Nutrition

Articles about the Science of diet. (May include recipes etc.)

O.M.A.D… supplements & Optimised Intermittent Fasting

 Stardate: 13th November, 2019.

Hi.

So… Do you want to get really ripped? Do you want to improve your health, gut health, cognitive capacity, sleep quality, your glucose tolerance… and would you like those aches and pains that seem to increase from year to year, to decrease?

Naw… I’m not trying to sell you a miracle supplement. What I *would* like to introduce you to though, is optimised intermittent fasting.

As many of you would know:
I’ve spent the last decade playing with (and optimising) keto dieting and intermittent fasting. To be fair, there are a plethora of variants and ways to undertake either… and, plausibly, an equal number of ways of combining them both, for equally numerous purposes.

(And I know that this basically just sounds like blahblahblahdeblah

I-think-I-heard-you-say-Blah-Blah-Blah-Is-580x386

..lollll – but bear with me.

btw: if you’re not interested in studies etc., skip straight to the end lol. This is gonna be a long one.)

What is intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is actually a broadddd term which basically involves juxtaposing a non-eating (i.e. caloric/energy restriction) window with an eating window. That non-eating window can be 12 hours, 16 hours, 18 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, every other day, 1-2 days out of every weekend… Like, literally: SO many plausible variations exist. And, they’re each useful, for different reasons.

Likewise, some disciples like a 4 hour feeding/eating window; whereas some like 6, or 8 hours. Some prefer to fast one day and eat ‘normally’ on the following day. Again, there are so very many ways to approach the process. Each one works for a specific population. And, importantly: no way is more right than the other.

Fasting may accelerate fat loss (via improved insulin sensitivity and other factors), improve metabolic and cardiovascular health. It may also aide in resetting the immune system, and accelerating the healing of injuries.

For me, personally, I’ve used it for all of the above purposes… But, today, I’m going to going in to detail about the variant that’s yielded the greatest success for me… for health, pain and inflammation reduction, fat-loss. You name it.

That variation? A very small eating window: Abysmally small really – one meal per day.

This practice is commonly known as OMAD ( – which literally means ‘One Meal A Day’); and, to improve the efficacy, I usually stay in ketosis for 5-6 days per week.

Yea: Keto dieting is awesome. Intermittent fasting on its own is awesome too. The two combined?

Fat-loss overload!

I’ve digressed however:

What is OMAD? Why OMAD? HOW OMAD?!
OMAD is literally the practice of eating one meal per day. As a norm, I fast for 18-22 hours on a daily basis. During the fasted window, I do steady state cardio and maybe a resistance workout, to mobilise and burn fatty acids. The workouts are secondary though: an adjuvant to the main event – autophagy.

Autophagy is the body’s way of stripping and discarding damaged cells. This process signals growth and repair (-more accurately: autophagy is the breakdown of old tissue; meanwhile the fasted state signals the release of growth hormone, which catalyses the creation of new tissue). I’d started optimising my intermittent fasts for specifically this reason: so as to accelerate the healing of some niggling injuries. For this purpose, I take in quite a few supplements during the fasted window: to assist with autophagy, as well as to decrease systemic inflammation.

And… At the end of the window, I have a meal packed with protein, and a lot of vegetables. I allow some hours to pass prior to falling asleep, so as to facilitate digestion. And then repeat the process the next day.

Supplements? This has got to be some fancyyyy Shit!
Naw.
Basic AF. (lol)
For one, I use a lot of teas:

Cerasee: “aka cer-see bush”
Cerasee, aka ‘ser-see bush’ (or any other myriad of alternate spellings), has long held a revered place in Caribbean medicinal folklore. It’s been used for everything from detoxing to diabetes. Research has shown that it may be effective in improving glucose disposal, improving blood sugar control[1]… which makes it a serious aide in addressing the metabolic damage many of us have done via the overconsumption of carbohydrates and sugar.

Coffee/Tea:
The caffeine component of coffee and tea has been shown to increase autophagy in skeletal musculature.[2] Also, caffeine and the polyphenols found in either beverage, help increase fatty acid mobilisation/release/burning… so you can burn more fat. To capitalise on this, I have my clients take walks during the fasted window. It’s a win-win!

NB: I drink cocoa as well… but sparingly, as it’s not purely non-caloric. Cocoa is rich in polyphenols which may improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and improve blood flow to the brain. It’s also much lower in caffeine than coffee or tea, so its inclusion may be better for those who are caffeine-sensitive, or sensitive to stimulants in general.

Turmeric:
Turmeric contains a natural anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin… which has been shown to be pretty effing effective, even when compared alongside pharmaceutical-grade non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.[3][4][5] Cheap. Available without prescription. Low in side effects. High in potential other effects (improved brain function, decreased heart disease risk. Why wouldn’t you want to use it?

I also use a bunch of enzymes and substrates:

Chromium Polynicotinate – Glucose sensitizing aide: Lowers blood sugar; Lowers blood lipids and cholesterol; may improve lean tissue accrual. [6] I’ve been using Chromium since my teenaged bodybuilding days. I honestly think I’ll use it for the rest of my life.

Resveratrol – This SUPER-compound has been shown to have a plethora of beneficial systemic effects.[7] [8] It’s cardio-protective (i.e. good for the heart), may have anti-cancer effects, and may aide in blood sugar control. The compound has also been shown effective against systemic inflammation. Hypothetical discussions have also been raised about it potential for increasing testosterone (or, rather, at decreasing the rate of estrogen to testosterone conversion, via the inhibition of the aromatase enzyme). Why does that matter?

Well: improved glucose tolerance + decreased systemic inflammation + increased testosterone + decreased estrogen may equat to significantly improved body composition.

Hypothetical discussions aside: Resveratrol is still SUPER-HOT. Trust me on this. 🙂

Systemic Proteolytic Enzyme Therapy:
Ok… If you’ve known/followed me for a while, you know that these enyzmes are the main supplements I use.

Bromelain, Nattokinase, Serrapeptase: These enzymes are called ‘Proteolytic’… which basically means ‘protein-digesting’. Why does this matter? Well, systemic proteolytic enzymes basically break down any rogue proteins in the body that don’t serve any purpose. We’re talking scar tissue, blockages, viral sheaths, inflammatory processes and the like. They basically strip it down… and this process greatly aides/biohacks the process of autophagy.

I won’t go any further on this topic, so as to not go too far off track. Here’s some reading material if you’re interested in learning more though. 😉

Honourable mention:
Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid (aka TUDCA): – is a bile salt. Not exciting-sounding, I know. But, it can decrease intestinal inflammation *And* improve the absorption of fats… both of which are important factors in both keto-dieting, and intermittent fasting.

But what about  supplements that supposedly stop muscle loss etc?!
I’ll be honest… Most of it is a sham. Most of the marketing plays into our insecurities, over losing the muscle we’ve struggled so hard to get. Fasting done right, will not cause you to piss away your hard-earned, metabolism-controlling muscle.

Further… some of the muscle-retention supplements people try to add, will break and negate your attempts at fasting. Glutamine, for example… is glucogenic/Gluconeogic… which is science-y speak for ‘will convert to glucose…and thereby will spike blood sugar’… thus breaking your fast.

BCAAs, an athlete mainstay, include the amino acide Leucine… which is a super-potent insulin secretagogue. What does this mean? This means it’s capable of inducing the secretion of insulin in the absence of carbohydrates.  In a nutshell, it signals the release of ‘fed/feeding’ hormones, when you’re supposed to be in an unfed state…thus halting the benefits accrued from being unfed. Athletes should be cognizant of this, as many have been advised to supplement this supplement between meals to ‘keep the gains coming’… when the reality is, they’re really blunting their glucose response, and lowering subsequent insulin sensitivity. i.e. making themselves fatter, more broke, humans. [9] I’ve digressed however.

Let’s pull it all together – Here’s my typical OMAD Day:
(NB: I’m going to list some other stufff not listed in this article, for transparency)

Upon waking (4 a.m.): Water, Cerasee/Turmeric Tea, DHEA, Pregnenolone, Probiotics.

5 am.: Coffee, Aspirin, Bromelain, Serrapeptase, Nattokinase, Turmeric (or other naturaly anti-inflammatory)

7 a.m.: Water

9 a.m-12 p.m.: Water/Coffee intermittently. Sometimes I hit the gym around 10 a.m.

3 p.m. water

5 p.m. – water, tea/coffee… possibly a fat-burner (rarely)

6 p.m. – water. I may work out here, during the bootcamp class I teach thrice per week.

8 p.m. – I take in Protein (usually pork, lamb, or steak… rarely chicken or fish),  Supplemental or dietary fat, Vegetables, and all other supplements at this time.

Pre-bed: Melatonin (rarely)

…And that’s OMAD in a nutshell.

Tell your abs I said hello. 🙂
Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net/forum

p.s. It’s been an interesting year for fat-loss. I haven’t written much (outside of these super-random fat-loss brainfarts: Super Secret Fat-loss Jutsu | The 3 Keys to Fat-loss success | How I’m using my love language to lose weight ), I know! Do forgive my absence. 🙂 I’ve been refining and field-testing some stuff.

References:
1. Bailey CJ, Day C, Turner SL, Leatherdale BA. “Cerasee, a traditional treatment for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice.” Diabetes Res. 1985 Mar;2(2):81-4.

2. Matthew et. al. “Caffeine promotes autophagy in skeletal muscle cells by increasing the calcium-dependent activation of AMP-activated protein kinase.”  2014 Oct 24;453(3):411-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.09.094. Epub 2014 Sep 28.

3. Jurenka. “Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research.” Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53.

4. Lal et. al. “Efficacy of curcumin in the management of chronic anterior uveitis.” Phytother Res. 1999 Jun;13(4):318-22.

5. Takada Y, Bhardwaj A, Potdar P, Aggarwal BB. “Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents differ in their ability to suppress NF-kappaB activation, inhibition of expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclin D1, and abrogation of tumor cell proliferation.” Oncogene. 2004 Dec 9;23(57):9247-58.

6. Albarracin CA, Fuqua BC, Evans JL, Goldfine ID. “Chromium picolinate and biotin combination improves glucose metabolism in treated, uncontrolled overweight to obese patients with type 2 diabetes.” Alpha Therapy Center, 4626 Weber Road, Suite 100, Corpus Christi, TX 78411, USA.

7. Kuršvietienė et. al. “Multiplicity of effects and health benefits of resveratrol.” Medicina (Kaunas). 2016;52(3):148-55. doi: 10.1016/j.medici.2016.03.003. Epub 2016 Apr 7.

8. Mostafa Rezaei-Tavirani. “Resveratrol: A miraculous natural compound for diseases treatment,” Food Science and Nutrition, 26 October 2018.

9. Yoon. “The Emerging Role of Branched-Chain Amino Acids in Insulin Resistance and Metabolism.” Nutrients. 2016 Jul 1;8(7). pii: E405. doi: 10.3390/nu8070405.

On the 12th Pound of Christmas… NSFW

Over the month of December, I gained 12 lbs of fat.

o-SANTA-FAT-570

Fat… Not bloat.

No… I’m not going to make excuses for it. No… I’m not going to blame hormones or the holidays, depression, or stress (- each of which contributed to it). No. I’m just going to talk about what I fucked up where I am… … and what happens next.

Stardate: 3rd January, 2018.

Where I am:

Hi.

I started 2018 in pain. Neck pain, which the chiropractor had rectified since October. Back pain. S.I. Joint pain. Hip/Groin pain (-which, I soon realised, emanated from the same general area as my arthritic hip.. which hadn’t given me any issue for at least one year). Forearm pain. Knee pain. Tricep/Lat-insertion pain. Pain. Period.

You name it, it hurt. All at once. Spontaneously. I couldn’t fathom why. I hadn’t done anything stupid for months. My training was pretty solid… not overkill. I was working less (- i thought). Though a chronic insomniac, my naturally subpar sleeping habits were no worse than usual.

Only one thing had changed in the recent past.

It was my diet.

I’d transcended from low-inflammatory keto-dieting… to full-on Christmas fuckery binge.

Fucking Sugar.

It’s not our friend.

But don’t take my word for it. Speak to my clients.

Half of them are in a similar place right now: The males with joint pain… and the females with unusually painful menses.

And the only commonality between them has been the Christmas binge!

And research supports the link between sugar, binge eating, stress and inflammation. [1][2][3][4]

Numerous studies point to the increase in inflammatory markers, and deleterious effects on health, gut health, and general well-being.

Yet somehow, we calmly overlook this.

Food is supposed to make you feel good after all.

Right?

 

So… what happens next?

I’m calling today my day 0.

I’m modifying my diet: transitioning through lower-carb, to low-carb, to ketosis over the coming weeks.

I’m also going to exercise less hard… which may seem counter-intuitive to many. But, let me explain.

Intense exercise is inflammatory.

Under normal, healthy circumstances, that’s not an issue.

However, under a state of systemic inflammation – adding to that inflammation doesn’t make sense. It can make each of the negative trickle-down effects of the existing inflammatory situation worse. The means sore skin, sore joints. You name it. NOT COOL.

So… yea… back to the game plan:

  1. Fix diet incrementally.
  2. Adjust exercise… limiting truly exhaustive work.
  3. Add natural anti-inflammatories (- bromelain, white willow bark, fish oil, et. al.)
  4. Increase fat intake (see: ‘fix diet’)
  5. Increase fibre intake (see: ‘fix diet’)
  6. Rest where possible.

I may throw in a couple fasts here and there… but not for ‘detoxing’ purposes (-as ‘detoxes’ are bullshit quackery not necessary – like really, stop wasting money on that shit. …rather, I like fasts for the increase in mental clarity, decreased cravings, improved glucose tolerance, and numerous other benefits.

So….

If YOU’ve noticed painful changes in your body after the holidays, maybe your issue is the same as mine.

And, here’s your homework:

  1. Google anti-inflammatory supplements.
  2. Read up on ketogenic dieting, fasting, and intermittent fasting.
  3. DON’T start the gym in January all-out like a crazy person. You can’t undo all the damage you did in a week. Ease into it.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net/forum

 

References:

  1. Gao, Y. et. al. “Dietary sugars, not lipids, drive hypothalamic inflammation”. Mol Metab. 2017 Aug; 6(8): 897–908.
  2. Giugliano D, Ceriello A, Esposito K. “The effects of diet on inflammation: emphasis on the metabolic syndrome”. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Aug 15;48(4):677-85. Epub 2006 Jul 24.
  3. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. “Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge”. Psychosom Med. 2010 May; 72(4): 365–369.
  4. Succurro E, Segura-Garcia C, et. al. “Obese Patients With a Binge Eating Disorder Have an Unfavorable Metabolic and Inflammatory Profile”. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Dec;94(52):e2098. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000002098.

Of Curried monkeys…

Stardate: 22nd January, 2017

Hey all!

A number of you, having read our previous article (“What’s in your post-workout shake?“), expressed interest in seeing other moderately exotic but doable recipes you could try at home.

So here’s one, from this morning.

img_20170122_081433

The backstory:
Following @jaysmilezz’s workout this morning… I proposed a #smoothie challenge. “Pick a colour”, I told her. “I’ll make something healthy, delicious, and relevant to your goals… In that colour.”

She picked yellow.
Yellow of all things.
I mean… who picks yellow?!
Yellow foods have great anti-inflammatory effects… but they’re generally not what you think about chugging down in a smoothie.

Anyway… challenge accepted.

Our #smoothieoftheday? I call it a Curried Mango Monkey.

Ingredients:

  • Ginger
  • Curry
  • Fresh Mint
  • Coconut milk
  • Whey protein
  • Nutmeg
  • Frozen mango
  • (Optional: Low caloric sweetener of choice, to taste.)
  • (Optional: a pinch of cayenne pepper.)
Now… this was fucking delicious. Perplexingly delicious layers of atypical flavours.
But, ‘healthy’?
Let’s dissect that claim.
Curry:
‘Curry powder’, is actually a blend of several spices. Depending on the region of acquisition, those ingredients can be turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil… with sexy additions like fennel seeds, ginger, and cinnamon… each of which has health benefits on to itself.
Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric, which gives it [and curry] that rich yellow/orange colour) has been shown to have CRAZY antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We’re talking reduced joint pain, reduced plaque build-up in arteries… and SO many other potential applications. And this is just ONE component of curry powder. I hate the word superfood… but, were I one to toss it around, I’d definitely include curry under that umbrella.
Mango:
Mango is LOADED with antioxidants, which may have cancer preventative/fighting effects. Some of these include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat. Its enzymes can positively impact digestive health. Mango may also clear the skin up, as well as positively impact your sex life.

Yes.
Clean, clear skin.
And sex.
Win.

Mint:
Mint is delicious.
The end.
No, but seriously, its amazing flavour aside… mint can positively impact digestion, reduce nausea and headaches, improve mood and perceived energy levels, as well as positively impact alertness. Due to it germicidal and antibacterial properties, it has been shown to improve oral health, as well as skin health. Its enzymes are also being researched for their cancer-fighting potential.
Also… did I mention how fucking delicious it is?
Shit.
(NB: We discussed the health benefits of whey protein, coconut milk, ginger, nutmeg, as well as the neutrality of non-caloric sweeteners in our previous article.)
So… how does the Curried Mango Monkey stack up?
To re-cap:
Low in calories… A moderate amount of fibre… High in protein… Moderate in health-promoting fatty acids… Loaded with potentially amazing, naturally occurring, phytochemicals.

Let me know what you think, in the comment section below. 😉

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

6 months to live

Stardate: 16th January, 2017

“Ask him”, a woman’s voice said.
“Excuse me sir”, I heard a boy say. “Are you a trainer? Can you train us?”

I smiled, angling my head in the direction of those voices. A mother. Her three young boys. It was June of 2016… in a random carpark… at a random mid-morning hour.

“I have cancer”, the mother informed me. “I’ve been given 6 months to live. I’m going to beat it though. So, I’m going to hire you for 12 months.”

On July 7th, I pulled in to her driveway. Off and on for months, we trained hard. 6 months passed. She was still alive.

Last week, during month number 7, she messaged me. “I have bad news. The cancer’s spread to my bones. I am in SO much pain.”

She didn’t respond to any of my follow up messages. Her doctor had basically told her to say her goodbyes. I thought… Christ… that our last conversation, would be our last conversation.

Stage 3 cervical cancer.
Stage 3 lung cancer.
Silently, I stalked her social media… vicariously experiencing the days through her eyes.

This morning… Monday, 16th of January, she showed up at my door in workout gear.

img_20170116_094714

“I don’t know if this makes sense”, she said.

She’d given up.

I haven’t.

To date, she hasn’t documented her fitness journey.
Today, I’m sharing a snippet… without revealing her name or face.
Hopefully, your kind outpouring will encourage her to do the same.

…to know that she’s supported, loved, and admired.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

What’s in your post-workout smoothie?

Stardate: 15th January, 2017

What’s in your post-workout shake?

img_20170115_095608_504

A lot of people find the planning and execution of this meal confusing: an exercise unto itself, taken to extremes.

Either, their shakes:

  • nutritionally, are akin to a sugar-laden milkshake
  • are only protein powder
  • are only fruit and ‘super foods’ (mostly sugar, plus sugar, plus a hard-to-pronounce additive)
  • are a smorgasboard of foods considered ‘healthy’, that taste HORRIBLE (and digest equally horribly) in combination, and are thus not a sustainable meal.

Your postworkout smoothie should provide the substrates necessary to facilitate the shift into recovery mode. It should provide adequate protein, some fatty acids, and (depending on your goals, and diet over the course of the day) some carbohydrate. My personal preference as well, is some fibre. Additionally, it should not take your over your daily caloric allotment. Neither should it cause gastric distress (- the latter being a heavily neglected point, as many people believe that farting away their lives after a shake is just part of the process. It isn’t. Shouldn’t be rather).

Personally, I believe every ingredient should have a purpose.

Take @jaysmilezz’s smoothie this morning as an example.

Ingredients:
1. whey protein
…rich in Branch Chain Amino Acids, particularly Leucine, which promote muscle growth. It may help to reduce systemic inflammation, and aide in inflammatory conditions such as IBS.

2. natural peanut butter
…contains healthy fats, some protein, fibre, antioxidants, and it’s effing delicious.

3. hemp seeds
…excellent source of healthy fats, some protein, may help to balance our hormonal profile… and adds great texture.

4. oatmeal
…rich in antioxidants, and fiber. May help to lower cholesterol.

5. flax meal
…high in fibre, low in carbohydrates, may improve the condition of skin and hair. Also, may help with post-meal satiety.

6. kale
…PACKED with micronutrients. Honestly, this space isn’t big enough to delve into this nutritional powerhouse.

7. sunflower seeds
…rich in bone-strengthening nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and copper… as well as selenium and numerous phytochemicals. Sunflower seeds may improve mood, as well as thyroid health.

8. coconut milk
…great source of lauric acid, which is both antibacterial and antiviral in effects. This fatty acid may also improve cholesterol levels, and be cardioprotective.

9. ginger
…helps with digestion, and eases gastric distress. Additionally, it may help reduce exercise-related muscle soreness.

10. nutmeg
…may improve cognitive function, reduce insomnia, aide digestion, increase immune system function, and aide in detoxification of the body. Also, it’s sexy and delicious. Believe that.

11. vanilla extract
…antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activity. Also, tastes effing amazing.

12. non-caloric sweetener and angostura bitters (optional)
…These are optional ingredients. I like them, because bitters (- namely the main ingredient: gentian) can aide in digestion. The multiple herbs and spices therein can also have very positive effects (- AND, they add an amazing flavour profile). The major drawback however, is that it is infused with ethanol. So, it may not be suitable for people who are restricting alcohol and ’empty’ calories. Additionally, non-caloric sweeteners are a matter of preference. Many theorists disagree on the ‘healthiness’ of their addition. But they serve our purpose in moderation.

Purposeful.
Specific.

We’ve tonnes more easy recipes over at getnarked.net too.

Check ’em out.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net