My 50th birthday tour of Scotland and getting back on track.

This is wher i got my name from, the Ailsa Craig

Woo what a week I’ve had, one of my best friend Debbie Hubbs and her husband Don came over for my 50th birthday celebration, then we set off for Scotland. The sights were incredible, and breathtaking. It was so great to show a friend from another country my beautiful homeland. Although Scotland is a separate country to England I have a special kinship with it, as my name is Scottish and I have family from a town called Girvan in Ayrshire. 
 

Debbie Hubbs and myself.

 

I did over indulge in foods that I knew were not LCHF, and other foods that could not be guaranteed as LCHF. Haggis is one of my favourite indulgences but it is not on my usual allowed food lists. It is important when taking a break you still remain in control and make choices. But also you must not have the mind set you have blown it so what the heck! 

This will not be too much of a problem as long as I can get right back on it now I have returned. One thing I have been looking into is a low histamine diet, I have noticed even when I stick 100% to zero carb I still sometimes seem to be having a reaction. I.E. bloating, swollen fingers, IBS, and itchy eyes and sneezing. This could be affecting my cortisol levels which has a knock on effect with my morning BG. This will explain why some spices have been causing a reaction. I will keep you all informed on how I get on and do another blog post with the foods you need to avoid.

The tip to going on vacation and eating off plan is to focus on the day after you get back and that is the day you return to your way of eating. Stay really focuses and tell yourself “that is the day, no excuses”
One big turning point for me is I have totally given up sweetener in my tea and coffee, as anyone who knows me will know this is a big thing. I enjoy a nice hot sweet cup of tea. Coffee I would never have been able to enjoy it without sweetener in. But on my 50th birthday I returned home from bootcamp and made myself a coffee with cream in. I sat down for a chat with my husband before he went off to work. I took a mouthful of coffee and realised I’d forgotten to put sweetener in. The bottom line is because of my hard workout I was too lazy to get up and go get the sweetener. While drinking my coffee I was thinking “you know actually this doesn’t taste too bad!”. So, after my husband left I made a second coffee before I got on with housework for the day. This second cup, I purposely omitted sweetener, I thought if I could drink one cup then maybe I would manage another without. I went upstairs with it and sat and planned my day, I’m a list person, so this time is important for me. I drank that second cup and quite enjoyed the taste of the coffee. So since then I have stopped having all sweetener, as a sugar addict it will be the same for sweetener, I cannot ever have that sweetener in my hot beverages again, I do get tempted but I stop myself. I know that one slip and I will be back with the sweetener. The funny thing is, when having sweetener in my coffee I couldn’t really taste the coffee properly, but now I actually prefer a it, I find it quenches my thirst better.
The only sweetener I will have, will be in any baking I do, which is rarely. Everything I am doing with my WOE is progress, giving up sweetener, going off track and getting right back on it, learning which foods are affecting my body. I am finding it easier to keep going. When making the choice to eat well and only eat the foods that keep you well, it can be a hard undertaking, but one that I’m committed to. You have to be strong with yourself, while having others trying to convince you, you are wrong. Other people often don’t get it, if you have not had a diagnosis like coeliac that prevents you eating something, people are accepting of that. When it comes to making a choice they do not understand that you can’t eat certain foods because you choose not to, I have learnt to stretch the truth a little. I tell people I can’t eat certain foods as they make me ill, which isn’t lying really as those foods do make me ill, but I over emphasise it to make them understand. My biggest obstical is often other people! One of the worst things to say to me is “Oh you can’t eat that can you” Chris says this to me all the time. My response is always “yes I can eat that but I choose not to”! But telling me I can’t eat something is taking my choice away! Emotional eating is so hard for people to understand, if people aren’t like it they just don’t get it. These are the kind that can wake up one morning and make the right food choices. They never feel the ‘need’ to eat what they shouldn’t. I think I sometimes come across like this, but I have to be so strict with myself to stay on track. If something is low carb but it has sugar listed in the ingredients, then that food is not low carb. I look at ingredients first then carb content second. It has to be that strict for me! This is not usually a problem as I normally only eat foods I’ve cooked myself.
MAKE THE CHANGE COUNT.

Ailsa
  

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Get Fit for 50

Well today is a big marker in my life, I am 50 years old.   In 2004 I was at my heaviest, I was over 20 stone/280 pound. I say over as I stopped weighing. I had been type 2 diabetic since 1997, I had arthritis in my lower back – L4 L5, my knees were incredibly painful, walking was slow and exhausting. I could not manage my diabetes because the diet they told me I had to eat, high carb, full of grains and low fat was actually making my condition worse. They put me on insulin, which to some degree lowered my blood glucose. It was then I found information on The Atkins Diet, so I half heartedly started this ‘diet’. I lost about 4 stone/56 pound, I felt so much better and managed to get off insulin. Like many people who go on a ‘diet’ as soon as you lose weight and feel better about yourself you go back to your old ways of eating!! Shame on me! So the obvious thing happened, yes I put weight back on and was put back on insulin. When my first marriage ended in 2006, I lost a significant amount of weight, I felt great and I had rekindled an old romance with Chris. We have known each other since I was 16 and he was 18. We were sat in the garden one summer evening enjoying a glass of wine, Chris made a passing comment on how wonderful and full the sky was with stars. I looked up and could not believe it but I could not see any stars! I looked at Chris and said what stars, I can’t see any. This was the wake up call I needed, I needed to do something and quickly! This was when I realised if I did not make the change I was going to go blind and eat my way into an early grave. This was when I thought I am approaching 50, I really needed a goal. So started my personal Get Fit For 50 campaign.I had made friends online in 2006 with 2 American ladies Becky Gandy and Debbie Hubbs who were planning a cruise, we were all on a website, the owner of the website made me international liaison for the cruise and told me she would help me with my fair to go on it. I was so excited. Then the website became very controversial and it all fell apart. Thankfully Becky and Debbie felt it would be great to still go. The idea was it would be a cruise of like minded people just getting together and enjoying eating the same kinds of food. I put the idea to Chris and we booked it! We were committed. There was also this guy that people were talking about, he had some great success with losing weight on the Atkins diet, he was dedicated to sharing his story with others and helping people to do the same. Being in the UK I had never heard of him, but I looked him up and thought wow he sounds great. He had transformed himself and making it work, maybe I could learn something from him. He was none other than Jimmy Moore. Little did I know then what we were starting. Kim Yarborough joined us and we had a great team.


That first cruise was just under 30 people, it was very informal and we were the speakers. We each shared our Journey. We all thought it was a good idea to do this the following year, Jimmy said he could try get a few Dr’s and specialists to come and share their knowledge. The rest is history. Each year we have grown and developed. This years cruise we saw 200 guests. We had a wide range of speakers who travel from all over the world, talking about LCHF(Low carb high fat), Paleo, and ketogenic among other topics. All the speakers volunteer their time, and they are all experts and are backed up by research. The stories shared are amazing.

The Low Carb Cruise has become a very big part of my life, and Chris’s for that matter, Debbie’s husband Don has become Chris’s partner in crime, they even lead others astray with their funny antics, to play pranks on some of the guests! Sorry Laurie 😁!


In 2012 Chris proposed to me on the cruise.


In 2013 we got married and had a beach ceremony in Honduras.

image

I feel the cruise is a big family now, I have found some very dear lifelong friends and love meeting up with them each year.

I had been having a 2 year stall, the main cause being stress, so on the last cruise with the help of Dr Eric Westman I started on my next part of my journey, I am eating Zero Carb, although I do eat avocados. This is an evolving process for me, but one I am committed to. My diabetes is still improving and I am trying to combat the stress in my life. I am learning about what foods I can and can’t eat. I am finding what works for me. In May I will do a blog with all the figures in.

I am so committed to this lifestyle(not a diet) that Chris has enrolled me on a course for my birthday. I am about to start my journey as a Nutritional Therapist. I plan to help others achieve what I and thousands of people around the world have done. I want to enable people to take control of their life with good sound advice that is backed up by solid research.

I often have people comment about what I eat, things like, “well you can’t be expected to not eat bread, or pasta, or rice. I just think inwardly, if it keeps me well then yes I can live without those things. If I eat those things I feel ill for days after, so it’s not worth it.

So my get fit for 50 is on track. I’m still not there, but I’m hoping by my next birthday to be at goal weight and have totally normal blood glucose levels. I am fitter than I have ever been, Bootcamp helps me do that!

I have a wonderful family that I love.
Low carb isn’t for everyone, but I know for me my LCHF journey is saving my like. It’s about finding what works with you and your body and sticking with it.

MAKE THE CHANGE COUNT!

Ailsa x

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A quick update on my fast

Well after my fast last week I had a meal on Saturday of fish, it’s funny how just by having even a small break it can make it hard to get back onto a fast. I’m not worried at all as I still stayed on track. When I have days when I plan to fast I make sure I have something on hand to eat if I am struggling. Usually it’s an avocado or macadamia nuts. That way I am still intermittent fasting. Yesterday I was getting frustrated and wondering why I was struggling, then I realised each morning this week I got up and had a cup of bone broth first thing. Now I’m not really a breakfast person as whenever I used to have breakfast I would crave food all day. The only time I can manage it is when I am on vacation. So this morning when I woke I had just a drink of water. Not lots but enough to satisfy my thirst. I sipped water through the morning, just enough to satisfy my thirst but I didn’t gulp it down. 

  
At about 1:30 I had about 300ml of bone broth, it was homemade and so yummy and full of gelatine. 

  
In the afternoon I did a 2 mile walk at quite a fast pace and felt great. I sipped water for the rest of the afternoon, I felt great and in control again. This evening I have just had another 300ml of bone broth, just because I felt I needed some electrolytes replenishing. 

So tonight I’m going to bed feeling very happy and accomplished. I am in control. So I will continue until my birthday next Friday. I am going to a tea room owned by my friend, so I will give her a keto recipe and she will make it for me. My husband wants to go to a carvery for my birthday which will be fine as I will just have some meat. In my head I’m planning exactly what I’m going to do so I will be ready. I am prepared.
  
Thank you for reading my blog, please sign up to get notifications of new posts.
I run a Facebook group which you can find here

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Ailsa x

Let’s Talk About Exercise.

In January 2014, following a recommendation from my Chiropractor, I contacted Susan Taylor the owner of Isleloseit Fitness Camp. She was very enthusiastic and made me feel I could really do this. She told me they met locally 6:15-7 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I said that I might have difficulty in making it on the Wednesday and Friday as I wasn’t sure what time I finished work. Susan asked if I worked nights! Oh how naïve I was lol! I didn’t realise it was 6:15am!!!!!!! I remember my first bootcamp session, I felt so unfit, I could only manage 1 Burpee, I was the slowest but I was determined. I never felt I was letting anyone down as we all worked to our own ability. As it was winter and very cold I had to layer up, so I felt more like Michelin Man running around.

The exercises we do are HIIT(High-intensity Interval Training) Every day we go it is something different, this is better for me as I never know what I am going to do. We have a great group of people and we all support each other, even if I am not perfect I always do my best and if I can help someone in the process I’m happy.
People have called me crazy in the past for getting up so early in the morning, but for me it is the best time of day:-

  • I don’t have time to argue with myself
  • Once I have finished I do not have to think about exercise any more that day. If I had to do Bootcamp in the evening I would have all day to talk myself out of it.
  • I start my day with a sense of achievement. Putting me in a good mindset.

My coach Sarah is brilliant at getting me motivated and if ever I have gone through a bad spell which I did earlier this year she was always there for me giving me support. I do have depression and at times just getting out of bed in a morning can be a real challenge. But thankfully Sarah is aware of this and understands my down times. If I miss a session she will text me to give me the nudge I need.     Janre, Susan’s business partner often comes and visits our camp. She is always there on hand if you have a problem,  she is also a great motivator.
I train with a great bunch of people who are very supportive, we encourage each other and even have a laugh, this all give out a good feeling and a sense of achievement. It is like a big family.

It can be tough going especially when its raining or we are laying on a cold snowy field, but I actually prefer the cold weather because I know that thermogenesis is great for weight loss, So the colder the temperature is the faster my body is burning fat.

It can be a vicious cycle, you don’t exercise because you are depressed, but doing exercise helps your depression, I sometimes have to have a stern talk with myself to keep going. It would be so easy to give up, I often have an inward battle but I no I don’t really have the option to not do it as I would stagnate.
So what you need to do is find something you enjoy, In my opinion HIIT or resistance training are the best all round exercise for weight loss, cardio is good but it doesn’t promote weight loss. Although I I sometimes enjoy it for the feel good factor.
 I still hate Burpees, and I moan about doing them, but at least I am actually getting out of bed to do something to make a change for the better.

 If it wasn’t for Susan and her company, also Sarah and Jane I would be in my warm cosy bed every morning, but I would not be fit and toning my body up!

Find somewhere local to you and give it a go. Don’t just sit and think about it do it!! If you can only manage a walk that is better than nothing.
If you live in Scunthorpe or the surrounding area then you can find the website for Isleloseit here.

Ailsa

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Is treat night really a good idea?

Well a week ago I allowed myself a treat(or cheat as some people call it, this to me has too many negatives), well it was more an unconscious slip up than a treat. Boy oh boy I wish I hadn’t. Well trying to get back on track has been the hardest thing ever. So I would never say this was a treat really, but there is a trend out there to allow yourself a treat now and then, there are a lucky few that can plan a treat and enjoy it then get straight back on with their preferred eating. I admire these people, most of my circle of friends are like me, one slip can start a downward spiral. 
We went for Indian at our favourite restaurant, I know and trust them completely with how they cook. I know the manager and owner very well, he knows exactly what I can and can’t eat and I had fish. It was amazing just the fish and spices nothing else. I drank some alcohol my favourite Captain Morgan spice and diet coke. I only ever drink coke as a mixer. On the way out I picked up a mint to freshen my mouth. I didn’t even realise what I was doing. Before I knew it I’d eaten it! 
That one mint sent me off my well planned and focussed track.. How stupid could I have been. All week I have been struggling to get back to the strict eating I was at. Now by low carb standards I am still eating low carb, but I have been zero carb while testing which foods affect me.  

I am trying to not let the thoughts of guilt creep in as that can make my off track last longer. I have noticed that when I have an off time, I stop planning, I feel low, I can’t be bothered with bootcamp. My thoughts are my worst enemy.

So I’m no quitter, I went back to bootcamp this week and it was tough going, I am feeling the aches, but they are good aches.
We are away this weekend, thankfully these friends totally understand my food choices and are very supportive. So staying on track is easy, then when I return I will be doing a Bone Broth fast to clean my body totally. I would do water only but I will be doing Bootcamp and my job entails lots of walks. I did this for 7 days 3 weeks ago and it leaves you feeling great at the end of it. My plan before may is to complete two 30 day fasts. I want to try reset my body and cells. Then I am going to do intermittent fasting in between and only eat breakfast and lunch, and nothing in the evening. This has been effective in addressing Dawn Phenomenon and normalising morning blood glucose. 
Those of you that may be panicking that I will be harming myself, I have read up lots, and I have a Dr on hand to help me and lots of experts on hand to make sure I am okay!  
So as you are following my journey I wanted to share my ups and downs and be truthful about my progress as I know a lot of people do have struggles like me, I want to help others without hiding any of my struggles. 
I will let you know my progress next week. Thank you all for being a part of my journey.

Ailsa xx

Paleo from  A to Z by Darryl Edwards – Review

  

Well I was so privileged to receive a copy of Paleo A-Z. This is the perfect book for me. Growing up I was never an academic, I’m more a practical person, but I was so hungry for information I would sit reading encyclopaedias and dictionary’s. When watching T.V. Or having a conversation with someone I would keep looking up things we were talking about. Nothing much has changed, I always have my phone or iPad in my hand, people think I’m being ignorant, but I am often actually looking up facts from the topic of conversation.
 Paleo A-Z is written by Darryl Edwards, AKA The Fitness Explorer who successfully turned his life around from working in Investment Banking too becoming a very prominent fitness coach. He is the founder of Primal Play which from what I have seen has put the fun into fitness. He is a great speaker and totally engages his audiences.

This book is well written and very factual, it gives a lot of information about all aspects of Paleo. It explains all the terms really well so it can be easily understood. Often with many diets they are full of ambiguities and misunderstanding, this is a quick reference tool that is great to have on hand to answer all your questions. It doesn’t just explain Paleo but it also has other diet definitions too. It is endorsed by none other than Mark Sisson and Jimmy Moore and I trust these people.

What’s wrong with looking on Google I hear you say! Well the problem with searching the Internet a degree of common sense is needed, often the information is not correct and can be very misleading. Even Wikipedia has been known to be incorrect as the person inputting the info may not fully informed. So why trust Darryl? From what I have seen of Darryl, and I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Low Carb Cruise pre cruise dinner. He is full of enthusiasm and he is very passionate about what he does! That passion and enthusiasm is very infectious and I found my self wanting to hear more of what Darryl had to say. The book has a very thorough reference section at the back of the book so it is clear this man has done his homework.. 

There is a thorough section on blood work, explaining what each one is and what the normal values are. Vitamins and minerals are also very thoroughly covered, explaining their actions and how best sources for them. Lots of illnesses are covered especially those that are benefitted from changing to a paleo lifestyle.  

All aspects of Paleo and related diets are covered as are well known and not so well known terms. In the W section it lists foods you can eat and foods to avoid. This is great as from my experience as this is often where the confusion lies, I love that it is set down clearly what foods are allowed.

Being the Fitness Explorer obviously this is also well covered in the book.

  
One thing I did like, with each letter there is a meaningful quote.

I could go on about this book more but why not get yourself a copy and check it out for yourself.

UK Amazon
USA Amazon
Australia Amazon

Read more about the work Darryl does here.

Thanks for reading. 
Ailsa x

Pork Scratchings

In the UK we love Pork Scratchings, in USA these are call Pork Rinds.In the UK Store bought pork rinds are usually full of sugar and wheat. So even if they say they are low carb or even zero carb they still have ingredients that can cause a stall. Some people are lucky that these rogue ingredients do not affect them and don’t create a stall. I cannot eat store bought ones as they spike my Blood Glucose and will cause a stall. I have no choice but to make my own. 

I developed this way of making pork rinds by looking at a few ingredients and tweaking, My cousin Jennie also gave me some great tips. 

In the UK you can buy a pack of pork skins for less than a pound. They are rolled up so I straighten them out and put them in a zip lock bag and freeze them. I like to have a stock in ready.

  
I cut each strip into approxiamately 4 strips, use a good strong pair of kitchen scissors as it is hard work doing this. I then cut each strip into 3 pieces.
  

Then place in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain them and put on a baking sheet. 

  
I usually do this while I’m cooking dinner and have the oven on. Once I have finished cooking I turn the oven off and place the pork skins in the oven. The point of this is to dry the skins out before frying them. I leave them in the oven for about an hour.

 
I have a rotary fryer that I can use solid fat in, but check yours if you have one as some manufacturers have a warning on them. I do not recommend cooking pork rinds in the oven as they spit a lot and believe me they make a mess that is hard to clean up. The best way in my opinion is to use a sealed in electric fryer. I use Beef dripping(tallow), it gives the best flavour in my opinion.
  
Cook the skins in the fryer on the hottest heat setting until puffy and golden. If they are still a bit floppy then cook for a bit longer. I usually pour them onto kitchen paper and roll it around to drain off any fat.

  
 I then lay them in a tray and season them with salt and pepper. They are best left to cool and put in a ziplock bag in the fridge as this crisps them up a bit more.
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My facebook page is here
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Starting Out on LCHF

I will endeavour in this post to give you enough information from my own experience on how to start following Low Carb High Fat(LCHF) way of eating. Some of the tips below are some of the mistakes I made by not reading labels and following correctly the foods allowed. This is not meant to replace medical advice and if you are uncertain about anything try find a Doctor who is a follower of LCHF. Or you can email me direct and I can point you in the right direction. ailsamarshall@live.com.

Anyone who follows Low Carb will know the key to success is reading labels, if it contains sugar, grains and vegetable oils and starches etc. then you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Also people get confused with the sugar issue and think honey, fructose and agave honey etc are healthier options. They are not, they are still sugar, if you can give up all of these it will be easier. The other day I went to a store to buy water, the cashier as usual tried to sell me stuff at the till, it was chocolate biscuits made of oats, I laughed at her and said no I only eat healthy. So her response made me laugh, and she was deadly serious, ‘well they contain oats and oats are healthy’. All grains are unhealthy, they don’t want us to eat them so they release toxins in our body. Read the book ‘Wheatbelly by Dr William Davis, his blog is here http://www.wheatbellyblog.com . Another of my bug bears is people saying brown rice is the best choice for a healthy diet. Well it is not a low carb food so not on the allowed list of food ad it is too carby. Here is a link that explains about brown rice.                                                                                                                           http://www.ancestral-nutrition.com/why-white-rice-is-healthier-than-brown-rice/

When I go shopping I make good choices and buy fresh food, one time I’d forgotten something and Chris, my husband, went to the store to buy it. He returned with bags full of convenience foods. Bless him he tries, he will even buy canned curry, for me!!! So I stand and read the ingredients out, I know I won’t be able to eat it even before I’ve read the ingredients. I have done this for years and he still forgets. My motto has been for years has been JERF(just eat real food), even Atkins bars and other convenience bars are not great. Oh and stay away from stuff marked Low Carb, there is no such thing as low carb bread unless you made it yourself, even then I would only advise once you are maintaining as you could still get a stall. They are okay for the odd treat occasionally. Now there are some people who can eat these and still lose weight, that’s great, it is an individual journey for you!

As you start out on your low carb journey, read up, there are lots of great books out there, some are very scientific and others are practical. It can be very daunting, if you are on Facebook join some groups. In groups there are often very strict people, but learn the basics and you do what you can, other groups may not follow correctly the allowed food lists and let other non low carb foods creep in. Use common sense and try stick as closely as possible to the allowed foods as possible. Search on the internet, there are some fantastic websites with great advice. Listen to podcasts.

Jimmy Moore has a great blog and podcasts here are the links

http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/

http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/

Some people get confused, but it all comes down to reading labels, if you see something that looks low carb it is acceptable to them say 0.5g carb per serving, but then you look at the ingredients and see sunflower oil, a transfat. What in my opinion is more important, is to look at the ingredients first, if it contains something that is not on your allowed list then you are best not eating it regardless of how low carb it is. Because I am so sensitive to foods I have to be super strict with myself. I look at the ingredients and if it contains sugar, grains of any kind, starches of any kind and any vegetable oils on the bad fats list then to me it is not low carb, even if it only contains 0.5g carb. It is more about how that food will react in your body, if you are experiencing a stall or spikes in you Blood Glucose then perhaps you need to pay more attention to those labels.

For when starting a fresh you are better if you plan a date to start. Use up all your food, or if you are brave toss it. I share a house with non low carbers so I have my areas where my food goes. But most of my food is fresh meat, fish, good fats and herbs and spices, so the family can share this. My kids are really good at always asking before eating anything, I brought them up to do this as a way of keeping tabs on what they eat. Even Ben at 22 still asks before helping himself.

When making your choices from the allowed list of foods, yes organic is best, yes grass fed is best, but please do not let this think you cannot do this way of eating if you can’t afford the best. In the UK we can’t always source good quality grass fed meat. Some meat will be labelled grass fed but actually over winter are brought out of the pasture and fed grain and soy to supposedly give them energy. In the UK where we do have a lot of arable farms the pastures are lovely and lush in the warmer months but where these lovely pastures are located, can be where the bleakest winters are with snow and wet soggy fields when the weather turns bad. So it is understandable that they want to bring to cows into a better environment over winter. Because I like to support the local farmers and try not to eat imported meats then we have to live with this. There are some companies who make up meat packages and mail them to you. I will be making a list of their websites in another blog post. Organic meat is better as the animals do not grow up being given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal byproducts. While yes organic is best start off with what you can afford if you are on a budget. Thankfully organic food in the UK is coming down in price and more affordable. Support your local farmers, go to farmers markets and local stores. If buying packaged meat or any food for that matter look at the ingredients, they often contain sugar, the food companies are well aware that sugar enhances the flavour of the food and that it makes you want to eat more, that’s why they add it. Why do we need sugar on meat? It tastes better without it.

Print out a list of allowed foods and put it on your fridge. Rather than having a list of foods that aren’t allowed just think, if it isn’t on the list do not eat it. This keeps it simple for you.

 

 

Caitlin Weeks does an excellent blog which is more Paleo. She explains really well which oils you should not cook with.

https://www.grassfedgirl.com/which-fats-to-are-healthy/
Go shopping with your allowed food list and fill your cupboards with safe foods and plan your meals so you have more chance of succeeding. I am not an advocate of taking painkillers, I would use them as a last resort if you feel you cannot continue. But in the first few days and even weeks you could have flu like symptoms and headaches, it is advisable to start this when you have a few days off work. Let the family know you want to do this and explain why it is important to you and you need there support. Warn them also you could get grouchy with them. If you feel rough, have a lay down in a dark room and drink lots of water, I like fizzy water and I put fresh lemons in it as I do no really like plain water. If there was anything that in those first few days that would make me want to quit it would have been the awful ‘carb flu’. I kept coffee in my diet to counteract this and it can help you get through the yucky headache stage. If you want to give up caffeine as well, you either go cold turkey with everything and get it out the way, or if your diet did have a lot of carbs in it wait a month to get these out of your system then remove the caffeine.

When I began my low carb journey, I was probably okay having more grams of carbs, a lot of people stall after a large weight loss so it is best to leave room for tweaking later. In my Facebook group, people often ask “can I eat this?” it might be fruit or almond flour or something else, I usually say if you are losing weight then it should be ok. If you hit a stall then adjust what you are eating, remove things like almond baked things and low carb cakes, then if you break your stall you know that while wanting to lose weight to not eat those foods and reintroduce them once you are maintaining. Obviously as an occasional treat, they are a better choice than regular food that may be on offer.

You need to be aiming to get your body into a state of Ketosis, now this may ring alarm bells with some of you but it is not to be confused with Ketoacidosis which is what happens to diabetic poeple.

Dietary Ketosis is a controlled and regulated process that releases  ketones and fatty acids into the body which is a response from eating a Low Carb, High Fat Diet. This triggers the body into using its own fat stores for energy, this is a good state to be in especially when trying to lose weight.

Ketoacidosis is when there are abnormal quantities of ketones in the body, this usually happens in type i diabetes when they are unregulated and often before diagnosis. This usually happens when the body cannot produce insulin which will regulate the flow of fatty acids in the body and can be a dangerous state to be in.

If you are eating from the allowed list of foods you will not get into ketoacidosis.

One thing that is a common mistake with ‘diets’ is as soon as we lose weight and feel better we relax a bit and start slipping into old habits. I have realised that this isn’t a ‘diet’ it’s a lifestyle change and one that should be adopted long term. For me, I can never relax my food choices as I cannot afford the ill health I get from eating carbs. Some people are lucky and can tolerate most fruits and veggie and maintain quite healthily, I have found that even foods that low carbers can tolerate raise my blood glucose levels. It’s all about trial and error and finding out what works for you. It is how your body reacts when eating those foods and getting off carbs and upping your fat intake allows your body to function normally so anything you eat that is not right for you will cause a reaction that you will now be able to notice. Start a list of these foods that you have noticed you can’t eat any more. It isn’t that you have developed these sensitivities all of a sudden, but eating a high carb diet stops your body functioning normally that you don’t notice them. I get acid reflux from eating fresh garlic, someone said if you eat bread it will stop the reflux. Er… no why not just not eat the food that causes the reflux in the first place.

My youngest son, Luke, I spoke about him on a previous post. Well he started eating my foods and I just told him no bread and pasta, biscuits and crisps(chips). I have kept it simple for him because of his autism, but to his credit he has stuck with it. In the last month his waist has gone from 38 inches to 34!! Just by cutting out his junk food. Now we have had a couple of family get togethers and allowed him to relax a little, this is because I don’t want him to feel so restricted that he gives up. I would rather he followed the 80/20 rule. In his daily life he sticks to LCHF but when there is a party he can have some regular food. Even then he said he felt uncomfortable after eating so he now realises that it is not good for him. Eating LCHF has made him more focussed and less grouchy, So it is not just a physical benefit I believe it has helped his Autism improve.

Jimmy Moore and Maria Emmerich have got together and released a new cook book.

The Ketogenic Cookbook which is now available to buy or download on Kindle.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+ketogenic+cookbook&sprefix=The+Ketog%2Caps%2C185

http://www.amazon.com/Ketogenic-Cookbook-Nutritious-Low-Carb-High-Fat-ebook/dp/B011CX8UZA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438093637&sr=1-1&keywords=the+ketogenic+cookbook

I can’t wait to try out their recipes and I am busy making lists. I will be reviewing this book in a future blog post.

Maria’s blog is also a great souce of information.

http://mariamindbodyhealth.com

I run a facebook group which you can find here

https://www.facebook.com/groups/316962535059691/

My facebook page is here

https://www.facebook.com/Myketogenicjourney?ref=bookmarks

My first progress report 6 weeks on.

This is my first progress update since starting this journey on the 24th May.I have been trying to do this post for over a week now, Work has been pretty busy lately and home life is also busy. I am off work now for 3 weeks so I am looking forward to doing more posts.

Has it been easy? Well surprisingly yes it has.  

It has helped knowing I have amazing people throughout the world behind me sharing my journey.

18 months ago I was in a very dark place and it has been a long journey and this change has been so welcomed as within a few days I felt that cloud had been lifted.

I am in such a routine that it is easy to stay on track and not once have I felt like straying. Last week though we went to a local bike meet. It was the one time I didn’t prepare. I had some beef, I ate something I didn’t know how it had been cooked. Although I had only a slight rise in my blood sugar, how it made me feel was interesting. It was as though I was drunk. I was so drowsy I kept falling a sleep, and I mean in a semi conscious kind of way. The next day those dark depressing feelings returned and I was in a can’t be bothered kind of mood. I realised that it was what I’d eaten the night before. So I drank lots of water and got right back to eating food that I’d prepared myself. This showed me just how affected I was by food. Because I had been eating clean it affected me more, the accumulated toxins you get from eating processed foods aren’t always noticeable. Although I was eating low carb I had become complacent and eating vegetables more. Excluding these from my diet has transformed me. This journey for me has been about finding foods that work well for me and keeping off those foods that cause me any kind of reaction. You have to find what works for you too, If you stick to basic and then eat something that gives a reaction then to me that is your body telling you not to eat that food. When you are in a severe state of inflammation then I do not believe you can feel the warning signals you get. Even though I was sticking to low carb some of the foods I was eating weren’t agreeing with me. It is only since cutting out all carbs and getting my body in a cleanish state that I can now tell when I eat something I shouldn’t. We all look at the allowed foods list and see what foods are ok for our particular way of eating, I never thought that even some of those foods weren’t right for me as an individual. Even in the very short time I have been doing this I have discovered foods I have had to eliminate from my diet. I have stuck rigidly to zero carb, we had friends over and I prepared a pudding, I made 83% cocoa chocolate and melted it and mixed it with cream, a little sweetener just to take the bitterness out. This was a dip for a fondue. I didn’t dip anything but I put the left over dip in a sweet mould and froze it. Now if I have a chocolate craving I have a small one. This doesn’t affect my body. But the other day I fancied something juicy so I thought great I will have a sugar free jelly(jello). The next day my knee and ankles were really hurting, it took 5 days for the aching to go away. Garlic I have found gives me acid reflux. I’m also finding some herbs(I haven’t singled out which ones yet) are giving me BG(blood Glucose) spikes. I know this seems strange but I am only going by how my body is reacting to the food I am eating. 

In January I had my A1c checked it was 107(12.9). Before the cruise they wanted me to have it checked again. I panicked and told the I would get it done after my vacation. It was great knowing I’d been on track for 5 weeks going for my blood test. I knew it would still be on the high side but I was hoping to see some improvement. Well my hard work was rewarded I got my results last week. It was 75(9), I was ecstatic. It showed that what I was doing was working. I can already see my averages each week are coming down. I still seem to be getting the odd spike, and I know it is not all to do with food but its more of a stress response. Some stresses as much as I would like to avoid I can’t, I am having to find coping strategies for these. The important thing with stress is, if you can make changes to cut down stress, great. Not all stresses can be avoided, it is those that need coping mechanisms to continue with your daily life. I have learnt to look at my BG readings as just data and not get too hung up when my BG is too high as it becomes a vicious cycle of stress. Thankfully though my levels are decreasing, if they seem too high to me I remember, before the cruise I was on insulin and getting much higher readings. Now, yes they are on the upper level of normal but they are a lot lower and with no insulin. 

So here is my weight update.

   

I have regularly been taking pictures of my face. 

 
So as you can see, I have made some possitive changes in my life, thankfully the figures are finally showing.

Next tie I will post some more photos of my changing body and talk about what exercise I do to tone up.

Ailsa x

Always be prepared

The Low Carb Cruise almost seems a distant memory as I settle into my daily routine. I have been making my meals and experimenting with flavours.I think the key to staying on track is to make sure each day I am fully prepared with what I need to eat. I also need to batch cook each weekend the things I will need to eat through the week. I will explain this later but I need to share something exciting with you all.

For many years my darling husband Chris has never quite grasped the importance of my diet, and he’s always resisted to follow it. Chizzy Nwankwo one of the Heal Clinics team tried talking to him while we were on the cruise, he was quite flippant about not subscribing to it. I was a bit hurt by what he said but I know it would be his choice and I cannot make hime eat how I eat. If he changed it would have to be his choice and he would have to do it for himself and not for me.  

Well to my surprise since we have been back in England he has been for the most part sticking to the foods I eat. The only exception is he has his lattes with milk. Each night I have made something meat oriented, I made steak one night and even made a butter sauce to go on it which he liked. I’ve cooked chicken in garlic butter. Omelette is also a good choice as you can add meat to it. During the day he doesn’t really eat, he used to eat crisps(potato chips) and chocolate, now he says he just drinks water. I really hope he sticks with this as I do not want him to get diabetes or any other illness related to a high carb diet. He still hasn’t grasped the eating out bit, but baby steps are better than nothing , right? 

My second piece of news is, my youngest son Luke is 19 and has Aspergers. He has a mind of his own and, while I try to influence him, I believe he is old enough to choose for himself. I can only try educate him of the best food choices but ultimately it is his choice. I have always prepared my own meals different to the rest of the family, unless we have meat then I eat what I have prepared for the others. Since returning home I have been planning ahead and making tasty snacks to keep me from straying. I’ve made beef jerky and pork rinds, and my meals have always smelled nice. Luke has been very tempted by everything I have made so far, but when he wants to eat I have said to him if he follows my eating plan then he can eat the food I am eating. I have always told the family to leave my food alone, it’s not that I’m unwilling to share, it more the fact that they eat my food then move on to their high carb stuff. As they are adults I can’t make them eat low carb, I’d rather they did this willingly. I don’t buy lots of carby foods they can buy their own if they wish. But if there is bread in the house it usually goes mouldy before it is eaten which shows they don’t eat a lot. So back to Luke, last weekend he came to me and said I want to eat the foods you are eating. So I explained that he couldn’t be eating anything that contained sugar and anything that contained grains. So far he is doing really good but I will keep you updated. 

Now back the the title of this post. I’ve often found in the past I would be more tempted and had more cravings if I didn’t start the day off covering every eventuality. So every day I take to work with me everything I might need. I have a cool box which I load up with with my food for the day. I have bottles of water with covers on them to keep them cold as I hate drinking warm water. At the moment I am still drinking coffee so I take cream with me too. I carry salt and pepper too. I also carry a small set of scales to weigh my food to log on My Fitness Pal. Doing all this keeps me totally focused, it may seem a little OTT, but we all have to find what works for us in this way of eating. 

So each day I get my food ready, If I am starting very early I get it ready the night before. I usually cook a pack of streaky bacon and let it cool. I have got it down to a fine art,

I like my bacon crispy.

Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF Gas 6

Line a baking tray with foil, this is purely to make cleaning easier for me.

Lay the bacon on the foil and put in the oven for 10 mins

Turn the bacon over

Return to the oven for a further 10 mins.

I often leave the bacon in the oven and turn it off.

The result for me is perfectly crispy bacon.

   

 

If you miss crisps(potato chips) then this is a great alternative.

I plan my lunch which is usually any of the following:-

Smoked salmon with cream cheese

Ham and cream cheese

Meat from the night before dinner

Fish fillet cooked in lemon and butter

Breakfast Muffins

My list of foods is growing but above all I follow the KISS rule, keep it simple!

My taste buds have changed considerably, I am tasting so much more so finding I have had to cut back on the seasoning.

I have a cool box, it’s a small one to be able to carry with me. I am quite mobile in my job so it stays in the boot(trunk 😉) I put al the food in containers and enough freezer blocks that stay frozen all day.

Each day my cool box always contains,

 

 Cream for my coffee

 Almond milk for tea.

Butter

Salt

Pepper

Bacon(this is my snack food)

Mayonnaise

Water

Plus whatever lunch I’m having.

I weigh everything so I can measure how much protein and fat I’m having each day.

If I have chicken wings I weigh them first then I eat, I weigh the bones and subtract this from the start weight, the answer is the amount of meat I have eaten.

I have lots of containers which I can fill for the day.

   

  

 

I haven’t so far had a day when I feel tempted, I think it is because I prepare carefully each day. If ever I feel hungry I have coffee with cream in and it satisfies me. I have coffee cup that will keep my coffee very hot for 3-4 hours and that is always by my side. I only really have 2 cups a day but I sip it so it lasts me.

If ever I see anything that would be tempting I am totally fine not having it. I don’t miss anything either. In fact yesterday I looked back over the day and I’d hardly eaten anything, I was so busy all day that I didn’t even think about food. Last night we went to the cinema and I took a coffee with me and I didn’t even miss having snacks. I wouldn’t normally have coffee in the evening though.

Coming up:-

I will be sharing some of my favourite recipes

I will give you an update on my Blood glucose and weight loss.

Ailsa