Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Apple Picking at C.N. Smith Farm + Mom’s Apple Crisp 2.0

Over the weekend, we went apple picking at C.N. Smith Farm in East Bridgewater, and it was quite the hidden gem! It was our first time there, so we were pleasantly surprised by how much it had to offer. I think we found our new place for fall family fun! 🙂

We met friends at the orchard and immediately got our apple picking on. We arrived right when it opened, so there weren’t long lines, crowds, or waiting of any sort.

We’ve actually made the mistake of apple picking too late in the season when the trees are pretty much picked clean, but there were PLENTY of apples (and peaches) of all kinds. A small bag of apples cost us $24, which was expected and totally worth every cent, especially since Qman had such an awesome time.

He was all about finding huge apples, so every time he’d find a particularly large one, he’d say: “Look at THIS one” with the biggest smile on his face. He was so proud of himself!

The farm also had all sorts of seasonal treats (i.e. apple cider, donuts) as well as an amazing farm storm with the coolest Halloween displays. I wish I had taken a photo of it. Qman was obsessed, and it took us forever to get him out of there! Haha!

We eventually convinced Qman to check out the animals outside (goats, chickens, horses) and take a hayride, which was definitely worth it. We got quite the tour of the farm! 🙂

When we got home, Mal immediately asked if I would make my Mom’s Apple Crisp. It’s one of our favorite recipes ever, but, this time, I tried something new and changed up the ingredients a little bit. It’s still a super easy recipe, and it turned out so well!! You absolutely need to try this recipe – I promise it will not disappoint!

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium apples (any kind will work, pears work too!)
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg (optional)

Directions:  Same as my Mom’s Apple Crisp!

I hope you guys love this recipe as much as we do!

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Why Am I Getting Low Ketone Readings on a Ketogenic Diet?

Home » Diet & Nutrition

September 13, 2017

Why Am I Getting Low Ketone Readings on a Ketogenic Diet?

By Mark Sisson

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Inline_Ketone_Levels_09.13.17Even having finished and printed The Keto Reset, the quest for deeper understanding continues. I keep researching, thinking, revisiting, and discussing the science and practice of ketosis. My writing partner, Brad Kearns, and I maintain a running dialogue on all things keto. The latest conversation revolved around two very common questions or “problems” that keep coming up in the ketogenic community.

Why do some people on a keto diet blow high numbers of ketones while others eating the same way blow low numbers?

and this one…

Is ketosis glycogen-sparing or glycogen-inhibiting?

I won’t offer definitive answers fit to etch into stone. I will offer my exploration of the research, some educated speculation, and actionable advice you can ruminate on. And by all means get back to me with your take on the questions and my explorations, please. Dialogue is essential to understanding.

Why do some people on ketogenic diets produce low ketone readings when they test?

One theory is that some keto-adapted people are so adapted to producing and burning ketones that they don’t leave any extra to spill into the urine and breath. They make only as many as they can use and their cells gobble up almost every ketone they produce. Under this argument, low ketone numbers on a ketogenic diet are a reliable sign of full ketone adaptation.

This sounds plausible, but I haven’t seen any empirical evidence that it’s the case.

Another theory is that the keto-adapted have built so much fat-burning metabolic machinery in their muscles that they can burn free fatty acids directly and don’t require much additional fuel from ketones. They make enough ketones to fuel the brain, since our brain can’t run on fatty acids directly, but your muscles no longer require as many. Many people who have been in long term ketosis can get by quite nicely on 20-30 net grams of carbs a day and might only show .4 or .7 millimolar ketones on a blood test, but they have plenty of energy from burning free fatty acids and maintain muscle mass on relatively fewer calories than when they were dependent on carbs.

Keto pioneers Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek found that keto dieters blew higher readings early on in the diet when they were still burning ketones in the muscle. As they grew adapted to free fatty acids as a source of fuel and produced ketones primarily for the brain, ketone levels dropped. It was totally normal. If anything, they were more fat/keto-adapted at lower ketone readings.

Consider the energy requirements of the brain. Whether it’s running on glucose (most of the population) or mostly on ketones, the absolute energy requirements are quite modest. You don’t need a ton of ketones or glucose in absolute terms to power your brain. That’s why people can “get away” with lower ketone production and still reap the benefits we expect from eating this way.

There’s almost certainly a genetic component to ketone production, too. Take the Inuit, who were rarely in ketosis despite traditionally eating a very low-carb diet. It takes several days of deep fasting for them to produce measurable ketones. Yet, they are adept at burning free fatty acids, almost as if they “skip” keto-adaptation and proceed directly to burning fat. Other variants that affect ketone production have yet to be discovered, but they’re out there.

What about people on long term ketogenic diets who still get astronomical readings? What’s going on?

A major factor not often mentioned in whether someone on a keto diet blows high or low ketones is overall calorie intake. How much food are you eating?

Ketones are generated when the amount of dietary fat available to be burned exceeds the supply of oxaloacetate (provided by protein or carbohydrates). It’s not that the body thinks, “This woman needs some ketones, stat.” It’s more like, “I’ve got too much acetyl-COA from all this fat, and I can’t find any oxaloacetate. Guess it’s ketones!”  If you’re the type to use keto to justify chugging olive oil, you’ll generate lots of ketones simply because your fat intake is outpacing the supply of oxaloacetate. Keto athletes eating tons of calories will probably produce more ketones simply because they’re eating so much fat.

If you’ve attained the much-desired “caloric efficiency” I espouse and eating fewer calories overall, you’ll generate fewer ketones but still be “keto.”

Another factor is the use of exogenous ketones. Dean Ornish could take keto esters and blow big numbers.

Above all else, focus on the symptoms.

Can you go without a meal and maintain steady, even energy and concentration?

Are you losing body fat or happy with your body composition?

Are you thinking more clearly?

Has the keto flu come and gone?

Are aerobic activities easier than ever?

If any of those are happening to you, there’s no need to fret over some numbers on a device. The numbers can’t negate your real world experience.

How does ketosis affect glycogen? Does it spare it? Impair our ability to utilize it?

A 1983 study by Steven Phinney gives us a few hints.  He put people on a typical high-carb diet for 4 days, ran a 65% VO2 max endurance test, then switched them over to a ketogenic diet with 20 grams of carbs and about 80-85% of calories from fat for 3 weeks and ran the test again. There was no difference in time to exhaustion after either dietary arm, but glycogen storage and usage changed a ton. During the high-carb arm, the group began the workout with 150 grams of glycogen and ended it with 50 grams. While eating ketogenic, the group began the workout with 75 grams and also ended it with 50 grams.

In a modern setting, the high-carb guy could just squeeze some glucose goo in his mouth, replenish the lost glycogen, and be ready for the next race. But in a setting where glucose goo isn’t available, the keto guy has the advantage. He’s still got 50 grams of glycogen left in the tank—enough for two more races—while the high-carb guy’s 50 grams of carbs will only last him half a race. And the low-carb guy doesn’t have to eat. That’s pretty cool.

It is the modern world. You can grab some glucose goo and win the race. But there’s something special about utilizing the metabolic machinery developed over hundreds of thousands of grueling, blood-and-sweat soaked years.

Sparing glycogen is one thing. Does keto inhibit our ability to utilize the muscle glycogen we’ve spared?

Free fatty acids sure don’t, according to this study. Healthy young males spent a couple hours depleting their muscle glycogen through exercise, after which they were split into two groups. One group got a high-fat breakfast, giving them elevated free fatty acids. One group got a low-fat breakfast, giving them low free fatty acids. They measured glycogen before and after exercise in both groups, as well as markers of the pathway responsible for burning glycogen. Normally, free fatty acids impair glycogen burning. Not this time. Exercise was sufficient to overcome the inhibitory effects of FFA on glycogen-burning.

Semantics enters the fray here. One man’s spared glycogen is another’s inhibited glycogen. We spare glycogen by using less of it—by inhibiting its metabolism. That doesn’t mean the ketogenic athlete can’t burn glycogen when required. It means there’s less to go around, and that’s probably okay because, once again, the ketogenic athlete can do more with fat and ketones and doesn’t need as much glycogen.

Confusing, isn’t it? That’s biology for you.

Still, we know a fair bit. The sparing/inhibiting effect keto has on glycogen metabolism doesn’t impair endurance performance and probably even bolsters it. Long-term elite keto athletes can burn up to 2.3 times more fat at peak oxidation and 59% more fat overall than non-keto athletes, and they do it at higher intensities.

We know fat-adapted athletes beat sugar-burning athletes at high-intensity intervals due to their increased ability to burn fat and retain glycogen. These aren’t 100 m sprints—they’re 4-minute intervals on an incline treadmill—but they’re still glycogen-intensive.

We know low volume, high intensity strength training doesn’t suffer on keto.

What we don’t know is how the delicate balance between glycogen sparing and inhibiting affects high volume, high intensity glycolytic work. I suspect you’re going to lose some performance at the upper echelons of intensity. I also suspect you can regain most, if not all of it by incorporating well-placed carb refeeds.

Anyway, folks, that’s what’s been on my mind these past few days. I wanted to get it out there on the blog so you folks can mull it over and kick it around, and hopefully come back with some good feedback and insight of your own.

Thanks for reading, everybody!

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OBX 2017 // Part II

^^Is that not the coolest kite you’ve ever seen?! It was so spooky – especially its shadow! Nona bought it on Amazon. It’s huge!

Our weather has been a bit cooler, but thankfully stayed pretty dry. We’ve been watching the news and thinking of all of you in Irma’s path, from the Caribbean on up. I’ve seen photos of some of the world’s most beautiful places destroyed, and it’s heartbreaking.

Sunny little breakfast –

On Saturday down on the beach, we enjoyed reading, kites, fishing, and splashing, on occasion.

Thomas’s dad did some fishing. So did I!

We set up our Beach Bub umbrella and it gets two big thumbs up!! Despite the wind, this guy was a piece of cake to set up and didn’t budge at all. Here’s how you do it with the base filled with sand. Ta-da!

A balanced beach lunch: chips, sandwich, pickle, beer 🙂

We got dressed up and headed to Blue Point for dinner one night. We had a table with a sound-side sunset view!

I didn’t take pictures of our dinner, but the crab and salmon sauté I had was great!

Our temps dropped a lot and the wind picked up on Sunday, so we spent most of the day indoors. Mazen and I went for a walk on the beach.

I was in a jacket, but he somehow still managed to go for a swim! That little guy does not feel cold.

I made a plate of leftovers for lunch – grilled chicken, cheese, chips, and sauteed veggies. (Sometimes I put my salad in a skillet!)

We played this cute shopping cart memory game that Emerson sent for Mazen’s birthday, and then did a few puzzles.

For dinner we had hoping to pick crabs, but crab season was a bust this year, so instead we had delicious grilled steaks, oven-baked potato wedges, corn salad, and green salad.

We’ve been playing Chickapig every night! It’s a board game invented in Cville (with enthusiastic support from Dave Matthews!), and if you love board games, this will be your few favorite. (You can find it on Amazon too.)

On our final day, we had more waffles for breakfast. I went on another run. Then we went to play putt-putt!

We ate at Cap’n Franks for lunch (fried grouper and french fries!) and then headed home for reading and another quick run down to the beach to say goodbye.

For our final meal, Thomas was the head chef and we put together these yummy flounder fish tacos. I decided to have mine “grain bowl” style over the toasted coconut rice we made instead of in tortillas. Loved it! We had pineapple black beans, cabbage slaw, crema, guacamole, and the coconut rice as a side.

We said goodbye to the Atlantic for the year. Hope to see you next summer!

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Clean Eating Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe

This is the first recipe in my week-long Halloween recipe series. I’ll post a new recipe every day, today through Friday! Let the Halloween fun begin!

For those of you who read my blog regularly or… Read more →



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