Monday, June 12, 2017

Embracing Summertime

Happy Monday! We had such a full and fun day of summery activities: camp, pool, 2x soccer. The heat has finally arrived in Virginia! I started the day with hot coffee and a tropical fruit smoothie made with Quaker oats and Vega Coconut Almond.

I took Mazen to camp and came back home for a few hours of work. I decided to skip strength class, which I have been missing a lot lately. It’s an hour-long class and adding in 15 minutes of travel and social time on each end, it’s quite the time committment. I’ve been choosing to work while Mazen is in school and getting activity whenever I can, and that worked well today! See below 🙂 Work-wise I finished a post for next week, and sorted through a bunch of emails and things that had piled up over the weekend.

I had a piece of leftover salmon and cabbage for lunch.

And some cherries for dessert!

After lunch and before camp pick-up time, I went to the pool and swam laps for 15 minutes. Getting in that activity wherever I can!

You should have seen his face when I picked him up and said “We’re going straight to the pool!”

We played and played in the water, both wearing goggles so we could practice going under water!

After the pool, we changed into dry clothes and stopped into the grocery store for weekly provisions.

We had a quick snack at home, and Mazen almost fell asleep at the table. But we rallied and headed out for soccer practice. It was really just kids pick-up organized by our neighbors, but Mazen took it seriously! I actually think playing keep-away from 5-7 year olds is good practice for me too, so I enjoyed running around!

We stayed at the field because Thomas’s team had a game there right after. We packed our beach chairs and Thomas brought us a little picnic dinner in a cooler. The opposing team only had 6/8 players, so I joined them for most of the game and played against Thomas! Mazen cheered us both on.

I ended up burning 875 calories today staying as active as I could outside. Not bad for nothing official!

Since I didn’t eat my sandwich at the field, I had it for dinner when I got home (turkey + havarti + pickle) plus some leftover roasted squash and a Shower Beer!!! Shower Beer is the BEST after soccer.

Nighty night!

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Dear Mark: Keto Follow-Up

Inline_DM_06.12.17For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering some questions from the comment board of last week’s Definitive Guide to Keto. You folks came up with some great ones. Is counting carbs in non-starchy vegetables still unnecessary on a ketogenic diet? What’s the connection between ketosis and “starvation mode,” and should we be worried? What if you don’t want to lose weight on a ketogenic diet—what modifications should you make? Are you in danger of blowing a breathalyzer test due to ketone metabolites on your breath? Can endurance athletes benefit from keto? Is cyclical ketosis preferable to constant ketosis? Are sugar alcohols ketogenic-friendly?

Let’s go:

I got a very important question. In terms of standard, not ketogenic, low/moderate carb diets I’ve read where you shouldn’t count low calorie green veggies considering most of their glucose is burned during the digestion process. This method has worked for me very well, when I count carbs I think of fruits, tubers, berries, honey, etc., not broccoli and kale. But if I were wanting to experiment with ketosis should I count broccoli, kale, spinach, and other green veggies? Or does the same method apply in ketosis?

— Jackson

It applies to ketogenic diets, too. You can still eat non-starchy vegetables freely. One way to think of it is that vegetables that grow above the ground are safe while vegetables that grow beneath the ground can knock you out of ketosis.

Some might say, “What’s the harm in counting?” After all, you’re only being accurate. A diet should be as effortless as possible. You want to remove as much unnecessary stress as you can, and counting the carbs in broccoli is about the silliest thing to stress over.

Never heard of this diet before Its very interesting what got me confused was that I have always read that making your body in a ”starving feel” if i’m understanding right it’s basically the purpose of this diet your body lowers your metabolism as your body is scared that there is no food. But this diet is saying it helps you lose weight which contradicts with what i just said. I am no nutrition expert by all means if anyone could explain to me if what I said is basically a myth or why this diet works different I would be really grateful heck il even give it a try and see how it goes haha :3

— Pineapple Deficiency

A ketogenic diet tries to mimic the beneficial effects of starvation while limiting the negative effects. Ketones mimic the life-extending effects of caloric restriction, for example. Ketosis also induces autophagy, just like fasting. But because there are still ample micronutrients coming in, and you’re eating enough protein to provide the amino acids you require from meat (rather than your own muscle and organ tissue), most of the negative effects are reduced.

Thank you for this information. For many of the health benefits you list, I’d like to get into ketosis for a time. But I do NOT want to lose weight. I don’t have any pounds to spare. The past couple of times I’ve tried this diet it was hard for me to maintain my weight. I have no fear of healthy fats like lard, butter, heavy cream, etc, but it was still hard to eat enough. Any advice for us skinny guys and gals who want to get into ketosis without losing weight?

— Robert

Ah, yes. What is an important feature of the ketogenic diet for most people—the inadvertent reduction in calories—is a flaw for you. You have a few options.

  1. Give up on “deep” ketosis. Eating slightly more carbs and protein will reduce—but not abolish—ketone production and allow you to eat more calories to maintain weight. For most people, deep ketosis is unnecessary and unnecessarily restrictive.
  2. Eat a bit more protein. As long as you’re training, you can handle a bit more protein than you think and remain ketogenic. Some people find protein to be even more satiating than fat, so this could make eating more calories harder, not easier.
  3. Try ketone supplementation. Supplemental ketones take effect regardless of diet composition.
  4. Try MCT oil. MCT oil increases ketone production, even on top of a high-carb intake. This allows you to eat a less restrictive diet (higher in protein and/or carbs) while still making ketones. I have my reservations about whether forcing ketone production on a high-carb diet is a good long-term strategy, but it’s possible.
  5. Fast. Get in a good 24-hour fast once a week or so. You’ll slip into ketosis during your fast, and eat normally the rest of the time. This probably won’t build the fat-burning metabolic machinery like three or four weeks of ketosis will, but it’s a compromise.

I’ve had great results going keto, but one thing concerns me: I’ve heard that ketogenic diets can cause false positives on drunk driving breathalyzers. Anyone have any information on this?

— anonymous

It’s possible. A case study showed that alcohol dehydrogenase (an enzyme that metabolizes ethanol) can convert the acetone you’ve built up from ketosis into isopropanol—one of the metabolites breathalyzers test for.

OK, I’ll do it. I’ll be more strict about the Primal Blueprint until July 4th, then try keto for six weeks. I am training for the Chicago Marathon on October 8th, though. Is there a conflict between keto and endurance training?

— Ion Freeman

Check out my last book, Primal Endurance, for more details.

But long story short: Yes, endurance athletes can benefit from going keto. They don’t have to stay ketogenic.

Ultra-endurance athletes seem better suited for full-time keto. The biggest strides in ketogenic performance are happening in ultramarathons and other long-distance events.

But marathoners can benefit from keto-adaptation, even if they don’t stay there full-time. You have till October, plenty of time to get fully keto-adapted, build the metabolic machinery in your muscle mitochondria to get really good at burning free fatty acids, and then return to a diet with more (but not necessarily high) carbs. Make sure to cycle in some ketogenic bouts, just to keep your capacities topped off.

If you do this correctly, you’ll be great at burning fat and glucose by the time the marathon rolls around. You’ll burn more free fatty acids and less glycogen at the same intensity, leaving you more glycogen for the last legs of the race.

You’ve touched on it before and here again but for most who do not *need* keto do you encourage cyclical ketosis as in not 24/7/365. In my opinion and experience and just thinking from an evolutionary and physiologic (maintain insulin sensitivity and reduce physiological insulin resistance of keto, gut microniome, nutrients) standpoint it makes sense that most would benefit from non constant ketosis. Any thoughts?

— Marissa

That’s my basic stance.

Few people “need” to be fully ktogenic all the time.

Everyone “should” be ketogenic some of the time.

I do maintain that everyone should try three to six weeks of ketogenic eating, if only to see what it feels like, observe how their body responds, and build the metabolic machinery in the muscles necessary to burn free fatty acids en masse.

Do sugar alcohols in sugar free gum affect ketosis!? I sometimes chew a lot of gum while at work and worried it may be affecting my body going into Keto: thank you for any insights.

— Fitforme

Erythritol and xylitol shouldn’t have an effect. Eat freely, as long as they don’t upset your stomach.

Avoid maltitol. It contains digestible carbs (about 2-3 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram of glucose). On the plus side, maltitol is a great long-lasting laxative. Just be sure to set aside 2-3 days for the journey.

That’s it for today, folks. If I didn’t get to your question here, I’ll revisit the comment board for more follow-up info in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading. Take care.


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Quinn Turns 3!

Quinn turned 3 years old on June 9th – and we had quite the all-day birthday celebration for him!

The day started bright and early with the birthday boy waking us up in bed. Apparently, the OK to Wake! Clock was “not working.” Ummm…? Usually, we’d send Qman right back to bed, but it was his birthday and he was much too excited to sleep!

Once we were awake and officially moving, we headed downstairs to open Quinn’s birthday “prize” from Aunt Sib. She told Mal and me what was inside, and we couldn’t be more excited to give it to him. Quinn’s present was a Ghostbusters Proton Pack, and he absolutely loved it! You should have seen his face when he opened the box! He immediately asked to wear it and then went hunting for ghosts around the house. It was so cute!

After busting ghosts for awhile, we got ourselves ready for breakfast at Strawberry Fair.

I ordered Quinn a pancake with strawberries – sadly, they never showed up, even after I reminded our server, but Quinn only ate three bites before he was over it.

He did, however, eat all of the orange garnishes at the table. Ha!

I ordered the Breakfast Pizza, which was quite delicious and something I totally want to recreate for CNC.

How cute is Quinn’s 3 shirt!? I found it on ThredUp for like $5 – and it was perfect for the occasion! 🙂

After breakfast, we headed home to wait for my mom, sister, cousin Matthew, and Karli to arrive for more birthday fun.

We played outside for awhile before Quinn told me that he was hungry (probably because he barely ate any breakfast), so we headed inside to make pizza for lunch. Please note that Qman is wearing his Proton Pack. 🙂

While the boys made pizza, my mom and sister helped me put together lunch for everyone.

Quinn, how old are you today? 🙂

After lunch, we sang “Happy Birthday” to Quinn and opened presents.

Qman received the most amazing Play-Doh Town ever from Grandma. He was so pumped when he opened it! He actually ended up playing with it for most of the evening on Friday night and then a few more times on Saturday and Sunday. It was definitely a big hit! Thanks, Grandma!

After that, we all went to Hornstra Farms to visit the cows and get some ice cream before saying goodbye to my family.

It was such a great way to spend the day, and Qman said he had an “awesome” birthday! 🙂

The end.

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5 Foods That May Help You Get Clear Skin and Rid Acne

While the relationship between diet and acne has long been regarded as a myth, emerging scientific evidence is now alluding to how certain foods may help reduce acne. Even the American Academy of Dermatology is taking notice. If you’re fed up with acne despite your efforts, examining your diet for shortfalls is worth considering.


Low-glycemic load foods

Perhaps one of the best-studied areas of acne as it pertains to diet is the glycemic index. According to the “Guidelines of Care for the Management of Acne Vulgaris” published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, high glycemic index diets may be associated with acne. The glycemic load takes into account how quantities of foods each impact blood sugar. In a number of clinical studies with control groups, low-glycemic load and high-protein diets affected the hormone markers that influence inflammation and acne, resulting in significantly fewer acne lesions within 10 weeks.


One of the best things you can do to manage the glycemic load from your diet, is by eating protein, fat, and unrefined carbs with fiber at every meal and snack. That’s because carbs like white rice, fluffy white bread, boxed cereals made with refined grains, instant oats, pastries, and candy exert the biggest impact on your blood sugars if eaten alone or with little other protein and fat.


Whole-food carbs are beneficial and good for you, including legumes, sweet potatoes, whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, and whole fruit. These foods also contribute antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation.


Fermented foods

The microbiome has been a huge topic in the nutrition and microbiology world for the past few years, with the theory that probiotics (the “good” bacteria) benefit digestion and immunity. Now researchers are looking at how these healthy bugs may help your skin. In one notable clinical study, women who took probiotic supplements for 12 weeks while on oral acne antibiotics ended up with significantly fewer acne lesions compared to the groups who only took antibiotics or probiotics.


In most recent news, a study comparing the types of skin bacteria on people with clear skin versus those with acne suggested that rather than wiping out all skin bacteria with antibiotics, a better approach may be balancing the bacteria. The P. acnes bacteria on people with clear skin were higher in number compared to those with acne. Clear skin contained compounds that supported healthy conditions, while people with acne had skin bacteria that promoted inflammation. The researcher hypothesized that one way to balance the bacteria may be through probiotics.


Foods that contain probiotics include those with live, active strains of good bacteria, like yogurt, kimchi (fermented cabbage), sauerkraut, kombucha (fermented tea), and kefir. These days, manufacturers add probiotics to a variety of health foods. But don’t cook the final product, since high heat can kill the beneficial bacteria.


Oily fish  

While omega-3s fatty acids are essential for good overall health, there is preliminary evidence suggesting it may help rid acne. EPA, a certain type of omega-3, has been found in some studies to have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne. AAD points to one promising study where acne improved in 8 of the 13 individuals who supplemented with 930 milligrams of EPA daily for 12 weeks. While the results were not considered statistically significant, researchers did deem the fish oil theory as worthy of more studies.


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 500 milligrams EPA and DHA (an omega-3) per day, while the USDA recommends two servings of seafood per week as part of a balanced diet. Eating two to three 3-ounce servings of oily fish per week can bring you to that amount. Some of the richest sources of EPA include salmon, rainbow trout, halibut, anchovies, and sardines. Typically the oilier fish, the better.


If you don’t eat seafood, 10 percent of plant-based ALA (another omega-3) converts to DHA and EPA in the body.


Oysters, beef, and crab

According to the National Institutes of Health, research suggests that people with acne have lower levels of zinc in the blood and skin and that taking zinc orally appears to help treat acne.


In one study, 48 patients with mild to moderate acne who took a zinc-complex with antioxidants three times a day for three months experienced a significant improvement in acne count at eight weeks.


While a zinc deficiency is uncommon in the United States, healthy populations can still fall prey to falling short in zinc, like pregnant and lactating women entering gestation with marginal zinc status. Vegetarians may require as much as 50 percent more of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for zinc, since vegetarians’ higher legume and whole grain intake contains phytates that bind zinc and block absorption. Oysters contain a crazy amount of zinc—493% of the Daily Value! Other excellent sources of zinc include beef, crab, lobster, pork, baked beans, dark meat chicken, yogurt, and cashews.


Green tea

Studies suggest that green tea may improve acne due to its EGCG content, a polyphenol antioxidant known as having anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects.


In one study, randomly assigned women with moderate to severe acne who were supplemented with decaffeinated green tea extract (containing 856 milligrams EGCG) for 4 weeks experienced significantly fewer acne lesions on the nose, chin, and around the mouth compared to the placebo group.


Getting a large amount of EGCG isn’t as easy as cracking open a bottle of iced tea. Freshly brewed tea is the way to go, since the bottled stuff only contains a fraction of the amount of beneficial compounds.


One cup of green tea provides 25 to 106 milligrams of EGCG, by comparison, making decaffeinated tea a more suitable go-to for someone drinking larger quantities of green tea to minimize caffeine’s side effects.


If you’re looking for more bang for your sipping pleasure, try matcha green tea, comprised of high-quality green tea leaves that are gently steamed and ground into a powder that is consumed in the tea. One study found that matcha contains 137 times more EGCG than China Green Tips green tea, and is at least three times higher than the largest amount of EGCG found in studies for other green teas. Another study found that matcha green tea extracted three times more EGCG from the tea compared to leaf tea.


Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified chef consultant and the author of Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

Swimmin’ Holes

^^ (He wasn’t really asleep but said “Mommy, watch me relax!”)

Friday after our farm tour, Sarah and I went back to her place for a swim in her pool. We hadn’t spent the day together in ages, so it was great to catch up! We all swam and had dinner out by the pool. Super-kid-happy nuggets, oven-baked fries, watermelon, and carrots plus shrimp stir-fry bowls for the grown ups!

Friday night I crashed into my bed to read this book at the recommendation of Young House Love John. I am almost done and it’s really good! (Also a great $4.99 Kindle price.) It’s a bit of a murder mystery with a little love and some twists!

Saturday morning breakfast was poached eggs on toast, bacon, and lots of fruit.

Thomas has this poacher pan that makes perfect poached eggs. It was way easier than the little poach cups I had a while back. I can’t wait to do it again!

Matt came by to take Mazen on a daytime outing, and Thomas and I headed out to Sugar Hollow for a hike and a swim.

The first thing you have to do when you get there is cross a river over slippery, waterfall-covered rocks (easier said than done when your legs are as short as mine!). And I saw a SNAKE right away! He was sunning on a rock and didn’t seem bothered by all the humans (or dogs) at all. That put my nerves on high alert!

I made it across though, and across a second little stream later on, and we ended up at the swimmin’ hole.

The water was mountain-stream cold and I didn’t want to hike all the way back wet, but T and Gus got in. ‘Dem country boys :mrgreen:

I was happy to stay dry in the shade!

On our way back to town we stopped at the Hunt Country Market for some yummy sandwiches. I had the Harvest with melted brie and turkey! Plus some chips and kombucha and a brownie for dessert.

Late afternoon we spent a few hours at the pool. We have a 10 minute lifeguard break each hour that I call “rest break”. Mazen takes it literally and pretends to close his eyes for a few minutes.

M drew a picture of his cousin Emerson on the drive home! I thought it was quite cute.

Back at the homestead, we made Blue Apron’s Spinach and Feta Cheese Pies for dinner after Mazen went to sleep. They were awesome! I also caught up on my Bachelorette watching great season so far!!

Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back with some live blogging fun soon!

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