“To change a person must face the dragon of his appetites with another dragon – the life energy of his soul.” Rumi
What is your relationship with food? Are you aware of the feeling and emotions you attach unconsciously to food? When last did you taste your food? Really tasted it so that your soul rejoiced…… Or does food only serve as a means to try and fill the emptiness, as a means to escape that which you are not willing to face?
I have drawn up a questionnaire to help you on your way. Click here to download it and complete honestly. Remember what you put in is what you will get out.
At your next meal, be completely present and aware of the smell, taste, texture of your food. Fill all your senses and feast on the food before you have even tasted it. Be aware of what emotions you feel and note them in your journal to work on.
By now, we have worked on breaking bad eating habits, detoxed the body and started healing the gut microbiome. In the next part, we are going to be looking at the following:
- Ketogenic Lifestyle
- Intermittent fasting
Both Daniel and I have been following this way of life for more than 5 years already. I have completed 4 Full Ironman races being fat adapted and from all our research and studies, believe strongly in this lifestyle.
Firstly, it is important to know and understand that the ketogenic lifestyle is not high protein. It is medium protein, high fat and low carb. As a rule of thumb we are looking at the following % breakdown on the macros: Protein 20%, Fat 70% and Carbs (Veggies and some fruit) 10%.
Secondly, the quality of the macros are extremely important. So where possible eat organic, grass-fed or free-range and ALWAYS eat real food as opposed to taking supplementation. Minerals, vitamins, trace elements, amino acids etc, are all found and available in food sources as found in nature. Items available as manufactured on the shelves, are mainly a poor attempt at chemically “cloning” of nutrients by corporates and big pharma companies for their monetary enrichment to the detriment of our health.
Thirdly, to ensure that the bacteria and enzymes in our gut microbiome is happy and healthy, it is important to eat a rainbow of fresh, organic vegetables, preferably raw. If cooked at too high temperatures, the nutrient value will be lost. I cannot stress enough how important your gut health is for your overall well-being.
Extract of interview with Dr. O’Bryan with Holistic Primary Care
”Intestinal health is inextricably linked to overall health. This notion is supported by a growing body of microbiome research, which indicates that the microbial makeup of the gastrointestinal tract can be a powerful predictor of total health and wellness.
The incredibly complex ecosystem of the human gut contains trillions of commensal bacteria belonging to five primary microbial phyla: Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and Fusobacteria, which are distributed throughout the gut in varying numbers. In most adults, Firmicutes is the dominant phylum, comprising more than 90% of the total intestinal microbiota in some individuals.
These microbes influence and regulate GI activity, metabolism, and infection prevention. O’Bryan noted that the gut microbiota can influence the body’s GABAergic, glutaminergic, serotonergic, dopaminergic, histaminergic, and adrenergic systems.
….studies highlight the significant influence of both genetic features and microbial diversity on health status. But while genetic variations may predispose some individuals to disease, diet-driven disruptions of the gut microbiota may be an equally, if not more important, factor. “
The Vagus Nerve
Let us have a quick look at the Vagus Nerve and why it is so important. The vagus nerve runs from your brain into your abdomen. The vagus nerve helps control several muscles of the throat and of the voice box. It plays a major role in regulating the heart rate and keeping the gastrointestinal tract in working order. The vagus nerves also carry sensory information from the internal organs back to the brain. Vagus nerve dysfunction can result in a whole host of problems including obesity, bradycardia (abnormally slow heartbeat), difficulty swallowing, gastrointestinal diseases, fainting, mood disorders, B12 deficiency, chronic inflammation, impaired cough, and seizures.
In short, and very applicable to our gut microbiome – the vagus nerve can be seen as our “first” brain so when you say I have a feeling in my gut – you are actually more correct then you know J – So you can see how what we eat has such a great effect on our overall wellbeing.
“Our gut instincts are not fantasies but real nervous signals that guide much of our lives.”
So, back to the ketogenic diet. It is not a new fad diet. It is a lifestyle that has been around for a very long time. Nowadays, full cream dairy products are added to the lifestyle but care needs to be taken as we as humans are not designed to breakdown lactose and it can lead to ailments later down the road. So eat full cream dairy in moderation and ensure it comes from grass-fed cows only!
“Based on mounting research, it has been found that this way of life is effective in reversing Type2 Diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, autism and brain and other cancers. It is also found to increase life span, enhance brain function and it is also beneficial to pregnant ladies and the growing fetus.
Furthermore it decreases the size of your organs, increases stem cell production, reduces visceral fat, improves gene expression, increases the size of your brain’s memory center, improves immune functions, improves energy production, enhances cognitive function and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress” … Dr Hyman
Our recommendation therefor is to eat a ketogenic diet and to include a rainbow of fresh, organic, non GMO veggies and some fruit into your meals.
To further improve gut health, have a tablespoon of a variety of fermented foods 2-3 times daily.
For added value to your food and power-punching it with additional health benefits, add fresh herbs and spices to your meals.
INTERMITTENT FASTING (IF)
Our grand-parents use to say: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and from memory I remember furthermore, we always had a big lunch and small dinner. So breakfast is actually – Breaking the fast. Based on our natural circadian rhythms (which we will look at in more details in Sleep 2), we should have our last meal by between 6-7 at night and this should be a small meal.
In fact I like how Barbara O’Neill (Naturopath and Nutritionist) puts it: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like queen and dinner like a pauper. That is how we ate at my granny. By eating that way, we will automatically fast for between 12-14 hours a day.
Like the ketogenic lifestyle, IF has been around for the longest time. For many, it is used for religious reasons but for all of us there is a whole host of benefits.
Some of the benefits are:
- Improved mental clarity and concentration.
- Weight and body fat loss.
- Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels.
- Reversal of type 2 diabetes.
- Increased energy.
- Improved fat burning.
- Increased growth hormone.
- Lowered blood cholesterol
I would recommend that you work towards 12-14 hours and then we are aiming in working towards a 24 hour fast. Remember that Breaking the Fast, it is important to ensure that you make that first meal count and a quality one – so a good source of protein, healthy fats and a rainbow of fresh veg J
To learn more on IF, please have listen to this YouTube video from Dr Jason Fung, Canadian nephrologist and world-leading expert on IF and Low-carb.
*Look for the video on intermittent fasting on our site : https://zenfit.co.za/reference-material/