A time for feasting, a time for fasting

Fasting

In ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’, the authors talk about the importance of feasting and fasting. In most traditional cultures there are both feasts and fasts. They balance each other out. But in our culture the fasting side is ignored and we feast, feast, feast. And then we get Type 2 diabetes and die. Or, if we are lucky, we learn about ketogenic diets and Intermittent Fasting and live.

The authors of ‘The  Complete Guide to Fasting’ recommend a ketogenic diet for your eating periods. A ketogenic diet has been scientifically proven to have a number of health benefits— unlike the low-calorie/low-fat fad diet which has been shown in scientific studies to slow your metabolism and raise your blood sugar.

One thing you need for your ketogenic diet is some good recipes so you can make some food that is permitted on your diet and tasty. The hardest part of ketogenic is that most of us have to start cooking our own meals. Dr. Atkins in his diet books claimed that you could order what you want at restaurants. We don’t have that kind of restaurant where I live. The restaurants I used to go to had amazing levels of trouble just remembering not to bring me toast or muffins when I asked them not to.

What I most need is recipes I can make again and again. I used to always make up a batch of devilled eggs for ketogenic meals. I made some with cheese and bacon bits added to the yolk mixture.

Then I used to make a recipe with tuna adapted from a recipe in one of Dr. Atkins’ recipe books, for ‘fish loaf’. I’ve adapted a lot over the years and now add in a bit of mushrooms and a small amount of peas. That makes the ‘tuna loaf’ taste a bit like my mom’s tuna casserole.

I have a few other recipes that are my staples. But it is hard to make my own keto meals nearly every day when I’m not fasting. I’ve always been planning to try freezing portions of some recipes to reheat on days when I can’t stand cooking but I haven’t gotten to doing that yet. I’m not one of those super-organized kitchen women.

Lately what I have been making often is crustless quiche. I’ve made several variations— one with bacon bits, one with mushrooms, and one with some shredded Gouda cheese for the cheese portion and some tuna.

Intermittent Fasting really helps because it cuts down on the number of meals I have to cook. Frankly, I’d rather make some hot tea in the morning than cook something and have to clean up after myself.

Intermittent Fasting: You are already doing it…..

Podcaster Jimmy Moore sometimes says that talking about fasting is like using another f-word in church. Not very popular. But the fact is that Intermittent Fasting— fasting for less than a day— shouldn’t be so scary. We all do it.

Let’s think of someone with the worst eating habits ever. This person snacks during most of their waking hours. But this person takes a break from eating every night during sleep. So– let’s say this person snacks from dinner until midnight and goes to bed. Wakes up just before 6, and by the stroke of 6 has breakfast-food in the mouth. Bad, huh? But that person has just done intermittent fasting from midnight to 6. A six-hour fast!

Yesterday on Jimmy Moore’s Fasting podcast he had a guest, Aarn Farmer,  who does intermittent fasting daily for a few more hours than six a day. And he has gone from over 400 lbs to about half that. (Jimmy Moore also used to weigh over 400.)

In my own practice I am going back on to an intermittent fasting routine. My problem is that when I do eat, I eat high-carb foods too often. Jimmy Moore recommends going on a good ketogenic, low-carb diet before adding fasting to your routine. A ketogenic diet makes you less hungry and many people find themselves skipping meals when they have been on lowcarb/ketogenic diets for a while. (Unfamiliar with Low-Carb/Ketogenic diets? Read the book Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore and  Eric Westman, MD.)

Intermittent fasting is about increasing your non-eating hours. Many people on an Intermittent Fasting plan skip breakfast. Biologically, breakfast-time is our least-hungry time of day.

You can also increase your non-eating hours by stopping eating after supper— cutting out those post-supper snacks. By stopping eating at 6pm after dinner, and not starting eating again until the next day’s lunch, you cut a number of eating hours out of the day.

There are a lot of health benefits from fasting, including intermittent fasting. The details of some of these benefits can be found in the book The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung. You will learn, for example, that you can have cups of unsweetened coffee or tea while fasting, or even cups of bone broth.

Aarn Farmer, Jimmy Moore’s podcast guest, recommends listening to a lot of podcasts about intermittent fasting or about the ketogenic diet to keep you inspired. I’ve been doing that myself. I listen to Jimmy Moore’s Fasting podcast— new episodes come out on Fridays— on days when I’m doing intermittent fasting and his other health and diet podcasts on other days.  Jimmy Moore’s podcasts are great because he often has medical doctors as guests or co-podcasters, and he frequently talks about medical research of interest to those who fast or follow ketogenic diets.

I must admit I am not that good at fasting yet. I often don’t fast for as many hours in a day as I had planned— I usually eat lunch around 11 or 12, and I have a hard time with not snacking after supper. I also haven’t finished any longer fasts yet. But I am hopeful I will improve. The amount of intermittent fasting I’m doing at the moment is helping to bring my blood sugar down. Not into the normal range yet, but it’s better than it was.

 

 

Intermittent #Fasting, Day Two

Last night I finally bought book The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore. I’ve been listening to Jimmy Moore’s health podcasts for some time now and he has a new podcast about fasting with his co-author, Dr. Fung.

What most people don’t know about fasting is that fasting isn’t some odd or scary thing. We do it every day when we stop eating in the evening, go to bed, and don’t eat again until morning. One form of fasting recommended in the book is the 16 hour fast, when you stop eating at dinner and don’t eat again until the next day at noon. Since human beings feel the least amount of hunger during the morning, the 16 hour fast is something many of us have done without knowing we are fasting!

I’ve actually been doing 16 hour fasts for years without thinking of it as fasting, ever since I read a health-related book which recommended skipping breakfast. In our snack-happy culture, we all need to start putting some limits on how many hours a day we are eating. (In 1970 the average person ate— meals and snacks— three times a day. Now we eat 6-7 times a day— and the diabetes and obesity rates are sky high.)

One thing that interests me about the book is that one author, Dr. Jason Fung, is a nephrologist (kidney doctor) who works with many diabetic patients. I have diabetes and kidney disease myself, and have endured a series of second-rate nephrologists who seem oriented to watching my kidneys deteriorate until I’m condemned to their dialysis clinic.

Dr. Fung seems to be giving his patients hope that their diabetes and kidney disease will get better when they follow his treatment which includes ketogenic diet and fasting. One of my nephrologists, by contrast, told me kidney disease never improves (even though mine had) and is never affected by diet changes.

Dr. Fung recommend his patients go on 3 fasts of 36 hours per week. How that works is:

Day one: stop eating after dinner

Day two: eat nothing all day, water and plain coffee and tea are allowed.

Day three: don’t eat until noon/lunch, stop eating after dinner

Day four: eat nothing all day

Day five: Don’t eat until noon/lunch, stop eating after dinner

Day six: eat nothing all day

Day seven: Don’t eat until noon/lunch.

You will notice that since day seven is followed by the next week’s day one, and so there are two eating days in a row.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this blog is to be construed as medical advise, and you should READ THE BOOK and pay attention to its restrictions and advice— including the advice to NOT FAST if you have certain medical conditions and CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR about your fasting.

I’m currently on Day Two of the plan about and have not eaten since 6 pm last night. It is currently nearly 1 pm and so I’ve gone 17 hours— which I’m fairly used to. Things will get tougher in a few hours, and so I have to keep drinking my water/tea regularly to prevent excessive hunger.

My writing has been adversely affected by my health problems in part because I do keep going off my ketogenic diet, and find it hard to get back on because going OFF saps my energy. Fasting, like going keto, tends to increase your energy.

I’m also hoping that the alternate-day fasting will give me extra time both for writing and for getting things done around the house, because I won’t have to be spending as much time cooking and washing dishes. I will post updates on this blog to let you know how it’s working out.

 

Getting fat people to plead guilty

It’s funny how easy it is to make a fat person plead guilty to a dietary crime. I sometimes watch this program where a weight-loss surgeon berates morbidly obese people. Somehow all his patients end up accusing themselves of ’emotional eating.’ Now, unless you count hunger as a emotion, or insist that no normal weight people take pleasure in tasty food, or that normal people don’t eat when they have reason to be down or depressed, this doesn’t make all that much sense.  But this particular doc seems to encourage a belief in ’emotional eating.’ But he’s willing to perform the surgeries anyway.

In older weight loss books the theory was that a fat person was the guy who reached for a extra slice of bread at the dinner table. To understand that, you must know that years ago, people placed a basket of bread at the table for each meal. If you ate your share of the prepared foods and were still hungry, you took a slice of bread. If you were still hungry, you took more bread. I am sure there were plenty of fat people back in that day who WEREN’T filling up on bread at every meal. But it seemed that everyone who bought a weight loss book back then was willing to plead guilty to taking that extra slice of bread. After all, most of them had taken bread at the dinner table at least once.

Fat people tend to have low self-esteem because they are told that their extra weight is caused by their own bad behavior. So they admit guilt to  whatever it is thin people or doctors accuse them of doing. But the science is not behind all these little pet theories. There is research that would indicate that the real problem that causes weight gain has to do with how an individual person metabolizes carbohydrates. If you have metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance, it’s likely you are overweight or will become overweight. If you remove the root of your problem by adopting a healthy low-carb diet as a lifelong eating plan, you will likely lose weight and feel better without the need of massive doses of ‘willpower’ to help you stick to the diet in spite of hunger— because after the first couple of days on a low-carb diet, you don’t really feel hungry.

I think it’s time that we who have weight problems stop pleading guilty to ’emotional eating’ or taking ‘extra’ bread and start realizing we have a physical, biological condition that is not our fault. Read some good books on low-carb/ketogenic diets— I’d recommend the original Atkins diet book, as well as ‘Keto Clarity’ by Jimmie Moore and ‘How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds’ by Dana Carpender. Because berating ourselves doesn’t cure anything. Knowledge, however, when properly applied, does.

Bean sprouts as a low-carb noodle or substitute

1227160757My mother has a number of wonderful casserole recipes that she used to cook for the family regularly. (Now that she’s almost ninety, she only makes casseroles once in a great while.) My particular favorite was the tuna casserole. But since it calls for 1 1/2 to 2 cups of shell macaroni, it is not exactly a fit for my low-carb lifestyle.

I’ve tried some substitutes for the noodles. None were good except of Dreamfields, which is a good noodle but not really that low in carbs. So I’ve been making my tuna casserole with bean sprouts subbing for noodles.

The first thing I have to figure out is the amounts. The original recipe called for 2 cups of noodles. But noodles expand when you cook them, while bean sprouts shrink a bit. I made a batch with 2 cups of fresh bean sprouts and it looked like half a batch. So I think I need to use 3-4 cups of fresh sprouts.

My mother always put some tiny green peas in her tuna casserole. But I didn’t have any, and the way the fresh mung bean sprouts smelled when they were cooking made me think I had vegetables enough in the dish with the bean sprouts. I have purchased some peas for sprouting, and when they arrive I may put some pea sprouts into a future batch.

You can buy canned bean sprouts at some grocery stores. But I think it’s better to sprout your own at home. I use the Victorio brand sprouters for my salad sprouts (alfalfa, clover, broccoli & radish seed), and that’s how I made my first batch of mung bean sprouts. I put 1 and 1/2 T (tablespoons) of mung bean seed in a small jar to soak overnight— three jars, actually, one for each sprout tray I was going to ‘plant’ with mung beans.

Each of the sprout trays in the Victorio brand sprouter holds about 2 cups and is 6 inches in diameter. The sprout trays are sold 4 to a set, but you can stack them up to 10 high. I pour off each jar’s contents into a sprouting tray and let the water drain off. The fact that you stack the trays means that each tray stays moist during the day— even if you skip a watering. I left my sprouts for 2 days over Christmas and they all thrived.

You rinse your sprouts at least 2 times a day. The newer model Victorio has a green topper with drain holes (like the sprouting trays do) and so all you have to do is fill the green topper pretty full with water and it will drain down your full stack and water every level.

IMPORTANT: before you water your sprouts, check the bottom water-catching tray. It may still have water from the last time you watered sprouts! So dump the old water before you add new water to the topper. The used water has enzymes so you can use it in soup broth or put it in a water dish for your pets or chickens.

For the first day or two, check often to see that the newly ‘planted’ sprouts are getting fully watered. Sometimes the sprouts in the center get a little dry. A method I’ve seen recommended is to measure your water, making sure it is under 2 cups, and then give each sprout tray a little water individually, making sure each level gets a good watering.

Bean sprouts, like pea and lentil sprouts, are ready in 4-5 days. I wash the bean sprouts in a bowl of lukewarm water to get the green seed hulls off. The green hulls are edible and full of fiber, but most folks like the taste better with most of the hulls off.

TO COOK: I put a suitable-sized kettle on the burner with water and perhaps sea salt. Bring the water to a boil before adding your sprouts, and cook for 10 minutes. You can also steam them if you have the right equipment. The resulting cooked sprouts can substitute for noodles or rice in a casserole.

Nissa’s Tuna Casserole

3-4 cups fresh mung bean sprouts, cooked
1-2 cans of tuna (in olive oil if available), flaked
1/2 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
Sea salt, pepper and perhaps onion powder to taste, also 1/8 teaspoon of kelp or dulse powder/flakes if you like.
1 small can of tiny peas (optional), or one small can of mushrooms, chopped

Mix the ingredients well and place in casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered for 30 minutes, covered for 5-10 minutes.

My mother used to put crushed soda crackers, moistened with milk and dotted with butter. This adds carbs so I don’t do it. I suppose I could use chopped pecans covered in melted butter for a lower-carb topping, but I don’t like to bother. It’s good enough without.

FUTURE SPROUTING IDEAS

Because my sprouting trays are pretty full, I started the new batch of noodle sprouts in a 1 quart canning jar. I used 1/4 cup of seed. Since 1/4 cup is also 3 tablespoons, I measured out 2 T of mung beans and 1 T of lentils. Lentils are great sprouters and even the brown lentils you find in a grocery store will sprout like the dickens! Plus, I once sprouted some lentils I KNEW had been in my cupboards for 10 years and they sprouted well. So adding the lentils to the mix will save some money.

Belated Celebrate: Eyeglasses & Bette Davis Eyes

Celebrate blog hopOK, I missed Celebrate the Small Things (a blog hop) yesterday. So I’m doing it today. Because that way at least it gets done.

First thing I’m celebrating is eyeglasses. Eyeglasses that work, actually. Because my eyes recently got worse and my current eyeglasses no longer work. In fact, I have been using the lower half of my bifocals to see at a distance! And taking off my glasses for close-in work like reading or writing blog posts.

Normally to get new glasses I would have to wait to get an appointment with my Medicaid-approved eye doctor who only comes to the clinic once a week. And I’d have to get welfare glasses— I’d have to pick from a handful of cheap, crappy eyeglass frames that are so awful to wear, I didn’t wear my welfare glasses at all but my older pair which at least stayed on my face without causing pain. (The eye doctor said they couldn’t put new lenses in my old frames for some reason.)

But the next eye doctor visit I took my prescription to Walmart and found that THEY could put new lenses in my old frames so long as I paid for it. This time out, since it’s kind of an emergency and I don’t have money saved for new glasses, my mom offered to buy me glasses. So I will be able to SEE properly without holding my glasses up with my hand so I can see through the lower bifocal lens.

Another thing I’m celebrating is seeing an old movie on the TCM channel, ‘All This and Heaven, Too,’ starring Bette Davis as a governess who is arrested for complicity when her employer kills his crazy wife. It was a great story based on a novel by Rachel Field, who based her story on real life events that happened to her great-aunt.

I’m reading the novel right now. I bought it because the movie inspired a writing idea, something which is a bit of a change of direction for me. I’m not saying more about the idea right now lest I jinx it, but if all goes well, I will share more later.


Keto Diet

Last night I was making Keto Bread from the recipe book ‘The Ketogenic Cookbook’ by Jimmy Moore & Maria Emmerich. It’s really just a revision of the Diet Revolution Bread recipe from the original Atkins Diet Revolution book, with unflavored protein powder replacing the small amount of (unhealthy) soy flour in the original.

The recipes involve separating eggs and whipping up the whites. Well, in my case it also involved waiting for the hens to lay a couple more eggs so I’d have the six eggs required.

When I whipped up the eggs it did not work like it was supposed to. It didn’t get high enough and I fear a speck of egg yolk may have gotten in the whites.

What I should have done at that point was to whip out my three muffin-top pans and turned the batter into flatbread ‘slices’. They wouldn’t have been perfect but the size would have been OK. Instead, I baked in the bread pan, and the bread ‘fell’ and the middle was soggy and the bread slices I salvaged were very short.

Since the recipe calls for possibly frying the slices in butter to increase the lipid profile, the slices will be edible. I will probably eat them with cream cheese and bacon bits on them. (Yes, that’s a diet meal.) But I’m going to make another batch of bread sometime soon, God and hens willing, and then perhaps I can make some better bread— and take pictures of it for my blog readers.

Blood sugar: Last night my blood sugar was at 124. Before I went on strict keto, my blood sugars were always over 300 for about a month. (Probably why I have my current eye problem.)


0510161425This is a picture of my kitten Simon when he was younger. He’s almost as big as a full grown cat now, but he’s still nursing from his mother, Consubstantial 2, and his aunt, Consubstantial 1. He has a brother named Theodore, and a possible half-brother named Alvin. Lately, what Simon and Theodore love to do every day is run out the door and play outdoors with the big kitties.

Give me this day my daily Jimmy Moore podcast

JimmyMoore

Jimmy Moore, ketogenic diet podcaster

Right now my number one priority in my writing life is getting back on a strict ketogenic (low-carb) diet. Because I just am not able to write when my health is very bad.

My ketogenic diet changes me from a person with chronic fatigue— to the point I have to sit down and rest after the exertion of getting dressed in the morning— to a person with energy. It controls my blood sugar without drugs. It makes me less depressed and more optimistic. And it helps me with some of the issues from my autism spectrum disorder.

But when I’m off the diet, I’m hungry and also have cravings for carb foods. And I don’t have any energy for making healthy meals, so the bad diet and low energy, high blood sugar and depression goes on and on and on….

I need to get back my enthusiasm for eating healthy in order to do ANYTHING. And so I’ve resolved to begin my day by listening to a ketogenic diet podcast. And luckily there are some very good ones available from Jimmy Moore, a well-known ketogenic diet advocate who used to weigh 410 pounds.

Listening to the podcasts gives me enthusiasm for sticking to my diet. This morning after listening to one of Jimmy Moore’s podcasts, I got out my ketogenic diet recipe book and made some low-carb/ketogenic bread. It’s about .4 gram of carb per slice. I used it to make a sloppy joe sandwich for lunch just now. It was very good!

There’s another good effect to listening to a podcast. Jimmy Moore’s podcasts run about an hour. I listen using an mp3 player and so I can do household chores during that time. I got a whole batch of clothes folded and put away, and started a load of laundry, while listening to Jimmy Moore.

I feel that I have no choice but to establish better dietary habits as my #1 priority right now. Listening to the podcast first thing in the morning means I can’t do my writing first thing in the morning, or my blogging. But I’m keeping the podcast as first priority. Because it’s much harder to write when you are dead, or deathly ill, from illnesses which can be helped by ketogenic diets.

Jimmy Moore’s podcasts can be found at his blog, here: http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/
He has fresh podcasts Monday-Friday with many interesting guests, many of them doctors, nutritionists or researchers.


What is a podcast?

A podcast is like a radio show, only it’s on the internet.

How do you listen to a podcast?

You go to the website that hosts or links to the podcast— like the Jimmy Moore blog listed above. On Jimmy’s blog, each post that is about a podcast gives you several options for listening. Click on the one marked ‘download.’ It will take you to another page where the podcast is playing. You can listen to the podcast on your computer.

If you have an mp3 player, you can right-click on the podcast-playing graphic and it will give you the option to ‘save audio as.’ I have a folder in my ‘music’ folder called ‘Jimmy Moore podcasts.’ That’s where I download to. From there I can put the podcast onto my mp3 player.