keto

Top 3 ways to test for ketosis

Originally published on HVMN by Justin Liau, Michael Brandt and Nate Martins

HVMN lives on the bleeding edge of science. We try to stay up to date on the best methods to enhance human performance, including how to measure personal biomarkers. It’s a core principle at HVMN, an ethos to help anyone be the best version of themselves.

It’s also something we practice. CEO and Co-founder, Geoffrey Woo, measures his blood BHB levels using a blood reader device after drinking HVMN Ketone. These ketone levels are an excellent biomarker for tracking the effectiveness of fasting, ketogenic dieting, and exogenous ketones.


But there’s more than one way to test ketosis.

Why should you care about how high your ketone levels are?


HVMN takes a systems engineering approach to human performance: optimize inputs to achieve desired performance outputs.

Understanding blood ketone levels adds transparency and data fundamental to biohacking. It offers insight into where you might feel best, or help optimize diet to achieve personal goals. Many people monitor blood ketone levels while on the keto diet or taking exogenous ketones to verify that they’re actually in ketosis.


V6pKjJu.jpg

Setting a baseline while on the keto diet is helpful, especially if you’re using the keto diet for weight loss and other health benefits like controlling metabolic syndrome. For those on the low-carb, high-fat keto diet trying to lose weight, moderate ketone levels could be an indicator measurement of your dietary needs to reach those weight loss goals.

When on the keto diet, fat stores are broken down and fatty acid concentrations increase in the bloodstream. Those fatty acids are turned into ketones in the liver. When ketone levels exceed 0.5mM, that’s considered to be a state of “ketosis.” Nutritional ketosis is defined as blood ketone levels ranging from 0.5 - 3.0mM by pioneering ketone scientists Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney in “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living.”1

There are three methods to measure ketone levels; with this data, you’ll have the power to optimize your biohacking protocol.

Blood Testing

hpdnhadrgrtwjtkfpowg.png


Pros

  • Most accurate way to measure ketosis in mmol/L (mM)

  • Measures BHB, the predominant ketone in the body, rather than acetoacetate or acetone

Cons

  • You need a handheld device (i.e., Precision Xtra or Keto Mojo) and test strips, which can be expensive relative to other techniques

  • You have to take a finger prick blood sample which can be bothersome and invasive at first until you get used to it

When testing blood using a BHB/glucose meter, you’re getting the most accurate measurement available. The meters measure glucose or ketone levels depending on which test strips are inserted. Those with diabetes commonly use the same procedure and the same blood meters to measure their blood glucose levels. It's critical for people with diabetes to control blood sugar levels and also to avoid dangerously high levels ( > 20mM) of ketones, known as ketoacidosis.

A blood BHB/glucose meter provides the most accurate measurement available. These meters measure glucose or ketone levels depending on which test strips are used. Those with diabetes commonly use the same procedure and the same blood meters to measure their blood glucose levels. It's critical for people with diabetes to control blood sugar levels and also to avoid dangerously high levels ( > 20mM) of ketones, known as ketoacidosis.

Using a blood ketone meter device is simple. You’ll need the device itself, compatible test strip, a lancet device (to pick the finger), lancets (needs to prick the finger) and an alcohol swab for sanitation.

To take a reading, follow these steps:

  • Remove the cap from the lancing device and insert the lancet into the device

  • Rotate the tip of the cap of the lancing device and set it to the desired depth of puncture

  • Arm the lancing device by sliding the control button until you hear a click

  • Insert a strip into the reader

  • Swab the tip of your left index finger with a sterile wipe

  • Place the lancing device firmly on your left index fingertip

  • Press the button on the lancing device to puncture your fingertip

  • Gently squeeze your fingertip to extract a large drop of blood

  • Hold the reader and touch the bottom of the strip to the blood sample

  • Hold the reader in place and allow the strip to absorb the blood sample

Wait a few seconds for the reader to analyze the sample

All things considered, using a blood meter might seem like the obvious choice to measure ketone levels. But the finger prick and cost may lead you to explore other avenues for testing. Here are a couple more options.

Urine Testing

ansbgbyg8bdxcvtewsy4.png

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive

  • Widely available in pharmacies

  • Non-invasive

Cons

  • Less accurate than blood

  • Over time the body adapts to excrete fewer ketones in the urine

    Urine testing was designed to measure acetoacetate–one of three ketone bodies. But it doesn’t account for BHB, so urine testing may not be the most accurate measure of ketosis.

    Since urine is a waste product, what’s displayed on the ketone urine strips is what the body is excreting. By nature, that may not be the best indication of how well the body is utilizing ketones as fuel. As you become more keto-adapted, you’ll excrete fewer ketone bodies through urine. Hydration status can also affect these ketone readings, and leads to inconsistent results–as relative hydration level can dilute the concentration of ketones in urine.

    It comes down to this: urine ketone stirps are a cheap and easy way to get an understanding of early ketone levels, but for long-term use, they’re not the most accurate option.

    Breath Testing

    Pros

iqt3diq29brsjl5oacpt.png
  • After purchasing the device, it’s free each time you test

Cons

  • You need a handheld device (e.g. Ketonix)

  • Less accurate than blood meter

Breath ketone meters are relatively new to the market for testing ketone levels. They specifically measure the amount of acetone excreted in breath, providing readings that relate well to blood ketone levels at low concentrations.

But the research is limited. There haven’t been enough studies done to confirm the accuracy of breath acetone meters at higher levels, such as the level achieved after drinking HVMN Ketone. Acetone is the simplest and smallest of the three ketone bodies.

Choosing the Right Ketone Meter for You

In general, we recommend testing ketone levels if you’re trying to achieve nutritional ketosis or using exogenous ketones like HVMN Ketone.

If you're interested in achieving ketosis almost immediately, try our flagship product, HVMN Ketone. Blood ketone levels after using HVMN Ketone can reach 6mM, making it one of the most advanced ketone products on the market. You can try it here. Try consuming the product and testing blood ketone levels after to see the impactful results.

Fat burning mode via the ketogenic diet is tough to maintain–so it’s helpful to monitor ketone levels to make sure your efforts are worthwhile. While ketone readings don’t paint the whole picture of ketosis, they’re a large piece of the puzzle. You’ll have more transparency into what’s happening inside the body, developing an understanding of how fast and the level of ketosis you’re able to achieve.

Over time, some people develop intuition around what diet or routines lead to a given ketone level, but it’s helpful to establish a periodic basis for using an accurate ketone measurement device to get reliable objective data.

PORK APPLE AND ONIONS WITH BUTTERY RANCH MUSHROOMS

20190125_173358.jpg

I found these great recipes on the Chunky Chef and make a few changes and wow, this was such a satisfying meal for a chilly winter day!

GROCERY LIST FOR BOTH DISHES

4-5 Pork loins

2 medium apples

1 white onion

2 cartons of mushrooms (whatever kind you prefer)

Garlic (already peeled or peel your own, you just need 6 cloves)

Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Italian seasoning

stick of butter olive oil

INGREDIENTS FOR PORK APPLE AND ONIONS

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil 

  • Four 3-4 oz bone-in pork loins 

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 3/4 cup chicken stock

  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard or whole-grain Dijon

  • 1 TBS Italian seasoning

  • 2 medium apples thinly sliced (I used honey crisp)

  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Season both sides of pork chops with salt and black pepper. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to large heavy bottomed pan (or skillet), and heat over MED-HIGH heat. Add pork chops to pan, leaving at least an inch between the chops to ensure even cooking and browning. Sear 3-5 minutes per side, or until pork chops are mostly done. Chops will continue cooking in the sauce later.

  2. Remove pork chops to a plate.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together chicken stock and mustard, set aside.

  4. Add remaining 2 Tbsp oil to the pan, then add apples and onions. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper and the Italian seasoning. Stir to combine.

  5. Pour in stock mixture.

  6. Slide pork chops back into the pan, nestling them down in between the apples.

  7. Cook 2-3 minutes, until pork chops are finished cooking and liquid has reduced by half.

One-Pan-Pork-Chops-with-Apples-and-Onions-2.jpg

Ingredients for garlic butter ranch mushrooms

  • 2 cartons of mushrooms, you can cook whole or sliced, your choice

  • 1/2 stick of butter butter

  • 1 Ranch dressing packet (or whatever dressing mix you prefer, Italian works great as well)

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Clean mushrooms thoroughly, then slice if you prefer not to serve them whole and place in a medium sauce pan with 1/2 stick butter on medium heat.

    2. Once the butter has melted, pour the ranch dressing mix over the mushrooms.  Stir to coat.

    3. Cover and cook on LOW for about 10 minutes.  Make sure to give them a stir every couple of minutes to make sure they cook evenly. Check for desired tenderness, and cook a little longer if needed.

Buttery-Crockpot-Ranch-Mushrooms-4.jpg

The Keto Secret: How to lose weight without starvation, calorie counting or exercise

Fire Team Whiskey Founder, former Army Captain Stephanie Lincoln was fed up. She was frustrated because she was doing “all the right things” yet her weight continued to climb. She was eating “whole grains”, low fat, counting and controlling every calorie, exercising for 1-2 hours a day and yet, continued to gain weight. She threw in the towel and decided to embark on a search for the answer to her weight gain and long list of medical complaints. She then discovered this way of eating called Keto. Learn more about why keto resolved every single issue, cut her body fat in half, and the 3 “hacks” that made transitioning to keto easy and sustainable. Watch this webinar and learn about how you can use keto and these 3 “keto hacks” to lose weight without calorie counting, starvation or exercise.

Copyright Fire Team Whiskey LLC 2019 All rights reserved.

I ate over half a gallon of coconut oil in 60 days and here is what happened....

With the recent attacks on coconut oil by the American Heart Association and the long running medical view that coconut oil (which is high in saturated fat) is a “poisonous” food for humans to consume, I decided to do my own N=1 experiment.

steph coconut oil.png
SpecOps® Shakes
SpecOps™ Shakes:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

I bought a big jug of coconut oil (over half a gallon) and consumed, cooked with, drank or used on my skin the entire jug in 60 days. Here is what this looked like for me:

Every morning I had two cups of coffee with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 10 tablespoons of heavy cream. For lunch, I had a coconut MCT oil shake in the form of a Fire Team Whiskey SpecOps Shake. And when I made dinner, any vegetable or meat I cooked on a skillet was cooked in coconut oil. And sometimes I use it on my skin if my skin is especially dry.

According to the American Heart Association, because I am eating so much saturated fat, my "bad cholesterol" should be through the roof, I should be getting fat, and that I should be about ready to have a stroke or a heart attack any moment. I have been eating well over their recommended daily limit of 13 grams of saturated fat a day for 2 years now. I average about 100 grams of saturated fat per day! My blood work is exceptional in every single area. My body fat is at 16.5 percent. I have never been fitter. I have never felt healthier. According to the American Heart Association, I should be terribly sick or a heart attack waiting to happen...yet I can hike up a mountain for days with a 50-pound pack on my back and leave everyone in my dust. My ticker seems to have no trouble ticking.

So what is the conclusion of my little experiment of consuming over half a gallon of the "deadly" saturated fat filled coconut oil in 60 days and 2 years now of eating about 100 grams of saturated fats a day? The American Heart Association guidelines are not based on sound science. They provide dietary guidelines based on very old, faulty science, and refuse to consider any information that conflicts with their own. (Want to learn more about this saturated fat/cholesterol myth? Read the book Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore, it will blow your mind!

Want to learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil and it’s derivative, MCT Oil? Check out this video below and go to this page with a summary of over 20 scientific articles about the health benefits of MCTs.

FTW Founder Stephanie Lincoln discusses what happened when she ate over half a gallon of coconut oil in 60 days and the 12 benefits of coconut oil.

Copyright Fire Team Whiskey, LLC 2019 All rights reserved.

IS THE KETO DIET DANGEROUS?

Jillian Michael's recently went on a rant about the ketogenic diet and how she feels it is dangerous. The Ketogenic diet is a safe and healthy way to reduce your body fat and help all sorts of chronic medical conditions.

The Fire Team Whiskey nutrition plans walk our participants into a ketogenic lifestyle safely and gradually...avoiding the pitfalls of a sudden drastic drop in carbs and calories.

Keto is a form of eating that uses your body's natural ability to burn fat as energy. This state in the body is called KETOSIS. In order to burn fat as energy, you must greatly reduce the amount of carbohydrates and sugars in your daily diet. When your body runs of sugar to burn - it burns fat. This fat burn then creates the superfuel called KETONES. Ketones can not be stored as fat (unlike carbs) and are a super efficient energy source for your skeleton, muscles, heart and brain. Ketones produce almost endless energy and focus and have a ton of health benefits.* The Fire Team Whiskey® Caliber Nutrition Protocols, the FuelRation™ Keto Bars and SpecOps™ Shakes are all designed to support a keto lifestyle and keep your body burning and not storing fat

beforeaftercrop.jpg

After years of struggling with her weight, Fire Team Whiskey® Founder, CPT Stephanie Lincoln, discovered this way of eating and it changed her life. In fact, her body fat, fitness and health changed so dramatically thanks to the keto lifestyle, that she was inspired to share this way of life with Veterans, Military Members and First Responders. Why? Because Keto was the one way of eating that didn't require a lot of sacrifice and calorie cutting. Who wouldn't want to lose weight and still be able to eat bacon, cheese burgers, and steak?! 

The Fire Team Whiskey .22 Caliber Program starts you on your journey to ketosis. Unlike may other keto style eating plans, the .22 Caliber Protocol helps a person gradually transition into this way of life. No matter how busy you are, what shift you are on, or how much you travel, you can stay on your Caliber Eating plan. How is this possible? Not only can you get foods anywhere that follow the Caliber Eating plan guidelines, but you have the Fire Team Whiskey® FuelRation™ Bars and SpecOps Shakes™ to have on hand just in case you need a healthy keto snack or meal, right now

Join the FTW Keto Army and stop the yo-yo dieting, counting calories and worrying about the fact that you keep gaining weight as you get older. With the Fire Team Whiskey Nutritional Protocols, you will lose weight, burn fat, have endless energy and focus, never worry about weight gain again, all while LOVING WHAT YOU EAT! These Fire Team Whiskey Participants have discovered the life changing benefits of this way of eating and you can too!

jim before and after.png
43950334_101578500832327_5580790061001080832_n.jpg

What is the keto flu and how do you cure it?

The Fire Team Whiskey eating plans and supplements transition our participants to a ketogenic lifestyle. We designed our nutritional programs to slowly walk a person to a keto lifestyle over the course of 90 days. Taking a slower approach can help you avoid the dreaded “keto flu” and this is why we designed our nutritional plans in this manner. It is important to be vigilant and to make these adjustments in your lifestyle by adding supplements and paying attention to potential signs of the keto flu. If you would like to take a slower approach to starting a keto lifestyle and try the Fire Team Whiskey Keto nutritional Programs, chech out your options by clicking on the button below.

This article was republished on the FTW Blog site with the permission of HVM

Authored by Dr. Brianna StubbsAarushi Bajaj and Nate Martins • December 14, 2018

You've decided to try the keto diet. The low-carb, high-fat diet can be great for performance and decreasing body weight, but the body needs a little bit of time to adapt to fat as an energy source. Often, there are some symptoms involved during this period of adaptation.

It's called the "keto flu," a commonly-experienced set of side-effects associated with carbohydrate withdrawal. This may sound like withdrawal from substance abuse; interestingly, recent studies have compared the effect of carbohydrates (particularly sugar) on the brain to that of addictive drugs like cocaine.1 Reported symptoms include: mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and dizziness. It can last anywhere from a day to a couple weeks.

Shortsighted dieters may allow keto flu knock them off the diet altogether–but after a period of metabolic adaptation, the body adjusts to the change and will reach a state where it's burning fat as a fuel source, a largely-stored, but for many, a largely untapped bodily energy source. There are several ways to reduce, prevent or manage symptoms of the keto flu. We'll discuss some of the most common symptoms, the science behind them, and offer some solutions to nascent keto dieters.

ufi2q19trn8eqpvhu7lc.png

Science Behind Keto Flu

Carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source. When those are restricted, the body responds through a series of changes to transition from using glucose (stored carbs) for energy to using fat. This gear-switching is a good thing; but it's also the reason for keto flu. First, blood sugar drops and causes hypoglycemia,, which is low blood sugar < 55 mg/dL.2 In response, the body changes both the fuel it uses for energy and how neurons in the brain function. Second, changes occur in other bodily systems that alter electrolyte, water and hormone levels–this can lead to dehydration from following the ketogenic diet.


ofvirrvcyodijtpiuqxv.png

Falling Blood Glucose

The physical consequences of sudden carb removal, we must first understand that our body generates energy using two main mechanisms: glycolysis (converting glucose to energy) and beta-oxidation (converting fat to energy).

Complying with a low-carb ketogenic diet means forcing the body to switch from using carbs as energy (via glycolysis) to using fats as energy (via beta-oxidation). After a period of adaptation, the body usually begins to generate energy from the breakdown of ketones (via a process call ketolysis) instead of glucose. This switch occurs because the body breaks down fatty acids into ketones so the brain can use them for fuel.3 

What happens when the body hasn't yet learned to burn fat and produce ketones? That's where hypoglycemia comes it. The result is a temporary energy deficit and low blood sugar. Remember: this is a transient period of adaptation. Switching to using fats and ketones as energy varies by person, depending on a mix of genetics and habitual diet; some individuals demonstrate a greater metabolic flexibility than others. These lucky individuals may show far fewer symptoms or experience the flu for a shorter duration.

Research has found the same pathways of the reward system in the brain are activated in both high-carb foods and cocaine or heroin. Both cause the release of dopamine (a "feel good" hormone). Regular carb consumption modifies gene expression and dopamine receptor availability in that reward system over time. This translates to a need for even more carbohydrates to have the same effect on those brain receptors. So the sudden removal of carbohydrates can lead to withdrawn symptoms, both physical and psychological.

Electrolyte Imbalance and Dehydration

Electrolytes are the minerals in the body that are derived from salts, e.g. calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and sodium. Electrolyte levels, controlled by the kidneys, are crucial for maintaining bodily functions such as heartbeat regulation and muscle contraction.4 

Why does the ketogenic diet cause these imbalances? Carbohydrate restriction, and thus insulin release. With a lower carb intake, insulin levels drop.

Insulin signals cells in the body to absorb glucose in the bloodstream, and signals the kidneys to store more water.5 Lower insulin levels (as a result of decreased carb intake) means the kidneys now store less water. This results in dehydration and the flushing out of electrolytes in the process.6 Stored carbohydrates (glycogen) trap three grams of water per gram of glycogen–so this also causes a depletion while on keto, further contributing to the reduced amount of water and electrolytes in the body.

tcw5vzrpuxyizldd6gq9.png

Hormonal Stress Response 

A poorly-formulated ketogenic diet (one too low in calories or deficient in micronutrients) can trigger a starvation response in the body, thus raising levels of cortisol (stress hormone). 7Cortisol release is the body's attempt to product the brain by raising blood sugar, trying to compensate for the now low blood sugar caused by carb reduction. If excess cortisol is released, stress response and blood sugar stability can become deregulated.

Thyroid hormones are also something to consider. They have several function, including the maintenance and regulation of carbohydrate/energy metabolism. The T3 (or euthyroid) is the most biologically active form of the hormone, and is linked to dietary carb consumption. T3 levels have shown to decrease in response to carb restriction below a certain threshold (which varies from person to person).8 The result may be fatigue or difficulty focusing through the adaptation period. Conversely, lowered T3 is also hypothesized to bring several benefits if thyroid function is normal. This includes improving longevity and preserving muscle mass.

While discomfort may result during the transition, you can rest assured that lowered T3 does not appear to be indicative of hypothyroidism.9  

igwgwuaf9e3z5aucbtts.png

Solutions to Common Symptoms

Symptoms of the keto flu vary from person to person. But there are easy solutions one can leverage to help combat these symptoms.

If you're looking for a supplement to help with keto flu, try HVMN Ketone, our flagship product. HVMN Ketone can give you an energy boost without the need for carbs, while keeping your blood ketone levels elevated. Try it here.

Headaches

In ketosis, headaches can occur due to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. With low insulin levels, the kidneys go into a diuretic state, so potassium, water, and sodium are excreted. A silver lining here is the loss of excess water weight (and thus weight loss) with the decrease in stored water. Conversely, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are the reasons for many keto flu symptoms. Monitor salt and water intake while on keto, and consider supplementing with electrolytes.

The necessity of electrolyte management is underestimated on low-carb diets. Even if macronutrient intake is monitored correctly, maintaining the correct balance of electrolytes often goes overlooked. The cause of electrolyte imbalance? Usually, it's eating too few mineral-rich fruits and vegetables when transitioning to the keto diet. Removing salt-laden, processed foods means the body is now cut off from the sodium or electrolyte sources it once had. While many keto dieters are weary of increasing sodium intake and raising blood pressure, removing processed foods from the diet and reducing carb intake already has a significant blood pressure-lowering effect.10

Supplementing other minerals is also vital. Magnesium is important for the body, contributing to muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and protein synthesis.11 Potassium is also helps proper functioning of the heart, digestion and muscle function.12 Foods rich in potassium and magnesium include tomatoes, avocados, salmon, nuts, leafy greens, and animal protein. Bouillon cubes, homemade stocks (like beef broth or chicken broth), and sea salt are all rich in sodium and minerals. One should consume these to minimize the risk of headaches. 

Cramps

Cramping is the most common sign that electrolytes are out of balance.

The common mistake is not drinking enough water to compensate for water during the keto transition phase, which may result in low blood pressure and constipation, other than just cramps.6 Causes for cramps can also be caused by low potassium or low magnesium. Animal protein is an excellent potassium source, and the juices from cooking meats should be retained for this purpose. For magnesium, seek out leafy greens; the darker the better!

Constipation 

This may be a result of the digestive system transitioning on keto. Any dramatic lifestyle changes impact gut microbiome, inevitably altering bowel movements. Dehydration can worsen constipation (because of the increase excretion of fluids by the kidneys). Eliminating high-carb fruits and vegetables can also reduce dietary fiber and contribute to constipation.

Eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, exercise and drink plenty of water every day. But be warned–eating excessive fiber can also lead to constipation, so finding a balance is necessary. That balance is something that can only be determined from personal experience.13 MCT or medium-chain triglyceride oils are a solution. This may help to relieve constipation, as fat can help push bowel movements through. Finally, care should be taken to ensure your calorie intake is adequate, as not eating enough calories can also contribute to constipation.

Bad Breath

Some keto dieters experience bad breath, discerningly fruity or similar to nail polish remover. Besides the oder, this might be positive–it's an indicator of a body in ketosis. However, it's usually reported to go away within a week or two, once the body adapts to the new metabolic state it is in. Maintaining good oral hygiene, increasing water intake, and using gum or breath freshener can help mask or reduce the smell in the interim while the body is still adapting. 

Fatigue, Low Mood, and Cravings 

As the body adapts to ketosis, decrease in energy levels and weakness are often reported, which can impair physical performance. Fatigue can last anywhere from three days to weeks as the body prepares new enzymes for the diet.

The tiredness may be caused by thyroid hormone and cortisol changes; the body is trying to compensate for the lowered carbohydrate intake by releasing more cortisol, which raises blood sugar. The possible result? Irritable mood and reduced sleep quality. Since cortisol levels are likely to reduce again when the body becomes keto-adapted, these symptoms should be temporary. To lessen fatigue, water and mineral intake should be carefully monitored (and likely increased). B vitamins, particularly B5, are vital for helping with fatigue and lethargy. It's crucial to eat enough calories from fat for sustenance, as being under-fueled can also cause fatigue.

Removing glucose from the diet can affect mood and cause cravings. Replacing foods you crave with low-carb alternative or removing food "triggers" can help reduce the psychological (and thus physiological) symptoms of carb withdrawal. While there are low-carb recipes for some of your favorite treats, many people who have successfully transitioned to the ketogenic diet say that just going “cold turkey” on sweet-tasting things and refined sugars helps to get rid of those nasty cravings sooner.

You may be doing keto wrong.

The ketogenic diet is difficult to maintain–there’s a ton of misinformation and pseudoscience out there about the best ways to burn fat. Subscribe to receive the latest facts and techniques (backed by science) for executing keto properly.

Summary

Keto flu systems are often transient, disappearing completely after keto-adaptation.

Lifestyle determines length and severity of the keto flu for the individual, with symptoms likely greater for individuals who ate a high-carb diet previously. Even during transition, the symptoms can be alleviated if treated smartly. A well-formulated low-carb diet can progress without significant symptoms if the common mistakes of poor mineral intake, lack of fiber, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration are addressed.

Avoid falling into the common trap of assuming your body is not suited to the low-carb diet after just a few days, and instead, consider careful monitoring of water and mineral intake particularly for the days/weeks it takes your body to adapt. Have a look online for some keto support groups if you have questions, and perhaps think about trying exogenous ketones, like HVMN Ketone. Exogenous ketones can give you an energy boost as beta-hydroxybutyrate without the need to take in carbs.

Have you experienced keto flu symptoms while transitioning onto the keto diet? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Scientific Citations

1.Ahmed SH, Guillem K, Vandaele Y. Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care. 2013; 16(4):434-9.2.Desimone ME, Weinstock RS. Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia. [Updated 2017 Sep 23]. In: De Groot LJ, Chrousos G, Dungan K, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK355894/3.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:10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-7.4.Balcı AK, Koksal O, Kose A, et al. General characteristics of patients with electrolyte imbalance admitted to emergency department. World Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2013;4(2):113-116. doi:10.5847/wjem.j.issn.1920-8642.2013.02.005.5.Rubenstein AH, Mako ME, Horwitz DL. Insulin and the kidney. Nephron. 1975; 15(3-5):306-26.6.Artunc F, Schleicher E, Weigert C, Fritsche A, Stefan N, Häring HU. The impact of insulin resistance on the kidney and vasculature. Nature reviews. Nephrology. 2016; 12(12):721-737.7.Waldman HS, Krings B, Basham SA, Smith JW, Fountain BJ, McAllister MJ. Effects of a 15-Day Low Carbohydrate, High-Fat Diet in Resistance-Trained Men. (1533-4287 (Electronic)).8.Pasquali R, Parenti M, Mattioli L. Effect of dietary carbohydrates during hypocaloric treatment of obesity on peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism. Journal of endocrinological investigation. ; 5(1):47-52. [pubmed]9.Fontana L, Klein S, Holloszy JO, Premachandra BN. Effect of long-term calorie restriction with adequate protein and micronutrients on thyroid hormones. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2006; 91(8):3232-5.10.Chen L, Caballero B, Mitchell DC, et al. Reducing Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Is Associated with Reduced Blood Pressure: A Prospective Study among U.S. Adults. Circulation. 2010;121(22):2398-2406. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.911164.11.Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, NIH12.He FJ, MacGregor GA. Beneficial effects of potassium on human health. Physiologia plantarum. 2008; 133(4):725-35.13.Ho K-S, Tan CYM, Mohd Daud MA, Seow-Choen F. Stopping or reducing dietary fiber intake reduces constipation and its associated symptoms. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG. 2012;18(33):4593-4596. doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i33.4593.

Lactate threshold is misunderstood

Article used with permission from hvmn.com

If you want to start a debate in a group of runners, mention lactic acid and lactate threshold. The topics are two of the most confused and misunderstood in the running world. For the last few decades, lactate was presumed to be all bad–causing only muscle soreness and dashing dreams of personal records.

But that’s only half the story.

Lactate threshold is the exercise level at which lactic acid builds up in the blood. This accumulation of lactic acid is associated with fatigue, and most people assume the burning sensation of hard exercise is caused by lactic acid.

Endurance athletes specifically focus on lactate threshold as a measure of efficiency and fitness. For many, the goal of training is to maintain increased power and speed without crossing over this threshold. Most athletes want to stave off blood lactate accumulation, training so they clear it faster and produce less.

That’s why lactate is generally considered a four-letter-word, thought to be a waste product linked to muscle fatigue.

Research on the issue makes muddy waters more clear: producing and burning lactate provide essential fuel for cells throughout the body when oxygen is depleted.1

Lactate & Lactate Threshold Basics

There’s a nuance to lactate responsible for its bad rap.

Lactate: More Protons, More Problems

Also known as lactic acid, lactate can be produced throughout the body naturally.2 It’s a result of rapidly burning carbohydrate when the demand for energy is high, and oxygen availability is low, such as during sprinting or other high-intensity workouts.

Glucose is the body’s most readily available fuel, easily transported around the body and broken down to support short bursts of intense exercise. Glucose gets metabolized by a process called glycolysis, resulting in pyruvate. There are two possible uses for pyruvate: anaerobic or aerobic energy production.

When there is plenty of oxygen, pyruvate is turned into energy in the form of ATP through the aerobic pathway. Without enough oxygen present, pyruvate has another fate: anaerobic conversion to lactate. So all that huffing and puffing during intense exercise is used (among other things) to fuel the metabolic reactions that make our muscles work.

The majority of lactate released into the blood is mopped up in the liver where it can be converted back into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis, and then released back into circulation.1 For example, the brain can directly use it as fuel (along with other parts of the body).

Lactate itself isn’t at all that bad for the body. The bad part is the acid associated with it.

igwknfkw7j4agp45i7id.png

Lactate caries a proton (an acid) when it’s released, and the build up of protons decreases the pH of the blood. When the body gets more acidic, function becomes compromised because the protons interfere with energy production and muscle contraction.

All this time, athletes have been blaming lactate like it’s a referee. But they should be blaming those protons.

Still, generally, lactate is pretty much always associated with protons, so there is a strong relationship between high lactate and fatigue.

As speed increases, lactate production reaches a point where it increases exponentially

Lactate Threshold: Recycling is the Name of the Game

Blood lactate levels rise gradually as one exercises. The harder the exercise, the higher it climbs; this is an indicator of a shift in our energy production from aerobic (lots of oxygen) to anaerobic (less oxygen).

Before reaching the lactate threshold, blood lactate concentrations increase gradually. But upon arriving at the lactate threshold, the blood concentration of lactate begins to exponentially increase. Usually that intensity hovers around 80% of an athlete’s maximum heart rate, or 75% of their maximum oxygen intake–but you can also link it to speed or power.

Recycling lactate is true north of endurance training, which aims to maintain an intensity below the lactate threshold. When the recycling process can’t keep up, lactate produced by the exercising muscles begins build up in the bloodstream.

Well-designed training programs target both sides of the lactate threshold; there should be some training sessions working at or above LT. These sessions are harder on the body, but this forces adaptations that ultimately increase speed on race day.

Why Does Lactate Build Up Happen During High Intensity Exercise?

Lactate buildup is a result of the rapid anaerobic breakdown of carbohydrate.

Cells break down carbs and fats from our food to produce a molecule called ATP (the body’s energy currency), which is then used as energy by exercising muscles. ATP is produced from carbs through a three-step process: Glycolysis, Krebs Cycle and Electron Transport Chain (ETC). Products from Glycolysis feed Krebs which feeds ETC.

jmjtobujd0bse5a9nn4x.jpg

ETC is what generates most of our ATP. Energy generated from ETC is effective enough to sustain moderately-intense exercise...but the process doesn’t happen fast enough to keep up with the energy demand of high-intensity exercise. This means rapid-release energy from glycolysis is required to keep going. Glycolysis increases to supplement the difference but, as we know, this leads to lactate production.

Oxygen delivery rate also becomes limited during high intensity exercise. The ETC absolutely relies on oxygen for its function. We can’t breathe enough, or pump blood fast enough to our muscles when they are in overdrive to keep the ETC going. This necessitates oxygen-free energy production via glycolysis and lactate production.

That extra lactate (along with its acidic proton) ends up in the blood and decreases our pH. Our brains aim to keep a steady state of pH, and sensing this imbalance in pH, cause us feel nauseous. This leads to a feeling of fatigue, then a decrease intensity, then decreasing ATP demand, then glycolysis slows, leading to a better match between oxygen demand and oxygen delivery. Ultimately, this match allows lactate clearance from the blood.

Exercise above the lactate threshold can only be sustained for a limited amount of time: the body runs out of glycogen (stored carbs) to convert into lactate, and the increasing acidity of the blood causes fatigue.

Better athletic performance comes from training with LT in mind, geared to a higher production of speed or power at the lactate threshold.

Are you plateauing?

Fuel your breakthrough with latest science, training techniques, and most advanced supplements in our content for athletes. Subscribe and be first to know when they're published.

How to Figure Out Lactate Threshold

krxd7pgmkyob3z7pxbkp.jpg

Testing protocols to determine lactate threshold are sport-specific. Many consider the running speed at lactate threshold (RSLT) to be the best indicator of running fitness and the most reliable barometer of endurance performance.

In cycling, step-tests (where power is increased at regular intervals until you are exhausted) are the gold standard for measuring physiological performance markers, such as lactate threshold.

Upon completing the test and finding a personal lactate threshold, one can begin incorporating lactate threshold training to target specific adaptations for the body to make.

There are a few different ways to test for a personal lactate threshold, and factors to consider when doing so. It’s important to remember everyone is different, and lactate threshold changes in response to training (or sadly, de-training).

Lab Testing: Accurate But Expensive

The most concrete way to determine lactate threshold is to take a series of blood samples as exercise is conducted at increasing intensities. This type of lactate testing occurs at an exercise physiology laboratory, and tends to be expensive (but worth it).

In a lactate threshold test, athletes exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike while increasing intensity every few minutes until exhaustion. A blood sample is taken during the each stage of the test–similar to testing for ketones, through the fingertip or earlobe–illustrating blood lactate readings at various running speeds or cycling power outputs. Results are then plotted on a curve to show the speed or power at which the lactate threshold occurs.

However, lactate threshold changes as more training is done to build your aerobic base. So in order to maintain an updated understanding of your lactate threshold, you’d have to visit the lab again after a block of training.

During her time on the Great Britian Rowing Team, HVMN Research lead, Dr Brianna Stubbs, did lactate threshold testing every 2-3 months. She recounts the collective effort to find lactate threshold.

"The gym even got gory on step-test days, with athletes dripping blood from the testing holes in their earlobes."Dr. Brianna Stubbs

"Seeing results change over time was interesting," she said. "I recorded my highest power at lactate threshold toward the end of the winter training block, which made sense because that’s when we did most of our endurance work."

Do-it-Yourself Field Test: You Have a Few Options

Many endurance athletes choose to estimate their lactate threshold by measuring heart rate and/or VO2 max at different training zones (there’s even a portable lactate blood analyzer some use to further cement results).

There are several different methods to estimate running speed at lactate threshold:

VDOT (or VO2 max) Chart

  • VDOT chart is an adjusted VO2 max chart (created by esteemed running coach Jack Daniels) that uses some of your most recent run times (at max effort) to identify training pace that will maintain your lactate threshold. There are two corresponding chats that work together to illustrate max effort and training paces for different distances (we've simplified it above)

  • For example, running at a 7:49 mile pace at max effort corresponds to a VDOT number of 36. That VDOT number illustrates the pace at which training should be done to maintain lactate recycling: 8:55. For a more in-depth analysis of interval training and different distances, refer to these charts here

Conconi Method

  • Using a heart rate monitor set to a five second recording interval

  • Begin running and increase speed every 200 meters until exhaustion. The goal isn’t to maintain a steady state of exercise, instead increasing incrementally to test yourself

  • Plot heart rate against speed; the deflection point in the graph (where your heart rate goes up much more than your speed) roughly corresponds to speed at lactate threshold

Time-Trial Method / 30-Minute Test

  • Research has shown that doing a 30 minute flat out time trial is one of the most accurate ways to find your lactate threshold without using fancy equipment3

  • Start by warming up

  • Then, on a track or treadmill, run for 30 minutes at the fastest sustainable pace. 10 minutes into the run, obtain and note your heart rate. Then, after the final 20 minutes of the test, obtain and note your heart rate again

  • Add your heart rate at the 10-minute mark to heart rate at the 30-minute mark–that's your lactate threshold heart rate. And your average pace for the entire 30-minute test (assuming it was steady) is your lactate threshold pace

Both elite athletes and weekend warriors can benefit from understanding personal lactate threshold to maximize results. However, lactate threshold is impacted by training and changes over time. So keeping regular on these types of tests will indicate an improving lactate threshold through focused training.

Optimizing Lactate Metabolism

Lactic acid gets blamed for muscle soreness, but the production of lactate is an important metabolic process. The idea that lactate is pure waste and leads to fatigue is somewhat outdated. Nevertheless, a higher speed or power at lactate threshold is still one of the key goals of aerobic training.1

Different strategies can help minimize lactate buildup during exercise.

Warming Up: As Important as Cooling Down

Warming up is important to reducing risk for injury and minimizing potential lactate buildup. During a warm-up, heart rate increases, and blood vessels dilate, meaning there is more blood flow and more oxygen reaching your muscles.

When exercise intensity picks up the pace, there’s less mismatch between oxygen needs of the muscles and blood. Therefore, you don’t need to do as much anaerobic respiration, and you don’t build lactate early in the run.

Equally, cooling down and stretching immediately after a workout is especially important. Gentle exercise (slow jogging or spinning on a bike) or using a foam roller can help clear lactic acid buildup from the muscle by stimulating blood flow and encouraging lymphatic drainage.

Nutrition and Supplements: Replenishment is Key

The key to dealing with high lactate production is dealing with the acid associated with it (that pesky little proton). Two “buffer supplements,” sodium bicarbonate and beta-alanine, work by mopping up that proton. This means lactate levels can go higher than before without triggering fatigue because the proton is taken care of.

Beta-alanine works inside the muscles to clean up protons before they affect muscle contraction. Compounding effects of beta-alanine powder (~5g per day) happen after several weeks, but studies show around a 2-3% performance boost.4

Sodium bicarbonate is better for short-term boosts in proton buffering. Bicarbonate is the main buffer usually binding protons to stop blood from becoming too acidic. About an hour before exercise, taking bicarb powder dissolved in water, at 0.3kg per body weight, has shown to improve performance.5 Be weary of stomach aches when first introducing bicarb. But there are bicarbonate gels that provide the same buffing effect without the side-effects.6

Lactate can only be produced by breaking down carbs. Sustaining an exercise intensity that is producing lactate means the depletion carbohydrate stores (glycogen). When the glycogen gas tank reads empty, we hit a wall.

Exogenous ketones can lower lactate production. By drinking pre-workout exogenous ketones, like HVMN Ketone, your body can use the ketones for energy instead of carbohydrates–glycolysis decreases and therefore, so does lactate production.

vpp2kbsptq8sxix80sd4.jpg

Having ketones as a whole new source of fuel means the body doesn’t need to dip into its existing carb and protein stores: athletes using HVMN Ketone show a decrease in the breakdown of intramuscular glycogen and protein during exercise, compared to carbohydrates alone.7

Exercise: Training Toward Adaptation

Regular training forces the body to adapt; what once felt like an unsustainable pace becomes easy. And adopting a training plan helps accelerate how that adaption will progress.

Looking at the whole body, the heart muscle gets stronger, building more small blood vessels. These small blood vessels mean more oxygen-rich blood can be transported to the muscles, requiring less demand for anaerobic respiration and lactate production.

On a muscular level, cells can produce more mitochondria, which are the site of aerobic respiration. This helps increase reliance on that energy system. Muscle cells also express more of the transport proteins for lactate, so lactate doesn’t build up inside the cells and compromise their function.8

Lactate threshold training switches up workout intensity, optimizing the body’s lactate response.

Peter Broomhall, who has been running ultramarathons for seven years, started incorporating lactate training into his regimen with his coach.

"I’ve trained with lactate threshold in mind this year more than any other year. It takes time to build up that threshold, but things like recovery become quicker. It compliments every aspect of training."Peter Broomhall

For runners, one way to work on lactate threshold is to breakdown a run into mile sections: the first mile or two should be run at a pace just below lactate threshold, while the proceeding mile section should be slower, thus allowing the body to process the lactate. Active recovery is more effective at clearing lactate than passive recovery.9 This allows a high volume of miles without going overboard.

Lactate, A Misunderstood Villain

Next time your running club gangs up on lactic acid, maybe you can remind everyone of its important role in helping our bodies produce energy quickly when oxygen is short.

We do know the combination of high lactate (and the associated increase in protons in the muscles and blood) can impact our ability to maintain peak athletic performance. But we now have a deeper understanding of blood lactate (and how to optimize it), thanks to monitoring tools outside the lab, structural training regimens and recovery techniques.

We’re altering how the body responds to lactate with nutrition supplements like HVMN Ketone and bicarb gels. And in the process, we’re rewriting the old story about lactic acid.

Train smarter for better results

Scientific Citations

1.Patrizia Proia, Carlo Maria Di Liegro, Gabriella Schiera, Anna Fricano, and Italia Di Liegro. Lactate as a Metabolite and a Regulator in the Central Nervous System. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Sep; 17(9): 1450. Published online 2016 Sep 1.2.Matthew L. Goodwin, M.A., James E. Harris, M.Ed., Andrés Hernández, M.A., and L. Bruce Gladden, Ph.D. J. Blood Lactate Measurements and Analysis during Exercise: A Guide for Clinicians. Diabetes Sci Technol. 2007 Jul; 1(4): 558–569. Published online 2007 Jul.3.McGehee JC, Tanner CJ, Houmard JA. A comparison of methods for estimating the lactate threshold. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Aug;19(3):553-8.4.Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

Authored by Nate Martins • 

October 5, 2018

Keto Pumpkin Spice Fudge

unnamed.jpg

Just in time for Thanksgiving! We love this festive Spiced Collagen Fudge from MHS Speakers, and food bloggers, Matt & Megha of KetoConnect, we just had to share. It's super simple, and makes a perfect keto-friendly holiday treat!
 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2c almond butter

  • 1/2c collagen

  • 1/4c pumpkin puree

  • 50 drops stevia (1/2 tsp liquid stevia)

  • 1/4c coconut flour

  • 1/4t salt

  • 1/2t nutmeg

  • 2t cinnamon

Instructions: 

  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl using a spatula.

  • Once fully incorporated transfer mixture to your mold/tray and spread out evenly.

  • Refrigerate for 2 hours prior to slicing and serving. Best stored in an air tight container in the fridge/freezer up to 1 month.

Copyright 2018 Fire Team Whiskey LLC

FTW Keto Lasagna

                                                            Keto Lasagna

                                                          Prep Time: 15 min

                                                          Cook Time: 30 min

                                                          Total time: 45 min

 

Ingredients

·         16 oz ground beef

·         1 cup marinara sauce

·         1 zucchini large (2 medium)

·         10 oz ricotta cheese or cottage cheese

·         4 oz mozzarella cheese shredded

 

Instructions

1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel zucchini into strips and leave out the seedy core. Salt and let sit for 15 minutes and blot with paper towels.

2.      Brown ground beef in pan and add marinara.

3.      Layer into a small casserole dish: meat, zucchini, ricotta, meat, zucchini, ricotta, mozzarella.

4.      Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Broil uncovered for 2-3 minutes to brown the top.

 

Nutrition Facts:

Keto Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles (makes 4 servings)

 

                                                 Amount Per Serving:

                                                 Calories 544

                                                 Total Fat 41g

                                                 Total Carbohydrates 6g

                                                 Protein 34g

Copy Right 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

FTW Fat Bomb Shake

FTW Fat Bomb Shake

Ingredients:

1 scoop Keto Joe SpecOps™ Shake

1 Keto Chocolate Chip FuelRation™ Bar 

Directions:

Add 8 oz of water to your blender

Add 1 scoop Keto Joe SpecOps™ Shake

Add cut or broken off pieces of a full Keto Chocolate Chip FuelRation™ Bar 

Add ice if desired

Blend and Done!

Copyright 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

FTW Peanut Butter Fat Bomb Squares

FTW Peanut Butter Fat Bomb Squares

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Set Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 75 minutes

 

Ingredients

Chocolate Layers

·      4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

·      6 ounces soft butter

·      1/2 cup Stevia or other sweetener

·      1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Peanut Butter Layer

·      1 cup peanut butter

·      4 ounces soft butter

·      2 tablespoons Stevia or other sweetener

Instructions:

1.   Spray an 8x8 inch pan with baking spray and line with parchment. It does not need to cover all 4 sides, just the bottom and up two opposite sides. The baking spray helps it stick to the pan.

2.   Melt chocolate in microwave or double broiler.

3.   Put the 6 ounces of butter in a medium bowl and mix with a hand mixer until the sweetener begins to dissolve.

4.   Check the chocolate. Add the melted chocolate, vanilla, and stevia to the butter and beat until fluffy and almost mousse-like. This will take several minutes. 

5.   Spread 1/2 of the mixture into the prepared 8x8 pan and place into the freezer. NOTE: If the chocolate was too hot and melts the butter, just put the mixture into the refrigerator for a few minutes until it cools-off and it will whip.

6.   Blend the ingredients for the peanut butter layer with a hand mixer until nice and light. Spread all of the peanut butter on top of the chocolate layer and place into the freezer for 5-10 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.

7.   Spread the chocolate mixture on top of the peanut butter layer and freeze for one hour or overnight.

8.   Run a sharp knife along the sided of the pan that were not lined with the parchment and lift the whole thing out of the pan by pulling up on the parchment. Cut into 16 pieces with a sharp knife and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Keeps up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

 

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving (one square)

Calories 130  Fat 13g, Carbs 3g, Protein 3g

 

Copyright 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

FTW Peanut Butter and Banana SpecOps Shake

FTW Peanut Butter and Banana SpecOps™ Shake

1 Scoop or 1 packet SpecOps™ Shake

2 Tablespoons All Natural Peanut Butter

½ Banana (Frozen in the video, but can be any way you prefer)

 

Copyright 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

FTW Keto Lava Cake

FTW Keto Lava Cake

 Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Total time:  15-20 minutes

Ingredients: (single serving)

2 tbsp. Cocoa powder

1 tbsp. sweetener

1 egg

1 tbsp. heavy cream

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. baking powder

Pinch salt

A sprinkle of powdered sugar

Low sugar ice cream for topping (optional)

Directions:

1.      Preheat oven to 350*.

2.      Mix cocoa powder and baking powder.

3.      Mix egg in a separate container.

4.      Add vanilla, sweetener, salt, heavy cream to cocoa powder mix and then eggs.

5.      Mix all ingredients well and then spray ramekins or baking dish with non-stick spray.

6.      Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes and the batter should wiggle on top.

7.      Remove from oven and serve with powdered sugar and optional low-sugar ice cream.

Macros:

Calories: 173

Fat: 13 g  -  Protein: 8 g  -  Net Carbs:  4 g

 

Copyright 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

 

 

Three Tricks To Steal From The Keto Diet (even if you don't want to do Keto 100%)

#1 Fat does not make you fat. The latest research in nutrition debunks the belief that eating fat makes you fat. Not only does eating fat not make you fat, but your body actually needs vitamins and minerals ONLY FOUND IN high-fat foods! These vitamins and minerals are essential for good health and interact with our cell enzymes to regulate a variety of essential bodily functions. They are crucial for many of our metabolic processes, to release energy from nutrients, and in building and maintaining bones, teeth, skin, blood and many other vital body tissues. You can't get these vitamins and minerals from anything else (other than taking a bunch of supplements). SO instead of shying away from full-fat dairy, avocados, and eggs because of the old belief that these foods make you fat, go ahead and have that avocado, veggie and cheese omelet at brunch! 

#2:  It's all about insulin. So you may be wondering, ok, if eating fat doesn't make me fat, what does? The answer is your own body's insulin. Insulin is the transport vehicle that gathers up all those erroneous glycogen (blood sugar) molecules floating around in your bloodstream and stores them as fat. What creates that glycogen, your liver. And the liver makes glycogen from carbs and sugar (and some small amount from protein). Why the keto diet is so effective is that this way of eating severely restricts insulin levels. This means the body is not storing glycogen and making new body fat stores. You can steal this approach from the keto diet by controlling your insulin levels and get your body spending more time in "burn fat mode" rather in "store fat mode". This means you have to cut down on the amount of and frequency you consume carbs and sugar. Most Americans slurp down sugar-filled beverages all day long, keeping their insulin flowing all day long and storing fat! Swap your sodas for a sugar-free version, or better yet, drink sparkling water. Swap the sugar our from your coffee to using sugar alternatives like stevia or monk fruit. 

#3: The third thing you can borrow from the keto diet is to read labels. My favorite thing to do as an Eating Psychology Counselor is to do a "pantry, fridge and freezer raid" with my clients. During this exercise we read the nutritional label and list of ingredients for every single food item in their home.  My rule of thumb as a person following the Keto lifestyle is that if the first 3 ingredients include a grain or sugar, I do not eat it. If an item has more than 5 grams of sugar, I do not eat it. If an item has no business having sugar in it in the first place (because it's not supposed to be "sweet"), I dont eat it. Examples of these items are tomato sauce, peanut butter, frozen vegetables, salad dressings, condiments, etc.

If you steal these three keto rules, you should be well on your way to burning more fat and improving your health!

Copyright 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

FTW Keto Bagel Recipe

FTW Bagel Recipe

 Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time:  14 minutes

Total Time:  19 minutes

 

Ingredients: (makes 6 servings)

1.5 cups Almond Flour

1 tbsp. Baking powder

2.5 cups mozzarella cheese shredded

2 oz. cream cheese

2 eggs (beaten)

Seasoning of choice (everything but the bagel seasoning)

 

Directions:

1.       Preheat oven to 400*.

2.      Combine almond flour and baking powder and mix well.

3.      Combine mozzarella cheese and cream cheese in separate microwavable bowl and heat on high for 2 minutes. (stir every 30 seconds)

4.      Combine flour mixture, cheese mixture and eggs in a large bowl and mix well.  Knead the dough until fully mixed. (used cooking spray to keep from sticking to hands.

5.      Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6.      Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 6 parts.

7.      Roll pieces into 6-inch logs and form a circle and lay on parchment paper.

8.      Bake at 400* for 14 minutes.

9.      Let cool for several minutes and enjoy!

 

Nutritional facts: (one serving)

Calories: 360, Fat: 28 grams, Total Carbs: 8 grams, Protein: 21 grams, Sugar: 1 gram

 

How To Stop Yo-Yo Dieting

In order to get off the yo-yo diet rollercoaster, there needs to be a serious mindset shift. As an Eating Psychology expert, I tell clients all the time that any change you make on the outside (i.e. your weight) is only going to be permanent if you are willing to change on the inside (i.e. your mindset). 

The number one tip I can give someone looking to stop yo-yo dieting is to stop using the word "diet". The word diet has a negative connotation in everyone's mind. It means going without, punishment for poor choices, that you are going to miss out on things you want. Instead, start looking at this journey as establishing a healthy lifestyle. When someone is establishing a healthy lifestyle, it's much more positive oriented. You are helping yourself feel better, look better and live longer. 

The second tip that I have for a wannabe ex-yo-yo dieter is to operate proportionally. What I mean by this is that on average, we make about 250 food choices per day. If you can average out about 80% to 90% of those choices in a week being the healthiest one for you, then you should be on the right trajectory. This means that yes, most of the time you are eating healthy whole foods, but also yes, you can have that dessert at dinner on Saturday night. 

The third tip for stopping the yo-yo dieting is to find an eating plan you are happy to follow (mostly, remember the 80-90%) for the rest of your life. That means no, the cabbage diet is not an option. You would die of malnutrition trying that for the rest of your life. Explore different ways of eating. We all have different lifestyles. Some people have time and energy to meal prep and freeze meals way ahead of time. Others thrive on eating a home cooked meal once a day and supplementing with healthy snacks. Some people do very well on higher protein eating plans because it makes them feel fuller longer. Others are very happy eating nothing but veggies. The bottom line is, if you can't sustain the eating plan for years and years, you need to find one that meets that criteria. 

 

Copyright Fire Team Whiskey 2018. All rights reserved. 

Keto Screw Ups: Common Mistakes made and how to avoid them

Being that we help people transition to a Keto lifestyle, we have seen (and experienced ourselves) every mistake in the book.  Here are some common mistakes people make when transitioning to a Keto lifestyle and how to avoid them.

The biggest mistake people make is that they neglect doing any substantial research into the Keto diet. What most people do, is that they hear about a new fad diet or know someone who has tried it, they do a Google search, read about 10 sentences, then start the diet. This obviously leads to most of the time the diet is a total fail and the person throwing up their hands and saying "the Keto diet didn't work for me!".  Basing your behaviors on "what I heard" or a few sentences read on a random article online is not smart for any health-related decision. Do some REAL research!  Read at least 2 books based on the subject. You may find quickly that depending on the author, their take on the Keto diet may be different. There are several different versions of "the Keto diet" out there. You need to read up on your options and pick one version that you feel would work for your lifestyle. (Shameless plug for the Fire Team Whiskey Eating Plans! They transition a person over 30 day intervals into ketosis!) 

Another common screw up is not reading labels. For some reason, people are very resistant to this. Again and again, I have a client who is frustrated that they are not seeing results and when we examine what they have been eating, they are still eating foods that are high carb. Mainly they assume something is ok to eat because it seemed "healthy", "low carb" or "high protein" and it turns out it had just as many carbs and sugar in it as anything else (for example, check your "protein bar" label, you will be shocked to discover that most of these have more carbs and sugar in them than a Snickers candy bar). Shameless plug for our Fire Team Whiskey® FuelRation™ Protein and Keto Bars! Our Protein bars are 7 Net Carbs and our Keto Bar is 1 Net carb! 

Some people assume that they will become nutrient deficient when going on a Keto eating plan because of the elimination of fruit, breads and cereals from your diet. The only danger of nutrient deficiencies for someone doing a Keto diet is that they are not diversifying their diet enough. People get excited about the fact that they can eat bacon and cheese on this diet. People who are terrible at eating their vegetables are drawn to this diet. As on any diet, you will experience nutrient deficiencies if you are not including foods that contain vital vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. Leafy greens, peppers, non-starchy root vegetables, and fungi (mushrooms) should be a part of your daily meals. This also provides you the essential fiber that you need to keep your bowels regular. A major pitfall is that people starting a Keto diet will encounter constipation because of the significant increase in consumption of dairy products and meats and not balancing this with a significant amount of fiber in the form of vegetables.

Some people experience a significant drop off in energy for the first couple of weeks of eating a Keto diet. This is normal and as long as the person is hydrating and resting well, it should dissipate after 2-3 weeks. I would recommend anyone involved in a high-intensity interval or endurance training to scale back on those workouts until your energy level returns to normal.

Weight loss for most people who were eating a standard American diet before switching to Keto will be significant for the first couple of weeks, but just like any eating lifestyle change, your body will adapt and the weight loss will slow down. I caution my clients who are starting one of our Keto eating plans to focus on the "non-scale victories" more than the number on the scale. The argument being that after decades of abusing your body with carbohydrates and thus creating insulin resistance, your body is not going to magically heal itself from a measly 30 days on a low carb eating plan. Your body needs just as much time to heal, so if you are looking for a crash diet, you may need to reconsider the Keto option. There are also many hormone-related conditions related to weight loss difficulties and it is easy for a person to blame a specific diet for their failure to lose weight. The loss of just one hour of sleep can reduce your metabolic rate (your body's ability to burn calories for energy). If you have other factors in your life that are related to weight gain or difficulties to lose weight such as stress, poor sleep habits, hormone, thyroid or adrenal disorders, this will affect your ability to be successful on any diet, not just the Keto diet. I encourage clients to take body composition, pictures, and measurements at 3-month intervals during their Keto journey. It's amazing the differences that show up, even if the scale is not moving much! I have clients who look and feel 10 years younger, are several sizes smaller and have significantly reduced or completely dissipated nagging health conditions, all because they are following the Keto diet long term! Committing to the Keto diet for at least 3 months and focusing more on the non-scale improvements will help you make much more progress in the long run, not just on your weight, but your overall health. 

Copyright Fire Team Whiskey 2018. All rights reserved. 

FTW Keto Chili Casserole

Fire Team Whiskey Cadre, SGT Cory Sanden shares his keto chili casserole recipe. 

FTW Keto Chili Casserole

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1lb. ground beef

1 medium diced onion

2-3 garlic cloves diced

1 cup of diced pepper of choice (green, red, poblano, etc.)

2 small cans of diced or crushed tomatoes or 8 oz. of juice

2 cups shredded cheese

Seasoning:  cumin, coriander, chili powder, or favorite chili seasoning

Garnish:

Diced avocadoes

Dollop of sour cream

Directions:

1.       Preheat oven to 350*.

2.      Brown beef and onion in skillet.

3.      Add tomatoes, juice, garlic, seasoning, and peppers and simmer 2- 3 min.

4.      Add chili mixture into oven safe dish and top with 2 cups of cheese.

5.      Cook at 350* for 20 minutes.

6.      Remove for oven and serve with sour cream and avocadoes.

Macros: (servings 4)

One serving equals: 533 calories, 40 g fat, 9 g carb, 32 g protein.

 

FTW Low Carb Dinner Rolls

FTW Cadre SGT Cory Sanden shows us his recipie for low carb dinner rolls. 

FTW Keto Dinner Rolls

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 20 min

Servings: 24 rolls

 

Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese

1 tbsp. butter

1 1/3 cup almond flour

4 eggs

3 cups mozzarella cheese

4 tbsp. baking powder

Directions:

1.      Preheat oven to 400*.

2.      Melt cream cheese and mozzarella cheese together on low heat for a few minutes and stir often.

3.      Add melted cheese to a bowl along with baking powder, almond flour, and eggs.  Mix and let stand for 10-20 minutes.  Roll into 24 small balls and chill in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes. 

4.      Melt butter in over low heat in 10-12” cast iron skillet or oven based pan. 

5.      Place the rolls into the skillet or pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Tips:

Use water when rolling out the dough into balls. 

Chill the rolls for more than 10 minutes if they are still sticky. 

Use marinara sauce for dipping or oregano and other spices for desired taste.

 

Macros: (per roll) 90 calories, 10 g of fat, 2 g of carbs, 6.5 g of protein.