November 7, 2018

Alzheimer's Talk: Amyloid, ApoE4, Insulin, and More



Hey everyone,


Since it’s going to be another couple of weeks before I’ll have time to write a new in-depth post, I wanted to share another video with you. I know some of you aren’t into videos and much prefer to read, so if that’s you, just hang tight; I’ll start writing “for real” again as soon as I can. For the rest of you, though, here’s the talk I gave about Alzheimer’s disease at Low Carb Houston just two weeks ago. I had 30 minutes to give a talk that I normally give in 45-60 minutes, so I had to cut a few things out. (Also had to speak quickly!) If you want the full version, I covered a little bit more during a talk at KetoCon back in June.  

If you’re interested in Alzheimer’s disease as “type 3 diabetes” or “diabetes of the brain,” I think you’ll find these talks very educational. Even though the Low Carb Houston talk was a little shorter than the one at KetoCon, it was a bit more in-depth on the science specifically surrounding beta-amyloid. I added in some aspects that I don’t normally include, because continuing medical education credits (CMEs) were being offered for the event, so I felt like I should step things up a bit and include some of the technical details I usually leave out for an audience that’s mostly laypeople. (Turns out Houston had a big mix of everyone, so it was fine either way.) If you’re especially interested in amyloid and why I don’t think it’s a cause of Alzheimer’s and, in fact, is more likely a protective thing, you’ll want to watch the Houston talk.

The KetoCon talk includes some details on cholesterol that I skipped over in Houston due to time constraints, and also because Dr. David Diamond, Dr. Nadir Ali, Dr. Maryanne Demasi, and Dave Feldman had all spoken before I did, and they covered cholesterol and statin drugs better than I ever could have. (Good thing, because it helped that I was able to skip the cholesterol details…freed up time for looking more closely at amyloid.)

You can find more of my presentations and articles on Alzheimer’s here. I haven’t had a chance to update it in a while, but I’ll do that soon. (Need to include the Houston talk for sure!)

And don’t forget about my shiny new YouTube channel. I know many of you (me included!) prefer reading to watching videos, but for those who might enjoy watching me remind people to keep low carb and keto simple and sane, please consider checking out the channel. Topics already addressed include an intro to why I started the channel, my personal history & background with low carb, how keto works, and measuring ketones. Upcoming topics include the Keto Police™, food quality, protein (and gluconeogenesis), weight loss stalls, and thyroid function. (I see probably 2 clients a month who have unrecognized/undiagnosed hypothyroidism, and it is a major roadblock to fat loss.) If you have a specific topic you’d like me to address, feel free to suggest it in the comments.





Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

October 24, 2018

Presentation on Insulin -- Much More Than a Blood Sugar Hormone



Hey all!


Busy, busy, busy for the next few weeks. I’m speaking at Low Carb Houston this weekend, at the Wise Traditions conference (from the Weston A. Price Foundation) in mid-November, and at the keto event in Ontario on December 1. Yowza!

So it might be a few weeks before I can write more blog posts of substance, but I’ll try to pop in and at least post something before I get back to (what I hope are) more meaningful and educational posts.

In the meantime, I want to share a link to a presentation I gave on insulin and chronic hyperinsulinemia. If you enjoyed my 8-part series on insulin a while back (two more parts coming, by the way!), then I think you’ll like this video. The primary message is that insulin is much more than merely a “blood sugar hormone.” Insulin has effects far and wide throughout the whole body. There’s almost no organ, gland, or tissue system that insulin doesn’t affect in some way, including the brain. (Hence the book I wrote on Alzheimer’s disease, and the talks I give on “brain insulin resistance.”)

In this presentation, I talk about chronically high insulin as a driver of several conditions/disorders not typically thought of as metabolic in origin. Aside from type 2 diabetes and obesity (which are so intertwined in some cases that they’ve coined the phrase “diabesity”), there’s gout, hypertension, PCOS, erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, skin tags, migraines, and more. (Possibly even Parkinson’s disease!)

I go into detail on hypertension and gout as two examples of conditions where the underlying cause (high insulin) is ignored in favor of things that often have little to nothing to do with how the disease actually develops (sodium in the case of hypertension, and red meat in the case of gout). But my favorite part is when I talk about insulin’s role in directly inhibiting lipolysis—the breakdown of fat. It explains so elegantly why so many of us had such a very hard time losing body fat when we were eating all the whole grains we were advised to consume, along with our skim milk, fat-free yogurt, and other low- and no-fat carbohydrates, and why things became much easier when we ate in such a way as to keep our insulin levels low for most of the day.

Please forgive the poor sound quality in the video. This was recorded at an event that was organized by one person, and it was her very first time organizing something like this. We’re lucky someone did us the favor of recording it at all! It’s a little bit hard to hear at first, but it gets somewhat better as the video goes on. Please don’t let that stop you from watching. I think it’s educational and might give you some new knowledge about the role of insulin not just in body weight, but in overall health and wellness.




   
Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

October 16, 2018

I Started a YouTube Channel!




I started a YouTube channel!


Yes, dear readers, if you enjoy my writing, you can now go a step further and see and hear me. You can get “the real thing,” instead of trying to picture my voice or demeanor in your head. Some of you will be happy about this development; others might be thinking, “Why would I ever watch videos of her?” If you prefer reading blog posts, stay here on the blog. If you like videos too, please subscribe to the channel and keep reading the blog. Definitely don’t abandon the blog! (More on this later.)

Why did I start a channel?

People are hungry for a voice of reason, sanity, and simplicity.

I see people making keto so complicated. I see people convincing folks who are new to this that they need powdered MCT oil for their coffee, or that they have to use exogenous ketones to transition to keto. I see people pricking their fingers and peeing on test strips without the slightest clue of how to interpret what they see. (Okay, I don’t actually witness people peeing on strips, like, in person, but you know what I mean.) I see people plugging in their anthropometric data and getting “macros” spit out to them by calculators that have no idea how much body fat they carry (as opposed to total weight), or whether they have a thyroid problem. I see people following arbitrary macro percentages and loading up their food with extra butter and oil because some app told them to, not because they’re hungry for more fat.  

I see people who are confused and overwhelmed, and they’re not getting the results they want. They’re either so confused that they never even start a low carb way of eating, or they do what they think is the kind of low carb or keto diet they need, but they’ve been given so much inaccurate and potentially harmful information that whatever they were looking to accomplish, they’re actually going backward.

I see people misguidedly emphasizing “keto” instead of low carb. I see people bashing the Atkins diet, as if that isn’t a perfectly effective option for most of us. (And as if “keto” isn’t really just the 46-year-old Atkins induction phase wrapped up in a shiny new bow.)

For a long time, I’ve been trying to figure out who I am in the low carb scene. What do I have to contribute? Do I offer anything unique? Anything valuable? Am I saying anything a zillion other people aren’t already saying, and saying it better than I am?

Well, I think I’ve finally found my niche. After having been at this for a few years now (I published my first blog post way back in 2012), it’s happened organically – my “voice” has emerged over time, as the writing has grown. I want to help people see how simple this iswhen we let it be. I’m the one who says, no, you don’t have to eat exclusively grassfed meats and organic vegetables. No, you probably don’t need to measure your ketones (but some people do benefit from it). No, you’re not going to die immediately if you use regular store-bought salad dressing, made with soybean oil. And no, you don’t have to have a PhD in calculus to figure out what and how much to eat.

In a world—including the keto community—that is increasingly polarized with warring factions shouting at each other from their entrenched camps, I’m okay with NOT being a zealot. I understand that there’s more than one way to get healthy, more than one way to lose weight, more than one way to lower blood sugar, and more than one way to be a decent human being who enjoys his or her food. I think I’ve gotten a reputation for being low-carb and keto-oriented, but also open minded and accepting of other ways of doing things that work for people. Maybe it’s only my perception, but I think I’m getting this reputation, and I like it. I think it’s needed. I look forward to new people finding me and my message of sanity and simplicity. I sincerely hope it helps them navigate low carb/keto as calmly and effortlessly as it should be navigated.

Now, about the videos:

As you know quite well if you’ve been around the blog awhile, brevity is not my strong suit. My posts tend to be really long. I plan to keep the videos short: aiming for about 10 minutes, give or take a few minutes. Some might be a little shorter; others will likely be longer (the first two already are, but they are intros to me and the channel, and are not typical of what I plan to be talking about in future videos), but I plan to make them all short enough that anyone who clicks on the links won’t be put off by the length.

I have friends and colleagues who have their own channels and put out lots of video content regarding LCHF/keto. And while I respect them and agree with most of what they say, I’ve found myself taking issue with a few things here and there. And I realized that if I’m not satisfied with how other people are explaining keto, then I need to get in the driver’s seat and do it myself.

So I have.

Please join me and subscribe to the channel, if you are so inclined.

As I’ll explain in my second video (in which I share my own history and how I got into low carb and eventually transitioned to being a nutrition professional), I am nearly helpless with technology. I’m an embarrassment to my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. It’s one of the top computer engineering schools in the world, but I’m lucky if I can even figure out how to plug in my laptop. It’s a bit of a miracle that I have a blog, a Twitter account, and now, a YouTube channel. See, I majored in creative writing, not computer engineering, or anything else having to do with 1s and 0s. So that’s why the writing here is kinda-sorta okay, but the site itself is a disaster. (Working on getting help with this soon! Planning a major overhaul of the site over the next several months. Yay!)

So bear with me as I learn how to improve the quality of my videos. I’d like to learn how to embed links and add images and text to the background. I know there are programs and apps that make it easy to do this. On the other hand, I’ve gotten feedback from people that simple is best. No need for anything fancy & flashy. If I’m saying something valuable, something people need to hear, then that’s enough. (Still, when I refer to blog posts I’ve written or to relevant scientific papers, I’d like for people to be able to click right on the link. That seems like the least I can do.)

And in case you’re wondering, yes, yes, YES, I will most definitely still be writing blog posts. Writing is, always has been, and likely always will be my first love. I’m adding YouTube to the mix only because it seems like you kind of “have to” be there to make a dent in things these days. Many people who are put off by the length of my posts would be happy to watch a 15-minute video (never mind that it would take them less than that to read even some of my longest posts). And some old-school folks (like me!) prefer reading and would sooner read a long post than watch a short video. So now I can reach more people, both the readers and the viewers, and everyone’s going to get pretty much the same message: keto doesn’t have to be complicated, confusing, or expensive. You can enjoy absolutely delicious food while improving your health and/or losing weight, and your way of eating doesn’t have to become an adventure in theoretical physics. You don’t need an advanced degree to lose weight, lower your blood sugar, get rid of your acid reflux, improve your PCOS, and say goodbye to joint pain, migraines, and gout. You just need to ditch the carbs.


See you on the screen!



P.S. Do you have any preference as to the frequency of new videos? I’m thinking twice a week, maybe every 4 days or so. I haven’t dived into YouTube analytics yet to see if there’s a “best” day to post, when more people are likely to watch. I’ll probably do what I do on the blog, which is follow my heart: write what I want to write, in the way I want to write it, and post it when I want to post it. It’s worked so far. I’m happy with the loyal readership I have here, and I’ve built it honestly and genuinely: no gimmicks, no false promises, no emphasis on whatever’s trendy just for more likes & shares. I plan to do the same with YT. Here’s hoping the people who need it find it.

P.P.S. Sorry for the decrease in blog posting frequency over the past several months. I have 2 or 3 long posts in the works, all in various stages of completion. I’ve had a bunch of speaking engagements the past few months and have 3 more coming up before the end of November. Once those are done, I’ll be able to focus on finishing these posts and hopefully resume putting out sarcastic and snarky educational content here. (And I'll publish shorter posts before then if I can.)





Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

October 11, 2018

By Popular Demand: Another Keto Event in CANADA!





Hey all!

The keto event I was part of in Perth, Ontario last month was so well received that the organizer has been inundated with requests to have similar events in other parts of Canada. And since we aim to please, I’m happy to announce that the second keto event in Canada is already on the calendar! We’ll be in Ontario again—this time in Kingston. (I’m sorry to all my keto & low carb readers and friends in other parts of your beautiful country. But I assure you, we’re aware that there’s an interest in bringing these kinds of events to other provinces. Stay tuned to the blog for announcements when new ones are being put together.)

It’s coming up soon:
Saturday, December 1, 2018 (Just a one-day thing!)
9:30am – 5pm (Doors open at 9am)
The Ambassador Hotel and Conference Centre
1550 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario, K7M 9E3
(Click here for all the details, including how to register.)


Coming to Kingston? I will be happy to accept
a T-shirt from your favorite Canadian team!
(The Canucks are not necessarily my favorite;
this was a gift.)
I’ll be speaking with the same people who made the Perth weekend such a success: Megan Ramos (fasting expert extraordinaire and the powerhouse behind the Intensive Dietary Management Clinic in Toronto), Dr. Doug Bishop (LCHF/keto-oriented physician in Ottawa), and Tiia Bishop, a health coach who made her public speaking debut in Perth and knocked it out of the park.

Considering the Perth event was organized by one woman, and it was her very first time planning something like this, I’d say it went phenomenally well. There were a couple of glitches with some malfunctioning toilets and air conditioning on the fritz (yes, even in Canada in September, it gets HOT!), but other than that, there were great people, great low carb food (and wine!), and, of course, I hope people left feeling like they learned something. I know I definitely made new friends.

The theme of the Kingston event is “Navigating Low Carb and Health Over the Holidays.” Megan will be offering expert advice about feasting and fasting, Dr. Bishop will talk about exercise, stress, and insulin, and Tiia will be sharing insights and advice about mindfulness and low carb eating. I met Tiia for the first time in Perth, and I really enjoyed her talk. (Okay, honestly, I actually shed a tear at one point.) She said some things I really needed to hear. Y’know, sometimes it’s not only about the food, dear readers. I kind of loathe the words “mindful” and “mindfulness,” but she hit on some of the emotional and psychological aspects of diet that don’t get discussed anywhere near enough in the low carb and keto community…in my opinion, anyway.

So what am I going to talk about?

I have two talks planned. The first will be on the personal fat threshold concept. This is a fascinating perspective on how type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome develop – and why they occur in people at all body weights, not solely in people who are overweight or obese. I did a video presentation on this a few months ago (check it out here), but I’ll be giving the live version in Kingston, possibly with a bit more detail, and of course, sweet lookin’ slides and snazzy graphics.

Intro to the Personal Fat Threshold Concept
Learn why:
  • Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic dysregulations occur in people of all shapes and sizes
  • Keto/LCHF diets, fasting, and bariatric surgery often reverse metabolic problems long before significant fat loss has occurred
  • Low fat diets do work for some people (it's true!)
  • Overweight & obesity may be “protective” against certain metabolic complications 
  
The second talk is…

Well, the second talk is something near and dear to my heart, and it will be quite different from any talk I’ve given before, and, I think, different from any talk anyone has given at a low carb or keto event.

I’m still deciding between two potential titles:

Keto Beyond the Food: You already know what to eat and what not to eat, so why's it so hard to do it?

Alternative title: Keto Fixed Everyone Else; Why am I Still Struggling? 
  • A frank & honest conversation about the emotional & psychological aspects of dietary adherence
  • Opening the conversation for those who struggle with emotional eating, binge eating, and other self-sabotage even on keto
  • Tips for changing negative inner monologues that are roadblocks to success
  • Actionable advice to start getting the results you want


Why is this going to be different from the talks that usually go on at these things? Well, people typically talk about what to eat and what not to eat, metabolic and biochemical pathways, blood sugar and insulin, protein, sleep, exercise, omega-6, and other stuff centered around the hormonal effects of our food and lifestyle choices: the physical stuff. But what about the emotional side of things?

There are people who adopted the LCHF or keto way of eating, and within days, they felt like an unstoppable, all-powerful ninja/rock star. The minute they got over the keto flu, they felt great and have never wavered. They’ve never, EVER craved (let alone given in and eaten…*gasp!*) a donut, a pint small scoop of ice cream, a family-size bag handful of potato chips, bowl of pasta, pile of french fries, or any other unthinkable friggin’ delicious sugary or starchy food. If you’re one of these people, great. All the love in the world to ya.

But if this doesn’t describe you, pull up a chair, friend, because you’re in good company. It doesn’t describe me, either. Many of us know darn well what to eat and what not to eat, so why’s it so hard to actually do it? We’re intelligent people. We’re hardworking people. We’re highly disciplined in other aspects of our lives. So why, when it comes to food, and when it comes to something as simple as just not eating sugar and starch, is it sometimes so damn hard?! (Note that I said it’s simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. These two words don’t mean the same thing.)

Maybe you used to binge on cookies or cake, and now that you eat keto, you binge on keto cookies and cake. Maybe you eat when you’re not hungry. Maybe you make great choices with what to eat, but your behaviors around food aren’t something you’re proud of. Compulsively overeating, compulsively restricting, or maybe you do still have strong attachments or even outright addictions to certain high-carb foods. You’re the poster guy or girl for keto in public, when other people have their eyes on you and your plate, but at home, alone, things completely fall apart. You’re not the only one.

Allow me to repeat: you’re not the only one.

And it’s time for us all to start talking about it.

To be clear, I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist. I am not trained nor qualified to help anyone navigate and overcome these issues. All I can do—and what I am so very looking forward to doing—is open the conversation. Let people know they’re not the only one, and that keto doesn’t immediately and magically reset and regulate appetite or dissolve emotional attachments to food for everyone. Some of us (yes, I said us) still fight ourselves. We self-sabotage. We can’t always relate to the people we see on social media who swear they’d rather have a spinach omelet than a big honkin’ stack of fluffy pancakes doused in syrup for breakfast.

Giving this talk is going to be a little scary, to be honest. I’m pretty open about my life on podcasts and even here on the blog. But this talk will be me uncensored and brutally honest about some of my own behaviors around food that I’m not proud of. But you know what they say: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” There’s nothing more cleansing and healing than bringing something out into the light. (Okay, maybe an autoclave is more cleansing, but you know what I’m saying.)
Also happy to accept a bottle of your favorite Canadian wine!
Did you know WAYNE GRETZKY owns a WINERY?
Hockey and wine...I think I should emigrate. 

I think this is a conversation that is desperately needed, and since I don’t see anyone else getting it started, I guess it’s up to me. I’m either going to lose everyone’s respect over it, or they’re going to respect me even more, and be grateful someone finally had the courage to speak up for all those who are in the same boat but are afraid to speak up, themselves. Time will tell.


Also: I’ll be available in Kingston for individual consultations on Sunday, December 2. You can sign up for 30 or 60 minutes and have me evaluate a food journal, help you troubleshoot your low carb/keto diet if you’re not getting the results you want, or just pick my brain and ask me whatever you want that’s related to low carb, keto, or health and nutrition in general.


Here’s the site to get all the information about the event on December 1.

See you in Kingston!


P.S. EVERYONE is welcome at this event! You don't have to be Canadian! Live near the border? COME UP and see us!

P.P.S. Canadian liquor stores know what they're doing. (Or, at least, the ones in Ontario do.) They post the residual sugar content for every single wine they sell. How cool is that? I wish we would adopt that policy in the US. Man, was that helpful when I was up there. I was pleasantly surprised at how low in sugar some of the rosés were. (I'd always assumed they were sweet.) And it was eye-opening to see how high or low the reds and whites were. Very useful information. Seriously, USA, get with the program. (Maybe there's an app I can use to look up sugar content of wines...)







Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

October 1, 2018

Eating Keto on the Go





Hey Everyone,

As you know—or, as I hope is pretty obvious—something I try to use my blog for is helping people see how simple low carb and ketogenic diets can be. When we stick with basic principles and get out of our own way, these ways of eating are very straightforward and uncomplicated. There’s not a whole lot of weighing, measuring, tracking, and rules involved. Yes, you can fall down all those rabbit holes and make yourself as fully neurotic as your heart desires, but for those of us who have bigger concerns in our lives than how many grams of omega-6 fat a chicken leg contains, the beauty of low carb and keto is their simplicity.

Awhile back, I offered some suggestions for dining out while adhering to a reduced carb way of eating. Today, let’s take that a step further and talk about how to stay keto while you’re on the road or on the go. What if you’re in the car for a few hours, or maybe even just a short trip, and the hunger monster attacks?

One approach is to think of it as an opportunity to skip a meal or two. I don’t consider skipping meals to be “fasting,” but if thinking of it as intermittent fasting makes you feel like you have special superpowers, then go right ahead. Going longer between meals is a nice way to keep insulin low and “eat” your own stored body fat more than you might if you immediately chowed down on something as soon as a few mild hunger pangs hit.

However, if you’re having a “hangry” moment—and let’s face it, folks, sometimes these still happen even when you’re a “fat burning beast” and are fat- or keto-adapted—then maybe you’re better off pulling into the nearest gas station or convenience store and foraging for some low-carb provisions. (What, you don’t feel hangry on keto? Like, ever? Okay, maybe it’s just me.) 

Here are my suggestions for low carb and keto-friendly foods you can grab in a hurry from gas stations and convenience stores. (We’ll get to supermarkets in a bit, since there are more choices there.) These apply to North America…I’m not sure if convenience stores like this exist on other continents, but I’m guessing you have something similar in other parts of the world. I’ll also tack on suggestions for things to keep in your desk or cubicle if you have an office job and have a place nearby to stash non-perishables.

Food purists, avert your eyes. If you can’t imagine letting anything past your lips that isn’t grass-fed, organic, pastured, small-batch, or biodynamic, this post isn’t for you. (In fact, my entire blog probably isn’t for you, but you’re welcome to stick around anyway.) We’re talking about foods to grab in a pinch, when the highest quality and ethically unassailable stuff might not be available. I’m totally okay with that. If you’re not, that’s fine; I still like ya!


Gas Stations or Convenience Stores

  • Pork rinds (plain might be best, but if you’re not a purist, hot & spicy or salt & vinegar flavors are fine; they typically contain little to no sugar but might be seasoned with MSG, yeast extract, maltodextrin, etc. Even so, the carb count is usually 0g per serving.)
  • Beef jerky or meat sticks (stick to original or peppered flavors; teriyaki and BBQ are typically higher in sugar)
  • String cheese; cheese sticks
  • Salami or pepperoni slices or sticks
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Nuts (avoid honey-roasted and nut mixes that include dried fruit)
  • Dark chocolate (the higher the cocoa percentage, the lower the sugar content, usually)


Beverages: water, diet sodas, hot or iced tea (unsweetened or diet with artificial sweetener), coffee (hot or iced, unsweetened or diet with artificial sweetener—be careful with pre-made iced coffee; it’s usually sweetened with sugar). Pretty much anything that’s sugar-free. This isn’t rocket science, people! 


Supermarket

If you have time to go up an aisle or two in a supermarket, you’ll have a wider selection to choose from. Here are some great go-tos from a supermarket run on the road:

  • Pork rinds (with or without sour cream dip or guacamole)
  • Beef jerky
  • Sliced pepperoni, salami, or dry sausage sticks
  • Nuts or nut butter
  • Pre-cooked bacon (yes, this is a thing!)
  • Deli meats and/or cheese: roast beef, corned beef, and pastrami are probably the lowest in sugar, but baked or roasted turkey is fine; avoid or go easy on “honey baked” or “brown sugar” ham or turkey. Salami, prosciutto, mortadella, and other cured meats are great.
  • Pre-made egg salad or tuna salad from the deli (ask about ingredients and sugar content)
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Canned tuna, salmon, sardines, or mackerel – be sure to buy ones with a pop-top unless you have a can opener handy
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Bagged salad greens
  • Raspberries or strawberries (and maybe a small container of sour cream or plain yogurt for dipping)
  • Salad bar, olive or antipasto bar – many supermarkets now have salad or antipasto bars stocked with fabulous low-carb fare: olives, cheese, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, marinated mushrooms, sliced or chopped hard boiled egg, turkey, grilled chicken, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, radishes, etc.  


If you like to live on the edge and are not afraid of eating unwashed produce, you can hit up the produce section and get low-carb vegetables like a cucumber, green bell pepper, radishes, button mushrooms, celery, etc., and just eat them raw. There is zero wrong with this!


Desk Drawer or Cubicle

Lots of flexibility here! You can practically have a supermarket of nonperishables at your fingertips if you have room to store a few things. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re prone to snacking when food is in your immediate vicinity even if you’re not hungry, you might be better off not keeping a keto stash handy. Do what’s right for you.

For those of you who want to have a keto cache at your disposal during the workday, consider the following:

  • Pork rinds
  • Beef jerky
  • Pepperoni or any other cured meats that don’t require refrigeration until opened
  • Nuts and/or nut butters (careful here if these are trigger foods for you)
  • Jar of coconut, olive, or avocado oil
  • Canned tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel
  • Dessicated/dried coconut flakes or chips (unsweetened)
  • Your favorite vinegars (can be combined with the oils to make a vinaigrette for a lunch salad)
  • Hot sauce (doesn’t need to be refrigerated, since it’s vinegar-based)
  • Dark chocolate


Depending on your level of “keto purity,” consider keeping Quest bars, Adapt bars, or other low and low-ish carb products on hand.


Pro Tips

If you’re a salesperson, company rep, parent, or someone else who spends a lot of time in the car, consider keeping a supply of the following essentials in your trunk. (Also good to keep at the office.) It does no good to buy some of the foods above to eat on the go if you have no way of eating them without making a mess. Tuck a small box in the trunk and stock it with:

  • Can opener
  • Plastic or metal utensils
  • Napkins or paper towels
  • Paper plates or bowls (or use plastic containers, wash them at home or in your hotel room, and reuse)



Did I miss anything you consider a staple for when you’re on the go? (Besides, of course, a container of homemade food or leftovers! To be honest, this is really the best way to go if you're a cook. Always make enough to have some left over to spare for another meal or snack. [Tips on that here.])






Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

September 5, 2018

Gout: Is it Meat, or Metabolic Syndrome?





I’ve never experienced a gout attack, but if common graphical representations are to be believed, it feels like there are shards of broken glass embedded in your joints, or like someone’s holding a flamethrower on full blast and aiming it right at your big toe. For whatever reason, the big toe seems to be the joint that suffers the worst in gout, but the condition can manifest in other joints as well.

Conventional medicine holds that animal proteins and alcohol are major triggers for gout, so typical advice for those who suffer from gout is to reduce consumption of alcohol and animal protein—red meat and seafood, in particular.

Part of the rationale for these recommendations is that gout results from an abnormal accumulation in the blood of a compound called uric acid. At high blood concentrations, uric acid can crystallize and be deposited in the joints, and these uric acid crystals are responsible for the pain, swelling, and other fun stuff that comes along with gout. And a major source of uric acid is the metabolism of purines, which are nitrogen-containing compounds found in proteins (and other substances). Some foods are higher in purines than others, hence the recommendations to eliminate or reduce red meat and seafood in the diet. Beer is also high in purines, and other plant foods are sources of purines as well.

But uric acid is a normal compound in the body. It’s not solely a metabolic waste product; it performs important functions as well. So we don’t want to get rid of uric acid entirely, and we certainly don’t want to eliminate protein from our diets.

So if the body normally produces uric acid, what’s really the problem in gout? Does the body produce too much uric acid, or is the uric acid not cleared away properly?

If it’s the latter, and the problem isn’t with overproduction, but rather, with impaired clearance, how is uric acid cleared from the body, and what impairs this?

Well, to cut right to the chase, the kidneys filter excess uric acid out of the blood so it can be excreted in the urine. And what impairs the kidneys’ ability to do this? Insulin. Yes, dear readers, our old friend insulin strikes again. (I mentioned this insulin and gout connection way back in the insulin series.) Alcohol also reduces the kidneys’ ability to excrete uric acid, so there might be some truth to cutting back on alcohol if you have gout.  

Mankind has been consuming animal proteins for a long time now, and gout is a relatively new disease. Well, “new” since about 300 years ago, which is when more accounts of it started being recorded. At that time, it occurred mainly among wealthy people—the people who could afford to eat rich meats and drink alcohol. But something else these “refined” individuals could afford that most common folk couldn’t, was sugar. Refined sugar.  ;-) 

Interesting, huh? 

Typical old-school representation of gout: a demon shooting fire at the toes.
Notice what appears to be a wealthy looking man eating what might be a meatball, and there’s alcohol on the table.


So what’s the real deal with gout? Is it caused by meat, or metabolic syndrome--that is, chronically elevated insulin?

Read all about it in my latest post for the KetoDiet Blog: Is Gout Caused by Red Meat or Metabolic Syndrome?  I think you’ll find the details interesting, and what’s really fascinating is that a few studies have shown that diets that are higher in protein can actually reduce uric acid levels and frequency of gout attacks—provided that the diets are also lower in carbs. Nice, huh?

If you or someone you know suffers from gout, and you think you’ve been relegated to a life without steaks and red wine (perish the thought!), check out the post to learn why it’s not meat, but rather, chronically high insulin, that causes gout.

As a personal aside, I have a friend who suffers from gout, and he’s a vegetarian. No red meat, but lots of fruit, fruit juice, and grains. And fructose, via its effects on the liver, can be a huge contributor to hyperinsulinemia and gout.


If you’d like to learn more, Georgia Ede, MD, has a fabulous post that covers all of this as well—gout, meat, insulin, alcohol, and fructose, and it’s a highly recommended read: Got Gout but Love Meat?


Also, the must-read book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes, originally included a chapter on gout, but it didn’t make it into the version that got published. Fortunately, this “lost chapter” is available online and its another educational read on the connections between insulin, fructose, and gout: Gout: The Missing Chapter from Good Calories, Bad Calories







Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.