Staying fit & healthy during pregnancy  – why I chose the Bulletproof / ketogenic diet
I started drinking bulletproof coffee a year ago when my mother gave me the book “the Bulletproof Diet” written by Dave Asprey. At that time I was just starting my bikini competition training with a coach from the US, which is a low fat high protein diet, so I was very skeptical about the whole thing – but his book really fascinated me.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. So true.
What is the Bulletproof Coffee anyways? May be you can read this blog.
Get yourself the best quality, organic coffee beans. We’d been drinking coffee from Nespresso but when you read where the beans come from… well, the one we liked, Kazaar, the strongest one, was a blend from 3 different countries. I bet they all come from different farms, and they are all stored under some humid, moldy warehouses. Asprey’s book made me aware of mycotoxin (mold toxin), which could cause all kinds of health problems like heart disease, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease and so on. It may make the coffee taste more bitter, then you need to add more sugar to cover the taste. Here is an interesting article about coffee and mycotoxin.
Anyways, we started incorporating his idea of diet, which focuses on eating truly healthy food which causes the least harm to your body.
At first, I only followed the point 2 and 4 (because I was going to start with this bikini diet so going for high fat was not an option). Tobias started to cook some dishes with his Bulletproof recipes.
This is how I summarise what he is saying without going into detailed scientific blah blah.
- Eat GOOD FAT as a main source of energy: fat is a superior fuel than carbohydrates/sugar, does not affect your cognitive function, and improves your health in general. See below for more details, what good fats are.
- Eat as much ‘bulletproof food’ as possible: basically the best unprocessed ingredients you can get, such as organically grown produce, which does not cause inflammation to your body.
- Get approx. 20% of your daily calories from vegetables, 5% carb/starch, 20% from good protein and the rest from good fat: in order for the body to enter into ketosis, i.e. your body burns ketones as a source of energy instead of glucose.
- Quit sugar: because sugar is a poor energy source, and it leads to fluctuating levels of blood sugar and insulin levels. i.e. you get highs and lows in energy levels. Even fruits should be avoided.
- Intermittent fasting: you fast in the morning to keep the ketosis going. but by drinking a cup of Bulletproof Coffee with fat, you won’t be hungry the whole morning, and your body will still be in the ketogenic state.
Well, then I found out that I was pregnant! I read many articles on nutritions for pregnancy, and I’ve decided to try the whole Bulletproof Diet including intermittent fasting. After all, Tobias became so much healthier and he even lost 10kg without starving himself. His blood work was excellent. He was never sick like before.
Luckily, there is a book called the Better Baby Book written by Dave Asprey’s wife Lana Asprey (she is a physician who runs a natural fertility consulting practice), and it made me convinced that the ketogenic diet is safe for pregnancy AND is great for fetal growth.
Lena Asprey wrote: “Fat is one of the main building blocks of your body – and your baby’s body. The body’s brain, cell walls, and hormones are composed mostly of fat. Toxin-free healthy fats are some of the most nutrient-packed foods available; the issue is knowing where to find them. Your body metabolizes healthy fats more efficiently and with fewer waste products than either carbohydrates or proteins. Eating healthy fats keeps your baby’s brain growing, gives you a feeling of satiety, and maintains your weight at optimal levels. If you make healthy fat a primary part of your diet, you actually reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.”
Fats are often misunderstood. There are good guys and bad guys. Let me summarise what Lena writes in her book:
- Best fats = saturated and monounsaturated. What can you find them? Egg yolks, butter from grass-fed cows, coconut, meat from healthy grass-fed animals, avocados, olives and nuts.
- Coconut oil = high in saturated fats, which optimises cholesterol levels, boosts our immune systems, improves your brain activity and hormone formation, and provide efficient energy.
- Omega 3 fatty acids = abundant in wild caught salmon and egg yolks from free-range hens, reduces inflammation, protects us from overdose of omega 6, improving bloody circulation, optimising blood pressure and healing scar tissue.
- Omega 6 = not our best friend, found in soy, canola, corn and vegetable oils. Naturally found in nuts, vegetables and grains. Why is it not good? because it oxidises easily, i.e. if you use it in cooking (i.e. heating), it is unhealthy.
- Oxidised, hydrogenated (trans fat), contaminated (e.g. in processed food/margarine etc) fats could cause heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Kinda scary coz I used to take Omega 6 supplement as well. But apparently this fatty acid is so widely available in the Western diet, you really should make an effort to avoid it.
Ghee from grass-fed butter became our main source of fat. We prefer ghee because Tobias is lacrose/casein intolerant, this way we remove those bits and only consume the best part! And it is more nutrient-dense than butter due to its high vitamin A content. Lots of vitamins D, E and K, and has twice the short- and medium-chain fatty acids that butter has. It also has more butyrate, an anti-inflammatory fat that keeps your gut lining and metabolism in good shape. oh, it has a very high smoke point and the most stable cooking fats around.
Since I still do some weightlifting in the morning, the only exception is that I take whey isolate after my workout. I had my first week without whey and the result was horrible – my muscles never seem to repair themselves and I suffered from the DOMS for several days! Anyways, just 30g of whey isolates which contains no carb/fat.
Great thing about this diet is that you get to enjoy food a lot – being on a low fat diet for so long, I forgot how amazing fat tasted. The only downside is to avoid carb at all cost when you go out and it is everywhere. I am not just talking about rice or noodles, but as sugar. I live in Thailand and there is NO FOOD here which contains no sugar. So when I order papaya salad, I always say “no sugar, no MSG” and they would say “oh but that won’t be yummy!”. You do get used to it after a while. Sauce and dressing – oh yeah, LOADED with sugar and god knows what. It makes it so much easier to cook at home anyways.
I’ve been good with everything else but limiting the sugar intake has been the biggest change I had to make, and that is the ‘hardest’ part of this diet. I live in a country which is blessed with the most delicious fruits!!! I have been eating pineapples and mangos every day! That is no longer possible??? But when you think about it, they are packed with fructose, that’s what make them delicious. We are all addicted to it. What your mother told you is not quite right – “FRUITS ARE GOOD FOR YOU” – well, eating too much of it overloads you with sugar and that is not a good thing. What about all the Vitamin C in fruits??? well, you get enough of it from fresh vegetables, too. Vegetables contain glucose, not fructose, which lowers insulin sensitivity and raises risk factors for heart disease. So what do I do these days? I just eat low-fructose fruits like berries in the evening, that’s all. Once I got used to it, I really didn’t need to nibble during the day. I am just full from my meals. If I get hungry, I eat some nuts, not fruits.
Here are some statistics about fruits and the sugar contents. Scary isn’t it.
If you are surprised how much sugar is in natural food like fruits, think how much sugar is used in most of the processed food! We are not getting younger. It is never too late to invest your time in really knowing what you put inside your body, and start fueling yourself with good quality food. Again, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.