Archive Monthly Archives: November 2017

Why Is a Low Carb Diet Healthy?

Why Is a Low Carb Diet Healthy?

Why is a low carb diet healthy?

And why is a lower carb lifestyle more important today than it was even a decade ago? Back then, most people were still experimenting with all sorts of low and zero carb diet plans, which helped in some way to raise awareness of this type of eating, but they didn’t really hit the mark in terms of understanding why lowering your carb intake is so important for your health, and waist line.

I’m going to get a little bit scientific-y on you but I think it will make total sense.

It all comes back to blood sugar…

The liver uses glycogen to regulate normal blood sugar, which fuels the brain at rest. The body has the ability to store about 80 to 110g of carbohydrates as liver glycogen.

Fat primarily fuels the muscles at rest and during low intensity activity.

Muscle glycogen is really only used to fuel the muscles during intense exercise.

Fair question for you…when you exercise, is it REALLY intense?

The body can store between 300-600g of carbohydrate as muscle glycogen across the entire body, depending on your size.

So a sedentary person, or someone just doing low intensity activity like yoga or walking, is not exercising intensely. They are not really burning through muscle glycogen stores, so they do not need to worry about replenishing them with a high carbohydrate diet. (Don’t misunderstand me though, walking and yoga are wonderful additions to your exercise regime!)

Sedentary people really only need to worry about providing adequate carbohydrates to fuel the brain at rest. This can totally be accomplished with just around 100-125g a day, which is really more than you might imagine, if it’s from the right sources that will keep you full – like vegetables, nuts and seeds.

So what happens when you overdo carbohydrates?

Once your liver glycogen and muscle glycogen is full, all the excess carbs will be stored as fat. Most Americans live with chronically elevated blood sugar and insulin, which tells the body there is no need to burn fat as a fuel source. The body will never be forced to tap into its own body fat stores. Not to mention, any dietary fat that you eat will also not get used as fuel. It will simply be stored as fat as well.

I believe exercise is vital to your happiness and important for your health. But living the lower carbohydrate lifestyle may be the single most important thing that you do to be your healthiest!

Learn more from my M.A.D.E Diet ebook here.

nutritional ketosis through diet

Can I Reach Nutritional Ketosis Through Diet Alone?

Can I Reach Nutritional Ketosis Through Diet Alone?

In short, yes, I absolutely think so! And I’m living proof of it. But I know you like to know the reasons behind my reasons…

Minimal carbs

Give your body the choice and it will first go for glucose and sugar to fuel itself, then fatty acids (ketone bodies) second. If you keep fuelling your body with carbs (in the form of pastry, bread, pasta, grains etc.) then your body will rarely get to burn fat… and you will remain overweight.

But, when you reduce the amount of carbs you give your body to a minimal level, your body has no choice but to look for alternative fat sources – and those include the fatty acids that have built up in your cells.

Once you start burning these off, you really become a fat burning machine!

Why you’re not losing weight

Having spikes of insulin in your bloodstream and lots of fat in your diet is one sure fire way to never lose the weight you’re after.

What we really want is for our bodies to start burning fat for fuel instead of sugar. The production of endogenous ketones is what makes this a reality. Many people now measure their blood ketones through urine, breath and/or blood.

Nutritional ketosis is a range of .5 to 3.0 mmol/L.

Most people who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) will measure in at a .2 or .3. Getting to .5 and up only requires fewer carbohydrates (and those chosen to be from quality sources), a moderate amount of protein and a good amount of healthy fats. That’s when the body will start to burn fat for fuel.

Personally, I usually measure at .8 mmol/L and have a body fat percentage of 17%.

But how should I measure my carb intake?

This is a tough one to answer for everyone. We all work so differently and one defined amount of carbs is not going to have the same effect on each of us.

It also looks different for someone wanting to lose and maintain weight for their overall health, versus someone seriously ill with Type 2 diabetes and trying to drastically reverse the negative health effects.

For example, most of the scientific research done on ketosis levels focussed on improvements for epilepsy and cancer sufferers. Their carb intake was restricted to fewer than 15g per day.

Which foods will help me?

Sources of healthy fats that I regularly include in my diet are:

  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Grass fed butter
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Grass fed and finished steak
  • Wild caught salmon
  • Shrimps
  • Broccoli
  • Organic/cage free eggs
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • High fat cheese (parmesan, but only occasionally)

Which foods do I avoid?

  • Fruit (except blueberries occasionally)
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Sodas (even diet soda!)
  • Energy drinks
  • Grains (pasta, rice etc)
  • All processed foods (candy, ready meals, take outs etc)
  • All ‘low fat’ or ‘low calorie’ foods
  • Most dairy (especially cows milk and yogurt)

Where do I get my carbohydrates from?

  • Sweet potatoes (occasionally)
  • Vegetables (above the ground and leafy veggies)
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts etc. 

Do I need to take ketone supplements?

Exogenous ketone bodies (those from external sources) are just ketone bodies that are ingested through a nutritional supplement. Ketone bodies produced in the liver are more properly referred to as endogenous (internal source) ketone bodies.

However, I know that most people who are considering supplementing their diets with exogenous ketones want to do so for weight loss. This is where research is lacking.

So let’s just say that you were eating a diet with lots of healthy fats and are producing your own endogenous ketones…would supplementing with exogenous ketones also help me burn fat even faster? No!

Let me explain why…

Your body has a natural response to significantly elevated blood ketones. It will actually increase insulin secretion (the current thinking behind this is to restrict ketone production to prevent ketoacidosis). Remember, insulin is our fat storing hormone. Ketones may actually decrease fat oxidation if consumed in high enough amounts, just like other macronutrients. This is why in The MADE Diet, I have most people between 40 and 60% fat.

And from what I hear, there are some companies that will tell you that you can, “Eat carbs and stay keto-adapted.” Just. Not. True.

Personally, I firmly believe that for the vast majority of us, we don’t need to take in extra ketone bodies….if we manage our food intake properly. Of course, there will always be people out there looking to make a quick $ from those wanting to lose weight, but in reality, the external ketone bodies you buy are really only a short term solution. Switching your diet and your lifestyle is a much longer-term approach – and easier on the pocket.

Enough talking… are you ready to really make the difference your body is crying out for?

Join my 12 week beta group where you will:

  • Be challenged to change everything you thought you knew about food and diets
  • Start a new, life-long way of eating
  • Push your body completely out of its comfort zone

Join the 12 week beta group now!

[Limited spaces and time to join]
new superfoods on the block

Have You Tried The New Superfoods On The Block?

Have You Tried The New Superfoods On The Block?

Chances are you’ve heard of moringa, hemp, algae, reishi mushrooms, turmeric, or maca root recently; it seems you can’t turn around or check Facebook without seeing someone mention one of these as the latest magical health and food supplement.

But what do they all have in common?

Well apart from being anything but ‘new’ (they’ve all in fact been around for many hundreds of years), they’ve recently joined the ranks of cinnamon, chia seeds and wheatgrass as the latest ‘superfoods.’

What Is A Superfood?

One of the hardest food groups to join, superfoods are usually plant-based (although not exclusively), nutritionally dense foods that offer amazing health benefits. They often contain high doses of vitamins and minerals, which can help our bodies in so many ways, including weight loss, but more importantly they can boost our health and fitness status.

Some of the most common superfoods you probably consume regularly include blueberries, spinach, salmon, nuts and seeds. Our ancestors never referred to such foods as ‘superfoods’ though – to them it was just normal nutrition and they ate what they could based on their location and access to foods.

These days, however, we are bombarded with the latest superfood powder, supplement or capsule and our supermarkets and health food stores are filled to the brim with the latest must-have addition to our diet.

It can be overwhelming. But the important thing to remember is that these types of foods are good for you, when consumed in the right quality and quantity. But you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on them.

Superhealthy Superfoods

As always, I’m most interested in helping people learn how their food intake can positively impact their health. And this is where superfoods really earn their high-ranking status. In some cases, there are numerous proven studies that show huge improvements and reversals of certain medical conditions. And if that can be achieved with little or no medication, then I’m all ears!

Food can prevent and heal better than ANY pharmaceutical! Reverse the trend – get over nourished, and not just overfed…

  1. Moringa

new superfoods on the block

What is it? A small tree native to India, but grows elsewhere too. A rare plant-based food that contains all 9 amino acids, which are normally only found together in animal products.

Why is it super?

High in nutrients:

  • B-vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc
  • High in antioxidants and reduces inflammation
  • Helps lower blood cholesterol levels
  • Helps skin cells to repair damage for better looking skin
  • Boost immunity
  • Help muscle growth
  • Aids digestion

How to consume?

Traditionally the leaves are picked and used in teas, but more commercially available as powders, capsules and dried tea.

Add 1-2 teaspoons to smoothies – it’s recommended to start with half – 1 teaspoon until you get used to the taste.

  1. Hemp Seeds

new superfoods on the block

What are they?

Hemp seeds are a super versatile superfood that our Asian ancestors have been reaping the benefits of for thousands of years. With a taste like sunflower seeds, they have a rich, nutty flavour.

Why are they super?

They contain over 30% fat so they pack a punch in a small handful. They are also exceptionally rich in essential fatty acids and proteins. Because they contain so little carbohydrate and so much fat, they provide 50-70% more protein than chia or flax seeds.

Hemp seeds contain:

  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Calcium

How to consume?

Hemp seeds can be eaten raw – like other seeds, or added to smoothies, protein bars, energy balls and dressings. They can also easily be scooped onto salads for a crunchy addition.

  1. Algae

new superfoods on the block

What is it?

Despite their name, blue green algae are not algae, but in fact a form of ‘good’ bacteria that is an unusual green color. They grow in both salt and fresh water, and blue green algae, including spirulina, contain valuable nutrients.

Why are they super?

What makes algae particularly super is that they not only contain a high concentration of nutrients – over 65 vitamins, minerals and enzymes as well as the complete spectrum of eight essential amino acids and ten nonessential amino acids – but they are also much more easily absorbed than any other supplements (97% vs 5-25%).

Algae also contain:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C, D, A and E
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc
  • Chlorophyll

What are the health benefits?

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Can protect against heart disease
  • Boost immune system and remove toxins from the body
  • Natural anti viral properties
  • Relieve fatigue
  • Balance blood sugar (check out some reports of the effects vs actual diabetes drugs)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase fat burning during exercise

How to consume?

The strong taste of algae powder (it does taste like you’d expect!) can often mean it puts people off, but you can easily absorb it through capsules or mixing it into your smoothie where the other ingredients will mask the taste. 

  1. Reishi mushrooms

new superfoods on the block

What are they?

Not just your average fungi, reishi mushrooms are an edible form of medicinal mushroom. One of the oldest ‘superfoods’ the Chinese have been relying on these for their healing properties for years. No wonder they are also known as the ‘king of mushrooms’!

Why are they super?

  • High anti-inflammatory properties
  • Boost immune system
  • Help mental clarity
  • Aid the repair of damaged blood vessels
  • Rebalances hormones
  • High antioxidant abilities
  • Linked to aiding the body’s ability to fighting cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, allergies and infections

How to consume?

Whilst you might be able to find these mushrooms fresh or in dried form in your local Asian supermarket or Chinese medicine shop, you’re much more likely to find them in supplement, tincture or powder form.

  1. Turmeric

new superfoods on the block

What is it?

Used medicinally and in cooking in India for hundreds of years, the turmeric root has a distinct bright yellow-orange color and a smell that can hit the back of the throat when used in cooking.

Why is it super?

Aside from its stunning color and smell, turmeric is an amazing addition to a healthy diet. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and many studies have pointed to its health advantages, including the ability to potentially reverse many health conditions, with no side effects.

The fact that it’s relatively cheap and easy to access makes it even more super!

What are the health benefits?

The primary compound of turmeric – curcumin – contains many anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-arthritic, anti-amyloid, anti-ischemic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric has been linked to reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing/clearing the plaques that are part of the development of the disease.

The curcumin in turmeric has also been linked to reducing the inflammation of the joints. Several studies have also shown that turmeric has had greater positive effects than anti-inflammatory drugs.

It also contains zero cholesterol.

Other benefits:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • High in dietary fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Choline
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron (helps to produce red blood cells)
  • Potassium (helps to control the heart rate and blood pressure)
  • Manganese (antioxidant support)
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium

How to consume?

Powdered turmeric is easy to find in most supermarkets and health food stores (but be careful to buy a good, organic brand). It can be added to scrambled eggs, sautéed veggies, stir fries and meat.

Fresh turmeric root is becoming more readily available and can be grated into food in the same way (just wear gloves as the orange color lasts a while!!)

  1. Maca root

new superfoods on the block

What is it?

Grown high in the mountains of South America, predominantly Peru, the maca root usually comes in powder form and is one of the world’s most natural superfoods. A pleasant tasting and nutrient dense superfood, the maca root has long been used as a dietary as well as medicinal support for a variety of ailments. 

Why is it super?

The maca root has so many health benefits, including:

  • Fertility boost
  • Hormone balancer
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Improved sexual performance
  • Better memory and focus
  • Elevates feel good hormones

It also includes:

  • Over 20 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids
  • 20 free-form fatty acids (such as lauric, linolenic, palmitic acid, oleic , and steric acid)
  • Vitamins B-1, B-2, C and E
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Sulphur
  • Sodium
  • Iron

How to consume?

1 teaspoon daily can be sprinkled into smoothies.

So there you have it – more awesome reasons to enjoy plant-based and natural additions to your healthy lifestyle. Of course, please always consult your medical professional, before changing any of your current health and medical practises, particularly if you are on medication, pregnant or breastfeeding.