The Bone Broth Diet and the Benefits of Fasting

I am on my fourth day of Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet. The Bone Broth Diet is a low carb diet that involves sipping on two cups of broth every day. I her book, Dr. Kellyann talks about the benefits of drinking bone broth:

1- It fills you up without adding pounds.

2- It’s packed with collagen (keeps you looking young).

3- It heals your gut.

4- It heals your joints.

5- It’s anti-inflammatory.

In the context of the diet, one is supposed to fast on bone broth two days a week. I decided to skip this aspect of the diet partly because I am nursing and fasting is always discouraged for nursing mothers, but also, I wanted to adopt a strategy that is sustainable in the long term. And seriously, I don’t to be fasting two days a week for the rest of my life! However, I know that minifasts are very beneficial for healing and detoxifying and so, I would like to find a fasting option that I could maintain for the long term. One way is making sure not to eat 2-3 hours before bed. This means about 14 hours without food each day, which gives the body a chance to put all its energy on rejuvenation as opposed to digestion at night. For more profound healing benefits though, a longer fast is necessary. I remember hearing a health expert talking about the fact that the fast needs to be at least 48 hours for the body to start doing some real rebuilding. This particular article talks about a 5 day fast every few months. It’s based on the work of Dr. Valter Longo. According to his studies, eating 750 to 1000 calories for a 5 day period protects against inflammation, cancer and cardiac diseases as well as a water fast would. The foods consumed during these days should be mostly vegetable soups and nuts. That makes so much sense to me! I think I will start fasting this way every change of season. By the way, his work also promotes a mostly plant based diet with less animal protein, which conflicts with the Bone Broth Diet. As a sugar addict struggling to keep from endless cycles of over eating, I find meat protein very satiating, but in the long run, I am aiming at a more plant based diet.

Now, let’s talk about my experience with the Bone Broth Diet. The first day, was good. The first day is always good for me because of the excitement of trying something new. The second day was awful! I was always looking for food! I didn’t know why I felt the urge to eat constantly, but I was worried about my lack of self control. Things stabilized on the third day, but I really wanted something sweet and I almost caved in (already!) by making some form of a paleo treat. I didn’t have time, so I ended up eating coconut manna with almond butter instead. That is my favorite easiest snack when cravings strike. Today, I barely have any cravings at all! I feel satiated and healthy, and I don’t feel like food has power over me anymore. This afternoon, I made a delicious low carb chocolate treat that I am planning to have after dinner. I sampled it and it is truly amazing!

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Here is the recipe I followed. The only thing I did differently was to add about 2 tablespoons of a mixture made with erythriol and stevia that I grounded in the blended to the chocolate layer. Yum! (UPDATE: oops! I discovered that even stevia is a no no on this diet. I thought it was ok because most low carb diets include it. Starting on day 5, no more stevia for me!)

The Bone Broth Diet Cookbook is also pretty amazing! My favorite this week was the grilled salad with the ranch dressing and the grilled salmon with a blueberry sauce.

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That’s all for now, stay tuned for an other update next week.


Next experiment: Ketogenic or Bone Broth Diet ?

It’s been almost a week since I finished the Autoimmune Protocol and I have been wondering about what my next experiment should be. I have been eating following mostly Dr. Fuhrman Lose 10 in 20 plan. I like his Nutritarian approach, nutrient dense and plant rich, small amounts of animal products and no processed foods, flour and sugars. Here is the source for Dr. Fuhrman’s great food pyramid:

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The problem is, although I like that each meal contains lots of veggies, I tend to get bored with the recipes, as most of them seem to revolve around black beans and tomatoes or mushrooms and kale. It seems to me that they also use a lot of corn. Besides that, I need to get my blood sugar under control and this plan doesn’t keep me satisfied for long periods. I crave sweets all the time and I frequently feel hungry. I want to loose weight (between 5 and 10 lbs would be great), but not by starving myself. I want to find the right diet that will help me reach my ideal weight and maintain it effortlessly (or almost) by conquering my cravings. For this reason, I feel that plans with a reduced sugar load might be the answer for me. I have recently been learning about the Ketogenic diet and I am intrigued. A ketogenic diet is high fat, moderate protein and low carbs. My Keto Kitchen presents a clear food pyramid for the keto diet:

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Studies are being done to demonstrate its effectiveness as an anti cancer diet, since cancer cells need sugar to survive. However, I would try to keep meat protein consumption at 20% because of the possible link between meat protein and some forms of cancer. Also, I have seen meal plans that involve dairy and processed foods like low carb tortillas. I think a dairy free whole food plan would be preferable. I found the plan in the Keto Beginning particularly appetizing. After about a week of low carb intake, the body will be in ketosis and start using fat and ketones for energy instead of glucose. After about a month, the body will reliably use fat/ketones as a source of energy, this state is called keto adapted. The benefits of using fat and ketones rather than glucose for energy are, for example, stabilized insulin levels and reduced inflammation in the body. It reduces hunger and contributes to overall wellbeing. Once one has reached this state, carb consumption can be increased while maintaining ketosis. Also, one will usually go back to eating more carbs at some point following a certain pattern (like carb cycling).

The third option I was considering was Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet. It is similar to the Ketogenic diet, in that it works mainly by stabilizing blood sugar and reducing inflammation, but it includes more carbs and does not aim at maintaining a ketogenic state. Basically, all grains and legumes are eliminated as well as all forms of sugar. Bone broth is consumed daily for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. An other cornerstone of the Diet are its fast days. Have you heard of fasting mimicking? It offers all the benefits of fasting, but still allows for some food intake (this post is particularly informative). Fast days offer tremendous healing and detoxing benefits on top of aiding weight loss by reducing caloric intake. During these days, one should consume 5 cups of bone broth and a light meal or 6 cups of bone broth. I am leaning towards trying this one, as it seems more attainable and sustainable. Plus, I have read that ketosis might not be appropriate for nursing mothers. My plan would be to keep it safe by following the Bone Broth Diet without fasting days. Nursing mothers are always advised to steer clear of helpful supplements, herbs and diets. I know this is to ensure they produce enough milk and that their milk is safe for the baby (as free of toxins as possible), but I suspect part of it might be a liability issue. I might decide to try fasting, I will simply listen to my body. Also, my baby is approaching one year of age, so maintaining milk supply is not as much of a concern. I am giving myself another week to decide what the next step is, since I have to wait till next Friday to go grocery shopping. More on that next week.

 


Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution Results and Review

It has finally been a month! And it wasn’t an easy month! I really enjoy having nuts and seeds as well as gluten free grains and legumes. I missed them and felt deprived many times. I also cheated a few times, but I really tried hard to be as strict as possible. The main problem was that I didn’t see results. In fact, after over a week of really sticking to the program, I felt awful, I think my body may have been fighting a virus that was going around. My health problems are not extremely serious (fatigue, brain fog, sinus congestion) and they usually don’t interfere too much with my life, but there has been many times when I have seen drastic improvements over a few days just by cleaning up my diet. In this case, there was no improvement at all (coming from a gluten free dairy free lifestyle). I have been trying to loose an extra 5 pounds that I gained during my last pregnancy and that my body has been hanging on to. In the past, going grain free has been the most reliable way to loose weight. For some reason, this time, I didn’t loose any weight.

As far as Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution program goes, it’s a good program with lots of information and interesting resources. It is divided into six lessons: Understanding Autoimmunity, Heal your Gut, Get Rid if Gluten, Grains and Legumes, Tame the Toxins, Heal your Infections and Relieve your Stress, the Myers Way for Life. The videos included in the lessons are interesting and the symptom tracker could be helpful if, unlike me, one was going to use it. The program doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen and allows for using leftovers as a mean to cut down on cooking time. I think it would provide just enough diversity for a lot of people (I recently read that most of us use a repertoire of 12 recipes that we cook over and over again), but as someone who rarely cooks the same thing more than once, I got incredibly bored with the options offered. I had to look at three other autoimmune cookbooks (He Won’t Know it’s Paleo, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and the Paleo Approach Cookbook to find more inspiration.

In conclusion, I know the autoimmune protocol has been helping a lot of people. I also know that no matter what your health problem is, eliminating trigger foods is the most important step. Grains and legumes are said to be inflammatory to the body, because they contain phytic acid, phytates, lectins and prolamins. They also contribute to an omega 3/omega 6 imbalance (The Paleo Approach is my source on that statement) they rob the body from important minerals (since phytates bind to calcium, iron and other minerals) and they are not very nutrient dense (calories to calories compared to meat and veggies). I don’t find that eliminating grains makes me better, and the claim that meat is harder for the body to digest than plant foods makes more sense to me. Those who are in favor of eating more meat rather than plant foods argue that the human body is not designed to break down cellulose. I argue back that the cellulose (fiber) is the ultimate anti-cancer food (colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancers) and even phytic acid seems to have some anti-cancer properties! In the end, it looks like I haven’t found the Ultimate diet yet.


No Poo Experiment, Part 3

So, after two weeks of not washing my hair at all, I broke down and decided to clean it with Borax. My hair turned out soft and manageable,  but not as shiny as if I had used shampoo.

Also, the next day and all the days following my hair felt rough and didn’t look nice, I had to keep it tied up because it was too fuzzy.

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A week later, I cleaned my hair with Aloe Vera gel. I was not very happy with the results. My hair didn’t look nice and felt rough and not clean.

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I tried again and it still didn’t look nice, so I ended up using shampoo.

 

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So far, I would say that Borax yields decent results, but I will keep experimenting. My hair is always a bit fuzzy, but it has more shine with shampoo (I used a less toxic organic brand). I think I might try going at least a week without cleaning my hair and then doing Borax followed by an apple cider rinse and blow drying. More on that in an upcoming post.

 


Cost of Groceries on the Autoimmune Protocol, Part 2

 

The first week and a half cost about $400 (to feed a family of 9). You can check part 1 for more details. At the week and a half mark, I stocked up on meat that was on sale. Now, I buy grass fed beef from a local farmer, but I had decided I could not afford to afford to buy my meat organic (we do grow our chickens in the Summer, but we ran out).

Here is my receipt:

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It comes out to about $10 in produce and $80 in meat. Now, I was operating under the premise that factory farming in Canada is not as bad as in the States (I don’t know why I was under this impression). I did some research on the Internet (I should have done that beforehand) and discovered that it is in fact pretty horrible. I decided I would no longer purchase meat unless it is certified organic. Now, I realize that organic does guarantee perfect conditions for the animals, but it is a huge improvement and what else can I do if  I want to go on with this experiment? So, I will have meatless breakfast and lunches and meat for dinner from now on. The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott offers a menu plan with meatless lunches and I will have a green smoothie for breakfast.

At the 2 week mark, I did the last half of my shopping:

I spent about $1000 dollars, some of it not specifically for the protocol. I spent about $160 in produce at Costco (includes lots of frozen fruits and veggies), about $60 at Walmart and $100 at Freshco. Meat cost me about $250 at all three stores and condiments cost about $100 (all the oils and coconut milk for instance). On top of all this, I bought coconut flour, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos among other things and that cost about $100. Add another $60 for palm shortening and coconut butter.

Now, before I add up the totals for the month, keep in mind that I live in Ontario. Here food costs more than in the States (that is why I posted the receipts, people can compare for themselves to what they are used to paying). Also, right now, the exchange rate is very bad for us in Canada, that also makes our situation worst.

Here we go, to eat on the autoimmune protocol this month, and feed a family of 9, I spent $430 in produce and $400 in meat (not including beef). Oils, flours, coconut milk and all the condiments cost another $300 or so. The total for the bare essentials then would then be a little less than $1100. But I spent about $300 more in things that are not included in the protocol, like sourdough bread, peanut butter, cheese, etc.

This amount seems to be not any more than I am used to spending. I will keep writing these overviews on my spending each month and we will see what the next few months cost, but so far, I feel that this amount is not any more than usual.

 

 

 


Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution Progress

I was planning to write a seven day update about he Autoimmune Solution for the sake of comparing the results with Superwoman Slimdown (I did the cleanse for only 7 days). However, I decided it would not be a fair comparison for two reasons: 1- I started the program after having a cheat meal on the weekend and I think I might have suffered more from the gluten exposure than expected. 2- I didn’t realize that although baked goods are ok on the protocol, they should be consumed only once a month or so. Consequently, I really overindulged my sugar cravings. I these two causes might be at the root of the stalled progress or even the regression I experienced since the Superwoman Slimdown. I felt mediocre most days. I had low energy and I had various intestinal issues. That lasted of 8 days. On the 6, 7 and 8 days, I felt pretty discouraged and deprived. I cheated with nut butters and pop corn and felt ready to give up. I also felt uninspired by the AIP recipes. All these meals revolving around meat! I felt worried that I was eating too much meat. By the way, why do paleo people think of meat and veggies are the most nutrient dense, less gut irritant foods, while vegetarians promote veggies, grains and legumes as easier to digest than meat? I think I might have to look into this at some point…

But let’s get back to my progress on the protocol. On day 9, I started feeling much better, both physically and emotionally. I started appreciating the foods available to me again and I didn’t feel so deprived any longer. I felt like I could finish the month. However, I made some adjustments as the protocol seemed too meat heavy for me. And we are not talking only about pastured chicken, grass fed beef, fish and such, but a lot of cured meats that have been shown to cause cancer. I decided I would finish the protocol by having a green smoothie for breakfast, a meatless lunch and meat for dinner.

With only 1 week left to go, I thought the time had come to give a progress report. I have a bit of a foggy brain today, which I also had during the Superwoman Slimdown, but had blamed on the grains, legumes and nuts. I guess not. I will have to keep experimenting and I will make a final judgment on the protocol next weekend.


US News & World Report Best Diets Rankings 2017

Looking for the Ultimate diet? Look no further, the US News & World Report has done all the leg work and came up with its 2017 rankings. This is now its seventh such list, asserting to cut through the clutter of claims. Coming from such a trustworthy source of information and a panel of nationally recognized health experts, we can assume the rankings give a realistic overview of the best types of foods that can foster human health. But is it really the case?

Before we evaluate these findings, we need to ask: Who are the dietitians who created the rankings? What was their methodology? According to the US News & Report Website, there are twenty of them, all with very impressive credentials. They represent a sampling of nationally recognized experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease. They rated each diet in seven categories: how easy it is to follow, its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its nutritional completeness, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease. The Website does not say much else about their methodology and somehow, looking at the diets they ranked among the best, allow me to be skeptical. Hey, I don’t pretend to know it all and I am certainly not always objective, but when I see names like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig come up on a list of best diets, I get suspicious! Classically trained dietitians tend to operate on the calories in calories out dogma. A dogma dating back to the 1950s, time when the sugar industry, having to protect its profitability, released an add campaign claiming that all foods supply calories and there is no difference between the calories that come from sugar or steak or grapefruit or ice cream. That was only the beginning of a campaign to exonerate sugar of any ill effects. Today, the average dietitian will advise people to follow the food pyramid:

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It might not look so bad at first glance, but this low fat high starch diet has not been serving us well. One just has to look at the increase in rates of obesity, cancer and chronic diseases to figure this out. This is also the same paradigm that allows sugar laden foods to be promoted by some national organizations (look for the check marks from the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation or at the sugary dairy products served in schools because, you know, dairy is essential to good health and granola bars are healthy since they contain whole grains). Looking at the information available out there, one has to wonder how much of it is ultimately propaganda from the food industry and how much is sincere lack of understanding of the human body by well meaning professionals.

I may not have found the Ultimate diet, but I know enough to surmise that a more effective food pyramid should include veggies as the basis and healthy fats as a second element in importance. Here is a summary of what most health experts would agree on. The number of medical practitioners rejecting the old model is increasing constantly and for good reasons. Time has come to stop promoting unhealthy foods and eating patterns. Instead, let’s embrace what research and clinical evidence have been teaching us, even if it means abandoning some long held belief systems!

 

 

 

 

 

 


No Poo Experiment, Part 2

It’s been over a week without washing my hair (I used to shampoo twice a week or so) and I really want to wash my hair right now! It looks very oily and unattractive, but I will just have to keep wearing buns for the experiment’s sake. Apparently, this should last for 2 to 6 weeks at the very most.

I had heard of No Pooing before, like I mentioned in the introduction to this experiment, but I really didn’t know much about it. One thing that I discovered is that most people, although they do not use shampoo, do wash their hair; usually using baking soda in place of shampoo and apple cider vinegar in place of conditioner. My experiment here is different, I am going a whole month without any kind of washing at all. Then, I will test one of the many no poo washing options. In the list I read, women would use Borax or egg yolks. One very informative blog I was reading strongly recommended to not skip the rinse (using a conditioning agent). Or, apparently some options are 2 in 1, like eggs, aloe vera juice or gel.

There are a fair amount of complaints about using baking soda as a shampoo on the Internet and I don’t think I will be trying it. I found an herbal recipe which involves mixing equal parts of yucca root powder and water for the cleanser. You apply it in the shower and let it sit for 5 minutes, then you rinse and apply an mixture of Amla Berry powder (gooseberry) and fenugreek seed powder. Sounds promising, I think I might try that.

As far as Borax goes, it sounded pretty scary to me at first until I learned it is perfectly safe and people mix 1Tbs of it in 1 cup of water. The reason this option seems harsh at first is that we think Borax, we think boric acid. However, Borax needs to react to an acid like sulfuric or hydrochloric acid to become boric acid. I think I might give Borax a try, as I found only positive comments about it.


Cost of Groceries on the Autoimmune Protocol, Part 1

I have to feed a family of 9, so groceries are a huge part of our budget. For that reason, I had often felt that any type of paleo approach would be too expensive for us. Now, since I have committed to eat on the autoimmune protocol for one month, I thought keeping track of the cost of food would be a helpful exercise.

This week, the total cost of my groceries was $300. Now, keep in mind I didn’t have to buy beef, since I purchased a quarter of grass fed beef in the Fall. I also had a good supply of frozen organic berries, broccoli and cauliflower.

If you look at my receipt, you will notice that some items are not allowed on the autoimmune protocol. It’s simply because, although my children eat the same meals that I do, I let them eat snacks comprising other whole foods that I can’t have.

Here is a general breakdown of the cost: about $95 on produce, $70 on meat, $18 on olive oil and $15 on coconut milk. I have only $200 to spend next week, so it looks like my children won’t be getting as many treats 🙂


Superwoman Slimdown Results

Here, we are it’s the end of this light cleanse. It was very different from everything I have tried so far because it was heavily based on legumes and grains. My energy level was high and my mental clarity as well. My bloating did not improve and my nose was still a little stuffy at night.

My measurements and my weight didn’t change, but I didn’t adhere to the recommended portions since I am nursing. Still, most nights, I went to bed feeling a bit “hungry ” because I am used to snacking in the evening and I wanted to follow the rule to not eat 2-3 hours before bed. Having jumped right into phase 2, I did this cleanse for only 7 days. Phase 1 was about eliminating gradually unwanted foods and most of them were already not part of my diet. I did not go through a proper phase 3, I decided to continue on with an autoimmune protocol as I suspect nuts, grains and legumes might be an issue for me. For this reason, I had a cheat day before jumping into my new plan. I had sourdough bread, wine, and gluten free homemade sweets. I woke up the next morning feeling sluggish. This demonstrates how well this plan had worked. Except for the one morning when I had a bit of a brain fog (which made me suspect other foods as the culprits). I felt so good! My only complaint is that I feel the recipes are too heavily based on grains and legumes. The meal plan allows for plenty of veggies (2 salads a day most days, plus the veggies hidden in the recipes), but I would have enjoyed more recipes without grains or legumes.

Although The Superwoman Slimdown is an accessible cleanse, helpful for those who would like to improve their eating habits, I don’t think I have found the Ultimate yet.