Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review Day: Gift Recommendations!

I was not paid to endorse these products, these words are my own. Affiliate links used.
All of these items come highly recommended by me, and have been used in my household for 6 months or longer. I think they would all serve as great gifts! I've linked to the items individually at Amazon at the bottom of this post.

For babies/toddlers/young children:

Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse 

This was given to me for my baby shower, and I introduced it as a sleep aid early on after Nathan's birth. This helped me set him down for naps and bed time. It has a nice, soft yellow light that glows, and it plays about 5 minutes of lullabies before fading into darkness and silence. It is easy for the little ones to turn on (just a squeeze of its tummy). This plays for long enough that a baby will calm down, but not so long that a baby gets used to sleeping with music playing.

Even now, at two years old, he loves to relax and stare at the seahorse while falling asleep. This is adorable, affordable (less than $20), and a fantastic help!

Mega Bloks

These I'm sure need no introduction, they're pretty well-received. Lego for young children! We received this for Nathan's first birthday, and still use them weekly (or more often). It's a great way to build creativity, and adults have fun playing too! They can help your little one learn colors as well.

Little People Wheelies

These little cars are durable and colorful and very cute. There are many different versions as well! They are inexpensive, fun for any little one, and an all-around great go-to gift.

For adults:

Black Footed Square Scent Pod Warmer

This is a wax pod melter that fills the air with lovely scents! We have had this for over two years, and still use it frequently. Looking at their web site (, there are hundreds of scents. It is super fun to look through them and choose a new one! The downside is trying to find some one to sell some of the more obscure scents (otherwise this is basically a PartyLyte or whatever selling company). There are a few pods listed on Amazon and I'm sure eBay though!


This stuff is fantastic for leftover or bringing food somewhere else! This type is plastic, nice and lightweight, and comes in so many different sizes that it can fit any need. There is even a giant square(ish) one that is big enough for half a gallon of something! Not only is it practical, but if you have an older baby or a toddler, this is also super fun for them to play around with. Bonus!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

KETO: Ketogenic Eating and Type 2 Diabetes

 As a non-diabetic ketoer, I am enjoying the numerous other benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet. I have a clearer mind, am able to more readily retain information, I sleep better, I am losing weight without feeling like I'm hungry constantly, my skin is clearer, I have more energy.

This ketogenic/low-carb diet can be even more beneficial to those who are type 2 diabetics. A number of studies have shown that patients were able to reduce (or even completely halt) their intake of diabetes medication, and also get to a healthier weight, have better blood cholesterol, better fasting glucose, and better fasting insulin. If you are type 2 diabetic, or even pre-diabetic, consider a ketogenic approach.

Here are a few resources:

Extremely Low-Carb “Ketogenic Diet” Leads to Dramatic Reductions in Type 2 BG Levels, Medications

Extremely Low-Carb “Ketogenic Diet” Leads to Dramatic Reductions in Type 2 BG Levels, Medications

This article discusses a university's study regarding obese adults with type 2 diabetes switching to either a ketogenic diet or a low-glycemic diet. The results were that 95.2 percent of the patients on the ketogenic diet and 62.1 percent of the low-glycemic diet were able to reduce or even altogether stop taking their diabetes medications (first paragragh). This study consisted of 84 individuals over 24 weeks' time. Either diet provided substantial results, but the ketogenic diet is more effective in terms of lowered A1cs, greater weight loss results, and a larger increase in "good" cholesterol.

The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus.

This is a more straightforward link to the results of the Duke  University study from the previous article.
Results:  "Forty-nine (58.3%) participants completed the study. Both interventions led to improvements in hemoglobin A1c, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and weight loss. The LCKD group had greater improvements in hemoglobin A1c (-1.5% vs. -0.5%, p = 0.03), body weight (-11.1 kg vs. -6.9 kg, p = 0.008), and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (+5.6 mg/dL vs. 0 mg/dL, p < 0.001) compared to the LGID group. Diabetes medications were reduced or eliminated in 95.2% of LCKD vs. 62% of LGID participants (p < 0.01)."

A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes

A separate study from an outpatient clinic that tested 28 participants with type 2 diabetes. This study lasted only 16 weeks, but the results were also substantial. 7 of the participants were able to completely stop taking their diabetes medication, and 10 reduced their intake. There was significant weight loss as well - averaged at about 6.6% lost. This article has a great detailed breakdown of the participants' demographics, as well as more specifics of how the study was conducted. 

Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in Type 2 diabetes--a randomized controlled trial.

This is a quick summary of a study of 102 patients with type 2 diabetes and a ketogenic diet versus low-fat, reduced-portion diet. This study focused mainly on weight loss. 
Conclusions: "Carbohydrate restriction was an effective method of achieving short-term weight loss compared with standard advice, but this was at the expense of an increase in relative saturated fat intake."

For further information, here are a few books to check out:
TED Talk: Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Starts with Ignoring the Guidelines

KETO: Snacks - Quick and Easy

One of the challenging parts about following a low carb or keto lifestyle is convenience - or lack thereof when it comes to food prep. It seems like every snack out there is loaded with carbohydrates.

Here are a few ketogenic snacks that are quick and easy to prepare.

Real Cheese-its -
Take a small frying pan and sprinkle some shredded cheese in there. Parmesan and cheddar work well. Cook over medium-hot heat until cheese is fully melted and starting to brown and crisp up a bit. Cool for a minute or two on a paper towel and they will harden up a bit. You can eat these as-is or dip into something like a cream cheese pizza dip (recipe further down).

Pepperoni Chips -
Arrange a single layer of sliced pepperoni on a paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds (in 15-second intervals) until slightly darkened and crisp. Great for dipping as well.

Almond Meal Crackers (Linda's Low Carb Almond Thins)
These crackers are quite tasty, can be made sweet or savory, and are ready-to-go when you want to eat them!

Cream Cheese Pizza Dip -
In a microwave (or a pan on medium heat), warm up about an ounce of cream cheese, 1/8 cup tomato sauce, some sriracha if you like a kick, 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, and heat fully. Great for Real Cheese-its or Pepperoni Chips!

Veggies with Ranch or hummus-
Simple but don't underestimate this one! This will help you hit your fat quota and fill you up with some added nutrients. If you are going on a road trip or want a snack for the car, buy the little shelf-stable ranches that don't need refrigeration.

What? Coffee as a snack? If you're like me, you'll use any excuse to have coffee. Bullet coffee is a go-to for many people on a low carb lifestyle. In your blender, pour about a cup of coffee, a couple tablespoons of heavy cream, sweetener if you like, and some coconut oil or butter (or both!). Blend until frothy! Super quick way to boost your fat intake for the day, and get a little more caffeine if you're needing it.

Deli Meat Roll ups
Take a slice (or three) of any deli meat you prefer, fill with cream cheese or roll with sliced cheese. Many different combinations and even flavored cream cheeses make this a versatile snack.

Keto Quesadillas
There are some tasty low carb tortillas out there. Our household prefers Mission Low Carb tortillas. Sandwich two tortillas with any variety or combination of cheeses, meats, and veg and pan fry on medium with a little butter on the pan. Cook until lightly browned on one side, flip, and do the same with the other.

Sometimes we don't want a short prep time, we want no prep time. Here are some snacks that require no work; you can just buy these at a store.

String cheese, or any type of individually-wrapped cheese.

Pepperoni sticks or slices

Nuts - almonds are the best but you can have any nuts as long as it doesn't put you over your carb limits!

Berries - blueberries and raspberries have the lowest carb counts but a handful of strawberries is still reasonable.

Nut butters - be sure to check sugar content, and double check how much you eat. It is very easy to eat a lot of peanut butter or almond butter.

Jerky - while most tend to gave added sugar, there are a few brands that keep it relatively low carb.

Super dark chocolate - like 85% or higher dark chocolate. The carb count varies by brand so be sure to check and compare! I prefer my 90% dark lindt bars.

Toasted coconut chips - the best ones I've found are at Costco: Creative Snacks Organic Toasted Coconut Chips.


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