Inducing Carotenosis: What We’ve Eaten (so far)

A big thing that may (although unlikely) be affecting the Carotenosis experiment is that we’ve undergone some diet changes and I wanted to point them out.

Before we started this, we were going through a dozen eggs a week and a gallon of milk. Many of our meals looked very similar to the featured photo on this post, add in oatmeal, beans, more eggs, other veggies, and so on, but pretty damn healthy. Then we had this big animal rights discussion and we decided to slow the egg eating and milk using until we could better verify our sources and preferably do it at a lower price. Add the carrots, and it got me all mixed up on the cooking end (started making more pasta and rice and toast – rice is fine but the others I don’t think should be an every day thing). This should normalize again once we’ve moved back to Pennsylvania as we already have our source lined up. Until then, we’re in a weird limbo of doing eggs sometimes and not doing eggs others, totally f’n with our diet.  I really, really miss eggs. I believe our diet was pretty close to exemplary for a long-lived vegetarian (aside from the days here and there where we’d pig out on some exorbitantly sugary and shameful thing; moderation, in moderation). Now, it’s just confusing.

The second thing we did was travel, seriously altering our choices as well. We were eating more of our carrots raw (this limiting beta-carotene uptake), eating extremely unhealthy and relying more on packaged food then we did in May or before. It’s not that this happens every time we travel (sometimes traveling results in eating very healthy, just an unusual variety). But it did this time. Although we still ate our allotment of carrots, this did equate to less beta-carotene we generally eat.

The third thing we did was begin a Leangains-style intermittant fasting (although I don’t agree with everything on the linked website, I do recommend reading all the posts on fasting. The author did solid research on the subject and I think it’s worth a read, if not implementation) . Basically, I only eat within the window of 10a and 8p and Drew only eats from 1p-9p. Being more of a foraging throughout the day type, I thought this would be much harder than it is. I haven’t had a moment of hangriness. It actually reminds me of when I was working two jobs several years ago and trying to keep my grocery bill way down. I would have four planned meals but would often be too busy and skip the last one. This is like this only I’ll eat a little more during the window (though less than I was before which, although I’m in decent shape, I think eating a little less will do me good). I was happy then and I’m happy now. This should not affect our beta-carotene intake by much as most of what we’re cutting out is the lesser healthy stuff anyway (if we tended to pig out more, it was usually at night).

Between these three things, it certainly adds variables above and beyond the ones that would have already existed had we been eating “normally”, which are already numerous. Still, we’re hopeful and can offer some data (if very loosely gathered) on this phenomenon. We’re starting to move back to “normal” but “normal” will still mean fewer eggs for a while and intermittent fasting indefinitely.

Finally, I give you the spreadsheet of our (recently embarrassingly unhealthy) diets from the time I started logging:

Date Foods Notes
Day 3, June 2nd
Pesto scrambled eggs (chopped cilantro and pistachios with lemon and salt) and sauteed red and yellow potatoes w salt and rosemary. Side of fruit (nectarines, pear, strawberry) I ate maybe half an egg because we were running low; we had a couchsurfer staying with us and he shared our breakfast before he bike 62 miles today (hardcore! at least by my standards).
I ate two slices of toasted sourdough bread w butter, erythritol, and cinnamon. I also had a pomegranate fig bar (ancient grains).
We both had a smoothie consisting of 2 carrots, spinach, blueberries, peaches, water, and avocado
We had wraps with a side of raspberries. Wraps = black beans, tomatoes, salt, sour cream, avocado, corn tortillas for me, whole wheat for Drew (they used to have eggs; I miss eggs)
Roasted carrots (3 for each of us) Roasted Carrots = carrots roasted in coconut oil, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herb mix; Herb mix = basil, parsley, thyme, and oregano
Drew had a peppermint milkshake and a few sips of a mocha milkshake. I had the rest of the mocha milkshake. And a cherrychocchunk milkshake. This was a shameful evening. And so tasty.
Cut up carrots (3 for each of us)
Day 4, June 3
We each had a smoothie w mango/pineapple/papaya mix, banana, 3 carrots, almond milk
Drew had toast with butter and jelly. I had toast w butter, cinnamon, and erythritol.
Roasted carrots (3 each)
2 cut up raw carrots each
Day 5, June 4
All carrots raw with blue cheese We are on a trip to Utah; eating will be weird and probably shameful; picked up bags of carrots for next few days though
At fresh fruits and veggies with hummus. I had pickles and coffee with milk. We both had cucumber water, snickerdoodle cookie, mini apple pie. Drew had a can of ginger ail.
We had fig bars.
That night we had nachos with guac, cheese, tortilla chips, jalapenos (only me with the jalapenos)
Day 6, June 5
Started day with fig bars, leftover rice and mac and cheese. Hiked most of day, hence so much packaged food
At two fig bars throughout day
Twist (chocolate and vanilla) ice cream cones
Split a black bean burger and sweet potato fries with Drew, had leftover fries with ketchup too
Brownies with milk for desert
All carrots raw, blue cheese dressing
Day 7, June 6 Started day with eggs and eggo waffles w butter (and brownie topping; vacations are bad for health)
At two fig bars throughout the day.
Had 2 8 layer burritos from Taco del Mar (mine with hot sauce)
All carrots raw, blue cheese dressing (this last day was hard to finish them; but we did it!)
Day 8, June 7
FORGOT BAG OF CARROTS! Got to airport ridiculously early on 15 min of sleep and forgot the bag of carrots we’d bought!
Ate a ton of fresh fruit (blueberries, pineapple, a few orange slices, raspberries), a little yogurt and granola, mini waffles w blueberry compote, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal with almond slices, craisons, and honey. We basically ate a bunch of breakfasts over our long morning.
Coffee with milk for me. Several times throughout the day.
Drew subsisted the rest of the day on a ton of high class mac and cheese, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies
I had a small salad with mixed greens, radish, olives, tomatoes, and caesar dressing; couscous; sweet potatoes with yogurt, pumpkin seeds, and peppers; cream of red pepper soup with crackers; cherries; a chocolate chip cookie and and mini caramel custard.
Later, I had a cup of cauliflower soup.
Day 9, June 8
6 roasted carrots right off the bat
Smoothies each containing 3 carrots, blueberries, mango/pineapple/papaya frozen chunks, half a banana and water
We had wild rice drizzled with olive oil, garlic powder, salt. And more carrots!
I had fig bars and a half sleeve of Ritz crackers We have left town again to go on a camping trip; totally loaded with all carrots, separated by day, cut into slices
Drew had a clif bar and sleeve of Ritz crackers
Before we left, I also had two slices of sourdough bread with butter, erythritol, and cinnamon
Day 10, June 9
Eggs and cheese and roasted carrots (4 each)
Steamed carrots (4 each)
Chips Ahoy cookies
Mash of beans, eggs, tomatoes, avocado, salsa, on tortillas (minus the salsa for Drew)
Day 11, June 10
Nutragrain bars
Roasted carrots (4 each)
Choco chip cookies
peanut butter on bread with banana
Roasted carrots again (4 each)
S’mores with vegan marshmallows, whole wheat graham crackers, and 70% cocoa dark chocolate
Day 12, June 11
Eggs, tomato, avocado, onion, potatoes on tortillas YUM!
Roasted carrots (5 each)
Choco chip cookies
Raw carrots (3 each)
Thai food (I had veggie curry w brown rice and Thai iced tea with cream; Drew had double Thai iced teas with cream and tempura ice cream)
Day 13, June 12
Roasted carrots (4 each). Had some oatlmeal w blueberries and a little butter (honey for Drew, maple syrup for me)
Thai iced tea with cream
More roasted carrots (4 each).
More roasted carrots (4 each). Finished making up for the day without; it was enough carrot to make me feel a little ill
Day 14, June 13
Carrot juice! All carrots in one drink! AMAZING
Oatmeal with blueberries and some almond milk and little butter, honey for Drew, maple syrup for me
Drew had two chocolate brownie clif bars; I had one pomegranate fig bar
I had leftover Thai and Drew at white rice with garlic, salt, and olive oil
We shared the rest of the vegan marshmallows. I hope our diet goes back to normal tomorrow.
Day 15, June 14
Carrot juice again! Glorious. So much for a perfectly normal diet. Drew wants us to try intermittent fasting and so we shall. This means having food over a small amount of time each day. Yesterday, we had two meals within 8 hours of each other and that was it. I am suspicious of this as I was to understand that one huge meal a day was not so good for you. I’ll be researching this further. As a person who eats smaller meals throughout the day, I am not excited about this. I’m sort of a bitch when I’m hungry. And I anticipate being hungry a lot, especially in the beginning. We’re opting for a Leangains version of intermittent fasting which means men can eat in an 8 hour window and then fast for 16 hrs. Women have a 10 hour window and a 14 hour fast. I anticipating this being way better for me than one day fed, one day starved. I told Drew a while back that I’d do one day a week fasting, but more than that I couldn’t agree too. Then we discovered Leangains and I figured I can give that a try.
Porridge and wraps on flour tortillas for Drew. A wrap on corn tortilla for me.
We both had toast. Peanut butter and sliced banana and one with butter, cinnamon and erythritol for me. Butter with mixed fruit jelly and butter with honey for Drew.
I had fig bars and some almond milk with graham crackers. I didn’t eat too much. I ended my fast just after 5, a few hours early.
Drew went out and had nachos (corn chips, guac, olives, chives, tomatoes, tons of cheese) He won’t get to eat until 4p tomorrow.
Day 16, June 15
Started my day with a smoothie (3 carrots, spinach, almond milk, small slice of avocado, mango, pineapple and papaya, half a banana) I have taken remarkably well to intermittent fasting (so far). I have gotten hunger pangs at some points, but ti’s not nearly so bad as I worried.
I had the other half banana with peanut butter I’m looking forward to when we have eggs again so that I can have some more protein. We’ve been trying to reduce our egg and dairy purchases though. Until we can maximize the ethics of what we buy, this reduction will go on.
Later, I had curried noodles and an orange.
When Drew could eat, he had the same smoothie and I did earlier, 2 oranges and almonds.
Drew had a ton of porridge (oatmeal, almond milk, mix of seeds, banana, a little butter, honey) and I had a little (all the same except maple syrup instead of honey)
Then he had a ton of rice with olive oil, garlic, and salt and roasted carrots (5). I had some rice too and the same amount of carrots (5).
I had two marshmallows I found from camping
Drew had some carrot juice. Regardless of the fasting, I think what we’re eating is starting to go back to normal. It’s nice.

Featured photo source here.


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