By Athina Koutsoumadi, July 19, 2020
According to WebMD, “carbohydrates (“carbs”) represent one of the three main classes of foods. Carbs are a source of energy; they are mainly sugars and starches that the body breaks down into glucose that the body uses to feed its cells.”
Processed carbohydrates can affect blood sugar levels, making insulin production unstable, causing rapid spikes and drops in blood sugar. Most bad carbs are loaded with “empty calories”. Empty calories have practically no nutritional value. Many argue that carbs are a source of energy, therefore good for your body, but the issue is that what isn’t used for immediate energy is stored as fat.
Now, let’s clarify something. I am not a doctor, or a nutritionist and I don’t pretend to be one. What I’m writing is based on my own understanding and interpretation of facts and you don’t have to agree. This article represents my own views and opinions based on my own experiences.
I often get asked what constitutes carbohydrates, which foods are consider high in carbohydrates and what to avoid while on keto or if you are a diabetic. Even though my diabetes is very much under control, and I’m considered pre-diabetic, in my head I still consider myself diabetic. It is a self-preservation thing. Following a ketogenic lifestyle helped me where I am today. Diabetes is a very complex disease that slowly kills you with no signs. Managing it can reduce your risk of developing other, more serious conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, problems with your eyes, teeth, even avoid toe, foot or even leg amputations. Following a healthy lifestyle, make good and clean food choices, staying physically active can significantly improve your diabetes health.
Diabetes is a complex disease that requires daily self-management - making healthy food choices, staying physically active, monitoring your blood sugar and taking medications as prescribed. It is also important to talk regularly with your diabetes care team to problem solve, reduce risks for complications and cope with lifestyle changes. Successful self-management will help you feel better and can reduce your chance of developing complications including heart disease, dental disease, eye disorders, kidney disease, nerve damage and lower leg amputation.
A ketogenic diet minimizes or even eliminates carbs from your daily intake. I measure net carbs and my daily allowance is between 20 to 25 total carbs a day but I often do extended periods at a time with a maximum of 10 to 15 total carbs per day. Many who follow a ketogenic lifestyle, count net carbs instead of total. Now, what is a net carb you say? Looking at a nutritional label, you see a few categories right below total carbohydrates, which include dietary fiber, sugar, sugar alcohol, added sugars. Dietary fibers and sugar alcohols are to be deducted from the total carbohydrates which is how you derive to net carbohydrates. It is also important to read the ingredients to understand the source of the sugar alcohols.
One thing you need to realize is that carbs are everywhere. Even lettuce has carbs, yes lettuce! So I would recommend to use an app to record your daily intake. The benefit of the app is that it calculates the nutritional information for you so you don’t have to guess. I use Cronometer but there are many others out there so you have to play with a few to see what works best for you.
So, which foods are considered carbohydrates and are there healthy alternatives? I am not going to list everything that’s out there, but I will list the biggest players:
• Flours (i.e. white, wheat, semolina etc.)
• All types of breads including pretzels, bagels, popcorn
• Barley, couscous, millet, pasta (white or whole-wheat, all shapes and sizes), polenta,
quinoa (all colors), or rice (white, brown, and other colors and types)
• Bran cereal (twigs, buds, or flakes), shredded wheat (plain), or sugar-coated cereal
• Bulgur, kasha, tabbouleh (tabouli), or wild rice
• Beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, lima, navy, pinto, white),
lentils (any color), or peas (black-eyed and split), cooked or canned,
drained and rinsed
• Starchy vegetables (i.e. tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, chickpeas, corn, beets)
• All fruits except berries which can be used in moderation. Berries also have carbs, but certainly much less than bananas, grapes or mangos.
• Sugars (i.e. white, brown, agave, honey, coconut, cane)
• Desserts, cakes, cookies, ice cream, milkshakes
• Milk (of any fat content)
Now, you can say, “well, aren’t vegetables good for you”? Well, in reality they are not, as starchy vegetable are high on carbs which means that if you have diabetes, your body will have a hard time breaking them down and given they have high glycemic index, your blood sugar will rise much faster having a potato than having lettuce.
What worked for me was to significantly reduce carbs, sugars, and processed foods. Do I ever cheat? Of course I do, I’m human after all, but what matters is how quickly I bounce back. It’s all about self control and willingness to have a better life, a long life, a healthy life. So, how bad do you want it?
By Athina Koutsoumadi, February 10, 2020
The short answer is no! Why get the extra calories? Burn your own fat!
Some will argue however that there are several benefits to the use of Bulletproof coffee. So here is what I found.
If you are new to the Keto Lifestyle, you’ve heard of Bulletproof coffee (“BPC”), but what is that exactly and what does it do for your body.
Bulletproof coffee is used by people who follow a high fat, high protein and low carb diet. It is meant to improve your metabolism, speed up the fat burning process, help with weight loss, improve your memory and energy levels, stabilize or help regulate your gut health and also increase your mood and strength. BUT you also have to realize you are increasing your fat intake daily. A bulletproof coffee can easily be 500 calories!
The combination of well-sourced coffee, caffeine and healthy fats constitute the infamous Bulletproof coffee. But, let’s break it down to define each of the ingredients:
Ghee or grass-fed butter
It is generally recommended to consume bulletproof coffee in the morning, instead of breakfast. By doing so, you are replacing 1 or 3 meals with something that is very low in carbohydrates.
Using XCT Oil or Brain Octane Oil in your BPC
XCT Oil or Brain Octane Oil have powerful effects on your energy and cognitive function as they are both powerful brain boosting fats. Apart from using them in your BPC, you can use Brain Octane Oil on your food to raise fat burning, brain fueling molecules in your body, called Ketones.
Now you’ll ask, what’s the difference between the Brain Octane Oil, Coconut Oil or MCT. Let’s break it down.
MCT Oil – As mentioned above, MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides or Medium Chain Fatty Acids. They can often be derived from coconut oil or palm oil. They are colorless, odorless and stay liquid at room temperature (unlike pure coconut oil that hardens). Therefore, it is the perfect type of fat to add to food, smoothies, and coffee in this case for extra energy, with brain boosting benefits.
MCTs are absorbed quicker than other fatty acids and they easily converted into energy. Three out of the four strains of MCTs bypass your digestive tract and go straight to your liver where they are broken down into energy packed ketones, they are then “sent out” to the rest of your body via your bloodstream. This is the primary reason, the quick conversion into ketones, that people look for when they buy MCTs. The forth strain, goes into your stomach, breaks down into your small intestine, then absorbed into your blood and turns into energy.
Some of the benefits of MCTs are as follows:
MCT Oil vs Coconut Oil
It is simply the difference in the strains of fatty acids in each oil. Coconut oil, contains only one of the strains in the MCTs therefore it is not as potent. It may be beneficial for the body and have other health benefits, but you may need to consume more than ten tablespoons of coconut oil (assuming you don’t get sick) to get the benefits of one tablespoon of MCTs. Coconut oil contains different strains of fats and not all of these strains are equally effective for energy and fat loss.
Brain Octane Oil & XCT Oil
Both of these oils are the purest, ultra distilled form of MCTs. Brain Octane provides the fastest rise in energy and focus. XCT is more affordable, equally good, but with a delayed rise in energy. You will still get the benefit but at a slower pace.
MCT, Brain Octane or XCT – Which one to pick?
There is no right or wrong answer. You will have to evaluate the cost/benefit effect and decide what works best for you, your body and your pocket.
Disclaimer: The article above is based on my own research and represents my own opinion on BPC. I am not a doctor or nutritionist and I am simply stating my views.
By Athina Koutsoumadi 03/26/21
Several reasons, and yes you've heard this before, we are all different. But there are a few things to consider:
Starting a ketogenic lifestyle often brings up the question of constipation in the absence of dietary fiber. But do you really need the fiber to be regular or is that a misconception?
Food for thought - Newborn babies do not get any fiber and they poop all the time!
As a matter of fact, there have been several studies showing that high-fiber diet can worsen diverticulitis (meaning you have polyps, small growths, called diverticula in your gut). For more information, visit the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic for more on the correlation between high fiber and diverticulitis.
It is important to understand the reasons you are constipated, but lack of fiber is seldom the reason. A few things to consider
Would you eat a bag of bones? Well you should and here is why.
Bone marrow has tremendous health benefits. It contains myeloid and lymphoid stem cells. The foundations for red and white blood cells, these cells build immunity and help provide oxygen to cells. Consuming it helps build a strong immune system.
Bone marrow assists in blood clotting. It contains collagen, the protein-rich substance which when subjected to heat, cooks down to gelatin. This can also help repair the body. Collagen deficiency can slow down wound healing, promote easy bruising and bleeding gums. Collagen in bone marrow can help the body rebuild itself.
Studies have shown that it can help fighting cancer as it contains conjugated linoleic acid which is known as a potent cancer inhibitor.
Bone marrow contains less amount of polyunsaturated fat. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acid which is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and it is also a good source of glycine. Glycine is an amino used to make and repair other proteins in the body.
Convinced? See blog for a very simple recipe.