Tag Archives: Ketosis

Biohacking Update: 10 months of Ketosis

petra8paleo_2For 11 months I have been experimenting with ketogenic versions of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

11 months: 10 of them ketogenic.

Quick Summary

Last April I started the Wahls Paleo Plus. I tweaked it to be compliant with the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

I loved being ketogenic~.

I did that for 3½ months & then experimented with a super low-carb ketogenic version of the AIP for 3½ months. I wanted to find out how low I could get my carbohydrate levels, and what that would do to me.

In between those two protocols, I did a regular AIP for a month, to remember what running on glucose feels like.

Both times it took me 40 days to get keto-adapted.

Since December, I’ve been experimenting with my third ketogenic protocol, the Bulletproof Diet. It’s naturally compliant with the AIP except in one respect: Bulletproof Coffee is a core part of the protocol, so I’m including low-toxin coffee & grass-fed butter in my diet, neither of which are AIP.

The Results

Wahls Paleo Plus

Dr Terry Walhs: Up from the Chair ~photo by KC McGinnis

Dr Terry Walhs: Up from the Chair ~photo by KC McGinnis

The WahlsPaleo+ was developed for nutrient density to promote cellular health, particularly brain health, as it was designed to reverse multiple sclerosis.

It includes coconut oil at every meal to maintain ketosis at higher carbohydrate levels, as it relies heavily on the nutrients available in vegetables. For more information I highly recommend The Wahls Protocol (2014).

I read this book when it came out last Spring & immediately decided to try the WahlsPaleo+. Not just for my own health, but also as a way to address my concerns about paleo economics & nutritional ethics.

I integrated fat as my primary food group & found ways to include liver and heart in my diet on a regular basis.

Dr Wahls is formulaic about carbohydrates: both quantities and types of vegetables. I tracked my food & found that I had better energy & clarity on the days I followed her vegetable recommendations strictly: if I included colourful, sulfur-rich and dark green leafy vegetables, not just every day but in each of my two meals.

By May, I started living in a state of ‘flow’ much of the time, & having regular peak experiences. By July, it became apparent that eating this way might have enormous potential for my career.

Through experimentation, I found my way to a semi-ketogenic version of the Wahlspaleo+ (which I was pleased to later find as a component of the Bulletproof Diet).

Super Low-Carb Ketogenic Experiment

Me

Reading Keto Clarity

Going in, I knew that a super low-carb ketogenic diet was rumored to cause hormonal imbalances, disrupted sleep and weight gain.

Particularly in women.

And especially in women over 40.

But after reading Jimmy Moore’s Keto-Clarity, which advocates a super low-carb ketogenic diet, and even goes so far as to say that achieving ketosis through the use of MCT oil might be ‘cheating’, I decided to try it for myself.

I wanted to find out what happened to my performance and energy levels when I reduced carbohydrates substantially. I ate carbs in high fat foods like avocados, olives & coconut, as well as small servings of sauerkraut, cucumber, and greens. I kept the MCT oil in.

The results?

I can totally surviove on a super low carb diet, but I don’t thrive. As predicted, a super low-carb ketogenic diet seems to cause hormonal imbalances, disrupted sleep and weight gain~.

Other factors:

  • I pulled off the most auspicious & intense season of my career ever while on this variation, but without the superhuman benefits I experienced on the WahlsPaleo+;
  • I was also experimenting with reduced exercise; &
  • 66.6% of my children had fairly significant crises that added substantially to my stress.

I learned (again) that I’m optimized when I eat more carbohydrates.

Bulletproof

Reading The Bulletproof Diet

Reading The Bulletproof Diet

The Bulletproof Diet book was released last December.

I switched before I’d even finished reading it.

It’s a semi-ketogenic protocol that, like the WahlsPaleo+, is aligned with the AIP. But with some important variations.

The following are the changes I’ve made in going bulletproof:

  • Getting strict about a 6-hour eating window, which means getting back in the habit of bringing food to work (which I loved being emancipated from). In the Fall I was eating 2 meals a day, with a long overnight fast but I wasn’t strict about the window, except on weekends. On weekdays I’d eat just before I left for work & as soon as I got home. When I could, I’d arrange to work from home in the morning or late afternoon to shorten the window, but that wasn’t always possible.
  • Increasing vegetables (I was eating minimal vegetables on my super low-carb diet).
  • Putting starches (root vegetables) back in. At present I’m eating starches thrice a week or so, but I’ll tinker with that until I find the perfect level.
  • I’m moving berry fudge from my midday to my evening meal. Likewise, keeping starches in my evening meal.
  • Removing mushrooms, which I am rather fond of.
  • Instituting Bulletproof Coffee daily. As mentioned, coffee is not part of the AIP: I was off coffee entirely when I went Bulletproof. Previously, I’d just fast between my 2 meals, but Bulletproof Coffee is a third (the first) meal on the bulletproof protocol.

Something I want to do regularly but haven’t been religious about yet (because I’ve felt that I’ve needed adrenal recovery time after my super low carb protocol):

I won’t consider my 3½ months on the Bulletproof Diet to have officially started until I start protein fasting on a regular basis.

What do I love about being in ketosis?

Here’s 10 things.

 

 

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Hot Woman Shake (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Hot Woman Shake 4‘Hot’ in this recipe title refers to the shake.

It’s a hot shake~.

But it might also make you a hot woman. Or a warm one. And it might help with hot flashes.

This shake is a variant of the London Fog Latte, which itself was inspired by Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee (coffee’s not allowed on the Autoimmune Protocol, but tea is). Even more credit goes to Dave Asprey for this hot shake, which I now have almost daily with my midday meal:

  • First because Dave recommends that women over 40 (& people with a lot of weight to lose) add grass-fed collagen to their bulletproof coffee to help reset leptin levels. Collagen holds the human body together, which is pretty hard to argue with.
  • Second, now that I’m on the Bulletproof Diet (my third ketogenic protocol in the past 9 months) I’ve reorganized the timing of my food. I used to eat a piece of berry fudge with each of my meals, to keep me in ketosis, but the Bulletproof Diet recommends reserving higher carb foods, like berries, for the evening meal.

So I still have fudge with supper, but I needed a new way to get MCT oils into me at midday, to boost my ketones and to deliver a good quantity of fat for satiation.

Hot Woman Shake ComponentsI also needed a portable format, to bring to work. And it’s January in Canada, so my new fat delivery-system needed to be hot.

So, the Hot Woman Shake was born.

She rocks me~.

Raspberry Leaf

Raspberry Leaf  has been traditionally used by women to support uterine health. It is known to ease painful or heavy periods, and generally nourish the female reproductive system.

I’ve experimented with Raspberry Leaf tea or the past year, using it daily for a month, then taking it out for a month or two & observing the effects. Based on these self-experiments, I’m getting pretty convinced that it’s something I want to include in my health & optimization protocol on a regular basis.

Midday mealMy findings? Raspberry leaf tea alleviates drama from my menstrual cycles: my cycles are more regular, my periods are less heavy and shorter, and I have no cramps when I drink it.

Now that my daily Raspberry Leaf tea gets delivered in a delicious hot-shake format, I’m even more fervent~.

A midday meal for peak experience: reheat a Victorious Offal Muffin, make a Hot Woman Shake, add sliced Avocado & Cucumber with Olives.

Hot Woman Shake (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoHot Woman Shake

  • 2½ cups boiling Water
  • 2 Raspberry Leaf teabags
  • 1 tin additive-free Coconut Milk
  • ¼ teaspoon Vanilla Powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed Collagen
  • 1-2 tablespoon MCT Oil

Advance prep: Refrigerate the tin of coconut milk for a few hours or overnight (I just keep a couple of tins in the fridge at all times).

Steep the tea in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, scoop the coconut cream out of the tin of coconut milk. Save the coconut water for another use.

Put the coconut cream and vanilla in a saucepan & heat. Squeeze the tea bags to get the goodness out & add the steeped tea to the saucepan. As soon as this mixture comes to a low boil, pour it into a blender.

Add the Collagen & MCT Oil and whirl until frothy.

Pour into mugs & enjoy~.

Hot Woman Shake 2go 2Portable Variation

I prep this in the morning & bring it to work with me. If  you can find a place to boil water & steep tea when you’re out, your Hot Woman Shake is portable.

Hot Woman Shake 2goBefore you leave the house, put the coconut cream, collagen and vanilla in a saucepan & heat.

Stir frequently to combine & keep the cream from burning. When bubbling hot, pour into a small thermos container.

Pour the MCT oil into a liter/quart-sized mason jar. Add a wisk ball. Put the lid on.

Bring your tea bags, thermos & jar along. When it’s time: brew your tea, pour it into the mason jar, along with the contents of the thermos. Put the lid back on the jar & shake vigorously.

 

Hot Woman Shake 2

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Book Review: The Bulletproof Diet

BulletproofI adore Dave Asprey’s book The Bulletproof Diet.

I’m really into Biohacking. And Dave Asprey is the emperor of biohackers: the originator of Bulletproof coffee; the instigator of the Biohacking Conference; and the developer of  the Bulletproof Executive brand of biohacking products.

Over the past year, I’ve extensively tested  a couple of Dave’s products (Coffee & MCT oil) & I’ve determined that they genuinely optimize my life. I also use his Vanilla Powder regularly. Though I haven’t given it a robust n=1, I do know it makes me happy.

So you’d think I’d have been all over this book!

But I was skeptical.

I’d read some disparaging things online. Suggestions that Dave was using the book to repackage a ketogenic diet under his own ‘Bulletproof’ brand name. This critique was specifically about his infrequent reference to ketosis & his preference for the word ‘Bulletproof’ in the book. Having read that, I erroneously figured this book was mostly marketing for Bulletproof Executive products, and let it subside from my reading list.

Until it practically jumped off the shelf into my arms in a bookshop on a recent trip to Vancouver.

I bought it. And devoured it.

The Bulletproof Diet

This book won me over in 4 ways:

Alignment

Dave Asprey quoteI’ve been on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) for more than a year, which is pretty rare for a healthy person.

During this time I’ve explored ketogenic variations of the protocol, including an AIP-compliant version of the Wahls Paleo Plus.

Most people think the Autoimmune Protocol is fairly hardcore & don’t resort to it until they’ve tried everything else in an attempt to manage their autoimmune symptoms.

But the Bulletproof diet is entirely aligned with the AIP.

Like the Wahls Paleo Plus & the Autoimmune Protocol, the Bulletproof Diet is a variation on the extreme-paleo theme. But it’s the first of it’s kind (that I know of) that’s designed for humans generally, not just as a last resort for people with debilitating health conditions (like Dr Terry Wahls or my husband Matthew).

I’m enthusiastic about the potential of the Autoimmune Protocol for everyone. I feel so amazing, I’ll know never go back.

BookCoverFocus

There’ too much information out there. Misinformation, opinion & grains of truth. All mixed together in a prickly thicket on the internet.

Dave clears a path through the jungle.

For example, the Bulletproof Diet focuses on on Lectins, Phylates, Oxalates, & Mold Toxins as being worthy of our attention. And Dave explains why.

It also trailblazes by focusing on the autonomy of the individual in interacting with the protocol, in tandem with the power of a biohacking approach to provide data as changes are made.

TriangulationTriangulation

This book triangulated my own biohacking research beautifully. Including reinforcing & accelerating the experiments I’ve been running.

Dave has also vailidated his own research. He’s taken published research & the results his own biohacking experiments, then triangulated those with the results he’s observed in his clients & other pioneer biohackers.

Continuum

Dave offers a ‘roadmap’ food choices that range from ‘Bulletproof’ to ‘Kryptonite’. Unlike most other protocols, which simply provide a list of legal & off-limits foods, this roadmap is presented as a continuum of choices, enabling participants to see all the options while still exerting free will.

kryptoniteI think the ‘Kryptonite’ label is particularly evocative.

The Bulletproof Diet Roadmap & shopping list are both available as free downloads on the Bulletproof Executive website.

Despite encourging choice, Dave advocates sticking with the full Bulletproof diet for 2 weeks at first (16 days less than most elimination diets).

Critique

I have none.

In place of my own critique, I can address the ketosis/Bulletproof complaint that nearly dissuaded me from reading this book.

Ketosis is an element of the Bulletproof Diet. An important one.

But this diet is intermittently ketogenic. Interestingly, last Spring I came to the conclusion that ‘semi-ketogenic’ might be optimal for me, but Dave has provided proof (& a foolproof approach to achieving a semi-ketogenic state.)

‘Bulletproof’ also includes attention to specific types of  toxicity found in common foods, including foods that are often included in strict healing protocols.

And this book doesn’t just address diet. It covers lifestyle hacks for sleep, exercise & fertility.

In short, being Bulletproof isn’t just about ketosis.

And my theory that the book might be a marketing scheme for Bulletproof Executive Products?

Dave is careful to provide alternatives strategies so no one has to buy Bulletproof products. Even as he explains the benefits of lab testing to ensure minimal exposure to mold toxins. And the leverage that can be realized through the use of MCT oil. And some of the other benefits of products available through the Bulletproof Executive line. Given my personal expereince with the quality of these products, I think that’s fair.

Application

Bulletproof Diet: My vote for best beach book, Winter 2015

Bulletproof Diet: My vote for best beach book, Winter 2015

I’ve been experimenting with ketogenic versions of the Autoimmune Protocol for 8 months. 3½ months on the Wahls Paleo Plus and 3½ months on my own super low-carb variation, with a month in between to remember what running on glucose feels like.

I’m going to post a biohacking update soon to summarize my findings, but as to the applicability of the Bulletproof Diet, the short version is: I’m convinced & I’m switching.

3½ months on the Bulletproof Diet. Starting now.

 

 

 

 

 

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London Fog Latte (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Mmmm

Yak butter tea is a primary food in Tibet, providing the essential fat that enables people to thrive, spiritually and physically, in a harsh environment.

This London Fog latte is a (much less pungent) variation on the theme. It is warming and stimulating while also providing high-quality fat to help you rock your day.

In Tibet, tea, salt and yak butter are churned into a hot frothy beverage. At my house, coconut cream, MCT oil, vanilla & tea are whirled in a blender.

I’ve heard that yak butter tea is an acquired taste. Especially when the butter is rancid . But ~I promise~ this tea latte is love-at-first-sip.

Dave Asprey used Yak Butter Tea as the inspiration for his Bulletproof Coffee. This bring the beverage back to it’s roots… with tea~!

It’s also AIP-complaint & extremely friendly to a ketogenic protocol such as the Wahls Paleo Plus.

London Fog LattePre-AIP, I loved London Fogs. Not those sweet drinks they make in coffeeshops with vanilla-flavoured syrup, but homemade, with frothy milk, vanilla extract & Earl Grey tea. I have no idea why I gave them up, because this AIP version is actually better than the London Fogs I used to make.

In fact I’ve been drinking these daily throughout these chilly, foggy, damp late-Autumn days.

In the winter months, it only makes sense to keep a couple of tins of coconut milk in the fridge so you’re always ready to counteract any accumulating interior or exterior gloom with a hot frothy London Fog.

London Fog Latte (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleo

  • 1 tin full-fat no-additive Coconut Milk, refrigerated
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Powder
  • 2 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon MCT Oil (optional)

Drink!Advance prep: Chill the tin of coconut milk in the refrigerator for several hours, to separate the cream from the coconut water.

Scoop the coconut cream out of tin into a saucepan. Reserve the coconut water for another use.

Pour the boiling water over the tea bags & steep for just 2 minutes.

Add the steeped tea & the vanilla powder to the saucepan & heat until bubbling.

Pour the hot mixture into a blender, add the MCT oil (if using) & blend on high for 30 seconds.

Pour into 2 mugs & be in love with life.

Note: MCT oil can take a while to get used to, digestively speaking. If it is new to you, start with 1 teaspoon & gradually increase the quantity. MCT oil is a liquid nutritional supplement made from refined coconut & red palm oils.

Rooibos Variation

Substitute rooibos for black tea for a delicious caffeine-free version.

Vanilla Coconut Cream

Drink Me

 

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Macronutrient Cupcakes (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Macro Cupcakes 2Yesterday in my Fun with Fudge post, I admitted that ‘Macronutrient Cupcakes’ is not the sexiest name of all time.

However, if you’re geeky about nutrition (& I’d say that if you’re into the Autoimmune Protocol, you’re already officially sitting at the nerd table in the cafeteria of life) it’s pretty thrilling to find all your macronutrients in one easy-to-assimilate cupcake.

Macro Cupcake

Raspberry-avocado fudge with blueberry gelatin

Where do the macronutrients come from?

  • Protein from grass-fed gelatin;
  • Fat from avocado & coconut oil;
  • Carbohydrate from berries & coconut butter.

Add a Victorious Offal Muffin &  a few handfuls of greens & you could live on these!

Macronutrient cupcakes fit beautifully into my Build-a-Breakfast strategy, in which breakfast (or any meal) is constructed out of ready-made units. Constructing meals out of ready-made units allows for ever-evolving combinations, which ensures variety & makes a strict dietary protocol easy, including on weekday mornings.

Put Macronutrient Cupcakes into your rotation!

Rosehip~raspberry~avocado

Blueberry-avocado fudge with rosehip-raspberry gelatin

Macronutrient Cupcakes (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoMacro Cupcakes again

  • 3 herbal tea bags
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup coconut butter
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut oil
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cups fresh or defrosted raspberries
  • 2 cups fresh or defrosted blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla powder
  • 3 tablespoons Gelatin

Advance prep

Steep the 3 herbal tea bags in 1 cup boiling water. You can do this 2-12 hours in advance. The tea should be strong & cool before you proceed with the gelatin.

The raspberries should be room temperature.

Raspberry~Avocado Fudge

Preheat oven to 300

Put the coconut butter & oil in an oven-proof bowl & warm in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, line an 18-muffin tin (or tins) with parchment muffin cups.

Put the room-temperature raspberries & avocado in a food processor & whirl to combine.

Remove the coconut butter & oil from the oven & add to the food processor bowl. Whirl thoroughly to combine & spoon into each muffin cup, filling each 3/4 full.

Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator or freezer while you prepare the gelatin.

Blueberry Gelatin

In a saucepan, heat the blueberries & Vanilla Powder with half a cup of the steeped & cooled herbal tea until hot & bubbling.

Pour the remaining half cup of cool tea in a wide bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Stir to combine, pressing out any lumps of gelatin with the back of the spoon.

Puree the hot blueberry mixture in a food processor (no need to wash it after the fudge) & add the hot puree to the waiting gelatin. Stir to combine, ensuring the gelatin is fully dissolved.

Spoon the gelatin mixture on top of the fudge in each muffin cup.

Refrigerate several hours until set. Lift each Macronutrient Cupcake out of the tin and store them in a glass container in the fridge.

These freeze well.

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Fun with Fudge

Still life with PB&J fudgeI eat berry fudge daily.

It’s my #1 strategy for maintaining ketosis on my ketogenic variation of the Autoimmune Protocol. And it’s yummy.

I’ve posted a number of fudge recipes:

  1. Avocado~Lime Blackberry Fudge;
  2. PB&J Ice Cream Cupcake Fudge;
  3. Strawberry Shortcake Fudge; &
  4. Blue~Raspberry Fudge.
  5. Basic Berry Fudge (scroll down).

But today I’m here to say that you can have even more fun with fudge. Here’s 4 ways:

Scary eyeball fudge 2

Scary eyeball fudge!

Hallowe’en Fudge

Scary bloodshot eyeball fudge… eat & be horrified!

For Hallowe’en fun, make a batch of Basic Berry Fudge with Blueberries. Put two fresh strawberries  in each muffin cup before you pour the fudge mixture in.

Refrigerate & cut each fudge cupcake, so each half can stare at you…

Fudge Candy

Fudge Candy

Fudge Candy

Fudge. Candy shaped & candy sized.

If you have a silicon mold for making gummies with grass-fed gelatin (see Pontefract Cakes & Raspberry~Rosehip Gummies) you can use it for fudge, too. Put the silicon mold on a baking pan or other flat surface, pour your fudge (any kind) into the mold & freeze. Once frozen, pop the candies out of the mold & store in the freezer or refrigerator.

Alternatively, use a mini muffin tin for your fudge.

Macronutrient Cupcakes

I know ‘macronutrient cupcakes’ is not a very sexy name.

However, if you’re at all nerdy about nutrition, it is pretty thrilling to find all your macros in something that looks & tastes like a cupcake.

You could technically live on these….

That recipe up tomorrow!

Macronutrient Cupcake!

Macronutrient Cupcake~

Ketotastic Fudge

This is the version I fudge I currently eat daily.

As my fudge recipes have evolved, they have become higher in fat & lower in carbohydrate, in keeping with my interest in a ketogenic version of the Autoimmune Protocol & in keeping fat as my primary food group.

This ketotastic fudge recipe decreases the ratio of coconut butter & increases the coconut oil. It also replaces some of the berries with avocado, which I assure you is not at all weird.

Unless you make it with blueberries & avocado, then the purple and green create a yummy but strange shade of grey. All the red berries make very pretty pink Ketotastic Cupcakes when combined with avocado.

This recipe also deviates from earlier fudge versions in that it makes a double-batch. Because mathematically speaking, more fudge+less time in the kitchen=happiness.

Ketotastic Fudge (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleo

Ketogenic Breakfast

  • 2 cups coconut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut oil
  • 4 cups fresh or defrosted berries
  • 3 huge or 5 small ripe avocados
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 300

You can use fresh or frozen berries. If the berries are frozen, defrost them to room temperature, or add them to the coconut oil & coconut butter to heat through.

In any case, warm the coconut butter & oil in the oven in an oven-proof bowl for 20 minutes.

Line 2 12-muffin tins with parchment muffin cups.

Add the berries & avocado (& vanilla powder, if using) to a food processor & whirl to combine.

Remove the coconut butter & oil from the oven & add to the food processor.

Whirl again until thoroughly combined & spoon the warm fudge mixture into each muffin cup.

Refrigerate or freeze the fudge in the muffin tins for a few hours or overnight. Transfer to a glass container or freezer bag & store in the freezer.

Toasted Coconut Variation

Extend the time the coconut butter & coconut oil spend in the oven from 20 to 40 minutes, until the coconut butter begins to brown. Proceed as directed.

Mini fudge cupcakes 2

Ketotastic fudge mini cupcakes~

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10 reasons to consider a ketogenic Autoimmune Protocol

Ketogenic Breakfast

Ketogenic Breakfast

I’ve been on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) for 10 months. For 6 of those months, I’ve been experimenting with ketogenic variations of the AIP.

The top 10 things I love about being in ketosis:

  1. When I’m ketogenic I don’t get hungry in the afternoon. I don’t have to bring any food with me to work. Or go find food in the middle of the day. Though I still get to watch my coworkers do that on a daily basis!
  2. I don’t have an energy slump in the 2nd half of my workday. My energy is consistent and I can push through with sustained focus, all afternoon, which has been great for my career.
  3. I prefer the quality of my consciousness when I am in ketosis. It is something about sustained focus, but it also has a spiritual quality, a peak experience quality, that I am in completely love with. It feels different to run my body on ketones.
  4. My blood sugar is truly stabilized. In a way it has never been before. I have a new base of stability in my life.
  5. I eat less. Not in an anorexic way, but in a way that leaves more food for other people on this crowded little planet. In fact, it was my interest in Paleo Economics & Nutritional Ethics that first got me into ketosis.
  6. I eat less animal protein. It’s been 2 1/2 years since I started eating meat ( & I’ve learned to adore it), but I remain concerned about the welfare of the animals we raise for food. If I eat less meat, I can ensure that all the meat I consume is raised ethically and humanely. I can minimize (or completely eliminate) the suffering of the animals I eat.
  7. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    Summer vegetables in Canada

    My life is more sustainable. I can reduce the environmental impacts of the food production systems I rely on. Not just the environmental impacts of factory farming of animals, but also the quantity of organic vegetables that need to be shipped from Mexico during the long Canadian off-season, when locally grown produce is hard to find.

  8. I’m financially better off. Significantly, actually. Good quality food is expensive. Because I eat less of it, I have more money in my bank account. To pay down some of the debt we’ve accumulated over the years that Matthew has been debilitated by autoimmune conditions. Or for a trip to Hawai’i, maybe!
  9. I spend less time sourcing & preparing food. Less time in the kitchen & at the grocery store means more time for other things! Like writing blog posts, doing yoga & chilling with my children.
  10. Last but not least, ketosis is currently being investigated as a healing protocol for a number of serious health conditions, including cancer.

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Build-a-Breakfast (AIP~)

breakfastWeekday breakfast is not the time to be messing around.

That’s why I build my breakfasts out of units. Like lego.

My typical breakfast units:

  • An avocado, sliced, with salt;
  • Berry fudge;
  • A handful of gummies;
  • A victorious offal muffin reheated in tin foil in the oven ~or~ something meaty cooked in the slow cooker overnight like a Lamb Shank ~or~ a bowl of Sunday Stew;
  • And a unit of carbohydrate (A how-to about turn carbohydrates into units, below.)

Here’s how it works: Assemble units; Eat.

Almost as easy as Corn Flakes!

Assemble Your Breakfast Units

Ketogenic Breakfast

Baked salmon, avocado, greens cooked in bone broth, cauli-mash & fudge

As mentioned, you might have put something meaty in the slow cooker the night before. I’m not sure why but whenever I have a Lamb Shank for breakfast I have a fantastic day.

In any case, first thing in the morning, start with the units that need to be warmed up.

Turn on the oven to 350. If you don’t have the slow cooker going or, you’ll need protein. Wrap a victorious offal muffin in tin foil & set it on the rack. Take a unit of carbohydrate out of the fridge & pop it in beside it.

Go get ready for your day for 20 minutes or so (30 minutes if the meat muffin was frozen).

Then take the fudge out the freezer to defrost slightly. Cut the avocado. Pull the gummies out of the fridge. Take the meat muffin & vegetables out of the oven & assemble all your units on a plate.

Eat breakfast.

Have a wicked day.

Vary Your Units

lego spaceship

Customize your breakfast, lego-style.

Just like with lego, you can build a simple, utilitarian spaceship/breakfast or an elaborate one. You can build the same old beloved, trusted thing with your units every day or mix it up.

There’s only one secret: Have units on hand.

Make a batch of meat muffins & berry fudge & gummies on the weekend & freeze them. Make double each time you make cauli or brocolli mash & refrigerate in single-serving oven-proof containers with lids. Lay in green avocados to ripen.

How 2: Turn Carbohydrates into Breakfast Units

On the AIP, carbohydrates are mostly vegetables. Sugar is limited, so fruit is minimal.

Turning carbohydrates into breakfast units can happen one of two ways:

  1. Make a batch & divide it into single-serving oven-proof containers with lids;
  2. Put your leftovers into single-serving oven-proof containers with lids.UnitsA brilliant carbohydrate for breakfast is Cauli or Broccoli Mash.

Or Broccoli-Bacon-Anchovy stuffed Mushrooms. If you want to be fancy.

Or greens cooked in bone broth with salt & sea vegetable flakes.

Or zucchini slices fried on low heat in an ample amount of bacon fat until soft & browned.

Or 2 vegetables cooked in bone broth with salt & sea vegetable flakes:

  • Mushrooms & cilantro;
  • Celery & onion;
  • Cabbage & parsley.

 For AIP variations

On a ketogenic version of the AIP, plan to have high-fat units on hand: avocado, high-fat meat, fudge, olives. Then infill with protein & carbohydrate as required. Your carbohydrates are vegetables. The low carb ones. Cooked in fat. And some berries, maybe. In fudge.

On a low-FODMAP version of the AIP, your carbohydrates are still mostly vegetables. The low-FODMAP ones. And some low-FODMAP fruit. And you’ll remove avocado from your unit rotation.

 

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Friendly Fats for Paleo Protocols (AIP, low-FODMAP & WahlsPaleo+)

TallowNow that I’m ketogenic, fat is my main food group.

This seems really normal to me, but I can tell I’m way out on the far-flung edge of the bell curve whenever someone asks what I eat, and I say “I mostly eat fat.”

They look perplexed & ask “What kind of fat?”

And I say “Coconut Oil, Avocados, and Animal Fat mostly.”

When I say it out loud, it starts to sound sort of unlikely, even to me.

But it’s true.

Many ketogenic people have more diverse sources of fat to choose from. A lot of them eat full-fat pastured dairy & include high fat nuts & seeds. Though I adore nuts, I’m on an AIP-compliant ketogenic diet (love it!), so dairy, nuts & seeds are off my list.

Being ketogenic is easy, actually. It’s wonderful, actually.

It just sounds a little weird to say that fat is your primary food group. Out loud. So I’ll type it quietly instead.

You don’t have to be ketogenic to benefit from increasing your fat intake. Healthy fat feeds your brain & helps with satiation, no matter what your protocol.

For reference, here’s a list of fats that are legal on a variety of Paleo protocols, (starting with the strictest).

Healthy Fats

Wondering which Protocol to start with? I wrote a blog post about that!

Our Current Protocols

As mentioned, just now I’m on a ketogenic version of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Matthew is on a non-ketogenic low-FODMAP version of the AIP.

We settled there after self-experimentation with all of the various Paleo protocols listed above. We’ve each found the pattern of eating that enables us to optimize our well-being:

  • For Matthew that means a reduction in autoimmune & other symptoms;
  • For me it means previously imagined (arguably extreme) levels of high-performance awesomeness.

Our biohacking experiments continue. In our quest for healing & peak experience, we expect the protocols we follow will continue to evolve.

A ketogenic version of the AIP is currently my happy place.

KetosisAvocado

Interested in my ketogenic AIP & Wahls Paleo Plus experiments?

I intentionally kicked myself out of ketosis in August, but I experienced a decline in performance, so I got back in. I think I’m still getting keto-adapted after those few weeks of higher-carb eating, but I’m already experiencing the benefits I had before.

This time I’m experimenting with reducing my carbohydrates still further to find out what that does to my overall well-being.

… & low-FODMAP

I don’t know if any contemporary humans are working on sustaining ketosis on a low-FODMAP version of the AIP, but moderating coconut products makes it challenging.

Matthew tried this hack & his (very) low tolerance for coconut oil cause him to abandon the experiment.

He’s quite sensitive to FODMAPs generally, but tolerates Red Palm Oil. That’s hardly definitive evidence about where Red Palm Oil sits on the FODMAP spectrum but it’s the only data we’ve got at the moment.

Friendly Fats for Paleo Protocols

  • Time: Does it exist independently of the mind?
  • Print
 from petra8paleo

Low-FODMAP version of the Autoimmune Protocol

  • All animal fats (from pastured animals);
  • Coconut Oil (In moderation);
  • Full-fat coconut milk (In moderation);
  • Coconut Butter (In moderation);
  • Red Palm Oil (No data about need moderate: possibly);
  • MCT oil (In moderation);
  • Olive Oil & Olives;

Autoimmune Protocol

  • All Of the above, plus:
  • Coconut Oil;
  • Full-fat coconut milk;
  • Coconut Butter;
  • Avocados;

Wahls Paleo Plus

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Nuts & seeds (in moderation);

Paleo

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Nuts & Seeds;
  • Some people include pastured Ghee.

Primal

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Full-fat pastured Dairy.

 

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Book Review: Keto Clarity

Me

(Note: check out my Biohacking Update from February 2015 for details about my sub-optimal results of my 3½ month super-low-carb experiment.)

I’d been in ketosis for 3½ months (on a ketogenic version of the Autoimmune Protocol) before I read Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet by Jimmy Moore with Eric C. Westman.

I’ve shared a bit about the results of my ketogenic experiments in the posts Biohacking for Peak Experience and Biohacking for Career Leverage.

Even though I was in love with ketosis, I still had questions.

I’d tried online research, but everything I found was contradictory: ketosis is bad; ketosis is freaking awesome; more ketosis is better; there is no such thing as more ketosis, urine test strips are useful; urine test strips are useless; ‘carb cycling’ is necessary; or unnecessary; or we’re really not sure. That and incomprehensible scientific explanations about the biological processes involved in ketosis that I really, truly tried to read.

Even though I didn’t have all the information I wanted, I stuck with a ketogenic diet because:

  1. Terry Wahls says it’s good & she’s a wizard;
  2. It feels amazing; &
  3. It addresses my ethical issues about being paleo.

But I didn’t really, completely know if ketosis was a valid, sustainable approach to running my life in the long term. Until I read this book. Now I’m utterly convinced that ketosis is for me (and that it’s probably for you, too).

Keto Clarity: My reviewKeto Clarity

Moore (& Westman) have written a comprehensible & comprehensive book on ketogenic lifestyle.

It’s readable. As soon as it arrived in the mail, Keto Carity interrupted both the historical novels I’d been previously immersed in. I read it cover to cover.

Things I liked

  1. The book includes the expertise of 22 additional ketogenic experts, including medical doctors, researchers, elite athletes and influential paleolithic lifestyle people. Their perspectives were diverse and while they didn’t actually, actively contradict each other, they were disparate enough to give a good sense of the range of orthodoxies among keto-proponents. I liked that.
  2. The book has three chapters that review current research on ketosis: ‘Solid Science’; ‘Good Evidence’ & ‘Emerging Research’. What a friendly way to approach the subject. And what compelling evidence about proven & potential benefits of ketosis. Including for curing cancer.
  3. It outlines how to set up your own ketogenic n=1 (self-experiment).
  4. It provides comprehensive information about testing for ketones, including why urine test strips are not useful in the long term.
  5. It addresses women’s concerns, not excessively but sufficiently, including intermittent fasting for women; reduced ketones during menstruation; & metabolic changes during menopause that can affect carbohydrate tolerance.
  6. It explores of the common critiques of ketosis and the origins of these. Fascinating.
  7. It explains the connection between ketones & blood sugar: ketones up; blood sugar down. And vice versa.
  8. It references to My Big Fat Diet, an experiment in ancestral eating from my very own corner of the planet.
  9. Jimmy Moore is a blogger. I love that bloggers keep leading the way.
  10. And it might be just be me but I am uninterested in the real-life examples of real-life people that most self-help & health books are riddled with. I always skip them. But  I also always wonder if the author hasn’t tucked some important information into one of these stories, so then I get stressed out & feel compelled to go back & skim them. If you are a fan of example stories, you’ll find them in Keto-Clarity. Happily nestled in their own chapter. Brilliant. It’s the only chapter I didn’t fully read, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

My critique

My critiques are minor. Nevertheless, here they are:

  1. Down the rabbit holeJimmy Moore uses too many cliches. In my humble opinion. That was a cliche. It’s easy to do. His worst offense was “Take a chill pill, people!” on page 182. That was really bad. But I also learned something about myself, because when he used the cliched phrase ‘through the rabbit hole’ I wasn’t ruffled. Because it’s a literary reference. So I learned that it’s not that I dislike all cliches, but that I am a cliche snob. So, even though I can’t condone the use of the phrase ‘chill pill’ under any circumstances, I appreciated the opportunity to learn that about myself.
  2. Jimmy Moore is into ketosis, not paleo & not the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). I don’t critique him for that. But I do critique him for being into ketosis in a SAD kind of way. For example, he recommends boullion cubes (a couple of times) as a way to boost sodium intake when in ketosis. Last time I checked (5 minutes ago) boullion cubes contained salt, sugar, partially hydrogenated palm oil, monosodium glutamate (MSG), cornstarch,  disodium inosinate, & TBHQ (a chemical preservative). In other words, they’re not food. There are other ways to get salt. Like salt.
  3. Likewise, the recipes and menu plans are not AIP friendly, so were pretty useless to me. But, likewise, I can’t really fault him for that. Except for the recipe idea from Wendy McCullough to pan-fry under-ripe avocados. That is brilliant.
  4. I don’t like the design of dust jacket, but underneath, the book is rather handsome, with an elegant purple spine.

Keto Clarity 4Despite my picky criticisms, I completely recommend this book. Even if you don’t think you are interested in ketosis. Yet.

Ketosis & Physical Activity

At the end of the book I knew almost everything I wanted to know about a ketogenic lifestyle, including whether ketosis is compatible with high performance physical activity, which was my #1 lingering question when I was 40 days into my ketogenic experiment on the Wahls Paleo Plus.

The answer is: yes, but you need to get fully keto-adapted first and that can take time. Three to four weeks in most people. It took 4o days for me.

During the transition, you will probably experience a reduction in physical stamina (I did), which (understandably) leads a lot of people to give up on ketosis before they start to experience the benefits. Keto Clarity refers to a study on endurance training for elite cyclists that was almost abandoned after 2 weeks due to declining performance. Luckily they persevered until they became keto-adapted, resulting in improvements in VO2 max; amount of glycogen in muscle; and other markers. The moral of that is (another literary cliche), stick with it.

“There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation – if not outright, unwarranted hysteria – concerning the potential risks of a low-carbohydrate, fat-based ketogenic diet.” ~Nora Gedgaudas in Keto Clarity.

 


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