Tag Archive for ketogenic diet

Can You Eat Potatoes ( or other starchy Real Whole Foods) ? Test Your Blood Sugar!

4 girls after walking cere

( I love this pic of my girls! Raise healthy kids!  They’re depending on us!)

Potatoes, corn, carrots, plantains, bananas, beans,…wow, they sure do cause confusion.  Years ago, Dr. Atkins came out with his first book and completely demonized these foods by lumping them in with grains and sugars.

It was a great book, and he had a TON of research behind his initial recommendations, which were that if you’re overweight and want to lose, cut waaay down on the carbs, and consume lots of protein and fat.  He’s right.  Crappy carbs will not only put weight on us – and our kids – but they’re the perfect vehicle for:  inflammation, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurological conditions, ADD, ADHD, skin issues, and just about every disease out there.  Crappy carbs cause an Inflammatory Environment in our body – and our kids bodies.

Crappy Carbs are Evil.

But are those Real Whole Foods I listed above “Crappy Carbs”?  No. But that doesn’t mean you get to eat them.  Sorry.  The real answer is, “It depends.”  What do they do to your blood sugar after you eat them?  There’s an easy way to find out:  buy a blood sugar kit, aka, a Glucometer.

IT’S SO FUN – honest!  You might think Glucometers are just for diabetics, but they’re not.  Anyone can buy a kit in any drugstore or Walmart, or off Amazon, anywhere.

If you’re a weight loss client of mine, you probably already own one.  If you’re not a client, but a blog reader, buy one today.  Here’s why.

When blood sugar rises above “normal”, (normal is between 80 – 100, but some labs have lowered that value to 70 – 90), the pancreas releases the hormone INSULIN.  Insulin is an anabolic, building hormone.  Insulin takes the excess blood sugar, the amount that sends the value over “normal”, and stuffs a little in our muscle cells (the empty ones), a little in the liver-glycogen storage (if it’s low) and then…….turns all the rest of the excess into FAT/triglycerides, and stores them in the fat cells.

How does Blood Sugar get above normal?  EASY.  Every single carbohydrate we eat becomes blood sugar in our gut.  EVERY. SINGLE. CARB. Whether it’s from a grain, pure sugar, fruit, veggies, beans, nuts, whatever.  The carbohydrate in those foods is reduced to Glucose.  That’s the gut’s job:  break food down to chemical molecules so our cells can use it.  All carbs become glucose and fructose, 2 tiny, simple sugars that fit in cells easily.  (Today, we’re just talking about glucose; fructose is evil too! More on that later.)

How much blood sugar is too much?  If we weight 150 pounds, we have about 4.7 liters of blood.  “Normal” blood sugar – a measurement of 85 on the glucometer – equals 4 grams of sugar in the whole body.  4 Grams.  4 Grams. That’s 16 calories of carb (1 gram = 4 calories).  More than that, and the conversion of sugar/glucose to fat/triglycerides happen.

A medium French Fry has 47 g of sugar (all carbs break down to sugar).

A can of coke has 39 g of sugar.

Krave Jerky Lime Chile has 39 g of sugar per package.

1 cup of pasta has 43 g of sugar/carbs.

1 cup of orange juice 27 g of sugar.

Those are all obvious Crappy Carbs; the starches become sugar/glucose very very quickly and go from gut to blood stream fast.  But the real reason they’re Crappy is because they’re highly, highly processed and have no nutritional value at all.  None.  They’re so anti-good for us they’re poison!

Conventional wisdom tries to tell us that pasta has B vitamins, or french fries from McDonalds are vegetables.  Bull Crap. Those B vitamins – added/fortified – back into the pasta, were made in a factory in China from synthetic materials.   And those Mc D’s french fries?  19 ingredients!!  Gross! That’s not real!  Read their ingredient list, and several others, here.  Please, read it.  Our kids eat this stuff, and our kids are getting sicker and fatter and sadder than ever.

It’s. The. Food.

So what about YOU, and ME, and potatoes, or corn, or plantains, or all these other starchy fruits and veggies?  How does that affect our blood sugar since we know they’re carbohydrates?

I don’t know how they affect you; I know how they affect me because I’ve pricked my finger and tested a million times in the past 5 years.  Buy the glucometer and test yourself.  They’re cheap and they’re easy to use. Prick your finger 90 minutes after a meal (peak blood sugar), and look at the number.  See how your oatmeal or your pasta or your crackers affected you.

And see how a meal of corn or potatoes or bananas or beans, or any high carb fruit or veggie, affects you.

Five years ago, I had pretty fluctuating blood sugar.  I considered myself “low carb” because I ate a lot of “low carb” foods:  Kashi Go Lean, Low Carb Tortillas, Low Carb Bread, Low Carb Ice Cream, Low Carb Cookies…..  then I bought the glucometer.  Wow.  Did I get a wake up call.  My blood sugars were way too high, and it scared me into action.

No more Low Carb Crap, just Real Whole Foods.  Of course, I worried about the high carb fruits and veggies, and the glucometer showed that yes, they did raise my blood sugar too much.  So I cut way back on them.

In the past 5 years I’ve changed and refined my diet – a lot.   I eat more herbs and spices than ever – every day.  I use essential oils.  I’ve added more fat than I ever thought possible.  I’ve managed to completely delete “cheat days” from my life (thank you God), I’ve become scared of processed foods to the degree that I’m literally afraid of them.  I’ve joined several food co-ops, I go to a couple different farmers markets.

Last summer I went totally ketogenic for a few months.

In other words, I’ve taken several actions, consistently, for several years now, and guess what?  Now when I take my blood sugar ( which I still do all the time – and I take my kids and Mark’s often also), it’s always good.

A few mornings a week I throw a banana into my smoothie – blood sugar stays low.

I eat potatoes or plantains for dinner at least 4 or 5 nights a week.  The other night I measured before dinner, I was 78.  After a dinner of roasted potatoes coated w butter, squash coated with olive oil and parm, a steak, and a piece of dark chocolate, I was 98.


I believe you can become normal too, with persistence and consistence.

What’s normal?  Normal is when you eat a real whole food, in normal amounts, in a normal diet full of nutrient dense foods loaded with good fats, some protein, and a ton of vegetables, and your body processes it just fine.

Your muscle and liver cells are open to the carbs and the fat both, you sleep well, you don’t feel sick, bloated or brain foggy – ever, and your energy and immune system hum.

By the way, as good as they look, 6 pack abs aren’t totally normal, especially for most women. Having some body fat – is normal.  Being ripped, lean, and shredded, goes against most body types, and the actions needed to get there usually lower thyroid function, lower body fat to unhealthy levels, and mess up our sex and adrenal hormones.

Not normal.

How can you become normal?  There’s only one way: change how your brain things about about your body and food.  No more diet and weight loss focus, it doesn’t work. Focus on your health instead.  Pledge that at least a few times a week you’re going to read something from Dr. Mercola or Suzy Cohen or Dr. Davis/Wheat Belly or if you’re interested in the science behind the Ketogenic Diet (because I really do believe it heals cells and the liver and reverses insulin resistance) check out Dr. Nally here.

Here’s my Cigarette Analogy:  would you ever pick up a cigarette butt off the sidewalk and put it in your mouth? No! That would be disgusting, and there’d be no effort at all in resisting that urge.  I want you to look at a slurpee or a box of cookies or a fast food burger and think:  “I’d never put that in my mouth, that’s disgusting!”.

Here’s something that’s not disgusting, and it’s delicious!  2 Recipes, each I’ve had on here before, but they’re worth repeating.   The first is my Sweet Potato Pizza – Oh My Gosh is it delicious!!

Chipotle Sweet Potato-Zucchini Pizza


1 large sweet potato
1 large green zuc, ring out water by 20150627_172301twisting in a towel
1 heaping tbsp chipotle powder
3 eggs, beaten
5 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and pat onto a pizza pan. Bake at 425 for 40 minutes. Top with tomato sauce and cheese ( and whatever else you want, I’ve done corn, cilantro, and peppers). Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

Roasted Potatoes – kids love this and it’s so much better than french fries-

roasted potatoesScrub and dice potatoes
Pour a couple tbsp of melted KerryGold butter and coat them w it
Salt & Pepper
Bake at 425  50-55 minutes, flip w a spatula half way through.

By the way, these things freeze and reheat beautifully, they’re a great Power Cooking food.

Action Plan to End Food Cravings, Forever.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhether you have a weight issue or not, cravings can be a bear.  Cravings are incredibly powerful; and weight loss with cravings is almost impossible.

What to do?  Here’s several ideas, but first, what creates cravings?  Low calorie diets, low fat diets, and low nutrient diets, fatigue, stress, and habits.  Sound daunting?  If I eliminated my cravings, you can too.

Here’s a Big List of How-To’s:

Get rid of your fear of fat, now.  Fat satiates; and not because it fills you up, which it actually does, but Fat triggers satiety hormones – really!  Fat makes our Brain say, “aaahhh”.

L-Glutamine, an amino acid that helps build Dopamine ( an anti-anxiety neurotransmitter ). L- Glutamine also helps balance blood sugar.  Anxiety and low blood sugar ALWAYS causes cravings. ( I use Biotics, and I LOVE this product. I also take it on heavy leg days, and I suggest it to all my leaky gut clients.  L-GLutamine is used by muscle cells and endothelial cells to rebuild themselves.  It’s a different dosing/timing than when using for neurotransmitter building.)

Stop eating sugar and grains, which trigger hunger hormones and addiction centers in your brain. Sugar is more addictive then cocaine in lab studies.  No one in your house needs this stuff. A little here and a little there?  It just keeps you addicted.   SUGARS AND GRAINS ARE 99% OF ALL CRAVINGS, RIGHT?  No one’s craving broccoli.  Stop buying the stuff.  Seriously.

Hot drinks mid morning and mid afternoon:  Bullet Proof Coffee and Bullet Proof Tea:  organic tea/coffee with (Kerry Gold)  grass-fed BUTTER and (Biotics) MCT oil or coconut oil.   This is delicious, and the fat knocks out appetite and cravings while at the same time stimulating your brain.  (Ditch the Mad Scientist concoctions they sell at Starbucks, they’re loaded with sugar, artificial sugar, and chemicals.)

5 HTP, an amino acid that helps build Serotonin.  We need level moods to not have cravings. Again, I use Biotics brand.****Serotonin builds Melatonin, Melatonin helps us sleep well.  Fatigue is a HUGE inducer of cravings.  I know a couple other great supplements for sleep, email me.

L-Tyrosine, I LOVE this and have used it every day for 18 months.  It’s an amino acid that helps build your catacolamines.  That means it helps with energy ( among other things ), and we often drift to snacking/cravings when tired, right?  ( I use Biotics)

( ****   One of my favorite ENERGY/DON’T SNACK tricks:  mid afternoon tea with a little MCT oil, and 2 tyrosines.  It’s magic. ********)

Digestive enzymes and HCl.  (again, I use Biotics products).  You might have the best diet in the world, but if you’re not breaking down your food so that nutrients can be absorbed, you’re Nutrient Deficient.    Nutrient Deficient people are loaded with cravings.

Probiotics, probiotic foods, probiotic drinks. Cultured and fermented vegetables, keifer, kombucha, and real yogurt. There’s millions more bacteria in cultured food than in any probiotic supplement. If you’re trying to improve health, use the pills along with the foods/drinks, at least initially.    If your gut bacteria is out of whack, you’ll have cravings for sugar, because that’s what Bad Bugs eat.  Candida is a prime example of this. 

Exercise APPROPRIATELY.  If your workout leaves you STARVING, which leads to cravings, you worked out too hard. Dial it back.

Clean your liver.  Our liver plays a vital role in getting nutrients into our cells and “trash” out of our body. But did you know our livers are the BIGGEST source of calorie burning in our WHOLE BODY?  Our heart and brain are next, and then comes our muscles.   A slow, clogged, overworked, exhausted liver craves nutrients. Drink alcohol, take a lot of meds, eat sugar and chemical/processed foods, eat late at night, I guarantee it’s over burdened.  I use a Biotics liver detox twice a year, and 2 tinctures by Herb Pharm every couple of months:  Milk Thistle and Liver Health.

Go on a Ketogenic Diet:  High Fat, Moderate Protein, and a TON of greens and cruciferous vegetables.  This literally knocks out cravings of any kind, honestly.  Check this out for meal ideas and guidelines.  

Stop eating Processed Foods.  They’re created in a LABORATORY and specifically designed to trigger desires in your brain for more and more and more.  Really.  McDonald’s milkshakes and Doritios are NOT delicious food creations, they’re chemical cocktails created by PhD’s to get you hooked.

Eat bigger meals, and ONLY eat 3 times a day.  Multiple ” Mini-Meals” are DUMB. They’re guaranteed to make you (1) hungry (2) have cravings and (3) mentally habituated to eating all day.  Besides, “mini-meals” are a joke; studies show American’s are pretty incapable of actually having a mini-meal; in reality, the multiple mini-meals turn into “too much food all day long.”

( Moms, we  have to apply the “Stop Eating Sugar/Grains/Processed Foods” guidelines to our kids; they’re sugar/carb/chemical addicts.  The snacking, the cravings, the “can’t stop eating”….. we have to HELP THEM develop great eating habits. )

Work on your habits and thought patterns.  It’s all so mental, isn’t it.  This is just about my favorite area when it comes to health. Our subconscious rules over the conscious, always.  If your subconscious is constantly sabotaging your health efforts, get in touch with me.  It’s not Rocket Science, but you’ll need a plan.

My wrap up?  Eat Real Whole Foods, consume plenty of fat, eliminate addictive grains and sugars, use Smart Supplementation, and train your brain to work for you, not against you. Cravings are a sign that your body, your mind, and your hormones, are “off”; they’re not a sign you’re weak.  You don’t have to be a slave to bad habits.  Let me know if you’re ready for help with a food plan, habit change, or supplements. ( The amino acids need to be dosed and taken on a specific time table.)

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.

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.

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.


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:

Podcast with Dr. Perlmutter of Grain Brain book:

Amazon link to Grain Brain

Article on Ketones and Brain Health Benefits/Research

Another article on Ketones and Brain Health

Article on High Blood Sugar and Poor Brain Health

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!

Ketogenic Diets and Weight Loss; Keto Recipe

I’ve had a few email questions this week about a comment I made in this post about Ketogenic Diets, it was about weight loss.  Here’s the quote that raised the questions: If you’ve got a lot of Insulin Resistance, you’ll need to go Ketogenic,” .   

The questions can be summarized like this:  What’s a ketogenic diet?  Will it help me lose weight?

Here goes.   When we burn glucose ( sugar/carbs/pasta/bread/vegetables/fruit/etc), for fuel, that means that glucose goes into the cells “furnace” or mitochondria, and gets “burned” for energy. ( Geeks, I know I just skipped a bunch of steps..)  If you’ve been reading my blog or you’re into the whole sciencey world of metabolism, you know there’s several “negatives” about Sugar Burning.  Here’s a few ( no one has time for all of them.)

1) We need very little glucose to live/perform/grow, very little.  Our Normal blood sugar ( NOT JUST FASTING, BUT NORMAL), should be between 80 and 100.  ( Read this to know what I mean.)  The average daily intake of sugar in 2010 was 63 teaspoons a day; this doesn’t include the grains that become sugar in the body via digestion.  Obviously, we eat WAY more sugar/glucose than the body needs.

2) High blood sugar is Incredibly Damaging to our body.   Here’s a short list of what can happen:  brain tissue shrinks, blood becomes thick and sticky, the vasculature of our eyes, kidneys, feet, and hands narrows, our immune system is suppressed, proteins and fats become Glycated/Fried/Damaged, AND ALL FAT BURNING STOPS UNTIL LEVELS ARE NORMAL.

3) High Blood Sugar is met with corresponding High Insulin.  Insulin also wrecks havoc when there’s too much of it:  systemic inflammation, inhibition of cellular uptake of vitamins, minerals, and proteins; arterial wall damage, blood pressure increases, and HDL decreases.

You might have heard that our brain needs glucose to function.  And if you read Runner’s World, or listen to advice from 1980, you’ve heard that athlete’s need to carb load before a big workout.  Worse, you might think that AFTER a good workout, you actually DESERVE a carb load, or in the very least, you’ve created such a calorie deficit that you can take your carb load and crush it with your starving muscle cells.

If. Only.   It’s thinking like this that get’s a lot of us in trouble!

Here’s where a need for a ketogenic diet comes in.

Years of high blood sugar cause our muscle and liver cells to become damaged and sensitive ( in a bad, “get away from me” fashion) to Insulin.  (fyi,  Insulin attaches to Glucose/Sugar and tries to get it out of your blood and into your cells.)  This is called Insulin Resistance.   It’s the cells response to what’s basically an assault; they’re protecting themselves.  Insulin Resistance is a blanket term for a whole host of health issues that result when (1) our cells can’t absorb their needed nutrients, and (2) we have sustained, high, circulating levels of glucose and insulin.

Interestingly, the cells on the backs of our eyes, our kidney cells, and the cells of our extremities CAN’T say no.  That’s why in diabetics, they become so damaged.

Anyway, a Ketogenic Diet is a very high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet.  This has several positive effects, here’s a few:  (a) because blood sugar levels are low, there won’t be any further damage to cells from Glycation ( high blood sugar kind of “fries” a cell, like a grilled cheese sandwich – literally.) (b) because insulin is in low amounts, the Fat Burning Hormone GLUCAGON can be released from the pancreas ( Insulin and Glucagon are pretty much an “either/or” situation) and fat can be used for energy instead of just glucose  (c)  cells that have been assaulted by both the glucose and the insulin will start to reverse their
“get away from me” stance, and (1) nutrients will be allowed into the cells once again, and (2) blood levels of glucose and insulin will normalize.

What about your brain, will it starve if there’s not enough glucose?  Is ketosis dangerous? Or the whole exercise conundrum – who wants to bonk while we’re out on a run or lifting weights?

No, no, and won’t happen.  A ketogenic diet produces a substance called Ketones, and our cells LOOOVEEE ketones.  As a matter of fact, the heart and the brain work 25% MORE efficiently on ketones than on glucose, and ketones have NO bad side effects.  Our muscle cells THRIVE on ketones, and ketones have an ANTI-Inflammatory effect.  (They also have “anti-seizure” properties, which is why it’s a great diet for epileptics.) The anti-inflammatory effects helps counter the normal inflammation that occurs with exercise.

Go back to this sentence: “because insulin is in low amounts, the Fat Burning Hormone GLUCAGON can be released from the pancreas ( Insulin and Glucagon are pretty much an “either/or” situation) and fat can be used for energy instead of just glucose”.  

If we have Insulin Resistance, that means that the insulin levels in our blood is probably always high, despite what our blood sugar readings are.  That’s why blood sugar ISN’T always a good indication of your Insulin levels.  If you’re overweight and have belly fat and yet you don’t eat much and you exercise, that’s a good indication that you have Insulin Resistance.  Your body literally RESISTS burning body fat.  It’s actually more normal than not in todays world to have Insulin Resistance by middle age; for many today, even younger than middle age.   If you’re Insulin Resistant, you burn mostly Sugar.  A Ketogenic Diet can make you a Fat Burner.  ( Yep, you have to eat fat to burn fat. )

If this is the case, you need to reverse the Insulin Resistance by stopping the assault on your cells.  This happens when you lower your carbs, which causes less Insulin to be made and released by the pancreas.  You also need to WAY UP YOUR FAT intake, to heal cells ( all cell membranes are made of cholesterol and fatty acids), regulate your hormones, and stop the addictive voices in your brain.

Good fats, from butter, coconut oil, healthy meats, nuts/seeds, whole fat dairy, and good oils like MCT oil or olive oil, are incredibly nourishing, honestly, they’re loaded with nutrients that our body uses to heal, build, and repair.  Fats don’t make us fat; Sugar and Grains make us fat.  Wait, fats along with a ton of sugar and grains DO make us fat.  You can’t mix them, that’s a recipe for disaster.  Same with “bad” fats, like hydrogenated oils and too much inflammatory Omega 6s – disaster.

Wow, there’s more, but that’s enough info for today.  Let me leave you with a recipe that’s “ketogenic”, and DELICIOUS:brussels bacon  Brussels, Bacon, and Onions, cooked in plenty of Butter, sprinkled with Parm.

1) I melted 6 tablespoons of Kerrygold in the baking dish for 5 minutes, til liquid, and then added 1/4c of water

2) I chopped a giant bagful of brussels, then completely stirred/tossed them in the butter/water

3) I chopped 3 smallish red onions and mixed them in there too

4) added lots of Salt and Pepper, roasted at 400 for 30 minutes

5) on stove top, I cooked 6 slices of bacon that I cut with scissors first, til almost crisp

6) added them to the brussels, and continued baking for 5 more minutes, took out, topped with fresh grated parmesan.     Delicious!

Weight Loss Is About Your Metabolism; Metabolism Is About Your Hormones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInteresting week I’m having; it’s been heavy on female clients who are exercising hard and not losing weight, or barely eating and not losing weight, or both, and not losing weight.  This is always surprising to the people this happens too, because exercise and diet are supposed to create the calorie deficit that causes calories to be burned and weight loss to happen.  Exercise is supposed to make us calorie burning machines, right?  Barely eating should melt off our fat, right?  This works when we’re young, so what happens after 30, or 40, that brings the old calories in – calories out efforts to a screeching halt?

That’s easy.  Years of yo-yo diets, full of refined carbs and chemicals ( hello diet coke, lean cuisines, bagels, cereal, beer, and crackers), eventually cause metabolic damage, usually in the form of Insulin Resistance, and organs that become damaged/worn out ( the liver, the pancreas, etc); and our hormonal system shifts from one that’s full of Growth Hormone, sex hormones, and fat burning hormones like Glucagon, to a hormonal system full of Insulin and Cortisol.

Remember this famous line:  our body isn’t a math equation, it’s a chemistry set.  We need to manipulate our chemistry if we want to lose weight.

Quickly, because I have a big yoga workshop in a few hours, I’m going to cover the diet and exercise we need to do if we want the hormones that help us lose weight.

1) We need to lift, or resistance train; and we need to do cardio intervals that make us breathless.  This isn’t “new” information, at all.  Science has shown for years that to burn body fat during and after exercise, our muscle cells needed to be stressed out and broken down.  Then, during our rest periods, those cells rebuild and become a little bit bigger.  Bigger muscle cells use more calories – 24/7 – than small muscle cells.

Go for a “burn”,  which means a build up of lactic acid; recent science shows that lactic acid induces release of both HGH (human growth hormone) and Testosterone ( ladies – we DO want testosterone! ).  This primarily happens when we sleep.  Add “sleep” to your weight loss routine. 

Let me repeat:  To induce a hormonal atmosphere that increases the calories you burn in a day, you need to tear down your muscles cells during your workout, then rest so they can 1. rebuild bigger, and 2. stimulate the necessary hormones that create muscle growth as opposed to FAT DEPOSITION.

Aerobic exercise is Great-Awesome-Wonderful. There’s a million benefits to it.  It. Will. Not. Take. Off. Weight.  Too much cardio actually eats your muscle cells, which LOWERS your 24-7 calorie burn.  Cardio DOESN’T build muscle tissue, and cardio can make you STARVING.  Be careful with it.

2) Your Diet:  Once we get past a certain age, and have had years or decades of either crappy processed carbs, or “healthy whole grain” carbs, we’ve caused damage to our cells called Insulin Resistance.  You know you have this if you barely eat and either can’t lose weight or you’ve gained weight. This means you’re not burning the body fat you see in your belly, thighs, or butt.  That’s because the muscle cells, and the liver cells are saying “No” to the insulin, which is trying to reduce the glucose (sugar) in your blood stream. This causes the pancreas to keep pumping out more insulin.  When insulin is in the blood stream, FAT IS NEVER USED FOR ENERGY, only glucose is used for energy.   Insulin also causes major amounts of damage to our arteries.

Remember, there’s only a few things we do with all that extra glucose: (a) stuff it in some muscle cells – which doesn’t work if they’re insulin resistant  (b) stuff in a storage site in our liver – which doesn’t work if those cells are insulin resistant, or (c) turn the excess glucose into TRIGLYCERIDES, which is fat, and stuff it in the fat cells, which are NEVER insulin resistant.

When you’re Insulin Resistant, YOU CAN NOT BURN THE FAT YOU HAVE STORED IN YOUR BODY.   You only burn glucose/sugar.  Think that if you barely eat, the body would HAVE to burn fat?  Not if you’re Insulin Resistant!  In that case, your body will happily, and easily, turn muscle tissue into glucose, and use that.  Again, if insulin is in the blood stream, fat won’t be used for energy.  This, and reduced thyroid function, is what happens from years of calorie reduction.  Not a successful plan for weight loss.

What’s the answer to manipulating your diet to lose weight?  Cut the carbs, WAY UP THE FATS, moderate protein, a TON of vegetables, a little bit of fruit, a little bit of nuts and seeds, and a little bit of whole fat dairy if you tolerate that.

If you’ve got a lot of Insulin Resistance, you’ll need to go Ketogenic, and probably add a liver cleanse.  Don’t be scared!  The ketogenic diet is incredibly healthly,  and honestly not hard to live with.

Why a liver cleanse too?  Our liver SHOULD be our biggest calorie burning organ; it should burn more calories than our muscles!  It’s supposed to do hundreds of jobs a day.  If it’s clogged with toxins or damaged by insulin resistance, that calorie burning avenue is hampered, badly.  It’s also a road to really poor health when our liver can’t do the jobs it’s supposed to do.

So there you have it.  If you want to lose weight, but can’t, you need to lift, you need to cut the carbs, you need to focus on Real Whole Foods, and you might need a liver cleanse.  If you’re really Insulin Resistant, you’ll need to do a Ketogenic Diet.  It’s mid-June.  Think where you could be at Christmas time if you start now.  Honestly.  Think about that.  Email me if you want help with the  Ketogenic Diet, it’s a slam dunk for reversing Insulin Resistance, losing weight, and getting healthy.  

Have a great weekend!



Obesigens, Weight Gain, & Sex Hormones, and Sexual Urges! Oh My!

shipCruise Day 3 – WOW!!! The Low Carb Cruise Lectures Have Begun!
Oh My Gosh, did I learn a lot today at the seminars! I hope you’ll read each of these synopsis, because I guarantee you’ll see information that applies to you.

Have you ever heard of the site, www.liveto110.com? It’s run by Wendy Myers; she gave a great talk on Obesigens and how they make you gain weight. What are obesigens? They’re chemicals in our food, personal care products, cleaning supplies, water bottles, and more, that absorb into our body and mimic estrogen. Except they’re not really estrogen, so instead of the benefits of estrogen, we get the hazards of “pretend estrogen”: cancer, disease, hormone disorders, thyroid issues, and weight gain.
Two take aways: (a) Yes, organic products are more expensive, and homemade products take time and effort, but the regular stuff we buy in the store? It’s killing us. Start one by one replacing what you’re using with NON-TOXIC options. Just one product at a time, don’t stress, but it matters, it really does. (b) Detoxing these chemicals out of our body is IMPORTANT!!!

Next up was Dr. Eric Westermen, Internal Medicine Doc at Duke, and President of the American Bariatric Society. He’s a huge believer, researcher, and practitioner of the Low Carbohydrate, High Fat diet. He’s got the studies and experience to back it up; and we got to hear some of them. What he mostly talked about though, was that, “Research Is Politics”, his quote; and getting funding for anything that’s going to upset the Big Food, Big Business, Big Pharma Apple Cart is almost IMPOSSIBLE. ( my term for that is “Big Phuvernment) In other words, the funding necessary to do expensive studies testing Food as Medicine, is incredibly difficult to attain.   (not a lot of profit there for anyone)

Then we heard from “Reproductive Endocrinologist”, Dr. Michael Fox. He explained himself: he did an OB/Gyn residency, then followed it up with a fellowship that resulted in him now working in Reproductive Endocrinology, or, sex hormone problems. FASCINATING!! For all my clients who are struggling with infertility, PMS, menopause difficulties, low sperm counts, ED, PCOS, etc, listen up! He says after decades of work with men, women, and hormones, he finally realized that there was a link between all of it: the male and female infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, PMS, lack of libido, gestational diabetes, menopause symptoms, and pre-clampsia: Insulin Resistance! Why does anyone get Insulin Resistance? From TOO MUCH INSULIN, which gets released in response to CARBS. He takes all his patients off carbs and puts them (even the pregnant ones) on a ketogenic diet. He said the pregnancy/birth rates in his clinic have skyrocketed to 90% success!!
More gems from Dr. Fox: He thinks Aerobic exercise is HORRIBLE for humans, both male and female, because it screws up their hormones so badly. He says that STRESS must be controlled, because CORTISOL has BAADD effects on INSULIN, which has bad effects on sex hormones.

He thinks VEGETARIAN DIETS are worse than AEROBIC exercise!

He says physicians today are taught “Cookbook Medicine” and practice “party-line protocols” that have nothing to do with solving the root of the problem.
Oh, one more gem from Dr. Fox: for patients who have difficult pregnancies with hypertension or gestational diabetes, he said that they’re looking at themselves in 10 to 15 years if they don’t get off the Insulin/Carb train. This guy had a lot of energy and passion – I loved him!

We ended the day with two Evolutionary Biology Professors from Austin College in Texas; these two were a hoot! And just as passionate as everyone else. They threw several interesting facts at us ( don’t miss the Sexual Urges – Vegetarian connections), let me bullet-point:
*Starvation Diet Studies conducted after WW2 had participants reducing their intake to 1570 cal/day. It worked – they starved, you should see the pictures! Odd that TODAY, 1570 calories is NORMAL for a lot of people, but they GAIN weight, instead of lose weight. What’s happened?
*At 1570 cal/day, people in the study lost their libido, their thyroid function, their mental focus, and they became weak and lethargic. Hmmmm. Sound familiar?
*Japanese Samurai ( the warriors) ate diets of meat and fat; the peasants were fed a diet of rice.
*Monks have always used a Vegetarian Diet, with SOY, to suppress sexual urges.
*Reverend Graham, who came up with the Graham Cracker, was an Avid ANTI-SEX crusader. He preached a Vegetarian Diet to suppress sexual urges.
*Dr. Kellogg (yes, the Cereal Kellogg) was another Anti-Sex crusader ( and sadistic in his experiments on suppressing sexual urges – google them), he also promoted a Vegetarian Diet to suppress sexual urges.
*We looked at ingredients lists of several dog food brands, and saw over and over pure crap: sugar, grains, artificial colors and flavors, and chemicals. No wonder our pets are fat and sick.
*We talked about the Defense Mechanisms of Plants, which illustrated that the High Carbohydrate/High Insulin value of grains isn’t the only problem with them.
*Grains contains “anti-nutrients”, actually, all plants do, it’s their defense against being eaten.
*The result? Grains, make us sick, fat, affect our brain, ruin our gut ( leaky gut and nutrient deficiencies), and pretend to be estrogen. (soy, flax seed oil)

What a great day!
Oh, food and workouts!
-30 minutes shoulder and chest (the lectures started at 8:45am and went to 4:15, so not a lot of time for working out)
-whey, greens, and flax seed, 2 big carrots
-detox pack
-lunch: fish, turkey burger, on watercress and vegetables, lots of olive oil and balsamic
-detox pack
-dinner: seafood ceviche, spinach salad, roasted chicken, broccoli, bite of chocolate bar
-detox pack
& 7pm show “the Platters”, 10 pm bed. Sounds early – but we’re rarely tired – that good, right?
We’re getting off the ship and exploring St. Thomas today; I think our phones are supposed to work there, so I’ll take pics and put them on Facebook!