How is the Ketogenic Diet Going to Heal Your Body?

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Welcome to part 2 of my three part series on the most talked about new trend in nutrition and healthy eating, the Ketogenic Diet. In part one of the series we discussed what the Keto diet actually is. In part 2 we discuss why is it going to heal your body.

Here we go…

The amount of nutrients you receive from eating a low carb-high fat-moderate protein diet comprised of real, whole, unprocessed foods is possibly greater than any other lifestyle or diet plan. Making this lifestyle change will give you incredible benefits. As I described in Part 1, the reason why I switched my diet was to reduce the inflammation in my body to counter the effects of the vertigo-like dizziness that plagued me at night caused by Micro-vascular Compression Syndrome. That change had many added benefits that I wasn’t expecting.

These are a few of the other benefits I have personally experienced:

  • no more 3 oclock-itis or afternoon fatigue.
  • reduce hunger cravings and no cravings for sugar
  • reduced inflammation in joints- especially my lower back
  • fat loss
  • better sleep

The Keto diet started out as a way to prevent epileptic seizures and there are tons of scientific studies and research to say that it can help with most “catastrophic neurodegenerative conditions” including autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, narcolepsy, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and stroke. Additionally, evidence is beginning to mount up about type 2 diabetes, cardio vascular diseases, PCOS, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn and leaky gut.

Jimmy Moore suggests that the Keto Diet is “indeed the real deal and worth giving a second look as a means for optimizing your overall health” and that is what living primally is all about.

But most importantly, the Keto diet helps you control two key aspects of life, blood glucose and inflammation. Blood glucose or blood sugar is one of the most important biomarkers there is. Type 2 diabetes develops from years upon years of uncontrolled high blood sugar levels, from, you guessed, it too much sugar and carbohydrate consumption. The reason this happens is the pancreas releases insulin to push the glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells for energy. However, over time eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates puts strain on the pancreas to keep up with the demands for insulin. This right here is the start of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as the mechanism for dealing with insulin or dealing with excess carbs and blood glucose, is broken due to years of misuse. Wouldn’t you think that the Ketogenic Diet is perfect solution for fixing this problem? Using fat as fuel rather than carbohydrates. People with insulin resistance are at a greater risk of heart disease, fatty liver disease, infertility, hormone disruption and more!

The second marker is inflammation. Inflammation is caused by poor nutrition, stress, lack of sleep, poor lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking alcohol) and, like high blood glucose, it too slowly over time causes damage to your body. Inflammation is believed to be a greater risk for heart disease and other health issues that cholesterol and saturated fats. Some inflammation is good like helping you fight off bacteria, illnesses or toxins as well as acute inflammation like when you twist you ankle and its swells up-these are all part of the natural healing process. When left unchecked, however, inflammation can be a problem. The two biggest foods that raise inflammation in the body- carbohydrates and vegetable oils! Just about any processed food contains the big three of bad- grains, refined sugars and some type of processed industrial oil. Check out this you tube link of how so called healthy vegetable oils are made. A real foods, ketogenic diet removes these highly inflammatory and insulin spiking foods.

Lastly one of the biggest reasons for a Keto diet is weight loss as you are not locked into a carbohydrate fat storage cycle, as I have described in several blog posts, Why We Should Avoid Grains and Why Sugars are Bad, you are free to be fat adapted and use the abundance of fats stores on your body. Being fat adapted means you always have energy stores that are a cleaner burning, healthier and more efficient metabolic tool for health.

In the next blog post I will discuss why Keto and Living Primal go hand in hand…

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The Ketogenic Diet

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Welcome to my three part series on one of the most talked about diets in fitness, nutrition and healthy living; the Ketogenic Diet…

One of the biggest “trends” in nutrition at the moment is the ketogenic diet or as you may have heard to referred, Keto. I say trends in inverted commas because this is one diet that I believe should be here to stay.

The term ketogenic comes from the term ketones, which are the molecules that fuel your body when you are in ketosis, or when you are eating following a low carb high fat protocol. Ketones are a by-product of when your body burns fat and they are what your cells use for energy.

There are numerous peer reviewed research papers that suggest the ketogenic diet fixes a number of metabolic syndrome conditions like poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes as well as weight issues and there is even evidence it helps autism, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and a host of other neurodegenerative disorders

The reason why I like it is for weight loss, lifestyle and long term control of weight.

There is currently a ketogenic diet revolution underway and its only going to gain strength. I believe it should be the way of the future for helping the obesity epidemic currently facing the world.

 For decades we have been told that the healthy diet is smaller portions, fewer calories, lower our fat intake, eat whole grains and limit meat consumption. There is a disturbing lack of evidence that this is true, in fact it could be the opposite.

But what is the Ketogenic diet?

At the most basic level the keto diet is one that relies on fat as the main source of energy. That may not sound like a big deal but most people are burning glucose or sugar for fuel and consuming large amounts of carbohydrates, sometimes as often as 300-500g per day, to meet those needs.

Burning fat as a fuel source is a much healthier and more efficient metabolic tool for improving health. Dr Steve Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek, experts in the field of exercise and low carb high fat (LCHF) eating, note that sugar burners have approximately 2000 calories of available in their body whereas fat burners have about 40,000 calories worth of fuel.

To get your body to prefer fat as its fuel source it requires you to restrict carbohydrates (to somewhere below 50 grams per day), eat moderate amounts of protein and eat as much fat as it takes to feel satiated or full. It take a few weeks to become fat adapted, possibly up to about two months according to Jimmy Moore, podcaster for livin’ the vida low carb and author of several excellent books on keto and keto cooking. To me it makes sense that if you want to burn fat, you need to feed your body fat and become fat adapted. Calorie counting and exercise do not work for long term weight loss. The keto diet, where you are changing you bodies fuel pathway sources to prefer fat over carbohydrates, means you will burn fat as your primary energy source and therefore, lose weight and keep it off.

Part 2 in the series looks at how the ketogenic will heal your body…

My Clean Green Protein Shake

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One of the health changes I wanted to implement at the start of this year was to do 7 days of intermittent fasting (IF) per month. Research suggests our hunter gather ancestors would’ve been forced to do IF due to the unpredictable nature of food availability. I used a compressed eating window, fasting for 20 hours of the day between 6pm and 2pm, for 7 days of the first week of each month. Initially it was tough, but after the first few months, it become quite easy. I am still doing the compressed eating window for the first week of the month but I am now IF most days, eating “breakfast” only when hunger ensured naturally.

One of the main things I used to break my fast was the Clean Green Protein Shake. I usually workout in a fasted state in the morning and discovered this shake as an experiment. I wanted something that had some protein, some good fats and a little carb to restore muscle glycogen stores.

I would have this shake about mid morning, an hour or so after exercise. The reason I like to wait at least an hour is because exercise causes the body to release adaptive hormones, Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone. Eating causing our bodies to release among other hormones, cortisol-which is testosterones counter hormone. Releasing cortisol flushes the adaptive hormones that are working in our body to grow, repair and strengthen muscles. So eating directly after a workout flushes the hormones that are working to make our bodies stronger and more adaptive to the stresses we are putting it under during exercise. Waiting that little bit of extra time to eat allows the adaptive hormones to stay in the body longer and do their job, makes a better, stronger and more adaptive to the workout we have just completed!

This experimental Shake turned out to be tasty, clean and green and had all the right things for a post fasted state workout.

Here is my recipe:

1 tray of Ice-blitzed in the Theromix (or any blender).

100ml of Cream

100ml of Cold Water

1 Frozen Banana

1 tbs of Vital Greens- Just Greens Powder

1 Scoop of Thriving Raw Vegan Protein Powder

1 tbs of Chia Seeds

1 scoop of Boomers Creatine Powder

2 tbs of Cacao Powder.

 

I mix the ice so it is completely crushed then throw in all the other ingredients and mix them for 30-45 seconds on the highest speed. Of course you can throw in whatever green powder or protein powder you like!

Enjoy!

 

Why We Should Reduce Our Sugar Intake

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Our bodies require glucose. It requires glucose as an energy source for muscles, brain function and as energy for red blood cells. The Carbohydrates we consume from food gets converted to glucose in the liver. The other way we can make glucose is via gluconeogenesis or the breakdown of amino acids or protein.

Humans can make their own glucose, we don’t actually need to consume sugar and carbohydrates.

Many researchers believe that sugar is the main cause the of the major obesity epidemic that is facing the world today. Excessive amounts of sugar intake have been linked to autoimmune diseases, cancer, physiological changes and neurodegenerative disorders.

Consuming carbohydrates promotes a cycle of dependency. Any ingested carbs are burnt for immediate energy and the excess are sent to storage. They are transported to the liver to be converted to the storage form of glucose called glycogen. Glycogen is then stored in the liver and muscles as reserves. If the muscle and liver site storage areas become full the excess is then stored in the fat cells. This causes the pancreas to release insulin, a master hormone, to try to regulate our blood glucose levels back to normal. This triggers a decline in energy, which in turn activates the hormone ghrelin to tell the brain, hey we have no energy down here, we need more food. This then activates our craving for sugar and carbs for that immediate energy. This cycle happens over a few hours, so our hunger is activated by our craving or need for carbs. If we can tap into or rely on our huge fat stores, we eliminate this craving, this hunger and need for carbohydrates to fuel our energy.

The other problem this has is that the spike in insulin triggers a fight of flight response, in that the body thinks there is no glucose available. This can trigger gluconeogenesis (turning amino acids or proteins into glucose).

Reliance on sugar can cause hyperinsulinemia or chronically high elevated blood glucose. This causes a stress on the body and elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to a large number of illnesses. It can also cause damage to organs by the production of Reactive Oxygen Species, which are free radicals in the body containing oxygen, caused by glycation or the binding of excess glucose molecules to protein.

Here are a few points about sugars:

  • Simple sugars include glucose (dextrose), fructose and galactose (milk sugar), sucrose (aka- table sugar), maltose and lactose.
  • High fructose corn syrup is synthesized from regular corn syrup (glucose). By converting glucose to fructose through an acid enzyme process, the resulting high fructose corn syrup is an inexpensive and very sweet food additive that has made it into almost every kind of processed food.
  • Glucose and fructose are metabolized quite differently in the body, glucose through insulin and fructose in the liver.
  • Fructose is, in fact, considered “low glycemic” because it has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels, however, it has also been linked to metabolic disorders and increased obesity rates
  • Sugary soft drinks and fruit juice should be avoided at all cost

 

Why Grains Are Bad

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There several reasons grains are bad…

Reason 1: It perpetuates a reliance on Carbohydrate for Energy.

 All forms of ingested carbohydrates convert to glucose and spike insulin production.

 Insulin is a mater hormone and released from the pancreas. It facilitates metabolic and hormone functions by transporting nutrients through the blood to cells and organs.

 Grains are a cheap, quick and easy source of glucose but the constant consumption of grains and carbohydrates cause what I like to call a “carb cycle”. Grains, once ingested are quickly converted to glucose. Those carbs not used for immediate energy are stored in the liver or the muscles as glycogen. Once glucose stores in the liver and muscles are full the excess is sent to fat storage. This, in turn increase cortisol (the hormone responsible for the fight or flight response), which taxes the adrenal and immune systems, pancreas and promotes systemic inflammation.

 In a short space of time, the body has ingested energy in the form of carbohydrates, used what it needed for immediate energy, stored the excess in the liver, muscles and fat and now believes it has no energy again. This sends a signal to the brain via a hormone called ghrelin to say we are hungry again. So we eat more carbs and the cycle continues every few hours.

 The human body has used fat as its primary source of energy for thousands, maybe millions of years of evolution. If we can train our body to rely on fat as a fuel source again, we will never be hungry, due to the millions of calories of energy stored in fat on our body. If we can eliminate grains as a source of immediate energy and shift our body to prefer fat as our energy source, we will have less inflammation, better immune function and less gastrointestinal issues.

The amount of insulin you produce influences if you store or burn fat, if we can reduce the spike of insulin, we can control our hunger and fat storage.

An increase in insulin results in accelerated cell division, which is said to increase ageing and the deregulation of healthy cell division, which is linked to an increase in cancer risk and perpetuates the “carb cycle”.

Reason 2: Anti-Nutrients!

 Anti-nutrients are agents present in grains that compromise health.

Lectins: are a natural phytochemical toxin that plants manufacture to defend against UV radiation, predators and microorganisms and are found in higher concentrations in the seeds of plants.

They have a toxic effect when ingested, decrease immune function and gut barriers (causing leaky gut syndrome) and increase inflammation.

They also bind with insulin receptors and deregulate both fat storage and appetite meaning they spike insulin and increase fat storage.

Lectins contain prolamin and agglutinins, which clump red blood cells together. This damages the microvilli or the brush borders of your small intestine, causing undigested particles of food (effectively poop) to leak through the lining of the SI out into your body causing irritability and inflammation.

 

Gluten: is a prolamin form of lectin. It triggers a mild to severe inflammation in the body. It compromises digestion and immune function.

Oats, (avenin) Rice (orzenin) and corn (zein), all contain lectins that contribute to leaky gut.

 

Phytates: are undigestable compounds found in whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. They bind to important minerals and make it difficult for those minerals to be absorbed. They do contain some anti oxidants and can be helpful in small amounts.

Saponins: are anti nutrients found in legumes. They are a chemical defense for plants. They permeate the gut cell membrane, causing leaky gut. Soy is especially high in these type of lectins which also contain phyto estrogens which disrupt sex hormones in males and females.

Overall, there is no real reason for us to consume grains. They contribute to elevated levels of insulin and blood glucose, two factors which have been heavily linked to issues with our immune system, metabolic syndromes such as diabetes, inflammation, ageing and increased free radicals. They also contain anti nutrients and plant phytochemicals which are responsible for damaging the tight junctions in our stomach and small intestine lining.