3RD INSTALLMENT

Next week will mark my 3-month milestone in this clinical study, and I’ll be repeating a battery of cognitive tests to see how I’m faring on this program-results in the next installment.

DISCOVERIES

I’m down another 2 lbs but I’m holding steady in muscle mass as seen by my body composition analysis today. At 13.5% lean body mass I am in the best shape I’ve ever been, but more importantly, I’m feeling strong, healthy and clear-headed.  Subjectively my memory and recall is improving but I won’t know objectively the changes until I get results of the cognitive tests this Friday.

This keto journey is full of discoveries. I received the results of my DNA testing and am positive for 1 Alzheimers gene, ApoE4. In addition, I also learned I’m hypersensitive to a particular general anesthesia, to benzene in plastic bottles and that I’m predisposed to diabetes and obesity.  However, the takehome message from this 68-page genetic profile is that our genes are not our destiny.  With the information gleaned from this report, it will help drive changes in lifestyle, anesthesia choices and supplementation to lessen the chances of falling victim to these and other propensities discovered in the report.

As there’s a big focus on exercise in this clinical study, my daily Pilates practice reminds me how important Pilates is for improving the mind as well as the body. Pilates helps reduce stress (which interferes with cognition) by encouraging you to focus your attention on breathing, good posture, and efficient movement.

Does Pilates—with its emphasis on precision, concentration, and memorization of movement patterns—enhance brain function as well as physical function? Scientists from Yanshan University in Qinhuangdao, China, and Beijing Normal University in Beijing wanted to find out.

In preliminary research, the investigators measured changes in brain activity as a result of Pilates training—and found an increase in the brain’s alpha peak power after 10 weeks of training. Alpha peak power is believed to be related to increased neural network activity, memory performance, and other cognitive functions.

The authors of this study suggested the Pilates method may be a valuable intervention for people with brain-degenerative diseases and cognitive dysfunctions that affect learning, memory, and thinking.  The study is available in Computational and Mathematical Models in Medicine (2013; doi: 10.1155/2013/295986).

If you’re interested in learning more about the BoneSmart Pilates® method and my exercise DVDs which integrate the science of aging and neuroplasticity, check out my website

A recent new study shows how low intensity and high intensity workouts affect the brain differently.  Using resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (Rs-fMRI), a noninvasive technique that allows for studies on brain connectivity, researchers discovered that low-intensity exercise triggers brain networks involved in cognition control and attention processing, while high-intensity exercise primarily activates networks involved in affective/emotion processing. The results appear in a special issue of Brain Plasticity devoted to Exercise and Cognition. Though they were looking at low-intensity treadmill and high intensity running, you can easily make the connection of low-intensity workouts with mind-body workouts such as Pilates. If interested you can read more about the study here.

CHALLENGES

Being a subject in this study is a full time job and it’s challenging finding enough hours in the day to fit all the requirements in.  There are supplements that need to be taken before food, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime and binders (that clear out toxins) that need to be taken away from supplements and food which is the hardest to finagle the timing.

In addition we have to get our exercise in, sauna/sweating, online brain training and online stress reduction training and document everything in our binder pictured here. There are days when I’m bumping up against my bedtime and just need to prioritize sleep over all else.  I’m still teaching Pilates full time which I love, being a mom and wife and running my online business fulfilling orders and answering forum questions.  Not to mention the shopping, perusing keto recipes and cooking in this novel way. It’s enough to make my head spin!

RECIPES

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that so many of you have reached out to me as I’ve embarked on this journey, to share your recipes and encouragement. My friend Cynthia even found a keto cooking class that I signed up for.  All your support has meant the world to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My favorite keto snacks include macadamia nuts, hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper-great for on the run, avocados with olive oil and raw cauliflower with mixed nut butter.

Here are three of my favorite Keto recipes.

Keto Almond Flour Pancakes

These fluffy almond flour pancakes are delicious and so simple to make! Just a few common ingredients needed. For a topping skip the syrup and crush a few of your favorite fresh berries with a fork into a compote and place that on your pancake, topping it with crushed pecans or slivered almonds.  It tastes so good to me that it feels almost indulgent.  Here’s a link to this easy keto almond flour pancake recipe.

 

Cauliflower hashbrowns with eggs, bacon and avocado

Yearning for something hashbrownish, I’m thankful to my friend Anne B. for the idea of the cauliflower foundation of this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • small piece of onion diced
  • green pepper slice diced
  • riced cauliflower (i just put a 1/2 a head in my blender to rice it)
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper/garlic powder to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 or 2 slices of sugar free, nitrate/nitrite-free bacon
  1. Saute’ the onion and pepper in 2 TBsp olive oil  (I added some fresh rosemary from mygarden-add the herbs of your choice if desired)
  2. Add the riced cauliflower, mix and flatten out into a hash. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder. Allow to brown to your liking.
  3. Cook the bacon separately then set by the hash
  4. Create a hole in the hash for the eggs so you don’t need to flip it.
  5. Garnish with avocado drizzled with olive oil and Enjoy!

 

 

Keto Thai Vegetable Cashew curry w/Coconut (and Chicken)

Picture of my sisters and I cooking at my Mom's! Thanks to my friend Ylmia for this recipe. I tweaked the ingredients and added some protein by adding chicken which is not part of the original recipe.  As we made this recipe in NY last week, my mom commented that her 3 daughters orchestrated this meal like “Little Women” working industriously side by side for the whole family, and it was a hit!  If your vegan or vegetarian just skip the chicken.

Serves 2 (we scaled this up for our family)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion2 tsp minced fresh garlicpicture of Keto Thai Vegetable Cashew curry w/Coconut (and Chicken)
  • 2tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 Tbsp sugar-free Thai red or green curry paste
  • 1 large yellow or red bell pepper cut into 1-in dice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1 in dice
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 TBS shredded unsweetened coconut, very lightly toasted
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lime zest
  • chicken thighs cut into 1 inch diced pieces
  1.  Heat the oil in a 12in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Set aside.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute’ until the onion is translucent about 4 minutes.  Stir in the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the bell pepper and salt and saute’ until halfway tender, about 5 min. Add the eggplants and saute’ for3 min. Add the chicken back in and cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook until the eggplants and bell pepper are fully tender, about 10 min.
  4. Uncover the pan and stir in the milk and juice. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil until the sauce thickens slightly, about 4 min.  Check to see that the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve and sprinkle with the nuts, coconut, and zest.

(stats without the chicken)    Protein 11g       Net Carbs 29g      Fat 62 g