Nutritional Ketosis Day 39

I am still nursing the sinus infection and it’s going fairly well. Dairy don’t agree with me too much, but I stay away completely from it when I am congested and have phlegm. I only take one coffee (too much caffeine can make congestion worst, sugar too) and I drink plenty of water with a bit of apple cider vinegar, salt and hot sauce. I really like to have some garlic and xylitol in times like these and I have added some extra carbs to accommodate it. I try to stay between 10-20 total carbs usually, now I am between 20-25.

I was lucky enough to find fresh garlic at the farmer's market

I was lucky enough to find fresh garlic at the farmer’s market

Here is the garlic routine I have settled on for maximum therapeutic benefits and easiness of consumption; I call it garlic “milk”.

  1. Crush and chop 1-2 cloves of garlic.
  2. Let is rest for 10-15 minutes. This is the most important step when handling garlic for health benefit in order to create the Allicin. Then, you can cook with it or put it in your food.
  3. Put the rested garlic with a cup of water in a tall glass. Use an immersion blender to blend. Add 1-2 Tbs apple cider vinegar or vinegar of your choice and 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil (don’t skip the oil, it is important). Blend.
  4. Fill the glass with water (about 3 cups (750 ml) of water total)
  5. Enjoy, preferably with a straw.

Today I had: Coffee, water with apple cider vinegar (with the mother), cayenne pepper and salt. I had two coconut “milkshake”. I added xylitol and cinnamon to my coffee. For dinner I had a salad of chicken with fresh herbs and fresh garlic with olive oil/red wine vinegar vinaigrette. I had 1 mint-ginger mojito in the evening and garlic “milk” before bed. That’s 1800 calories for today.

Garlic, garlic, garlic with fresh herbs to help the body fight the infection!

Garlic, garlic, garlic with fresh herbs, olive oil and vinegar to help the body fight the infection (there is also some chicken meat under there)!


Nutritional Ketosis Day 8

Today was so-so. I definitely paid for yesterday’s over zealousness; I had a super busy day running around and I definitely under ate for my activity level. My energy today only picked-up after my second intake of coconut oil, in the afternoon. On the plus side, I have notice my sinuses are doing very well despite being in a region with high level of pollen and dust. I also came to the conclusion that a little more total monounsaturated fat than saturated fat is a better ratio for me than 50/50. I noticed that on higher monounsaturated fat days I feel calmer, my brain seems to work better, I feel less general inflammation and my digestion is better.

I have found that eating avocados, using bacon fat (rich in monounsaturated fat) and a lot of olive oil was the best way to hit a high number (if you have access to macadamia nuts, they are good too). I eat a big salad every night because it makes it easy to get in so much olive oil. I have found a huge difference in my digestion of protein and fat when I eat raw green vegetables with my meal. Also, I find that they provide the satisfying “crunchy” texture that is missing in a ketogenic diet.

The only caveat with low carb vegetables is that some are considered groitogenic. Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake. It means that they can slow down your metabolism and hinder weight loss, lower body temperature, lower energy and more. The one we should be careful with (especially woman) are:

  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard (the condiment) and Mustard Greens
  • Peanuts
  • Pine nut
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Rutabaga
  • Soy-Based Foods
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Turnip
  • Watercress

Cooking remove some of the groitogenic compounds.

Today I had: 1Tbs of coconut oil in the morning and 1Tbs in the afternoon mix in with some cocoa powder and a pinch of xylitol and cinnamon. Dinner consisted of 2 big fillets of Haddock (I always eat wild low mercury type of fish) and 225g (8oz) of Cremini mushroom fried in 2Tbs bacon fat and 3Tbs butter, celery sticks with a dip made with 5Tbs of sour cream and a salad made with romaine and 5Tbs of olive oil. Total for today is between 1900-2000 calories.

Excellent meal!

Excellent meal!

Nutritional Ketosis Day 4

Sleep is good, energy is fair and I only have mild general pain today. I’m experiencing some hunger pangs, but it is better than yesterday. I’m still in the keto-adaptation period. Coffee, green tea, mint tea and some hot sauce in water or in a cup of warm broth (exercise too) are low or no calories options that helps in between meal when energy is dipping.

Choosing food containing medium chain triglyceride is also important, especially in the adaptation period. They provide quick energy and ketones which the body has to learn to make on it’s own during the adjustment period. Medium Chain Triglycerides are found in MCT oil, coconut oil, red palm oil and to a lesser extent in goat/sheep dairy products and pork fat.

Just a word of caution in the case of MCT and Tropical oil; in a lot of people they can cause nausea and can send you running to the bathroom. They need to be slowly increased over the adaptation period and ideally mixed with other fats. Start with 1 tsp per day. MCT oil (has no taste) can be cooked with, it can be added to olive oil for a salad dressing or used mixed with another oil to make home-made mayo. Coconut oil can be added to butter or cream in a coffee or a high fat homemade hot chocolate. Possibilities are endless.

Today I had: 2 Tbs of coconut oil and 1 Tbs of butter my morning coffee and 2 Tbs of coconut oil in the afternoon. Dinner consisted of slow cooked beef, some romaine as a side salad and 3 Tbs of olive oil. I also made an appetizer plate of thin slice of cucumber (replacing crackers) with some cream cheese, a drizzled of olive oil and an olive on top. You can replace the cream cheese with a slice of feta, ricotta, cheddar or another cheese. It’s also a great snack with some sardines, ham or smoke salmon on top. Total for today is about 2000 calories.





Nutritional Ketosis Day 3

I slept like a log. I think the butter before bed is helping, I’ll repeat tonight. I woke up again earlier then usual and I felt rested. Today I had some pain in my left knee. I think fish oil is essential for me to keep inflammation down. I’ll be taking fish oil to see if it will make a difference tomorrow. I felt a bit hungry today. I suspect that I am slowly depleting my glycogen stores instead of burning mostly fat. It means am not fully keto-adapted yet. One of the greatest benefit of keto-adaptation is freedom from hunger and snacking; your body seamlessly switch from burning dietary fat to body fat without much hunger signaling.

Today I had: 1 Tbs of coconut oil and 2 Tbs of butter in a coffee in the morning and 2 Tbs of coconut oil in the afternoon. Dinner consisted of lobster with garlic clarified butter/olive oil mix, some romaine as a side salad, with sardines and 3 Tbs of olive oil in a homemade dressing. Before bed I’ll have 1 Tbs of butter with fish oil. It’s about 2000 calories for the day.

Lobster with garlic butter, mmmmm!

Lobster with garlic butter, mmmmm!

Fat in the context of Nutritional Ketosis

When using fat for fuel on a ketogenic diet, it is important to choose quality dietary fats. To qualify fatty acids, two structural characteristics are used:

  1. Length of the carbon chain
    • Short (2-3-4) (Dairy fat)
    • Medium (6-12) (Tropical oil: Coconut, Palm kernel and MTC oil)
    • Long (14 or more) (Olive oil, EPA, DHA etc.)

As a general rule the short and medium lengths are metabolized quickly and easily by the body; they will be diffused from the GI tract to the portal venous system, fed to your good gut bacteria or they will kill bad ones. This is why I use butter and coconut oil during the day for energy and gut health. Long chain fatty acids (like olive oil, Omega-3, Omega-6) need more work and processies to be used as fuel and are preferably used for maintenance, repair (this is why they have such great health benefits) or are stored if we are in a calorie surplus.

  1. Number of double bond in the carbon chain
    • Saturated fat = No double bond
    • Monounsaturated fat = One double bond
    • Polyunsaturated fat = Two or more double bond

The fat we store for future energy use is a mix of about 50/50 monounsaturated and saturated fat. It is the preferd type of fuel at the perfect ratio.

Polyunsaturated fat are essential fat (they act more like vitamins) but they make poor fuel source for the body.

Too much polyunsaturated fat as a percentage of calories on a well designed ketogenic diet is detrimental for many reasons. Sometimes I see people not reacting well to lower carbohydrate/ketogenic diet only because they eat a lot polyunsaturated fat sources like commercially available mayonnaise made with soybean oil. It is too much polyunsaturated fat to feel well! It’s better to make our own, with a light tasting olive oil or, less idealy, to buy commercially available mayaonnaise made with an olive oil/canola blend.

An equal quantity of olive oil and butter mix together would be very close to what is in our fat storage. The same goes for animal fat. Bacon, for instance, has a perfect 50/50 blend of monounsaturated/saturated fat.

Most fat sources are a combination of different length and double bond in the carbon chain.

In the context of a well designed ketogenic diet, where fat is the main source of fuel for the body: it’s important to keep an eye on the amount of polyunsaturated fat consumed (which is as little as possible Omega 6), correct the Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio with supplements and aim for the equal amount of monounsaturated fat and saturated fat.

Also staying away from Trans fatty acids found in: food fried in vegetable oil, margarine, vegetable shortening and anything that says partially hydrogenated oils on its label, is a general rule for any healthy diet, independently of its macronutrient combination.

The last point I want to make is about storing and cooking oil and/or fat. Fat is altered by heat, light, humidity and oxygen. Saturated fat is the most stable, then monounsaturated and lastly the most delicate is polyunsaturated.

Heat oxidation and rancidity are major issues for any fats. You should know the smoke point (burning point) and ideal storage conditions of the oil/fat you are using.

For instance, we should never fry/stir-fry extra-virgin olive oil. Its smoke point is very low (375°F) and heat destroys all the health benefits and denatures the fatty acids. If you want to use olive oil for cooking, it is better and cheaper to use extra light olive oil (468°F) and ghee (485°F) instead of butter (250°F).

Olive oil can be kept at room temperature for up to a year after its production date. If you buy in bulk, you should keep the big container in a cool place or the fridge and keep a small refillable bottle in the pantry. Raw nuts and seeds, rich in polyunsaturated fat are best kept in the fridge and will stay good for a year after it’s picked (sometimes you eat a nut and you can taste the rancidity, it’s bad!) Ghee can be kept at room temperature up to 3 months and salted butter a couple of days (unsalted butter cannot be kept at room temperature because there is no salt to protect it from molds and bacteria). If you like soft butter, a good tip is to make a 60/40 or 50/50 butter-oil mix and keep it in the fridge. It will have the consistency of a spread or margarine. You can use light olive or canola oil to preserve the taste of butter.

I hope it helps!