Monday, October 8, 2018

Carbohydrate Binging on #MeatlessMonday

Evidently the vegetarian community has been trying to sell 'Meatless Mondays' for quite a number of years now. The idea, I guess, is if they guilt people over their meat eating enough to eat vegetarian meals just once a week, they will get 'hooked' on the less-than-ideal vegetarian diet restrictions.

The problem with actual Meatless Monday menus is that the place of zero-carb meats is being filled by high-carb items such as whole grains and legumes (beans, peas, lentils.) Do any of us actually need MORE carb binging in our lives?

And the alarming thing about Meatless Monday is that it isn't being kept a private matter. School lunches are also a target--- not just in some oddball private academy which only allows vegetarian families to send their kids there, but regular schools that normal citizens have to send their children to. Should schools really be promoting a high-carb, less healthy, more restrictive way of eating to young kids who don't know about nutrition yet?

There are no scientific studies that I know of that associate a meatless diet with weight loss and the kind of health benefits we get from a low-carb diet. During my vegetarian days, I believed them when they said 'there is no such thing as a fat vegetarian.' But that was a lie. Anyone on a carb-based vegetarian diet is at great risk of the health problems associated with carb-eating, including obesity.

But you can do both vegetarian and low-carb, can't you? Well, technically yes, but the combination is more expensive and much more restrictive. On the modern version of the Atkins diet, vegetarians are advised to allow themselves more carbohydrates while on the Induction level. What does this mean? Some people have to stay near the Induction level to lose any weight at all--- so this means that starting a couple of levels above Induction is going to mean some vegetarians won't get into ketosis and get the benefits of that state, and some with bad metabolisms may never lose weight on it.

Instead of #MeatlessMonday, I much prefer #FastingMonday. Because I know meat is not bad or a sin, but instead it is the kind of food God or Nature provides for meat-eating critters like lions, bears, and humans. Let the sheep and goats of the world eat meat-free. Let rabbits. Just don't impose meatlessness on fellow humans who need meat in their diet to remain healthy.  It is a cruelty.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Cheap Eats on the Ketogenic Lifestyle

How do you do the ketogenic *lifestyle when you are low-income? Most poor-people foods--- like ramen noodles, boxed mac and cheese, and Rice-a-Roni--- are far too high-carb to even THINK about.

Some on keto insist we should all be absolute perfectionists with the food we purchase. We shouldn't buy common butter when it is on sale, we should hold out for imported, grass-fed Kerrygold butter. We shouldn't buy common grocery store beef, pork and chicken, but hold out for specialty, grass-fed, organic-certified meat at many times to price.

Don't do this. If you are both low-income and a perfectionist, you won't get many keto meals out of your food income, and you will end up eating junk from the local Food Bank at the end of the month. It's better to go for less-perfect but keto-OK foods that will keep you properly fed without breaking the budget.

  1. Eggs. Regular grocery store eggs are OK. If you know a chicken-raiser who has extra eggs, these are worth the extra money since the shells are stronger and the chickens less likely to be confined without any green feeds. Don't hold out for 'certified organic' which most good egg producers can't afford to do.
  2. Buy dairy products unless allergic. Butter, heavy whipping cream, sour cream and cheese are allowed foods which are cheaper than non-dairy alternatives. If you can't tolerate most dairy, you may be able to handle butter. Or home-made ghee (clarified butter.) 
  3. Buy meat with bones in it. Save the bones in your freezer to make bone broth. Bone broth from leftover bones is pretty much free food.
  4. Zucchini from gardeners or farm stands. These zucchini are many times larger than grocery store zucchini, and can be used for zucchini noodles, riced zucchini, and mashed zucchini.
  5. Cabbage, also from farm stands when possible. My friend got some massive cabbage direct from a farmer one year. Cabbage keeps well and is good for salad, low-carb cabbage soups, cabbage noodles and such. Also you can make sauerkraut or kimchee from it--- healthy fermented foods.
  6. Meat and soup bones direct from the farmer at farmers' markets. We have a guy selling the meat by the piece and I got great soup bones from him. 
  7. Lamb from lamb farmers. Some lamb farmers are used to sell some lambs direct to Muslim customers. Ask around who raises lambs in your area. If you have Muslim friends or other immigrant lamb-eaters, ask them. Lamb is higher in fats than many meats. If you don't have the skills to butcher it yourself, there are custom shops that will butcher to order.
  8. Stewing hens. These are egg hens who are older birds and make the best soup or broth. You may be able to buy birds cheap from your egg supplier in fall. Butcher them yourself and cook them for hours in a Crock-Pot for the meat and the bone broth.
  9. 'Family-Pack' meats. Sometimes these cost less per pound. Freeze what you are not going to cook right away. 
  10. Chicken thighs. These have more fat than other chicken, unless you buy the boneless, skinless travesties. (Don't do that.) Chicken thighs with skin-on make a delicious meal, and the bones can be stockpiled in the freezer for bone broth.
  11. Free venison. Sometimes hunters, especially older ones, have more venison than their families can consume, and they donate it to a Food Bank. Donation is also the likely fate of deer who damage crops and are hunted, with permission, out of season. Since venison is lean, it will need a rich sauce to keep your fat percentage up.
*lifestyle = we call keto a lifestyle, not a diet, because it is supposed to be a way of life, for life, not just a temporary diet you go on and then off of.

Monday, October 1, 2018

#FastingMonday is better than #MeatlessMonday because: lower in carbs

The “plant-based diet” movement wants everyone to have #MeatlessMonday because they feel if they force a bit of vegetarianism on us, we will get hooked. Not just get fatter and unhealthier as I did when I was a vegetarian.

But what happens when the typical eater goes meatless? This is what happened when I did as a teenager: I skipped the meat main dish and ate larger portions of whatever non-meat dishes we had. Mostly, that means CARBS. And increasing the carbs means increasing the health problems.

Reason of the Day: Fasting is Lower in Carbs than “Meatlessness”

Have you ever heard of the “Diseases of Civilization?” These are the diseases that are rare or non-existant among tribal peoples eating their traditional tribal diet. Like, for example, the Pima Indians of the American Southwest. The Pima Indians were a slim, fit people. But then settlers settled down near them and hunted the game they would have hunted. And so the Pima Indians had to add “civilized” food to their diet. Mostly biscuits made from flour. And the Pima Indians became notable for obesity and a high rate of diabetes. All because of a massive increase in refined carbohydrates in their diet.

Fasting is the ultimate low-carb diet. There are zero carbs— or near zero when you resort to some of the allowed fasting fluids like home-made bone broth or having a touch of butter or MCT oil in your coffee, tea or broth. 

On the other hand, if you go meatless only on the vegetarians’ #MeatlessMonday, you will be eating quite a load of carbs. If you are cutting back on carbs on normal days, you will be eating a massive carb load if you eat the recommended vegetarian dishes. And if you are truly low carb and eat a typical #MeatlessMonday slew of meals, the carbs, including sugars, you take in will be enough to give you symptoms. I tend to fall asleep in the afternoons when I pig out on carbs, and get headaches and have very low energy.

Don’t Let #MeatlessMonday happen to you!

Fasting is so much better for you! It controls blood sugars in diabetics, helps with weight loss, and helps in the prevention of many diseases. See “The Complete Guide to Fasting” for more information.

#FastingMondays can be easy to do. Just, when you get up in the morning have a big glass of (distilled) water. After that, you can have other fasting fluids as desired: black coffee, plain tea, herbal tisanes (‘herb tea’), and home-made bone broth. This last requires some advanced planning, however. But bone broth is so good for you it is worth the trouble to make it regularly!

When you feel a hunger pang, try a drink of a fasting fluid. Tea and coffee sometimes make you unhungry. But sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger, so just a glass of water might do the trick. 

Hunger comes in waves. Distract yourself by doing something, and by the time you are finished, the hunger will likely be gone.

#FastingMonday does not need to be an all-day fast if you are new to fasting. Fast until lunchtime this time, fast until suppertime the next time, and before long you will manage a full all-day fast on Mondays.

A ketogenic diet is better for your health than ‘Meatlessness,’ and if you are on a keto diet, you may have skipped meals already without meaning to, because you are just not hungry when your body is in ketosis. If fasting on #FastingMonday is too hard for you now, get on a healthy ketogenic diet (like original Atkins at Induction level) and after your body adapts to fat burning, try fasting again. (You can do the ketogenic diet as a vegetarian, there is a book coming out about it, but it may be more expensive and require more processed food, and be harder on the global food supply.)

Human beings, like lions, tigers and bears, are meat-eaters. There is no scientific proof that any meat-eating species can suddenly evolve the ability to eat a meatless diet and thrive. So out-tough the #MeatlessMonday crowd by taking the concept to the next level: #FastingMonday! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Looking for a few good keto - lowcarb - Atkins - carnivore blogs

They say Diogenes, an ancient Greek, was on a constant search for an honest man. And didn’t find one. My search is for a good blog on the keto/lowcarb/Atkins or carnivore lifestyle. And they are hard to find.

I searched one blog directory that said it was the best blog directory ever. It had very few lowcarb blogs— because it charged over 100 dollars for the cheapest level of inclusion. No wonder it wasn’t the kind of directory that one could actually use to find a blog.

Using a search engine has one main problem: you will find 100 blog posts, often on very popular non-keto blogs, that mention keto and condemn it as a dangerous ‘fad’ diet, before you get to one blog that is actually a blog about keto.

I’ve found lists of ‘best keto blogs’ and gone down the list, adding most to my blog sidebar. I’ve found some good ones. I’ve found others that are so filled with ads and pop-up ads and pop-up signups for an email list and loads of pictures that my poor old computer couldn’t stay on the blog long enough to read even one post! (Don’t do that. If you make it hard to read your posts, you drive away potential viewers of your ads.)

There are a number of kinds of blog in our category:
  • Recipe blogs. Some are good, some are too dessert-oriented, some use ‘Net’ carbs and don’t give total carbs.
  • Personal experience blogs. These can be very inspiring.
  • Latest keto science blogs. A help to learn more.
  • Political action. Campaigns to change official food guidelines like ‘MyPlate,’ or get sugar out of children’s foods
  • Mixed blogs. A little of everything.

When I first started blogging on my very first blog many years ago, there were good, free blog directories. Now they are gone, and I feel a need to help replace them by adding lots of our keto blogs to my sidebar (which hides the ones that haven’t been recently updated.)

My current desire is particularly for carnivore diet blogs. I haven’t found a carnivore blog yet at all! I am also interested in blogs from non-US bloggers. I’m sure the problems faced by Filipinos and Koreans and Dutch people in going keto may be different from my own experiences! 

Are you a blogger? Even if you are a new blogger and are not sure your blog is any good, I’d love to look at your blog and consider it for inclusion on my sidebar. Remember, even minor, beginner, humble blogs can grow into something popular and impressive!

Do you have any favorite blogs? What type of keto blogs do you prefer? Let me know about your favorites in a comment. And if you are a blogger yourself, please do include a link to your blog in a comment— it will help me a lot!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Natural and Artificial Exercise

If you are on a ‘diet,’ you have to exercise. But what do they mean by ‘exercise,’ and do you really have to do it?  Here is an example of two men, James and Andrew. They are brothers and work on the family farm together. 

James has a gym membership. On Monday, he drives an hour to the gym, spends an hour lifting 40-pound weights, and drives an hour back.

Andrew stays at the farm on Monday. While James spends 3 hours on his trip to the gym, Andrew spends three hours hauling hay bales off the hay wagon up into the barn loft by hand. 

According to the unwritten ‘rules of exercise,’ James has exercised. Andrew, on the other hand, is just farming.

But here’s the thing— the physical activity Andrew did is exercise, too. And it’s natural exercise. It’s a part of his life. He probably has to move hay bales around a lot. After the whole hay crop is in the barn loft, he may have to haul it down to sell some bales to folks with horses or goats or the like. He may also use some of the bales to feed up beef cattle for sale. Hay-bale lifting is a part of his life.

James, on the other hand, has to take time out of his life to do his artificial exercise in the artificial setting of the gym. He may feel guilty for leaving so much work to Andrew. In a future year when family farm earnings are down, he may have to let his gym membership go, and then where will he be? Of course, if he consumes fruit smoothies at the gym or buys junk food on the way home, he may well lose weight by skipping the gym and sticking to mere farming, like Andrew.

Artificial exercise may be the only kind of exercise that gets praised. But it’s so easy to skip that exercise when life comes along. You have to be pretty selfish to insist on your trip to the gym on the day when your elderly mother needs you to drive her to a doctor’s appointment or the grocery store. 

Natural exercise is exercise that is a part of your life. If you live up two flights of stairs, you have to climb those stairs multiple times daily. If your dog expects to be walked regularly, you have to get out and do it, or your dog will judge you. 

Sometimes in the modern world we go out of our way to get rid of natural exercise. We get a better apartment or house on the ground floor. We put a dog-run in the back yard so he can do his business without making us take the dog for a walk. We live someplace two blocks away from our child’s school— and instead of walking her to school, we drive her every day. And then we bitch that we can’t find time to go to the gym!

You can often incorporate natural exercise into your life by forming new habits. You can grow a garden, and then you will have to do gardening work during the growing season. You can inspect your home from top to bottom, attic to basement, routinely as a housecleaning measure, instead of letting some areas of your home be neglected. You can regularly take your children for walks to the park, and walk the dog even if he lives in a dog-run when not in the house.

Don’t ignore the natural exercise you do. If you aren’t lifting 40 pound weights in a gym, maybe you are lifting 40-pound children. Maybe you are carrying 40 pound sacks of cat food home from the store. If you are worn ragged by all the things you do in a day, probably a part of it is un-counted exercise.

As we grow older, we may make our lives more convenient, and this may mean reducing our natural exercise. We need to keep moving, though, as we get older, so we won’t get weak. Make a point of continuing to do physical chores in your life regularly. Walk to get places. Don’t park in the closest parking space, but further out— to protect your car, but also because that adds a little more walking to your life.

Getting some artificial exercise— I walk with Heavyhands weights— is nice, but not if you are at the same time lessening the amount of natural exercise you are getting. Since natural exercise is likely to be something you won’t quit, you need to cultivate it, appreciate it, and count it the same way you would count hours spent in ‘the gym.'

Questions: What kind of natural exercise do you get? Do you do any artificial exercise? What kinds? Are you satisfied that you are getting enough exercise--- natural and artificial--- to be healthy?

My recommended 'artificial exercise:'

Friday, September 21, 2018

Atkins Diet Creep: Why Atkins may have stopped working for you

The Atkins diet has helped many people, likely saving many lives. But when some people, advocating for a shiny new diet, list their old failed diets, they list Atkins among them.

Of course some of these people probably just ignored the fact that the Atkins diet is not meant to be temporary, but a way of life, and quit. But there are are other reasons why some people think of Atkins as just another diet failure.

The first is what I call ‘diet creep’ and it can happen on any eating plan. If the diet wants you to weigh or measure certain foods, you do it faithfully for a while, and then you eyeball it. You may start eating a little more of that limited food. And then, a month later, your ‘eyeballing’ adds a little more to the amount. So you are ‘cheating’ on the diet without being aware of it. Think of the Atkins restriction of only allowing 4 teaspoons of cream per day. If you stop measuring and start just pouring in a bit of cream, you exceed your total. Or you follow a low-carb recipe that has more cream in it than you are allowed, and perhaps you still put cream in your coffee.

Another source of ‘diet creep’ is built in to the Atkins diet: it’s the levels. You start off in Induction, which is about 10 grams of carbs (which you don’t have to count.) Then, level by level, you add 5 to 8 grams of carbohydrate per level, and you stay on the level a week (or more.) Dr. Atkins wants you to continue to test for ketosis with urine strips (the only ketone testing available at the time.) As long as you remained in ketosis, you would lose weight.

Then, when you hit your goal weight, you would add a little more carbs for your maintenance diet, so you got out of ketosis. And then you went on for years.

Only you would get older, and your body would need to revert to a lower carb level. Or else you went off the diet, went back on, but ate nuts and lower-carb fruits because you remembering eating that on Atkins, and so you were at too high a carb level and you weren’t in ketosis so you were hungry and had strong food cravings and were miserable, and so you either overate carbs and thought you were still doing Atkins, you cheated frequently, or you quit altogether.

A third reason is the fact that your body adapts to any weight loss diet, even a sound low-carb program like Atkins. If you were on Atkins and didn’t lose enough weight, there were things you could have done to make it work better:
  1. Go back on strict Induction (of Original Atkins, ideally) with no Atkins bars or products and no ‘Net Carbs.’ Measure your salads. Be sure and eat meat with enough fat in it. Get back to the basic meat-plus-salad meals of the Atkins approach and don’t eat low-carb brownies and cakes, and foods full of almond and coconut flours or more cream or cheese than you are allowed in a day. Only gradually add back more carbs to go on higher levels.
  2. Try the Atkins ‘fat fast’ diet. There are two cookbooks for this diet by Dana Carpender, ‘Fat Fast Cookbook’ and ‘Fat Fast Cookbook 2'. It’s only a temporary diet but it helps many. You can even go on and off the ‘fat fast’ diet— each week have a few days on it, and then eat your normal low-carb meals.
  3. Try real fasting for longer or shorter periods. Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung have a book, ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting,’ that will help. Fasting has helped me with my weight and my blood sugars.
  4. If you cheat regularly, quit. If you look forward to a weekly cheat every week, find a special low-carb recipe that will help. I like the Coco Cocoa Fat Bombs from the ‘Fat Fast Cookbook.’ You might also try those low-carb brownies and other low-carb goodies as a weekly not-quite-cheat.
  5. What about trying the Carnivore diet— a meat only diet— for a while? We know humans can live by meat alone because some did, like the Eskimos of the past, and some Arctic explorers who adopted the Eskimo diet while exploring. Later, experiments were done in a controlled environment on a meat-only diet and the men involved not only survived but thrived. I haven't read any modern books on a Carnivore diet yet, I found 'The Carnivore's Manifesto' on Amazon and might buy it when I have money (after this winter. Home heating is an issue.)
Whether you call it the Atkins diet, or a low-carb diet, or ‘the’ ketogenic diet, these eating lifestyles won’t work for a lifetime of better health unless you actually follow them for a lifetime. Don’t give up the tried and true for a shiny new diet that may not be based on good science. Go back to basics, tweak your diet based on newer research and new knowledge, but stick with it. 

‘Required reading’ for Atkins & low carb dieters:

I used to read a chapter of the original Atkins book every morning to keep me inspired, until I knew the book’s whole contents. It’s what many recovering alcoholics do with their AA Blue Book. I also switch off to other sound low-carb books and listen to Jimmy Moore podcasts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

90 days on Keto and Fasting: Results--- 35 pounds and controlled blood sugar

Today I celebrate day 90 of being on a strict low-carb ketogenic diet. I've had some good results both over the 90 days, and in my previous low-carb diet.

I have lost 35 pounds in the 90 days, which brings my total weight lost by low-carb keto to 89 pounds. I was mostly on lowcarb before, but less strict, and didn't do fasting other than skipping breakfast most days.

My BMI has gone down from 32.0 on day 10 of keto, to 27.0 this morning, which means I am no longer obese, just 'overweight.'

As a Type 2 diabetic, it was bad blood sugars that drove me to strict keto and fasting. I had a 336 blood sugar on day 1 of the current keto regime. I had a 84 yesterday, and was up to 99 this morning.

I am currently on a No-Breakfast Plan experiment, where I don't start eating until lunchtime. I'm also currently on the third day of a three-day fast. Or maybe a four-day fast. We'll see where I am tomorrow morning.

My blood pressure has been high, and while previously a low-carb diet lowered it without help, it hasn't helped much. I decided to try taking some good kind of garlic capsules. I found one kind which was allicin powder, the active ingredient in garlic, Buy Naturally bioactive Mega Allicin. My blood pressure has gone down slightly since I started to take it. I may add a cinnamon capsule--- I have used Cinnulin in the past--- and see if that helps even more.

No-Breakfast Plan experiment
The problem with this experiment as an experiment is that I was already mostly not a morning eater. And then I decided I had to do a 3 day fast, so any results will be a part of that. I think if I experiment again I might experiment on eating breakfasts, and see what that does. Anyway, I will report on the results at the official end of the experiment on Monday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Why do vegetarians need the euphemisms 'vegan' and 'plant based?'

When a group of people constantly need new names for themselves and have to keep adding new terminology and coining new terms, it's a sign there is a problem.

In the case of vegetarians who are now 'vegans,' a term not in my smaller dictionary, one of the reasons may be intolerance.

Historically, there have been many kinds of vegetarians. Some were strict vegetarians. Others ate eggs, milk or both. Lacto-ovo vegetarianism is a term for those who ate  both eggs and milk. There were even vegetarians who ate fish! I think one reason for the militant 'vegans' of today is that they didn't want to accept those who couldn't go to their extreme as fellow vegetarians.

There is also a history of vegetarians insulting those who ate meat. 'Dr' Linda Hazzard (1868-1938), the 'fasting specialist,' had nothing nice to say about meat eaters. It was like she felt they were somehow dirty inside, not pure like her. At first adopting the term 'vegan' may have gotten away from that history, but since there are 'vegans' bullying meat-eaters on Twitter and telling them to die, I think they may need a new term soon.

Enter 'plant-based.' People talk about a 'plant-based' diet. There is even a commercial for fake butter that brags that it is 'from plants.' Promoters of vegetarianism tell people to go on a 'plant-based' diet because some people are relieved not to hear the words 'vegetarian' or 'vegan' which sound somewhat cult-like.

It is possible to do a keto, low-carb diet as a vegetarian or 'vegan,' but it ain't cheap. Vegetarians mostly eat a lot of soy-based processed foods like soy 'milk' or soy based meats or cheeses, or tofu. This not only costs money, but is hard on the planet. Soy and grain growing takes a lot out of the soil, and grazing land used to produce sheep and cattle cannot be plowed up and used to plant more soybeans. If everyone on the planet woke up tomorrow and decided to go 'vegan,' vast numbers would die because there won't be enough vegetarian food to go around. And the quest to grow more soybeans and grains would lead to marginal lands being farmed and crop rotations being ignored. Do we really want another ecological disaster like the Dust Bowl?

Until vegetarians open their minds and realize that meat eaters are not the enemy and that there are sound reasons for many to eat meat, they will probably need to go on creating euphemisms.

To learn more about 'fasting specialist' Linda Hazzard, read the true-crime book 'Starvation Heights' by Gregg Olson. 
To learn more about the keto vegetarian diet, read 'Ketotarian' by Dr. Will Cole, who does a podcast with Jimmy Moore.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Controlling T2 Diabetes with Fasting

I was a diabetic for a short while when my ‘health care provider’ said my kidney test was bad and I would have to go to a specialist. In fact, when she told me what not-so-close town the specialist was in (because of Medicaid), I tried to tell her how difficult it would be to get there, but she said if I didn’t go somehow I might be reported to adult protective services and they would put me in a home. [Which is absurd. They don’t have homes even for people who need it. A person like me with a Mensa level IQ and Asperger Syndrome would never be put in a home no matter who reported her. And one is allowed to refuse medical treatment in this country— it’s a right.]

Anyway, I went to a good kidney doctor, and when she got fired from the medical business in question I got a far worse kidney doctor. And the worse one said the meds I was on were bad for my kidneys so I had to quit them. The only medication I could take for my diabetes was insulin, and neither the kidney doctor nor my ‘health care provider’ was in any big hurry to get me on insulin.

I found that my keto diet, when I kept to it, controlled my diabetes as well as the drugs anyway. But either way, my blood sugars still weren’t great. I got readings like 150 and 175, which was better than what I got when I was not on keto or meds, but not what I wanted.

Then I learned about Dr. Jason Fung’s approach. He got started recommending fasting to his patients because some of them just wouldn’t understand what he meant when he told them about the keto diet. He’d say they can’t have bread, so they ate pita bread or flatbread. They showed him food diaries filled with pasta and regular pizzas. And so he had the idea to try fasting— which is zero carb, zero calorie and zero fat. 

Dr. Fung has his diabetic patients do 36 hour fasts, and sometimes starts severe diabetics on a 7 to 14 day fast. (Read more about it in the Complete Guide to Fasting by Jimmy Moore & Dr. Jason Fung.) I was too chicken to do fasts as long as that— even though I was already on keto and knew keto makes you less hungry so you can easily skip a meal. 

I started with the No-Breakfast Plan— skipping breakfast to extend my overnight fasting by a few hours. I’d known about this since I read the book ‘Fit for Life,’ though I did not think the author of that book was basing his recommendations on science. And after a while I was able to extend this into ’24-hour’ fasting.

Now, really ’24-hour’ fasting should be called 23.5 hour fasting, because you eat supper every day. So if you are on Metformin, you can still take it with a meal every day— though with fasting in your life, you and your doctor or ‘health care provider’ should reduce the dose of any meds you take. You don’t want to be getting too-low blood sugars every day and still have to take meds that will send them still lower!

After I could do 23.5 hour fasting I went on to 36 hour fasting, and then I did a 5 day fast. And then another 5 day fast. And it wasn’t scary! Day 2 was kind of hard, but since Dr Fung allows plain tea and black coffee and home-made bone broth as fasting fluids, I got through and the end of the fast was easier. In fact on my first 5 day fast I could have gone longer, except that I had bought some delicious smoked salmon at a distant grocery store and I wanted some. Which is OK. Fasting isn’t an endurance contest!

When I added some fasting to my life, my blood sugar numbers went under 100, and sometimes as low as 82. I was becoming like a non-diabetic! Of course, the longer I went without a full-day fast, the higher my numbers began to creep. Dr. Jason Fung recommends his patients fast 3 days a week, regular. This can be alternate day fasting, or you can do them all in a bunch. I’m thinking of doing mine all in a bunch on Monday through Wednesday, but when I’m ravenously hungry on Mondays, I don’t do fasting that day, except for the No-Breakfast Plan. 

My belief is that when you are feeling overly hungry, or ill, or stressed with unusual stresses like a visit from the mother-in-law, that’s not the best day to fast. You can always fast a different day. And you can always fast for several shorter periods instead of a long fast. 

How does fasting help? Type 2 diabetes happens because of insulin resistance. Your body overreacts to foods— particularly high-carbohydrate foods— by making more insulin than you need. You may get low-blood-sugar symptoms from this. In time your body starts ignoring some of the insulin. So your body makes even more extra insulin. In time you get higher than normal blood sugars, not because you lack insulin, like a Type 1 diabetic, but in spite of your high insulin levels. 

When you don’t eat, your body isn’t signaled to make insulin, so your insulin levels go down. Since you are not eating food, your blood sugars go down. Your body starts switching over to a state called ketosis, if you are not in ketosis because of a ketodiet. (Ketosis is not the same thing as ketoacidosis, a dangerous state that Type 1 diabetics can get that features high ketones and high blood sugars.) Fasting, in effect, makes your diabetic body act less diabetic. Ketodiet plus fasting can make some diabetics into recovering diabetics and ex-diabetics, though they have to keep on doing the keto and fasting!

What about weight loss? I was on a plateau on my Atkins/keto diet for some time when I developed diabetes, and frankly I no longer expected weight loss. I just wanted better blood sugars without going on insulin, which I knew would cause weight gain and make things worse. But fasting plus strict keto started the weight loss again and I am now probably twenty pounds less than my plateau weight, and down to 172 from my lifetime high of 255. I’ve purchased smaller jeans and discovered I need the next smaller size to fit well! Since losing weight of itself is supposed to help T2 diabetes, this is a good thing. 

The main thing I have to say to other Type 2 diabetics out there is don’t despair. Don’t feel you have no hope. Your diabetes can be improved, and you can do things yourself to improve it. 

Of course, if you are on meds, you will have to see your doctor to adjust them. If you aren’t on meds yet, and you are just going to start with ketodiet and with the No-Breakfast Plan and perhaps 23.5 hour fasting, your doctor will probably be OK with it. Once you get some results, he may be reconciled to it. Or you can possibly switch to a more keto-and-fasting friendly doctor. If you have a doctor that says no-no-no, ask for the scientific motivation behind his answer. If he has none, if he doesn’t know about Dr. Jason Fung’s book and won’t read it when you tell him, if he just says fasting is bad because if you keep it up forever you will die, that’s not the right doctor for you. If, however, he points out that you have some rare condition that he believes will not be helped by fasting, ask if just keto is OK, or just keto plus the No-Breakfast Plan. If you can’t do the whole 5 day or 7 day fasting thing, you can do it in increments.  

Friday, September 14, 2018

Controlling Type 2 Diabetes with Low-Carb, Keto Diet

I found out I had T2 diabetes when my mother gave me her old blood sugar meter. Her doctor had ordered up a new one in a different brand for her, and she didn’t like to waste stuff that was worth money. My mother had acquired T2 diabetes shortly after her doctor put her on a statin drug, which raises blood sugar.

I got some scary-high readings when I first tried the meter, so I made a doctor’s appointment. Since I have been low-income most of my life— I have an autism spectrum disorder— I hadn’t been to a doctor in years. The doc confirmed what my blood sugar meter told me, and I was put on Metformin.

Metformin helped at first, but then it didn’t and we added Actos to the mix. I had read one of the Dr. Bernstein diabetes diet books and he recommended Actos and Metformin for those who needed to take diabetes drugs. 

Before long, I discovered that I needed to stick to a low carb diet in order to have decent blood sugar readings. I regarded any blood sugar below 200 as a step in the right direction, and when my diet was right I was getting readings like 140 or 127. Not normal, but not as bad as a reading of 250 or 300.

Now, I was not strict enough when I was doing my low-carb. Since Atkins allows you 4 teaspoons of cream, I was allowing myself 2 or 3 or even 4 Tablespoons. I was not measuring portions when I should have been. And during 2003, I was eating a lot of sugar-free, low-carb candy, which was enough of a fad at the time that Walmart carried a good selection of the candy bars. But I was largely giving up real sugar, bread and pasta, and the kinds of chips I used to love.

I had some social issues for a while. My father died in November of 2004, and I had to spend a lot of time with my mother. My mother wanted to go out to eat, and the restaurants we used didn’t exactly have anything low-carb on the menu. And when I could get low-carb things— like eggs and bacon for breakfast— the waitress was always pushing bread or hash browns on me, and I could resist anything but temptation.

Later on, I had some complications of the diabetes, and as a result a specialist I was sent to insisted I stop my current meds. She said the only thing that was safe for me to take was insulin, but neither she nor my ‘health care provider’ (a physician’s assistant) made any move to get me started on insulin.

Stopping my diabetes drugs led to one shocking result. I continue to take my blood sugar every morning, and it did not go up as a result of stopping the drugs! I didn’t know it, but I had been controlling my blood sugar with my diet, and the pills had not been helping, really. 

After that I sometimes stuck to my low-carb very well and had better numbers, and sometimes I didn’t, or I cheated, and my numbers were worse. I found that if I ate my cheat foods at one time of day only, sometimes I had decent numbers the next day. That is, a cheat limited to one meal or snacktime wasn’t as harmful as if I had 2 cheat meals-or-snacks in one day. 

I still didn’t have the good numbers I wanted. Dr. Bernstein said you should go for normal blood sugar numbers, and mine weren’t that. I know, I had to stop the cheats, for one thing. But it took me a few more years to discover ways to improve my blood sugar numbers even more. In a future blog post, I will share what I did to help my blood sugar even more.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical person and do not give medical advise. If you have diabetes, consult your doctor about any changes. If you go on keto/lowcarb, your medications will have to be lowered. You need your doctor to help with that. 

Some Helpful Books:
Dr Atkins Diet Revolution (the original Atkins,  YOU NEED THIS!)

The above are affiliate links. I put them up because I am on disability with an autism spectrum disorder, and I want to get off it. Or at least have a little more money to fix things in my home like my broken stove and my antique electrical wiring and my malfunctioning plumbing.  If you buy through my links, bless you! And if you don't, well, that's OK too. Just reading my blog's a kindness.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Home Sprouting to create your Daily Low-Carb Salads

On low-carb/keto diets, you are generally allowed your 2 salads a day, as in original Atkins. But that can be difficult! I live alone, and I’m in a rural area. And I was brought up to hate wasting food. When I buy lettuce as a salad base, I usually end up with some spoiled lettuce, whether I buy head lettuce or bagged salads. Especially when I’m doing full-day fasting from time to time during the week!

I finally wised up a bit and bought cabbage as a salad base. I bought bagged coleslaw mix, and since I again skipped some days of salad eating due to fasting and to just not wanting to eat those salads, I again had some not-so-fresh shredded cabbage at the bottom of the bag. I suppose I could have fed it to my chickens and ducks, but I put extra Spike (seasoning) on it and ate it. It was OK.

The best way I have found, however, is to base my salads on salad sprouts such as alfalfa and clover sprouts. I have been sprouting for years, even back when I was a vegetarian. I used to use just those canning jar based sprouters with plastic sprouting lids that fit wide-mouth canning jars, but now I have found a better way— the Vittorio sprouters. 
A Vittorio sprouter is made up of stacking round sprouting trays. You can start up a new one each day and stack them to save space. I put my sprouters at the top of a set of plastic shelves in the middle of my kitchen. It is a warm-enough spot in winter, and being away from the windows doesn’t dry out sprouts in summer. And on the top shelf, my cats don’t feel the need to knock it on the floor in their redecorating efforts.

I learned a lot about sprouting seeds from the ‘Sproutman’ Steve Meyerowitz’s books ‘Sprouts, the Miracle Food’ and ‘Sproutman’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook.’ He has a business called The Sprout House which sells sprouting seeds and the kind of sprouters he recommends. (I have tried his recommended basket sprouters and prefer the neatness of the stackable Vittorio sprouters.)

How to sprout salad sprouts

First, get a good sprouter, and put it in a good location. Many sprouting failures happen because people put their sprouters in a forgotten corner of the house which leads them to forget the twice-daily rinsings. 

Second, buy some sprouting seeds. Alfalfa seeds are a good place to start. I prefer a mix of seeds called ‘Broccoli and Friends’ from Todd’s Seeds, which I purchase from It contains broccoli, clover, red radish and alfalfa seed. I’ve also sprouted just plain clover seed, but I don’t like that very much. Clover sprouts seem to me better in a mix.
‘Sproutman’ says that larger legume sprouts, like mung bean sprouts, pea sprouts, and lentil sprouts should be steamed before eating. There are salad mixes that contain some larger legume sprouts, mostly lentil sprouts. I wouldn’t use those unless I planned to make a lightly steamed salad!

I use about 1 teaspoon of seed for one tray of the Vittorio sprouter. I have used a bit more or a bit less. Pre-soak the seed for a few hours or overnight. One sprouting book author, Jim Beerstecher, recommends soaking as long as 24 hours. Soak it too long, however, like two or three days, and you will drown some of the sprouting seeds.

After soaking, pour the water and seeds into your sprouter. The Vittorio sprouter has a solid, green bottom tray to catch the water and a top non-solid green tray for the top to prevent your seeds drying out. Make sure you use these trays if you have a Vittorio!

Sprouts are usually watered twice daily. If you are in a hot, dry climate, you may need to do it more often. Be sure and drain the sprouts after rinsing. And before you water sprouts in a Vittorio sprouter, check the bottom, water-catching tray to make sure it is empty. You don’t want the water to overflow!

Alfalfa and related salad sprouts need 7 days of sprouting. They should be exposed to some degree of light so they turn green. When ready to eat, take the amount of sprouts desired and put in a filled bowl of cool water. Swish the sprouts around so that any seed hulls or unsprouted seeds are eliminated.

I often eat these salad sprouts as a finger food, without anything. But you can do anything you do with a lettuce salad with a sprout salad. You can add other salad veggies, you can salt it, you can also add Spike or Mrs. Dash as a seasoning along with the salt, and you can use any low carbohydrate salad dressing. If you like salad dressing. 

If you take out half a tray’s worth of sprouts for a salad, you can keep the rest in the tray and keep watering it. If you develop a backlog of sprouts, you can put them, tray and all, into the refrigerator. Continue to rinse it once daily. It will keep longer in the cool environment. You can also feed extra sprouts to greens-eating pets and livestock. My poultry loves sprouts, especially in winter.

Sprout salads for the mostly-carnivore eater

While human beings can live on a 100% meat diet, few historical hunter-gatherer tribes have done so. If you are mostly carnivore, especially if you eat salads only some of the time, sprouting is great because you can sprout only as much as you want, and only when you are in a sometimes-salad-eating phase of your life. Your sprouting seeds will keep for quite a while— mine have still sprouted after a year or two.  Sprouts are quite nutritious— certainly more so than iceberg lettuce. 

Yes, the links in my blog posts are often Amazon affiliate links. If someone buys using these links, I may eventually get a little money for it. Someday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Misunderstandings about the Atkins diet

I regard the Atkins diet, not as a ‘fad’ diet or a failed diet, but as a good start for living a ketogenic and lowcarb lifestyle. But misunderstandings are rife, not just among those actively hostile to Atkins and lowcarb, but among friends of lowcarb eating as well. Consider this quote:

“By eating large amounts of skim milk, lean meat, and protein bars, Atkins enthusiasts were unintentionally stimulating their insulin to the same degree as before.”
    ~~~~ Dr. Jason Fung, ‘The Obesity Code,’ 2016

OK, I admire Dr. Jason Fung. I think he’s really smart. But either he misunderstands what the Atkins diet is and was, or else he was talking about misunderstandings of the Atkins diet among his patients, and was not clear about that. 

The reality about Atkins is this:

  1. Atkins does not allow skim milk or whole milk or any kind of milk. In the original ‘Atkins Diet Revolution’ (1972) he makes kind of a big point of that in the book. He does allow 4 teaspoons a day of heavy cream on Induction, the first level of the diet. That is 1 Tablespoon plus one teaspoon.
  2. Atkins does not insist on lean meat. He encourages dieters to be shockingly unafraid of fats in their diet. He warns that eating only the lean meats could make the diet harder to follow.
  3. Protein bars? What protein bars? When the original Atkins came out, there were no protein bars of any kind on the market. When the Atkins corporation was formed, they did start to make Atkins bars, both ‘meal replacement’ bars and special treat bars. These are not the same as the commercial ‘protein bar’ found today which have lots of carbs, including sugar. (I would not include Atkins products in my diet since they are less-than-ideal processed foods, though I might ask for them if I were too sick to cook and someone offered to get some for me.)

This statement by Dr. Fung would certainly lead the uninformed reader to misunderstand Atkins, though explaining Atkins was not his point in writing that paragraph in the first place. I would advise ketonians to actually read ‘The Obesity Code’ to understand what was meant. And read the original ‘Atkins Diet Revolution’ and perhaps follow that up with reading Atkins’ later books as well, to get a good grasp on what Atkins is all about.

The modern ketonian who keeps up to date will probably add to the wisdom of the Atkins approach by emphasizing ‘real foods’ not processed foods. But when Atkins was written, alternative foods were not available to all, and Atkins was hard put to get his patients lowering their carbs without sending them in a futile search for grass-fed beef and organic veggies. We can add to the understanding given in the original Atkins diet (and avoid being tempted by modern corporate-Atkins commercials that want to sell Atkins products.)

Recommended reading:
Dr. Jason Fung: 'The Obesity Code'
Dr. Robert Atkins:  'Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution'
Gary Taubes: 'Why We Get Fat and What to Do about It' (currently reading)

The No-Breakfast Plan Experiment, Day 3
I've noticed no particular improvement in health-measurements, in part because I haven't been eating many breakfasts before it started. I am being stricter about things like bulletproof beverages and bone broth in the morning hours--- I would consume if I were very hungry in the mornings, but since I've already retrained my hunger away from morning eating, I haven't gotten much hunger yet.

I haven't had any comments to the effect that any of my blog readers are doing the experiment along with me. But that's OK. If you are trying it, and you haven't been on keto or skipped breakfast before, be generous with yourself and allow yourself some bone broth or even a bulletproof beverage. It can help make the No-Breakfast Plan more do-able at first.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Beginning the No-Breakfast Plan Experiment

Today I begin my official No-Breakfast Plan experiment! Now, I've been doing the no-breakfast thing on and off because I've heard it recommended in various health books including 'Fit for Life' by Harvey Diamond--- though Diamond lets you drink fruit juice while you are doing morning 'fasting.'

Lately though I've been eating breakfast more to keep me on track with my ketodiet. And since I've been doing longer fasting, if I was hungry in the mornings, I ate. I've also allowed myself more fasting fluids, including bulletproof beverages and bone broth, in the morning fasting, and I am experimenting with leaving these calorie-containing beverages OUT.

My Baseline Readings:
Blood sugar: 82 (good reading)
Weight: 178.4 (up a little)
Blood Pressure: 146/99 (Not good, but usual for me.)

My blog readers (should I have any at this moment) are welcome to join me in this experiment. Since I know that there are a lot of people, unlike me, who never skip breakfast and who are not on ketogenic diets, I know that it will be easier for me than for these people.  Feel free to comment about your own experiences with the No-Breakfast Plan on this blog. More information on this experiment is to be found in the previous blog post here.

It is important to remember that the No-Breakfast Plan is not about eating fewer calories in the day, or about punishing yourself for eating 'too many' calories. As you learn more about ketodiet and healthy lifestyle you will learn of research that clearly shows that calories don't count as much as the kind of foods you eat, and that low-calorie diets are ineffective for weight loss, slow the metabolism and lead to regaining more weight than the dieter lost.

What the No-Breakfast Plan is about is this: you are extending your nightly fasting period by a few hours. Your body has a few more hours relief from dealing with food. If you have Insulin Resistance, your body needs a break from producing excess insulin and having too much insulin in the body. It has some of the benefits of longer periods of fasting, but even those opposed to fasting don't reckon that skipping breakfast is going to cause people to die.