Today I am writing from the confines of my cozy apartment, wrapped in a blanket, where I haven’t really moved much in the past week. I recently got hit with what I have dubbed so appropriately as the“hammer flu”.
Since focusing on a more paleo, whole food nutritional approach and being in sync with what my physical and mental needs are, I really haven’t gotten sick more than usual. My immune system typically does an okay job keeping me on my feet, which is quite lovely with the workload I like to maintain.
This time of year I usually have a cold or something less intense, but the flu penetrated my immune system, and I was not ready. I never get flu shots or vaccinations – I am pretty concerned about how ineffective they can be.
It is so important to know- I am not a child or elderly person who tend to be at higher risks for the more severe flu symptoms. (Definitely consult with your doctor if you are debating getting the flu shot and remember, I am not a medical doctor and my comments on the flu shot are just that, my comments.)
I have no idea how I got it, but considering the heightened levels of the flu outbreak this year, it isn’t surprising I did. Especially because I really got hit after a few nights of restless sleep.
The flu is scary thing, you guys!
I was out for a total of five days, and am currently on day seven of recovery and am still getting slightly winded and experiencing pretty intense fatigue regularly. And yes, you read that right, FIVE DAYS. Luckily, I had a dear friend who was around during the scariest and hardest days of the flu, who brazenly took care of me, unafraid of this epidemic. He also made frequent trips to the grocery store for things that really made this flu “trip” less unbearable.
I know everyone’s flu experience is different, especially with the strain that you get, but I wanted to share a few of the things that saved me.
My throat hurt so bad that I was risking dehydration daily; water was difficult to drink. Because my throat hurt I was also drinking everything out of a straw. (I just purchased these stainless steel straws that are amazing). For some reason, which I am attributing to my bodies need for nutrients and sugar, the only thing I could find appetizing enough to drink was cranberry juice. This was super weird as I am not a frequent juice drinker but I went through a liter or two of this throughout the last week.
NO, WHITE RICE ISN’T PALEO. Again, this was one of the only things I could manage eating with the amount of nausea I was experiencing. My friend made a really elaborate, amazing, hearty veggie stew, so I poured some broth over the rice and tried to eat as much as I could.
3. Frozen Fruit Bars:
Everything in me wanted one of those slushies you get from the gas station, mainly because my body was craving sugar and I knew it would feel amazing on my throat. But honestly, I always feel like crap after eating these and I didn’t even want to risk is. So I got some amazing rozen strawberry bars with real fruit.
Pro Tip: Throw a bar in a glass with a straw paired with cranberry juice and smoosh it up, and there you go, you have your own slushy.
These crackers never fail. I had been taking some Tamaflu to reduce my flu symptoms and it made me so incredibly nauseous. I would eat a few of these and they would make my nausea disappear. This may not sound like a lot, but to be able to eliminate one of the negative symptoms I was feeling was totally worth it.
Need I say anymore?
I am not kidding when I say I would rather do ANYTHING than rub this disgusting, overpowering, awful rub on my body. Getting forcefully rubbed down as a child when sick has left me with some awful memories of this smell. However, I caved – my mom would be so proud. There was one day in particular, day II, that was incredibly awful where I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I pulled this awful (read: fantastic, magical) rub out the closet and covered myself and sat in the shower. And it helped, so incredibly much. This stuff is so overpowering, but it works.
I wasn’t really coughing as much as I was looking for something to make my throat stop burning. I had a couple of these little nuggets and they did the momentary trick.
Something about being sick really makes everything smells and taste awful. Whether it is an air purifier or a humidifier, just getting some air circulating throughout the space helped my congestion and throat-ache.
9. Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo
The worst part about having the flu is the days after the fever breaks when you have to be patient with your body and rest, even though your mind may be read to get back to regularly scheduled programming. Big kudos to the streaming services that helped me stay resting even when I didn’t want to.
Overall, the flu messed with my regular schedule for about a week. By day five I was experiencing mad cabin fever but with maximum fatigue. It is so annoying, especially as someone who is Type A, to be not able to work and forced to rest for so long, but it is what I had to do to get well. I have heard horror stories of people picking themselves up by the bootstraps and going to work or exercising after a few days, and that is SO DANGEROUS! Not only are you putting others at risk, but most likely you will fall into a relapse sickness, especially with a weakened immune system.
One of the most important things that helped me get through this flu was rest and knowing everything is temporary. It was awful and extremely uncomfortable, but as long as you remember everything is temporary you can push through. BUT ALSO if your fever won’t break, or your flu is extended, please please see your doctor immediately. This flu has been killing people. I went to my doctor on the first day, so I felt safer not returning to the doctor after that, although I was tempted on day II.
Please take care of yourself, get lots of rest and wash your hands lovelies! I hope the flu does not find its way into your home.
I was talking to a friend the other day about carb cycling for women, specifically regarding the luteal phase and the best workouts to do while in the luteal phase versus the remainder of the month. She asked me to elaborate, as this was something she had never heard before. She was aware of the 28 day cycle that women experience with their menstrual cycles, but had no idea there were phases inside the 28 day cycle.
For a monthly process that happens internally, it seems a little curious that we as women don’t know as much about our menstrual cycles, but not surprising based on the negative attribution society gives our periods. I hope to elaborate and explain the phases so you can learn the benefits, hormonally, mentally, and physically below.
I am going to take a second and shed a little shade on the patriarchy for not allowing women to feel positive curiosity towards their menstrual cycle. It is often still considered a “gross” or “unattractive” to even discuss menstrual cycles. I am here to declare that now, and in the new year, we will be moving forward in our society and eliminating the taboo regarding our periods.
They happen, and often, and health issues can occur, SO WE ARE GOING TO DISCUSS THEM.
The Phases of the Menstrual Cycle:
1) Menstrual or Bleeding Phase:
Day 1 of bleeding is considered day 1 of your cycle. Typically, a woman’s cycle is around 28 days long. This can vary women to women though.
The menstrual phase can be the most exhausting part of your month, as your body is on overdrive working to shed the inner lining of your uterus. This is the discharge and blood flow we experience during our period. Often menstrual cramps occur as the uterine and your abdomen contracts and releases to help facilitate the passing of the blood and discharge. These cramps can be experienced before the menstrual phase, too, as the uterus prepares for the shedding. More on that below.
Because this phase tends to consume a lot of our energy, we subconsciously move towards introspection and time alone to restore and nourish our mental and physical health. This is not to say a women NEEDS to stay inside and restore during her bleeding phase; I know most women do not have the opportunity to do so. Our body is signaling us to rest, however.
If you are looking for exercise activities that may be best for you during this phase, think gentle but brisk. VInyasa yoga or power walks can be restorative, and there is science behind using exercising as a way to eliminate cramps. This can also be beneficial and balancing to our mood during this phase (and all phases, really.)
2) Follicular Phase:
This phase overlaps with the Bleeding phase. Follicular phase initiates on day one but continues through until day thirteen. During this phase, the pituitary gland promotes egg growth by releasing FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) to your ovaries. In the ovary, the egg growth continues while inside a follicle. The follicle must be strong enough and ready to release the egg, a process that takes thirteen days, hence the thirteen days of this cycle. Blood vessels and other soft tissue are now growing in the uterus due to more hormone secretion caused by the follicle. LH or “Luteinizing Hormone” is also produced at this time. LH basically tells the uterus to start thickening its lining that was once shed during the Menstrual/Bleeding phase.
The female body is naturally more insulin-sensitive in the follicular phase when estrogen levels are highest and progesterone levels are at their lowest. This means the body tolerates carbohydrates in these two weeks better than the rest of the time.
Since insulin sensitivity is at its highest in the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, and carb intake is free to be at its highest because we tolerate them best, exercise can be more aerobic (long, moderate heart-rate-elevating cardio exercises). It is at this time that you can do your best high performance cardio training. Here you can challenge yourself with longer-term exercises that may be more “stressful” for your body, like long bike rides, tabata sprints, night-long dance sessions, and the like. It is at this time in your cycle that your body can handle the most aerobic stress.
3) Ovulatory Phase:
On the 14th day, the pituitary gland releases enough hormones to encourage the egg to be released. The egg is then ushered through the fallopian tubes via cilia found in the fimbria.
Hormone levels, specifically estrogen and testosterone, are peaking during this time. This can result in higher confidence and libido, a natural process of our body to externally guide us towards finding a partner to reproduce.
4) Luteal Phase:
The luteal phase begins on the 15th and lasts until the end of the cycle. During this phase, the egg cell stays in the fallopian for the first 12-24 hours. It is during this time that the egg cell must be impregnated by a sperm cell or the egg disintegrates. By the end of the cycle the endometrium (the mucous membrane in the uterus that prepares the uterus for pregnancy) is used up, causing the initiation of the new menstrual cycle.
The estrogen and testosterone that was prominent in the ovulatory phase starts to decline. This is when progesterone starts to peak.
In addition, the female body is naturally slightly less insulin sensitive when progesterone levels are higher in the luteal phase (after ovulation, in the last two weeks of the cycle). This means the body does not tolerate carbohydrate as well in these weeks. Women who are diabetic know this well. I’ve read many studies and heard from many women who increase their insulin injections in the second half of their cycle because their blood sugar levels are inordinately high.
Since insulin sensitivity is at its lowest in the final two weeks of the cycle, and carb intake is also at its lowest, exercise should be more anaerobic (this means hard and fast, really getting your heart pumping). It should be focused more on high-intensity interval training, with short bursts of high intensity work, either from brief sprint exercises or from weight lifting. This is an excellent way to sharpen insulin sensitivity while simultaneously burning fat, increasing muscle mass, and spending calories. It also helps the body stay healthy and as stress-free as possible during this time in which the body is gearing up to menstruate and the least capable of handling stress.
A Few Important Things to Note Regarding Our Cycles:
- Estrogen and progesterone are elevated at different points in the menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels tend to be the most dominant in the first and second weeks of the cycle (especially the second week). Progesterone levels are at their highest in the third and fourth week of the cycle. This can affect on our energy levels.
- Period symptoms including blood shed, cramp types and amount, and hormonal effects can vary person to person.
- Birth control is regulating our periods, so if you have been on birth control since you started your period, you may have a different flow then if you were to get off birth control.
Factors that Can Change Your Menstrual Cycle:
We have covered this quite a bit on the PfW blog. But just to remind you- stress causes our bodies to choose which functions are most necessary and appropriate in the moment of stress or danger. More than not, if your body is going through a period of distress, you will not menstruate – as it does not see this period of time as a safe time to reproduce. If you are looking to reproduce, this can be one of the primary things to concentrate on that will assist in conceiving.
- Sleep :
Irregular sleeping patterns will cause disruptive hormone secretion which can cause a lapse or change with your menstrual cycle. It is seriously so important to give your body an appropriate amount of rest!
- Medical Conditions like PCOS or HA:
Both of these conditions can affect hormone levels in the body, in turn affecting our periods. For women with HA (Hypothalamic Amenorrhea), the woman’s body believes it is starving so the body shuts down hormone production. The body does this based on our instincts. Being pregnant while starving is considered life threatening by the body, so the body does not allow reproduction to be a choice. Women with PCOS have an excess of hormone production resulting in inflammation, weight gain, high insulin levels, and more. Read more on PCOS here, and HA here.
- Diet :
This can most definitely affect your cycle. When I was vegetarian for 4+ years, I did not have a single period. I attribute this to the lack of nutrients I was giving my body. If your body is feeling deprived or missing crucial nutrients, it will stop producing the hormones needed to menstruate.
- Routine Changes:
Our body is cyclatory. We see this in our circadian rhythm and our menstrual cycle. If you switch positions at a job, or you move to the night shift, this disruption in your normal schedule can cause your menstrual cycle to shift resulting in longer or shorter cycles, or even missed cycles. This is usually not permanent.
I know this is a lot of information, but I hope it’s useful for you. I really do notice a difference in my aerobic vs. anaerobic activity throughout my different phases, as well as my carbohydrate tolerance and overall energy levels. There are so many factors surrounding our menstrual cycles, especially because women can be so incredibly different. I have included a few extra links to further reading on PCOS and HA below for your reference.
I am always very curious as to how other women adjust to their different phases, or if any of their physiological or emotional responses vary from what I have researched. Drop me a comment with your feedback!
Hypothalamic Amenorhhea further reading:
PCOS further reading:
Hey you! Today I wanted to share a little blurb about my newest program, Clear Skin Unlocked, with you.
It’s pretty often that I hear from women looking to leave their acne-ridden skin in the past. With my notorious reputation of struggling with acne for so long, (and eventually dominating my acne prone skin); I am the farthest thing from shy when it comes to sharing my experience. Because the PfW community outcry for a permanent acne situation has been so prominent, I have bundled all of my years of research and personal experience into one comprehensive package for you.
I had tried everything, from skin burning creams to crazy diet plans, to oatmeal face baths just to get relief from my acne! There were days where I would cry in frustration, pouring over research on my computer wishing I could wake up one day and the acne would have disappeared.
I didn’t want just acne relief though! I wanted radiant skin- skin that reflected the confidence I wanted to exude. I knew I was an intelligent, sexy woman, but acne wanted to reign over my life and left me seriously self-conscious.
So I picked myself up by my bootstraps and dedicated my energy to finding a solution that works. I studied the delicate interplay between nutrients, inflammation, and hormones, and put the knowledge I had gained into action.
I bundled up all of my expertise into the most comprehensive clear skin guide available, Clear Skin Unlocked. With 100% seriousness and not to sound pushy at all – this is my favorite program that I have ever created because I really believe it can help you obtain clearer skin.
The reason this program worked for me, and so many other women, is because the research behind this program gives us the ammunition to take down acne with precision, instead of guessing or combining methods and crossing our fingers, hoping it will work.
You deserve radiating, beautiful skin without the heartache. If I can spare even one woman the agony and frustration of persistent acne, this entire program will be worth it to me.
I discuss acne a lot between the podcast and the blog. There are a handful of items I elaborate on that are exclusive just to Clear Skin Unlocked.
- Which varieties of birth control cause acne and which help it
- How showers can be bad for your skin
- Why the paleo recommendation to focus on fatty meats may be flawed
- The risk eating organ meats can pose to your skin
- Why certain types of moisturizer containers can cause acne
- The role carbohydrates play in maintaining healthy skin
- Why skin gets worse during menopause
- The relationship between wrinkles and acne
- Two effective ways to pop pimples
- Why I never use facial cleanser ….. to name a few.
The Four Week Jumpstart to Acne Freedom
I have created a set of general guidelines to follow for four weeks to get you on the path to clear, possibly permanently clear, skin. Throughout the program I share a lot of information about various health conditions and factors that may contribute to your acne; in the Four Week Jumpstart, I tie it all together and share some new information about the best way to clean your slate and start fresh. I do not promise, but I find it entirely likely that after four weeks of following this advice you will make progress in terms of healing your skin, and permanently.
You Literally Have Nothing to Lose
I never created this program with the intention that it would be another item on the list towards achieving clear skin. I really wanted this program to be a final solution for you.
Clear Skin Unlocked empowers you to heal from the inside out, so it can repair your skin and make it resistant to acne for good.
I’m not trying to sell you on Clear Skin Unlocked, necessarily, but I am in some sense only because I believe in it so deeply. And of course – as with all of my other programs – if you do not like it for whatever reason I will be more than happy to refund you. I simply want to be here for you and share with you the healing joys that I finally found.
Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin is NOW AVAILABLE. And don’t forget – as ever – it is 100% risk-free; I will happily refund you for whatever reason.
Check it out further by clicking here or the image below:
As much as the holidays mean spending time with our loved ones – they also can mean…STRESS!
Pulling together gifts, cooking, indulging in treats and extra time with your family – no matter how much we love them, can lead to burning out.
And we all know that can happen, FAST.
I think a lot of us are consistently running at 100 MPH all the time, but it feels like the holidays exacerbate this even more.
I am SOO hoping to stay ahead of my stress this year, which is why I spent some serious time making a plan for the best techniques to use when I am feeling frazzled.
It can be hard to remember to take time to take care of ourselves and maintain our health during the holiday season – so check out these tips to help keep you calm, cool and collected.
#1 Magnesium Bath
Want to get in touch with your luxurious, goddess self? Fill up a hot bath with magnesium flakes. Try adding flower petals and lighting a candle to create some serious atmosphere.
#2 4-7-8 Breathing
Sit upright with your back straight and breathe in through your nose for 4 counts. Hold your breath in for 7 counts, and then exhale for 8 counts. Repeat this process 4 times. This exercise is literally retraining your brain on how to hold deeper breathes, and forces you to pay attention to your breathing patterns. This exercise has really helped me in deep bouts of anxiety.
#3 Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This popular method is based on the theory that if you can control the tenseness and relaxation in your physical body, your mental tenseness can also be controlled. Lay somewhere where you will not be bothered and tense a muscle group, for example, tightening your fist. Hold for a few seconds and release. Move through each muscle group until you have worked through your body. Pay attention to how your muscles feel after releasing the tension.
#4 Basic Emotional Regulation
Remember this Acronym :
PL – Treat Physical Illness
E – Eat
A – Avoid Mood-Altering Drugs
S – Sleep Well
E – Exercise
The science behind this shows that you cannot help your mind relax unless you are taking care of your physical body first or in unison.
#5 Get Outside
Biophilia is the principle that states that when you are surrounded by nature, (this can even be a picture of nature) your mood is improved, you will experience stress relief, and even increases the speed at which people heal. Get outside – Take a forest bath!
Yes, I know meditating always makes these lists, but that is because IT WORKS. I promise. There is the research to prove it. Take 3-5 minutes and sit with your eyes closed and back straight and focus on your breathing. Or complete a guided meditation, like any of these. There is no wrong way for your thoughts to travel while meditating.
#7 Drink some tea
Preferably some non-stimulating blends like chamomile, ginger or peppermint. Sometimes I let the steam wash over my face before sipping and really absorb myself in the moment. This can create some additional moisture on the face and eyes, opening up the pores and creating a warm embrace.
Even if it is a light walk, get out and exercise! We have all heard, ENDORPHINS MAKE YOU HAPPY! Even better, get outside to exercise and receive the benefits from #5 too!
#9 Get busy
Science also shows that spending time with loved ones and being intimate will help release stress and boost mood. So grab your beaux and load up the Netflix queue. Not feeling it?
#10 Pet your Pet
There is a reason cat cafes are becoming so popular in large cities. Once again, science has proven that spending time with our pets releases stress. So give your little cutie a much needed snuggle
#11 Be alone
In order to fully register and process our thoughts and feelings, we really need some solo time (even you extroverts out there!). Make some time for yourself, whether it’s time in the shower or on your morning commute and focus on your thoughts and feelings.
#12 Gratitude journal
One way to check your stress is to switch up your perspective. Jotting down a few things you are grateful for can really help center your thoughts and refresh your perspective.
#13 Work on a passion project
For me, it can be as simple as going dancing or focusing on what makes my body feel best. Spending time on the tasks that fuel our internal, creative or passionate fire can help us remain focused on long term goals and desires or just remain present.
What about you, love? Do you have any go to stress relief tips for the holiday season, or even year round? I would love to hear them and have more options in my back pocket – leave a comment with your favorite way to stay sane, below!
Collagen peptides have been a buzz worthy topic amongst the paleo community for years now, and I personally think they’re great. I can’t use them currently because they’ve got a lot of calcium in them and I’m working on a magnesium deficiency, but I’m working really hard to get those magnesium levels up, in part because I want to be able to take collagen peptides.
But what exactly is a collagen peptide, and how can it benefit you?
Most well-known for the role it plays in our skin, collagen also makes up the majority of the muscoskeletal system, including joints, bones and ligaments. Collagen benefits the skin, nails and hair. Yet perhaps more importantly, collagen peptides can also really help improve systems inside the body, especially the gut.
Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids. They come from protein. But, they are unique because they contain four specific amino acids: hydroxyproline, arginine, glycine, and proline. If your body lacks any of the four amino acids composing collagen peptides (which is easy to do if you don’t regularly eat skin or bone broth or gnaw on bones), it may be difficult for your body to produce collagen. This is why I value the supplements.
The difference between collagen and gelatin
Gelatin and collagen peptides often get confused. I myself accidently purchase gelatin originally instead of collagen peptides. One of the main differences between the two is the ability to dissolve into cold and hot substances. Gelatin is only able to dissolve into hot liquids and will congeal. it’s good for things like making jello. Collagen peptides on the other hand stay liquid at room temperature. In my opinion, although technically flavorless, gelatin has a more noticeable taste and smell than collagen peptides. Whichever you choose to use, don’t worry; they have the same amino acids. Check out my favorite gelatin supplement here!
Why I started using collagen peptides
Collagen is known to help rheumatoid arthritis, osteosis, and in general, strengthen bones, joints and ligaments. Because collagen is the primary component making up our bones and cartilage, it is believed that consumption of the peptides will lead to easier reproduction of collagen in the body and replenishing supplies which as a result, promotes elasticity in the joints.
I have really bad knees. I’m not sure if I ever told any of you that!
AND My gut health really matters to me, so I am really eager to get back to taking peptides.
Finally: Of course, we all know I’m super vain. Perhaps most (and worst!) of all, I really value the collagen supplements for their ability to help my skin be as smooth and elastic as possible.
– Collagen is high in glycine and proline that are essential in creating new collagen in the body . Collagen peptides stimulate production of collagen in the body, allowing an increase of collagen production. Because it is the primary component in our bones and cartilage, it is often used by athletes to prevent injuries, and heal existing injuries in bones, tendons and ligaments.
What else can collagen be used for athletically?
Collagen is also used as a supplementation pre- and post-workout because of its ability to stimulate collagen production internally. Its content of Gylcine and Arginine may also help the synthesis of Creatine in the body. Creatine is widely known as the athlete’s supplement because it has demonstrated the ability to improve exercise and strength performance. Collagen also can contain up to 18 grams of protein in a twenty-gram serving.
Improved Skin, Nails and Hair
Collagen peptides improve the epidermis moisture content which can result in several additional positive symptoms (woooo!) including:
▪ Promote younger looking skin
▪ Improve skin moisture level
▪ Prevent the formation of deep wrinkles
▪ Improve skin suppleness.
▪ Replenish moisture levels in hair
▪ Support nail growth
As I had mentioned, because of its elasticity collagen is essential in connectivity tissue growth. Those with leaky guts, or penetrative holes in the gut, may benefit from supplementing. Glycine is thought to reduce GI inflammation, aid digestion, and reduce symptoms of leaky gut. Research has shown that people with autoimmune disorders like Inflammatory Bowel Disease had shown depleted levels of collagen in their system, leading researchers to believe the lack of collagen contributed to inflammation levels.
Where can you source high quality collagen?
Vital Proteins sources from grass fed, pasture raised bovine hides in Brazil, which still supports grass systems. Being pasture raised and grass fed, there is no risk of having RBGH in their products. This, paired with a Brazilian law prohibiting hormones in bovine feed, result in a pure sustainable version of collagen. Vital Proteins also ensures the cows are raised in a happy environment. You can find their collagen peptides here.
Great Lakes Collagen and Gelatin also source their products from grass fed and pasture raised Argentinian and Brazilian cows. They have guaranteed that their laboratories remain free of insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, steroids, antibiotics, or hormones. You can find this brand, here.
I have noticed increased elasticity in my skin, as well as relief in my joints after consistent use. It took about a week of use to notice these benefits; however the other benefits may take consistent long term use to produce results. Collagen is a supplement that has a wide spectrum of positive benefits, and sourcing from a sustainable and non-toxic companies like Vital Proteins and Great Lakes can improve skin quality, hair and nail strength, and gut health to name a few.
What are your thoughts? Have you tried collagen peptides?
MCT oil has been a big deal in the paleosphere since bulletproof coffee surfaced as the new wellness trend.
While I’m not a huge fan of dosing myself with caffeine and fat while fasting (in fact, I never do it), I do really believe that MCT oil can have some great benefits. I use it while cooking sometimes (this is my fave). This is because MCT Oil may be able to surpass coconut oil for its nutritional, physical and cognitive benefits.
What is MCT Oil?
MCT’s, or Medium Chain Triglycerides, are a form of fat that is digested differently than an LCT (long chain triglycerides) or SCT (short chain triglycerides). (For more detail on the molecule content, click here.) They’re unique because short chain and long chain triglycerides are metabolized in the digestive system. MCT’s are metabolized in the liver for faster, cleaner conversion to energy or ketones. Ketones are the highly valued component in the ketogenic diet.
While I am not the biggest fan of ketosis, ketones can be wonderful.
4 types of MCT
There are four types of MCT’s, distinguished by carbon content.
C6 – Caproic Acid : is one type of MCT, the shortest of the medium chain triglycerides. This MCT is known as the MCT behind “disaster pants” or a negative digestive side effect resulting in immediate bouts of diarrhea.
C8 – Caprylic Acid : This MCT contains 8 carbon molecules. Because of the smaller amount of carbon content, C8 is easily transferred metabolized into ketones in the liver resulting in instantaneous bursts of energy.
C10 – Capric Acid : This MCT contains ten carbons. The addition of two extra carbons means the MCT reaction is more delayed in the body than C8, but still faster than C12.
C12 – Lauric Acid : The longest of the medium chain triglycerides, C12 is also closest to resembling the molecular structure of an LCT. Like C10, C12 is digested in the liver the slowest, and ketone production can only occur if you are on a low carb diet.
Why are people using MCT oil to begin with?
- Eliminating Brain Fog
Because the carbon content of these triglycerides is less than that of their shorter and longer cousins, they are digested faster and more readily resulting in a more immediate release of energy and clarity. In addition, MCT’s do not require additional energy to digest or be metabolized in the body, so the energy you receive from consuming MCT’s can immediately turn over into a clean form of energy.
With all the commotion regarding ketogenic diets these days, MCT’s have been put in the spotlight as commonly seen as an important partner for those on the ketosis diet. Many people who try to do ketosis focus on MCT oil because it further helps their body build up ketone levels in the blood. Interestingly enough, eating a low or zero carb diet, contrary to popular opinion, is not necessary to have ketones in the blood, exactly because you can achieve the same effect from MCT oil. To read more about this ‘shortcut,’ check out this post.
- Gut and Skin health
MCT’s containing Lauric Acid (from coconut oil) are known to be antiviral and antibacterial. This has led researchers to believe that MCT’s can contribute to healthy gut flora by stabilizing the bad bacteria. The derivative of Lauric Acid, Monolaurin, has shown antimicrobial activity against bacteria, fungi and viruses. Lauric Acid is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties against acne. This combined with its antimicrobial properties make it a great supplement to promote a healthy gut reduce inflammation.
- Weight Loss
This is a debated topic amongst MCT consumers. Many believe that MCT aids in weight loss, and several studies conducted contribute to this mindset. This study compared individuals using LCT vs MCT and in the course of 4, 8, and 12 weeks demonstrated that those ingesting MCT’s “lost more subcutaneous fat than their counterparts using only LCT.” A lot of this can be attributed to the satiety produced by consuming MCT’s resulting in less consumption of food overall. This inhibits our leptin receptors which also may lead to increased overall satiety. Curious regarding the other ways leptin affects us? Check out this post here.
(I happen to have a program for healthy and sustainable weight loss if you’re into that sort of thing, which you can check out here!)
How to use it
MCT can be found in coconut and palm oils and high fat dairy products, but is most commonly used in a liquid form, like this one that I have been using. Mixing with coffee or tea in the morning is a common and effortless way to ingest the MCT’s. Start small first, and work your way up to the recommended dose. My friends say a good way to start is by putting a teaspoon in coffee, but I mainly stick to using it in food as that can have less digestive effects. If you do use the coffee method, I recommend consistently stirring or whisking your coffee or tea, as the oil can congeal towards the top of your beverage.
MCT oil can be used in :
- Teas or Coffee
In food sources, MCT is most highly concentrated in palm oil, and then coconut oil. High quality cheese also contains a substantial amount of MCT’s. Goat’s milk total percent fat content of MCT’s is 19.8%, however it is barely near the 79% found in palm oil. For a full chart of foods containing MCT’s, click here.
MCT oil really has no drawbacks, so long as you’re using a high quality source.
MCT’s ability to be metabolized in the liver and immediately make ketones creates a clean instant burst of energy that lasts. This is perhaps my favorite part – the long energy and satiation.
Also, because of the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties found in Lauric Acid, MCT oil can also be an excellent way for those with autoimmune conditions to metabolize fat and boost immune systems. MCT can stray leptin cues however, so ensure you are listening to your body and feeding it the proper amount of food while supplementing, especially carbs!!
I would love to know about your experiences. Have you tried MCT oil? If so, what was your experience like?