The Ketogenics Diet Works

Post by Mark

Back in February I was listening to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and he had Mark Sisson on who is a fitness author and blogger, and a former distance runner, triathlete and Ironman competitor (video of podcast above). During the show he started talking about the ketogenic diet and by the end of the show I think everyone who listened to the podcast wanted to try it out just because it sounded so absurd.

So this is how I understood ketogenics, basically your body right now uses carbs for energy, with ketogenics your body uses fat for energy which is a better fuel. To transform your body to burn fat instead of carbs it takes just 21 days. During these 21 days you need to completely phase out carbs from your diet (good ones and bad ones), so no grains like wheat and rice, no high carb veggies like sweet potato or corn and no more sugar. You’ll instead have to limit your carb intake to just 15g a day. Secondly your diet will have to consist of 75% fat and 25% protein. By fat they don’t mean just good fats like avocado but any fat like butter and fatty meats. So what happens is your body looks for carbs for energy, doesn’t find any carbs anymore so it starts looking for an alternative source of energy, and it then sees all this fat coming in so it starts burning the fat for fuel.

As of this post I’ve been on the keto diet for exactly 104 days (3 months and 2 weeks). Not only have I lost a lot of body fat but its the first diet where I’m really not craving any food I can’t have. Three months ago I went and had my body fat percentage measured using the BodPod and I ended up with a BF% of 24. It was really surprising and upsetting because it was the highest I had been in years. Fast forward to last week, I got my body fat measured again and I was now down to 17%. The only thing that changed was my diet. I was still going to the gym 3 times a week, I wasn’t doing extra cardio or anything of the sort, it’s just the food that I’ve been eating that has been different.

Now I know what you’re thinking, if I get on any strict diet I’ll lose weight and thats true but I’ll also most likely be just having grilled chicken with steamed veggies and hating my life while craving all this delicious food I can’t have. But if you look at what I have been eating the past three months its ridiculous, I love the food I’ve been eating. Foods I use to stay away from like kebabs, butter with my eggs, cheeses, ice cream etc.. are all now part of my keto diet. I now make delicious fat bombs which are high fat, no sugar and very low carb ice creams at home to help me keep my fat intake high. My chocolate chunk avocado ice cream is my favorite but I also make an incredible butter roasted pecan ice cream. In the past 3 months I only cheated three times, and all three times I cheated it wasn’t because I was craving certain foods but because I was with friends and we just ended up at Elevation or Shake Shack. In all the previous diets I had tried, I always had at least one cheat meal a week and now I don’t.

So not only have I lost fat because of ketogenics, but I’m also loving the food I’ve been eating.

ketonix

One more thing I wanted to talk about before I ended this post is the Ketonix breathalyzer. When your body is burning fat for energy it goes into a state of ketosis. So to know if you’re in ketosis or not (ie if you’re eating properly) you need to measure it and there are three ways to do that. The most accurate way is with a blood prick test but it’s also the most expensive while the least accurate and cheapest way is with urine test trips. The third option is not as accurate as a blood test but much more accurate than a urine test and it’s using a ketone breathalyzer. It’s also the most affordable in the long run since you can test your breath as many times as you want without having to get refills or anything. I ordered mine from Ketonix (pictured above) for $150 and it really helped me in the beginning keep me on track. So if you’re looking to try keto then I’d recommend ordering one.

The ketogenics diet works. My friends keep asking me how long I’m going to do this for as if its a temporary thing but right now I don’t have an issue staying on this till whenever. I’m enjoying all the food I’m eating, I’m burning body fat without even trying and I feel good. I’m now aiming to get my body fat down to 12% within the next 3 months but I’m also going to be adding cardio two or three times a week. Now keep in mind, I’m not a dietician, so if you’re interested in trying keto watch or listen to the podcast I’ve posted on top and then read up on it.


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MCT Oil in Kuwait

Post by Mark

mctoil

Does anyone know where you can find MCT Oil in Kuwait other than at the Results Vitamin Shop? Results have MCT Oil but they’re selling it for KD24 while Amazon is selling the exact same one for KD8. So that’s literally triple the price.

If you don’t know MCT Oil is, click [Here]


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OVO – A New Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant

Post by Mark

ovo1

OVO, not to be confused with Drake’s record label, is a new vegan and vegetarian restaurant that opened up in Bneid Al-Gar around two weeks back. They’re located inside the Massaleh Complex and they have a pretty great outdoor seating thats secluded from the rest of the surrounding area.

ovo2

More than 80% of their menu items are vegan or vegetarian but they also have some flexitarian options (food with meat) for those tagging along with vegans or vegetarians. I took a couple of photos of their current temporary menu so you can get an idea of what kind of food they serve. You can check it out [Here] and [Here]

ovo3

Even though they’re currently in a soft launch phase and they’re still adding and fixing stuff on their menu, I’d definitely recommend passing by since the weather is amazing and you don’t want to miss out on their outdoor area before it gets too warm.

Finding their location might be a bit tricky though since they’re hidden off the main road. OVO is located inside the Massaleh Complex, so you’re going to have to park your car, and then take some side stairs to the back of the complex to find it, but if you follow this [Google Maps] link you shouldn’t have any difficulties. In case you get lost you can call them on 22575324/22575374 or visit their isntagram page @ovokwt

That area of Bneid Al-Gar is shaping up to be a healthy area with Alive Yoga and Healthy Feast both located nearby.


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Fork Fed: Salads

Post by Fork Fed

Many of us turn to salads when thinking of a low calorie meal option, yet we neglect to realize that some additions to our salad could actually sabotage the caloric amount in that salad. I thought it would be interesting to look at ways we are adding extra calories (perhaps unnecessarily) to our salads.

Going nuts with healthy fats
I’m guilty for this one. Just because olive oil is a healthy fat that does not mean we can add an abundant amount to our salads and still stay low in calories. Always keep in mind that 1 tablespoon of olive oil does has about 120 calories, adding more tablespoons could easily sway your salad to a 500 + calorie salad. Choose a nut or an avocado (not both) and limit the oil in your salad to control your calories and still get some healthy fats.

Romaine is your green of choice
With salads it’s important to discover other greens that could be added besides romaine. Many of us rely on romaine lettuce due to its availability virtually everywhere, which is a great source of vitamin A; but mixing up your greens will make sure you get plenty of fiber, feel fuller and get a variety of nutrients. Think of using rocca, baby spinach or even kale every once in a while.

No chicken please
Many of us avoid sources of protein in our salads, and we tend to get hungry again within an hour which could lead us to overeating. It’s always a good idea to add protein to any of your salads, and keep in mind that protein doesn’t just mean chicken or steak; you could also add eggs, low-fat cheese or even salmon or tuna as sources of protein.

Croutons and toppings
You’d be surprised how many added calories croutons and other toppings could add to your salad. Most croutons or breads have been deep fried to give you that crunch in your salad – and to me, crunch always means one thing -HIGH CALORIES! Beware of these added toppings even if you are having your salad as a main course. The same goes with toppings like dried fruits and nuts, yes they may be healthy but if we’re not careful with the amounts in our salad the calorie amount could go overboard. Instead, measure out your toppings and make sure you have more veggies and greens to feel full.

Extra dressing please
Now we all don’t want to have a dry salad, but dressings could increase the caloric amount of your salad to be the same of a huge burger. Really watch what dressing you choose to add to your salad. Creamy dressings are a big no-no and filled with calories, the same goes with balsamic vinegar. Unless you are buying expensive aged balsamic vinegar, most of the ones found in restaurants or even the grocery store are actually loaded with added sugars. My tip, ask for your dressing on the side, this way you can measure how much is added to your salad. Also, always aim for vinegar like apple cider vinegar or even lemon to enhance the flavor of your salad minus the added calories.

I hope you enjoy these tips, just remember that with any food – healthy or not – portion size is key.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.


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Fork Fed: Pickle Juice

Post by Fork Fed

juicehangover

Is pickle juice the new health hype? Many new health claims state that pickle juice can enhance athletic performance, and improve blood sugar control for those with diabetes; which makes me wonder whether drinking pickle juice can actually be worth it?

Before we take a look at the nutritional aspects of pickle juice, we need to keep in mind that this drink is definitely going to be a salty one! So those with high blood pressure issues should definitely stay away from this drink. In regards to carb, protein or fat amounts, pickle juice doesn’t really have much to make it stand out in a special group. What pickle juice does have is lots of sodium as well as a decent amount of probiotics.

In the old days, pickle juice was the result of combining cucumbers, salt and water. The cucumbers are fermented by the bacteria Lactobacillus resulting in some probiotic content in the pickle juice. Nowadays, pickle juice is the result of combining cucumbers in vinegar, therefore no probiotics are really available, so stick to your yogurt if you want the probiotics. Regardless of the probiotic content, pickle juice is claimed to have other health benefits that may or may not have any truth to them.

1 – Pickle juice can help relieve muscle cramps.
Muscle cramps could be the most annoying thing, especially when they happen when you’re asleep or during a workout. There could be a cure, but only after the cramp takes place. Recent research has shown that taking 1 ml per kg of your current body weight of pickle juice during a muscle cramp could help you recover faster than drinking plain water or ignoring it and not having anything at all. The verdict: TRUE! Keep your pickle juice jars on your nightstands or take them with you to the gym if you frequently get muscle cramps. It could be worth it for you if it takes you a while to recover from that cramp.

2 – Pickle juice can help with stomach cramps.
Stomach cramps usually happen due to low amounts of acid in the stomach. Adding in the acidic pickle juice could potentially help since we are re-adding acid to our stomachs. Unfortunately no scientific evidence has proved that re-adding acid could help with stomach cramps. The verdict: FALSE! Maybe sticking to antacids or just avoiding some foods could be best with stomach cramps.

3 – Pickle juice can help enhance athletic performance.
The theory is behind the high salt content in pickle juice. Since salt retains fluid, the idea is that having pickle juice prior to exercising could keep you more hydrated and enhance your athletic performance for exercises requiring stamina. Unfortunately most studies have not shown any effect making this claim worthwhile. The verdict: FALSE! Stick to regular water, good training and sleep to enhance your performance.

4 – Pickle juice can control blood sugar.
Vinegar and blood sugar have been researched for a while. The link is between vinegar and insulin to be precise, where vinegar has been shown to improve sensitivity to insulin in the body – therefore reducing blood sugar levels. Vinegar has also been found to slow down the absorption of food in the stomach, when taken with a meal; that could also help potentially lower blood sugar levels. The verdict: True! I would consider adding vinegar but not necessarily consuming a cup of pickle juice with my lunch or dinner. Perhaps some apple cider vinegar in my salad dressing would be a more palatable choice.

So, would you be consuming pickle juice? I certainly will continue to enjoy eating my pickles and until more research has been conducted, I will be holding off on the pickle juice.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

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Measuring Your Body Fat

Post by Mark

bodpod

Since summer is coming and a lot of people will be trying to lose weight for beach season, I figured it would be the perfect time to post about this subject. I recently started a Ketogenic diet and wanted to measure my body fat so I could compare it again a few months down the line and the most accurate way to get your body fat measured is with a Bod Pod.

A couple of years back I posted briefly about the Bod Pod when I passed by the then recently opened SPARK Athletic Center. The Bod Pod is much more accurate than biolectric anaylysis (the paddles you hold while standing on a scale) and much more accurate than skinfold calipers which a lot of people seem to think is very accurate. Recently I was made aware by a reader of a small nutrition center in Shaab that also has a Bod Pod and the best part is, it’s available for both men and women.

The picture on top is of the Bod Pod, you basically sit in it for a few seconds while the machine uses air pressure to calculate everything. Some of the information the Bod Pod will be able to provide you with is your body fat percentage, your fat mass, your lung capacity and your resting metabolic rate.

The whole process takes a few minutes and you could be in and out of there in less than 30 minutes. The cost of getting your measurements taken is KD20. If you’re interested the place is called Your Choice and they’re located next to where Edo used to in Shaab (Same building as Ryoog). You need to call for an appointment on 22621117 and here is the location on [Google Maps]


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Fork Fed: Does Time Matter?

Post by Fork Fed

clcok

For many years we’ve heard our parents tell us to have our breakfast, because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don’t have dinner and sleep, you’ll get fat! Are all these claims really true? Well, that’s the beauty of research and science – we come to new conclusions everyday! The current research shows that when you choose to have your meals is not really correlated with your weight. I found that to be quite interesting because I, for one, hate having food when I wake up and could usually satisfy any hunger I may have with a coffee and banana.

So, you’re probably thinking what nutrient timing is really about? The idea really started with athletes and body builders to be more specific. Nutrient timing mostly referred to the anabolic window also known as the 15-30 minutes post workout where one could load on carbs and protein to replenish their muscle stores. Research has later on shown that we do not all need to be consuming a high carb high protein meal post workout to replenish our stores within 15-30 minutes, and we can actually do it within an hour or more. Again, this is RESEARCH and research is ongoing. As for consuming a meal before working out, that is only necessary depending on the intensity of your workout. Many research papers have shown that exercising in a semi-fasted state can actually help burn more fat. Again, timing your meals will all depend on what your goals are.

Let’s take a look at breakfast. Have people that changed their habits and consumed breakfast lost weight in comparison to those that opt not to have breakfast? The quick answer is it depends. The idea behind having a meal “breakfast” before lunch is to be able to better control your portion at lunch. If I choose to not have breakfast then by the time lunchtime comes around I will probably overeat and/or make wrong dietary choices. If you are not used to having a meal for breakfast and can somewhat control your hunger by lunchtime then having breakfast may lead to an over consumption of calories. Therefore you might not necessarily lose weight.

As for having dinner before going to sleep, no science has shown that it can lead to weight gain. While completely eliminating carbs at dinner or night time has not been associated with significant weight loss either. On the contrary, some research has shown that consuming carbs can actually help with relaxation and the release of serotonin at night.

So you’re probably thinking what could we further do to enhance our lifestyle and lose some weight? It all boils down to the number of calories you eat! Of course quality is important, but when it comes to weight control specifically, it doesn’t really matter when you have certain foods. As long as you stay within a certain caloric requirement for weight loss (food in is less than energy burnt) then you’ll be losing weight. Now, to stay on track and avoid falling of the bandwagon, it is important that you focus on whole grains and lean protein as well has healthy fats with lots of fruits and veggies to stay full all day! It’s not when you eat your food, it’s how much you choose to eat that will really make an impact.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

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Fork Fed: The “Pre” and “Pro” Biotics – Explained!

Post by Fork Fed

stomach

I don’t know about you guys, but pre- and probiotics have always been confusing for me. It hasn’t been until recently that scientists and nutritionist have felt that strongly about the benefits of pre- and probiotics, as well as the importance of including them in our diet. Personally, I don’t like taking supplements and always prefer taking in my nutrients from a natural form. Let’s take a look at them in a bit more detail.

– Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria (good bacteria) that enhances our gut flora. These types of bacteria helps protect our digestive tracts from fungi.

– Prebiotics are usually found in the fiber that our gut is unable to digest THAT the probiotic bacteria uses as food.

You might be thinking why it is important to include the probiotics to enhance your gut flora?

– The reason is that sometimes we make food choices that can impact our gut health, which could make us feel bloated or easily prone to getting sick. We already have both good and bad bacteria in our gut, the key point is to enhance or help the good bacteria overgrow the bad bacteria and therefore helping us feel better and digest food better.

– High-sugar and high-fat foods enhance the growth of the bad bacteria in our gut, which could slow down the digestive process making you feel unhealthy and could stop you from losing weight.

Taking a look at our food:
Prebiotic Foods (foods that feed good bacteria):
Foul (broad beans)
– Chickpeas
– Bananas
– Berries
– Garlic
– Onion
– Oats

Probiotic Foods (foods containing the good bacteria):
– Kefir
– Fermented  Cheese/yogurt (soft cheeses)
– Miso
– Non-pasteurized pickles
– Kombucha
– Kimchi

As you can see, getting probiotics from your diet is a bit difficult, while getting prebiotics is much easier. This is were probiotic supplementation could come into play. When looking at supplements, make sure they label the number of live bacteria available per dose (20 billion should be your target),  as well as the type of bacteria being used, and the expiry date (live bacteria can’t live on forever). I hope this helps!

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

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Blue Zone Juice Bar

Post by Mark

bluezone

Blue Zone is a juice bar that just opened up a few days ago at Sultan Center Shaab. For those of you who’ve been to Sultan Center Shaab, the juice bar opened up near the main entrance once you walk in where the sliced fruits used to be on display.

I was at Sultan earlier tonight and spotted a friend sitting at the bar. Turns out the place was for a relative of his, Khalidah Alessa, a former health coach was behind the bar busy baking a hemp seed and date protein bar. She’s managed to turn the little corner into a cute space serving healthy cold-pressed juices, smoothies and small treats. She even has wheat grass shots and will start serving healthy breakfast options soon.

If you’re interested in trying Blue Zone out, they’re open from 8AM to 8PM and you can check out their instagram account @bluezonekw


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Fork Fed: It’s NOT All About the Numbers

Post by Fork Fed

scale

Recently, I decided to measure my body fat percent on a body composition machine and boy oh boy was I nowhere near happy by the numbers. I’ve been going to my workouts religiously and watching what I eat, for the most part. My pant size has gone down 2 sizes, I’m much more toned and definitely stronger than I’ve ever been before. Why haven’t my numbers changed?? Here are some reasons as to why numbers do not really reflect that change that is DEFINITELY going on within you.

Equipment used to measure body fat percent is not always accurate!
The most common of all equipment to measure body fat percent is the bioelectrical impedance, and despite the fact that this machine is commonly available and easy to use, it is probably the least accurate way to measure body fat percentages. Bioelectrical impedance works by sending electrical impulses through the body and measuring how long they take to return; the quicker the return of the impulses are equates to a leaner body (fat hinders the movement of the impulses). This technique is not always accurate because hydration levels can also affect how fast the electrical impulses move through the body. The more hydrated you are the faster the impulses move; therefore if your body was somewhat dehydrated, you will be getting a false reading in regards to your body fat percent. The calipers are probably the most accurate, BUT you need to have a skilled person taking measurements and the measurements need to be taken in the same place at different times to ensure accuracy. It can be hard to remember the exact skin-fold that was measured previously.

The scale and BMI are the worst measures of weight loss.
Both the scale and body mass index (BMI) do not take your muscle mass into account. Therefore if you are someone that is working out and doing a lot of resistance training – you are building muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. So, your weight might increase or stay the same regardless of the fact that you are actually losing fat and dropping in size. If you are not exercising and only restricting your food then using a scale to monitor your weight loss could actually be beneficial. Although to be completely honest with you, I do not like the term weight loss and prefer to focus on fat loss. Taking a look at BMI, it is a calculation of your weight and height. It does not take into account how much of your weight actually comes from muscle or fat, therefore it is the worst indication of whether or not you are at a healthy weight range.

The numbers may frustrate you, but don’t let them bring you down! Numbers do not always reflect everything. As long as you feel good about yourself, then that is all that matters. Make sure you are exercising, eating and sleeping well. Remember, any change you make should be a lifestyle one and not a temporary one. I hope this helps you if you’ve been let down by your weight.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

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