Intermittent Fasting and BulletProof

Intermittent Fasting and BulletProof
So for those of you that have been following my merciless pursuit of losing the last 5 pounds after a fairly tumultuous first couple years in the US – I’ve done it!!. I’m not skinny, my body-fat percentage at a guess is probably about 23%, but I’m back to the size that I’m comfortable with an my clothes all fit again.

My final break-through discovery was old fashioned intermittent fasting, following listening to a podcast from Eat-Stop-Eat‘s Brandon Pilot. I have been doing IF but using BulletProof coffee for some time now, but have found a middle ground that works for me. I have moved to an 8-hour ‘feeding window’, making sure to stop eating/drinking anything other than water and herbal tea after 8pm, and not having my first meal until noon the next day. When I wake up I’ll have a black coffee, and then at around 10am when I start to feel really hungry, I’ll have a coffee or a green tea with MCT oil. I’ve also started ensuring that I take Betaine HCL & Pepsin with my MCT Oil, as well as with each of my meals, to help me digest the fats better.

And it worked! On days I’m careful about carbs I’m really not that hungry the next morning as my blood sugar is more stable, and on days after I’ve had white potato or something more carby I sometimes have to have my MCT oil a little earlier as I tend to feel a lot more hungry on these days.

I have tons of energy, my sleep is good (or so my UP 24 by Jawbone tells me), and all my old pairs of jeans fit again. Oh – and I’m exercising a lot less intensely. 2 x sprint sessions per week, a reformer pilates, a yoga.. and maybe a sneaky quick weights session.

For the first time in a long while I’m satisfied with my body. It’s not perfect, I have lumps and bumps, but I wake up feeling full of life each day, and I like my curvy shape. At last – I’ve found a lifestyle that works for me.

DNA Testing for Answers

dna testing

I must admit, testing my DNA felt like tempting fate. Having read a few articles on the DNA testing that is doing, I was intrigued, but concerned that it could open a door I could then never shut. Once you know you have a propensity towards Alzheimer’s, how much could fear itself of what could transpire actually quicken the onset of the very thing you fear?

There are plenty of studies that show that our thought life really does affect our bodies and our health. One of my favorite more abstract examples is Dr Masaru Emoto’s Water, Consciousness & Intent. If you haven’t seen this before, you need to. Considering our bodies are 50-65% water, you have to at least consider what our thoughts do to our health, informing what will be as we age?

All that said, I went ahead with the DNA test. After my Grandmother died of an Alzheimer’s-related fall last year, I decided that knowledge is power. Alzheimers and Parkinsons are hereditary (my Grandfather has Parkinsons), and if I was going to be at an increased risk of inheriting either of these conditions, I wanted to know, and to start making life changes and investing in research for cures now.

My results showed that I actually have a less than average risk of inheriting either Alzheimers or Parkinsons, but it did turn up some other interesting increased risks that have helped me shape how I eat and the supplementation I choose. Although I appreciate the subject is controversial, for me this test was worth the $99 and the power it has given me to make informed decisions about my own health.

Other Posts on Self Testing:

Back on the BulletProof Coffee

my morning bulletproof coffee



So I’m back on the BulletProof Coffee.

Over the past weeks and months I’ve made a discovery for myself that goes against the grain of recent studies, scientific discoveries and other far more intelligent bloggers….. calories count.   Now are all calories the same?  Of course not.  Nutrient density is a major factor, and 2000 calories in sticky buns will absolutely affect me much more adversely – with greater weight gain – than 2000 calories of nutrient dense meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds.  But… if you eat handfuls of nuts all throughout the day while on a bulletproof diet, paleo diet or anything else, my experience is that you will gain weight…. or not lose it at least.

One tool that has helped me over the last while to better understand how much energy I have been consuming over a day, and the breakdown of fat, protein and carbohydrates in my day has been MyFitness Pal.  I’m sure there are other food logging products out there, but I like this one for the integrations with other apps such as my Jawbone activity tracker, and others.  Tracking my food for a period helped me to understand that a) I was eating far too much on my ‘cheat’ weekends, and b) my carbohydrate consumption went WAY up on weekends, which is why I always felt so foggy headed on Mondays.  That and the fact that I would eat gluten on the weekends, which I now do not and can get in to another time.

I’m still figuring out what the right amount of energy and the right blend of fats to proteins to carbs is for me.  There is a great book out there called The Perfect Diet that if you’re a geek on reading up on theories like I am I would recommend, though I must admit I’ve not yet tried the suggested breakdown of 65% fat, 15% protein and 20% carbs that the book suggests.  I will, and will let you know!

So all this leads me back to my rekindled romance with BulletProof Coffee.  As a woman, this much fat felt crazy and I wasn’t losing weight after the first initial couple of days last time.  This was, as I’ve outlined here, primarily due to the ridiculous amounts of energy I was taking in in addition to the coffee and meals via snacks such as nuts.

Now, I use this coffee as a part of my intermittent fasting that I like to do on the weekends.  Week days with workouts and life I just found a bit much. My routine is my coffee and my beloved Grazia magazine from the UK that I can still get on my iPad… who I was pleasantly surprised to see covered  BulletProof Coffee last week!  If you haven’t tried it yet, I’d suggest you give it a go.  Your mental clarity will thank you.


Interested in more on my experiences as a woman with BulletProof?  Check out a post from my initial experience here: BulletProof Coffee For Chicks


Liver Flush – Not for the Faint Hearted!

Liver Flush


I’ll start this post with the disclaimer that even reading about a liver flush is not for the fainthearted!!  And these are not my gall stones – although mine were as big – as I felt that would be one step further than I wanted to go in this post.  But of course, I do have photos and my husband received them all by text, which in hindsight was probably not the most helpful thing for the meetings he was in in London at the time.

Anyway – I’m back.  It’s been a while!  I started a new role at BrightEdge in November, and have been lost in the throes of SEO and a ridiculously fast growing technology company ever since.  My ability to set time aside and blog has been lacking, though I have of course been forging ahead in the experiments and self testing, so there are more where this post came from!

The liver flush was something I came across after reading some of BulletProof’s Dave Asprey’s posts, and seemed too intriguing to not try.  The day I started my first flush I received my DNA test results back from and found that my greatest risk is of gallbladder stones, so this liver flush seemed incredibly timely.  Heralded as the only way to get gall stones out of the liver without surgery, and a means of greatly improving the function of the liver, I was curious to try the flush out.  You’re pretty much out for the count from 6pm the night of until mid-afternoon the following day, so I took advantage of my husband’s time back in the UK to try the flush out.

One thing I must point out that I discovered since is that stones formed inside intrahepatic bile ducts (bile ducts inside liver) are referred to as “intrahepatic stones” rather than gallstones. “Gallstones” and “Intrahepatic” stones might be identical by consistency, but it’s the place where they are found that determines the name, not the consistency itself.  So, you can not cleanse the liver of gallstones, you can only cleanse the liver of “intrahepatic stones”

I’m not going to lie, the stuff you drink tastes like death. First you drink Epsom/Magnesium salts and water, and then this olive oil and lemon juice blend, right before bed.  But the whole thing takes less than 24 hours, and is a much better option than some of the 7-day liver cleanses with supplements that I’ve done before, that basically make you poop yourself for 7 days.

And the stones that come out are crazy!  I’m not going to go in to detail but you can always reach out and ask me questions, or consult Dr Google for others who are more blatant than I with their experiences.  All I will say is that your liver is your largest organ, it gets stones, and some of mine were as big as the ones in the image above.  Yuck.

If you’re keen to know more or give a liver flush a try check out Dave and Lana Asprey’s one-pager, or go to Dr Hulda (who invented the cleanse) herself here.  What I can say from this experience is that my upper back pain has significantly reduced, my liver has improved in blood tests taken since, and I feel great for it.



The Joys and Horrors of Magnesium

Today’s post I am dedicating to my husband, who paid dearly for my experimenting with a Magnesium Flush a few years back.  Following on from my BulletProof Coffee series I thought I’d share with you an old lesson and a recent discovery involving magnesium.

Having been on a holiday back to my native land of Canada, by the end of our food-laden trip we were both feeling rather ‘full’.  I’ll leave it there.  I’d  read online about an magnesium salt flush (using epsom salts), and I thought this sounded like a great way of ‘refreshing’ ourselves before the long flight back to London.


Magnesium Flush

For  me, this worked fine.  For my husband, not so much.  The time grew near to head to the ferry (yep, we had to get a ferry to the mainland to fly out) and still nothing.  We packed our bags and headed to the car, with my poor self-testing victim growing increasingly nervous.  We headed out, and enroute the earth began to move.  It was a race against time to the ferry, and upon arriving at the loading bays my now-green husband took off running.

So – magnesium flushes work but are incredibly harsh so I personally have not tried this again.  I did recommend it to someone recently though as a final measure who didn’t take me at my word and tripled the dose.  I’ll not expose him by pasting the Facebook feed here, but it was hilarious.  And gross.

On the other hand, Natural Calm is my new best friend – and my husband’s believe it or not.

A tablespoon of this stuff before bed in a glass of water makes us sleep better and wake more rested.  It’s great for easing sore muscles, reducing stress, and yes – it has a much more gentle means than the magnesium flush.

So if you’re excited by the full life you lead and struggling to ‘switch off’ at night, or with the somewhat indulgent season of Christmas are feeling a little ‘full’ – check magnesium powder out.





Before You Fix It, Ask 5 Whys

The 5 Whys


How many times have you launched on a hell-bent mission to fix a problem before really getting to the root cause of why the problem started in the first place?

So often it is easy to come in to a problem and with our best intentions set out on solving the problem in front of us, without really getting to the bottom of how the problem started, or what the real problem is.

For example:

I am furious that my favorite dress is suddenly tight.  If you were to come in to the room as I vented my fury at the dress, you’d understandably be led to believe the problem was firmly with the dress.  Where in fact, the problem is with two weeks of dessert at every meal.  Or something similarly glorious.

Or another:

Your top customer is looking to cancel his account because he isn’t seeing any value from the product any more.  He used to love the product, but over time, with all the updates and changes, nothing works as well as it used to and he wants to move to a competitor.  It appears that he obviously has objections to change.

If you were to ask what he used to love about the product, why he feels it was better before, why he thinks the product doesn’t work as well now, you’d discover that actually he struggles some with technology and is finding it challenging to keep up to date with the changes.  A simple support strategy to help guide him through the changes could be all he needs to stay your top customer.

The discipline of the 5 Whys is a process of asking why until you get to the root cause of a problem.  Often the root is not what you expect!  This process will also reveal the relationship between the problem and the root, enabling you to make positive changes in both the problem you are facing, and what will inevitably be a larger organizational ( or personal ) area with room for improvement.  It could look like this:

There’s no coffee.

1 Why not?

The coffee machine is broken.

2. Why is it broken?

The fuse in the plug blew.

3. Why did it blow?

The electricity in the kitchen has been surging

4. Any idea why it’s been surging?

I think there’s some problems with the electrical cords…. I’m pretty sure I saw some exposed wires.

5.  Any idea why there are exposed wires?

Oh  – I think the guy who came to fix the electricity last week left in a hurry and left some stuff undone.


So – buying coffee or getting another coffee machine wouldn’t have fixed the problem – and you uncovered a potentially dangerous root cause.


Give it a go…. look at the top thing you’re procrastinating on and ask yourself 5 whys.




Body Fat Testing: Lessons in Self-Testing Volume 1

In a bid to start being more informed about the changes I make, rather than focusing on arbitrary goals such as weight, my first round of self-testing found me at the Body Composition Center in Redwood City for body fat testing.

I turned up for my appointment and was told that I would first be weighed and my height measured before my scan.  My weight was a little more than my home scales presumed, but no biggie.  The big shock was that I am a whole inch shorter!!  I even asked her to check again… but alas I measured in at 5 feet 6.5 inches, a whole inch shorter than I recalled being.

Still reeling from the blow, I followed the technician in to the scanning room, at which point she explained to me how their testing was some of the most accurate, and having seen a 125-pound person with 30% body fat and a 125-pound person with 15% body fat, these scans are truly a much better means of understanding just how your health is ‘weighing in’.

As I lay on the table for the 4 minutes that the DXA scan takes, I started reading the posters on the wall about osteoporosis.  Some of the key indicators of this condition are stooping forward at the shoulders, loss of height….. suddenly I found myself getting rather nervous and caring rather less about my body fat in light of the fact that with my recent shrinking I must obviously have osteoporosis.

The technician re-entered the room and I somewhat with panic asked if bone density was also included in my scan.  She assured me it was, and then took me through my scans.  Check this out:

Bone Density and Body Scan

So – apparently when you’re 30 your bones are fully developed, and everything from there is downhill.  My bones though are +1 ( See ‘Age-Matched Z Score’ above), which means better than a 30 year old.  Result!!  This is good.

On to the body fat.  So the green zones below are low in fat (phew, my head is in the clear), the yellow medium and the red is the stuff that is really just not necessary.  At a first glance I feel like this is no huge surprise.  The next slide though is much more interesting – and really encouraging:

Scan page 2

What you’re looking at here is the percentage of fat broken down in to each area of my body.   The Region % Fat – Column 2 from the left – is the stuff you’ve potentially got to lose.  The ‘total’ field in this column (below Gynoid) is your total body fat.  The technician told me that at 24% I just slip in to the ‘athletic’ category – the bottom 3% of what they see come through their testing rooms!

This certainly has been a learning experience for me – I’d highly recommend it.

BulletProof Diet for Health & Fat Burning: My 2-Week Findings

So I’ve successfully completed two weeks of BulletProof Coffee and Intermittent Fasting, and this final post is on the good, the bad and the ugly of my testing.

The first week of the fasting was great – my skin was clear, I felt fantastic, and the weight was dropping off.   Also my cravings for anything ‘carbie’ or sweet were completely gone, and my energy levels were stable.

Come Friday though, the inevitable weekend of eating out made for some interesting discoveries.  I seemed to be a lot more sensitive to foods that previously wouldn’t have bothered me, starting with the Fish Taco from Nicks on Friday afternoon, then the hash browns with my breakfast on the Saturday, and the sugar in the cocktail and sorbet Saturday night.  By Monday, any (water) weight lost was back, along with the puffy face in the morning.

Week 2 was a little more bumpy, but with some key decisions being made.  By Wed my weight was back down to that of the previous Friday, and the Ketostix were showing I was indeed in a slightly heightened state of ketosis.  That was good.  I also had dinner and drinks out every night that week booked in from Wednesday to Saturday – that was bad.  I’m discovering quickly that my beloved glass of red wine is a key contributor to the puffy-face, so am trying out swapping to dry white.  Having a whisky or a vodka with dinner instead still just seems a little too hardcore…. but if you’re interested, here’s an Infographic from Dave Asprey on what alcohols are best if you’re following the BulletProof diet:



So the good?  When being mindful about what I’m eating at all times, I feel bloody good on this eating protocol.  And even with eating out (with wine) for almost half of the nights of the two week test, I managed to keep a couple pounds off.   The bad?  Any digressions seem to take their toll a whole lot more.  There’s a conversation in here about keeping toxin levels high to not be affected by food that is terrible for us vs living a better life with different choices, but I’ll save that for another day.  The ugly?  MCT Oil truly does do evil things if you take too much of it too soon.


I feel crunk!

As I mentioned before though, I made some decisions to start testing things, like liver & kidney function, ketosis in the morning and body fat. Having goals to get healthier, live better, goals to decrease body fat rather than weight, these goals are much better than ones that hold you hostage daily to a set of scales.  To kick off my testing I visited the Body Composition Centre in Redwood City to get my body fat and bone density testing;  I’ll post later this week on my results, and a very surprising finding…

BulletProof Coffee Week 2 : Discovering The Ketogenic Diet

MCT Oil and Ketogenic Diet

So I’m on to week 2 of BulletProof Coffee and Intermittent Fasting, and I have learned a lot.

The good :

  • skin clearer
  • puffy face gone
  • no debilitating tummy grumbles and light-headedness
  • great energy levels
  • cravings for carbs or starchy foods completely gone

The ‘not so good':

  • weight is the same as when I started (4 pounds gain/loss due to water or constipation is pretty normal)

This past weekend I continued with the coffee in the morning.  I did slip up some: namely with a couple of whiskey sours on Friday night (date night with the hubby), hash browns with my brunch at around 1pm on Saturday, sorbet and a cocktail after dinner Saturday night and a couple of glasses on red wine on Sunday night.

After the drama of Friday my normal morning ‘routine’ was pretty messed up, so it’s a little hard to tell what’s what.  I did however wake up Monday morning with the puffy face having returned and feeling more tired than I had in a while.  Also my weight had returned ( I didn’t weigh myself over the weekend) to exactly what I was last Monday when I started the BulletProof Intermittent Fasting.


As much as I crave to lead a ‘normal’ life, I’m realizing that normal doesn’t have to mean the right to constantly eat foods that make me feel swollen and tired.  I’m also realizing – again – that measuring on a daily basis pounds lost is not a great test.  Body Fat, tightness of clothing, energy levels, quality of sleep… these are better.


So this week I’m testing 2 things:  Body Fat and Ketosis.

My body fat I’m having tested via a DXA scan at the Body Composition Center.  My state of ketosis I’m testing using Urinalysis Reagent Strips, though I appreciate these are not the most reliable.  I’ve been testing for 2 days and am not showing any heightened ketosis yet – I expect to start seeing this from tomorrow as it takes 48 hours to burn the glucose I’ve stored over my higher-carb weekend.


If you haven’t read about Ketones and the benefits of a Ketogenic diet before, Ketosis is a fat burning mode that is good for your brain (not to be confused with Ketoacidosis –  a dangerous condition for diabetics with the main element being acid, not ketones).


Recent studies by Dr. Dominic D’Agostino have shown that not only does a Ketogenic diet burn fat, it also can starve cancer cells and  and staves off almost all degenerative diseases.  With my grandmother having died recently from a fall related to her severe alzheimer’s disease, studies like Dr D’Agostino’s, along with real life testimonies of Dr Mary T Newport’s husband regressing in his state of alzheimer’s disease are particularly pertinent to me.


These studies are not new or fads – in fact in 2001, Dr. Richard L. Veech of the NIH, published an article entitled Ketone bodies, potential therapeutic uses in which he records that ketosis “has also been shown to decrease cell death in two human neuronal cultures, one a model of Alzheimer’s and the other of Parkinson’s disease”.


In my silly pursuit of losing the ‘last 5 pounds’ I have stumbled upon something that will positively impact the rest of my life.  And though weight can be an easy distractor, the real shortcuts in health I am seeking are ways to live a bigger, better, longer life.

Saturday Special: What Not To Do with BulletProof Coffee


I feel crunk!

True to form I bring you what not to do, so that you don’t have to do it.

Above is an excerpt from a twitter conversation with a friend who read my post and decided to give the coffee a go.  When Dave Asprey talks about going easy with the portions of butter and coconut oil at first, he wasn’t kidding!


Twitter Convo - BulletProof Coffee Nausea


I’m no scientist, and I’m not about to start reading medical journals (ok I’ve read a couple excerpts on this….) so I’ll leave the greater debate about nausea on this fast and toxins to the experts.  What I can tell you though, is that in day 1 to 3 I did my 2 x the 7 minute workout before my coffee, or after my 1st.  On my 4th and 5th day I did as Dave recommends and did my workout right before breaking the fast at 2pm, about an hour to an hour and a half after my second coffee.  Yack-city.

Also a note on the MCT oil.  Even though it does say on the bottle that it is 6 times stronger than coconut oil, and even though the well-documented side effects include nausea, upset stomach and a ‘mild laxative effect’, I thought I would be fine on my 1st day using it today ( it arrived with my low-toxin coffee beans last night) after a week of using coconut oil.  Not. So.

After my second coffee with two tbsp of the MCT oil following one tbsp in my coffee this morning as I wanted it more ‘creamy’, followed then by my 14 minutes of workout, I felt thoroughly ill.   I met a friend for lunch at 2pm, and at about 2:30 had two grilled fish tacos with corn tortillas and a lot of avocado.  Lord.  First I got the sweats like I was on something, then thought I was going to faint, then certain I was going to vomit.  The last 15 minutes of our time together I’m not sure I know what was said as I was measuring the distance from where I was sat to the loo and estimating average times and going through worst-case scenarios.

So – the labels don’t lie.  Go easy on the oils.




p.s.  – my husband came home as I was finishing this and proof read my post.  A massive look of relief passed over his face as he realized why his stomach had been in literal contractions all day… I * may * be also testing this on him….