What is the Keto Flu?

Soon after switching to a low-carb way of eating, like the ketogenic diet, many people experience a blast of flu-like symptoms. But don't fret! It doesn't happen to everyone and it is avoidable!

The name "keto flu" is a bit of a misconception as well. These symptoms of drowsiness, body aches, nausea, dizziness, carb cravings and irritability aren't related to ketones, being in ketosis or the actual flu at all. This is the body's natural reaction, sort of a withdrawal, to carbohydrate restriction.

This perturbing faux flu can be somewhat discouraging for those just starting the keto diet. Some tend to give up and give in to carbs again to curb the symptoms, which is the complete opposite reaction necessary to stay in ketosis.

Common Symptoms of Keto Flu

The keto flu generally hits within the first couple of days of ketosis. The body is adjusting to switching fuel types from sugar to fat, and it can very in length and intensity.

Some of the most common symptoms of the keto flu are:

-Brain fog
- Dizziness
- Nausea
- Irritability
- Muscle soreness
- Decreased focus
- Sleep disruption; difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep
- Stomach ache
- Bowel issues; diarrhea or constipation
- Sugar cravings

Some may have no symptoms at all, and others might experience the keto flu for a week or more. Don't give up! It does go away once the body is fully adapted to the new fuel source, but there are also methods to help decrease the severity of symptoms.

Ways to Reduce or Avoid Keto Flu Symptoms

Don't give the keto flu a fighting chance! The flu is awful in general, but we can help eradicate and even avoid the symptoms altogether with a few simple measures:

  •  Electrolytes - This is the best defense in circumventing the keto flu completely. Electrolytes are extremely important and should be tracked daily along with the macros (carbs, fat and protein).
  • Sodium - The goal is 5,000-7,000 mg per day. The optimal source is bone broth, but if that's not available try supplementing with bullion or sole water.
  • Magnesium - The goal 300-500 mg per day. The easiest way to get magnesium is from a supplement in pill form. Be careful taking magnesium citrate or magnesium stearate as they are used typically for constipation. Also, if gel caps are taken, add 1 carb to the diary.
  • Potassium - The goal 1,000-3,500 mg per day. Try to achieve this with potassium rich foods like raw spinach, avocado, mushrooms, salmon, pork tenderloin or sirloin steak. Also, salt alternatives like Lite Salt/No Salt are acceptable.
  • Water - In the beginning of any diet there is a substantial amount of water loss. Drink water regularly throughout the day and always drink to thirst to avoid dehydration. Helpful hint: Clear urine is a sign of being well-hydrated and yellow urine indicates the need for more water.
  • Increase Fat Intake - Sounds crazy, but it's true. As the transition from sugar fuel to fat fuel is happening, assist by taking in more fats to accommodate. As always, stick with keto-approved fat sources.
  • Exercise - Getting light exercise at least three times a week helps with keeping muscle soreness associated with keto flu at bay, the heart happy and increases energy and endurance.
  • Sleep - To battle increased stress on the body and fatigue, make sure sleep is a priority. Good quality sleep is essential regardless, but even more so when the body is experiencing a change of this magnitude.
  • Up the Carbs - Obviously this is a last resort, however in some bodies a drastic decrease in carbs all at once can be traumatic. If this is the case, try eating clean carbs and decrease gradually. This will help in warding off the keto flu symptoms and be less of a shock to the system.

After the Keto Flu

As far as dietary changes go, the keto flu can be somewhat tough to endure. It's important not to give up and try the remedies above to help eradicate the symptoms. It's quite possible to even avoid them altogether if these measures are closely monitored along with macros from the very beginning.

Luckily, the keto flu is the only downside to the ketogenic diet. From this point forward there should be results! And not just fat loss! The keto diet, when followed diligently, will deliver limitless energy, sugary food cravings virtually disappear, and mental sharpness increases.

Remember, shifting the body into ketosis is a different experience for everyone. The more sedentary the lifestyle prior to starting the keto diet, the more chances of developing keto flu. For those who have a higher metabolism and workout several times a week, their symptoms might be less or even nonexistent.

Either way, keep pushing forward and stay on plan. The results will be life-changing!

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Types of Ketogenic Diets

By now pretty much every health and fitness enthusiast and yo-yo dieter has heard about the ketogenic diet. Originally researched, developed and used under medical supervision in children with epilepsy and other neurological disorders, the ketogenic diet has taken the rest of the world by storm and not without much confusion and controversy.

The human body has a hierarchy for preferred sources of energy, carbohydrates being at the top of the list. Next in line is fats, and then finally proteins. The current health status and reason for employing a ketogenic diet usually dictate how much of each macronutrient are consumed; carbs, fats and protein.

The first and most important concept in the ketogenic diet is consuming a limited number of carbs daily, usually 25g or less, to force the body into a state called "ketosis".

Understanding Ketosis

Before we go any further, let's dig a little deeper into ketosis and the benefits. By limiting carbohydrates, which is the body's fuel of choice, the body responds by using fat as the next available energy source. Fatty acids also get released from the cells and transferred to the liver.

The liver turns the fatty acids into ketones. Ketones are spectacular molecules that cross the blood-brain barrier to provide a power source to the brain in the absence of glucose.

A carb-loaded diet is a disaster waiting to happen. Carbohydrates turn into blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is a fantastic fuel on a cellular level when it's at normal levels. Too much glucose causes the production of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

Over time too much insulin production can lead to insulin resistance and problems with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Recap: 1) Ketosis forces the body to burn fat for fuel, 2) Ketosis aids in glucose regulation. These are key components to how each of the ketogenic diets function and why someone would choose one over another.

Ketogenic Diet Types

The word "diet" carries some misconception. It can either mean the kinds of foods a person habitually eats or a special course of foods/food restrictions either for weight loss or medical reasons. In the keto-world, the word means both.

The ketogenic diet can be either a permanent way of eating or a temporary weight loss program. The individual needs and goals of the person using the ketogenic diet should be considered through the entire process.

" Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

In this version, the ratio is typically 5% carbs, 75% fat and 20% protein. The numbers for fat and protein may shift a little, but for the most part, fat is a huge part of the diet and caloric intake. This extremely popular version utilizes a super simple concept; stay at or below carb limit to remain in ketosis.

" High-Protein Ketogenic Diet

Ketosis is achieved the same as in the standard ketogenic diet however in this model there is a bit more protein. A normal macronutrient ratio might look like 55-60% fat, 35-40% protein and still 5% carbs. As with the SKD, one must remain at or below the carb limit for ketosis to work its magic.

" Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

Ever heard of carb-loading before a workout? This is the main idea with the targeted ketogenic diet. About 30-60 minutes prior to exercise the participant should consume anywhere from 25-50g of easily digestible carbs (the actual number depends on the individual's needs and type of workout).

Glucose-based foods are used more efficiently than fructose-based and are usually burned completely without throwing the body out of ketosis. Post-workout meals should include plenty of protein and be less fatty. Normally fat is encouraged, however for muscle recovery and nutrient absorption, protein is a better choice here.

" Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

This one sounds a bit strange considering what we've just learned. CKD is geared toward bodybuilders and athletes who wish to build lean muscle mass and still maximize fat loss.

In this regimen the SKD is followed for five days before cycling into the two-day phase of carb-loading. On the first day one might have a limit of 50g of carbs. On the second day the carb count could be anywhere from 400-600g. The premise is to load up on carbs so the body is properly fueled for the next five days of grueling workouts.

The CKD should not be used as a "cheat day" for those using the standard ketogenic diet protocol. This approach is suitable only for extremely active individuals.

" Restricted Ketogenic Diet

On this last version, both carbs and calories are limited and is typically supervised by medical professionals. Based on studies, cancer cells can't use ketones for energy and quite literally can starve to death.

As with any diet regimen or lifestyle change, one should seek the advice of their primary care provider before beginning. Medical history and current state of health should be considered, as well as the person's individual needs and goals.

Aloe Vera – Nature’s Wonder Plant

Aloe Vera has been making an impact on the skincare market as of late- aloe vera gels are being purchased by every person who yearns for the feel of smooth skin in the morning; and more aloe plants are being bought to gain a more accessible supply of the plant’s juices right at their very own garden. Aloe is most commonly known to be a skin exfoliant but discovery of the uses of the “wonder plant” dates back to many centuries ago- almost 6,000 years to be exact.

The first documented usage of Aloe was traced back to ancient Egypt. It was first regarded to as the “sacred plant” that Cleopatra used for her daily beauty care routine because of the belief that it kept the secrets to eternal beauty and immortality. The nourishing liquid of the plant was greatly valued and frequently sought out during the ancient times to attain peak physical beauty.

The use of aloe was not limited to the living only- the dead were embalmed with the liquid of the plant under the belief that it could stop the decomposition process. It was also believed that eternal life could be achieved on both physical and spiritual level hence, aloe was also named the “plant of eternity”.

In modern times, the original use of the plant is still relevant and proven to be true to its word- its uses were infused in food, medicine, cosmetics of course, skincare. If we were to use more scientific terms, aloe had antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties while still being gentle on the skin- but what do these terms mean exactly?

  • Moisturizes – Most packaged aloe vera gels advise the user to leave the gel on their faces overnight and for good reason- aloe helps in sealing moisture easily onto your skin- for dry and oily skin alike.
  • Provides UV protection – Ultraviolet radiation from the sun may cause ageing and skin irritation such as sunburn. Aloe extract provides skin protection when you are exposed to sunlight.
  • Soothes minor burns and cuts – Aloe extract has the ability to relieve pain from the small burns or cuts you might have gotten. The plant’s antioxidant and inflammatory components also allows minor injuries to heal faster.

The natural extract from aloe vera is readily available in the market but you can also opt to take care of one in your very own home.  The aloe vera is a plant that is not only beneficial to your skin- it also an easy and eye pleasing plant to take care of when done properly.

A few tips to care for an aloe vera plant:

  • You could keep an aloe vera plant inside your home- granted that you provide it with direct sunlight.
  • Make sure that the environment around your home is ideal for the plant which is around 13 to 27°C.
  • Water the plant every three weeks or so --don’t let the aloe vera plant’s soil be watered down for too long because the roots will rot. Let the soil dry out slightly before watering again.

When time comes for you to use a stem from your aloe houseplant, make sure that it has grown maturely for a higher concentration of nutrients in its gel. Following the instructions below makes for the best harvest of your aloe.

  • Check out for any molds or damage that the plant may have and avoid using it.
  • Pick out the thickest leaves in the outer section of the plant and cut there- most of the beneficial nutrients of aloe are stored at the base of it.
  • Wash and dry the harvested leaves properly before cutting the thorny edges with a knife.
  • Separate the outer portion of the leaf with the gelatinous interior and let the yellow sap drain. The yellow sap is called the aloe vera latex which can be used to treat constipation problems.
  • Cut the aloe gel into slices or cubes and throw them into a blender for a smoother substance.
  • It is best to use the cut aloe leaves immediately for better benefits but if you are not using it right away, store it in the freezer for later use.

Buying an aloe-based product such as gels is fine too, but make sure to check the label for products with high percentage of aloe. One way to check is to look and see if aloe vera is the first ingredient listed in the ingredients list.

Aloe Vera serves as a very useful plant in making sure our skin stays healthy and vibrant- the fact that it is also easy to get helps too. Whether you prefer buying a product or growing a plant of your own, the wonder plant really is a product worth investing in.

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Don’t Just Lose Weight Because You Want to Look Good

Losing weight is a challenging endeavor for most people. A big part of what challenges people so much throughout this journey is having the wrong motives. If you’re losing weight just to look better, you’re not doing it for the right reasons and you’re likely to either lose motivation or go off the deep end trying.

Having more positive motivation for your weight loss journey will also help you stick to your new lifestyle and maintain all the hard work you’ve put in. It’s hard to keep the weight off after you’ve hit your goal weight and stopped whatever crazy fad diet you tried. But when your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, it’s easier to maintain.

In this article, we’re going to explore the topic of diet motivation and why just dieting to make yourself look “better” doesn’t work and is bad for your overall mental health.

You already look good
Starting a diet because you’re unhappy with the way you look is a common thing, but it can be detrimental to your mental health. You’re beautiful the way you are. If you want to lose weight to feel better, to improve your quality of life, or to enjoy better health, go for it; otherwise, run far away.

This motivation leads to eating disorders
When you become obsessed with chasing a certain appearance and a certain weight, it never ends up seeming enough. If you’re idealizing those scrawny models who have an entirely different build than you and are convinced that you’ll stop at nothing until you look like them, you’re likely on the fast track to an eating disorder.

You have to understand what you’re body is capable and love it for how it looks. Lose weight because you want to be good to your body, not because you want it to look a certain way.

If healthiness is your motivation, the sky’s the limit
With weight loss being the motivation, there’s an endpoint and a goal that, once met, is over. You can’t just keep losing weight; it’s not healthy. But, when healthiness is your goal and motivation, the sky is the limit. You can always do more physical activity and exercise, develop new healthy routines, and do other things to promote better health in your life.

Healthy motivation also helps you stick to your healthy goals better. It’s easier to keep this lifestyle going than to have the goal of losing weight, doing some crazy diet, and try to keep the weight off.

Losing weight for your health promotes positive mental health
When your motivations for losing weight are positive (like to better your health or have more energy), it’s better for your mental health. If your motivation for losing weight is simply to look better, it’s coming from a negative, detrimental, and self-deprecating place. It causes you to view losing weight as a solution to your problems and a fix for your confidence.

However, if your are coming from a positive place, like wanting to better your health, then you’re more likely to make positive changes. It also makes it easier for you to stick to your efforts and keep up your new positive lifestyle changes. Motivation is key to initiating and maintaining a positive life change.

Losing weight is hard enough, but it’s almost impossible without the right motivation. We hope this article has inspired you to lose weight, not for your looks, but to lose weight to better your health. The right motivation is everything and key to keeping up all the positive changes you’ve made.

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4 Awesome Things To Look Forward To After Losing Weight

Losing weight is hard; staying motivated when you aren’t seeing many results can be devastating and seem impossible. We’re here to help by providing you with a healthy dosage of motivation to inspire you to keep at it, despite the difficulty and the discouragement.

1) Having more energy

One great benefit to losing weight is experiencing more energy regularly. You’ll find that you’re not as tired throughout your day and that you don’t get so exhausted by just basic, everyday tasks. This means you’ll be able to get more done in a day, participate in activities that used to be off limits to you, and not have to miss out on any of the fun parts of life.

It means having more time and energy to play with your kids and work as much as you need to. Enough energy to clean the house and cook dinner. Having more energy is an amazing benefit and reward to the effort of losing weight.

2) Increased longevity

Being overweight comes with a lot of health risks and concerns and that can shorten your life expectancy and lessen your overall quality of life. When you put the effort in to lose the weight, you first lower the risks by getting rid of the weight and then lower the risks even further by introducing healthier eating habits and lifestyles.

All this work comes with the reward of potentially increased longevity. Of course, none of us have a guarantee, but you can greatly improve your health and lower your risks by making these changes and sticking to a healthier lifestyle.

3) Improved self-confidence

Losing weight can help improve your confidence not only by helping you feel like you look better but also by helping you feel better. The better you feel, the more confident and happier you will start to feel.

Self-confidence does a world of good for your overall quality of life and could lead to many great benefits in your career and your personal life. Confidence is an appealing quality; it’s indicative of great leadership qualities and is sexy to those around you. Healthy confidence can get you everywhere in life and losing weight and getting healthier can help you get there!

4) Improved mood

There are a lot of reasons why losing weight can contribute to a more consistently good mood. First off, the healthier foods you’re eating to help you lose that weight are chock full of good things for you that help you feel happy and healthy. Secondly, the better you feel, the happier you’ll be. And tertiarily, if you’re happier with your health and appearance, you’re going to be happier consistently.

When you lose weight, you can definitely notice a difference in your overall mood. This extends to every aspect of your life as being consistently happier makes you a joy to be around, a kinder person, and tends to make you more appealing in general to those around you.

It can be hard to keep motivated on your weight loss journey, especially as you reach the plateau stage that everyone finds during their diet. A good way to keep your motivation up and help you stick to your diet and healthier lifestyle is by reminding yourself of the rewards waiting for you on the other side.

We hope this article has helped to restore your motivation and inspire you to keep working hard to get healthier and lose that weight. It’s never too late for you to start trying to lose weight or for you to get yourself back on track. Give it a try today and don’t give up; the benefits are more than worth the hard work and effort.

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Why Exercise Is The Magic Bullet For Boosting Your Metabolism

energy balance
Speed Up Your Metabolism With exercise

There’s a lot of talk about enchanted pills, smoothies, and diets that can amp up your metabolism but believe it or not; exercise is the magic bullet for boosting your metabolism. Think of your metabolism as a powerhouse that converts your food into energy and propels from one minute to the next without missing a beat.

Factors that Affect Your Metabolism

Multiple factors may affect how well your metabolism operates. Let’s take a moment to examine a few of the things that may get in the way of our bodies functioning at optimal levels.

Age

Studies show that with age, our metabolism begins to decline. This change often leads to extra pounds that are difficult to shed. We lose anywhere from three to five percent of our muscle mass, and we are less active. These two things combined make it easier for the pounds to begin accumulating, especially around the waistline area. Blame it on a slower metabolism. To counteract the effects of aging, we should burn 30 to 50 percent of our calories through exercise activity.

Gender

Females tend to have a lower metabolism than men due to a variety of factors including estrogen levels and a lower resting metabolic rate which helps to determine our overall total daily energy release and plays a vital role in the regulation of our energy balance.

Hormones

Hormones can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Too much cortisol can lead to weight gain and increase our risk of heart disease and diabetes. Working out before consuming a meal can help to drop those cortisol levels and improve your metabolic functions.

Testosterone levels also decrease and can trigger a bit of weight gain and leave us feeling fatigued. Daily workout regimens can help to keep your testosterone levels at healthy and stable levels and allow for a healthy metabolism.

Estrogen is another hormone that triggers metabolism malfunction. An imbalance in this hormone can cause your weight to increase rapidly, giving testimony to metabolism that may not be operating in a way that is most beneficial to you.

Finally, thyroid hormone imbalances can disrupt the overall effectiveness of your metabolism. Thyroid hormone helps to control metabolic processes in the body that are necessary for growth, development, and metabolism.

Hyperthyroidism or a thyroid that is in a hypermetabolic state can cause your metabolism to go into overdrive, leading to weight loss, excessive use of your resting energy. On the other hand, an underperforming thyroid caused by hypometabolism can create a reduced resting energy expenditure, and cause weight gain.

Exercise and Your Metabolism

Figuring out all the ways to regain control of your metabolism can be overwhelming but there is one thing you can do to move the needle, and that is to exercise. Working out helps your muscles to use a fair amount of energy and burn calories. The great thing about exercise is that even after the workout is over your muscles can continue to burn fat and helps to keep your metabolism functioning at optimal levels.

Which Exercise is Best for Your Metabolism?

Is there one single exercise that works best for a healthy metabolism? The short answer is ‘no,’ but there are a couple of activities that when paired together can do wonders help get to put your metabolism into overdrive.

Lift Weights to Burn Fat

Lifting weights is a fantastic approach to helping you not only build muscles but burn fat as well. Muscles use more calories at rest than fat cells. Don’t worry about becoming a gym rat. You only need two days a week to perform two sets of repetitions (12-15) working on those major muscle groups (back, arms, legs, and abs).

Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activity is another must-have ingredient for boosting your metabolism. Interval training is particularly useful and yields positive results. Walking, swimming, kickboxing, jogging, or even Zumba are excellent options for enhancing your metabolism.

In summary, there may be a few options you cannot control when it comes to your metabolism, but exercise is the magic bullet. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.

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