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Open Source Recipes

Open Source Recipes

I’ve been writing my own recipes for awhile now. Ever since I started Keto in February, I’ve been keeping up with the recipes I put together. I came up with a few good recipes this Thanksgiving including a Green Bean Casserole recipe. While I plan on eventually posting them all here on CMT Keto, in the mean time, I’ve published some of them on GitHub. Github allows for these to be completely open source, meaning anyone can contribute to them or copy them however they like.

My career is as a consultant and developer, mostly on Open Source Software on IBM i. Basically, I work with a lot of open source code. This gave me the idea to open source my recipes, and now anyone can copy, edit, and contribute to them however they like. I still plan on adding recipes to CMT Keto, but I think it’s also nice to have an open source version where people can do what they like with my recipes.

You can find the pretty (GitHub Pages) version of the recipes here: https://jbh.github.io/recipes/.

These recipes can now be found on the CMT Keto website. https://cmtketo.com/recipes/.

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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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High Fat Diet Can Improve CMT1A, Study Suggests

High Fat Diet - Lab

Charcot Marie Tooth 1A is a gene mutation that causes less myelin production. Myelin coats the ends of nerves and helps with their conduction. Less myelin means less nerve conduction. Furthermore, less nerve conduction means muscle waste and atrophy over time.

The myelin sheath is mostly made of fat lipids, 80% or so actually. Consequently, phospholipids make up most of the myelin sheath. Does this mean a high fat diet, specifically one high in phospholipids, could improve CMT1A?

A new study, “Targeting myelin lipid metabolism as a potential therapeutic strategy in a model of CMT1A neuropathy,” was published in the journal Nature Communications. The study found that increasing the phospholipid intake in rats with CMT1A, a technique the study calls phospholipid therapy, had promising results of overcoming the myelin deficit caused by CMT1A.

The Problem

Researchers in Germany and Egypt studied the alterations in fat metabolism in rats with CMT1A. In over-simplified terms, the researchers found that the rats were producing phospholipids at a low rate, and therefore the composition of the myelin sheath was lacking in phospholipids. The study describes that there is a deficit in phospholipid production.

Among the phospholipids, the metabolism of phosphatidylcholine, a major myelin compound, was severely impaired at the transcriptional level in sciatic nerves of CMT1A rats.

Would it be possible to offset the deficit of phospholipids? Furthermore, would myelin sheath production utilize phospholipids produced outside of their body? The study aimed to find this out.

The Tested Treatment

In Vitro, Injected, Phospholipids

The next step was to test treating this phospholipid deficit. To do so, the researchers injected the rats with fluorescently labeled phosphatidylcholine. Finally, they observed that myelin production utilized the labeled phospholipids. As a result, they discovered the body can utilize phospholipids produced outside the body.

Dietary Supplementation of Phospholipids

After testing phospholipids through injection, the researchers wanted to test if the rats would utilize phospholipids supplemented through diet. The researchers describe how they enriched the experimental diets with phospholipids.

The experimental diets […] were enriched by either 0.3 or 3% soy bean-derived PL composed of 55% phosphatidylcholine and 20% phosphatidylethalonamine in addition to trace amounts of other lipids.

The researchers conducted thorough tests with varying levels of phospholipids. They were able to conclude that supplementation through food worked as well.

Study Conclusion

The study continues to detail different tests the researches conducted in order to discover if phospholipid supplementation was feasible. By the end of all their tests, they finally concluded that dietary lipid supplementation can be helpful.

In conclusion, we have identified perturbed lipid metabolism as a disease mechanism downstream of Pmp22 duplication in CMT1A, and found that dietary lipid supplementation acts as a downstream effector of Schwann cell function, which bypasses the inefficient expression of genes for lipid synthesis in Pmp22 transgenic Schwann cells. This improves myelin biosynthesis and the neuropathic phenotype of a CMT1A rat model, demonstrating that lipid supplementation should be considered as a new therapeutic approach to CMT1A disease.

Keto, a High Fat Diet

Ketosis has improved my life greatly. As a result of ketosis, I feel improved energy, little-to-no nerve pain, better muscle response, increased strength, and a myriad of other benefits. I can only assume that the healthy fats I am consuming are helping to mend my mitochondria as well as helping through the rest of my body. The body uses fat in many vital functions, including myelin sheath production. It only makes sense that providing your body with plenty of healthy fats is a good idea.

I’m feeding my body healthy fats already. However, I think I could improve results by increasing my intake of phospholipids. Due to reading this study, I plan on upping my phospholipid intake in hopes of having even better results with Keto.

Foods High in Phospholipids

  • Egg Yolks
  • Liver
  • Soy lecithin
  • Dairy
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cabbage
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Different Types of Keto and Nutrition Importance for CMT

Different Types of Keto - Nutrition

There are different types of Keto, and a rainbow of types in between for each individual. It’s important that we get all of our daily nutrients, especially for those of us with Charcot Marie Tooth. I have tried a few different types of Keto since I started doing Keto. I plan to detail each that I have tried, my experience with that type, and which I have had the most success with and do now. Please keep in mind that this is my personal experience with these different types of Keto. Each person is different. You should consult your doctor and possibly a fitness and/or nutrition expert before significantly changing your diet in this way.

Different Types of Keto

Standard Keto Diet (SKD)

The SKD is a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet. Some would also say that the SKD is low-calorie, but this isn’t true. The Keto diet is only calorie restrictive if one is trying to lose weight. The Keto diet can be high-calorie if the person’s goal is to gain weight or muscle mass. The SKD macro profile typically consists of 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs.

My experience with the SKD was a good one. After starting with the Ideal Living Program at Avera, and with some guidance from my nutritionist, I slowly migrated over to the SKD. That makes it my first experience with Keto, and therefore how I fell in love with Keto. The SKD is definitely a good place to start! Remember to always do your own research and consult your doctor first, though.

Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD)

When a person follows CKD, they will have certain lengths of time where they consume high-carbs to reset their metabolism. For example, a CK dieter could do a month of Keto followed by a week of a high-carb diet and repeat.

I didn’t much like this type of Keto. Cycle weeks just dragged me down. I would feel great during Keto, and then I would feel tired and weak during the week of high-carb eating. It just didn’t seem worth it to me. CKD didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t miss bread, fruits, desserts, or other carb-heavy foods. With that said, someone else might find the CKD perfect for their lifestyle!

Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)

TKD is when the dieter consumes most of their carbs around workouts. The theory is that the carbs will give you a boost of energy for the workout and prevent your body from using any protein as an energy source, allowing the protein to be used for muscle growth.

TKD was an enjoyable way to do Keto. It allowed me to work in higher carb foods like berries into my diet. I would eat next to zero carbs for the day except for before a workout. Strawberries and blueberries were my favorite. A handful of these an a protein shake before a workout helped fuel me through the cardio and weight lifting.

High-protein Keto Diet

A high-protein Keto diet is exactly what the name implies: a SKD with more protein. An example macro profile for a high-protein keto diet would be 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

The high-protein Keto diet has obvious benefits for those that exercise and patients with Charcot Marie Tooth. With the extra protein, less muscle wasting tends to take place. There is some evidence that excessive protein can be dangerous. Dr. Mercola speaks of about excessive protein, and gives advice. There are studies that warn against excess protein intake, so be careful about how much you consume. With that said, a standard high-protein Keto diet is just fine as long as you keep in mind the maximum amount of protein you’re supposed to intake for your own body.

What Type to Follow?

Well, I’m obviously going to advise that you figure out which is best for you after consulting your doctor and a fitness and/or nutrition expert. Each person has different goals and a different body type. Please keep in mind that any Keto diet is a significant diet change from a Standard American Diet.

For me, a combination of the Targeted Keto Diet and the High-protein Keto Diet works best. I now have an intense exercise routine as well as Charcot Marie Tooth disease. In order to have to energy to workout everyday, I use the TKD method and eat carbs around the time I exercise. My goal is to not only build muscle, but to build muscle. I use the high-protein Keto diet and increase my protein percentage to gain muscle. To summarize, I follow the TKD with a macro profile of 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

Micronutrients and CMT

Micronutrients are very important as well, especially electrolytes. I haven’t found a study to backup this claim, so I’m just speaking personally: I’m very sensitive to electrolyte imbalances, and I blame my CMT. If I’m low on potassium and magnesium especially, I start to not feel OK. I have fainted before due to this. Please be sure that you’re getting the proper amount of sodium, potassium, and magnesium each day. It’s a lot more than one might think! I consume a lot of avocados and spinach, as well as using potassium enriched salt in my diet. Avocados and spinach are both great sources of potassium and magnesium.

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Ketosis and Charcot Marie Tooth

Ketosis - Avocado

Ketosis is the metabolic state in which the body burns fat as its primary source of fuel. Fat as a fuel is burned more efficiently by the body than carbs. Fat for Fuel by Dr. Josheph Mercola goes into detail about the benefits of fat and how diet can heal the body’s mitochondria. Does this mean ketosis could have a positive impact on Charcot Marie Tooth? This is the question I posed to myself before starting the ketogenic diet six months ago. I quickly learned that a healthy diet and ketosis do indeed have a positive impact on life with CMT. Ketosis targeted several symptoms of CMT.

Fatigue

Fatigue is a notorious symptom of Charcot Marie Tooth. Patients with CMT report being tired most of the time. I was no exception. Before following a ketogenic diet, I felt tired throughout the entire day, everyday. There were no exceptions, and things like caffeine only worked for a small amount of time before I was tired again. This haunting fatigue finally went away when I entered ketosis, and my energy only improved as my body became fat adapted.

The first day I entered ketosis, there was a noticeable difference in my energy. I woke up and didn’t feel groggy like I normally did. I got to work around the house the moment I woke up instead of dragging my feet. It was as if I was suddenly a morning person. It had to be ketosis. I tested my blood ketone level, and sure enough, I was in ketosis. From that day on, my energy improved as my body adjusted to its new energy source: fat.

Pain

Surprisingly, some of my pain was taken care of. I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up by making them think all of my pain was taken care of with ketosis. I can only assume that some of my pain was caused by inflammation throughout my body, because I noticed a significant amount of overall pain had gone away after a few days of being in ketosis. Carbs are known to cause inflammation in the body.

Muscle Weakness

Muscle weakness is common in patients with Charcot Marie Tooth. This feeling of weakness isn’t just normal muscle weakness. It’s a specific feeling where muscles feel much weaker than they should. One day I could feel strong just like I’m a normal person without CMT, then the next my muscles feel half as strong or even worse. From my experience, being in ketosis has made this feeling of weakness scarce. I’m able to feel consistent strength for longer periods of time. Instead of only being able to do five repetitions on my bad days, I’m able to do a full set of 10 repetitions while I’m in ketosis, regardless of a bad or good day.

Muscle Wasting and Atrophy

Due to not feeling weakness as often and being able to exercise much more, I can only assume that my muscle wasting and atrophy have slowed. I’m not trying to write, nor am I implying that ketosis will stop muscle wasting and atrophy, or that ketosis even has a direct impact. I’m merely saying that because ketosis provides better energy and strength, I’m able to exercise more often and for longer lengths of time. I believe this means I will be building and retaining muscle longer than I would have if I hadn’t stayed in ketosis.

Poor Tolerance to Cold Temperatures

In my experience, my poor tolerance to cold temperatures was due to poor circulation. Due to low energy and inactivity, my body had grown accustomed to moving blood at a slow rate. I had a low resting heart rate, around 50 bpm or lower, and I was almost always cold. Having a resting heart rate of 50 bpm isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not really a good sign when you aren’t an athlete.

Once I entered ketosis and became much more active in life, my poor tolerance to cold temperatures went away within a few weeks. My resting heart rate is still around the same, but my heart beats with more strength and moves more blood. My extremities no longer turn into ice blocks in the night. Both my hands and feet stay warm throughout the night. I thank ketosis for the energy it delivers in order to achieve good blood circulation.

Summary

As you can see, ketosis can directly and indirectly target symptoms of Charcot Marie Tooth. Fat burns more efficiently than carbohydrates. It’s also readily available throughout the body, so you have a steady energy source throughout the day. This takes care of fatigue. Without fatigue, I’m able to exercise more and be active throughout the entire day. This address muscle weakness, wasting, and atrophy. Stronger muscles and a stronger heart means better circulation throughout the body. This means ketosis indirectly helps keep me warm in cold temperatures.

I’m quite satisfied with my new lifestyle. I don’t see myself switching from the ketogenic diet in the foreseeable future. There are just too many health benefits for someone like me.

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Bulletproof Coffee for Thirty Days and Beyond

GMM Bulletproof Coffee

At first glance, Bulletproof Coffee (BPC) didn’t seem groundbreaking to me. I was skeptical to say the least. Fat and caffeine? Surely it was just a placebo effect. I was already feeling energy gains from ketosis. Could I really boost the benefits of ketosis with a BPC every morning? I did what I always do and started down a long road of research.

History of Caffeine and Fat

Turns out that caffeine mixed with fat is nothing new. Humans in 9th Century Ethiopia would mix coffee beans with animal fat before coffee was even used as a drink. The mixture was given to warriors before battle to boost energy. Tibetan Butter Tea, or Yak Butter Tea, is very similar to Bulletproof Coffee and has been consumed for centuries by Tibetans to increase their energy in the high altitudes. The more I looked into the history, the more it seemed that humans discovered the benefits of caffeine and fat a long time ago. Somehow the Western world had lost or never adopted this tradition.

Standard Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

  • 8 oz Coffee
  • 1 tbsp Grass-Fed Butter
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbsp MCT Oil or Coconut Oil

This is the standard recipe for most Bulletproof Coffee lovers. I personally add protein powder to my BPC.

My Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

When I feel like having a sweet coffee, I use the Isopure Cookies & Cream Protein Powder. It makes the Bulletproof Coffee taste like hot chocolate! I use Bulletproof Brain Octane MCT Oil and Collagen Protein Powder simply because of their proven quality.

First Week

There were a few things I noticed when I drank my first Bulletproof Coffee. I immediately felt energetic, and more so than if I had just drank a cup of regular coffee. The higher boost to energy might have been a placebo effect, but the sating property of the beverage was not. I felt full. Full enough that I didn’t need to eat until hours later when I had a late lunch. All that fat really did work to fill me up. I assume the fat also helped to sustain the energy, because I felt the energy throughout the entire day.

Even with all the benefits, there was a negative that made me question whether I could continue drinking BPC. Drinking a BPC heightened my energy so much that it also heightened my anxiety. I even had a panic attack so strong that I ended up in the hospital. I don’t give up that easily, and I was determined to find the exact reason my anxiety was being triggered by BPC. After doing some research, I discovered MCT Oil was likely the culprit. I detail how I made my discovery in my Anxiety and MCT Oil post. Once I discovered what the issue was, it was fairly easy to tweak my dosage and solve the problem.

Rest of the Month

The following weeks were fine. My anxiety was rarely triggered, and I was able to control the anxiety if it ever was triggered. Over the next few weeks, I grew to love Bulletproof Coffee. The steady energy boost that it provides aids in mental clarity and focus. I have yet to grow any sort of tolerance. Each day that I consume a BPC, I feel the same mental boost.

Conclusion

Even with the panic attacks and heightened anxiety, the benefits of consuming a Bulletproof Coffee held too much weight. The benefits of energy, focus, and mental clarity motivated me to find a way to keep consuming BPC every morning. After my experiments, I’m able to continue with BPC, and I will continue for the foreseeable future.

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Keto and an Average Day with Charcot Marie Tooth

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Even a normal, nonactive day can be exhausting for someone with Charcot Marie Tooth. I remember before my active lifestyle, I felt almost lethargic due to the sluggish feeling that comes along with having this disease. I told myself that this was only because of the disease, and I had no control over how I felt. This wasn’t true, obviously. I could improve my mental health and physical energy, but I had a crutch of a disease to blame it on. After discovering Keto, I have been pleasantly surprised by the results and how it has improved my energy, focus, and overall mood. In this post, I’m going to describe how Keto has improved my life.

Morning

Before Keto, I had a very rough time waking up in the morning. I had to set multiple alarms in hopes of getting up before 11 AM. This grogginess was something I chalked up to CMT like I did most everything else. It was the disease that was causing my fatigue and grogginess. At least, that’s what I figured.

When I started Keto, my mornings took a complete turn-around. The longer I was in ketosis, the metabolic state in which the body burns fat as the primary fuel source, the easier I found it to wake up in the morning. My body started producing energy so efficiently that I had to begin riding my bike every morning to avoid triggering my anxiety with the energy. So now that I’m fully keto-adapted, what do my mornings usually look like?

Morning Routine

I wake up around 5 AM everyday, no matter if I have work, if it’s the weekend, or what day it is. The first thing I do is make a Bulletproof Coffee (BPC) with a serving of protein powder. This kick-starts ketosis for me. BPC gives me so much energy that when I first started doing this, it triggered panic attacks. I had to experiment and eventually found the ingredients that work for me: 7 oz water, 1 shot espresso, 1 tbsp grass-fed butter, 1 tsp MCT Oil. I’m happy to report that there haven’t been any panic attacks since correcting my BPC ingredients.

With all this energy flowing through me, I have to get rid of it somehow. Some people might not like all this energy, but I love it. This energy gives me more than a reason to exercise. It almost forces me to exercise. If I don’t, I feel anxious. Every morning I bike for at least two hours, four hours optimally. Again, this is yet another task that helps kick me into ketosis. The caffeine, healthy fat, and exercise all yell at my body to start burning fat immediately, and it does just that. This sets up my day for success. This gives me stable energy all the way until I go to bed.

Breakfast

I finish up biking around 7 AM – 9 AM. All this exercise and fat burning gets me hungry. I used to try to fast throughout the morning, but I found it too difficult when doing this much cardio. I just had to eat afterward. I’ve had a favorite breakfast for months now, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get tired of it. I just fry up uncured (nitrate-free) bacon, fry eggs in the bacon grease, and top the eggs with a whole, sliced avocado. This meal has lots of healthy fats, protein, and the avocado is rich in potassium and magnesium, vital nutrients after a workout. In addition to this meal I take supplements as well.

Supplements

There are a lot of opinionated people out there that will tell you that you shouldn’t need nutrients if you’re eating properly. I agree that in a perfect world we would get all of our vital nutrients from the food we consume, but this isn’t a perfect world. Many of my nutrients come from my food, and I almost always hit my nutrient totals with my food alone, but I take supplements just to be absolutely sure that I meet my totals for every nutrient. I have ended up in the hospital many times due to panic attacks brought on from nutrient imbalances, and I intend not to do that anymore. These are the supplements I take every morning with a reason why:

  • Vitamin D
    • CMT patients tend to be vitamin D deficient, and I’m a nerd. Bad combination.
  • Vitamin B12
    • CMT patients tend to be vitamin B12 deficient, and taking B12 helps with my hand tremors.
  • Fish Oil
    • It’s nearly impossible to get the daily amount of Omega-3 fats unless you’re eating a lot of fish everyday.
  • Magnesium
    • I’ve found it to be the most difficult electrolyte to get my total for the day.

Day

Keto-Improved Responsibilities

By the time my morning is squared away, it is usually 10 AM or so. Don’t worry. I scheduled meetings during my bike ride, so don’t assume I wasn’t working! This is about the time my dog is bothering me to go outside. If my body is willing, I will take him for a two mile walk around the neighborhood to give him his exercise, as well as to give myself a little more. This is a good time to think and quiet my thoughts in preparation for all the typing I will soon be doing. I take him for at least two walks throughout the day, three if he is a lucky dog.

The middle of the day is sneaking up on me when I’m done with Gideon, my dog. It’s usually around 11 AM that I start my serious work. This is when I’m in hyper-focus mode due to ketosis, and I use that focus to build my business, write articles, write conference sessions, code, and anything else I’ve decided to be responsible for. I thought the heightened mental state of ketosis was just some mumbo-jumbo until I started taking advantage of it. No, I didn’t grow a third eye or become one with the universe, but it definitely improved my mental capabilities.

Lunch

I usually have a late lunch. It’s around 2 PM before I start craving more food. I try to keep it light, only around 200 to 300 calories. My reason for this is that I think it forces my body to keep burning body fat instead of relying solely on the food I’ll be giving it. I keep it simple, too. I don’t have time for a complicated recipe in the middle of the day. This means it is either leftovers, more eggs and bacon, or 3-4 oz of lean meat with two cups of vegetables. Who said Keto had to be complicated?

Weight Lifting

I will do weight training depending on the day and before or after lunch depending on how I feel. I try to do weight training at least five days a week, resting on days that I fast and don’t consume any calories. For weights, I use dumbbells and kettlebells to do a full body workout over a one hour period. This post isn’t necessarily about how I train, so I’ll go into further detail in another post.

Dinner

Dinner for me is basically whatever I had for lunch, but a little larger. I use this time to meal prep for the next few days or to empty the fridge of leftovers. I’ll pan sear a few meats, roast some vegetables, enough for a few days, and save the leftovers for the next few lunches and dinners. Sometimes I’ll make something like chili, a roast, a soup, or some other more complex recipe. Again, Keto doesn’t have to be complicated.

Evening

On a normal American diet, I would be dragging my feet and feeling exhausted come evening. Even as soon as 4 PM, I would be ready to lie down when I was stuffing myself full of carbohydrates and relying on them for energy. Now with the Keto diet, I feel fine in the evening. I can continue work, do a little more exercise, take my dog for a walk, all sorts of things that I couldn’t do before. It’s like I have another day within my day now! I feel like what I imagine normal, healthy people feel like, and it’s mostly because of my new diet and exercise routine.

Sleep

After all this talk about energy, one might feel afraid that it would be difficult to go to sleep. It isn’t! I haven’t slept this well in a long time. Instead of needing naps throughout the day, I get good quality sleep every night. Without fail, I start to get tired around 9 PM and feel the need to wind down. I do just that. I usually meditate or read for the last hour that I’m awake. This helps enforce the feeling that it’s time to wind down. By the time 10 PM rolls around, I’m ready to sleep without issue.

There you have it. A peaceful conclusion to a day filled with energy, focus, productivity, and positive mental health. I used to think I would never feel this good, and now I’ve found out that it’s as easy as a healthy diet and daily exercise routine. Even with Charcot Marie Tooth, a person can lead a relatively healthy and normal lifestyle.

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Anxiety and MCT Oil

Oil

Anxiety & Panic Attacks

I’ve been dealing with anxiety most of my life. I thought I had had panic attacks before, but I learned my lesson when I really had one in July of 2017. I’ll never forget that day and the terror I felt. Ever since then, the frequency has increased. Each doctor wants to blame something different. It’s the keto diet, it’s all the exercise, it’s this and that. But the first panic attack I had was before all of these triggers, so I wasn’t about to stop the things that improved my life so much just because I was starting to have panic attacks monthly. However, have to admit that something was causing my panic attacks to be more frequent. I was starting to have them weekly!

I removed things from my diet, I changed up how I exercised, and I recorded the data. It appeared that my panic attacks seemed to happen in the morning times and correlated heavily with my energy levels. Turned out that a Bulletproof Coffee triggered me the most. My assumption was that it was the caffeine and fats sending me into heightened ketosis, and this was triggering my panic attacks. I didn’t research any further and stopped drinking Bulletproof Coffee altogether. The panic attacks ceased, but my energy took quite a hit. I had grown accustomed and longed for the day-long energy boost that only a Bulletproof Coffee can deliver. There had to be more to it than simply the fats and caffeine. Coffee had never triggered panic attacks before, even when I drank copious amounts. So maybe it wasn’t quite the energy either. What exactly was it?

The Cause

I started digging again, and I suddenly had the thought to Google “mct oil panic attack”, just to see if there was some sort of correlation. This led me to articles like this onethis post, and other resources that alluded to heightened anxiety with MCT oil. This led me to do even more research. I had known that coconut oil was metabolized much faster than other fats, but I didn’t realize that it had this much potential to trigger anxiety.

When I consume MCT Oil, I get almost an instant rush and feel as if my heart is racing. This begins a downward spiral until I am sent over the edge and a panic attack happens. I discovered this through extensive testing by changing my MCT Oil dosage and continuing my Bulletproof Coffee every morning. I can now consume MCT Oil in the right dosages without having much of an issue, and now that I understand the problem, my anxiety isn’t as intense.

Hopefully this helps anyone else that might have the same reactions to MCT Oil! Don’t give up!