Nutritional Ketosis Day 50, Coconut oil Detox Day 6

Yesterday, I had 1800 calories with the coconut milk + oil mix and it was difficult to get all the calories in. Today, I tried my best and the most I could get in was 10 Tbs of oil with 200 ml of coconut milk. I could have water faster today and I would have been fine with no hunger. I have never experience this level of “totally not hungry at all”.

I’m actually a bit shocked that I am losing weight this far into the ketogenic experiment. Now I wish I started monitoring my weight from day 1 of the nutritional ketosis experiment.

My conclusion for now is that at 20 g of total carbs and 60-70 g of protein per day might create too much insulin release, for me, to allow significant utilization of stored fat. Or it could be the detoxification produce by the coconut oil, or both. Or something else.

Weight Loss this Morning: – 1.4 lbs

Weight Loss Total (Starting day 45): – 7.8 lbs

My symptoms for today were: A small headaches and earache. I feel that my ear is slowly getting better. The nausea is getting stronger everyday and I had bloating in the small intestine region and some spasms. I had a tummy ache during the night, and felt some acidity. Weird. I had good energy today and no hunger.

I decided to increase my sodium by the end of the day, to see if it could help with the nausea, it did, instantly. I will increase the amount of salt I put in my water (I make a pitcher of water with salt, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and cayenne pepper in the morning to drink during the day).

I found an interesting quote about sodium and adrenals/cortisol:

“You see, on a relatively low carb diet, unless you take in more salt, blood volume shrinks. The body then responds to this dehydrating by making more adrenalin and other stress hormones. Including raising cortisol.” Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD

Today I had: Water with apple cider vinegar (with the mother), lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt and sparkling water. I premixed, with the immersion blender: 200 ml of coconut milk and 10 Tbs of coconut oil with 4-5 drops of vanilla extract, xylitol and stevia. I divided the resultant sweetened “milk” in 2 equal portions and made with it: a Coffee Latte with cinnamon at 4 pm (16h) and ate the plain milk/oil at 8 pm (20h). I also drank some Detox tea, to help with elimination. That’s 1550 calories for today.

 

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Nutritional Ketosis Day 49, Coconut oil Detox Day 5

I am learning so much about my metabolism since starting this experiment and even more since starting the coconut oil detox. Yesterday, I ate much lower calorie than usual (a lot less fat) but with more total carbs and protein, and I lost the least amount of weight. Perhaps it is a coincidence. I will go back to two days of coconut milk with oil at 1700-1800 calories to see what’s going to happen.

Weight Loss this Morning: – 0.8 lbs

Weight Loss Total (Starting day 45): – 6.4 lbs

My symptoms for today were: A small headaches and a very bothersome earache. I had good energy today. I had a bit of nausea and no hunger. I had a hard time eating all the oil; I might go down to 11 Tbs tomorrow. As I get even deeper into ketosis, I seem to have a harder time ingesting all my calories without getting nauseous.

I’m starting to see a pattern in my weight loss, from this experience and past experiences.

It seems that if I cut calorie too much and/or exercise excessively, or I am being too strict with intermittent fasting, my metabolism will quickly slow down to adapt to what is perceived as starvation; I become cold, lethargic and I will become very hungry. Even if I hit my goal size/weight I will have a though time maintaining it.

If I create a modest calorie deficit, cut carbs to a minimum and cut protein enough to lower my insulin to allow utilization of body fat (carb and protein release insulin, and insulin block lipolysis), I will lose more and without hunger. Cutting carbohydrates is easy but I think the tricky part is to find the right protein number for each person. I think it is highly variable and depends on a lot of factors.

I think that modulation of hormones has a bigger impact on body composition than simply counting calories. Calorie count but, depending of your personal hormonal milieu (and probably state of mitochondria), calories will be directed differently (fat storage, muscle/tissue building/repair, extra energy/heat etc).

Today I had: Water with apple cider vinegar (with the mother), lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt and sparkling water. I premixed, with the immersion blender: 200 ml of coconut milk and 12 Tbs of coconut oil with 4-5 drops of vanilla extract, xylitol and stevia. I divided the resultant sweetened “milk” in 2 equal portions and made with it: a Coffee Latte with cinnamon at 2 pm (14h) and a Chai Rooibos Latte at 7 pm (19h). I also drank some Detox tea, to help with elimination. That’s 1800 calories for today.

Low-carbohydrate vs Ketogenic diet what is the difference?

I have noticed a lot of confusion on the web about the two diets. Both are low in carbohydrates but the ketogenic diet put the body in a metabolic state that can only be achieved if proteins are also limited (excess protein are turned into glucose in the body ie. Gluconeogenesis). All ketogenic diets are low in carbohydrates but not all low carbohydrate diets are ketogenic.

A true ketogenic diet is usually used as metabolic therapy in cases of epilepsy, cancer, Alzheimer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other metabolic disorders.

The goal of this chart is to make the complex concept of body fuel utilization as easy to understand as possible. A lot of nuances will be omitted in favor of clarity and simplicity.

Depending on which food and macronutrients proportions human consume, a cascade of adaptation mechanisms will happen in the body. From an evolutionary perspective, we can imagine that those adaptations occurred in order to maximize survival in different climates, environments and food availability.

We will consider two main energy consumers in the body; the brain and the muscles. It is important to look primary at the brain consumption of energy; it is the organ that will consume the most energy by weight and it can only use two types of fuel 1.Glucose (derived from dietary carbohydrates or proteins) and 2.Ketones (derived from dietary fat). Muscles are more flexible and can adapt to different types of fuel.Capture 3

Acne troubleshooting: An Holistic view

Not many things pains me as much as seeing a person who is suffering from severe acne. Even if it is consider a benign condition by the medical establishment, only someone afflicted with it can understand the deep social and psychological impact it can have on someone’s life. I am one of them. I have used every product, tried every program but I only saw dramatic and lasting results once I gave up on the quest to find the miracle cream or pill and realized that there was no quick fix. The skin is a window into our overall health, and acne is a sign that something isn’t working as well as it should.

While a complete program designed by a holistic professional might be required in order to get completely clear (especially if the root of the problem is hormonal, like most cases of cystic acne), nearly everyone can benefit from the following basics:

  1. Cut out the worst offenders: sugar containing beverages like soft drinks, sport drinks, energy drinks, fruit punch, etc. are all inflammatory and put a burden on your elimination system. For someone who is predispose to skin problems, it makes things worst, period. Drinking enough water and maybe some green tea, is a must to make sure you stay hydrated and that you flush out toxins efficiently. The juice of half a lemon (freshly squeeze is best), in a cup of warm water, perhaps with a pinch of salt, first thing in the morning is a great and gentle way to encourage liver and digestive system detoxification, among other things.
  2. Eat an adequate protein diet, with a low-glycemic load and plenty of good fats with a proper Omega-3 : Omega-6 ratio. Once again, we want to quell inflammation. Roller coaster of insulin wreak havoc on our system and makes skin problems worst. In many cases, the stabilization of blood sugar, leads to a major improvement in skin’s feel and appearance. We want most of our meals to be composed of: a quality protein, some non-starch veggies, some lower glycemic starches and good fat like olive oil, flax meal, avocado (guacamole), ghee / grass-fed butter, some nuts etc. The protein and fats will provide what we need to build, heal and repair. The fats, veggies and starches will help us with elimination (proper bowel function is extremely important) and hormonal balance.
  3. Consider implementing a basic supplement regiment composed of: a Complete Multi-vitamin and Mineral and Fish oil (for skin health, I like cod liver oil with its naturally occurring extra Vitamin A and D, 10:1 ratio).  Some extra Vitamin C, probiotic and especially Zinc (25-50g/day of citrate or picolinate), can also help, if you wish to add them.
  4. Stress, cortisol and poor adrenal functions affect your skin, be mindful of it. Sufficient good quality sleep, lowering our caffeine consumption and the implementation of stress coping strategies, can have a surprising effect on the level of inflammation in our skin.
  5. Do not use harsh products on already inflamed skin, it makes it worst. Take an Epsom salt / baking soda bath, 2-3 times a week to help your skin and body detox and use gentle cleaner only.
  6. Give yourself time. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the new cells to reach the surface of the skin. Don’t give up too soon! Implement the changes slowly, but make them permanent. Not only will you have better skin, but your overall health will benefit.
  7. If you are still struggling after a couple of months, consider that you might have a food allergy or sensitivity. An Elimination Diet would be worth trying. Once most sugar is eliminated, the most common offenders are dairies and gluten/grains (also oranges and grapefruits to a lesser extent).

Much love and support,

Good Luck!

Relaxing and detoxing at home, for less than a dollar!

The skin is not an impenetrable barrier; it will absorb what comes in contact with it. This absorbent capacity can be used to promote health and detoxification, and can be taken advantage of in the form of baths.

Bathing with Epsom salts (MgSO4·7H2O) is an easy and effective way to supply your body with more magnesium and sulfate. Both minerals are easily absorbed through the skin.

The ingredients!

The ingredients!

Epsom salt is traditionally known to relive aches and pains. It is commonly used by athletes and sport enthusiasts to enhance recovery and remove lactic acid from muscles. It also decreases swelling and inflammation in injured tissues. A warm bath with the addition of Epsom salts it is also known to increase circulation, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Magnesium is a mineral which is crucial to many important functions. It regulates hundreds of enzymes and plays an important role in muscle control, energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins. It also has a sedative and relaxing effect upon the nervous system and the muscles.

Sulfates are an important component for the formation of joint proteins, brain cells, and the lining wall of the intestine. It also plays a crucial role in liver detoxification.

Epsom bath are beneficial for children with autism. Some autistic children have trouble with their PST (phenol-sulfotransferase) system and the processing of phenols and salicylates. Epsom salt, will provide them with the extra sulfates they need in order for the liver to eliminate those compounds. Also the magnesium will help with sleep.

Another useful addition to the bath is baking soda, which also has detoxifying properties. Baking soda has an alkalizing effect on the skin and the body. It soothe rashes, dry itchy wintery skin and can help chronic problems like eczema and psoriasis. It is also good for diaper rash.

Add 2 parts of Epsom salts to 1 part of baking soda, and a couple of drops of essential oil, if you wish, to the bath (as an example: 2 cups of Epsom salts and 1 cup of baking soda).

Oils of lavender, rose or sandalwood are good all around choices. They are gentle to the skin and are very relaxing. I also like Eucalyptus, Cedarwood or Peppermint in the winter, for the immune system and if a have a bite of a stuffy nose.

Take a 20-40 minute bath ideally, just before bed or after training.

Should we pass on Nuts?

Tasty, tasty macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts

Nuts are fairly high in Linoleic Acid, an Omega-6 inflammatory precursor, with a few exceptions like macadamia nuts which are lower. A diet high in nuts, would presumably skew the Omega-3 : Omega-6 ratio toward pro-inflammatory processes.

But nuts should not make up the bulk of our diet. On the spectrum of inflammation and Omega-6, a small handful of raw or lightly roasted nuts is nothing compare to stir-frying or baking with corn, grapeseed, margarine or soybean oil.

Nuts are much more than Linoleic Acid. In fact, they are pretty complete nutritional source. They have a good balance of fat/carbohydrate + fiber/protein, have a low impact on blood sugar, are a great source of antioxidants like Vitamin E and important minerals like selenium and magnesium.  Actually, one of my favorite snack or dessert is a dozen of macadamia nuts, a square of dark chocolate and a green tea with a squeeze of lemon or coffee with a dash of cinnamon.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Voltaire.

There are definitely better choices in every food categories, but over-analyzing our food intake is a good way to stress ourselves and make every little dietary decision an internal struggle. We have to stay informed and vigilant, but we have to pick our battles. Using healthier options like good quality olive or coconut oil preparing our food or passing on the box of donuts at the office is worth the effort; stressing over the Omega-6 content of 10 almonds is not.

Pinch the Cinnamon, reap the rewards

Current research has confirmed that many common spices have medicinal properties. One of the most beneficial is also the most common: cinnamon.

There is evidence that cinnamon can be used to reduce the glycemic index of a meal up to 29%. It can lower blood glucose, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Cinnamaldehyde, an active organic compound in cinnamon, is an effective anti-microbial agent.

There is many ways it can help manage our blood sugar regulation; it can increase our glucose metabolism and has been found to have insulin-like effects. Cinnamon slows down gastric emptying to reduce the rise in blood sugar after meals, improving insulin sensitivity.  A bioflavonoid found in cinnamon called proanthocyanidin may alter the insulin-signaling activity in our fat cells.

Cinnamon also enhances our antioxidant defenses, improves digestion, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation.

Cinnamon Variaties - Robin

Cinnamon

A number of species are often sold as cinnamon:

  • Cinnamomum verum (True cinnamon, Sri Lanka cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon)
  • Cinnamomum cassia (Cassia or Chinese cinnamon)
  • Cinnamomum burmannii (Korintje, Padang Cassia, or Indonesian cinnamon)
  • Cinnamomum loureiroi (Saigon cinnamon, Vietnamese cassia or Vietnamese cinnamon)

European health agencies have warned against consuming high amounts of cassia bark, because of its coumarin content. A teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon powder contains 5.8 to 12.1 mg of coumarin and the tolerable daily intake for humans is 0.1mg/kg body weight. Measurements of coumarin in Saigon cinnamon are much lower than those in Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon contains hardly any coumarin.

Saigon cinnamon is the most effective on blood sugar regulation and is low in coumarin. Cassia and Padang Cassia are acceptable choices; it is effective but has higher level of coumarin. Ceylon has a much smaller impact on blood sugar management and is the most expensive.

One possible way to avoid coumarin and still use Cassia is to steep it in a non-fat hot liquid. Coumarin is fat-soluble so we can extract the beneficial compounds this way and leave out the coumarin. Just use the liquid and throw away the stick.

Cassia or Padang Cassia are the most commonly found in American grocery stores and coffee shops, if you ask for cinnamon. Finding Saigon cinnamon needs a bit more research. Some grocery stores will carry it, make sure the label say: Saigon Cinnamon. Look for it in higher-end/whole food type grocery stores, usually it is offered in the organic spices section.  I buy mine at Costco. They carry a very good Kirkland signature Ground Saigon Cinnamon.  It is a staple product for them; I was able to find some at several of their locations in Canada, United States, Hawaii and Australia!  Plus it’s very affordable.  I also sometimes use the Cassia sticks in teas and coffees.

To get the maximal benefits out of the spice get fresh ground cinnamon or grind it yourself. The polyphenols and active ingredients oxidize overtime.

You don’t need to eat cinnamon at every meal to get the benefits; it’s the total amount per day that counts. 1 gram is the lowest effective dose. ½ – 1 teaspoon per day is a good number to aim for.