Keto Diet Q&A

Keto Diet Q&A

Your keto questions answered! I describe how to eat enough fat (in a ‘not gross’ way) on a ketogenic diet, how to use MCT oil, how long to follow keto, whether it’s safe for children, and more! I also share my results from 5 weeks on keto. Spoiler alert: it was a success!

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The use of an ancestral elimination diet for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis: a case report

The use of an ancestral elimination diet for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis: a case report

This is a case report of a patient who experienced dramatic improvement of her inflammatory arthritis by following an ancestral or paleo elimination diet.  I've shared the details of implementation, supplementation, and the reintroduction process.  Check this out if you're interested in learning more about an approach to improving inflammatory medical conditions.

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Digestive Health Tips for Vegetarians

Digestive Health Tips for Vegetarians

Digestive woes, but following a meat-free diet?  There are defiitely steps you can take to improve your bloating, pain, altered bowel patterns, and/or reflux!  Get the specific details about food swaps and nutrient considerations from this post!

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The Paleo Plate

Hello, I'm super excited to share another eBook sneak peek with you today!  I call this the Paleo Plate.  It's a good starting point for following an ancestral diet.  Tons more helpful tips for making this easy will be included in the FREE eBook.  Make sure to join the newsletter to be the first to receive it! 

paleo_Plate

Ancestral Foods 101

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Sneak peek!  The first Real Nutrition RX free eBook will be released soon.  It includes a 3-step process for starting and consistently following an ancestral diet - without a ton of extra work!  This infographic is one of several that it will include.  Join the newsletter (in the margin) to get first access to this simple system for revolutionizing your health!

Want more on 'paleo pantry' basics?  Check out the following quick primer on ancestral foods.  Remember, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on a pantry make-over just to get started.  Here are the BASICS you need to get going, whether you're going it alone or starting a Real Nutrition RX plan:

  • Eliminate: flour

Also known as: white, wheat, cake, or self-rising flour, bran, pancake mix, bread, bread mix, cereals, and baked goods

Purchase: Coconut flour and Almond flour (start with the beige flour and not the brown meal)

  • Eliminate: refined sugar

Also known as: white sugar, brown sugar, syrup, and powdered sugar

Purchase: honey and real maple syrup

  • Eliminate: soy

Also known as: soy sauce, meat substitutes, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk

Purchase: almond and coconut milks (check ingredient labels! Avoid sugar and carrageenan), coconut aminos

  • Eliminate: industrial seed oils

Also known as: vegetable or canola oil, margarine, shortening, butter "substitute", spreads

Purchase: coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and grass-fed animal fat/lard

  • Eliminate: legumes

Also known as: beans, peanuts, and peanut butter

Purchase: almonds, walnuts, almond butter, and cashew butter (check for no added sugar)

  • Eliminate: dairy proteins (note - you may tolerate some forms of dairy, but I recommend starting out eliminating it, then seeing how you feel once you add it back to an ancestral diet template)

Also known as: milk, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, cream, and butter

Purchase: Ghee, coconut cream, coconut milk, and almond milk

And that's a good starting place!  Of course, there's more to add, and quality is an important issue - stay tuned for more details on that.  Bottom-line, you don't have to be perfect and spend a fortune to change your diet - and your health.  These are some great first steps to take.  Don't forget to join the newsletter and check out our plans for an easy, personalized way to use all your new pantry items!

The Diet Myth that Even the Experts Believe

Can I get personal with you for a minute?  I love to eat.  That's why I usually eat all day long - I guess you could call me a 'grazer'.  My snacking habit has always been totally justified in my mind - I've been an 'athlete' of some fashion for the past 18 years, and I've been pregnant and/or breast feeding for nearly 5 years continuously.  I also usually snack on healthy food.  Further, I've always been able to lose weight while still snacking.  And, finally, nutrition 'experts' often recommend snacking!  Need any evidence?

It turns out, I'm not alone with my snacking habit.  Americans have become snack-o-holics.  Americans now snack twice as often as in the 1970s, and consume nearly 1/4 of their energy from snacks (1).  They now eat for at least a 15 hour window, with most of their calories consumed after 6:00 PM (2). 

In fact, snacking is so big that you can subscribe to receive automatic, custom-picked snacks delivered right to your door! 

So, what's the problem?  Well....I'll share a personal experience with you.  The final year of my dietetics program was pretty crazy and I gained a couple (OK, five) pounds.  Yes, I see the irony there.  After graduation I endeavored to lose them with my traditional "5-6 small meals/day" approach.  The results?  Nothing!  No progress.  Hmmmm.....this got me thinking about the evidence in support of intermittent fasting for weight loss.  Studies have shown that fasting periods can be at least as effective for weight loss as a reduced-calorie diet (3). Fortunately, you don't have to go all day without eating.  Just a 12-hour fast has been shown to be effective (4).  This basically just means you don't eat between dinner and breakfast.  In fact, longer periods of fasting can actually be harmful, especially for women (5).

So, could snacking actually not be a great idea?  It turns out, there's quite a bit of evidence that it's not:

  • Obesity is linked to frequent snacking, and snacking increases total energy intake (6, 7
  • The idea that frequent eating increases metabolism and fat loss has been proved false (8, 9)
  • Frequent eating causes elevated blood glucose levels throughout the day (10)
  • Lower meal frequency improves appetite control and satiety (11)

However, other studies have shown weight loss and metabolic benefits with snacking (12).  In total, the research is mixed on the benefits of snacking.  One reason for this fact is that the quality of snacks contributes to their effect (12).  In other words, planning to eat something healthy between meals is usually fine.  Poor planning, then bingeing on any junk sitting around the office/house is another story. 

Now we're faced with a decision - to snack or not?  When faced with a conflict like this I always find it helpful to view it through an 'ancestral lens'.  That just means I consider the way humans have lived and eaten for the vast majority of our existence.  It turns out that hunter/gatherers likely weren't consistently eating 5 to 6 times per day every day.  They experienced more of a 'feast or famine' situation, with periods of surplus food (a successful hunt), and other periods of lack (seeking food) (13).  This implies that an ancestral approach is to eat less snacks.

So, back to my personal dilemma.  I tried my own version of fasting which, literally, just meant not eating between meals, or after dinner.  The exception is after a workout.  Don't laugh - this alone was really hard for me (read: HANGRY).  Until it wasn't.....after a couple of weeks.  My appetite adjusted and, surprisingly, so did those stubborn 5 pounds - they disappeared. 

Now, I'm not saying that snacking is never appropriate.  If you work out at a moderate to high intensity, if you are pregnant or breast feeding (don't judge - my 'baby' is almost weaned and OLD/19 months), if you have a medical condition such as diabetes or a glycogen storage disease, or if you are a child/adolescent, you absolutely should snack!

However, I DO think snacking culture has gotten out of control.  Unfortunately, the deluge of 'health advice' encouraging everyone to snack isn't helping.  

What about you?  Have you bought into the idea that you should snack?  Maybe you snack and it works great for you - that's fine!  However, if you've been struggling with weight loss, or are looking to improve your metabolic health, consider kicking that snack habit.  Make sure you get a full, healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day and leave it at that.  A few tips:

  • Fix WHAT you eat first: I DO recommend snacks in most of my meal plans.  This is because switching from a standard American diet to an ancestral diet is change enough.  However, if you already have your diet dialed in and are struggling to meet your goals, you may want to analyze your snacking habit.
  • Control hunger between meals by following an ancestral template when you eat.  Refined carbohydrates and lack of healthy fats causes blood sugar to spike and fall - leaving you starving.
  • Practice mindful eating during meals - eat slowly and enjoy your food (yes I have small children and NO I don't always accomplish this!)
  • Don't take skipping snacks a license to go crazy at meals.
  • If you do snack, make sure it's planned and appropriate, i.e. a post-workout recovery meal.

Try it for four weeks, or take the 4-Week Real Food Challenge if you need support.  I'd love to hear how it goes.  Good luck!