservative added to processed meats—to cancer.  Others do not

Tracking nutrients in processed foods like this ham is also a little problematic.  The food database at NutritionData has about 60 entries for ham.  The closest product I found was “pork, cured, ham and water product, slice, boneless, separable lean and fat, heated, roasted.”  Close enough.

Smoked oysters were right next to the canned tuna on my last shopping trip, so I grabbed a couple cans.  Turns out they are relatively high in carbohydrates—6 g per 2 ounce serving.  Also found out they are an excellent source of protein, B12, zinc, copper, and iron.  This is an example of why food variety is important.  The other foods I’ve been eating tend leave me lacking iron, copper, and zinc. 

Again, I lost track of my veggie intake and exceeded the max.


1 Comment

Filed under My KMD Experience

My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 53

42-17244849Weight: 153 lb (155 lb two days ago)

Transgressions: none

Exercise: none


I weigh myself first thing in the morning right after emptying my bladder, before getting dressed.  Part of my weight being down 2 lb over the last two days likely reflects a degree of dehydration: I slept 12 hours last night.  It’s so dry in the Sonoran desert that we lose quite a bit of water through respiration (water vapor).  Water losses through respiration and sweating are called insensible losses.

Why is it that so many essays on the health benefits of fish consumption are accompanied by a photo of a cold dead fish, head and fins still on, by itself on a white plate?  Usually a trout.  I like fish as much as the next guy, probably more so, but that photo always turns me off!  Who eats fish like that?  The French? 

Nocturnal leg cramps returned last night.  I thought my magnesium oxide supplement—250 mg—had them under control.  Those cramps could, however, just reflect my hour-long hike up and down Pinnacle Peak yesterday.  I’m used to walking briskly on the flat for 30-45 minutes.  Everybody gets muscle cramps now and then, especially after unaccostomed physical activity.


Comments Off on My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 53

Filed under My KMD Experience

Recap of My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Weeks 5-7


Drilling down into the data

Drilling down into the data

Body Stats

My weight is 155 lb now compared with160.5 at the end of Week 4.  I seem to have plateaued around 155 over the last few weeks.  Waist circumference is 34.25 inches, down an inch over the last three weeks.  This is a pretty good weight for me.

What am I eating? 

Ninety percent of my food consists of:

eggs (3/day), mozarella string cheese sticks, nuts (almonds, mixed, peanuts), steak, sausage, hamburger, chicken, canned tuna, canned sardines, tomatoes, onions, avocadoes, cucumbers, baby spinach, celery, romaine lettuce, red wine (7 fl oz/day), extra virgin olive oil, sugar snap peas, butter, Italian vinaigrette dressing, mayonnaise (on tuna), salt, pepper.  [You and I should eat greater variety of vegetables and nuts.]

Nutrient Analysis  (thanks to NutritionData.com)

Average daily calories: 1,800

Macronutrient percentages: 8% carbohydrate, 30% protein, 53% fat, 9% alcohol

Daily digestible carbohydrates: 25 g

Daily fats: 110 g total fat, 31 g saturated fat, 52 g monounsaturated fats

Daily cholesterol: 800 mg (mostly from eggs)

Daily fiber: 7-10 g

Daily sodium: 1,500 mg (not counting salt from shaker)

Any potential micronutrient deficiencies? 

Yes.  Considering the amounts of the various foods I’m eating, the un-supplemented Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet on many, if not most, days would be deficient in vitamins D, E, K, thiamin, folate, and pantothenic acid, and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, manganese.  Less often, there are deficiencies of zinc and vitamins A, C, B12, riboflavin, and B6.  [I’m using table salt from the shaker but not tracking it; sodium deficiency is very unlikely.]

These potential deficiencies are based on the % Daily Values recommended by U.S. government authorities for an adult eating 2,000 calories daily.  Someone following the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet but eating a different mixture of foods could have a better or worse micronutrient profile.

Version 1.01 of the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet from the outset recommended one daily Centrum multivitamin/multimineral supplement, plus extra vitamin D 400 IU/day, and elemental calcium 500-1,000 mg/day.  These would prevent a large majority of these potential deficiencies. 

I started a daily magnesium supplement a week ago to suppress nocturnal leg cramps.  It’s working well.


I’m in the midst of revising my recommended supplements and will post them here within the next few days.  I’m likely to add magnesium, potassium, table salt, and fiber. 

Remember, this is not a life-long eating plan; it’s a temporary weight-loss program.  Natural sources of vitamins and minerals along with phytonutrients will be added later.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Disclaimer:  All matters regarding your health require supervision by a personal physician or other appropriate health professional familiar with your current health status.  Always consult your personal physician before making any dietary, nutritional supplement, or exercise changes.


Filed under ketogenic diet, My KMD Experience

My Ketoegenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 48 + Temptation

MPj03878710000[1]Weight: 156 lb

Transgressions: one Metamucil fiber wafer

Exercise: none


I’m not sure how much longer I can hold out.

I saw one of those cookie diet commercials on TV last night.  I woke up today in a house permeated with the smell of butter, sugar, and chocolate: my daughter’s home-made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  Talk about temptation!

Maybe I need to add a “cheat day.”  Eat reasonable amounts of “regular food”—carbohydrates in this case—one day a month or every two weeks.  The Advanced Mediterranean Diet has one every two weeks.  If it’s in the rules, it’s not really cheating, right? 


PS: No leg cramps for the last three days since starting a magnesium supplement.


Filed under My KMD Experience, Shameless Self-Promotion

My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 47

MPj03139040000[1]Weight: 155 lb

Transgressions: none

 Exercise: none


No leg cramps for last two nights, after starting a magnesium supplement.  Could just be a coincidence—time will tell. 

At the start of this series, I characterized myself as moderately active.  Turns out I’ve been sedentary for last two months.  Working too much.  Mountain bike has a flat tire.  I’ve got a new rigorous hiking trail picked out, and it’s finally cool enough I don’t have to worry much about rattlesnakes and heat stroke.  Just need time to hike it now. 


Comments Off on My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 47

Filed under My KMD Experience

My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 45

Weight: 155 lb

Transgressions: Didn’t eat any fish today

Exercise: none


Regarding lack of fish intake: I just wasn’t hungry although I had eaten only 1650 calories for the day.  Maybe I was remembering the can of tuna I ate yesterday, straight out of the can, no mayonnaise or mustard.  Not very appetizing.  I enjoy tuna in a salad.

Maybe I need a break from this blogging and nutrition hobby.  I’m dreaming too much about micronutrient analysis and dietary supplements.  Dreaming can be a way of solving problems. 

Nocturnal leg cramps persist, so I’ll decide soon which supplements to try: potassium, magnesium, calcium, or ?  The cramps are not horrible or frequent, but they would tend to worry some folks.   

Nah…I’m not taking a break anytime soon.  In due time, however.



Filed under My KMD Experience

My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 38

CB101959Weight: 158 lb

Transgressions: none

Exercise: none


I’m getting a few nocturnal leg and foot cramps waking me from my sleep.  Or they’re there when I wake up.  Not sure what’s going on.  Perhaps a mineral deficiency (magnesium, calcium?).  Not enough exercise?  Just a fluke?  Most people get leg cramps now and then.  Will monitor a while for spontaneous resolution. 

LowCarbFriends.com has a message board that discusses muscle cramps.  Us the “search” function. 



Filed under My KMD Experience