1

Watch-out!

carnivore vs vegan
vegetable vs meat, vegan concept 3d illustration

There seems to be war going-on! Pieces of meat and fruit are flying around! Keep your heads low! Carnivore vs Vegan. So confusing. What is really healthier? Is there one definite answer?

Although I am very strong believer of a healthy keto diet, my view is simply, no !

The simple reason is that most of us (myself included) are approaching this from a scientific perspective, however we need to accept that we still in the learning phase. There is not too much research yet out there since most of the advocates of one or other diet are in the 20s,30s,40s. We are all guinea-pigs in a world that is still changing very fast (and not in a better way unfortunately at least from a dietary perspective). How can we statistically be so confident when the sample size is so small?

Hence, i think we need to go back in time and get our sample from the generations that have past. I come from a Mediterranean country and although I am a city boy, I grew-up in way similar as the people in Ikaros, one of the Blue Zone areas where people have the longest life expectancy. Eating whole foods, no processed/packaged and with a variety of legumes, while fish and meat was always nose-to-tail. And most of our ancestors independent of where you are had similar diets. So i will go with that. Not very scientific but the sample size is a few hundreds years big at least.

Even in most scientific research taking place around health you will mostly find a disclaimer. “Too less is not good for you, but too much probably not either”. There needs to be a balance in the way we live, and some of us spend their life-time looking for it

Why so many people have health issues?

Maybe the reason lies somewhere else. May indeed the humans as species have lost their balance and are becoming weaker.

  • People are increasingly leaving sanitary lifes, stuck on a chair during the day and on a couch during the evenings.
  • Diets have been on a weekly (even daily) basis including take-aways and packaged food.
  • Connection with the environment and our Circadian rhythm is almost gone. In our youth most of us were partying during the night and sleeping during the day, while in the adulthood we are lucky if we see the light of the sun when leaving the office.
  • Our lifes are fully of stress, and not the right one kind of stress. Stress from society, from work, from over-information. We are never taking a breather, relax and just enjoy being here.

I am exaggerating a bit of-course but how far is this description from the truth? Is the situation getting better?

If you agree with the above, you might also find interesting that this change has mostly taken place in the last 100 years. This is too fast from an evolutionary perspective. Is it really that our race has become so sensitive and defenseless to the environment or has the environment changed so much? Probably both, but whatever the case may be the answer is same as when an athlete is not performing.

Go back to basics!

  • Hydrate
  • Sleep plenty
  • Eat only whole foods which you know their origin, don’t come in a package and you cook yourself.
  • Take some time to meditate, and eat always together with your friends and family.

If you are interested in doing a health cyclica diet, have a look at the Ketontrack Pyramid and get in contact to start with a simple introduction programme.

I would also like to take the opportunity to give you a sneak peak on a little project we are working at Ketontrack. In our recent trip at Naxos we had the opportunity and luck to spend time with the local community and I personally was fascinated with the connection that the older generation has to the traditions, the depth of knowledge they carry and how much we can still learn from them. And so we have been working some them, to bring to life and share with all of you some their memories and experiences on how a healthy nutritional diet should be structured.

Σαν έμπεις μες στο μαερειό, κι ανοίξεις το τσικάλι, όλες οι γεύσεις του νησιού, θα σου ‘ρθουνε και πάλι !!




My yearly “lent”

Martin

Hi! My name is Martin.

I typically use the yearly „lent“ period of 45 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter to perform a diet. This is not for religious reasons but since in boxing I would fall under the heavy weights, my key target during the lent is to lose weight. This year, also inspired by Panagiotis and his insights into fasting, I set the following principles.

  • No alcohol (also no exception on week-ends)
  • No sweets and diet coke (except a chocolate pudding on Sundays, one daily fruit was allowed as a dessert)
  • and now the key: Intermittent fasting

I chose the intermittent fasting option of easting twice a day having a breakfast and a lunch ensuring a fasting period of minimum 16 hours (sometimes also 18 hours, dependent when I could go for lunch). During the first 4 weeks I did not restrict myself regarding carbohydrates, so I had a classic mix of carbs and proteins. I lost approx. 5 kg which was fine. Then during the last 2,5 weeks I had around 10 days where I in addition also did not eat any carbs. During that time I lost another 3-4 kg. Just looking at the numbers, the average loss per week was not dramatically more. BUT one has to take into account that normally after the first weeks you have some stagnation where the weight does not decrease that fast anymore. Therefore I was really positively surprised that the loss continued and even increased a bit. And also just from a personal feeling perspective when you listen inside your body, I had the impression that avoiding the carbs was an accelerator for my diet. BTW: I did not do any additional sports during the time. One reason is that I do not have really much time for sports (I know that this is an easy excuse but in my case also reasonable). The other reason is that I still wanted to have another bullet that I could shoot in case of stagnation. That excuse is also better than the one with the time. 🙂

Fitting diet with work is not always easy

However, not eating has a pragmatic downside: It is more difficult to find corresponding food in a canteen. Having breakfast at home allows to avoid carbs (e. g. I had cheese or salmon or eggs or cold cuts). But for lunch I only had the option of either to take a salad or to eat something I had cooked myself or to buy something else in the canteen leaving the carbs on the plate which was not really satisfying. So it is definitely possible but then requires some time to prepare something in the evening which can then be eaten for lunch.

Overall I have lost between 8-9 kg during the 45 days of lent and I was really happy with that – especially when I recognized the effect on the clothes and others also recognized it.

My Next Steps

My target is to at least keep the weight and to continue the reduction but not with a real rush. So within the 3 weeks since Easter I continued the intermittent fasting (having breakfast and lunch as before) during the week but I allow carbs. On the week-end I still do not eat in the evening but dependent on the occasion I can also have some beers with friends. So far all looks fine, I could keep the weight with a tendency to further decrease it. I would say that I am currently in a phase of “pragmatic intermittent fasting” where I integrate the fasting into my own habits. Dependent on how this works, I am considering to have maybe a next phase of “strict intermittent fasting” for some weeks (following my lent rules excluding carbs), then again followed by the “pragmatic intermittent fasting”. So I am currently experimenting and I will let you know how the story continues!!




The benefits of a balanced diet

Today I will be sharing a personal story and some of my learnings from it.

I have been doing a low carb diet for a few years now with great results. Although never over-weight, I lost excess kilos and went down to around 8% fat, a percentage easily kept all year round. More importantly I have eliminated energy crashes, have increased my energy levels throughout the day and hugely improved my sleep.

By “only” removing sugars and starches from my diet such as sweets, cakes, pasta, rice, breads, a better self of mine has emerged. What was added in my diet in place of the high glycemic index foods was a ton of salads. A huge bowl every day. Fats were increased a bit but not too much. Olive oil, olives, cheese, nuts were always in the menu.

This came with a price. Or so it seems.

The auto-immunity journey

The schedule did run for a few years with no side effects, till about a year ago when some rushes started appearing. After a few weeks of not giving too much notice to them, they started becoming more intense, and found scratching myself quite often.

So I decided I had to see a doctor. The first advice I got was that you never know where such rashes could originate from and that I should try a cream for 3-4 weeks, see the results and then re-evaluate. These creams are mostly cortisone and anti-inflammatory based. After trying this approach for a few weeks the results were mixed. The rashes had been suppressed but not gone. In the mean-time it was summer and I waited to see what effect the sun and sea would have. This did not change much so a visit to another doctor was due. She suggested another cream and was convinced this has nothing to do with my diet.

Once again similar results, so I visited a third doctor. (Side-note : When I started asking him various questions and suggested that I was looking this up on my side as well, he got upset saying “Everyone thinks he can be a doctor these days. Let the diagnosis to us the professionals….”!!) . In any case, he suggested that the placement of the rashes could be a first stage of psoriasis and that my system was probably completely messed-up. Imagine my shock. I was devastated. How could this be? The shock was such that went and directly into a series of tests, x-rays etc. Nothing came-up, and having no other option at that time I went to another round of creams, lotions and the likes. Same results. The rashes where unter control but still there and  I was still scratching.

This was now close to 9 months and I was really worried. This was clearly an auto-immune disease and my body had obviously a strong disagreement with something I was doing. In the mean-time I had been reading a few books on the topic and came across the carnivore diet, hormesis and the side-effects that plant consumption might have on some people.

Having already tried to reduce fats (avocados, nuts etc) with no effect, I decided to reduce my vegetable intake and specifically that of the cruciferous vegetables. And already from the first few days there was a huge difference. Scratching was almost gone and day-by-day the rashes were getting less inflamed (red). After 4 weeks they were completely gone!!! Rashes are just a memory now!

This does not mean I will stop vegetables, but I am experimenting on what is the ideal plan for me. In my case I probably reached my threshold of too much sulforaphane, but this is just a guess. Fact is that plants don’t want to be eaten, so they have developed certain mechanisms to defend themselves with natural parasites (or toxins). Part of the plant defence mechanism is to either have or produce compounds that depending on the amounts can bevery toxic. Cabbage alone seems to have 42 such pesticides. An example of how the mechanism works is that when chewing some plants there is a chemical reaction between stable compounts which interact with enzymes and produce oxidative/toxic substances (e.g sulforaphane) which depending on the consumed amounts can cause various gut disorders. Of-course there could be a varitey of other reasons contributing and especially stress playing a big role.

In the last weeks, I have been talking with many people and researching on the effect of over-consuming different types of food. Even though this is not on the headline of any diet (for obvious reasons) cycling periods through different type of foods is quite important, since even consuming too much of something healthy has to the potential to reach a threshold of deminishing returns and become harmful.

Key Takeaways

  • Everyone re-acts in a different way to certain types of foods and has different thresholds. Since this is not an exact science, it is important to follow a balanced diet and have periods where you reset / balance your system.
  • If you have symptoms you might to cut-out some types of foods from your diet (such a diary, nuts, cruciferous etc) for 4 weeks and see how your body reacts. Do this slowly and one type at a time.
  • This is not a medical report nor a rant against doctors, only my experiences which having battled through them have made me stronger and with more knowledge. Be open, share your experiences and always do your reaseach.

The Cyclical Healthy Diet Pyramid

Lastly, I would like to share with you my version of the Diet Pyramid, what I call Cyclical Healthy Diet Pyramid. I will be providing more details with you in the days to come including a sample of a weekly diet schedule, combination of foods and list of recipes. Download the file here http://bit.ly/2vKSOOC