Let’s Go Keto!

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I’m psyched about the health benefits of nutritional ketosis! Here’s the short list of the major health benefits — supported by hard science and lots of n=1 experiments:

  • Helps to control your weight without feeling hungry all the time.
  • Optimizes your mood and energy for peak mental and physical performance.
  • Makes it easier to control blood sugar and to stop craving sugar.
  • Improves your heart health.

And, I love the foods I eat on my keto diet, for example:

  • Scrambled eggs and sausage
  • Pot roast with gravy
  • Liver paté
  • Lamb with mint pesto
  • Shrimp scampi
  • Salmon burgers with chimichuri sauce
  • Sautéed greens with butter
  • Guacamole
  • Brie (not cottage cheese!)
  • Coconut “candy”
  • Chocolate with macadamia nuts

To learn about nutritional ketosis and a ketogenic diet, grab a copy of the new book, Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore with Eric C. Westman, MD

So just what is a ketogenic diet? It’s a healthy way of eating that’s low (to very low) in carbohydrate, moderate in protein, and high in healthy fat. Did the last part of this last sentence make you almost choke? If so, you’re not alone. We have become a nation of fat phobics. And that’s tragic, because eating lots of healthy fat in the context of a ketogenic diet, makes you healthier! But don’t take my word for it, read Keto Clarity! After reading this book, you may be convinced, as I was, that you want to give nutritional ketosis a try. 

Keto Clarity Book Club

I am starting a book club to discuss Keto ClarityAnd following the guidance in this book, each person will be able to do our own n=1 experiments to find out what levels of carbohydrate, protein, and fat in our diet works best for us. Of course, the self-testing, is optional, but to me, that’s the really fun part! If self-testing is new to you, have no fear, we’ll be learning together! If you would like to join the Keto Clarity book club, in person or over the Internet, just leave a comment on this post or email me at monamifood@gmail.com.

Self-testing to discover how food, exercise, sleep, and stress affect your level of ketosis

Measure for urinary ketones: When you are transitioning your diet from high carb/low fat to low carb/high fat, urine ketone measurements give you reliable information. But after about a few months, you may find that even though you think you must still be in ketosis, your urine ketones have almost disappeared. That’s because the ketones that were spilling into your urine are now showing up in your blood — where they need to be to nourish your cells.
Measure for blood ketones:  This is quite expensive using the testing devices that are on the market today. It’s not the blood ketone meter that’s expensive; it’s the test strips at about $5.00 each!
Measure for breath ketones: Breath ketones correlate well with blood ketones. And it’s a lot less expensive to measure breath ketones. Besides, with breath measurements, you don’t have to prick your finger for a blood sample. But unfortunately, at this time, an FDA-approved breath ketone meter is not yet available (but it’s in the works)!
Measure for blood sugar: In healthy, non-diabetic people, blood sugar correlates with blood ketones: the lower the blood sugar, the higher the blood ketones.

Self-testing devices I am familiar with or have heard good things about

To tweak your diet to find the levels of carbohydrate, protein, and fat that work for you, the following self-testing devices are useful. You do not need all of them!

Walgreen’s Ketone Test Strips for Urinalysis. Easy to use and not expensive. Great way to see your progress in the beginning. And here’s a tip from Jimmy Moore: You can cut these strips lengthwise to turn one strip into two!

Ketonix – a reusable breath ketone analyzer. Jimmy Moore the co-author of the book, Keto Clarity, has done extensive self-testing comparing the results of this device with blood ketone testing, and he found that breath ketones and blood ketones were quite well correlated, as the manufacturer claims. BTW an FDA-approved breath ketone meter is in the works and might be out before end of 2014, but for now Ketonix is the only breath ketone measuring device out there.

PrecisionExtra meter for testing both blood sugar and blood  ketones. This meter can be used to test both blood and ketones. That’s nice!
PrecisionXtra Blood Ketone test strips – Warning, they cost $5.00 each!
PrecisioniXtra Blood Glucose Test Strips  – Note: Considerably more expensive than Walmart’s test strips (mentioned below), and that’s why I chose to use Walmart’s product.

Walmart’s ReliOn Prime Blood Glucose Monitoring System. This may be the least expensive, reliable blood glucose monitor on the market. Be sure to buy not just the meter, but also the strips and the lancets. The ReliOn Prime strips and lancets are very cheap!
Walmart ReliOn Prime Blood Glucose Test Strips – Less expensive than PrecisionXtra blood glucose test strips.

Enjoy and be healthy!

Leni

 

Read. Watch. Listen. Do something!

I must tell you about some new absolutely FANTASTIC resources — because they can change your health — which can change your life — for the better!

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Read these books

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As the subtitle states, Keto Clarity, by Jimmy Moore with Eric C. Westman, MD, is “Your definitive guide to the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet.” And what are some of those benefits — as supported by hard science and lots of n=1 experiments? 

  • Helps to control your weight without feeling hungry all the time.
  • Optimizes your mood and energy for peak mental and physical performance.
  • Makes it easier to control blood sugar and to stop sugar cravings.
  • Improves your heart health (metabolic syndrome).
  • Helps with PCOS and infertility.
  • Helps with GERD and heartburn.
  • Reduces severity of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

And, the food you eat on a high fat/low carb, ketogenic diet tastes great and is very satisfying! You can eat: scrambled eggs and sausage (goodbye egg whites), pot roast with gravy (goodbye skinless chicken breast), and brie cheese (goodbye cottage cheese) and plenty of butter and other wonderful foods high in fat, like avocados and olive oil salad dressings! 

Keto Clarity includes draws on the expertise of 22 leading health professionals and scientists, plus the authors themselves. And it’s packed with practical information for implementing a healthy low-carb, high fat diet — so you can start improving your health today!

 The South Asian Health Solution

You do not have to be South Asian to benefit from the book, The South Asian Health Solution by Ronesh Sinha, MD. The main focus of this book is about how to prevent and treat metabolic syndrome which leads to heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Sinha found that the standard medical advice (a low-fat/high-carb diet plus statins) just didn’t work for his patients or for himself. So he started to question what he had learned in medical school. He abandoned the low-fat/high-carb diet that he had been taught was heart healthy, and adopted a higher (healthy) fat / lower carb diet. His personal results were great! So he offered this dietary advice to his patients and his patients got healthier!

In this book, the author highlights many useful health and nutrition apps that he personally uses and also recommends to his patients in Silicone Valley where he works. Dr. Sinha’s wife is a pediatrician. This book includes valuable advice for young people and pregnant moms. 

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. As it says in the blurb on Amazon, in this book, “investigative journalist Nina Teicholz reveals the unthinkable: that everything we thought we knew about dietary fat is wrong. She documents how the low-fat nutrition advice of the past sixty years has amounted to a vast uncontrolled experiment on the entire population, with disastrous consequences for our health.” Fascinating and scary too!

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Watch this video

One of many great slides from the video, Cholesterol Conundrum
One of many great slides from the video, The Cholesterol Conundrum


The video, Cholesterol Conundrum – and Root Cause Solution
. In this video, Mr. Cummins (a brilliant engineer and athlete) had heart disease risk factors he could not lower by following standard medical advice (low-fat/high-carb diet), so he dug into the medical research and came up with his own conclusions. In this video, he summarizes the science and root causes of heart disease and diabetes and shares his personal journey. He may be “just an engineer,” but he knows how to evaluate research and connect the dots — like any good engineer.

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Listen to this podcast

Eric Westman, MD

This podcast, Flipping the Food Pyramid Upside Down, aired on August 16, 2014 on the People’s Pharmacy. The interviewee is Eric Westman, MD, associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and the director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. Dr. Westman is also the co-author, with Jimmy Moore, of the fantastic new book Keto Clarity (mentioned at the top of this post). This is a great podcast for picking up the key practical concepts related to a ketogenic high-fat/low-carb diet.

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Share this Article with your Doctor

If your doctor says that a high fat/low carb diet is not healthy, then you may want to show your doctor this article, published on July 15, 2014, in the journal, Nutrition, co-authored by 26 MDs and Phds: Dietary Carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management. Critical review and evidence base from the Journal of Nutrition.  While, this article’s focus is diabetes, it also deals with weight loss and heart disease as these two conditions are closely linked to diabetes.

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Note: A minority of people can remain metabolically healthy on a high-carb/low-fat (American Heart Association and USDA Food Pyramid type diet). But if your blood sugar readings (such as HgA1C) are telling you that a high carb/low fat diet may not be what your body can handle, then why not try a lower carb/higher fat diet and find out for yourself what’s best for YOUR body? 

Enjoy and be healthy!
Leni

 

My breakfast: Green Smoothie, Scrambled Eggs, Kimchi, Avocado and Green Tea

When people find out that I’m a foodie with a background in nutrition, they often ask: “What do you recommend for breakfast?” So, here’s a post about a breakfast I would recommend — my breakfast this morning.

As shown in the photo, I had a green smoothie (recipe below), scrambled eggs with  green onions, kimchi, avocado slices with balsamic vinegar, and green tea.

Very Slightly Sweet Green Smoothie to Eat with a Spoon

This smoothie is loaded with fresh green veggie goodness and has very little sugar or carbs! Whip up batch and store it in the refrigerator so it’s ready to grab and enjoy anytime! It’s perfect for eating mindfully with a spoon — or maybe not so mindfully while preparing breakfast or packing lunches for the day.

Ingredients

2 small/medium zucchini (about  10 ounces)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, including the stems (3 1/2 to 4 ounces)
1/2 pound fresh asparagus
2 small/medium organic cucumbers with skins on (8 ounces), cut into quarters
1 cup cold filtered water
1 cup coconut water

Steps

To bring out the delicate sweetness of the zucchini, lightly cook the it as shown in this earlier post; set aside. While the zucchini is cooking, put remaining ingredients into a blender and purée. When the zucchini is cooked, cut each one into quarters and  then add to the blender, purée until you have a smooth and thick consistency.

Food and Nutrition Notes 

Cilantro – This amazing herb has been used to bind heavy metals and purify polluted water! Maybe it can do the same in the body? I couldn’t find any hard science on this, but surely some scientists somewhere must be working on this! For a summary of cilantro’s health benefits see Wikipedia.

Coconut water – Coconut water is delicious and also lower in sugar than many fruit juices! And it has other benefits as well, as mentioned by this article at mercola.com. And here’s a great article about how to choose the best tasting and healthiest brand of coconut water. Based on the information I learned from reading this article and price considerations, I chose to order Harvest Bay Coconut Water (from Amazon). It has 10 grams of carbs per 250 ml (~8.3 ounces) — a lower carb count than most of the other brands. (After we try it, I’ll post a comment here to let you know what I thought of it.)

Asparagus – According to a 2013 review article in the journal, Nutrients, asparagus is a good source of prebiotic fiber, which is the kind of fiber that probiotic bacteria (the good bacteria for your gut) need in order to thrive. “Prebiotics occur naturally in foods such as leeks, asparagus, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onions, wheat, oats, and soybeans.”

Eggs from pasture-raised chickens – Eggs from pasture-raised chickens are the healthiest eggs. But these eggs can be pricy. For example, at Whole Foods, one dozen Vital Farms pasture-raised eggs cost about $7.00! Fortunately, at farmer’s markets, you often find pasture-raised eggs for a few dollars less, or about $5.00 a dozen.

Green onions (scallions)Green onions are an unheralded super food, according to Jo Robinson who spent 10 years doing research for her book, Eating on the Wild Side. Here’s what Jo has to say about green onions: “green onions, they have 100 times more phytonutrients than other onions in the store. They’re inexpensive, they’re common and they’re unheralded super foods. It’s the green portions that are the best for you; when you’re chopping them up, make sure you chop up all the green portions too.”

Kimchi – Kimchi’s health promoting properties are amazing! I like the Wildbrine Korean Kimchi available at many health food stores. To learn more about kimchi, see an earlier post on this blog.

Avocado – Very interesting info about the amazing nutritional properties of avocado can be found at  the website, The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Green tea and lemon juiceto boost the absorption of the antioxidants in green tea, add a little lemon juice to your tea. Having this organic lemon juice on hand makes it easy to add lemon just to tea (or whatever) anytime.

Enjoy and be healthy!
Leni