Growing older doesn’t have to be a struggle.  Whether weight gain, brain fog, belly fat, joint pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue, mood changes, hot flashes, binge-eating or some other concern, let’s take the steps you need to survive and thrive. Find the healing power of a low carbohydrate healthy fat lifestyle.

zufriedene ältere kundin in der apotheke

MENTAL CLARITY – MY JOURNEY

As I approached my 50s, I noticed increasing difficulty focusing.  I’d always been a multitasker, but this was different.  It was affecting my work.  As an Emergency Room nurse, I could not ignore this change.  I needed to keep pace and mistakes in my line of work could literally mean life or death.  

Brain Fog – So I started doing some research on “brain fog”and “anti-aging”.  My “Google Diagnosis” was ADHD.  My mom had always said I was unable to sit still after all, and ADHD was not something that was diagnosed in the 70s.  I sought out a specialist, a physician who works with adult ADHD, took some tests, and he agreed with my diagnosis.  I was started on medication that would help my ability to focus, and possibly the accompanying anxiety.  Granted, I was also going through some fairly significant life changes at the time, but still thought it must be something other than stress or aging was keeping me from my potential, so I blamed it on the ADHD.  I followed the advice, took the pills, went to therapy, and noticed some temporary improvement.

My Journey Begins – But it wasn’t enough. I still thought something didn’t feel right, plus the fact that I didn’t want to take what is essentially methamphetamine for the rest of my career.  It also wasn’t just the mental clarity that bothered me.  I started to notice some other things as well.  I felt like I was aging, at an accelerated rate.  I thought I was taking care of myself pretty well – I ate pretty good, I maintained my weight and exercised regularly. So why did my joints ache?  Why was I getting arthritis?  Why did I have cellulite and loose skin?  I researched topics like “symptoms of menopause, mental clarity, brain fog, aging and memory, anxiety, inflammation…” and realized it might actually be possible to optimize all of these aging challenges through nutrition. I had studied nutrition as a nurse and for my degree in exercise physiology, but decided to look more closely at the recent data.  Thus began my journey.

The Science – I don’t want to get too complicated and scientific here but anti-aging is about slowing down mitochondrion damage, neurodegeneration, improving metabolic flexibility, and decreasing inflammation, not just about botox, surgery and retinol creams.  For me I decided I needed to start with some small changes, paying close attention to the effects of each change.  I learned I needed to first eliminate sugar and seed oils, and only later learned why.  I stopped snacking on sugar-laden foods day and night.  I admit, I am a sugar addict and I had a bit of a red licorice bin addiction.  But I was a runner, so I thought what most of us have been taught, I was fine as long as I balanced calories in with calories out, right?  Well, not exactly. 

But What About the Calories! – It is not simply about the calories, it is about the right balance of nutrients.  The body and the brain function better when fueled with nutrient dense anti-inflammatory foods and the right fatty acid balance.  Quite simply, sugar and seed oils cause inflammation, in all of our the cells,  not only the brain but in the bone, heart, liver and connective tissues.  The cells do not function well when fueled primary with sugar, aka carbohydrates. It is why Alzheimers is now being coined Type III Diabetes, it is why insulin resistance, diabetes and chronic illnesses are becoming predominant in our society; our bodies simply don’t function optimally when 70% of our fuel comes from processed and packaged carbohydrates. So I needed to not only get rid of the sugar, seed oils and processed carbohydrates, the inflammatory toxins, I also needed to improve the quality of the foods I ate, and I needed to add fat and protein.  

Adding Fat – The first time I ate bacon was a bit scary, but I thought, what do I have to lose?  For years my mother kept fat out of not only her diet but our family’s diet as well.  She was told, as we all were, that saturated fat would not only make us fat, but it would cause us all to die of heart disease.  I learned to fear fat.  Like many women, we struggled with food addiction and weight most of our lives, following this advice.  If it was just about eliminating calories and fat, why did we struggle?  The advice given, it turns out, was not right, it was not scientifically based.  It was politically and financially driven by forces that continue to be difficult to overcome.  It is too late for my mother, and I’m not certain she would’ve listened to me anyway after years of being brainwashed, but I decided I would give it a try, an experiment of sorts.  What could I lose? So I ate bacon and eggs, gave up processed carbohydrates, replaced my favorite vanilla flavored creamer with heavy cream, added quality vegetables and protein, and stopped snacking 24/7.  I couldn’t ignore the results. 

Secondary Benefits – I first thing I noticed was that when I got out of bed in the morning, the pain in my joints disappeared. The swelling in my fingers and toes improved. My skin improved, most noticeably in my legs.  The general feeling of restlessness was gone.  I was able to focus on the task at hand.  I found that at work, my mind didn’t wander when I was charting, and I was able to patiently listen to what my co-workers and patients were saying.  I stopped taking my “ADHD” medication and noticed absolutely no ill effects. I was calmer, better able to handle the stressors that came my way.  I thought there must be something to this low carb Keto thing, so I continued doing research, making small changes, tweeking what I ate, when I ate and how often I ate. 

Then there was another change I noticed, most obvious in the air-conditioned hospital in which I worked.  I didn’t need two layers of clothing to stay warm.  It had to be my metabolism increasing, my inner furnace was becoming more efficient by being fueled with fat.  Now it made sense – unfortunately my mother had plenty of fat on her body yet was always cold.  It must be her thyroid right?  No, her labs were always “normal” (but that’s a separate issue as most doctors don’t test the right labs). She had unknowingly destroyed her metabolism with all those years of low-calorie, low-fat never-ending diets.  The “Biggest Loser effect” they call it now – long term solutions are not found in calorie counting, endless hours of  exercise or in low-fat diets. 

My Journey Continues – I am a work in progress – it take awhile to reverse the mental and physical effects of years of poor dietary and exercise habits , but there is hope and freedom when letting go of the old advice, the calories in/calories out mentality.  New evidence surfaces,  and Keto, Paleo, LCHF, IF and anti-inflammatory “diets” have become hot topics.  Call it what you will but basically, it is about changing the way we eat by eliminating the toxins found in our modern foods and replacing them with nutrient dense real, whole foods, in order to achieve lifelong optimal health.  The diet and exercise industry continue their attempts to confuse us, the health care industry, driven by pharmaceutical dollars, ultimately does not really want us to get better, while the food companies and “fat” food industry continue to offer us more and more tasty, cheap food options to accommodate our busy modern lifestyles.  It is not a small thing to overcome. If we are to thrive as a species, living healthy, productive, active lifestyles into out 50s, 60s, 80s and longer, we need to start making the changes that the scientific evidence clearly indicates will make a difference.  Join me, along with others that have successfully made this same journey.  Call today and learn the steps you need to start taking now to start living your life fully!  Reclaim your youth, reclaim your life!

 

 

 

 

 

KETO KICKSTART GUIDE

 

 

 

 

 

ELIMINATE HIDDEN SUGAR & STARCH

Avoid foods made with processed & refined sugar (56 names for sugar), and flour, including grains, wheat, corn, rice, cereal, breads, pasta, muffins, etc.

 

ELIMINATE SEED OILS

Vegetable oils, soy, corn, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, margarine, most salad dressings

 

CHOOSE HEALTHY FATS

Natural fats found in eggs, meat, seafood, butter, ghee, avocado, nuts, lard, & healthy oils like olive, coconut, palm. Do not “avoid” fats.

 

EAT LOW CARB

20-50 grams per day depending on goals and level of health, sources should include leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables & berries

 

EAT MODERATE PROTEIN

Fish, shellfish, beef, lamb, pork, ham, bacon, sausage, poultry, high fat dairy, eggs

 

DRINK BOUILLON AND ADD SALT WHEN INITIATING TO AVOID “KETO FLU”

 

 

 

My mother used to compare her addictive relationship with food to others’ with alcohol, but she thought alcoholics had it easier.  “It’s not like I can give up food all together” she would say “I still have to eat to survive, food is everywhere and every day I have to decide what to eat”.  She knew she had an obsessive compulsive dysfunctional relationship with food but didn’t know how to fix it.  She wished she could simply go “cold turkey” like alcoholics.  I wonder, if she actually had eliminated those specific foods she was most addicted to, if she would have been able to overcome her 60 year battle with food. 

Yo-Yo-Dieting -The Biggest Loser was a very popular show a few years back.  It was certainly very effective, with the average amount of weight lost at 127 pounds.  Trouble was, most of the participants regained all the weight back, and then some.  Low calorie, low fat diets combined with hours of exercise is simply not sustainable.  Other than the general lifestyle barriers of trying to fit in hours of exercise every day, the main reason these diets fail long term is due to metabolic changes.  Our bodies see a calorie reduced diet as a threat. The average decrease in basal metabolic rate (BMR) for the Biggest Loser was 789 calories per day and it remained that way for years.  My mother was no different, she lost and gained 100 pounds multiple times, it took a toll on her mentally and physically, and every time she started another diet, it was harder to lose the weight because of her inefficient metabolism. 

Bad Advice -The advice we were given has failed.  We were offered a food pyramid, told to avoid saturated fat and add carbohydrates.  Over the past 50 years, we have changed our diets from 20% carbohydrates to 65-80%, following these recommended guidelines.   We we told to replace lard and butter with Canola oil, margarine, Crisco and other vegetable seed oils. Yet we are sicker and fatter than ever.  More people are pre-diabetic/diabetic than not.  The diseases of modern civilization – heart disease, cancer, ADHD, liver disease and Alzheimers to name a few, are increasing, not decreasing. Low fat, calorie reduction diets don’t work for weight loss or generally health. 

Fasting vs. Calorie Reduction Diets– The only thing that ever really worked for my mother was not eating, essentially what is now being called IF, intermittent fasting.  She knew it was the fastest way to lose weight, and it worked, temporarily. She would fast all week, before her weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in, and then she would come home and eat.  My mom instinctively knew that fasting had amazing potential, that it was mentally and physically easier for her than calorie reduction diets, but the problem was that she didn’t know how to eat after her fast, and how to avoid the hunger and cravings.  The problem was she didn’t come home and binge on avocado salad and pork chops.   She turned to the carbohydrates, usually in the form of pasta, her drug of choice, and the cycle began again.  She was hooked all over again. This is what the insulin roller coaster looks like- eat sugar/carbohydrates, raise blood glucose and insulin, block fat burning, increase fat storage.  Then a couple hours later, blood sugar goes down, causing more cravings and hunger.  It is an endless cycle. Sugar laden carbohydrates have no satiety, no feed back system that tell us when to stop eating, like protein and fat do.  A better option for her to break her fast might have been healthy fats and protein, like eggs and bacon, or a large salad with olive oil dressing and a side of steak.  She would have remained full much longer, with less cravings and hunger.  Since she was following the ridiculous low-fat, low-calorie, high carbohydrate advice, she constantly felt deprived, hungry, and beat herself up for not having enough “willpower” again.

Emotional Regulation -Refined sugars (sucrose, fructose), and vegetable seed oils were absent in the diet of most people until very recently in human history. Today overconsumption of diets rich in readily available sugars and processed oils has contributed significantly to the current obesity epidemic, with an estimated 80% of Americans overweight or obese. We have come to rely on these foods to cope with the increasing stressors of modern life.  We use food to calm anxiety, depression. loneliness.  The cycle is never ending and the calming effects only temporary. And the more we eat, the more we want to eat.  The problem is not the emotions or the trauma, the problem is the food.  The only way we can truly regain emotional stability is by giving up the foods we are addicted to, those that cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin, cravings, and cause dysfunction of every cell in our body – the  processed carbohydrates, seed oils and refined sugars.

The Addiction –  Overconsumption of sugar-dense foods or beverages is often compared to a drug addiction because there are many biological similarities.  Processed carbohydrates and sugars provide a reward signal in the brain, similar to drugs like cocaine, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms that can lead to addiction. In a study conducted on rats, in 94% of the cases, the rats preferentially chose the sweetness of sucrose and saccharin over that of cocaine.  The food industry knows this. Like any other addiction, we crave more to have the same effect. We don’t come home after a hard day at work and go straight for the cauliflower or rib-eye.  We choose the sugary, mind-numbing, immediate endorphin releasing comfort food products like muffins, brownies, bread, pastas and candy.  Choosing these foods, however, only makes us want more. If my mom came home after her week-long fast and Weight Watchers meeting and ate a rib-eye and a large salad with avocado and olive oil dressing, it is possible her meal would have stopped there.  But instead, she binged on pasta, top ramen, chocolate bars and chips and couldn’t stop. 

Snacking Society – It is estimated that most Americans are eating or snacking on something 10-16 times a day, so we have a constant supply of the drug, glucose, in our system. What we are snacking on, and how often we are snacking, is a central problem.  Food is everywhere.  It’s at the tire store, the mini marts, at home.  We have mid-morning school snacks, after school snacks, food is in our break rooms at work, at our athletic events, before and after practice. Food is used to celebrate. When we constantly eat, have food in the form of glucose in our bodies, we are unable to access fat. Our ancestors, the hunter/gatherers, and even as recently as our grandparents, didn’t eat 5, 6… 16 times a day, they ate 2 or 3 times a day.  Sometimes, they didn’t have food for days. Feast or famine. They were forced to fast and their bodies naturally turned to their fat stores for energy. They survived because they relied on this fat for energy, and fat is a very efficient fuel.  For most of us in today’s society, there is plenty of stored fat to use, an average of 90,000 calories, compared to about 2,000 calories stored as glucose.  Our brains and bodies thrive on fat, it’s how were were built, and it’s how we should still eat today.

What to Eat – So what do we need to eat instead?  Healthy fats from animals like high fat dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and healthy oils like olive, avocado, nut, palm, coconut, and non-starchy vegetables.  What do we need to eliminate?  Processed carbohydrates, flour and sugars, vegetable seed oils, and some of the higher glycemic fruits. 

This is Not Easy – If giving up processed food was easy, everyone would be lean and healthy.  We need to change our habits.  We need to change the way we respond to stress in our lives and manage our emotions in a healthy way.  We need to change our appetite regulation.  We need to change our relationship with food and our food choices.  The rewards are endless.  I can help you make these changes.  I can help you overcome your struggles with sugar and processed food addiction.

 

Let’s start your healing journey today!

Let Food Be Your Medicine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Eat nutrient-dense real food. Death from infections is often not due to the infection itself but the body’s inability to fight it. Since more than 90% of Americans are deficient in one or more nutrients, we all need to focus on improving the quality of our diet. This would include meat, fish, chicken, shellfish, organ meats, eggs, berries, green leafy vegetables, nuts and healthy fats like butter, ghee, high fat dairy.
  • Try Low Carb. Since diabetics are more likely to die from COVID-19 and one in two Americans is pre-diabetic or diabetic this is a great opportunity to start cutting sugar and starch which suppress the immune system.  Now has never been a better time to reduce or eliminate sugar, processed carbohydrates, starches and junk food from our diet. Studies have shown that refined sugars can suppress your immune system for hours after ingesting. 
  • Adequate protein intake. While most Americans eat adequate amounts of protein, some do not such as the elderly and vegan populations. Protein is critical for immune function and protein malnutrition is a big risk factor for death from infections. 
  • Add garlic, onions, ginger, and lots of spices to your meals! Add these to your soups and vegetable dishes, providing antimicrobial benefits. 
  • Eat the rainbow of fruits and vegetables Eat sources high in vitamins C, A, and phytonutrients that support the immune system. Choose more leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower), peppers, sweet potatoes, and squashes. Avoid high sugar fruits, especially if pre-diabetic or diabetic.
  • Eat fermented foods to support your microbiome and immunity. Eat sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, unsweetened yogurt, kefir. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Consuming adequate fluids, including water, tea, homemade soups and broth, supports the immune system. Avoid fruit juices and sweetened beverages, as the sugar content is harmful for immunity.  
  • Get enough sleep! Sleep restores and heals the body. Without adequate sleep, optimal immune function is next to impossible! 
  • Get exercise. Mild to moderate exercise helps boost the immune system. If you are able to exercise outside in less populated areas, even better! If not, find workouts and yoga classes online. 
  • Practice meditation and yoga. Increased levels of stress increase susceptibility to viral infections.  Now is a great time to learn online.
  • Plant a garden. If you live in an area with a lawn or some access to land, grow some of your own food. 

If we all stay calm, avoid contagious fear, and take care of ourselves and our families, we can get through this together, and dramatically reduce sickness and death. 

Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice and any changes should be done in consultation with your healthcare provider.

For more personalized assistance and nutritional guidance please (contact me) Amy Love

Resources and information provided in part by Dr. Mark Hyman.  How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19: Supporting Your Immune System When You May Need it Most  

 

What is Fasting?

Fasting is VOLUNTARILY withholding food for spiritual, health, therapeutic or other reasons.

Used by all cultures for centuries – Break “fast” – it is nothing new  

Alternating between periods of fasting and eating

Powerful TOOL that allows the body to use stored blood sugar & body fat for fuel

Manipulating meal timing to maximize FAT BURNING

 

FREE         FLEXIBLE         SIMPLE

 

What are the Benefits of Fasting?

Weight loss is the most obvious health benefit…..But that’s not all….

Increased fat burning

Lowered blood insulin and blood sugar levels

Reduction is HBA1C – potential remission of Diabetes Type II

Improved mental clarity and focus

Increased energy

Increased growth hormone – maintains muscle 

Reduction of inflammation in all cells 

Flexible – Can be done anywhere – saves time and money

Activation of cellular cleansing – autophagy

Longer fasts:    Clears toxins and rejuvenates the body

 

Fasting potentially Treats & Prevents Disease by Reducing Insulin & Inflammation

OVERWEIGHT & OBESITY

METABOLIC SYNDROME

DIABETES

PARKINSON’S DISEASE

ALZHEIMER’S & DEMENTIA

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

ARTHRITIS

FATTY LIVER DISEASE

CANCER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does Fasting work?

 

 

 

 

A low carbohydrate intermittent fasting lifestyle trains your body to use stored energy, as fat, instead of sugar/glucose for energy.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PROGRESSIVE GUIDE TO TIME RESTRICTED EATING

CONSIDER STARTING WITH LOW CARBOHYDRATE WHOLE FOODS DIET

ELIMINATE SNACKING

12 HOUR TIME RESTRICTED EATING WITH 3 MEALS

COMPRESS EATING WINDOW TO 2 MEALS

16:8  3-5 X A WEEK – Fast 16 hours, eat within a 8 hour window

18-22    3-5 X A WEEK – Fast 18-22 hours, eat within a 2-4 hour window

FAST 24 HOURS EVERY OTHER DAY

FAST 36-42 HOURS

 

While intermittent fasting has many proven benefits, it’s still fairly controversial and is not for every body. A potential danger regards medications, especially those for diabetes and hypertension, doses often need to be adjusted. Discuss any changes with your doctor.  I cannot advise, prescribe or diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

 

Tips and Tricks

Increase salt, water, mineral water to avoid “Keto Flu”

Stay busy

Increase fat during adaptation

Acquaint yourself with waves of hunger 

Include leisurely activity, adequate sleep

Optimize home and work environment

Consider not telling anyone

Get support

Try for 1 month

Break “fast” with light snack

Listen to your body

**Discuss with your doctor

 

Where diets can complicate life, intermittent fasting may simplify it. 

Where diets can be expensive, intermittent fasting is free

Where diets can take time, fasting saves time

Where diets may be limited in their availability, fasting can be done anywhere. 

And as discussed earlier, fasting is a potentially powerful method for lowering insulin, inflammation and decreasing body weight.  

Dr. Jason Fung

 

  Free.  Simple. No reading labels. Flexible. Works with any diet.

(Contact me now!)  Learn how to implement fasting into your lifestyle today!

Resources & Graphs:

The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.

 

 

 


 

My Mom’s Story

“You’ve got 6-12 months to live”  “We can offer you chemotherapy, which might allow you to live a few months longer, or you can choose Hospice”. This is what we heard from the oncologist as my mother and I sat in her office reviewing the 2 options available. “There is really nothing else we can do.”  
So, at 80 years old, mom decided to do nothing. Her main reason?  She didn’t want to lose her hair.  She also figured, at her age, what’s the point in suffering through the last few months of her life with the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. She made the right decision. In 2014 a study of 70 FDA approved chemotherapy agents found the cancer treatments extended life by an avg of only 2.1 months 
Dad and I supported her as best we could but now I realize now that we could have done more.  Although I doubt I could have “saved” her, knowing what I know now, in the least I might have been able to help improve her quality of life. 

Food as Medicine

I believe there is something more we can offer cancer patients, whether they decide on Hospice, chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation. We have a powerful tool, as an adjuvant, or additional therapy, we can use Food as Medicine.  
Healthy whole food does not have the side effects that frequently accompany radiation and chemotherapy – nausea, vomiting, hair loss, diarrhea, skin irritation, fatigue and pain.  What’s more, when used in conjunction with the standard treatment, a Ketogenic Diet and time restricted eating can not only lessen these disabling side effects but it may even improve outcome.

Cancer and the Sugar Connection

Cancer is an inflammatory metabolic disease.  Ketogenic diets have been shown to slow and even halt the growth of cancer cells, especially in those cancers that thrive on glucose.  Breast cancer is one of those. We can essentially  “starve” these cancer cells by eliminating their source of energy, by eliminating sugars and starches. 
Another under-utilized tool is time restricted eating, especially if used appropriately around chemotherapy and radiation.  Radiation and chemotherapy in a fasted state often reduces side effects, especially gastrointestinal, hits the cancer cells when they’re (starving) down, and might allow for lower dosing.
A low carbohydrate healthy fat food plan and time restricted eating can be powerful weapons for cancer prevention and treatment.

The Terrain

As with most cancer patients, issues with food and weight weren’t the only contributing factors to my mother’s diagnosis. If she had completed a Terrain Ten Questionnaire, I’m certain we would’ve been able to address some of the other reasons she got cancer.  Her terrain was in disarray.  She had inflammation; her diagnosis was inflammatory breast cancer which metastasized to the liver.  Her life long mental health and emotion management was poor.  Her insulin levels were high; looking back, she definitely had signs of hyperinsulinemia and blood sugar disregulation, although she was never diagnosed with diabetes. Her hormones were imbalanced, she was obese yet cold all the time, but they always told her her thyroid “was fine”. She used vegetable oils which cause oxidative stress; she was told she needed to eat low fat, avoid butter.  There is more we can do than chemotherapy and hospice.

 

 

 

Contact me today and find out what you can do to help yourself or your loved ones. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like most compassionate people-pleasing nurse types, I generally keep my thoughts and emotions to myself, hidden, safe in isolation. It’s easier to focus and distract myself by taking care of others – patients, kids, pets, family and friends.  However, I have come to a place where I believe sharing my experiences might provide hope and insight for the increasing number of women and men struggling with the same challenges I did. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years I experienced brain fog and anxiety.  My spouse often told me I needed “help”, and I believed him.  So, I went to counseling, for as many years as he told me I needed to. I went to four different counselors in total, over several years.  At one point I was diagnosed with adult ADHD, and prescribed drugs not only for ADHD but for anxiety, eating disorders, and depression as well.  Nothing worked for long. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the same time my previous struggles with anorexia and bulimia seemed to be resurfacing, so I was referred to an eating disorders specialist, the fourth counselor. For months I continued the conversations surrounding various childhood issues, but one day she suggested these issues might not be the only thing affecting my problems with food.  She said that although she could not diagnose a person she has not personally evaluated, she wondered if my relationship with my spouse was having a major affect as well.  She wondered if he was a “narcissist”.  “A what?” I asked.  She suggested it was possible the increase in the stress eating, the brain fog, and anxiety might be related more to the verbal, mental, and emotional abuse that generally accompanies a relationship with a narcissist.  “Do some research” she suggested. So I did.  That suggestion was the wake up call I needed to begin my self-healing journey.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course we tried marital counseling first, but couples therapy doesn’t really work with someone who has the traits of a narcissist, especially one as smart and covert as mine was.  They also never believe they are at fault or have done anything wrong, ever.  He said he would go to counseling to “help” me though. After a handful of sessions, when the counselor started asking him specific questions about his role in our difficulties, he promptly stormed out, angry, pointing and shaking his finger at our “incompetent” counselor.  

I believe optimal mental clarity is critical to surviving the turmoil, chaos, and confusion that comes when living with, and especially when trying to divorce, a covert narcissist.  The only way to find this clarity is to take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally.  I felt old, tired, drained, and most important, I felt I wasn’t being the best I could be with my sons or at work.  Since I am an ER nurse, there is little room for error.  If I was going to survive and thrive the unbelievably confusing and difficult process of leaving a “narcissist”, and be there for my sons, I would need to optimize my health, asap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found great success in focusing on nutrition first and foremost, specifically, an “anti-aging, anti-inflammatory diet”.  Essentially this meant no sugar or processed carbohydrates.  This was not easy.  I love sugar.  I would constantly graze on the red licorice bin all day long.  Bread and chocolate were my friends.  But I was very motivated, especially after noticing improvements in only a few days.  I noticed my ability to focus was better at work, and surprisingly, my joint pain improved as well.  I was calmer day to day and more attentive to my sons. It didn’t take long to start coming out of the fog, to start realizing the reality of the situation I was in, my reality, not what my spouse was telling me.  It’s an amazing feeling to stop doubting yourself and your memories. 

 

 

 

 

I realized I didn’t need to try harder to be a good wife, change what I said or how I said it, change how I looked or acted, find a different counselor, or take more medications. The problem was not me, my ADHD, or anxiety, it was not that I worried too much, that I was forgetful, too sensitive, or needed help.  The problem was the mental and emotional confusion caused by common methods of narcissistic abuse, tactics like gaslighting, projection, distraction, blame-shifting, changing the subject, nonsensical communication, and the silent treatment.  After a time, it becomes impossible to determine your reality from his lies. But it was also the food that was fueling these thoughts.  The key to awareness and healing was first to change what I was putting in my mouth, to stop using food to calm and distract my already confused brain.  I needed to fuel my brain properly.

 

 

Of course, brains function best when nobody is verbally, emotionally, or mentally abusing you. But brains also function best on foods that do not cause inflammation in the brain or the body – a low carbohydrate, healthy fat way of eating. Brains function best when using ketones for fuel, not with the ups and downs of sugar and processed food. 

Did the years and years of talk therapy help? Did separation from an abusive relationship help? Sure.  But I didn’t start truly feeling better, physically and mentally, until I changed what I ate. This is what I’d like to share with others – it really isn’t just about the childhood traumas, the teenage struggles, the lack of self-esteem, the challenges that come with marriage and raising a family, or the social pressures to be thin and perfect.  The problem starts with the food we are fueling our brains with.  It’s literally what feeds our thoughts, our reactions, our feelings. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

   

 

 Learn how to implement a LOW CARB Lifestyle and find a way out of the chaos & confusion.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Start your healing journey today.  

 

 

There are experts out there –  nutritionists, physicians, concerned citizens – that say a low carb and intermittent fasting (LCIF) approach should not be used as a tool for people with a history eating disorders.  I say those people giving that advise have never had an eating disorder themselves. 

 

When I refer to disordered eating behavior, I refer to someone with a dysfunctional relationship with food. This can include binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or simply using food in any way for emotional regulation. A compulsive relationship with food can affect a person’s day to day ability to function both physically and mentally, the ability to focus at work and at home, and can limit quality or life and general health. 
 
I believe, for people with food addictions and disordered eating, the standard “everything in moderation” as long as “calories in equal calories out” approach simply doesn’t work. Instead, eliminating foods that trigger the blood sugar and insulin roller coaster – sugars and processed carbohydrates – and adding healthy fats and proteins, has the potential to end the constant mental and physical obsession with food, chronic dieting and fear of eating. In addition, time-restricted eating, or intermittent fasting, is key to reducing the constant battle of what to eat when.  Let me give a couple of examples of how the standard advice has backfired.
 
“Patsy” just joined Weight Watchers, again.  Throughout her adult life, she has gained and lost 50 pounds many times.  Weight Watchers has worked for her before, temporarily, but she has quit just as many times as she has joined.  She is convinced this time, it will work.  All she needs is more willpower. She goes to the meetings, starts counting her points and spends much of her day thinking about food -what she can eat, when she can eat it, and what she will use her next point allowance for. No food is off limits as long as she has enough points, so she often chooses the quick and easy WW snacks instead of preparing a meal. She is often hungry, even if she uses her freebie points to snack throughout the day, but knows hunger is a temporary sacrifice.  After about 5 weeks, she has lost much of the weight but she tires of counting and tracking points. Thanksgiving is coming up and she doesn’t think her points will work well with the busy holiday season so she quits for now. She will start dieting again in January.
 
“Sheri” signs up for Nutrisystem.  The packaged meals and shakes are expensive, and she has to cook separate meals for her family, but decides she needs to give it a try, just this one last time. She goes to weekly weigh-ins as scheduled, follows the plan, and loses weight, but is having difficulty continuing the program due to cost. She decides just to buy the shakes, limiting herself to consuming one or two shakes a day, until weigh-in.  After each weigh-in she can’t wait to hit the drive through on her way home to finally give in to her cravings.  She tells herself one day of cheating won’t matter, all she needs to do is return to the shakes, distract herself from hunger by keeping busy and journaling, and try to exercise more.  Maybe she can add an hour at the gym before the kids get up in addition to her hour aerobics class after work. She doesn’t understand why it’s getting harder and harder to lose weight.  She is eating 900 calories a day and exercising for two hours a day.  She feels exhausted and hungry but doesn’t know what else to do. 
 
“Rachael” was admitted into an eating disorder clinic for bulimia.  She is of normal weight but struggles with binge eating and purging several times a day and is in poor health because of it. The nutritionist at the program arranges an food plan with 3 meals and 2 snacks a day and gives her a handout on the food pyramid.  Rachael is told she needs to fit 8-10 servings of complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grain bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and fruits into her day. When she tells the nutritionist she is starting to feel tired, bloated, constipated, and hungry following this diet , her concerns are dismissed.  She is told she just needs to follow the program given to her and things will fall into place.  Rachael gains 10 pounds while in the facility and leaves feeling helpless and alone.  When out of the inpatient setting, she tries to follow the dietitian’s advice, but overwhelmed with gaining weight and craving sweets, she starts binging and purging once more. 
 
All of these women have a dysfunctional relationship with food and all of the diet programs and standard advice offered only seem to worsen the negativity and obsession surrounding food and body image. Pills, powders, potions, shakes and diet programs don’t work long term. “Everything in moderation” does not work for people like Patsy, Sheri and Rachel. For women like this, for those who are stuck in the never-ending toxic cycle of dieting and calorie restriction, there is a better way.  
 
 
 
   
I would suggest changing what we eat, and how often we eat. Eliminating sugar and processed carbohydrates is key to eliminating the constant sugar and insulin spikes and drops that cause the cravings, binge eating, and obsession with food. The mental and physical sugar-induced brain fog disappears. The constant hunger disappears. Life becomes more simple with LCIF.  Instead of planning and worrying about what to eat every 2 hours, 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day, there is more time and energy to enjoy life, to focus on work, school, your health, your kids, projects at home. There is hope, something that is sustainable.  There is an alternative approach to the temporary solutions found in pills, products, potions, shakes, calorie counting and diet programs. Food is medicine.  Food does not have to be feared..  Learn how to heal your brain and your body with a low carbohydrate real foods approach and time restricted eating.
HOW MANY CARBOHYDRATES SHOULD I EAT?

Ketogenic low carb    Ketogenic < 30g/day

moderate low carb     Low Carb 30-50 g/day

Liberal low carb      Reduced 50-120g/day

 

How many carbohydrates to eat depends on your current level of health, activity level and weight loss goals.  

Currently those eating the typical Standard American Diet are eating somewhere between 200-300 grams of carbohydrates a day.

A Reduced Carbohydrate diet, generally considered anywhere between 50-120 g/day, is for those who are generally healthy, maintaining their weight, or have symptoms of adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism or other stressful mental or physical issues that need to be discussed with their provider.  

A Low Carbohydrate diet is considered anywhere 30-50 grams a day.  This might be a good approach for weight loss, blood sugar regulation, mood issues, digestive problems, anti-aging, or general health.

A Ketogenic diet is considered under 30 grams a day. This is often used to address neurological issues (Epilepsy Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc), and severe blood sugar problems.  Others may find success using this approach short term for various other personal reasons.

For those with Diabetes Type II, or obesity, under 30 grams of carbs a day, or incidental, is often recommended (under a physician’s guidance).  Essentially don’t even eat carbs unless vegetables.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of where to start.  Reading labels or using an app might be helpful in the beginning to get an idea of where the carbohydrates hide.  Many ask if you should count net or total carbs, especially when considering vegetables.  Personally, I advise counting total carbs.  The food industry makes labeling very tricky and this is just one thing they are using to sell their products – “Only 4 g net carbs” etc.  Be cautious!  I would love to help you sort out a plan that might work best for you and sort through the confusing labels and gimmicks.  This can be a very individual issue, and not everybody responds equally to carbohydrates, fats and proteins.  It may take some trial and error.  

 

 

 

Eliminate Sugar – Agave nectar, syrups, corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, honey, fructose, maltose, sucrose, cane sugar, etc.  

Eliminate Hidden Sugar and Starch – Foods made with processed flour, grains, wheat, corn, rice, cereals, some fruit, fruit juice

Eliminate Seed Oils – Vegetable, soy, corn, sunflower, canola, safflower, cottonseed, margarine, most salad dressings

Add Healthy Fats – Saturated fat from animals – high fat dairy eggs, meat, seafood, butter, ghee, and healthy oils including avocado, olive, coconut, palm

Eat Low Carbohydrate –  Leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, berries, low-glycemic fruits

Eat Moderate Protein – Fish, beef, lamb, poultry, high fat dairy, eggs.

Keto food pyramid chart. Nutrition and diet infographics. Vector illustration.

Note :  Individual needs, goals, levels of health and fitness, as well as beliefs should be considered and appreciated