Avocado Keto Mummy

2020 – A new decade. It really is time for good choices.

NEW YEAR…NEW GOALS…NEW PLAN…Routines have returned…I’ve got back into the driving seat of life. 

Apps are running and monitoring – my pedometer, my food diary, my calorie counter all updating and helping me to monitor and keep accountable of what I am eating and the exercise and movement I am doing. I’ve got a bucket load of enthusiasm to succeed:  long may it continue!

Having tried to start Keto again, even last time I wrote…I said I was back on it.  Well, it just didn’t happen:  I tried Keto for literally one day.  My brain and heart said ‘no’. 

I listened.

FOOD COMBINING PLAN

I have now switched to a wonderful diet plan of food combining alongside calorie counting.  The change is so worth it.  I feel so happy I can eat from all food groups as long as I don’t combine them together at one meal and as long as I leave three to four hours between each meal. 

It works.

WHAT CAN YOU EAT?

CHART ADAPTATION FROM DETOXINISTA.COM

I have set myself 1200-1400 calories per day.  So obviously, I would be losing weight regardless of my food combining. But, the food combining gives me more.  If done properly, it takes away the bloating and helps me to control myself.  Sugary foods are still off limits, but natural sugars and the odd quality natural flavoured ice cream or paleo cake or keto dessert is fine. 

I have the opportunity to keep intermittent fasting with this new plan – if I want.  If I don’t want…then that is fine too.

I started this on 1st January at 12 stone 12 lb (81.64 kilograms).  

Today, 10 days later my weight is 12 stone 8 lb (79.83 kg)…I feel so happy that my weight loss has started again. 

The Keto diet does work and if that plan appeals to you – do give it a try. It does have to be understood well, to be done correctly and it does have to be kept up daily, otherwise you are not going to be in ketosis. Maybe in the future i’ll return…for now, my weight loss journey continues and I am proud of myself for continuing to try.

Time to start again

So, it has been a long while…as you guessed, I broke my diet.  Feeling a bit of a failure, of course, I went quiet…It’s challenging to realise for the most part, that my heart has not been into losing weight.  I’m not driven by vanity, but I really should be driven by heart health alone.  At my current weight; which today, stands at 13 stone 1 lb (83.18 kg), my BMI is 32.  The UK NHS website tells me I am obese.

I conclude I have had a good time tucking into Christmas cake, Prosecco wine, chocolates, cheese and crackers, nuts, Malibu rum, Sherry and fizzy drinks. Thrown in with turkey, Brussel sprouts and chocolate gateaux…gluten, carb and sugar overload for the most part of two weeks in the throes of the Christmas festivities. I sit here today with a bloated stomach and water retention in my fingers, wrists and ankles. Yet another wake up call to return to the diet. I had said – I’ll start again in the New Year…well already that’s just too far away! Today is the day – carpe diem!

It’s funny when a person starts a diet – it’s quite telling of their personality. 

There are the dieters who go all out, obsessively monitoring what they eat and they succeed very quickly.  They motivate others; they have a nature that goes all out to succeed. They spend lots on gadgets and gizmos to help monitor their progress and health – they achieve and they are achievers in lots of aspects of their life.

There are a lot of dieters who start well, then cave in after a few weeks or months.  A bit like those who join a gym – they go all out for the first three months and then never return again (or for a long time). If they re-join, they do the same again and again. I fall into this category.

The Yo-yo dieters: those who diet, then break it, only to gain more and then diet again. It’s a constant treadmill of dieting for most of their lives.

There are those, with the mañana, mañana mentality: Who say I’ll start the diet tomorrow, then say it again the next day and the next. I fall into this category as well: I even kept saying I needed to record the foods I ate on an app, check my macros – every day I’d say ‘tomorrow’ and it never happened. 

Mañana, mañana

I am like this with a lot of aspects of my life.  Why would I think dieting would be any different?  I put off tomorrow, what I can do today – from cleaning to sorting laundry, from ironing to doing my tax return.  

Why? 

No discipline (tick) / I don’t value myself (tick) / I do not think of the consequences of my actions (tick).

Am I waiting for a real major health scare to wake up and realise what I am doing to myself?

In breaking my diet, I succumbed to sugar and carbohydrates – back to my addiction, back to my comfort eating and endorsing my lack of self-worth.   

I argued Christmas was around the corner, that a diet was futile at this time of year…excuse after lame excuse. 

TO KETO OR NOT TO KETO…THAT IS THE QUESTION?!

In looking at my options – I cannot seem to do a diet that involves eating sugar, or even fruit sugar, or sweetener replacement.  I cannot eat grains – even gluten free, because once I start out – even on porridge, I just want to continue eating – searching the cupboards for anything I can find to satisfy my hunger.  Keto worked for me.  It took away the hunger.

Keto with intermittent fasting worked for me.  It helps me control myself.  One good thing…I kept up the intermittent fasting since I broke my diet. This has helped control the weight pilling back on. Most of my gain has been water – I know this because of the bloating in my stomach and fingers. It’s not pretty – I have my apron overhang again around my middle.

So today, I have fasted – broken my fast at 1 pm and I have gone KETO:

I ate 2 rashers of bacon / 2 eggs scrambled with a knob of butter / 1/4 cucumber / 6 brussel sprouts (leftovers). My Keto app tells me this is:

414 cal / 9 grams of Net carbs / 26 grams protein / 30 grams of Fat.

I have 10 grams of net carbs left / 67 grams of protein / 86 grams of fat. I am using my app! Its called Keto manager – I am sure there are many others. I will also be monitoring my steps; at the moment only on a phone app. I hope to invest in a watch very soon, because if you don’t keep the phone with you all the time, it doesn’t count your steps!

Back on this…I can do it! Target set – to achieve 1 stone loss in 8 weeks.

My Keto food diary

Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash

HIGH FAT / MODERATE PROTEIN / LOW CARBOHYDRATE

So, following the keto diet plan is getting a little easier. This is how I eat:

Carbs should be 5% of your daily calories and are typically reduced to under 50 grams per day, most aim for 20 grams per day for optimum ketosis. I think I sit around 30 grams per day.

Fats should replace the majority of cut carbs and deliver approximately 75% of your total calorie intake.

Proteins should account for around 20% of energy needs.

Sugar is removed, except where it occurs naturally in the permitted fruits and in dairy.

It’s best to download an app to count your macro nutrients. The important one is the carb count, rather than total daily calories.

What does that look like at each meal?

  1. Two fistfuls of vegetables/salad per meal.
  2. Palm sized portion of protein (3-6oz)  per meal.
  3. Fat eat to achieve satiety (place two thumbs over the portion – that’s enough).

The fat choices that are good:  Avocado / Pecans / Pistachio / Olives / Natural Peanut or Almond butter / Cheddar, Brie, cream cheese, Mozzarella / Bacon and other fatty meats / Oily fish / Whole cream.

Caution/the below are best to avoid due to too many carbohydrates

  • Processed cheese, cottage cheese – better to choose other hard cheese options above.  
  • Cow’s milk – semi skimmed has too much milk sugar. Whole milk is better, if you have to, just a dash.  Unsweetened plant milk is better, lower carbohydrate.
  • Yoghurt, especially flavoured should be avoided generally, as they are too much sugar therefore high carbohydrate. Some plant yoghurts are okay, always check the sugars on the back, they vary so much.  Organic full fat natural yoghurt and Kefir is fine.

The Keto aim is to stop insulin production (as much as possible).  The low carbs will still peak insulin every time you eat, so that’s why it is a good idea not to graze in between meals.   Insulin will be burnt off before body fat therefore. Choose three, two or over time one meal a day, with no snacks in between. I am at two good size meals and a snack in the middle.

MY DAILY IF & KETO FOOD INTAKE LOOKS LIKE THIS

7 AM Rise:   Warm water / fresh lemon juice squeeze / small nib fresh ginger / 1 tsp sea salt.

12 PM MIDDAY – GREEN SMOOTHIE (handful of kale or Swiss chard leaves/2 x celery stalks/1/2 cup blueberries/ 1/2 tsp ginger / Water / 1 tsp Chia seeds (soaked or not) or just 2 RASHERS BACON / FRIED EGG / AVOCADO / BOWL SALAD. Alternating my green smoothie to every other day.

4.00 PM SNACK: 2 tsp ALMOND BUTTER with 1 tsp nutritional yeast on 3 small sticks celery, or eating a handful of pecan nuts. Or 2 tbsp Kefir with handful of blackberries or raspberries.

7.30 PM  – 6oz Meat or Fish / Cauliflower mashed with butter / steamed Broccoli or stir fry veg and Salad

One cup coffee per day, couple of English breakfast teas with unsweetened almond milk, six cups of water.

My salad bowl will often have pea shoots, Romaine lettuce leaves, rocket, cucumber, radish, spring onion. You never have to count the carbs in the allowed vegetables and salad.

HIDDEN SUGAR

Avoid SUGAR on Keto – including hidden sugars.  Eating fresh foods you prepare from scratch can avoid the hidden sugars. Avoid these foods:

  • Yoghurts.
  • Salad dressings and mayonnaise.
  • Alcohol.
  • MSG – monosodium glutamate in fried chicken and take away food.
  • Avoid excess protein – only 3-6 oz per meal.
  • Avoid sugar and protein combined – Hamburger, ketchup example.
  • Avoid sugar/fat combinations and avoid low fat foods – they all contain too much sugar for keto diet.

KEEP KETO CLEAN

Beware of pre-prepared meals and bars which claim to be Keto or Paleo.  They are alright on occasions, but be careful to have all the time.  There are times when you are on the go, and it might be the only option.  The trade-off might be not losing the weight you want and maybe not being in ketosis.

THE CONTENT IN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND IT’S INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

Game changers for my Keto diet plan

Photo by Jan Sedivy on Unsplash

After such a lousy weekend last time I wrote, the weekend just gone was a real break through and turn around for me. After my battle with my electrolytes – I finally have balance and I am free of headaches and cramp in my legs!

As well as balancing my hydration, it turned out I had an underlying sinus problem – which apparently is common on the Keto diet. Also, things like Keto rash, Keto flu, cramps, and much more are common experiences. Thankfully Dr.Berg and many others tell you what to do to get through it. So, finally now, I’ve reached the other side…

Along with Keto, I am continuing the Intermittent fasting. My body is in the routine of breaking my fast around 12 midday and eating in an 8 hour window.

THE FAMOUS GREEN SMOOTHIE

I’ve started making a Green smoothie for when I break my fast. I think I’ll be doing this three days a week. This is my game changer number 1.

Grabbing a handful of kale or Swiss chard leaves, flat parsley, along with 2 celery stalks, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 tsp ginger, purified water and 1 tsp of Chia seeds (pre-soaked for 20 mins).  I blitzed these all together for a few minutes and enjoyed. This kept me satisfied for the next four hours (as the chia keeps you really full) – amazing!

I’ve been experimenting with my smoothies, adding different berries and even a teaspoon of turmeric and cinnamon here and there. However, everything in moderation and everything with caution. Whilst turmeric is used in Asian cooking, some people are sensitive to it, also cinnamon is a natural blood thinner – so again, a small amount should be used.

I am not using Spinach – it seems to give me joint pain. Spinach does contain Oxalic acid, which is naturally found in lots of green leafy vegetables. It is wise to eat these foods in moderation. I think you’d have to eat a lot in one go to get ill from it, but caution should be used not to consume too much too often. See reference (1) below.

Beetroot greens, Rhubarb, Spinach, Beetroot, Swiss chard, Endive, Cocoa powder, Kale, Sweet potato, peanuts, Turnip greens and star fruit are all high in Oxalic acid.

I’ll have to watch if Swiss chard or Kale give me joint pain. Hence, why I am juicing only three times a week, also good alternatives to incorporate into a smoothie might be Bok Choy or Brocolli.

I am trying to focus on my liver too, it’s one of the reasons to start my green smoothies. I was advised I had non alcoholic fatty liver by a doctor a while ago but I was never really advised what to do about it. So, I am understanding now that any diet changes might take around three years to affect my liver health – but starting now, it’s better late than never.

This video explains good foods for the liver.

Cruciferous vegetables are a MUST on this diet, eating a daily amount will provide the body with the potassium it needs.  Don’t underestimate the body does need these vegetables to keep healthy.  This aspect of Keto has changed since the days of Atkins.  This will balance the electrolytes and cease cramps, headaches and body aches.  Examples are broccoli, kelp, Swiss chard, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and many more – all the bitter ones you love to hate!

I’m not going to do any liver cleanses, eating healthily should be change enough over time. When I feel my stomach system is stronger, I will most likely try Apple Cider vinegar – another one hailed as the next best thing! Some people have had adverse reactions and side effects, so I proceed with caution.

CHIA SEEDS

Photo by Marc Mintel on Unsplash

Chia is my game changer number 2 – my goodness, the things you can do with these little wonder seeds. It is billed as a super food – full of lots of vitamins and is a good source of protein.

  • Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron and calcium.
  • 28 grams contains around 5 grams of protein.
  • They can be eaten cooked or raw, but they should be added to another food or soaked before eating, as they expand up to around 20 times their size.
  • I like mine soaked in a mix of Kefir and water, then popped in the fridge to expand. The taste is creamy and amazing. A dusting of cocoa powder on top and a few strawberries on the side, I’m just in a happy place! They take any hunger away and give me that feeling of having something comforting!
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

NUTRITIONAL YEAST

Nutritional yeast – my game changer number 3. It’s been around a long time. It’s rather new to me! Vegans use it as a cheese substitute. I love it, but I can imagine not everyone loves it. It has a cheesy, nutty taste and is dry, something to sprinkle on things. I like to top my salads with it, or mix in with my grated cheddar. I am using a heaped teaspoon over things and it just satisfies. You have to start out slowly with this stuff, just in case it doesn’t agree with you. Thankfully, my body seems okay with it.

It is low in sodium, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan and fat free. It’s full of B vitamins, plus zinc and some other trace minerals.

These three add ins to my diet are helping me feel so much better. They’re stopping me from eating between meals and I’m sure, since they are packed with vitamins and minerals, they’re doing me a world of good.

My bright complexion has returned, my skin is clear. My nails are so strong; they used to be so brittle and would split. I’m feeling extremely positive and content. Getting into the swing of this diet plan now and not missing cake, biscuits or crisps. I baked a banana cake for the family over the weekend, and didn’t even think to want it.

I haven’t ventured into the realm of Keto desserts yet…there are so many recipes out there! I’ll have to search them out and give them a go. I dust a little cocoa powder on little heaps of almond butter or peanut butter – that’s a sweet hit for me!

Reference (1):

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oxalate-good-or-bad#section8

THE CONTENT IN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND IT’S INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

Keto Flu and working out the diet plan

It’s been a busy week for me.  I found myself floundering: Something I do not like at all.  I have gone back to basics many times over this week; reading, re-watching videos, trying to learn again what I thought I had learnt about Keto.  Is it the fact that I’m getting old, or is this diet really, quite complicated?! 

As my body continues to adapt to the changes, it seems like there is a new curve ball thrown my way very regularly!

Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash

KETO FLU

I heard about it, I ignored it…I had an awful weekend of feeling achy across my back, with vile headaches that wouldn’t shift no matter what pain killer I tried.  I felt washed out, I looked washed out.  Gone was the healthy glow that I had mentioned before.  I felt a wreck and I was ready to cave in!

I did manage to pee on a urine stick – I was in ketosis.  It gave me the motivation to carry on and it explained the Keto flu symptoms. My body was trying to tell me it needed things!

After seeking advice from my Keto diet buddy he concluded that no doubt – my electrolyte balance was off kilter.  He reminded me to drink warm water with a teaspoon of sea salt (or Pink Himalayan salt).   I hadn’t bought my Magnesium and Potassium supplement (even though I had spoken about it as a necessity) and I was grateful I could order on Amazon prime to receive it the following day!

I said I thought I needed more carbs and was reaching for a banana. It wasn’t that at all and he helpfully suggested to eat an avocado as a snack, which seemed to give me some energy.

FOUR ELECTROLYTE MINERALS

These are the four minerals that we need to keep the body functioning properly:

MAGNESIUM CALCIUM SODIUM POTASSIUM

We all must have enough of these in our body for processes to function correctly. Usually our body balances these and regulates and stores water. On Ketosis, our kidneys go from storing water to releasing lots of it, therefore these 4 important minerals, known as electrolytes are being excreted too. So, I will need to replenish daily for quite a while.

The most likely mineral to be deficient in is Potassium, Dr.Berg reminded me in this video:

EATING MY GREENS

Potassium is going to be the hardest to replenish. A single tablet isn’t going to cut it. This is where the green leafy vegetables and salad portions are so important. Minimum five cups, but up to 10 cups. I down played the importance of the greens – they are not just to look good on the plate, or make it seem healthy – they are to keep my body working properly during ketosis.

WHEATGRASS JUICE POWDER

Dr Berg has also recommended Wheatgrass juice powder for the early days – it will help boost my potassium naturally.

Wheatgrass is a source of potassium, dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. 

Wheatgrass is also a source of protein (less than one gram per 28 grams) and it is gluten free. It’s only the grain that contains gluten.

KALE SMOOTHIE

Alternatively I can take some Kale and blitz with berries and water to make a great smoothie full of potassium and other healthy vitamins.

Taking my supplements will help a little, but the amount of potassium our cells need whilst on Keto means I will really have to focus effort on minimum five cups of salad a day for sure.

I find the weekends are not the best times in my house for food.  The household food budget has been blown by Thursday, and the plentiful salads, avocados, delectable meats and fish have long vanished.  Not being able to make the right food choices wasn’t helping me through last weekend.  There has to be a ready stock of the green leafy vegetables, nuts and especially I find, those lovely avocados! 

I was picking at cheese, there was no salad left, I had eaten bacon and eggs, but no leafy greens and no avocado.  It was more like Atkins than healthy Keto at that point!

It also turned out that I had consumed far too much coconut oil and coconut water and I suffered the consequences of such, by experiencing a very upset stomach over Sunday and Monday.  I really did feel as if everything was against me!

LEG CRAMPS – AGAIN!

Since the weekend, I have woken a couple of times at five in the morning with cramp in my leg! I got up and immediately drank a teaspoon of sea salt in water and it went away. I am now waking and drinking warm water, with squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of sea salt.  This will need to be a daily dose for me for some time until my body adjusts. The lemon juice is good for helping my liver and gall bladder to produce bile – something I have always had a problem with. Once I start eating I am taking my mineral supplement – currently two per day. I am going to start having the Kale leaf smoothie too, once I break my fast at 12 o’clock midday.

I am reading up about the gall bladder and it’s importance to my gut health. I have discovered lots of natural foods that can help my sluggish system and will dedicate a post to that entirely.

Just to say – whilst these symptoms must seem alarming and quite a waste of time to put your body through it all…I must say, for the first time in a very long time, my stomach feels ‘calm’. Being gluten free suits my system. Resting from potatoes and the nightshade family has helped me tremendously in that respect. The intermittent fasting is giving my whole system a rest from food – and my body seems to like that.

Doing this diet is making me really appreciate food as something that my body needs, rather than something to gorge on.

I had to buy a new belt today – my old belt was hanging off me! I am now a ‘medium’ sized for the first time in over ten years. Happy days.

THE CONTENT IN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND IT’S INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

My weight loss – weekly stats

Salter Ultra Slim Analyser Bathroom Scales (£12-15.00 various stockists).

MY WEIGHT LOSS STATS

At the moment I am taking a weekly record of weight loss.  I invested in a set of scales (pictured above), which read my weight / BMI / Body Fat / Water ratios.  These are useful to seeing more than weight shift. As the body fat ratio goes down, the water ratio will go up. This can be seen in the stats below.

As with any weight loss, it should be slow and healthy.  The NHS website (see 1/footnote below) recommends 1 to 2 lbs a week, however you may lose more in the first couple of weeks as that is mainly water.  Since week three, I am seeing a steady 2 lb loss – I’m really happy with this.

I am not fixated on getting a loss every week: These stats are going to be useful to reflect on actual body shape changes and recording the full journey to my target weight of 10 Stone. At my target weight, I will probably take stock to drop another 7 lbs to reach 9 stone 7 lbs: Which, is a healthy guideline weight for my height; which is 5 feet 3 inches.

RECORDED STATS since I started recording at week 4.

WEEK 4

Weight:  12 stone 13 lbs / 82.10 kg (It’s a loss)!

BMI:   32.2 / Body Fat:  37.7% / Water: 47.0%

My neck is 39 cm / 15 inches (wow, that’s man-size)!

My bicep is 33 cm / 12.9 inches (extended arm).

My thigh is 58 cm / 22.83 inches (standing).

My waist is 102 cm / 40 inches.  

TODAY – WEEK 5

Weight:  12 stone 11 lbs / 81.19 kg (it’s a loss)!

BMI:  31.8 / Body Fat:  37 % / Water 47.6%

My neck is 39 cm / 15 inches

My bicep is 33 cm / 12.9 inches

My thigh is 58 cm / 22.83 inches (standing).

My waist is 101 cm / 39.76 inches  (a reduction).

Today’s weigh in – WEEK 6

Weight: 12 stone 10 lbs / 80.73 kg (it’s a loss)!

BMI: 31.6 / Body Fat: 36.4% / Water 48%

All measurements same as last week.

15 November weigh in – WEEK 7

A blip on my scales! So can only give weight:

Weight: 12 stone 8 lbs / 79.83 kg – It’s a loss!

Footnote/References:

(1) https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/should-you-lose-weight-fast/

Intermittent Fasting – What? When? How? Why?

Photo by Cath Smith on Unsplash

Lots of people are choosing to eat with a period of fasting within the 24 hour day.  Simply put, you select a window of time that you choose to rest your body from eating.  The word breakfast – literally means breaking your fast. Whilst we are sleeping we are abstaining from food; that period is a time we are fasting from food naturally.

So, why not continue the sleeping ‘fast’ further into the morning and then start to eat for the day much later on?   People choose all different times to break their fast, depending on their schedules and what suits them.

This used to be called ‘missing breakfast’, now it is acknowledged as an acceptable period of abstinence from food.

HEALTH

Restriction of the daily food intake results in weight loss, which is also associated with better health outcomes including triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein’. Exact quote NCBI, USA (see footnote 1)

16:8 intermittent fast

I am following the 16:8 fast:  This means my body is fasting for 16 hours, and then I eat in an 8 hour window. To break that down, whatever time I rise from my bed, I’ll have just clear fluids until 12 pm (for example) when I’ll break my fast and during that time frame I’ll eat sensibly until 8 pm.  I have to avoid chewing gum or anything with hidden sugar during my fast, otherwise I will break the fast. You pick the 8 hour eating window that works best for you.

EATING BETWEEN MEALS

It is still good to give your body around 3-4 hours break between meals. That means, if you are going to have three meals during that 8 hour window – you could have a small breakfast at 12 pm (or brunch), followed by a light lunch at 4 pm, with your evening meal around 7.30 pm. 

GRAZING

You can incorporate healthy snacks if you need them.  I find though, that it feels like I’m grazing all day when I do that.  Instead, I try to have my lunch and dinner with a healthy dessert, such as berries (Keto style for me), so I don’t crave in between my meals.  Once your eating window closes, you then stick to clear liquids until bed.  The cycle just keeps repeating.

Once people start fasting, they start to be able to stretch their time of eating and also reduce their calorie intake when they see fit.  Some people drop down to two meals a day, others just one.  On Keto, as you reduce down your meals your body learns to retain more nutrients. Click on Dr.Berg’s video below for a deeper explanation of this science.

A really useful video to overcome the confusion of when to eat and macros – essential viewing when starting out.

I am currently eating three meals: brunch at 12 pm, light lunch at 4 pm and dinner at 7 pm. This may change as my body adapts to ketosis.

5:2 INTERMITTENT FAST

Another version is the popular 5:2 fast.  This is when you can eat normally for five days, and for two days you reduce your calorie intake.  Some reduce to just 500 calories, choosing clear broths or smoothies to sustain them, others might hit 800 calories.  I personally would not enjoy this type of fast. I think I would feel starving on the fasting days!

It’s not even always about weight loss:  Some people find their bodies really do benefit from fasting.  Our diets are now so laden with carbohydrates; some are finding fasting a relief to their digestive system.  Others are using fasting to maintain their weight loss and it seems to be especially helpful to stop the pounds coming back on.

MY OWN REASON FOR FASTING

I need to lose over three stone in weight to get back to a healthy BMI for my height, which will be around 10 stone, or under.  I would still aim for 9 stone 7 lb if I can and I know I would find intermittent fasting useful to keep the weight gain off.  So, for me using Keto plus intermittent fasting means I’m hoping for an optimum loss, as quickly as possible. 

IF AND KETO

I personally enjoy the Keto meal plan, it give me more control over what I eat.  Without Keto I would still be very tempted to eat unhealthy carbohydrates such as crisps, cake and biscuits.  I just cannot seem to moderate these foods, so following the Keto plan helps me be strict and avoid them.

My husband follows intermittent fasting, but not Keto.  He is eating normally, just in an 8 hour window:  so he’s also doing the 16:8 fast.  

Eating this way is stopping him gaining weight and his waistline is definitely shrinking. He is eating a bowl of porridge for breakfast, followed by a late lunch of meat, rice and vegetables. His evening meal usually consists of meat or fish, sauce or gravy, starchy grain or potato and vegetables.  He does have a few naughty crisps and biscuits, but still finds he is losing weight.  If he was eating a Mediterranean diet plan and cutting out the naughty carbs, he’d see a much greater weight loss and ultimately be eating a more balanced, healthy diet.

A WORD OF CAUTION

If you have underlying health conditions or you take regular medication, you must always check with your GP before you start Intermittent fasting.  It is always best to check with your GP before you start any new diet.

These studies are beneficial to read: Footnote and information credits:

Intermittent fasting and healthy lifestyle:

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128599/

Pros and cons of intermittent fasting:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/not-so-fast-pros-and-cons-of-the-newest-diet-trend

THE CONTENT IN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND IT’S INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

KETOGENIC DIET: Hydration, Electrolytes and more…

Photo by Lanju Fotografie on Unsplash

Personal diet update

So…The diet has been going well.  I should stop right here and amend myself.  When I say diet, I actually refer to the Keto eating plan: It is a lifestyle, not a diet.  I feel freedom for the first time in my life!  I feel revitalised, and most likely because I’m free from the culprit known as refined carbohydrates: Foods like sugars, box cereals, white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals. All the foods we love, basically!

I am a foodie – I am really enjoying everything I’m eating: Especially avocado, chicken, steak, prawns –  all with generous drizzles of fat and mountains of salad and low carbohydrate vegetables.  I do not feel deprived. 

Coconut Oil

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I purchased a pure, organic coconut oil to cook with. I watched a recent study on BBC with Michael Mosley; where they gave three groups a different fat, so they could compare cholesterol response over a month.  The fats were Olive oil, Butter and Coconut oil.  The aim:  To take a tablespoon per day, however they could stomach it.

The outcome was surprising, although one result wasn’t.  Butter – it showed a peak in cholesterol in the blood (although recognised this was temporary once diet was adapted).  Olive oil made a slight improvement to good cholesterol and was proven to be a good, healthy oil.  Coconut oil came out on top as the healthiest of the three having a marked improvement of good cholesterol.  There was a lot in it the stats and this experiment.  If you want to read further check this post on the link at the foot of the page (1) : I couldn’t explain it better: 

As with anything moderation is key. Try to include a balance of fats – such as avocado oil, olive oil, butter and coconut oil.

Coconut oil can have a laxative effect if consumed in large amounts, or over a period of time. Just to add – on Keto plans, butter is absolutely fine.  It’s because our bodies are burning the fat for fuel, instead of the sugar and carbohydrates.

Over the weekend I started feeling a little fuzzy headed – just a bit spaced out.  I’m pretty sure that it is to do with the new Keto diet and the way my body is changing and reacting to removing sugar (except natural fruit) and reducing my carbohydrates to such a low amount than a regular Western diet.  As I said before, I had a real sugar addiction.  Through searching out health information relating to sugar addiction and withdrawal I have found lots of interesting information:

Physical symptoms of sugar withdrawal

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A great article I read cites:  ‘Headache is one of the most common side effects of sugar detox, along with feeling run down. Other possible physical withdrawal symptoms include:

  • light-headedness and dizziness
  • nausea
  • tingling
  • fatigue

Giving up sugar can make you feel lousy, but rest assured, it will get better if you stick to your sugar detox’ unquote. Refrence: https://www.healthline.com/health/sugar-detox-symptoms#withdrawal-symptoms

Obviously, these symptoms are reflective of many other health conditions, but thought this helpful to reflect upon.  Nothing beats going to visit the GP though if symptoms continue (as I may well have to do, if it carries on to rule out any underlying health issues).  

HYDRATION AND ELECTROLYTES

Feeling like this has helped me to focus on two important aspects of dieting:  I really must pay attention to:  Hydration and that causes me to ponder if my electrolytes are a bit off-kilter. 

Electrolytes

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When you begin a low carbohydrate/high fat (LCHF) Keto diet your body produces less insulin and glycogen stores are depleted.

For every gram of glycogen (stored carbs) three grams of water are stored as well.  As those stores are depleted, our kidneys go from retaining water to excreting more of it.

If you’ve done Keto before, you may have noticed that you experienced a “whoosh” early on, where you lost a lot of weight and felt less bloated.  ’ This is water weight resulting from the excretion of water.  The upside – looking better.  The downside- with this flush of water, important minerals called electrolytes will be excreted too’. (2) footnote.

Low levels of magnesium, potassium, and calcium often lead to electrolyte imbalances.   I’m going to start taking a daily supplement for the next month, to help balance with this.

A quick fix could be to reach for a sports drink and just guzzle it.  There are plenty of Keto electrolyte blends on the market to choose from.  All sports drinks are not created equal – be sure to select one that won’t interfere with your low carbohydrate Keto plan; watch the sugar content.  

Pure Coconut Water – A natural electrolyte replenish

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I then discovered that a natural re-balancing drink I can have is pure coconut water.  Search out those with no added sugar, but with a good amount of sodium. Scientific studies show adding sea salt to Coconut water gives optimum re-hydration:  (3) footnote.

Obviously a high salt diet isn’t good for us:   It is linked with all sorts of health complications.  So always be wise to follow current health guidelines for salt intake.  However, on Keto when we have eliminated all processed grains and foods (which is where our salt intake can peak too much):  We must be sure to balance our salt intake adequately.   It is important to go for natural salts such as sea salt an Himalayan salt. Table salt is not a good choice as it has been refined. Also, the body does require salt for normal, healthy functioning of its organs. (4) Footnote.

There are loads of lovely natural recipes for Keto electrolyte drinks – one I particular like is:  Coconut water, Himalayan salt, Lemon juice and Stevia leaf which will make an optimum drink for me – perfect tip for re-balancing.

I haven’t purchased the Himalayan salt yet (relying on sea salt), and the natural Stevia leaf yet, but I must visit my local health shop soon!

Clarification on Electrolytes

GUT HEALTH

I have to also consider if this head tension and fuzziness, is something to do with my complex food intolerance. In being gluten intolerant; it could follow that I am most likely dairy intolerant (many studies link the two).   A good read and helpful to realise that as my gut heals, my tolerances should return.

This report is helpful on the UK Celiac website:  https://www.coeliac.org.uk/information-and-support/coeliac-disease/conditions-linked-to-coeliac-disease/lactose-intolerance/ 

If it doesn’t suit you, then eliminate it…that’s the only way to know if your body can tolerate it.  Elimination is often recommended for a short period – say two weeks, then return it to see your body’s response.

It is always useful to visit your GP or licensed nutritionist for advice, before you decide to make drastic changes to your diet yourself.

FOOTNOTE/CREDITS/LINKS:

(1) Michael Mosley three fat study:

https://wisenutritioncoaching.com.au/2018/04/michael-mosley-and-coconut-oil/

(2) Electrolyte reference:

Reference: https://perfectketo.com/keto-electrolytes/

(3) Coconut water and Salt – electrolyte study:

Study information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17883020

(4) Salt and body function:

https://www.saltassociation.co.uk/education/salt-health/salt-function-cells/

THE CONTENT IN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND IT’S INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

Avocado…a super food and Keto friendly

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Avocado – it needs its own mention. They are in the Keto plan and they are a super food. 

Thankfully, I adore them!  I do know people that won’t even try them.  But, my goodness, for me, they are an enjoyable part of this diet plan and have been a game changer to keeping me on this diet!

What’s in an avocado:

One half of a medium avocado contains around 9 grams of carbohydrate, but approximately 7 grams is fibre, so its net carbohydrate value is around 2 grams.  They contain vitamins C, E, K and B6, as well as potassium, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and magnesium.  They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.  Full breakdown can be found here, and scientific data which backs up the benefits of this amazing fruit. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/

It also contains fibre, so its good for your bowel; helping to avoid constipation, which can be a problem on the Keto diet, if you cut down on too many fibrous foods. Following a healthy Keto plan, it recommends eating leafy greens and salads, as well as the avocado, to keep up your fibre.

I used to call my middle child ‘Avocado baby’ when he was just a baby – he weaned on them and loved them – still does to this day.  My other two didn’t like the texture and still don’t to this day!

They can be pricey, so shop around.  I get through around 6 a week, but possibly I need to eat a few more.  They are a good fat, so they can help your cholesterol and triglyceride levels too.

LEG CRAMPS

They are useful on the Keto diet because the potassium will help to prevent cramping.  Something I experienced on waking this morning.  Not a full leg cramp, but a ‘gentle’ pulling inside my calf.  I immediately knew It’s about getting my potassium and sodium levels adjusted.  I used to rely on a banana a day to help avoid my cramping leg muscles, something I would swear by.  But since bananas are off the menu, I will need to get savvy with getting my sodium and potassium levels right. (1) footnote.

Sodium can be taken into my diet by adding Himalayan salt.  Of course, sea salt would be okay as well.  This can be drunk in water – ½ a teaspoon, in warm water should be palatable, around once or twice a day.   Be cautious with salt, if you have high blood pressure of course. (2) footnote.

The Potassium can be found in Spinach, Brocolli, Mushrooms and Cucumber. It can also be sourced as a vitamin supplement of course, so I might need to experiment with this one.

Lunch & Dinner Ideas
Yummy lunch!

We are what we eat

I  have been naturally curious about the science of food and nutrition for years.  My own researching began when my middle child was a young boy.  Having a child diagnosed with autism is daunting and quite naturally, one wants to search for a reason why he has it.  I have discovered so much, in just reading about the importance of vitamins and minerals in the diet, learning about deficiencies and how we can eat better foods to combat them.  The link between autism and food triggers, metal toxicity overload and other data has consumed me for years.   

I am blessed to have two people in my life who are on the same page as myself:  A good friend who I share coffee, laughs and prayers with on a regular basis, guides me and shares with me her own journey of searching and finding foods and supplements that support her journey with her own family.

My diet buddy – who I will introduce to you as Henry, is an integral part of my present Keto learning.  I have always had a strong interest in nutrition and I find I seek out like-minded people who do share the same interest.

Henry has been a life saver on this diet journey so far!  Thank you Henry!  May we continue to inspire one another on this amazing weight loss journey and each be able to report a steady and consistent weight loss. By sending me helpful tips, products and links to encourage me and to help me find what works for me – I finally, for the first time feel empowered on my diet journey.

So Avocados…love them? Hate them? A bit like that famous sticky yeast extract that I love, but others love to hate!

Food for thought – a food for life in my book!

THE CONTENT IN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND IT’S INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

FOOTNOTE: CREDITS/LINKS/SOURCES:

(1) This information gives you the full heads up on how to avoid leg cramps:

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/steps-can-be-taken-to-relieve-or-prevent-night-leg-cramps/

(2) This gives you a great heads-up about blood pressure: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974

Keto food list: Refer and keep

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I decided to dedicate a whole page to the keto foods that I can eat on the diet plan I follow, for easy reference.

FOODS YOU’LL NEED ON THE KETO DIET PLAN:

FATS:  Make sure you have things like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, ghee or butter, eggs, macadamia nuts, and full-fat dairy. I love a good quality, organic mayonnaise for a fat hit. I also love cheddar, and fry with butter.

  • Avocado
  • Avocado oil
  • Blue cheese
  • Brie cheese
  • Butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Coconut butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Red palm oil
  • Salad dressing
  • Cream cheese
  • Duck fat
  • Egg yolks
  • Ghee
  • Half and half
  • Lard
  • Macadamia oil
  • MCT oil
  • Olive oil
  • Palm shortening
  • Sesame oil
  • Tallow
  • Walnut oil
  • Whole cream

EGGSthese deserve a mention of their own. They are a staple of any Keto programme. Enjoy them scrambled, poached, boiled, fried, oozing ontop of avocado….yum. They fall into the FAT, PROTEIN and baking category.

FISH & MEAT PROTEIN:  Opt for wild-caught fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, prawns in addition to grass fed, organic, free range poultry, pork, and beef (if you can). Bacon and sausages (best to be organic) – for sausages, be careful they are not bulked out with cereal, hence carbohydrate. Also, the higher meat content you can get in your sausages the better. Take care eating too much tinned tuna, as it is purported that it can contain mercury, so it is an idea to consume no more than 4 tins per week. Wild, line caught, sustainable fish is always best.

The protein part of the diet can be a stumbling block, and tough on your purse/wallet sometimes. If I can, I choose organic first – but, there are times when my household budget just won’t allow for the higher priced, organic offerings. That is a reality. If you cannot go organic – look for quality cuts of meat from your local Butcher or Supermarket and fresh fish from your local fishmonger or Supermarket.

FISH/SHELL FISH & MOLLUSCS:

  • Anchovies
  • Bass
  • Cod
  • Eel
  • Flounder
  • Grouper
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Mahi-mahi
  • Orange roughy
  • Perch
  • Red snapper
  • Rockfish
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Tilapia
  • Turbot
  • Trout
  • Tuna (including albacore)
  • Sole
  • Abalone
  • Caviar
  • Clams
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Octopus

MEATS & PROTEINS (including DAIRY):

  • Bacon
  • Beef
  • Beef jerky
  • Bison
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Cottage cheese (full fat)
  • Deer
  • Deli meat ( only limited quantities because of high nitrates and dextrose)
  • Duck
  • Elk
  • Goat
  • Goose
  • Hot dogs (organic and grass-fed)
  • Lamb
  • Moose
  • Pepperoni
  • Pheasant
  • Pork
  • Pork rinds
  • Quail
  • Rabbit
  • Salami
  • Sausage (organic/grass-fed)
  • Sheep
  • Turkey
  • Veal
  • Wild boar
  • Wild turkey

OFFAL: This is very much a personal preference. If you enjoy the flavour of Kidneys and Liver – put it into your plan. In the past I have done a bone broth as it is linked with healing Leaky gut syndrome. My diet buddy and myself are going to try this again. So if you can’t stand the texture or smell of offal, consider a bone broth – the surefire way to capture bone marrow. More on this, on another post.

  • Bone marrow
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Tongue
  • Tripe

VEGAN OPTIONS:

  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Mushrooms
  • Nut butters
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Seed butters
  • Protein powders (pea, hemp, and brown rice)
  • Seeds (sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin)
  • Spirulina
  • Sprouted beans
  • Tofu/tempeh (organic fermented)

NUTS & SEEDS:  Whilst they do contain carbs, the majority of the carbohydrate they contain is fibre, which does not increase blood sugar or affect ketosis. Nuts and seeds provide us with a lot of the nutrients that our bodies need, such as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and selenium. Walnuts are reported to be good for a healthy heart and blood pressure. A word of warning about Brazil nuts: These are high in Selenium (can be toxic, if consumed in high amounts), so keep to just 3 or 4 a day. I only have around three a week. I have a handful of nuts a day – I scatter a few into my breakfast and on my salads.

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts – caution.
  • Chia seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nut butter
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tahini (sesame butter)
  • Walnuts

VEGETABLES:  Although starchy vegetables are out because of their high carbohydrate content. So, no potatoes, root vegetables are found on this plan. However, Green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower are allowed. Including salad leaves, Asparagus, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and peppers – these are a must to keep up variety and also to keep fibre in your diet.  Salad leaves are a staple and you should aim for 5 to 7 cups of green leafy veg/salad per day. If you can take more, all the better (up to 10 cups). But realistically for me, 10 cups of salad will feel like far too much to consume. Caution with Spinach leaves, Beetroot leaves and Swiss Chard – they all contain Oxalic acid, and can be toxic if consumed in high quantity (I was finding I was getting joint pain after consuming Spinach – so I researched it, only to find there are toxic qualities in high quantity!)

  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Beet greens
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion greens
  • Eggplant
  • Endives
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Jicama
  • Kale
  • Kimchi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Leafy greens
  • Mushrooms (all kinds)
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Olive
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers (all kinds)
  • Pumpkins
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Sauerkraut
  • Scallions
  • Seaweed (all sea vegetables)
  • Shallots
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini

BERRIES & CITRUS:  I incorporate Blueberries, Blackberries, raspberries – around ½ cup a day.   I love the natural sweetness and Dr.Berg says these are the lowest carbohydrate fruits and are acceptable. Most fruits contain natural sugar and also have too high a carbohydrate count for this diet. Citrus fruits can be squeezed onto salads and into water, for example.

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Cranberry
  • Olive
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry

Flavourings & Seasonings: Easily brighten up any meal and add flavour. Who said diets have to be boring? I personally have to be extremely careful with chilli, cayenne and paprika pepper – they are part of the nightshade family. They give me headache, nausea and IBS, and I should avoid. I do miss these flavours and usually need an anti-histamine to be able to cope with ingesting them.

  • Allspice
  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Dill
  • Ginger
  • Italian seasoning
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric

FLUIDS:

  • WATER – STAY HYDRATED – IT’S KEY TO GOOD HEALTH!
  • Almond milk – unsweetened.
  • Broth (chicken, beef, and bone)
  • Club soda
  • Coconut milk – unsweetened.
  • Unsweetened coffee (adding full-fat cream makes this a keto-friendly option)
  • Herbal teas
  • Seltzer water
  • Sparkling mineral water
  • Lemon and lime juice (in small amounts)
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Black Tea & Coffee (drink caffeine in moderation)

A caution with carbonated drinks, including sparkling water: Some people find that they feel more hungry consuming sparkling drinks. There are scientific studies behind this fact – it can trigger something in the brain receptors!

Baking ingredients: I haven’t felt the need to bake. Probably because I am really trying to cut the crave for sugar (and succeeding!) For example: If I have one piece of dark chocolate, I could actually eat half a bar – I did it the other day! Whilst it didn’t actually jeopardise my weight loss, I felt gluttonous and I very cross with myself. So I avoid the baked goods, but, once I’m established I would like to hope I can enjoy some of the lovely Keto baked recipes that abound.

  • Almond flour/meal
  • Cacao nibs
  • Cacao powder
  • Coconut aminos (A sauce made from coconut sap and similar to soy sauce but fits a low-carb diet)
  • Coconut flour
  • Cod liver oil (fish oil)
  • 100% dark chocolate
  • Eggs (from any animal, but pasture-raised and organic is preferred)
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Fish sauce
  • Gelatin
  • Gluten-free tamari sauce
  • Mayonnaise (made with oils from the fats list)
  • Monk fruit/Lo han guo
  • Hot sauce (without sugar)
  • Mustard
  • Pickles
  • Shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • Stevia
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vinegars

Source: List of foods accreditation: https://www.drberg.com/blog/ketogenic-diet-plan-food-list-cheat-sheet-pdf

THE CONTENT IN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND IT’S INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

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