Hunza Water

Since the start of this year I have been following the Ketogenic Diet. I have been fairly strict for the most part, loosening up a little and increasing my carb intake after high glycolytic workouts, or workouts that have been of an intense nature like HITT that push me about my theoretical aerobic heart rate of 180 minus my age. Any activity that puts you above this heart rate zone is said to dip into your glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. Being “keto adapted” and having predominately fat as your food and fuel sources means that you do not have much carbohydrate/glucose floating around in your system for quick energy. This also means when you exercise at a high intensity like a sprint workout you are tapping into your bodies stored source of carbohydrates or glycogen in your liver and muscles. As we can only store about 150-400 grams of this sometimes I can tap out my stores. I know when I have done this as the next day I am a bit lethargic and lacking energy.

Anyway, for the most part of this year I have been ketogenic. I had been testing my blood glucose as well as my blood ketone readings for several weeks to see how I was tracking. This was taking up 10-15 minutes of my day, so in the end I thought, I feel great, this is a bit of a waste of time. Do  really need a monitor to tell me I am “in ketosis” or do I just need to worry about how it makes me feel? I thought testing was a good idea, but definitely didn’t need to do it just to find out whether I was producing ketones. I thought, I am an following a primal lifestyle and my hunter gather ancestors would not have had ketones monitors, they are just eating for survival. So I cut out doing that and focused on eating good, healthy unprocessed foods-predominately fats with moderate protein intake and very low carbs. And, as I said I was feeling great.

The only problem I did have was after bending down to pick something up I always stood up and felt light headed and dizzy. A very strange feeling that went away soon after I was standing again. However, after completing Robb Wolf’s Keto Masterclass, I did some “fault-finding” and found I was probably lacking electrolytes, these two symptoms being an indicator that I was not getting enough sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. I looked at supplements and electrolyte drinks (not Gatorade or any sugary based sports drinks) but all where too sugary or with too many carbs. After hearing about Hunza Water on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast, I thought I would investigate.

What is Hunza Water I hear you ask? Hunza Water is a process of adding Himalayan Salt Chunks to water to increase its mineral content. There is a theory behind the process.

Hunza water is named after the Hunza Valley region in Pakistan and is regarded as one of the blue zones of the earth, a place where the longevity of people in the area is vastly superior to other areas on Earth. Dr Henri Coanda studied the Hunza area and its water for decades. He believed that the longevity of their lives came from the fact that the people in the area drank glacial water. He found that drinking water from the glacial streams of the Himalaya Mountains is perhaps the closest we can get to drinking from the Fountain of Youth. The technical source of Hunza water is water that comes from melted glaciers.

  • It contains negatively-charged hydrogen ions. This is important because hydrogen is one of the most powerful antioxidants. This helps to neutralise free radicals in the body. In addition to living in a society with little to no pollution or environmental toxins, it’s no wonder these people are living 120 years!
  • Mineral colloids efficiently deliver nutrition. Basically, a specific “activator” reduces the size of the nutritional elements of Hunza water. However, it doesn’t compromise the actual nutrition – it just makes it more compact, thus easier for the body’s cells to receive.
  • Lower surface tension. In essence, this means that Hunza water more closely resembles the water found around the cells in our body. This is getting a bit complicated, right? Here’s why that matters…
  • Increased “net charge.” Basically, fluids are able to move between cells, flush out toxins and absorb more water into the cells.
  • High alkaline pH. This can naturally help the body to neutralise acids and regulate pH levels which has been linked to reducing the risk of cancer and – you guessed it – a longer life!

You don’t have to go to Pakistan and the Himalayas to get a taste of this water. Coanda was pretty dedicated to getting down to the bottom of the ins-and-outs of Hunza water, so naturally, he figured out how to recreate it without having to drink water from the glaciers themselves.

So I created my own Hunza Water following his recipe and fixed my electrolyte imbalance with this simple trick!

What you’ll need

  • Large, clear glass jar or vessel with a lid
  • A clear mason jar that can be sealed with a non-metal lid
  • Chunks of Himalayan pink salt
  • Sunlight
  • High quality, filtered drinking water
  • A non-metal teaspoon

Instructions:

  1. Sterilise the large glass container, then fill it with filtered drinking water.
  2. Cover the container, and set it out in the for 24 hours to increase the “chi” or life force of the water. This step replicates the natural sunlight water would be exposed to whilst melting down the glaciers in the Hunza Valley. Make sure the vessel is grounded (touching natural earth-this helps to give it charge and negtive ions).
  3. Using large, rock-sized Himalayan salt crystals, place as many as you can in a mason jar. Remember, don’t cover your jar with a metal lid as it can react with the salt; choose a wooden or plastic lid instead.
  4. Fill the jar with your sun water, pouring it over the salt crystals. Refill the “sun water” and set it back in the window. You will have your “salt water” and your “sun water.”
  5. Let the crystals sit in the water for another 24 hour period. This will allow the water to become saturated.
  6. When “infused,” this water is called sole; you’ll remove about a teaspoon of sole a day, and continue to top the jar with more water as long as you can still see the salt crystals. Make sure to use a non-metal teaspoon to remove sole. Add a teaspoon to a full glass of sun water.
  7. Drink on an empty stomach in the morning and wait approximately 30 minutes prior to consuming any other food or beverage.
  8. Once the salt crystals in your sole are gone, you can start over the process.

And enjoy long life!

Live Primal and Minimalism

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Living primally and minimalism fit well together. Once you have begun to live a more primal lifestyle you will understand that is simplifies your life, gives you focus and “declutters” your health, nutrition, exercise, movement and lifestyle.

Live Primal is about making things easier; simplifying your eating, exercise, and lifestyle to reflect the ancestral patterns of our hunter gatherer past. You can’t get much more minimalist than that.

Primal living is a simple approach to eating, training, moving and living. It is minimalism for life. It helps to cut away the excess, the unwanted and the unneeded to make things easier and add more value to your life. By reducing grains, sugars and industrial oils you are making it is an easier way to eat and adds value to your life by increasing your health, decreasing inflammation and making you feel better. Simplified eating is eating real, unprocessed, whole foods and ultimately eating nothing that comes wrapped in plastic. This in itself helps declutter with no packaging!

It is a simplified, minimalist way for exercising. There are three pillars of exercising to the Live Primal ethos:

  1. Sprint once in a while– do a hard 5-7 all out sprints workout every 7-10 days. This replicates being chased by a predator and helps shaped our evolution as it made us quick and most of all lean. Nothing cuts you up like sprinting.
  2. Lift Heavy Things- Lifting heavy things increases strength and muscle mass. Our ancestors would have moved rocks and logs around daily for shelter and protector.
  3. Perform long slow endurance- if our ancestors weren’t being chased by lions or lifting log around to build shelter they would’ve been performing long, slow endurance to hunt, catch food and to move locations during different seasons.

Getting out in nature, getting out in sunlight, enjoying play, going barefoot are all primal lifestyle approaches that are mnimalist and add value to your life.

PLAY:

Aim to get out and just “play”, no structured workouts, gadgets and unwind from your daily grind. What ever this may be, enjoy yourself, live in the moment and have fun. It may be spontaneous decision to go kayaking or paddle boarding or a trip to the beach.  For us adults the idea of play has been forgotten, we are told you are too old for that, or you need to buckle down and focus on work. However, in this day and age unwinding from the stress of the day is vital to our health.

Play necessitates mental modeling, critical thinking, and creative innovation. It helps decrease stress and contribute to overall physical and mental health.

Rediscover Nature: spend time in nature and you will find our involuntary awareness takes over, senses are highlighted, sounds quieter, eyesight is more expansive and sense of smell more acute. Being in nature reverses the effect of “Direct Attention Fatigue (DAF)” or always being on the go! Attention Restorative Theory is the counter to DAF and it is believed that regular frequent exposure to tranquil, natural settings help to increase the amount of Natural Killer Cells or NK cells. These are lymphocytes that fight off infection.

Negative Ions, tiny highly reactive molecules that energize the body, are found in nature where the water, wind and sun split molecules in the air. These molecules are vital for reducing pollution and helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Nature, especially where there is water, have copious amounts of negative ions, where as our homes, cities and workplaces have large numbers of positive ions and almost no negative ions.

So get out in nature, hike, kayak, go play to get the enormous benefits of stress relief, decreased inflammation and increase in feel good hormones.

Earthing: is the belief that the Schumann Resonance or the earth’s natural vibration holds many health benefits. Earthing entails making direct contact with the earth, not pavement but natural earth like grass, dirt, soil and sand. It is believed that the natural vibrations help with moderating the circadian rhythm (so a better nights sleep) and moderating the stress hormone cortisol. So this week try going barefoot as much as possible and get out into nature with direct skin contact with the earth! See next weeks post about the earthing qualities of “Glacial Water”.

These easy simple overarching ways to exercise are simple, you don’t need a gym or any fancy equipment and they add value to your health, adds years to your life and you can enjoy it more as you feel better, move well without injury and are more resilient.

Living primal is a simple approach to nutrition, exercise and movement that declutters the excess and adds value to your life-the definition of minimalism.

 

5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

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What can we do to avoid gaining holiday weight? Heed these 5 tips…

  1. Don’t over indulge– makes a lot of sense, right? Studies have shown that overeating on several days throughout the holiday season is unlikely to makes us fat, however, overeating and over indulging more than a couple of days throughout the season and continuing to eat that way well after the holidays might help us put on some pounds!
  2. Avoid Alcohol… tough to do but, as stated in my previous blog post about gaining weight over the holidays, the body sees alcohol as a toxin and acts swiftly to remove it from the body, which preferentilizes the burning of alcohol as energy of carbs, fats and protein. If you are going to drink, at let’s face it most of us are, try eating a protein source first as it has an appetite suppressing effect or avoid drinking alcohol when eating food. The old “eating is cheating” adage is right!
  3. Go for a walk straight after a meal: this study found that “There is a belief that walking just after a meal causes fatigue, stomach ache, and other types of discomfort. However, the author and one volunteer participant had no such negative reactions, and found that walking just after a meal was more effective for weight loss than waiting one hour after eating before walking. For people who do not experience abdominal pain, fatigue, or other discomfort when walking just after a meal, walking at a brisk speed for 30 minutes as soon as possible just after lunch and dinner leads to more weight loss than does walking for 30 minutes beginning one hour after a meal has been consumed.”
  4. Walking whilst fasting helps to improve biomarkers for cardio vascular disease. Try going for a walk in a fasted state. For several days during the holidays try skipping breakfast and try walking in the morning instead of eating breakfast. This will help to increase the effect of adaptive hormones and increase the rate of fat burning. It will also reduce the total caloric intake for the day, which helps to counter act the over eating from days previous (possibly a good one to do following Christmas or Boxing Day).
  5. Fill your plate with Protein (meat) rather than carbohydrates- excess carbohydrates are easily sent to storage. Protein can support fat loss, notably by suppressing appetite and boosting thermogenesis.

Getting out and being festive is what the Christmas season is all about. Seeing family and enjoying the company of others makes for a great time of year. It can, for some people, be a time of over eating and over indulging on alcohol. However, if you follow the advice of everything in moderation, then you should be fine. Top that off with avoiding combining eating and drinking alcohol at the same time, going for a walk after a meal, filling up with protein and fasting you should avoid gaining excess pounds.

Does Christmas Really Make you Fat?

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Do we gain kilos of fat after two day binges over the holiday period?

The answer is probably not! You’re likely to have an effect on your stomach microbiota, but not on fat stores.

How is this possible? Let me explain…

Studies have shown that over the holiday period the average weight gain is only 500 grams. Not a lot of weight, but it could be a problem if you continued to eat in the same way all year round.

Having said that, a small amount of binging over the Christmas period my only result in a small weight gain if your binges are only on a couple of days a few days apart. Continued over eating results in weight gain.

There are a limited amount of stored calories our bodies can handle. If we consume more than we can handle, some will be burned off as heat through thermogenesis and some will end up in the toilet.

And then there’s water. Blood volume, and total body water in general, can vary quite a bit with exercise, medications, salt intake, and carb intake. I have talked about the Carb Cycle in not one but two previous blog posts but to recap… ingesting any carbs forces the body to use some for immediate energy and the rest is sent to storage. To store the carbs you ingest in your liver or muscles (an adult weighting 70 kg can store around 100 g of glycogen in the liver and 400 g in the muscles), your body must transform them into glycogen, then attach the glycogen molecules to water molecules: 3–4 grams of water per gram of glycogen. So if you eat enough carbs to top out your glycogen stores, you’ll be carrying an extra 1.5–2 kilograms in water weight. “Incidentally, that’s why “detox diets” appear to be so effective: they make you lose a lot of (water) weight in a short amount of time. So this could also account for small amounts of weight gain, water molecules attaching to the glycogen molecule after a meal high in carbohydrates.”

According to examine.com…

 The holiday period “means eating a lot … and gaining a lot of weight; but little of that weight is fat. Most of it is water and soon-to-be-poop. Overeating for a day, even by one or two thousand extra calories, won’t cause much fat gain. (Not to mention that many overeaters won’t eat as much as usual the next day.)”

Obviously what you eat matters, but the biggest contributor to weight gain over the holiday period is alcohol consumption. When we consume alcohol the body identifies this as a toxin and acts to convert it to energy to help remove the toxin from the body. What this also does is it give preferential treatment to the alcohol as the energy source as it needs to get it out of the body as soon as possible. This preferential treatment puts the burning of fat, protein and carbohydrates as the fuel source on the back burner (so to speak) and aims to get rid of the toxic alcohol. Protein can support fat loss, notably by suppressing appetite and boosting thermogenesis. As for fat, it doesn’t have any benefits with regard to fat storage, but it still beats alcohol with regard to fat gain, not because your body will store alcohol as fat, but because your body readily burns alcohol for energy (to avoid toxicity), thus dampening the oxidation of fat and other fuel sources. Not only that, but alcohol can increase your appetite in the short term.

Examine.com again…

“Overfeeding on protein (e.g., turkey) will cause less fat storage than overfeeding on alcohol (e.g., wine) or fat (as is plentiful in delicious pumpkin pies, not in the low-fat abominations). If you’re prone to overeating on Thanksgiving, it may be wise to load up on a bunch of turkey first, to help with appetite suppression.”

In Summary…

Significant body fat is gained in weeks or months, not in hours or even in days. On the other hand, water weight can vary rapidly with salt and carbohydrate intake, exercise, and other factors. Eating a typical Christmas meal can easily increase your body fluids, tricking you into thinking you’ve gained lots of fat. Even over the holiday season, however, not everyone gains fat, and feeling like you’ve gained weight doesn’t always mean you have.

 

Primal and the Ketogenic Diet

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Welcome to Part 3 of my 3 part series on the ketogenic diet, you can find part 1 and part 2 here…

Why the Ketogenic Diet and Primal Go hand in Hand…

You have probably heard of Paleo more so than Primal as it has been a trending topic for several years now. You may have heard it called the Caveman diet or ancestral diet. Eating Paleo is a lot like eating Primal (I have a post on the small differences here) but simply put primal and paleo eating is about choosing real, whole foods the our hunter gather ancestors would recognise as food. We don’t even have to go back that far, stuff our grand parents would recognise as good wholesome foods, nothing processed with high amounts of sugars, refined grains and industrial vegetable oils. Things like meat from cows who eat grass on a farm, organic eggs from chicken allowed to roam, graze and forage, natural fats like butter, lard and ghee. We have become far removed from this way of eating. It is possible to ketogenic without being primal/paleo and you can follow primal/paleo without being ketogenic, but marrying keto with primal is like a “match made in Heaven” for your overall health.

The ketogenic diet is an excellent way to keep you carbs down and your insulin in check. Following basic keto/primal/paleo principles fits how our bodies are designed to work. For our Primal ancestors, they ate all parts of the animals they hunted along with fish, fowl, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and one of the biggest sources of energy was from the animal fats they consumed. When food was scarce or they caught a big animal and ate a lot of animal fat, the thing that sustained their energy needs was ketones! Hunter gathers, due to their high consumption of animal meats and often long periods of fasting would have constantly been in a state of ketosis.

A state of nutritional ketosis occurs by increasing good fats, eating moderate protein and reducing carbohydrates. Backing this with a Primal philosophy for eating real, wholesome, nourishing foods will give your body overall health benefits that have been well documented on this blog as well as others including mental clarity, sharper focus and more vitality.