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How to Start Unlocking the Keto Code

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Spoiler alert! How ketones work is not how you think they work. With so many things, what’s old is new again. While the ketogenic, or “keto,” diet, has been around since the 1930s, there’s been a resurgence of interest in this high-fat, ultra-low-carb way of eating in the past few years. Talk to your friends, surf the internet, or scan the nutrition articles in your favorite magazine, and you’ll see many variations on the keto theme. There’s dirty keto, clean keto, calorie-restricted keto, high-protein keto, the Paleo/keto hybrid, keto cycling, protein-sparing keto, and even a lazy man’s version of this popular dietary regimen. Its proponents will tell you that this eating plan is life-changing — do keto “right,” whatever that means, and you’ll soon find yourself not only shedding unwanted weight quickly but improving your cholesterol, blood pressure, energy levels, and sleep quality in the process. Who wouldn’t want all that?

While each type of ketogenic diet has its own unique quirks, the premise of them all is basically the same—and, as it so happens, deceptively simple, and wrong. Keto experts will tell you that when you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake and instead consume 80 percent of your daily calories from fat, your body shifts into a unique metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, the liver transforms fats into special molecules called ketones (sometimes referred to as ketone bodies), a so-called miraculous fuel source that can be used to power the body and brain instead of glucose that comes from carbs. The basic idea is that a ketogenic diet will make you an incredibly efficient fat burner, allowing you to rapidly lose weight and enjoy a host of other health benefits. Sounds great, right?

This very elementary explanation of ketosis (don’t worry, I’ll go into more detail in the following chapters) has been the presiding theory of why ketogenic diets, though challenging to maintain, are so beneficial to well-being. In my first book, The Plant Paradox, I even put forth my own keto-based intensive care program to help people boost mitochondrial function and improve their overall health in the process. It’s the diet I’ve been prescribing to my own patients for the past twenty-two years.

There’s only one problem: ketones are not the miraculous cellu lar fuel that so many of us thought they were. We now understand they actually aren’t a good fuel source at all. In fact, the entire theory of how ketones improve health is just plain wrong. That’s not to say ketones aren’t important. As I’ll explain in the following chapters, these little molecules play a vital role in helping to ease the burden of your mitochondria, your cells’ energy factories, in ways that can help prevent as well as reverse not only weight gain but also diseases of aging. Even more important? Once you learn what ketones really do, you’ll realize you don’t have to force yourself to eat a heavy, high-fat, and, frankly, boring diet to harness their power.

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK

Ketones aren’t some special source of magic cellular fuel. Rather, they are vital signaling molecules that tell your mitochondria to get up, get moving, and start wasting calories. Our mitochondria produce fuel for our bodies by taking glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids from the foods we eat (which your gastrointestinal system has so kindly broken down from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, respectively) and converting them into a special molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy “currency” our cells can actually spend.

But the latest research shows that mitochondria are involved with much, much more than just energy production. They play an integral role not just in survival, but longevity. Yet to truly understand what mitochondria do—and why ketones are produced, when they are produced, and their ultimate purpose—you need to let go of everything you thought you knew about keto.

If you’re familiar with The Plant Paradox or any of my other books, you likely know I’m famous (or perhaps infamous) for challenging people’s long-held beliefs about “healthy” foods. Disruption is in my nature. Even in my previous career as a heart surgeon, I pushed back on the way things had always been done, discovering new ways to protect my patients during open-heart surgery that are today considered best practices in care. Now, just like Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s famous play, I come not to praise keto, but to bury it — at least the conventional notions of the keto diet (or even most so-called healthy diets, for that matter).

The best part? When you understand the role of mitochondria and how they affect your metabolism, you no longer have to worry about fat percentages, macronutrient proportions, calories, or any other metrics. This new understanding provides a healthy path forward for folks like Janet, Miranda, and even all the people who have wanted to try a keto approach but couldn’t get past the fat requirements. And that’s because, as you will learn in the following chapters, the role of ketones in weight loss and health is not what you think—and harnessing their benefits doesn’t require you to consume massive amounts of saturated fats. Intrigued? Let’s get started.

Excerpted from UNLOCKING THE KETO CODE by Dr. Steven Gundry. Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Steven Gundry. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.
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Food Is Medicine And What We Eat Is Important

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Your mental state is a critical component of your physical health. And when you’re under a lot of stress, you might not be eating the healthy food that provides nutrients for fighting anxiety and depression. So when we examine what we’ve been eating, most of us discover that the decisions we’ve been making in the name of simplicity, convenience, or saving time have been damaging to our total health – body, mind, and spirit.

A person’s diet is a direct reflection of their health. When a person does not eat the right foods, their body breaks down. This can lead to an overall decrease in quality of life and many other diseases linked to improper nutrition. In North America, our current diet mainly consists of an excess of grain, sugar, fried and fatty foods. As a result, disorders including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and certain malignancies are becoming increasingly widespread.

The science of food has always been discussed; however, with recent technological innovations in food processing and agriculture, people have enjoyed more convenient foods that are less expensive than ever before. Unfortunately, with every convenience comes a trade-off. Smart foods are often packed with sugar, salt, and calories, leading to poor health in some individuals. 

To understand what a person is putting into their body, it’s essential to realize that the small molecules in food are responsible for allowing our bodies to function. These small molecules are called nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes. A nutrient is not a value unless absorbed by the body through a specific pathway. For example, if you absorb calcium without vitamin D, your body will not use that calcium. 

Eating a balanced diet keeps you healthy, but it helps reduce your stress. For example, eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants because they help augment your immune response and prevent toxins from damaging your cells. Vitamins A, C, and E serve as antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxic products of metabolism that cause damage to your cells. Experts claim that they are responsible for the aging process. Good sources of these vitamins are deeply-colored vegetables- green leafy, yellow, and orange vegetables, such as squash, broccoli, kale, spinach, and carrots.

Iron is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, and it mainly functions to deliver oxygen to your cells. Hence, an iron deficiency, medically termed Iron-deficiency anemia, is associated with weakness, easy fatigability, and pale skin. Tea, coffee, red wine, grapes, and berries are rich in antioxidants that function the same as your vitamins A, C, and E. 
You need a diet that’s healthy and balanced – and one that can fit comfortably into your busy lifestyle.

Here are some of the recommended dietary guidelines.

Eat a diet high in fresh vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. 

Exercise every other day to release endorphins, feel good, get the blood flowing, and reduce stress levels. 

Eat salt only when you need it, but not too much as your body does not need it. Many people with anxiety are hypothyroid or have low magnesium. When your body needs more sodium, it can indicate that you are not producing enough cortisol or are dehydrated. If you experience chronic anxiety, I recommend working with a physician to run tests on cortisol levels and then take salt supplements as needed. Use spices like turmeric, ginger, curry, and aromatic herbs like parsley, rosemary, sage, and basil.
Eat low-fat meals because they will cause a minor spike in blood sugar levels: think lean meats, eggs, vegetables, and nuts; avoid dairy if it makes you feel anxious. 

Drink lots of water — keep hydrated all day — ideally at least half a gallon if possible — your brain needs water to function optimally! 

Avoid foods that you know will make you feel bad, such as dairy, even with low-fat content. You can cut out dairy and not worry about it! 

Avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods, alcohol, and any other substance that makes you feel bad or increases anxiety levels. Also, avoid coffee — drinking more than one cup a day can cause anxiety in some people. Coffee is also dehydrating and inhibits the absorption of minerals from food/water/supplements — try caffeinated water as a substitute for coffee if you like the caffeine kick. 

Find a natural health professional that you can talk to or work with to quickly get the results you want. 

Healthy foods and nutrition can help you stay fit, but they can also assist you in treating disease. When you nurture your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities improve, as does your spiritual welfare. Moreover, because your spiritual health is at its best, it will radiate to the exterior world, causing others to notice you’re happier and more relaxed, and your stress levels have decreased dramatically.

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The Points of Light Civic Circle Offers Real Ways You Can Change the World 

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Sixty-six percent of Americans don’t believe they can make a big impact in the world. 

That figure is according to Points of Light’s research on civic engagement. But what if I told you there are actually many ways to drive change? 

Today’s political climate can feel divided or even stagnant, but the truth is, you really can make things better, starting with your own community, one act of kindness at a time. And those aren’t just words. I’m here to share real, practical ways for you to make a difference. 

The Points of Light Civic Circle helps people connect to opportunities and understand that doing good comes in many forms. It is a framework that represents your power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about and live your best civic life. 

The Civic Circle provides actionable examples of all the ways you can change your community to reflect the world you want to see around you. In fact, you’re probably doing some of these things already. Are you helping a neighbor by picking up groceries or chaperoning on your child’s class field trip? You’re volunteering. Did you vote in the last election or help others get to the polls so they could vote? Those acts of civic duty illustrate the “vote” element. When you buy a product, do you choose to support companies that reflect your values or advance a social cause? That’s called “purchase power.” There are nine elements of the Civic Circle, and countless ways to bring each one to life. 

This blog is the first in a five-part series that will help you find real and manageable ways to activate the Civic Circle through apps, documentaries, podcasts and books. 

We also offer other resources to help you connect with all the ways you can become empowered to be the change you want to see in the world. Check out our videos that provide an in-depth look at each element of the Civic Circle. And don’t miss Civic Life Today, our digital magazine series. Each issue takes a deep dive and provides materials, ideas and inspiration so that you can become civically engaged.  Get started today, and launch your own civic engagement journey with these tools. 

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Are you an Amateur or a Pro? 30 Differences to Help You Decide…

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My client, Sebastian, thinks he’s behind on “life”.

He thinks he missed the memo the rest of us received on how to live a happy life.

I know better.

Sebastian hasn’t fallen behind and there is no such memo.

We’re all just trying to figure it out.

Unless we’re not. And there are a lot of people who simply are not trying to figure it out.

My friend and Professional Coach, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, calls them Status quo-ers — as opposed to Growers.

Anyone who makes a serious commitment to working with a Professional Coach is by definition a “Grower” and Sebastian is no exception.

Growers want to know, feel and live more. They push every boundary and sometimes fall off cliffs. They say “yes” to way too many things and often feel overwhelmed and over committed. They have a congenital distaste of the status quo and will sabotage any situation if it feels like “settling” to them. They’re insatiable and often don’t know what exactly will assuage their hunger.

Growers often appear to the world as troubled, frustrated and critical.

Inside they feel unfulfilled and misunderstood.

The truth is that they can’t help but be driven by Oscar Wilde’s belief that,

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”

Growers will break every piece in the china shop when they find themselves just existing and not living as they see fit. And they suffer for it.

That is… until they turn pro and transform their life!

Steven Pressfield famously states in his book, Turning Pro

“Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.”

Sebastian thinks he’s falling behind because he’s still living life as an amateur at 34.

To put the above into context, I didn’t turn pro till well into my 40’s!

Best move I ever made! 

So what’s the difference between living life as an amateur vs. a pro?

Although there is no one size fits all manifesto on “how to turn pro”, here are thirty distinctions I’ve learned which apply to ANY Grower who is truly committed to living a life of purpose, fulfillment and ease.

  1. Amateurs look for hacks and shortcuts — Pros do the work.
  2. Amateurs speed up — Pros slow down.
  3. Amateurs are busy — Pros are focused.
  4. Amateurs sell first — Pros serve first.
  5. Amateurs think it’s about them — Pros know it’s never personal.
  6. Amateurs think life is short — Pros know life is actually really freakin’ long.
  7. Amateurs are reactive — Pros are responsive.
  8. Amateurs live with constant misunderstandings — Pros take the time to get clear.
  9. Amateurs don’t know what success looks like (to them) — Pros  know their definition of success and aren’t afraid to change it.
  10. Amateurs don’t know their core life values — Pros do.
  11. Amateurs want to feel happy — Pros want to feel alive!
  12. Amateurs play to “not lose” — Pros play to win.
  13. Amateurs are harsh — Pros are fierce.
  14. Amateurs secretly enjoy being in the “Victim Mindset” — Pros are a “Hell No” to that!
  15. Amateurs wonder what people say about them when they leave the room — Pros know.
  16. Amateurs have false and limiting beliefs around money — Pros don’t.
  17. Amateurs are constantly searching for life balance — Pros are living an integrated life.
  18. Amateurs think everything matters — Pros know what few things actually do matter (for them).
  19. Amateurs set boundaries defensively — Pros simply honor their “operating system”.
  20. Amateurs think help is a four letter word — Pros actively seek opportunities to help and be helped.
  21. Amateurs don’t have a relationship with their “Future Self” — Pros are best friends with their “Future Self”.
  22. Amateurs confuse knowing with doing — Pros receive knowledge and apply it (EVERY moment of EVERY day).
  23. Amateurs love information — Pros love insights.
  24. Amateurs have intentions — Pros have commitments.
  25. Amateurs have expectations — Pros have agreements.
  26. Amateurs compare — Pros create.
  27. Amateurs live from probability — Pros live from possibility.
  28. Amateurs are focused only on the “Goal Line” — Pros are focused on both the “Goal Line” and the “Soul Line”.
  29. Amateurs set goals with contingencies — Pros know contingencies are just excuses and NOW is the time!
  30. Amateurs create from the past — Pros create from the future.

Now that you are aware of the 30 differences between an amateur and a pro, where do you see yourself?

And I’d love to know why. Get in touch with your answer.

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