Intermittent fasting 4

This is going to be a short one but a happy one. I have been doing the intermittent fasting for a while without massive results. I did not see any big changes in my weight and was getting dispirited. Not only that. At the beginning I had some problems with my looks – big circles under my eyes, dry mouth, tiredness and stomachache after eating. I did not experience any of those wonderful things that are advertised in numerous  videos and articles. However, I did not stop. I knew from my experience with homeopathy that things get worse before they get better and decided to continue with the IF.

And this week – finally – first positive results arrived. The stomachaches stopped! Moreover, my co-worker said that she needs to ask me something; I thought it will be something work related of course. To my surprise she said that she has noticed I am losing weight and what is my secret! I was delighted. On scales I am more or less the same weight! Very interesting indeed. I sent her two videos to get her into IF and get some basic idea about IF. I am doing the easiest 16/8 hours. My advice to anybody would be to carry on if you don’t see result. The body will first focus on the repair processes inside the body. This may take time and it took me about 3 months to see some results. So don’t give up 🙂

Update: 2019 I have noticed more visitors are reading the post on IF so let me put few points together that might be useful for you:

  1. Stick with it longer – I have not seen results straight away, first visible results came about three months later
  2. Choose what suits you – for me the 16/8 works the best, I can last without food and not being ravenously hungry, I can keep my social meetings and family dinners
  3. Observe all the changes – I recommend a journal/diary, you will not remember everything in detail and some small changes may escape your attention, I thought there are no changes first but there probably were – but I just did not know about them
  4. When you eat, eat as healthy as possible – in the beginning I was tempted to eat the unhealthy stuff as I thought the IF will balance the calorie intake. But now I think that was one of the main reasons why I did not see any changes in my body.
  5. The beginning was hard – I did have some bad days, big circles under my eyes, bad breath, dizziness, feeling groggy etc. I took it as a ‘healing process, when body is focused on repairing the broken bits”. I did want to give up at one point.
  6. It is not cure all solution. It is just a part of your overall change for the better. Don’t stop there. Try to detox, try different power foods and so on.

I have completed a whole year. I am slimmer although not my ideal weight. My stomach is not bulging and T-shirts are looser. IF is something that I will stick with – it delivered.

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Intermittent Fasting – 2

The first week was not easy. Had lot of digestive issues and did not feel great. I was hungry and waiting eagerly for my meal. That has changed by the second and third week. I kept on going because I read so many reviews how wonderful and helpful Intermittent Fasting is.

However, I did not lose any weight 😦 I was not surprised because diets don’t work for me before. After several weeks I did not see major changes. There was one change though that made  me think that I should drop it. I had massive and very visible dark circles under my eyes. I looked like Panda! I thought to myself – this is not good and I need to figure out what is going on before I continue. So I decided to go for an good old detox which I have already mentioned in one of my old blog posts. The detox got me back into looking refreshed and glowing – the look I like 🙂

I researched the possible reasons but did not find anything satisfying. Most of the reviews, I would say 99% of them, are positive – Intermittent Fasting helps with weight loss, people feel energetic, they think clearly etc. etc. For me this did not happen. The only reason I can think off is – that maybe I tapped to my old fat reserves that had some toxins in them and that caused the tired looked. Or my kidneys/liver had to work extra hard and that was reflected in my drained look. Simply I don’t know.

I did not give up on Intermittent Fasting, yet. This time I am going to slowly ease into it – first with 3 meals and no snacks and then maybe after a month changing that to two meals a day. The eating window will be 10-9 hours (before I had 8 hour window). This should help with any side effects. Anyway, that is a theory. Will let you know, how is it going 🙂

Healthy snack

Intermittent fasting – will it help?

Started a new regime. I am bit late to this as IF (intermittent fasting) started to be very popular about 2 years ago. Anyway, I don’t care about that. The thing I care about is weight loss and staying healthy at the same time. I was never into diets and did not try any. The only thing I tried couple of years ago was a detox – which was very good for my health but I lost very little weight.

One colleague at work has mentioned to me that her uncle has cured his diabetes with the Intermittent fasting and she herself is practising it for more then two years. That inspired me to do bit of a search online. To my surprise I discovered that there is a big community already using IF to reduce fat, feel fit and overall get better.

There are many variations and different rules. I started very simple 16:8 system – meaning I don’t eat for 16 hours and I eat only during the 8 hours window. It fits my lifestyle best. I hope this will help me to lose weight – ideally 20 kg, gives me more energy and rejuvenates me. Wish me luck 🙂

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Flaxseed Oil experience

I have been thinking about trying it for a while and finally got to it. The main reason was that I wanted to see if it helps with a weight loss in anyway. I did know that it is very volatile oil – it goes bad really quickly and you need to use it within a week or two after opening. I was warned about the taste but did not care because I can handle most of the herbal medicine.

But this oil I bought did not taste good. Was very bitter. So my original plan taking 2 teaspoons of the oil daily changed to only 1 teaspoon. I did it rather reluctantly for 2 weeks and then stopped. I did not notice any weightloss or reduction of hunger. The energy levels remained same. The only difference was an improved bowel movement.

All in all, I don’t think I will go back to it. It is really hard to get a good quality oil that was   obtained and stored correctly. It has to be used quickly.  It does not taste great and the pay off was not worth it. I am sure there are many people who reaped the benefits but unfortunately if was not me. But again, the best thing it is to try for yourself.

Update: 2019 – I will go back to it but will have to find a good flaxseed oil that does not go rancid and is stored correctly. I have read several articles how important it is. If the oil is old or not stored properly it does not have any effect on your health.

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What I do to stop hair loss

One thing that worked for me over the years was a nettle extract. I have experienced increased hair fall during certain periods of my life.  First time was during my teenage years. I did not think much of it as it was not so obvious. My did try few things. Cut my hair short and used some herbal hair tonics. It lasted probably year or so and I forgot all about it. The second time I have experienced more noticeable hair loss was during my pregnancies. By then I have suspected that this is due to the hormonal changes. Again I have used hair tonics and tried to be more gentle to my hair. I bought a good brush, did not wear tight pony tails, used herbal shampoos and and avoided hair colour. It also stopped and I did not have to think about hair loss for a while. Until now.

I have noticed my hair is started to get thinner and is falling out more easily. As I have experienced this before I did make the connection with the hormonal changes straight away. I take it like a message from my body that says: “pay attention to your hair”. And I try. Unfortunately I cannot get the hair tonic that I have used years ago as they do not produce it any more. I have tried some other shampoos, hair masks and tonics but unfortunately they did not work. I remembered that my step father used to rinse his hair with nettle extract. When he was in his 30’s his hair started fall more significantly and got really worried. He did go to see doctor and a skin specialist. They gave him some specialized shampoos but they did not make much difference. He was really miserable. To us it was funny because he still had full head of black hair and nobody would guess his problem. My granny was a very kind soul and she always took all problems to her heart. She has talked to her friend – an experienced herbalist – and he had a simple advice:”Buy nettle, boil it in a water like a tea and when finished washing your hair, rinse them with it.” Granny hesitated to tell my step father because he was not into that stuff at all. He was and engineer and did not like any “mambo jumbo” like herb cures etc. He would often make fun of these things and did not ever consider them as an option. However, when he run out of all his options he thought he will give it try. Granny got a pack of dry nettle that would last for a month. At first nothing was happening. We stopped asking him about the results and got bored with making jokes about it. It was only when has similar problem with hair falling out I remembered this. My step father has a full head of hair even now. Although he is mostly grey, he is not bald and does not have any balding patches. To my surprise he did tell me that ever since my granny advised him on the nettle extract he uses it religiously. Ideally ever two weeks or at least once a month. He keeps on buying dry nettle leaves for more then thirty years!

I was amazed and decided to give it try. Where I live nettle is not a common herb and the only nettle I was able to get were tea bags. But anyways, it is still a nettle right? I have boiled 2 sachets in a liter of a water and when it cooled down I used it as a rinse. I have done that once a week for about a month. And the result? My hat goes off to this wonderful herb! The hair fall reduced after 2 weeks and then stopped after one month. I was delighted! It worked. I did not think that after so many years I will find an answer literally on my doorstep.

One important note though. The rinse is quite dark and can stain your bathtub. The extract is not strong enough to colour the hair. At least I did not notice any change in colour [I have dark brown hair]. Sometimes I am too busy or too lazy to prepare the nettle rinse and usually within a month the hair fall increases again. That means that nettle does not cure but it reduces or stops the hair loss temporarily.

Boil 1 liter of water. Add 2 sachets of nettle tea. Let it stand until lukewarm. Use as a last step when washing your hair. Rinse hair and gently massage in. Do not rinse with water. Repeat twice a week for at least one month to see results.

I should add that the nettle tea is usually recommended to beat tiredness and to clean blood. Many herbalists believe that nettle is better for the body than coffee. Unfortunately I do not like the taste of it. To me it is bit too grassy so  I am sticking to a good cuppa of coffee…

Update: 2019 – Zinc supplement seems to help.

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Detox that works for me

As I have noticed my first grey hair I thought to myself that I need to pay a bit more
attention to my aging body. I did plan to do a detox or cleanse for a while but the time
never seemed right. The idea of starving whole day and living just on juices did not appeal to me. But I did want to do something. Something that will make me feel good. Something that will give me more energy.
As luck would have it one of my dear friends has recommended a detox in one her e-mails. I hesitated at first. It had a set menu for 28 days which needed to be followed. I resent any strict diets and was worried this is one of them. To my pleasant surprise the premise of the detox is not to starve – you can eat until full – in fact the more you eat the better. You need to drink about 3-3,5 l of water every day and you need to stick to the meals that are prescribed. The author is Mrs. Macingova, a Slovak nutritionist. Her detox is very popular in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Most of the people do this detox to lose weight. Some of them have a great success with weight loss but the weight loss is not the main aim of it. Just a bonus.
And now about my results. After the 28 days I felt lot better and more energetic. I even started to wake up half an hour earlier than usual. I did not need my usual coffee boost. I did not crave any sweets. I just did not feel like eating any of my usual treats. People commented on how good and fresh I look. They did notice the difference. With regards to weight loss it was not as spectacular. I have lost only 2 kg on the scale but my clothes were lot looser. What happens with this detox is a loss of ‘volume’. Somehow I shrank. Shirt that was to tight was suddenly loose. I could swing my arms and there was some more space around my stomach area. I did find this very interesting. Mrs. Macingova always stresses that it is not the kilos you loose but the centimeters. The results had such a visible impact on me that I have decided to repeat it again in 3 months. That time my husband joined me and lost about 5 kgs. This detox is going to be part of my routine for sure. On the scale of 1 to 10 I would give it 9. The reason I would not give it 10 is because during the whole month you have to follow the menu. And I am not just very good at sticking to a set of rules. But that is just my laziness I suppose…so I should really give it 10 out of 10 🙂

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Floravit – the best iron supplement for me

Floravit is something I have been using for years. It helped to keep my iron levels up. I usually take it in spring and in autumn. I have been giving it to my kids, too as they have been growing up on vegetarian diet. What I like about it is that it comes from natural sources and it is in a liquid form. It tastes fruity but has bit of a metallic taste. I don’t mind that at all and kids take it with little bit of juice. Once opened it needs to be kept in the fridge. It is bit pricey but it is worth it. In the reviews of the product I read that people take it when their immunity is down or when they feel tired. Most of the reviews I came across were positive. When I hear that somebody is anemic or when my friends are pregnant I tell them about this. As a bonus it contains Vitamin B12 and is gluten free. If you need some iron boost then check it out!

Update 2019: I am still relying on Floravit and Floradix. I think it absorbs well and does not cause constipation as most of the iron supplements. Tastes O.K. I do a course every three months.

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One week on HCLF

Short holiday break was perfect opportunity to try the Vegan diet properly. Three clean meals with lot’s of veg seemed appealing. I have dedicated few hours to gather some really tasty recipes and make my shopping list. During the search I have realized that there are different types of Vegan diets and after talking to my daughter we have decided to give High Carb Low Fat diet /HCLF/ a go. We liked the recipes and the fact that carbs are allowed and can be eaten at every meal. People promoting this style of eating looked great – energetic, healthy and optimistic. That was a great promise for us because that is what we are after. We have done a week of HCLF cooking and here is my short report.

I have enjoyed the meals but missed the fat. I am sorry to say this but I just always thought something was missing. I just like my stir-fries or baked veg with olive oil. In terms of energy I have expected a surge of vitality – but it did not come. I felt the same as before and had to turn to my cup of coffee to get through the afternoon. And the third negative would be that I have put on weight – little bit over 1 kg. I don’t know how it happened. I was meant to be eating very healthy food cooked with no oil…When I look back I think I probably eat to much. I think I watched too many videos showing huge portions and beautiful slim girls saying eat as much as you want. I did not think to myself that may be I should eat my normal portions and maybe the girls can burn the calories lot easier because they are younger and more fit. Also during that week I did feel that I filled up more and that my trousers are tighter. When I started to feel like that I have automatically down sized the portions. After that week I looked franticly for people who had the same experience because until then I thought that everyone on HCLF is guaranteed to weight. I did find some people saying that they put on weight, too.. Some of them noted that they have been under weight before they started the HCLF diet so when they started it they have put on weight. But that was not my case.

Now about the positives. I was happy to learn some new recipes that I can add to my repertoire. It was wonderful to see how many people are there turning to vegan lifestyle, wanting to make a difference and the world to be less cruel. All in all a good experience which I will repeat again /but I will be more mindful about the portions next time/.

An extra note – I have checked with my daughter and she has also put on weight 2 kg. This is quite interesting because we are different age and she has faster metabolism. I think we really overindulged in the carbs. We love big portions and the recommendation “eat as much as you want” did more damage than good. So please be mindful of this. Take in mind your age, your activity level, your metabolism etc.

I have used recipes mainly from Hi Carb Hannah and Cooking with plants. Only after I finished the week I have discovered a YouTube channel The Vegan Corner which seems to be very popular and has have lot’s of hi carb recipes. So I recon it is worth to try – maybe next time 🙂

Update: I have found a good video explaining HCLF and weight gain on Hi Carb Hannah channel.

Update 2019: Did not work for me. Both daughter and I we put on weight – so we never went back to this eating style.

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Viva la smoothie

I thought I will top up my non-wheat diet with a Nutribullet smoothie. Did hear a lot about it.

To be honest, if it was me I would not have bought. It seemed like all the products shown on TV. Shiny first but when you get it – it is a different story. However, Nutribullet was a present from one of our foodie friends so we had no other choice than to try it 🙂

And I must say, I grew used to it. At first I was searching for the best recipes. Playing around with color – red smoothie, purple smoothie, green smoothie – you name it. Invented few of my own. However with less success in terms of the color. Smoothie always seemed to have kind of brownish unattractive color, reminding me of a water in an old pond. Now I can honestly say that I am not a beginner and I am “nutribulleting” few times a week. As always I was looking for reviews that would show the actual effect. Did not find much so I have to go with simple assumption – I do consume lot more fresh veg and fruits and that must be good right? Also, sometimes I do use it as a quick pick me up instead of coffee or as a snack to curb my hunger. I have bought it as a present for my parents and they are getting used to it, too. All there is left to say is: Viva la smoothie!

Update: I have tried numerous recipes for smoothie and the best one so far is Kimberly Snyder’s. I usually make about 1/2 of the portion and I do not add any pears.

When lazy I use M&S frozen smoothies and add spirulina – yummy!

Update: 2019 – I am sticking with green smoothies but I make them only 2-3x times a week. They are very refreshing and they guarantee that I get the right nutritions to my body. I do see improvement in my energy level after drinking them.

Marks and Spencer frozen smoothies
Healthy addition to my routine