Exploring Lifestyle Choices That Can Truly Impact Your Health

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“Diets” worth exploring & sticking to for life.

My experience over the last 12+ years as a certified health coach has led me to learn and explore MANY, (and I mean many) different lifestyles aka “diets” out there. I have probably tried all of them! The negative effects on your body from yoyo dieting are real, and truly something you want to stay away from. They made my metabolism crash, BIG TIME!
Low”er” carb lifestyles have been something I have been studying & following the last three or so years, and have been a game-changer not only in my life but in hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of lives within the communities & tribes that I am a part of.

The three that I will write about in this article are Keto, Paleo & Diet Variation. Why? Well, because I think they are well researched and by far my favorites! Here is a quick overview of what each of them consists of, so you can choose one that you would like to explore further.

Ketogenic Diet

Our bodies can function on two different sources of energy; glucose or ketones. Most of us are what we call “sugar” burners, which means that our energy comes from glucose (aka sugar) in our bodies. When we eat carbohydrates or sugars, this turns into glucose in the system that we now use for energy. When we use this form of energy, our bodies in most cases do not use the other energy source (ketones) that come from fat. Now, if we want to burn fat we need to decrease our carbohydrate and sugar intake in order for our bodies to tap into our fat “ketone” fuel. It is that simple. Ketones are a much cleaner source of energy, and they can keep us fuller longer, create mental clarity, and not make us “hangry” (woohoo). I like ketones…but what I like best is being metabolically flexible (we learn more about this in the diet variation section).

Some of the benefits to the keto diet include weight loss (due to burning fat stores for energy), increased energy, healthy aging, increased lifespan, better brain health (neuroprotective), and a decrease in chronic inflammation (the root cause of many disease processes). {Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28877453)

Here is a basic breakdown of a Ketogenic Diet (can vary slightly)

  • High fat: 60% – 80% of total calories from good fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil, grass-fed butter, avocados, some nuts, cheese & eggs
  • Moderate protein: 15% – 35% of total calories from quality fatty protein such as salmon, chicken thighs, & red meat
  • Low carbohydrate: 5% or less of total calories from carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables and fruits.

Paleo Diet

The main goal of the Paleo diet is to “eat like a caveman”. It focuses on rich whole foods and unlike the Ketogenic Diet, does allow for a higher carbohydrate consumption (coming mainly from starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin). No dairy, grains, sugars or legumes. I love the real food component of the Paleo Diet, and it’s also a great way to “get off the sugar train:)”.

Have you ever tried getting rid of processed foods? Paying attention to packaged foods you pick up in the supermarket? Turn the food around and check out the label. You will be amazed at how many ingredients you cannot pronounce! What I love about Paleo is truly going back to the basics. There were no chemicals and fillers in our foods thousands of years ago. Eat like a caveman…look and feel like a caveman (ok, maybe minus the hair ;). Challenge yourself to eat real food for a week or two and feel the difference. Trust me, your body will love you for it!

Here is a basic breakdown of a Paleo Diet (can vary slightly)

  • Eat real, non-processed foods (no real % micronutrient breakdown) such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats, and oils. You can also have some starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
  • No dairy, grains, or legumes. Also avoid processed foods, sugar, soft drinks, grains, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, margarine, and trans fats.

Diet Variation

Diet variation is something I somewhat explored in the past, but I did not know the correct term OR the correct way of following it. I have done “carb-cycling” diets and actually did enjoy them. It is not until I met one of my mentors, Dr.Dan Pompa that I understood true Diet Variation, why I fell in love with it, & why it is my main “lifestyle” choice as of today. One of the biggest benefits of this is that you are able to vary the foods that you consume, and it gives you a little bit more freedom with fewer restrictions. However, be aware that it still takes discipline to execute! Diet variation is an adaptive technique that takes advantage of the body’s innate desire to survive. The reasoning behind this is that if you are in a low carb or ketogenic state for way too long, even though you can get great results in the beginning, eventually your body can stop burning fat because it thinks that it is starving. So it holds on to your fat, and hence why some people that are low carbin’ too long can experience weight loss resistance.

What diet variation does is two things. It adds in 1-2 days of higher carb days (you can also do higher protein or higher calorie days if you truly are someone who does not do well with carbs). This reminds your body that it is not starving & allows you to kick back into a fat-burning state. However, there is another component to diet variation. 1-2 days a week, adding in a day of “famine”, or a fasting day. This allows your body to rest. You see, when we constantly bombard our bodies with food, it is using up all of its energy to digest that food (it is a long process!) By fasting, we are allowing our digestive tract to take a break, and guess what? Use that energy to burn fat instead of breaking down food! Now that deserves a high five!

Here is a basic breakdown of Diet Variation (can vary slightly)

  • 3 Days a week eat Keto or Paleo Diet (I recommend doing more keto) & practice some intermittent fasting during these times.
  • 2 Days a week load up on carbs or protein or overall calories for the day
  • 2 Days a week, do a 24 hour fast. Do not eat dinner to dinner, or if your feeling adventurous, skip the dinner and go all out until the next morning!

Now, at first, you can start with one 24-hour fast a week and go from there. If you have never fasted, start slow. I will be posting some great fasting and intermittent fasting tips and tricks on the site soon!

Now, remember, whatever lifestyle you choose to explore, keep it clean! Do not go and try keto, and do what we call “dirty keto”. Where you eat processed salami and low-quality cheese all day. Quality takes precedence over anything else when it comes to food. In today’s world, we are bombarded with chemicals. They are in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Chemicals such as glyphosate are sprayed on most of our crops and these chemicals can cause serious health risks and are a big concern in today’s world. Keep it clean my friends, and I promise, your body will love you for it!

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live” – Jim Rohn

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