The Best Fertility Diet May Be Low Carb, Research Finds

Dietitian Melanie McGrice had seen too many women in her clinic in tears after a miscarriage, or another failed IVF cycle.
“I had read all of the current research and knew that there must be something more,” says McGrice.
So she and colleague, Judi Porter, from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Monash University, Australia, began a more in-depth review of the evidence.
Fertility issues are common, affecting about one in six couples and, for women struggling with fertility, weight is a common factor.
This is increasingly an issue given that many women who are trying to fall pregnant are overweight and the more weight a woman carries past a healthy weight, the more her chances of falling pregnant decrease.
Excess weight also doubles their risk of miscarriage. For this reason, achieving a healthy weight is important for those wanting to conceive and new research suggests that a low-carb diet may be the best way to do it.
“Pre-pregnancy weight loss has historically been centred on the traditional low fat, energy restricted diet plan,” say McGrice and Porter, whose new paper is published in the journal Nutrients.
“However, the use of very low energy diets and low carbohydrate diets are increasingly being used to elicit more favourable weight loss and fertility outcomes.”
Previous research has found that low carbohydrate diets led to greater improvements in waist circumference, total cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels compared to low fat diets, so for the review, McGrice and Porter reviewed the evidence, analysing various studies.
“There is convincing evidence that reducing carbohydrate load can reduce circulating insulin levels, improve hormonal imbalance and result in a resumption of ovulation to improve pregnancy rates,” they found.
“To this end, the findings of this review suggest that low carbohydrate diets may optimise fertility in some clinical groups, particularly for overweight and obese women with PCOS.”
As to whether a low carb diet (considered those where less than 45 per cent of macronutrients come from  carbohydrates) can help other groups – such as women of a healthy weight, or men – with fertility issues it is too early to say, McGrice says.
“Personally, from my clinical experience, I believe that it could be relevant for women who have a ‘normal’ BMI but who have a high percentage of body fat. However, I wouldn’t expect it to be helpful for women with a healthy (or low) percentage of body fat,” she says.
“We know that being overweight can impact upon a man’s fertility – particularly by reducing sperm quality and testosterone levels, so it could possibly have an impact, but I haven’t seen any research to prove it.”
She also believes that the type of carbs being consumed can make a difference.
“It is estimated that 60 per cent of people who are overweight have insulin resistance, although many women go undiagnosed,” says McGrice, who is planning to undertake a clinical trial in women soon.
“Insulin resistance impacts fertility hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and luteinising hormone, altering the hormonal environment of the ovaries and impacting fertility.
“Following a lower carbohydrate diet can benefit insulin resistance. However, I believe that women need to be VERY careful following a lower carbohydrate diet prior to conception as many of the essential nutrients they require for fertility are found in carbohydrate-rich foods – so it’s a fine line, and that’s why it’s essential to work with a fertility dietitian.”
By:SARAH BERRY

Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies – It's Cheat Day Everyday

I’m back with the low carb amazing-ness and they are NOT here to disappoint!
These Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies are high in flavor but low in calories. Not to mention, they’re gluten free! Like…does it really get any better, guys? *heart eyes*
These Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies have all the flavors of a traditional chicken pot pie in guilt free form! Gluten free, low calorie and delicious! www.itscheatdayeveryday.com
I’ve been itching to share this recipe with y’all for over a week now but unfortunately, I encountered some behind the scenes tech probz.
I was in the middle of editing my pictures when *poof* everything had a blue-ish tint. Just like that, a vibrant picture of Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies had turned into a somewhat depressing, washed out, cold meal of tears.
These Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies have all the flavors of a traditional chicken pot pie in guilt free form! Gluten free, low calorie and delicious! www.itscheatdayeveryday.com
I immediately freaked out with a million things racing through my mind at once.  Within minutes, I found myself falling deeper into the Google search black hole, desperately seeking answers to this super random situation.
I tried everything from restarting it a bazillion times, to adjusting just about every setting I could find. I think the only thing I didn’t end up trying was putting my laptop in a giant bowl of rice.
But nope, no luck.
Soooo fast-forward a week later and here we are. New laptop in full effect, ready to take on the blog lyfe.
These Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies have all the flavors of a traditional chicken pot pie in guilt free form! Gluten free, low calorie and delicious! www.itscheatdayeveryday.com
The base for these Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies is made with pretty much the same ingredients that I used for my Cauliflower Pizza Bites – minus the Italian seasoning.
I used a large muffin pan to make the bases for these pies, but if you happen to have a set of ramekins on hand then those will work perfectly fine also!
These Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies have all the flavors of a traditional chicken pot pie in guilt free form! Gluten free, low calorie and delicious! www.itscheatdayeveryday.com
The filling itself is suuuuper easy peasy to make and uses a bag of frozen mixed vegetables which helps to really cut down on prep time.
Many traditional sauces call for all purpose flour in order to thicken it up, but I used a mixture of cornstarch and water in order to achieve thickness while keeping this recipe entirely gluten free!
The flavor was not compromised in the slightest, pinky promise.
These Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies have all the flavors of a traditional chicken pot pie in guilt free form! Gluten free, low calorie and delicious! www.itscheatdayeveryday.com
Although my blog is low calorie focused, I love when I’m able to share something that my low carb and gluten free pals can enjoy also.
After all, sharing is caring. ESPECIALLY when it comes to food, amiright? 🙂
Recipe & Nutritional Info Below

Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies

Enjoy the flavors or a comforting chicken pot pie in low carb form! Made with cauliflower, these Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies are guilt free and highly delicious!

15 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

40 min Total Time

Ingredients

For the cauliflower base:
    • 1 medium head cauliflower (4-5 cups cauliflower rice)
    • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    • 1 egg
    • pinch of salt and pepper
For the pot pie filling:
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 8 oz cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbs cornstarch + 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add the cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you achieve a rice-like consistency. Transfer cauliflower “rice” to a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Set aside and allow cauliflower to cool for approx 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower rice to a cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the juice from the cauliflower as possible. If you don’t, the bases may end up soggy. (The key here is to really get as much of that juice out as you can. Once you have done a round with the cheesecloth. Repeat with another dry cheesecloth to ensure you have removed a majority of the liquid. I managed to get 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower juice).
  3. Add the dried cauliflower rice to a bowl with the egg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients thoroughly. Spray a large muffin pan or 4 ramekins and gently press the cauliflower mixture to the sides, creating a cauliflower bowl. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centers are dry and the edges are golden brown.
  4. While the cauliflower bases are in the oven, spray a medium saucepan with cooking spray and saute the diced onion on high heat until slightly tender. Reduce heat to medium and add the chicken broth, almond milk, mixed vegetables, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Stir and cover for approx 5-8 minutes or until frozen vegetables are soft.
  5. Mix the cornstarch with the water to make a slurry and add to the sauce with the cooked chicken. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and increase heat to high and cook until sauce begins to boil. Remove from heat.
  6. Fill each cauliflower base with the pot pie filling and serve!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 pot pie
Servings Per Container 4 pot pies

Amount Per Serving
Calories 205Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 491mg20%
Total Carbohydrate 17g6%
Dietary Fiber 4g16%
Sugars 5g
Protein 20g40%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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How Does Low Carb Diet Work For Better Health And Weight Loss?

Going on a low carb diet is something almost everyone has either tried, considered, or heard about at some point. However, low carb diets may mean many different things to different people. The old style low carb dieting meant you ate butter and bacon all day. Most of us know that’s not the quickest ticket to good health, despite that the well-known approach might help you drop weight in the short term.
Thankfully, low carb diets have meant something much different these days. Low carb diets are now usually much more healthy for you and help you eliminate the most harmful carbs from your plate: refined (processed) grains, all added sugars and refined sugars, fast food, and junk food. Most also limit how much starch you have from foods like potatoes and sugars from fruit.
If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:
Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

Steamed-Turmeric-Salmon-and-Peppered-Veggies-The-Soulful-Spoon-by-Heather-McClees

Image Source: The Soulful Spoon
Well, there are many reasons why one might adopt a low carb diet. I have actually lived on a technically low carb diet for the last 10 years. At that time, it helped me overcome two serious medical conditions: chronic acne and food addiction. Here’s my experience with a low carb diet:

  • I don’t count grams per day like some diet advice suggests.
  • I don’t eat bacon and butter (or even meat), if you’re wondering.
  • I eat well-balanced meals rich in clean protein, ample amounts of greens, and any veggies I want.
  • I always include some healthy fats in my day.
  • I enjoy produce sources of carbs like berries, green apples, sweet potatoes on occasion, winter squash, pumpkin, and any kind of vegetable I want.
  • Fermented foods are also a daily part of my routine for optimal gut health and mood function.
  • I eat most of my fermented foods in the forms of kimchi, sauerkraut, plain (non-fat) Greek yogurt, coconut kefir, and 100% dark chocolate (which, yes, is a probiotic-rich food!).

What about whole grains and nuts? Generally, I even eat whole, gluten-free grains such as oats and wild rice if my body tells me it desires or needs them. This style of eating has helped me learn to crave healthier foods and realize just how much better my body feels on real food versus sugar and flour any day. I also find my blood sugar levels are better and my overall focus at work is tenfold what it used to be.
Besides what I eat, though, what could someone else gain from a low carb diet? Can’t these diets be dangerous? These are things you might be wondering, and with good reason.
Low-Carb-Diet

Here is why a (responsible) low carb diet can help you lose weight and improve your health:

  1. It can reduce the amount of sugar in your bloodstream, which is more beneficial for your blood sugar and heart health.
  2. Eating a heart-healthy diet rich in produce, lean sources of protein, and heart-healthy sources of fats (in moderation) can prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
  3. It reduces insulin swings throughout the day due to better blood sugar levels — but don’t cut carbs too much or you may feel lightheaded and dizzy.
  4. It allows for individuals to see how carbs affect them more closely, which can help them tap into their hunger needs more than just giving into sugar and junk food cravings.
  5. It can help you drop weight either temporarily, through water weight when glycogen levels are depleted due to a reduction of carbs, or long-term, when the body starts to burn its own fat as fuel.

Here are some other things you should know about low carb diets:

  1. If you cut carbs back too much (from produce, especially), you may get sick and even feel like you have the flu. It’s better to take things slow and work on cutting out the added sugars, refined grains, and all processed and fast food before you go worrying about the carbs in berries and vegetables. Seriously, take it slow and focus on whole foods first.
  2. These diets can cause tendencies for disordered thoughts around food if taken too far. Once again, balance is key here.
  3. It is easy to consume too much fat, which even though is beneficial in small amounts throughout the day, is not always beneficial for everyone in large amounts and can lead to weight gain over time. This is especially true when talking about saturated sources in excess of what your body can process.
  4. You may have increased levels of thirst as your body begins to eliminate sodium and water via the kidneys. Drinking enough water as the body adjusts is essential.
  5. A low carb diet can be hard to stick to if you cut back too much on carbs. Once again, whole foods are carbs you should not be eliminating in the beginning unless you have a doctor’s orders.

How to set yourself up for a successful low carb diet:

salad
Image Source: Amy Selleck/Flickr
Focus on produce, lean protein, and small amounts of  healthy fats at each meal. Even if you’re vegetarian or vegan, this is simple enough to do. What about whole grains, you may be asking? Moderate-style low carb diets can include small amounts of whole grains throughout the day if your body tolerates them well. Some whole grains (especially steel-cut or rolled oats, wild rice, and quinoa) all have many health benefits that you can take advantage of if your body tolerates them. They are also excellent for lowering blood pressure levels and are rich in heart-healthy magnesium, potassium, and are good sources of iron. However, don’t overdo it on them and eat moderate portions (1/4 – 1/3 cup) once a day instead of relying on them at all your meals.
Lean protein and produce are your friends for weight loss and lean muscle mass, but you still need some healthy fats and whole food sources of carbs to thrive long-term. Just be careful not to eat lots of carbs and fat in one meal if you’re trying to lose weight. The body relies on either fat or carbs for fuel, but it can’t use both. If you’re trying to gain weight, however, here are some safe ways you can do that in a slow and steady manner.

Supplement tips and recipes to try on a low carb diet:


Image Source: Cotter Crunch
Finally, please don’t rely on diet bars, processed low-carb shakes, and pricey supplements. Get yourself a good multivitamin from a quality brand, a Vitamin D3 supplement, and a probiotic to support your gut health. Take these daily, and if you have issues with constipation or irregularity, eat more vegetables and add some chia or flax seeds to your routine (which you should be eating anyway since they’re great sources of fats and fiber!).

3 Tips for Following Low-Carb Diets

Doesn’t it seem like a new fad diet pops up every day? One may think that we would eventually run out of food combinations, but new trends just keep emerging. Many of them are variations on the same core principles — and any way you cut it, low-carb and low-fat diets are still all the rage. But do they work?
A small study published this month in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that obese adults assigned to a low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight over a year than those on a low-fat plan. It is important to note, though, that this study excluded exercise. In fact, the study’s participants were not permitted to exercise during the one-year period, so a true comparison could be made between the two diets alone. But carbohydrates act as fuel for the body, so adding exercise to the mix may have drastically changed the outcome.
Before you jump on the low-carb bandwagon, you should know that following a low-carb diet may impact your sleep patterns. People on a very low carbohydrate diet may spend less time in deep, REM sleep compared with those who eat more carbs, according to a 2008 study in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience. The study only followed participants for 48 hours, so the longer-term effects remain unclear, but the findings do suggest that sleep is affected in the short term by eating a low-carb diet.

This study serves as a reminder that weight loss does not necessarily equate to optimal health. And even the term “low-carb” can refer to a myriad of diets from an Atkins-style bacon fest to a more balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables.
If you want to take advantage of the weight-loss benefits of a low-carb diet, but still consume a balanced diet, here are three tips to consider:
1. Be wary of exclusions. There’s no danger in excluding things like MSG or hydrogenated fats from your diet, but if a diet recommends completely excluding a certain food group, proceed with caution.
2. Remember that all carbohydrates aren’t the enemy. When you hear someone say that carbs make them fat, they are probably talking about things like white flour and sugar. Vegetables also contain certain forms of carbohydrates, and they contain a great deal of vitamins and minerals that the body needs.
3. Evaluate your progress frequently. Are you hungry all the time? Grouchy or sleep deprived? When you start eating healthier, you should also start feeling better. If you aren’t, the diet that you are following may not be the best fit for you. Don’t fall into the trap of getting stuck on a diet just because you’re losing weight. You should also be feeling well.

HOW MANY CARBS SHOULD YOU EAT PER DAY TO LOSE WEIGHT?

There is no simple answer to this question – in fact, the amount of carbs you need to lose fat is likely going to be different than the amount of carbs your coworker, training partner, best friend or whomever, needs to lose fat. Two people can have identical body compositions and activity levels, yet due to individual metabolic variations, one may be able to eat twice as many carbs as the other and still lose fat. This, naturally, can be very frustrating for some people. The only way to know for sure the proper amount of carbs you should eat to lose fat is to experiment and find what works best for you. Still, there are some general rules and guidelines that can at least give you a starting point from which to work.

HOW MANY CARBOHYDRATES DOES THE BODY NEED TO SURVIVE?

The answer to this question, on a strictly physiologic level, is zero. The body can manufacture glucose from other substances, and although the brain’s preferred fuel is glucose, it can use ketones(the by-products of fatty acid breakdown produced in very low insulin states) when no glucose is available. However, from a practical and performance standpoint, zero carbohydrate nutrition plans are not ideal for the vast majority of people. If you are interested in this kind of diet, there are countless books and articles about them, though I do not recommend following a ketogenic diet.

CARBS VERSUS CALORIES

Some people believe that it is not calories, but carbohydrates, and your hormonal response to their ingestion (i.e. insulin release), that are responsible for weight gain. They argue that if insulin levels are kept low then fat storage is impossible regardless of the amount of calories consumed. Others believe that a calorie is a calorie and the laws of thermodynamics dictate that if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. I think that there is some truth to both arguments and they aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Fat loss can be different from “weight loss.” It is theoretically possible to eat fewer calories than you burn but lose muscle tissue and gain body fat, as it is possible (though very difficult) to eat more calories than you burn, gain muscle but lose fat. As a practical matter, however, it may not matter. What works for you, works for you. If you can get away with stuffing your face with protein and fat without regard for total calories, maintain a low body fat percentage, feel well and have optimal biochemistry (low CRP, high HDL, low triglycerides, etc.), then more power to you. Most people, however, will find that calories must be controlled to lose fat. (Note: oftentimes, people who go on low carb diets attribute their weight loss to the lack of carbs when in fact it is the total calorie reduction that occurs with carb restriction that is responsible for the weight loss. These people would likely lose the same amount of fat with a modest reduction in carbs and fat, feel better while they are doing it, and have a better chance of keeping it off in the long run.)

Additionally, people generally feel better with at least some carbohydrate in their diets. The body uses stored sugar to fuel high intensity exercise, which should form the foundation of any fat loss exercise plan, so carbohydrates = improved exercise performance.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CARBOHYDRATES I CAN EAT?

Certain sources of carbohydrates are better at blunting hunger than others. Vegetables and many fruits, with high water and fiber content, contribute to feeling full without providing significant amounts of calories. Other foods, specifically processed carbs like white bread, pasta and sugary candy and cereals pack a strong calorie punch and will likely leave you feeling hungry soon after eating them. Again, though, there is a huge amount of variability from person to person and you must experiment to see which carbs you react well to and which you’d do well avoiding.

HOW MANY CARBS SHOULD I EAT TO LOSE WEIGHT: SUGGESTIONS

If you have diabetes, insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, you will likely feel better eating a more moderate carbohydrate, higher (healthy) fat and protein diet. Because you feel better you will be more likely to stick with it in the long run. If you feel better eating higher amounts of carbs and are still able to lose body fat (and control blood sugar), then by all means do so. Below are some very general guidelines for fat loss, but remember that everyone is different and certain “carb-sensitive” people may need to severely limit carbs in order to lose fat. In addition, the amount of protein and fat in your diet will also influence the amount of carbs you should be eating per day. Use these are starting points and adjust based on your response:

  • Sedentary individuals with insulin resistance: 50-150 grams per day
  • Otherwise healthy people looking to lose fat who engage in high intensity exercise: 1-3 grams per pound of body weight (along with 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight and 30-40 grams of healthy fat per day)

I recommend starting at the upper end and carefully tracking your intake. If your weight is not coming down appropriately (1-2 pounds per week), then begin reducing your carb intake until it does. Again though, if you feel sluggish or tired eating that much (or that little) carbohydrate, then adjust accordingly. Most importantly, use common sense, work with someone who knows what they are talking about, and listen to your body.

Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb

As anyone who has done it knows, getting started on a low-carb diet can be a little rough.  Not for everyone, but for some.  All too often these little front-end bumps in the road–coupled with the spirit of the times in which the well-intentioned but ignorant friends and relatives of low-carb dieters tell them their diet is going to croak their kidneys, clog their arteries and weaken their bones–can be enough to make many people abandon the most sincere efforts.  Drawing on my almost 30 years of experience treating patients using the low-carb diet, I can give some tips and tricks for dealing with these difficult early days.

Listen to your body?

The surest road to failure in the first few days of low-carb dieting is to listen to your body.  The whole notion of listening to your body is one of my major pet peeves.  In fact, just hearing those words makes me want to puke.  In my experience, they are usually uttered by females with moist, dreamy looks in their eyes, but not always.  I just read a ton of comments in a recent Paleo blog post in which vastly more males than females actually wrote this drivel.
Listening to your body is giving the elephant free rein. If you’re three days into your stop-smoking program, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  If you’re in drug rehab, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  If you’re trying to give up booze, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  And if you’re a week into your low-carb diet, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  Actually, it’s okay to listen to it, I suppose, just don’t do what it’s telling you to do because if you do, you’re screwed. Okay, end of rant.  I just had to get it out of my system.  You just can’t imagine how many times people who have tried low-carb diets then abandoned them early on have said those words to me.  Wait.  I’m about to get started again. Stop!

Low-carbohydrate adaptation

Probably the best explanation of low-carb adaptation (also called keto adaptation) was written by a Lt. Frederick Schwatka (pictured above left) over a hundred years ago.

When first thrown wholly upon a diet of reindeer meat, it seems inadequate to properly nourish the system and there is an apparent weakness and inability to perform severe exertive, fatiguing journeys. But this soon passes away in the course of two or three weeks.

Lt. Schwatka was a doctor, a lawyer, and an explorer of the Arctic, the Great Plains and northern Mexico.  The above quote comes from his book on the unfruitful search for the Franklin party in 1878.  (For all his experience and gifts, and understanding of low-carb adaptation, the good doctor listened to his own body a little too much and did himself in with an overdose of morphine at age 42.) You can read more about Lt Schwatka, low-carb adaptation, and his time with the Inuit in a post I wrote a few years ago.
The period of low-carb adaptation is that time between starting a low-carb diet and feeling great on a low-carb diet.  It can take anywhere from just a day or so to two or three weeks.  During this adaptation period people tend to fatigue easily, experience a slight lack of mental clarity and be tormented off and on by the unbidden lust for carbs that seems to rise up out of nowhere.
Why does this happen early on with a diet that ultimately works so well to increase exercise capacity, mental clarity, and feelings of satiation? It happens because both your body and brain are going through a profound change in the way they get their energy.  You can’t run your car designed to burn gasoline on biodeisel…unless you install a converter.  Then you can.  We humans have the design for our carb to fat converters coded in our DNA – the low-carb adaptation period is simply the time it takes for the converter to be built and installed.
Our bodies are simply giant piles of chemicals heaped together in a human-shaped form.  Most of the chemicals will react with one another, but only extremely slowly.  If we didn’t have something to help these reactions along, life wouldn’t exist.  The helpers are called enzymes.
These enzymes – which are large folded proteins – catalyze all the chemical reactions that allow us to function.  Mix a couple of body chemicals together and you might have to wait twenty years or more for them to interact or combine in some way to form another body chemical product.  Throw the correct enzyme into the mixture, and you get a reaction in a fraction of a second. When you’ve been on the standard American high-carb diet, you’re loaded with enzymes ready to convert those carbs to energy.  You’ve got some enzymes laying in the weeds waiting to deal with the fat, but mainly dealing with it by storing it, not necessarily burning it.  All the pathways to deal with carbs and their resultant blood glucose are well-oiled and operating smoothly.
Then you start a low-carb diet.  Suddenly, you’ve idled most of the enzyme force you have built to process the carbs in your diet while at the same time you don’t have a ready supply of the enzymes in the quantities needed to deal with your new diet.  It would be like a Ford automobile factory changing in one day into a plant that made iPads.  All the autoworkers would show up and be clueless as how to make an iPad.  It would take a while – not to mention a lot of chaos – to get rid of the autoworkers and replace them with iPad workers.  In a way, that’s kind of what’s happening during the low-carb adaptation period. Over the first few days to few weeks of low-carb adaptation, your body is laying off the carbohydrate worker enzymes and building new fat worker enzymes.  Once the workforce in your body is changed out, you start functioning properly on your new low-carb, higher-fat diet.
The carbs you used to burn for energy are now replaced to a great extent by ketones (which is why this time is also called the keto-adaptation period) and fat.  Your brain begins to use ketones to replace the glucose it used to use pretty much exclusively, so your thinking clears up.  And the fatigue you used to feel at the start of the diet goes away as ketones and fat (and the army of enzymes required to use them efficiently) take over as the primary sources of energy.  Suddenly you seem to go from not being able to walk out to get the morning paper without puffing and panting to having an abundance of energy.
Because of this low-carb adaptation period, we never, ever counsel our patients to start an exercise program when they start their low-carb diets because a) we know they’ll be too fatigued to do it, and b) we know that in a short time they will start exercising spontaneously to burn off the excess fat on their bodies once the skids are greased, so to speak. Anyone with good sense contemplating a low-carb diet would ask the question, How can I make this low-carb adaptation period as short as possible?  Good question.  Why would anyone want to prolong the agony? The secret to making it shorter is in the second part of what Lt. Schwatka wrote about low-carb adaptation.  Immediately after the above quoted sentences, he follows with:

At first the white man takes to the new diet in too homeopathic a manner, especially if it be raw. However, seal meat which is far more disagreeable with its fishy odor, and bear meat with its strong flavor, seems to have no such temporary debilitating effect upon the economy.

In other words, the white man, used to flour, sugar, boiled meat and all the other staples of the mid 19th century American diet, balked at the consumption of raw meat, especially raw and malodorous seal and bear meat.  And so took it in tiny portions (in a  “homeopathic manner”) instead of going face down in it.  Compared to reindeer meat, both seal and bear meat are loaded with fat, which is why the consumption of those fattier meats didn’t produce the “temporary debilitating effect.”  In those who did eat the fattier meats, the low-carb adaptation period was very short or even non-existent.

Eat more fat

If you want to reduce the time you spend in low-carb adaptation, crank up the fat.  If you go on a high-protein, moderate-fat diet (Schwatka’s reindeer diet), your body will convert the protein to glucose via gluconeogenesis, so you’ll still have glucose to keep the glucose worker enzymes busy and will prolong the conversion to fat and ketones as your primary energy source. So Rule Number One to reduce the time spent in low-carb adaptation purgatory is: Don’t be a wuss when you start your low-carb way of eating.  Keep the carbs cut to the minimum and load up on the fat. Eat fatty cuts of meat, cooked in butter or lard if you want, and force your body over to using the fats and ketones for energy as nature intended.
I mean, don’t try to be noble by eating boneless, skinless chicken breasts – instead insert some pats of butter under the skin of a chicken leg and thigh before cooking, and wolf them with your fingers while the fat drips down your arms.  Do not trim the fat from your steaks – eat them from the fat side in.  If you leave anything on your plate, make sure it’s the meat and not the fat.  If you don’t already, learn to love bacon, and don’t cook it ‘til the fat is all gone: eat it wobbly.  Wallow in Mangalitsa lardo.  And whatever you do, for God’s sake, don’t listen to your body during this adaptation period or you’ll never cross the chasm between fat and miserable on your high-carb diet and slim, happy, energetic and low-carb adapted on the other side.
In my next post, I’ll give you the rest of the tips and tricks to get through low-carb adaptation that MD and I have learned in our combined 50 plus years of taking care of patients on low-carb diet. And I’ll include a recipe worthy of killing for that you can prepare to help you get through.

5 Low-Carb Recipes With Over 200K Repins on Pinterest

Of the long list of reasons we turn to Pinterest (hello, hairspiration), recipe research is perhaps the most frequently cited. Pinterest has taught us how to make just about everything in a mug, 101 ways to reinvent the s’more, and how to make healthier versions of some of our favourite comfort foods. Low-carb spaghetti and grilled cheese? Yes, please.
Scroll through for these recipe pins and the rest of the low-carb all-stars of Pinterest!

Spring Flooding & Clean Low Carb GF Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

I’ll have to admit this recipe is a bit involved. It might be something you want to make the night before and assemble the day you are serving or save it for a weekend meal when you have some time to cook. Next time I will be doing a double batch and freezing one for another meal. I will be making this again because it was AWESOME. I loved it, hubby loved it and my 5 year old liked it. Win.
If you are wondering why I don’t eat white potatoes anymore its because they are starchy and high in carbohydrates. I avoid the carbohydrate roller coaster at all costs because of my ridiculous blood sugar swings. Cauliflower only has a fraction of the carbs and calories of white potatoes so it is a great substitute if you have blood sugar problems like me or if you are trying to lose weight. I actually added a fair amount of butter and oil to my recipe because I need the calories but you could cut that back if you are counting.
On an unrelated matter, we had some spring flooding in our basement last night. Unusual since its was still in the minus 20 degree Celsius range last night and it hasn’t started melted. Actually not so unusual when you have a 3 and 5 year-old who plug up the bathroom sink with Kleenex, turn the faucet full blast and decide to “build a skating rink” in the basement. Yep – they got a little crazy with their playing last night. They apparently forgot about it after they got in trouble about another matter on the main floor and went upstairs for their bath. I discovered it about 3 hours later………..3 hours of water gushing over the floor. Thankfully they were sleeping when it was discovered (or I might have lost my mind). Its a huge mess, a few things will be thrown out, but we don’t think too much costly damage was done.
Clean and Low Carb GF Cauliflower Shephard’s Pie

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: bake entree candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb nut-free paleo sugar-free wheat belly beef cauliflower
Ingredients (Serves 4 – 6)

    Mashed Cauliflower for Topping

    • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed and cut in florets
    • 3 Tbsp butter, cubed
    • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
    • 1/2 Tbsp dried or fresh Parsley
    • Sprinkle of pepper and garlic powder

    Base for Shepherd’s Pie

    • 2 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 2/3 cup carrots, chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, diced
    • 1 lb lean ground beef (organic grass fed if possible), browned
    • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
    • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
    • 1/2 cup GF vegetable or beef broth
    • 1/2 tsp organic GF soy sauce (optional)
    • 1/4 cup tomato paste
    • 1/2 Tbsp parsley
    • 1 cup frozen peas

    Assembly of Pie

    • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 1 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
    • Paprika
    Instructions

    Step 1 – Prepare Mashed Cauliflower for Topping

    Place cauliflower in a large pot covered with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook with lid on for 8 – 10 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Drain well. Put the cauliflower back in pot with lid on and let stand for 5 minutes. This ensures the cauliflower doesn’t get watery. Don’t skip this step.
    Place cooked cauliflower in the food processor with butter and spices. Pulse until it becomes whipped/consistency of mashed potatoes (you might want to do it in two batches depending on your food processor size). Instead of butter I have also used plain Greek Yogurt or cream cheese – its pretty versatile so use what you’ve got. Set aside.

    Step 2 – Prepare Base for Pie

    Brown the ground beef over medium heat. In a separate pan, fry the oil, garlic, onion and carrots over medium heat until softened. About 3 -5 minutes. Add celery and mushrooms and cook for one additional minute. Add browned ground beef, salt, Worcestershire, broth, soy sauce, tomato paste and parsley to the mixture. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes until cooked through and some of the juice has cooked off (so its not runny). Add frozen peas in for the last 10 minutes or so. I didn’t need to thicken mine but if your beef was not lean you may have to thicken with guar gum or another thickener or continue simmering until thickened to your liking.

    Step 3 – Assemble and Bake Pie

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the beef mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with mashed cauliflower. I dolloped it out evenly over the top and then smoothed it down with the back of a spoon to evenly distribute it over the top. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and a dash of Paprika. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until bubbling and cheese is cooked. Broil cheese for a couple of minutes if it doesn’t crisp up – it will depend on the type of cheese you use. Let stand for 5 – 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

    How Does Low Carb Diet Work For Better Health And Weight Loss?

    Going on a low carb diet is something almost everyone has either tried, considered, or heard about at some point. However, low carb diets may mean many different things to different people. The old style low carb dieting meant you ate butter and bacon all day. Most of us know that’s not the quickest ticket to good health, despite that the well-known approach might help you drop weight in the short term.
    Thankfully, low carb diets have meant something much different these days. Low carb diets are now usually much more healthy for you and help you eliminate the most harmful carbs from your plate: refined (processed) grains, all added sugars and refined sugars, fast food, and junk food. Most also limit how much starch you have from foods like potatoes and sugars from fruit.
    If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:
    Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

    Steamed-Turmeric-Salmon-and-Peppered-Veggies-The-Soulful-Spoon-by-Heather-McClees

    Well, there are many reasons why one might adopt a low carb diet. I have actually lived on a technically low carb diet for the last 10 years. At that time, it helped me overcome two serious medical conditions: chronic acne and food addiction. Here’s my experience with a low carb diet:

    • I don’t count grams per day like some diet advice suggests.
    • I don’t eat bacon and butter (or even meat), if you’re wondering.
    • I eat well-balanced meals rich in clean protein, ample amounts of greens, and any veggies I want.
    • I always include some healthy fats in my day.
    • I enjoy produce sources of carbs like berries, green apples, sweet potatoes on occasion, winter squash, pumpkin, and any kind of vegetable I want.
    • Fermented foods are also a daily part of my routine for optimal gut health and mood function.
    • I eat most of my fermented foods in the forms of kimchi, sauerkraut, plain (non-fat) Greek yogurt, coconut kefir, and 100% dark chocolate (which, yes, is a probiotic-rich food!).

    What about whole grains and nuts? Generally, I even eat whole, gluten-free grains such as oats and wild rice if my body tells me it desires or needs them. This style of eating has helped me learn to crave healthier foods and realize just how much better my body feels on real food versus sugar and flour any day. I also find my blood sugar levels are better and my overall focus at work is tenfold what it used to be.
    Besides what I eat, though, what could someone else gain from a low carb diet? Can’t these diets be dangerous? These are things you might be wondering, and with good reason.
    Low-Carb-Diet

    Here is why a (responsible) low carb diet can help you lose weight and improve your health:

    1. It can reduce the amount of sugar in your bloodstream, which is more beneficial for your blood sugar and heart health.
    2. Eating a heart-healthy diet rich in produce, lean sources of protein, and heart-healthy sources of fats (in moderation) can prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
    3. It reduces insulin swings throughout the day due to better blood sugar levels — but don’t cut carbs too much or you may feel lightheaded and dizzy.
    4. It allows for individuals to see how carbs affect them more closely, which can help them tap into their hunger needs more than just giving into sugar and junk food cravings.
    5. It can help you drop weight either temporarily, through water weight when glycogen levels are depleted due to a reduction of carbs, or long-term, when the body starts to burn its own fat as fuel.

    Here are some other things you should know about low carb diets:

    1. If you cut carbs back too much (from produce, especially), you may get sick and even feel like you have the flu. It’s better to take things slow and work on cutting out the added sugars, refined grains, and all processed and fast food before you go worrying about the carbs in berries and vegetables. Seriously, take it slow and focus on whole foods first.
    2. These diets can cause tendencies for disordered thoughts around food if taken too far. Once again, balance is key here.
    3. It is easy to consume too much fat, which even though is beneficial in small amounts throughout the day, is not always beneficial for everyone in large amounts and can lead to weight gain over time. This is especially true when talking about saturated sources in excess of what your body can process.
    4. You may have increased levels of thirst as your body begins to eliminate sodium and water via the kidneys. Drinking enough water as the body adjusts is essential.
    5. A low carb diet can be hard to stick to if you cut back too much on carbs. Once again, whole foods are carbs you should not be eliminating in the beginning unless you have a doctor’s orders.

    How to set yourself up for a successful low carb diet:

    salad
    Focus on produce, lean protein, and small amounts of  healthy fats at each meal. Even if you’re vegetarian or vegan, this is simple enough to do. What about whole grains, you may be asking? Moderate-style low carb diets can include small amounts of whole grains throughout the day if your body tolerates them well. Some whole grains (especially steel-cut or rolled oats, wild rice, and quinoa) all have many health benefits that you can take advantage of if your body tolerates them. They are also excellent for lowering blood pressure levels and are rich in heart-healthy magnesium, potassium, and are good sources of iron. However, don’t overdo it on them and eat moderate portions (1/4 – 1/3 cup) once a day instead of relying on them at all your meals.
    Lean protein and produce are your friends for weight loss and lean muscle mass, but you still need some healthy fats and whole food sources of carbs to thrive long-term. Just be careful not to eat lots of carbs and fat in one meal if you’re trying to lose weight. The body relies on either fat or carbs for fuel, but it can’t use both. If you’re trying to gain weight, however, here are some safe ways you can do that in a slow and steady manner.

    Supplement tips and recipes to try on a low carb diet:


    Finally, please don’t rely on diet bars, processed low-carb shakes, and pricey supplements. Get yourself a good multivitamin from a quality brand, a Vitamin D3 supplement, and a probiotic to support your gut health. Take these daily, and if you have issues with constipation or irregularity, eat more vegetables and add some chia or flax seeds to your routine (which you should be eating anyway since they’re great sources of fats and fiber!).

    2 Simple Tricks To Burn An Extra 100 Calories Every Day Without Exercise

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    • Weight Lose

    This fantastic article was written by Chen Ben Asher, a certified holistic nutrition consultant, public speaker, educator, clinician, author and founder of Mor’s Nutrition and More. We encourage you to check out her website here, as well as her books: Best Foods to Eat After Surgery, and How to Reduce High URIC ACID. 

    Metabolism: one word, a thousand thoughts. These days people -especially those seeking to drop those extra pounds- refer to this body function more like an obstacle rather than a medium to their weight loss goals. Well, the truth is that you actually have a say in what goes on in your body. In fact, you can boost your metabolism by up to 100 calories with minor tweaks here and there.

    From myths to science-backed facts, let’s break down any piece of information you need to know about your metabolism on your way to a better “you.”

    What is Metabolism?

    Every time you eat or drink something, your body tends to convert all these calories into energy. How does this happen? As soon as nutrients enter to your body in the form of food or drinks, your body performs certain metabolic movements due to chemical reactions such as losing or gaining electrons as well as utilizing oxygen and hydrogen.

    But, you are probably wondering which are these powerful nutrients that set all these functions in motion. Think organic compounds, carbs (glucose, lactose, sucrose, citrate, and mannitol), essential amino acids and the list goes on.

    As soon as your metabolism is set in motion, its function falls into two categories: the anabolic and catabolic state. During the anabolic state, your body promotes the synthesis of all compounds by the cells whereas along the catabolic state your body is designed to break down cells for energy.

    The end product of anabolism is ATP, a popular energy molecule. That is the point where you should know that the more stable these processes are, the higher your energy levels. In its turn, a constant stream of energy allows your body to perform regular biological reactions.

    Now, when it comes to losing weight, your body follows the same principles. So, if your metabolism is balanced, you are bound to shed those pounds down the line. On the other hand, an unbalanced metabolism slows down or even hits the breaks on your weight loss plan, regardless of your healthy eating habits.

    So, as you see a healthy metabolism and proper nutrition, aka sufficient nutrients, go side by side. They work harmonically together with a single goal in mind: to produce enough energy. As part of this process, your body uses energy to produce new proteins as well as nucleic acids (DNA, RNA, etc.).

    At this point, it is more than evident that sufficient nutrient intake is necessary to maintain an energy balance within the cells. From the minute you bridge the nutrient gap, you and your weight scale will become witnesses of your weight loss testimony.

    Why Are Nutrients Important?

    It All Comes Down To A Healthy Function

    From your size and gender to your age and mood, numerous factors affect the functions of your body. Even though each body has different nutrient needs, it all comes down to the fact that nutrients are vital for supplying your body with energy. Food is the primary source of nutrients which help you build up, maintain and repair tissues.

    Don’t Forget About Weight Loss

    Nutrients can also help you lose weight with protein being the most important and efficient among them. In many cases, experts suggest that high-protein diets are one of the most efficient ways to get rid of that extra weight.

    Trick #1: It’s All About Protein

    As protein has the power to make you feel fuller for longer, you tend to reach out for a snack less. In fact, research suggests that protein activate’s the body’s signals which are responsible for curbing appetite. How is that possible?

    These signals decrease the effect of ghrelin, aka the hunger hormone, while increasing the impact of hormones like peptide, cholecystokinin, YY, GLP-1, etc., aka the “I’m full” hormones. At the same time, a diet rich in protein helps you get rid of that stubborn belly fat. Protein also prevents muscle loss in cases of calorie shortage.

    So, protein helps you:

    • Reduce daily calorie intake.
    • Curb late-night snacking.
    • Maintain weight loss in the long term.

    Trick #2: Why Skipping Breakfast Is Not Such A Good Idea

    breakfast

    Skipping breakfast is one of the biggest mistakes you can do when it comes to losing weight. According to research, skipping breakfast has the exact opposite effects you go for during a weight loss meal plan.

    Two scrambled eggs with green kale or spinach will give you 12 grams of protein, and about 78 calories. At the same time, 2 tablespoons of homemade tuna salad (no mayo) over fresh salad will give you about 10 grams of proteins and 100 calories. Lastly, 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds over 1 glass of almond milk will give you about 10 grams of proteins and 100 calories.

    Not only these breakfast options are low in calories, but they can also satiate your hunger for longer, nourish your body’s cells, stabilize your blood sugar levels and, thus, help you lose weight.

    Tips To Incorporate Protein In Your Diet

    • Make sure to eat protein-rich foods for breakfast such as eggs and bagel
    • Minimize grain consumption.
    • Choose organic, clean, rich and safe protein sources such as poultry, meat, seafood, and fish. When it comes to breakfast foods such as scrambled eggs, an omelet, tofu, Greek yogurt, a shake are real protein treats. You might also want to give protein pancakes a shot.
    • Unlike with carbs and fat, your body burns more calories to metabolize protein.

    It becomes apparent that protein-rich foods are the ticket to achieving your weight loss goals. However, this is not the case with fat which your body has a hard time metabolizing and, thus, gets stored in your tissues.

    When it comes to planning your meals, nutrition specialist Chen Ben Asher, from Mor’s Nutrition and More, recommends that you should always consult a professional to prevent triggering allergy symptoms as well as other health issues that might hide between the lines and slows down the process of losing weight.