ketogenic

I have been doing some cooking (and so has Susan).

The mayo recipe is derived from someone else, but we’ve lost track of who–if you recognise it, please say and we’ll acknowledge you.

The Frittata and the salsa are all mine!

Quick and Easy Mayo

Designed to look and taste like Hellman’s, but without the canola oil and other nasty stuff, and without putting money in Monsanto’s pocket (yes, they own Hellman’s, it seems).

Also, this recipe doesn’t call for that “pour the oil very slowly” stuff.  Just pour all the ingredients in a tall cup and blend with a stick blender. Success every time!

Click here (or right click and click “Save As”) for the Quick and Easy Paleo Mayo recipe.

James’ Frittata

Clothilde Ermintrude

Clothilde and Ermintrude

Harriet and Juanita

Sort of like a cross between a quiche (but without the pastry), a Spanish tortilla (but no potato), or an omelette (but much easier).

Especially good if you have lots of eggs (we do: we have our own chickens.  Thank you girls!)

This recipe is for experimenting: learn the basics, and then experiment with the optional ingredients.

Click here (or right click and click “Save As”) for the James Paleo Keto Frittata recipe.

 James’ Salsa Recipe

If you don’t like sharp and hot flavours, then this isn’t for you.  But if you, like me, hanker after vinegary, chilli flavours, then this will accompany almost anything!  And as tomatoes come into season, substitute the canned tomatoes with fresh ones: preferably home grown.

Click here (or right click and click “Save As”) for the James Salsa Recipe recipe.

Everyone is talking about ketogenic diets (including me):

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic What is the Ketogenic Diet Good For?
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic How to Use the Keto Calculator
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

and a number of people want to know, in the simplest sense, what it is.

The human body is defined as “dual fuel”.  Just as my mate JP’s car can run on petrol or LPG (gasoline or Liquid Petroleum Gas), so the human body can run on glucose or fat.

When the body is burning fat to get energy it does it by converting the fat to ketones, and burns those.

Many of us in the west, eating a typical western 21st century diet have damaged our bodies so that they rarely burn fat, they just store it.  That’s because we eat too many carbohydrates.  Some get used for energy: the rest get stored as fat.

If we cut way down (and I do mean WAY down) on eating carbohydrates our bodies are forced to start using our stored fat as fuel, converting the fat to ketones.  A way of eating that achieves this is called a Ketogenic Diet.

Ketogenic Diets were first used therapeutically in the early part of the 20th century, to help people with epilepsy.  Those diets were not very pleasant.

In the 21st century we know much more and eating a keto diet is more delicious, and much more healthy.

By the way: “in a nutshell” is apposite: nuts are allowed on a ketogenic diet”!


That’s the end of the quick answer.  Read on if you want to know a bit more.

To the casual observer a ketogenic diet looks like a paleo or primal diet looks like a low-carb diet.  They do all roughly live in the same box.

Firstly, what do we mean by paleo/primal?  The “rough” idea is that it turns out that paleolithic man (from roughly 2,0000,000 years ago up to roughly 10,000 years ag0) was pretty healthy: those folk weren’t obese, didn’t die of heart attacks, obesity, etc.  So we wonder what they ate.  Some folk get a bit “religious” about this, saying that those folks didn’t have (say) butter, so we shouldn’t eat butter.  Others say that butter fits right in (it certainly does in a keto diet).

Here’s Kurt Harris, MD, who describes himself as an “Archevore”

An Archevore is someone who eats based on essential principles, and also someone who hungers for essential principles. Take your pick.

I think Kurt’s blog post “The Only Reasonable Paleo Principle” makes a huge amount of sense, so I’ll leave you to read that.

There are a million other things that you can read, but I am working on a study guide, and I’ll put all those things in there, so hang on: they will appear soon!

Amazon ImageAmazon ImageIf you can’t wait, this is probably the best book on the subject (UK version on the left, USA version on the right).

IFWe are not suggesting that as our ancestors ran across the plains of Africa they were nibbling on chunks of chocolate!

While the basic ingredients in good chocolate are real food, and really good for you, it is difficult to find commercial chocolate that doesn’t contain stuff that paleo people wouldn’t want to eat, like high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, various preservatives, etc.

So here’s a recipe that you can use to make your own, “real food” chocolate.  This is another “n=1″ piece of research (or n=x, where x is the number of people in your family!) in that the taste is very much down to personal preference.  It’s a case of “suck it and see” (sorry!)

It is also ketogenic chocolate (see the section on nutritional information at the bottom of the page).

In the equipment list and the ingredients lists below, if you click any of the pictures it will take you to Amazon where you can buy these things if you don’t have them.  We are making this chocolate while we are in Florida; availability of equipment and ingredients may vary in other countries.  When Susan talks in volumetric measurements, she’s talking American cups, spoons, etc.

You can download a printable version of Susan Courtneys Healthy Dark Chocolate here (right click and choose Save As).

In the video Susan mentions her Sweetener equivalents chart.  Right click the link and choose Save As to download.

There are six videos taking you through making paleo chocolate.  Here’s the first (the others are spaced down the page).

Equipment

Amazon ImageDouble boiler.

There are dozens on Amazon; this is one of the cheapest but has good customer reviews. You can spend up to $300 on a beautiful, traditional copper “bain marie”, but that isn’t necessary!

You can also pop a basin on top of a saucepan of hot water!

Amazon ImagePouring Funnel

If you are going to put your chocolate into forms or moulds (molds) then this is essential.

If you are making “bark” by just tipping the chocolate into a baking try lined with parchment (greaseproof) paper, then it’s not necessary (but you get big, hard lumps of chocolate: I broke a tooth on a piece!)

Amazon ImageScales

There is no need to get this sophisticated: however it is a good idea to have some scales in your kitchen to measure ingredients.  Americans: this may be radical for you, as you are used to working in “cups and spoons”.  The rest of the world is used to working in weight: I’ll translate from ounces (oz) to grams as we go.

However, these are brilliant: they will analyse and weigh all your ingredients so that you can have the equivalent of a professional “nutrition label” for your chocolate.

Amazon ImageMoulds or Forms

… or “molds” if you’re in America!  There are lots of different ones on Amazon.

We used to make “bark”: Susan would line a baking tray with grease-proof (parchment) paper and just tip the molten chocolate in it, and put it in the freezer.  When it was solid we’d break it into lumps and put it in zip-lock bags, back in the freezer.  You do tend to get BIG lumps that way!

In addition to the above you will need some sort of mixer or beater, some measuring cups and spoons and a spatula.

And quite a lot of dish-washing liquid and cloths: it does have a tendency to get everywhere!

Ingredients

Amazon ImageOrganic Cocoa Butter

Whether or not you use organic or inorganic is, of course, up to you.

But you are making high-quality chocolate here, so why not go for the best ingredients?!  The brand shown here is Kakosi, which is what you see Susan using in the video.

Amazon ImageCoconut Oil

We use Nutiva coconut oil.  It seems to be a reasonable price for the quality: again, we are looking for organic.

On Amazon there are all sorts of brands and all sorts of “qualities”: Certified Organic, Extra Virgin. etc., and they all seem to have pretty good customer ratings and comments.

Another “suck it and see” area, I think.

Amazon ImageOrganic Baking Cocoa

Equal Exchange seems to come with a version that says “vegan” in the title, and cost a lot more.  But ours says “vegan” on the tin, so I don’t understand the difference.  This is also fair-traded, so your chocolate is not only healthy, but also ethical!

Susan used to use a mixture of cocoa powder and carob powder, and it’s certainly true that the chocolate that had carob in it felt slightly gritty in the mouth.  Now we just use cocoa powder, and it tastes fine.

Amazon ImageSunflower Lecithin

The brand that Susan is using in the video is currently (March 3 2013) out of stock at Amazon, so I searched for “Sunflower Lecithin Organic” and it came up with soy lecithin granules, not organic, so beware!

The brand here is liquid, is sunflower, has no GMOs, and no soy, so I think that Susan would approve.

Amazon ImageSweeteners and Flavourings

Susan uses a mixture of stevia powder (which she gets at our local whole food store, Hoovers Market) and Luo Han Guo (Chinese Monk Fruit!).  If we were back in the UK, we would probably use liquid stevia from our medical herbalist, Alan Hopking.  If you haven’t come across stevia before, check out what Alan says about it, here.

In the video Susan mentions her Sweetener equivalents chart.  Right click the link and choose Save As to download.

When looking for stevia, you can get the powdered leaves, and that powder is green.  I know that Alan would tell you that it’s one of the purest forms, and I’m sure that as a medication it’s the best.  But I tried it, and to me it tastes of grass (not “grass”, but that green stuff on your lawn!) and I don’t want my chocolate to taste like it’s just been mowed!

Amazon ImageOnce upon a time stevia was hard to come by, because it hadn’t been approved by the FDA as a food stuff.  Now it has, and everyone is in on the game, and it’s harder to get good stevia.  We know that the major soda drinks manufacturers are starting to use stevia, and the suspicion is that, at least in the USA, they are producing GMO stevia, so we avoid Truvia and PureVia.  Vanessa Romero has a good article about it here.  The picture on that page, of  NuNaturals stevia is what I use in my coffee: but it’s not as sweet as the pure stevia that Susan is using in the video (it has bulking agents so that the contents of the little packet are about the same sweetness as in any other packeted sweetener).

Process

  1. Melt 4oz (115 g) of cocoa butter and 4-5 ozs (115g – 140g) of coconut oil and 1 tsp (5ml) lecithin in the double boiler.  Stir until it is all melted.
  2. Add a cup (250ml) of cocoa powder and mix with your mixer until it is all mixed in.
  3. Add a quarter teaspoon (1.25ml) of stevia powder and a couple of teaspoons (10ml) of luo han guo powder.
  4. Stir, taste, and add more cocoa powder, stevia and luo han guo to taste.  This really is an experiment.  You won’t produce anything inedible, but it may take several goes to get the feel for what is your favourite.
  5. If adding orange flavouring (or vanilla, or any other) add that last, just a little at a time.
  6. Pour the mixture into your pouring funnel and fill the molds.
  7. MAKE SURE YOU ALREADY HAVE A FLAT AREA, BIG ENOUGH, IN YOUR FREEZER!  (I can’t tell you how long it takes to clean once runny, now frozen solid chocolate off of the inside of your fridge or freezer.  We went off chocolate for quite a while after that incident!)
  8. Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, until it’s hard.
  9. Remove from the molds, pop into zip-lock bags, and continue to store in the freezer.

Are you old enough to remember “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”?  This melts in your mouth, your hands, on the plate you serve it on, on the rug, your mother’s pure white carpet, the sofa, your clothes … (’nuff said?)

You can download a printable version of Susan Courtneys Healthy Dark Chocolate here (right click and choose Save As).

Amazon ImageAlzheimer’s Syndrome

Amazon ImageWe don’t know that this chocolate will cure, prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s, but that’s what got us looking, as Susan says on the video. She was inspired by Dr Mary Newport and her website, www.coconutketones.com. Check out Dr Newport’s book and website: in particular, watch the latest video from CBN news.

Susan also talks about MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides).

We use it a lot, but haven’t tried it in the chocolate: it would probably make it even meltier at room temperature!

Nutritional Information

I was so keen to get the videos made that we didn’t stop to use our fancy scales properly, so I will have to do these calculations by hand (well, spreadsheet!)  I am only going to consider the fats and the cocoa powder; everything else is present only in vanishingly small quantities.

Main Ingredients

 Cocoa Butter  Coconut Oil  Cocoa Powder
 IF  IF  IF
Fat 108g, Carbs 0g, Protein 0g Fat 140g, Carbs 0g, Protein 0g Fat 255g, Carbs 32g, Protein 16g

These figures are for all of the ingredients.  Note that the carbs in the cocoa powder are all dietary fibre, so most people would ignore them.

However, given that we got 45 chocolates out of this mixture, it shows that each chocolate is almost 6g of fat, 0.7 gm of carbs (of which 100% is dietary fibre), and 0.35 gm of protein.

I therefore declare that these chocolates are ketogenic chocolates!  If you restrict yourself to 20gm of carbs a day, and include fibre in that (which is being very strict), you could still eat 28 chocolates a day and stay within your limit.  That assumes you eat no other carbs, but I reckon if you eat 28 of these a day you wouldn’t want to eat anything else!

It’s been an age since I blogged.  Went through some tough and busy times this year, but am now back in Florida where it’s sunny and the sky is blue, and I decided to crack this obesity thing once and for all, even if I don’t (yet) have my Together We Can group.

So I started to “Lighten Up” the second we got back to Apopka and by the end of the first week I had lost 12lbs, but my body fat percentage had gone UP by over 10%. So whatever I was losing it wasn’t fat, and I was TIRED.  Went for a five-mile walk on the Thursday and tried to repeat it again on the Saturday and “ran into the brick wall” big time.  I couldn’t move.

And whenever I checked for ketones, there was barely a trace.

So a few days back I started Googling “ketogenic diets” and have come up with some very interesting stuff and have put myself on a ketogenic diet.  My weight loss seems to have plateaued, but the fat percentage is coming down, so presumably I am burning fat while I replace whatever it was that I lost last week.  One  of the best / simplest versions of the Ketogenic Diet I found on Mark Maunder’s blog (that’s him, looking all slim and fit over there on the right).  And it’s what inspired me, but with some changes, and those changes have been inspired by Elaine Cantin, who cured herself of aggressive breast cancer in two weeks flat, also using (her own) version of the ketogenic diet.  She has written a book describing how she used the ketogenic diet not only to cure her aggressive breast cancer, but also to cure her son’s type 1 (yes, really, type ONE) diabetes.  It’s an inspiring story.

Here’s how it works:  My friend, JP, has a car that is “dual fuel”. It runs on either LPG or petrol, and he can change between the two by the flip of a switch. LPG is cheaper, and greener, but isn’t that easily available, so he fills up on LPG when he can, but if he runs out of LPG he flips the switch and, hey presto, he’s running on petrol.

Well, the human body is the same. It is dual fuel. It can run on glucose, or it can run on “ketone bodies” – usually just called ketones. Glucose comes from carbohydrates and ketones come from fats. If you have glucose in your bloodstream then the body won’t bother to burn ketones. It is also fairly well known (well, it’s very well researched, but the news hasn’t got out to many doctors yet!) that the body runs more efficiently on ketones than it does on glucose (the brain is much sharper, for one), but it does take a little effort to get the body to switch.

Amazon ImageBut here’s the thing that I didn’t know until a couple of nights ago, and it’s the thing that made me buy Elaine’s book (I got the Kindle version so I could start reading straight away). Every single cell in the human body runs just fine on ketones … except cancer cells. Cancer cells can’t use ketones: they must have glucose. So, if you put yourself on a “ketogenic diet” and clear the glucose out of our system, then your body will appreciate it – but the cancer cells will starve to death. There are all sorts of reports on the internet, but it looks like it takes around two weeks for them to die: maybe longer if it’s a truly massive cancer.

Elaine had an aggressive form of breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy but refused chemo and radiation, and the lump came back. By the time she saw her oncologist the lump was 2cm big and the oncologist wanted to rush her to the surgeon. She had only just started her diet and wanted to give it a chance. Two weeks later the doctors could find no sign of any cancer and wondered if the oncologist had made a mistake!  And she’s not the only one to report this effect.  Check out this video from CBN News:

Elaine introduced me to a simple method to know whether a food is going to work in a ketogenic diet.

Egg IngredientsCheck out this ingredient list for a fried egg.  It’s from a brilliant website called http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition.  This is for a fried egg.  You will notice that there are 7.04 grams of fat in your egg and 6.27 grams of protein.  Add these together (we don’t need several places of decimals — let’s just call it 13).  Now compare that with the figure for carbohydrate: 0.4 grams.  If you divide both sides by 0.4 (you may need a calculator, but here it is roughly) you get a ratio of 26:1.  That makes an egg (especially a fried one) an excellent food for a ketogenic diet. We are looking for a ratio of from 3:1 to 5:1 or above.  I had been existing on almost exclusively different forms of cabbage: sauerkraut (ratio of 0:3.  Bad!), raw cabbage (0.28:1), onions (0.1:1).  No wonder I wasn’t getting into ketosis.  I was having very low levels of calories, but all my calories, few as they were and healthy as they were, were carbohydrates (I only just looked up red onions, and I was shocked!)

Amazon ImageAmazon ImageAmazon ImageAmazon ImageAmazon ImageNow I am using this formula all the time.  For breakfast I had sugar free Canadian bacon (24.25 : 1 Great!!!) and scrambled eggs (14.4 : 1) with some grated Gruyere cheese (176.2 : 1 !!!).  Instead of having black coffee, I now have coffee with cream (coffee 0.5 : 1, not good, but heavy cream is 14 : 1 so that more than evens things out).  And notice that it doesn’t work with milk (1.12 : 1).  If you want to use non-dairy creamer, check the labels carefully.  Some work well, others are a disaster.

I was also inspired by two articles by Mr and Mrs JaminetKetogenic Diets, I: Ways to Make a Diet Ketogenic and Ketogenic Diets 2: Preventing Muscle and Bone Loss on Ketogenic Diets.  This inspired me to order their book, The Perfect Health Diet, but it won’t be here until after Xmas (make a Kindle version, please, Mr and Mrs Jaminet!)

It’s going to be fun applying the formula to turkey and Brussels sprouts over the next few days.  Unfortunately it looks like one of my Xmas favourites, roasted potatoes is going to be a no-no (0.35 : 1).  No amount of cheese is going to correct that imbalance!

See also:

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic What is the Ketogenic Diet Good For?
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic How to Use the Keto Calculator
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

It’s Susan’s and my eighth wedding anniversary tomorrow, and at the beginning of August it’s nine years since we met.  Happy and interesting years.  Within a very short time of meeting Susan I became aware of her fascination for nutrition and her insatiable appetite for every different nutritional theory, and I have long since got used to living in a house where both cupboard space and nutritional budget is taken up more by nutritional supplements than by nutrition.

I tried to take an interest for a while, but couldn’t get my head around the multiple apparently contradictory theories that were out there.  And it wasn’t that I didn’t need this information.  As the title of this blog will attest, obesity is my problem, and Susan’s is Chronic Fatigue, or M.E.  But I would read first this book, then that, and each would contradict the other, and I’d just throw them both in the bin and give up.

But then our very good friend, the lovely Kali Harmen introduced me to Gary Taubes and I was awakened to the world of nutritional bad science.  It totally opened my eyes, and since then I have been coming across examples everywhere, as well as a rapidly growing awareness happening across society.  And it falls out very simply at the moment, with the “low fat, high carb” people on one side, and the “low carb, high fat” people on the other.  It’s the low carb, high fat people who have the science behind them, and the low fat, high carb that has the politicians, big business, and even most of the public health and medical profession behind them, as Jaques Peretti‘s new BBC program “The men who made us fat” is explaining.

But things are changing.

I’m old enough to remember when people weren’t convinced that smoking was bad for you.  My GP, when I was first married in the very early 1970′s, used to carry around a tin (yes, a round tin) of 50 Player’s cigarettes in his pocket.  But gradually the science changed, and then the politics, and now we all know that smoking kills.  Not everyone (my Dad smoked all his adult life, and lived until he was 91), but the science is solid enough that we all know that anyone who smokes is endangering his or her health, badly.

And it’s the same with drink and driving.  When I was a teenager we thought it smart and fun to drive when very drunk.  We knew it wasn’t a good idea, but we did it anyway.  Now, my own (grown up) children won’t even have a glass of wine if they come round to dinner, and I’m amazed at how “grown up” they are.

Dr Ben Goldacre

Anyway; I digress.  I’m now delighted that, bit by bit, the nutritional quackery is being exposed, and the latest bit I came across concerns Dr Gillian McKeith, who I had always supposed was on the side of the angels.  Apparently, I’m wrong.  Apparently, for instance, she’s not a doctor.  I hadn’t given much thought to whether that “Dr” meant that she was a fully-qualified medical doctor, or whether it meant that she had a PhD in some relevant subject from an accredited university or college.  Apparently, neither.  Just a piece of paper from a correspondence course from a non-accredited American source.

If you have been a follower of “Dr” McKeith (she was recently taken to the Advertising Standards Authority for using the “Dr” title, and agreed to stop using it), you might like to read Dr Ben Goldacre‘s article in the Guardian about her.  It’s called “A Menace to Science” and is pretty hard-hitting.

I wanted to brighten up this post with a picture, and had thought of putting in a picture of “Dr” McK, but after reading a few articles about her, I discovered that she, or her staff, have been threatening people with law suits, so I chickened out, and decided that I’d put in a picture of Dr Ben (he really is a doctor: a medical doctor: studied at Oxford and UCL Medical School, and is currently an academic epidemiologist.  He’s also the son of Michael Goldacre, professor of public health at the University of Oxford.

So I guess he knows what he’s talking about.  Not that all epidemiologists do: there are a lot of them guilty of confusing correlation with causality, but I’m not aware of anyone catching Dr G at that yet.

I blog about this stuff because it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that we have to educate ourselves as best we can on this stuff, because we are being fed bad food and bad information by just about everyone around us, and it’s not clear who you can trust.  I’m not a scientist, by any stretch of the imagination, but I did have enough of a scientific education that I can recognise good science and bad science when it’s pointed out to me.

And I’m not an apologist for all scientists.  There’s a lot of science that doesn’t take into account other factors, and a lot of science that has led us down unhelpful paths over the years.  But suddenly, here in 2012, there is an upswell in good nutritional science, that may just change awareness in the same way that most of now will stop smoking if we can, and won’t drink and drive if we can help it.  Soon we will be cutting down on sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other dietary carbohydrates, and eating more protein and dietary fat.  And we’ll be better able to judge for ourselves which advice to follow, and which not.

Denise Minger

Amazon Image Amazon Image Amazon ImageAmazon Image So, get yourself educated.  Read Taubes, Goldacre, the Drs Eades, and especially Denise Minger (yes, I know it’s an unfortunate name, but Americans don’t use the same jargon as us Brits) then decide whether you want to get obese, type II diabetic, increase your risk of cardio-vascular disease and Alzheimer’s, or whether you’d rather have bacon and eggs for breakfast and a good rare steak for dinner!

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