Thursday, 20 March 2014

Before Picture - 11 things I wish I knew back then

I've been threatening for a while now to put up before and After photos.

So I might as well brave up to it and publish it. There's some irony in where the picture is taken huh?! As it turns out, Ronald McDonald wasn't a great friend.
I was 17 in this picture. 250 pounds, that's 60 more than I am today more than a decade later. Back then, I'm afraid none of the weight was muscle weight either.

Its Quite hard for me to look at pictures of me like this. It seems like its a different person. I feel sorry for the person in the picture, I want to step in and help him. Weird though, I can help him, I have helped myself. I've made changes, and more importantly rather than just eating what I want or fancy, I now know That food has a hormonal effects.

 I wish I knew then what I know now, rather than torturing myself with poor weight loss strategies and endless hours on a treadmill. The determination that I showed was epic, but the strategies and know how were completely wrong. I lived on sugar and low fat foods. Starvation and deprivation were the kings of the land, still I persevered, and that determination fuels me today, if I can have the determination to lose weight as I did, imagine what I can achieve now with the right information.

So here is a list that I wish I would of known.

I now know that I no longer need to starve myself to lose weight. Diet does not have to equal hunger.

I know that I can't eat whatever I want and do so to my hearts content.

I know that no amount of exercise can work off fat. That's what I thought. I must be lazy, I can't me working out hard enough.

I know that eating sugar and carbohydrates, though tasty make me feel hungry
quickly and are not fulfilling. The amount of low fat 100 calorie snacks that I used to eat. Guess what, it was torture, why can I never be filled I used to ask?

I now know that searching out low fat goods is wrong.

I now know that sugar content does make a difference in my body.

I know that eating carbs will affect my insulin and thus my fat storage.

I now know that the quality of my food matters. No more processed junk.

I now know that junk food was causing all kinds of allergic reactions.

I now know how close I came to diabetes and other health Problems

I now know not to use food as comfort or to mask feelings
Now, I know...

If you are that boy in the picture, then I want to help you. You feel swamped by you weight. Its never off your mind. You exercise like mad and see no results. You see skinny people and you want to be like them, you want to look good, you want to be able to take pride in your appearance, to go shopping and to be able to find something that fits. You want to be able to walk down the street and not think, everybody is looking at me and how fat I am. You might actually want to be in pictures for a change!

I've got the answer. It's so simple, it doesn't even mean starving yourself, you just have to know.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Figuring out my Food Intolerance

I wrote a blog the other week about feeling crap on a Paleo diet.

For the last couple of weeks I've really cut down on my caffeine and I've tried to give myself some rest time.
However I've still got some symptoms that I'm not happy with. As the day progresses I frequently get a headache and fatigued. I'm not sure why, and I've tried to drink more water and reduce my caffeine.
When I used to eat wheat I got some terrible skin reactions. I used to get hundreds of tiny blisters on my hands which would then burst and leave my skin feeling dry and sore. I also had sores behind my knees.

Thankfully my hands have now cleared up and they're perfect, but occasionally I've had a flair up behind my knees.  Combining that with my fatigue and headaches leads me to think that I've probably got a food intolerance.

My daughter has quite a few allergies, and she at a very young age, maybe 18 months, reacted to a lot of food and so had some tests done. The blood tests came back that she had a reaction to peanut, dairy, egg and wheat. Sure enough when we cut those things out all her problems went away. She too had lots of skin problems. The peanut too is life threatening as we've found out on one occasion.
However there's a good chance that shes inherited some of her intolerance from me. As I stated I have a wheat intolerance, and my grandmother had a dairy intolerance. My wife doesn't seem to have any allergies except to dust and pollen.
Did my daughter get her dairy and egg intolerance from me?

What I've decided to do is to conduct a month long trial without these foods, to see if there's any difference. Then return each food one at a time to see if there's any difference.

This isn't going to be easy for me. I have milk in my tea and coffee, I have butter drounded over everything. I probably get through a 500g bar every day or two? Its my real fat source.
So what I've decided to do is to cut out the milk. Most people are allergic to the sugar and Proteins. My local health food store wasn't too helpful but internet research has shown that most likely its the casein and lactose in milk that give the biggest reactions.
Butter doesn't have much casein or lactose in it as butter is mainly the fat, but if you, what's known as clarify it, you can remove the milk proteins and be left with just the butter fat. So that's what I'm going to do today, I'm going to clarify some butter and use that instead.

So, this is me for a month, no eggs, damn and blast... No milk or yogurt, and only clarified butter. My headaches and fatigue is getting that frustrating that I need to do something, let's see how it goes!

Just a quick FYI, I had these headaches and fatigue before I started eating paleo/primal/low carb. I do think that my previous poor diet his some of the symptoms better, by giving me such sugar highs that the fatigue was masked. I'm also eating more dairy and eggs on my diet, which might exacerbate any problems.

I have had headaches back before I can remember, and I've never been able to get to the bottom of it...let's see a month from now how I feel.
this is a useful link which has a list of possible intolerance and how to best go about them.

Have you any such experiences? Do you feel rubbish on the paleo diet?

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Read Food Labels- What's Lurking In Your Food?

As a rule, the food that is best of us is the food that doesn't have a label, because it doesn't need a label. Its natural. But what about some of the products that we do buy?
Why should we check the labels on our food?
What should we be looking out for?

The two things we need to check
Nutritional Information. We are probably better at checking the nutritional information than anything else on the package. We might check for the Fat, Carbohydrate or Protein level. That can tell us a story, and its essential to check.

But also very important is checking the ingredients list.
But isn't the ingredients list a complete mumble jumble of technical names for things. I don't have the time when shopping to read an essay per product!
Well when you get better at it, it can actually be quite a fast thing to do. You can also save yourself from some side affects of some products. Like what?

MSGA widespread and silent killer that’s worse for your health than alcohol, nicotine and many drugs is likely lurking in your kitchen cabinets right now. That's how Dr. Mercola describes MSG! 
MSG can add taste to a cardboard box! What MSG does is excite our cells to the extent that they die or get damaged. What is caused by MSG do some researchers say? Alzheimer's, Cardiac events, Obesity, Eye damage, Headaches, Fatigue, Depression,  Numbness, Nausea, and drowsiness. Is it worth it? Absolutely not. Have you ever had a Chinese meal and after an hour or two you feel hungry again? MSG. These health scares are enough to put me off ever using MSG. Just make sure that it's not hidden in your food. Also check some of your Soy sauces and the like, often MSG can lurk in there.

Soy - You might or might not of heard before that Soy isn't very good for you. This is a full article on why Soy is bad for you. It's not good for you on a variety of fronts. 
Firstly a good portion of Soy is GMO. There have been studies that have linked this to allergies, sterility and birth defects. 
Soy crops have been heavily sprayed with chemical herbicides that French researchers have found to be carcinogenic. But the other reason is that Soy contains many "anti nutrients". Even organic soybeans contain Saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, goitrogens etc. These anti nutrients remain in Soy milk, tofu and soy infant formula. These anti nutrients reduce the bodies store and absorption of Calcium, magnesium, copper and much more. It has also been seen to stunt the growth of children. But check out that link because there's a whole list of its faults. I wouldn't touch it with a 10ft barge pole. But is it hidden in your kitchen?

Hidden sugars - Fructose, Sucrose and Dextrose. You might think that the food your eating is healthy and there doesn't seem to be sugar in the ingredients list. Saying that, it should show up in the Carbohydrate chart on the nutritional information though. But if you see any of these, then you know it has sugar in it. That's not that bad right? Well you should at least know that the sugar is there so that it's counted in your diet. What you might not be aware of is that sugar also depletes the body of calcium and magnesium and other vital nutrients, which makes you crave more sugar. It also does s lot of harm in our body. Sugary things are also addictive and very hard to give up. Here is a link to my top ten ways to give up sugar. My Top 10 tips to giving up sugar

Wheat is a toxic food which can trigger auto antibodies against a variety of tissues in our bodies which can result In a range of autoimmune conditions. Most wheat today is also GMO. It looks nothing like the wheat of years ago and instead is something that we've radically changed and interfered with. Wheat as we know also contains gluten. What can happen if your allergic to gluten? Brain fog, fatigue, skin diseases, Leaky gut and some Autoimmune conditions. Not everyone of course gets these symptoms, but far more people in the population never realize that they have them. 
Wheat has other affects in our body. Dr Oz did a test where he gave participants a candy bar and tested their blood sugar and the next day he gave them the same amount in wheat and tested their blood sugars. Sure enough the blood sugar spike was higher from the wheat. Wheat does more damage though than sugar spikes.
Wheat also does damage for our brain, for a full reference read Dr. Perlmutters Grain Brain. It contains ample evidence that Wheat is doing damage to our cognitive functions.
E Numbers and Preservatives. We should also check our ingredients list for E numbers.
Check out this great website I found about numbers. 
It documents them on a super easy chart. Some of these E numbers have been found to have links to hyperactivity in children as well as links to asthma. How do E numbers interfere with our bodies like this? I don't know. But knowing that they do, why would you want to eat them?
Food additives and E Numbers - list and effect

Why not eat things that have no labels?

Science is constantly evolving in its understanding of what is good and bad for us.
But one thing is for sure. Any time that we mess or play about with nature, we do so at our own expense. 
Sure these modern foods may be conveniently packaged, easy to cook, easy to eat- you just remove the wrapper. They conveniently last for months in your kitchen. 
But the price for all this convenience and sweetness? The jury is still out on the size of the claim. 
If you want to be as healthy as possible, try to eat foods with no labels, good natural food. Has it been killed or grown naturally organically in the soil? 
If it does have a label, make sure it doesn't have any of the above.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Yes your weight loss diet is going to fail you...

Have you ever gone to an adventure centre and had a go on their climbing wall?
I did last year with a group of friends and had a great time! 
At the end of the course there was a huge 3 story climbing wall. Just to test you when your tired out and aching all over! I managed to finish it, but there's a point where your dangling there near the top utterly exhausted. Your holding on for dear life but you know the longer you stay there, the less chance you have off finishing, your getting more and more tired. Gravity is going to win!

You Can't beat Gravity - Weight Loss 

In a way that is how calorie controlled diets for weight loss work. If you are restricting your calories for weight loss you are fighting a battle that you cannot win. 
I dieted in this way a couple of years ago and I did lose a stone. So it works? Temporarily it might, but soon enough gravity will take over.What do I mean?

Well sure enough if you stay on the climbing wall for a time you will have to let go. You can fight gravity but in the end the inevitable will happen.

The same with a low calorie diet. When you are severely cutting your calories your Prefrontal Cortex is screaming at you to eat. Have you ever gone a long time without food and you could eat the whole fridge?
Well your brain is shouting at you to eat something because you are starving. You might be able to fight this for a couple of months but you can't long term. You fall off the wagon. In fact if you've managed to lose weight in this way I tip my hat to you. It takes some amount of determination! But what if there was a better, easier and healthier way?

Losing your weight for life/ eating smarter 

What you might not realise, is that when you eat a high sugar or Carbohydrate diet, your body produces a lot of Insulin and Leptin. What the hormone Leptin does is control our hunger signals. Lack of Leptin or resistance of it in the short term tells our brain that we're not full. Long term resistance tells our body that we haven't got enough food supplies stored, and as a result the body tries to store all the fat it can.

Then there's the hormone Insulin. Whenever we eat Sugar or Carbohydrates our body has to counteract the sugar load we are giving it. It does it very well by producing Insulin. But Insulin is a storage hormone. We are telling the body to store more fat again.

Store, gain, lose, starve... what are we telling our bodies!!!

Try to imagine what is happening to our body when your eating a low calorie diet and exercising more, while eating a diet mainly based on Carbohydrate?
With the consumption of a high amount of Carbohydrates you are telling your body to store fat and slow down your metabolism. Yet we are starving ourselves at the same time.
Were sending our bodies quite a confused signal of famine and yet storage. No wonder we are starving on these diets and when we add in a few more calories, the weight goes back on. It's the hormonal message we are sending ourselves.

Can we lose weight and keep it off?!!!

Yes we can. We can regulate these hormones by limiting the hormone changing foods that we eat. By simply cutting down on the carbohydrates and instead eating clean, natural and unprocessed foods. Hereby we allow our body to tell us how to eat, when we are truly hungry and what we need.

Notice I didn't say count calories. You won't need to count calories when you eat low carb, moderate protein and high fat. You will feel a satiety that you've never experienced before. You then don't tell your body to store weight. Your body can then see for the first time, how much reserves you are carrying, and it will burn these off. It works. Best of all, you'll never be hungry.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Micro Nutrient deficient - Yes you are!!

Nearly everyone is deficient in some of the essential micro nutrients.
The USDA states that 50% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin A, C and Magnesium and 90% are deficient in potassium.
Its a fact, in the fitness and health world we are all concerned about the Macro Nutrients (Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates) and how many we have and what the best ratio is for us. But do we stop and think about our Micro Nutrients?
If your living low carb, you probably check the level of fat and carbohydrate in everything you eat, yet have you any idea about the essential minerals and vitamins your taking in?

What are some of these Micro Nutrients and what do they do?

If you are deficient in any of these micro nutrients you'll not die today, no you'll probably not die tomorrow either! But it will take it's toll on you one day. Until that day your also not living at your strongest. 
If your struggling with controlling your weight, this is also essential. The body craves these elements and this can often feel like hunger. So what are some of these micro nutrients?

Then there's all the Vitamins! 
For example, Iodine helps your thyroid gland develop and function. It helps your body use fats and promotes growth. Iodine deficiency is the world's biggest cause of brain damage and during pregnancy can result in still birth and mental retardation.
These things aren't to scare you but it shows important they are.

But we get these in our diet don't we?

Author of the book Naked Calories, Dr. Jayson Carlton, shows a study which highlights the extreme difficulty in being completely nutrient sufficient on a standard American diet.
How many calories would you have to eat to get all our micro nutrients? 3,000? 5,000? No. 27,500 calories. So, it's impossible on the SAD diet to get our micro nutrients. So what can we do?

Rich Food

What is a rich food?
Rich food is real unprocessed food that is full of vitamins and minerals to help us be sufficient. Real rich foods are also low in toxins that have harmful inflammatory effects on our bodies. Inflammation leads to disease.

Food processing kills the richness in our food. Everything that is done to our food from the second it is sown affects the level of vitamins and nutrients. Things like pesticides, growing conditions, travel, storage and preparation all lowers the amount of micro nutrients available to us. So buying local, organic and buying fresh really is the best option. For this reason we have a small raised beds in our back garden for growing vegetables and last year we erected a poly-tunnel. This year we want to make lots of fresh organic and nutrient dense vegetables for our family. The taste is amazing and so are the health benefits!

We won't get enough micro nutrients from the standard European or American diet. I know, of all people, that if your running along, thinking that your eating healthy, or "my diet isn't too bad" that your probably not thinking about micro nutrients. But maybe take the time to access what your eating and how "rich" it is. Maybe there are a few subtle changes you can make.

We also need Vitamins taken as a supplement to eating healthy. I will discuss this later... :)

An example of a delicious (low carb) paleo/ primal meal

Here's my dinner from this evening. Two nice fillets of Salmon drenched in cottage cheese. Roasted vegetables include Asparagus, cauliflower, Brocolli, and turnip. I then doused them all in some butter and Himalayan sea salt. Absolutely delicious  and quite easy to make. 

Some people say low carb and Paleo eating is boring, but it doesn't have to be.