Ketogenic lifestyle

Just published - special price E Book "The medical and other benefits of the Ketogenic Lifestyle"  NZ$12 

It is what it says – a ‘style’ of living for life!    This is not some temporary passing dietary/exercise fad – it is a satisfying way of life that offers health, wellbeing and recovery from diseases in a way that no other plan can do.    It is a lifestyle which most people will wish to continue for LIFE!

I am writing a book which covers this in much greater detail which will be available on line in a few months.

I really believe this lifestyle gives increased hope to people with many diseases - see below. It has 4 parts:

1. Ketogenic eating – low sugar, intermediate protein and high fat intake

2. Intermittent fasting – for part of the day or one or two days maximum

3. Regular exercise – mild or whatever suits you – but some.

4. Reducing stress – the strain caused by this has a huge impact on our health and can’t be ignored.

5. Take nutritional supplements – even the best diets do not give us optimal levels of all the nutrients our bodies need.   When the eating of fruit and vegetables, grains and other foods is restricted in this diet, then it is obvious that supplementation is needed to complete nutrition.

Who – can benefit from adopting it?

We are being constantly asked in our medical practices, what should I eat?   What is best for mmy health or my condition?   What should I avoid? In the past like most of our colleagues we have suggested “it anything in moderation”, “avoid processed food”, “avoid too much sugar”, “keep away from trans fats”. But we know (and so do they) that this is a cop-out, and we’re not certain, and almost nothing seems to make a difference.

At last we have found something that can help many of our patients irrespective of their diseases, with good science and evidence, and which is also helpful for everybody!

  • Type II diabetes
  • overweight and obesity
  • epilepsy, migraine, cluster headaches
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • cancer
  • coronary heart disease
  • High BP
  • athletes wanting to perform better
  • arthritis and inflammatory conditions
  • autoimmune diseases
  • anybody wanting more mental and physical energy
  • and the list goes on ……………………

Who should not be following ketogenic eating and fasting without strict medical assistance and advice. While the lifestyle certainly can be beneficial, this particular group of people should not try it on their own:

  • Patients with type I diabetes - the ketogenic diet can be very helpful in these people but also unless the insulin is well-controlled can lead to episodes of hypoglycaemia. Fasting, unless significantly overweight, should be avoided.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women – probably should not fast, and the restriction in fruit and vegetables is probably excessive.
  • Following gallbladder surgery – the gallbladder stores bile to be squirted onto fat from a meal as it enters the duodenum, and without a gallbladder the bile simply trickles into the duodenum continuously. This means that fat is poorly absorbed, as are some of the fat-soluble vitamins, and will this diet is probably not ideal for them. Some people suggest taking ox bile with each meal, I understand this is about as appetising as it sounds!
  • Patients with pancreatic and liver disease – apart from cancer where the ketogenic diet may well be beneficial, it probably is better not be used in people with pancreatitis and significant chronic liver disease.
  • People who are severely underweight should certainly not fast, although the ketogenic diet and other aspects of the lifestyle may be beneficial.

How can we do the Ketogenic lifestyle?

  1. Ketogenic eating

For hundreds of thousands of years, early man lived with no means of food preservation, and had not yet developed farming. They ate what they could – meat, fruit, berries, leaves and nuts in season, but meat was the major component, varying from a rabbit or a gazelle to a woolly mammoth, which they ate until the meat was no longer safe.

Particularly in the winter, this was then often followed by a prolonged period of starvation when there was little or no food available. At this time however, caveman had to be on peak alertness both physically and mentally to hunt and catch the next meal. He therefore went from feast to famine and back to feast again, while catching food and protecting his family from wild beasts and the elements.

This ketogenic eating lifestyle mimics early man’s life in a way that no previous health and weight loss diets have done.

The aim of this eating plan is for the body to burn fat rather than sugars (carbohydrates) as its major energy source. 

  • Start with a short fast or low carb diet which removes the stored carbohydrates in the liver and body cells.
  • The cells then switch to burning fats as their fuel, either from fat which we eat or fat stores around the body.   Eating mainly fat (and some protein) reduces hunger and you feel satiated.
  • If the body needs some carbohydrates – the liver can make just what is needed from fat, so the blood sugar levels (and insulin) don’t rise and fall as much.
  • The brain cells cannot burn fats, because they are too large to cross the blood brain barrier, so the liver turns some fat into ketones.   These are smaller and readily enter the brain, and provide it with energy.  
  • The fat and ketones give both the cells and brain an almost inexhaustible supply of premium energy, which is why people feel so good both mentally and physically.

1. First go on a short “fast”, either 18 or 24 hours. Dinner to lunch the next day, or dinner to dinner. This burns up most of the carbohydrate stores in the body.

2. Then eat low carbohydrate food (less than 20 to 30 g per day) and high in fats. Not only do the fats satisfy the appetite much faster, but fat is in fact a premium fuel and you feel much better with more mental and physical energy.

3. Simply doing this will gradually bring the weight down to ideal, but for those who want to lose weight faster, fasting one or two days per week will achieve this.

4. But – this is not a socially depriving lifestyle. On occasions you may wish to “cheat or treat”, and eat anything you want. Next day simply fast for 18 to 24 hours (depending on the extent of your cheating) and this will burn up all the carbohydrates that you have consumed then continue with your ketogenic lifestyle.

5. The fasting puts the cell of the body into spring cleaning mode which is called autophagy. This was very important in the times of famine to keep the cells at peak efficiency. During autophagy the cell removes much of the debris and worn out cells, and renews them so they function better. This is why the diet is so good, not only making people feel healthy and perform better, but also helps them and their cells to treat and fight many of today’s illnesses.

Most people on this program fewer dramatically better, have more energy and are more mentally alert than previously. Its effects on diseases, can be huge, and it gives our patients a major degree of control in the management of their illnesses.

The eating plan

This is essentially a low carbohydrate way of eating with mildly restricted protein, and are high in fat intake. It encourages fat burning as the primary energy source, rather than carbohydrates (sugars). It is both satisfying and pleasurable, and very easy to follow. It is also not rigid, and people can “cheat” on occasions if they go out for a meal, or times of celebration. Unlike most eating plans, it makes people feel better rather than worse!

1. Reduce carbohydrates (sugars) – these are found in most grains, fruit, tuber vegetables (the parts found underground), sugars, many processed foods. This includes bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cakes and biscuits and sounds difficult, but wait until you see what foods you can eat. Small amounts of fruit and many vegetables are allowed, we need these to provide vitamins, fibre and minerals. We need to eat less than 20 g of carb per day,

2. Protein – unlike the Paleo diet, protein intake should not be excessive as it increases insulin secretion. This is why some of the low-carb diets do not work. If you follow the low-carb rules, and especially plenty of greens, the protein intake should be about ideal.

3. Fat – this makes up the rest. You can eat all meats, fish, dairy, fatty oils, and most nuts. Don’t worry whether the fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated or fully saturated, the only fats you need to avoid are trans fats (which are usually found in processed food).

A very good website with recipes and much more information is www.dietdoctor.com.

WHAT CAN I EAT? - section at the bottom of this page for individual foods and more details.

2. Nutritional supplements – with the reduction in some foods particularly fruit and vegetables, supplements are essential. The diet does cause a lot of salt excretion from the kidneys, which usually takes water with it. (The early weight loss from most diets is due to water loss). So it is important to supplement with salt (drinking broth, eating salted nuts, and putting extra salt on your meals) and drinking plenty of water. We also believe that it is important to take a regular good multivitamin and multi mineral preparation, additional calcium and magnesium and omega-3 fish oils.

3. Regular exercise –

Many diets demand that you leap around in leotards, attend the gym, jog regularly, run, or swim enormous distances in a pool. The theory behind this is to increase the amount of calories burnt using the old formula – calories in minus calories out leads to weight loss. Surprisingly, exercise has only a marginal effect upon weight loss.

If the gym and jogging are your scene, then by all means continue, but for those who prefer to take the dog for a brisk walk on a daily basis, have an enjoyable cycle ride, or gently exercise in the pool, the difference in calorie expended is almost as great. (To remove half a kilogram of fat (1 pound) you need to expand 3500 cal of energy).

Regular mild-to-moderate exercise is beneficial for people both in sickness and in health.

4. Reduce stress –

Stress plays a huge part in our health today. In caveman time escaping from sabertooth tigers or other predators was very stressful, but usually followed by relaxing in the cave if he or she survived. Today stresses are less obvious, frequently suppressed, and are continuous. The effects of ongoing stress on hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are not healthy. They also produce many symptoms such as rapid heart rate, palpitations, poor immunity, headaches, poor memory and concentration, indigestion, weight gain, anxiety, depression and sleep problems.

By reducing stress or dealing with it can hugely add to the benefits of the ketogenic lifestyle. Steps that you can take include:

  • relearn to relax – meditate, pray, controlled deep breathing, listen to music, have a regular massage, read.
  • Watch enjoyable and feel-good movies and television. Read good books.
  • Humour is important. Enjoy life, develop a positive outlook on life and live it with gratitude. See the good that is out there, rather than concentrating on the bad. Take regular exercise in uplifting surroundings.
  • Have a good night's sleep, go to bed early, in a dark room.
  • Join positive groups, develop and nurture friendships.

Find someone to whom you can share your problems. Listen to others as they share with you

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What can we eat?

The keto diet is probably the easiest of all diets to follow, which is very fortunate because for many people it will be their nutritional model for life.

Remember the aim is to keep the carbohydrates to less then 20 to 30 cal per day.

Foods you can eat freely –

  • Meats – any form of meat, domestic or game is fine. This includes lamb, beef, pork, poultry, venison, rabbit and don’t worry about the fat or fat under the skin.
    Be careful with bacon and sausage, they aren’t cured with sugar or have carbs in them as fillers.
  • Seafood – any form of seafood (as well as freshwater fish) is great. This includes fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, any form of shellfish, oysters, mussels, prawns, crayfish, lobster, crab. (Even the classical fish and chips is fine, provided the fishes not flour or breaded, and you don’t eat the chips.)
  • Eggs – you could eat as many eggs as you want, including the yolks. Cooked in any way you wish – fried, boiled, poached, omelette, scrambled.
  • Dairy products – these are fine but note milk does contain a little sugar (galactose ) so is better to have full cream rather than trim milk, because you get the same amount of benefit for the fewer carbs. Butter, cream, double cream, sour cream, high-fat cheeses, yoghurt are all fine. Just check with the label for the amount of carbohydrates in some of the processed products.
    Many people do not do well on dairy as they are lactose intolerant if that is you, use almond milk, or coconut milk as alternative.

Foods that needed little thought

  • Vegetables – the basic principle is that those that grow above the ground have much less carbohydrate than the underground tubers, which are essentially the carbohydrate energy stores for the plants. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and salads, to keep up the fibre, protein and nutrients.
    • Low-carb vegetables – you can eat these pretty much as you want – spinach, lettuce, avocado, celery, coleslaw, olives, artichokes, asparagus, tomato, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, leeks, mushrooms, peas, radishes, salad greens, broccoli, peppers, green beans and Brussels sprouts.
    • Intermediate carb vegetables – you can have these in moderation – carrots, onion, beetroot, parsnip, celeriac and rutabaga.
    • High carb vegetables which you should sadly avoid – these include potato, sweet potato, and underground tubers. (Potato contains 15 to 17 g of carbohydrate per hundred grams, compared with three for a cauliflower). (A tiny helping every now and again will do no harm, but don’t make it a habit.)
  • Nuts and seeds – these do contain some carbs and should be taken in moderation, but are very helpful for snacks. For most foods we are aiming for less than 5 g of carbohydrate per helping. Three small handfuls of nuts contain:
    • 5 g – Macadamia and Brazil nuts
    • 7 g hazelnut, walnuts and peanuts
    • 10 g almonds and pine nuts
    • 18 g pistachios
    • 27 g cashew nuts – sadly he should be off the menu!

Fruits – fruits are a bit of a problem, as they contain many important minerals, vitamins and polyphenols. However they are sweet to encourage birds and insects to pollinate them, and most exceed the 5 cal per helping rule. The best fruits are berries which are much lower in carbohydrates, and delicious with thick cream.

Low-carb fruits – less than 5 g per helping, are mainly berries – raspberries, strawberries, blackberry, boysenberry, blueberries, currants and gooseberries.

Intermediate carb fruits  

7 g per helping – coconut, lemon, plum and melon, half a papaya.

10 g per helping – watermelon, clementeen, cherries, passionfruit, apple, grapefruit, peach and orange.

13 g per helping – pineapple, mango, kiwifruit, pear, apricots.

High carb fruits

16 g per helping – grapes

20 g per helping – bananas

  • Drinks – of course you can drink unlimited water, either carbonated or flat, and you can add some lime or lemon juice, and some drinks sweetened with Stevia are OK. It is better to avoid diet cokes and drinks even if they are low in carb, to move away from having a sweet tooth.
    • Coffee, tea or have 0 cal of carbohydrate.
    • Red and white wine have 2 cal of carb per glass, the sweet wines (Moscato) have a little more.
    • Whiskey, brandy, tequila, dry martini, vodka, all have zero carbohydrates.
    • A bloody Mary has 7 g, a margarita eight, Cosmopolitan 13, gin and tonic 16, Rum and Coke 39!
    • Beers – these are a bit more complicated, read what is on the label, but some ultralight beers have very little carbohydrate.

Note if you’re trying to lose weight, alcohol is pure energy and will be burnt before fat, so it may be best to go on the wagon and avoid all alcohol until you achieve your desired weight.

  • Snacks – while it is best to try and eat only three meals a day, snacking can help, particularly if your program includes less than three daily meals. Have some snacks available in the cupboard or fridge, but also drink plenty of water.
    • Hard-boiled eggs, devilled eggs.
    • Cheeses of all varieties.
    • Bone broth
    • lettuce wraps and veggie sticks
    • avocados, salami, olives, a few nuts (Macadamia, pecan, walnuts or Brazil)
    • flaxseeds or Chia seeds added to the nut mixes
    • low-carb dips or cream cheese dips with celery, cucumber, pepper or carrot
    • pork rinds, pepperoni sticks, beef jerky, bacon.
    • bacon wrapped Mozilla sticks,
    • keto friendly dark chocolate (greater than 80% cocoa content)
    • low-carb bars (NB read the label)
    • cherry tomato, dried seaweed,
    • sugar-free low-calorie jelly, keto ice cream, keto chocolate mousse
    • keto smoothies and shakes, keto cookies
  • Desserts – the simplest desserts are berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberry’s) with thick double cream. Make certain that it is not thickened cream which can contain sugar.
    There are many other recipes for low carb desserts including pancakes, waffles, cheesecakes, ice creams, mousses – all can be made while sticking to the keto rules.

What about breakfast?

This is probably the most commonly asked questions, as most of the meals are self-explanatory.

  • The first answer is do you really need breakfast? For many people on the ketogenic diet, hunger is not a problem in many people find that skipping breakfast and making lunch the first meal of the day is all they need. For some a cup of bullet-proof coffee is all they need. Skipping breakfast gives people a great deal more time at the beginning of the day, and it is surprising how unnecessary breakfast really is. However many people feel that this meal is exactly what it says – breaking the fast, and are wedded to their toast and jam, porridge, fruit and cereals every morning. If this is a habit you cannot break, there are many other keto alternatives:
    • bacon and eggs with mushroom and tomato
    • eggs of any sort – boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, or omelettes. For those who like some bread underneath, there are recipes for low carb bread and some commercial breads cut thin may be acceptable – read the label.
    • asparagus and eggs
    • roll ups – lettuce with cheese, ham, roast beef, salmon, asparagus
    • stuffed peppers with pork, chicken grated cheese
    • stuffed mushrooms
    • nut/seed muesli with berries and thick cream
    • berries and thick cream
    • Green or berry smoothies
    • low carb bread or toast with butter, peanut butter, Marmite or your favourite non-jam topping.
    • Low-carb pancakes with berry purée and bacon
    • Fish sardines, kippers, whitebait fritters…….

I think you get the idea, the possibilities are endless but may take a little preparation.

What should I avoid or not eat?

It goes without saying that anything that has high sugar or high carb content should be avoided, other than tiny amounts, or on days when you are “cheating”.

  • Sugar – this includes soft drinks, sweets, juices, sports drinks, cakes, most ice creams, buns, pastry and breakfast cereals.
  • Wheat and grain – flour and wheat products such as breads, buns, pasta, crackers, porridge, muesli (noted as possible to make low-carb versions of these (see recipes)).
  • Rice – unfortunately all varieties of rice are high carb.
  • Corn products including popcorn
  • potatoes and sweet potatoes

What about eating out?

Do not tell people that you’re on some restricted diet, that even if they know, show them just how simple it is by making easy and sensible choices.

Note if you’re eating out, you could use this opportunity to “cheat/treat”. Have a fast the following day.

  • Buffet restaurants – remember to avoid or don’t eat grains, potatoes and sugar. Focus on the salads, carving stations, seafood spreads, vegetable platters, chicken, Caesar salad (minus croutons).
  • Mexican – use a burrito bowl with pork, steak, chicken or fajita veggies, grilled meat, seafood with spices are excellent. No rice, not too many beans, load up on the meat, cheese guacamole, sour cream and salsa.
  • Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese – stay away from choices that are battered or tasted sweet. Curries made with meat, seafood and low-carb vegetables without rice. Order crispy duck (without the sweet sauce), stirfry slot, thin soups, suchimi, seaweed. Ask for a Bento box and you choose what to leave out. If Shirataki noodles are available, these are low in carbs.
  • Indian restaurants – these tend to be centred around rice, breads and Nam, but it is fairly easy to choose a nice meal if you ignore these. Curries (without potatoes), meat in creamy sauces like chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, tandoori dishes, kebabs or spinach saag
  • Pizza – leave the crust on the plate, and load up with the toppings. Ask for a knife and fork to avoid eating the crust.
  • Italian – order dishes with chicken, seafood, veal and pork, with the flavourings that make the cuisine special. Avoid pasta, rice and polenta.

Recipes and more information www.dietdoctor.com  and ruledme.com

there are many recipes on these sites, and I would encourage you spend some time perusing them, and finding meals that you would really like.

Diet Doctor is a superb site containing a lot of information, videos, recipes and advice. I would strongly recommend that you go to the site and join up, you have one month free and after that it is nine dollars per month, and you can stop at any time. There is a very powerful search end of the top rated edge of every page.

Ruled me.com is also a very comprehensive site with a lot of information and recipes. It does, mostly on losing weight and I would endorse most of the information on its pages.