We Try Keto!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

While we do recommend a diet to patients, we cannot recommend what we don’t try for ourselves. We previously made a ketogenic recipe and would like to give you some tips!

Who could possible give up the creamy, cheesy nature of mac and cheese? We certainly couldn’t! We found this recipe on Pinterest-a great source for Ketogenic recipes-and decided to try it.

Though it did not taste the exact same, this recipe was worth making! After buying everything from Sprouts, a healthy grocery store, we stuffed our food into a dish and stuck it in the oven. Though it may cost a few calories, more cheese would enhance the flavor of this dish.

Overall, this recipe was easy and very good for not having a signature pasta. It would be very delicious for children whom are eating Keto and it made great leftovers for the following day. Enjoy!

The Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet

If you are thinking about trying a ketogenic diet for weight loss or health, it is worth considering the pros and cons.

Ketosis is a natural body process that converts stored fats into energy. A ketogenic diet helps your natural fat burning function work its magic longer than normal. In this way, it is a very natural form of dieting.

What are the cons or disadvantages of the keto diet plan?

  • You will need to go through an adaptation period of around 1 to 2 weeks. For some people, this phase can be uncomfortable as the body becomes ‘fat adapted.’
  • Many people take great pleasure in eating carbs, and feel like they lose the ‘fun’ aspect of eating.
  • It takes more time to consider your meal choices. This can be especially true when dining at restaurants, where a lot of meals are carb-heavy.
  • For those who exercise a lot, there can be a drop in performance ability and stamina in the early stages. This can be unmotivating if you are a person who does a lot of physical activity.
  • Sometimes your friends may criticize you, or say you are crazy for eating more fat. This is common on the keto diet, as for almost 50 years it has been believed that eating fat is bad for your health.

What are the pros or advantages of the keto diet?

  • Reduce insulin levels meaning you have fewer crashes (sometimes known as a ‘carb crash’) during the day. This leads to more consistent sustained energy.
  • A lot of people feel like they have reduced appetite, and will need fewer snacks. This is because the body is used to burning fat for fuel and isn’t seeking ‘quick burn’ carbs and glucose.
  • Studies have shown and Increase in thermogenesis (meaning the production of body heat) which increases the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
  • Reduced risk of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes. The current research is showing how much our carb and heavy sugar diets are causing issues with our health. Ketogenic diets can potentially reduce this risk dramatically.
  • When you’re in ketosis your brain switches to ketones as a fuel source. Because it has a consistent fuel source, this means that you can focus for longer periods of time.
  • Recent medical studies have shown that the Keto diet can be a great way to help to lower blood pressure.

When weighing up the pros and cons of keto, you must decide what is more important: short or long-term results. Most of the cons of keto diets are short-term, whereas the pros of the ketogenic diet are long term.

 

Jerry Hizon, MD is a keto doctor working from Murrieta and Temecula, California. He assists people with weight loss and lifestyle changes to improve their health. If you are interested in getting started with a keto diet, we can help you stay on track, with our Nudge Coaching program, and guidance from Dr. Jerry Hizon. Reach out to us today to see how much better you can feel!

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The benefits of bone broth in the keto diet

The primary focus of the ketogenic diet is to train your body to burn fat for energy rather than glucose, which is obtained through carbohydrates.

A standard ketogenic diet ratio is: 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs. Of course, since every person has a unique body and lifestyle, it may help to use a ketogenic diet calculator to determine your exact macronutrient needs. It will help to diet plan to how to keep your body in a state of ketosis, based on your current weight, height and exercise levels.

Limiting your carbs allows you to enter the fat-burning state called ketosis. Most experts will suggest lowering your carb levels to approximately 5% of your diet, and increasing fat consumption to at least 70% of your diet.

After a short period of time, your body will begin to rely on fatty acids for energy, which are essentially the secondary ‘backup’ energy source when glucose isn’t available.

The early stages of the keto diet can be difficult

However, in the first few weeks, you may find it difficult to continue to break through to ketosis. This initial period can be plagued by the condition known as the keto flu, which is when the lack of carbohydrates can cause fatigue and flu-like symptoms.

During this period, one of the best methods for overcoming the initial struggle and the keto flu is to consume bone broth.

What exactly is bone broth?

Bone broth is a savory liquid made up of the water in which the bones and cartilage of meat or fish have been simmered. The nutritional content of each bone broth varies based on the bones used, the amount of cooking time, and the cooking method. However, you can almost guarantee that you will find the same nutrients to some degree in every bone broth.

Overcoming the keto flu with bone broth

The keto flu happens as a result of suddenly removing carbs from your diet. Most people experience typical flu-like symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, headaches, dizziness. This usually isn’t a cause for concern — it’s a natural reaction your body has when you make drastic changes to your diet.

To help ease keto flu symptoms, it can be helpful to reintroduce a few extra carbs to make the transition period less intense. Bone broth is a great ‘transition’ food that offers a few grams of carbs but still fits within the macros of the keto diet plan.

Drinking bone broth can may also be a preventative measure against the keto flu in the early stages of the keto diet, thanks to the vitamins, minerals it contains.

Using bone broth to increase electrolytes

When you start a low-carb diet, you’re also cutting out the majority of fruit and starchy vegetables. These two types of food are typically the richest sources of electrolytes. For this reason, if you don’t plan carefully, it’s possible to end up with an electrolyte imbalance.

The good news is that bone broth contains all four electrolytes, including calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. By adding 1 or 2 cups of bone broth to your diet, you can keep your electrolytes in check when you’re eating fewer fruits and veggies.

Minerals, collagen and other healing properties of bone broth

As you can tell, bone broth is a powerhouse when it comes to therapeutic and beneficial foods on and off the ketogenic diet. Here are some of the main benefits people experience:

  • Rich in essential minerals, such as phosphorus and calcium
  • Rich in collagen and gelatin which help keep your bones, tendons, ligaments, and joints healthy
  • Helps with leaky gut
  • Helps fight infections
  • Strengthens hair and nails
  • Helps with muscle repair
  • Reduces inflammation (the primary cause of heart disease)
  • Great for adrenal fatigue tissues and thyroid health

If it’s entirely new for you, you can start to incorporate a cup or two of bone broth into your keto diet on a regular basis to start seeing is wondrous effects like increased digestive health, stronger bones, glowing skin, and so much more.

Dr. Jerry Hizon, MD strives to demystify the complex science of nutrition, giving his patients sound nutritional guidance designed to set them up for long-term dietary success, whatever their specific goals may be.

Ketogenic Diet Tips: What to eat and when to eat

Whenever someone starts a new diet, it seems like the focus is always on how many calories you eat, or whether you should eat a specific type of food. This makes logical sense, as it is estimated that as much as 75% of weight loss is attributed to the diet.

However in the past few years, there has been more interest in not just what you eat, but when and how often you eat.

The concept of intermittent fasting, and eating smaller meals more often are two trends that have become common. I believe that both have some value in improving your results.

Fasting and the keto diet work together

When considering a ketogenic diet, it seems that intermittent fasting works well, as typically you are less hungry for longer periods.

When your body goes into a ketosis mode, it begins to consume fat reserves. If you have just eaten fats (which is common on the keto diet), your body will burn those fats first. But if you keep yourself in ketosis, it will begin to consume your stored fat.

One of the challenges people have when on a conventional diet is that they are constantly hungry. I believe this is less to do with the actual physical hunger, and more to do with the psychological habit of eating too often.

How often do you really need to eat?

Our society teaches us to eat three meals a day, with snacks in between. But often we aren’t eating out of hunger as much as habit.

One of the keys that I have been talking to my keto diet patients about is whether they actually need to eat as often as they do. As a medical doctor, I am typically a very health conscious person, so I have always been very disciplined in my approach.

However, even when eating healthy, I have never experienced the same energy and weight loss results that I have on a ketogenic diet. This is especially true when combined with some intermittent fasting.

I have been adding some fasting days (24-hour fasts) and even tried a 72 hour fast recently. Both were actually less challenging than I had assumed they would be. I believe that is because of my adherence to the keto diet.

Try a fasting window with a keto diet

When you get started on a keto diet, you can also begin trying a ‘fasting window.’ This is another way of choosing a length of time when you don’t eat. For some people, this can start with 8 hours when they sleep or moving to 12 hours or 16 hours.

The longer you can resist eating, the better you will enable ketosis to begin in your system. Intermittent fasting has been proven to give some of these benefits:

  • Balancing your blood sugar levels
  • Improving nutrient absorption for the body
  • Removing toxins naturally
  • Clearing the mind and increasing focus
  • Increased fat burning throughout the day

Aside from these nutritional and health benefits here are some lifestyle benefits I’ve found from fasting on a keto diet:

  • Save money: you tend to eat out less, and that costs less
  • Eat higher quality food: when you do eat, you crave high-quality, healthy foods
  • Enjoy eating more: when you eat, it is enjoyable and satisfying

Changing your mindset around when to eat along with what to eat can be a game changer. It gives you back a sense of self-control and makes you accelerate your health results.

Jerry Hizon, MD is a keto doctor working from Murrieta and Temecula, California. He assists people with weight loss and lifestyle changes to improve their health. His keto coaching programs helps people to track their progress and stay on track. Visit his website today to learn more, or sign up online for a keto coaching session via nudge coaching.

A guide to Dairy and the Ketogenic Diet

You might have noticed that there are mixed opinions from keto diet experts about dairy. Some feel it ok to include, others think that it is not.

Dairy has received both good and bad press over the years in regards to both weight loss and overall health.

Here is why it can be confusing to the eat dairy on a keto diet: milk, ice cream, and non-fat dairy products don’t belong in a keto diet. Yet butter, cheese, and other types of full-fat dairy can be a good fit.

Here are the basic types of dairy:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Buttermilk
  • Butter
  • Curd
  • Cream
  • Ice Cream
  • Whey
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Condensed Milk
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt

In this article, we will take a closer look at dairy’s positive and adverse health effects. We will also look at some of the healthiest keto-friendly dairy choices you might want to include in your diet.
Understanding the components of dairy

To make it very simple: a dairy product is any food or beverage made from the milk of mammals.

Dairy from cow milk is by far the most common type consumed, there are also goat and sheep dairy products that are popular in some parts of the world.

When you break it down, there are four main components of dairy:

Lactose

Lactose is a disaccharide, or two-unit sugar, consisting of one molecule each of the simple sugars glucose and galactose.

The enzymes in your small intestine break down lactose into these simple sugars, which are then transported into your bloodstream.

Casein

Casein accounts for 80% of the total protein in dairy, including all nine essential amino acids. When milk is treated with the enzyme rennet to make cheese, the casein coagulates into curds, and the liquid portion containing whey is removed. Compared to whey and other proteins, casein can take longer to digest.

Whey

Whey protein makes up the remaining 20% of the protein in milk.

Most of the whey is removed during the process of making cheese. Like casein, whey contains all the essential amino acids, although it is digested much more rapidly.

Fatty Acids

There are hundreds of different fatty acids in milk, and the vast majority are saturated:

Saturated: 70% of total dairy fat, including 11% as short-chain fatty acids like butyrate and caproic acid

Monounsaturated: 25% of total dairy fat

Polyunsaturated: 5% of total dairy fat, including 2.5% naturally occurring trans fatty acids. Dairy trans fats are very different from the industrial trans fats found in margarine and other processed foods. Dairy trans fatty acids seem to have neutral or potentially even beneficial effects on health.

How much dairy is too much for ketosis?

While one cup of whole milk won’t harm you (or kick you out of ketosis), it is a bit higher in carbohydrate content than preferred for those on a low carb or ketogenic diet.

For this reason, milk can contribute to the hidden carbs that you may forget to factor into your keto macronutrient goals for the day.

Some examples of the types of dairy you can eat on keto are:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Spreadable cheeses including cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, creme fraiche.
  • Soft Cheese including mozzarella, brie, blue, colby, monterey jack.
  • Hard Cheese including aged cheddar, parmesan, feta, swiss.

Of course, remember that there is a calorie component to cheeses and creams and that consuming a significant amount may reduce your weight loss.

As with most foods, enjoy a reasonable amount of dairy (in moderation), and you will enjoy the benefits of staying in ketosis.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, manage a chronic medical condition, or simply want to overhaul your eating habits, changing your diet for the better is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.

Dr Jerry Hizon, MD strives to demystify the complex science of nutrition, giving his patients sound nutritional guidance designed to set them up for long-term dietary success, whatever their specific goals may be.

The Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting

The keto diet and intermittent fasting are two popular diets for losing fat, gaining lean muscle mass, and boosting your energy levels.

Many people wonder whether combining intermittent fasting with keto can help you experience even greater results.

The short answer is yes. Intermittent fasting on the keto diet is a simple ‘hack’ that can definitely accelerate the results and benefits.

What is Intermittent fasting?

If you’ve slept overnight and not eaten for 12 hours, then you’ve already experienced intermittent fasting! It simply means that you go for a specific period of time without eating. Some people choose 12 hours, 16 hours or even 24-48 hours. Whatever period of time you select is called your ‘fasting window.’ When you are outside the fasting window, you eat normally.

The key is to know when and for how long to fast. That way you aren’t tempted to snack during that time.

The difference with intermittent fasting is that usually when you eat throughout the day, you’re in a fed state. This makes your body keep digesting and absorbing nutrients from your meals.

Most people who have breakfast, lunch, and dinner will remain in this state during the day, and into the night. The only time their digestive system gets a break is when they’re sleeping.

When your body to enter the fasted state (usually after about 8-12 hours), it means that accelerated fat burning can now take place. Essentially fasting kicks your body into the same ketosis state as being on the keto diet does.

Keto is accelerated with Intermittent Fasting

Since the keto diet is designed to force the body into running on ketones from a very low-carb intake, you’re essentially fasting yourself of carbs. In a way, this mimics regular actual fasting that takes place with intermittent fasting.

When you restrict your body’s primary fuel source on the keto diet, adding fasting can kickstart your body into ketosis. Once you’re there, you just need to stay on the keto diet to stay in ketosis.

Also, when on the keto diet, you may find it easier to fast for extended periods of time, since your body becomes adapted to the fat burning and you are less hungry.

Here are other benefits that intermittent fasting with keto can give:

– Balancing blood sugar
– Improving nutrient absorption
– Detoxification
– Clearer mind, less brain fog
– Increased fat burn during exercise

On top of all this, intermittent fasting can help with unnecessary snacking and extra caloric intake throughout the day. And it’s as simple as setting a goal to not eat for as little as 8-12 hours. As you build your fasting window, you may find you can last 12-16 hours and then perhaps even 24 hours without too much worry.

If you are serious about kick-starting your keto journey, then intermittent fasting can give you that extra push you need. Once your there in the ketosis state, it’s much easier to stay on the keto path and achieve your goals.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, manage a chronic medical condition, or simply want to overhaul your eating habits, changing your diet for the better is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.

Dr Jerry Hizon, MD strives to demystify the complex science of nutrition, giving his patients sound nutritional guidance designed to set them up for long-term dietary success, whatever their specific goals may be.

Constipation and Keto: Does it go away?

One common side effect of a ketogenic diet is constipation. Constipation can be caused by many things namely: dehydration, lack of fiber, improper gut bacteria, etc.

Good news, constipation is temporary and there are many remedies you can do to reverse and prevent it, whilst still remaining on the keto diet. Below we have listed a few.

  1. Hydrate: Drink enough water & add salt to your water

As our bodies switch to replacing carbohydrates as a main fuel source to ketones, one loses electrolytes and fluids naturally. Loss of fluids can cause stool to dry out and lead to constipation.

Make sure you drink enough fluids each day and consider adding 1-2 tablespoons of salt twice a day to a glass of water to ensure you are getting enough electrolytes, as well.

  1. Eat enough fiber: Consume more low-carb & high fiber fruits and vegetables

Cutting out carbohydrates often means cutting out our main sources of fiber (i.e. grains). Fiber helps for healthy stool growth and evacuation (too much fiber can have the opposite effect).

Make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet by adding low-carbohydrate fruits like avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives. Also eat plenty of low-carb, high-fiber leafy greens like kale, spinach, and lettuce.

  1. Consume MCT oil: Switch out your coconut oil for MCT oil

MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil has a natural laxative effect. Switch out your coconut oil for MCT oil to help with constipation.

Be careful to gradually incorporate MCT oil into your diet, because too much of MCT too quickly may cause stomach cramps, etc.

  1. Drink apple cider vinegar & herbal teas: Apple cider vinegar before each meal & tea after

Both apple cider vinegar and certain herbal teas have been known to aid in digestion.

Consider adding 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water before each meal. Drink herbal teas that have things like ginger, licorice, or dandelion after meals or as a replacement for coffee.

  1. Add proper probiotics & prebiotics to diet: Make sure your gut bacteria are healthy

Making a transition from carbs to lot of fats for fuel can have an effect on the many natural bacteria of your gut. The bacteria of your gut aid in digestion, which in turn aid in stool formation and evacuation.

To ensure you keep the proper ratios and health of these bacteria make sure that you are getting enough probiotics and prebiotics in your diet by incorporating things like whole-fat and low-carb yogurts and probiotic coconut yogurt like Coconut Cult yogurt.

  1. Consider supplementation: Milk of Magnesia & fiber supplements can be used

If the above changes to your diet do not work or are not feasible, try over-the-counter supplementation with things like Milk of Magnesia and/or fiber supplements.

All in all, as your body adapts to a ketogenic lifestyle and you implement a few of the above remedies, you should be able to enjoy a ketogenic lifestyle free of constipation. If constipation continues despite these remedies, see a doctor.

– Dr Jerrry Hizon

Vegetarian Options for the Ketogenic Diet

Are you a vegetarian and want to start the ketogenic diet?

Good news, a vegetarian keto diet is both reasonable and possible. Here are a few things to consider when doing so.

Since vegetarians naturally eat more vegetables and grains as a replacement of meats and animal flesh, they must be careful to not to go beyond the typical 35 grams limit of carbohydrates per day on a keto diet.

To assist you here is a guide to carbohydrate options as a keto-vegetarian:

What to Avoid:

  • Grains (pasta, bread, tortillas, rice, cereals, etc.)
  • Legumes (beans, etc.)
  • Sugars (honey, soda, table sugar, syrups, etc.)
  • Fruits (especially juices; eat more whole fruits and limit the number of whole fruits)
  • High-starch root vegetables (potatoes)

What to Eat:

  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber
  • Summer or winter squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Green beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini

It is also important for vegetarians on keto to ensure that they are getting enough proteins and fats in their diet. An easy way is to incorporate the following oils, fats, and proteins in their daily diets.

It can be noted that eggs and high-fat dairy are a GREAT source of both fats and protein for a vegetarian. To be eco and animal-friendly with these items, you can consider sourcing from local farms. Make sure to research brands at your local supermarkets that pasture-raise their animals (not just marketing terms of “cage-free”).

Fats and Oils options as a keto-vegetarian:

  • Avocado (whole and in oil form)
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • MCT oil
  • Olives
  • Coconut cream
  • Full-fat cheeses
  • Grass-fed butter

Protein options as a keto-vegetarian:

  • Eggs
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Tempeh (fermented and organic tofu)
  • Tofu
  • Seitan (grain-based so higher in gluten)
  • Miso
  • Nuts and seeds (best= macadamia nuts, walnuts, coconut, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, pine nuts, chia seed, flax seeds, etc.)

In addition to the above, here is a list of possible substitutes that vegetarians (and vegans) may want to consider using when going keto. Be careful to check the carbohydrate content of these substitutes, as they often have added sugars or more carbs than their “meat” replacements.

Vegetarian alternatives or substitutes on a keto diet:

  • Replace heavy cream with coconut cream
  • Replace yogurt and sour cream with nut-based yogurt
  • Replace butter with coconut oil or vegan butter
  • Replace animal cheeses with nut-based or vegan cheeses
  • Replace table sugar and honey with stevia or erythritol

All in all, there are many options when going keto as a vegetarian. Make sure to stick to the proper macro ratios of a ketogenic diet. You can do this by using a keto macro calculator to help you keep track of and obtain the proper macro ratios.

– Courtney Assuma

How to measure your Keto Diet success

When you start the Keto diet how do you know when you have achieved nutritional ketosis? How do you know if the diet is successful? Have you actually reached ketosis?

There are three different types of ketones we can measure in the body to see if we are in ketosis: acetone, acetoacetate, and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB).

Measuring Acetone

Acetone is the least invasive ketone to measure, as it is found in the breath. Since acetone is not the ketone used for energy by the body this is not a direct measure of ketosis. The presence and level of acetone positively correlates with BHB and can be used as a less precise measure of ketosis. When measuring ketones with breath, the Ketonix will light up with a color corresponding to the amount of ketones present. Usually yellow to red is the goal.

Measuring acetone can be done by using a Ketonix breathalyzer. The device can be used multiple times without anything more to purchase. While a little pricey, about $189-$239, the one-time investment is the only investment.

Measuring Acetoacetate

Found in the urine during the first few weeks of the Keto diet, measuring acetoacetate is relatively easy to do. This method is probably the least effective because it is dependent on the user’s ability to correctly identify which color the stick actually is and the overflow of ketones not the actual level of ketones in the body is what is measured here. When measuring ketones from a urine stick match the color of the stick to the color on the label, usually the darker purple, the higher the levels of ketones.

Acetoacetate can be measured using ketone urine strips like Ketostix, which are inexpensive around $10 for 50-120 strips. Measuring ketones through the urine is only feasible for 2-4 weeks at the beginning of the Keto diet, after that the body is Keto-adapted this is no longer an effective way to measure ketones.

Measuring Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)

Found in the blood, BHB is the most precise measurement of ketosis and is measured the same way as glucose. This method is the most invasive as pricking the finger is needed to obtain the blood to be tested. When measuring the BHB, the ideal range for weight loss is about 1.5-3 mmol/L and for a therapeutic diet (think cancer support) it is from 3-6 mmol/L.

A blood meter and strips are needed to perform this measurement, and these can be pricey, the strips alone run from $5-10 and the meters are around $40-60.

Are There Other Ways to Measure?

Yes, once you have been on the Keto diet awhile, there are signs you can look for that will indicate you are in ketosis. These include:

  • Reduced hunger, you can go longer than 2 hours without eating
  • Mental clarity will be increased
  • Stable energy throughout the day, no afternoon crashes
  • Reduced cravings

While these are not a way to measure your ketone level, once you have established your Keto diet and tested your levels, you can begin to know how your body feels when in ketosis and when you have slipped back into using glucose. If you cannot tell a difference, then testing with one of these methods will be necessary.

As always, before beginning a new diet or lifestyle change, please consult your doctor, especially if you are on medication.

– Erin Kirkpatrick