What is the Ketogenic Diet?

Cookie Monster
September 9, 2016
Fish and Butter - keto meal idea

A friend of mine has had great success in the last few months following what is called a ‘ketogenic diet’. I remember how dubious she was before she started – it seems like a crazy diet when you start reading about it. And she was also concerned about whether it would work for women. She found a couple of good programs though and decided to jump in and try it out.

Over 6 months she has lost 20lbs and has cleared up some acne that she’s pretty much had trouble with all her life. She was one of those unfortunates who carried on having teenage acne well into her 30’s! Not just little pimples either, those big cystic acne things which look truly painful and last forever. Anyway, I digress.

The ketogenic diet is based around eating macros that are something like this: 80% fat, 15% protein and 5% carbs. I know! That’s a crazy amount of fat!! Also you aren’t supposed to drop your calories, primarily because you want to be eating as closed to 200g of fat a day. At first I couldn’t picture how much that was, and then I remembered that a typical block of butter is 250g.

So yes, you’re eating almost a whole block of butter or its equivalent a day.

The whole point of this is to get your body to start burning fats for fuel instead of carbs – or glucose.

When you eat carbs or sugars, your body has to release insulin to make sure that your blood sugar levels are not too high. And what I was amazed to find out was that the highest amount of sugar you can have in your blood without it being life threatening, is 1 teaspoon! Yikes. That really is a tiny amount.

So if you’re eating carbs throughout the day, your body is continually having to pump out insulin in order to keep your blood sugar levels at a normal amount.

And here’s the rub. Insulin stimulates your body’s fat storing mechanism. That’s right. So whenever you’ve got insulin pumping around your body, you are in fat storing mode. On the other hand, when your body learns to use fat for energy instead of glucose, suddenly there are 40,000 kcal available to it at any one time. (This is the average amount of potential energy stored as fat on someone’s body on average).

This leads to a steady stream of energy; no slumps in the afternoon or needing to take a nap halfway through the day. And it also means that when you are not eating your body is happily burning away your fat stores. And this is certainly what happened to my friend. After the first month or so (the adaptation phase) the weight just started to melt off her!

Needless to say, I am just about to jump into the ketogenic lifestyle myself. As a woman who has been eating a life of carbs up til now, this should be pretty interesting. I will keep you updated! Oh and if you want to go and check out my friend’s blog and read about her journey you can find her at ketogenicdietforwomen.com or hook up with her on facebook.

How to Get Started with the Master Cleanse

Cookie Monster
May 6, 2016
apple lemon detox water

The Master Cleanse was invented in the 1940s by nutritionist Stanley Burroughs and popularized as a dieting method in the health-craze of the 1970s. By the late 1990s, the Master Cleanse regained popularity through an article in the New York Times and health books touting the drink as natural remedy to lose weight, gain energy, and become happier.

The Master Cleanse, which is often known as the lemon water detox has been used by models, rock stars, and celebrities, including Anne Hathaway, Oprah, Beyonce, David Blaine, and Denzel Washington.

Health Benefits

The Master Cleanse is more than a diet or weight loss plan. Through a three to ten-day fast, the Master Cleanse removes toxins and allows the body to naturally purge itself of waste and pollutants. The Master Cleanse relieves constipation and resets the gastrointestinal tract for better digestion.

Digestive problems contribute to many conditions from irritable bowel syndrome to acne. Antibiotics, poor diet, and digestive problems are several of the leading causes of imbalances in the healthy intestinal flora. Yeast imbalances in the gastrointestinal tract have been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and recurring yeast infections.

The Master Cleanse starves these organisms and creates an inhospitable environment for yeast, so the healthy bacteria can re-establish themselves. The simple lemon juice concoction is designed to stabilize the blood sugar while providing essential minerals and nutrients throughout the fast.

Key Ingredients

The Master Cleanse is made from three simple ingredients: lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper, which are diluted in water. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice is the most important ingredient in the Master Cleanse.

The low pH of citric acid makes lemon juice a natural antibacterial cleansing agent. Lemon juice also provides potassium, which is one of the most important nutrients lost during fasts. Most Master Cleanse recipes call for Grade-B maple syrup or blackstrap molasses to provide energy, minerals, and balance blood sugar.

Grade-B maple syrup is recommended for the Master Cleanse because it is less expensive and contains more nutrients. Always look for products that say pure maple syrup. Bottles labeled pancake syrup are made from artificially flavored corn syrup that is not suitable for the Master Cleanse. Cayenne is the final ingredient, which provides vitamins, promotes blood flow, and fights harmful germs and organisms.

Master Cleanse Recipe and Regimen

Generally, the Master Cleanse is completed as a three to ten day fast, but it can also be used as a meal replacement. For optimal results, most fasters complete the Master Cleanse as a seven-day regimen. The drink’s inventor recommends between six and twelve glasses daily for the duration of the program although many health practitioners have reduced this amount with good results. The Master Cleanse may also be combined with saline beverages in the morning followed by a laxative tea in the evening for complete cleansing.

For one serving combine:

  • two tablespoons lemon juice

  • one to two tablespoons of molasses or maple syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper

  • one glass of filtered water

Many fasters eventually modify the original Master Cleanse recipe to suit their individual tastes. Some people find the Master Cleanse is easier to drink when warm while others prefer it at room temperature or chilled. When preparing the drink, add ingredients too taste.

Molasses or maple syrup sweetens the lemonade, however, adding too much will make the drink unpleasantly sweet. There’s no right or wrong way to drink the Master Cleanse; some prefer to chug the drink in one gulp while others prefer to take small sips over the course of an afternoon.

What to Expect

The effects of the Master Cleanse vary for everyone, however, most find the first few days are the hardest. The Master Cleanse can cause an upset stomach followed by some time visiting the bathroom. Most fasters find the body releases large amounts of waste and toxins least one day during the fast.

After three days, carb carvings and hunger subside and by fifth day fasters report increased energy, glowing skin, and brighter eyes. Although the Master Cleanse is commonly used as a fast, workouts, jogging, and vigorous exercise are fine and will increase the weight loss effects of the cleanse.

What Are Some Of The Healthiest Food Trends Of The 21st Century?

Cookie Monster
April 5, 2016

The healthiest food trends of the 21st century are quite myriad in form and function. As medical science advances ever quicker due to improvements in mass communication, statistical methodologies and the means by which to measure biological factors, more and more is being learned about what is and isn’t good for the human body. While some allowances must be made for individual bodies, some things are statistically more likely to help people live longer, healthier lives. The modern age is full of new trends that are showing us newer and better ways to eat healthier to improve the quality of our lives.

One particular food trend is the acknowledgment of food allergies and new manufacturing methods that allow people to get the vital nutrients they need without triggering any allergies. Gluten freegrapes-690230_640 products, intended to help people with allergies to gluten proteins found in many grain products, are now infused with the same amount of protein and fiber as other forms of grain. While many will deny that gluten free food tastes the same, the development of new forms of food from grains that do not contain gluten, such as tapioca bread, has proven to be a boon to people with allergies to that protein.

Other allergies, such as allergies to tree nuts or dairy, are also being investigated. While being vegan is a choice, few people choose to be lactose intolerant. And yet, with modern technology, the means by which to create purely plant-based substitutes for dairy products now exist, from almond milk to vegan sour cream. Other substitute products allow people to get the protein and fiber they would get from nuts and nut based products without triggering their allergies. Finally, for those who do choose, for whatever reason, to avoid products such as meat and dairy, the modern age’s diversity of foods has brought in a dizzying array of alternatives that are often just as easy to get as any other item on the menu or in the store.

Another healthy food trend of the modern age is that more food manufacturers are finding that people want to eat nutritious food and are taking measures to increase the nutritional content of their products. Oatmeal infused with extra protein and fruit juices infused with extra vitamins are among the new products that have found their way onto supermarket shelves in recent years, and with food chemistry and agricultural sciences developing as quickly as any other branches of scientific study, this is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Keeping an eye out for these products when grocery shopping can be a bit more involved than a quick trip to the supermarket, but they are growing in number and seem to be the wave of the future.

One trend in particular of note is the move towards increasing the amount of fiber people get in their diets. While for some years most people had a hard time avoiding fiber, the proliferation of refined grain and rapidly dropping prices of meat and dairy has created a bit of a problem wherein many people are not getting enough fiber. While the simplest way to handle the problem is to eat more fruits and vegetables, some products, ranging from granola bars focused on fiber content to bread infused with extra fiber, seem intent on mending the problem without taking drugs or supplements like Metamucil. As the benefits of eating more roughage become more widely available, this is another trend that seems to be on the grow, particularly since many food manufacturers have made this an option that is every bit as tasty as doing it another way.