Category Archives: Primal 101

Should women be fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) has become a very popular method for losing weight and improving health. Advocates of intermittent fasting claim that it lowers diabetes risk by decreasing insulin resistance, enhances growth hormone production, which is good for anti-ageing and improves cognition through the release of dopamine.

Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that focuses on WHEN you eat and not so much on WHAT you eat. It involves going without food for a determined period of time.  Popular approaches are the 16:8, where you fast for 16 hours (say between the hours of 7pm and 11am), and then eat within an 8-hour window or the  5:2 method where you restrict calories to about 500 calories for two days a week and eat normally the other five days. Others prefer a 24-hour fast once or twice a week and there are a few other variations.  As trendy as fasting has become, is fasting beneficial for everyone and more specifically, should women be fasting? It seems the answer is a little more complicated than a simple “Yes” or “No”.

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How many grams of carbs can I eat in a day?

All carbohydrates, from bread, pasta and chocolate to the more healthy ones like fruit and butternut, convert to glucose in the bloodstream. Since the body doesn’t like having too much glucose floating around, the pancreas releases a surge of insulin to deal with it.  The more carbs one eats, the more insulin that is released. The downside of too much insulin is fat storage. So, if you want to lose weight, the key is to keep the amount of insulin in your body as low as possible. The only way to do this is to be careful with carbs. But, what does “be careful” with carbs really mean?

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What is a “fasting mimicking diet”?

Fasting is very “on-trend” at the moment. It’s cheap to do, no special meal preparation is required and there is ample evidence highlighting its benefits for anti-aging, weight loss and combatting chronic disease.  Fasting is not a new idea. Various religions and cultures have been practicing fasting for centuries. Even our cavemen ancestors had to fast, as there was often no food available for days on end. If fasting is such an amazing longevity and fat loss hack, why isn’t everyone doing it? One reason is because our relationship to food is complex and being ravenous for any length of time can be very unpleasant. Read the rest of this entry

Low carb diets and your thyroid

Are low carb diets good or bad for your thyroid? It’s certainly a controversial issue with many well-respected practitioners and nutritionists not always agreeing.  Some claim that low carb is the holy graille of weight loss and the path to optimal health, while others condemn the diet for wrecking their thyroid and causing hormonal chaos.  Who is right? The issue is a nuanced one with a few factors at play. Read the rest of this entry

Are you doing low carb the right way for YOU?

Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole will only end in frustration, and failure is almost guaranteed. But, shaving off the edges of the peg a little might just make it fit. Once the peg is altered to fit the hole, there is a good chance it will stay there for good. So it is with low carb diets. For ultimate long-term success, the diet needs to be tweaked to fit YOUR unique needs and goals.   Here are some factors to consider. Read the rest of this entry

Beyond the scale

Let’s assume for a moment that you have over-hauled your diet in a concerted effort to lose weight. No more expeditions to the junk food drive thru’s, alcohol consumption is at an all-time low and sugar is something you enjoy only in your dreams.  Food is being cooked from scratch and your relationship with veggies is back on track. But still the scale is moving very slowly or just won’t budge and you are beginning to wonder if all this hard work is actually worth it. Before you throw in the towel, know this – the scale doesn’t tell the whole story and shouldn’t be your only measure of success. In fact, being hyper-focused on the bathroom scale can do a lot of damage to your self-esteem and confidence.

What’s the solution?

Look for signs of progress elsewhere and forget about the scale for a moment. It isn’t that important to know how much force your body exerts upon the earth. Having less wobbly bits and feeling good is the main goal, right? The following list of questions could reveal that you are totally rocking your new and healthier diet and provide the motivation you need to keep going. Read the rest of this entry

What’s the best time of the month to start a diet?

Almost all diets work. Perhaps not the really crazy ones, but any diet that calls for an increased awareness around carbs, fats, calories and portion sizes will help you to lose weight – in the short term anyway. When a diet ‘stops working’ it is more often than not a compliance issue. With this in mind, the next logical question is, “Are there ways to improve adherence for better long term weight loss results?” Absolutely!

Firstly, choose a diet that is easy to sustain.  Secondly, choose the best time of the month to start your diet. This has nothing to do with starting on the 1st of the month, or on a Monday, or after a holiday, or once your salary cheque has cleared.  Nope. It has EVERYTHING to do with your menstrual cycle, ladies. Taking the ebb and flow of your monthly hormones into consideration could make the difference between getting off to a great start or throwing in the towel 3 days into your diet. Why? Because estrogen and progesterone have a massive impact on energy levels, exercise performance, hunger, fuel utilization, metabolic rate and cravings. Read the rest of this entry

Why protein is so important when dieting

There is a secret weapon of fat loss that doesn’t always get the airtime it deserves. It is a macronutrient that has been shrouded in considerable controversy over the years for the part it supposedly plays in kidney damage if eaten in large quantities. We are talking protein, animal protein to be more specific. Plant-based protein, like beans and legumes, are difficult to incorporate into a low carb diet due to their relatively high carb content so fall out of the scope of this article. Beef, chicken, lamb, fish, pork and eggs; some experts say don’t eat too much, while others believe that these foods are a vital key factor for health and sustainable weight loss.

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How to assess your risk for heart disease

I get asked this question a lot and while I am not a doctor, I can share with you what I have learned over the years. You can take this info and discuss it with your doctor, especially if they are wanting you to take a statin medication for high cholesterol. I encourage you to do your own research too.

Did you know that 75% of the cholesterol in your body is made by your liver? Think about that for a moment. Would your intelligently-designed body manufacture so much cholesterol if it was bad for you? Your body and brain need cholesterol to function properly. We would not survive without it. Cholesterol is important for manufacturing hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol. Cholesterol helps the liver create bile, which enables us to digest food, especially fats. It improves memory and boosts serotonin, the chemical that makes us feel happy. It is also quite normal for cholesterol levels to go up as we age. It shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. Read the rest of this entry

Why women should lift heavy

Girls, it is time to put those 2 kg dumbbells away. They will not help you achieve the lean and toned “fit” look that turns heads in a bikini. If you want a curvy butt and shapely arms you need to lift and squat heavy. The multitude of myths surrounding lifting heavy weights has unfortunately held many women back from achieving the look they desire. Want to change your body shape? Stop spending so many hours on the treadmill and spin bike and pick up a barbell instead.  You will be amazed at how quickly you will see results. Besides, if you aren’t strong, running can be brutal on your body. Strengthening the muscles surrounding and supporting your joints helps to prevent injuries. Read the rest of this entry