Monday, 22 September 2014

Why do I fast?

A while back, I posted a Facebook status about my 24 hour fast followed by some sprint intervals in the sun and a cold shower, and was asked why I do this. Apart from just feeling really good, there are some specific reasons I choose to intermittent fast, work out on an empty stomach, and take a cold shower every once in a while. Yeah, clearly I don't buy into the whole "eat 6 small meals a day or you will go into starvation mode, and lose all your muscle, and get fat, and unable to lose it!"  I'm here to dispel some of the myths.  There is lots and lots of info out there, but I'll just go through the basics...

INTERMITTENT FASTING
This has a ton of health benefits for most people. It works in a similar way to calorie restriction but without the constant hunger and inevitable muscle loss that goes along with it. It is theorized our hunter gatherer ancestors went through periods of feast and famine, and this makes sense when you consider how re-enaction of this positively influences our bodies. Some of the health benefits for fasting every now and again are lower fasting insulin, greater insulin sensitivity, improved exercise recovery and improved blood lipids. Let's go through them one by one shall we??

Improved insulin sensitivity - This study showed that after two weeks of intermittent fasting (20 hours every second day), plasma adiponectin increased by 27%. Adiponectin is positively correlated with insulin sensitivity. Muscle glycogen was unchanged, while liver glycogen reduced. This makes sense in evolutionary terms as on a fast we would have needed our muscle glycogen to hunt/find food.

Workout benefits - This flies in the face of most 'conventional wisdom'. Exercising while fasted increases the insulin sensitivity benefits. It stimulates glycogen resynthesis (it was around 3 times higher in a group who exercised fasted compared to a group who exercised after a carb rich meal) Intramuscular triglycerdies were also broken down while fasted but not when carbohydtae was eaten. Muscles thus, are better able to adapt to exercise stresses when fasted, so when glycogen levels are full, your workout will be miles better as your muscles have adapoted to working on low glycogen just fine! The study also found that peak VO2 and peak power improved more when training fasted compared to training in the fed state!

Fat loss - when intermittent fasting most people tend to automatically eat less. Coupled with the increased insulin sensitivity and the fact you are giving your body a rest from the processed refined carbs that most people eat, it will be much easier to burn your fat WHILE maintainting muscle mass. It's a win win!

Longevity - It;s been widely established in many animal species that calorie restriction extends life. However, I can't imaine life being very fun if you're constantly hungry. But luckily, intermittent fasting appears to have the same benefits. Technically you're not restricting calories to a great extent, as you eat extra when you eat to make up for the food not eaten during the fast, but the intermittent nature has been shown to increase lifespan nevertheless. And MUCH easier than eating salad all day,

Brain health - Studies such as this suggest intermittent fasting and calorie restriction can improve neuronal plasticity and inhibit brain degenration


Intermittent fasting is simple yet profoundly beneficial, though I would recommend eating fairly 'primally' (that is, a lower carb diet made up of more natural, whole foods, as you can read about in my dietary philosophy) before fasting, as this way of eating primes your body to be good at burning fat as well as glucose. Thus instead of crashing when not eating, you feel full of life, as your body is efficient at burning your fat stores for energy! To find out more check out Marksdailyapple (he has many excellent, thorough and easy to read posts on the subject).



Friday, 11 April 2014

Low carb cheesecake

I was in the mood for a creamy, low carb dessert the other day, so made this amazing (and incredibly easy!) cheesecake. I don't eat pasteurized dairy often, but  I make an exception once in a while! This is an adaptable recipe - I split my filling in half, added baileys flavouring and carob powder to one half, and cocoa powder and dark chocolate nutella to the other, swirled it around, and produced this chocolate baileys cheesecake. Next time I may swirl some strawberry jam through, or make some coconut milk caramel to top it with....mmmm....endless possibility!

Crust
I used the Coconut flour crust from Coconutmama, but use your favourite crust recipe

Filling
450g (16 oz) cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs
Sweetener to taste (I used some stevia, a touch of honey and dexrose)
1 T vanilla extract

Method
1. Make the crust, bake and set aside to cool
2. Beat the cream cheese with the sweetener, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating till smooth
3. Add the sour cream and vanilla
4. Add any extra fun flavourings or leave as is
5. Pour filling into crust and bake at about 160C/320F for an hour, or until the edges are set and the middle has a jiggle to it
6. Let cool, refrigerate  for 6 hours or overnight
7. ENJOY!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Revolution!

I always thought Russell Brand was a bit of a genius and this just further solidifies that! REAL TALK right here!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

What about GMOs?

I read this article recently on GMOs.

I thought it was very well written and neutral, considering what strong viewpoints are had on either side. You've got the die hard fellow hippies who believe that GMOs are evil, evil, evil , then you have the others saying they're progress and will help feed the world. I used to be totally in the former group, and even now I lean more towards that. GMOs are relatively recent, we don't know their long term effects on human bodies or the environment. They are mostly controlled by Monsanto, who I think we can all agree are an evil corporation who are all about greed and money. They patent their seeds and sue farmers, they hide evidence and encourage monoculture crop growing - none of which is good for the environment or people (especially farmers). Furthermore GMOs reduce biodiversity of the food we eat as well of the animals/plants in the ecosystem.

However, in the hands of responsible ethical scientists, GMOs could be used for good. They could be grown in places where they wouldn't contaminate non GMO crops. They could be used to create nutritionally superior food for starving countries (eg golden rice) or to create trees/plants that improve the ecosystem . If we knew what genes were altered,, and there was more accurate information and less deception, maybe we could accept the potential for some genetic modification to help society and the world as a whole ; the current overpopulation of humans, pollution, factory farming etc is surely in need of change.

I still avoid GMOs because of my corporate anti-sentiment, as well as the fact I have no idea what the genetic modifications actually entail and what their long term health effects are, as well as ethical issues (eg I avoid non organic meat as most is fed GMO soy which is grown on massive mono-culture farms which are created by destroying rainforest in the amazon). But I understand that in an ideal world, where GMOS were handled by ethical, progressive scientists, and used with certain regulations and rules to benefit society, I would be much more accepting of them. Unfortunately that's not the current situation. Who knows, maybe things will change. But for now, I'm doing my best to stick to  local veggies and organic meat!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Sauvage

Gahhh blogging fail. Ok I've sorted my life out. I think so anyway. I've had a crazy weekend of birthday celebrations. Before that it was travel and a festival interspersed with going to hospital like a good medical student. Now, it's detox time. It's get my life in order time. It's achieving time. And importantly, it's blogging more time!

I hope someone missed me ^^

I thought I'd kick things off with a little restaurant review of basically the first 'Paleo' restaurant in Europe. It's called Sauvage and it's in Berlin. I went there for a few days to visit a friend, and since we both kind of follow paleo principles we decided to check it out. And I'm am SO GLAD we did. It was incredible! One of the best meals I've had, and knowing it was healthy was just the (refined sugar free) icing on the (gluten free, low carb) cake! Sauvage follow Paleo principles in their cooking - so no dairy or grains in any menu item. Desserts are sweetened with natural sugars (like honey). Meats are organic/free range. It's all about fresh, organic and made from scratch.

We went on a balmy Friday evening. Inside it's fairly small, but intimate with lovely ambiance, but outside (where we sat) is where it's at! The outdoor tables are on a quiet residential street, and although a bit dark, it was perfect on that evening. I ordered a main course and dessert. For mains it was some kind of mutton ragu with olives and yucca mash with nutmeg. The meat was tender and flavourful, bursting with Mediterranean flavours, while the mash was creamy, smooth and slightly sticky. It's hard to describe if you've never had yucca before, but if you're a fan of starchy foods like potato or yam, you'll love the stuff! I got addicted to it on my South American travels. Dessert was a lemon mousse with fermented berries. It was basically a lemon curd, which I assume they used coconut oil in instead of butter. Oh man, it was beautiful. The tart berries perfectly offsetted the creamy lemony goodness of the curd. I also tried one of their homemade spirits (can't remember which) but that also, was amazing.

I love that this restaurant is all about local, organic, fresh food, and everything is made from scratch.  That's true sustainable commitment. It was a bit on the expensive side (but totally worth it, and what you'd expect for this kind of quality) and the entire experience was wonderful. ALSO, I cannot forget to mention the toilet. THAT was pretty cool in itself! There were candles, and ornaments and it smelt good, more like a shrine than a toilet. Who'da thunk it?!

If you're ever in Berlin, check this place out!

Contact information

Pflügerstrasse 25, 12047 - Berlin
Tel: 030/53167547
reservations(at)sauvageberlin.com



I'm sharing this with Real Food Wednesdays! Check it out for more real food posts

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

I'm back


After a long blogging hiatus where I was busy with exams, travelling, and more, I'm finally back to blogging! I will post some food posts from my travels around South America and Europe in due course. After months of semi-primal eating, and bad sleeping habits, I'm finally getting back to living in a way to optimize health. So I'm slowly scaling back bedtime to around 10:30pm and focusing more on organic meat and veg with reduced carbs instead of tons of rice and other grains. I've also begun experimenting with bulletproof coffee , which I am still in the early days of so will expand on that later! 
For now, enjoy this simple lamb chop recipe. All I did was make a spice mix of 1T turmeric, 1T cumin, 1t chilli powder, salt and pepper and rubbed it into some lamb chops and cooked in some coconut oil till rare.

Yummy!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

I ate a pigeon....and I liked it

So the other day,I was at borough market in London  talking to Farmer sharp at the wild meat stall. Long story short he convinced me to try pigeon, and suggested a tasty way to cook it.  I tried his idea the next day when I had dinner with a friend, and holy shit it was good!! Never in a million years would I have thought I'd actually eat pigeon and enjoy it but there ya go ; try new things!



For two pigeon breasts:
1. Heat up some cooking fat (butter or coconut oil) and fry some garlic and the breasts, about 4 mins each side (you want them rare or medium-rare)
2. Remove breasts and rest on plate
3. Add about a tabelspoon of creme fraiche (or regular cream) to the pan, along with a splash of red wine and cook for about 5 mins to reduce
4. Serve the breasts with the sauce on top, and sprinkled with some chopped parsley :)

I served this with steamed asparagus and tenderstem broccoli, boiled potatoes, and wilted spinach and chard. Tasty and healthy! :)

(Excuse the bad phone pic)