Juice Me Up

Happy February break, friends!

I hope everyone is having more of a relaxing break than I am (sigh).  With midterms, midterm assignments, job applications, and interviews, there hasn’t really been much “me” time… including incorporating this health and fitness journey in my very busy schedule.  And with grad pictures right around the corner….

So, many of my friends have told me to try juicing.  Now, I am NOT a juicer or a believer in drinking my foods… a girl’s gotta eat. But I would also like to have a neck in my grad photos.  I have had great success with my previous food diet (keto) and average success with the intermittent fasting, but since I can’t go to the gym (due to no free time/ no access when I’m at my parents’) I need to try something that will preferably dehydrate my body to the max – I don’t know if juicing will do this or not but I guess we’ll see?

To begin: I know nothing about juicing.  I think it’s silly and honestly I don’t really want to try this.  Fruits and vegetables are high in carbs and sugar for that matter, and I can already feel the heartburn I’m probably going to have for the next week.

This is what I’ve learned: This website really started at the basics and worked it’s way up to the complex for me.

To begin, it basically compares the difference between juices and smoothies.  And while they basically are the same, the main difference is that juices have NO fiber.  However, or the purpose of juicing, the lack of fiber is a good thing- it allows the body to rapidly digest and assimilate the nutrients found in the juice in comparison of having a lot of fiber contained which would slow the entire process down a bit.

I also learned that there is many different types of juicing: cold-pressed (does the best job at maintaining the most nutrients), centrifugal (the cell walls of the fruits/vegetables are not as easily broken down and may be wasted if you don’t “re-juice” again to yield the most you can), masticating (retains more nutrients than centrifugal but less than cold-pressed), high speed blenders + milk nut bag (filters to maintain most nutrients).

So I know what you’re all thinking now…

HOW DO I JUICE?

To prep: all fruits and vegetables with inedible rinds, remove! This includes oranges, lemons, grapefruits, ginger skin, etc. Be sure to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables as best as possible.

Equipment: You can use a high-speed blender if you do not have a juicer.

Instructions: 

  1. Wash fruit or vegetables
  2. Remove peel or outer rhine if needed
  3. Pop in the juicer
    1. If using a blender- blend fruits and vegetables, strain using a nut milk bag, squeeze all the juice you can out of the fruits/vegetables, repeat until the pulp is dry and you’ve gotten all the juice out.
  4. Let the juicer do the work!
  5. Depending on how wet your fruit/vegetable pulp is after juicing, you can “re-juice” the pulp to squeeze out the very last bit of juice and water within the fruits/vegetables.
  6. Store in an airtight mason jar for up to 48 hours maximum. Fresh and drinking immediately is absolutely best!
    1. You can make a couple large batches for yourself to lessen the amount of time juicing, just be sure to consume in 2 days and store in an airtight mason jar.

Seems like a lot of work.. but it actually doesn’t take that long.  And as we’re all students, it’s kind of easy to see that this is a fairly expensive diet to live off of, even if it is just for a week or so.  So I found this great article that provides a list of produce for those juicing on a budget.

And if you’re a visual learner, here’s an 11 minute video of Dani Spies going through the ins and outs of juicing.

And if you’re still interested, here’s a list of 22 juicing recipes.

Pretty sure this post would be Biggie approved

And also pretty sure this is the theme song of this post:

– J

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Intermittent Fasting 101

So guys, I suck, and since getting back from BC I have not picked my keto diet back up (honestly because my mother ain’t about that life and I’m going home for reading week) and I also have not been going to the gym since it’s difficult to type 40 essays and run intervals at the same time (RIP to me).

SIDE NOTE: Here are some cute photos of me and my friends at the beach:

LadiesattheBeach-22LadiesattheBeach-65LadiesattheBeach-11

ANYWHO

I decided to check out intermittent fasting!  From my understanding, there is only a small time frame in the day that you can eat, because the long fasting period puts your body it ketosis just as the keto diet would.  For me, this diet is more attainable while on vacations, like February break, because there’s not a strict diet, just a strict time frame for eating.

Mr Bean Eating GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

So I learned a lot from this wonderful blog (which also includes a FREE intermittent fasting beginners guide!).  Basically, what happens is you skip breakfast every day, and eat two meals a day – never eating past 8pm and never eating before 12:30pm.  To understand how this diet works, you need to understand that your body has two states: the fed state and the fasted state.  I’m going to try and make this simple: It is hard to burn fat during the fed state because insulin levels are high. The 8-12 hours after your last meal is when you enter the fasted state, and this is where your body burns fat because your insulin levels are low.  Doing intermittent fasting is your body burning fat even though you aren’t doing anything, per say.

Here’s also a pretty good video that explains this in another way:

 

Hope every one is having a great week, and I’m excited to try this out for myself!

CHEAT WEEK

Hi friends!

Waving Team Usa GIF by U.S. Figure Skating - Find & Share on GIPHY

So as a little update… I’ve been keto for two weeks and have lost 10 lbs.  Not bad for the amount of cheese I’ve ingested.  So with that being said, I feel like I deserve a break.

Happy Eddie Murphy GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’m going to Vancouver on Friday, and I know I won’t be able to have a strict diet while I’m there so I decided to just casually feed my body carbs again for the week.  I will pick this diet back up when I come home on Monday, so I’ll continue this diet.

Also, not that you asked, but gym life hasn’t been fantastic.  I know in my last post I blogged about HIIT and said I’d try to implement it into my routine.. but turns out I actually have to attend the gym to put it into my routine.  I managed to try HIIT twice, but that’s definitely not enough.  So when I get back into the groove of things next week, I’ll be more determined to bear the -30 degree weather to make my trek over to Mount Crumpit (a.k.a. the gym).

So with that being said… my learning topic is about cheat days.

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I literally know absolutely nothing about the benefits of cheating on your diet besides the fact that it makes your taste buds happy and can help if you’re plateauing (not making any more progress).

This is what I’ve learned:

There are not benefits to cheating.

Oh My God Omg GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That if you need to cheat, try to do it on big training days so you burn off excess calories, or do it after milestones to treat yourself.  So for example, if you hit a PB (personal best) in the gym, go get some menchies because you deserve it.  I read this article that claims the only benefit that could be argued is that it can raise your leptin level – leptin is the hormone that fat cells secrete to maintain energy balance in your body – as calorie restrictions decrease it.  It’s when that hormone decreases that the urges for bad foods arise because when leptin levels reach a certain threshold, it signals to the brain that you have sufficient energy stored, allowing you to push away from the table when you’ve had enough. Then when leptin levels drop, hunger signals go through the roof, often resulting in overeating.

Great Simon Cowell GIF by America's Got Talent - Find & Share on GIPHY

Needless to say… I think I better be focused on my diet and exercise plan for next week!  But as a side note, this app has been the most amazing tool to use on this journey and is the reason why I haven’t had more cheat days thus far.  It lets you save your meals, duplicate them, etc. and is the simplest app I’ve had yet to use.  It has a visual of the number of macros you have left to eat in a day, and it turns colours when you’re spot on or over.  10/10 would recommend!!

HIIT Me Baby One More Time

So my post last week was about the ketogenic diet.  And since then, I have (amazingly) been faithful to the diet.  I definitely struggle every day, as the amount of meat and cheese I have to eat each day is honestly outrageous.  I especially struggle with finding recipes for a keto meal that doesn’t include really strange things that I wouldn’t eat normally…like erithrytol and pork rinds.  I also have an extremely hard time eating enough in a day, and what comes with that is learning how to keep my electrolytes from completely depleting.  I’m still learning, but I hope with time this process gets easier.  But to end on a happy note, here’s a DELICIOUS Shrimp Alfredo I made for myself one night:

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All that’s in it is: shrimp, kale, cream cheese, butter, heavy cream, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese.  It was the most delicious Keto meal my mouth has ever tasted.

 

This week, however, my learning topic is going to be about HIIT: high intensity interval training.  So before I research, here is what I already know about it..or think I know:
-An interval is doing an exercise at different speeds.  For example, walk for 60 seconds, jog for 30 seconds, then sprint for 30 seconds.  And then repeat for, say 30 minutes or 8-12 reps – whatever your workout looks like.  You want your heart rate as high as possible during those last 30 seconds, but you want to completely recover and lower your heart rate down again during that minute of walking.
– Intervals are of interest to the people of the fitness decent because it creates a better stamina, as well as increases/ decreases heart rate at a level that allows the body to burn calories (and therefore fat) faster.  You need to push yourself to get through the
-Intervals increase your speed
– You can do intervals on any cardio machine and in lots of different exercise: sprint, jump rope, treadmill, stair mill, stationary bike, elliptical.
– And that’s about it.

So here’s what I learned:
–  According to bodybuilding.com, what makes HIIT training so effective as a fat burner is that it produces excess post-oxygen consumption, a.k.a. EPOC; HIIT increases the resting metabolic rate for the following 24 hours.  Which mean, the fat-burning party isn’t over once you step off the treadmill – it keeps going and going and going!  However, you don’t actually burn an abundant amount of calories throughout the day afterwards.  You burn some, but not a crazy amount.  It’s like finding a dollar in your pant pocket at the end of the day.  Awesome! It’s a dollar…but it’s not $20.00.
-I also found this really cool community for the who, what, when, where, and why of HIIT.  It’s a bunch of people just learning and going through this process together.
– I also learned, surprisingly enough, that I know 95% of what there is to know about HIIT.  But with that being said, I also found this really great video that thoroughly describes the differences between all the cardios.  While I already know what the difference is, I think the did a really good job at making the differences even more clear to me.  The girl in the video also shows some really alternative ways to do cardio, which I think is a neat visual.  She is also hilarious, and when you get to her workout routine I think you’ll probably laugh.

So with all that being said, I’m going to incorporate HIIT into my workouts every day for this next week alongside my keto lifestyle, and will relay how it’s going in my next post!

Cheers.

First up: Fats, Proteins, & Carbs

This is my first blog posts, and it’s going to revolve around fitness.  For the next few months, I’m going to “learn” about fitness, and teach myself the mechanics behind the strange things (diet fads, exercise routines, etc.) that gym junkies seem to constantly be immersed in.  This interests me for a few reasons: 1) I’ve always enjoyed exercise and frequent myself at the gym, however I find myself always plateauing (meaning staying stationary – not seeing any change in my body physically) and even though I know enough to switch up my routine when this happens, I don’t know enough to know how to switch up my routine or what would be the best way to progress; 2) I learn by doing, so when I research a new diet or a new type of exercise program, I can actually go to the gym, try it out for myself, and catalog the results.  I find myself getting antsy sitting in one place doing one thing for too long, which is why teaching myself something like crocheting isn’t really for me.  I also am quite busy, so I thought this was a good idea as I’m killing two birds with one stone: I can do my learning project at the gym as I already make time in the day for physical activity; 3)  I think this will hold me accountable.  As a student, I find my apathetic self dangerously walking on the edge of procrastination.  I can already see myself slacking on my blog posts and sleeping in rather than hitting the gym.  I’m hoping choosing this project will be an accountability buddy for me, in a sense.  I really want to do well at school and in my classes, so knowing I can go to the gym, get healthy, and complete an assignment at the same time may just be what I need in order to succeed at learning about health and actually making myself healthier.

So with that being said, the first thing I’m going to learn about is about ketogenic diets. So before I begin reading up on everything this diet entails, this is what I know about it: instead of counting your calories for the day, you count your macros (macronutrients – the stuff your body uses for fuel). Everything you eat in a day is placed under 3 different categories – fats, proteins, and carbohydrates – and as you can imagine, most of us have a high carb, average proteins, and low fat diet.  Well, this diet kind of reverses that. In a day, a person should have a diet that consists of 70% fats, 20% proteins, and 10% carbs (as a really important note, it’s important to add that when I say “fats” I don’t mean processed fats).  It may not look that bad, but it actually is quite a difficult diet to follow, because essentially all processed flour and yeast is completely cut out.  Meals should consist of fatty meats being cooked in olive oil (actual olive oil, none of that extra-virgin lean stuff one usually uses while trying to improve their health), and LOTS of cheese. Now from my understanding, which is still quite minimal, a diet like this is appealing because rather than burning the energy we’re consuming in a day it burns the stored fat due to the high amount of fats we’re actually ingesting. I guess in a sense, you could say that we’re “tricking” our body.  With that being said, here is also the negative side of this diet that I also understand: a person needs fat stored in their body, and the body only breaks it down when there is no more glucose available.  Glucose is really important, because it’s what makes the body have energy.  So this may get a little confusing, but once your body doesn’t have that glucose it begins to break down fat, and this breakdown of fat leads to a process called ketoacidosis.  Ketoacidosis is essentially an excess of acid build up in the body.  Now as you can imagine, the body doesn’t want this excess of acid in it, so it tries to get rid of it.  This becomes problematic, because the ways in which the body wants it removed are kind of scary: hypoventilation, which is breathing at an abnormally slow rate, resulting in an increased amount of carbon dioxide in the blood; labour respirations, which is deep, difficult, heavy breathing; fruity smelling breath; among many other things as well.  Ketoacidosis is a complication that one inherits from diabetes, which is very evidently not good.

Upon researching this diet, I found this thread to be very insightful, very informational, and a really good FAQ that kind of encapsulates all common questions may have about being keto.  It explains the standard approach, how to know what carbs are in what foods, and basically everything you need to know.  So basically, I’m going to sum up the main bits of information that I specifically learned from this site, while I also may include some supplementary videos or articles if I found them to aid my learning process.

I hope y’all ready for some information overload:

So the first thing I learned is that fibre doesn’t count towards your daily carb intake.  So for example, if something you eat has 10g carbs but 8g fiber, then it has 2g NET carbs.  The next carbs is what you would count. With that being said, it’s also important to stress that fiber doesn’t NEGATE carbs – it just isn’t counted. Something cannot have more fiber than carbs, so mixing a handful of flax meal into a bowl of ice-cream won’t work!  But it’s actually a lot more complex than this, so check out this video:

*AS A SIDE NOTE: myfitnesspal is a really good app and website to help keep track of your macros*
Another thing I found is this.  It’s an amazing google doc that has a list of acceptable foods and their carb counts.  #bless to the real MVP who made this and decided to share it with the learning fitness community.
Next, I found this.  And it’s ABSOLUTELY INSANE.  It’s a ketocalculator, and it tells you EXACTLY how much of what you need to eat and when based on your body composition, and it also gives you a chart of your (expected) weight loss journey.  Something that I didn’t know – or I guess I knew this, but just never thought about it really – is that with every pound you lose, you have to recalculate your macros/ calorie intake to continually be the most successful you can be in this diet.  Usually a person will just recalculate and do one weigh in every month, and will keep track of their progress that way.

And as if the list of cons that I stated before weren’t worry-some enough, I found another.  Apparently when one starts this diet they more than likely will develop something called “keto-flu.”  Essentially as your body is learning to burn fat for energy, you will develop flu-like symptoms.  Now they should dissipate after a few days… or weeks.  The only way to treat this “flu” is to replenish your electrolytes.  And what happened if you don’t choose to replenish your electrolytes?  Well, for as long as one eats low-carb, it is 100% necessary to take care of your levels of sodium, potassium, and magnesium (also called your electrolytes).  If you don’t get enough, you’ll start to experience fatigue, muscle twitching, headaches, muscle cramping, and even arrhythmia.  Fortunately, leg cramps are the most common sign and let on that your electrolytes are out of balance, so it’s crucial you’re really listening to your body when you do a diet as extreme as this ketogenic one.  So now I know what you’re asking, “How can I replenish my electrolytes?!”  Well, it’s actually kind of simple.  This is the requirements for electrolytes: 5000mg sodium, 1000mg potassium, 300mg magnesium.  Here are some ways you can reach those levels:

  • Sodium: Broth or bouillon, Pickle juice, Sodium pills.
  • Potassium: Raw spinach, Avocado, Mushrooms, Salmon, Steak, Pork loin, Lite Salt.
  • Magnesium: Raw spinach, Avocado, Magnesium Citrate or slow release Magnesium for optimum absorption.

Another question you may be asking at this point is, “What will my weightloss journey with keto look like?”  And of course everyone is different and all results will vary, but basically there is three phases:
1. The Honeymoon Phase : Lots of weight comes off fast. This is water that was tied up with glycogen.
*Note: if you don’t experience rapid weight loss in this period, do not despair. Not everyone is so lucky, and men may be more likely to see rapid initial weight loss than women.
2. The Keto Adaptation Phase: Water and glycogen find a new balance and this causes a stall or even weight gain, which lasts for a week or two. Relax, this is both normal and temporary.
3. The Fully keto-adapted Phase: After 3-4 weeks the body is burning fat as its main fuel and the brain has switched to running on ketones. A bumpy downward trend in your weight will begin. The trend is “bumpy” because there will be days or weeks when your weight stalls, or even goes up slightly. This happens to everyone, on every kind of weight-loss diet. The trend will be especially bumpy if you are female. In particular, “shark week” will play hell with your scale weight.
*Note: If a plateau lasts more than a couple of weeks, you may need to make adjustments to your lifestyle to break it.

While on this diet, it’s important to try and stay away from alcohol.  It doesn’t mean you can’t drink it, you can, and here is a carb “cheat sheet” for many different beverages.  However, drinking alcohol will take you out of ketosis, as your body is now metabolizing alcohol rather than fats.  Also, drinking coffee is okay, as long as it’s just that: coffee.  Things start to get complicated once you start mixing in sugars, sweetners, and creams into it.  Many people mix in heavy cream and oils in their coffee to raise their fats, so that’s an option, just make sure you’re conscience about what (and how much) you’re consuming.

Something that I learned and found quite interesting, is that this isn’t a phase diet.  And what I mean by that is when you reach your goal weight, it doesn’t mean you should quit the diet.  Apparently most people find themselves gaining all their lost weight back (plus more) once they kick keto to the curb.  Most people switch over to a paleo diet (easy to understand definition can be found here) and continue to eat like that for the rest of their lives.

And with that: fin.

So I’ve weighed myself, have taken progress pics, and went grocery shopping.  By the end of this learning process, I hope I have progress to show at the end.  I am going to start a keto diet on Monday, and next week I will update how my progress with that is and focus my next post on HIIT: high intensity interval training.

Cheers.