The Keto Diet

The Keto diet is a diet that has been getting a lot more publicity now on social media. This has inspired even more people to try out the diet in their everyday lives also. What is the keto diet though?

The keto diet is a diet in which people consume approximately 70 percent of the calories from fat, 25 percent from protein and 5 percent from carbohydrates. Human beings usually consume most of their calories from carbs and we are often encouraged by nutrition experts to consume approximately 60 percent of our diet from carbs for multiple reasons. The first is that carbs are the easiest source of energy for humans to derive glucose from, which is necessary to power our cells. The second is that too much protein can result in kidney issues. The third is that too much fat can result in blood flow issues. Now this is an oversimplification but that is the simple run down.

The keto diet advocates such low carb intake and high fat intake because of the very reason people turn to the diet. People use the keto diet in order to burn fat as quick as possible. Predominately people looking to loose a lot of fat quickly or bodybuilders looking to get lean quickly will turn to the keto diet. But why do they use the keto diet to do this as opposed to any other diet?

The reason people turn to keto for fast fat burning is because of what the diet is named after. Keto is short for ketogenic. Ketogenic means of ketogenesis. Ketogenesis is the process by which the body creates energy from fat in order to power the cells. This process is much more difficult than deriving glucose from carbs. During ketogenesis, the body creates ketones from fat cells and uses them for energy. The body usually resorts to ketogenesis when it is not getting enough carbs to create the amount of glucose needed. This is the situation that occurs when people are starving. However, the keto diet has figured out a way to not actually starve, but to make the body act as if it is starving in order to more efficiently burn up body fat. It does this by having its adherents consume very high fat and very low carbs. The body will get enough calories but not have enough carbs to create enough glucose. It will have to resort to the fat that is being taken in and the fat that is in the body already to create glucose. This will make the body more efficient at using fat as its main source of energy and so people use it in hopes that it will help them loose fat quicker. This is typically a short term thing and once the goal is reached people usually go off the diet.

But how does one eat a diet 70 percent in fat, 25 percent in protein and 5 percent in carbs? And what foods do people on the keto diet eat?

Well since fruits, veggies and grains are predominately made of carbs, people on a keto diet usually totally avoid grains and have a very minimal amount of vegetables and fruits. When it comes to veggies and fruits avocados are a must since they are a very fatty fruit. They may have a slice of a tomato or onion but other than avocados they will usually stick with a fist worth of leafy greens a couple of times a day to get some carbs,vitamins, minerals and fiber. The predominant foods that are eaten on a keto diet are meats (red, white, sea creatures), eggs, high fat milk and dairy products, nuts, seeds and oils such as olive oil or coconut oil. These foods are high in fat and protein and so it fits the needs of the diet perfectly. When it comes to drinks, water and milk are the only choices.

So besides helping to burn fat quicker, are there other benefits of following a keto diet? There are a few. Because of the high amount of fat and protein that is taken in, people on a keto diet will feel fuller more easily. This makes it easier to stick with the diet because you won’t have an appetite to munch on snacks on the side or have more than your portion. The keto diet has also been found to treat cancer, epilepsy and may treat Alzheimer’s. In the case of cancer, cancer cells thrive on glycogen from carbs and so the low amount of carbs essentially starves cancer cells and stunts or slows their growth. It helps to control epilepsy for some people who suffer from seizures. The diet was originally created to help control epilepsy. The keto diet may help Alzheimer’s patients by slowing the progression of the disease. There seems to be a link between blood sugar glucose and Alzhiemer’s disease. The keto diet makes the body more insulin sensitive because of the low amount of glucose we are receiving from carbs. This would help decrease the blood sugar glucose and maybe slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. However, regarding Alzhiemer’s this is not certain.

Ok so what are the negative aspects of following a keto diet? Unfortunately there are a lot more cons than pros:

  1. The extremely high fat intake will slow blood flow by making the blood thicker.
  2. The extremely high consumption of animal products (meats, sea creatures, eggs, dairy) will raise cholesterol by a lot.
  3. High cholesterol will lead to atherosclerosis if gone on for too long. This is the build up of plaque on the artery walls. This will narrow the blood vessels.
  4. Slower blood flow, higher cholesterol and atherosclerosis will increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
  5. Ketoacidosis could occur. Ketones are released during ketogenesis. Ketones are converted to energy for the cells. Ketones are blood acids. Too many ketones present in the blood can make the blood too acidic and cause ketoacidosis. This happens to diabetics when they cannot process glucose properly. This can be fatal.
  6. Higher cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone. It is released in response to stress. This most likely occurs during a keto diet because the body thinks it is in starvation mode. That’s pretty stressful.
  7. Low fiber because of low grain, fruit and vegetable consumption. This can cause constipation. Constipation can lead to shorter term negative conditions such as hemorrhoids and longer term negative conditions such as diverticulitis.
  8. You may have less energy to perform very intense workouts because of the low levels of carbs. Low carbs means less glycogen to power muscles.
  9. It may be harder to build muscle after being on the diet a while because of the low levels of carbs. Low carbs means less glycogen to fill muscles for recovery.

The keto diet is gaining popularity but that doesn’t mean everyone trying to loose weight or lean out should use it. Ultimately, the choice is up to the individual and that individual should consult a dietician if they feel weary about starting any new dietary program. However, the main plus of a keto diet for the vast majority of people would be fast fat loss. However, being that there are many serious health drawbacks to this diet, it is safer to loose fat the good old fashion way. If someone eats incrementally less calories than they need, they will lose weight. It’s that simple. Eating healthier and exercising are great ways help reduce the calories that are taken in everyday but those are not even necessary for weight loss. No fancy diets are needed either. Less calories in is all that is needed. You can eat carbs, fat, protein, alcohol, grains, nuts, seeds, cookies, veggies, fruits, sodas, meats, junk food, healthy food, sit around or exercise. If your goal is weight loss, all you need is less calories. If your goal is to be healthier and ripped, well then that’s another story. Eating healthy and exercising will be necessary in that case.

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The Zero Waste Lifestyle

With anthropomorphic (man-made) climate change rapidly increasing in strength, and politicians being unable to implement the proper responses to help mitigate the effects in many areas of the world, many individuals are turning to themselves to help contribute towards mitigating the destruction of climate change. How are they doing so? By adopting a “zero waste” lifestyle.

Going Zero Waste means trying to eliminate as much unnecessary garbage that comes out of our houses and goes to landfills as possible. The massive amounts of garbage humans produce is a huge contributor to climate change and the destruction of our planet. Much of our garbage goes to landfills, cannot be broken down very quickly if at all and can often be toxic for the Earth to absorb. Cutting our garbage production down as much as possible will be crucial going into the future in order to preserve our planet’s habitability and the many species it nourishes, including ourselves of course.

So how does someone live a zero waste lifestyle? First, it is important for anyone who plans to adopt a new lifestyle to gradually implement whatever it is into their lives. This is the same with going zero waste. If you try to do it over night, you will be highly likely to become stressed, turned off and ultimately fail. The key to successfully leading a zero waste lifestyle and having a zero waste household is to slowly implement changes over the course of months.

When going zero waste you will want to stick towards buying reusable or biodegradable items. Here are some examples of the types of products zero wasters use:

  1. clay, metal or glass kitchenware instead of plastic or paper. (reusable)
  2. bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic toothbrushes. (reusable and biodegradable)
  3. clothes or household materials like bed sheets made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, hemp and bamboo because these materials are biodegradable (reusable and biodegradable)
  4. handkerchiefs and rags instead of tissues, napkins or paper towels. (biodegradable)
  5. soap bars rather than liquid soap to avoid plastic bottles.
  6. metal bottles instead of plastic bottles. (reusable)
  7. metal containers for carrying food instead of plastic bags, paper bags, or tin foil. (reusable)
  8. glass jars for storing food rather than plastic containers. (reusable)

In addition to trying to stick to reusable and biodegradable items, zero wasters also implement these practices into their lives to reduce their carbon footprint:

  1. buying food in bulk
  2. minimizing buying packaged items
  3. minimizing use of electric equipment because of its dependence on gas
  4. minimizing driving and opting for biking and opting for hybrid or electric cars
  5. adopting a plant based or vegan diet
  6. composting trash such as food scraps and some forms of paper because this feeds the soil rather than going to landfills and being wasted
  7. women may opt for a reusable menstrual cup rather than disposable pads
  8. preparing their own food and limiting dining out
  9. creating a small zero waste kit of items to use when at restaurants to avoid using disposable straws or napkins
  10. creating their own soaps, deoderants and toothpaste rather than buying ones with environmentally harmful chemicals in them
  11. using solar energy

Of course going zero waste does not mean completely eliminating all trash in your home or life. It is rather obvious that this will be nearly impossible, if not completely impossible to do. However, slowly adopting as many zero waste practices as possible for you, such as these, will make a big difference in helping to mitigate the growth of climate change strength and the subsequent problems it will bring. If half the population tried going zero waste, the benefits for the planet would be enormous. Individuals inspire other individuals, so don’t discourage yourself from trying simply because most people aren’t. With that mindset nothing will change, and change is needed to respond properly to climate change. If one person tries zero waste, more will be inspired to do so, as is currently happening, and a movement will take place. If you’re Catholic try implementing a zero waste lifestyle starting this Lenten season. You may even save some money along the way!

Space X Launches Falcon Heavy with an Interesting Payload

Last week on February 6th, 2018 Space X launched the falcon heavy into space to orbit the sun. The mission was accomplished by shooting this three stage rocket from NASA’s space station in Florida. This launch was to test the power of the Falcon Heavy’s new booster that was only tested a few months ago. Space X along with Elon Musk, owner of Space X, were very concerned about the rocket being launched so early, but it all worked out for them.

The most insane part of this is that 2 of the 3 boosters landed back on earth successfully as shown in the picture above. The third booster lost control and landed into the ocean with a speed of over 30,000mph. That third booster was suppose to land on a barge in the ocean after breaking off from the rocket.

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This rocket is planned to be used to transfer supplies into orbit or even to the moon which is the next destination. The rocket can carry a total payload of a little bit over 140,000lbs. The rockets were so powerful that the planned trajectory, to orbit the sun, changed and now it is headed to Mars!

The funniest part of this event is that Elon Musk put a roadster as the payload in the rocket! To add to the effect he put a dummy in a space suit in the driver seat. On the screen in the car is text saying “DON’T PANIC”. Hopefully life on mars will be able to take advantage of the car.

40143096241_11128929df_b.jpgSpace X has already lost video feed from the car itself due to the batteries in the camera’s dying, isn’t that ironic! To add to the humor the dummy had one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the outside, almost as if he was cruising down the highway.

Realistically, this is a major success for Space X as it continues to be funded by the government and by investors. The rocket only costs $90 million dollars to launch which may sound like a lot, but is only a small chunk of change for Elon Musk. Landing the boosters back on earth can help reduce the amount of metal being landed in the ocean as well allow for re-usability. This re-usability will allow the rocket to be launched more often than usual and in the long run allow us to reach mars! Space X and Elon Musk are looking forward to building the next rocket which will be name BFR, which stands for Big Falcon Rocket. This will hopefully allow us to travel further than we have ever flew before.