After researching these last few months what the WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) diet is all about, I have decided this would be my next diet/lifestyle trial for the next 3 months starting today Monday 30th Sept 2019.
I have read The China Study, and Whole by T.Colin Campbell over these last few months, and been trying WFPB recipes and foods, and investigating new grains and produce to use to see if I can make it interesting enough to stick too, and I do think the answer is yes. And I am looking forward to it now too.
I always suffer with high cholesterol, probably because I love my meat, fish and dairy. And it shot up when I trialled the Keto Diet too last year, and never came down. Sometimes its off the chart, and my reader just says 'H' which means its higher that it monitors! Whoops! Now, I have read all the information and books written by those who say high cholesterol isn't actually an problem, and that its fake news started by Ancel Keys hypothesis in 1956. From where stems most peoples belief that high cholesterol causes heart disease. Now, the likes of Dr Eric Berg and Dr Jason Fung (who wrote the fabulous book The Obesity Guide) do have good arguments that this is no longer the case.
But on reading The China Study by yet another educated and experienced individual, does throw a curve ball on these arguments and opinions. And as I always like to put my money where my mouth is, I thought I needed to test the WFPB diet out and see what its all about.
All the statistics on how it can slow down and even reverse heart disease have pulled me in. As well as also prevent cancers, and many sources also repeatedly claiming the diet can can also shrink cancer growths, and some have claimed it to have totally gone. As well as reversing blood pressure issues and cholesterol issue and so much more. Some vast and interesting research has been done on this WFPB diet. And its all intriguing.
Now, I don't see this as a 'Vegan' diet/lifestyle. I'm not going to stop wearing leather shoes and start insisting friends and family to follow this lifestyle. I just want to see how I feel and how I look on just plants and whole grains. And if some of my stats improve. And as all my diet trials, try it for myself.
I recently had my Insurance check over which always check my stats, and they always don't like my high cholesterol. This time, I did WFPB for 2 weeks on the run up to the test. Beforehand my overall Cholesterol reading was around 11 mmol/l. Ideally it should be 5.2mmol/l and below. My results from the insurance testing after these 2 weeks was 5.5 mmol/l!!! In only 2 weeks it changed this dramatically. And Insurance company was happy. And I felt happy. This helped me decide to trial this diet/lifestyle. Incidentally, after going back to eating meat and dairy etc after these 2 weeks resulted in it shooting back up again.
I also have had issues in the past with my kidney test readings. My GFR test sits at about 49 ml/min, and this should be 90ml/min and over.
This was of great concern for my GP who said I had the kidneys of an 80 year old (she was wrong), but the specialist pointed out that this often the case that body builders have these low kidneys readings. It could be caused by years of massively high amounts of meat proteins eaten, and readings can be distorted by taking creatine type supplements and protein powders. Although, I didn't share with him that I don't actually take any body building supplementation. I haven't touched pre-workouts, protein powders or creatine for years. To me they are processed fake foods. But I figured I had for many years previous to this, and long term usage or build up, could also have been the reason.
He wasn't overly concerned and thought these would correct themselves by cutting back on the proteins and creatine. And in fact, cancelled my appointment once he found out I was a body builder. Or an athlete as he put it. Shame we didn't meet, I think I would of like him!
I also know of many a body builder pals and acquaintances who has kidney problems from years of being in the sport. And I do believe that huge amounts of protein supplements, meat and fish proteins exhausts the kidneys and over works them (and has been proven and suggested for years), and eventually can damage them. We aren't actually made to eat multiple meals of meat/fish a day. We are made to eat these occasionally when they are hunted. This is my belief anyway. So another reason then for me to give them a break on the WFPB lifestyle. Rest up the kidneys a little!
Plant proteins also have no impact on cholesterol, as they don't contain the fat levels meats do and are easier to digest as they also carry high amounts of fibre, which speeds up and aids digestion, and pack more nutrients in less calories. So also easier to process for the digestive system and the kidneys too.
Some also argue that meat is better as a protein they are a complete protein, however there are some plant foods they are a complete protein such as Quinoa and Buckwheat. So, by eating a good range of plants and whole foods, you can get complete proteins, mixed proteins on top of a whole bunch of fibres, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that don't come quite so packed and diverse in meats, dairy and fish. This is , and was me, talking myself around over the last few months!
Over the years of being on many an extreme diet, I know I have also damaged and slowed down my metabolism. I often explain to people how low calorie diets for long periods of time can permanently damage your metabolism. Making it harder and harder to maintain your weight, and resulting in you eating less and less just to stay where you want to be and not gain weight.
For instance, if I do a long drive to work, do a days classroom training, often sitting, and drive back, getting up at 5am and not getting home until 8pm (this can often happen) I haven't been able to train and have been sat most of the day, the calories I have burnt on my watch is normally around 1500 calories for the whole working day, so this is work active and not quite sedentary. This is all I need to eat on this day so not to gain weight.
If I then do a cardio workout for 40 mins, that'll burn about 300 calories, or a weights workout about 200 calories. So an average work/drive day for me, I only work off 1500 on a no train day, 1700 calories if I go to the gym and do weights, and 2000 calories if I work, do weights and do cardio. I can't eat over these amounts each day based on activity, as the weight piles on. This is due to years of dieting, a damaged metabolism, and of course I'm now no spring chicken, and age will have a natural impact. So my calories have to always stay quite low, even with all the training I still do everyday.
Think about this example - An average woman wants to loose weight 10 lbs in 10 weeks. Loosing 1lb a week 'healthily'. She knows that there are 3500 calories in a 1lb of fat. So she splits this over 7 days. meaning she would have to under eat by 500 calories a day to loose 1lb a week. So, as an average woman (national RDA 2000 calories a day remember), she will need to eat 1500 calories a day to do this. So she starts her diet, religiously sticking to these calories.
**Thought for you - If she continued to eat 1500 calories forever, would she disappear? No, of course not. So what happens?
She looses 1lb a week for the first 4 weeks, then the weight loss starts to slow. Until at 7 - 8 weeks she stops loosing weight.. Shes confused, she has been so good? What has happened?
Well, her body has adjusted itself to survive on 1500 calories. Our bodies is very intelligent and can adapt to exist. That's why us humans are still here, we adapt to survive. It learns a pattern and adjusts itself. Our organs adjusts the speed of which they pump, our body temperature lowers which uses less calories, everything changes to adapt to this new way of functioning on the fuel its being given. This is called slowing down you metabolism. Your 'Basal Metaphoric Rate' (BMR) resets and lowers to survive.
She now gets disheartened, and would either eat even less (encouraging even more bodily adjustments) or starts eating what she thinks is back to normal again. 2000 calories a day. She doesn't want to gain the weight she lost so is good at sticking to her normal 2000 calories a day. BUT...she suddenly starts gaining weight. Putting it back on and some. Sound familiar?
Why? Because her metabolism is slower. She no longer needs 2000 calories. Her body has adjusted to 1500 calories. So now it sees her as over eating by 500 calories a day! And it rarely changes back now its formed this habit. The damage is often done. It might improve slightly, but here begins the yo-yo dieter. Gaining and losing forever, wondering why you always gain weight so easy. Not realising every time you do a long term low calorie diet that adjustment becomes more and more ingrained in your being.
The reason for this example is because WFPB diet has been reported to improve your metabolism. To naturally speed it up. People often report being able to eat many more calories without gaining weight. Due to the high fibre and good nutritional value to all foods you eat. Nothing is processed, all is easily digested. Toilet visits are often more frequent, and (providing you eat a range of good and diverse foods and produce) you gets stacks of nutrients the body needs. Meaning the organs, digestive system and body functions become more efficient again. My toilet trips are always a bone of contention. Although they have improved from my lifelong issues with being regular, there is still room for improvement. Nuff said.
So this is something else I want to monitor. Will I eat more without gaining weight? Will I become more consistent with my toilet visits? I guess we'll wait and see...
I do also intend on doing one or two 24 fasts a week as this as I have said before is for life for me for reasons explained in previous blogs . Incidentally, you can also understand now why fasting is often raved about for dieters, because based on the previous paragraphs, it doesn't damage your metabolism. As you don't eat low calories for a long period of time, just those occasional intermittent days. Not allowing your body to reset and lower its BMR.
And lastly, the other reason for trying this is the amount of professional athletes who are now being trained on WFPB diets with masses of success. Just recently a film has been released about this with none other that Arnold Schwarzenegger in it talking about the benefits of plant based diets. I am yet to see it, but I am looking forward to seeing what it's all about. It's called Game Changers. Keep an eye out for it.
Recently, there are more and more competitive athletes are being moved to WFPB diets by their coaches or by choice, and getting massive gains and/or athletic improvements from doing this. Stronger, faster and muscle mass being grown without masses or meat/fish/dairy proteins or processed supplements. So could this really be the case? Again.. I guess we'll wait and see....
So what am I going to be eating?
Basically whole, unprocessed, unrefined plant based foods. No dairy, no meats, no fish, no eggs, no refined sugars (no packaged bread which are nearly all shop bought, no pastas, cous cous, cakes, sweets, pastries etc). Sugars can be eaten if from whole organic unprocessed grains such as Spelt Flour, Sourdough and Rye. And in the natural forms of honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar,.
I can eat grains - such as Spelt, Oat Groats, Rye, Buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, barley.
And legumes - all types of beans, peas, lentils. All vegetables and fruits, seeds and nuts, spices and water, honey, maple syrups, plant milks/yogurts, herbal teas, green teas and coffees.
I will be trying a brand new recipes every week, and making new breads, none of my old favourite Almond & Coconut recipes, as they all contain eggs, so new bakes and recipe ideas will regularly be added. Made a great Spelt and Oat loaf today which was lovely with Hazelnut Butter and Banana on top! Delicious and within my boundaries of WFPB.
Here's one to try. I make this great Parsnip and Ginger Soup with Sourdough roll last week -
So, whats my starting stats?
This morning my body stats were as follows -
Weight - 69.5 Kgs / 154lbs / 10st 10lbs
Muscle Mass 49 Kgs
Water - 54% (Good)
Visceral Fat - 5 (Excellent)
Body Fat % - 26.5 (Normal)
Fasted Blood Sugar - 5.7 mmol/l (Good)
Blood Pressure - 118/72 (Good)
Total Cholesterol - 9.16 mmol/l (High - My machine only takes total and doesn't split HDL/LDL)
So overall, all pretty healthy to start, apart from the cholesterol. My last results from my full body scan done by medical professionals (above are my own home readings), and kidney readings were as follows -
I plan to have all these readings done again by medical professionals again the end of November, 2 months into the WFPB, so I can report back on my final blog the difference, if any of course!
So, the reasons for this is to see -
1. Will my Cholesterol get to an ideal range?
2. Will my Kidney reading improve?
3. Will my metabolism improve?
4. Will there be improvements in my workouts or athletic ability?
5. Can I gain muscle mass on plants and grains?
6. Can I make the food tasty and interesting enough for me to last 3 months?
7. Will my toilet trips improve?
And finally, I know everyone loves a before pic! So these were taken today -
I am not doing this diet/lifestyle for purpose of exterior change. But it's always good to keep a log of all progress, and will be interesting to see what or if anything changes.
Incidentally I was quite happy with these shots for 2 years off competition and 48 years old. Not bad for an old dot! No make up, no filter this morning. I also had this one taken below. Incidentally I was going to scrap it as my wrinkly skin on my belly showed. And then I remembered a conversation with a lovely lady who was competing who messaged me on my FB page, saying she can't shift the saggy skin around her belly. Well, I said nor can I! Its wear and tear and comes with age. Normally careful photography and posing covers it, as you can see above, there's no sign of it, but below there is.. But we are in the real world, and this is just how I am out of show. I am growing to like my bodily wisdom crinkles and stretches!
Food wise, my first day of prepping my WFPB food for this week, is going to be as follows -
Breakfast - Soaked overnight Oat Groats with Apple and Blueberries with a spoonful of soy Greek Yogurt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Lunch - Walnut, Pear and Avocado Salad. Salad was shredded white and red cabbage, onion, fennel and radishes. In a dressing made of almond yogurt, seeded mustard and apple cider vinegar.
Dinner - Jamie Oliver's recipe for Indian Potato burgers with mint yogurt and pomegranates. With a 'Terri' recipe of stir fried chickpeas and spelt, with turmeric, paprika, garlic, ginger, kale and spinach.
When I prep food I generally prep it for the week as I find it easier for one person. And I am SO looking forward to eating all this again tomorrow.! It was all delicious, if I do say so myself!
Well, there it is. The beginning. I hope you've enjoyed this blog. And will catch up with me again when I am due to finish which will be Christmas Eve! Will I stick to it or will it be a forever choice? Who knows! I'm looking forward to finding out!
Thanks for reading! Catch you soon! Terri xx
If you enjoyed this diet blog so far, please have a read of some of my other diet blogs by clicking on these links -
Intermittent Fasting Part 1
Intermittent Fasting Part 2
My Ketosis Journey Part 1
My Ketosis Journey Part 2
My Ketosis Journey Part 3
My Ketosis Journey Part 4
My Ketosis Journey Part 5
My Ketosis Journey Part 6
Update Keto Conclusion Part 7
Five Day Extended Fast
Can I Reverse Diabetes T2 with Keto and Fasting?
The Prebiotic and Probiotics Diet
How it all started....
Anyone that follows my blogs knows that I trial diets, programs and different ways of eating generally on myself normally for a minimum of a 3 month period, and during these processes I monitor my health stats to see if they improve, or to find the best fat burning diet, and so on. At the end of last year after researching for the whole of 2018 on the medicinal effects of food and diet, I wanted to see if I could actually attempt to reverse diseases, initially Diabetes Type 2, through a diet plan. However, I am fit and healthy and not diabetic, so I decided to offer my time and new found knowledge to someone who may be willing to put themselves through a program that I put together for them. I initially was offering 30 days, where I would create their meal plans, consult with them regularly testing sugars, blood pressure, and all general health markers during the process. And see where it then takes us.
But I had to find some willing participants.
So my perfect participants would need to be diagnosed diabetic. I had two people I knew in mind. They both had been diagnosed with Diabetes T2, and also has a number of other health issues often associated with it, such as obesity, sleeping problems, high blood pressure etc. And after touching base with them first to get an initial reaction, they both seemed interested.
I needed subjects who were willing to learn and understand the process, and to understand that it would be a lifestyle change although my time was theirs for them in the first 30 days, diabetes T2 is caused by lifestyles choices, so this couldn't just stop after 30 days and all be good, and go back to old ways. I hoped to help guide them too in a future healthier way of life and introduce some new ideas. This would mean them also reading up and questioning everything we did, and not just being told what to do. They needed to want a life change, and be enthused by the idea and the concept. I was not planning on forcing this on anyone. And my main goal is to reverse the Diabetes, a side effect was the weight loss that will go along side it. This I didn't want them to think of it as a diet plan, and as a road to better health and a change of lifestyle moving forward, and hopefully a lifestyle with diabetes.
So in December 2018 I put together a letter of proposal, and here is a copy of it below, along with a little box of example foods and books for them to ponder on with my offer. Here is the letter below -
And then put together a presentation of the sort of foods they may be eating, and some visual help of there proposed journey. Letting them know that a ketone breathalyser tester will be required and tests to be send on a regular basis, checking they are staying in ketosis, along side regular fasted glucose checks to check progress, and these too will need sending over on a regular basis.
During this period I ending up discussing the topic with my Financial Adviser about it all Paul Matthews, who I had know now for many years, and who I had an appointment with at my home. After listening to what I said he confessed he too had recently been diagnosed with Diabetes T2 and immediately asked to be considered as part of the program.
Paul also suffered with numerous other health issues including obesity, high blood pressure, psoriasis and I got the impression after his recent diagnosis of Diabetes T2, he was a little at the end of his tether with his list of medical problems, and was super keen in being a subject. He was added to my potential list, and I send him too the letter of proposal and the foods and expectations presentation.
I had a mixed response of replies. One offer was rejected. Another was initially very interested and did start the program, but was unable to continue for a number of reasons. But Paul was bang on the money, agreeing to follow it to a T and absolutely up for it. His family was very supportive too. His wife is a nurse and therefore was very intrigued, and his sons showed interest in the new way of proposed eating too, and both supportive of their Husband/Dad trying to improve his health through food.
So that was that. I found my subject. Paul Matthews is the one..lets get this started.
February 3rd 2019 - Paul's First Check in and Consultation
He had agreed to follow a Ketosis diet with 2 x 36 hour fasts each week. We had talked about his food likes and dislikes and I wanted to make sure he was eating foods he wanted to, and as he did want to loose a little additional weight too, I asked him to under eat on food days only by 300 calories per day max, as the fasting will be assisting with weight loss, without the damaging of the metabolism that can be done by the old fashion diet of long term consistent under eating, which only teaches the body to survive on fewer calories forever. Therefore, you slowed your metabolism. Fasting breaks that regularity, and stops the body getting used to a pattern.
Here's an example one of his weeks plans -
One day a week Paul would need to put together his own food plan, this was so he can get used to creating food for himself, in case he wanted to continue with the program beyond the 30 days. He relished in this idea, as he was keen again to learn, and also loved to cook. And off Paul went ready and raring to to go the following day, starting with his first fast.
During the first 4 weeks...
Paul stayed true to the program. He bought a blender for creating nutrient shakes on his own days, and loving the foods and sending me pictures of his meals.
Then he regularly started sending fasting glucose and breathalyser readings, and started to generate an air of excitement about it all when he saw himself easily slip into ketosis, and clearly being a stat man (he works in Finance after all!), loving following the readings and seeing how quickly the diet was making a difference, without medication. Holding physical proof in his hand showing sugar glucose levels dropping quickly, and ketones in breath and urine, so his body utilising fats as fuel.
On the 7th Feb, just four days into the process, he sends me these...
His blood sugars were reading normal already, although this first one was not done in the morning fasted, but still on a fast day in the afternoon. His breathalyser was showing a reading confirming Acetone ketone present in his breath, and an Acetoacetate ketone reading in his urine, again confirming ketone presence. Acetoacetate ketones will slowly diminish during the process and the strips stops working when the the body becomes fully adapted and rather than wasting them, uses them fully as fuel. The breath ones are a permanent ketone marker throughout.
So off to a great start! Well done Paul!
Time goes so 'Fast'....
All seemed to be ticking along nicely. One or two hiccups...like the pancakes...Lol.. I had an email asking if the pancake should look like the one on the left.....Mmmmm? Errrr...no. Next day with a recipe adjustment, looked like the right! Much better! Made me laugh!
Regular check ins and questions were coming thick and fast. But I did know the questions were becoming more informed and learned. He understood the process, and the reasons for the fasts and the ketosis lifestyle combo, it was making sense, building his passion for this new lifestyle, and medicinal diet. And he said he felt great.
We then got some great Almond bread bakes ...
And some super low glucose readings and some super high keto readings...
All was going great guns. Then, suddenly the 30 days was up! And already he was back for his 30 day 'final' consultation. That went too quick!
3rd March 2019 - 30 days up Consultation
He had lost a number of inches from his torso too, which of course is all an added bonus for him as he was also keen to loose unnecessary weight.
He didn't want to stop here and nor did I. We both agreed to continue the process, with Paul creating his own plan, and me to consult or advise when ever he felt the need.
He stayed on this program for the full 3 months, regularly letting me know how he's getting on, and getting a 4 weekly consultation and stats check with me. He was as fascinated with the process and the program as I am. Still reading more books on Audible and always learning more during the journey.
The Results - HbA1c Test Time!
Paul's 3 month consultation was due on the Sunday 5th April 2019 at 9.00 am and as always was bang on time.
He was looking great. All his Psoriasis had cleared. His sometimes dry chapped lips were full and plump, he looked less 'swollen' and looked less inflamed and a much better skin tone. All in all, he just looked a hell of a lot healthier..
He was keen to see all the weigh in results, and he had booked his 3 month appointment with the diabetes clinic for the HbA1c test for the following day, so we should have the results by the following Friday. His 3 monthly stats before and after results were as follows -
So then, Paul messages be to say he's been to the doctors and the results are in.....
Paul emailed the results on the 7th May 2019, and the results were 41 mmol/mol or 5.9%!! Bearing in mind the Ideal is between 6.5%, and 7.5% or between 48 and 59 mmol/mol. So Paul was no longer diabetic! He said his nurse at the diabetes clinic was amazed by how well he looked, and at the results. We did it!! Well, he did it with a bit of guidance from me. This was THE best news!
So..what to do from here. I have advised Paul to always continue with intermittent fasting, whether it be weekly 24 or 36 hours, or 16/8 or whatever he chooses, as this will help control his insulin levels, cleanse bad cells, help keep from over filling his storage cells with sugar, and continue help maintain his weight loss. Although for now he wants to continue with the full process until he reaches his ideal stats. And then I'll help him review his 'for life' program.
And also take with him all that he has learned about healthy eating and be mindful of the food he eats.
However, we are not stopping here. He is determined to continue to loose more weight and get the visceral fat down, and water up with a monthly check in with me. I do look forward to his visits, and hes been a joy to work with. Absorbing everything about the process...and simply getting it, which for sure helps keeps him motivated.
Paul - You have done amazingly well and you really should be proud of yourself. As proud as I am of you and all the hard work you put into this process. Keep up the good work. And let's both finish this to the end. See you soon buddy!
Note to all readers - I am unfortunately not able to offer 1-2-1 diet or nutrition plans, as I often have a number of requests after my blogs. Around my work as a company Director, training and caring for my Mother leaves me with little time to dedicate to taking on nutrition clients. I am sorry if you hoped for help. However I do hope reading up and learning for your self via my blogs and posts will help you move towards creating your own choice of lifestyle and look into a new and/or healthier way of eating. Thank you for reading my blogs.
What about my gut bacteria? Is it good or bad?
Over these last few months I have been researching good and bad gut bacteria and learning as much as I can understand anyway, about he human microbiome. Some scientist now believe we are 10 % human, and the other 90% are microbes including huge amounts of good and bad bacteria, yeasts and even viruses, all controlling our own self. It is slowly becoming apparent that out gut is as intelligent as our brains, and some even think more so. So much to say that our gut controls what we think, say and do. Managing our hormones amongst other things, therefore all our moods, thoughts, mental clarity as well as our health in general. So I wanted to find out what was happening in mine.
I always endeavour to have all my health markers perfect. I strive to be healthy inside as well as outside. I regularly monitor my glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, resting heart rate, sleep patterns, liver function, kidney function, colon function, lung function and all the rest, doing all I can to make then run perfectly through training and diet.
My 'Forever Diet' was and has been for the last few months, LCHF (Low Carb high fat) diet with IF (Intermittent Fasting), which I have found fabulous for weight maintenance, energy levels, great sleep patterns and glucose/triglycerides/HDL Cholesterol management. And I enjoy the food. Intermittent Fasting I will always do forever, as I strongly believe that it does me good by resting my digestive system and autophagy (purging damaged body cells and replenishing with new), reduces inflammation and bloating, keeping insulin and blood sugars in check and keeps giving my brain a regular burst of ketone (fat) fuel so it isn't always being fuelled by glycogen (carb/protein fuel). I love the LCHF concept too, love the foods, I prefer to keep carbs low and only eat real or raw carbs that have high fibre. So lots of veg, occasional fruit, I only eat real locally produced honey, grass fed meats, raw unpasteurised milk/butter/cheese etc. My daily diet as a rule doesn't have any sugary foods, so no cakes or sweets nor does it include pasta, no breads, no rice and nothing processed, all carbs being eaten it there original form as nature intended. All my food that I prepare at home and for work, must look like real food, and as much as I can, buy it locally from farms. Although there are also times for social reasons, I will eat what everyone else is eating, as I think its important not to alienate myself with friends and family, as these social feasting gatherings are part of our human culture.
After trialling all the diets there are out there, Keto, Paleo, Carb Cycling, IF, Back Loading, Vegan...and so the list goes on, I have come to the conclusion that no one diet is the 'best'. As much as Vegan, Paleo and Keto fans preach theirs is the 'best' of all diets, I think they all have great aspects to them, and all have there place. Keto and IF are great for reversing Diabetes Type 2 and helping kick start an obese individuals diet, Veganism is great for helping people with heart disease, Paleo is great for people with MS and other auto immune diseases and so on. But no one diet is ideal for everyone, and some are not lifetime diets and should be used to achieve a goal such as Keto to reverse Diabetes, once you are no longer diabetic, I think there is a need to re-introduce a balance of carbs to encourage your body to utilise sugars again as they should, and get your insulin working and balanced again. I now find I take a piece of each making a good healthy balance, and a diverse range of foods.
I have been including daily probiotics and prebiotics into my daily diet for some time now. Making my own probiotic Kefir, and eating others such as fermented Sauerkraut and Tofu, Kimchi and trying Kombucha drinks to introduce new bacteria into my gut. And adding some prebiotics too, to naturally help stimulate growth of any good bacteria in my gut. So adding Probiotics introduce new gut bacteria, and Prebotics feed the gut bacteria, acting like a fertiliser. More about both of these later.
However, LCHF does raise my LDL cholesterol (although as per my Facebook Page rants, I don't believe high LDL cholesterol is always a bad thing) as the diet does for many, due to eating higher fats than most standard diets. And I have finally come off my colon cleansing tablets after 12 years or so of taking them, but only if I rigidly stick to my super high fibre diet do I get away with needing them. One week in a hotel at work the other week put me back to where I was, as wasn't eating as I normally did. So this still needs a proper fix.
So, what is going on in my gut? is it in good condition? Does it need improving? I wanted to know. So I sent off for one of these ....
I ordered online from Atlasbiomed and it came a couple of days later. Had to put my Number 2 in a tube, which was, I found, amusing. And send it back. 3-4 weeks later, they email your results. Really quite interesting. I wonder what it will reveal? Find out later...
So what are Probiotic and Prebiotic foods?
So remember what I said earlier, Probiotics introduce new gut bacteria, and Prebotics feed the gut bacteria, acting like a fertiliser.
There are supplements that mean you can pop a pill to add Prebiotics and Probiotics to your diet. But I believe in food and adding them the natural way. I thought I would show you my fridge and food cupboards and walk you through some ingredients...
Probiotic - Kefir
Probiotic - Fermented Raw Sauerkraut
Probiotic - Kimchi
Probiotic - Kombucha
There are number of other Probiotics out there, this are just some of my favourites. There is also small number of probiotics in raw dairy, however to maximise them and to make then grow you need to encourage these to grow by adding the grains to make Kefir drinks or Kefir yogurts to maximise their benefits.
So pictured above is a selection of Prebiotic foods in my cupboard. They are generally high fibre high nutrient rich foods that leans them towards being prebiotic. Natures fertilisers! Click on any picture to find Healthlines list of their choice of best prebiotic foods, and see my summary below of mine -
Chicory Root - Massively high in fibre, around 50% of it is fibre, so helps constipation, and also aids fat absorption during digestion. Some countries grind it down and drink it like coffee. I add a spoonful to my turmeric and ginger latte I have most evenings.
Jerusalem Artichokes - These seem to be a favourite on all prebiotic best of listings. Massively high in inulin fibre at 76%, which increases good bacteria in the colon. I can't think of any other prebiotic higher than this per gram. They are also high in thiamine (Vitamin B1) and potassium too. It helps the immune system and nervous system. I add these raw to my morning veggie shake. But they can be roasted or sauteed, and are very much to be treated like parsnips or potatoes.
Apple Cider Vinegar - This prebiotic aids digestion, lowers LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure as well as the gut supporting benefits. Always look for an unpasteurised, unfiltered and organic one. It is perfectly normal to have 'bits' floating around in it. I make a great salad dressing with this mentioned in the dandelion leaves, and the good ones taste great straight from the bottle. It is also believed to help with weight loss. Although I am always sceptical about this phrase. (One eye brow is currently raised)
Dandelion Leaves - fresh and dried - Again, high fibre so helps constipation, improves immune system, reduces inflammation, and is believed to help lower LDL cholesterol. I use the fresh greens as salad leaves, and the dried I add to my veggie morning shake. The leaves can be slightly sour. But I make a cider vinegar, olive oil, lemon, and honey and mustard dressing to drizzle on them, which makes them delish! The bitter sweet mix works well like it does with most salad leaves. They are hard to find to buy..so go into your garden and pick them!
Chia Seeds - Chia seeds are some of the best plant sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat known as alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), these are normally found in oily fish. These are full of prebiotic soluble fibres and help repair gut lining. I soak these in coconut milk and honey overnight sometimes, as they swell and set. Then I have them as a dessert or breakfast.
Tiger Nuts - Are not actually a nut but a tuber, so grows underground like a root plant. So its more a vegetable and can be eaten by people with nut allergies, as it isn't a nut. It is sweet to eat, and I often eat them out the bag, although they can make your jaw ache, but are terrible moreish! They are anti-bacterial fighting salmonella and E-coli to name a few. Very high in fibre and another great anti-oxidant. They can be made into a sweet milk too. But soaking them in water for around 24 hours and then squeezing out all the fluid in a mesh cloth. Then the fluid is drunk and is like a sweet milk full of rich fibre goodness, and tastes great.
Burdock Root - Like the rest, this also aids the immune system, high in various fibres and helps constipation, (as you've probably seen a pattern forming in my choice of prebiotics!) It also is an antioxidant and helps lower blood sugars. This gets added each morning to my veggie shake.
Green Blends - a mix of Spirulina, Wheat grass, Chlorella, Matcha and Green Tea - All these have health benefits and I bought this mix when I went looking to buy a spirulina product. I figured I'd buy a mixed green blend to get a little bit of everything. Spirulina and Chlorella are both blue green algae. So basically a seaweed, with massive health benefits.
This is a quote about spriulina in the Journal of Microbiology and Experimentation document 'It contains 78% proteins, vitamins, 4-7% lipids (fats), minerals, carbohydrates and some natural pigments. Due to the presence of these phytonutrients, it has corrective properties against several diseases like cancer, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, anaemia etc. Research studies have reported that the extracellular products produced by Spirulina platensis significantly promotes the growth of lactic acid bacteria such as Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.' .....WOW....these is recognised as as a fabulous prebiotic which helps growth of a range of gut bacteria. Stick it straight in my shake! However...I should mention, don't use much, I use half to a full teaspoon of this powder as it is very concentrated and also tastes pretty crap and can overpower the food or shake you put it in and make it undrinkable. So, be careful and use sparingly!
My favourite - Dark Chocolate over 80% or cocoa - Flavanol rich and is great for the heart and cardiovascular system, it helps to lower LDL cholesterol and can lift your mood. I have about two Lindt squares of dark chocolate daily with a coffee. Lush!
These are some of the prebiotics I have used for a while or introduced recently. Some prebiotics I have been eating forever, and probably so have you. Such as asparagus, onions, garlic, apples, pears, bananas, leeks and such, so some don't need to be so unusual, however, the key to a good gut bacteria is diversity, so eating a range of new foods you may not have had before could very well improve your gut even more. And keep you eating interesting and new.
So what else is in the veggie shake?
Its hard to get such a vast amount of different food into your diet, most people only eat 3 times a day, so to fit all this in somehow can take some planning. So I just stick a load in a shake and whizz it in the Nutri-bullet! And BOOM..a supercharged pre and probiotic breakfast...
My daily shake consist of -
It's sometimes so thick I eat it with a spoon. I actually look forward to it and see it not only as a tasty start to the day but medicinal too. It's probably not for everyone, but it could spark an idea or two for you.
And my Microbiome test results are back...
So, some interesting readings has come through. It shows me the regions my gut bacteria are dominated with as follows.
So I am a Brit, so of course I would expect most of my microbiome to be dominated by Western Europe at 42.4%, no surprise there. I was surprised by the 30.6% from North America though! I have travelled throughout my life to the US many times over, Nantucket Massachusetts, Columbus and Cleveland Ohio, Up state and down state New York, Seattle, Arizona, Las Vegas, Santa Fe (Hi Sophia if your reading!) plus more, so my travels have made an large imprint on my microbiome.
Our microbiome is as unique as our fingerprints. No one is the same. Identical twins can have massively different microbiome make ups. Some of it is passed down from generations, your Mother during pregnancy and birth will pass on some of hers, and her grandmother before hand..and then you start building your own with what you eat, who you kiss, what you touch, stroking your cat, travelling the world and with everything you do. And it is clear my travels have had a big impact on mine as as far as I am aware I have no american ancestors. It would be interesting to see my sisters results? As our travels have been quite different.
My results also showed my total probiotic and prebiotic levels are great, 9/10 in fact. So I couldn't of asked for more and have clearly got a good intake of these going.
However what was interesting was I have average fibre digestion, and average to low vitamin B levels, and I was deficient in B3 (Niacin).
Being deficient in B3 can have an impact on Cholesterol as its key for controlling LDL levels and can effect the digestive system. Both things I struggle with. Could this be why? And what is it that's missing from my diet to warrant low Vitamin B3? The results tell you what foods help raise B3 levels, and interestingly, they are mostly carbs such as Oats, Rye, Wheat, barley, buckwheat and potatoes. As well as some that I already eat like Asparagus, carrots and cocoa. Vegetables that I don't eat regularly that influence B3 are Radishes and Tomatoes.
So, time for a rethink on my dietry intake. So I decided to add some carbs. I added the following for to aid raising my B3 levels ...
Prebiotic and Probiotic Carbohydrates
The problem with other off the shelf bread nowadays is they are prepared so quickly and often made from mutated seeds designed for mass production (shorter stems and more grain, not in their natural form), pesticides that are often sprayed on the crops can kill the nutrients in the soil which in turns kills the nutrients in the wheat which means we get nothing out of the wheat we need. Then it is processed and baked normally from beginning to end within 3 hours which also doesn't prepare the grain as it should be. Then during this process, fortified with the vitamins and minerals that are no longer present and should of been there in the first place. And we end up with a lump of processed dough. With bread over the years being made for mass production, we have lost the goodness we used to have in the grain quality and fermentation. This is why we have a lot of people who cant tolerate eating bread, causing stomachs to swell and feeling uncomfortable. It's not real food, its processed. You generally don't get this with a good quality grain, and prepared and fermented as our ancestors did. Such as with real Sourdough breads.
So, in one hit I have added Rye, Wheat, Oats, carrots, tomatoes and radish to my diet. All rich in Vitamin B3. I have also decided to supplement my diet with pure Niacin (B3) daily for a week.
Please note - When supplementing with vitamins be careful of amounts. I only need about 16 mg (0.016 gram) of B3 daily. This is a tiny amount and if you take too much you get a 'Niacin Flush' which withing 5 minutes of taking it will turn most of your body bright red starting from your head, and your skin will have a burning itchy sensation. This will disappear after about 30 mins - 2 hrs and isn't really harmful. Unless you do it daily for days on end, which can make the kidneys over work, but why would you? This is the powerful effect of vitamins, and how they can have an impact on your body, so stick to the 16 mg or suggested daily vitamin dosage, and don't guess the amount...like I did. (Red burning skin went after about 2 hrs ....doh! Looked like a lobster!)
A little note on local honey....
A little note on raw dairy...
Conclusion to date...
Yesterday (08/04/19) and today I have seen a major difference in my bowel movements (sorry!) it has become easy to go, no effort seems to be required like I've never felt before. I am daily naturally clearing, and my gut somehow feels alive and lighter. It is obviously too early to know if there is a permanent fix, as its only been a few days, but I feel good. I will also check my cholesterol over the next few weeks to see if there is any impact as all on that. I expect to to improve anyway due to adding the carbs. As its the low carb diet that makes it rise.
I will be doing another microbiome test 3 months after this one, which will bring me to June, to see what impact these changes have made. And I will update you all with those results and how I have been getting on.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe learn't a little more about the foods we eat and should eat.
And I'll catch up with you all soon.
Have a great day!
The night before - Monday 28th Jan 2019
I've prepped my bone broth, and got in a stock of sparkling water, and I've just finished my last meal for 5 days this evening. I won't eat again until the evening of Saturday 2nd February 2019. I am attempting my first extended fast. I have been fasting once or twice a week for 24 hours for some months now. And I do see the benefits and have decided to take it one step further for research and to feel the apparent health benefits.
For those who have not ever heard of an extended fast, have a little watch of this by Dr Eric Berg . He is a known name in the states and has a clinic and written or co-written many books on Keto, Intermittent Fasting and Prolonged Fasting. It will help with you have a little understanding of the process before you continue to read.
Day 1 - Tuesday 29th Jan 2019
I've woken up to a black coffee. And packed my bone broth in my work bag. These are all I'll be consuming for the next 5 days as I start my first extended/prolonged fast. As you may already know, I've been reading up a lot over the last few years on fasting, and intermittent fasting myself once or twice a week for 24 hrs for about 5 months now. And alongside a clean low carb high fat (LCHF) diet, can see and feel physical benefits.
The first week of intermittent fasting when I first did it last year, I lost 2 inches around my waist. Which obviously wasn't just weight loss as it doesn't happen that quick. It was a reduction in inflammation and water retention. These I didn't even know I had! I went from 31 inch waist to 29 inches, and that stayed off till this day.
I have finally managed now to come off my colon cleansing tablets I have been on for around 15 years now, as I suffered bad constipation due to a 'complex' or 'spastic' colon. But now in these last 3 weeks I am totally off them and going daily. Which for me is a miracle! Thanks to LCHF diet, and intermittent fasting. I can only think that giving my digestive pathway a rest every now and then, and an abundance of vegetables and good fats has helped everything along.
I do feel good after a 24 hr fast. And have found I have more control over my eating and my occasional over eating. I no longer feel the need to ever binge. I now only eat 3 meals a day too, as I now believe 5- 6 meals is unnecessary. And your digestive system needs rest, and so does those insulin levels. Keeping insulin constantly elevated with meal after meal isn't how our bodies intended to work. We are made to feed then famine since our cavemen ancestors. We grow fat when food is in abundance, to live off of it when it isn't. Nowadays we spend our lives in a constant state of storage, and not then balancing it out by emptying the stores. So we can easily store more and more fat, when the 'feed and famine' isn't balanced or equalled.
So, first full day. I feel excited and ready for this. I am expecting a rocky road. I have only told one person (my bestie) so far who I know will support me. As fasting is a taboo subject for most. I'm sitting on the train right now, heading for a days work in London, been up since 5.30 am. Stomachs already growling a little. But I'm already used to ignoring that, as it will pass. And it does.
I like being the one in control of my hunger. I dictate when I eat, not the food or meal times that I have routinely fixed in my head . And nor the food companies, who tell us to eat, snack, eat, snack, eat, snack......which obviously makes their profits grow along with everyone's waistlines!
My main reason for fasting is the cleansing of the body. Clearing unused and old cells and proteins floating around waiting to develop into something more sinister in later years. And to grow some fresh new ones, which it has been proven to do.
Claims on line and by fasting health clinics and researchers believe it can reverse Type 2 Diabetes, slow down progression of Alzheimer's, reverse MS, and even get rid of cancerous cells. There is a huge amount of fasting research to read up on nowadays, with some amazing stories out there happening.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! - Autophagy starts to happen at around the 36th hour and continues. The definition of autophagy is 'consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process occurring in fasting and certain diseases' and 'destruction of damaged or redundant cellular components occurring in vacuoles within the cell'.
The process of fasting-induced autophagy was recently the focus of extensive research, so I thought I would do my own research. As I always like to do. Bearing in mind, my final conclusion may not come for some years! As the main benefits are way ahead in the future!
Here's the recipe I used for my Bone Broth. A natural vitamin and mineral supplement that I will have once a day for its nutrients.
Bone Broth Recipe -
Roast the bones for 30 mins on 180 degrees. Cool and then add them to the water and cider vinegar. Let them soak for 15 minutes and the vinegar help draw the minerals and collagen from the bones.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Pressure cook for 4 hours, or slow cook for 24 hours.
Drain the fluid from the bones and veg, store in a tub to cool as soon as possible. Sit in cold water to chill faster, then get it in the fridge.
When it cools, skim off the fat from the top. I keep this and use it as butter after the fast as it is very tasty and full of goodness.
The broth will last in the fridge for 7 -10 days, or put into ice cubes and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Day 2 - Weds 30th Jan 2019
Today I'm up after sleeping well. Early rise again at 05.30 am for a 145 mile drive to work today up north to start for 9.00 am. Over night bag packed too as I'm up there for 2 days. Black coffee and water had and off I trot. Snow is supposed to be coming. Could be a long drive.
The only fluids I will consume this week are -
Still or Sparkling water - I must stay hydrated. I'll have 3-4 litres of water a day.
Coffee - Black no sugar, milk or sweetener. Coffee is a natural antioxidant. So this can help with the cleaning process, and give me a little more energy. Even if it taste pretty rank just as is. But when it's all you can have, you sort of get used to it.
Bone Broth - Why? Because its full of natural vitamins and especially minerals. Rather than taking a multi vitamin and mineral tablet like some faster's like to do, a good home made bone broth gives you the minerals your body needs to help stay healthy, and replenish mineral supplies during the fast. A lot of vitamins can be stored in the body and used when required, or produced by the body. But minerals can't. So the bone broth is to ensure to get the minerals you need. Have a read here of my page all aboutVitamins and minerals.
Your probably thinking, what about your muscle? Well, with all my intermittent fasting, I have lost no muscle whatsoever, I have increased my muscle mass in fact. Even on my 3 meals a day. Our body will not eat into muscle as fuel, until the fat has gone. That's why fat is stored. So I continue to train whenever I fast, so not to loose my muscle. As lack of stimulation is what looses muscle. Not intermittent fasting.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! Human growth hormone (HGH) is a type of protein hormone that is central to many aspects of your health. It is a key hormone is involved in growth, metabolism, weight loss and muscle strength. Several studies have found that fasting could actually increase HGH. On this list of 11 ways of how to increase your HGH levels, it includes fasting. And quote 'One study found that three days into a fast, HGH levels increased by over 300%. After one week of fasting, they had increased by a massive 1,250%. Other studies have found similar effects, with double or triple HGH levels after just 2–3 days of fasting'.
So, yet another reason for me to tinker with some extended fasting.
Below is the legend that is Dr Jason Fung, the Author of The Complete Book of Fasting and The Obesity Code, and creator of the first Diabetes reversal clinic The IDM Program in the US, talking on fasting, low carb eating and why fasting doesn't cause muscle loss. It's an hour long watch, but he covers a lot of ground.
I have now passed my longest fast to date, which was 48 hrs. I haven't found it too difficult as I have been busy, have had a little practice at it, and am super up for the challenge. The second day is supposed to be the worst. And I have felt a little glazed over with tiredness later in the day, but I have been up and working since 5.30 am, and driven for miles, then trained a load of techie Yorkshire-men in an telecoms classroom all day. So not surprised really.
I'm intrigued in how I will feel tomorrow. As most reports say all hunger starts to go as your body adapts to being fed on your own super-fuel. Your own body fat.
So sat in my hotel room, with still no reported snow. (Thank goodness.!) I'll sign off and catch up with you tomorrow.
Day 3 - Thursday 31st Jan 2019
I woke up in my hotel this morning at 6 am...totally starving! So much for day 2 being the worst! Knowing and seeing that breakfast had been laid out for me in the hotel buffet, that I clearly won't touch probably isn't helping. However I found a guzzle of some sparkling water seen to settle things down and got back to sleep for an hour. Quenching your thirst often takes away hunger pangs, as does sparkling water.
I had the usual discussion today with people I was with about 'going into starvation mode' and 'your body eating into your muscle'.
Our bodies are built to survive on our own body fat when food isn't around. This is how we have survived through the millennia and through those cavemen days. Fat is stored in feasting times, for when there is a famine. Only when I have minimal fat left will it start to eat into my organs and muscles. And I've got plenty of fat as a supply till I get to 'starvation mode'!.
Think about this - I have 26.9% Body fat right now. That equates to 19.8 kg of fat, or 43 lbs of fat. In each 1lb of fat there are 3500 calories. So 43 x 3500 = 150.500 calories in my body that can be burnt as fuel. Plenty of fuel!
I could also look at it like this - I don't want to go below 20% body fat off season. So, I only actually have 6.9% body fat that I can use as fuel. Which equates to just under 6 kgs or 13.2 lbs. So 13.2 x 3500 = a mere 46,200 calories to burn as fuel.
I would have to fast for about 25.5 days to loose this many calories, presuming I burnt off 1800 calories a day! So, plenty of fat to use as fuel for these mere 5 days.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! The other benefit of prolonged fasting is the anti-ageing effect it can have, by means of the rebuilding of stem cells. Stem cells are cells hanging around in the body waiting to be used by any organ or cell in the body. So when a cell fails for some reason, stem cells get called to the failed cell location to replace that broken cell with a brand new one. So they help fight off diseases and maintain healthy tissues. As we get older, these cells diminish and aren't as stocked up as they were, so become less and less available to replace the broken ones.
Research has shown that when fasting beyond a certain period, new stem cells begin to form, and become available again to fix what is needed in the body. So then growing a bigger pool of new stem cells to continue their job of repairing what needs fixing.
Below are the results of some fasting stem cell research. A group of mice were used in this example. The left picture was the non-fasted after 24 hrs, and the right were the fasted bunch. New stem cell regrowth was clearly apparent.
For researchers, this is exciting news, as seems to look like fasting could fix some diseases. And tests and clinics are already claiming that fasting reverses diabetes, MS (Multiple sclerosis), and other auto-immune illnesses. All by simply not eating for a period of time. Every now and then. And, the treatment of not eating, is free. (The main reason why pharmaceutical companies don't want to invest in fasting research, as they will make no money out of it!)
So, back to me. I'd probably say that today was the hardest so far. But I am going to do some cardio as I have time to fit a session in between work. Back home now, but off to Reading in the morning. (Still no snow)
I haven't been for a poo since I started the fast, but this is perfectly normal as I understand. So, i'll wait and see (and hope) things will move when I get back to food.
I am also getting some high breathalyser reading for acetone ketones, which means I am in full blown ketosis using purely my body fat as no fat fuels from else where are going in. Anything above 0.00 on the meter below is ketosis, a this reading is pretty high.
Day 4 - Friday 1st Feb 2019
Well I have found it tough today. But I did get a little stressed. And knowing me, I tend to want to eat when I am stressed. Today the snow came....
And I had a 85 mile journey to work to be there for 9 am, so up at 5 am for a long slow drive to Reading. These sort of drives always stress me, and knowing you've gotta get home too. Although that was a bit easier in the afternoon.
At work, when I got to today's location they were all eating hot bacon sandwiches which smelt to die for which hung around for most of the day. And at this site there was a strong smell of caramel in the loo! And, all day I wanted bacon sandwiches and something with caramel on it!
So, over 5 hours of snow driving, a days work and today was gym and cardio day too which I dashed over to Xercise4Less for (warmer than my normal gym Atlas). But I felt like I had slowed down today. Like I was doing everything in slow motion. And was lethargic. Strange as most reports on prolonged fasts report bursts of energy. I suppose I am normally full of beans and rarely get tired until bed time, so I'm guessing even more energy pushing it a bit when running on empty! But I also think my day had something to do with it.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! Another reason I am doing this long fast is for replenishing my mitochondria. Doing this will slow down the ageing process, and should give you more energy.
Our body is made up of trillions of different cells and organisms that keep us ticking over, and mitochondria's are but one of them. The mitochondria play a critical role in cellular ageing and overall cell longevity. They literally make your body sustain itself by converting calories, sunlight, and oxygen into energy.
Sometimes mitochondria may go bad or grow old and the act of fasting have been found to clear out the old, and replenish with new. So having new mitochondria cells for the body to use means more energy supply to the body, and more assistance in cellular ageing.
Have a listen to Dr Rhona Patrick explaining the role of these energy cells and fasting
My ketones are super high today. My body has no glycogen store now at all, and is running totally off my body fat, which it is turning into ketones. And these ketones are in abundance from my ketones reader.
Still no poo. Surprisingly sleeping well too. Tomorrow is a Saturday, the final day. Weekend days I always expect to be tough as weekends are a little bit of enjoy life time for me. But I can look forward to eating something light tomorrow evening, and I can't wait for a bullet proof coffee!
Day 5 - Saturday 2nd Feb 2019
I have woken up excited. Not sure whether its a fasting euphoria, or I'm excited about eating tonight? Probably a bit of both! I also jumped on my stepper for 45 mins whilst watching a bit of Escape to the Chateaux (love Dick and Angel!) and didn't feel whacked at all, just felt normal. And a little revitalised after. I do think my lethargy over the last 2 days have been due to early mornings and long stressful drives, with long working days. Today being a day off work feels totally different.
As well as my job as a technical telecoms trainer where I get to travel all over the world, my body building and my nutritional studies, I am also a carer for my mother who has advanced Alzheimer's and Dementia. Between me and my eldest sister we work shifts in trying to get to her daily. And take care of most of her general needs, although we do also have additional help from external carers. And I'm off to see her today.
In watching her getting worse and worse over the years, I often wondered what caused it and if it could be prevented? And after reading and researching I now believe it could of been prevented. This did have something to do with usng food and diet as medicine. Just like all the other epidemics that have happened over the last 50 years, as I've mentioned before, Diabetes, Obesity, MS, Fibromyalgia, Allergies, Asthma, Parkinson's and even Cancer. All these have become a massive problem. All rising massively in the number of cases, since the health authorities told us to eat High Carb, low fat diets in 1977. Now these diseases are being treated around the world with Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) diets....and fasting.
There is a great book to read called Genius Foods by Max Lugervere that goes through his findings after his mother also developed Alzheimer's. It's a great read.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! So, with all the information also telling me about how fasting can regrow your brain, and particularly the memory area, and how living off ketones (your brains favourite fuel, after all its made of 60% fat !) intermittently as a lifestyle is believed to stop the development of Alzheimer's. Count me in!! I couldn't bear going through what my Mum is!
Here's a couple of videos. The first was created for the Muslim community, as they (and many other religions) encourage regular fasting for the cleansing and brain enhancing. Plato and many philosophers all stated that hey fast to get brain clarity and ideas. The second is an interview with Dr Valter Longo talking about his research into fasting and Alzheimer's.
There is also the obvious benefits of weight loss if that is what you also require. During fasting you loose weight fast, and it is pure body fat. As you will see at the end of this blog from my stats.
If this blog is tempting you into trying a fast. I would advise you to research some more and read up on it. And not to go straight to a prolonged fast. I've been intermittent fasting for sometime now. From 16 hrs, to 24 hours, to 36 hours and then to these 5 days over the last year. Also I would advise you NOT to fast if you are any of the following -
1. You have Diabetes Type 1
2. You are under 20% body fat (women) or under 14% body fat (men) or have any eating disorders such as Bulimia or Anorexia
3. You are on medication that requires you to eat.
4. You are pregnant.
5. You are breast feeding.
Tonight I look forward to some smoked salmon, avocados and scrambled eggs. And a bullet proof coffee with my lovely raw milk from my local farm, coconut oil and raw honey. I can't wait!
And here it is..ooof yes!
Now here's what happened. I ate this about 6 pm. And thoroughly enjoyed it. This evening I felt elated. I ran around the place getting chores done, I felt...euphoric. The cleanse had made me feel great. I had booked a ticket to the cinema this evening and went to watch 'Vice' around 9 pm (2 hours of my life I will never get back!) In the cinema I had a fuzzy nice sensation all over my body and couldn't sit still in the chair as I felt like I needed to move. I simply felt great, and excited about....nothing really.
The next day I felt energised. Still eating small amounts. I definitely feel revitalised and feeling high on life. Cheesy I know! But I am already planning on doing one a month, as I feel great!
When I come back to this blog it will be in a weeks time after a re-feed week. Meals will be light. After not eating for a week and resting my digestive system, intestines and organs, I don't want to shock them with a feast. That could be detrimental to the process. Ease food back in, keeping it clean, light and fresh over the beginning of next week then building them up, topping up my empty glycogen stores and getting back to normal. I will gain back some of the weight loss as the first foods I eat will refill my empty glycogen tank. As that what the body does, my muscles and liver will fill again. And then will start being used as fuel again.
A week later - Saturday 9th Feb 2019
So, here I am a week later. Glycogen storage full and no ketosis readings. So, did I lose weight? Did I lose muscle? Did I lose body fat? The results were as follows -
So, this is exactly what I hoped for.
At the end of the fast the reading shows a weight loss of 4.1 KG (9lbs) in 5 days. This was of course not true weight loss. Most of this is what I call fake weight loss. Notice I had lost what looks like 2 KG of muscle mass. But remember, glycogen is stored in the liver and in muscle, so when you empty your glycogen stores, your muscle mass will drop. This will return when you start eating as the glycogen will automatically refill to once again be used as your bodies first choice of fuel.
This is also why at the end of any diet you gain weight sometimes quickly once you eat normally again.
The end of the fast also shows my body fat has dropped 1.5%. And I have kept myself well hydrated during the fast as my water % is still looking good.
Then I had to fill my glycogen stores again to see the real results, hence waiting a week. Then the first and last result will both be with full muscles and a truer comparison.
And there you can see no muscle loss whatsoever. Muscle returned to normal once glycogen was filled again. So 5 days of not eating didn't gnaw away at my muscles. And put my body in 'starvation' mode. It clearly used the fat fuel as it should, as our body's are made to do.
I lost 1 KG or 2.2 lbs. Which was 1% pure body fat as you can see my only reduction was body fat. This to me as for weight loss shows a perfect result.
I only ever expected to loose half a pound a day, as I was only burning off around 1800 calories a day (remember 3500 calories equates to a 1 lb of fat). So I had a realistic goal in my head of weight loss of half a pound a day and with a hope for it to be all body fat loss, which is what I have exactly achieved. Fasting does only encourage fat loss and not muscle.
So, the benefits I found were -
- Pure Fat loss - without slowing my metabolism like long low calorie diets do.
- Replenished Mitochondria to look forward to based on research.
- Brain regrowth to look forward to based on research.
- A great feeling of euphoria and of feeling cleansed after fast
- Stem Cell cleansing and regeneration to look forward to based on research, delaying the ageing process.
- Higher GH levels, over time to help me to grow more muscle as a training athlete.
- Helps with hormone regulation with hormones such as Insulin (blood sugar stabilisation, Ghrelin (hunger hormone, helps you control your own hunger levels) and Leptin (you satiety hormone, helps you control when you feel full) I feel more in control of my hunger and eating, and feel hungry less often.
- Gives your body a rest. Your organs, brain and digestive system has a break, which help reduce any inflammation that may have developed from being stressed.
So, all in all, a good result. And a practice I intend to continue with.
I hope your enjoyed my blog, and until the next time.......
Government and Health Authorities - Stop telling us not to eat fats!! Admit you have been wrong for years and get our nation healthy again!!
I just heard another advert on the radio advertising a pushing for people to eat a ‘low fat diet to stay healthy’ and ‘diets low in saturated fat keep your heart healthy’. I am still amazed that the health authorities and government are still (and yes even the official heart health authorities) are still allowed to push that low fats (even saturated fats) are actually unhealthy?
There have been billions of pounds spent on trying to prove that fats are bad for you since the early 1900’s, mostly pushed by one scientist Anson Keys, to find definitive proof that fats are bad, and there hasn’t been one that has conclusively found it to be true? There has been many, however that has found it to be untrue. And a few are listed here https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-studies-on-saturated-fat
Food authorities have since the mid-late 1970’s pushed for us all to eat a low-fat diet, made up of around are 45–65% of your daily calories from carbs, 20–35% from fats and 10–35% from protein. These are the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR). These high carb low fat diets that they are still pushing, have been proven over and over to be wrong. A summary of why can be found here https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saturated-fat-good-or-bad for a quick read. If you really want to understand the whys and wherefores read a book called The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. This will blow your mind.
All types of natural fats are needed for your Brain to function properly as it is itself made up of 60% fats, Fat helps to store and transport fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, without sufficient fats in your diet, all your ‘healthy eating’ could be going to waste, as the vitamins your eating could well be going down the toilet and simply not being utilised, as can’t be used by the body without sufficient fats in your body.
Fats also regulate the production of all hormones. Hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline, cortisol and insulin, are important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health. Hormones are secreted by various glands and organs, including your thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. The endocrine system (the collection of glands that produce hormones) works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced it can cause widespread, major health problems. An imbalance can cause a low libido, insomnia, depression, weight gain/loss, irregular periods and a whole host of issues. Dr Axe explains well in that link details of all the issues in more detail that it can cause, and suggests healthy ways to fix it. Like eating more healthy fats! So...do you go to the doctors for hormone replacement treatment, or thyroid treatment, or anti-depressants? Or could it be you don't eat enough good fats? Could you not just try eating a good amount of good fats in your diet for 3 months or so, and see what effect it has on your body? As fats help regulate the sex hormones, I think it would be worth a try.
For a more info as to why fats are good for you go to this part of my blog called Day 16 – I can’t bring myself to eat fat’.
Think about this too. Read below about the Maasai and Inuit tribes who were followed for some time as both their diets were high fats and mostly saturated fats from meats in the case of the Maasai, and mostly meats and very low in veg/fruit. Due to lack of abundance in the Inuit and Maasai mostly only ate veg etc when there was no meat available. Both with intermittent fasting, generally not always by choice. And preferred the high fat cuts of meat as they taste better, and are generally thought to be better for you and more satisfying when it came to hunger. This was very similar to how we ate in paleo times. Feasting on meat/fish that we caught and fasting because we had no choice. These two tribes were very fit into their older years and had very few rates of heart disease and don’t suffer from any of the ‘lifestyle’ disease we currently do in abundance? Have a read of these to see how ‘bad’ it is on your health to eat fats (note the sarcasm) -
Since the 1970’s, look at the effect the government encouraged ‘Low fat high / carb diet’ has done on our health –
Pattern of Increase in Obesity since 1970’s –
In 1977 the low fat guidelines came out. This chart I got from an article https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saturated-fat-good-or-bad and look at the rise in obesity since 1977 when we have been encouraged on eat high carb / low fat. Carbs/Sugars are now more and more being proven to be the issue when it comes to weight gain and diabetes. For more information on this read The Obesity Code by Jason Fung this is a mesmerising read and will change your view on what you eat forever.
Pattern of Diabetes since 1970s –
Link to full Diabetes paper this was taken from based on US Citizens.
Pattern of Dementia Deaths since 1970’s –
This information taken from research paper done in Finland linked here.
Fibromyalgia cases only started to be diagnosed properly and understood in the 1980’s and over the years there are now millions of cases being diagnosed all over the world. https://www.fibrocenter.com/fibromyalgia-disease
Obesity, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Fibromyalgia, allergies, epilepsy and a number of other illnesses, even Cancer have all steadily got progressively worse at a rapid pace since we have all been advised to live low fat/high carb.
Now I know there are a lot of other factors to take into consideration. But all these illnesses have been linked to dietary issues. They include brain and hormone disfunctions, and what food/macronutrient directly assists with your brain and hormones? Fats. And we haven’t been eating enough of them for too many years now. And this needs to change!
Knowing all the current research that is now proving that fats are good, and low-fat diets are bad. Why are the government and authorities still allowing companies to make people still think otherwise? Mainly because they don’t want to admit their mistake. Possibly a global mistake affecting the health of millions of people worldwide?
Go do some reading, change the way you eat. Understanding your food and dietary requirements and know what you put in your mouth now...could change your future.
Rant over. Blog over.
What are you eating...when do you eat?
I have had a lot of people asking me this question. I always eat healthy, that's my choice. And I always prep my food. That's my lifestyle. I like always having good food to hand, so I don't get drawn into temptation, as I would like everyone does. But I know if I have my home made healthy food available when I'm hungry, then that's what I will eat.
I am eating around 1500 - 1800 calories a day, depending on activity, on a low carb paleo style diet, as I do think that the key to fat burning is to keep glycogen stores low to empty (when fasted) to force the use of fuel from ketones. Remember, when fueled by ketones, you are burning fat. If I kept eating 50% carbs a day in macros, my glycogen stores will be full to the brim all the time, making it harder and taking them longer to get emptied during each fast. And remember, the body will always live of these first.
So keeping carbs low = lowers insulin levels which lowers glycogen stores = faster glycogen depletion on a fast = more time fuelled by ketones = more time fat burning.
I do want to add to this, carbs are not the enemy. They are not bad for you. Particularly complex carbs. Potatoes, rice/grains etc. But when dieting keeping them low helps to burn fat. When I go back to maintaining my weight and have reached my body fat goal, I will introduce these carbs back into my diet, as I will then be happy for my body to be fuelled by glycogen. Because I will no longer need to be in ketosis state of fat burning. And will maintain a varied lifestyle diet including a selection of good complex carbs.
I currently eat 5 days a week. Prepping my low carb meals for 4 days, and making a tasty and delicious treat meal for the 5th day. I find planning the dish makes me look forward to the weekend treat day, and then cooking this special meal helps me through the week, and I also prepare the meal during my fast on Saturdays knowing I can eat it at 6pm when my fast finishes. It may sound like torture to some, but I find I thoroughly enjoy the preparing of the meal more and when the end of fast time comes, and have a delicious freshly made nutritionally rich meal to eat and enjoy.
So, what do I eat?.....
6am - Breakfast
I do like a veggie / fruity shake. And I do find them filling.
In my nutribullet I throw in -
Half an avocado
A small beetroot
Handful of kale
Few leaves of mint
100g Coconut Soy yoghurt
Water to fill mark
Teaspoon of Xylitol (Natural sweetener for my sweet tooth)
Whizz it up and hey-presto! A lush veggie/fruity shake.
I buy the kale and mint fresh and freeze them so they last longer. The blueberries I buy frozen, and the rest is fresh. This all equates to about 300 calories of healthy lushness.
9am - Meal 2 -
While I sit in the car outside the days job or where ever I have found to sit for 5 minutes before I start work, I eat my next meal. My omelette I prefer to eat cold. Don't knock it till you try it!!
This is my favorite omelette right now!
To make the omelette I use -
2 egg omelette
Dash Almond milk
Once the omelette is cooked, add to the topping -
50g Apertina Cheese cubed
Sun Dried Tomatoes in oil
Don't cook these. I have found you lose the flavor if they are cooked. Then fold it and allow it to cool before storing it in the fridge. I make up to 2/3 of these in advance, ready to take with me to work. Then I eat them like a sandwich wherever I land. This is well worth a try.
1pm and 5pm Meals 3 and 4 -
These I prep all on a Sunday. 4 chicken meals, and 4 mackerel meals ready for the week. I do eat the same thing most days. It's a habit I have from years of prepping. A little bit of laziness I guess as it makes life easier! I don't have to think too much about what I want to eat, I know exactly my daily macros are correct, and I can shop for exactly what I need, with very little waste. My fridge is always empty at the end of a week, as I shop to order, and eat all I buy.
Below is Saturday morning after a shop, Sunday after a prep and Friday evening when it's all gone! I throw away each week one recyclable bag of rubbish, and a quarter of a black bag. Doing my bit for the environment too.
Every now and then I might get bored of the same menu. I change it. Normally make a point of changing all five meals totally. And then live off those for however long.
So, my chicken and mackerel meals are pretty simple -
I roast 4 broccolis and 3 leeks in the oven for 15 mins, sprinkled with himalayan salt and smoked paprika, and cooked with a little bit of coconut oil. I grill 4 lots of chicken (normally between 200-250 g) and buy fresh smoked mackerel . My food prepping for the week...takes my 30 minutes. Then I box them and let them cool, before putting them in the fridge. Because the veg is roasted and still quite firm, They last well. And I never tire of eating these as they are so tasty.
8pm - Meal 5 -
This is the meal everyone generally yucks at! I love it. And have eaten it ...for years! Through competition prep too! For some reason, I just love the taste.
A medley of cabbage, salt and peppered...and boneless sardines in olive oil. I probably keep John West in business with how many tins I've bought over the years! Don't knock it, till you've tried it! Lol!
So thats my daily food. I do give in sometimes to weekday treats. I couldn't resist a Mrs Crimbles chocolate coconut macaroon with a coconut latte at a David Lloyds gym I was at recently! And enjoyed every bite. And often have these little treats once a week outside of my main treat day.
So then, what do I have on a treat day?
Treat Day! -
I spend the week deciding on what I want to, and finding recipes that tickles my fancy. I bought a new combined slow cooker / pressure cooker, so wanted to play with it. So these were taken from Heston Blumenthals recipes.
First I made a Beetroot, Quinoa and Feta salad.....
I pressure cooked the fresh beetroot for 15mins, and chilled them. The pressure cooked the quinoa for 5 minutes (1 cup uncooked quinoa makes 3 cups of cooked)
Then I prepared a lemon and herb whole roast chicken. Can't get better, than a slow cooked chicken!
I also had enough to make into 5 meals, which I fed 2 friends, and had 2 prepped meals the following day for my little Sunday trip out to watch UK's Strongest Mans Finals in St Albans. Bonus.
So there is an example of my weeks fodder! I will be including just my weekly treat recipes that I have on the evening after I finish my fast.
But what about the fasting?
I have found it so easy to fast for 24 hrs. I really don't see why anyone can't do it. I am a hardcore dieter though remember. I have been on a diet every year for the last 6 years for 20 - 30 weeks of each year. That being the initial weight loss diet into a competition qualifier, then the continued diet to finals and other shows that year, This the total diet time of this process each year.
I have deprived myself of favorite foods for months on end, all for the sake of competitive bodybuilding. I generally find starting these diets fine, but slowly after weeks pass by, you do become food and craving obsessed. I have browsed pages of pictures of cakes and huge burgers during diets, planning that feast after that last show like I think all of us do. Dreaming of piles of you favorite foods, and counting the weeks and days till I can eat them.
Coming out of these long extreme diets isn't easy either. Mentally, it's much harder to recover sometimes than physically, although it can really take its toll physically too. It can take 2 - 3 months to get your head thinking normally about food again. And in this time it is common to have massive binges as you tell yourself it's OK, you are allowed to eat whatever you like as sort of reward for all those weeks of putting yourself through that hardcore diet. Although, really I shouldn't be eating the volumes I do during this time. Which is also why I can so quickly gain weight (which is often needed) but often too much weight from lots of over eating when recovering from a bodybuilding competition diet.
This can also be the same experience for people on the usual weight loss diets. Weeks of a low calorie restricted diet, leave you craving foods and volume of foods. Often craving fullness, over specific food. Resulting in....over eating when it's over, which means the weight goes back on. And so the cycle continues.
Also your metabolism slows after long periods of lowered calories on a diet. I've mentioned BMR before, this being Basal Metaphoric Rate, this is the calculation that works out how many calories you as an individual needs for you body to function when you do nothing for a day. So how many calories your brain, heart, kidneys etc need to function properly to do there job, this remember includes no activity, purely just to function. Here's one (of a few) reasons why your metabolism appears to slow after a diet -
This is one reason why diets often fail, and weight creeps back up as you should be eating less that you are used to the other end, due to the change in your size and frame.
So why has fasting proven to be a continual success after you reach your goal weight?
So remember I mentioned the 382 day longest fast? And that he continued to maintain his weight loss after that long diet. And results are showing again and again that the weight loss stays consistent. And he always claimed he simply didn't feel hungry. I do think it's something to do with you having a better understanding of balancing your food intake (Feast and famine). And know that it is not the end of the world if you skip a meal or two. And hunger does not progressively get worse and and worse until you can't take the pain anymore, that simply does not happen. And when you put yourself through a fasting diet you realise this. You seem to control your hunger better, feel less hungry, and less controlled by food.
Why do you feel less hunger?
There are lots of reports of people saying they feel less hungry when fasting. I think this is because of a number of reasons. I do believe you become more in charge of your temptations mentally. But also the is physiological reasons too. -
So, back to my fasting ...
So, why the hell was I worried about not eating for 24 hours, when I have done such extreme diets as mentioned earlier? Still in these early days I feel a ounce of concern just as I finish the last meal before the fast, and then I always wonder why once its over. I wake up the day of the fast, knowing I will eat at 6pm that day. Which considering the long diets and workout regime I've been on before, this is no hardship! So I am finding each fast gets easier. And I sometimes look forward to it, as I'm seeing regular and consistent fat loss too. Which is a huge motivation.
I'm not having massive cravings for food at all. If I fancy something, I eat it on my treat day. At the theatre this week I shared munchies and starbursts with my goddaughter, with no guilt, after eating a bloody lovely salmon thai red curry I made with peshwari naan. (Details of this will come later) So being that I am able to eat what I fancy once a week too, I don't seem to have cravings.
The fasting is breaking my hunger habit too of wanting food every 3-4 hours. I find when I am on eating days, I often miss the time for eating as I seem to feel less hungry. Or it simply doesn't bother me that I didn't eat at that 12pm marker. If it passes, so what. I actually feel like I'm eating a lot of food on these days. And seem to enjoy what I do eat more too, but I also fill up quicker. Breaking the eating time routine, stops the hunger signals that tell me it's time to eat.
I am also always mentally aware of wanting to keep my glycogen levels low, which subconsciously keeps me eating smaller amounts of low carb meals, even on my treat days. As I don't want them to fill up or spill over. Filling up means I'll go back to being fuelled by glycogen, which means I'm no longer burning fat (ketones). And spilling over if I ate a huge feast would mean those extra calories will be stored as fat, and I'm un-doing my good work done already.
So this is why I think it seems to continue to work after the initial diet and weight loss. You understand the process of gaining and losing body fat more, you change your routine to stop the habits of hunger that you felt before, and can live a life of feast the famine to balance out those times when we sometimes eat more, such as weddings and family meals.
Now I can hear you all saying out there when I post my treat day meals 'that ain't no treat, it's a small portion and too healthy!' I could go and have a McDonalds and ice cream for my treat meal, but I don't like takeaway junk food. That's just me. I do like biscuits, chocolate and cakes, and I'll dabble in these, but still in minimal amounts, so not to go over my glycogen storage. While doing intermittent fasting, I don't feel the need to gorge myself. Gluttony shouldn't be acceptable for common place for you. Massive portions are never a good thing.
Food for thought...
Information published in 2018 (read in detail here) shows 26% of adults in England are currently obese. A further 35% are overweight but not obese. And I keep hearing it's because of a carb rich diet, too many sugars in foods, too many fats in foods...bla bla bla bla. Lot's of medical reasons such as thyroids, slow metabolisms, allergies, intolerances etc. Some of these medical reason are proven to be valid of course. But I do truly believe that mostly it's because we eat too much, and are not often aware of what we eat or how much. That's my opinion. We are a nation of bingers from what I see everywhere I go. I've binged, I've seen friends binge and family. Wedding buffets, All you can Eats, Pizzas, huge piles of carveries. We have all done it. There is a distinct lack of knowledge about food, food volumes and nutrition that means a lot of people are in denial or refuses to believe they eat too much, or simply don't care about what they eat. It could be those huge meals out, or a steady small amount of too many nibbles and snacks every day over time, not realising how many calories you are actually eating or how much weight you are gaining. We all need to take responsibility for our own diet, and to stop blaming food packaging, carbs, gluten, sugar and whatever else we can point a finger at. Be responsible for controlling the temptation and resisting that huge packet of 'sharers' crisps or double Mars Bar (or both!) in the petrol station queue. We all often see huge amounts of food eaten in one sitting by people all around us. It is commonplace.
Our lack of knowledge or lack of caring has driven illnesses like Alzheimer's, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers and arthritis up into new heights. So it's not just about weight, it's also about health. For more statistics, read here. And there will be more information on how fasting can help with all these later in the blogs.
I do also really hope for the day when food, diet, nutrition and healthy life practices are included in nations school curriculum. But that's a whole other blog! Maybe one day....
I don't ever want to feel that craving to gorge myself again if I can help it. This is often caused by deprivation... and emotions, those hormonal imbalances have also got a lot to answer for. Highs and lows can make you gorge too. But eating consistent nutritionally valuable foods, high in those hormone friendly good fats help keep hormones balanced also. Another good reason to keep it your food days healthy.
Here's something to think about when considering over eating on a treat day or meal out -
First I am going to work out my own BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) using this link BMR Calculator here. Remember, this tells you what my rested calories are. Mine as calculated today is 1401 calories.
To determine my total daily calorie needs, I multiply my BMR by the appropriate activity factor as follows:
So mine would be 1401 x 1.55 = 2171 calories a day is what I should eat on an active day, and 1401 is what I should eat if I did nothing. So let's work on an average of these, 1401 + 2172 = 3572 / 2 = 1786. So the average is 1786 calories a day. This is how many calories on average a 46 year old woman of my height and activity level should eat a day.
How easy is it to eat more than this each day, or in one sitting? Also notice, it is not the 2000 calorie recommended calories for woman. If you live by that rule, this could be a reason for gaining those few pounds over time too.
Also, bear in mind your glycogen storage is rarely empty, so it would often take less than these amount of calories to fill them up, or even over spill them. Causing fats to be stored in your body.
**Remember - Glycogen is your brain and bodies preferred fuel source which it gets from the food you eat, mostly from carbs, and proteins. While your body has a filled glycogen store, it does not burn fat as fuel, as it doesnt need to. When it runs low or empty, it start to live off the excess fat cells which turn to ketones, the second favorite fuel source for the brain and body. So high ketone levels means you are burning fat for fuel. Therefore, keeping glycogen levels low as possible promotes fat burning when you are dieting for weight loss.
It is also best to split these calories into small manageable meals. Your body can only efficiently digest so many calories at a time. If you eat them all at once, calories may still also be stored as fat, even if it is your suggested BMR, as your digestive system struggles to work it's way though one large meal.
My 1786 calories split into my 5 meals work out at about 357 calories a meal. All digested efficiently by my body in manageable amounts of healthy foods. I would eat a balance of food to maintain my weight, keeping carbs to maybe 2 - 3 meals of the 5, so limiting the daily insulin spikes. This is my normal daily diet, not a weight loss diet. Easy. Right?
So just how easy is it to overeat in just one meal? Look at these examples -
A pop to your favorite coffee shop for lunch -
Large Caramel Latte - 331 cals
Tuna Melt Panini - 483 cals
Salted Caramel Muffin - 491 cals
TOTAL - 1305 cals
That dessert shop in town
Banana and Nutella Waffle - 1020 cals
Large Pepsi - 181 cals
TOTAL - 1201 Cals
Night out with the lads -
8 pints of lager - 1544 cals
Donor Kebab - 1990 cals
TOTAL - 3534 cals
Or with the girls! -
8 small glasses of white wine - 656 cals
Donor Kebab - 1990 cals
TOTAL - 2646 cals
An Indian Takeaway -
Korma Tray - 600 cals
Pilau Rice Tray - 436 cals
Peshwari Naan - 382 cals
1 popadom - 49 cals
Portion of indian mint chutney - 121 cals
Glass of white wine - 85 cals
TOTAL - 1673 Cals
Favorite Pizza -
Medium Stuffed crust Meat Feast 8 slices - 2424 Cals
TOTAL - 2424 cals
So why do I eat a reasonably sized healthy treat meal on my treat day? I think you get what I mean. Why on earth do I want to ruin my good work. And besides, I'm just not that hungry!
Recipe time! So what about the Thai Red Salmon curry...?
I fasted from 2pm - 2pm one Friday/Saturday because I had a BBQ to go to at my Mum's care home (coz that's how I roll!) and had a hotdog with my name on there. So at 2.30pm I ended my fast with a little hotdog and a bit of salad. Was very nice too.
I did find a 2pm - 2pm fast a little harder, as I woke up hungry at 4am, and then couldn't settle. One of the reason I do my fasts from evening to evening is because I can't sleep well hungry. This was still evident. But the flexibility helps when you have a life to work around. And I do like that flexibility.
Then in the evening I made a simple Thai Red Salmon curry -
Thai Red Salmon curry
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Thai Red Curry paste (or make your own)
1 onion chopped
250ml Light coconut milk
500g skinless salmon fillet
200g trimmed green beans
Bunch of coriander
Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the curry paste. Stir in the onion, then cook gently for about 5 mins until softened. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, then add the salmon chunks and beans.
Leave to gently simmer for 5 mins until the fish flakes easily and the beans are tender. Scatter with the coriander, and I served with Sharwoods small peshwari naan.
Then off to the theatre!
End of the first month. How are the stats looking?
Week 4 is here. Today's the 19th August. So, how's the stats looking?
At first glance you may think not so well, but check these points out -
My progress pictures do show an evident subtle change. And I was brave enough to take the top off! I wasn't before..too wobbly!
My rear shot I can see the biggest change, back and glutes and hips. Quite pleased considering these are only 4 weeks apart.
All in all, I see an initial success. I feel great on it, and I have never had such consistently good statistics on a diet. I feel full of energy, training on empty doesn't have any impact that I can see or feel when following the rules of Intermittent fasting. I also find it easy to follow, and have a lower appetite too. I am still living my life, so going out socially, having friends over for dinner, and eating new recipes so don't feel deprived in any way. Nor do I crave.
The next month should be interesting. I have a very busy social calendar, what with going away to visit family on the bank holiday, and they will all want to feed me, my birthday weekend, another weekend in Ireland with friends, and my besties 40th. Four packed social weekends. I plan to eat nice food and enjoy myself. My goal for this next month, is just to maintain the last unfed weight of 67.3 kilos. Any further weight loss or muscle mass gain will be an added bonus.
Recipe alert! So, what was that treat meal you had?
For starters I made a Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Soup, with an Almond loaf I baked.
Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Soup (Pressure cookered!)
Almond Bread -
(This is the best recipe I have found for Almond Bread, and is taken from www.elizabethrider.com )
And for the main course...A Black Bean and Beetroot Veggie Burger.
Veggie burgers - Make 4 large burgers
2 tbsp Coconut oil
1 red onion
1 garlic clove
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 x 400gblack beans
4 small fresh beetroot cooked
1 tbsp coconut or almond flour
1 lightly beaten egg
70g crumbled feta
Red Cabbage and Mango Salsa–
1 tbsp xylitol
Zest and juice of 1 lime
¼ small red cabbage very finely sliced
1 small peeled mango peeled and finely chopped
2 finely sliced spring onions
Small bunch or Coriander
To serve -
2 burger buns
Pepper leaves or lettuce
These all came out delicious! And made enough to make lunches the next day. Yum!
So, this is the end of Part 2 of my Intermittent Fasting blog, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed the process...and the eating of these recipes!
Catch up next month!
Day 1 - 'My Forever Body'
So, here we are again at day one of another diet. I have waited till now as I have been researching diets, and getting on with living my life while on mainly a paleo diet. Eating lots of fruit and veg and meat, not for weight loss, but to live with a good healthy diet. I was also having a treat day once or twice a fortnight, which generally would include a hunk of bread or pasta or whatever I fancied, and enabled me to go out socially and eat with friends and family, enjoying bbq's, restaurants, home cooked meals and street foods at various events. Great fun. Life how it should be.
I wanted all my stresses in life to have calmed before I embarked on a new diet to blog. I wanted all my body stats to be good and healthy, and wait for assistance with care for my Mum who suffers with Alzheimer's, who I was the main carer for for a while this year, when both my sisters also got poorly. Things are much better now. Both sisters better, and Mum's got some great carers helping us out, life's stresses have definitely eased.
Check this out. Below was the last years stress levels from my Garmin. Towards the end of 2017, when I was competing, working and caring for Mum, my stress levels were running around 85-90%, these are based on my HRV (Heart Rate Variability). I had no rest time, was training 3 times a day, working all over the country and sometimes world, and sorting out Mum in between. Madness. My cortisol levels were raging!
Beginning of this year things slightly improved with no longer being in competition, so wasn't training as much, therefore stress came down.
Then in February I managed to get care assistance, which meant my life become more balanced again, as the year went on my sisters got better, and last month we relocated my Mum to a much better apartment with all care visits covered, so our time together now is now days out and nice times together. A beautifully chilled Crete holiday in June with my sisters chilled me right out and look how low my stress levels are running now. Happy Terri, happy cortisol, happy cholesterol, happy blood sugars, happy training sessions and happy clients. Happy days and a good life balance. As the stress levels show.
I've been enjoying cooking again, creating new meals and having friends and family round, my training is steady as I have no plans to gain, or plan on doing any shows in the near future, it's all about balancing my lifestyle. I have set myself a goal now, of finding 'My Forever Body'.
I've seen myself as a competing athlete looking in great condition, muscular and ripped at about 12% body fat. But this isn't a forever body. It's for stage, and is an unrealistic way to live consistently, and actually very unhealthy to hold for any period of time.
Off season, I always gain a bit of weight, with the want to gain muscle, and the lack of diet restriction, and the 'bulk season' phrase ringing around in my brain...I nearly always put on a few more pounds than I really needed to or wanted too. And then find myself looking at my wobbly bits regretting that Sour Bread Smoked Cheese and Mango Chutney toastie from the Vintage Fayre the day before. As that one sandwich the night before is what caused it! Hmmmm...really?
So I'm at that point now. I'm not overly unhappy about how I look, but I feel happier around 20% body fat, and my tanita scales are saying I am 26.5% (which remember for a woman is perfectly normal and healthy)...the calipers are saying 23%..but for consistency in measurements I will stick with my home tanitas readings. I want to look athletic. I like to look like I train, or what's the point? I also like to see a bit of vein! (The bodybuilder in me will never leave!)
So my diet is not for any other health or show reasons, other than to lose weight to get to 'my forever body'. Then, follow a regime to maintain it. With no bulks or shows needed, so no ups and downs, this should be mentally easier...well that's what I'm hoping.
My stats to start this journey are -
Weight - 70.9 kg
Body Fat - 26.5%
Muscle Mass - 49.1 Kg
Water - 54.5%
Visceral Fat - 5
Here's my starting point. Some sweaty shots at the gym...
Next was to decide which diet to do? So far you know I've had show success with my normal high protein low carb calorie controlled diet, with carb cycling, and back loading diets, all which have tendencies for plateaus a lot as your body gets used to them, and many of you who followed my blog on the Ketogenic diet, remember the ups and downs with that and how I did find too restrictive.
I wanted a diet that I could follow without restricting my new found social calendar. I want to include nice meals, family events and cheese toasties every now and then, and not feel guilty, as I want it to balance with my lifestyle, and I don't want it to be too restrictive or complex like the ketogenic. Does one exist though? Is this possible?
My sister had always mentioned the 5/2 fasting diet she does which has worked for her and her husband which I always poo pooed as a body builder, as eating was so important. But couldnt I now find out what its about? As if I did lose a bit of muscle mass during the trial it wouldn't matter so much any more? It's free. It's simple, non restrictive of what foods you can eat and encourages you to have that meal you want at a wedding or party, I needed to investigate.
Researching Fasting - what's it all about?
So I looked on line at various sites, and read a few fasting books. I really liked The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jimmy Moore and Dr Jason Fung.
So as a foodie and with my knowledge in nutrition, I always had said to people who have asked about Fasting diets words to this effect 'I can't see how they can be good for you, as your body will go into starvation mode, and your body needs a constant flow of macronutrients (Carbs/Proteins/Fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), so starving them of these can't be good'.....Or can it?
Fasting experts will quickly say that Fasting isn't starving.
In simple terms - For purpose of dieting, fasting is generally done for a pretty short period of time, normally 12/24/36/42 hours or however ever many hours you prefer depending on your needs. It can take up to 24 hours to deplete your glycogen stores (this is the fuel stored in your tissues produced by eating mostly simple/complex carbs, but also proteins too). This is the prefered fuel of the brain and body and will use up this resource before it moves onto it's second favorite fuel. Ketones, which are produced when the body burns fat for fuel. As you may have learnt all about on my previous blog My Ketosis Journey.
So once your glycogen runs out, the body automatically switches to living off your fat stores. That's what it's meant to do. That's how we are made to work. We are still not in starvation mode. Your body is still using it's own available fuel. Eating up your fat resources. Or put simply... fat burning.
Once your fat stores starts running too low (your body will reach a point when it starts naturally fighting against using fat for fuel when fat sources are too low), it will then start fuelling using your muscle tissues and organs. This is starvation mode. You will not and should not ever reach this point during these short fasting periods. Depending on your starting body fat measurements, to get to this point could take some time.
I am at currently holding 26.5% body fat. I want to lose 6.5% body fat. I weigh 158 pounds. 158 / 6.5 = 24.3 pounds of fat to lose. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. 24 x 3500 calories = 84,000 calories available to burn in fuel. So, I'm not yet going to run out of fuel between 24 - 42 hours! So starving, I won't be.
Also, this means I won't be loosing muscle. As I won't be getting my fat so low so that my body needs to start eating into my muscle. Added bonus for me.
In 1973 the longest ever recorded fast is 382 days! This subject weighed in at 456 pounds. And he lost 276 pounds during the fast. Five years after the fast ended, the patient’s weight was reported at consistent to around 196 pounds. And had no ill effect during and after the fast. Have a read of some statistics and more information here on this amazing Longest Fast link.
Individuals with very low body fat (woman under 20% and men under 15%) should never start a fasting diet, as they may not have enough stored fat for fuel. But why then would you start a diet if you are already so low in body fat? I hear you ask. Well...you might be a competing bodybuilder! If you are show prepping, on very low body fat towards the end of prep, don't try fasting. If you are starting with some mass to lose, you could use it to kick start your prep.
Other people who should not fast -
So, how am I going to run mine? I like the idea of 2 x 24 fast a week. Running from 6pm to 6pm, which means I don't ever have a day with no food at all. I am going to eat my usual 5 meals a day on all other days. Forever the health and fitness advocate, i will be sticking to a low carb Paleo style diet, as I want to continue and utilize fully the fat burning process. I will also be including a foodie day. Every week I will cook up a feast for me to eat, or go to that event, or party, or bbq that I may have been invited to, without eating restrictions. A diet of feast and famine!
I will blog some of my foodie day recipes with and share the food I eat out on these days too. As well as sharing my progress on the diet.
I just want to be clear that I am not doing the 5/2 diet which has some restrictions on what you eat. I am simply doing a clean 24 fast 2 times a week. Influenced by the suggestions in The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jimmy Moore and Dr Jason Fung.
So what are the benefits of a fasting diet?
All sounds too good to be true. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into this one!
Day 3 - My First 24 Hour Fast
So on day 3, I tried my first fast. I hadn't not eaten for a day since I can remember! Probably my clubbing days! Slightly apprehensive. But let's see how it goes.
I'm fasting for reason of 'cleansing' or a 'detox' too, so I have opted to keep my fast clean as possible, to get these added benefits. So I am on water only (no squash or fizzy flavoured no calorie drinks) and no added artificial sweeteners in hot drinks.
I found it easy! No big deal at all! I ate my last normal prepped meal at 8pm. Then headed to bed as normal. Slept like a log, as normal. No problem!
Here are the tips I had followed to help me get you through the day -
Keep busy - It takes your mind off of food. A busy work day I find works well. I can easily not realise where that day has gone when engrossed in work.
Ride the waves - Hunger comes in waves, but then it goes. Hunger is an emotion...a feeling. It isn't a physical reaction created from within, it is just a feeling or a want. It can be triggered by smells, that M&S tv advert, a memory of a good meal and more importantly a routine. If you are used to having a meal at the same time each day, you will learn to feel hungry around that time. Fasting will help you break that routine, which will help you to feel less hungry on eating days, as the routine trigger fades. Ride the waves of hunger, know it will go away soon, and break the daily routine of those times you eat.
Drink lots of water/mineral water- We all know that thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so stay hydrated. It has been found that mineral water helps stop the stomach from rumbling. I found drinking a 3 -4 litres of water throughout the day does help.
Drink coffee and herbal/green teas - The caffeine in coffee and teas acts as an appetite suppressant and a metabolism booster too. So you can have up to 6 cups of these through the day. Keep it black and sugar and milk free
Make a bone broth - These are good to have a couple of times during the fast. They have a small trace of calories, and you can add turmeric, ginger and cinnamon - all natural appetite suppressants - and also get some minerals in you during your fast. Vitamins and minerals are what's known as Micronutrients. Whereas most vitamins can be produced within the body but minerals are not. We need these to be fed to us in our food and drink. Phosphorus, calcium, sodium and magnesium may need topping up, so between the bone broth and mineral water this would be more than enough to do the job. I will include a recipe in later blogs, when I come up with a good tasty one.
Don't plan a fast day when there is an event - It's sort of obvious, but you don't want to be fasting at a wedding, or at your birthday meal. Work your fast into your week. That's why I chose the 24hr one. If I know I'm out for a meal or a do, I plan to either start a fast at 7pm the day before, then know I can eat the meal at 7pm the following day, or many prefer doing a fast the day after a meal or function, as a lot of people find it easier mentally after a bit of a feast the night before.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners - The detox effect away from all chemicals can be an added bonus mentally and physically. But also it has been found that tasting the sweetness can trigger the same insulin spikes and reactions in the body that sugar does. And you don't want to risk that sudden carb craving that sudden sugar spikes and dips can sometimes cause. Research has been done Into Why artificial sweeteners can increase appetite so click on the link to read the findings in more detail.
Day 7 - First week done
So, this week has been no biggie. I know fasting is pretty easy. I found when I was on eating days of around 1800 calories a day across 5 meals, I felt like I was eating loads! And when meal time came round, I often wasn't hungry? Hunger wasn't so much of an issue for me on food days. Thats a good start.
I also feel the need for a number 2 after a days fast. A finishing my glycogen stores then bodily fats seems to make me need to go. Living off my body's natural resources seems to make my digestive system work better? Anyone that has read my blogs before knows I struggle in the area. Another bonus.
And my stats where as follows -
Day 1 -
Weight - 70.9 kg
Body Fat - 26.5%
Muscle Mass - 49.1 Kg
Water - 54.5%
Visceral Fat - 5
Day 4 - Couldnt resist a weigh in after my first fast
Weight - 69.8
Body Fat - 26.3
Muscle Mass - 48.5
Water - 54.2
Visceral Fat - 5
Ok. So I hear you all say 'you've lost muscle mass and water only, that's crap!'. But it's what I expected. Remember, I have depleted my glycogen stores which are stored in my muscles. So whenever you do this they always shrink. It's what I've referred to before as fake weight. As soon as I eat again, the glycogen will store again back into the muscles. So then I ate my normal food for the day, and weighed myself again -
Day 5 -
Weight - 69.9
Body Fat - 25.1
Muscle Mass - 49.2
Water - 55.4
Visceral Fat - 4
So the weight loss stayed, the muscles filled, which in turn gives a lower body fat reading as there is now less area to around the muscle mass. And visceral fat dropped. This is too good a reading to be true? Surely. I lost 1% body fat and visceral fat in a week? Well, I guess we'll have to keep it and see what happens.
Thanks for reading. Look out for Part 2 over the next few weeks.
So...3 month diabetes results are in..and....
It’s time for an update on how things have been since my last blog after seemingly developing Diabetes during a Ketosis diet in Jan/Feb. I had to wait for 3 months to pass to go back to the doctors to have another Hba1c test to see what my blood sugars have been by average over the last 3 months.
I have been religiously eating clean, no sugar, low carbs and very green and veggie diet, which I have enjoyed. Very close or pretty much the paleo diet. Nice portions of chicken, steak with mounds of vegetables. Lots of good fats. Lush. And lost 2 kilos in the last 3 months. Now sitting at about 68kgs. (Although I did partake in a chocolate egg at Easter!)
All the feelings I had during the Keto diet such as my tired eyes, permanent headache, irritability, palpitations, lethargic and anxiety, all gone and back to myself.
So, what was the results? See below -
18th April 2018
GLYCOSYLATED HAEMOGLOBIN Hb1Ac
Haemoglobin A1c level 5.4 % [4.0 - 5.9]
Haemoglobin A1c level - IFCC standardised 36 mmol/mol [20.0 - 41.0]
FASTED BLOOD SUGARS
Plasma fasting glucose level 4.5 mmol/L
The average of the last 3 months shows a low good healthy level of blood sugars? Indicating I never had developed Diabetes. And my fasted blood sugar test done by the doctor was 4.5 mmol/l! An excellent level!?
It would seem, I never had diabetes. This fasted blood sugar test was the only one done by the doctor. The other readings were all done by my own machine. Indicating a fault on the machine. No one thought to question my machine. Including me. Marios the first doctor did ask if the machine had been calibrated, as he found the results quite bizarre knowing my level of health. I checked online and it said the model of machine I had didn’t need calibration? So all fine right? WRONG!
So, I do feel elated. I have no diabetes. However at the same time frustrated. That I had gone through months of worry, thinking what it may be something else more serious that has triggered it, as it is very unusual in a fit and healthy person to develop this. And frustrated on the realisation that no one had thought to test my blood sugars nor had I asked them to, just trusted my results.
I also feel bad for reporting and blaming it on the Keto diet, leading you all up the garden path that Keto had done this to me. So I apologise for this to you all. And I am going to review my conclusion below.
Although I have to say, most of the points below are still valid. See my additional comments added to my original conclusions below, written in green -
I have enjoyed this blog and following the process, and it's been great for me for introducing me to new foods and recipes. I made a fabulous Butternut Squash Dhansak for my vegetarian Step Sister Nikki last night, which was a corker. I will be adding this soon as I'll take some pictures next time I make it.
I hope you are all keeping well, and training hard and eating clean.
All the best, catch up soon!
Day 22 - Weekend Bake day!
I do like to bake, and play with new ingredients or new ways of thinking about food. Today though was a good old fashion Vanilla Cheesecake. A Keto Vanilla Cheesecake.
I will leave it in the fridge tonight and have some tomorrow. So I will tell you how it tastes then! A weekend little badness! Nom nom nom!
We've had bad...so what about some good. The discovery of Cauliflower Cheesy Mash! Ooof, this is good!
You can make a light version of this replacing the cheese and butter with 150g Quark, and 50 ml Coconut Milk. It then drops to 55 calories per serving! I added this to my meals today as follows -
Yay! 70% fat reached! But calories a little high. by about 100 cals. Hey ho. It is a good days menu!
Day 23 - Night Eating
I have for some time now (like years I'm talking!) been getting up in the middle of the night to eat. I normally feed every 3-4 hours, last meal being between 8-9.00 pm. So by about 3.00 am...I wake up proper starving! This is when I have my first meal. The yogurt/fats/strawberry shake. I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep otherwise. For body builders and Athletes, night time is when we repair and grow and recover from the days workouts. So, I have no problems with this. It does in fact help me massively, and improves my sleep. Look below. The pink lines are when I get up, and the low lines are when I'm in deep sleep.
You can see once I eat, I generally have the best quality sleep of the night! And the longest deep sleep period. It just knocks me out, stops me from thinking of food, and relaxes me. Perfect.
Not the best idea for non exercisers mind. This is to aid muscle and workout recovery, so don't think I'm telling you to get up and eat in the night if you've sat on you back side all day! And be aware, these calories are are worked into my macros, and is counted as one of my meals.
Oh and the sugar free Keto cheesecake is a winner! Had it for breakfast! In the middle of the night! Nom nom!
I have to mention, I have been feeling a little out of sorts for the last 2 days. Pressure headache quite a few days now, hazy eye sight, lethargic, palpitations and irritable. Lurgy Coming? Or something else. Didn't go to gym, as just too lethargic. Mmmmmm......?
Day 24 - Coconut Oil - If its saturated...why is it good?
Promised you an updated Keto Coconut Bread recipe, this is really tasty! It not Vegan like the one before, but it is Keto.
While chomping on my Keto bread and peanut Butter, I began thinking about a conversation I had with my brother in law Paul, about the fact he had read that although coconut oil is a saturated fat, it has been proven to be still good for you. I was aware of this, but as he was wanting to up his fat intake after reading my blog, I still couldn't bring myself to suggest he start adding even more coconut oil to his morning oat soak, and found myself advising him to add more olive oil, or Hemp oil, or invest in some Udos oil to drizzle on food, or eat more avocados/nuts, as these are known good sources of unsaturated fat. But I needed a refresher on the benefits of coconut oil and why it was different to other saturates.
Coconut Oil is a saturated fat. To put it into perspective, it is about 90% saturated fat. So to compare, butter is about 60-64% saturated, and lard is about 40% saturated. So coconut oil is way up there. And we have already learn't that too much saturated fat in the diet is unhealthy because it raises "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. Right?
However, it has been proven that coconut oil does actually give your good cholesterol HDL, a boost? Remember though, that our bodies do actually need a level of saturated fats, just in much less quantities than unsaturated. And a good balance of these both is known to boost HDL levels, but coconut oil seems especially efficient in doing so. Why?
About half of the saturated fat in coconut oil is made up of Lauric Acid. This is much higher than in most other oils. Lauric Acid is an MCT Medium-chain triglycerides. These are basically a type of fat in the blood. Triglycerides and Cholesterol are both part of the 'blood fat family' also known as lipids. MCT's are easily digested whole by your body, and have slightly less calories per gram (8.3 instead of 9). Lauric acids have been proven to help speed up your metabolism, and to lower your cholesterol. Hence coconut oil, although saturated, been seen to lower cholesterol. As well as this, plant-based oils (coconut oil and palm oil) are more than just fats. They contain many antioxidants and other good substances too.
So, with Coconut oil's special HDL-boosting effect from it's high levels of the MCT Lauric acid, and from being plant based, having antioxidants and other good substances too, it may make it "not as bad" than the high saturated fat content would indicate. However, it's still probably not the best choice among the many available oils to reduce the risk of heart disease. So use sparingly, but it is still worth including in your diet.
I'm still not feeling great today, headache won't go. Tired hazy eyes won't go, have developed a thirst, still got palpitations. Lots of bugs going round...Booked to see a doctor in the morning. Didn't go to gym.
Day 25 - Doctor...Doctor..gimme the news...
I woke up this morning, and did my cholesterol and blood sugar checks. I found these results middle of the 4th week-
Good news - My cholesterol has settled to a normal safe level. Even after eating all this extra fat. Interesting really. You would of expected a large increase with all this cheese and fats! But no, I have happy cholesterol still. Mmmm, more evidence that fats are not so bad for you after all maybe?
Bad news - My blood sugars are continuing to rise...a lot! Remember this chart below? This 9.2 mmol/l reading was taken FASTED in the morning. So this is saying I am currently diabetic...off the scale diabetic! Now I had previously mentioned that this was the norm in a lot of cases of low carb diets, that blood sugars rise, stay consistent as they have no where to go. But this level is very high. And also, could account for my tired eyes, permanent headache, irritability, palpitations and the last couple of days of thirst I have been suffering from? These are all symptoms of diabetes. In 4 weeks could the Keto diet made me a diabetic? And started all the symptoms that go with it? I'm off to the docs....
So I did consult with my doc Marios Josephidou (Peachy Health, Milton Keynes), and I had sent him over my blog, so he understood how I thought I had got to this level of blood sugar. He was very concerned. He suggested I have a HBA1c blood test done, which takes an average of your blood sugar levels over the last 12 weeks. So this would tell us if this rise is definitely a recent thing since this diet, and confirm that I hadn't been having blood sugar spikes for a while without my knowledge. We did the blood test, now to wait for the results.
Day 26 - The results are in!
Hba1c test results were normal. Confirming that this diet has been the cause of the rise, as I had no previous issues before.
So, Marios has suggested I move to a diabetic diet, adding complex carbs (no simple sugars) back into diet and come off of Ketosis, as its put my glucose levels simply too high. And is very much the reason I have developed these diabetic symptoms. 9.2 - 9.6 mmol/l is too much sugar in my blood to be ignored. And I can't continue to live feeling this exhausted. It really has given me an insight into how a diabetic has to live their life. I'm so lethargic and anxious. I need to reverse this...and quick!
I did this Keto diet as an experiment, to see if it worked as a fat burner. And also, I was also always openly vocally negative about the Keto diet, saying that I felt it was a fad, as with my nutritional knowledge, I felt taking out a macro-nutrient such as carbohydrates, simply can't be good for you, and your body needs a balanced diet. I am coming out the end of this diet, still now thinking the same thing, possibly even more so.
Day 27 - Ketosis end of the line
So on the 6th day of the 4th week being complete, I will be coming out of Ketosis. And going on a diabetic diet until my blood sugars have returned to normal. I will be gradually adding small amounts of complex carbs into my diet, so not to encourage a return reaction, as they have been absent for this time. A reverse diet. I have devised the following diet, and will gradually up the carbs and proteins over the next 3 weeks. -
As well as slowly bringing up the carbs and proteins, I do plan to keep a better ratio of fats in my diet. I am just adding extra vegetables, high fiber whole fruits like berries, peaches and melon, and oats to start with for carbs. I have enjoyed discovering more unsaturated fats, and ways of eating them, and these will be staying in and plentiful. And will also be a lot more at ease with eating saturated fats, knowing a balance of good and bad, doesn't harm my cholesterol levels. It's been a great learning curve.
I did a final weigh in, although I hadn't trained for 3 days of the last week, as I just felt awful.
DAY 1 -
Weight – 75.3 kg / 11st 12lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 22%
Muscle Mass – 53.5kg / 8st 6lb
Water % - 61%
Visceral Fat - 4
DAY 7 -
Weight – 72.2 kg / 11st 5 lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 24.5%
Muscle Mass – 51.8 kg / 8st 2lb
Water % - 56.4%
Visceral Fat - 4
DAY 14 -
Weight – 71.2 kg / 11st 3 lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 23.3%
Muscle Mass – 51.8 kg / 8st 2lb
Water % - 57.7%
Visceral Fat - 4
DAY 21 -
Weight – 70.9 kg / 11st 2 lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 23.3%
Muscle Mass – 51.7 kg / 8st 1lb
Water % - 57.7%
Visceral Fat - 4
DAY 27 -
Weight – 70.8 kg / 11st 1.5 lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 22.9%
Muscle Mass – 51.4 kg / 8st 0lb
Water % - 58%
Visceral Fat - 4
So I have lost weight at about a pound a week as intended (once the fake weight went) this is eating 2200 on my diet. (So you see, starving yourself isn't the answer on any diet!) But, there is a consistent loss of muscle more so than fat loss. Not the greatest for a body builder.
And the before and after shows improvements in 4 weeks. But to be fair, wouldn't any diet if you had followed it as necessary?
I hope you've enjoyed following my journey. And I'll look forward to any comments or questions you may have. But...until the next time. Have a great evening!
Day 15 - Baby Belly
I cared for mum my today. She has Altziemers and me and my sisters care for her outside out work hours. But I forgot my natural sweeteners. I had 3 cups of coffee there today, and couldn't resist using the sweeteners she had there. So I had 2 cups with one Sweetex in, and one with Canderel in last one in a coffee shop. (Oh and thank you so much Starbucks for starting doing Coconut and Almond milk lattes! Made my day! But they do add sugar, so ask them not to) And didn't think too much of it.
When I got home, my stomach swelled like a big baby belly balloon! It could only have been those sweeteners as my diet was clean and the usual food I have today. It was pushed right out and was hard. So. the proof is in the pudding it would seem, that those sweeteners were a major factor to the bloating I had had before, that I had just got used to. Now I know what it is not to be bloated, it's easier to recognise when I am. The sweeteners are definitely being left out the diet after this Keto experiment.
Day 16 - 'I can't bring myself to eat fat'
I was thinking today about a conversation I had with a customer at work last week. She looks after herself, and we always have chats about food, diet and exercise whenever I go, even though she is one of my telecoms customers, we always catch up on these subjects too.
She had said to me that she can't bring herself to eat fats. Shes only just been able to start eating avocado's, and even that to start with was a struggle. And this was because it has just been embedded into her over all these years that all fats are bad, and that fats make you fat. She is a well educated smart woman, and knows that what she feels is nowadays wrong but it's just part of how she thinks now.
Everyone needs to understand, by leaving good fats out of your diet, this could have a massive negative effect on your digestive process and your body in general. It doesn't mean you have to do a Ketosis 70% fats diet, but a conscious effort to have good fats in your daily diet should be happening or should be considered.
Most people seem to have a bit of knowledge about the benefits of carbohydrates and proteins, but don't really understand fats, and why the body needs them. So here's some information to help with this.
A healthy human diet should have about 25 - 30% of its daily calories from fat in your normal everyday diet. Fat is a very dense source of energy, though is only usually converted to energy in the absence of carbohydrates, as we are finding out in this Ketosis process.
So other than energy, what else does it do?
2. We need body fat. Although most of us don't want it, it is very necessary to cushion and protect your body organs, and protects us from injury. As a body builder, at show time, our aim is to get as low a body fat as possible. This look, is only fully achievable for the few days around show time, as it is so dangerous to stay this low. During show time, ladies tend to get between to 8-10% and men can get to 2 - 4%. This is red alert time. In this period you are prone to injury, organ damage and can feel very cold. Training should be careful and lighter. A lot of people see there body building idol in this state on stage and think that how you look all the time. It isn't. It can't be. Which is why off season most of us like to get the fat back on to feel healthier, in most cases look healthier, be able to grow more muscle by utilizing nutrients more efficiently and to protect our organs.
Men and woman are different in what body fat levels we need. So I am a 46 year old woman, a healthy range for me is 23 - 35% body fat, and for men of the same age 11 - 22%. (Although from various sources this may slightly differ, but to give you an idea) Quite a massive difference. Woman are made different to men. The reason for this difference is that women at some point in their lives may become pregnant and will need to nourish a fetus and then a baby from their own fat reserves, so women have to stock energy in the form of fat in anticipation of future pregnancies. (Unfortunately for those ladies like me who decided not to have children, there is no off switch in this part of our genetics!)
3. Fat also provides insulation in the body fat and by providing healthier skin. One of the more obvious signs of fatty acid deficiency is dry, flaky skin. In addition to giving skin its rounded appeal, the layer of fat just beneath the skin (called subcutaneous fat) acts as the body’s own insulation to help regulate body temperature. Lean people tend to be more sensitive to cold; obese people tend to be more sensitive to warm weather.
I had my hairdresser over on Friday just gone. She has been going on at me about my dry scalp for about 6 months, telling me ways of treating it. On Friday, it had totally gone. She said not a trace. Could this be because of eating all this healthy fat for the last 2 weeks? I think it could. My skin in general looks a lot better Another tick in the box.
4. You need fats also because they regulate the production of sex hormones. Hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin, are important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health. Hormones are secreted by various glands and organs, including your thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. The endocrine system (the collection of glands that produce hormones) works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even even slightly imbalanced it can cause widespread, major health problems. An imbalance can cause a low libido, insomnia, depression, weight gain/loss, irregular periods and a whole host of issues. Dr Axe explains well in that link details of all the issues in more detail that it can cause. So...do you go to the doctors for hormone replacement treatment, or thyroid treatment, or anti-depressants? Or could it be you don't eat enough good fats? Could you not just try eating a good amount of good fats in your diet for 3 months or so, and see what effect it has on your body? As fats help regulate the sex hormones, I think it would be worth a try.
By the way, any change of diet for health reasons, or to see an improvement in the way you function, will take 2 - 3 months to see or feel the difference you may be looking for. This is because your body and organs regenerate all the time, most organs take 60 - 90 days, some much less. So it takes this long for a diet to 'become part of you' when done for medicinal purposes. Like when a cut heals on your skin, that may mend in a matter of days, this is a quick regenerating organ, Liver and pancreas and the like take something like 60 days for example.
So patience is a virtue. And why you have to give change a chance. You don't know how many times I've heard 'I tried this diet for 2 weeks and I didn't feel different'...yeah...well...you won't. or 'I took multi-vitamins for a month and nothing happened?'...yeah...well...shame...*sigh*
5. Your brain needs fats to function properly. The brain is the fattest organ in the body, being made of about 50% - 60% fat. When it comes to building the brain, the body needs a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids from animal foods, to keep the brain functioning efficiently and consistently. Some experts are now saying that a widespread lack of omega-fatty acid balance you get from eating fats may be at the very root of some of the most troublesome neurological epidemics of our day, such as Altziemers and Fibromyalgia.
So, have I got you wanting to add more good fats into your diet? Pick a few of these to add to your shopping basket the next time you go shopping -
Day 17 - Physiologically easier...
I've noticed something. I am not having my treat meals, or treat days like I often have on diets to look forward to...or those occasional biscuit or choccie with my coffee with Mums. We baked mince pies today..didn't even think of trying one. Simply because in my head, I can't. As I know a carb hit could throw everything off. When you've finally reached Ketosis, you just don't want to ruin it! So I'm finding resisting temptation much easier. It simply isn't an option. And an added bonus.
Made my best coconut bread to date. Not a vegan version, just keto. So took out the soy yoghurt and added butter and 3 egg whites instead. And a little less salt. Delish! Its in the prep for the week! See how my prep evolves over time. Changed a bit since day 1 -
Day 18 - Has all this fat upped my bad cholesterol?
Starting wondering today whether my cholesterol has been effected by the sudden rise in fat I'm eating? My LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein...or bad cholesterol) was 4.8 mmol/l end of last year, and the ideal is under 5.0 mmol/l. I had previously been up to 7.2 mmol/l!!
To give you an idea, the levels of total cholesterol fall into the following categories:
I did then put things into place to improving it, lowering my protein in take a little and adding some regular good fats/oils to my diet, which worked. So all is good. So what is it now? I fasted for 6 hours, and tested my cholesterol
Result? 5.2 mmol/l. Up slightly, but not massively to be fair. Which is what I would expect. A lot of the fats I am eating come under the good fats of unsaturated (poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated) These fats actually help improve your cholesterol and lowers the bad (LDL) and helps raise the good (HDL).
However, I am eating quite a lot of cheese, butter, cottage cheese, and coconut oil, and as good a rep that this has, it is still a saturated fat like the ones before, which come under the bad, which can raise your LDL. So a small rise like I have was what I though may happen, as they battle to find a balance. Still not a level I would yet worry about. So happy days!
So why is high cholesterol an issue? How can it effect me? To go into detail check out this great link from Bodybuilding.com, but most of us know it places you at risk of heart disease as it can cause blockages in arteries. Body builders are prone to having high cholesterol due to the high amount of saturated fats eaten off season (some peoples bad habits) butters, eggs, meats and poultry skin, and also that obesity is a known cause of it too, and some body builders really do carry some serious weight at times. Excess weight of any kind can put pressure on your body.
It doesn't have to be that way though. Just eat better. Eat more unsaturated fats, and keep them to 30% of your diet. Also -
Just best to be aware of what is going on in your body. Prevention, rather than cure.
Day 19 - So..shouldn't my insulin be real low now?
Insulin is a hormone normally produced in the pancreas and helps the body's cells absorb glucose from the blood, so when eating carbs, it helps you utilise your food more efficiently :
WOOOOOAAAHHHHH!! Didn't see that coming! According to this..I'm now diabetic! Prior to this diet I was 5.2 mmol/l and now I've shot up to 8.6 mmol/l?
I tested through out the day. And all day it stayed between 8.6 - 9.0 mmol/l, not peaking and troughing after food either like it is known to do. But I have no diabetic side effects? Tiredness? Thirsty? Feel sick? Feel Faint? Nope. None of the above. Although I have had a dull headache for a few days, which I put down to a bit of stress in the family life at the moment. But it also could be this. So, an investigation is required.
I consulted Dr Google as you do, and found this interesting read on www.dietdoctor.com -
“We definitely see that in people who are doing low carb long term, the majority will find that their fasting blood glucose becomes their highest value of the day,” says Dr. Sarah Hallberg. “They are not actually having issues with blood sugar. They are doing really well. But if you are looking at a log of 24 hours of blood glucose you will see a high first thing in the morning and then a steady decline throughout the day, with no big excursions [in glucose levels] even after meals.” (This is true of me. I tested Friday morning and was 9.2 mmol/l, and I'm normally about 8.6-9 mmol/l in the evening, no major ups and downs)
The scientific name is “physiologic insulin resistance” and it’s a good thing — unlike “pathologic insulin resistance.”
"The “pathologic” kind of insulin resistance is caused by higher and higher levels of insulin — hyperinsulinemia — trying to force glucose into over-stuffed cells. That insulin resistance is a prominent feature of type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and other chronic conditions. (So this isn't the reason for my high blood sugars)
Prior to converting to the ketogenic diet, your muscles were the major sites to soak up and use glucose in the blood for energy. On the long-term keto diet, however, they now prefer fat as fuel. So the muscles are resisting the action of insulin to bring sugar into cells for energy, saying, in essence: “We don’t want or need your sugar anymore, so move it along.” Hence, the elevated, but generally stable, glucose circulating in the blood.
Where is that glucose coming from when you consume no sugar and only leafy veggie carbs in your diet? Your liver, through gluconeogenesis — the creation of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources such as lactate, glycerol, and glucogenic amino acids from proteins. It is a natural protective process that got homo sapiens through hundreds of thousands of years of feasts and famines.
“There is no essential requirement for dietary carbohydrate because humans possess a robust capacity to adapt to low-carbohydrate availability,” says Dr. Jeff Volek. In the liver of a keto-adapted person, he notes: “ketone production increases dramatically to displace glucose as the brain’s primary energy source, while fatty acids supply the majority of energy for skeletal muscle. Glucose production from non-carbohydrate sources via gluconeogenesis supplies carbons for the few cells dependent on glycolysis [using sugar for energy.]”
So, it would seem I have a consistently high amount of blood sugars, floating around, being produced by my liver via proteins and other nutrients, with no where to go. And according to this, it is perfectly normal thing to happen in Ketosis. My ketones or consistently between moderate and large quantities, so they aren't being effected by these high glucose levels, my water is still between 2-4 litres a day, and I don't feel bad or lethargic at all. So no need to worry, tight? Still going to my GP for an opinion. It's the sensible thing to do. My GP, is also big into body building and has good knowledge in what I do. Whereas a lot don't and would flap about this straight away. But I do trust his word. So I will let you know what he says.
Day 21 - 3 weeks in..
So, finished week 3 now. Jumped in the Tanita scales and the results are in -
DAY 1 -
Weight – 75.3 kg / 11st 12lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 22%
Muscle Mass – 53.5kg / 8st 6lb
Water % - 61%
Visceral Fat - 4
DAY 7 -
Weight – 72.2 kg / 11st 5 lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 24.5%
Muscle Mass – 51.8 kg / 8st 2lb
Water % - 56.4%
Visceral Fat - 4
DAY 14 -
Weight – 71.2 kg / 11st 3 lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 23.3%
Muscle Mass – 51.8 kg / 8st 2lb
Water % - 57.7%
Visceral Fat - 4
DAY 21 -
Weight – 70.9 kg / 11st 2 lbs
Height – 5 ‘6 / 168 cm
Body Fat – 23.3%
Muscle Mass – 51.7 kg / 8st 1lb
Water % - 57.7%
Visceral Fat - 4
So, no major difference today. No fat loss, and some minor muscle loss. (Which I did expect to happen due to low proteins). This is a plateau, which always happens in diets. Your body starts to adapt to the calorie intake. But it could also be down to my bad habit I have formed this week in nibbling!
Little bit of cheese here, few nuts there whenever I open the cupboard door, extra couple of teaspoons of yogurt straight into the mouth not measured. And I was out for a meal on Weds In Hackney, London. I didn't eat carbs, but had tapas, which would be tough to calculate the calories. Now, when your nibbling fats, small amounts could easily add big calories, as we saw before that I had mentioned. So I am taking a little responsibility for this. My bad. You have to be honest with yourself on a diet. It's generally not the scales fault!
What I am happy about, is the consistency of the scale reading over the last 3 weeks. Due to the lack of carbs, my body isn't fluctuating up and down, my muscles aren't loading and depleting with food intake, giving a more stable read that I can trust. This is a big help when monitoring progress.
Thats, this week over. I'm baking this weekend! So more recipes next week to be included and I've mastered the perfect coconut bread so will give you a new recipe for that too!
Have a great weekend!