My go-to keto breakfast

Hello my lovelies ,

breakfast is such a controversial topic: some people fast , some people have a big one ,some people skip it .

For me, personally, breakfast is a necessity and I need a good filling one. On my keto diet, it can be easy to overdo it with the usual bacon, eggs and avo, this is why I made a quick video to show you an alternative.

I hope you enjoy it and please leave comments and ideas in the comment box 

love

Alex

To Keto or not to Keto?

Hello my lovelies,

Today’s post is about the infamous ketogenic diet and my first two months on this woe(way of eating, it took me a while to figure out what woe meant).

I am 5’11” for 63kg so it’s clear I did not embark on this journey to lose weight( which is primarily what most people do it for): ketogenic diet can be very beneficial for other issues such as chronic fatigue, anxiety, epilepsy, diabetes and so on. Chronic fatigue affects many people and is thankfully becoming less of a taboo. I first read Sarah Myhill book ‘ Diagnosis and treatment of chronic fatigue’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diagnosis-Treatment-Chronic-Syndrome-Encephalitis/dp/1781610797/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with chronic fatigue as it really explains how this disease works and what you can do to better yourself while living with it. To make the story short Dr Sarah Myhill advise all of her patients to embark on a Paleo Keto diet as the first treatment of chronic fatigue.Hence my decision to give it a try.

The ketogenic diet is a low car high-fat diet where ideally 75 per cent of your calories comes from fat, around 20 per cent from protein and the remaining 5 per cent from carbs. It is meant to be an anti-inflammatory diet that enables you to move from glucose to fat as your main energy source. The aim is to reach a state of ketosis where every cell in your body is eventually using fat for energy. This state of ketosis will help you lose weight, feel more alert, improve concentration, increase your libido and much more.Or so they claim. A good read, if you decide keto is for you, is this great and cheap book which I love: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginners-KetoDiet-Cookbook-Delicious-Weight-Loss/dp/1592338151/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534588208&sr=1-7&keywords=the+ketogenic+diet+beginner

The ketogenic diet consists mostly of meat, fish, non-starchy vegetables, olive and coconut oil, dairy( which dr Sarah Myhill is against and that is why she named her regimen Keto Paleo diet) to name a few. Out are grains, legumes, most high fructose fruits, starchy veggies such as potatoes and root vegetables, SUGAR, and any high carb food. It is, for this purpose, advisable to use a macronutrients tracker when embarking on this diet as you are required to keep your net carbs intake below 20/25 grs a day.  The app I use is Carb Manager , which works out your macros for you.

Some people,especially if they have been living on high carb diets for long, find it easier to transition slowly into this diet; I, on the other hand, went full out and started immediately on 20gr of carbs a day 8 weeks ago.

A little side note is that while on a ketogenic diet you will excrete a lot of sodium from your body and that means your electrolytes will be out of balance.It is therefore VERY IMPORTANT  to consume higher amounts of salt and potassium than normal and magnesium too. I normally put a tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt on my 2lt water bottle and one teaspoon of potassium chloride and drink it throughout the day.P lease do not underestimate this step as if you do you will most likely suffer the so-called keto flu: headaches, nausea, muscle cramps and other very uncomfortable side effects. Keep your water intake at at least 3lt a day.

Now my experience:

Week 1 and 2: I was prepared, I researched ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks. My breakfast would look like avocado,two fried eggs and two slices of nitrate free bacon. Lunch would be salmon with olives and feta cheese,dinner steak with asparagus and cheese. Snack for me would be some nuts( macadamia) and one or two squares of 85 percent dark chocolate(this is not strictly keto and not advisable if you are a sugar addict,but works for me). I did not feel particularly hungry but I did experience some headaches and during the really hot weather spell in London, I actually fainted on the tube because I was not taking my electrolytes!! I used keto sticks to check the ketones in my pee to make sure I was entering Ketosis. You can purchase them cheaply on Amazon.I entered ketosis on day 3 .

Week 3 and 4: I upped my game and decided to become more inventive with food to avoid boredom and to remain enthusiastic: almond muffins with mascarpone, chia puddings for breakfast, bacon and egg muffins and so on. I also learned Erythritol is the best sweetener on this woe, it is safe on teeth, does not cause digestive issues, great for diabetics, does not spike insulin and measure cup for cup like sugar. Its carb content can be dismissed when macro tracking. A couple of days I did not come to work prepared and ended up being unable to find anything suitable to eat and starved until I got home, which was awful. Prepping is key!!

Week 5 and 6 : my ketosticks started showing no traces of ketones so I thought I had somehow eaten something I should not have but after chatting to a few people on facebook keto groups I realised that after a few weeks your body start utilising those ketones instead of flushing them out so if you want a reading of them you need a blood monitor. So I purchased on amazon for around 20 quid but the strips you need to use to measure ketones are crazy expensive, roughly one each. Anyhow my measurement was 1.2( anything between 0.5 to 3.5 is considered the ideal range)and was happy about it.M y ibs seemed to have settled but my energy had not yet improved. I had lost at this point around 3kg. You can have some white spirits while on keto but be careful that you will get drunk very easily.I had one glass of white wine and I was smashed.

Week 7 and 8: I started to snack less and feel less hungry in between meals which is a sign of fat adaptation. My energy started to improve a little but, maybe it’s TMY I entered constipation land.I then upped my fibre intake via chia seeds and a supplement with aloe vera to try and balance things out.I decided to switch to decaff coffee as caffeine was making me very jittery and I purchased MCT oil (guess where? Yes amazon again) which I  pour into my decaff as it boosts ketones production and helps with energy levels. So far so good.No more weight loss for me as I was careful to add lots of fats on my plates and keep an eye on calories to make sure I was not fading away. Started adding double cream or butter to decaff coffee too.

So this is where I am at 8  weeks in, I am not craving bread, pasta, fruit or sugar at this point. My body has started to change, feels and looks more defined even though I have been slacking at the gym. I am enjoying learning new recipes and experimenting. A slow cooker can be your friends on this diet/lifestyle to save you time and money. At nighttime, I take a magnesium supplement which really helps me relax and sleep better called Natural Calm. Constipation has not completely eased off but I am working on it.

If you have started this journey or are thinking about it and have questions please do comment below and I will try to respond to the best of my abilities.This is my experience,my journey and so far I am loving Keto.

I attached a few pictures of the foods I have been enjoying so you can see that keto is not just bacon and steaks.

Love ,

Alex

nfd

Venlafaxine: my experience

Dear beauties,

I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time; mental health is something very dear to me and sharing with you my experiences I hope will be helpful for some while being somehow cathartic for me.

My encounter with anxiety happened when I was 21 and I had my first panic attack which I erroneously mistook for a heart attack ( I am sure many of you anxiety sufferers will relate to this). From that moment on I have had bouts of extreme anxiety,depression, OCD episodes and hypochondriac tendencies. A nice mix I’d say.

Medications and psychotropic drugs are often demonised with the ill effect of stigmatising and turning mental health into a taboo.There is nothing worse than hearing your friends saying ‘ You should not take that stuff’, as if my idea of fun is popping pills morning to night.At the same time the imprudence with which GPs hand out antidepressants is somehow shocking.So where do we draw a line?

Well, first of all let’s straighten something out: mental health problems are health problems. You would not tell someone with a broken arm :‘ I am sure you are fine, it’s just a phase,don’t think too much about it, it’s all in your head’.Secondly, I always advise seeing more than one doctor ,especially when it comes to depression/anxiety.I do not believe GPs are trained in this particular field and honestly my brain is way too important to be messed with uncareseely.

My diagnosis was generalised anxiety disorder: catastrophising everything,worrying about a plug left switched on, thinking a cold would lead to imminent death  and so on. Things that when read aloud might make you laugh but when lived on a daily basis can send your life into an abyss of fear.

I pretty much tried every antidepressant that there is: Prozac, citalopram, sertraline, mirtazapine and ultimatly venlafaxine. From my understanding, venlafaxine is one of the newest types of medications that are able to work on both serotonin and norepinephrine.It is usually prescribed when all other medications have failed( at least this is what my doc said) and it is aimed at both depression and anxiety.

I actually pushed my GP to prescribe this mediction as they were kind of unaware of its effects or benefits.Anyhow we started off at 37.5mg for a few weeks and gradually incresed to 75mg. Everyone who has been on meds knows they come with side effects and psychotropic drugs are no different,actually worse.Here are the side effects i experienced while on 75mg venlafaxine for the first 3 months:

  • interrupted sleep: this was the most troublesome side effect I experienced with venlafaxine and I was on the verge of giving up. I would fall asleep easily and wake up a couple of hours later and so on through the night,resulting in me being drained of energy every day.Eventually at the 3 month mark things started to improve and now I can sleep more or less six hours uninterrupted.
  • weight loss: unlike most of the ther antidepressents ,with venlafaxine my appetite diminished.Nothing major to report here ,I did not lose significantly amount of weight.
  • Loss of libido : this is something that happens with all SSRI and SNRI but somewhoe ,while on venlafaxine, I have not experienced it to such a high degree.
  • Constipation: only occured during the first few weeks,i just upped my fibre intake.
  • Alcohol consumption : YOU SHOULD NOT BE DRINKING while on medication but we all know that is not always possible . Anyhow I get drunk way quicker on the rare occasions I do decide to drink.So be careful

These are the main side effects I experienced. I have now been on venlafaxine for about 2 years and my dose has been adjusted to 225mg daily.I do not know how long I will be on it but I am trying to take small steps.Many times in the past I have quit meds only to relapse a few months later and having to start from scratch.(in my experience when you quit a med and you start it again months later ,it does not seem to have the same effect as before.I don’t have an answer for that.sorry)

The advice I would like to pass on is this: If you make the conscious decision that you want to start medication for your anxiety/depression please beware your symptoms will very likely get worse before they get better. It’s not just a saying. Be prepared for it. Write down your symptoms if it helps. Sometimes doctors will prescribe some benzodiazepine for a couple of weeks to help with this. Also remember that for the first 10/12 weeks you might not notice any significant improvement: give the meds time to build up in your system before deciding to give up or switch. Ask a friend or a relative to keep an eye on your behaviour to see if they notice any major changes. Finally: nobody can understand you better than yourself. Be kind to yourself, life is about mistakes, successes and fails.No one has a perfect life.Anxiety/depression should not define you as a person, rather encourage you to be an even better person. If you feel like resting then rest if you feel like running please run. Allow yourself time to heal and recuperate. Most importantly: LOVE YOURSELF.

I hope you will find this piece interesting and of use.These are my personal experiences/views. I am not a doctor nor I claim to be . I am just a regular guy who is trying to share with others.Have a fantastic day.

Love

Alex

Hadalabo gokojyun premium

Hello, my lovelies,

summer is the U.K. this year has been amazing so far but you know the sun means UV rays which mean damage, pigmentation, dehydration, sunspots and other nasty stuff and nobody got time for that.

So today I wanna introduce you to a lesser known product of Japanese origin, Gokojyun Premium: a toning lotion containing 5 different types of hyaluronic acid.

I came across this lotion a few months back on Amazon and decided to give it a try but being overwhelmed by all the products I have I ended up using it only a couple of time rediscovering it again last month and loving it since then

WHAT’S IN IT:  5 different types of hyaluronic acid and glycerin

  • Sodium Acetyl Hyaluronate
  • Sodium Hyaluronate
  • Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid
  • Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer
  • Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate
  • Glycerin

Now in terms of ingredients, there is nothing groundbreaking here but somehow together these ingredients leave your skin feeling extremely supple, smooth and radiant.

HOW TO USE IT: instructions on the bottle are in Japanese but browsing and watching a few videos I realised it’s best to be used as a toner. A few drops (the consistency is gel-like) applied on the face and then pat into the skin. Let it absorbed for a few minutes and follow with the rest of your skincare. I do use it around my eyes and eyelids with no problem.

WHO IS IT FOR: there are two versions of this products and I believe this one is the more ‘antiageing’ one designed for slightly drier skins. combination skins would benefit from this too.

WHERE CAN I FIND IT:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hadalabo-Skin-Institute-hyaluronic-solution/dp/B013HHJV0C/ref=sr_1_4_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1533309351&sr=8-4&keywords=goko+jyun

It retails for around 11 quid and the bottle is pretty big meaning it will last you quite a long time.

CONCLUSION:  If you are looking for a hydrating toner, if you are a fan of hyaluronic acid and if you are intrigued by oriental skincare this is the product for you. It does the job, it doesn’t cost the earth and it really does leave your skin looking smoother and more hydrated. In terms of ingredients, it tends to be a one ingredient kind of product and I do believe your skin needs more but I say give it a try.

Love,

Alex