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Get rid of winter colds – Vitamin C

Winter has come….and everyone seems to be fighting-off some sort of virus or flu! Bacteria, infections, coughing, flu’s and colds all require a strong immune system. Let’s look into how to build up our immune firewalls!

The foundation of the immune system is Vitmin-A, Vitamin-C , Vitamin-D and Zinc. We have already discussed Vitamin A in another post so please refer to it. In this post we will discuss Vitamin-C. Let’s get started!

Humans are one of a few select species that have to eat foods with Vitamin-C since we cannot make it ourselves. When most people think of Vitamin-C, they think of colds. But it has so many more functions.

What does Vitamin-C do?

  • It will prevent from scurvy. Scurvy is a disease that causes bleeding in the gums or bruises that appear out of nowhere. Most of the people going in long expeditions in the last century ended-up with scurvy. Beneath the surface, scurvy can cause bleeding in the internal organs. The reason for this weak collagen. Collagen is a major protein in our skin, joints, bones, and the membranes that enclose all of our organs. Vitamin-C helps to strengthen collagen.
  • Vitamin-C and Immune Function. While the immune system is also producing all kind of oxidants to protect us from viruses and all sort of microbes which invade our bodies it requires Vitamin-C to protect itself in the proces. Vitamin-C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections.
  • Vitamin C as an Antioxidant. Vitamin-C is an “antioxidant” preventing damage. We are exposed to damaging molecules called “oxidants” all of the time, and they get worse when we are sick, have a chronic disease, smoke or drink alcohol. These oxidants cause little bits of damage as they go through our system. Vitamin-C helps neutralize the oxidants. Important to note is that it partners with iron/copper/B6 to get rid of histamine, which also makes us cold. It’s especially important to clearing the histamine in the food we eat.
  • Vitamin-C, is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and bones.

How do we get enough Vitamin-C?

Vegetables are great sources of Vitamin-C

Get as much as possible! Although the RDA is 75 mg per day most people require way more than that.

Vitamin C is extremely stable in dry foods and powders, but degrades in the presence of heat. Vegetables lose 15% of their C when stir-fried, 30% when baked or boiled. The best way to protect Vitamin-C during cooking is to add a source of acidity, such as vinegar.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially raw, are the best sources.
  • Organ meats and non-grain starches are good sources.
  • Meat, fish, and especially shellfish, provide some, but not enough.
  • Spices are a very good source. Use plenty of them on a daily basis. Great examples are fennel, ginger, dill, white pepper seed, coriander, basil, oregano etc.

The best Vitamin-C rich food are

  • 100 grams of coriander, thyme, bell peppers give you 150mg.
  • Kale, broccoli, kiwi, lemons, oranges, parsley and most liver provide around 100 mg.
  • Strawberries, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi provide around 50mg.

Important : Sugar, grains, refined and processed foods hurt vitamin-C status, so it is a good practice to enjoy your salad alone.

Supplements

Vitamin C is not stored in the body (excess amounts are excreted), so overdose is not a concern. If you can’t hit 100-150 mg/d with food, you should supplement. There are at least a dozen forms of vitamin C on the market, but you can stick with plain ascorbic acid.

Key Takeaways

Vitamin C is crucial for getting rid of those winter colds. But it does so much more we need to incorporate Vitamin C rich foods into our daily eating habits. We need vitamin C for strong bones, robust immunity, resistance to illness and toxicity, healthy skin. Eat plenty of salads and don’t forget to include organ meats in your weekly plan!




Cee Kay´s seventh week with KetOntrack

Having achieved the
sixth week practitioner, I felt eager to continue the journey and now focus on
continuing the program. I am now pushing the inherited daily routine of 16/8
intermittent fasting to two to three times 20/4 fasting per week, which provides
me an extra push. I am confident that with week 8 this will be a routine. Given
that I can focus on two meals a day for the 20/4 days, which is accommodating
my personal preference more, I do enjoy trying out more and more recipes and
have of course varied my salad construction kit for my meals. The Sauna / Spa
visit is now a weekly routine and really helps me in literally following a
healthy weekly cycle, where I can feel the push on my metabolism as a result of
a Sauna session.

Week 7 was initiating
a deeper focus on sleep patterns. Less screen time, more concentrated reading
before going to bed as well as inheriting the knowledge from the previous
weeks. Now I must say that changing sleep patterns is really changing my day routine
more than the change of eating habits, by following intermittent fasting guidelines.
I´m setting the scene to follow a plan that allows me to have 8 hours of sleep,
with 50% deep sleep phases so I complement my food intake to perfection. This
is still an ongoing task, and I am nearing the goal on most of my nights now.

Of course, there is a
“but”, which is quite some concerns. Being a father of a 1.5-year-old
child, nights can´t be planned out rosy as per scrap book. On top I was
suffering a slight cold, which was disturbing my nights rest a bit.

My three key takeaways in week 7:

  1. Amending sleeping patterns is harder than expected, but when longer sleep cycles are achieved with good deep sleep phases, my biorhythm is positively affected, i.e. by better concentration and fitness levels throughout the day.
  2. Pushing intermittent fasting to the next level is an easy top up to the established 16/8 schedule.
  3. On extended fasting intervals, I am really happy with two proper meals, compared to three in the usual fasting mode.

Week 8 focus for me is to further establish a better sleeping plan and observe the success in my sleep tracking device. I have taken a blood test to measure the results of the first 6 weeks and am eager to get the results, even though my doc already stated that he expects good results, given the ultra sonic examination he conducted on my inner organs. I have gotten a prescription for physiotherapy, so I am able to find some root causes for slight pain, resulting from my day to day workouts.

I am currently trying to bake some nice x-mas cookies in a low carb version. I have amended my grandma’s recipe for this twice, but have not yet achieved a satisfactory result. I was successful and find the recipe here.

Cheers,

Cee Kay.




My 6 weeks progress!

Having completed my 6 weeks practitioner challenge I can honestly say it was life changing and the beginning of my trip to self exploration. Being a mother of twins I somehow lost the control of my life and eating became more like a robotic practice with no attention to nutrients and proper meals.

I had focused only on my kids nutrition and forgot that i must pay attention to myself to. So I started to gain weight and when I realized the problem it was already too late. Since then, I tried so many diets and every time I failed.

Until i decided to give Panagiotis program a chance. In order to follow it and have any chance of success I had to start slowly.

First I had to let go my habits of snacking, and start with a 3 meal program. After I established that i had to adjust to a time limited window of eating (intermediate fasting). In 3rd week i started to get to know KETO diet. By then my weight hadn’t changed so much and i was about to give up, again. But Panagiotis quickly noticed and found the reason to it, my body was so insulin resistant that i would have to “starve” it from carbs in order to make it insulin sensitive. So I did. And by 4th week finally the kilos started to drop. A break though and something no one else so far had thought. In combination with an every day light exercise I finished my 6th week 6 kilos lighter.

A sense of happiness, personal success and the feeling that I have a real life coach next to me. I will continue my journey and will reach my final goal !




Calories in and calories out

Someone recently raised the holy grail question to me. “How can you talk about weight loss in keto without tracking calories in vs. calories out?” A very interesting topic which usually comes with two more topics, which we also need to address to get a full understanding of our physiology.

  • I need to have frequent meals (5-6 / day) to keep the metabolism high
  • I need to keep fat intake as low as possible

Let’s dive into shall we?

The body indeed has energy requirements based on our daily activities, but the most relevant question is what happens with that energy and how it is being made available our cells spread in the body. And here hormones come into play. The body switches between storing or burning fat based on the secretion of hormones, such as insulin, grelin, leptin, cortisol, estrogen etc.

Insulin

Let’s take insulin for example. ( We have already discussed insulin here). Insulin is an anbolic hormone helping in building and repairing also called the fat storing hormone. This is not strictly speaking true, since insulin acts as the key for the cells to absorb nutrients and energy, but when eating carbs since they are an immediate energy source what can not be absorbed or stored by the liver will stored directly as fat.

Another dimension is that in order to lose your own body fat and not water or muscle you need to deplete most of your liver glycogen reserve at which point your body starts break down fat to create ketones as energy. This is quite difficult in the continious presense of insulin and glucose when eating 5 meals a day.

More important is to realize is that if someone has put-on weight it is more than likely that he has developed a level of insulin-resistance where insulin signalling to the cells is not working as it should and nutrients are not being absorbed. Without fixing insuling-resistance you can forget losing any kilos even if you are starving yourself.

Leptin

When eating at a coloric deficit, especially when doing frequent meals you probably are never satiated. The results can be detrimental. This is because the satiety hormone, Leptin, which is a hormone produced by fat cells to control metabolism and hunger will up-regulate reducing your resting metabolic rate and increasing your hunger. Reducing the metobolic rate, is the body’s way to preserve energy and will make it impossible to lose weight.

Cortisol

Every time you are stressed you go into a flight or fight mode. Cortisol is a response to times of difficulties, what keeps you alert by raising insuling and bood sugar thus preventing weight loss. Furthermore being stressed-out makes you phycologicaly more prone to over-eating.

Energy availability

Another issue with reducing calories is nutrient density. Independent of calories a meal plan needs to be constructed to always provide the required nutrients. This can be very difficult to do when you reduce too much your calories. This will lead to constant hunger signalling, stress and impossible to lose weight. In order to be able to utilize the food energy your body’s machinery needs to have all the tools to run in an efficient way. All the Vitamins , Minerals, Amino-Acids and Electrolytes are somewhere involved in a very complicated energy production pathway. You need to get a daily basis all your essential nutrients at the right dose or you will become deficient. It is impossible to sustain such a diet since it is impossible to get all the nutrients you need. And to add insult to injury by following a low-fat diet you deprive yourself of essential nutrients and it will be very challenging to construct a meal plan which is nutrient dense with as few calories as possible. Eating pasta is an energy source not a nutrient source!

The excess energy even in a caloric deficit state is usually addressed by exercising especially with fat-burning cardio sessions. Cardio is important and will support the cardiovascular health. There is a risk though of becoming addicted to too much cardio at the expense of muscle. This is called “The Black Hole Training Zone”. This is the zone where the runner goes above the 70% of the VO2 max but is keeping this pace for 1 or even 2 hours. This phase is where we can hold a conversation and a phase which depletes glycogen and starts breaking down muscle for energy. The result will be a skinny-fat body type.

How can you unblock your body to be a fat-burning machine?

  • Practise daily intermittent fasting. Shortening the feeding window with protocols such as 16/8 has been proven to increase the metabolic rate! Fasting will also reduce insuling-resistance and blood sugars.
  • Clean-up your diet from fast-food and reduce the intake of simple carbs. This will allow you to get into ketosis put your cravings under control.
  • Exercise mainly with HIIT to promote muscle building and growth hormone.
  • Sleep well and practise stress relief daily.

Conclusion

Our physiology does not know of calories. It knows of nutrients and energy. Give it as much nutrients as possible, let your body rest and digest through intermittent and be aware of your hormones. Stop counting calories and start using your own store of fat as your main energy source and make weight loss an effortless lifestyle change.