Posted on Leave a comment

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/.

Posted on 6 Comments

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

How I Started Exercise with Charcot Marie Tooth

Exercise - Weights

About a week ago I posted an article, “Exercise Routine for Someone with Charcot Marie Tooth,” about my exercise routine. In the article, I mentioned that I started out slow with exercise, but I didn’t really go into much detail. There was some negative feedback from that article. Feedback like, “you’re prescribing a dangerous and potentially deadly lifestyle for people with Charcot Marie Tooth.” My assumption is that the people giving this feedback misunderstood the article. I wasn’t prescribing any sort of lifestyle. Instead, I was merely sharing my success story. I was not advising anyone to suddenly start an intense exercise routine without building up to it.

With that said, I’d like to describe in detail how I started out with exercise. It is my hope that this will show that exercise is not at all unhealthy for people with CMT. In fact, it is necessary for people with CMT to exercise. We must build and maintain our muscle in order to retain strength throughout our life. Otherwise our muscles and peripheral nervous system will waste away.

Read through to the end for Reader Participation. I’d really love to hear feedback and inspirational stories!

My First Exercise

Exercise - Bike

I began trying to be active about two years ago, well before I thought about changing my diet. I started with just bike riding and nothing else. Finally, I got a bike and attached it to a trainer. This turns it into a stationary bike, so I can ride in private. It was tough, I have to admit. I could ride for maybe 20 minutes before my muscles were too fatigued to continue. Instead of losing motivation because of this fatigue, I just kept telling myself that it would improve with exercise. The fatigue had to improve, right?

The fatigue did indeed improve. After about a week of riding each day, I could ride up to 45 minutes each time. That was a huge improvement for just one week! That showed me that even with CMT, I can build muscle and improve my energy. I just had to try, and I had to stop listening to all the discouragement out there.

The Slow and Steady Climb

Exercise - Slow Climb

I didn’t add to my bike riding routine for months, nearly a year. I had tried to be active earlier on in life, and I learned very quickly that I need to take things easy and build up. Having an injury with CMT can set a person back months in exercise. It was only when I was riding my bike up to two or more hours each day that I decided I could add more to my routine.

My Starter Routine

To start out, I lifted very light weights. I wasn’t about to compete with any body builders! To give you an example, here is a list what I did when I started out:

  • Bike for 1 hour
  • Wrist Curls – 10 lb, 2 sets of 8
  • Arm Curls – 10 lb, 2 sets of 8
  • Shoulder Press – 10 lb, 2 sets of 8
  • Chest Press – 15 lb, 2 sets of 8
    • Yes, that’s the equivalent of bench pressing 30 lb. Start out easy!
  • Squats – 2 sets of 8
    • No weights! And easy squats, not real ones. I squat down onto a low weight bench and stand back up in the squat position. Squat down on something as low as a bathtub rim, for example.
  • Calf Raises – 2 sets of 8

This routine might sound intense to sedentary people, but it isn’t. The weights above are light, so light that I figured I wouldn’t see any improvement at all. I had to start somewhere, though. Keep in mind that my “light” may not be your “light”. Start with a weight that is so easy that you don’t even feel like it’s exercise (yet). You’re just getting your muscles used to moving and being active.

Time to Climb

After a couple of weeks of doing this routine, the weights were so light that it felt like I was picking up an empty glass. I could honestly feel that my muscles were adjusting to exercise. It wasn’t as much that they got stronger as it was that they had become used to the movements. My muscles were ready when I told them to lift something, even if that something was light.

This told me it was time to move up in weight. I continued my routine, but I increased the weight by 5 lb, and I also added 2 repetitions to each set. My new routine looked like this:

  • Bike for 1 hour
  • Wrist Curls – 15 lb, 2 sets of 10
  • Arm Curls – 15 lb, 2 sets of 10
  • Shoulder Press – 15 lb, 2 sets of 10
  • Chest Press – 20 lb, 2 sets of 10
  • Squats – 2 sets of 10
  • Calf Raises – 2 sets of 20

As you can see, I also increased my Calf Raises repetitions to 20. They were just getting too easy, so I felt the need to increase. I want to emphasize that I’m listening to my body here. I don’t want to injure myself, but if something is so easy that it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it, it’s time to increase.

Recap of the Climb

Before moving on to current day, I want the time frame of how I built up my routine to be very clear. I started biking two years ago, and it took a year of biking every single day for me to feel comfortable adding strength training to my routine. Others may be different, but that’s how it went for me.

I started with light weights, so light that it wasn’t even exercise. I just wanted to get my muscles adjusted to moving more often. After I added light weight training into my routine, it took me a couple of weeks to feel like I could increase the weight to any significant amount. I increased the weight the smallest amount I could, by 5 pounds. No need to jump up to anything dangerous. I just steadily and slowly increased weight over time. Sometimes it would take me up to a month or longer before I could increase the weight again.

Current Day

Although I detailed my exercise routine in my previous article, it has changed up a little since then. I fast every other day now, and I don’t exercise when I fast.

I’m posting my current routine here as well, just for convenience and to show it has changed a tad.

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

3-5 Days a Week

  • Cardio, 1 hour bike ride
  • 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

Notice that I still do my back exercises everyday. I moved the cardio to 3-5 days a week, and it’s only for 1 hour now.

Consult Your Doctor

Personally, I don’t believe any of this is dangerous. I believe people convince themselves that an active lifestyle is dangerous in order to excuse themselves from exercising. I say this because I used to do the exact same thing. Doctors and people with CMT told me exercise was dangerous, and I was happy to use it as an excuse to stay lazy, sedentary, and unhealthy. It simply isn’t true, though. Exercise is good for you, plain and simple.

With that said, please be sure to consult your doctor before making any significant changes in your lifestyle. Bear in mind that I have a team of doctors and a very capable nutritionist who monitor my progress.

Audience Participation!

Here comes the fun part! I’d like to hear the reader’s opinion on exercise, negative or positive. Also, I’d like to hear success stories.

Why don’t you exercise? If you do exercise, what convinced you to start? What do you do for exercise? Comment below, or share this article on social media along with your story!

Posted on 2 Comments

Boost Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting - Coffee

Intermittent Fasting (IF) has been of interest for me since I saw some presentations by Dr. Jason Fung about a year ago. It took me awhile to work up the courage to try fasting. I was apprehensive due to my health issues. Little did I know the benefits of intermittent fasting that I would see. See “Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Charcot Marie Tooth,” where I detail the benefits of IF for CMT.

Prolonged vs Intermittent Fasting

The more I enjoyed the benefits of intermittent fasting, the more I began to wonder if there were ways to boost fasting benefits. I started slow with intermittent fasting before moving on to prolonged fasting. There are differing opinions about what these two types of fasting mean. For this post, I define these types of fasting as follows:

  • Intermittent Fasting – Fasting for 24 hours or less. Example: 16/8 Fast, 16 hours of no calories with an 8 hour window to eat each day.
  • Prolonged Fasting – Fasting for longer than 24 hours. Usually limited to 72 hours, but some people go for even longer than 3 days.

One can gain the benefits of fasting from either of these techniques. It really comes down to personal preference and which one is most convenient for one’s lifestyle. I personally prefer the prolonged fasting. I find it convenient to not eat for two days out of my week. My routine is currently a 48 hour fast each week. After reading this study about IF and CMT, I may switch my routine to Alternate-day Fasting, or a cycle of 24 hour fasting followed by 24 hours of food.

I was feeling the benefits of fasting, but I wanted to find out if I could maximize the efficiency of each fast. I wanted to burn as much fat as possible during my fast.

Boost Intermittent Fasting Benefits

There are two tools I now use to maximize the efficiency of my fasts: Bulletproof Coffee (BPC) and cardio. Combining these two the morning of my fast immediately puts me into ketosis and keeps me there throughout the fast. I’ve tested doing a fast with and without these two and different combinations of both to see just how my body would behave. I always lose the most weight and feel the best during a fast when I start it with a BPC and cardio.

Bulletproof Coffee

Starting my fast with a Bulletproof Coffee helps me sustain my energy throughout the fast. If I don’t start my fast with a BPC, I always seem to wake up groggy the next day and have a hard time prolonging the fast over 24 hours. I also seem to get more hunger pains when I don’t have a BPC before my fast. I believe it’s all the fat in the BPC that helps me feel sated throughout my fast. After trying to fast with and without a BPC several times, I have decided to always start my fast with a BPC. If you’d like to know more about my experiences with BPC, please read my Bulletproof Coffee for Thirty Days and Beyond post.

The Bulletproof Coffee at the start of each fast helped sustain my energy and sate my hunger throughout the fast, but it didn’t make much of a difference in how much fat I was losing during the fast. There was a slight difference in weight loss, but nothing significant. I knew I was in a higher state of ketosis during my fast, but was there a way to increase my fat burning during the fast?

Cardio

An obvious answer to boost fat burning during a fast seemed to be exercise at the beginning of the fast. I started with just an hour of cardio the first time I tried cardio with fasting. The next time I fasted, I did the same hour long cardio session. I seemed to consistently lose an extra 1.5 pounds or so when I included an hour of cardio at the start of my fast. Keep in mind that this cardio is not intense. It’s just steady, easy cardio. I keep my heart rate in the fat-burning to just at cardio level, 100-140 bpm for me.

After a few times of doing this, I started to wonder how far I could push it and if I could control the amount of fat loss I had during a fast. I eventually got to where I could do four hours of cardio at the start of each fast. Doing four hours of cardio seemed to consistently help me lose 2.5 to 3 pounds during a fast. I don’t do four hours of cardio at the beginning of each fast mind you, but it was nice to know that it was possible for me to control my fat loss. Now I average 2-3 hours of cardio at the start of each of my fasts.

Conclusion

After many experiments, I believe I have found my optimal way of fasting. Each person will have their own way, but I felt like sharing my experiences might help others find a way to experiment themselves. For me, the best way I’ve found to fast is to have a 24-48 hour fast each week and to start that fast with a Bulletproof Coffee and 2-3 hours of cardio to boost fasting benefits.

Note: I only do BPC and cardio at the start of the fast. Afterward, I do not continue to do cardio throughout the fast. I tried this once and consequently ended up fainting. I do not recommend doing cardio or any other exercise throughout a fast. Please consult with your doctor before significantly changing your diet or exercise routine.

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on 5 Comments

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

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.