The Rules of a Low Carb Lifestyle

I think following any diet that consists of low carb, HIGH good fats and moderate protein is the healthiest thing you can do for your body. I promise if you follow what I am telling you, you will start to lose weight right away and your energy will increase and most importantly, you will lose all cravings for sugar/carbs. Please see the rules below. This program works by starving your body of sugar forcing it to burn fat for energy. The #1 fuel that your body can and does easily use is sugar. When you keep your sugars/carbs below 30 NET carbs, it has NO CHOICE but to burn its reserve energy which is fat! See below for checking how much fat you are burning.

#1 RULE to remember…EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING with the exception of meat and fat is a carbohydrate and all carbohydrates are sugar! This includes fruit, vegetables, grains…everything except meat and fat breaks down into sugar.

RULE #2: You are only allowed 30 NET carbs per day or less. What is a NET carb? Not all carbs are created equal and some behave differently than others. For example, fiber (which is a carbohydrate) and sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol etc) cannot be absorbed by the human body so they go through the system unabsorbed and more importantly, they do not have a glycemic response. This means they do not require insulin to be metabolized. So to determine your NET carbs, here is the math:
Total Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols = NET carbs. (Note: Atkins products uses glycerine in their bars and some other products which cannot be absorbed but he never lists the amount of glycerine so the math never works)
Example: Total carbs = 30 Fiber = 15 Sugar Alcohols 11. So 30-15-11= 4 NET carbs. The carbs left over after subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols (and glycerine) have a glycemic response and require insulin to be metabolized and these are what you are counting. Remember only 30 NET carbs per day. You will be surprised how many carbs are in an apple or a cup of broccoli. Here is the link for the Atkins carb counter site. Use it for reference all the time:
http://files.atkins.com/1501_CarbCounter_Online.pdf

RULE #3: No potatoes, NO pasta, NO rice, NO bread and NO fruit (for now). I have a deadly recipe for low carb, gluten free bread made with almond flour and psyllium husk but you cannot have this for at least 2-3 weeks until you break old eating habits.

RULE #4: You MUST increase your good fats. These include coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia oil and MCT oil. I use MCT oil for my salad dressings, coconut oil for EVERYTHING including cooking (it is very stable under high heat conditions) and take a shot of MCT oil mid-afternoon and/or prior to my meals.

RULE #5: You MUST check your ketones. This is non-negotiable! When you are burning fat (it usually takes 2-3 days to convert your body) a by-product of fat burning is ketones. This means that once you start burning fat for energy, ketones will be in your urine. Go to the drug store and ask for ketone stix. You can even get ketone/diastix which will show fat burning and blood sugar levels, should you have blood sugar issues. The ketone stix go from a beige color all the way up to deep purple. The darker the color, the more fat you’re burning! If you are not burning ketones, you are NOT burning fat, simple as that. This means that you are still eating too many carbs or more importantly not eating enough fat. There is no cheating on carbs on this program. Your body will happily use sugar way faster than fat for energy as it is the easiest. It’s actually exciting to pee on that damn stick to see the dark color knowing that I am burning fat! I have noticed that if I don’t eat enough fat, my ketones are just showing trace. Once I started taking more MCT oil (shots in the afternoon and as a salad dressing) my ketones went large! You will see the difference right away.

Glycemic index and glycemic load: It is important to note the glycemic index in your food choices. The low glycemic foods do not require as much insulin to metabolize. You can download lists of food and their glycemic index from Google.

So what are you eating?

Protein (eggs, cheese, meat, bacon, protein isolate shakes for snacks etc). The ONE bars ad Quest bars are low carb but I would stay away from them for the first few weeks to wean off of sugar taste. Also, they may take you out of ketosis but you will know by checking it.

Vegetables but not the root/starchy ones. Good choices are all lettuce(s), cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, cabbage, celery etc. CHECK the Atkins carb counter for amount of carbs in these vegetables. We have been programmed to count calories but calories do not count on this diet. You MUST however count carbs (NET carbs).

I strongly suggest that you have a dozen boiled eggs in your fridge at all times, as well as cooked chicken and cut up vegetables and lettuce. Sometimes we get lazy cooking and so having stuff prepared makes it much easier. I also have a home-made soup in the fridge at all times. My soups have chicken and vegetables (the ones allowed above). Be careful not to eat too many vegetables though as they are carbs.

 

Appetite Control and Leptin

Appetite Control and Leptin

Leptin, the “satiety hormone”, discovered in just 1994 is a hormone made by fat cells that helps to regulate hunger.  After you eat, leptin is released into the bloodstream where it travels to the brain telling you to stop eating because you’re full.  Without leptin we could continue to eat until we explode.  Some people have what’s called leptin resistance where the brain is unable to pick up its signals causing mindless eating and overeating.  It’s also a cycle where the more you eat, the more engorged your fat cells, and the greater the risk of worsening your leptin resistance because it is your fat cells that make this hormone.  The more you gain, the more sensitive your body becomes to leptin.  Leptin resistance is associated with certain other medical conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, thyroid issues, and elevated triglycerides in the bloodstream.  Leptin’s main role is long-term regulation of energy balance… the amount of calories we eat and expend, and how much fat we store on our bodies

People with leptin resistance may find that they have frequent or even constant cravings or feelings of hunger. Researchers are still working to fully understand and develop effective treatments for leptin resistance, but for now, controlling cravings is the key to combating the effects of this condition.  If you’re eating lots of sugar/carbs, or if you’re very stressed or sleep deprived, you’re more likely to feel like you have an appetite you just can’t satisfy. To beat your cravings, protein and fiber are the keys as they both keep you very full for a long time.

Reversing Leptin Resistance:  How do you know if you’re leptin resistant?  There is no set blood test done to determine leptin levels. The best test to do to determine if you are leptin resistant is to look in the mirror.  If you have a lot of body fat, especially in the belly area then you are almost certainly leptin resistant.  Leptin resistance occurs years before insulin resistance and full blown diabetes.

So what can we do?  The low carb, gluten free diet will help you tremendously!

  • Cut out grains, refined sugars and processed foods and replace them with “slow burn” foods like protein and fats so you avoid leptin spikes that cause leptin resistance
  • Increase the good fats in your diet including avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, fish oils, butter, ghee and olive oil. Take 2,000mg-3,000mg Omega 3 (fish oils)
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Increase fiber in your diet. I recommend taking fiber supplements 30 minutes before each meal
  • Always have protein with each meal
  • Eat 3 meals per day and not snacking all day stabilizes leptin levels and avoids spikes
  • Exercise like resistance training increases leptin sensitivity so the signals can reach your brain that you’re full
  • Reduce your stress levels and get plenty of sleep

So here is yet another reason to follow a low carb, gluten free lifestyle.  Eating real low carb/sugar food, exercising and sleeping well are all lifelong endeavours that require a shift in lifestyle.

Zucchini Pizza Muffins

Again Angela comes up with such yummy low carb, gluten free foods.  I am definitely going to try this one!  Each muffin only has 2 net carbs and is gluten free!  How can you lose?
Zucchini Pizza Muffins
Course: Snack
Servings: 10 Muffins
Author: Angela Coleby
Ingredients
  • 1 zucchini grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup 57g butter, unsalted melted
  • 1/3 cup 38g coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup 57g Mozzarella cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup 57g Cheddar cheese grated
  • 2 Spring onions chopped
  • 8 Sun-dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F degrees.

  2. Line a muffin tin with cases (or grease it for baking without cases)

  3. In a bowl add the zucchini, eggs and butter and mix well.

  4. Add the chopped green onions, sundried tomatoes, oregano, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Combine well.

  5. Add the coconut flour and baking powder. Stir and add the water.

  6. Add the grated mozzarella and Cheddar cheese and mix thoroughly. If the mixture looks a bit dry and too sticky add a little bit more water.

  7. Spoon into the muffin tin and top with grated Mozzarella cheese (optional)

  8. Bake for 20 minutes until firm and golden.

Recipe Notes

Makes 10 muffins

Nutritional Info per muffin – 117 Calories, 10g Fat, 6g Protein, 3g Total Carbs, 1g Fibre, 2g Net Carbs

Taken from http://divaliciousrecipes.com

What is Syndrome X?

What is Syndrome X?

Well it USED to be called Syndrome X but now it is called Metabolic Syndrome.  According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have it. That’s almost a staggering one out of every six people. This syndrome runs in families and is more common among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. The risks of developing metabolic syndrome increases as you age.  So what is it?

Metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself. Instead, it’s a group of risk factors, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels (of good and bad), and abdominal fat.  Obviously, having any one of these risk factors isn’t good. But when they’re combined, they set the stage for serious problems. These risk factors double your risk of blood vessel and heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes and they increase your risk of diabetes by five times!

The complications that may result from metabolic syndrome are frequently serious and long-term (chronic). They include: hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), diabetes, heart attack, kidney disease, stroke, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, peripheral artery disease and cardiovascular disease.

If diabetes develops, you may be at risk for additional health complications, including: eye damage (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney disease and amputation of limbs.

The good news is that metabolic syndrome can be controlled, largely with changes to your lifestyle!  I know you know what lifestyle I am talking about.  There are so many scientific studies now regarding the low carb diet that you cannot dispute the positive health effects by following this lifestyle including fast weight loss, reduced hunger, insulin and blood sugar control, lower risk of heart disease, reduced risk for certain types of cancer and the list goes on.  So, if you have been told that you have metabolic syndrome, why not try it?  It is so easy if you just keep an open mind and be creative.  My blog is to make the transition easier with all of the amazing low carb (and gluten free) recipes as well as all of the tips available.  Scroll down to one of my original posts where I give you the rules of following a low carb diet.  It’s one thing to cut your carbs but if you really need to lose weight or have any health issues mentioned above, you need to stick to the rules closely.  Let me know your thoughts!

Remedies for Blood Sugar Issues

Top Remedies for Blood Sugar Issues

Do you have blood sugar issues?  Hypoglycemia, Pre-diabetes or diabetes?  As you know by now I am a big advocate of the low carb lifestyle.  Why?  If we eat too much sugar or high-glycemic carbohydrates (white rice, cakes, crackers, bread, potatoes and cookies), we experience a rapid influx of blood sugar. Our body must rush in to compensate with a spike of insulin to take care of the sudden overabundance of glucose, leaving us tired and irritable from the yo-yo effect.   Keeping your blood sugars balanced is one of the most important steps you can take for overall health and vitality as well as weight control. Besides eating a wholesome diet rich in low-glycemic whole fruits, vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates, you can optimize your blood sugar levels by including supplements that promote glucose balance.

Check out the top remedies to help you control your blood sugar levels.

  1. Chromium: The best form of this trace mineral is chromium picolinate. Chromium can normalize blood sugar levels, improve blood sugar utilization and decrease insulin requirements in people with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.
  2. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA): Not only is ALA a very potent anti-oxidant, it enhances insulin sensitivity
  3. Banaba Leaf Extract: Banaba leaf contains corosolic acid that helps transport glucose from the blood into cells for use as energy
  4. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and works to improve blood glucose by slowing stomach emptying after meals and enhancing insulin sensitivity
  5. Fenugreek: Fenugreek supports balanced blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and carbohydrate absorption. Fenugreek may also stimulate insulin production due to an abundance of amino acids
  6. Gymnema Sylvestre: Gymnema Sylvestre normalizes blood sugar by increasing insulin levels, reducing glucose absorption, and improving sugar uptake
  7. Magnesium: Magnesium increases insulin sensitivity and supports healthy glucose levels

Low carb, low carb, low carb.  Sugar is clearly the culprit to blood sugar issues.  By following a low carb diet you will not have the blood sugar spikes that carbohydrates cause.  It’s really not hard.  It’s simply a matter of being a little creative with your diet and opting not to eat potatoes, pasta, rice and bread.  These are the biggest culprits to name a few.  As much as fruit is healthy for you, it is not good for blood sugars to limit fruit to no more than 1-2 per day and stick with the low glycemic choices like berries.

What to look for in a weight loss supplement

In order to lose weight, there are a few factors to consider that a good weight loss supplement will address:

  1. Stress: You need to address stress. When you are stressed (mentally or physically) your body goes into the ‘fight or flight’ response.  When this happens your body immediately stores fat.  It is our coping mechanism.  Your body doesn’t know how long you’re going to fight or run so it needs to store energy for the long term.
  2. Appetite Control: Many of us ‘live to eat’ when we should ‘eat to live’.  We are addicted to food and are surrounded with fast food and junk food.  We need to get our appetites under control.
  3. Blood Sugar: It is imperative to keep our blood sugars balanced. When our blood sugar is out of whack and insulin levels are high, your body compensates by storing fat.
  4. Boost Metabolism: You will lose more weight and much faster if you increase your metabolism.  Putting more wood on your fire will help you burn more fat, even at rest.
  5. Maintain or Gain Muscle: Muscle is metabolically active so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.  Many low calorie diets do not allow you to eat enough protein which causes muscle loss.  Try having a protein shake in the morning or as a mid afternoon snack.

When looking for a weight loss supplement, if you can get something that has all of these factors in it…go for it!  Let me know if you need some help!

What Can I Eat on a Low Carb Diet and What Should I Avoid?

The one thing I quickly realized when following a low carb diet is to BE PREPARED!  A lot of us (including me) are lazy cooks.  If my husband isn’t cooking for me I would tend to open a can of tuna and have a tuna sandwich.  It’s simple, easy and fast and quite filling for me.  So, now my husband and I will cook a turkey on the weekend and then I will clean it up and boil the bones to make turkey soup.  So now I have cold turkey for my salads and soup which I just have to re-heat all week.  My soups are just meat and veggies and sometimes black beans.  I never add potatoes or rice to keep the carbs lower.  We will cook chicken and do the same thing as turkey.

The other things we prepare for the week are boiled eggs, cut up veggies and lettuce.  So, when I am hungry (and lazy or busy) I can simply put a salad together, eat soup or have some boiled eggs with cold veggies.  I use MCT oil and balsamic vinegar for my salad dressings and veggie dips with some spices.  So, what exactly should I be eating when following a low carb diet?

  • Meat – all types of beef, pork, chicken, lamb etc.
  • Fish – all types especially those high in Omega 3 such as salmon, mussels, tuna, and sardines
  • Chicken – skin on, free range
  • Vegetables – all types that grown above the ground. Leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, avocados, mushrooms, lettuce.  Stay away from root veggies, the ones that grow in the dirt
  • Cheese – choose the full fat varieties.
  • Cream – full fat, double, whipping.
  • Full fat milk – avoid all flavored milks and avoid any milk in large quantities because even though it may only contain 5% carbs, it is easy to drink a 250ml serving which equates to 12.5g carbs.
  • Nuts and seeds – a great snack but just watch not to overindulge as they still have a fair amount of carbs
  • Eggs – choose free range if you can
  • Fats – use butter, olive oil, coconut oil (high in oleic acid), lard, MCT oil

Foods to Avoid:

  • All processed sugar drinks – pop, juice, energy drinks, anything with sugar and carbs
  • All cakes, biscuits, jams, sweets.
  • All cereals – most cereal contains anywhere from 50%-80% carbs. No wonder they are known as CEREAL KILLERS!!!
  • Bread, pasta, potatoes, sugar etc. There is little nutritional value in these foods and they are loaded in carbs
  • Fruit is something that should be limited because of the high fructose content. It is natures candy. Yes fruit has vitamins and healthy nutrients, but you will be getting far more nutrients from your increase veggie intake. Choose nutrient dense, low carb fruits such as berries. Fruit such as pineapple, mango, and especially dried fruits, should be avoided. Also avoid ALL fruit juices. They have an incredibly high glycemic index, which will make your insulin spike (and start storing fat again). “If you are overweight, fruit is not your friend”.
  • All wheat products have a high glycemic index, raise your blood sugar and increase appetite
  • Grains avoid all grains including wheat, oats, barley, spelt etc.
  • Pasta  is extremely high in carbohydrates and has almost no nutritional value
  • Starchy vegetables if you can tolerate some carbs, choose highly coloured starchy vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots, beetroot or sweet potato for their wonderful phytonutrients and vitamins.
  • Rice very little nutritional value. Generally used to bulk out a meal. Try substituting rice for more vegetables or check out cauliflower rice recipes
  • Rice crackers these are almost 80% carbs and incredibly processed, especially the flavored ones. Avoid.
  • Diet or low fat products check the labels and you will see how processed they are and how much higher in carbs they are compared to their regular version e.g, low fat cream cheese can be up to 15% carbs, whereas the regular is only4%