Stevia

Stevia

Stevia is often categorised as an artificial sweetener, but it is not artificial, in fact, it is simply a small green herb with extremely sweet leaves. I often have one growing in my garden. In commercial versions, the leaves are ground and processed into a fine white powder.

Pure stevia is extremely sweet! Hundreds of times sweeter than sugar! In fact, 1/2 tsp is equivalent to 1 cup sugar! I use pure stevia in my cookbooks, so if you are using my recipes, make sure the brand you use is pure; otherwise some of my recipes will not work. Some of the brands in the supermarket have a huge label that says ‘Stevia’ but it is actually mixed with erythritol to bulk it up. Stevia itself is ultra sweet, so it is only used in small amounts. If one of these alternative brands is used, you could imagine that the result would not be very sweet.

I also don’t recommend erythritol or xylitol because neither can be absorbed by humans, which means they can cause digestive symptoms and interfere with digestion of the food eaten with it. And good digestion is paramount to both good health and weight loss. Also, xylitol can kill a dog (low blood sugar, seizures, and/or liver failure) if it accidentally gets a hold of something made with it. If you have animals, it is safer not to have it in the house.

What about the stevia aftertaste?

Stevia leaves do have a bitter component to them, however, the good brands remove that bitter component during processing. Cheap brands can still have the bitter after taste. It is also important to avoid using too much; too much can leave an artificial taste. If you have had a bad stevia experience, I would recommend trying again.

In my opinion, stevia is the best natural, alternative sweetener for a strict keto diet (it doesn’t contain the toxic chemicals that can cause hunger and health issues, it doesn’t spike blood sugar, and doesn’t cause digestive issues like the sugar alcohols that cannot be absorbed).

And, for those who have never liked stevia, many have told me that flavoured stevia was a game changer. My favourite is vanilla, which is great in chai tea, coffee etc. Or, strawberry in yoghurt.

The brand I use and reference in all my recipes is Nirvana.

Ketone monitor

Ketone monitor

The key to sustainable weight loss is burning fat for energy. Many people claim that our preference for fuel is actually sugar, but this isn’t the case. When we are born, we burn fat for energy. We only stop burning fat for energy when we are loaded up with too much sugar and carbohydrate. We have to get rid of that sugar (it is quite hard on the body) with the goal of getting back to fat burning once the sugar is gone. So you can imagine that if we consume too much sugar and carbohydrate daily, we end up with a problem and we won’t ever get back to burning fat. We then become permanent sugar burners.

How do you know if you are burning fat for energy? Measure your ketones.

You can purchase a breath ketone metre here, or a blood glucose and ketone metre from the chemist.

What are ketones?

Our brain can only function using two different types of fuel; glucose or ketones. In fact, our brain runs optimally on a mixture of both glucose and ketones. Remembering that we can only store a small amount of glucose at any one time, if our brain operated on glucose alone, it would be a problem if we weren’t able to get food for a significant period. If we can’t store more than 24 hours’ worth of glucose, then using glucose as our only source of energy doesn’t work. In fact, we would die fairly quickly if we were hunting our own food and not reliant on supermarkets. Fortunately, we also produce ketones. The liver converts fatty acids and amino acids into ketones. Not only do the ketones help fuel the brain, but they are also a fantastic energy source for the rest of the body. And, we need these ketones for basic survival.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have been ketogenic; there simply was no other way to live. It would have been impossible to gather enough carbohydrate to start using glucose for fuel. Being ketogenic is how we survived.

And, it is the key to getting back to our natural, fat burning state, and therefore, the key to sustainable weight loss. Measuring ketones is one of the easiest ways to stay on track and stay motivated, because you will know whether you are on track or whether you need to lower your carbohydrates.

To put our body back into a fat burning state, some people need to lower their carb intake lower than others, depending on the state of their health, whether or not they have insulin resistance, and more.

Cholesterol calculator

Cholesterol calculator

In most Western countries, the Friedewald formula is used to calculate LDL levels. Because measuring the LDL directly is time consuming and requires more expensive equipment, for years, labs have been using this equation:

LDL= [total cholesterol] – HDL – [Triglycerides/5]

The total cholesterol, HDL and triglyceride measurements are used to calculate the LDL. The problem is, the equation doesn’t always work. Pathologists know it doesn’t work when triglycerides are high, but studies have shown that it also doesn’t work when triglycerides are low. One of the pleasant side-effects of being on a low-carb diet is that our triglycerides will drop. If you get your cholesterol checked, it may look like you have elevated LDL, and the doctor might read you the riot act or suggest ‘treatment’. But, if your triglycerides are low, your LDL reading on your test will be incorrect.

You can ask the doctor for a direct LDL test, which solves the problem. But, a new formula has been developed that is much more accurate for calculating LDL levels when your triglycerides are less than 1.0 mmol/L (100 md/dL). Thanks to this calculator, you can figure out accurate LDL levels yourself. I had my LDL checked directly, and the calculator was spot on with its result.

Simply enter your total cholesterol, your HDL, and your triglycerides, and you will get a much more accurate calculation.

Calculate results using:
Total Cholesterol: mmol/L
HDL Cholesterol: mmol/L
Triglycerides: mmol/L
 

Note: The calculator measures both mmol/L (Australia/New Zealand/UK), and md/DL (U.S.). Click the link at the top to change to the alternate measurement.

Skin Care

Skin Care

Chemical perfumes, skin care products and make-up can put junk in our trunk! They can cause weight gain!

Why? Some of the chemicals disrupt our hormones, which causes fat storage.

I recommend using only natural ingredients on our skin; something we could safely ingest. The average person uses around nine skin care products every day, which exposes us to over 100 chemicals every day. In addition to our poor Western diet, toxicity is the other huge problem contributing to modern disease and ageing. Chemicals are absorbed directly into our bloodstream when we put them on our skin.

Try to find products that you can easily understand the ingredients; for example, Jajoba oil, aloe vera or rosehip oil. The same goes for make-up, perfume, and other personal care products.

Ecology skin cream is the skin care I use. In fact, I tried this years ago and I am hooked! It is the only one that leaves my skin moisturised all day (it doesn’t soak in and then dry up like many others do).

Use the link above and enter the coupon code BRING BACK THE FAT for a free mini moisturiser (great for travel). 

Ecology also sells natural sunscreen, deodorant, lip balms, cleansers, soaps and more.

Ecology was developed by Crystal Fieldhouse, who chooses to eat high quality, nutrient dense foods, so she wanted the same for her skin care.

She herself used to have very sensitive skin, and found that commercial skin care did not meet her personal standards or help with her problem skin. She decided to go back to traditional principles.

She began experimenting, and has developed a beautiful range of skin creams, made with only a handful of recognisable ingredients. These are ingredients you can picture growing in nature (in fact, she has pictures of the ingredients on her website).

 

Chocolate ingredients

Chocolate ingredients

Because I could never find a good healthy chocolate sweetened with something I was comfortable with, I developed my own recipes, one of which is in The Fat Revolution Cookbook, and the other in my Easy Keto cookbook.

Chocolate ingredients can be hard to find, so we sourced them for you so that it is super-easy to make a beautiful dark chocolate. Enjoy!

You can purchase the raw cacao paste (mass) here, and the cacao butter here.

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