Author Archives: Sherrod Patching

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….

Impressive Fat Loss – And A Note on Healthy Eating

BulletProof Diet Infographic

Infographic on one healthy eating plan, as suggested by the BulletProof Diet.


So, it’s the morning after the 4th day and I feel pretty good.  The weight loss has slowed to half a pound, but that makes it 4 in total this week.  Not bad for a 1st go at the BulletProof Intermittent Fasting!  I’ve continued to do my 2 x the 7 minute workout, and am getting faster and stronger (10 pushups in 30 seconds…. up from 3ish two weeks ago).  Apparently my metabolism should be speeding up rather than slowing down, as it can with fasting, but I’m going to start looking at testing so I can tell you for sure.  God I love America.

Having tried more fad diets than I can even name in my lifetime though, I thought I would dedicate this post to the importance of healthy eating.  Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, works if your goal is to lose weight quickly and not make some life changes in your habits.

Growing up in Victoria B.C., I had  just scraped by in to my teens when the the fat-free epidemic suddenly hit North America.  Canada wouldn’t stock a lot of the products ( !!! Surely that should have been an indicator), so I would ask people to bring back the fat-free butter or the Olestra-laced cookies from their trips across the border to Seattle. The beauty of fat-free?  The Golden Promise that potentially America could continue to overeat, without gaining weight.  Overeat products laden with chemicals, ridiculous amounts of sugar and ingredients that are not even food… and what happened?  The nation got fatter.  And developed eating disorders. You see – some fats are good!  If you don’t know that already, or don’t know the difference between a good fat and a bad one, I’d encourage you to spend a couple hours reading, or even a few minutes signing up for email updates from people like Ben Greenfield, Able James or Dave Asprey.  These guys are all on a mission to live bigger, better lives and have some pretty cutting-edge discoveries, backed up by solid scientific research.

You’ll need to decide for yourself what your body seems happiest with when it comes to what you eat more of and less of.  For me, gluten is a big one and I feels worlds better when I don’t eat it.  There are other foods that I just feel tons better without ( and with! ), but really the point I’m making is that you need to make those decisions for you.

So if you’re looking for a quick-fix way to lose 10 pounds so that you can go back to eating burgers and fried chicken as a lifestyle ( rather than once in a while – I love burgers!!), then honestly don’t bother.  The weight loss and weight gain yo-yoing is terrible for you.  Instead, make a decision to make one positive change.  Maybe it’s even to drink more water. Whatever.  It’s about improving your life so that you can live longer and better, not just for you, but for your family and the world around you that you have a part to play in.

Bulletproof Coffee For Chicks

My new morning routine

My new morning routine

Today I am introducing in to my blog a new love of mine that will feature significantly in my posts from now on: shortcuts in health and fitness.  In keeping with what not to do, I’m going to start testing out plus revisiting past experiences on successful and failed shortcuts – from biohacking to optimum exercise times and everything in between.

Since having moved to America, I am quickly discovering that everything in America is a race.  This discovery is actually pretty ok with me, as I do much better when focused on a goal.  The problem is, I lead a full life and am not that excited about increasing the time spent each day on things, like losing those pesky 5 (10) pounds that attached themselves to me on a recent Foodie Trip to Peru (more on that to come in another post).  Instead my goal is to get smarter about the time I spend, in order to achieve goals faster in the same – or less – time spent.

Enter BulletProof Coffee and Intermittent Fasting.  I had heard through Paleo-loving friends about putting butter in coffee, but wrongly assumed that this was just because they couldn’t have cream.  As my husband and I eat (pretty much) Paleo (except for my beloved glass of red wine with dinner and his occasional beer) when we’re not traveling, I thought I’d look in to the butter in coffee thing.  But BulletProof Coffee is proving to be quite an incredible discovery.  This stuff makes you lose weight, while retaining muscle and increasing brain functions!  And it’s safe for women who still want their bodies to remember they’re women.

I’m on my third morning, having lost 2.5 pounds so far.  I feel fantastic, have no cravings at all and am mentally alert.  The only exercise I’m doing is my two to three rounds of the 7-minute workout (more on this in another post) which on it’s own in my past three weeks of testing has made no improvement at all, though I have been able to sustain my weight and fitness using it (which to be fair, isn’t bad for 14 to 21 minutes a day).  Coupled with the BulletProof Intermittent Fasting though, I seem to be on to a winner.

True to form for me, I of course want to push the boat out some by keeping my glass (or two) of red wine in, and I’ve also added in lemon and hot water first thing in the morning as this does wonders for your skin and getting the toxins out of your liver 1st thing in the morning.    Apart from that I’m following the BulletProof eating guide, which is quite close to the Paleo life we follow at home.

My goal is the remaining 6 pounds by the 4th of November, when we leave for a holiday in Spain.  I’m doubtful that I can sustain this pace of weight loss – particularly with the weekend approaching when ‘crapola’  – to use a dear friend Dr Simone Laubscher‘s phrase – happens.  My prediction will be that after another day the weight loss will slow to half a pound a day and I’ll be set back a pound or two by the weekend.  Stay tuned!  I’ll update on my progress pre and post weekend.


Happy Friday! Don’t Drink and Facebook


Friendships In Funny Places



New cities.  Moving at 35 from a city that I kicked and fought to stay in from the age of 19 was never going to be easy.

Although, I really can’t complain.  The move across was incredibly easy, and we have met fantastic people quite easily.  In spite of all the meetups I’ve been to since arriving in which I’ve lasted 10 minutes (my current average time overall is 27 minutes) I’ve managed to find friendships in funny places.

Everyone has a theory on how long it takes to settle in to a new place.  Some say a year, some 6 months, some say the 3-month milestone is the most significant.  For me though, it was from the moment I really committed to being present in this new place.  In the excitement of leaving London for a new adventure, I didn’t grieve at all for the incredible friendships that I was about to put an ocean and a bloody large mass of land between.  A month in to being here in the wonderful city of San Francisco though, and it hit me.  Phone calls to London friends help, and don’t help.  As dear as those friends will always be to me – trying to insert myself back in to the day to day world of London life really doesn’t help the loneliness.  The only solution for loneliness that I have found is to be present.

The average time a person stays in San Francisco is 3 years.  The average rise and fall of a new startup is 3 years.  Sell for big bucks or go under… either way it’s 3 years.  And people here are weathered, wary of the constant footfall of new people to the area.  Only so many times can you invest in new friendships only to see them leave before the merry go round grows tiresome.  And if your heart isn’t here, people are like horses.  They can smell it on you.

After a trip to London in January in which during the 1st week I thought I’d never be able to leave again, in the second week I began to miss our new home, our new situations and opportunities and of course – any sign of the sun whatsoever.  On return to San Francisco I felt more ready to settle, be present, and be available for new friendships.

I’ve discovered when you really commit to a place, it’s a lot easier to find true friendships.  On the roof of our building last weekend drinking wine and eating cheese with a bunch of girls from the building we live in, full of food from the BBQ we’d just had with friends from the local area, I revelled in how much can change in a short period of time.  Call it the stars aligning, or whatever you please, but since truly giving my heart to the city I live in I’m finding real friends in the funniest places.