Articles from the WWW: Ketogenics and Health Benefits

Here is the full article:

Ketogenic diet helps weight loss, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, MS and starves cancer

Excerpt:

The ketogenic diet has a variety of health benefits that extend far beyond its popular application as a weight loss tool, cancer scientist Dr. Dominic D’Agostino said on a podcast with Nourish Balance Thrive.

For the past four years, D’Agostino’s lab has researched the use of the ketogenic diet to prevent epileptic seizures and “starve” cancer. He found the low carb, high-fat diet can protect brain health for epilepsy patients and for people who experience traumatic brain injury, such as football players who suffer concussions.

I know for a fact that it is helping with Diabetes! I am living proof!

Let’s Talk About Nuts!

Nuts are one of natures perfect foods, seriously, they are! They have a good balance of fat, protein and carbs. Most nuts are very low carb, in fact. However, there are two common “nuts” that need some clarifications from a LCHF point of view.

Cashews: these can be eaten in moderation as a “sometimes” snack because they are the highest in carbohydrates.

Peanuts: these are not even nuts. They are LEGUMES (think beans!). Legumes are not allowed in a LCHF diet because they are higher in carbohydrates. Sure, less than cashews, but still higher than nuts.

Acceptable LCHF nuts are: Almonds, Brazils, Hazelnuts, Macadamia, Pecans, Pinenuts, and Walnuts.

Why, with such a great variety of nuts, would you even consider eating peanuts? This has been an argument I have had many times. Sure, peanuts are cheaper and peanut butter is a staple in a lot of homes, but almond butter tastes so much nicer! and it is healthier! You can also use Almond flour in place of white or wheat flour. And Macadamia nuts crushed make a great mock “graham cracker” crust.

Anyway, if you want to stick closely to the LCHF WOE, you have to ditch the peanuts/butter. If it is the only sustainable protein/fat you have in the house, eat it until you can get almonds/butter and other nuts. It definitely won’t kill you, it will just keep you out of ketosis.

Note: nuts should be consumed in moderation!

It’s All About the Fat, Baby!

Not all fats are created equal… I am sure you have heard that term before and it is true. The Low Fat craze nearly killed me, especially mixed with a lower carb diet. I am sure you have heard the debates about saturated fats being evil and the hype of all these vegetable oils being good for you. But just how true is all of it? Time for research!

The information I am about to share here is from my own research and observations. I subscribe to eat what you want, or as your doctor ordered, not as I say. Do your own research on all of this!

Let’s begin with the typical fats in most processed products: partially-hydrogenated, usually in the form of soy, hydrogenated, vegetable oils like corn, soy, safflower oil, canola oil and I am sure there are others. Most of these oils come from plants, which in itself should not be bad, right? However, they are ALL over processed and many turn to trans-fats.

Back before the 50s and 60s, the few fats found in processed foods were lard, coconut oil and palm oil. These did not have long shelf lives, unfortunately. Can’t have aisles and aisles of boxed food sitting around for months or years if the fats in them do not last a long time. Did you also know that the government was subsidizing soy and corn farms and had an excess storage of both? What to do with all that corn (we will discuss HFCS soon) and soy? hmmm… So they began using processed partial-hydrogenated oils like corn and soy, mostly. And then butter got a bad rap, so along came a host of margarine (vegetable oil based).

Side note: have you ever set out a bowl of butter and a bowl of margarine for a day or so and watched the gnats and flies’ reactions? They will attack butter, but stay away from margarine. Did you know that margarine has a similar chemical make-up to plastic? No kidding.. do the research!

Back to the history of fats/oils. So, lard, coconut oil and palm oil were outlawed, deemed evil and swept away from our shelves (mostly!).  Then in recent years, what did they discover? Those partially-hydrogenated oils had trans-fats in them that messed with cholesterol! So much for good science, eh? And yet, they are still found in almost all processed foods!

In the 90s, along came the Low Carb, Higher Fat diets of people like Atkins. Suddenly fat was good for you! But not just any fats – mostly saturated fats!

The common usable fats now for a LCHF diet are: coconut oil, olive oil, butter, lard, bacon grease, avocados, nut oils like walnut and macadamia, nuts (with the exception of too many cashews because of their high carb content and peanuts, which aren’t nuts but legumes – there will be a post on this later), full fat dairy products, and olive oil based (low carb) mayonnaise (think homemade).

What are NOT acceptable are: corn, soy, peanut, sunflower, safflower, canola oils and margarine. Also no low fat dairies.

Here are my personal preferences in the order that I use them the most: Coconut oil, butter, olive oil, avocados, full fat dairies, nuts (mostly almonds), and bacon grease. I tend to stay away from bacon grease and lard the most because FOR ME, they are just too heavy and tend to upset my stomach and make me nauseous.

So does saturated fats really hurt cholesterol levels? Think of it this way. Every cell in your body needs cholesterol. Your brain needs it the most to function, fire those synapses, regulate moods, think clearly, etc. Your joints need it to help keep those joints moving. What do you think the effects on our bodies has been in the last 50 years from the “medical attitude” toward cholesterol which is found in saturated fats like animal fat, coconut oil, and palm oil? Think about the diseases that have been steadily (sometimes rapidly) increasing. And then ask yourself just how evil is a High Fat diet of saturated fats. I will let you draw your own conclusions. I’ve already drawn mine. Do the research!

A Typical Daily Menu

This is a typical daily menu. It varies, but for the most part, this is what I eat during the day:

Breakfast:

  • 2-3 eggs (fried or scrambled in coconut oil, an omelet with spinach, red onions and feta cheese, as an egg drink, or 2-3 hard boiled eggs mixed with mayonnaise)
  • 2-3 slices of bacon or 2 slices of canned corn beef (not the hash!)
  • 1/4 cup of low carb salsa
  • 1/4 cup of sauerkraut
  • Coffee with full fat milk or HWC (if I have it) and stevia

I do skip lunch!

Dinner:

  • a decent portion of meat (could be 2 fish fillets, 2 chicken thighs (not breaded, unless using ground pork rinds), a large chicken breast (not breaded, unless using ground pork rings), 2 hamburger patties, 2 medium pork chops, etc.)
  • 1 cup of cooked LC veggies (no corn, carrots, peas, potatoes, most winter squashes or beets)
  • cook all meats in coconut oil, add butter or cheese sauce to veggies, sometimes add butter to fish
  • sometimes I will also add a small salad of greens, red onions, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, parm cheese and olives with full fat ranch dressing

Night time snack, as needed (these are examples of snacks I might have. I do not eat ALL of these in one snack):

  • a few reg pork rinds with a couple Tbsp of full fat ranch dip or full fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of full fat cottage cheese with a few slices of tomatoes or a couple slices of avocado.
  • small can of tuna mixed with mayonnaise, a few dill pickle chips, or olives
  • a Tbsp of almond butter spread on celery sticks

I try to follow the Food List (in Pages) as a guideline. I do use more coconut oil than the other oils, and I add a LOT of spices and herbs to my foods. I try to avoid too much dairy unless it is HWC, whole fat milk, butter or parm cheese because of the lactose (it is a carb!)

I tend to eat simple foods, WHOLE foods as often as possible, fresh or frozen vegetables, and stay away from processed meats (sandwich meats, hot dogs, most sausages) and cheeses (reg sandwich cheese (American) and velvetta). I get my carbs mainly from vegetables and the small amounts of dairy.

If you have any questions about anything that I eat, let me know in the comments.

LCHF Week One: Health Observations (August 27 — September 2, 2015)

Here is a list of observations I have made on my health since beginning the LCHF WOE on Aug. 27th:

  1. My glucose levels have come down drastically. Morning fasting numbers range from 80-115. Before each meals, my numbers have not been above 135 and are usually around 115. Two hours after meals, my numbers have been as low as 98, but never higher than 135. Before bedtime, no higher than 130 and often as low as 80. Before this, my numbers ranged from 175 at the lowest to as high as in the 300s.
  2. I have been averaging about 2 meals a day (breakfast and dinner) with maybe a snack before bedtime, if needed. I stay full for up to 6+ hours now.
  3. I have had no cravings for sweets or breads (my main weakness).
  4. Before this WOE, I had episodes of severe constipation. Eliminations came about 2-3 times a WEEK. Now I have eliminations on average of 2 times per DAY.
  5. Allergies have reduced. Less frequent sneezing fits, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches.
  6. I now sleep on average of 6 hours per day and usually in 3 hour implements. Three hours between the hours of (10/11 pm to 1/2 am and 11 am/12 pm to 2/3 pm). I have more energy.
  7. My mood is elevated (suffer from depression and anxiety), I am less fatigued during the day, very little brain fog, and clearer focus.
  8. My night vision has greatly improved and my overall eyesight is sharper.
  9. Very little acid reflux unless I eat too many acidic foods like tomato sauce.
  10. My hair is shinier, my skin is smoother, my nails are growing better and not brittle, my joints are looser, very little swelling in my ankles and feet, and the pain is minimal from the neuropathy in my feet.

How This Journey Began — My Story

When I was 35 (back 14 yrs ago), I weighed 307 lbs and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Here is me at 307 lbs.

at307lbs

All the doctor told me was to take these pills (metformin and glipizide) and cut out sugar and processed sugary foods. I struggled over a period of 6 years to lose 60 lbs on various diets — Vegetarian, Lower Carb/Low Fat, Weight Watchers, and a few I made up myself. The results was a slow weight loss and increasingly high blood glucose levels. In 2005, I was put on two insulins, Levimer (slow acting) and Novalog (fast acting). Even being on metformin and these insulins, I struggled to keep my blood glucose levels down and kept gaining weight from the increases in insulin. My overall cholesterol was high and I was gradually feeling the effects of neuropathy in both of my feet. Needless to say, I was a mess.

Before I get to how I came around to the LCHF diet, let me tell you about my own experiences with dietitians and nutritionists. The current  ADA standard guidelines are 45 gm of carbs per meal for women and 60 gm for men. It is suggested that you eat 3 meals per day plus up to two snacks per day (15 gm for women, up to 25 for men). I was told to eat low fat and lean proteins. I could chose from whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, fruits in moderation, low fat dairy, and of course lean mean meats like chicken and fish, to go easy on beef and pork, not to eat too many eggs, and use oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil and margarine, definitely no butter and as little animal fat as possible. Saturated fats was a no-no. Mono and Poly fats were the way to go.

The effects of this diet were devastating! Not only did my blood glucose levels stay high (175-300 on average), but my cholesterol continued to climb, my hair became brittle and began falling out, my skin was ultra dry, I began having severe joint pain and the pain in my feet from neuropathy was excruciating!

Just a note: I did not overindulge in cakes, cookies, candy, pies, white breads, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. I ate a few of those, according to the guidelines, in moderation. I was told that if I wanted a sweet, to save my carbs for such things. If I wanted rice, switch to brown —  I did so. If I wanted pasta, switch to whole wheat — I did so. If I wanted potatoes, eat sweet potatoes — I did so. If I wanted bread, switch to whole grains — I did so. As long as I stuck to the 45 for meals and the 15 for snacks, I would be okay. I was NOT okay! And I have NOT been okay for the last 14 years eating this way.

On August the 27th of this year, I decided to make a drastic lifestyle change in hopes of saving what’s left a good life for myself. I began doing some extensive research into Low Carb eating. I’ve known for a while that eating fewer carbs helped my blood glucose levels. I’d already begun to cut back on carbs, eating on average of 50-75 gms per day, as opposed to the 150-165 gms as recommended by the dietitians and nutritionists. I was still doing the low fat and lean meats. I stayed hungry all the time and craved carbs like crazy! This led me to further research and lo and behold I came up with the solution: High Fats! But not just any kinds of fats — coconut oil, olive oil, butter, avocados, and animal fats (I will discuss fats further in another post). I also learned that when you lower your carbs, you must add fat! My carbs are now 20 gm per DAY or lower. I’ve continued to eat the leaner meats, in moderation.

The results have been amazing! My blood glucose is in the “normal” ranges now (80-140) at any time during the day and as of today (9/2/15), I’ve only been on this WOE for 7 days! I will be making a post later about my observations from the first 7 days of this diet, so stay tuned for that. I have no idea how this is affecting my cholesterol, my A1c or if I have lost any weight. I will be seeing my PCP on Oct. 1st and will post my lab results then.

I do recognize that the LCHF WOE is NOT a fad diet. I will have to eat this way for the remainder of my life if I want to maintain healthy weight and glucose levels. I am in this for the long haul.

Note of Caution: It is not recommended that Type 1 diabetics eat a LCHF diet due to possible low blood sugar readings.

Not a Diet, a Way of Living

I am beginning this blog as a way of chronicling a new way of livng (WOL). For me, the Low Carb/High Fat (LCHF) way of eating (WOE) is not a diet. It is a completely lifestyle change.

FYI: this new WOE is not for everyone. I do not pretend to be an expert, doctor, nutritionist or other, and I will not force this WOE on anyone else. This is for me and me alone. If you find my posts, articles, etc. interesting, PLEASE do your own research. All of our bodies are different and some do well on LCHF, others do not.

More information is available under ABOUT and soon I will give my own story of how I came about this WOL.

~Ravyne Hawke~