Exercise for Weight Loss, and Is Swimming A Good Exercise?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have great reader question today, it’s about exercise:

” After your exercise post I realized I was doing little to no resistance training. My current regiment is swimming 4 days per week(I do intervals and definitely get breathless and use the kick board a lot to get that “burn” especially in my legs), also I do intermediate yoga classes on my own at home. We also walk/hike outdoors when the weather is nice.

We are also in a remote place so it is hard for me to find exercise classes….any suggestion of good videos I could do at home to add some resistance/lifting to my exercise routine? Or should I try and lift-weight myself at the gym? Any tweaks you have are also welcome “o) “

I’m glad to address this question, because Exercise Is Important, for a million reasons. Here’s my answer: Any and all exercise is absolutely better than NO exercise. Our body is meant to move; as a matter of fact, interesting studies have been coming out in the past few years on the DANGERS OF SITTING AND INACTIVITY. Apparently, INACTIVITY is possibly a greater/as great a risk factor for disease and mortality as SMOKING!

That said, if you want to build a shapely, muscular, firm body, you’ve GOT to Resistance Train. Ladies, Men, there’s just no getting around this. I’m not saying you have to join a gym, and spend an hour several days a week pumping iron ( although this has AMAZING results for your body), but you do need to stress your muscles – with either body weight or external weight – to (1) tear down your muscle cells, so (2) they can “re-build” (hypertrophy) a little bigger; and you need to do this at least 2 or 3 times a week, for at least several minutes.

Ladies, getting “too muscular” is fairly impossible. We absolutely, positively, DON’T have the testosterone to put on heavy muscle; and to LOOK muscular, we’d also need to be INCREDIBLY lean, usually under 15%, but often under 10%. (That takes a long, consistent “diet” effort that I’d never endorse.)

Men, pay attention: You should be prioritizing lifting over cardio/golf/yoga; I’m not saying NOT to do any of those activities, but lifting stimulates Testosterone and Growth Hormone; cardio/golf/yoga don’t. Ladies, we want Testosterone and Growth Hormone too; they’re the hormones of YOUTH, and we all naturally produce less as we age, EXCEPT IF WE RESISTANCE TRAIN.

What about Swimming specifically? Swimming’s a GREAT exercise, especially if you LOVE it, and also if you have joint issues. There’s no “joint-loading” or “bone-strain” when you swim, also, and obviously, you don’t get hot.
And there-in lies some of the problems with swimming: these “benefits” actually cause a DECREASE in BONE DENSITY; and FEMALE SWIMMERS TEND TO HAVE MORE BODY FAT THAN ALL OTHER ATHLETES.

The Bone-Loss CAUSED by swimming is a BIG DEAL. To me ( admittedly, I don’t love swimming laps), it would be a deal breaker – we need our bone density!

That all said, WEIGHT LOSS IS DEFINITELY ABOUT EATING – NOT EXERCISE. HOWEVER…… the more MUSCLE we have, and the BIGGER and MORE ACTIVE our muscle cells are, losing weight, or maintaining a healthy weight is MUCH MUCH MUCH easier.

Everyone: We Need Muscle. It’s important, it’s critical, and it should be a big focus of our total health program. (Not THE only focus; like I said, there’s a million reasons to exercise.)

Again, all forms of exercise are wonderful, including swimming; do whatever you love and feel comfortable with. Just make sure you’re throwing in some kind of Resistance Training a few times a week.

What about Exercising on a High Fat/Low Carb diet, how’s that? Fantastic! ( The whole “Carb Loading” theory, or Fueling Your Workout With Carbs, is totally 1980′s.) We have study after study now verifying the performance of High Fat/Low Carb athlete’s from every sport, and the studies are showing excellent results. As a matter of fact, after an initial dip in performance due to the body switching from “sugar burning” to “fat burning”, … Muscle glycogen stores were maintained after a 5-wk high-fat diet period ..Endurance performance capacity was maintained at moderate to high-exercise intensities with a significantly larger contribution of lipids to total energy turnover.”

Do you understand what that last sentence means? After 5 weeks on a High Fat/Low Carb diet, the body burns “significantly” MORE fats than glucose during exercise. This is something I try to get across to my clients: eat a big bowl of oatmeal or an English Muffin before your workout, and your body will mostly use those carbs for fuel. Live on a High CARB diet, and your body constantly burns SUGAR. When Sugar/Glucose is in the blood stream, FAT BURNING DOESN’T HAPPEN. We want to burn the fat in our butt/thighs/stomach, right?

Back to the question, some general suggestions: (1) Join a Gym. Gyms have (1) Kid Care, (2) professional trainers to TEACH you and Guide you through your workouts, (3) assorted classes that guide you through workouts, and resistance training ( of one kind or another ) is more often than not included in classes, (4) a positive and fun atmosphere that ALWAYS makes you feel good when you’re done.
(Yes, I’m a Gym Rat!) ( and I work at a BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL gym in Warrenton, Va: Old Town Athletic Club.)
********Please don’t be intimidated by Gyms; No One Is Judging You – I Swear. ******** One more piece of Gym advice, join one that’s CONVENIENT to you, that means near either your work or your home. Make the commitment and then go!

And specific suggestion ( I live in a remote area..): Youtube, DVDs, and Apps. Have you ever looked at BodyRock on YouTube? They have hundreds of free HITT workouts (high intensity interval training), there’s several yoga channels, and lifting workouts. CollageVideo has HUNDREDS of great videos on lifting/HITT/step/yoga you can buy. I use an App on my phone for Tabata Intervals ( that’s a 4 minute workout divided into 20 second intervals). There’s several Tabata ideas on YouTube.

Whatever you choose today, whether it’s the gym, hiking, or a DVD in your living room, just like with eating, make a Plan, and commit to the plan. It’s important. And be careful to avoid the mindset that any exercise you do is somehow Virtuous! It’s not! It’s just exercise. You don’t deserve a Treat for brushing your teeth, eating your vegetables, doing the laundry, cooking dinner, or working out. They’re all just Action Steps that are necessary and good for us and make our life better.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Norman Vincent Peale

“Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.” Golda Meir

Bread Makes Us Fat and Sick, There’s No Getting Around This

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll have a Keto Diet update at the end of this post, but today, I want to talk about bread.  Bread is a topic that just doesn’t go away.  The idea that bread is good, healthy, natural, ESSENTIAL, UNAVOIDABLE, and delicious, is so ingrained in people, that it’s just as hard to break up with as sugar.  Bread calls to us, loudly.  It’s the epitome of Comfort Food, and I think it’s fair to say most Americans can’t imagine even 1 meal of the day without it.

Here’s an email from a sweet lady ( with 4 kids ) who reads my blog:

I just wanted to let you know how much my husband and I are loving this new way of eating. I have always had a major weakness for bread and now I truly don’t think about it at all! I have slowly been making more of our foods such as sauces and dressings. The best part is that it tastes good, keeps us full, and we are both losing weight. Granted, the weight loss is not fast but it is consistent. Yay!

Before I gave up grains and sugars, I honestly thought doing so would be impossible. So did Mark. How could a meal be normal without bread?  What would we eat our pizza toppings on, what about tortilla chips at Mexican Restaurants?  Or the hot bread with big salt at a few of our favorite restaurants?  I BAKED MY OWN HOMEMADE BREAD every week, for years!!  My kids loved that!  Do you know how good your house smells when you bake bread?  Speaking of kids, how would I fill them up and nurture them without bread??   I think I believed that Bread was an essential Nutrient, like Omega 3 oils.

I was hooked on bread, so was my family.  We were pretty normal!

Here’s the Facts:  Bread’s not a Nutrient.  Bread made with flour and grains makes us fat and sick, and it makes our kids fat and sick.

Bread, whether it’s made from “whole grains”, 100% whole wheat, or sprouted wheat/sprouted soybeans/sprouted lentils, a la Ezekial Bread, ALL GETS BROKEN DOWN IN THE GUT TO SUGAR.  That’s the job of our digestion: to break our food down to molecules.  Grains are digested/reduced to GLUCOSE, which is the simplest of sugars, ( along with fructose), and then that GLUCOSE is quickly absorbed through the intestine, into the blood stream, where it make our Blood Sugar rise very high, very fast, to be met with a corresponding Big Dose of Insulin.

Look at the ingredient list for Very Thin Pepperidge Farm Whites:

Unbromated Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Soybean Oil, Contains 2 Percent Or Less Of: Yeast, Salt, Nonfat Milk*, Honey, Guar Gum, Wheat Gluten, Vegetable Mono And Diglycerides, Calcium Propionate (To Retard Spoilage), Soy Lecithin And Enzymes. *Adds A Trivial Amount Of Cholesterol.

Maybe you eat Whole Wheat, thinking it’s healthier?  Or you’ve switched to Rice Cakes, because they’re so low in calories.  Here’s the Glycemic Index ( which rates how quickly a food goes from gut to blood stream )  for bread products:

White Bread = 69

Whole-grain Bread = 72

Wheat Cereal = 67

Table Sugar (sucrose) = 52

Rice Cakes = 77

They’re all bad!

Did you know that every gram of glucose is stored with 3 grams of water?  That creates the puffy stomach effect, but eventually, the puffiness spreads to the rest of the body.   Cut out sugar and grains and you’ll IMMEDIATELY lose some water weight, the stomach shrinks quickly!  :)

Something else you’ll lose when you give up bread ( aka sugar), the effect that “Anti-Nutrients”, like Gluten and Phytates and Lectins (G/P/L) have on your body.  In a nutshell, G/P/L damage your small intestines which creates Leaky Gut; they attach to vitamins and minerals in the gut and render them useless; and destroy Leptin Receptors.

What about bread’s ADDICTIVENESS?  That’s from a protein called GLIADIN.  Gliadin has OPIATE properties; that means it works on the Opiate Receptors in our BRAIN.  As Cardiologist William Davis says, it doesn’t make us “high”, it makes us WANT MORE.  (this doesn’t happen on a high fat-low carb diet; fat triggers SATIETY hormones )

Can anyone deny that after eating a bread filled meal, there’s the feeling of of being stuffed, bloated, and tired? Or worse, hungry again in just a couple of hours? ( that doesn’t happen on a high fat-low carb diet!)

What about the Vitamins, or the Fiber?  Will we become malnourished if we don’t eat bread?  Will our kids?  NO!  Bread, cereal, crackers…, anything made with flours, are so processed and stripped of any natural nutrients, that they have to be “ENRICHED”.  Enriched means Vitamins and Minerals from China are added back in to replace a FEW ( not all )  of the nutrients destroyed in the processing.  When it comes to fiber, we can get all the Fiber we need from Vegetables and Fruits.

Please take the time to click on the links in this Post. You’ll read some great research.  Most of us know that bread puts on weight, because everyone’s tried a few days here or there without flour products, and we’ve seen the stomach shrinkage.  Unfortunately,  WEIGHT IS NEVER A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO STICK TO A DIET.  EVER.  That’s why almost 100% of everyone who loses weight, gains it back.

If you learn the SCIENTIFIC REASONS to give up grains/bread/sugar, the reasons why it’s so bad for our brain, our gut, our immune system, our waist line, our kids behavior, our health,.. it makes it easier to stay away from bread.  When it’s easier, our brain is more compliant.   Our brain doesn’t like Stress and avoids it like the plague.  Put your brain at ease by informing it of all the reasons to stay away from bread.  You can do this, one day at a time, I promise.

Keto Diet update:  Going strong!  Still 129, still the least hungry I think I’ve ever been in my entire life, literally.  Good energy, good sleep, no complaints.  Check out my what I eat page for meal ideas.

Speaking of meal ideas, there’s several delicious “alternative bread” recipes, using almond, coconut, or tapioca flour.  Yes, they’re more expensive than wheat flour, but the cheapness of flour products has led to the MASSIVE OVERCONSUMPTION that we Americans are prone to.  

Besides, eating these Paleo Breads is honestly more filling because they have more fat, more protein, and more nutrients.  Here’s a few recipes ( there’s a million more on the web ):

http://wellnessmama.com/2233/coconut-flour-biscuits/

http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/toasted-sub-sandwich-and-panini/

http://www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/paleo-pizza-crust-recipe-and-a-weight-loss-success-story/

 

Keto Diet Going Strong Update, and Fructose/Leptin/Insulin Facts

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Keto Diet has been easy!  I haven’t missed my roasted potatoes, or the banana in my smoothie, or carrots or peas or corn – yet.  I’ve been tempted by my Mom’s Famous Paleo Cookies twice, and resisted because I knew I had cream cheese bites, which I love.  I’m astonished at my energy levels, which weren’t even bad to begin with; my sleep is HEAVY, and my stomach looks tighter.  I haven’t lost anymore weight, but that’s okay.  I’m staying steady at 129.  Body fat testing today at 10am, and then again in a couple months.   Which means I’ve decided to stay on this for a while.   Remember to look at my What I Eat page to check out my meals.

My ketosis sticks are showing a darker color!!  I’ve moved up the Ketone Production Chain a little:)

I’ve had company twice this past week; I cook dinner every night for the family, and catering to the Keto Diet’s really not very different from the Real Whole Food/Paleo Diet.  My family’s already used to a bunch of meat and vegetables, and no bread or pasta on the table, it’s the norm here.  Everyone likes vegetables cooked in butter and topped with cheese, and I still serve watermelon, corn, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables I don’t eat.

I’ve had 2 questions on both Fruit, and Fructose this week, and I wanted to give a little info and a resource for you to follow if you’re interested.

Leptin is a hormone, made by our Fat Cells, that’s supposed to signal our brains when the stomach is full.  Just like Insulin Resistance, many overweight people have developed “Leptin Resistance”.  This means the fat cells are producing plenty of leptin, but the cells that are supposed to receive it have become “numb/non-responsive” to the message.  Instead, the message to Keep Eating is received, and a vicious cycle is set in place.

Fructose is a simple sugar that’s in Fruit, and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).    HFCS is in most processed and packaged foods, Moms, take note for your kids.  This stuff is NEVER good. The simple sugar Glucose CAN be used by our muscle cells and brain cells for ENERGY;  Fructose can NEVER EVER EVER be used by a cell for energy, EVER.  Ever.   (****Important, we don’t need that much glucose – excess gets converted to fat.)

Fructose always goes right to the liver, where it’s converted to fat.  Often, this fat is actually stored in the liver.  HFCS is one of the main reason Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is so prevalent right now.  If you’re overweight, there’s a good chance you have some degree of this condition, learn what it means here.

Here’s something that’s surprising about Fructose; DIABETICS and PRE-DIABETICS, TAKE NOTE:  No, fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar.  BUT it DOES make the Insulin Receptors on the muscle cells and kidney cells LESS RESPONSIVE TO INSULIN.   This means that Fructose Contributes To Insulin Resistance and Diabetes and various Metabolic Conditions.

All fruit has Fructose in it.  Fructose from fruit is metabolized EXACTLY the same way HFCS is, by the liver.  ***Studies show that excess glucose consumption can actually be converted to fructose ( and fat).  Remember, a carb is a carb is a carb.  Carbs from grains are reduced to glucose.  If you’ve been eating the Standard American Diet, or on a high-carb, low fat diet, you’ve probably had way too much Fructose in your life.  Look down at your stomach – Insulin Resistance, Leptin Resistance, too much Fructose – are the signs there?

This is where a High Fat/Low Carb diet, or a Ketogenic Diet ( they’re slightly different), can come in.  Study after study shows that they can reverse the damage from years of High Blood Sugar, High Insulin, and Leptin Resistance.

Here’s a great article from Dr. Mercola on Leptin and Fructose.  The more you know, the easier it becomes to make good choices for your body.  When choices are easier, there’s less stress.  When there’s less stress, your brain is more compliant with your long term goals.  Sound good?

 

Day 7 On Keto Diet Update, interesting Keto Facts, Cream Cheese Ball Recipe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m LOVING this Keto Diet!  I’ve had a few days this week where I should have been really tired, but I wasn’t, at all!
I had a quick moment of sadness that I couldn’t eat a Paleo Cookie at my mom’s house ( she makes the BEST), but it passed. I wasn’t hungry, just nostalgic for them.  I went home and made the cream cheese balls for dinner, and felt great.

I had stated in my last post that I was going to cut down on my protein portions, but I’ve changed my mind.  I HIT KETOSIS LAST NIGHT!!!   With nice, big protein portions, plenty of vegetables, and cream cheese balls ( dessert!).  My fat grams are in the HUNDREDS and my weight has remained stable after that initial drop.

I’ve NEVER had such a lack of hunger, ever.  Usually, around 4/5 pm, hunger starts to hit me.  This week, ZERO hunger, at all.  I’ve heard of that, but I haven’t experienced it.

Check out my What I Eat page to see my meals.

I’ve had dozens of emails now about the Keto Diet.  If you’re interested, LEARN LEARN LEARN.  Know the science, or any efforts will be wasted.  Honestly.  Have you read my Cancer and Ketosis newsletter, or my Ketosis and The Brain post?  If you don’t arm yourself with all the reasons to try Ketosis – OTHER THAN WEIGHT LOSS –  then it’s just another weight-loss attempt.

(Email me if you want to see the Cancer and Ketosis newsletter; the Brain post is on the blog.)

Weight-loss attempts notoriously FAIL.  Almost 100% of EVERYONE who loses weight on a diet gains it back.  Weight loss is NEVER enough reason to stick to a new food plan.  Ever.  Make it about your health.

Reader question:  Debbie, why would YOU do a keto diet?  You don’t need to lose weight.

Here’s a FEW reasons why:

1)  Ketones have a really negative effect on cancer cells.  From somehow changing the pH around the cells to more alkaline, to eliminating or reducing cancers FAVORITE FOOD ( sugar ), ketones are not good for cancer cells.    Read this by David Servan-Schrell, MD, physician and neuroscience researcher:

…we all carry cancer cells in us. But .. we all have natural defenses that generally prevent these cells from turning into an aggressive disease. These include our immune system, the part of our biology that controls and reduces inflammation, and the foods that reduce the growth of new blood vessels needed by developing tumors.

In the West, one out of three people will develop cancer. But two-thirds will not. For these people, their natural defenses will have kept cancer at bay.

Think of Ketones as another immune defense for the reasons stated above. Here’s more: for our body to produce ketones, there has to be a serious decrease of dietary carbs, and normal blood glucose levels.  I.E: when we’re in Ketosis, our blood sugar levels are NOT high.  High blood sugar IMMEDIATELY suppresses the immune system, for up to 24 hours.  Think of someone who eats sugar and grains excessively every-day-all-day ( the Normal American); what the heck is going on with their immune system?  Nothing good.

2)  Several studies show that Ketones have a positive effect on degenerative brain diseases, from Alzheimer’s to Parkinsons to Dementia to Epilepsy to Bi-Polar to ADHD.   Ancetodal studies show that it eliminates “fuzzy thinking and bad memory”.  I Want That!  Who knows what I’ve done to my brain with YEAAARRSS of chemical diet foods, and excessive sugar and grains.  I used to go though a box of Kashi in 2 days!  What the heck did that constant high blood sugar do to me?

3) Study after study shows that a Ketogenic Diet REDUCES ALL MAKERS OF INFLAMMATION.   Inflammation is the cause of all disease.

If you’re looking for a great book, that’s super sciency, read The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.  It’s by 2 PhD’s who have 50 years of research and clinical experience between them.  They don’t have any skin in any game.  As a matter of fact, because a Ketogenic Diet is centered around changes in Food and Lifestyle, as opposed to Pharmaceuticals,  money making opportunities are few and far between.

What I’m really looking forward to is Keto Clarity, by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman.  This book is coming out soon and I’ve already pre-ordered it.  Check out the “Experts Page”  This book is going to be Fantastic!

IF YOU PRE-ORDER IT, WE CAN DO A BOOK CLUB.  LET ME KNOW!

I’m finishing with a recipe:  Cream Cheese Balls.  Delicious if you love cheesecake!cream cheese balls

1 pkg of cream cheese (  I use this brand because it’s cultured, which means there’s good bacteria in it)
Juice from whole lemon
1 heaping TBSP stevia ( you might need more, depends on your tastes)
2 drops lemon oil ( again, use your own preference for tart )
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c very soft coconut oil
Mash til thoroughly blended, roll into balls, then roll in fine,flaked coconut
Refrigerate or freeze.
Next time we’re doing this w/coco powder, and I also want to try Orange Extract.

 

Day 6 Update of Keto Diet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far, so good for energy.  Completely satiated and not a drop of hunger; who could with all this fat and protein!  Still reading ZERO on my Ketonix – breath ketone meter.

I learned yesterday that I need to test ketones at night, not the morning, because they’re lowest in the morning.  Also learned that urine ketones are the first ketones to be produced, and that blood and breath ketones come after a few solid weeks of heavy ketosis. ( note to self:  that’s “weeks of actual ketosis”, not weeks of trying to get into ketosis). ( After blood and breath ketones are produced, the urine strips are pretty inaccurate. ) That means a trip to the drug store to pick up some urine strips today.

I think I need to really cut back the protein portions, which are huge, and count my carb grams through the weekend.  Boy, it’s HARD to go super low carb!  Carbs are in just about every except oil!

Weight has stayed exactly the same all week, right at 129.  Check out my What I Eat page to see my meals.

Day 3 Of Keto Diet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far the Keto Diet’s no big deal.  I think that’s because I weaned down the carbs for 4 weeks prior, so there’s no drop in energy.  Even before I cut down my potatoes/bananas/corn/carrots etc ( I haven’t had grains in a few years, and sugar only once or twice a month), I’m pretty sure my body was good at burning fat ( not ketones, but fat), and I’m also pretty sure I don’t have Insulin Resistance.

If you’re thinking about a Keto Diet, then slowly switching is probably a whole lot easier ( physically and mentally) than suddenly switching.  Then again, if you’re in a Health Crisis, you might need to just jump in.

Check out my What I Eat page to see my meals from yesterday.  My weight this morning was 129.9, and I still tested NO on the ketone meter.  I’ve got to “overwhelm” my fatty acid conversion to Acetyl CoA for my liver to start producing ketones.  Maybe tomorrow!  If not, then Saturday or Sunday, I’ll have to start counting my carbs, fats, and proteins – ugg.  I’m trying to just see if I can get there intuitively first.

I had an email asking if I thought everyone needs to do a Ketogenic Diet.  NO!  But I do think EVERYONE should severely limit grains and sugars, everyone.  They’re not good, ever.

Everyone should also ditch the “low-fat” thinking.  Not just because good fats have enormous health benefits, or because low fat eating can cause brain and hormone problems, but because it’s INEFFECTIVE FOR WEIGHT LOSS.   Here’s a blurb from a Dr. Mercola post, look at the graph and note how weight has increased since the advent of “eat low fat”:

Let’s face it, if low-fat diets worked, the United States would be the healthiest nation on the planet—folks have been following them since the late 1970s! But if you look at the following graph, you can see that America’s waistline has done nothing but expand since then. There’s no telling how many people have been prematurely killed by following these flawed guidelines. Yet, despite mounting research to the contrary, low-fat diets are stillbeing pushed as “heart healthy” by the majority of nutritionists, cardiologists, and the like.

Day 2 of Keto Diet, and a post on Ketosis and The Brain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOkay, 2 days under my belt, ZERO ketones on my Ketonix meter ( expected that, I’m hoping that they show up by Friday.)  My weight dropped below 130 for the first time since last summer (129.4) – this is not a drop in body fat!  This is just a little water weight leaving.  Remember:  glucose ( carbs ) are stored with water – always; and that “storage” is ALWAYS in the form of fat/triglycerides, not glucose.  (woops – actually, there’s a little glycogen storage in the liver, 1.5 to 2 teaspoons).   My normal weight really seems to be 130 – 132, usually pretty steady.  We’ll see.

Check out my What I Eat page to see yesterdays meals, they were pretty simple.  The double dinner was because I actually forgot to bring the lunch I packed ( the sardines), ended up buying lunch at the Natural Market ( my quick go-to;  do you have a list of go-to’s?  You should!), and then ended up eating it because I didn’t have that much sausage and I knew I’d be hungry.  I don’t like being hungry!

Here’s a newsletter I sent out yesterday on Ketosis and the Brain. I had so much response to it that I’m putting it here:  

In case anyone is wondering why I’m doing a ketogenic diet for the next few weeks, it’s because the more I learn, the more I become convinced that it’s a pretty healthy state to be in.  There’s some evidence and chatter about the benefits of cycling in and out of ketosis for a type of “detoxing” effect.  More on that in another post.

If you know anyone with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinsons, epilepsy, Bi-polar, or just “fuzzy thinking”, you’ll find useful information in this Post.

Morning!
As promised, here’s my second email on Ketosis, this one will focus on Ketosis and the Brain.

Remember: I’m just learning; I’m absolutely not claiming to be an expert! I just want to pass on what I learn so that you can take the ball and run with it.

Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, of Grain Brain fame, will be one of my references for this email. If you haven’t read his book yet, or listened to any of his podcasts – you should ASAP. I’ll have several links at the end of the email.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Dementia affect about 6 millions Americans (2013); numbers are expected to TRIPLE by 2050. There is NO MEDICATION to stop Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), or Dementia. None. Zero. There’s some meds that may slow it down a little, but nothing that halts it. There’s no medications that stop or halt any degenerative brain diseases.

No matter what Main Stream Medical says, AD, and several other degenerative brain diseases, are LIFE STYLE diseases, just like heart disease, diabetes and cancer ( for the most part). What we eat, how we think, how much we sleep, moving and exercising, learning, relaxing – they all contribute to our risk for these diseases. We do have control over our health, we just need to take it.

Here’s a few Brain facts:

The dry weight of our brain is 60 to 70% fat and cholesterol. It matters that we eat GOOD fats, because our body uses the fats we eat to build our brain. If we eat hydrogenated oils, or damaged fats ( think: vegetable oils), our body uses those BAD fats to build our brain. Fats compose the membrane of literally every single cell in our body.

It matters that we eat enough cholesterol from quality sources – our brains need a lot of cholesterol to function correctly.

From Grain Brain, ” We’ve actually determined that the ability to grow new synapses in the brain depends on the availability of cholesterol, which latches cell membranes together so that signals can easily jump across the synapse. It’s also a crucial component in the myelin coating around the neuron, allowing quick transmission of information. …Cholesterol acts as a facilitator for the brain to communicate and function properly.” (STATIN USERS – TAKE NOTE.) ” Moreover, cholesterol in the brain serves as a powerful antioxidant. It protects the brain against the damaging effects of free radicals.”

Remember also that Cholesterol is a VITAL component of Vitamin D, and all our sex hormones – all of which are crucial to brain health.

” As we age, natural cholesterol levels generally increase in the body. This is good because as we age our production of free radicals increases. Cholesterol offers a level of protection against these free radicals. ”

Cholesterol also encourages the growth of new brain cells.

Have you heard that the new term for AD is Diabetes Type 3? That’s because study after study definitively correlates high blood sugar with poor brain health and AD. Consistent high blood sugar ( which is pretty normal for anyone eating grains and sugar every day) “glycates” or kind of fries, plaque and other proteins in the brains too (yes – plaque isn’t just fat, there’s calcium and proteins in there also). When proteins are glycated, their ability to communicate and function is ruined. Not only that, glycated proteins have an ability to glycate other near bye proteins, and really, really cause a lot of damage.

Recent studies have revealed another way in which high blood sugar destroys the brain: just like muscle cells become “insulin resistant” (hello diabetes), and say “NO” to insulin/glucose/amino acids etc; the brain cells can become insulin resistant.
This is interesting, because in the the brain, insulin does many more jobs than just assisting nutrients into cells.

In the brain, Insulin is apparently crucial for our Neurotransmitter levels (dopamine, serotonin, GABA – the things that make our moods and temperaments).
If blood sugar is chronically high, which means Insulin is chronically high, the brain cells start to say “NO” to insulin, and the brain is starved of it’s nutrients and neurotransmitters.
Scary!

Here again, the Ketogenic Diet keeps Insulin down to Normal Levels; normal is Good!

Keto Diets are showing positive effects ( and ZERO side effects) for Bi-Polar disorder. Researchers are unsure why, but it looks like it could be for one of the same reasons ketones can suppress cancer: it changes the pH around brain “microdomaines” for the better. ( No, I don’t know what a microdomain is ) Bi-Polar depends on local acidification, ketones neutralize that acid.

One study showed that keto induced a coordinated up-regulation of genes encoding energy metabolism and mitochondrial enzymes, increasing the number of mitochondria in the hippocampus, a brain area associated with learning and memory.

Here’s another benefit of the brain using ketones for energy ( as opposed to glucose). When brain cells ( or any cell) burn glucose, there’s “oxidation” , or the potential for damage to the cell and the surrounding area. We’ve all heard of “Free Radicals”, right? Ketones don’t cause that. When ketones are burned for energy in cells, there is no “oxidative damage”, as a matter of fact, they have “anti-oxidant” properties.

Ketones somehow inhibit seizure activity, which is why it’s being used so successfully in epileptics; this is especially good for epileptics for which drugs have no effect, or drugs have horrible side effects.

Again, ketones have NO SIDE EFFECTS.

You can’t say that about even the most mild of drugs, such as aspirin or tylenol.

More links between Ketones and Brain Health:

From Dr. Perlmutter, “In a 2005 study, Parkinson’s patients had a notable improvement in symptoms that rivaled medications and even brain surgery after being on a ketogenic diet for just 28 days. Specifically, consuming ketogenic fats ( MCT oil), has been shown to impart significant improvement in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients……A ketogenic diet has been shown to REDUCE AMYLOID PLAQUE in the brain, and it increases glutathione, the body’s natural brain-protective antioxidant. What’s more, ketones stimulate the growth of mitochondria and increase metabolic efficiency.”

Ketone bodies are incredibly “neuro-protective, and they decrease free radical production in the brain, and actually stimulate brain-related antioxidants.

Ketones also block the “apoptotic pathway”, that would otherwise lead to self-destruction of brain cells.

Ketones eliminate excess glutamate. This is significant! Glutamate is an “excito-toxin”, which means it literally excites brain neurons to death. Where’s glutamate? In pretty much all processed food chemicals out there. If you’re eating from a box, a bag, or a crappy restaurant, there’s a good chance you’re eating them.

Glutamate excito-toxicity is linked to strokes, AD, MS, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and more.

Ketones are a PREFERRED FUEL (think food) FOR THE BRAIN – OVER GLUCOSE!!

How do we get ketones? The liver produces them in response to a VERY high fat, moderate protein, VERY low carb diet. As a matter of fact, even starchy fruits and vegetables have to be eliminated or greatly reduced, with a focus on Greens and Cruciferous Veggies ( there’s plenty so it’s not hard!).

I’ve just started a Hard Core Ketogenic Diet, that I’ll stay on for either 2 weeks or til the end of the month. I’m not doing this for weight loss, I’m doing it because I’m becoming convinced that several of my clients would benefit from this, as it’s amazing for Insulin Resistance which many people have. But I’m also becoming more and more convinced of it’s health benefits for me —- and you too! Ketone bodies have amazing properties, and taking advantage of them sounds like a smart thing to do. That said, I’m going to keep learning, keep studying, keep tweaking. I’m my own biggest science experiment.

I’ll be posting my meals, ketosis readings, body fat and weight before and after on my blog. Not really expecting to lose weight, but interested to see what it does to my body fat, and memory! Look at my posts, and check out my what I’m eating page.

http://www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/

To learn more about brain health and the Ketogenic Diet, and the general benefits of a High Fat, Low Carb diet, here’s some resources:
Article by Dr. Mercola featuring Dr. Attia, who’s a leader in the Ketosis Field:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/02/ketogenic-diet-health-benefits.aspx

Podcast with Dr. Perlmutter of Grain Brain book:

http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/the-llvlc-show-episode-725-dr-david-perlmutter-blames-carbs-for-mental-decline-in-grain-brain/19826

Amazon link to Grain Brain

http://www.amazon.com/Grain-Brain-Surprising-Sugar-Your-Killers/dp/031623480X

Article on Ketones and Brain Health Benefits/Research

http://www.neurorexia.com/2013/03/24/brain-livin-on-ketones-a-molecular-neuroscience-look-at-the-ketogenic-diet/

Another article on Ketones and Brain Health

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/2013/10/01/the-fat-fueled-brain-unnatural-or-advantageous/

Article on High Blood Sugar and Poor Brain Health

http://tulane.edu/news/releases/pr_10282013.cfm

Keto Recipes, Day 1 of Keto Diet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi there!  For the next couple of weeks I’ll be on a strict, Ketogenic Diet.  Follow along here on the blog, and on my What I Eat page to check out my food.

FYI, this morning I weighed 131.4.  I’m (hopefully) getting my body fat tested today, as I want to see if that changes.

I blew into my Ketonix ketone-breath meter, but of course, turned up empty. No ketones, as expected.  It’ll probably take at least a few to several days for my body to consistently make ketones.  From everything I’ve learned, it actually takes practice (in the liver/brain/heart), and incredible consistency to the diet.

My last several posts have been information on Ketosis.  If you’re interested in more information, let me know.  I have 2 Ketosis Newsletters I could send you:  Ketosis and Cancer, and Ketosis and Brain Health.

Recipe from last nights dinner ( sorry, no pictures!)

Meatballs:

I mixed:  2 eggs, 1/4 locatelli-romano cheese, a BUNCH of chopped chives, oregano, and basil( probably 1/2 c), and 1/4 cup very low carb tomato sauce (6 carbs per cup),  salt/pepper/onion and garlic powder, with a package of hamburger. Rolled into balls, and baked for 40 minutes at 425.

Cabbage with mushrooms:

I melted 6 tbsp kerrygold in a large baking dish(13X9).  I added 1 chopped large portabella, 1/2 smallish onion, 1 elephant garlic, and a whole head of chopped cabbage.  Topped with 2 more tbsp of melted butter, 1/4 c water, and 1/4 c of the same cheese as above.  This baked for 30 minutes, at 425.  Lots of Salt and Pepper.

I’m not going to weigh and measure my foods yet, I’m going to see if I can just eliminate anything starchy.  If that doesn’t work by Friday, I’ll weigh and measure.

I’m Starting a Hard Core Ketogenic Diet, and a Recipe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m about to start a Full On, Ketogenic Diet, and I’m excited!

I’ve been High Fat – Low Carb for quite a while, and by that I mean, zero grains, very little sugar, and literally adding fat in the form of butter, coconut oil, or lately, MCT oil, to most of my meals.  It definitely works for me.  I get to eat really large breakfasts and dinners, to the point of feeling content and very full, and my weight stays very stable.  ( I usually keep my lunches modest so that a full stomach doesn’t slow me down in the afternoon.)   I don’t count carbs, but because I only eat them in Real Whole Food form, ( check out my What I Eat Page), I’m definitely under the 100 – 150 grams a day that define ” low carb “.

To get into Ketosis, I’m going to have to drop that to around 50 grams of carbs a day.  Or at least that’s where I’ll start.  Ugh.  It means weighing or measuring, which in the old days made me “diet crazy”, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve conquered that ugly beast now and it won’t rear it’s head again.

I’m not doing this to lose weight  (although, like any woman, I’d be thrilled to lose a couple pounds), but I am interested to see the effect of dropping my carbs to below 50 grams a day.  Will I have more energy or will I be fatigued initially?   Will I think more clearly?  Will my stomach get ripped?   That’s so spoiled sounding, but I’m wondering the effect it’ll have on my body fat – which I will have tested by Monday, so that I can compare at the end of my experiment.

Probably the biggest changes I’ll have to make is eliminating my morning banana in my smoothie, measuring and choosing either hemp, flax seed, or chia seed for my smoothie mornings.  Measuring any nuts or seeds I eat.  Eliminating the potatoes I eat 3 or 4 times a week; and I’ll have to see what else comes up.  Oh, no more dark chocolate.  Any treat will have to be a Keto Treat.

Since the Low Carb Cruise, I’ve been slowly weaning off the higher glycemic fruits and vegetables.  It’ll be goodbye to the starchier vegetables for a little while.   I really enjoy my roasted potatoes, and now it’s sweet corn season, and I LOVE carrots and beets, but those are what I’m cutting back on.  I’ve been adding more and more cooked greens to my meals ( Oh My Gosh I’m LOVING them), and like I said above, more fats.  I’m focusing on really looking forward to what I’ve planned ( planning’s everything, right?), and that way, I’m not missing some of the old staples.

That said, going this low carb is just an Experiment that I’m doing for either 2 weeks, or through the end of the month.  Since I don’t have Insulin Resistance, a weight issue, or diabetes, I’m pretty much of the opinion that All Vegetables, and All Fruits are good for me.  Real Whole Food is and always will be my guide.  So this will be a Real Whole Food Ketogenic Diet.  Oh, that means no Whey Protein, and no bars.  I’ll sub eggs and veggies, or dinner leftover for the smoothies, and I don’t have any more travel weekends until my fitness conference in the beginning of August.  I should be good:)

How will I measure my levels of Ketosis?  With my new breath meter,  Ketonix – I’m so excited about this!  Until now, there’s been 2 main ways to test ketones.  One is looking at ketones in the urine, which is fairly cheap, but reportedly inaccurate.  The other is looking at ketones in the blood, which is much more accurate, but VERY expensive. ( I did my first reading this morning, and I’m either zero or very low.  I’ll probably have to do a couple days of pure fat and protein to get into ketosis.  I’m interested to see how long it takes.)

Measuring ketones in the breath has shown to be as accurate as the blood, and the new Ketonix is a reusable device that I’ll blow into as many times a day as I want.  I’ll keep you all up to date as to my meals, energy levels, weight, body fat, and ketosis readings.  I’m excited!

If you need a refresher on what a Ketogenic Diet is, read this.
If you’re wondering about benefits, here’s a few:

1.  It’s a great weight loss tool:  the more fat you eat, and the less carbs, the more your body uses STORED FAT as an energy source instead of sugar/glucose.  Also, healthy fats in the diet have a very positive effect on our hormones; weight loss is all about the hormones!

2.  Ketones are great for brain health.  They provide substrates to help repair damaged neurons and membranes.  There’s several Ketosis studies going on which are showing really positive benefits for Alzheimer’s, dementia, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.  Oh, and MS and cancer!!

3. Ketones are “non-glycating”, this means they don’t destroy and ruin any of the cells they come into contact with like glucose/sugar does.  Which cells does high blood sugar glycate?  Read this. (Hint – it has to do with erectile dysfunction and wrinkles ..)

4. The mitochondria (furnaces)  of most of our cells literally run better on ketones than on glucose.

5. Many cells function better on ketones than glucose, because ketones take less effort to get into the mitochondria ( which are our furnaces ) than glucose does.  That’s why ketosis can have an energy producing effect for people with chronic fatigue, RA, fibromyalgia, cancer, and other chronic conditions.

6. Cancer cells CAN’T use ketones, and they don’t like to eat fatty acids either.  CANCER CELLS LOVE SUGAR.  They’re COVERED with Insulin Receptors, and somehow draw sugar to themselves.  Ketogenic diets always lead to much lower levels of Insulin, always.  This has a really detrimental effect on cancers that are predominantly “sugar driven”.  If you’re interested in a great podcast on that, here’s one by Dr. Colin Champ.

Let me know if you’re interested in Cancer and Ketosis, as I did a Client Newsletter on it last week which I’d be happy to forward.  If you’d like to be added to my newsletter list, which is more detailed and sciency than my blog, let me know by emailing me.

Will I lose weight on the Ketogenic Diet?  Maybe.  Some doctors say it’s not as effective ( for ketodinnerweight loss )  when body fat is normal-low.   Will I lose body fat?  We’ll see;  same reason!  I’m really interested to see how it effects my memory and hormones, and how easy it is to do.

I’m ending with a Keto Recipe I made the other night:   Sausage and Vegetables:  I cooked collards, green beans, zucchini and tomato in 6 tbsp of butter and 1/4 c water, then added crumbled sausage.  Topped with shredded parm.  Delicious!

Who Can Start A Ketogenic Diet? Will It Raise Cholesterol? How I’ve Adapted. A Recipe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve had two good questions this week.  One, from a new client, “Can I start the Ketogenic Diet ASAP, because I need to lose a lot of weight.”, and Two, from a reader, ” I have high cholesterol, so this diet can’t be good for me, right?”

Let me answer both of these questions.

“Can I start the Ketogenic Diet ASAP, because I need to lose a lot of weight.”  No, I don’t want anyone I’m working with to jump into a Ketogenic Diet without (1) knowing exactly what it means, and (2) getting a really good handle on organizing/planning/shopping/cooking/and packing; and (3) eliminating snacking.

It’s hard enough to just eat well without giving in to cravings and triggers and habits.  Eating a Ketogenic Diet is really particular, and it requires Practice at Discipline.  It also needs to be implemented after we’ve wrapped our heads around the health benefits and the how-to’s, because honestly, weight loss is never enough reason to stick to any food or diet plan forever.  That’s why almost 100% of everyone who loses weight gains it back.  Any motivation to stick to a diet plan just to lose weight is a very temporary feeling.

I want my clients to experience success and actual brain-change, for example:

The longer I immerse myself in the science of what happens to my body in response to certain foods, the easier it is to eat only foods that are good for me.  I look at cheetos, frozen waffles, and processed foods as Cancer Fertilizer, and they scare me.  Gluten scares me!

I don’t snack anymore, neither does Mark.  We know that we need those hours between meals for the right HORMONES to happen so that our bodies can actually burn fat instead of glucose.  That fact is a fore-thought, not an after thought; because of that, the snack voice rarely calls to us anymore.

I’ve become so good at remembering how I feel after a binge, that I NEVER binge anymore.  It’s NORMAL for me now to do what it takes to feel good, clear headed, positive, energetic, and lean.   It took a while for me to reach this point, but I’m there.  You can be too!

My goal for my clients:  (1) to become great planners and organizers;  to take control of their life/eating/habits without stress  (2) for “long-term-consequence-thinking” to become their norm.  

Seat-of-pants-spontaneous-eating…..doesn’t work for anyone.  Unfortunately, spontaneous eating is more normal than not.

Bad habits, old habits, compulsions,… they’re STRONG.  You’ll need New Brain Patterns to overcome them.  Remember the Brain Rule:  our brain wants to do what’s COMFORTABLE, not what’s best for us.  An “uncomfortable” brain can shout very loudly, right?  “Eat it! Drink it! It’ll feel so good, and you can always Diet tomorrow/Monday/the 1st.”

I set my clients up for Success by taking it one step at a time.  We focus on saturating the mind with information that rewires the bad habits.  It’s a one step at a time approach, because really, that’s all the brain will allow. Brains don’t like change.  Almost 100% of everyone who “diets” gains the weight back.  Half of all those people gain back more than they lost.  Just changing your food for a week or a month or even a few months isn’t a long term health and weight loss solution.

That said, weaning off the trigger foods ( they’re always grains and carbs), identifying trigger people/places/things, making a written plan, and practicing cooking and packing, are crucial.  So is learning about habit change/habit breaking/ building new habits.

Next Question:  Will a Ketogenic Diet Raise Cholesterol?

NO!  Bad cholesterol rises in response to excess carbs, particularly sugars and grains.  When the blood sugar gets above “normal”, which is 100mg/dl, much of the excess is remade into fat ( triglycerides).  The liver has to make Small, Dense, LDL ( the BAD cholesterol) to transport that new fat to it’s new home:  the fat cells in your abdominal area.  

Not all cholesterol is bad, much of it is good! Cholesterol is such a NECESSARY element in our body that God made Every Single One Of Our Cells capable of manufacturing it.  The liver produces boatloads;  and it produces even more if we’re sick, injured, or stressed, because cholesterol is a necessary component of the hormones and immune system that deals with those issues.

Want some references to ease your mind?  Read these posts:

One,  Two, Three.  If you’re accepting information from your doctor that’s based on 1980 science, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

I’m wrapping up with a Recipe:  Chicken, Butter, and Vegetablesdinner

In a pan, I melted 6 tablespoons of Kerrygold butter and a 1/4 of water.  I added meat from 2 big chicken breasts, 2 endives slices in half, a whole onion, a bunch of cauliflower, 2 yellow zucchini, a bunch of chives, and Salt and Pepper.  Before I served it ( forgot to photo this), I added a bunch of feta cheese, and a tablespoon of butter to each bowl.  Delicious!