Let’s Make This Year (2018) Different

How many people do you think made a weight loss wish when the ball dropped this year? Chances are, quite a few.

With two-thirds of Americans overweight, there are an estimated 45 million people on a diet right now, chalking up $33 billion per year on weight loss products.

Yet, times are changing, and so are the approaches to improving our health. The dogma of calories in, equal calories out has been exploited. There is far more involved with wellness and weight loss than the obsession with eating perfect portions of perfectly healthy food.

Make this year different by relaxing the efforts on dieting, and create a balance between the mind, body, and spirit, emphasizing how you feel, how, what and when you eat, and what you believe makes you healthy. I’ve included a few items to focus on below:

1. Hydrate

The goal is to drink half your weight in ounces, and more if you are exercising or traveling. Start the day with an inner bath and drink 20 ounces first thing. In the winter, I fulfill this need by carrying a water bottle with me wherever I go, or more often you will see me with my Continga containing hot water with lemon.

2. Don’t Major in Minor Things

Sometimes eating “perfectly” can do us more harm than good. Relax and don’t give up 95% of your life to drop 5% of your weight (or fill in the blank of what you are trying to achieve). The healthiest version of yourself isn’t how good you look in a swimsuit. The healthiest version of yourself is when hormones are balanced, your body and mind are strong and you have the energy to do what you love. When you push your body to extremes, including talking to yourself in a negative way, you’re giving up more than calories. You miss out on life.

3. Avoid Vegetable Oils and Man-Made Oils (Canola. Corn, Sunflower, Soybean oil, Safflower and Cottonseed oil)

These oils have large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful to our health.  The more Omega-6s you eat, the more systemic inflammation you will have. Opt for better fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil. palm oil, grass-fed butter or ghee for cooking, and olive oil, macadamia nut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil for cold uses. Make sure to have some sort of fat on your plate at each meal, and the right kind of fat.

4. Know Hunger is the Best Sauce

Master hunger and feel comfortable being hungry 30 to 60 minutes before a meal. Eat when you’re hungry – but only when you’re hungry. Forget the clock and listen to your body instead. 

5. Moderate

Perhaps my favorite tip: moderation (and I am not talking food). While working hard in your career, parenthood, friendships, life, find a balance in enjoying things like make you happy. Being healthy is a balancing act, and not about deprivation nor perfection.

6.  Stress Less – Sleep More

Sleep is the backbone of good health. Guard your bedtime as sleep deprivation decreases the release of growth hormones and increases cortisol levels. Both of these play an important role in blood sugar control.

 

‘Hands Down’ the Paleo Diet is the Best Solution for this Case of Diabetes

Thanks to social media I was able to connect with yet another fellow health advocate, using the paleo diet to control his type one diabetes. The below interview was held with the writer of Intrepid Pioneer, a site about modern homesteading principals.

Perhaps, you as the reader, can connect with this interview and maybe find yourself inspired to optimize your diet. Feedback is welcomed.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kelly

How long have you had diabetes?

I was diagnosed May 2011 during my routine annual physical. At that time my blood sugars were up around 360 and my AC1’s ran around 12.3. At first I was treated as if I was a Type 2 with Metformin. The medicine only helped to control my blood sugars down to around 250 or so. At that time my endocrinologist informed me that I probably have LADA or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes, which basically has been coined type 1.5 Meaning I developed adult on-set Type 1. My father has had Type 1 all his life and was diagnosed as a child.

What eating regime have you found to be most helpful in managing stable blood sugars and how did you come to find this diet?

Paleo, hands down, without a question. It took me some time to get there. I had tried Weight Watchers, and measure portions, etc. but I still just felt that each time I checked my glucose it was a crap shoot. I eventually did the Advocare 10 day cleanse and my blood sugars stabilized. Next I started researching Paleo and ultimately I ended up taking on the Whole 30 challenge. That was it and I’ve been keeping a food/exercise journal since Jan. 2013 and am now able to completely understand how my body metabolism it’s sugars. Sometimes my glucose is a surprise to me and when that happens I can look back through my food journal to see just what I ate or did for that number (good or bad).

What main improvements in your health have you observed, diabetic-related or not? 

I’ve lost about 15bls and I am exercising on a more regular basis and enjoying it. Whereas I used to say the only time I ran was when I was being chased and now I’ve let a buddy talk me into running a Rock and Roll half-marathon in 2014. Plus, I’ve started doing Crossfit and I love strength training, lifting weights and the intensity that Crossfit brings as well as the community of likeminded no-bullshit real people.

Do you find the diet realistic and something to maintain long term? Would you recommend it to others managing their diabetes? 

Yes, not only do I feel better, and have tighter control over my diabetes, I absolutely recommend it to anyone. Here’s the deal too that I like about Paleo – it can be as strict as they want or modify it to fit their lifestyle. For example, I am a home brewer and I love beer AND I love cheese. Those two delicious pieces of goodness I will never give up, so instead I gave up hot, fresh, warm bread and pasta. It’s all about choices.

What does a typical day of food look like to you? 

Easy. Take today for example:

6:30a – BG 82mg/dl
20oz black coffee and 1 banana (it was a rough morning, sometimes I eat eggs or I’ll make a protein shake)

8:30a – 103 mg/dl
another 20oz Black coffee

9:35a
1 apple and 1/3c raw almonds

11:15 – BG post snack 125 mg/dl

12p
1 salad (bib lettuce from my garden), with radishes, scallions, cucumbers and 1/3c raw sunflower seeds, a little goat cheese and rice vinegar dressing. 1 large avocado and a 12oz can of seltzer water.

1:15 BG post lunch – 97 mg/dl

2:45p
1 string cheese and an organic raspberry yogurt.

7:50p 237 Pre dinner (went out to a pub for Guinness and ate happy hour bar food)

9:45p 155 post dinner (took 8u fast acting w/dinner since I was so high from the bar food)

Here’s another example:

6:05a 138 fasting

6:30a 2 eggs over medium + 1 banana

8:45a 160 post breakfast

9a 20 oz black coffee

10 a 1/3c raw almonds and an Asian pear/apple

11:15a Turkey burger with mustard 2 slices whole wheat and cheddar) not paleo I know 🙂 Wanted the carbs for my workout.

11:30 2 servings of my C4 pre-workout drink

12 Crossfit during lunch

1p 2 servings whey protein shake post w/o

3p 127 post shake

7:15p Paleo Chicken in Mushroom coconut sauce over quinoe and garnished w/scallions + 1 glass red wine

9:05p 106 post dinner

Pick any day of the week and or specific day (this year) and I can tell you what I ate and when. I realize today might be the best example of a day.

What is the best thing about the diet? 

If I fall of the wagon for some reason and eat some chips or red vines (my kryptonite) I don’t feel guilty, like I did in the past when I tried Weight Watchers. I still mark it down in my journal, take it as head nod and move forward. You can make what you want of eating Paleo, be strict, or give yourself a cheat day. I love eating real food, that’s not prepackaged crap, I feel healthier and have more energy each day.

Any tips for someone getting started on this type of diet? 

Plan. For me that is the most essential thing. I found that when I didn’t plan, I fell off the wagon and I only had me to blame. It’s easy to do, but to stay focused you just have to plan. When you know what your meals are for the week, you can get home from work and then get at it in the kitchen. No excuses.

Anything in addition you’d like to say? 

Since eating the Paleo lifestyle, and I hate it when one calls it a diet because then it feels temporary, I’ve pretty much stop taking my fast acting mealtime insulin. Meaning I only inject fast acting when I know I’m having Pizza for dinner as a treat, or for a thanksgiving meal, etc. My long acting insulin has reduced by over 10 units since starting this diet. All of that said, Paleo is great and it all tastes so good because it’s real food, but I have found that I also need to exercise, eating Paleo combined with exercise has yielded dynamic results. My endocrinologist was blown away by all that I had done, reduced my insulin injections and basically had my A1C’s in check — my last appointment I was 7.3. Still a bit more to go but the last time I was pushing 9 just six months before.

Lastly, some may say that eating Paleo is expensive, I would then ask, which is more expensive paying for real, quality food, or paying a doctor/insurance company for advice and then paying for an prescription? It’s all just choices.

 

USDA Taking a Stand on the Kiddo’s Lu

With the dominant health status of our country, let alone children, the USDA, for the first time in more than a decade, applies new rules for the federal school lunch program. Such guidelines include:

  • calorie and sodium limits
  • schools must offer dark green, orange or red vegetables and legumes at least once a week
  • students are required to select at least one vegetable or fruit per meal
  • Flavored milk must be nonfat
  • there’s a ban on artificial trans fats.

I believe the intentions are good here, and this was a nice win for Michelle Obama with  her advocacy to stop childhood obesity, but I have a hard time agreeing with all of the rules. One main thing that is troublesome is the lunch time for kids. Recalling back to my youth, some people had their lunch period as early as 10:45am where others longed for some food up to 1:15pm (starting class before 8am). How is a calorie restriction going to help when students are famished by the time they get to the lunch table?

Furthermore, when the food options are right, it is hard to overeat. And by “right” I do not mean corn is a vegetable as categorized by the USDA. Most corn in the US is genetically modified (73%) and can be destructive to our GI tract let alone our immune system. Like most things, there is room for constructive feedback, and again while the intentions are right, the lunch offerings just needs more whole, natural food without processing and cooking in seed oils, including canola oil.

Gosh, I am now wondering why I decided to write about this – I might get in trouble for what I want to say about milk and the grain recommendations…

Overall, the obesity concerns are taking notice and actions are being taken to help reduce the epidemic. Beyond the lunch room we all can make better choices for our health, our family’s health and our environment.  Buy locally, growing your own things, even if it is just herbs, will help lower the carbon footprint.

When we are fueled the right way, with the right foods, we are our best person. Good on the USDA putting in the effort and hopefully soon enough the will put forth some rules that are as simple as one of Michael Pollan’s best quotes, “Eat food, most vegetables, not too much.”

What are your thoughts on this new view from the lunch queue?

Foods to Choose – My Recommended Food List

Depending on what your family health history looks like, I would recommend some of the following foods. For those of us who live with an auto-immune disease, it gets a little more restrictive. No doubt though, there is still plenty of good food to be had. Have any questions? Please comment. Cheers to you and good health.

Overall recommended guidelines:

1.  Eat relatively high amount of animal protein compared to that of the typical American diet
2.  Eat carbohydrates only coming from fruits, starchy tubers (sweet potato, yams) and vegetables. Avoid grains and refined sugars.
3.  Eat a large amount of fiber from non-starchy fruits and vegetables.
4.  Eat a moderate amount of healthy fat from avocado, grass fed meat, coconut oil, olive oil (not at high heat), etc
5.  Eat foods rich in plant phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Recommended Foods:

  • Meats and poultry – important to be free range/grass fed
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Rabbit
  • Quail
  • Venison
  • Seafood
  • Bacon, bio-dynamic preferred and nitrate free
  • Eggs (pasture-raised, local, organic, free range and/or omega 3) no limit on how many per week
  • Olives
  • Ham, nitrate free and sugar free
  • Salami, uncured
  • Butter or ghee, from grass feed cows
  • Pickled foods
  • Fermented foods
  • Smoked, dried and salted fish & meat
  • Palm oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Olive oil
  • Tea
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Macadamia nut oil
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios (unsalted)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp hearts (hemp seeds)
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk and cream
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Coconut oil
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cocoa nibs
  • Carob powder
  • Dark chocolate, 80% or greater
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes, yams
  • Pumpkin, squash, acorn, butternut
  • Spaghetti squash, Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Fennel
  • Lettuce
  • Leeks
  • Capsicums/Bell peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Radish
  • Seaweed
  • Watercress
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Parsnip
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Buk Choy
  • Bone broth (homemade)
  • Black rice
  • Quinoa
  • Herbs and spices
  • Red wine

 

Best fruits:

  • Avocados
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Lemon
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Fruits still okay (limit to 1 or less per day):

  • Grapes
  • Passion fruit
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lime
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pomegranat

Corn Syrup in Soy Sauce?!

Getting comfortable upon our return to the US, post living in Australia for two years, I cannot help but find myself feeling “culture shock.” Maybe, “food shock” is a better term.

No doubt, I love America and the lifestyle it offers, yet, since being accustomed to daily food markets, butchers with fresh, free range meat and eggs, it is overwhelming walking into a Giant Eagle, let alone Costco these last few days.

Goodness, I bet my bank account I found a kiwi in Costco the size of a mango. How is this natural? And wow, I could literally get any cuisine I wanted in one store, regardless of the season. They had seaweed salad in Ohio! I mean this is great, but is it that great? The salad was delish but after reading the food ingredients, it lost it’s appeal seeing there were at least 3 food coloring’s in it. Why would my seaweed need to be more green? I wish we had an option.

And whereas it’s lovely to get any ingredient you want, it makes it tough to know what is truly in season. In Australia I literally bought produce by the season and made recipes accordingly. I remember one day I wanted red grapes (out of season) and the supermarket clerk looked at me like I had two heads.

Also, whilst visiting with family, my mom asked I help point out some healthier choices for her to eat/prepare for meals and I was/am more than keen to do so. This morning I began helping her by proofing her cabinet and found science experiments of ingredients. What do I mean? Some of the items in the pantry would never pass as food if it weren’t for the label or food container. I nearly fell over when I saw corn syrup in soy sauce! Why? I mean really, why? I know corn is cheap and before you know it, it is going to be found in our chewing gum. Oh wait…

I am probably coming off in this post as harsh, but the point I want to make is it’s not anyone’s fault for not knowing what is best for them to eat or feed their family with. There are so so so many mixed messages in the media and heaps of information to sort through. Most recently I had forgotten how hard marketing makes it on the regular consumer in knowing what foods to choose for health.  If you need some clarifying, I am happy to help. Send me an email and I will do my best to reply within 48 hours.

A pointer to start you off with is a line by Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Most plants.” And sure as heck eat real butter!

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Food4Thought: Nitrates

At a girls breakfast the other weekend, I was telling one of my friends (who also avoids grains, dairy and legumes) about some awesome bacon I found at the market. We both seek out bacon sourced from free-range pork, but this recent find of mine was free-range and nitrate free (I tastes AMAZING). 

After gushing over this breakfast staple, I failed to consider my friend’s perspective on Nitrates. She did not have a clear understanding of what nitrates are nor what they mean for our health. So allow this post be an opportunity for me to geek out on bacon, I mean nitrates…

What Are Nitrates?

Nitrates are produced for use as fertilizers because of their high solubility and biodegradability. Common forms include: ammonium, sodium, potassium, and calcium salts. In the food supply, nitrates are used to preserve food. They can be found in drinking water, meat and produce (fruit/veg).

What Are Some of the Health Risks in Consuming Foods with Nitrates?

Nitrates have been studied for decades and overall claims have not been substantiated. However, the lack of data does not let me bat an eye at munching away on Nitrates. Nitrates themselves are not know to be harmful but when heated and converted into nitrites, some health risks have been observed:

  • Cancer Risk – nitrites can form into carcinogens when heated. The carcinogens can increase the risk of oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain cancer.
  • Pregnancy Risk – research has shown women who consume large amount of nitrates have a higher risk of nueral defects.  
  • COPD – increase the chance of lung disease.

Kelly, What Do I Do?

I recommend taking this research with a grain of salt. Eating PERFECTLY is not good for you and it is hard to watch for every questionable ingredient in our food supply. However, seek out nitrate/nitrite-free cured meats, shop as closely as you can with the Dirty Dozen guideline in-minds, and continue to eat a variety of foods.

Cheers to you and good health! If you need any help, that is what I am here for.

-Kel

Legumes, Why Should I Stop Eating You?

Legumes, also known as hummus, refried beans, chick peas, black beans, peanuts, soy beans etc, all contain lectins (specialized proteins). Indeed, all plant foods contain lectins but the lectins in grains (such as wheat), dairy and legumes cause an inflammatory response in your body and are resistant to cooking and digestive enzymes.

Overall, research on legume lectin is young and there is a lot more to be explored. However, for this post I have pulled some data for those of you trying to eat paleo day in and day out while ‘digesting’ the biochemistry of Neolithic food.

Lectins are inflammatory, toxic or could be both.  Mark Sisson writes in his new book, “Lectins are natural plant toxins that suppress immune function, interfere with normal protective gut barriers, and promote inflammation (skin, joint, reproductive, allergies and more health related issues) by allowing undigested protein molecules to infiltrate your digestive tract and trigger an autoimmune response – a situation characterized by the familiar term, leaky gut syndrome.”

But what if I have just a small portion of beans or a spoonful of peanut butter, would there be much harm? Yes.

In the Lancet, Dr. Wang and colleagues revealed that lectins can get into the bloodstream in as little 1-4 hours after subjects ate a handful of roasted, salted peanuts, and these lectins can cause damage beyond the gut – commonly in joints, brain, and skin of affected individuals.

But I already have type 1 diabetes and I am grain intolerant; the damage is done. Can I not possibly have a little bit of peanut butter? No.

Research supports the strong possibility that mild stimulation (inflammation) can further worsen gut injury and autoimmune disease. Avoidance of certain food lectins can help achieve optimal health and heal a damaged gut. This serves as a basis for ongoing research and probable success of the paleo diet.

There you have it, “Goodbye peanut butter. I will miss you but challenging my health just is not worth it.”

Regardless if you have an autoimmune disease or a food intolerance, dairy, legumes and grains contain toxic ingredients (lectins) and intolerance can be asymptomatic (silent). If eating paleo is not suiting you at this time, just try your best to eat your best. More great research on the paleo diet in relation to inflammation, disease and performance can be reviewed here.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kelly

Additional articles on this topic:

Food Log – I Have Not Forgotten About You

Happy New Year. I do not know about you, but I have been feeling a little fluffy since the holidays. I did not go too far off the paleo diet but I certainly had too many bites of food on too many occasions. That is okay because I am back on the horse and motivated to eat right and feel good.

Breakfast: 10AM
I woke up around 7:30AM and told myself, “You are not getting out of bed,” and slept another good hour or so.
2 free range, omega 3 eggs
Sauteed mushrooms

11:30AM – Prahran Market
Sampled some preservative free sausages (oh they are so good)
Had an organic long black
Samples some spicy and garlic olives
A fresh date

Exercise: 1PM 
bike ride to the coast (9 miles total), a few plyorometric drills

Snack: 3PM
I threw some almonds in a food processor with some macadamia nut oil and himilayian sea salt
6-8 prunes

Exercise: 4:30PM
30 min run through the local park

Dinner: 6PM
Grilled seafood salad (prawns, calamari, white fish and greens)

Snack: 8:30PM
1 oz of leftover beef
Salsa and homemade guacamole


Awesome Summer Day – Food Diary

Today, the mercury as high, the sun was out and I felt alive and in the moment. Started the morning with brekkie and friends, treated us to a massage, parused the market, caught up with our favorite fruit and vegetable vendor, got in a quick lifting session and much more. How did your weekend treat you? Here’s a peak of what I ate today..

Breakfast: 9AM
Sat outside a local cafe sipping on green tea and water
2 poached eggs
Mushroom, though only had a few bites
Sausage, caper polents; maybe one bite. Did not love the flavors.

Exercise: Gym, lifting session

Treat: 1PM
Massage with the husband. And it was awesome. I never appreciated a massage, let alone really experienced a professional massage until I moved to Melbourne. There are massage boutiques all around our neighborhood and well worth the expense.

Lunch: 2PM
Tried a new place on Chapel Street in Prahran. It was called Three Monkeys and highly recommend. Such a cool vibe; vintage set-up but laid-back staff and fresh ingredients.
Salad with colorful tomatoes, chorizo, calamari and lemon vinaigrette.
Glass of champagne, brut

4PM – Coke Zero. I know, I know, not the best choice but so good on a summer day.

5PM – walked to miles or 3.3K to meet up with some friends at a pub.
Champagne

8PM – watched Terminator 3 (loved seeing clips of Chicago!!) and ordered in. I had a warm chicken salad, which had chicken, tomato, onion and chicken. I also had the toping of one of my husband’s slices of pizza. It was really nice, some sort of cured meat.

11PM – 1/2 banana and nutbutter (to help stabilize my blood sugar, having alcohol in my system)

Dear Food Diary – 3/12/11 – Christmas BBQ Party…

Today, Saturday, I am prepping for a gathering of friends to celebrate Christmas. Let’s see how I behaved at the BBQ, keeping in mind these few goals:

1. Avoid all dairy and grains
2. Drink plenty of water and do not over eat on anything
3. Avoid all dairy

Breakfast: 9AM
Long black
I was not hungry when I first woke up so I waited an hour or so. I also had rubbish sleep last night, so I will be interested in how my cravings run today.
Protein, Coconut oil smoothie
Fish Oil
Probiotics
CoQ10
Allergy meds

Exercise: I have graduated from my walks and am back in the gym! Do not get me wrong, I love walking the parks but I am beyond ready to get my heart rate up and to life some weights.
11AM: Kettlebell workout – wow, I am out of shape.

12noon: met Schmidtty at the market and picked up some wild barramundi for tonight’s barbie! Enjoyed some preservative free sausage samples.

Lunch: 1:35PM
1/2 banana and nutbutter
Ham, deli

Exercise: 4 mile walk with friend

Snack: 4PM
Blueberries and Glutamine fortified jelly (Jell-O)

Party begins 6PM
Grazed in sweet potato chips, sliced pears and apples, hard boiled egg, wine and some tuna-like dip (gfree no doubt)

Dinner: 8PM
Wild barramundi
Prawns
Salad, Greek-like

10PM
Bites of my husband flourless chocolate cake (to.die.for.)