March 22, 2017

Dietary Recommendations for Alzheimer's -- NPR Gets it ... Almost






“There’s a growing body of evidence linking elevated blood sugar to memory problems.”


Mainstream media is catching on, folks. The quote above, taken from this story from NPR over three years ago, is reflective of the growing awareness among the medical community and laypeople alike that there might actually be something to the wild and crazy notion of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment as “type 3 diabetes” or “diabetes of the brain.” I have written about this over and over again and need not rehash the details here. (If you want to know the full story, consider purchasing my book, The Alzheimer’s Antidote.)  Even The New York Times published a piece just the other day profiling a famous chef who is using a low-carb, high-fat diet to fight dementia. (Shout out to liberal use of butter abd MCT oil in her morning coffee!)

The NPR article is pretty good. It gets the point across while being very succinct – a feat I have proven I am totally incapable of. What I like best about it is that it references this paper, the key finding of which is that elevated blood glucose may be a risk for dementia even at levels lower than the diabetic range. This is not news to me, and probably not to you, but it’s nice to see this getting out to the general public, among whom it probably is news. (Or should have been a few years ago when this came out.) It’s not news to us because you and I already know that hyperinsulinemia alone—not high glucose, but high insulin—is an independent risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, compared to people with “normal” insulin levels, those who are not diabetic but are hyperinsulinemic have double the risk of developing AD.

March 1, 2017

BIG NEWS: MY BOOK!





Hey Everyone!
You may recall that a while back I released an e-book about Alzheimer’s disease and the potential therapeutic role of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet and other lifestyle interventions. Well, I’m happy to announce that the book has been completely rewritten and expanded for release this month as a print book from Chelsea Green Publishing, with a foreword by none other than David Perlmutter, MD, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain!! 

Chelsea Green is a big deal, folks. They publish the fermentation bible, a.k.a. Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Katz. They are also the U.S. distributor for Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s books—Put Your Heart in Your Mouth and Gut and Psychology Syndrome (the original GAPS™ diet book), which are both outstanding. They’re also the U.S. publishers for The Ketogenic Kitchen, by Domini Kemp and Patricia Daly. (Patricia is Ireland and the U.K.’s go-to gal for all things related to keto for cancer.) CG is also publishing the new release of Travis Christofferson’s Tripping Over the Truth (which I reviewed here) – the book that inspired my blog series on the metabolic theory of cancer. So you can see I am in very, very good company among these folks.

My book, The Alzheimer’s Antidote: Using a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease, Memory Loss, and Cognitive Decline, has been rewritten and expanded with new and even more powerful information, all of which only strengthens my basic premise: Alzheimer’s disease is, at least in part, a systemic metabolic condition, and as such, there are dietary and lifestyle interventions that could potentially stop or slow the progression of this condition, and possibly even reverse some of the damage that has already occurred.

One of the fundamental aspects of Alzheimer’s disease is that neurons in regions of the brain involved in memory processing lose the ability to metabolize glucose efficiently. In fact, in noting that Alzheimer’s patients show as much as a 45% reduction in cerebral glucose utilization, one study’s authors said that this is the predominant abnormality in incipient late onset Alzheimer’s disease...” This is not a matter of debate. There are many things we dont know and dont understand about Alzheimers disease. This isnt one of them.  That metabolic issues involving perturbed glucose and insulin processing in the brain are major factors either directly causing or at least exacerbating Alzheimer’s pathology and progression are so undeniable that the phrases “type 3 diabetes,” “brain insulin resistance,” and “metabolic-cognitive syndrome” are now regularly used in the scientific literature. (Yep, you already knew about plain ol’ metabolic syndrome, but when you throw dementia and cognitive impairment into the mix, you have metabolic-cognitive syndrome.)  The reduction in cerebral glucose metabolism is not controversial. The controversy lies in what causes this and what to do about it.

February 15, 2017

New Perspectives on Low Carb Diets for Weight Loss








As I wrote about in a recent post, I’ve finally gotten active in a few Facebook groups dedicated to low carb and ketogenic diets. There’s a world of good being done there, and heaps upon heaps of great information being shared—life-changing and life-saving information people aren’t hearing from their doctors. But there’s also a lot—and I mean a lot—of stuff that makes me want to: a) grab people tightly by the upper arms and shake some sense into them (because that’s more humane than ramming them head-first into a brick wall, which is what I’d really like to do in some cases), or b) wrap them in a long, warm hug, and help them feel better about things. I got all my keto-related anger out in the epic end-of-year rant I posted in December, so today, let’s focus on the kinder, gentler side of things.

I am paraphrasing, but here are a few examples of what I routinely read in various FB groups and blog comments:

  1. “I’ve been following a strict ketogenic diet for two months and have only lost 10 pounds. What am I doing wrong?”   
  2. “I’ve been doing strict keto for three months. I’m off my blood pressure medication and have reduced my insulin dose by half. I feel fantastic and have tons of energy, but I haven’t lost any weight. Why isn’t this working for me?” 
  3. “I’m doing a keto diet and I lost four pounds the first week, three the second week, then only two the third week, and now I’m up a pound. What did I do wrong?” 

February 8, 2017

Low Carb Cooking Class! (LC3) -- Roasted Vegetables





Time for another installment of Low Carb Cooking Class!

Today’s lesson is for people who claim they don’t like vegetables.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: despite what has been pounded into your head for pretty much your entire life, vegetables are not actually required in the human diet. They’re just not. I’m sure that is quite shocking to some of you. (What about fiber?! What about feeding your gut bacteria? What about the phytochemicals?! Don’t we need quercetin, resveratrol, curcumin, sulphorophane, and other goodies we get from plants? Well, sure, they might be helpful in certain circumstances, but required? Nope.) There are no essential nutrients—none—that you get from plant foods that you can’t get from animal products. You can, indeed, live on a “zero carb” or animal-only diet. (Kind of like the opposite of veganism.) You don't even need the fiber. In fact, lots of people with IBS and other issues related to impaired digestion of plant material seem to do better on diets low in indigestible fiber. I’m not saying I recommend a zero-carb diet; only that it is, technically, possible. (And not only is it possible, but many people are absolutely thriving on this way of eating, when just about everything else—including regular ol’ low carb and ketogenic diets—did not give them the results they were looking for.) According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, “The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.” And since fiber is a carbohydrate, zero dietary carbohydrate means zero dietary fiber. But again, I’m not saying a zero carb diet is recommended or optimal; I’m simply noting that you don’t need to force down copious amounts of indigestible plant material if you really, really don't like it.

But for those of you out there who do want to include vegetables in your diet, but maybe aren’t the biggest fan of them, why is this? My guess would be that you grew up in a home where your only exposure to vegetables was via frozen or canned vegetables heated up in a microwave, or fresh vegetables boiled beyond all recognition, with flavor and texture both rendered completely unappetizing. If you don’t like vegetables because you’re accustomed to being served veg that are mushy, soggy, bland, and just plain lifeless, that ends now!

January 24, 2017

Low Carb Cooking Class! -- Roasted Chicken & Veg





Just when you thought my blog was becoming nothing but rants about ketogenic diets…

It’s time for another installment of Low Carb Cooking Class!

We’ve covered lots of ground so far in this series on very simple and easy cooking for low carbers like myself, who want to eat delicious, homemade low carb foods, but who are not about to spend a fortune on almond or coconut flour, erythritol, coconut aminos, and all sorts of other esoteric ingredients that are absolutely not required in order to put a nutritious and yummy low carb meal together. Here’s the territory we’ve visited so far




To be honest, I feel kind of silly writing blog posts that boil down to, “brown ground meat in a skillet with some onions and zucchini, and add some salt.” I mean, really? There are people who don’t know how to cook low carb like this? But maybe there are. And that’s what this series is all about—low carb cooking that is simple, easy, and above all, practical—the kind of cooking you’ll do all throughout the week, on busy nights when your kids have six different activities going on, or you get home from work and you’re ravenous, and you “don’t know what to make for dinner.

I have a nice collection of low carb, ketogenic, and Paleo cookbooks, and I love flipping through them for the food porn (and for ideas…food ideas, not porn ideas, haha), but to be honest, I rarely make any of the dishes in them. I have no kids and no boyfriend, so in preparing food for myself, sometimes dinner is as boring simple as a can of salmon and a raw green pepper. I think we somehow got this idea that every meal has to be the stuff of legends and worthy of being posted on Instagram. (I do not post pictures to Instagram, mostly because I’m a terrible photographer, but also because no one wants to see pictures of a can of salmon and a green pepper.)

So, in the interest of keeping things simple yet delicious, today we’re going to cover something that should be a staple of basic cooking for just about everybody, whether they eat low carb or not. It’s time for roasted chicken!

January 11, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Posts





I missed my four year blogversary!

My blog has existed since August 2012. I would have celebrated sooner, but August 2016 blew right past me. (Probably because I was mired in a deep and longstanding depression, which I thought I was starting to come out of, but which is actually back in full force and only lifted temporarily.)  As of this writing, there are 242 posts. I don’t think I hit my stride until sometime mid-2013, but there are a couple of gems going back as far as September 2012.

For those of you who found me a few years into my blathering blogging, and since new people stumble upon my blog every week, I thought it would be nice to start the new year by sharing a selection of my personal favorite posts for those of you who have only recently tuned in, as well as for any of you who are wondering what the “must read” posts are. (In my opinion, anyway.) I tried to purge all my low carb and keto-related anger in a few posts prior to the close of 2016 so that I could start 2017 on a more positive note. I can’t promise I won’t post any more rants in the future (I think we can all agree I’m not physically capable of holding it in), but I am going to try to stick to things that are a little more scientific, as well as posting tips and insights that are helpful for following these types of diets in the real world.

With no further ado, here are my top ten favorites, in no particular order, except that the first one is probably nearest and dearest to my heart and resonates with me, personally, the most deeply: