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The Potato Hack - A Simple Weight Loss Diet - Dominick Hussey

The Potato Hack – A Simple Weight Loss Diet

I have been treating patients for over a two decades. One of the most challenging conditions to treat is weight loss. Of course, this depends on from where the patient is starting. If they are eating lots of junk food, not exercising, and not sleeping well, weight loss can be pretty straightforward. But if they are already doing all the right things but still not losing weight, it can be tough. In this article, I am going to talk about one of my secret weapons when it comes to losing weight; the potato hack simple weight loss diet.

The Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet

The potato diet has been around since the 1800s as a weight loss approach.

For example, this is a quote from a book called The Potato Diet written in 1849.

“Few are aware of the great value of the potato as an article of diet. It may astonish some of our readers when we assert that potatoes alone are sufficient to sustain the human body in a state of firm and vigorous health. Lean men grow fat, and fat men become lean, lean as they ought to be and so all grow better in health.”

Even though this diet has been around since the 1800s, it was only recently resurrected and popularised by people like Tim Steele in his book The Potato Hack.

Why is the potato hack diet so effective for weight loss?

There are a few reasons why the potato hack diet effective for weight loss.

  1. Several studies show low-calorie, low-fat, high-carb diets can be useful for treating diabetes.
  2. You can modify the potato hack weight loss diet so that the person is only eating potatoes that have been cooked and cooled. This process converts much of the starch in the potatoes to resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of fibre, which is not digested by humans. Our friendly bacteria consume fibre, so it has a positive impact on blood sugar.
  3. The potato hack diet spontaneously decreases calorie intake, which is one of the reasons it leads to such significant weight loss. Weight loss is one of the fastest and most efficient ways of reducing blood sugar when a patient is overweight.
  4. The potato hack diet reduces inflammation and improves the gut microbiota. Both of those can indirectly or directly improve blood sugar.

How does the potato hack diet work?

The food reward concept

Many of you are familiar with the idea of food reward, which is where the more rewarding foods are, the more likely we are to eat them. The food reward concept is a hardwired evolutionary mechanism that helped us survive in a natural environment of food scarcity.

One of the things that contribute to the reward value of food is variety.

The more different flavours, taste, and macronutrients there are in a particular meal, the more likely we are to eat it and to eat more of it.

The easiest way to think about this is to imagine two plates next to each other.  One plate has potatoes that have been steamed or baked with no salt or oil. The other dish has potato chips.

I am reasonably sure that most of us will not overeat the plain steamed or boiled potatoes. We will eat as much as we need to satisfy our appetite but no more.

Whereas, we are more likely to overeat the potato chips even if we are not hungry.

This example demonstrates the concept of food reward and one of the reasons that the Potato Hack diet works so well.

The diet reduces the reward value and leads to a calorie reduction.

Resistant Starch

Another reason why the potato hack diet works is that potatoes that have been cooked and cooled are high in resistant starch, as I mentioned before.

Resistant starch feeds our gut bacteria, and this has a profound impact on slowing down our metabolism.

As a side note, you can use the potato diet as an excellent way to reset your gut. For people who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, doing a Potato Hack diet for three to five days can help them get back on track.

Basic rules for following the potato hack simple weight loss diet

The following guidelines are from Tim Steele’s book, The Potato Hack, which I highly recommend if you’re interested in this as a strategy.

  1. Eat nothing but white potatoes for three to five days.
  2. While doing the potato hack simple weight loss diet, you should test your blood sugar with a glucometer after the first few potato meals. If there is a spike in blood sugar, switch from cooked to cooked and cooled potatoes.
  3. The diet only works with white potatoes and not sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes do not form resistant starch in the way that white potatoes do.
  4. Eat two to five pounds of potatoes each day. You should eat enough to satisfy your hunger. You do not need to count calories or potatoes while you’re doing this diet.
  5. No other foods are allowed on the potatoes. So no butter, no sour cream, no cheese, and no bacon bits.
  6. You allowed a little salt, but it is discouraged.
  7. Drink when thirsty. Coffee, tea, and water only.
  8. Light exercise such as walking, yoga, gentle cycling, and swimming only.

A variation of the potato hack diet is called “Potatoes By Day.” During the Potatoes by day diet, you follow the potato diet from dawn to dusk, and then you eat a typical dinner.

Contraindications to doing the diet

If you are considering trying the potato hack diet then it is essential to think about the following contraindications:

  1. Do not try the diet if you are very sensitive to nightshade vegetables.
  2. Do not try the diet if you experience blood sugar spikes even with cooked and cooled potatoes.
  3. Do not try the diet if you can not tolerate a lot of starch or resistant starch. For example, people with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth do not do well eating a lot of starch or resistant starch.

Further guidelines and considerations

  1. The potato diet is suitable when other diet strategies have failed. In my experience, a paleo style wholefoods diet is beneficial for weight loss, and it is more sustainable over the long term.
  2. If you do the Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet for any significant length of time, taking a high-quality multivitamin is a good idea.
  3. You should personalise the diet to your lifestyle to make it more sustainable. In some cases, doing a Potato Hack diet for one or two days a week or just doing the Potatoes By Day strategy will be a better fit. This approach will be advisable if you have a family and busy life.
  4. You will usually lose a half a pound to a pound of weight loss per full day of the potato hack. Based on this information you can roughly calculate how many days you need to be doing the diet.

Conclusion

The Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet is an affordable, and handy advanced tool for weight loss. The diet can work when everything else has failed, and because cooked and cooled potatoes have lots of resistant starch, it’s often safe even for people with blood sugar issues.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Guidelines For Following A Gluten Free Diet - Dominick Hussey

Guidelines For Successfully Following A Gluten Free Diet

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye.

A gluten-free diet is used to treat celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and other auto-immune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s Disease and Rheumatoid arthritis. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.

Initially, following a gluten-free diet may be frustrating. But with time, patience and creativity, you’ll find there are many foods that you already eat that are gluten-free, and you will discover substitutes for gluten-containing foods that you can enjoy.

Read on to learn some easy to follow guidelines on how to successfully follow a gluten-free diet including what foods are allowed, foods to avoid and what to do about cross-contamination.

Gluten-Free Diet Guidelines

Switching to a gluten-free diet is a significant change, and like anything new, it takes some getting used to the diet. You may initially feel deprived by the diet’s restrictions, especially if you weren’t having troubling symptoms before your diagnosis.

It may help to try to focus on all the foods you can eat instead, however. 

While there is a wide variety of gluten-free products available now, many of them are full of unhealthy ingredients and have been shown by research to be contaminated with gluten.

A healthy approach to following a gluten-free diet is to avoid eating too many processed foods and where practical try to cook your meals from scratch.

If you’re just starting with a gluten-free diet, and are feeling overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to consult a holistic nutritionist who can answer your questions and offer advice about how to avoid gluten while still eating a healthy, balanced whole food diet.

Allowed foods on a Gluten Free Diet

Many healthy and delicious foods are naturally gluten-free:

  • Beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Most dairy products

It’s important to make sure that they are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives. Many grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet, such as:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn and cornmeal
  • Flax
  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
  • Hominy (corn)
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca
  • Teff

Foods to avoid on a Gluten Free Diet

Avoid all food and drinks containing:

  • Barley (malt, malt flavouring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Wheat

Avoiding wheat can be challenging because wheat products go by numerous names. Consider the many types of wheat flour on supermarket shelves — bromated, enriched, phosphated, plain and self-rising. Here are other wheat products to avoid:

  • Durum Flour
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt

Avoid unless labelled ‘gluten-free.’

In general, avoid the following foods unless they’re labelled as gluten-free or made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grain:

  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Cakes and pies
  • Candies
  • Cereals
  • Communion wafers
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Croutons
  • French fries
  • Gravies
  • Imitation meat or seafood
  • Matzo
  • Pasta
  • Processed luncheon meats
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces, including soy sauce
  • Seasoned rice mixes
  • Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Soups and soup bases
  • Vegetables in sauce

Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production. For this reason, I recommend avoiding oats unless they are explicitly labelled gluten-free.

You should also be alert for other products that you eat, or that could come in contact with your mouth that may contain gluten. These include:

  • Food additives, such as malt flavouring, modified food starch and others
  • Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent

Watch for cross-contamination

Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-free foods come into contact with foods that contain gluten. It can happen during the manufacturing process, for example, if the same equipment is used to make a variety of products.

Some food labels include a “may contain” statement if cross-contamination is likely. But be aware that this type of declaration is voluntary.

Foods may also be labelled as “gluten-free.” If a product, made in the US, carries a gluten-free label, the Food and Drug Administration requires that the product contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Be aware that products labelled “wheat-free” may still contain gluten.

You still need to check the actual ingredient list. If you’re not sure whether the food contains gluten, don’t buy it or check with the manufacturer first to ask what it includes.

Cross-contamination can also occur at home if foods are prepared on common surfaces or with utensils that weren’t thoroughly cleaned after being used to cook gluten-containing foods. Using a common toaster for gluten-free bread and regular bread is a major source of contamination, for example. Consider what steps you need to take to prevent cross-contamination at home, school or work.

Be careful about eating out at restaurants. Ask restaurant staff members if they have choices that are truly gluten-free, including being prepared to avoid cross-contamination.

 

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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The Fasting Mimicking Diet - Benefits, Recipes and Meal Plans - Dominick Hussey - Ottawa

The Fasting Mimicking Diet – Benefits and Recipes

Fasting is one of the oldest and most potent health interventions. Studies have shown that fasting regulates the immune system, lowers blood sugar, promotes autophagy, improves lipid profiles, and can even stimulate the growth of stem cells. Water-only fasts are challenging and require careful supervision because of potentially dangerous side effects like refeeding syndrome. Refeeding syndrome involves hazardous shifts in electrolytes, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Intermittent fasting is a more accessible alternative to water-only fasting, but the effects may not be as robust. Recently I have learnt about the fasting mimicking diet, a new approach, that has many of the
benefits of fasting but without the stress of complete food restriction.

In this article, you are going to learn more about the fasting mimicking diet, who can benefit from it, and how to put it into practice including recipes and meal plans.

Who developed the Fasting Mimicking Diet?

The Fasting Mimicking Diet is an approach developed by Dr Valter Longo, a professor of biological sciences at USC and the director of the USC Longevity Institute.

Dr Lango studies the underlying mechanisms of ageing in yeast, mice, and humans by using genetics and biochemistry techniques. It is through carrying out this research that led to the development of FMD.

What is the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)?

FMD is a low-calorie, low-protein diet that causes changes and markers associated with stress resistance and longevity like prolonged water-only fasting.

What are the proven benefits of FMD?

Since FMD is a relatively new approach, the majority of the research on it has been performed on
animals. There needs to be more research on the effects of FMD in humans to confirm the benefits seen in animals, but the few human studies that do exist are impressive.

FMD has been shown to have profound effects on metabolic markers like visceral fat, fasting glucose, and IGF-1.

In one study, FMD impressively led to the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells and the return of insulin secretion in animals with late-stage type 2 and even type 1 diabetes. In other words, FMD reversed these conditions.

FMD also has significant effects on autoimmune disease. In a study looking at  Multiple Sclerosis in mice, FMD reduced clinical severity in all animals and completely reversed symptoms in 20 percent of animals. It also regenerated the myelin sheath, which is unheard of in other studies.

FMD has been shown to have many other benefits, including improving cognitive function, protecting against cancer, and slowing ageing.

Who could benefit from FMD?

Good candidates for FMD include people with:

  • Weight or metabolic problems including diabetes
  • Chronic infections
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Immune dysregulation
  • Neurological issues
  • Cognitive disorders

As well as above conditions, you may use FMD as a way to optimise your health, prevent disease, and increase lifespan.

How to do an FMD

One FMD cycle typically lasts for three to five days once a month for three to 12 months a year, depending on the condition. Between FMD cycles, eating resumes as usual without any additional restrictions. If the patients following a Paleo diet, they just continue that between the FMD cycles.

The frequency and length of cycles depend on the patient’s health status, weight, and goals.

In general, the more grave the condition, the longer the cycle should be, though not exceeding five days, and the more frequent they should be, for example, doing one cycle every month instead of just one cycle for three months out of the year.

In human studies, FMD is often implemented using prepared foods and micronutrients administered under a doctor’s supervision.

That said, I am not a fan of packaged foods. In my opinion, a homemade version of FMD would have the same effects as the packaged products. But you should know that there have been no studies on homemade versions.

If you’d like to use the packaged products, you can obtain them through the company that makes them, ProLon.

Conclusion

Intermittent and water-only fasting has numerous health benefits but can be
hard for people. The fasting mimicking diet is an alternative approach that may offer many
of the benefits of water-only fasting but is easier less challenging.

If you like to try the Fasting Mimicking Diet, I have created a handout that explains it along with recipes and suggested meal plans.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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elimination diet

Elimination Diet: Everything you need to know

You may not be aware of it, but the foods you’re consuming every day could be gradually damaging your health and cutting your lifespan. But how do you know? For numerous people, toxic foods are hard to detect, particularly for those who’ve already cleaned up their diets and believe they are eating healthy. For example, I recently saw an old client who came in because she was getting headaches. She had already gone gluten-free, was a trained nutritionist, and overall had a very healthy diet. But examining her, I found that she had signs of chronic low-grade inflammation. This client came in because she wanted food allergy testing. But what she left with was an elimination diet. Here’s why.

Allergy Testing can be illuminating, but the “gold standard in figuring out if foods are causing inflammation, is to cut out the suspect foods for about a month and see how you feel when you reintroduce them.

I suggest that everyone do an elimination diet at least once.

So how do you do an elimination diet and not make it difficult?

Here is my easy 6-step plan for doing an elimination diet. You might be shocked by what you learn!

1. Take a step back. It’s difficult to know where you’re going unless you know where you began

Do you, like my client also get headaches? Do you have skin problems? Digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, or constipation? Allergies? How’s your energy? What about your mood? Do you feel like you suffer from brain fog? Joint pains? These are just a few of the symptoms of food sensitivities.

So, before you begin an elimination diet, scan your body from top to bottom, and make a list of everything you notice, however, subtle or long-standing the symptom has been. This process sets you up to see significant changes when they occur.

2. Eliminate the usual food suspects for 30 days.

The primary elimination I use in my practice was developed by the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM). This includes:

No gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, peanuts, red meat and shellfish for 30 days.

Why 30 Days?

Antibodies, which your body produces when food allergens are present, take approximately 30 days to leave the body. So if you don’t eliminate things that you’re sensitive to for at least 30 days that time, you will not get an accurate picture.

3. What can I eat?

If this is your response, do not panic! You can do this. The diet requires a little grocery shopping and taking a few extra minutes a day to prepare food.

We’re all habituated to fast-food, easy preparation, and taking two seconds to eat a meal. The problem is that typically food made and consumed this way makes us unhealthy over time.

New habits take 21 days to form, which is also why we’re doing a 23-day elimination diet! We want these new habits to die hard.

This is what you can eat:

30% lean chicken, lamb, pork, and fish.
70% vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and gluten-free grains like quinoa.

Simple!

4. Do’s and Don’ts

DO …

DO eat fish. (But beware of fish high in mercury like tuna and swordfish.)
DO eat lots of fibre, fresh whole foods, and homemade meals.
DO eat lots of healthy fats including olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, and avocados.

DO NOT …

Do NOT eat packaged or processed foods if possible. They are often full of additives, preservatives, and sugar.
Do NOT replace gluten products with gluten-free bread, cereals and crackers. After all, a muffin is a muffin whether it is gluten free or not.

5. How do I reintroduce foods the right way?

This process is also much simpler than people make it out to be.

On day 31, choose one food you eliminated but not more than one, and eat it.

See how you feel over the next four days. If you have no reaction after four days, eat that same food again, and for a second time, notice how you feel. From there, it’s up to you whether or not to re-incorporate that food into your diet on a regular basis.

Once you have decided whether a particular food is good or bad, pick another one and follow the same steps.

6. This process works best when you are self-aware.

During the elimination diet and the reintroduction process, be aware of how you feel. Maybe you’ll see changes you weren’t anticipating. Maybe your sleep quality or your energy level is better. Maybe the redness in your skin is gone, or your belly is flatter.

No blood test can tell you what life will be like without a particular food. When you find out for yourself by doing an elimination diet, you could be saving yourself a lifetime of annoying symptoms, and in some cases, even life-threatening diseases.

If you have any questions about this article either post them in the comments section below or email using the form on my contact page.

Disclaimer

This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.