Preparing for weight loss

Gut health is vital

All diseases begin in the gut.”

– Hippocrates, c. 400 BC

GUT PROBLEMS

Hippocrates may not have been entirely right, but current medical thinking is increasingly emphasising the importance of the intestines and the links between digestion, mood and health. According to the Real Meal Revolution, many, if not all Banters who are overweight and insulin resistant appear to have poor gut health.

In my own case, I know this to be true as I had digestive problems for decades. When I began to feed my gut biome and eliminate harmful substances, my depression and anxiety disappeared and were replaced with stable, upbeat moods.

Here’s what we know for sure about this enormous organ:

  • It is considered to be “the second brain”
  • The small intestine is responsible for around 95% of the digestion and absorption of the food we eat.
  • The total surface area exposed to both the nutritious and harmful things we consume has been calculated to be anywhere from the size of  a badminton court to the size of a tennis court!
  • Key to the effective and healthy functioning of the small intestine is the symbiotic relationship it enjoys with our gut flora. These trillions of microorganisms line the intestinal wall, forming a vital living interface between the partially digested food on the inside and the intestinal wall on the outside.
  • Gut flora manufacture vitamins B and K, and act as an organ of the body by releasing hormones into the bloodstream. (As we have seen, hormones interact with the brain and signal the body to change its behaviour in response to a change in its environment. Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS and other bowel problems such as constipation and bloating are now thought to directly affect our mood, contributing to emotional shifts and even anxiety and depression.)
  • Our gut flora also plays an important hand in managing the body’s metabolism, and it forms part of the body’s immune system by making antigens from potentially harmful bacteria that the immune system can use to ward off disease.

Regardless of what diet you may sign up for, it is critical that it should take into account the healthy development and maintenance of your gut flora.

Abrupt changes, such as a wildly fluctuating diet, the excessive use of antibiotics or the infestation of harmful bacteria, can seriously compromise this vital organ. Rebuilding and supporting the gut flora should be regarded as a foundational step to metabolic health and is therefore focused on in detail in LCHF Banting 2.0.

For more on gut health read…….

Gluten Freedom by Alessio Fasano (Wiley, 2013) or find his videos on YouTube.

References:

Real Meal Revolution Banting 2.0 by Jonno Proudfoot and the Real Meal Revolution Team, (Burnet Media, 2016)

Who is most vulnerable to sleep deprivation?

“Sleep today is a measure of success, a skill to be cultivated and nourished”

Tim Robinson

As we discussed in Sleep glorious sleep, good sleep is an essential part of living life to the full and of maintaining a healthy weight.

It seems that some individuals are more susceptible to sleep debt than others.

A study from U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention found that close to 20% of all women aged between 40 to 59 said they had trouble falling asleep on four or more nights in the prior week.

If women are peri-menopausal and are transitioning into menopause, they experienced even more sleep troubles where they said that they typically got less than the seven hours of sleep recommended by experts for health and restfulness. This is not surprising considering the raise in body temperature and night sweats that disrupt a good night’s rest.

What interests me in my work as a Certified Banting 2.0 | LCHF coach is that my demographic consists of females aged between 45 and 75 who are experiencing the negative effects of insulin resistance such as abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high fasting blood glucose and low HDL cholesterol, which together, are precursors of serious diseases.

These ladies are tired of the ever-increasing belly fat, increasing weight, lethargy, depression in many cases, and the prospect of abdominal surgery as a last resort to losing weight.

Their issues around insomnia are yet another hurdle to get over on the path to regaining a healthy lifestyle.

I’m an evangelist of awesomeness which goes beyond being incredibly slim. It embraces sleep, diet, relationships, social interactions and managing stress and this is what I teach those who choose to work with me to regain their health.

The least that anyone can do to sleep well, is to practise each of the sleep hygiene steps listed in the earlier blog post. Sleep is worthy of being prioritised.

 

LCHF foods I love – bullet coffee, my way

Bullet coffee, the way I like it

I make extra strong coffee using the pour-over method. While the coffee is dripping through the filter, I whisk about 100ml of it with a tablespoon of unsalted butter. I then blend all the coffee into the whisked butter coffee.

This drink is delicious and satisfying  and helps to keep my daily fat intake to around 75% of total daily calories.

Do you struggle when dining out?

Delicious low-carb healthy-fat restaurant food

What should I order in a restaurant without low-carb, healthy-fat options?

Advice from The Real Meal Revolution Banting 2.0 goes like this:

Keep your meals simple when eating out. Go for unprocessed proteins and veg like steak or fish with butter and broccoli.

A major priority is to consciously avoid the extras like sauces, soft drinks, alcohol, dessert.

  • Main meal salads are a good option; e.g. chicken Ceasar salad. I order this without the dressing and ask for extra-virgin olive oil to be brought to the table. I remove the bread croutons.
  • Ask for additional salad with other meals.
  • Swap potatoes, French fries, rice, noodles for vegetables or a salad.
  • Ask the waiter to take away the bread basket. I ask for a dish of olives instead.
  • Avoid anything “breaded” like schnitzels and crumbed veal.
  • Sushi: opt for sashimi or a Japanese salad with salmon or tuna.
  • Indian: be wary of the potatoes in curries, not to mention the rice. Avoid poppadums and naan bread. When I order curry I ask for it to be served in a bowl with no side dish.
  • Thai: a coconut milk broth with chicken or prawns or a Tom Yum soup is a good choice. Stay away from spring rolls, dim sum, rice and noodle dishes.
  • As always, avoid all soft drinks. Rather order sparkling water.
  • Be aware of your alcohol intake. Make a conscious decision beforehand, about how much, if anything,  you’re going to drink. Start the meal with a big glass of still or sparkling water. If necessary, ask the waiter not to fill your glass. If you need a reason not to drink, claim to be the designated driver for others in the party.

Textures in food

Sesame seed biscuits

We speak a lot about the nutrient value of food but the textures created by ingredients and cooking methods are often what tempt us to eat something.

Processed food manufacturers know this. Their recipes include just the right amount of sugar, salt and hydrogenated vegetable oils to get us eating, and continue eating their wares until the wrapper or packet is empty. Add to that mix the textures of exquisite crispness, or a lush mouth-filling sensation and you have a winning recipe for the industry that produces food-like substances that are both harmful and addictive.

What texture is irresistible to you?

Dry and brittle like these sesame biscuits made in my kitchen?

What about tender, silkiness of a slow-cooked stew?

Chewy, robust beef jerky or the South African version, biltong (/ˈbɪltɒŋ/), that is satisfying and filling too?

Imagine the dreamy softness of coconut kefir.

Share your comments.

 

Sleep, glorious sleep

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
― Homer, The Odyssey

Does sleep have any impact on weight loss?

Authors Jonno Proudfoot and the Real Meal Revolution team, teach that Banting 2.0 is a lifestyle embracing diet, sleep, relationships, social interactions and being aware of stress.
Good sleep is non-negotiable if a) you want to be generally awesome, and b) you specifically want to keep the weight off. If you’re well rested your metabolic rate will be higher than when you’re tired, allowing you to burn more fat in your daily activities; the hormones that regulate your hunger will be more stable, along with your emotional state, making you less susceptible to unnecessary comfort eating; and your mental acuity and decision-making will be significantly sharper, allowing you to make better eating decisions and stick to your plans with more conviction.

Continue reading “Sleep, glorious sleep”

My story

Freedom from life-long depression, mood swings and gastric disorders.

The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. – Aseem Malhotra, cardiologist and anti-sugar advocate

Dr. Malhotra’s statement describes my recovery from depression and mood swings that were the bane of my life since I was a young child, when domestic violence and intense insecurity were part of my siblings and my family situation.

After the sudden death of my husband when I was forty-nine years old, the depression and panic attacks were finally diagnosed correctly and for years I was treated with psychiatric medication.

Gastric problems such as chronic constipation with cramping have also been part of my life for most of it. As a result I have looked to treatments such as colonic hydrotherapy for relief.

My love of sweet foods and grains caused me to have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia and bloating.

Help came to me when I noticed that my usually stable weight had begun increasing along with an unwelcome fat roll around my belly. At the time I was exercising at least four times per week to no avail. What I did not understand at the time was that I am insulin resistant, which was complicated by my consumption of  foods that were high in carbohydrates which led to excessive amounts of insulin being secreted. This all led to fat storage. Hence the appearance of the belly roll.

Seeking answers and change, I discovered that Professor Tim Noakes was advocating a low-carbohydrate healthy-fat regime to reverse lifestyle diseases including obesity, described in The Real Meal Revolution Banting written with Johnno Proudfoot. My investigation began. I listened to Professor Noakes speaking on podcasts and YouTube. The insights I gained from Dr. Robert Lustig in The Bitter Truth About Sugar were revelatory. Two outstanding investigative journalists, Gary Taubes in Why We Get Fat and Good Calories Bad Calories, and Nina Teicholz with her Big Fat Surprise, just say it so well. I continue to learn and live what I am studying.

As I implemented the Banting diet my health gradually turned around.

I have lost ten kilograms in weight and the tummy fat is gone. So have food cravings for bread and sugary foods. I sleep well.

Best of all, something that I never anticipated has happened. I have calm, stable moods every single day. I will never go back to eating sugar, grains, processed foods and processed vegetable oil.