Fat of the Land

I’ve already addressed that you want to ignore the (big-agriculture funded) advice of the American Heart Association.¬† You want to avoid an oil that inexplicably comes from a grain or “vegetable”.¬† Corn, soy, canola, margarine….don’t even feed it to your dog.

So what oils are you supposed to eat?

About six years ago I was nursing my third baby.¬† I wasn’t producing enough milk and she was experiencing constipation.¬† Around that same time I was learning the truth about healthy and unhealthy fats.¬† I threw away our vegetable and canola oil, along with our “butter-esque” spread.¬† I replaced everything with virgin coconut oil and real butter.

I added tons of natural fats, especially coconut oil, to my diet.¬† My milk and my baby’s health improved dramatically.¬† My baby even took on a faint coconutty scent that others commented on.¬† She still loves coconut.

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My coconut baby!¬† She had such a glow ‚̧

The myth (still propagated to this day!) that saturated fats were unhealthy came from a study by Ancel Keys in the 1950’s.¬† He wanted to show that fat was the cause for all our health woes.¬† His results showed anything but, but he chose to cherry pick the data, dump what didn’t support his hypothesis, and presented his findings to the scientific community.¬† Here’s a funny, quick video that sums it up-¬†funny truth bomb video

We all switched to whole milk, organic when possible (we’re a family of five, six if you count the 90 lb. dog, on a single income!).¬† I cook with lots of butter.¬† We’ve consumed a lot of saturated fat for the past 6 years.

When I started a part time job last year people were shocked at my age.¬† They assumed I was a good 5-8 years younger than I am.¬† I’m 31.¬† I got asked where I go to school!¬† I assume this is because of the anti-aging properties of healthy saturated fat and avoiding the aging properties of vegetable oils.

It’s frustrating to me that people¬†still¬†think saturated fats are unhealthy.¬† What happened when everyone switched to skim milk, margarine, and 6-11 servings of grain a day?¬† Obesity, heart disease, diabetes…it all skyrocketed.¬† To make up for a lack of flavor food manufacturers added extra starch and sugar to low-fat products.¬† Snackwell cookie, anyone?

All of this was pushed on the public.¬† You’d only know the truth if you knew how to do your own research.¬† It makes my blood boil a bit.

The fact is, saturated fat is healthy.¬† It’s where the majority of our fat calories should be coming from.¬†¬†Saturated fat Vindicated¬† Saturated fat is going to be shelf-stable.¬† It doesn’t oxidize at the rate of fats from vegetable sources.¬† When you eat an oil that has been chemically squeezed from a grain it is going to cause a cascade of inflammation and oxidation in your body.¬† These oils aren’t shelf stable.¬† They degrade quickly.¬† Therefore they all undergo a process of hydrogenation to some extant.¬†¬†Vegetable Oils and Oxidation¬† Since oxidation is basically causing us all to age and eventually die, we all want to limit it as much as possible, capiche?¬†¬†420d9af0cc93caebd56b2f1bff54ca6cI implore you to do your own research.¬† Literally chuck your vegetable oils in the garbage.¬† Replace it with real butter (yum!), coconut oil (amazing for you!), olive oil, avocado oil, and natural animal fats.¬† Your food will taste better, you’ll feel better, I promise!

 

 

Mayo Quest

I almost feel weird going a day without posting!

I spent the day on a quest for mayo.  Yep.  Mayo.  I did have some great stuff made with avocado oil but I ran out.  I tried making my own but that was a disastrous, runny #fail.  So I actually drove through a blizzard to obtain some.

Why?¬† Well, mayo is one food that is encouraged on the keto diet.¬† It’s awesome stuff.¬† With the caveat that it has to be made with a natural oil.¬† Hydrogenated soybean oil¬†aint¬†natural.¬† Good luck finding any mayo that isn’t full or either soybean or canola oil.¬† Both of which are horrible for you-¬†yuck¬†and¬†yucker!¬†¬†Even the stuff labeled as “olive oil” mayo.¬† Check the ingredients, topping the list will be soybean oil.

In my quest I checked some four stores and eventually had to brave the vegan/prius crowd of whole foods.  I finally found some mayo made with sunflower oil.  Which is not ideal, but acceptable. Why We Should Limit Vegetable Oils

I’ve just been craving cheeseburgers (no bun, ppl!) with lots of spices and of course a lot of mayo.¬† It’s so good.¬† It almost shouldn’t be allowed on a diet!¬† My kids don’t complain either, which is a plus.

In truth, I had other errands to run but finding decent mayo was definitely at the top of the list.¬† One fun thing about the diet is going nuts with the dietary fat.¬† I love pouring liberal amounts of heavy cream in my coffee.¬† Who needs sugar when it’s so rich?¬† Steamed veggies are so nummy soaked in butter and a sprinkling of salt.

True, the diet is pretty restrictive.¬† But I am finding it to be very fulfilling and easy to follow.¬† Plus I am pulling out my jeans I haven’t been able to wear in ages!!¬†¬†Happy-dance.gif

 

Net Carb Revelation

I don’t know why I haven’t made the connection until now (because I was aware of how net carbs work) but up to this point I’ve been counting total carbs, and trying to stay under 40 grams or so.

The body fat has been melting off like candle wax but this is unsustainable for obvious reasons and difficult to maintain.

What is the difference between a net carb and total carbs?¬† In simple terms you subtract grams of fiber from the total carb count to get net carbs.¬† Example: a serving of avocado has 12 grams of carbs, but a whopping 10 grams of fiber, so the net total would be only 2 carbs.¬† That’s why images of avocados are so¬†ubiquitous in the keto movement!¬† I ate two last night.¬† ūüėČ

Why?¬† Because these fibrous carbs are largely indigestible.¬† We eat them, but we can’t break them down enough for them to contribute to actual carb/sugar energy for our body.¬† They do, however, have an enormously positive impact on digestion, gut health, and even¬†lowering¬†blood sugar levels.¬†¬†Total Carbs vs. Net Carbs

Some people chose to go by total carbs.¬† Some people chose to go by net carbs.¬† Some crazy-dedicated people go¬†zero¬†carb.¬†¬†Zero Carb¬† I’m all about doing what works for¬†you¬†but I wouldn’t recommend going zero carb.¬† Mainly because there are so many benefits from eating low-carb, fibrous veggies.¬† Without them it is possible to “starve” your healthy gut flora.¬†¬†Fiber and Gut Flora¬† Fiber feeds our beneficial bacteria just as much as sugar feeds parasitic bacteria.¬† We’re just beginning to understand how critically important our microbiome is for our total health and well-being.¬† But simply, if you want to be healthy, keep your gut happy!¬†¬†human-microbiome.gif

It seems for the most accelerated weight loss, you want to keep total carbs at 20 grams or lower.  That goes for people who are pre-diabetic or just very carb-sensitive.  If you want more of a maintenance program you can loosen up a lot and count net carbs.

At this point, personally, I’m thinner than I’ve been in probably 6 years, since before the pregnancy of my last baby.¬† I’m going to investigate a weight maintenance program soon.¬† Because it isn’t healthy for women to drop too much body fat.¬† We need a base line of at least 15% for healthy hormonal function.¬†¬†Women, Health, Body Fat¬† I want to stick with it as a lifestyle though.¬† My skin looks great.¬† My thinking is clearer.¬† I’m not plagued by sugar cravings.¬† My anxiety has been greatly reduced.¬† I’m still nourishing my body and eating 1,500-1,900 calories a day, depending on my activity level and hunger cues.

Shark Week!!

Ok guys, I’m sorry but this topic is going to be for the ladies…..

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We’re talking “shark week” aka PMS.

I’ve been in my shark week, not realizing it.¬† Things got started a bit sooner than usual.¬† Probably because my hormones have been “off” as I’ve lost a few pounds of body fat.¬†¬†Losing Body Fat, Releasing Estrogen

Anyways, I’ve been cranky.¬† Ok, that’s an understatement.¬† I’ve been beastly.¬† The mere sound of my children’s voices is like nails on a chalkboard.¬† I’ve been walking around with an angry ogre face that has hilariously prompted my 5 year old daughter to apologize (without having done anything!) multiple times.

As many of you ladies know, when that beast comes out of it’s slumber a certain time each month the only thing that will soothe it is¬†chocolate.¬†¬†giphyGood news is, chocolate is actually ok on keto, as long as you opt for very dark or chocolate with an alternative sweetener.¬† That way you can not¬†commit homicide and stay on track with your diet!! ūüėȬ†Dark chocolate is actually incredibly good for you as well (like we need any excuse!)…¬†¬†Dark Chocolate Benefits

So I ran out and got some 90% dark chocolate.¬† No, it isn’t as yummy as a lighter chocolate, but it only has 3 grams of carbs per large square.¬† I think I will melt it in a double boiler and add some peanut butter to make it a more palatable “fat bomb”.

And if you’re one that craves chocolate it could be because you are low on magnesium or even iron, both of which chocolate is a good source of. I’ve had blood work done in the past showing anemia so I take iron (and magnesium) every day and it’s been very helpful.¬† If you regularly get cravings you might want to get blood work done to rule out vitamin deficiencies.

If you’re craving fatty and salty foods like fries or potato chips, you can get some pork rinds.¬† I’ve found these parmesan crisps to be ah-mazing.¬† Zero carbs and you’ll get your “chip” fix.

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delicious “croutons”

Be aware of your cycles so the beast doesn’t spring out and catch you totally unprepared.¬† I track them on my phone.¬† Eat dark chocolate, take bubble baths, get more than usual time alone (your family will thank you!), try deep breathing, put duct tape over your mouth….

If you’re losing weight your period can be worse than usual.¬† But those symptoms should pass with time.¬† Just take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone and it will pass.¬† Don’t sweat it if you eat more than usual.¬† You’re eating for two; you and your angry uterus.¬† I blew past my calorie goal, but it’s ok.¬† For heaven’s sake don’t weigh yourself either.

Being Insulin and Carb Smart

After going off sweeteners (except for a bit of stevia) I had a pretty rough couple days.¬† Then I woke up this morning feeling much better.¬† Feeling “keto-calm”- happy and positive.¬† I think the insulin spiking was too much for me, with the sugar alcohols.¬† I was turning into the wicked witch of the west.¬† I was craving carbs.¬† I was stressed out.¬† I felt awful.

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I’ll get you, my carb-ys!!

I’ve read that some people can tolerate different sweeteners.¬† Some people can’t.¬† You just really have to pay attention to how your body reacts.

Trust that your taste buds will adapt.¬† If you cut out the sweet, you’ll stop craving it.¬† Really!!¬† Yesterday I noticed the sweetness in a diced tomato like I never have before.

I’m keeping a bit of stevia in my diet to make life a bit easier.¬† I use vitamin water zero to mix my chlorella and probiotics (now that juice isn’t an option).¬† Plus it doubles as a sweet treat for me.¬† The taste isn’t amazing¬†but it’s good enough.¬†¬†Most keto experts agree that stevia is generally pretty harmless for most people.¬†¬†Benefits of Stevia

Another thing I’ve learned is the importance of timing your carb intake.¬† The best time to take in carbs is right after a workout.¬† It won’t spike your insulin, it won’t take you out of ketosis- because your body will use it to replenish your store of glycogen in your muscles.¬†¬†How to Carb Cheat

I had about 15 grams of carbs after a 45 minute workout in the form of a designer whey protein shake with fairlife filtered milk and a scoop of natural peanut butter.

You don’t want to go nuts, but if you are an active person you have more wiggle room in your carb intake while you stay in ketosis.

One big positive side effect that I’ve noticed is for my family.¬† My husband is making positive changes too.¬† He is a slim guy, he doesn’t need to lose weight but he is cutting back on carbs too.¬† He quit drinking soda, which is huge.¬† There are benefits to cutting back on carbs, even if you don’t go full keto.¬† Benefits of Cutting Back on Carbs¬† My kids are also eating less sugar cause I’m not eating sugar.

I don’t know about you but my kids want to eat¬†my¬†food.¬† If I’m eating snickers, they want it too.¬† Being wary of looking like a hypocritical meanie I shared my candy with them many times in the past.¬† Now when I make a salad I make a huge one because my 5 and 8 year old want to eat salad too!¬† Last night they all ate big helpings of asparagus with butter and parmesan along with their kid-friendly chicken nuggets.

When you make positive life changes it doesn’t just affect you!¬† It has a domino effect.¬† That in itself is reason enough to make changes.

Sweet Sorrow

Guys, I’ve definitely hit a major hitch in my keto-ing.¬†n-CHOCOLATE-EATING-628x314

The trouble is, I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.¬† When I saw all the keto-deserts out there I got really excited.¬† I ordered xylitol and whipped up some keto fudge.¬† I’ve been snacking on my keto fudge the past few days.

I’ve also been checking in on the scale every day to track my progress.¬† First, it stalled and then I¬†gained back a couple pounds.¬†Picture-3

I went back to the drawing board.¬† Yesterday I abstained from my xylitol and was pretty surprised to realize I was starting over, again.¬† The xylitol had been “kicking” me right out of ketosis.¬† I had to go through a lot of those dreaded starting symptoms,¬†again.¬†

I wanted to “have my cake and eat it too” but really, one of the main reasons I’m doing this diet is to get free from a life long love affair with sweets.¬† I thought I could still get my sweet on and keto on but apparently¬†not.¬†

The problem (or advantageous adaptation, tomato-tumahto) is that digestion starts in your mouth.¬† As soon as you see, smell, anticipate the food your mouth is salivating and digestion is already happening, in a sense.¬† When you eat something that tastes sweet your body is most likely going to release insulin.¬† Sweet=quick energy.¬† Even if that sweet isn’t actually real sugar.¬† Your body just has to think that it is.¬† You release insulin but the sugar never comes so your blood sugar drops.¬† You get cranky, get carb cravings, get kicked out of ketosis…just not good.¬†¬†Artificial Sweeteners and Insulin¬†A lot of people (ahem, me included) try to replace sugar with a substitute and then are mystified when progress screeches to a grinding halt.

I just threw out the last of my keto fudge.

Because not only do I want to succeed (and get sweet-lady-abs) but I want to rewire my taste buds.¬† I’m letting go of “sweet”, at least for now.¬† Maybe the real sorrow is in not parting sooner.¬† Then I know I’ll get the real benefits of reduced cravings and more energy as my body actually¬†stays¬†in a state of ketosis.

Health, Hormones, and Keto…oh my!

I think it’s is arrogant to assume we know everything about the human body.¬† We don’t.¬† But there are some things that we¬†do¬†know and we should use them to our advantage.

I’ve spent (too many!) hours scouring articles and message boards on the keto diet.¬† And for as many people who try it, there are as many results.¬† Some women report their hormones go from dysfunctional to problem free, finding relief from PCOS or endometriosis. Some people are able to reverse diabetes and high blood pressure and go off of their medication.¬† Other people report that the diet caused hypothyroidism.

It’s important to give your body proper nutritional support, especially when embarking on a diet.¬† Any diet can stress your adrenal glands and possibly impact your thyroid function.

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Here are some natural supplements I am taking to support my adrenal and thyroid function.  The thyroid energy support has zinc, copper, iodine, B-vitamins, and a couple adaptive herbs.  Nothing too crazy.

Ideally you can improve your adrenal health as you are cutting out a major source of stress on your body- sugar.  Sugar and Adrenals

You also want to try to keep stress levels down.¬† If you’re into cardio, you may want to scale it back.¬† You don’t need to slog through hours of cardio to burn off carbs because you’re not eating them!¬† Stick with minimal cardio because too much can be a negative form of stress.¬†¬†Stress and Cardio ¬† ¬†Moderate activity throughout the day is actually really great for you.¬† Cleaning your house, playing with your kids, going for a walk- those are all ideal ways to aid your body in burning fat without increasing cortisol levels.

Another thing that (especially for women) you want to be aware if you are going keto; that you may experience funky side effects as you lose body fat.¬† ¬†I had three days of achiness in my legs, the same feeling I get when I’m really hormonal.¬† Why?¬† Your body stores estrogen and toxins in your body fat.¬† As you burn body fat those hormones and toxins get released into your blood steam.¬† Because we are exposed to a lot of environmental estrogen, a lot of us women have symptoms of estrogen dominance.¬† If you’ve seen women shaped like extreme pears; regular sized torso and¬†huge¬†bottom and thighs- that’s estrogen dominance.¬† Estrogen is very important for our health but too much, and the franken-estrogen we are exposed to, can cause major problems.¬† We want to decrease our body fat and flush out the extra estrogen, even if it means a bit of discomfort for the time being.¬† Xenoestrogens

You can aid the process along by staying hydrated (don’t forget your electrolytes!!) and sweating.¬† If you’re lucky enough to have access to a sauna, use it everyday.¬† Yes, you can sweat out toxins.¬†¬†Benefits of Sweating¬† You can get similar benefits from sweating during a workout.¬† You can also try hot detox baths with epsom salt, dry-brushing, and rebounding.

I know I’ve mainly addressed women but men can really benefit from detoxing as well because you guys suffer side effects from environmental estrogen exposure too!