Is Keto Diet the Modern Way to Manage Diabetes?

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One of the best ways to fight diabetes without ingesting medicines is losing body fat percent. However, how can a high-fat, moderate protein diet like ketogenic help you control diabetes? While specific studies point out the benefits of the ketogenic diet for diabetes control, to understand its effectiveness, you must know what exactly keto diet does to your body.

 

Type 2 diabetes impacts the blood sugar level. You can manage your blood sugar level with a healthy and balanced diet. Diets for diabetes often focus on low fat, low carb foods. However, the ketogenic diet is just the opposite. Although very low in carb, the keto diet is 65% fat and 25% protein. However, it can potentially change the way your body functions, regulate blood sugar levels, minimize diabetes symptoms, reduce the need for insulin, and improve the way your body uses energy.

 

To understand how the diet affects your blood sugar level, you must first understand what the diet is all about.

What is Keto Diet

Usually, the foods that you consume are high in carb and protein. They convert themselves into glucose and enter your bloodstream to provide you energy. In keto diet, everything you eat converts directly into energy without becoming glucose. This happens when you source your energy from high-fat foods and not from carbs. The diet was first established in 1924 as a treatment for epilepsy. However, since its invention, its effects have also been observed for improving metabolism, reducing weight, regulating hormones, and for type 2 diabetes.

 

How Does a Ketogenic Diet Works?

A keto diet essentially helps your body convert fats into energy instead of glucose. After a few days of being into a keto diet, your body runs out of glucose or sugar and starts burning body fat for energy instead. This is when your body enters a state of ketosis, where it creates a fatty acid called ketones, which works as energy.

 

This does not mean the keto diet is filled with unhealthy, saturated, and trans fats. No. It is the contrary. Keto diet is stacking your meals with only healthy fats and protein, such as eggs, cottage cheese, fatty fishes, avocado, olives, nuts, chicken, seeds, butter, and healthy oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee.

 

 

Keto Diet and Diabetes

To understand this, you must know the difference between Ketosis and Ketoacidosis. Ketosis and Ketoacidosis both involve ketones. However, Ketoacidosis is dangerous for you, and it happens when your body does not produce enough insulin but builds up too much of ketones. However, this is more common in Type 1 Diabetes than Type 2 Diabetes. Common symptoms of Ketoacidosis are urination, confusion, thirst, fatigue, and weakness, everything in excess.

 

Ketosis, on the other hand, takes place when ketones are produced in a safer quantity. The process of ketosis happens gradually in the course of your everyday routine, based on what you eat and how much fat, protein, and carbs you consume. Once you achieve the state of ketosis, you will start losing weight, especially around the waistline and lower hbA1C level.

 

Managing carbohydrate intake is a basic essential for people with type 2 diabetes. We know the reason - carbs turn into glucose instantly in large quantities and glucose spike blood sugar level. By switching the focus on a high-fat diet, you keep your diabetes under control naturally. In a particular study, it was found that participants lost good weight, consumed less medication, and lowered their A1c level effectively after following the diet for a year.

However, here is a word of advice: Ketogenic diet is not meant for everyone with diabetes. From the above explanation, we understand that the keto diet can prove beneficial only for type 2 diabetic people. The diet is not recommended if you have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes needs a careful monitor and continuous regulation of the signs of Ketoacidosis.

 

Nutritional ketosis can benefit you if you are insulin resistant because your body will not rely on insulin hormone.

 

Meal Planning for Keto Diet

Your ketogenic diet (70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carb) should include the following foods to be useful for diabetes:

-          Eggs: Rich in protein, low in carb.

 

-          Meats: Only fatty meats are allowed, such as salmon and sardines. Eat high protein meats such as chicken in moderation.

 

-          Fish is acceptable.

 

-          Healthy fats: Must have avocados, olive oil, butter, ghee, nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed foods, refined foods, sausage, red meat, fried cheese, and other unhealthy fats.

 

-          Low-carb veggies: Have non-starchy vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, etc. Avoid potatoes, corn, and so on.

 

-          Berries in moderate quantities are acceptable for they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

 

Avoid rice at all costs, refined foods, and processed foods. Make sure all your meals are homemade and one ingredient-focused. This is a very hard-to-follow diet. However, if you get used to it, then the results will be consistent and long-term.

 

 

 

Author Bio:

Emylee  is a wellness lifestyle writer. She loves sharing her thoughts and personal experiences related to natural remedies, yoga and fitness through her writing. She currently writes for How To Cure. She can connect with others experiencing health concerns and help them through their recovery journeys through natural remedies.

 

Fitness On A Budget


Fitness does not require any equipment. So the excuse used by people of why they can't work out because they cannot afford a gym membership or expensive equipment is exactly what it is, yet another excuse we use to avoid doing what we should be doing to take care of our bodies.

Fire Team Whiskey prides itself in the fact that 50% of our workout videos require NO equipment. This is because oftentimes, military members are deployed to areas where access to fitness equipment is sparse, or nonexistent. Good old body-weight workouts require zero dollars and zero equipment to complete!

For those on a budget and looking for cheap equipment that is "worth" purchasing, we recommend the following:

#1: Fitness resistance bands. You can get these in several different weight resistance options ranging from 5 pounds to over 100 pounds! The lower weight bands are very inexpensive (averaging about $10-$15 dollars, I have seen them as cheap as $5 at a $5 store). What is great about these is that they are travel-friendly, so no matter where you are at, you can easily throw these in your purse or laptop case and have a great tool for a challenging resistance band workout. The Fire Team Whiskey .50 Caliber Fitness Program uses just body-weight and one resistance band.

#2: Fitness sliders. You can get these for as cheap as $5 and they make any workout much more challenging by requiring you to use your core to keep the sliders under your feet. These are great for those who have a base level of fitness by doing body-weight but are not yet ready for strength training. If you want a rock-solid middle section, get a pair of these and add them to any fitness routine. The Fire Team Whiskey Bridal Beast Program uses fitness sliders as it's main fitness equipment and again, very travel-friendly, I carry a set in my backpack everywhere I go.

Not sure what to do or where to start? At $8 a month, the Fire Team Whiskey Annual Membership is not only affordable, but gives you access to hundreds of fitness videos, so no matter what equipment you have on hand, or no equipment, we have fitness videos ready to pull up on your Fire Team Whiskey app and push play.

Keto Cinnamon Rolls

Move over Pillsbury, these keto cinnamon rolls are putting up some tough competition! Ketogenic.com has so many amazing recipes and resources that make sticking to a ketogenic diet easy, and thankful for that we are! Because, who isn't a sucker for a warm and delicious cinnamon roll?

Dough

  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

  • 3 oz cream cheese

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • ½ tsp vanilla-flavored liquid stevia

  • ¾ cup coconut flour

  • 1 tbsp baking powder

  • ½ cup stevia

  • 1 pinch salt

Cinnamon Filling

  • ½ cup butter, melted

  • ⅓ cup stevia

  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 tbsp heavy cream

  • 3 oz cream cheese

  • 2 tbsp stevia

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Combine the shredded mozzarella and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and melt for 2 minutes.

  3. Add remaining dough ingredients and knead until well incorporated.

  4. Place the dough onto the baking sheet and top with another piece of parchment paper.

  5. Roll dough out until about 1/2" thick.

  6. Melt the butter and mix in the stevia and cinnamon.

  7. Spread the mixture onto dough.

  8. Cut dough into 6 equal pieces and roll up and twist around into a cinnamon roll shape.

  9. Bake until golden brown (approximately 15-18 minutes).

  10. Blend all frosting ingredients until smooth.

  11. Remove rolls from oven and spread frosting on top.

Ketosis Symptoms and Signs: What to Look Out For

Originally published on HVMN by Nate Martins

There are two paths to achieve ketosis.

The first is through the ketogenic diet or fasting, which can take weeks or months for the body to produce its own ketones. The second is through exogenous ketones like HVMN Ketone, consuming ketones through an external source. On the map to ketosis, these are different roads–one more winding than the other.

But how do you know you've arrived at ketosis? What positive things are you looking for? What negative symptoms might you encounter? Here, we discuss what signposts to monitor your ketosis.

Recapping Ketosis

Ketosis is a normal metabolic state marked by higher-than-normal levels of ketones (or ketone bodies) in the blood.

Endogenous ketone production denotes ketones produced naturally by the body. It's the body’s natural adjustment to the absence or restriction of carbohydrate in the diet. Without enough glucose from carbs to fuel its cells, the body turns to fat to replace glucose as its primary source of energy. In the liver, fat that is not burned for energy directly is converted to ketones. This means that you are in a ketogenic state. Ketone levels increase in the bloodstream and provide an alternate and efficient fuel source for the body and brain. As a result, muscle protein is spared from being converted to glucose for energy.

Exogenous ketosis comes from an external source. Consuming exogenous ketones, like a ketone drink containing a ketone ester or a ketone salt, raises blood ketone levels. The body isn't producing ketones in this state, but still remains in ketosis from having ketones introduced from an outside source. However, the body isn't ketogenic–that specifically means the body is producing its own ketones.

Two paths, one destination. Here's what to look out for to ensure you're in ketosis.

Measuring Ketosis

A blood ketone level of 0.5 mmol/L is widely acknowledged as the threshold for entering ketosis.1 Using a measuring device is the best way to know you're in ketosis, with different devices measuring the presence of ketones in the breath, blood and urine, to provide an exact biomarker of your level of ketosis.

Measuring ketosis through blood is most accurate. Blood testing is reliable for quantifying both endogenous (created by ketogenic diet, fasting, exercise) ketones and exogenous ketones such as HVMN Ketone. Urine and breath measurements are less reliable but can be useful as quick, noninvasive ways to approximate blood ketone levels.2 

Unwanted Symptoms of a Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet remains the most common approach to trigger a state of ketosis. Low in carbs, high in fat and low/moderate in protein, carbohydrates are typically reduced to less than 50 grams per day. It's this depletion of carbs that result in the body becoming ketogenic.

Along with biomarker testing, subjective symptoms can provide an indication of your ketosis. Sometimes, early side effects of the diet result from carbohydrate withdrawal. This can be known as the "keto flu;" symptoms include nausea, fatigue, headache and dry mouth. They're short-term, typically lasting about a week or less. Keep in mind, however, that we are all different. Our bodies react in different ways. Some of us may experience these symptoms later than sooner, to a lesser extent, or not at all.

Let's dive into some of the other potential side-effects of ketosis.

Gut Issues: Frequent Urination, Constipation, Diarrhea 

Glycogen is the body's stored form of carbohydrate for energy. It's found primarily in the liver and muscle cells. Each gram of glycogen is bound with 3 to 4 grams of water.3 On a low-carb diet, the body will burn through these glycogen stores, releasing a lot of water and causing frequent urination.

As insulin levels plummet from carb-cutting, more water is flushed out, along with excess sodium (in contrast, excess insulin from carbs causes sodium and water retention).4 In some people, dehydration contributes to constipation, which can also result from avoiding fiber-rich carbohydrate foods. While less common, diarrhea or loose bowels can be triggered by a number of factors including too much or too little fat, dairy intolerance, or changes in gut flora. 

Many people on the ketogenic diet never experience gut problems. Those that do can try combating them by drinking plenty of water and mineral-rich broths, and eating more non-starchy veggies along with foods rich in fat and fiber (such as nuts, nut butters, and avocado).

Rapid Weight Loss/Long-term Weight Loss

As glycogen stores become depleted and water attached to glycogen is released, rapid weight loss in the form of “water weight” occurs.

Once glycogen stores run out, however, ketosis kicks in as body fat is burned. Strong evidence supports the use of ketogenic diets for long-term weight loss. The appetite-suppressant impacts of ketosis leading to decreased calorie consumption is considered to be the most plausible mechanism through which the diet works.5 

Bad Breath

Surprisingly, low-carb diets may lead to bad breath (also called ketosis breath).

Acetone, the least abundant ketone, is present in the breath and is responsible for the unpleasant odor. Acetone is a solvent in nail polish, if that gives you an idea of what it might smell like. But it's not as bas as it sounds; acetone breath is a sign of ketosis and fat burning. It's the ketone measured in breath tests used for detecting ketosis.6

After several weeks of keto dieting, ketosis breath typically dissipates. To help, drink more water and use breath fresheners. If it's unbearable, consider adding just enough carb back into your diet to avoid bad breath while still staying in the ketosis zone.

Positive Signs You’re in Ketosis

The positives of ketosis greatly outweigh the negatives when reaching a state of ketosis. Lowering carbohydrate intake is responsible for some of the side effects of the diet, but is also responsible for the positive effects (from the presence of ketones).

Increased Mental Focus & Decreased Brain Fog

Studies have shown ketones can improve cognitive performance.7 The brain uses ketones as a fuel source when carbohydrate depleted. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), the major ketone body, is more efficient than glucose. It also stimulates production of new mitochondria - the energy factories in our cells.8

Increased mental clarity and focus, and less brain fog, are often reported by healthy people in ketosis. HVMN CEO, Geoffrey Woo said, “after a drink of HVMN Ketone, it’s like I’m more behind my eyeballs.” Exogenous ketones can subjectively improve mental performance and clarity.

When HVMN Ketone was tested in mice, they performed 38% better on a maze solving challenge, so it's possible there may be a cognitive boost for humans also.9 While following a ketogenic diet, you avoid the energy peaks and troughs that come from quick-energy carbs. Producing ketones from stored body fat provides the brain with a steady, sustainable supply of fuel.

Decreased Appetite

One of the first symptoms you might notice when on a ketogenic diet is that it kills your appetite.

People on the diet report being significantly more full and satisfied. Even though you may be ingesting LESS calories on the diet, your hunger doesn't increased. One possible explanation is greater consumption of satiating foods, primarily protein and fat. However, multiple studies indicate that the state of ketosis itself (apart from effects from food) plays a role as well.10

High levels of circulating ketones may have a direct appetite-suppressant effect. In fact, the exogenous ketone ester used in HVMN Ketone rapidly increased blood levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate and lowered appetite as well as levels of ghrelin - the hormone that increases hunger. While this still needs to be explored further, it is possible that exogenous ketones may be useful for appetite control as part of a holistic weight loss strategy.11 

Symptoms of Dangerous Diabetic Ketoacidosis

In nondiabetics, ketosis (also called nutritional ketosis) is regulated and controlled in the body so that ketone levels never reach the harmful levels associated with diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is an acute, life-threatening condition that occurs in severely uncontrolled diabetes (mainly type 1) when ketones rise to massive, supranormal levels.

Since the body’s acid-base buffering system cannot neutralize the vast amount of acidic ketones, the blood pH drops significantly. This buildup of acids in the blood poisons the body and can lead to ketoacidosis.12 Breathing becomes deep and rapid as the body attempts to compensate for excessive acids. Other symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:

  • Extremely high glucose levels

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • High levels of both glucose and ketones in urine

  • Can lead to a coma

Importantly, this dangerous condition is rare in non-diabetics following a ketogenic diet, and in people taking exogenous ketones. Sticking to the recommended dose of max. 3 drinks per day of HVMN Ketone, there is no risk of ketoacidosis. 

Being Aware of Your Ketosis

Ketosis is the body’s normal physiological response to a shortage of carbohydrate fuel.

It is characterized by elevated blood levels of ketone bodies, or ketones. Ketosis is a healthy, natural state that shouldn't be confused with ketoacidosis, a dangerous and potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes.

Elevated blood ketone levels is the sign of ketosis, while certain subjective symptoms can also signal ketosis. Increased mental clarity, less brain fog, and diminished appetite are fairly common among people in ketosis. The ketogenic diet specifically has its own assortment of symptoms. Fortunately, the negative symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and bad breath are often temporary and tend fade as your body becomes better at fat burning and naturally producing ketones. The positive symptoms of ketosis coincide with higher levels of ketones in the blood. This may occur after several weeks of adhering to the ketogenic diet or very shortly after ingesting exogenous ketones.

How do you achieve ketosis?

Scientific Citations

1.

Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, Grimaldi KA. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013;67(8):789-796. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.116.

2.

Stubbs, B.Cox, P.; Evans, R.; Santer, P.; Miller, J.; Faull, O.; Magor-Elliott, S.; Hiyama, S.; Stirling, M.; Clarke, K. (2017). On the metabolism of exogenous ketones in humans. Front. Physiol.

3.

Olsson, K.-E. and Saltin, B. (1970), Variation in Total Body Water with Muscle Glycogen Changes in Man. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 80: 11–18. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1970.tb04764.x

4.

DeFronzo RA, Cooke CR, Andres R, Faloona GR, Davis PJ. The effect of insulin on renal handling of sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphate in man. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1975;55(4):845-855.

5.

Paoli, A., Bianco, A., Grimaldi, K.A., Lodi, A., and Bosco, G. (2013). Long term successful weight loss with a combination biphasic ketogenic Mediterranean diet and Mediterranean diet maintenance protocol. Nutrients 5, 5205-17.

6.

Musa-Veloso, K., Likhodii, S.S., and Cunnane, S.C. (2002). Breath acetone is a reliable indicator of ketosis in adults consuming ketogenic meals. Am J Clin Nutr 76, 65-70.

7.

Evans M, Patchett E, Nally R, Kearns R, Larney M, Egan B. Effect of acute ingestion of β-hydroxybutyrate salts on the response to graded exercise in trained cyclists. Eur J Sport Sci. 2018:1-11.

8.

White H, Venkatesh B. Clinical review: Ketones and brain injury. Critical Care. 2011;15(2):219. doi:10.1186/cc10020.

9.

Murray, A.J., Knight, N.S., Cole, M.A., Cochlin, L.E., Carter, E., Tchabanenko, K., Pichulik, T., Gulston, M.K., Atherton, H.J., Schroeder, M.A., et al. (2016). Novel ketone diet enhances physical and cognitive performance. FASEB J.

10.

Gibson, A.A., Seimon, R.V., Lee, C.M., Ayre, J., Franklin, J., Markovic, T.P., Caterson, I.D., and Sainsbury, A. (2015). Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes. Rev. 16, 64-76.

11.

Stubbs BJ, Cox PJ, Evans RD, Cyranka M, Clarke K, De wet H. A Ketone Ester Drink Lowers Human Ghrelin and Appetite. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018;26(2):269-273.

12.

Manninen AH. Metabolic Effects of the Very-Low-Carbohydrate Diets: Misunderstood “Villains” of Human Metabolism. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2004;1(2):7-11. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-7.

 


Smart Ways To Lose Weight Seamlessly

Weight loss is an exasperating and challenging journey. Most people strive to achieve the level of desired weight loss by applying unconventional treatments and medication. The weight loss industry grows on the insecurity of these people. They enlist results which are superficial and impossible to accomplish. People often follow their advice without the collection of any evidence and testimonials. On the contrary, there are concrete scientific studies focused on the weight-loss strategies which not only work but are also without any side effects. For example, a person can adopt a healthy habit of drinking fresh cold brew coffee instead of a chocolate latte or pumpkin mocha which are full of cream and fattening products. Weight loss journey is not easy and becomes even more complex if you try to commit for a longer period of time.

It is a critical factor here that you should concentrate on adding the habits which are smart instead of exerting efforts in the wrong direction. Trivial changes in your routine can have drastic effects on your overall health. For instance, adding water in your diet or avoiding rice and sugar. In this article, we will hold your hands to take you into the journey of weight loss which is easier to adopt and maintain.

1.      Water before Meals:

Water is like a potion for weight loss. It is often associated with burning fats and increasing the function of your metabolism. However, the timings of drinking water are imperative. Scientific studies have deduced that drinking water before meals can boost our metabolism by 30%. It is also claimed that drinking around half a liter of water an hour before the meals let you eat less during dinner or lunchtime. In this way, we are able to decrease the calories in our meals.

2.      Intermittent Fasting:

It is a common misconception that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With the advancement in the fields of nutrition, the dieticians and experienced professionals now recommend intermittent fasting as one of the ways to reduce your weight. It is a resourceful way to improve your metabolism, health and have an increased lifespan as well. As a result of this increasing trend, intermittent fasting in place of breakfast can have a positive impact on your body. It gives your digestive system time and space to utilize the extra fats and carbohydrates that are one of the reasons of heaviness in your body. There are a number of ways for intermittent fasting but the most effective way is dependent on an individual. It is best that you consult with your dietician for an appropriate plan.

3.      Drink Black Coffee:

Coffee with exceptional quality contains antioxidants which are beneficial for health. It also aids in the weight loss of the individuals. Recent studies conducted on coffee consumption has concluded that caffeine in one cup of black coffee contributes to 10 to 29% of the fat-burning process. Although you have to take a couple of precautions like drinking coffee with sugar and milk as they are all negative contributors in your quest of weight loss.

4.      Green Tea is the answer for Tea Lovers:

If you are not very much fond of coffee, make sure you have you replace your favorite cup of English tea with herbal green tea. It has proven drastically positive effects on the weight loss of individuals.  In a research conducted by the American Physiological Society concludes that green tea is a major contributor in releasing the fat from fat cells of our body and works to clean the liver from any fats creating hindrances in his process. Green tea also creates endurance for the exercise if you drink at least 4 to 5 cups of tea in a day.

5.      Reduce Sugar from Diet:

Sugar is like a slow poison for your body which has one of the worst effects on our body. Studies have concluded that people who consume sugar are at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and type 2 diabetes which ultimately ruins your overall health. Added sugar is more dangerous to health so you should make sure to read labels of the products you buy in order to control your sugar consumption.

6.      Alteration in Diet by eating fewer Carbs:

Refined carbohydrates are present in foods like white bread and pasta containing grains and sugar which are stripped from nutritious parts and valuable fibers. These carbs rapidly increase your blood sugar and increase your cravings which leads to an unhealthy diet. They are also linked to obesity. Carbs are only beneficial when we eat them with their natural fiber.

7.      The habit of Portion Control:

Eating less and controlling the portions of your diet can have a significantly positive effect on your overall diet. The best idea is to switch your conventional breakfast with a protein shake or Greek yogurt. Some of the people have mentioned numerous benefits of maintaining a food diary like taking pictures of your food that might help you lose weight rapidly. It is a way of increasing awareness about your eating habits.

8.      Fruits and Vegetables:

Eating natural foods like fruits and vegetables is more important to maintaining a healthy diet for your body. Recent studies conducted by the food and nutrition department in America concludes that people who eat fruits and vegetables tend to have less weight than others. The high content of water and fiber makes the fruits and vegetables more filling. They are also considered to have a low energy density that is beneficial for weight loss. The best time to eat fruits in the afternoon. It is best to avoid sugar and replace them with fruits like mango, apricot, and apples if you have a sweet tooth.

 

Conclusion:

The journey of weight loss is full of obstacles and can be overwhelming. The smartest way to be healthy and energized is to eliminate the fattening foods from your diet and slowly adopt an exercise regimen. Keeping track of your weight loss performance and getting adequate sleep will escalate the overall process. These habits not only benefit your weight loss routine but also keeps your products throughout the day.

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How Keto Saved My Life

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 When I was in the Army National Guard, and young (see what I did there?), I was athletic, I maxed out my PT tests, I was a sponsored competing adventure race athlete, I worked out at least 2 hours a day and ran and biked at least 100 miles a week. As "healthy" and "athletic" I looked to the outside world, I had a secret. 

My secret was that I was plagued by medical issues, some trivial like chronic adult acne, frequent constipation and acid re-flux.  Some serious, I suffered with crippling frequent migraines, anxiety and depression, daily headaches, low blood sugar episodes so extreme that I would have dangerous passing out episodes. I was young, athletic and of average body weight....but I was sick. It seemed like I was at the doctor’s office once a month, I was on several medications (all of which hardly helped at all) and my quality of life was continuing to decline. On top of all that, I was gaining weight, slowly over the years and I was at my top weight of my adult life.

About 5 years ago, at the age of 35, out of desperation for dealing with my continued low blood sugar episodes and the fact that I was continuing to gain weight despite a high level of physical activity and "eating healthy" I turned to Dr Google. I just Googled "eating plans for hypoglycemics" and stumbled upon this thing called keto. Being extremely skeptical, I picked up a few books on the subject and started listening to keto based podcasts. I was astounded by how ignorant I was about the ways the human body operates and how I had been doing so many things in my life thinking they were "healthy choices", yet it actually was the worst choice for the way my body worked. I devised a plan. I was very afraid of having dangerous low blood sugar, so I created my own eating plan that slowly got me to a ketogenic way of eating over 90 days (these eventually became the Fire Team Whiskey .22, .38 and .50 CAL eating plans). 

What happened next, I still look back and consider a miracle. Within a week my acne started clearing up. Within 2, my sleep and mood began to improve. The constant fatigue I fought was gone in 30 days. All of a sudden, I had endless energy and had no need to overdose on caffeine each day to push through like I used to. The acid reflux and constipation dissipated. My anxiety and depression subsided into almost nothing. My headaches and migraines? GONE! The fat began to melt away. Pretty soon I was having to donate my clothes, buying 2 sizes down...then over time, 4 sizes down! 

At the age of 40, I am now fitter, healthier and have the lowest body fat I have ever had. I am on zero medications. I haven't seen a doctor in 4 years. 

While my health and fitness transformation was taking place, I was working in the military medical field. I sat down with Soldiers everyday suffering from the same stuff I had suffered from and even worse. I felt compelled to create a company to introduce the ketogenic way of life to other military members, veterans and first responders. That is how Fire Team Whiskey was born. 

I truly believe these programs saved my life. I started on the path to lifelong health, fitness and living free from all chronic medical complaints that most people have at the age of 40. It is not just me, but many other Fire Team Whiskey participants who have experienced the weight loss and medical health improvements from using our programs. 

Sure, you can try doing a keto diet on your own. But, with so much misinformation out there about this way of eating, you would be going in blind. Why wouldn't you get a guide that has already been proven and has gotten other people crazy amazing results? I don't know about you, but I am all about using a map when I travel instead of just trying to figure it out as you go along with the "go it alone" approach. 

My goal with Fire Team Whiskey is to save lives. In fact, I am so confident that you will see instant improvement in your health and fitness within 2 weeks of starting one of our programs, that we are willing to give you 2 weeks of our .22 Caliber Health and Fitness program completely free. This is the same program that I used when I first began this journey 5 years ago. 

I want to give you what I spent months reading books, listening to podcasts and experimenting with to put together absolutely free so you don't have to "go it alone" or spend months doing your own research and experimentation to get results. You can START TODAY. 

Remember, this is a long-term commitment. If you are looking for a crash diet to lose a few pounds then put right back on again plus some, then this program is not for you. If you are looking for a magic pill or shot, this program is not for you. If you are looking for a long term solution that is proven to help you lose weight over time, improve all of your medical health markers and have you feeling younger and healthier than you have ever felt in your life, then you have found your fire team! Since this is a journey and not a sprint, our Fire Team Whiskey Membership is for one year. This helps you make a long-term commitment to your health and fitness. 2 weeks for free, then after that, you pay $99 for 365 days of health. That is .28 cents a day. Wow. What a bargain! That is way cheaper than any gym membership you could purchase, and your gym doesn't even bother giving you any nutrition support (actually there are a few chains of gyms that happily feed you bagels and pizza on a weekly basis at the gym location to make sure you will always feel like you need them because you can’t seem to lose any weight...hmmm). 

2 weeks free of what took me months to research, experiment with and formalize. This gets you started on this journey faster. Start Now. 

Why Military Style Fitness Programs Are Great For Civilians

We get asked all the time if our military fitness programs are ok for civilians. The resounding answer is YES! Why would a civilian want to participate in a military style fitness program? There are several reasons.

#1:  It’s hard to self-motivate. Military style workouts are high energy, quick moving and never boring. You don’t repeat the same moves over and over again, you usually are not standing in one place too long, and most of the time, there is an instructor loudly reminding you of why you are doing this and keeps you laser focused on your weight loss mission.

#2:  The military INVENTED physical conditioning, they know what they are doing! The military has been cardiovascular and strength conditioning their troops since humans began creating organized fighting groups (so basically thousands of years).  Military style workouts draw upon what has helped nations win wars for centuries. The military has perfected the fitness approach and are know for its elite forces fitness levels (Navy Seals, Seabees, Special Forces, PJs, Rangers, etc.)

#3: It patriotic!  When you do military style workouts, it quickly makes you appreciate what the military does every day to stay fit to fight for our Country!

#4: You can do them anywhere. Military fitness conditioning has to be mobile and troops have to be able to stay fit in any environment.  Most bootcamp style workouts can be done with no or very little equipment

#5: Its always going to challenge you! Military style workouts are not know for “taking it easy”. One major problem with people progressing with their fitness levels is that they get into a funk, so the same things, the same weight, the same pace and never push themselves further. We ae totally making this up, but we imagine the phrase “no pain, no gain” originated with the military.

#6: Lots of civilians have taken on the military style fitness and health program of Fire Team Whiskey and have gotten amazing results! Check out our results page here to see just some of the transformations and testimonials of our Fire Team Whiskey Members https://fireteamwhiskey.com/programresults

You can get these results too with Fire Team Whiskey. Enlist now at www.fireteamwhiskey.com. Civilians welcome, but remember, we will push you and hold you accountable just like we do for our military member participants. We have the same high standard of achievement for all of our Fire Team Members! Are you ready for the challenge? Enlist now!

Here is just one of our “civilian” Fire Team Whiskey Participants results!

 

 

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Keto and Digestive Health

We have some exciting news to share from our friends at BiOptimizers. They are about to launch a new keto product called kApex - a ketogenesis optimizer enzyme.

BiOptimizers creates a breakthrough line of nutritional supplements focused primarily on digestive health. The Company’s mission is to "End physical suffering by optimizing digestion and activating awesome health" and they are doing a great job since joining the market in 2004.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 95 million Americans suffer from an identifiable digestive issue. Even more shocking: 74% of Americans live with daily GI discomfort and 12% of emergency hospital visits are due to digestive issues. It’s a massive market with a strong pain point and BiOptimizers fixes these issues better than anyone else.

However, due to the perceived embarrassment associated with digestive symptoms, there is a lack of understanding of the enormous impact digestive disorders have and a profound unwillingness to shed more light on the subject.
Over the years, BiOptimizers’ founders Wade and Matt have worked with, and the Company has been promoted by some of the most respected names in the online health world including:
- Dave Asprey from Bulletproof
- Ty Bollinger (Truth About Cancer)
- Elliott Hulse (Strength Camp)
- Ben Greenfield Fitness
- Yuri Elkaim Healthpreneur
- Vince Delmonte Fitness
- Ben Pakulski Pro Bodybuilding
- Drew Bledsoe (Barbell Shrugged)
- Pete Evans (Celebrity Chef)
- Kevin Harrington (Original Shark Tank and As Seen on TV Producer) and many more.

They've also been featured on some of the biggest health conferences in the world including NTA (Nutritional Therapy Association), Upgrade Labs, and they are getting ready to speak at the Canfitro and CHFA stages now.

Want to find more about what they do and how BiOptimizers can help you to fix your digestive issues? Go to:

http://kenergize.com/

bioptimizers.com

P.s. Get 10% off by using the coupon code FIRETEAMWHISKEY10 at checkout!

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Ketosis Symptoms and Signs: What to Look Out For

Originally published on HVMN by Nate Martins

There are two paths to achieve ketosis.

The first is through the ketogenic diet or fasting, which can take weeks or months for the body to produce its own ketones. The second is through exogenous ketones like HVMN Ketone, consuming ketones through an external source. On the map to ketosis, these are different roads–one more winding than the other.

But how do you know you've arrived at ketosis? What positive things are you looking for? What negative symptoms might you encounter? Here, we discuss what signposts to monitor your ketosis.

Recapping Ketosis

Ketosis is a normal metabolic state marked by higher-than-normal levels of ketones (or ketone bodies) in the blood.

Endogenous ketone production denotes ketones produced naturally by the body. It's the body’s natural adjustment to the absence or restriction of carbohydrate in the diet. Without enough glucose from carbs to fuel its cells, the body turns to fat to replace glucose as its primary source of energy. In the liver, fat that is not burned for energy directly is converted to ketones. This means that you are in a ketogenic state. Ketone levels increase in the bloodstream and provide an alternate and efficient fuel source for the body and brain. As a result, muscle protein is spared from being converted to glucose for energy.

Exogenous ketosis comes from an external source. Consuming exogenous ketones, like a ketone drink containing a ketone ester or a ketone salt, raises blood ketone levels. The body isn't producing ketones in this state, but still remains in ketosis from having ketones introduced from an outside source. However, the body isn't ketogenic–that specifically means the body is producing its own ketones.

Two paths, one destination. Here's what to look out for to ensure you're in ketosis.

Measuring Ketosis

A blood ketone level of 0.5 mmol/L is widely acknowledged as the threshold for entering ketosis.1 Using a measuring device is the best way to know you're in ketosis, with different devices measuring the presence of ketones in the breath, blood and urine, to provide an exact biomarker of your level of ketosis.

Measuring ketosis through blood is most accurate. Blood testing is reliable for quantifying both endogenous (created by ketogenic diet, fasting, exercise) ketones and exogenous ketones such as HVMN Ketone. Urine and breath measurements are less reliable but can be useful as quick, noninvasive ways to approximate blood ketone levels.2

Unwanted Symptoms of a Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet remains the most common approach to trigger a state of ketosis. Low in carbs, high in fat and low/moderate in protein, carbohydrates are typically reduced to less than 50 grams per day. It's this depletion of carbs that result in the body becoming ketogenic.

Along with biomarker testing, subjective symptoms can provide an indication of your ketosis. Sometimes, early side effects of the diet result from carbohydrate withdrawal. This can be known as the "keto flu;" symptoms include nausea, fatigue, headache and dry mouth. They're short-term, typically lasting about a week or less. Keep in mind, however, that we are all different. Our bodies react in different ways. Some of us may experience these symptoms later than sooner, to a lesser extent, or not at all.

Let's dive into some of the other potential side-effects of ketosis.

Gut Issues: Frequent Urination, Constipation, Diarrhea

Glycogen is the body's stored form of carbohydrate for energy. It's found primarily in the liver and muscle cells. Each gram of glycogen is bound with 3 to 4 grams of water.3 On a low-carb diet, the body will burn through these glycogen stores, releasing a lot of water and causing frequent urination.

As insulin levels plummet from carb-cutting, more water is flushed out, along with excess sodium (in contrast, excess insulin from carbs causes sodium and water retention).4 In some people, dehydration contributes to constipation, which can also result from avoiding fiber-rich carbohydrate foods. While less common, diarrhea or loose bowels can be triggered by a number of factors including too much or too little fat, dairy intolerance, or changes in gut flora.

Many people on the ketogenic diet never experience gut problems. Those that do can try combating them by drinking plenty of water and mineral-rich broths, and eating more non-starchy veggies along with foods rich in fat and fiber (such as nuts, nut butters, and avocado).

Rapid Weight Loss/Long-term Weight Loss

As glycogen stores become depleted and water attached to glycogen is released, rapid weight loss in the form of “water weight” occurs.

Once glycogen stores run out, however, ketosis kicks in as body fat is burned. Strong evidence supports the use of ketogenic diets for long-term weight loss. The appetite-suppressant impacts of ketosis leading to decreased calorie consumption is considered to be the most plausible mechanism through which the diet works.5

Bad Breath

Surprisingly, low-carb diets may lead to bad breath (also called ketosis breath).

Acetone, the least abundant ketone, is present in the breath and is responsible for the unpleasant odor. Acetone is a solvent in nail polish, if that gives you an idea of what it might smell like. But it's not as bas as it sounds; acetone breath is a sign of ketosis and fat burning. It's the ketone measured in breath tests used for detecting ketosis.6

After several weeks of keto dieting, ketosis breath typically dissipates. To help, drink more water and use breath fresheners. If it's unbearable, consider adding just enough carb back into your diet to avoid bad breath while still staying in the ketosis zone.

Positive Signs You’re in Ketosis

The positives of ketosis greatly outweigh the negatives when reaching a state of ketosis. Lowering carbohydrate intake is responsible for some of the side effects of the diet, but is also responsible for the positive effects (from the presence of ketones).

Increased Mental Focus & Decreased Brain Fog

Studies have shown ketones can improve cognitive performance.7 The brain uses ketones as a fuel source when carbohydrate depleted. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), the major ketone body, is more efficient than glucose. It also stimulates production of new mitochondria - the energy factories in our cells.8

Increased mental clarity and focus, and less brain fog, are often reported by healthy people in ketosis. HVMN CEO, Geoffrey Woo said, “after a drink of HVMN Ketone, it’s like I’m more behind my eyeballs.” Exogenous ketones can subjectively improve mental performance and clarity.

When HVMN Ketone was tested in mice, they performed 38% better on a maze solving challenge, so it's possible there may be a cognitive boost for humans also.9 While following a ketogenic diet, you avoid the energy peaks and troughs that come from quick-energy carbs. Producing ketones from stored body fat provides the brain with a steady, sustainable supply of fuel.

Decreased Appetite

One of the first symptoms you might notice when on a ketogenic diet is that it kills your appetite.

People on the diet report being significantly more full and satisfied. Even though you may be ingesting LESS calories on the diet, your hunger doesn't increased. One possible explanation is greater consumption of satiating foods, primarily protein and fat. However, multiple studies indicate that the state of ketosis itself (apart from effects from food) plays a role as well.10

High levels of circulating ketones may have a direct appetite-suppressant effect. In fact, the exogenous ketone ester used in HVMN Ketone rapidly increased blood levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate and lowered appetite as well as levels of ghrelin - the hormone that increases hunger. While this still needs to be explored further, it is possible that exogenous ketones may be useful for appetite control as part of a holistic weight loss strategy.11

Symptoms of Dangerous Diabetic Ketoacidosis

In nondiabetics, ketosis (also called nutritional ketosis) is regulated and controlled in the body so that ketone levels never reach the harmful levels associated with diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is an acute, life-threatening condition that occurs in severely uncontrolled diabetes (mainly type 1) when ketones rise to massive, supranormal levels.

Since the body’s acid-base buffering system cannot neutralize the vast amount of acidic ketones, the blood pH drops significantly. This buildup of acids in the blood poisons the body and can lead to ketoacidosis.12 Breathing becomes deep and rapid as the body attempts to compensate for excessive acids. Other symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:

  • Extremely high glucose levels

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • High levels of both glucose and ketones in urine

  • Can lead to a coma

Importantly, this dangerous condition is rare in non-diabetics following a ketogenic diet, and in people taking exogenous ketones. Sticking to the recommended dose of max. 3 drinks per day of HVMN Ketone, there is no risk of ketoacidosis.

Being Aware of Your Ketosis

Ketosis is the body’s normal physiological response to a shortage of carbohydrate fuel.

It is characterized by elevated blood levels of ketone bodies, or ketones. Ketosis is a healthy, natural state that shouldn't be confused with ketoacidosis, a dangerous and potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes.

Elevated blood ketone levels is the sign of ketosis, while certain subjective symptoms can also signal ketosis. Increased mental clarity, less brain fog, and diminished appetite are fairly common among people in ketosis. The ketogenic diet specifically has its own assortment of symptoms. Fortunately, the negative symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and bad breath are often temporary and tend fade as your body becomes better at fat burning and naturally producing ketones. The positive symptoms of ketosis coincide with higher levels of ketones in the blood. This may occur after several weeks of adhering to the ketogenic diet or very shortly after ingesting exogenous ketones.


Keto vs Paleo: Which Diet is Right for You?

Originally published on HVMN by Ryan Rodal

Diet trends are always a topic of debate. With so many diets to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you.

People choose diets for different reasons. Some want to lose weight; others strive for better overall health; many seek improved metabolism.

Two of the most popular diets in America are the ketogenic and paleo diets. Paleo gained prominence several years ago, while keto has been steadily on the rise of late. Some may confuse the two and use them interchangeably, but many are unaware of each diet’s specific intricacies.

Although keto and paleo have some overlapping characteristics, each one is unique in its own way. Let’s take a look at both diets and see which one is right for you.

The Ketogenic Diet

The keto diet has one main goal above all else: make the body produce ketones. To understand the importance of ketones and ketone production, you must first understand the basic physiological nature of energy sources in the human body.

The human body is programmed to run off a mix of glucose and fat. The balance of glucose is obtained mostly through the consumption of carbohydrates (however, through gluconeogenesis, glucose can also be created through non-carbohydrate substances). The process of digestion converts the macronutrient from the diet (carbs) into an energy source for our cells (glucose). Drastically decreasing carbohydrate intake will create a metabolic shift in the body, away from glucose-dependent energy. After eliminating carbs, the body can increasingly tap into stored body fat for energy, of which we have a large amount. By increasing our fat-intake, the body can become metabolically flexible, burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

Let’s take a closer look at getting into ketosis.

How to Get into Ketosis

Getting into ketosis is a variable process from person to person time-wise, but everyone undergoes the same physiological transformation should they choose to achieve ketosis through endogenous means (meaning, enabling the body to produce its own ketones).

Eating carbohydrates causes insulin release, which in turn prevents the production of ketones from fat; this is because insulin stops the release of fat from fat stores and thus shuts off the substrate for ketone production. To prevent insulin release, you must eliminate carbohydrate intake. As carb reduction occurs, the body will become depleted of glucose stores.

After a certain period of time the body will enter a state of ketosis, breaking down more and more fat, leading to ketone production.

Ketones are produced in the liver through a multistep conversion of fats. Evolutionarily, ketone production occurred as a result of starvation, when the body didn’t have any carbohydrates from which to make energy. Ketosis indicates the presence of ketones in the blood above 0.5mM. Triggering a state of ketosis is usually done one of two ways. The first is endogenously, meaning ketones are produced naturally in the body, usually through diet or fasting. The second is exogenously, in which blood ketone levels are increased by consuming a ketone supplement, like HVMN Ketone

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Keto Health Benefits

The benefits of keto go beyond simply slimming your waistline. Studies have shown that a ketogenic diet may help individuals with type 2 diabetes by effectively lowering blood glucose.1 There's also been a noted improvement in glycemic control and weight loss. But it’s not all metabolic benefits.1

The keto diet may improve cardiovascular health markers, including lowering blood pressure readings.2 Keto can also help treat neurological disorders. Since the early 1900s, children who suffered from epilepsy benefited from the diet as a form of alternative therapy.3 Many have also noted subjective feelings of mental clarity while on the keto diet.

Keto might even help improve health conditions characterized by inflammation through the signaling actions of ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (or BHB), which blocks NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease.4 Animal studies have shown the ketogenic diet may improve longevity, memory, and health span.5

Keto Diet Basics

A balanced caloric intake on keto is essential for meeting dietary and weight loss goals. Every calorie you consume is made up of one of three types of macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, or proteins.

The ketogenic diet consists of a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate macronutrient ratio.

  • High fat: 60% - 80% of total calories from fat

  • Moderate protein: 15% - 35% of total calories from protein

  • Low carbohydrate: 5% or less of total calories from carbohydrates

Your macronutrients can be calculated on your own, but there are macro calculators online to simplify the process. Just set each macronutrient within the suggested ranges for the keto diet.

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at a hypothetical person. A 200 pound male with 17% body fat will have a basal metabolic rate (BMR) of approximately 2,000 calories. Let’s say they want to maintain their current weight. Using a macronutrient ratio of 25% protein, 5% carbohydrates, and 70% fat, this person will consume 179g of fat, 28g of carbs, and 144g of protein. The ratio is not only keto-friendly, but also provides adequate protein for retaining lean body mass (at least 0.8g protein per pound of LBM).

Consuming a low-carb diet will cause a metabolic state of adaptation, allowing for ketone production. If you want to get into ketosis faster, trying an exogenous ketone supplement, like HVMN Ketone.

Keto-Friendly Foods

The keto diet is based around healthy fat sources and low-carb food choices. Some of the best keto friendly foods include:

  • Meats, including fatty fish and beef

  • Non-starchy vegetables

  • Many varieties of cheese

  • Eggs

  • Greek yogurt

  • Avocado

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Berries

A day of eating on the keto diet may look something like this:

  • Breakfast: four whole eggs, two pieces of bacon

  • Snack: one serving of almonds, one serving of blackberries

  • Lunch: 8oz of chicken breast, 100g of asparagus, one serving of Greek yogurt

  • Snack: one serving of cottage cheese, one serving of blackberries

  • Dinner: 6oz of salmon, 100g of Brussels sprouts

Your meal plan should be goal specific, but this is just one way of incorporating the keto meal plan into your everyday life. It’s not as hard and many people think!

The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is based around foods early humans ate in the Paleolithic era (up until 10,000 years ago).

The typical Paleo diet includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds—foods sourced by hunter-gatherers during Paleolithic times. The diet does not contain foods emerging through more modern agricultural methods, such as dairy products, legumes, and grains. And of course, nothing processed; it's a focus on whole, healthy foods and food groups.

The Argument for Paleo

The main goal of the Paleo diet: eat like a caveman. Paleo followers believe our bodies do not have the adaptation necessary to process modern foods, leading to increased incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Paleo seeks to eliminate harmful side effects associated with modern agriculture.

Some people question the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and genetic engineering used to mass produce fruits and vegetables. Pesticides used in agriculture are also a cause of concern for some individuals. Although these scientific advances are designed to mass produce quality food, some question their dietary safety.

The Paleo diet has not been scientifically studied in the same detail as keto, but there is some research suggesting potential health benefits. A study performed on the Paleo diet indicated glucose tolerance may improve in people with type 2 diabetes.6 There is also evidence of improved glycemic control and lower blood pressure following the Paleo diet.7,8 Similar to keto, when processed food and refined sugars are removed from a diet, there should be some health benefits.

Paleo-Friendly Foods

The foods found on paleo should have existed thousands of years ago, consumed by our great-great-great-great-great grandfathers and grandmothers. The most common paleo foods include:

  • Grass-fed meats

  • Seafood

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Eggs

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

  • Oils from healthy fat sources (e.g. avocado oil, coconut oil)

As you can see, the food choices on the Paleo diet have some overlap with the keto diet, but there are dietary and philosophical differences as well.

What do Keto and Paleo Have in Common?

The Paleo and keto diets share many characteristics even while being unique in their own ways.

Whole Foods

Paleo and keto diet plans are both based around high-quality whole food sources.

A whole food is one that hasn’t been processed and generally does not have added ingredients. Processed foods are eliminated from both diets and replaced with fresh items such as vegetables, meats, and nuts.

Grains and Legumes

Paleo and keto do not include grains and legumes as part of their diets, but for different reasons. Paleo eliminates grains and legumes because they were unavailable during Paleolithic times and contain anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are found in some plant-based foods and may cause digestive issues when consumed.9 They are considered the antithesis of the paleo diet.

These anti-nutrients are produced by plants as defense mechanisms, but can have a damaging effect on the human gut.

One such anti-nutrient is phytic acid, and it’s one of the main reasons Paleo excludes grains as legumes in the diet. Phytic acid can make proteins, fat, and starches less digestible.10

The keto diet eliminates grains and legumes due to their carbohydrate content. Grains and legumes can take the body out of ketosis preventing the breakdown of fat stores into ketones.

Processed Sugar

Both Paleo and keto discourage the intake of added sugar—but for different reasons.

The keto diet has no sugar due to the insulin-spiking effects and carbohydrate content. The Paleo diet, on the other hand, allows natural sugar sources (such as maple syrup and honey), but completely eliminates processed sugar. Keep an eye out for processed sugar, as it's rampant in American diets.

Healthy Fats

Keto and Paleo diets both promote healthy fats as a key component of their diets.

Foods such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil are popular healthy fat options for both groups.

The keto diet uses healthy fats as a fuel source, while the Paleo diet encourages healthy fats due to their Paleolithic origin. The common theme of both diets is to not be afraid of consuming a high-fat diet. This can be a valuable fuel source after some adaptation from a body dependent on carbohydrate.

Weight Loss

One of the main drivers for any diet is weight loss. Although there is limited research available for the long-term success of these diets, studies have shown weight loss benefits in the short term.

Low-carb, high-fat diets, such as the ketogenic diet, have been successful for weight loss.

One study on obese women showed 9% weight loss after six months on the diet and 10.6% weight loss after a year.11

On the other hand, the Paleo diet has a limited number of scientific studies with which it’s associated.12 Some studies have suggested the diet may help with weight loss and the correction of metabolic dysfunction, but further research may be needed to test these findings.12

How are Keto and Paleo Different?

As you can see, many of the food choices and goals overlap with both diets; but there are key differences unique to each one.

Different Belief Systems

Although many of the food choices in both keto and Paleo overlap, the philosophies behind each is different.

The keto diet creates metabolic adaptations with a science-based approach. It’s all about consuming a lot of fat in comparison to very few carbohydrates. Paleo employs a holistic ideology and lifestyle. Keto and Paleo have similar dietary requirements, but for different reasons.

Carbohydrate Composition

The keto diet involves an extremely low carb intake. The Paleo diet allows certain carbohydrates as long as they’re from whole foods. Since processed carbs are eliminated, you often end up with a low carb diet no matter which plan you choose to follow.

Some wholesome carbs include sweet potatoes, taro root, carrots, and winter squash. As we mentioned, Paleo also allows natural sugar sources such as maple syrup and honey—but these wouldn’t be allowed on keto based on their high carb content.

A true keto diet eliminates almost all carb sources, even certain vegetables (such as potatoes). Any amount of carbs can raise blood sugar, trigger insulin release, stop ketogenesis and take the body out of ketosis.

Dairy

A strict Paleo diet discourages dairy, as it wasn’t consumed in the Paleolithic Era. The keto diet allows for certain types of dairy to be consumed; in fact, they’re even encouraged.

The most popular keto dairy options include grass fed butter, heavy whipping cream, Greek yogurt, and many cheese varieties (Swiss, provolone, mozzarella, brie, and Jack are all considered keto-friendly). Since these dairy options are low in carbohydrate content and high in fat, they fit within the keto framework.

Which Diet Should You Choose?

A diet plan is like building a house. For keto and Paleo, the floors, walls, and roof beams may be similar. But their foundations are completely different. To recap, the keto diet is based on creating metabolic adaptations using a science-based approach. The Paleo uses a holistic ideology based on food choice rather than a macronutrient focus.

Different groups can benefit from both diets, but you should focus on the one suited to your individual goals.

If you're a diabetic, keto may be beneficial to you, due to carb-restriction and reduced insulin sensitivity. Endurance athletes benefit from the fat-adaptation that is characteristic of keto, as prolonged endurance exercise requires less energy from glucose stores, enabling the body can tap into the unlimited fat stores for energy over the course of a long race.

Resistance training athletes such as bodybuilders and CrossFit-ers may prefer Paleo, as the carbs may be better utilized during high-intensity training sessions.

In the world of Paleo vs keto, there is no clear cut winner. The best diet is the one you can stick to—so base your dietary choices around your specific needs. The results should be sustainable over a lifetime instead of being short sighted.



Warrior Fuel: Mexican Steak Stuffed Peppers

Its taco night! But…wait, no corn or flour, so what should we make to hold our taco toppings? Well, you can check out our recipe for the cheese taco shells, or get some veggies in by using a poblano pepper as your taco shell or taco boat as we like to call them. This is an easy 25 minute recipe.

INGREDIENTS

POBLANO PEPPERS

STRIP STEAK

ANY TOPPINGS YOU WANT ON YOUR TACO BOAT! We suggest….

cheddar cheese

guacamole or sliced avocados

sour cream

salsa or pico de gallo

taco sauce

RECIPE

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking pan with tin foil.

Cut poblano peppers in half, scoop out any seeds and throw away. Place the pblano peppers open face down on the covered baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip them over and cook for another 10.

While the peppers are cooking, cut up the skirt steak into 1 inch pieces. Place on a hot skillet with preferred cooking oil and cook to your desired temperature. Drain and set aside.

Once the poblano peppers are completed cooking, place one on a plate open side up as your boat. Load a serving of the skirt steak into the pepper, and top with all your desired toppings. For a little crunch, we recommend adding pork rinds on top. Serve and enjoy!

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How Long Does it Take to Get Into Ketosis and Keto-Adapt?

Originally published on HVMN by Nate Martins

 

Weight loss benefits ushered the keto diet into the spotlight. That’s how most people have likely heard about ketones, a fuel source created naturally by the body when burning fat. But more and more research points to diverse applications of ketones in the blood outside of just fat loss, from improved endurance performance to the treatment of medical conditions like epilepsy.

Ketosis is the state of raised ketone bodies in the blood, typically beginning at 0.5 mM. But how does one get ketones in the blood?

It happens two ways (you can read our in-depth analysis here).

Endogenous ketones are produced naturally by the body while fasting or on a strict low-carb, high-fat diet. The body becomes ketogenic, which means it’s producing ketones. Thus, ketones are in the blood, designating a state of ketosis.

Exogenous ketones are introduced to the body from an external source, like HVMN Ketone, MCT oils or ketone salts. The body isn’t ketogenic here, but is still in a state of ketosis because ketones are in the blood.

Naturally, it can take days to achieve ketosis through fasting or dieting. With ketone supplements like HVMN Ketone, it can take minutes.

But everyone is different. Getting into ketosis varies from person-to-person, and even two people using similar methods can have different results.

How to Know You’re in Ketosis

The best way is to test. There are a few different ways to test for beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB)–the predominant ketone body present in the body.

Blood testing, with a blood ketone meter, is the most accurate. A range of 0.5 - 3.0 mM of BHB in the blood represents nutritional ketosis,1 and can be achieved both endogenously or exogenously. But it requires a finger-pricking, which can be off-putting to some. Plus, ketone testing strips can get expensive.

Ketones can also be measured via breathalyzer or urine ketone sticks. While these methods are useful for estimating blood ketone levels, they’re less accurate than blood measurements and less reliable when the body contains higher levels of BHB (or if you’ve been on a ketogenic diet for a long time).2,3,4

testing for ketosis.png

Those new to keto should be testing to see if their bodies are in ketosis, regardless of method. Testing, in general, is the most objective way to know if you’re in ketosis. There can be some subjective benefits of ketosis: appetite suppression, fat loss, low blood sugar, improvement in mental cognition and focus. But before recognizing these subjective benefits, it’s important to track and measure the level of ketones in the blood to ensure ketosis on a physical level.

How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?

It depends on the method you’re using.

Ketogenic Diet

Western diets are high in carbohydrates, leading to high blood sugar levels, whereas the ketogenic diet enforces a small amount of carbs to be consumed.

After 2 - 4 days of low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic dieting, ketone levels in the blood can increase to ~1 - 2 mM, achieving ketosis.5

Difficulties reaching these levels might lead some dieters to reduce carbs even further, increasing fat intake and lowering protein intake. While one person may need to drop carbs down to 20 grams per day, another may see results on 100 grams of carbs (especially if they’re highly active).

Remember how important it is to measure ketone blood levels accurately? Same goes for food tracking. A food tracking app, like MyFitnessPal, provides insight into macronutrient intake and thus the ability to tweak the diet to achieve ketosis. Tracking diet (inputs) and measuring ketones levels (outputs) delivers the best shot at optimizing the keto diet plan.

Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a simple and effective way to lose weight, decrease body fat and enhance overall health.6 The body increasingly relies on fat stores for energy, and some of that fat is turned into ketones, resulting in ketone levels increasing in the blood.

There are several ways to approach the “intermittent” part of food restriction. One of the most common is limiting the window in which food is consumed to about eight hours a day. Another is fasting for a full 24 hours once a week, or once a month. Fasting beyond three days can be stressful on the body and should be done with medical advice and supervision.

Fasting for just 12 - 16 hours can achieve ketosis, albeit at lower levels at about ~.05mM.7 But a 48-hour fast can boost ketone levels in the blood by 20x, between 1 - 2mM.

Exercise

Human and animal studies have shown exercise increases BHB.8,9,10

The level of post-exercise ketosis, however, is influenced by several factors, including: exercise intensity, duration of the exercise, training experience level (athletes vs. non-athletes) and diet. But diet might be the most important of these factors.

Diet influences levels of glycogen stores, and exercise triggers depletion of glycogen stores–this depletion is critical for ketosis, and has an impact on blood ketone levels following exercise. If one exercises and doesn’t eat carbohydrates after, this can also speed up the process of natural ketone production.

A low-carb diet increases post-exercise ketosis, whereas a high carbohydrate intake inhibits it, regardless of the other factors.10

time to ketosis.png

Can I Get Into Deep Ketosis Faster?

A ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting and exercise can all work symbiotically encourage a state of ketosis. Even together, all these endogenous methods take time.

Enter exogenous ketones.

Exogenous ketone supplements provide a way to fast-track deep ketosis. There are two types of exogenous ketone supplements currently available, with one outlier.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil is the outlier. It doesn’t actually contain ketones, but instead, a fat easily converted into BHB. After taking MCT, blood ketone levels rise slowly over several hours.

MCT oil is extracted primarily from coconut oil, and derives unique benefits from its shorter fatty acid chain length. Most dietary fat contains 12 carbons in the fatty acid chain, while MCTs are only 6 - 12 carbon chains in length. Shorter chain length allows for easier absorption and rapid conversion to energy in the liver, specifically caprylic (C8) and capric (C10).

Exogenous ketones include salts and esters. Both can quickly raise blood concentrations of BHB within minutes and quickly induce a deep state of ketosis without dieting or fasting.

Studies have shown ketone esters, like HVMN Ketone, more potently raise blood ketones when compared to salts.

That was nearly three-times the level attained by a ketone salt drink.4

Other studies have reported D-BHB levels (the ketone body present in HVMN Ketone) up to 6.0 mM following ingestion of D-BHB ketone ester drinks.11,12

Keto-Adaptation Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Keto-adaption is a complex set of metabolic processes in which the body shifts from using primarily glucose for energy to using largely ketones and fat for energy. Achieving ketosisdoesn’t mean the body is maximizing the use of these ketones; it takes longer than a few days for the body to get used to burning fat and ketones as its predominant fuels.

Human research evaluating the long-term effects of a low-carb diet is very limited. Most studies on low-carb diets rarely run more than two weeks, so finding a definitive answer for how long it takes to keto-adapt is unclear.

But analyzing a few different adaptations, which are triggered by the keto diet, can provide a clearer picture of the time it takes to keto-adapt.

results of keto.png

Higher Fat Utilization

The potential for fat burning during exercise can be increased massively while on the ketogenic diet.

Recently, a study in keto-adapted elite runners demonstrated keto athletes burned double the amount of fat at the relatively high exercise intensity of 70% (compared to athletes on a normal diet).

Keto athletes consistently followed a low carb, high-fat ketogenic diet for six months. They ate 82 grams of carbs a day, compared to a high-carb group of runners who consumed 684 gram of carbs per day.13 Increases in fat burning have also been seen after far shorter time intervals on the ketogenic diet.14

One should allow weeks or months of adoption for prime athletic performance on the ketogenic diet.

Glycogen Conservation

Prevailing thought says muscle glycogen is lower than normal when carbohydrate intake is restricted. But keto-adaption changes this.

A major study in keto-adapted elite runners demonstrated that muscle glycogen was the same as athletes who ate ample carbs. Over time, the body adapts to be able to make more carbohydrates–by a process called gluconeogenesis–and this keeps muscle glycogen levels close to normal even without dietary carbohydrates.

Ketones are Brainfood

The brain runs on glucose or ketones–not fat.

During ketosis, other tissues in the body adapt to use fatty acids for fuel. This process spares ketones for the brain, while also saving protein breakdown to make glucose. Muscle specifically undergoes a major shift.

Early in the keto diet, muscle cells use both ketones and fatty acids for energy. But once fully keto-adapted, muscle turns to fatty acid as primary fuel. This adaption in fuel flow can take weeks or months.15

More Mitochondria, More Energy

Though human studies are lacking, evidence from animal studies indicates the keto diet can increase creation of new mitochondria (called mitochondrial biogenesis).16,17,18

Why are more mitochondria important? They’re the cell’s workhorses.

On a cellular level, mitochondria are where fuel converts to energy, and more mitochondria mean more efficient energy production. The keto diet is known to activate AMPK–an important nutrient sensor found in every cell that increases production of mitochondria.19,20

Ketones are also a cleaner-burning fuel than carbs. They’re burned for energy in the mitochondria, and fewer free radicals (a highly-reactive, short-lived uncharged molecule) are generated when compared to burning glucose.15 What’s more, ketone molecules themselves cause a decrease in production of free radicals,21,22 while also increasing glutathione–a powerful antioxidant protecting against mitochondrial damage induced by free radicals.23

In ketosis, building new mitochondria and/or reduced mitochondrial damage leads to an increased density of mitochondria. In muscle, this keto-induced adaptation develops slowly over 3 - 4 weeks.24,25

Ketosis and You

The level of ketosis, and the time it takes to get there, depends on several variables. Maybe a ketogenic diet puts you into ketosis in a couple days. Maybe you can achieve deep ketosis after an 18 hour fast. Regardless, diet and fasting produce endogenous ketones and take longer to achieve ketosis.

Exogenous ketones, like HVMN Ketone, can put the body into a deep state of ketosis within a matter of minutes, without having to restrict carb intake via diet or fasting.

But all of these efforts compound, especially when considering how to become keto-adapted. It’s important to take a holistic approach to ketosis, measure results and adapt based on those results.

Ketosis takes time, but the benefits are worth the effort.

 

Carb Cycling Guide For Athletes

Originally published on HVMN by Nate Martins.

10,080–that’s how many minutes are in a week. Maintaining a diet through all those minutes, for weeks or months, requires supreme, almost unwavering willpower.

Even The Rock doesn’t do it; his Sunday night cheat meals are stuff of legend, consisting of thousands of calories of his favorite food.

The social side of dieting is tough. It takes dedication to remain unmoved on a diet; happy hour invites, dinners out, work-sponsored lunches–saying “no” to all these are small wins on the battlefield of dieting. For a diet like the ketogenic diet, avoiding carbohydrates can feel like tip-toeing through a minefield of Western, carb-centric eating.

For athletes, it can be difficult because we rely so heavily on carbohydrates for fuel. Of course, there’s growing research about how to use bodily fat as a fuel source,1 but carbohydrates have been the gold standard exercise nutrition for years.

Carb cycling is planned consumption of different amounts of carbohydrates, usually throughout the week. Everyone can develop their own carb cycle based on need; for example, keto athletes might work in carb days during especially hard training blocks.

While carb cycling isn’t for everyone, it can be a great way to optimize a diet based on your personal needs.

What’s a Carb, Anyway?

There are three different types of macronutrient fuel sources in our food: fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

bodys fuel.png

The main function of dietary carbs is to be a source of energy. Some even argue they aren’t essential, and can be made from dietary protein and fat.2 This process is called gluconeogenesis, a metabolic pathway generating glucose from non-carbohydrate substrates.

Carbs (especially refined carbs) raise blood sugar, resulting in the body producing extra insulin to bring that blood sugar down. Insulin is a hormone that triggers fat storage–so more carbs means more insulin which means more conversion of carbs to fat stores.

As a fuel source, carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores in the muscle and liver. They also maintain blood glucose concentrations as fuel for the body, but also for the brain. That’s the spike in energy you experience after an afternoon stack, as blood glucose fluctuates throughout the day when we consume carbs.

Simply put, carbohydrates are the body’s most readily available fuel. But when we don’t use that fuel, carbohydrate manifest as fat.

When following a keto diet, lower carb intake is necessary (like 25g of carbs per day–the amount in a single banana). This encourages the body to burn fat and also to convert fat to ketones. Consuming carbohydrates causes insulin release, which inhibits ketone production in the liver.

Science Behind Carb Cycling

What is carb cycling, and why is it beneficial? Looking at the science can provide some clarity. Maybe a more accurate definition of carb cycling is carb manipulation.

The goal is to match the body’s need for glucose depending on activity or activity level overall.

High-Carb Days

High-carb days are usually matched with workouts when you might need more glucose–like high-intensity interval sessions or a long day in the weight room.

When you exercise at a high intensity, the body makes most of its energy from carbohydrates, either breaking it down aerobically (with oxygen), or anaerobically (without oxygen), forming lactic acid. This would be the optimal time to introduce a higher amount of carbohydrates into the diet because the body uses more carbohydrate during the workout itself, and then after the workout to make glycogen to refuel and decrease muscle breakdown.3

When looking for your highest possible power or speed output, carbs are often necessary for the body to produce its best results during intense training sessions.

Low-Carb Days

In traditional carb-cycling, low-carb days are meant for days on which you do not train–the idea is the body doesn’t need carbs because its demand for fuel is far less than on workout days.

But further investigation by scientists have shown some of the advantages of training on these low carb days, which has two main benefits: it helps to speed up general adaptations to aerobic training, and it increases fat burning and thus improves endurance.

One of the key, groundbreaking experiments in this field was conducted using single-legged cycling exercise. Athletes had to cycle using just one leg at a time; the left leg cycled one hour straight, and the right leg did two half hours with a few hours in between where no recovery fuel was given. This means that the right leg was training in a carb depleted state during the second session. Muscle biopsy samples revealed that the twice-trained leg saw bigger gains in the enzymes that are key for aerobic respiration. This led to the conclusion that low-carb training could accelerate aerobic gains.4

Strategic low-carb days focus on switching the body back to using fat as energy and increase aerobic capacity. Research is continuing on this topic, but athletes are looking to boost the ability of the body to tap into fat as a fuel source, since we store more fat than carbohydrates.

Training in a low-carb state has been shown to increase the ability of the body to burn fat over the long haul, improving metabolic flexibility.5 There have even been studies noting keto-adapted athletes can use fat in preference to carbohydrates for moderate intensity endurance exercises, in which carbohydrates would usually be used as fuel.6

But it takes time. Robert Sikes is a professional bodybuilder and founder/owner of Keto Savage. He's a bodybuilder on the keto diet; backstage at events, he receives inquisitive looks from competitors when they find out he's keto. But the results speak for themselves and after events, he'll even get asked about he's able to train with such little carb intake. He says it can takes years to full fat-adapt, and that it’s something that doesn’t happen in the short term.

“You need to allow yourself to be completely adapted to life without carbs. Play the long game. Be diligent with hitting macros and eating wholesome foods.”

Robert Sikes

By controlling carbs, and the types of carbs consumed, there also may be a benefit in manipulating insulin and insulin responses.7,8 This would likely help with improving metabolic health.

It is becoming widely accepted that athletes should adopt carb cycling or periodization of carbs based on training needs. This ensures fuel for the work required (so training intensity isn’t compromised), while also empowering the body to metabolically trapease between carbohydrates and fats as fuel sources as available.9

Benefits of Carb Cycling

benefits of carb cycling.png

The benefits are carb cycling are measured against personal goals. Do you want to improve body composition? How about improve training or recovery?

Ask yourself what you want to achieve with carb cycling to best understand its benefits.

Body Composition

As with most diets, a major goal is usually weight loss. Because we consume such a high amount of calories as carbohydrates in Western diets, limiting those calories and carbs will ultimately lead to fat loss. The process aligns with most other diets: consume less calories than the body burns, enter a calorie deficit and promote weight loss.10

Though specific research on carb cycling is limited, generally studies show that limiting carb intake works well for weight loss. One study analyzed overweight women who had a family history of breast cancer. Three groups were randomly assigned different diets: calorie-restricted and low-carb diet, low-carb but unlimited protein and healthy fat, and a standard, calorie-restricted diet. Women in both low-carbohydrate groups showed better results for weight loss.11

Performance and Recovery

Training in a low-carb state can help with weight loss, boost fat burning capacity, and can speed up aerobic adaptation to training. However, athletes face a compromise when employing low-carb diets; they need the carbohydrates to perform at the highest intensity (especially in a race), and want to keep that energy system working well, but still want the benefits of carb restriction.

Making sure the body has carbs for tough training can help performance. The body needs fuel for the most difficult exercise days. Since carbohydrates are the body’s most readily available fuel source, consuming carbs before a workout enables the body to train harder for high-intensity, short-duration exercise.12 Interestingly, even the presence of carbohydrates in the mouth (meaning, not actually ingested) can lead to increased performance, because they activated brain regions believed to be involved in reward and motor control.13

Carbs can also help accelerate recovery. After exercise, consuming carbohydrates can lead to glycogen resynthesis and protein synthesis (after resistance training).14,3 So, it’s easier to perform and recover if you have enough carbohydrate in your diet. Carb cycling means those big training days can be high quality.

Other Benefits

By cycling carbohydrate consumption, you may be afforded some of the benefits of both higher-carb and lower-carb diets–and avoid some of the common negative side-effects.

Metabolic Health: The combination of two types of diets may help you become metabolically flexible.5

The days with low-carbs may have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity; this study showed the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet on glucose metabolism, lowering fasting glucose and insulin values.8 And when compared to a low-fat diet, a low-carb diet led to greater weight loss, which in turn led to a decrease in triglyceride levels15–high levels of triglycerides have been associated with cardiovascular disease.16

Hormone Health: There are some concerns that hormones might be negatively affected by a badly put together low-carb diet, but this could be mitigated by strategic carb feeding.

High-carb feeding periods can potentially boost the levels of some vital hormones, like cortisol. There are some concerns that cortisol can decline when following a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet (although not much research supports this fear). To combat this possibility, either make sure your keto diet is well-formulated with enough calories and nutrients,17 or cycle periods of carbohydrate feeding to give your body a break.

In men, testosterone concentrations were higher after a ten-day high-carbohydrate diet, while cortisol concentrations were consistently lower on the same diet, suggesting the power of diet (specifically the ratio of carbohydrate to protein) as a factor in hormone regulation.16

Thyroid hormones are essential to regulating metabolism,18 being crucial determinants of resting metabolic rate. But they themselves are in turn regulated by diet and metabolism because glucose fuels the production of those thyroid hormones. The thyroid produces a large amount of T4 hormones, which are then converted into T3 hormones (T3 is the active thyroid hormone influencing many body processes). When carb intake is reduced, conversion of T4 to T3 reduces.19 People worry that this might lead to a lower metabolic rate and thus slow down weight loss with a low-carb diet

Longevity: The ketogenic diet may help to increase lifespan and healthspan.

This might be increased further by taking a cyclical approach to the diet: alternating high-carb and low-carb weeks. One study fed a ketogenic diet to mice every other week. Results showed avoidance of obesity, reducing midlife mortality, and prevented memory decline.20

How to Carb Cycle

Anyone from ametuer dieter to serious athlete can carb cycle. There are different options for how carefully you implement carb cycling, depending on training and recovery needs as well as your overall goals.

Creating a schedule, tracking your progress and targeting carbohydrate intake can help develop a well-formulated plan to succeed cycling carbs.

Create a Schedule

Before a single carb touches your lips, think about your goals. These will formulate your carb cycling plan.

planning carb cycling.png

Do you want to lose weight, or maintain weight? Do you want to boost aerobic fat burning capacity or target a lean body composition?

Then consider your typical training week. Which days are your most intense workouts? Which days can you recover, even without carbs? Do you meal prep to make sure you get enough quality, low-carb foods?

Serious athletes might want to take it one step further and consider carb cycling over a longer period, to keep up with training or competition cycle. Instead of breaking up a single week into high-carb and low-carb days, each week would have a different carbohydrate goal. Weeks with a heavy training load would be carb-heavy, while weeks with a lower training load or coming into a weigh-in could be more low/moderate-carb.

Your answers to these questions will determine how you go about cycling carbs. Don’t be afraid to change the schedule and be a bit flexible once you get started.

Log calories and macros

Establishing a calorie goal could prove helpful (especially if you’re trying to lose weight). Multiply your bodyweight by ten, and that’s the amount of calories to work toward if you want to lose weight. To gain weight, you can multiply your bodyweight by 15 to garner a ballpark daily calorie target.

Tracking your macros in a food journal or an app will help keep you accountable. Taking note of everything you eat will let you make sure you get enough calories from the right type of macronutrients while giving you a better understanding of how diet impacts your training output.

Target for a High-Carb Day

High-carb days should accompany your toughest training sessions of the week, such as intense intervals or prolonged weight training. These days call for about 2g of carbs per pound of bodyweight, and they’ll be your highest calories days. If you’re working out four times a week, and weight training once or twice a week, then you should have about one or two high-carb days each week.

Note that you might want to eat high-carb the night before a heavy morning workout to make sure that you are fueled up and ready to go, even if the training on that day was not that intense.

Target for a Medium or Low-Carb Day

Low-carb or medium-carb days can be used to fuel less-intense workouts or recovery days. Depending on training volume, low/medium carb days can be anywhere from 50g - 150g of carbs.

Training low doesn’t mean training on zero carbohydrates. On low-carb days, be sure to prioritize other macronutrients such as good quality protein and fat. High protein intake is important for post-workout recovery and the development of muscle mass. When cutting back on carbs, make sure you get enough calories, and the bulk of these should come from fat.

There are a few strategies that you can use to control your carb intake around your training sessions.

Training low: start your training having limited your carb intake beforehand. Implementing this strategy is simple. You may wake up and workout in the morning without eating before. You may even increase the effect by limiting carb intake the night before. If you workout during the evening, you may limit carbs from morning until that evening training session.

Sleeping low: don’t refuel using carbs after a workout, and stretch out the period before you refuel by sleeping overnight before refuelling with carbs at breakfast. This has shown promise, with a recent review in elite cyclists describing how the “sleep low, train low” method (where morning exercise commences with less than 200 mM of glycogen), improved results for cycling efficiency.20

On low-carb days, be clever to ensure quality training and recovery. Performing on a low-carb day can be difficult, so consider taking a low-carb or keto energy source, such as HVMN Ketone. Elite athletes have used HVMN Ketone to give them BHB as a fuel during high intensity time trials, showing that if you really want to avoid carbs, swapping in ketones can be a great energy alternative.

Another way to get a boost is to mouth rinse with carbs; this can improve performance without needing to actually eat carbs. You can also use caffeine before your workout, which is another reliable, carb-free way to get your body ready to perform.

What about recovery? BHB from HVMN Ketone is a carb-free alternative for recovery on low-carb days. Studies have shown that not only is less glycogen broken down in training with HVMN Ketone,21 but glycogen22 and protein resynthesis23 are also increased by 60% and 2x respectively. BHB could be a great way to help protect your recovery but also keep carb intake low.

Foods to Remember

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With all this talk of carbs, you need to know where to find them so you can either stock up or steer clear.

A carb cycling diet requires high quality, healthy carbs and whole foods. Every once in a while it’s fine to treat yourself in epic, The Rock-like proportions, but from day-to-day, it’s all about maintaining balance. Good carbs include whole grains (like brown rice and oats), legumes (like beans, a good slow-digesting carb) and tubers (sweet potatoes).

Foods low in carbs include meat (beef, chicken, fish), eggs, vegetables (like bell peppers, broccoli and mushrooms), nuts (almonds, walnuts) and dairy (cheese, yogurt). Building a meal plan to incorporate all these types of food should help with each phase of the carb cycling. Even better? Meal prepping, so the stress of cooking depending on the day goes out the window.

But don’t forget about fiber; it plays an important role in weight loss, energy maintenance, regulating blood sugar and controlling hunger. Though fiber is a carb, it doesn’t raise blood sugar like other carbs and plays an important metabolic role because it doesn’t convert to glucose.

Is Carb Cycling Right For You?

It depends on your goals. It also requires some experimentation–based on your lifestyle and fitness routine, finding the right balance of high-carb and low-carb days can take some time and will probably change over the long-term.

What’s nice about carb cycling is the flexibility. It empowers a dieter some choice, while also providing the ability to fuel on days where it’s required, like ahead of intense training sessions. Benefiting from each could help an athlete reach goals for exercise, as well as goals for body composition. But remember to check with your doctor before implementing such wholesale changes to the way you eat.

If you’ve tried carb cycling, let us know the results in the comments.

Scientific Citations

1. Volek, J.S., Noakes, T.D., and Phinney, S.D. (2015). Rethinking fat as a performance fuel. Eur J Sport Sci 15.

2. Westman, E.C., Yancy, W.S., Edman, J.S., Tomlin, K.F., and Perkins, C.E. (2002). Effect of six-month adherence to a very-low-carbohydrate diet program. Am J Med 113.

3. Borsheim E, Cree MG, Tipton KD, Elliott TA, Aarsland A, Wolfe RR. Effect of carbohydrate intake on net muscle protein synthesis during recovery from resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2004;96(2):674-8.

4. Hansen AK, Fischer CP, Plomgaard P, Andersen JL, Saltin B, Pedersen BK. Skeletal muscle adaptation: training twice every second day vs. training once daily. J Appl Physiol. 2005;98(1):93-9.

5. Kunces L, Volk B, Freidenreich D, et al. Effect of a very low carbohydrate diet followed by incremental increases in carbohydrate on respiratory exchange ratio. FASEB Journal. 2014;28(1).

6. Volek, J.S., Freidenreich, D.J., Saenz, C., Kunces, L.J., Creighton, B.C., Bartley, J.M., Davitt, P.M., Munoz, C.X., Anderson, J.M., Maresh, C.M., et al. (2016). Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners. Metabolism 65, 100-110.

7. Reaven GM. Effects of differences in amount and kind of dietary carbohydrate on plasma glucose and insulin responses in man. Am J Clin Nutr. 1979;32(12):2568-78.

8. Gower BA, Goss AM. A lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2015;145(1):177S-83S.

9. Impey SG, Hearris MA, Hammond KM, et al. Fuel for the Work Required: A Theoretical Framework for Carbohydrate Periodization and the Glycogen Threshold Hypothesis. Sports Med. 2018;48(5):1031-1048.

10. Sacks FM, Bray GA, Carey VJ, et al. Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. N Engl J Med. 2009;360(9):859-73.

11. Harvie M, Wright C, Pegington M, et al. The effect of intermittent energy and carbohydrate restriction v. daily energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers in overweight women. Br J Nutr. 2013;110(8):1534-47.

12. Pizza FX, Flynn MG, Duscha BD, Holden J, Kubitz ER. A carbohydrate loading regimen improves high intensity, short duration exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr. 1995;5(2):110-6.

13. Chambers ES, Bridge MW, Jones DA. Carbohydrate sensing in the human mouth: effects on exercise performance and brain activity. J Physiol (Lond). 2009;587(Pt 8):1779-94.

14. Ivy JL. Glycogen resynthesis after exercise: effect of carbohydrate intake. Int J Sports Med. 1998;19 Suppl 2:S142-5.

15. Yancy W, Olsen MK, Guytib JR, et al. A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140(10):769-777.

16. Harchaoui KE, Visser ME, Kastelein JJ, Stroes ES, Dallinga-thie GM. Triglycerides and cardiovascular risk. Curr Cardiol Rev. 2009;5(3):216-22.

17. Volek, J.S., Gomez, A.L., and Kraemer, W.J. (2000). Fasting lipoprotein and postprandial triacylglycerol responses to a low-carbohydrate diet supplemented with n-3 fatty acids. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 19, 383-391.

18. Chidakel A, Mentuccia D, Celi FS. Peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormone and glucose homeostasis. Thyroid. 2005;15(8):899-903.

19. Bisschop PH, Sauerwein HP, Endert E, Romijn JA. Isocaloric carbohydrate deprivation induces protein catabolism despite a low T3-syndrome in healthy men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2001;54(1):75-80.

20. Ketogenic Diet Reduces Midlife Mortality and Improves Memory in Aging Mice Newman, John C. et al. Cell Metabolism , Volume 26 , Issue 3 , 547 - 557.e8

21. Cox, P.J., Kirk, T., Ashmore, T., Willerton, K., Evans, R., Smith, A., Murray, Andrew J., Stubbs, B., West, J., McLure, Stewart W., et al. (2016). Nutritional Ketosis Alters Fuel Preference and Thereby Endurance Performance in Athletes. Cell Metabolism 24, 1-13.

22. Holdsworth, D.A., Cox, P.J., Kirk, T., Stradling, H., Impey, S.G., and Clarke, K. (2017). A Ketone Ester Drink Increases Postexercise Muscle Glycogen Synthesis in Humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc.

23. Vandoorne, T., De Smet, S., Ramaekers, M., Van Thienen, R., De Bock, K., Clarke, K., and Hespel, P. (2017). Intake of a Ketone Ester Drink during Recovery from Exercise Promotes mTORC1 Signaling but Not Glycogen Resynthesis in Human Muscle. Front. Physiol. 8, 310.

FTW AVOCADO CHIPS

If you miss traditional “chips” you will love these fat packed avocado Parmesan chips. They have a crunchy, fatty, salty consistency just like potato chips, with zero of the carbs. A VERY simple recipe as well! Enjoy!

TOOLS NEEDED

baking sheet

parchment paper

mixing bowl

fork

cutting knife

teaspoon

oven preheated at 325 degrees

INGREDIENTS

1 large avocado

1 tsp lemon juice

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cup the ripe avocado in half and de-seed. scoop out the insides into a mixing bowl.

  2. Pour 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan into mixing bowl.

  3. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze 1 tsp lemon juice into the mixing bowl.

  4. Measure out 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Pour into mixing bowl.

  5. Measure out 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt. Pour into mixing bowl.

  6. Mash and mix all ingredients together with a fork.

  7. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place dollops of the avocado mixture onto the pan and flatten into “chips”.

  8. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

  9. Let cool.

  10. Scoop them in any dipping sauce, we recommend salsa and sour cream and enjoy!

Pink Keto Cupcakes

Nope, they are not green, because the birthday boy wants pink cupcakes on his St Patty’s day birthday. I winged this recipe and these cupcakes turned out to be so buttery and moist, I can’t believe I pulled them off by just winging it with the ingredients I had at the house. Best part is, no one will even guess that they are gluten, sugar and grain free. No artificial dyes or colors here either! Nature makes the best pink food coloring...raspberries!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CUPCAKE:

2 cups almond flour

1 cup melted butter

1 TBS vanilla extract
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar substitute (we recommend monkfruit in the raw)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350

  2. Mix all wet ingredients together from list above.

  3. in a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.

  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing with a mixer or a large spoon until you get a batter. If the batter is too wet, add equal parts almond flour and granulated sugar substitute in order to make the batter the correct consistency.

  5. Place cupcake liner paper in 2 cupcake baking trays, pour batter to the just over halfway mark in each cupcake tin.

  6. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown and cooked in the center.

    Let cool to room temperature before icing.

INGREDIENTS FOR RASPBERRY CREAM CHEESE ICING

1 CUP SOFTENED BUTTER

2 CUPS POWDERED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE (WE RECOMMEND SWERVE)

1 CUP SOFTENED CREAM CHEESE

1/2 CUP RASPBERRIES

1 TBS VANILLA EXTRACT

1/4 CUP OF RASPBERRIES FOR DECORATIVE TOUCH

DIRECTIONS

  1. PLACE ALL INGREDIENTS ABOVE MINUS THE DECORATIVE RASPBERRIES INTO A LARGE MIXING BOWL.

  2. USING A HAND OR A STAND MIXER, MIX INGREDIENTS TOGETHER UNTIL THE INGREDIENTS ARE WELL BLENDED AND HAVE AN ICING CONSISTENCY.

  3. PLACE ICING IN REFRIGERATOR UNTIL READY TO ICE THE CUPCAKES.

  4. YOU MAY WANT TO USE AN ICING PIPE TO ICE THE CUPCAKES, OR NOT BE FANCY AT ALL AND JUST TAKE A LARGE SPOONFUL OF ICING AND PLOP IT GENTLY ONTO THE TOP OF EACH CUPCAKE. PLACE ONE RASPBERRY ON TOP FOR DELICIOUS DECORATION.

54258081_771799936524192_5580261556685373440_o.jpg

Keto Berry Layer Cake

CAKE INGREDIENTS:

1 AND 1/4 CUP MELTED GHEE

5 EGGS

2 CUPS FULLY FAT COCONUT MILK

1/2 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE (YOUR PREFERENCE, BUT WE SUGGEST MONK FRUIT IN THE RAW)

1 TBS VANILLA EXTRACT

2 AND 1/4 CUP ALMOND FLOUR

3/4 CUP COCONUT FLOUR

2 TSP BAKING SODA

1/2 TSP SALT

DIRECTIONS:

  1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

  2. GREASE TWO 8X8 CAKE PANS OR LINE WITH PARCHMENT PAPER

  3. IN A LARGE MIXING BOWL, COMBINE ALL THE WET INGREDIENTS. WHISK UNTIL COMPLETELY COMBINED.

  4. IN A MEDIUM MIXING BOWL, COMBINE ALL DRY INGREDIENTS. MIX TO COMBINE.

  5. POUR THE DRY INGREDIENT CONTENTS BOWL INTO THE WET INGREDIENTS BOWL AND MIX THOROUGHLY TO A BATTER.

  6. EVENLY DISTRIBUTE THE BATTERS BETWEEN THE TWO CAKE PANS.

  7. BAKE FOR 35-45 MINUTES, OR UNTIL THE CAKE IS SET IN THE MIDDLE. INSERTING A TOOTHPICK OR A FORK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CAKE SHOULD COME OUT CLEAN.

  8. WHEN THE CAKES ARE COMPLETED BAKING, LET THEM SET OUT UNTIL COOLED TO ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE ADDING FROSTING.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

INGREDIENTS:

2 CUPS SOFTENED BUTTER

2 CUPS CONFECTIONERS SUGAR SUBSTITUTE (WE LIKE THE SWERVE BRAND)

6 TBS FULL FAT COCONUT MILK

1 TBS VANILLA EXTRACT

DIRECTIONS:

  1. COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS INTO A LARGE MIXING BOWL.

  2. WITH AN ELECTRIC MIXER, MASH THE INGREDIENTS TOGETHER TO COMBINE AND THEN WHIP UNTIL A SMOOTH TEXTURE IS ACHIEVED.

TO CREATE THE BERRY LAYER CAKE:

  1. CUT UP SLICES OF RIPE STRAWBERRIES SO THAT THEY WILL LAY FLAT IN THE MIDDLE LAYER OF THE CAKE.

  2. PLACE A 1/2 INCH LAYER OF ICING ON TOP OF ONE OF THE CAKES.

  3. LAY STRAWBERRY SLICES ON TOP OF THE ICING LAYER CREATING ONE LAYER OF STRAWBERRIES.

  4. PLACE A 1/2 INCH OF ICING ON TOP OF THE YET UN-ICED CAKE.

  5. CAREFULLY PLACE THE ICING SIDE OF THE ICING SIDE OF THE CAKE ON TOP OF THE STRAWBERRY LAYERED CAKE, MAKING A ICING, STRAWBERRY, ICING “SANDWICH” MIDDLE LAYER.

  6. GENEROUSLY ICE THE TOP OF THE CAKE.

  7. PLACE BLUEBERRIES ON TOP OF THE GENEROUSLY ICED CAKE IN ONE LAYER, GENTLY PUSHING DOWN ON THE BLUEBERRY TO EMBED THEM INTO THE ICING HALFWAY.

STORE THE CAKE IN A REFRIGERATOR UNTIL A FEW MINUTES BEFORE READY TO SERVE. CUTTING INTO THE CAKE WILL EXPOSE THE PRETTY LAYERS OF BLUEBERRIES, ICING, CAKE, ICING, STRAWBERRIES, ICING AND CAKE.

P.S. NO ONE WILL GUESS THIS CAKE IS GLUTEN FREE, GRAIN FREE AND SUGAR FREE.

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LOW CARB CHEESY SQUASH AND SPINACH CASSEROLE

My fiance bought a squash and it sat on the counter for 2 weeks because neither of us really knew what to do with it. The traditional way to make squash is with lots of brown sugar….and that is out of the question, so I went on a Google search to find a way to make this as low carb as possible. I found a base recipe and changed some things, and let me tell you, it was delicious! Yes, squash is a starchy vegetable and not normally consumed on a low carb diet, but on occasion it’s good for your gut to get some high fiber starchy veggies, so don’t worry about having squash every once in awhile (minus the sugar of course!). Here is my recipe. P.s. I am now dubbing this one to take the place of potatoes au gratin AND squash casserole at holiday gatherings.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 Tablespoon butter

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 cups peeled and cubed yellow squash

  • 2 cups baby spinach

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, divided

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 2 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir onion and garlic in the hot oil-butter mixture until softened, about 3 minutes. Add squash, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer squash mixture to a large bowl.

  2. Mix raw almonds and 1/2 cup Colby-Monterey Jack cheese together in a bowl; stir into squash mixture.

  3. Whisk cream and eggs together in a measuring cup or small bowl; stir into squash mixture.

  4. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with olive oil. Take one cup of baby spinach and layer at the bottom of the dish. Pour and layer half of the squash mixture on top of the 1st layer of spinach. Place a second cup of the baby spinach on top of the 1st layer of squash. Then finally add the last half of the squash mixture on top of the second layer of spinach. Top with remaining Colby-Monterey Jack cheese and almond mixture if desired.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until casserole is golden brown and bubbling, 20- 30 minutes.

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Chicken Satay Sir Fry With Peanut Sauce

The problem with Asian food is the fact that they typically use oils and sauces that contain soy and gluten and of course….rice. Chicken Satay with peanut sauce is an item I would always order at an Asian restaurant, so I decided to make a gluten free, soy free, rice free version of this traditional Asian dish.

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Marinating Time 6 hours

Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

CHICKEN:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (3/4 to 1 pound total)

  • 1 scallion thinly sliced

Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk

  • 3 cloves garlic minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder or curry paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

Peanut sauce:

  • 1/4 cup natural, sugar free peanut butter

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (ensure you purchase gluten free)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (ensure you purchase gluten free)

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

STIR FRY VEGETABLES

Purchase a frozen Asian stir fry mixed vegetables.

Instructions

  1. Marinating the chicken: In a large bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and stir until well-mixed. Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch chunks and add them to the marinade, stirring to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

  2. Cooking the chicken: Drain the marinade from the chicken. Add 2 TBS of olive oil to a skillet. Cook the chicken at medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. Chicken pieces should not be pink, but not be brown either. You will finish cooking the chicken with the vegetables.

  3. Making the vegetables: Steam the bag of frozen Asian vegetables. Drain additional water and add to the pan with the almost done chicken. Add 1 TBS of Sesame oil and turn the skillet on high heat. Stir fry the chicken until brown with the vegetables. In the last minute of cooking, add 3/4 of the scallions to the pan and stir them into the chicken and veggie mixture. Save 1/3 of the scallions as a garnish for serving or add to peanut sauce.

  4. Making the sauce: Add all peanut sauce ingredients to a small saucepan. Whisk together over medium-low heat until smooth, a few minutes. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.

  5. Serving: Serve chicken and vegetables onto a plate. Drizzle the peanut sauce over the chicken or dollop on the side as a dipping sauce. We highly suggest adding a side of garlic sriracha and you can even eat with some steamed cauliflower rice if not having “rice” with Asian food seems sacrilegious.


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Cauliflower Baked Ziti

Thank you to FTW Member Jill Hebron for this recipe and pictures!

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

pinch red pepper flakes

1 lb. ground beef

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp. thinly sliced basil, plus more for garnish

1 large head of cauliflower, (about 3 cups) cut into florets, blanched, and drained well

1 1/2 c. fresh ricotta

2 c. shredded mozzarella

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute. Add meat and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink, 6 minutes. Drain fat.

  2. Return saucepan over medium heat and add tomato paste and oregano. Cook for 2 minutes more, until slightly darkened. Add crushed tomatoes and bring sauce to a simmer, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and flavors have melded, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

  3. In a large bowl, pour sauce over cauliflower and stir to combine. In a large baking dish, place half the cauliflower in an even layer. Dollop all over with half the ricotta, and sprinkle with half the mozzarella and Parmesan. Add the rest of the cauliflower in an even layer on top, and top with remaining cheeses.

  4. Bake until cheese is melted and golden, 25 minutes. Garnish with basil before serving

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Cheesburger Bake

Thank you Fire Team Member Gina Wolter for this recipe!

CHEESEBURGER BAKE
INGREDIENTS
-1.5 lb ground beef
-1 packet Onion Soup Mix 
-2 tbs minced onions
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup mayo
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-8 oz cheddar cheese
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- yellow mustard for top optional added after baking
-Dill hamburger pickles as topping. optional

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Toss ground beef, onions and 1 package of onion soup mix in fry pan until lightly browned and drain the grease.

After draining mix together ground beef and 4 oz of cheddar cheese and place in lightly greased pie plate.

Next you will mix together eggs , mayo, heavy cream, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. After being mixed thoroughly pour mixture over beef in pie plate

Top with 4oz remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!!

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