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CMT Meal Plan, My Average Week of Eating Keto

CMT Meal Plan Banner

I’ve published a few articles that discuss the benefits of Keto and the importance of nutrients for Charcot Marie Tooth, but I haven’t shared information about my personal CMT meal plan. Here are some of those articles for reference:

None of these articles went into detail about the meals I consume, so I wanted to give an example CMT meal plan for a week of me eating Keto for CMT.

Skip to Meal Plan

Important Note

CMT Meal Plan Caution

My meals were created based on my personal research and experience. Additionally, I have adapted these meals over many months to fit my needs. For example, I have more protein in my diet than a normal Keto diet because I’m weight lifting and trying to build muscle. It is important that you keep in mind your needs and adjust accordingly.

Be sure to consult your doctor and/or nutritionist before making any significant changes in your diet.

CMT Meal Plan Nutrients

Here is a list of important nutrients to include in a CMT meal plan, why they’re important, and what foods are high in each nutrient.

Electrolytes

CMT Meal Plan Electrolytes

Electrolytes, salts, are very important when eating Keto. Our body excretes electrolytes more quickly while burning fat. Consequently, we need to replenish those electrolytes, or we’ll get cramps, muscle spasms, and other painful symptoms.

The recommended daily amounts (RDA) of the three important electrolytes are:

  • Sodium: 3,000 – 5,000 mg
    • Notice this is more than average. This is because we excrete more sodium while in ketosis, so we need more to replenish.
  • Potassium: 4,700 mg
  • Magnesium: 500 mg

Do not skimp on these! It’s harder to get these amounts than one might think. Above all, track your nutrients. Surprisingly, you may not be reaching these levels each day.

Where to get electrolytes

  • No Salt Sodium-Free Salt
    • Great source of potassium. 1 tsp in water is about 80% of the RDA of potassium.
  • Salt (Sodium Chloride)
  • Avocado
    • One avocado has 15% RDA of potassium and 10% RDA of magnesium
  • Magnesium Oxide Supplements

I don’t suggest getting sodium or potassium supplements. Sodium and potassium supplements usually have just a small amount, and these electrolytes are easier to get from food.

Phospholipids and Choline

CMT Meal Plan Fats

Phospholipids and other healthy fats are important for supporting a healthy peripheral nervous system. Furthermore, a high fat diet in combination with exercise has been shown to increase myelin protein expression. In addition, choline is required to process phospholipids, so don’t forget to include choline in your diet.

Healthy Fats

  • Eggs, especially the yolk
  • Organ meat, like liver
  • Fatty Red Meat
    • Ribeye
    • Chuck Steak/Roast
    • New York Strip
    • Sirloin
  • Fatty Fish
    • Tuna
    • Cod
    • Herring
    • Salmon
    • Krill Oil (great for phospholipids)
    • Oysters

Choline

  • Eggs
  • Beet Greens
  • Cabbage
  • Asparagus
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Shitake Mushrooms

Vitamins

CMT Meal Plan Vitamins

There isn’t much research about the impact of vitamins on CMT. However, I have found that some vitamins help with my symptoms. For example, vitamin B12 has helped my tremors. In addition, vitamin C and D have helped my energy. You can of course take supplements for these, but here are some foods high in these vitamins:

Vitamin B

  • Fish
    • Sardines
    • Mackerel
    • Salmon
    • Tuna
    • Cod
    • Mussels
  • Pork Chops
  • Asparagus
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Spinach

Vitamin C

  • Lemon Water
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Chili Peppers
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Broccoli

CMT Meal Plan

Now that we’ve covered all the basics, it’s time to go over my average weekly CMT meal plan. My macro targets are 65% fat, 30% protein, and 5% carbs. Notice that I have more protein in my diet than the average ketogenic diet. This is to counteract muscle loss and to help with muscle growth.

Monday

These three meals together hit the perfect macros for me. These also give almost all my micronutrients.

Breakfast

  • 3 Eggs
  • Half an Avocado
  • 2 slices Nitrate Free Bacon
  • 1/4 tsp No Salt
  • Bulletproof Coffee
    • Coffee
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 1 tbsp MCT Oil
  • Magnesium Supplement

Lunch

Huge keto cob salad

  • 4 cups lettuce of choice
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 2 oz Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese
  • Half and Avocado
  • 2 slices Nitrate Free Bacon
  • 2 tbsp Organic Avocado Ranch Dressing
  • 1/4 tsp Pink Salt
  • Fresh Black Pepper

Dinner

  • 8 oz Fatty, Wild Caught Salmon
  • 2 oz Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Pink Salt
  • Fresh Black Pepper

Tuesday

This hits my macros and micros pretty close as well, but I skip breakfast. I also exercise this morning. Skipping breakfast gives me a calorie deficit as well as allows me to workout in fasting mode.

Breakfast

Skipped

Lunch

  • Same cob salad as Monday, but with one whole avocado. I love this salad. Sorry for the lack of variety!

Dinner

I usually make double or triple the serving and eat leftovers throughout the week.

  • 8 oz Ribeye Steak
  • 300 g Asparagus
  • 300 g Cauliflower Rice
  • 1/4 tsp No Salt (for veggies)
  • 1/4 tsp Pink Salt (for steak)
  • Fresh Black Pepper (for steak and veggies)
  • Magnesium Supplement

Wednesday

Breakfast

  • Bulletproof Coffee w/ Collagen Protein Powder

Lunch

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 slices Nitrate Free Bacon
  • 1 Whole Avocado
  • 1/4 tsp No Salt
  • Fresh Black Pepper
  • Magnesium Supplement

Dinner

  • 8 oz Seasoned, Pan Seared Chicken Breast
  • 300 g Roasted Broccoli
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Pink Salt
  • Fresh Black Pepper

Snacks

  • 2 oz Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Boiled Eggs

Thursday

Thursday would be a near repeat of Tuesday. By and large, I eat pretty much the same thing on the days I workout, and I workout on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Of course, I might switch up the protein at dinner, or add shredded meat to my salad to add variety. Occasionally I will workout more throughout the week, but the aforementioned days are my guaranteed workout days.

Friday

Friday is usually a repeat of whatever I did Monday. I like to keep things simple. If I keep things simple, then I stick to my lifestyle.

Saturday

Saturday is the same as Tuesday and Thursday.

Sunday

If I had a cheat day, this would be it. I still don’t cheat, though. I just indulge a bit more on Sunday, and I might enjoy a keto sweet or two.

Breakfast

  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Chorizo
  • Chopped Peppers
  • Magnesium Supplement

Lunch

I usually skip lunch or have a light snack in favor of having a fancy dinner.

Dinner

I’ll make a fun recipe for dinner. Something like Cabbage Lasagna, Pork Rind Crust Pizza, Keto Chili, Keto Taco Salad, or Cabbage Soup. I might even put a pork shoulder on the smoker! If I make a lasagna, pulled pork, or soup, I can eat that throughout the next week.

Snacks

I’ll have one or two of the following:

Conclusion

If you made it this far, congratulations! I realize this was a very long post, but I thought there needed to be a lot of detail. This is an average week for me. I switch up proteins and vegetables, but I really do try to keep my diet as simple as possible while keeping it fun.

If you have questions about the meals or want more suggestions, please leave a comment!

What do you eat throughout the week? What foods have you found to be helpful with your symptoms? Please comment below, or share this post on social media with your own stories!

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An Avocado a Day Helps Keep the Doctor Away

Avocado

I recently published an article, “Electrolytes Not Optional for Keto and Charcot Marie Tooth,” that details the importance of electrolytes. Electrolytes are especially important for keto dieters and patients with Charcot Marie Tooth. In the article, I mentioned avocado as a good source of both potassium and magnesium. Just how nutrient dense is an avocado?

Avocado, the Superfood

An average avocado has almost double the amount of potassium as a banana. Furthermore, an avocado provides 10% of the recommended daily amount of magnesium. One avocado can  provide someone with almost half of their daily fiber. It also has plenty of healthy fat, lending itself to the Keto diet.

Fiber

Avocado a Day - Oatmeal

Even while counting net carbs (total carbs minus fiber), I sometimes hear complaints that it is difficult to find fiber within a ketogenic diet. Due to the Standard American Diet, the popular school of thought is that most healthy fiber comes from grains. This is simply untrue. Many vegetables have plenty of fiber in them, including broccoli, spinach, and artichokes. These can’t beat avocados, though.

A single avocado has around 13 g of fiber, or 52% of the recommended amount of daily fiber. That’s quite a lot of healthy, from-food fiber packed into one superfood.

Magnesium

The body uses magnesium in more than 300 biochemical reactions. Considering this, magnesium is fairly underrated. Magnesium helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, regulates the heart beat, and helps bones remain strong. With this in mind, a magnesium imbalance can cause a multitude of health issues.

The average avocado has 10-12% of the daily value for magnesium. That’s a good amount of magnesium.

Potassium

Our body needs potassium to build proteins, build muscle, maintain normal body growth, and control the electrical activity of the heart. These are important functions for the body! As a result, it’s important to get the recommended daily amount of nearly 4,700 mg of potassium.

Potassium is where avocados shine. One whole avocado has around a whopping 1,000 mg of potassium. That’s a lot, but it’s still only about a fourth of the recommended daily amount. Still, that’s quite a bit of potassium for one fruit. Yes, the avocado is a fruit.

Summary

Our bodies need fiber, potassium, and magnesium in order to function normally. Avocados provide these nutrients in abundance. A whole avocado provides 13 g of fiber, 58 mg of magnesium, and 1,000 mg of potassium. That’s 52% of fiber, 10% of magnesium, and about 20-25% of potassium for their recommended daily amounts. This is why I have one whole avocado every single day. The saying really should be changed to, “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.”

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Electrolytes Not Optional for Keto and Charcot Marie Tooth

Electrolytes - Balanced Rocks

Electrolyte imbalance can cause many health issues. In fact, a lack of electrolytes can cause irregular heartbeat, fatigue, muscle weakness and cramping, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. That’s just a few side effects of not consuming enough electrolytes daily. As a matter of fact, these side effects are usually what cause some of the symptoms that people associate with the Keto Flu. For that reason, taking in enough electrolytes can help ease and even avoid the Keto Flu.

Furthermore, people on the ketogenic diet are prone to electrolyte imbalance. On a high-carb diet, the body retains more water and therefore more electrolytes. In contrast, on a low-carb, high-fat diet, the body retains less water and electrolytes. This means a person, especially a patient with a neurodegenerative disease like Charcot Marie Tooth, on the ketogenic diet should consume more electrolytes than normal.

So what exactly are electrolytes, what are they for, and how much should we be consuming?

Important Electrolytes

There are quite a few different electrolytes. Electrolytes commonly found in the body include:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphate

For this article, we will be focusing on sodiumpotassium, and magnesium.

Sodium

Electrolytes - Salt

Sodium is important for a couple of reasons. According to “Sodium in diet” on the Medical Encyclopedia. “the body uses sodium to control blood pressure and blood volume.” The article adds, “your body also needs sodium for your muscles and nerves to work properly.” With that in mind, sodium is quite important for patients with Charcot Marie Tooth.

On a ketogenic diet, we simply need more sodium in our diet. “5 Most Common Low-Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them),” from HealthLine mentions that low sodium intake is a common mistake on low-carb diets. A low-carb diet lowers insulin levels, which makes the kidneys excrete excess sodium from the body. As a result, this can lead to a sodium deficit in the body.

Sodium is the easiest of the three electrolytes to consume. One just needs to increase their intake of salt by adding it to foods. Many keto dieters and nutritionists agree that people adhering to the keto diet should consume between 2,000-4,000 mg of sodium each day.

Potassium

Electrolytes - Potassium

As an electrolyte, potassium is just as important as sodium. “Potassium in diet,” from the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, states that potassium helps to build protein, build muscle, maintain normal body growth, and control the electrical activity of the heart. Due to potassium’s influence on muscle growth, it’s even more important for those of us with Charcot Marie Tooth. With this in mind, be sure that you’re taking in enough potassium in your diet if you have a neurodegenerative disease or a disease that causes muscle wasting.

Supplementation will not work with potassium. Basically, most potassium supplements will have a limit of 99 mg per serving, and it is suggested to consume 4,700 mg of potassium each day. Therefore, you would need to take a lot of supplements to supplement dietary consumption.

Luckily for us keto dieters, there are many more options than just bananas for potassium. Here are a few foods high in potassium:

  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplants
  • Mushrooms

I’ve found avocados and spinach to be the best sources of potassium and magnesium.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a very important and highly underrated electrolyte. The body needs magnesium “for more than 300 biochemical reactions,” according to “Magnesium in diet” from the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Furthermore, magnesium is necessary to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, making it important for patients with Charcot Marie Tooth disease. Magnesium also helps regulate the heartbeat, supports a healthy immune system, and helps bones remain strong.

Magnesium supplements exist, and you can get them in significant dosage. Although it’s very rare, it is possible to take in too much magnesium. The suggested daily amount of magnesium is between 400-500 mg. It’s easy to exceed this amount if you’re taking more than one, 250 mg magnesium supplement each day. Make sure to monitor your intake and to stay between the daily recommended amount. I suggest just getting magnesium from your diet, as it’s fairly easy to reach the daily amount with the proper foods.

Foods high in magnesium include:

  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds

Spinach is a wonderful source of magnesium. I include spinach and avocados in my daily diet to help reach my potassium and magnesium goals.

 

Conclusion

No matter what diet we’re consuming, electrolytes are important to our body. During a keto diet, our kidneys excrete more sodium from the body than normal. Therefore, a person adhering to the keto diet needs to consume more sodium than normal. We also don’t retain as much water when consuming so little carbs, so we have less electrolytes in our body in general while in ketosis. This all means that we should monitor our electrolyte intake carefully while on the keto diet.

Charcot Marie Tooth is a neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, cramping, and wasting among many other symptoms. The effect that CMT has on our muscles means that electrolytes are extra important to patients with CMT. A sports drink isn’t going to cut it! Patients with CMT needs to monitor their electrolyte intake and be sure to get enough electrolytes in their diet each day.

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Exercise Routine for Someone with Charcot Marie Tooth

Exercise Routine - Weights

I cannot remember a time in my life before now that I had a regular exercise routine. After having over a dozen reconstructive surgeries on my feet during my early teenage years, my daily activity level plummeted. If I wasn’t working at a computer, I was reading articles or watching YouTube videos at one. This meant I was sitting for 90% or more of my day while barely moving. I gained weight, became overly lazy, felt fatigued throughout the day, and generally felt miserable. I had every excuse to be this way, though, right? After all, I had Charcot Marie Tooth and had endured countless surgeries on my feet.

All of that changed about a year ago when something snapped in me, and I decided to take charge of my health. I can’t really pinpoint exactly what it was. Maybe it was a feeling of coming to terms with my own mortality. I didn’t want to live half a life just because of laziness and use my disease as an excuse. I had to at least try, and I had to try longer than a week, longer than a month. It was time that I made a lifestyle change that I would continue throughout my life. It was time I started an exercise routine I could handle. To my surprise, even with Charcot Marie Tooth, I could handle a lot.

Next Steps Fitness Program

A local fitness center here in Sioux Falls, SD offers a program called the Next Steps Fitness Program. It is a medical fitness program that offers specific support for a myriad of ailments, such as: Cancer Fitness, Orthopedic Fitness, Diabetes Fitness, and many more. I cannot be more grateful for the team at the fitness center for getting me up to speed on physical fitness.

I chose the orthopedic fitness track, and a personal trainer worked with me to form a routine I could handle. The trainer taught me that I can do almost all workouts. I just needed help figuring out the form I needed to do while having fused joints in my feet. I learned a lot through the program at the fitness center, and now I have an exercise routine I can perform at home.

Home Exercise Routine

To exercise at home, I went the simple route and bought a very cheap, adjustable weight bench along with a few dumbbells. Everything together cost me less than $100. Once I had all the equipment, it was as simple as trial and error until I figured out a routine that my body could handle. I started out easy. I did half an hour of cardio every single day and about fifteen minutes of weight lifting afterward for 3-5 days out of the week. The weight lifting was simple then:

  • Wrist Curls
  • Arm Curls
  • Arm Extensions
  • Chest Press
  • Shoulder Press
  • Calf Raises
  • Squats

My routine evolved over time. I also started wanting more out of my exercise. I didn’t want to just look good. My goals had changed, and I wanted serious strength, a strong heart, and good posture. That last part was something I never thought I would have due to scoliosis, but I had to try something regardless of my condition.

Exercise for Posture

Straightening my posture has been something I have wanted to do for quite a long time, but I had assumed surgery was necessary. During all my research about exercise, I came to find many people with scoliosis and similar deformities were able to better their posture through routine exercise. Surely it could work for me if it could work for others. This is the exercise routine I perform every single morning to improve my posture:

  • Wall Slides
  • Prone Y’s
  • Shoulder Dislocations
  • Foam Roller Back Stretch

I perform these exercises every single morning as a warm-up before my cardio. My back strength has improved along with my posture, and I’m sure it will continue to improve as I continue these exercises.

Current Exercise Routine

Everyday

  • Wall Slides, 3 sets of 10
  • Prone Y’s, 3 sets of 10
  • Shoulder Dislocations, 1 set of 20
  • Foam Roller Back Stretch, 2-5 minutes of 30 second intervals
  • Cardio, 2-4 hour bike ride

3-5 Days a Week

  • Wrist Curls, 3-4 sets of 15
  • Arm Curls, 3-4 sets of 10
  • Bent-over Row, 3-4 sets of 10
  • Shoulder Press, 3-4 sets of 10
  • Dumbbell Butterfly, 3-4 sets of 10
  • Chest Press, 3-4 sets of 10
  • Lat Pullover, 3-4 sets of 15
  • Arm Extension, 3-4 sets of 10
  • Calf Raises, 3-4 sets of 20
  • Squats, 3-4 sets of 10
  • Sit-ups, 3-4 sets of 20

I do this exercise routine while dealing with Charcot Marie Tooth and Scoliosis. I say this not to brag, but to emphasize that it is possible to improve your health and quality of life even with these ailments. The key is to push through and try longer than just a week. I have spells that last up to a month long where exercise feels dreadful, then suddenly I feel amazing and can exercise no problem for awhile. We all have our ups and downs, and we should allow our body time to adjust before judging whether something is possible or not.

With that said, I was very careful when starting out, and I didn’t increase weight to anything significant until I was comfortable with knowing my body. I highly suggest that anyone trying to exercise while having a disease like CMT consult with their doctor and maybe a fitness and/or nutrition expert first. Start out easy and slow, just as I did. Professional supervision is always a good idea as well, especially at first. Now, go exercise, and be careful!