Personal Health

Health Journey - Part 3 Intermittent Fasting

Well.. a few weeks have passed and I’m feeling pretty amazing.. not gonna lie. Ok, well, except for that massive headache I had two days ago. It was just as bad as when I first started Keto. I think I pushed my intermittent fasting a little too much.

The idea of intermittent fasting is that one tries to have one open window a day where no food is consumed for 12-16 hours. It might sound extreme but it’s more like, finish dinner at 7pm, don’t eat the next day until 7am. For some, they get so ‘keto adapted’ (primarily using fat molecules for energy instead of glucose) that they don’t feel hungry until lunch time. I tried that the other day and a) probably didn’t drink nearly enough water that morning or b) I’m just not suited for a 16 hour fast. I’m down with that. I like breakfast anyway! The overarching idea is that without insulin in your blood being raised often, you are less likely to snack and truly are aware to then eat when you are hungry / need calories and not need to feed the insulin blood glucose!

Grilled Asparagus with feta anyone?

Grilled Asparagus with feta anyone?

A lot of information out there for the keto diet is male-centric. There are no ideal parameters for either female or male however a lot of the information out there is biased towards men. That being said, I’m awaiting my next period with extreme curiosity (mostly trepidation) because my hopes are that my hormones & IBS will be mitigated by this monitored diet change (plus herbal medication and supplements as given to me based on my symptoms by my Functional Medicine Doctor).

I was speaking with a friend of mine about how to approach speaking about my dysmenorrhea on the blog and she reminded me that women need more information online about it. To eliminate the taboo of speaking about periods is pretty important in our opinion because periods are such a clear indication of health and, hell, 50% of the fricken world HAS  (or will / has had) THEM.

I haven't even been able to buy tickets for anything in case my period happened, my pain was taking over my life. Hopefully this year's summer festival season will be different.

I haven't even been able to buy tickets for anything in case my period happened, my pain was taking over my life. Hopefully this year's summer festival season will be different.

Back to my keto diet reform, I’m no longer scared of how it may limit my enjoyment of food. I actually feel like I have MORE freedom than on a Whole30 or anything an allergist / health practitioner has suggested I omit from my diet. I’m finding that dairy doesn’t affect me nearly as much. I had no idea that there was a concept that one can be carbohydrate intolerant. It makes sense that dairy would aggravate me if I coupled such a high fat food with something high carb (pizza anyone?). LATTEES FOREVER! It’s wild.

Beautiful Del Cielo Restaurant in Tulum, Mexico

Beautiful Del Cielo Restaurant in Tulum, Mexico

So now that I am slowly eating more dairy and finding my limit with that, I am curious to try something with gluten in it again.. so long as I don’t eat more than 30 grams of net carbs in a meal. This means that my main worry (trying food I cook for clients or for recipe development) won’t be an issue so long as I don’t exceed how many carbs my body can take. Food freedom, ya’ll.

I also have gotten over any orthorexia fears because of this. I initially felt as though I needed to be extremely diligent and not have an OUNCE of refined sugar, grain, potato in my body. Having keto sticks at my disposal, I can measure my body’s reaction after eating a bite of cake or some battered food and make sure I am still in ketosis. I don’t measure it after every meal if I don’t consume anything too carb heavy.

I have also been listening to some good Keto podcasts and a lot of them always have an encouraging message to not beat yourself up if you eat something you’re not ‘allowed’ to. I’ve really been self aware when it comes to how I speak to myself about food to make sure I’m not approaching this dietary change with self hatred or perfection.

This podcast was really good at addressing the fact that women have been marketed diets their whole lives, a lot of which have rules to follow. It’s great for those who are interested in making any dietary change that has been prescribed for your health without feeling pressure on oneself to be perfect following it. Be patient and do it gradually for maximum success! The only ‘rule’ I would suggest is to eliminate negative and self destructive language about ANYTHING you eat or are thinking about eating. Easier said than done but there are more and more educated women speaking about the concept of Food Freedom.

What has been that one habit or food that you've come to peace with or have struggled with your relationship with.


Health Journey: Part 1 - My first visit to a Functional Medicine Doctor


It's been a while since I've last blogged. I've been navigating this world of health and wellness, cooking for those with dietary restrictions or wanting a reset for a number of years now. I'd love to share with you what mistakes I've made and what approach I am taking now. 

No, there are no fun photos or videos associated with this, yet. Enjoy!

mmm.. diner breakfast: not ketogenic as is

mmm.. diner breakfast: not ketogenic as is

I just got back from a Functional Medicine doctor, a naturopath with an integrative approach to medicine. I asked my General Practitioner friend what she had heard of Functional Medicine. She replied, "nothing". She asked why I wanted to go see one and I told her that Functional Medicine doctors look for the cause of what's ailing people. She responded by saying that all doctors should be doing that... UGH.

I was nervous to proceed with the appointment with the naturopath. I only have the initial visit covered by my health insurance and I had already been to several doctors with the following results:

2 GPs (test results = I'm fine)
1 allergist (not allergic to anything but here, take this Epi Pen prescription for that anaphylaxis you experience)
1 allergist for NAET diagnoses and treatment (remedied my ailments for 1 year)
1 herbalist intermittently for herbal tinctures and lifestyle advice
1 gynaecologist using an ultrasound and not finding any cysts or weirdness

Maybe I should go over what's ailing me. I want a solution for my dismennoreah, or FUCKING PAINFUL PERIODS that make me bed ridden for 2-4 days of my period. I had already cut out gluten (and most grains as I was told to do by my second allergist visit) and since then, (not expecting it either!) the grain elimination got rid of my depression, cognitive difficulties (think hearing things and feeling the floor falling from me) and am no longer anaphylactic to what I now know was caused by sulfites. However, I can't afford to or WANT to be bed ridden for 2-4 days anymore.

How was it seeing a Functional Doctor?
Good! She seemed legit which was nice. After some recent experiences, I've been weary of anything self-help that's of the 'alternative' variety.

We went through the progression of my periods throughout my life and other big events in my life like surgery, development of allergies, living conditions, supplement and medication history, what and when had my symptoms improved or nah.

I am going to do a stool sample (WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO - YAY!) to see if I don't have an underlying parasite, bacteria, dinosaur, etc living in there that's wreaking havoc.

I've also got some supplement advice. I had already been taking some that I had suspected had been helping me but I was corrected on dosage (aka WHY YOU SHOULD SEE A PROFESSIONAL).

Last but not least, I was told to eat a.. dun dun dun.. ketogenic diet! BOO! I have come to love my plantain chips and fruit yoghurt but I'll try it. I almost eat that way anyway. I feel like this, however, is a gateway to moving into a new career path.

I wonder how phó will taste like without noodles. I'll ask to sub in extra vegetables.

I wonder how phó will taste like without noodles. I'll ask to sub in extra vegetables.

Reaction to a Dietary Change Verdict

I'm tired of being tired. I takes so much for me to recover from the trauma of the pain of my periods. I need healing. 

Honestly.. how I feel is a loss of identity. Loss of my chef identity.. loss of cultural identity.. I know this could be interpreted as a bit of an extreme, but I want to be part of innovative cuisine. Hell, I have a plethora of bad-ass gluten free recipes that taste like the real thing, damnit. I want to EAT IT but at least I can still share it. 

Another frustrating part is that I don't know if this all means I need to MOVE. I know that health is also a function of lifestyle. The only time in my life where I was the most consistently happy and period pain-free was when I lived in IRELAND. When I look at my time there, I was doing all the things that a Ketogenic or Paleo - centric medical professional refer to in terms of nutrient intake and lifestyle.. lemmy break it down:

  • only eat high quality fats (nothing we cooked with was pre-made.. we only ate pasture raised animals, raw milk dairy for butter, milk and cheese)
  • bone broth (we made it every morning and used it in many many dishes)
  • locally and seasonally, mostly vegetable diet

I know that it's possible to recreate that in Ottawa but it was so easy over there... maybe keep an eye out for me in Ireland.

Pozzies (positive aspects)

At least I'm practicing what I preach by doing what I've been telling people who ask me what kind of diet to eat, "find a professional to help you.. don't blindly just try diet or lifestyle changes without someone to measure the results". Why? You are removed from your own biases and inclinations. It's motivating to see lab test results as they improve with your efforts under the watfchfull eye of a professional.

Alright, stay tuned for more posts! Let me know if you are going though the same thing below. Navigating through the online world of health and wellness can be confusing I know. I've been obsessively listening to podcasts with experts and can't wait to share more resources with you!