Peri Peri Chicken Wings

These chicken wings are absolutely scrumptious and the perfect comfort food! They are amazingly easy to make and totally worth the effort.  Perfect for a quick snack or a complete meal served with a green salad and yoghurt.

Nutritional Information per serving (4 Wings) (Please note that these are approximate values)

Total Carbs                                                    4 gms

Fibre                                                                  2 gms

Net Carbs                                                         2 gms

Protein                                                           27 gms

Fat                                                                     38 gms

Of which Saturated                                  22 gms      

Energy                                                            448 kcal

Magnesium                                                    34 mg

Potassium                                                     348 mg  

You will need:

12 pcs of chicken wings with the ends cut off

125gms butter

2 juicy limes/lemons

2 tablespoons Medium Hot Chilly Powder

1 teaspoon Rock Salt

  • Wash the chicken wings and blot dry with kitchen paper
  • Place the wings in an electric  dry fryer and cook for 30 mins on rotating mode at maximum heat. Depending on your model, keep checking to ensure that the wings are golden brown and cooked through
  • If you do not have a dry fryer, then mix 1 tablespoon of melted ghee into the chicken wings, mix thoroughly with all the wings and place the wings in a baking tray and bake for 15 mins, turn the wings and bake on the other side for another 15 mins at 180 degrees Centrigrade
  • While the wings are cooking, place butter in a saucepan and melt. Ensure that the butter is just melted and should not turn brown so use a low setting on your cooker. Once the butter is melted, add the chilly powder, juice of 2 limes and the salt, Allow to cook for 2 mins and then add the cooked wings.
  • Coat the wings with the sauce and let the wings marinate in the sauce, over a low fire, for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve with a salad and yoghurt for a main meal or on their own as a snack

Absolutely soul fulfilling food. Enjoy!

Healing Soul, Body and Mind

This photograph was taken at Mount Kenya in February 2017

 

The photograph of Lake Ellis, featured here, is one of my favourites. You can literally feel the landscape as you gaze upon it and imagine yourself there, soaking up the spirit of the land. It captures the essence of the landscape and emits a gentle, soothing harmony that permeates the soul. Nature, in all its glory, is a beautiful symphony that nurtures the soul and heals the body and mind.

As I sit here writing this blog, I am reflecting on all of the experiences that I have had in the 2 years since I started the ketogenic diet and I must admit it has been, and is, an amazing journey that has allowed me to expand my experience of life. The doors of opportunity that have opened have been nothing short of miraculous.

The weight loss, of course, is a huge contributory factor, as so much of my focus over time has been this, but this, in retrospect, is almost a side effect. The effect on my mental clarity, health markers, energy levels and motivation has been profound. I am inspired to take care of my body, that has served me so faithfully over the years despite my ill treatment of it, inspired to be creative in ways that are even a surprise to me.

So much of our time, effort and capacity is wasted on the things that are wrong with our lives, that we forget that there is so much that is right. If we just accept, where we are right now and find small things that make us happy, the big things will find their way to us. The pleasure of life is in the little things, the smile of a child, the beauty of a flower, the joy of your dog licking your face, the peace in having a loved one hold your hand. These are the things that truly make us happy.

To my readers, I’d like to say today, MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF, find what makes you happy and do that for a little while every day. It doesn’t matter whether it is writing or art or cooking as long as you feel fulfilled doing it. Spend time outside, in nature, as much as you can, soaking up the sunlight and moonlight, enjoying the little piece of heaven that we have right here on Earth, if only we would take our blinders off and really look. Eventually, you will find that, in the peace that is the gift of the heavens, you will find your purpose and your dreams fulfilled.

 

 

Fasting

fasting

My dear Readers,

First and foremost, my sincere apologies for not blogging for a period of 4 months. In all honesty, I have no real excuse except that I have so much information to share and am overwhelmed by what I should share first. Still, I have no excuse. I do make a pledge though that henceforth, I will try and do at least 2 blogs a month!

Now, let’s get back to the matters at hand.

Fasting is the abstinence from food and it is probably as old as mankind itself.

All three fathers of modern medicine  (Hippocrates, Galen and Phillipus Paracelsus) practised fasting concluding, nearly 5 centuries ago, that fasting is the greatest remedy. Plato famously proclaimed that he fasted for ‘greater physical and mental efficiency’.

In this age of over-consumption, we are constantly bombarded with images of food and told that fasting is bad for health. How else are the Big Food companies going to make the Big Money! Their strategy is ingenious really, they have brainwashed an entire generation of people to think that eating constantly is good for their health. When I was doing my thesis on Coca-Cola and Pepsi, I remember reading that Coca-Cola wanted to replace beverages like tea and coffee with its products and devised a strategy to do just that. 

Interestingly, all religions, without exception, prescribe fasting for cleansing. Buddhists  are encouraged to fast after midday to give the body time to rest and process while both Christians and Muslims have prescribed months of fasting in a calender year. It turns out that the ancients were onto something.

The case for fasting is getting stronger and more scientific research shows the benefits that can be derived from fasting and its positive effects on health.

My own experience with fasting has been interesting, challenging and a revelation. Initially I followed the 16:8 protocol where eating only takes place in an 8 hour window during the day. I would have my last meal at about 8pm or earlier and then not eat until 1pm the following day. Absolutely no snacking in between.  I have progressed to a 20-22 hour fasting window now and eat once a day, more or less and sometimes this can extend to 48 hours if I am not hungry. When I fast, I drink coffee with a little bit of milk, bone broth and lots of water. It is really important to keep yourself hydrated.

I did my first 4 day fast a little while ago and after the first 2 days, felt like a million dollars. I had more energy, felt more alert and generally felt pretty good. I could have gone on but social duty called!! I now try and do at least 2 to 3 full 24 hour days of fasting. Some weeks its as easy as pie and other weeks, its harder. The key is to persevere.

So what really is the case for fasting and why is it necessary? Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore have written a book recently about this very subject. If you are interested then it is available here. I highly recommend that you read it. Dr. Jason Fung has an invaluable series on Fasting where he discusses the need for fasting, its effects on your body and how to fast.

The principal behind the fasting protocol is to lower the levels of insulin in your body. As long as you keep eating, insulin is stimulated and as you know, insulin is a fat storing hormone. As long as you have large amounts of insulin in your body, the insulin resistance cannot be healed adequately nor can you lose weight.

The concept is pretty simple really. Insulin makes you gain weight therefore get rid of anything that overstimulates this hormone. Fasting is the quickest way to do this and produces pretty tangible results from my own experience. Logical, right? Sadly, not so logical for many medical professionals who still advocate insulin injections.

It is also interesting that conventional diets, from my experience, do not address the problem of excess insulin in the body. This is why the weight will eventually come back on. Once the levels of insulin in the body are lower and are sustained at this lower level, your body will have a new set body weight which is considers ‘comfortable’. Provided that the low carb diet is maintained as a lifestyle change, it is easier to then maintain this new weight.

Aside from healing the insulin resistance and the weight loss, it has recently come to light, that fasting aids with autophagy.  Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi was, on 3/10/2016 was awarded the Nobel Prize  in Physiology and Medicine for his discoveries in the mechanisms of Autophagy.   The word Autophagy is derived from Greek words “Auto” meaning self and  “Phagein” meaning ” to eat”. Autophagy literally means to eat oneself. Essentially, autophagy is the process by which the body gets rid of all unwanted parts and renews itself. An all Natural Rejuvenation Process, if you will. Imagine, being able to look younger without the help of cosmetics or cosmetic surgery!!! Nightmare for the Capitalists, for sure!!!

In my humble layman’s experience and opinion, Fasting is really the answer to all our prayers. Both in terms of weight loss and health gain.

The Big Fat Lie

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. By this definition, most of us would definitely qualify as insane. Over the years, we have all, at some point in our lives, tried to follow the dietary guidelines that are supposed to help us get healthier and thinner –  Failed miserably, fallen off the bandwagon only to start again, expecting a different result every time!!! Certifiably insane!

Medical professionals have regurgitated the mantra “Eat Less, Move More” in order to lose weight and control various health issues and the public, at large, has followed this advice. What has happened in the last 4 decades of issuing these guidelines? Well, the results are pretty clear – there has been a explosion of obesity and diabetes.  Studies show that occurrence of obesity has steadily climbed up from 1977 (when the guidelines were issued). It is infuriating that medical world keep blaming the public for not following guidelines when in essence the advise is fundamentally flawed.

My own experience tells me that a low fat diet combined with a 2 hour exercise regimen, five times a week,  is not sustainable for me. The hunger, fatigue, cravings and mood swings are too difficult to deal with, both for me personally and for those around me.

Sure, in the short term, there are definitely some gains made in terms of weight loss however, the question is whether the results gained in the short term are sustainable over the long term and what effects does a low fat diet have on your body? Why is it so hard to follow this advise over the long term?

These are the questions that I sought to answer in my quest for an alternative solution to put my health and weight back on track.

As I have said earlier, my pursuit of this knowledge led me to Dr Jason Fung and others like him who have successfully helped people not only reverse  Diabetes Type 2 but also to lose weight. Dr. Fung has an excellent series on Hormonal Obesity. I strongly recommend that you read this series as it clearly explains how your body works and thus empowers you to actually do something about it.

Here is what I have understood from the literature:

  1. A calorie is not a calorie – I have long believed and been told that if my body requires 1500 calories to function then if I stick to between 800 to 1000 calories a day  then I will lose weight. It doesn’t matter where that calorie comes from as long as I stick to the calorie deficit, I will lose weight. Complete, utter nonsense!!! Each type of macronutrient is metabolised differently in our body and triggers an insulin response. This insulin response combined with the macronutrients in our body determine what our bodies will store or use as energy.

Carbohydrates : especially refined carbohydrates are converted to glucose to use up as energy and the excess is then converted to fat. Carbohydrates occurring in nature such as leafy green vegetables have fibre in them that protects the body by slowing down the absorption rate.

Proteins are metabolised by breaking them into amino acid chains which are then used to build muscle and excess proteins can also be converted to glucose for energy. See here for more details on protein metabolisation

Fats are converted, in general to fatty acids and used for energy and various other functions. It is an essential component of our diet.

Without fat and protein, we would die. Carobhydrates, do not seem to have any discernible function on the body.

2. It appears that Insulin is the culprit hormone, when it comes to weight gain and insulin resistance. Insulin is activated when we eat and different foods trigger the hormone to different intensities. Refined Foods being the highest trigger and healthy fats almost not at all

3. Your body has a Set Body Weight which appears to be determined by the amount of insulin circulating in the body.  Therefore, while diets work in the short term, your body will fight to get back to its original weight which is why in the long term, all diets fail. The key must therefore be to reduce the amount of insulin circulating within the body.

4. Over time, the hormone insulin becomes resistant due to high consumption of refined carbohydrates, that is, it is unable to effectively metabolise glucose at a fast enough rate and larger and larger amounts are needed to do the same job. This causes an increase in the amount of glucose in the blood.

5. Despite the high levels of insulin, it is unable to function to its full capacity. As a result your blood sugars creep up eventually leading to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

6. Eat Less, Move More is rubbish advise: In a study conducted on the popular TV show – The Biggest Loser – Kevin Hall, a researcher at the National Institute for Health followed the participants for 6 years after the show. During the show the participants lost massive amounts of weight however, almost all of them gained it back and more, over the 6 year study period. What is shocking is that their metabolism slowed down and never quite recovered! Why? Dr. Fung explains that reduction in the number of calories caused the body to compensate by burning less calories .Moral of the story: If you eat less, your body is not stupid – it will compensate by adjusting its energy output.

7. We seem to have missed the point. Our focus has been on Calories In, when we should have been looking at Calories Out. If the amount of energy expended by the body can be kept constant or increased, then we can find a solution to the obesity pandemic.

8. The first order of priority is, therefore, to reduce the amount of insulin that is circulating in the body. Insulin prevents the body from accessing its fat stores. The lower the insulin level, the better chances your body has of burning the stores of fat.

9. Fasting combined with a low carb, high fat diet effectively solves all of the above problems.  Studies show that fasting actually increases your metabolism. This is different from a low calorie diet, which decreases your metabolism. Presumably our pre-historic evolution mechanisms tell our bodies to go out and look for food. I mean, seriously, if your body was to shut down when you’re fasting, then you’d die! The ultimate goal of any species, from a scientific point of view, is survival and proliferation so why would mother nature set you up for failure?! Mother Nature is much smarter than we give her credit for.

In the face of scientific evidence that suggests that our bodies thrive on fat and do well without all the processed junk that we are eating in our modern day lifestyles, it is difficult to sustain the notion that the dietary guidelines currently in circulation hold any water. For goodness sake, the experiment has gone on long enough (4 decades to be exact!) and as this movement (and make no mistake, this is a grassroots movement)  spreads, the “powers that be” will have to take stock and listen.

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth (Sherlock Holmes – The Sign of  Four) 

Keto Eggplant Parmesan

Photo Credit: http://cdn.trendhunterstatic.com/thumbs/bikini-clad-veggies-magimix-big-is-in-campaign.jpeg
Photo Credit

There is something wholesome, warm, fuzzy and comforting about cooking your own meals. It reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen, with its constant clinking and clanking of pots and pans, sense awakening aromas, seeming chaos reigning, while daughters, cousins and daughters-in-law rushed to carry out her very precise instructions. It was a place where the women in the family bonded and carved out a niche for themselves. This was their domain. Our mothers delighted us with their culinary skills and coaxed us, almost hypnotically, into learning how to cajole flavours out of food.  Mealtimes were a gastronomic joy.

I like to think of cooking as an expression of self. After all, the food you eat, becomes you. Every cell and molecular structure in your body is a direct result of the food you consume. Cooking brings me great joy and comfort. It is my safe haven and going keto, has allowed me to explore the wondrous world of real food. It has been rewarding beyond measure. It is most certainly a huge step away from what I grew up on but the preparation of it is no less fulfilling. The food on a ketogenic/LCHF diet is delicious and truly nourishes the soul.

I will be sharing some of my own recipes on this journey as well as directing you to recipes from other blogs, that I have tried and tested. I encourage you to try and experiment with them and you might be pleasantly surprised with the result. I am hoping that it will convince you to give up the processed foods that so harm your body.

This particular recipe for Eggplant Parmesan is inspired by Buddy Valastro, from the popular TV series “Kitchen Boss”. One evening, dead tired from work and seriously in need of mindless TV, I was watching Buddy Valastro share his family recipes. (I find cooking shows quite relaxing. Weird – I know but there you have it!) He was making Eggplant Parmesan with all the trimmings and it looked totally scrumptious so I decided to try a keto-friendly version. To my surprise, it turned out beautifully, better than I expected, really,  and now it makes a weekly feature on my menu.

I love the versatility of this dish. Once you are done making the eggplant, you can layer it with marinara sauce, mozarella and cheddar cheese and bake it for about 15-20 minutes or you can simply enjoy it on its own with some homemade hot sauce or mayonnaise. It is sooooo finger licking good! Great way to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

I braved sending my little creation to Martina Slajerova (who is my guru, by the way). She decided to try it for herself and then posted it on her blog! Can you imagine my excitement?! Thrilled, does not even begin to describe my elation!

See here for the recipe

Enjoy!

Fat Phobia – How did we get here?

before and after

These are my before and after snapshots, capturing the essence of who I am at that moment. A moment frozen in space, captured for all time, to reminisce and mull over. The picture on the left was taken in 2014 and the one on the right, very recently at a cousin’s 40th birthday celebration. I have trouble believing that either picture is mine. My rational mind knows and understands that the images are real but a part of me simply cannot reconcile the two. I have trouble believing it’s the same person. It’s not just the appearance but I feel like a different person – certainly more confident but also more positive in my outlook to life. I look forward to life and want to embrace it. I want to experience everything that the universe has to offer.

In the picture on the left, I was probably at between 95-100kg! Shocking you say – well yes –  but to be honest, I was in denial for a very long time before (and after) this picture was taken. I knew I was large but did not realise or wouldn’t admit, to myself, just how large I had become. My mental switches would go off when it came to my weight and I would get emotionally offended if someone made a disparaging remark about my appearance.  I hated that I could not get into my favourite clothes, that I had to go to plus sized stores to shop or that I felt I was being judged at every turn because of the way I looked. I recently came across Aleya Kassam’s blog – she writes so beautifully and with so much heart. There is a piece called F**K BEAUTY and it is a work of art that hammers the proverbial nail on the head.

These years of constant low self esteem, in retrospect, were probably lessons in the path to self discovery. Isn’t that what we tell ourselves, that difficult times and heart wrenching emotions make us stronger? That may be true but it can also break us, rob us of our very soul with a swiftness that leaves us bewildered and gasping  for breath, threatening to devour every fibre of our being.

It did not have to be this way, though. If I had gotten the right advise it would never have gone this far. I would never have had to suffer the shame, the humiliation of being obese, the agony of diabetes.

In the old days, it was really quite simple, if you wanted to lose weight, you didn’t eat in between meals and you didn’t eat starchy and sugary foods. Your mother knew this. Your grandmother has probably told you  to lay off snacking in between meals because you’ll spoil your dinner and advised you to lay off sugary and starchy foods, if you want to lose weight. In the early years of the 20th century, diabetes was not a common disease but they knew how to treat it. I came across “Diabetic Cookery – Recipes and Menus” by Rebecca W Oppenheimer, that was from 1917. You can download it here.  It has a pretty comprehensive list of all the foods to avoid and eat as a diabetic. On the ALLOWED FOODS were fats such as butter and lard, vegetables that are not starchy, meats, shellfish and fish esp. oily fish, while on the NOT ALLOWED FOODS were white flours, sugar, starchy vegetables, rice – basically all foods that were high in carbohydrates. Look sneakily like LCHF?! Well, it is – And they knew this in 1917!!

So,  what happened?!! How did we go from knowing the strategies to successfully manage and reverse diabetes to complete disregard for these same strategies that worked and instead opt for strategies that make the disease worse and in fact insist that it is a chronic disease!!

In his seven countries study, Dr. Ancel Keys sought to prove that there was a link between saturated fat and coronary heart disease. He successfully showed a corelation between the two but he also insinuated that there was a causal link between these variables. Dr. Jason Fung, has provided a great summary of the events that occurred to make us so fat-phobic, here. You will see that Dr. Keys did not report the full extent of his study and simply reported the data which proved his hypothesis. His original study constituted 22 countries and the results were all over the place. He effectively doctored his studies to suit his hypothesis!!

One of the fundamental problems with this study, is that Dr. Keys  assumes that the co-relation between the two variables means that one causes the other. However, CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. Just because something appears to be related does not necessarily mean that one is the cause of the other. Without hard scientific proof, one cannot assume this. For the most part, the medical community does this most of the time and it works very well for the most part. Clinical trials are very expensive and time consuming to conduct so this is the easier option. I do think, however, that if sweeping dietary guidelines are to be issued to an entire population, there must be laws that govern the issuance of these guidelines and the conflict of interest should be eliminated as much as possible. It is quite clear that the people who approve these guidelines have strong ties with the food and drug industries.

It appears that many doctors at the time did not agree with Dr. Ancel Keys as there was no evidence from clinical trials to prove that saturated fat was the cause of heart disease. However, Dr. Keys was a man with some authority and  he managed to silence the voices of reason.   Thus a combination of Dr. Keys ambition and politics (yes, the american dietary guidelines were actually drafted by politicans!!) led to our current nutrition advise that is the cause of the diabesity pandemic that we are facing today.

It is of interest to note  thatthe old fear of fat is dying a slow death (see here) as scientific studies are revealing that the dietary fat guidelines in 1977 were a mistake from the very beginning.

In conclusion to this post, I’ll leave you with this video by Dr. Sarah Hallberg, who has successfully treated her Type 2 Diabetic Patients with a low carb diet and gotten most of them off their medication. Its titled: REVERSING TYPE 2 DIABETES STARTS WITH IGNORING THE GUIDELINES

Low Carb, High Fat – What does it mean?

LOW CARB, HIGH FAT – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

96 YEAR OLD FITNESS EXPERT

Introduction

Before I tell you about Low Carb High Fat (LCHF), I’d like to stress the importance of recognising the fact that this way of eating is a lifestyle change. Most people will  experience some changes in their body, often quite dramatic ones, once they cut the carbs,  unless there are other factors involved:  such as lack of sleep or medications with steroids. However, if you lapse and go back to eating a high carb diet, your problems with weight gain and high blood glucose and so on will return.

Someone recently asked me why I would restrict myself so much when “you’re going to die anyway”. My answer is this:

I do not fancy dying of diabetes related illnesses including heart complications, limb amputation, renal failure and the list goes on. I have no desire whatsoever to suffer the consequences of long term elevated blood sugars and put myself, my family and friends through financial and emotional stress of that kind.   I could be involved in a car accident or some such disaster tomorrow. I have no control over those kind of situations but as far as this disease called diabetes is concerned – I now know that it is NOT A CHRONIC DISEASE. It can be reversed and I have control over that. I can do something about it and I choose toIt is about quality of life not quantity of life.

Type 2 Diabetics

As a diabetic, when you restrict your carbohydrate intake, your blood glucose will most likely reduce quite dramatically. It is therefore absolutely essential that you consult your doctor and have him/her monitor your progress while following this protocol. Your doctor will need to adjust your medications as your blood glucose levels normalise.

So, what is a low carb, high fat diet ?

A Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) diet, otherwise known as a ketogenic diet, simply means that anyone following this diet must restrict their carbohydrate intake and increase the amount of healthy fats in their way of eating.  A number of recent scientific studies show that a ketogenic diet is the most effective tool to lose weight and control blood sugars.

How do you follow a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet?

If you asked me to summarise LCHF in 3 words, I’d say

EAT REAL FOOD

There are 3 macro-nutrients that we consume:

FAT

PROTEIN

CARBOHYDRATE

Both fat and protein are absolutely essential for survival, however, surprisingly carbohydrate is not a requisite component. It has absolutely no known function in your body, yet according to the food pyramid and the updated myplate diet guidelines published by the American and British Diabetes Associations, they form a large part of the diet, almost three quarters of the plate!!  How we got here is a story for another blog post.

It stands to reason therefore, that if you reduce one macro-nutrient, you have to increase one of the others and in our modern day western diet, the unjustified and scientifically unsupported fear of saturated fat has led us to reduce the fat intake and consequently increased the carbohydrate intake. Most processed foods and low fat foods (what I term as pseudo-foods – Pretend Food) have added sugar in them. If you take the fat out of a food – well – you have to add sugar to make it taste good otherwise it just tastes like cardboard! This is what the Food Industry has capitalised on and would have us believe that the foods they manufacture are actually good for us.

Ideally, in a well formulated ketogenic diet, the percentage of these should be consumed in the following proportions:

Carbohydrate – 5%

Protein – 15%

Fat – 80%

Martina Slajerova has an excellent tool on her website which will help you to calculate these macro-nutrients depending on your goal and current status. She also has an iPhone app called ketodietapp which allows you to track and monitor your progress and contains amazing recipes. The app for Android is basic and contains recipes and blog posts. However, she is in the process of developing the full app for Android and I will inform you once she does. She also runs a facebook page called Keto Diet Support Group, which is one of the most supportive Groups in regard to this way of eating that I have come across.

What to Eat 

  • Meat, Fish, Shell Fish &  Poultry – Feel free to eat the fatty cuts of meat and the skin on the chicken.
  • Vegetables – Choose vegetables and salads that grow above the ground.
  • Fats – Choose healthy natural saturated fats (ghee, butter, lard) and mono-unsaturated fats (coconut oil, olive oil)
  • Nuts – Stick to macadamia, almonds and walnuts although other nuts can be eaten in moderation
  • Dairy: Unless you are lactose intolerant, full fat dairy is delicious and filling
  • Fruit: Berries, avocados and olives:  If you are on a strict low carb diet , are diabetic or have metabolic syndrome, then limit berries to once a week or so. In Kenya, strawberries are more readily available than other berries but they are very expensive, so your choices are limited. The reason berries are included in the food list is that they have a higher fibre content than most other fruit. Fibre slows the absorption of carbohydrates in the body . Vinegar, turmeric and lemon seem to do the same thing, although the exact mechanism is not yet known.

What Not to Eat

  • Sugar – Eliminate sugar completely. This is  non-negotiable. This means cakes, cookies, pastries, sodas, fruit juices and so on
  • Sugar Substitutes – These are known to activate insulin production and therefore will not help if you are starting out on this way of eating. Once you reach your goal, you can add some healthy sweeteners like Stevia or Erythritol to your diet occassionally.
  • Vegetables that grow below ground especially potatoes. I use onions, ginger and garlic in small amounts in my cooking.
  • Low Fat Foods : These foods are processed and contain large amounts of sugar and therefore should not be consumed in any amounts
  • Pseudo Fats like margarine and refined seed and vegetable oils. These have been put through many industrial processes and pass through various chemical agents before it gets to your table. If you don’t believe me, watch this video on how canola oil is made. Margarine is one hydrogen molecule away from plastic and is classified as a trans-fatty acid, a partially hydrogenated oil. In fact, in November 2013, in the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that partially hydrogenated fats were no longer generally recognised as safe in human food. These fats contain a high percentage of Omega 6 oils which have been shown to cause inflammation in the body leading to cholesterol problems. While your body needs Omega 6 as well as Omega 3 oils, it is the proportion that we consume in the modern diet that causes problems. We consume too much of the Omega 6 oils.
  • Beer: This is a liquid carbohydrate and should be eliminated from your diet altogether
  • Grains and Beans: Most grains and legumes, even the ones that are purported to be whole grains have been subjected to some level of processing and hence should be avoided.
  • Fruit: Fruit contains sugars which is why they are so sweet. Modern agricultural and GMO methods have enabled us to produce even sweeter fruit. The fruit that was available, say 50 years ago is not the same fruit that is available today. Fruit in nature was seasonal and not available all the time, it was also not as sweet as it is today. It should be avoided or consumed in very small quantities occasionally. Consider fruit to be nature’s candy.

Beverages

Tea. Coffee, Water and Soda Water

When to Eat

Eat Only When you are hungry. 

This is infinitely important because in a fed state Insulin, the fat storing hormone is activated. This means that whatever excess glucose is in your body is converted into fat and stored by this hormone When you don’t eat for an extended period of time (Intermittent Fasting) then you allow these insulin levels to go down and this allows the fat stores to be used as energy. Essentially you go from glucose burning to fat burning (ketogenic state) in a matter of weeks.

If you eat only when you are hungry, then you do not need to count calories because your body will tell you when it needs to be fed. You will inadvertently be practising Intermittent Fasting.

Within the two weeks of starting this diet, I didn’t need to eat more that once a day simply because I was not hungry. I started with eliminating breakfast and had either tea or coffee with very little milk, about 2 tablespoons and then would have lunch and dinner, if I was hungry. I didn’t need to snack in between meals either as the healthy fats I was consuming would keep me full for long periods of time. Now, I eat once every two days or so and occasionally do longer fasts for 3-4 days.

Fasting activates hormones in your body which help with repairs and cell regeneration. When you fast, you allow your body to divert its energies towards healing.

Occasional Treats

Alcohol – Dry wines, whisky, brandy, vodka

Dark Chocolate – 70% and above cacao content.

Avoid these and low carb baked goods for the first 8-12 weeks of starting this diet as it might affect weight loss. Otherwise you decide when the time is right for you to enjoy these treats.

You can choose to do a strict, moderate or liberal low carb diet.

Strict LCHF – Less than 25 grams nett of carbs

Moderate LCHF – 25-50 grams nett of carbs

Liberal LCHF – 50-100 grams nett of carbs.

The reason I use “nett” grams is because as a general rule fibre is not digestible carbohydrate and therefore not absorbed by your body. Fibre is also important to include in your diet as it enhances the good gut bacteria in your body hence aiding digestion. Some people include the fibre in their calculation of carbohydrates. The choice is entirely yours.

My advise is to experiment with your body as everyone is different and your genetics will determine how sensitive or resistant your insulin is. If you find that on a higher intake of carbohydrate your weight loss is stalling or your blood sugars are increasing  then reduce the carbohydate intake.

Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt gives excellent advise on how to follow a low carb, high fat diet or as it better known, a ketogenic diet. I would encourage you to become a member of this site as there is a lot of information that will help you. It costs only US$ 9.00 per month which is less than KES 1,000/- per month. How much do you spend at Nakumatt every week buying processed food that harms your body? Divert some of these funds to gain reliable diet advise and to understand how your body works. You won’t regret it.

How I began the diet

Once I had gone through the available literature, I was determined to give this a go. After all, I seemed to have tried everything else under sun.

The first thing  I did was to get rid of all the stuff in my house that was not allowed in the diet. There could be no temptation otherwise I would crumble. I kept small amounts around for other members of the household.

After that, I went shopping and bought all kinds of yummy stuff that I earlier denied myself like cream and full fat cheese. Delicious!

I also planned our meals so that I knew exactly what we would be eating for each meal. This turned out to be quite important as I didn’t then have to think off the seat of my pants about what to cook and give in to temptation.

I cooked all of my food myself, that includes sauces and condiments. I make everything myself, including my own ketchup mustard and baking powder. This way I know exactly what I am putting in everything. I use real fresh food. I enjoy cooking so this is a joy for me. A lot of us do not enjoy cooking so much and to them my advise is to cook for 2 to 3 days in advance. To follow this way of life, cooking is an essential skill.

I found small differences of opinion on the finer points of this diet but all the experts agree that LCHF is the best way forward for reversal of diabetes and weight loss. I just experimented with different things along the way and did what worked best for me. I am still learning and will continue to do so to give myself the best chance of success.

And finally, I had a buddy, my husband. We are in this together and that support has been our saving grace. I would recommend that, if you can, you should find a partner to do this with. If you are unable to, join a support group on facebook. The Keto Diet Support Group is one of the best that I have found.

READ & RESEARCH as much as you can. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be to sustain this way of life. Use the links that I have provided in my posts. I have found this information to be invaluable. Do your own research as well.

In conclusion to this post, I’d like to leave you with this thought by Dr. Ron Rosedale MD :

“Your health and likely your lifespan will be determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar you burn over a lifetime and that will be determined by the communication of hormones, which will be determined by what you eat. You should eat today to control the hormones that will tell you what you will need to eat tomorrow”

 

 

My journey, Thus Far

MY JOURNEY, THUS FAR

Shimba Hills, Kenya
Shimba Hills, Kenya

This picture of the valley at Shimba Hills in Kenya reminds me of the the many paths that are available to us in reaching our destination – Some more apparent than others, some we stumble upon, some we are guided through and some take years to discover. In retrospect,  it would seem to me that the journey is more important than the destination. It is in the journey that we gain experience, gain new knowledge and use that knowledge to further our mortal experiences. In essence, we come into our own, making each one of us unique human beings (or humanoids as Star Trekkers would call us!).  As Michael Scott, author of the book series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, so eloquently said  We are nothing more than the sum total of our memories and experiences“.

With this in mind, allow me to narrate the sum total of my memories and experiences in the area that obsessively concerns us in the modern world: health and weight.

The latter half of 2015 was the year of much change in many Kenyan lives. The most significant event was the closure of Imperial Bank Ltd which devastated and changed the lives and livelihoods of many. The effects are still being felt today all because of greed – if ever there was one vice that will lead to the annihilation of mankind and humanity, it is this.

Greed, this is what the medical world will have you believe is the cause of the obesity pandemic that is sweeping the earth in the modern age. I agree with them. The debate lies in whose greed. It is not the greed of the individual who supposedly scoffs down tons of food so that one becomes obese, instead it is the Big Pharma , the medical community and  the Big Food companies who have hidden the truth from the public for close to four decades. This is my opinion.

For years, I have been struggling with health issues. In fact, it is a common joke in my family that I have been a guest at  every hospital in Kenya!! As a young woman, I constantly suffered from respiratory related infections and often had to be hospitalised. In 2003, I was eventually diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Disease (after consulting with a series of doctors who put me through agonising test after test)  – a disease which affects the ovaries and the production of the hormone oestrogen, effectively throwing your body completely out of whack. In that year alone, I put on close to 20 kg. Devastating!

Thereafter, over the following years I underwent multiple surgeries and tried hundreds of diets to reduce and control my weight but nothing worked. I was swimming 100 laps 3 times a week, doing yoga at home and trying to eat “healthy” as had been advised by the doctors.

In 2007/2008, my husband & I decided to undergo IVF as we were having trouble conceiving. The procedure was successful and I conceived twins. However, it was also at this time that I developed Gestational Diabetes Type 2. At this stage, the doctors put me on insulin, a drug known to increase weight gain. In fact the doctor warned me that I would put on more weight (like I really needed that !!).  Unfortunately, due to various complications caused by diabetes, I was unable to carry the pregnancy to term and I miscarried at 5 and 6 months respectively. It was a difficult time and I will always be grateful for family and friends who were there to support us during that time. Most of all though, I am sincerely grateful for my husband who has been my pillar of strength, always encouraging me and loving me unconditionally.

The diabetes remained after the pregnancy and thus began my long struggle to control the disease. As the years progressed, I was placed on increasing dosages of diabetes medication and on statins but the disease just got worse.

Then in June 2015 I decided to give diet another try, I went on a low fat diet and was exercising at least 2 hours a day, tracking everything that I ate and doing all the right things but the results were just not impressive. I lost about 5 kgs in 3 months and it was just so much agony.  At the start of June 2015, I was at my highest weight ever – 103kg. I was miserable, uncomfortable, moody, hungry and tired all the time and  just generally unhappy. I was fed-up.

I thought to myself ” There has to be a better way” so in August 2015, I began my search for answers. That’s when I came across Dr. Jason Fung’s videos and his blog. It took me a week or so to get through the blog and videos. It went against everything that I had been told in my health history but it was a REVELATION of the most profound kind. Finally my body and its problems began to make sense.  I could take control of my own health without relying on advise from doctors. I enlisted the co-operation of my physician and started my journey. I decided to conduct my n=1 experiment and try the advise that was on Dr. Fung’s blog.

My husband, although initially reluctant, decided to join me on this journey as he was also a diabetic and insulin dependant.

Dr. Fung recommends a protocol of low carbohydrates, particularly processed carbohydrates and Intermittent Fasting. He also explains, in simple, understandable terms, the science and mechanisms at work.

The results were astounding. In the first month alone, I lost 8 kg. As at the date of this blog post, I have lost 29 kg and still losing.

Besides the weight loss ( let’s face it – it is a huge motivator) my blood work results are the best they have ever been. I had started with an HB1 of 8.8 and 3 months later my HB1 was at 4.5! My husband had great results too. Within 2 months of starting a low carb, high fat diet (LCHF), he was completely off his insulin. His Hb1 dropped from 8.5 to 5.3 and in 3 months he lost 10 kgs. He was  not overweight to begin with.

Both of our medications have been reduced – a phenomenon unknown in the world of diabetic medicine. In the case of both my husband and I, we had managed to reverse our diabetes (A diagnosis of diabetes is characterised by an HB1 of 6.0 or higher). We also experience a great increase in energy levels, better sleeping patterns and sound sleep. We achieved this restoration of health, not through the advise of our doctors but through what we learnt from the internet. My point is that even though this strategy works, it is not conventional knowledge amongst doctors and it is not widely accepted, as yet.

Our doctor, while initially, cautiously optimistic was astounded. His exact words were “I don’t believe it”. He advised us to continue doing what we were doing.

We were lucky to find this particular physician who was willing to work with us. What, to me, is shocking is that other doctors we approached, simply refused to work with us despite knowing that the disease was getting worse. Surely, as a doctor, having taken the Hippocratic oath, you are obliged to act in the best interests of your patient with the ultimate objective of restoring health. Given my experience, I can no longer rely only on the medical community’s advise and in this respect, the internet is our saving grace. The information you need is all available free of charge. You just have to ensure that it is from a reliable source.

This is my journey, thus far. I do not know what the future holds and where it will take me in my quest to regain my health. For now, I am content that the strategies and interventions I am following are working and the quality of my life has greatly improved.

 

Hello, Health Seekers!

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Hello, Health Seekers!  Welcome to my Blog!

Hi! My name is Devialini and I live in Kenya. I qualified as a finance professional and hold a masters degree in Business Administration.

Being diabetic and obese, I have been trying to lose weight and keep the disease in control for years and failing miserably!  UNTIL NOW.

I am passionate about low-carb living and its health benefits as I have now experienced this for myself. I started eating Low Carb seven months ago and have not looked back since. It has been and still is a learning experience for me and my hope is that we can continue on this journey together so that we may learn together and help each other.

My mission is to share my own experiences, thoughts and the resources that I have come across in my research, in the hope that it will  help  you to achieve a healthy body and mind and become the best version of yourself.

By no means am I suggesting in any way that this is the only means to achieve that but this is what has worked for me and I feel obligated to share the information.

As with any lifestyle change, please consult your medical practitioner and seek professional help. This blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise, diagnosis or treatment.These are my personal experiences which I wish to share with you

I strongly believe that if you are healthy then nothing is impossible!

 

My Healthy Happy Effortless Weight Loss Journey