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Low-carb vegetables and fruits

          One of the drawbacks of the ketogenic diet is that most versions allow almost no fruits or vegetables, especially during the induction phase that usually takes about two weeks. That eliminates the kinds of nutrients that our bodies are designed for – phenols and flavonoids and similar nutrients that protect us against inflammation and cell damage, as well as fiber that we need for a healthy gut.

A strict ketogenic diet allows for 50 grams or less of carbohydrate, less than you would get in a BLT sandwich. And that means that for the rest of the day you could only have protein and fat in your diet. There is a happy solution however.

Some vegetables have little carbohydrate because much of their bulk consists of water and fiber. They include things like bell peppers, asparagus, avocado, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, kale, cabbage and mushrooms. (You can find how much carbohydrate there is in a serving of your favorite food at Google – or just ask Siri). In other words, you can still get the plant nutrients in vegetables if you pick the right ones. Root vegetables like potatoes, beets and carrots have more carbohydrate – a medium baked potato has 50 grams of starch that rapidly breaks down into sugar — but an occasional small serving won’t destroy your diet.

Fruits are another matter. They are bred to be sweet, which means sugary and even a medium-sized banana has about 30 grams of carbohydrate, a medium orange has about 25 grams and an apple about 20.

But here’s the good news: you don’t need to go full keto in order to get its benefits. In addition to those I listed above, things like kale, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower and green beans are low enough in carbohydrate that you can have one or two servings every day with lunch or dinner and not feel like a martyr – or annoying your family with bad breath!



Here’s another annoyance of aging. Unfortunately it’s one of those that has no remedy: thin, fragile skin           

As we age we inevitably begin to lose some of the fatty tissue and connective tissue beneath the skin, especially on the back of the hand and on the forearm. Skin becomes paper-thin and a light brush against a doorway peels away some skin. Oral or topical steroids, drugs like prednisone, bring it on faster.

Retinol, a prescription drug, or fish oil supplements might help but the best solution is simply to protect susceptible areas. When you work outdoors wear light gloves and a long-sleeved shirt, even in warm weather. They can be a protective barrier.

This kind of injury is so common after the age of about 65 that you might want to have a couple of band-aids in your wallet or purse. It’s cheap, unobtrusive insurance.


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