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!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Recipe: Crock-Pot Cabbage-Sauerkraut Soup for Cabbage Soup Diet

It’s sad to state, but my cookbook collection is short on good, old-fashioned cabbage soup recipes. I have one in my old Mennonite ‘More With Less’ cookbook, and there is a sauerkraut soup recipe from Poland in another. (Consulting the soup section of my 1929 German-language cookbook, it seems they recommend Maggi seasoning not only in cabbage soup but in nearly every other kind of soup.)

So I made this recipe in my Crock-Pot. It came out quite good and it was very filling. And with the sauerkraut in it, it has a different flavor. Sauerkraut like other fermented foods (kimchee) is said to be very good for you. So I’m trying out my own keto version of the Cabbage Soup Diet— the Cabbage Soup Lifestyle?  Anyway, it’s a change of pace, and cabbage is a cheap food but this soup is way better for you then those nasty, high-carb ramen noodles.

Cabbage-Sauerkraut Soup in a Crock-Pot

2 medium onions, chopped
4 cups cabbage, chopped

heat 2-3 Tablespoons butter or bacon grease in skillet or wok. Stir-fry onions and cabbage until soft. Put in Crock-Pot (3 quart or larger.) Add to Crock-Pot:

1 cup (8 oz can) sauerkraut
5 cups water/bone broth/regular broth 
    add at least 1 cup of bone broth to water mix to flavor cabbage. Half-water, half bone broth is good mix.
1/2 teaspoon Mrs Dash seasoning (or Spike)
1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt or sea salt
1 Tablespoon caraway seed

Cook for 6-8 hours on low, then serve. Note: I usually put my Crock-Pot on high for the first 1/2 hour and then lower it, but you probably don’t have to do that. I put my Cabbage-Sauerkraut Soup in a Ball canning jar for storage in the fridge. Servings are 1 cup each. I don’t know the carb count exactly, but the bone broth has minimal carbs and you are allowed 1 cup of cabbage, among other vegetables, on Atkins Induction for your salad. So even on Induction you can have your soup as a salad replacement for up to 2 meals. 

Recipe variations:
If you don’t care for sauerkraut, replace it with another cup of cabbage.  If you prefer kimchee to sauerkraut, replace the sauerkraut in the recipe with kimchee. You can use part regular cabbage and part red cabbage, depending on what you have. You might also add 1/2 to 1 lb. of some kind of meat to the soup, in case you plan to eat soup as a meal. (I didn’t, I had it with some ham and a couple of eggs over easy. I should have made it with a smaller piece of ham and only one egg because the soup is very filling.) You can also add Maggi liquid seasoning at the table to this soup.

This recipe is meant for use in the Cabbage Soup Diet, keto variation, as described in a previous blog article:

Coming attractions: When I finish this batch of cabbage soup, I have plans for creating a very different cabbage soup recipe for a change-of-pace.

Below is a link for the actual kind of Crock-Pot I used for this recipe. If you don't own a Crock-Pot, you really need one--- they are so useful, even for people who don't normally cook much.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Will the Cabbage Soup Diet make you gain weight?

What is the Cabbage Soup Diet?

The Cabbage Soup Diet is a 7-day diet that is popular at the moment. It claims you will lose up to 10 pounds in a week. But as it is a low-calorie, low-fat approach, scientific research indicates it will not be an effective way to lose weight, and will lead to weight regain, perhaps of far more than you may have lost. In this blog post I will take a look at the diet the way it is, and how it will have to be tweaked to make it ketogenic and a way to lose weight for the long-term.

I have looked at one version of the Cabbage Soup Diet and on this version, on each day you are allowed different food items in addition to your daily bowl of home-made cabbage soup. On one day you can eat ‘all the fruit you want.’ On other days you can have unlimited veggies and a baked potato, brown rice, fruit juices, skinless chicken, and, on one deadly day, up to 8 bananas and skim milk! And several times you are instructed to ‘stuff yourself’— presumably on veggies, and it doesn’t forbid starchy veggies. Note: there are probably a million other versions of the Cabbage Soup Diet out there. What I say about this version may not be true of them all.

This diet allows so much in the way of carbs that many dieters will not only not lose weight, they might actually gain a pound or two in spite of being hungry for a week. But that’s what happens when you go back to the failed low-calorie approach that is rightly called the ‘semi-starvation diet.’ It’s like the ‘Biggest Loser’ diet. Nearly all winning ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants have gained all the weight back, and possibly more as well. 

But— I like the idea of cabbage soup. It’s so Eastern-European-y, and since cabbage is allowed on the Induction level of Original Atkins (the original ketogenic lifestyle) you can make a version that is basically allowable on Atkins— it can replace your daily Atkins-Induction salad. Which is great in winter to replace a cold salad with a warm soup. 

Ketogenic Tweaks to the Cabbage Soup Diet

The first step toward doing the ketogenic version of the cabbage soup diet is to get into ketosis, the body’s fat burning mode. The easy was to do that is to get out your copy of the original Atkins Diet Revolution book, look up the rules for the Induction stage, and follow those rules strictly. And don’t try to do a low-fat version of Atkins. We now know that good fats are not only good for you, they help you lose weight by keeping you from getting hungry. 

Don’t have a copy of the original Atkins Diet Revolution? Get one!

To make this into a version of the Cabbage Soup Diet, you have to make a pot of cabbage soup. Look at the list of ‘Diet Revolution Vegetables.’ You will see it includes cabbage, Chinese cabbage, onions, mushrooms, sauerkraut, and other good things you can use for cabbage soup. (I’d say you can also feel free to add a bit of garlic, or some kimchee.) 

You can replace some of the water in your cabbage soup recipe with home-made bone broth for a real health-and-nutrition boost! What about tomatoes? They are among the Diet Revolution veggies, but they can add too many carbs if you overdo it. I’d suggest not adding them to your first batch of cabbage soup, but you can add a bit to later batches to see how it works for you. 

You can also add various herbs and spices, depending on what you like. To made your daily or twice daily serving (1 cup) of cabbage soup more interesting, make it a little differently each time. Add peppers to one batch, and okra or snow pod peas to another. Change up your spices. And when you heat up the soup for serving, you can add a bit of soy sauce one time, a different spice on another day, and a pat of butter on a third. You can make every serving taste a bit different, or you can mostly make it the same way. It’s up to you! Note: if you don’t want to skip your daily Atkins salads, you can either have salad at lunch and cabbage soup at supper, or you can have 1/2 servings of both soup and salad at each meal. And when you leave Atkins Induction level to add back more carbs, you might swing a full serving of each at one or both meals. 

What about other foods? You can eat whatever is allowed on Atkins at the Induction level. Instead of stuffing yourself with veggies (which do have carbs, which add up if you overdo it,) or eating 8 bananas, you can have a snack of a few slices of bacon— and a hour later, you can have more! There are no limits on zero-carb foods like meats, and you don’t have to count or care about the calories! And, yes, people do lose weight this way and keep it off as long as they stick to a low-carb eating plan. (If you decide to eat loads of carbs, though, you will gain it back. So don’t!)

What about the different-foods on different days thing? You can do that if you want to, choosing among the allowed Atkins Induction foods. One day you can eat devilled eggs, another day ham, another day you can have avocado ‘fries’ wrapped in bacon. Or you can eat pretty much the same thing 

No matter how many years you do a ketogenic diet like Atkins, from time to time you might need to go back to the stricter level of something like Atkins Induction. The problem is that when you start adding carbs back, even if you are not cheating on Atkins, you are likely to be seeing less of the benefits of the Atkins/keto lifestyle, such as weight loss, lower blood pressure and normal blood sugar, more energy, mental health benefits, and so on. Going back on Induction periodically will help you!

What about the cabbage soup? Now, I don’t know if there is a whit of scientific evidence saying that cabbage is a health food or will magically make you lose weight, either in soup form or some other form. But cabbage is a healthy low-carb veggie, it’s traditional among many European-Americans, and it’s often very cheap if you can buy it from the farmer instead of from the grocery store or organic food store. My Serbian-American friend once bought a trailer-load of giant cabbage heads that were probably grown as deer bait for hunters, but I made soup and sauerkraut from it all the same. It’s a great budget saver for those of us on keto.

So, in conclusion: a high-carb Cabbage Soup Diet with limits on calories and fat will do what other high-carb, low-calorie, low-fat diets will: it will fail you. You won’t lose weight except maybe temporarily, you will likely gain more in the long run, and your insulin resistance (why you got fat/overweight in the first place) will get even worse. And you can only do it 7 days, even according to its advocates.

However, doing a low-carb version of the Cabbage Soup Diet is helpful if you are getting the low-carb/ketogenic part right. And staying on low-carb/Atkins is something that people can do for decades, and since cabbage and thus cabbage soup is allowed daily, if you happen to like cabbage soup you can have a bowl every single day until you are 90. You will be allowed so much other healthy low-carb foods that you won’t be in danger of having nutritional problems.

Terminology: A diet is a temporary way of eating that is not intended to be followed for a long time, such as the normal Cabbage Soup Diet or the semi-starvation diet (low-calorie.) A diet is something you go on, and then go off. A lifestyle or way of eating (“WOE”) is a dietary change, as in Atkins, low-carb, or keto which is meant to be followed for life. 

I've got cabbage soup brewing in my Crock-Pot right now! I am working on the recipe and if it turns out good I will share it on this blog. I recommend getting a Crock Pot if you don't have one yet--- the model shown below is one I own (I have 4 slow-cookers, and I live alone!). And of course Dana Carpender's low-carb Crock Pot recipe book!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Warm fasting fluids for winter

It’s getting to be wintery— we’ve had our first snow up in Michigan’s upper peninsula— and it’s time to winterize our fasting practices. At least if you live somewhere in this hemisphere with cold winters.

I normally drink my distilled water at room temperature. I’ve read things that cold fluids like ice water may not be that great for us. It certainly isn’t great to drink a glass of ice water on a winter day! I have come to prefer room temperature water. But it’s a little on the cold side, especially on a cold morning in a relatively cool house (I keep my thermostat low to save home heating money), when I have to go out and do cold-weather chores that day.

The first thing we can do is drink heated distilled water. I have an electric tea kettle— it’s a replacement for a coffee maker I used to heat tea water which just wore out, in part due to using hard water (well water) for years in it. My tea kettle very much prefers my current distilled water from my water distiller. When I was a teen and lived in San Jose California, I knew a neighbor family who were Chinese-Americans, and they were big believers in drinking warm or hot water. I babysat for them once or twice a week for years, and it rubbed off on me. You can just heat your water as if for tea, and drink it like tea. I personally wait for 2 minutes or so before drinking hot tea or hot water. Since water fasting is purer fasting, adding hot/warm water as a fasting fluid warms up your insides without making you feel like you are not ‘really’ fasting. (Below: an electric tea kettle similar to mine.)
Tea is a great warm fasting fluid for most of us. I’ve read it suppresses the appetite a little. A lot of people assume that green tea is the only ‘healthy’ tea, because there was a famous study that showed health benefits for green tea extract. But there are other studies that show benefits for black tea, and Chinese studies that show benefits for pu-erh tea. They haven’t studied white tea yet, but it’s from the same plant and is probably mostly like green tea, only more so. There are drawbacks, though. I’ve read that tea may raise insulin levels— or is that blood sugar? And there is the oxalate issue— if you are watching oxalates, tea is one source you might have to give up. (I gave up spinach and almond products and rhubarb instead.) (Below: my favorite brand of pu-erh tea.)
Coffee. You can learn to drink black coffee. I got started drinking coffee with a few drops of liquid stevia sweetener in it, And reduced the number of sweetener drops over time. I also added a teaspoon of heavy whipping cream to the coffee. But this morning I drank a cup of black coffee and lived. Like tea, coffee can suppress your hunger. So when you are fasting and have hunger pangs, a cup of coffee or tea may stop that. 

Home-made bone broth. Yes, you can drink bone broth during fasting. There are a very few calories in a cup of bone broth, but it is worth the calories to get the benefits of bone broth. A cup of hot bone broth feels more like you’ve had a meal. If you are doing a fast of 24 hours or more, you can have cups of bone broth at your normal meal hours and you might feel less deprived. 

Herb tisanes (herbal ‘tea’). I drink Stash brand peppermint tea and ‘spice dragon red chai’ which has cinnamon, rooibos, ginger and clove, and I also have some home-harvested stinging nettle tea, since I have lots of stinging nettle all over my yard. These are a decent change of pace, and are caffeine-free, and so one can drink them in the afternoon or evening without causing sleepless nights.

I have read that when people are fasting, they may feel the cold more. If you experience that, it could be a signal that warm fasting fluids are something you need more of. At least, you could give them a try. (I also recommend wearing warm sweaters in the house rather than overheating your house.) 

 Above is the brand of home water distiller that I use. I am quite pleased with it and it's easy to clean with apple cider vinegar, and it makes great distilled water.

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.