Keto Lifestyle Transformation- In for the Long Haul

Keto Lifestyle Transformation- In for the Long Haul

The new year is approaching and several of you are going to set out to have a fit and healthy 2017.  You will hit 2017 strong and ambitious, but, unfortunately, may burn out a few months into your new program.  Instead, think of 2017 as a transformation, a lifestyle change, and start putting together your toolkit now to keep your new and healthy lifestyle close to you.

Our longstanding, adored customer Ginny, is an amazing example of how you can change your health and your life.  She has lost 85 lbs since she started focusing on her health and is determined to lose 30 more!

Before (Ginny on the right):

jean-joanne-may-200303

After:

glacier-vacation-09141618

Ginny is a 64 year old long haul truck driver and keeps her ketogenic lifestyle close to her even when she is on the road. She has a vast history of heart disease and diabetes in her family and she is determined to beat the odds.

She feels that we all need to take our health concerns into our own hands. Here is Ginny’s story in her own words…

Ginny’s Story

I am a 64 year old woman and a long haul truck driver. Since my early thirties I have been yo-yo dieting and, like many others, have tried every diet ever mentioned. In September of 2015, a friend mentioned to me that she had lost 20 pounds.  I asked her what she was doing and she told me about the ketogenic diet.  It was at this moment that my life changed! I began researching and reading all I could about it and started the keto diet on 2/29/16.

Eight Great Ketogenic Diet Benefits

A low-carb/high-fat ketogenic diet

I want to mention a little family background before I jump into my journey.  Both of my grandfathers and my father passed away in their early forties from massive heart attacks. My mother had several strokes, triple bypass surgery and a heart attack. One of my grandmothers had RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and the other died from complications of diabetes. My one sibling lost 2 toes to diabetes in Feb 2015. She had triple bypass surgery in February 2016 and is now dealing with kidney and liver issues. Her doctors are still pumping her with insulin and I cannot convince her to change her eating habits.

When I started the keto diet, I was already eating low-carb.  By adding healthy fats to my diet, I was able to reach nutritional ketosis fairly quickly. I did not experience the ‘keto flu’ I had read about. My hunger stopped, cravings stopped, constant thoughts of what I would eat next stopped, and thinking about food 24/7 STOPPED. I could not get over how it was like a switch had been turned off!  And though my initial interest was to lose weight, I soon discovered all of the other health benefits. Making the connection that high levels of insulin causes obesity,  I also realized I was addicted to carbs, had problems with leaky gut and was insulin resistant – just to name a few things going on.

Precision_xtra_blood_ketones

Track blood ketones with the Precision xtra

I also suffered for nearly 5 years with extreme foot pain. Two issues, plantar fibromatosis, marble sized knots running the length of my feet, and neuropathy, though not diabetic.  I couldn’t even stand the bed sheet touching my feet at night time. After three foot doctors, a neurologist, hundreds of dollars spent on every kind of shoe out there, pain meds and 1200mg gabapentin a day for nearly 3 years, nothing helped. Two weeks into keto, I noticed less foot pain. Four weeks….pain free! It’s been 9 months now, still pain free. Neuropathy has improved to the point that I no longer take gabapentin or tramadol for pain.

Having read many books and listened to many podcasts, I began figuring out how the ketogenic diet worked and that we each need to spend some time fine tuning it to fit our health issues. I used several keto calculators to figure my ideal macros. In the beginning I used MyFitnessPal to track my daily food intake and macros. After a few months I was able to keep track without the app. Though, when I hit a stall, I go back to tracking to see what might be causing the stall. As time went on, I discovered things like bone broth, how foods raise blood sugar, how to measure ketones, and intermittent fasting.

Track your macronutrients with myFitnessPal

Track your macronutrients with myFitnessPal

I use Heads Up Health to track blood glucose, blood ketones, blood pressure, weight & exercise. Being able to manage all this information in one place along with my medical records, doctors, insurance information, medications and all my other health information has been such a time saver! I love that I can tap on a few boxes and pull up a chart of whichever info I want.

I feel we all need to take our own health concerns into our own hands. A few years ago, my doctor wanted to put me on statins and when I took him an article and asked him to read it and comment – I got eye rolling.  Just dealing with him (now replaced) and trying to talk to him about following a keto way of living – having him roll his eyes at me AGAIN – well – that did not go over so well with me. I knew then, I had to find a keto supportive doctor – and have.

For me reading and listening to podcasts keeps me motivated. Also a lot of interesting videos on YouTube. I discovered Heads Up Health while listening to a podcast and signed up right away. I can’t express how helpful it’s been to be able to gather all my medical info and have it in one spot. I love that I can open the program and see my stats all there. I have begun using Fat Secret to track food and macros and have added a Fitbit fitness tracker. They sync with Heads Up Health – all right on my dashboard. When I had my (new Keto) doctor appointment last he was quite impressed with all the info I had at my fingertips. Thanks, Heads Up Health!

I appreciate the chance to tell my story and hope it encourages others to consider a ketogenic way of living and to make good use of Heads Up Health!

Don’t try to do it all at once. There is sooooo much to take in and as we try to wrap our heads around all the new info….it can become overwhelming and frustrating. The longer you stick with keto, the more your body will heal from the inside first. We want to see instant results but it’s important to remember there is more going on inside than we can see. I have read dozens of books, listened to hundreds of podcasts and over & over the same message comes thru – stick with it – YOU WILL see results.

Take Control of Your Health

Thank you for sharing your story, Ginny. You are an inspiration to others who are seeking to take control of their own health. We are glad that Heads Up Health can be a part of your journey and we thank you for your support.

For more stories like Ginny’s, head over to the transformation section on our blog. If you’d like to learn more about the Heads Up Health program for health tracking, visit our homepage. And if you’re eager to jump right in and start building your health portfolio, sign up below.

Heads Up Health - Empower Yourself

 

Insulin Load – Beyond “Counting Carbs”

Insulin Load – Beyond “Counting Carbs”

This is a guest post on insulin load by Michael Alward

Insulin Load – An Introduction

When I first adopted a low carb eating plan, I remember countless questions on low carb support groups as to how to count the carbs / net carbs of various processed food products (on this particular day, it happened to be a protein bar by Quest Nutrition).

Insulin load – calculating carbs from a Quest Nutrition protein bar.

Insulin load – calculating carbs from a Quest Nutrition protein bar.

The answers ranged from 21g of carbs (from a Type 1 Diabetic who tested his real-time insulin response), to “only 3g net carbs” (21g carbs – 17g fibre – 1g erythritol as provided by Quest).  Very confusing, and not terribly helpful… (more…)

Tracking the Glucose Ketone Index

Tracking the Glucose Ketone Index

In this post we will examine the “glucose ketone index” as a biomarker for tracking metabolic health. We will also explore some of the primary use cases for tracking the glucose ketone index including cancer treatment, weight loss, metabolic disease management and athletic performance. Lastly, we will demonstrate how you can use Heads Up Health to track the glucose ketone index along with all of your other important health data.

If you want to skip ahead, click the button below to create an account with Heads Up and start tracking the glucose-ketone index alongside all of your other health metrics. Or, read on for more information on tracking the glucose ketone index.

Track your GKI!

What is the Glucose Ketone Index?

The glucose ketone index is simply a way to measure the relationship between your ketone levels and your glucose levels at any moment in time. It is measured by dividing your blood glucose level (mmol/L) by your blood ketone level (mmol/L). The result is a single number we can use an indicator of one’s metabolic state.

The index has its roots in brain cancer treatment, where researchers using metabolic therapy found best results when glucose and ketones maintained a very precise relationship in the patient [1]. Since there are many aspects of daily life (stress, exercise, nutrition etc.) that can upset glucose or ketone levels in the body, thereby throwing off the optimal glucose-ketone ratio, the index was developed to ensure both metrics (glucose and ketones) are maintaining the ideal ratio for optimal treatment outcomes.

Example: If my fasting blood sugar first thing in the morning is 4.6 mmol/L (82 mg/dL) and my ketone reading is 0.8 mmol/L, I would record a glucose ketone index of 5.75 (4.6 / 0.8).

Despite its roots in cancer treatment, the index can also be very helpful for those using metabolic therapy to treat (and prevent) diabetes, obesity, cancer (particularly cancers that express aerobic fermentation) and other metabolic conditions. By using an index that tracks glucose and ketones TOGETHER, we can develop zones that are optimal for addressing various health conditions.

The table below outlines some generally accepted zones of treatment using the glucose ketone index:

GKI valueDegree of ketosisDegree of dysfunction
<1Therapeutic ketosisEpilepsy
Cancer
1-3High ketosisType 2 Diabetes
Obesity
3-6Moderate/functional
ketosis
Insulin resistance
6-9Low ketosisOptimal health
Maintenance
Weight loss
>9No ketosis

Table 1: Optimal zones for the glucose ketone index [2]

Use cases for tracking the glucose ketone index

1. Cancer treatment
For those using metabolic therapy as a means to fight cancer (e.g. brain and other cancers that express aerobic fermentation), the index is an excellent way to ensure you are staying in the optimal zone [1].

2. Prevention

Maintaining a healthy glucose ketone index (i.e. low to moderate ketosis) may be an effective tool for preventing many common metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it may actually be very beneficial to periodically (once or twice per year) employ a metabolic therapy (such as an extended fasting period) that pushes our index into the 1.0-3.0 range as an effective technique for disease prevention.

3. Athletic performance
By measuring the glucose ketone index and correlating with diet, training regimen and performance, athletes may be able to identify their own personal zones of optimal performance.

4. Weight loss
For those using metabolic therapy to lose weight, the glucose ketone index may actually be a more effective marker than tracking glucose and ketones independently. Heads Up Health can help to track and correlate the index along with other metrics such as weight and body fat.

5. Fasting
Tracking the glucose ketone index can be a very helpful piece of biofeedback to understand how your metabolism is responding during the fasting period. Over time, you can look back at different fasting periods and use the index as an indicator of your metabolic state during the course of the fasting period.

6. Feeling awesome
If you are employing fasting and/or ketogenic diets for optimal health, the glucose ketone index can help you find your ideal sweet spot. If you reach a point where you start feeling absolutely awesome (which you inevitably will in ketosis), take a glucose and ketone reading and calculate your index. Having data to know when you are feeling your best will increase your chances of being able to consistently reproduce this state of optimal performance.

Here is a infographic created by one of our beloved Heads Up users, Michael Alward, based on Optimal Ketogenic Living’s Raymund Edwards’ work with Dr. Thomas Seyfried:

Glucose Ketones Index

Glucose Ketones Index

Tracking the Glucose Ketone Index in Heads Up Health

In order to track the glucose ketone index, you will need to measure glucose and ketones at the same time. This means two drops of blood – one for glucose and one for ketones.

Create a new Glucose Ketone Index reading by entering both numbers into your Heads Up profile. For those who measure blood glucose in mg/dL, Heads Up Health will convert this number into mmol/L as part of the calculation.

Track the glucose ketone index in your Heads Up Health profile

Track the glucose ketone index in your Heads Up Health profile

Once you have stored your first readings, you can track the index on your dashboard along with all of your other health metrics:

Tracking the glucose index on your Heads Up dashboard

Tracking the glucose index on your Heads Up dashboard

Lastly, you can trend the index on the Analyzer and compare it to your other health metrics:

Trend your glucose ketone index over time and compare it to other health metrics.

Trend your glucose ketone index over time and compare it to other health metrics.

The following video shows exactly how to enter and track the index in your Heads Up profile:

Summary

If you are already tracking glucose and/or ketones or leveraging metabolic therapies such as fasting and ketogenic diets, the index can be helpful metric to track your progress. Heads Up Health can help you track this marker and compare it to your other health metrics. You can create your free account and start tracking this index today.

START TRACKING!

References and additional information:

[1] The glucose ketone index calculator: a simple tool to monitor therapeutic efficacy for metabolic management of brain cancer

[2] Raymund Edwards – Optimal Ketogenic Living

[3] The Quantified Body – Water Fasts as a Potential Tactic to Beat Cancer

[4] Thomas Seyfried, PhD — Cancer as a Mitochondrial Metabolic Disease

[5] Boston College and Heads Up Health Partner to Help Patients Monitor Metabolic Health