Tweaklet #55 – The Keto Diet

Two popular eating modalities are the The Paleo Diet and the Keto Diet. The two terms get bandied about and are often confused, so in a previous episode we took a good look at the Paleo Diet and today we’ll explore the Keto Diet.

Its full name is the Ketogenic diet and it is structured around a diet that is high in fat, low in carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein.

The main aim is to convert your body from a predominantly carbohydrate-burning machine to a fat burning machine. As a guide, the recommended calorie ratio, on a keto diet, is around 70 to 80 percent of calories from fat, 15 to 20 percent from protein and less than 5% from carbs.

The Keto diet has been used to treat epilepsy since the 1920s so it’s not the trendy fad diet we might think. When you get the balance just right you place the body into a metabolic state called nutritional ketosis. In this state the body creates compounds called ketones and burns fat, from your body as well as from your diet.

To reach ketosis and to maintain it you need to radically reduce your carbohydrate intake and focus on healthy fats, some protein and low-carb vegetables.

Foods to include on a Keto diet are Meat, Seafood, Poultry, Full-fat dairy products, Non-starchy vegetables, Eggs, Nuts and seeds and Unrefined oils, such as olive, coconut, flaxseed, walnut and avocado oil

Foods to avoid while following the Keto diet
All sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks. All cereal grains and products made with grain flours. Fruit except perhaps a quarter cup of berries. Legumes. Sweetened, low-fat dairy and Starchy vegetables

The Benefits that are associated with a Ketogenic diet include Weight loss, a Reduction in inflammation in your joints, brain and heart. It is reported to protect against Type 2 diabetes as well as neurological diseases such as  Alzheimers and dementia

The Paleo and Keto Diets both focus on nutrient-dense food and eliminate the traps of a sugary processed food related Western diet. Generally speaking they are both low in carbohydrate and low in sugar which is better for blood sugar, weight management and has many other associated health benefits. And they both have anti-inflammatory effects.

If you’re interested, you could explore combining both the Keto and Paleo diets which many people do very successfully. It’s fun to explore different eating modalities but like any Tweaklet, do your research to find out exactly what suits YOU!

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Tweaklet #49 – Chilli

Do you like spicy food? Do you always reach for the chilli sauce or chopped chilli to go with your main meal? Or are you the opposite and shy away from anything spicy?

I love spicy food but I can’t handle spice that burns the back of my throat and makes me break out into a sweat. But according to new research, eating hot chillis could be the secret to a longer life!

Chillis, otherwise known as hot peppers, have been grown and used in food for thousands of years and like a lot of spices they have excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

They’re also good for weight loss as they speed up your metabolism, stop cravings and are natural appetite suppressants.

The capsaicin found in spicy foods actually lowers cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol accumulation in the body. And chilli’s anti-inflammatory properties make it great for heart health generally.

So what’s your spice level? If you’re new to chilli ease in gradually or you’ll put yourself off and that would be a shame. Build up gradually and try some ground spices like paprika and cayenne and if you’re buying fresh peppers, do your research to find out just how hot each variety is. Remember some of the smallest in size can be the most fiery!

A little tip, from painful personal experience, is when you’re chopping up fresh chilli peppers remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and even then don’t go touching your eyes! Boy did I learn that one the hard way several times!

So, whilst we wait for further research on whether spicy food will help us live longer, let’s just get on and enjoy experimenting with adding some heat to our food. Time to spice up our lives Tweakleters!

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Tweaklet #47 – Magnesium

It’s not essential to understand the role of vitamins and minerals but there is one macro mineral that is very useful to be aware of – and that’s magnesium.

Magnesium is an integral part of over 600 reactions in our body, including the metabolism of food, the transmission of nerve impulses, the synthesis of fatty acids and proteins. It helps balance our blood sugar and maintains the electrical impulses in our heart. Magnesium is critical for the mechanical functioning within tissues such as nerves and muscles and blood vessels.

We need to consume about 100 milligrams of magnesium per day. Unfortunately Magnesium levels are at much lower levels in our soil these days…..and Chemicals like chlorine and fluoride deplete it as do the regular intake of caffeine and sugar.

So what’s the food solution to keeping our magnesium levels up? Spinach, bananas, almonds, cacao  or really good dark chocolate, and seeds like Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp and flax are all excellent sources of magnesium and easy to include in our diet.

Just at an every day level magnesium is really helpful. It plays a major part in balancing out anxiety and depression, it helps with the symptoms of PMS, helps calm those restless legs, eases muscle cramps and migraines. Magnesium also helps with memory retention and can assist with leveling out breathing problems and arrhythmia.

You can of course look at a magnesium supplement, if you think you are deficient or want to boost your levels, but I find that just making some of these food tweaks really make a difference to me. Well food is always a good place to start don’t you think?

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Download my free E-Book here.