Posted on

What is the Keto Diet?

There are so many diets out there all claiming they will make you healthier and skinnier.  There is the Paleo Diet, South Beach Diet and the Atkins Diet which are low carb and high protein diets.  Now there is the Keto Diet which is completely different.  Unlike the other diets I just mentioned which are all about eating lots of lean protein, the ketogenic diet is all about eating fat.  In fact, in the keto diet, fat makes up as much as 90% of the calories eaten each day.

 

The keto diet has been used by physicians to reduce the number of epileptic seizures in children.  Now it is being touted as a wonder diet that helps people shed pounds fast.  Unfortunately, this diet may help you lose weight in the short term but there have been no long term studies on how this diet will affect your health.

The keto diet forces your body to use fat as fuel instead of sugar which is glucose that comes from carbs such as veggies, grains, fruits, and legumes.  The keto diet is all about the ketone bodies which is a type of fuel the liver makes from stored fat.  It might sound like a great idea to lose weight but it might not be so good for your body.

When following a ketone diet, you must eat lots of fat at each meal.  The breakdown in a 2,000 calorie diet would be about 165 g of fat, 40 g of carbs and 75 g of protein.  While some healthy unsaturated fats are ok to eat like nuts or avocados, saturated fats such as lard and butter are encouraged in high amounts.

Protein is part of the keto diet but there is no differentiation between a healthy lean protein such as fish and highly saturated proteins like pork and bacon.

When it comes to fruits and veggies, you can eat a small number of berries and only leafy greens such as kale, brussels, and broccoli.

There are potentially serious risks associated with this diet.

  1.   The number one risk is eating high amounts of saturated fat.  There is a definite link between saturated fat and heart disease.  In fact, it is recommended to not get more than 7% of your calories from saturated fat.  Due to the saturated fat intake, the keto diet is causing higher levels of bad cholesterol which causes heart disease!
  2.  Liver problems can result due to liver’s inability to properly metabolize the huge amounts of fat.
  3.  Kidney problems can result due to high amounts of protein to be metabolized.
  4.  There can also be nutrient deficiencies due to the limited diet of fruits, veggies and legumes.
  5.  Your mood and brain can be affected as the brain needs sugar from healthy carbs to work properly.  Confusion and being moody can result from this keto diet.

Before you jump into the Keto Diet, make sure you check with your physician.  Remember, when you stop following any of these diets, you will gain the weight back.  It is always a lifestyle change that works in the long run.  Healthy, whole foods, lean proteins combined with exercise is the answer.  Try ordering fruit at work to keep everyone healthier and in a good mood!  Brains need fruit!

Posted on

Why A Whole Food Plant Based Diet is A Great Idea

It is well known that eating a diet consisting of processed foods and animal products cause many health problems and it also has adverse effects on our environment.   Switching to a plant-based diet is a great way to improve your health and save the planet!  This diet or lifestyle is different from becoming a vegetarian or vegan.

A whole-foods, plant-based diet is based on:

healthy diet with whole foods and plants
Health Benefits Plant-Based Diet

Eating minimally processed foods.

Limits or avoids animal products.

Focuses on veggies, fruits, legumes, seeds and nuts, and whole grains.

Eliminates white flour, added sugars, and processed oils.

Recommends eating organic, locally sourced foods.

Let’s take a look at the huge health benefits of this whole-foods, plant-based diet.

Lower Cancer Rates.  Eating a diet which is low in fat and plant-based is the best way to lower your cancer risk.   Animal foods are linked to colon and breast cancer.

Weight Loss.  You will lose weight when you eat a whole food, plant-based diet.  This diet is low in fat, processed foods, and sugars.  Since the diet is higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals than a diet of animal products, it is easy to lose 5 pounds in a matter of a couple weeks!

Lower Blood Pressure.  Since the plant-based diet has more potassium and Vitamin B-6, this has a positive effect on blood pressure.  Lower blood pressure also means less anxiety and stress!

Lower Cholesterol.  Plant-based foods have zero cholesterol!  Veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can lower both your cholesterol level and risk of heart disease.

Blood Sugar Stabilizer.  Eating more fiber slows down the entrance of sugar into the bloodstream.  When your blood sugar is stable, you feel less hungry and less stressed because your cortisol level is more balanced.

Fights Inflammation.  Plant-based foods are alkaline which do not cause inflammation.

Lower risk of Diabetes.  Avoiding meat and trans fats have a positive impact on your cardiovascular health and reduce insulin sensitivity which leads to diabetes.

There are so many reasons to switch to a whole food, plant-based diet for the best health and for a more sustainable environment!  It’s easy and less expensive and you will feel the results immediately!

 

 

Posted on

Not All Grains Are Equal

healthy grains
grains whole
Not All Grains Are Created Equal

Today the diet craze is “no carbs”, Try grains…  Many people are staying away from rice and other grains because they think they are bad carbohydrates.   Whole grains are healthy carbohydrates which contain all three parts of the grain.  The grain kernel is full of fiber which keeps your tummy full longer.  The fiber in the kernel is also good for your cholesterol.  It is the refined or processed grains that have the germ and bran removed  which are not so healthy for you.

Here are some healthy grains for you to enjoy that will keep your weight under control.

Brown Rice is way healthier than white rice.  It can also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Freekeh is another whole grain that packs 13% of your daily fiber in 1/3 cup cooked.  It contains zinc and manganese which helps build a strong immune system.

Amaranth is full of calcium and essential amino acids which build and repair tissues in the body.

Oatmeal is another great grain which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.  This is a smart choice for those with diabetes.

Millet has 3 grams of protein per 1/2 cup cooked.  It also has magnesium which is great for bone health.

Sorghum has fiber, iron, and phytochemicals that are good for your heart, and can protect you against some cancers.

Wheat Berries has 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked.  It also contains iron which helps oxygen levels in the body.

Posted on

Snacks that Actually Lower your Cholesterol

healthy snacks
Cholesterol lowering Snacks

Snacking is something that everyone does every day.  We snack for all kinds of reasons whether it is to get energy or because we are bored at work.  The average person consumes more than 600 calories from snacking each day.    It is important to choose  healthy snacks so you avoid adding inches to your waistline.

Snacking can also be a  big contributor to your cholesterol level.  Choosing the right healthy snack can actually lower your LDL or “bad”  cholesterol.  Choosing the wrong snacks can cause your bad cholesterol levels to increase.

Skip the chips or other vending machine processed snacks which are “bad” for you.   Try these healthy snacks that will help you lower your LDL level:

Apples are full of anti-oxidants.  Eating 2 per day can help slow down the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and help prevent the build up of plaque.  Be sure to bring apples to work to snack on and they go great with some organic peanut butter!

Grapefruit contains liminoids which are phytochemicals that destroy LDL.  If you take statin meds, you may not be able to eat grapefruit so be careful.

Nuts and Seeds are also cholesterol busters!  Seeds like pumpkin, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are filling and healthy.  Almonds, cashews, walnuts and pistachios can lower your  bad cholesterol.  Just be sure not to eat too many nuts as they are high in calories so 1/4 cup per day is adequate.

Oat Bran is full of water soluble fiber and is also great for lowering cholesterol levels.  Enjoy a bowl of oat cereal for breakfast or for an afternoon snack!