To Keto or not to Keto?

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 Thinking of trying a Keto Diet? 

 

The ‘Oh, I can eat bacon and cheese every day’ diet may seem appealing, but a Ketogenic Diet is not for everyone.

Have you been thinking that it’s time to try a new diet? Feeling bloated or experiencing indigestion on a regular basis? Has a friend recommended trying a Keto diet? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, read on…

 

The Ketogenic diet

 

What is allowed? Simply, fat! Yes, this is a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet. The biggest mistake that people make when starting the Keto diet, is that they forget about their vegetables! A Keto diet includes healthy fats like avocados, olives, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. However, alongside our higher fat foods we can’t forget about our nutritious keto-friendly vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, zucchini, spinach, peppers, and Brussel sprouts.

 

What is not allowed? A Keto diet does not include bread, pasta, rice, potatoes (including sweet potatoes), French fries, potato chips, sweets like candy and donuts and chocolate! Foods that are higher in carbohydrates including alcohol, are to be avoided.

 

What is ketosis? The term ketosis (the basis for the name KETOgenic diet) refers to a metabolic process in the body. Ketosis occurs when the body no longer uses glucose as a fuel source. Instead the body begins to use fat as a way to provide energy for the body.

 

Why do we want ketosis? As a result of the body choosing an alternate fuel source, the body uses fat. When this occurs, fat is broken down to provide energy for the body and fat loss can occur.

 

Benefit of this diet? The main reason most individuals try this diet is to achieve weight loss. Research shows that this diet is helpful for epileptic patients where a reduction in seizures is seen. More research for weight loss needs to be performed.

 

The downside? As with any change in diet, some side effects can occur. Oftentimes with a lower carbohydrate diet, individuals may experience headaches, constipation, change in mood (serious grumpiness!), lower energy levels and more. And as carbs are removed, you may develop a loss of essential nutrients like Vitamin C or the B vitamins.

 

Consider these 3 steps before starting a Keto diet:

 

  1. Seek support from your ND: As Naturopathic Doctors, we highly recommend seeking support while making any changes to your diet, including a keto diet. Just as there is no magic pill for everyone, there is no magic diet for everyone. Our focus is on individualized care. While your friend may swear the Ketogenic diet helped her lose 15 pounds, it may not be the most suitable diet for you.

 

  1. Do your research: Patients who need to exercise caution before making any dietary changes include those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Also, individuals who have mental illness should exercise caution as low levels in blood sugar may also cause mood changes.

 

  1. Consider baseline testing: Why test? If you decide to do the diet, we often suggest vitamin testing before you begin. When fruits and vegetables are restricted, there will be fluctuations in vitamin absorption. Our goal is to prevent deficiencies and correct with supplementation if any are determined.

 

Working with a Naturopathic Doctor has its benefits. We can make sense of the research, do bloodwork and determine the best eating plan for your needs.

 

 

 

 

Halloween Treat – Brownie in a Mug

1 Min Low Carb Brownie in a Mug

by: Linda Heredia, Holistic Nutritionist

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At this time of year I am really craaaaving chocolate! But I didn’t want to make a whole batch of keto brownies or healthier treats so I experimented with this 1 Minute Low Carb Brownie in a Mug – single serving simple and delish! So if you feel like indulging and want to prepare a simple Halloween treat for yourself, try this recipe!

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp erythritol  (I used Swerve)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp coconut cream (or you can choose your source of “dairy” for this)

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and heat in the microwave for 30-90 seconds. Start with 30 and if you need to add more to turn it “cake like” then put it back in.
  2. You can top with coconut cream on top if you like!

 

 

Fertility Acupuncture: How does it work?

Patients often tell me that they heard or read that acupuncture can improve fertility. Some patients ask how does acupuncture achieve this? This is an important question. I believe that when you understand the ‘why’, you can visualize the positive effects during the process. For first-time acupuncture patients this can also help promote relaxation and a ‘letting go’ during the treatment.

Research suggests that there are 3 potential mechanisms for acupuncture’s effects on fertility.

  1. Acupuncture may release neurotransmitters which may stimulate the release of GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) that has an influence on the menstrual cycle and ovulation.
  2. Acupuncture may increase blood flow to the uterus and nourish reproductive organs.
  3.  Acupuncture may stimulate the production of endogenous opioids (which decrease pain in the body) and may therefore inhibit the stress response.

   yoga-2176668_1280In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is believed that acupuncture ‘works’ by promoting the proper flow of Qi and Blood in the body. Qi refers to the circulating Life Force or vital energy of the body. When there is stagnation or a blockage of this energy, it is believed that this creates physical ailments and disease.

Acupuncture has addressed fertility concerns for over 2,000 years. Numerous research studies demonstrate its effectiveness in assisting with increased pregnancy outcomes. More research studies are often recommended to provide more ‘concrete’ and ‘reproducible’ results. To any TCM Doctor, this may appear difficult to prove as acupuncture protocols are meant to be individually prescribed. In this way, each patient has its own unique treatment for fertility.

In practice, I often see the benefits of treatment immediately. Patients report a feeling of calmness which is often accompanied by a more optimistic view regarding the fertility process. This is important as many women often struggle with negative self-talk. They wonder ‘why their body is failing them’ or ‘why everyone else is pregnant.’ Reducing the stress response has a positive impact on both physical and mental-emotional health.

Acupuncture has been helpful in menstrual irregularities, in PCOS patients, anovulation and in improving fertility naturally or as an adjunctive treatment to IVF.

Acupuncture is often timed to cycles so I recommend patients have a consultation ahead of their next cycle. This allows for proper timing and more successful incorporation of acupuncture. After a treatment, I usually recommend minimal physical activity. When possible, acupuncture may also be available on site at fertility clinics just prior to embryo transfers. Research suggests this may be helpful ahead of any surgical procedures.

Acupuncture is definitely worth a try if there have been unsuccessful past pregnancy attempts. Besides fertility, acupuncture is a beneficial therapy for promoting health, reducing pain and relieving stress. The goal in TCM is to create a healthy mind and body which thereby increases one’s chance for conception.