Category Archives: General

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.



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) 

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