Dot’s 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge

It’s time to get back on track. Since mid-May, everything’s been on hold. That’s when Mom broke her hip and I got busy helping her get back on her feet. Those familiar with my blog know how easy it is for me to put everything else ahead of my own health, and that’s exactly what happened.

I was so focused on helping my mom that I never thought about how difficult it would be on me. While dealing with hospitalizations, doctor appointments, home modifications, managing finances (ours and hers), to the more personal tasks like cooking, dressing, bathing, managing meds … well, I ended up putting my own health (and life) on the back burner.

Thankfully, mom is much better now. Her hip is healing. She regularly does her exercises and goes to PT. She’s gained about 5 pounds (10 more to go!). Overall, I’d say she’s getting stronger.

That means it’s a perfect opportunity to re-focus my energies on Me. Ah, but what a crawl back it’s gonna be…

I haven’t taken care of myself these last few months. I’m frequently sluggish, not sleeping at night, and too quick to anger. My hot flashes rage unpredictably. Every little thing stresses me out. And you may have seen, I’m packing on the pounds again.

That said, I still cook healthy low carb meals. But I’m also cooking meals for my mother. Since 2012, what I cook, both me and my husband eat. But low carb eating isn’t necessarily the best thing for my mother. She’s way too thin and her doctor ordered that she gain weight – fast. That means that foods I stopped buying more than 6 years ago are back in my pantry and fridge. And let me tell you: when you’re a stress eater, that’s not a good thing.

To deal with all this, I’ve decided to do a complete reset – nutrition, mental and physical.

To succeed, I’ve come up 7 rules I’ll need to follow.

1. No Snacking!
I snack when I’m bored or stressed. Since mid-May, I’ve become a major snacker. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not. Initially, my go-to snacks were nuts and cheese – both keto friendly foods. But other things started creeping in, like my mom’s potato chips, popcorn, ice cream. That stops today.

2. Counting Total Carbs
I’m sticking to 20g of carbs, or less, per day. And when I say 20g I mean total carbs, not net carbs. What’s the difference? Net carbs is total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. A lot of low carbers count net carbs, and that’s just fine. But for me, I really need a swift kick in the you-know-what.

Truth is, since the end of May, I’ve essentially been carb cycling, but not in a good way. Some days I’d be more moderate, eating about 50g of carbs. Other days I’d eat +200g of carbs. Yikes!

Clearly, I need to go strict and enforce some serious discipline. Also, this change will be permanent, or at least until I hit my goal weight.

Recently, I heard a podcast with Dr. Eric Westman, one of the top low carb doctors and researchers around. He had the best definition of the difference between total carb and net carb counting:

“Total carbs is prescription strength. Net carbs is over the counter medicine.”

Nuff said!

3. Eat 1 or 2 Meals A Day.
Intermittent fasting helps, not just with weight loss, but with mental clarity and concentration, increased energy, sleep, lower blood sugar levels, and of course fat burning. Basically my eating window will be from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm (lunch and dinner). Which means 18 hours of fasting. Perfect!

4. Test My Blood Ketones Daily.
If I’m doing a keto reset, then I’ll have to know whether I’m in ketosis. I’m not expecting to be in ketosis overnight. It’s going to take awhile since I need to get all of the carb-loaded junk I’ve been eating out of my system.

I have 2 ways to test: urine strips, and a ketone/blood glucose meter. The urine strips are good, but not as reliable as the meter. Nonetheless, it isn’t as painful as pricking my finger. And it allows me to test more than once a day.

For more accuracy I’ll use my Keto Mojo. This requires blood samples from pricking my finger. I’ll do this in the morning before any coffee or water.

5. No Alcohol.
This was a goal I’d set for myself at the beginning of the year … and I failed miserably. The truth is, I really like wine. But I’ve been relying on it too much as a way to help me de-stress or wind-down from a busy day. I really can use a break, and so can my liver.

6. Take My Measurements (& Weigh Myself).
I need to know where I’m at. ‘Nuff said.

7. Daily Stretching & Flexibility Moves
This is a big one! In June, I put work with my trainer on hold. Unfortunately I didn’t have another stress-relieving outlet, thanks to my chronic calf injury.

I’m not allowed to go for walks, hikes, or train for a 10k. I can’t even do yoga because of the risk of rupturing my Achilles tendon. Standing and walking for more than 15 minutes can be downright painful. If I sit for too long, my ankle becomes stiff and painful.

My two main calf muscles are knotted up in a big tight ball and are pulling on my Achilles tendon, as well as causing plantar fasciitis in my foot.

Per my physical therapist, all I need to do is:

  • Calf stretches, at least 3 times a day
  • Ice my Achilles tendon and wrap a heat pad around my calf when inflamed
  • Wear a Strasburg sock at night while I sleep

The stretches won’t stop after 30 days. I’m using this reset to create a habit. I’m scheduling time to stretch 30 minutes a day, 3 times a day. I need to get it into my head that yes, I do have 90 minutes to spare a day. This is just too important. Not being able to walk around isn’t healthy when you’re 50.

Keto Challenge Updates
I plan to post regular updates on this blog about how my reset is going: my challenges, successes, and failures.

Today, I’m working on my first week’s menu, and I’ll post that tomorrow along with the starting data (measurements, weight, ketone levels, etc.).

I’m really excited about this. I know I’ll be successful because I’ve done it before.


The Science Behind LCHF & Fasting

why we get fatLately I’ve had a few questions about fasting and low carb/Keto lifestyle.

  • Should I eat breakfast?
  • How do I know I should fast?
  • Aren’t saturated fats bad for you?
  • Isn’t fasting the same as starving?
  • Won’t eating all that fat cause a heart attack?
  • Why I can eat brown rice or whole grains?

For me, when it comes to reclaiming my health and losing weight, nothing beats a low carb diet combined with intermittent fasting. Unlike the standard Western diet, there is actual science behind the therapeutic benefits of LCHF/Keto and fasting.

I’m not saying LCHF/Keto and fasting works for everyone. But the science for each is rock solid.  For me, understanding the science of why we get fat was key to making better decisions on what to eat AND when to eat.

So for those who are new to, curious or want a primer on LCHF/Keto and fasting I’ve posted a few videos below to help you out.

Also keep in mind to do your own research like I did. For me, the science was compelling so I gave it a try and sure enough LCHF & intermittent fasting worked.  That may not be the situation for you.

Science Behind LCHF/Ketogenic Diets

How LCHF Works

Fasting

Cholesterol & Heart Disease

 


Evidence That Meat Causes Cancer Is More Than Lacking

Does meat really cause cancer? Nope. Our evolutionary history says otherwise. Human ancestors survived and thrived by eating meat. Meat is way more calorie dense and has all the essential amino fatty acids we need. Plus, humans would not have developed the size brains we have without meat.

I think a much better case can be made that our current food chain, which relies on heavily processed low-fat foods with a ton of added sugar, is a much better candidate for cancer and other metabolic diseases that have exploded over the last 40 years.

The attack on meat (and it is an attack) seems more political than science-based. Check out this lecture by Dr. Georgia Ede. She actually read these observational studies (not the gold standard in research).

I didn’t post this to bash those who don’t eat meat. That’s your choice just like I choose to eat low carb, moderate protein and high fat foods. If a vegan or vegetarian diet works best for you, great. LCHF with awesome animal meat and fat works best for me.

But there is a part of me that this video tweaks those dietary nannies out there (and all diets have them!). They corrupt science to make political points and claim moral superiority. All in an effort to scare or shame me into a certain behavior they approve. Control is the game. They don’t care about my health.

Sorry, but not everything is political (nor should it be). Eating for my health is my business and it is up to me to make those decisions.

I’ve wised up and no longer listen to scare tactics.

 

 


Q: Who Are You To Trust With Your Health? A: Yourself

badgovt

After 50 years, the government, medical, fitness and food industries are still peddling the same bad advice that is making us sick and fat. Time for a change.

I keep harping on the experts in the field of diet and nutrition not being all that expert. Why? Because they are so boneheaded dogmatic about their own beliefs they can’t see the mountains of evidence that those beliefs are wrong. The article  Health Authorities Continue To Fail Us poses a great question: Who are we to trust when it comes to dietary advice?

The article is a great read that sums up that our “experts” have gotten so much wrong, much to our detriment. From calories in/calories out to saturated fat is bad — it’s all bunk.

Yet the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, nutritionist, dietitians, doctors, fitness industry, Big Pharma, the food industry…hell the whole lot continue to push the same bad advice for more than 50 years.

The results? Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a host of other chronic diseases have skyrocketed.  That isn’t evolution. It’s environmental.

The food chain, built on this advice, is slowly killing us.

Since the medical, fitness and food industry has no interest in changing, the writer of the article has a very simple solution for you — not easy — but simple:

“So who are we to trust then? The list would appear to be getting smaller every day.

Now more than ever the message is clear: if you want to truly be healthy, it’s up to the individual to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. There is a mountain of information out there to go through, and you’ll need to sift through the bias of people selling you diets, fringe groups promoting their social agenda, and the media misinterpreting real research findings.

While it may sound like too much trouble, is your health really of that little importance that you’d trust it to anyone else but yourself?”

Amen!

 

 

 


Low Carb Learning This Morning

Waiting for the weather to clear up a bit before I head out on my morning walk. I’m using my time reviewing videos from Low Carb Down Under’s conference in Colorado from earlier this year.  Learning the latest science on the LCHF/ketogenic diet is a great way to tweak or try different things in the quest to be and stay healthy.

I suggest watching the video on YouTube. That way you can see all the different topics discussed. I found the talk about gut health (“Does Fiber Make You Fat?”) particularly interesting. Sit back, learn and enjoy!


Awesome Health News Roundup

news icon

A round-up of health news I discovered this week. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and Stuart Miles.

I read a lot on health, fitness and diet. Here are some articles you might want to take a look at if, like me, are focused healthy living.

First up, two pieces this week from the man himself, Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat?

First up: Are You A Carbaholic? There is science behind why giving up carbs is difficult for people.

The second is an article about sugar and nutrition research that he wrote for the New York Times in January (how did I miss this?). I’m reading his The Case Against Sugar now and hope to have a review up soon. Read More


Yes, Coconut Oil Is Healthy

big fat surprise cover

Before believing the American Heart Association’s view on coconut oil, I suggest you read The Big, Fat Surprise.

The American Heart Association can go suck it! As Nina Teicholz and Dr. Eric Thorn point out point out in their article, for too long the AHA has ignored a multitude of new research, clinical trials and meta-analyses that show dietary saturated fats DO NOT cause heart disease.

Heck, even the federal food guidelines finally joined Western nations in dropping its misguided limits on dietary fats.

Yet the AHA is doubling down on stupid.

Dietary saturated fats (butter, coconut oil, meat, eggs, cheese, bacon, etc.) are healthy for you provided you are not stuffing your face with processed carbs (breads, grains, pasta) or sugar (including the food industry’s 50+ names for sugar). A diet high in fat AND carbs leads to serious metabolic damage. Read More


Rethinking Low Carb Sweeteners

cup-sugar-coffee

Image courtesy of Pexels.com

Lately I find myself in the kitchen baking. I use to bake a lot in my old life. It helped me cope with stress. I don’t feel stressed out but I’m baking nonetheless. But baking does require using a sweetener at times.

Oh sure I use my go to low carb sweeteners like Stevia or Swerve. I’m even using less of them, as the normal serving size seems too sweet for me these days. Now I’m thinking about kicking them to the curb completely.

Why? Read More


Learning To Say “No” Again

This morning I find myself sitting down with a cup of coffee and a book I read more than a year ago – Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. I find myself in need of remastering one simple yet special word.

In a world where nearly everything is at your fingertips, it’s a word you don’t hear very often — “No.”

“No” was my essential tool in losing 150 pounds over 4 years.  But if you don’t use it you lose it. And I haven’t used it for a long time.

The Vacation Is Over
I just got back from a weeklong visit with family in Texas. It was fun but I discovered I lost the ability to tell myself “no” when it came to snacks, desserts and alcohol. I told myself, “Your on vacation. Enjoy it.”

The problem is my vacation has lasted 373 days. Read More


Thinking About Eating Before A Workout? Think Again

An interesting article in the New York Times about the potential benefits of fasting before exercising. I know a lot of bodybuilders and athletes play with timing their meals and workouts. And scientists like Jeff Volek have studied ketogenic diets and athletic performance. Well a new study looks at us regular folks and how when we eat may play a role in lowering insulin levels.

Gee, I wonder where I heard that before?

Anyway, it’s nice that science is starting to put to the test the “benefits” of fasting.