Archives for category: Low-Carb diet

food-to-eat

*This blog is NOT intended to endorse or recommend this type of diet. It is intended to give information on the how and why, my decision to proceed down this path and my personal experience during the process. I undertook this endeavor with my doctor’s supervision and the direction of a licensed clinical nutritionist.

Adjusting to my new diet did take some getting used to and of course began to bring about some physical changes. About two years ago I had gotten together with a few friends and we embarked on the ‘Clean’ diet, which required some of the same food changes (eliminating night shades, gluten, dairy, etc.) – but not the lowering of my carb intake and increase in fat and protein. During the first 5 days of that nutritional change I experienced some of the same effects that I have had on my new nutritional eating plan. My nutritionist also gave me a workout nutritional supplement drink, which I began mixing up daily and I sip throughout my workout. This drink is made of Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) along with L- Glutamine and L-Citrruline DL – Malate

Of course for the first few days on this nutritional eating plan, I craved carbohydrates. I’m thinking that the word crave is not descriptive enough, ravenous would actually work better. I satisfied these feelings by eating things such as small measured amounts of macadamia nuts along with small protein snacks such as meatballs or pieces of chicken. About 5 days in I developed a dull headache which really only lasted for most of one day. Luckily my nutritionist had already prepared me in advance of the effects that I might experience, so I felt grounded, clear and able to deal with them.

After about 7 days my energy level dropped and I had to cut back on my workout activity level as my body adjusted from using carbohydrates as a fuel source and began to shift into utilizing other forms of fuel for energy. Again, I had been informed of this phase, and I knew that my regular 80 – 90 minute daily workout would need to be reduced during this adaptation phase of my eating plan.

I would like to side bar here to touch on how over the last 3 years my personal workout has changed. I have been pursuing an active lifestyle for more than 35+ years, eventually that lifestyle also became my career. During that time cardio was an integral part of my workout. My fitness career began as an aerobics instructor and I loved the endorphin rush I experienced taking and teaching cardio classes and activities. Even after the aerobic class instructor portion of my career ended and my career moved into the Pilates method I continued to perform cardio activities to satisfy the ‘rush’ I needed and my concern about gaining any weight since I had been an extremely overweight child. However, about 3 years ago I went back to doing a lot of cardio activity (cardio classes, HIIT cases) as well as regular gym/Pilates workout. What I found was that the addition of cardio didn’t make me any ‘fitter’, consequently I actually began to feel weaker and even a bit lethargic. What did work for me was interval training and using cardio as a short warm up. After much experimenting I have honed a great workout that involves interval activities of anaerobic, strength training, Pilates and flexibility training which I do every day. I have made the leap and said good by to cardio.

After adjusting my daily workout for about 4 days I eventually regained my energy and then some. I began to feel much more comfortable with my new nutritional plan and I also noticed some very interesting physiological and psychological things happening with my body and being.

I began to feel much more energetic that I have in years. I noticed that my body fat levels began dropping and my body was becoming much more defined and leaner as well as my muscles began to start feeling denser. This fact was evident according to the scale, as I had dropped 3 pounds. My cravings for carbs started to subside and I began to experience a holistic sense of calm and well being. One of the other benefits that I realized was a distinct reduction in my desire to drink alcohol of any kind.

My doctor assisted in the entire process by pulling more blood labs so both she and my nutritionist could review the results and make any necessary supplementation or diet changes.

Next up – Living the Life

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KetoFood*This blog is NOT intended to endorse or recommend this type of diet. It is intended to give information on the how and why, my decision to proceed down this path and my personal experience during the process. I undertook this endeavor with my doctor’s supervision and the direction of a licensed clinical nutritionist.

I have been in the health and fitness industry for almost 28 years. During that time I have watched as many fitness and health fads and changes have taken place. The industry itself is wrought with an overabundance of popular trends not only for exercise but diet. These fads most of the time are simply temporary fashions promising the next best way to lose those extra 5 – 10 lbs., or to sculpt your body into the best shape, in the shortest amount of time.

Through the years, we as health and fitness professionals have become the initial demographic that these movements target, so that we in turn can share them with our clients. However, promoting these many and varied trends with little or no information on the evidence based research is not appropriate or professional. As a tenured health and wellness professional I make it a point to gather as much information as possible about a new fad or craze whether it be fitness or diet. Since I am not a licensed clinical nutritionist or dietician it is not within my scope of practice to recommend any diet, I simply share and report what has worked for me in the past and offer suggestions on reliable resources as well as give referrals to qualified diet and nutrition professionals.

So, I decided to have my own first hand experience with a low carb diet. To do so I enlisted the aid of a skilled licensed clinical nutritionist whom I know well and has touted the many virtues of a low carb high fat/ketogenic diet, and also involved my MD in this adventure.

My nutritionist asked for a copy of my most recent blood work from my medical files. After a thorough review of my history and a request for additional lab tests I was placed on a supplement regime in order to optimize my metabolism and ease my transition into this new lifestyle.

About two weeks after starting my new supplement program I then began to lower my carbohydrates. I mentally geared myself up for this process by outfitting my kitchen and refrigerator. I began eating grass fed red meat, free range lamb, wild or sustainably farmed salmon, as well as organic/free range chicken. I began to lower my daily carbohydrate intake to 100g or less. I used Google and my kitchen food scale to calculate my carbohydrate intake. I have also included medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) in order to source the necessary building block for ketones that will gradually and eventually allow me to transition deriving my energy needs from carbohydrate/glucose to fat.

I stopped using nut and seed oils for cooking and moved to using ghee (clarified butter), and coconut oil instead. I started using olive oil for flavoring after cooking or on salad only. As a point of clarification my intention is not use olive oil at high heat. The following were the foods that I have begun to use for my daily carbohydrates: small amount of sweet potato, white basmati rice, onion, spinach, kale, blueberries, cherries and pineapple for a smoothie with pea protein. I removed all all nightshade vegetables from my diet in order to better manage inflammation: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, all peppers but black pepper, paprika. Most days I have successfully kept my carbs below 100 grams, many days I have gone lower than 50. This is a personal exploration in meeting my daily energy requirements from a low carb high fat diet (LCHF) in order to have a first hand experience how this shift in my macro nutrients affects my body composition, exercise stamina, mood and cognitive function, digestion and overall sense of well being.

And so the journey begins…

Stay tuned for the next installment.