Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Keto means learning to say 'no'

Going keto is about learning to say 'no' to yourself and to others. You have to toughen up and learn to do that.

Your very first morning on keto you had to skip your normal breakfast --- perhaps Froot Loops,  or toast,  or pancakes --- and learn to like permitted keto foods in the morning.

After you got into ketosis,  perhaps you went a step beyond and tried morning fasting,  or skipping your accustomed snack times. More saying no! In time,  when you stay on keto,  it gets easier. You find more keto foods you love,  and lose your hunger for high-carb junk food. You feel less hungry --- even when you have just fasted two days.

Sometimes you will really need that new saying-no ability.  Recently I was hospitalized.  I got offered a lot of high-carb institutional food--- even though I am diabetic. I said no. Since I  was in ketosis and also sick,  I didn't mind much when I had to turn down food, and since they were so amazed I was a diabetic and not on meds,  they accommodated my dietary needs.

Now I am in a rehab center. They try to get me stuff I can eat in spite of the fact they don't understand or approve low-carb. I have even trained most of them to bring me 2 pats of butter for my coffee!

The fact that I have learned to say 'no' to my raging appetite by using keto (and fasting) means I am able to survive temptations and keep my blood glucose under control.  And I  was never a  person with any amount of willpower. If I can do keto even in a hospital or rehab center,  anyone can do it.

Don't get discouraged,  a lot of keto folks are people who never had willpower or diet success.  You don't need the willpower.  You just need to learn enough about keto to do it.  It is science based,  and actual science works.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Recipe: Keto Hot Carob Drink

Now that we know that chocolate isn’t bad for you, why use carob, famous as a health-food-store chocolate substitute? Well, chocolate/cocoa is high in oxalates, and carob is low in oxalates. So if you need to cut back on oxalate sources, carob is a good idea. And it’s a change of pace for any of us.

Keto Hot Carob Drink

2 teaspoons carob powder (mine is Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (or other sea salt)
1 Tablespoon butter, MCT oil, or coconut oil
hot water to fill up 16 oz coffee mug
1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream (or rich, fresh nonpasteurized whole goat’s milk)

You mix this right in the mug! DON’T use a styrofoam cup if you are planning to use the MCT oil or coconut oil— it makes holes in the styrofoam.
Add the first 3 ingredients, and then fill up the mug with hot water, as if for making tea or coffee. Give the butter or coconut oil a minute to melt. When it is melted, add the cream or whole goat’s milk. If sensitive to dairy, just skip this ingredient. 
Unlike a cocoa drink, this does NOT need a sweetener. (If you make it with cocoa or cacao powder in place of the carob, you will probably want to add 4 or so drops of liquid stevia sweetener.)

Nutritional facts about carob and cocoa

                 carob            cocoa     (1 Tablespoon)
calories     24                 10
fat             0                    0.5
carb          5.5                 3
fiber          1                    2
protein      0.5                0.5

As you can see, carob is a bit more carb-y. But unlike the cocoa, most people won’t need artificial sweeteners to consume the carob. Carob IS not just like real chocolate. It has its own unique flavor. I enjoy the taste. Not so much as I enjoy chocolate, but it’s good. 

To learn more about oxalates and how to avoid them, visit Sally K. Norton's web page & blog: 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Your Daily Bone-Broth Dose

There is such a thing as a bone-broth diet. I have not read any books on this, but home-made bone broth is a healing food. I save ALL my chicken bones in freezer bags until I have about 2 gallon-size bags worth, which is enough to make bone broth in my BIG slow cooker (It’s not a Crock-pot brand slow cooker like my other THREE slow cookers.)

I don’t salt my bone broth while making it, since I’m afraid of oversalting since the broth cooks down over 2 days. So when I make up a cup of hot bone broth, I add 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt. This gives it about the salt content of a serving of commercial bouillon powder. You can certainly add more salt if it seems to need a bit more.

Atkins Lifestyle note: one of the more modern Atkins books recommends a cup of commercial bouillon to combat the ‘keto flu’ during Induction. The salt helps combat the unwell feelings some people experience on Induction. Bone broth with sea salt is a better alternative— both the broth and the sea salt/Himalayan salt have more minerals than just sodium, and it isn’t the chemical-ridden fake-food that commercial bouillon is. 

Making a cup of hot bone broth in the morning is a good start to the day. Even if you are on the No-Breakfast Plan, home-made bone broth is an allowed fasting fluid. I wouldn’t drink ten cups of it in the morning (if you could even MAKE that much bone broth) but one cup during your morning fast is very allowable.

What would be the nutritional information on home-made bone broth anyway? Store-bought canned broth has 1 gram Carbohydrate, 10 calories, 1g protein, and 0.5 g fat. My home-made broth certainly has more fat than that. I can’t remove ALL the fat from bone broth at home, so mine has got more fat and thus more calories in it, but they are all calories from fat and so that doesn’t harm your diet or break your fast.

You can make bone broth into a fancier dish. Making it ‘bulletproof’ by adding more fat (butter, MCT oil, coconut oil or even chicken, beef or pork fat) and a bit of Heavy Whipping Cream makes it into a lovely soup. Switch out the Heavy Whipping Cream for an amount of sour cream (not ‘low-fat’ sour cream!) will make it into an easy taste treat. Better than any canned soup, and you can make it in the microwave if you like. (I heat my bone broth on about 2 min on high when I resort to the microwave.)

You can also use bone broth as the broth in a soup recipe. A very simple one is egg-drop soup. Heat 1 cup of bone broth per serving. Use 1 or 1/2 egg for each serving. Mix the egg with whisk, fork or hand blender. Drop by small amounts into simmering soup. You may also add a hint of ginger root and a dash of soy sauce. This makes a very nice substitute for higher-carb chicken noodle soup, and it’s nearly as easy to make as heating up a helping of canned soup.

From this blog:
Recipe: Stewing Hen Meat and Bone Broth in one Crock-Pot

Friday, February 15, 2019

Keto is not a 'High-Protein Diet'

Sometimes they like to describe the Keto/lowcarb/Atkins dietary lifestyle as ‘high-protein.’ A diet meal-replacement bar that’s sold to the low-carb market is called a ‘protein bar.’ Protein, protein, protein. Why do they say it? Because the real truth is too shocking.

The acronym LCHF shows us the way. Low carbohydrate, high fat. Yes, fat. Fat, fat, fat! Which is a direct contradiction to the current fad diet, the low-fat low-calorie semi-starvation diet. (LFLCSS?) We eat FAT because natural (not artificial trans-fats) fats are healthy and necessary. There are vitamins we need that come in fat. Eating a zero-fat diet, were that possible, would soon make us vitamin-deficient, sick and dead. 

Our dietary lifestyle is MODERATE, not high, in protein. If we are ‘being good’ on our diet, we are not TRIMMING the fat on our meat, but choosing meat portions that are NOT pre-trimmed and low-fat. This can be hard to find. I shop mainly at a very small local grocery, which assumes everyone is on a low-fat diet and wants their meat trimmed of all visible fat. I wanted a little beef the other day and could not find ONE piece that had a bit extra fat. I guess I have to shop further afield, or buy more meat from the meat guy at the farmers’ market next season. I DO have a freezer. Just don’t have the disposable income to fill it.

There are a lot of hybrid diets out there, some even calling themselves a version of Atkins, that try to combine low-carb and low-fat ideas. This leaves you with little but boneless, skinless chicken breast atrocities to eat. Which  can lead to the dreaded high-protein diet. 

There are two reasons why high-protein is bad. First, your body can turn extra protein into sugar. This happens more as you grow older, and is more of a risk factor if you are obese, prediabetic or diabetic. (And ‘old’ is a relative term now that obese teens are getting the older-adult disease of T2 diabetes!)

Second, if you have kidney problems, a high-protein diet is not recommended. Your body can not handle excesses of protein. In my own case, I’m T2 diabetic and have had a bad kidney test or two (it’s better when I’m on strict Keto.) I use fat to stay unhungry while keeping my protein portion not too excessive. (Choosing meat with more fat in it naturally helps, and using rich sauces aids in the case of leaner meats.) 

Another problem with the necessarily high-protein LCLF (low-carb, low-fat) is that it mimics rabbit starvation. Rabbit starvation happened among clueless pioneers and men lost in a wilderness. They could hunt plenty of rabbit to eat, but couldn’t find other foods or a bigger variety of game. Rabbit is very low-fat meat. With it as the only food, people would die. I believe in one of my sources on this they said that people died on rabbit-starvation diets quicker than they would if they ate nothing at all. 

We don’t want that! It’s cheaper to just starve to death than to kill yourself on an all-lean-meat rabbit-starvation-mimicking plan. Or why not just have a couple of nice chicken thighs, followed by a bulletproof hot chocolate?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

How I learned to Control my T2 Diabetic Blood Sugars

I learned that I was diabetic because my mother is thrifty. She was and is ‘addicted’ to constant doctor visits, and she does what she is told. When she had a bad cholesterol reading, she obediently went on a statin drug— and promptly got full-blown diabetes. 

She controlled her diabetes with pills, got bad low-fat-based nutritional advice, and learned to test her blood sugar every morning with a blood sugar meter. When her ‘health-care provider’s’ corporation moved the patients on to a different brand of blood sugar meter, she gave me her old one because, as someone who grew up during the Great Depression, she wasn’t going to take a thing that was worth money and throw it away.

I tested my blood sugar one day just for kicks— it was over 300. Scary! So I went to mom’s ‘health-care provider,’ a nurse-practitioner, and she put me on Metformin— one of the few diabetes pills that doesn’t make you gain weight.

I had already learned about low-carb living, since I’d bought copies of various Atkins diet book from St. Vincent de Paul thrift shops. I KNEW that my weight problem already showed that my body had a problem handling carbohydrates. 

As a child I had read a REALLY old home medical book my mother had, that had two or three whole chapters about diabetes, which was very keen on the discovery of insulin injections which was new when the writer was younger. I learned that diabetes was a disease where you had to ‘give up sugar forever.’ As I grew older and learned about Atkins and low-carb, I knew that carbs in general were the problem, not just sugar and not just ‘added sugar.’

The Metformin did bring my blood sugars down. I tested my blood sugars about 3 times a day when I was ‘being good.’ I was mostly eating less carbs, but my father had recently died and so I felt I had to go out to eat with my mom a lot. We do not have fancy restaurants where we live; going out to eat meant eating hamburgers, fried chicken or a fish fry. Carb city!

I got a second blood sugar pill added. In time I realized that the only way to get good blood sugar readings was to be on strict keto as well as taking the pills. Which I mostly did.

I had a bad kidney test, and was sent to a series of nephrologists (kidney specialists.) After a lot of angst, my most recent and least competent kidney doctor took me off all meds— she said that the Metformin probably damaged my kidneys. She also said that no diet change would help my kidneys, and that I needed to prepare to go on dialysis. 

I was scared to go off my meds, but I found that going off, while staying on strict low-carb/keto, made no difference. My blood sugar was controlled by my diet, not the presence or absence of pills. And my kidney tests improved when I was strict with my diet. My kidney doctor didn’t believe that result, though my ‘health-care provider’ (physician assistant) did notice that. So I let that particular kidney doctor go though I kept the ‘health-care provider’ (because I’m on Medicaid, I can only change ‘health-care providers’ once a year, and they won’t tell me when.)

I read “Dr. Atkins Diabetes Revolution” when it came out, and the two books by Dr. Richard Bernstein, “Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution” and “The Diabetes Diet.” Both were very helpful in getting me to get my diabetes under control through diet. I noticed, though, as I grew older the low-carb diet I had been doing for years took longer to take effect when I restarted after going off the diet. Carb binges did more damage, and had longer lasting effects. Just a part of getting older.

The final piece of the puzzle was when I read Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore’s “The Complete Guide to Fasting.” Fasting brought down bad blood sugar numbers quicker than keto alone. And when I started fasting, already being in ketosis, the fasting was easy. In fact, on a keto diet I often skipped mealtime without thinking about it, if I was already busy with something. 

If you have been diagnosed with T2 diabetes, I hope you will learn to control your blood sugar with your (low-carb, ketogenic) diet instead of with pills that only work for a few years for most people. (My mom, in spite of her carb-filled diet, still gets fairly good blood sugars because of her two diabetes drugs— and since she is 91, I’m hoping the drugs will continue to work for the rest of her life.)

If you are lucky enough, you can find a doctor or a nutritionist who regularly encourages patients to eat low-carb. Ask your current ‘health-care provider’ if they know of someone like this. If no luck, ask your friends if they know of anyone. There are even online lists of keto-oriented doctors and medical people. Look it up, there may be someone good you can get to.

I didn’t have such luck. All the doctors and medical people in my area are part of the same big medical corporation and they don’t seem to have or allow keto-oriented dissenters. So I had to work on learning all about keto for myself through books and podcasts. I did notice that once I lost weight and got better blood sugar numbers on a diet that doctors discouraged me from following, they encouraged me to stick with it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Those Lazy Hunter-Gatherers!

A lot of us in the keto lifestyle, as well as those on Paleo, look to the lifestyles of Paleolithic Man for our role models. I think there is a lot of projection in this. If we fast, we tend to think that Paleolithic Man went without food a lot. If we are gym-rats who spend hours in the gym working out every week, we figure Paleolithic Man went through the same exertion every day.

But studies of more modern hunter-gatherers may show us that our ideas are wrong. A researcher, Dr. Herman Pontzer, studied the Hazda of Tanzania. They often travel 15 - 20 miles a day to gather food. That seems like a lot more than we do today! But Dr. Pontzer says “We found that despite all this physical activity, the number of calories that the Hazda burned per day was indistinguishable from that of typical adults in Europe and the United States.”

We are deceived about this by our culture, which says we are lazy and sedentary because of modern machines, and that in the past people worked more. But in the past, people did physically demanding leisure activities far less. When you read the Laura Ingalls Wilder ‘Little House’ books, she doesn’t remember her pa ‘going to the gym’ or playing golf on the weekends. He was more likely to spend his time hunting or harvesting hay. 

The modern craze for exercise is not the human norm. When we look at REAL hunter-gatherers, we often see inactivity. I remember reading of one group in which the tribe’s women complained that their ‘hunter’ men tended not to do much. 

But there is a biological reason for hunter-gatherers not to expend energy beyond their needs. The more you do, the more you have to eat to support that activity. A couple of successful hunters could bring down a deer or two that could keep a whole tribe eating for a few days, especially if the group also had some gathered vegetable food and perhaps some snared rabbits or possums. Would the hunters really run around expending needless energy after that? No, they’d alternate resting days with the bigger-animal hunting expeditions. And it probably only took one or two people to check any snares that were set.

We know that excess exercise in our own day can cause exercise-related injury. It’s not a big deal for us, because many of us have jobs we can do sitting at a desk while an ankle heals. Or we can have paid time off if we cannot work our job for a while, or at least we can get food from a food bank or a government program. Among hunter-gatherers, injury could be quite damaging to the whole group. What if it was the lead hunter who couldn’t work for a while? So extra energy expenditure was also a risk to survival. I imagine we wouldn’t find Paleolithic Man inventing tennis, jousting or football for a spare-time activity. When not actively hunting or gathering or doing other essential tasks like drying food for winter use, they probably took things easy.

Human beings didn’t give up being hunter-gatherers because that way of life was too hard. A farmer who grew crops with hand tools or a livestock owner who had to care for the herd every day would have to work harder. The reason for giving up hunter-gatherer life was that there were associated restrictions. Hunter-gatherers could not live too near other hunter-gatherers, or the food resources of the area would be used up. That’s why American Indians were so threatened when the settlers moved in near them— they grew their food on less land, and competed in using the hunting/fishing resources.

Also, real cities could not begin while people were still hunter-gatherers, or even nomadic herdsmen. They needed large-scale plant agriculture— grains, mostly— to feed a city population. And that was the beginning of the ‘diseases of civilization.’ Egyptian mummies show many of the same health problems we have because of their grain-based diet.

I think the lesson we can learn is that we should not presume those Paleolithic ancestors of ours were expending the energy of a modern fellow who runs marathons or spends hours at the gym. Since ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet,’ we who have changed our diets for the better should have to jump on the bandwagon of extremes of exercise. More moderate exercise plans may be better, more natural, and easier to stick with.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

How Raising Grains Harms 'The Planet'

Ever had vegetarians, vegans and other space aliens bug you about eating more grains? Sometimes they base it on bad diet-and-health information, but more and more lately they whinge about ‘the planet.’

But what’s really good for the land? Grain and soybean farmers tear up their fields every spring for spring plowing. This allows the topsoil to wash away in some circumstances.

Most farmers use loads of chemical fertilizers on grain crops. They may know no other way, or they may not be able to get farm loans if they are not good fertilizer users. This chemical bath also runs off and ends up in the water supply.

Some farmers have the wealth to ‘go organic’ and get organic certification. They dump animal manure on their fields, which also does no good things to the water supply. Others plant ‘cover crops’ and plow them in, leading to more land damage and potential topsoil loss.

Pesticides and herbicides are so usual that farmers can buy genetically engineered corn and soybean seed which can take bigger doses of herbicides. These also can run off the fields and into the water supply.

But look at the animal grazers— both the ‘grass-based’ ones that finish their animals on grass, and the ones who use grain fattening. Even the grain-fed animals gain most of their weight during their months on pasture. And grass-finished meat is shown scientifically to be nutritionally superior to humans, as well as avoiding that nasty grain-growing habit.

Rotational grazing is most often practiced, so the animals are always getting fresh grass at the peak nutrient level for grazing. Grazing land, no matter what grazing method is used, is far more rarely plowed up and replanted, and fewer chemicals are used.

In addition, much of the land used commercially for livestock grazing is not suitable for plowing down and grain planting. It’s too hilly or too dry or too wet in places. Livestock grazing produces much human food from land which could not produce grains or other vegetarian food. 

Livestock grazing is more gentle on the earth, and more natural. Long before humans herded domestic livestock in North America, vast herds of buffalo fed off the land, providing meat to American Indian hunters and their families.

Grain and soybean consumption are the practices which hurt ‘the planet.’ They also hurt humans by replacing their natural diet, rich in meat, with a cheap high-carb substitute which is making so many fat, diabetic, and unhealthy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Recipe: Flax-Coconut Chocolate Hot 'Cereal' for Keto

What do you eat for breakfast on keto? That’s a common question. Since you may need to get on keto before you can successfully do the No Breakfast Plan, or morning fasting, it helps to have something easy to fix on hand. And even on the No Breakfast Plan this is great to have later in the day. I sometimes have it for a light supper when I’ve had a bigger lunch. 

Note that this ‘cereal’, though it contains unsweetened shredded coconut, doesn’t really have a strong coconut taste. To me it just tastes like hot cereal. And chocolate! So even if you don’t care for coconut flavor you may love this.

I make multiple servings of this ‘cereal’ and store them in snack-sized plastic bags, which are then stored in a large plastic container designed to hold things like flour or cold cereal, which I no longer use. In the mornings I just heat up some water, as I would for tea or instant coffee, and measure out 1/3 cup into the bowl holding the ‘cereal’ serving. I wait 2 - 3 minutes for the hot water to work its magic, and then it’s done.

1 1/2 Tablespoon ground walnuts (pecans, almonds)
1 1/2 Tablespoon UNSWEETENED shredded Coconut meat
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed meal 
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Cocoa powder or Cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder sweetener

Combined these dry ingredients. I use 4 1/2 pint sized canning jars to make up 4 servings, then transferring the mix to individual snack-sized plastic bags for storage. You could also store them in the canning jars if you wish to avoid plastic. 

To make a serving: empty bag or jar into bowl. Styrofoam bowls work for this. Add 1/3 cup HOT water, as you would make for tea. WAIT 2 - 3 minutes. Eat. 

This recipe was adapted from a recipe in Dana Carpender's Fat Fast Cookbook. I changed it and added the chocolate, and removed some stuff to make it easier to make ahead. 

To work out the carb count— figure out the amount of carbs and fiber in the amount of the different ingredients indicated. Add up the carbs and the fiber to get totals. To do NET carbs, subtract the fiber from the carbs. (Your ingredients may be different from mine, and you may have adjusted the amounts, so it’s good to know how to do this for yourself. There is even software/apps that will help.)

NOTES: Any type of ground nuts in dry form may be used. The UNSWEETENED coconut meat is not the same as the common sweetened coconut you find in the baking section of the grocery store! My local Gary’s Market in Stephenson MI does not carry UNSWEETENED shredded coconut at any time. This past Christ-Mass season I found bags of UNSWEETENED shredded coconut at Jack’s Market in Menominee, MI—  where my mother lives. It was in a center aisle filled with baking ingredients for making Christ-Mass cookies. I don’t know if they normally carry UNSWEETENED shredded coconut, but I have been able to get some year round at the WalMart in Marinette, Wisconsin (across a bridge from Menominee.)
As to the flax seed meal: I also can’t get that at my small rural grocery, Gary’s Market. I can get it in various brands at both Jack’s Market and WalMart. Flaxseed is very fiber-filled and healthy, but don’t double the amount or it will make the cereal weird and slimy. I have make this cereal with only half the flax seed meal. Also: whole flax seeds are nice, but they require a bit more cooking than they would get in this cereal mix. Go with the ground flax seed. Or grind your own flax seeds if you have the equipment. 
Sweetener: I recommend Truvia brand. Beware of uber-cheap powdered stevia from dollar stores, it may have maltodextrin in it! If you prefer liquid stevia, leave the sweetener out and remember to add the liquid stevia when making a helping. 4-6 drops of Sweetleaf should counteract the bitterness of the unsweetened chocolate. 
Unless you are in a tiny and remote town, you should be able to get your ingredients at local groceries— an important consideration for those on the Food Stamp program who can’t buy many food items online for cost reasons.

VARIATION: If you don’t care for chocolate hot cereal leave out the cocoa and sweetener and eat it plain. The plain cereal is a good idea if you are doing penance in Lent or on Fridays, as Catholics are encouraged to do. Or use varied flavor Sweetleaf to spice it up. Add cinnamon and use English Toffee flavored liquid stevia from Sweetleaf. I’ve done the cinnamon, but frankly I prefer chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Maybe it’s a personal failing?

SENIOR CITIZENS and CAREGIVERS: This is an excellent and easy to prepare breakfast, which can also be eaten at other times of day. A caregiver can make up bags or jars of the cereal in advance if the person needing care would have difficulty doing the measuring-out for himself. A keto senior who begins to need some help with meal prep will find this is something easy to train your caregiver to prepare for you— it’s just a lot of measuring stuff. 

RECIPE FEEDBACK: If you try the recipe, do come back and tell me how it went in a comment. Or even if you are just THINKING of trying it and have a comment or question about that. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Keto Means Doing This for Life

The very first popular Keto diet, Original Atkins, didn’t call itself a diet. It’s a Way of Eating or a lifestyle. Because it isn’t a fad diet that you go on for a few weeks and then go back to eating carbs. Shunning carbs is just what you do now.

But doing it for life means going through easier times and harder times. Some times you go for weeks and months on strictly Keto-acceptable foods, and are not even tempted to stray. When you think ‘chocolate’ you go for a Keto hot chocolate. When you are jonesing for a bread-like food, you go for Carbquik biscuits.

Other times, every darn time you go to a grocery store you come back with carb foods. Not just a little snack for that day, but a couple of cheap frozen pizzas and a bag of sugar-laden chocolate candies. And even though you KNOW it will make you feel bad and sleepy and not get much done, and that it will give you carb cravings that will keep you from getting back on track, you eat the food. If you are like me, you just can’t afford to throw away food you’ve paid money for.

Some people think ‘going on Keto’ means following a menu plan with complex recipes for every single meal. Each one calling for loads of exotic ingredients that you have to go to exotic grocery stores for, or buy online. Well, if you lack energy sometimes (if only because of your most recent carb binges), just THINKING about that makes you tired, much less doing it.

You need to get simple. And have food on hand for simple meals. Meat is the key. Buy some steaks or pork chops or chicken parts and freeze most of it. These are simple things to cook— easier than driving out for fast food.

Don’t feel you need a lot of side dishes. That’s not the Keto way. In Original Atkins induction, you’d have your piece of meat and a salad. No breads or bread substitutes, no fancy desserts…. Just those two items. You can buy bagged salads, especially if you live alone and hate having to throw out a lot of wilted salad material. Or you can buy cabbage instead of lettuce for a salad base. Cabbage seems eternal in the refrigerator. You can also use certain frozen veggies as a substitute for cold salads.

Another thing to to when you don’t feel much like cooking is to make yourself bulletproof beverages. They are as filling as a meal. If you ‘need’ a mid-afternoon snack, a bulletproof beverage may save you from the temptation of running out for chips or tacos.

If you buy Keto recipe books, try the simple recipes first. If there is one you like, you may make it over and over, and make a point of keeping the ingredients in the house. All you need, really, are a few simple recipes, easy to make, with ingredients you keep on hand.

For senior citizens, eating Keto is more important than ever, as you may have multiple health problems that are improved by it. But it’s harder to cook regularly, and you may be discouraged cooking for one or two when you used to cook for a whole family. Simple recipes are a way to keep going and stay healthy. Also, if you get to the point that you need someone to help you make your meals, it’s a lot easier to train a family member to make something simple.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Statin Drugs Deplete CoQ10

Massive sales of statin drugs are at the economic heart of the false cholesterol-heart hypothesis, which is why many doctors don’t dare to do other than prescribe statins to every patient with a high LDL number— or even a high total cholesterol number. Even women, even senior citizens, even black people— even though research only shows health benefits (fewer cardiac events) in middle-aged white males.

In this blog post I’m not going to question the wisdom of that— you can research it yourself if you are interested— but I am going to stick to one topic— the fact that statin drugs are known to deplete your body’s supply of CoQ10. This is so well known a Big Pharma company patented a statin drug combined with a CoQ10 supplement, but never manufactured it, lest it draw attention to a problem that was at the time relatively unknown. 

What is CoQ10? It is a vitamin-like substance found in every cell in your body. Our bodies need CoQ10 to function! Statin drugs, which block your body’s production of cholesterol— both good and bad cholesterol— also blocks the production of CoQ10. This blockage is bad for your heart as well as for your skeletal muscles. 

Even some doctors that loudly warn against the use of statins may use statins in a small patient group, not because it lowers cholesterol, but because it lowers inflammation, the real cause of heart disease. In male, middle-aged patients who have had heart attacks, especially if they won’t quit smoking and adopt a low-carb lifestyle, some statin-skeptic doctors do prescribe statins. But CoQ10 supplementation is necessary!

I’ve recently gone shopping for CoQ10 supplements both for myself and my 91-year-old mother. My mother went on statins about 20 years ago, and promptly developed full-blown diabetes. That made me a statin-skeptic, but not my mom. Now, she is having a hard time walking, and falls sometimes. I couldn’t get her to stop the statin as her nurse-practitioner is a true believer (or has to pretend to be.) So I got some CoQ10 for my mom. It was pricey! 

In my own case, I would worry about going on a statin because of the CoQ10 and its cost. Medicaid will pay for my prescription drugs, but not for the CoQ10 I would need because of them! I have a hard enough time, on my Medicaid and SSI disability, to pay for my low-carb diet foods, not to mention my home heating (propane) costs! 

As a believer in natural/nutritional remedies instead of going on drugs, I wish that Medicaid would have to pay for our supplements— at least those the doctor or physician’s assistant recommends! My PA recommended I take fish oil supplements years ago, but I stopped due to cost, and due to the fact I wanted a GOOD fish oil product and not the cheapest generic. Since reading The Great Cholesterol Myth, I’ve restarted a good fish oil as well as CoQ10— in part because both help with high blood pressure and I don’t want to go on drugs over that if I can help it. 

Reading List on Cholesterol & Statins
If you are concerned about cholesterol and statin drugs, read these books— all have medical doctors as authors or co-authors, except for Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taube, who is a bestselling and well-respected author on scientific topics. I have read all of these and learned a lot.

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The Secret to Better Bulletproof Coffee

Drinking bulletproof coffee (or other beverages) is a popular thing on the Keto lifestyle, and there are dozens of recipes. Sometimes the recipes need to be adapted a bit, either to improve the taste or to improve the ketogenic effect.

The base recipe for Bulletproof coffee calls for a cup of coffee, a tablespoon of butter, coconut oil, or MCT oil, a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream, and, if desired, 1-8 drops of stevia sweetener (Sweetleaf brand is recommended.) I personally also add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or other sea salt.) The Keto lifestyle can shrink your salt consumption radically overnight, and that can cause symptoms. And even when you’ve been doing Keto for a while, a dose of quality salt won’t hurt you. AND it can help you reduce the amount of sweeteners you use in your coffee! 

The Butter or oil
I think that the earliest bulletproof coffee used butter. Kerrygold butter, from grass-fed cows, is really good for this use if you can afford it. MCT oil is a kind of oil that is derived from coconut oil. It is the best thing for putting your body into ketosis (the whole point of the Keto lifestyle.) WARNING: do NOT put MCT oil in a styrofoam cup. Use a paper disposable coffee cup if you can get it, or a real coffee cup and wash it.  Coconut oil is another alternative for this ingredient. If you get coconut oil that is liquid at room temperature, don’t put it in styrofoam, either. Because coconut oil has MCT oil in it, and the kind that’s liquid at room temperature has even more MCT oil in it. If you like coconut flavor, ‘extra virgin’ coconut oil has that flavor, regular coconut oil does not. Amounts used are 1-2 tablespoons. If starting with MCT oil, use 1 or 1/2 tablespoon at first and work your way up. For that matter, if you are unused to any kind of butter or oil in your coffee, start small and work your way up. Note: If you save your bacon fat, you can also add that to bulletproof coffee. 

Heavy Whipping Cream
This is what people used before there was ‘creamer.’ Be sure it says ‘heavy’ whipping cream and not just whipping cream. And of course don’t use a ‘creamer’ with sugar, artificial sweeteners, or other ingredients. Creamer should come from milk which comes from cows. Or goats. Or yaks. If the store is out of heavy whipping cream, you can use other milk products such as half-and-half or even whole milk, but don’t use much. 
If you can’t have dairy, the best solution is to just omit this ingredient. Otherwise, you might try a bit of canned coconut milk. If you like the taste, that is. I thought for quite a while I couldn’t drink coffee without a little cream. I ran out of cream and found out that bulletproof coffee is good without it.
Amount is usually 1-2 tablespoons.

The Coffee
You can use brewed coffee from a coffee machine, or instant coffee powder. Decaf or full caf. Just don’t get a coffee powdered mix like International Coffee which has sugar, sweetener or flavorings in it. I’ve never been a coffee fiend so I get by with instant. I switch off between caffeined coffee and Sanka decaf. 

If you’ve used an artificial sweetener, you probably did it for the wrong reasons. It’s not about saving ’calories.’ After all, we can eat a plate of bacon on Keto and not count a calorie of it. The reasons we don’t like sugar or sweeteners are these: there could be carbs, and even a zero-carb sweetener could raise our blood sugars by provoking an insulin response. I use Sweetleaf brand liquid stevia, and I use only a few drops— 2 or 3. And some days I use no sweetener at all. Though when I do get generous with the Sweetleaf, it doesn’t seem to affect my blood sugars any.

A pinch (1/8 teaspoon) of Himalayan pink salt or a good sea salt really makes a bulletproof coffee. If you are worried about salt, know that Dr Eric Westman doesn’t take salt away even from patients with high blood pressure— the Keto dietary lifestyle does the job of lowering blood pressure. And the salt and other minerals in sea salt are beneficial.

Other Bulletproof beverages
You can make bulletproof beverages with tea, herbal tisanes (‘herb tea’), home-made bone broth and cocoa drink (1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder in hot water, usually with some Sweetleaf drops.) Just add the other bulletproof beverage fixin’s to the beverage in question. 

Other flavorings
Sweetleaf stevia sweetener comes in various flavors as well as plain, and you can use any flavor. You can also add a bit of cinnamon or other spice for flavoring. I mostly only use cinnamon in bulletproof hot cocoa, and then only some of the time, as I’m not sure I like it, but cinnamon is good for diabetics.

When fasting
When fasting, we mostly consume water, or plain black coffee or tea. But Dr. Jason Fung in The Complete Guide to Fasting allows one cup of ‘semi-bulletproof’ coffee or drink while fasting. Use about 1 teaspoon of the butter/oil, or 1/2 t oil and 1/2 t cream. 

Learn more about Keto and/or Fasting

I find it helps to read books about these subjects so I have all the information I need. It's also inspiring to know I'm not doing this alone.

 The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body through Intermittent, Alternate-Day and Extended Fasting  This book, by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore, really changed my life. Fasting, added to my keto diet, helped me start losing weight again after I got 'stuck' at a certain too-high weight and wanted to lose more.

Dr Atkins Diet Revolution This was the first ketogenic diet that recommended measuring ketones--- at the time with urine test strips.

The Obesity Code: Unlocking The Secrets of Weight Loss - I haven't finished reading this book yet, but it is by Dr. Jason Fung, who also is co-author of the The Complete Guide to Fasting.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Carbquik: Keto/Lowcarb Baking Mix

Some days I just miss carb foods like bread or biscuits. Back when I ate carbs, I often made biscuits— sometimes from scratch, but sometimes from a baking mix called Jiffy mix. But, alas, now I know how bad that is for me.

I have made a number of low-carb bread, muffin or biscuit substitutes, all of which call for a lot of eggs, and I love some of them, but they don’t taste like REAL biscuits or bread.

Carbquik is a commercial low-carb baking mix, and I’ve found that the biscuits taste like real biscuits. In fact, I find it hard to control my portions, so I usually make 1/2 or 1/4 batch of the biscuits. But even when I eat 1/2 a batch in one day, I’ve found it doesn’t raise my blood sugars or kick me out of ketosis like real biscuits would. 

Now, Carbquik contains ‘wheat, soy, egg and milk’ ingredients, so it is not for people with those allergies. It also has some canola oil in it. And there is 14 grams of fiber per serving: so, warning— you need to drink a LOT of water or liquid when you eat Carbquik biscuits, and add butter or other healthyfat source, or it could cause problems in your system (constipation.)

The Carbquik box provides a lot of recipes like Carbquik cheesecake and Carbquik turkey pot pie. In the inside, alas, it gives you hints on how to make Carbquik recipes ‘healthier’ — by which they mean, ‘lower in fat.’ Or, in scientifically accurate terms, ‘unhealthier.’ Ignore those suggestions, but remember that the Carbquik company isn’t your best source for keto lifestyle advice. And be sure to add butter! Or baconfat! (Baconfat is a lovely butter-substitute in or on biscuits— unless you are Jewish and keeping kosher.)

Bread-substitutes like Carbquik should not be an everyday part of your keto lifestyle. I use Carbquik biscuits as a Sunday treat, and it makes a great treat on Sundays (or Saturdays, or perhaps Fridays for Muslims.) I also use it to break a carb-cheating habit. Some weeks I have an every-day craving for carb treats around 3 in the afternoon, which often causes me to run to the store to buy some ‘crappy carbage’ carb-filled junk food. (And, yes, even a loaf of whole wheat bread is ‘crappy carbage’ and junk food.) Making a batch of Carbquik biscuits staves off this temptation.

My Carbquik biscuit recipe
1/2 [1/4] batch of the package recipe, with a few modifications.

1 cup [1/2 cup] Carbquik
1/3 cup [2 Tablespoons]  water
1 pinch [half pinch?] garlic powder, optional
1 pinch [half pinch] kelp powder, optional
1/4 cup [1/8 cup] shredded cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Put Carbquik, and garlic, kelp and cheese, if using, in mixing bowl. Add water and stir. If dough ball fails to form, add a touch more water. Divide dough into 6-8 equal portions. Pat each portion by hand into a biscuit-shape. Place on baking pan that has been greased (coconut oil) or sprayed with olive oil pan spray. Place a small pat butter on top of each biscuit before baking. May substitute bacon grease or coconut oil for the butter. Bake for 10-12 minutes. 

I have also made the Carbquik box recipe for brownies. It was good, I overate them, but it didn’t raise my blood sugar or kick me out of ketosis the way you’d think it might. (I wouldn’t risk having these brownies in the house all the time, though. It’s nice to have the option, so I do keep the ingredients in the house. It’s better than being tempted to eat carbs!)

All in all: Carbquik is too much of a processed food to be our staple food, but when you get sick of pork chops and chicken thighs and eggy-tasting stuff, making a Carbquik recipe is better than having a carb binge. And since it’s easy to make, on days when you are too busy or too sick to cook a fancy keto meal, you can make yourself a few biscuits to go with your simple low-carb meal.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Should anyone take statin drugs? (Lipitor)

Recently I submitted to some blood tests because I wanted my A1C number. I did not know I was
going to get a cholesterol test as well, nor did I want one. But I got one anyway, and since the clinic office could not get ahold of me by phone, I got a letter, insisting that I become willing to take Lipitor. She even told me the dose and how many refills I would get.

I did not rush out to get my statin (Lipitor) prescription filled. I know my mother was prescribed a statin and very shortly after became diabetic--- which is a possible side effect of statins. Since I am already diabetic, I don't want any more high blood sugars!

What I did do was buy the book Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman. I thought I already knew the case against statins, but this book really alarmed me. The evidence that artificially lowering your cholesterol numbers is a good thing is not really in existence--- though Big Pharma makes billions pretending that it does. 

The book contains interviews with a lot of doctors who don't follow the statin-cholesterol cult, and many say what they do in their practice. The few that said they'd ever use statins would only use it with male patients who wouldn't change their diets, or with male patients who already had a heart attack and wouldn't stop smoking.

I am a female patient who never smoked and who is willing to change my diet--- that's what this blog is all about. So I'm not in the category of exceptions! 

I learned a lot of awful side effects from statins--- to the point I talked to my mother about quitting hers. At her age (91) she does not need a drug to give her aches and pains, and memory loss! Most alarming in my own case is that it can make protein in the urine worse. Since that is one of my diabetes complications, it really alarms me that my doctor-substitute (physician's assistant) doesn't know that a statin might be really bad for my health!

Another alarming thing I've heard is that doctors and doctor-substitutes who know better may be obliged to prescribe statins anyway. It's now part of 'standard care' and failure to suggest it may get a physician in trouble. Since my own doctor-substitute works for a major medical clinic-chain, I'd imagine if she knew how bad statins are she would still have to prescribe them or risk losing her job.

I'd recommend reading Cholesterol Clarity before making the decision to take a statin drug. Really, I'd recommend a doctor who is up-to-date enough that he would not recommend statins, or even one who would prescribe a ketogenic diet instead! But still, don't make crooked Big Pharma companies richer and your own health poor by taking statins without even checking out the facts on these drugs.

Get Cholesterol Clarity!