Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

My experience with The “iFast-Loca” hybrid diet

February 25, 2018 1 comment

How does losing 11kg in 12.5 weeks sound? Great? Unrealistic? Well from my personal experience it is very feasible and once you get adapted it is quite simple. I have made this blogpost secondary to several friends inquiring about a diet that I’m doing which was created by combining several concepts out there.

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– The following information IS MEANT to be EDUCATIONAL and not medical advice. 
– I have used myself as a GUINEA PIG with excellent results and wanted to share my experience. However I have no doubt that this can be a Dangerous diet in certain individuals  and if you are planning to pursue it, YOU MUST consult your physician, who at the moment will  probably tell you that I AM CRAZY… Then again, as “crazy as I may be” there will be a strong chance I will be in better shape than he is.

Update: For those interested (under your own risk) here is the link to the facebook book where others are trying the regimen

Little Background info
If you just want the “plan” jump to the end but I recommend you read a little about my personal experience since I consider it intriguing and you will understand why I chose to do certain things. Some of them by serendipity. I call this diet the “KISS LoCa-iFast Diet” (KISS-Keep it simple stupid, LoCa from low carbs but also meaning crazy in Spanish, and iFast-intermittent fasting.

It all started on December which is usually the month in which people gain the most weight secondary to holidays and parties. From previous experience January had been the month of regret, always trying to lose those extra pounds which had become a more daunting task as years went by. In the past I had tried multiple diets with little or NO success. Mediterranean, Paleo, Counting calories , you name it. Yes some worked but with little weight loss for the timeframe done (Sound familiar?)

I must admit I was never a fan for diet that consisted primarily of protein and fat. Since I had tried many different ones before with little success I decided to give this a chance. Little did I know that with some serendipity and common sense-tweaking I would be doing a diet that would help me lose 10 kg in 11 weeks in addition to helping me get rid of my lifelong migraines.

I focused on the acronym (KISS) Keep it simple stupid . As diets become more complicated and elaborated, from my experience, people do not adhere to them long. For this reason, knowing that I had to decrease my carbohydrate intake significantly I looked for the five vegetables with the lowest carbohydrates. Knowing that fruits usually have more carbohydrates then vegetables I decided to get them out from my diet as well (this might not be necessary but this what I did in order to simplify my day. My eating habits were basically eating two or three times a day with food mentioned in the lists below

Since the goal in a low carbohydrate diet is to enter ketosis it is usually recommended for the first days to decrease the carbohydrate intake to less than 20gr to “jump start” into it. Eventually one can increase them but I decided to stay all this time in a diet that consists in less than 20 g per day.
• One of the most challenging aspects in my opinion will be the carbohydrate withdrawal phase. This is a KEY CRUCIAL moment in which you will feel weak, tired, nauseated, and with some headaches. I looked at this as a detox phase. Focusing that   in three days you will start experiencing some very exciting changes.In order to identify if you are in ketosis. There are different ways to do with. One of the most popular is utilizing urine ketone strips. Personally I relied on the fruity taste in the mouth which is described in the diet.81qI74xZglL._SX522_

In 1 week I knew I was in Ketosis and was close to losing 1 kg. This continued for 1 more week and then I noticed that had dropped another kilogram.
• After 2 weeks I was realizing that was not craving food or being hungry anymore. I noticed that I could go without breakfast until 2pm easily. This reminded me of the concept of intermittent fasting as a diet. I also had recently read an article in nature “Intermittent fasting promotes adipose thermogenesis and metabolic homeostasis via VEGF-mediated alternative activation of macrophage” which I found captivating.
• So by serendipity, being in ketosis, and not being hungry I decided to add intermittent fasting which really came seamlessly. When you do not have carbohydrate cravings, accomplishing intermittent fasting is extremely easy. Eating in a 6-8 hour window was a piece of cake.

Long story short, jumping to today I have dropped a little over 10 kg (22 lbs) in 11 weeks.
• In the future blog post I will give more information regarding the scientific explanation and hypothesis for the benefit of this combination. Briefly, this includes decrease of pro-inflammatory markers (hmmm interesting that my migraines went away right?), increase in growth hormone therefore increase in muscle mass and tone (which I have experienced), greater energy and a significant decrease in my case of migraines.

KISS LoCA-iFast Diet:
I) Focus on good protein sources and Fat
II) Focus on vegetables that had the least amount of carbs
III) I Ignored fruits since they usually have higher amount of carbs. (Probably too drastic and you can choose to have some of the fruits listed below, but personally I avoided them all)
IV) Cravings? Snacks?
V)  Alcohol  Personally decided to avoid it completely. But you probably can and here is some good info. “Low-Carb Alcohol: The Top 10 Drinks”

Eat smart. Focus on GOOD protein. So what does good protein look like??? Hmm would you want your muscles to look like bacon? No Right? Well how about a lean fish? Lean Beef? Lean anything? Sounds better right so.
1) Tuna (Wild caught) yes it can be a canned tuna
2) Salmon (I focused on wild caught)
3) Lean Beef
4) Chicken, Turkey
5) Cream cheese, Goat cheese

II) Vegetables
Cabbage Avocado
Green beans
Brussels sprouts
Less to More


III) Fruits
Less to More

IV) Cravings
How does this sound?
Chicharrones with Guacamole? 

CHicharrones.jpegImage result for guacamole

Peanut butter Craving? (click for the link) No problem PbFit is here to help you. Just mix it with sugar free Almond Milk and you can have it! 

Low Carb Protein Shake (click for the link
Any low carb protein shake will do but this one has an excellent flavor. Chocolate and Coffee in my opinion are excellent options but there are many flavors from which you can choose.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate 2 Pound

Want a Taco? Well these cheese wraps work great!

One of the biggest issues has been the craving for tacos and tortillas. These cheese wraps have made those tacos, burritos and other Mexican treats as healthy as they can be.


Chips (click for link)

I must say I was impressed with the flavor of the bbq ones. They taste great and have 21 grams of protein!


Ok so you have an idea now. It is relatively quite simple. Use common sense, do not pig out.

What about Exercise?

Since I started the diet I can lift more weight, run longer without breaks even when fasting. I have only seen gains and improvement

Pilot Study? Hmmm Why not

Concluded, now I have opened the Slack Group



It has been little over 3 months now and I am fully adjusted to the diet with fasting and what I am doing is I am not allowing the body to adapt to any particular routine.

What I mean with this is that with no particular order I try to do as follows

2 days: Eat as many times as I want obviously abiding to a low carb diet and focusing on HEALTHY PROTEIN AND FATS. Be it 3 or 5 times

1-2 days: I fast for almost 24 hours. So it my last meal the previous day was at 9pm, well I eat again at 9pm. At this stage of the diet this might sound painful, it is not. I can do it without a problem, no mental or physical “downs”

4-5 days: do the usual 6-8 hour window

The reality is that atm I am randomly choosing any of the three options above.

Update: April 2018
Even though I did this as an experiment and using myself as a Guinea Pig there are physicians who have been recommending this for years. Educating oneself is extremely important because there is a strong chance that everything you have been taught and recommended could be flawed.  For this Reason I recommend the following books

1) Grain Brain  (Now I understand why my migraines FINALLY stopped)
2) The Obesity Code
3) The Diabetes Code
3) The 4 hour body

Para Aquellos que busquen los libros en Español aqui estan
1) Cerebro de Pan
2) El Codigo de la obesidad

Categories: Fitness, Health

Increased risk of 11 types of cancer linked to being overweight, researchers warn

March 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Study shows strong evidence of a link between excess body fat and cancers of the colon, breast, pancreas and ovary among others 18.30 EST Last modified on Tuesday 28 February 2017 18.


Categories: Health

Type 2 diabetes prevented in 80 percent of at-risk patients with repurposed drug

February 26, 2017 Leave a comment

The drug, which increases the amount of appetite-supressing hormones produced by the gut, was tested on overweight people with ‘prediabetes’. This is also known as ‘borderline diabetes,’ and is characterised by slightly increased blood sugar levels.

Categories: Health

TeleRobotic Procedures via VR Cockpit are closer than you think

May 15, 2016 Leave a comment

       Back in 2011 I had the opportunity of assisting Singularity University’s first FutureMed (now known as Exponential Medicine). I was exposed to several exponential technologies. Relevant to this post was the talk given about Driverless Cars by Brad Templeton. Back in 2011, in general, people said this was not feasible and it would take more than 20 years for this to happen. Well , I believe everyone now understands how deceiving exponential trends can affect our daily life.

SRI new robot Taurus

      As a Pioneer in the incorporation of Augmented Reality and Virtual reality in the medical field, in particular, Interventional Cardiology which is my specialty.

      In the last couple of years I have focused in the implementation of Virtual Reality in the cathlab and was the first one to record with Jaunt VR some procedures. Once I reviewed the recorded 360 experience I understood the wide array of possible applications and implications. I have mentioned medical education, patient education, decreasing stress and anxiety, decreasing arrhythmias in the hospital setting and one that seems more far away the Virtual Reality Cockpit which could guide telerobotic procedures.

    This last month 2 very important research studies have been released:

1) The CORA-PCI Study (presented at SCAI) evaluated the feasibility of performing PCI in patients with complex coronary lesions using robotic technology to remotely control coronary guidewires and stents. Dr. Mahmud showed how at this point in time robotic technology to perform PCI is a viable alternative to manual PCI. Key words are AT THIS POINT IN TIME. As a technology enthuthiast I guarantee you this will change to be the norm and will allow us to perform intervention in a quicker and safer manner. (I know many will think this is nonesense, but everything I have been saying since a medstudent regarding implementation of technology has eventually happened and always considered nonesense. So let me just say this will happen)


2) As A VR pioneer and enthuthiast I find the following study tremendously exciting. Even more exciting is that this comes from @DisneyResearch which I just find it as a breath of fresh AIR! The study is “A Hybrid Hydrostatic Transmission and Human-Safe Haptic Telepresence Robot”

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The latter is not directly related to medicine but this just proves that what I said at @CRT_Meeting is true. (Which I managed to record in 360 immersive video, pardon the youtube quality) The Virtual Reality Cockpit is coming and it will allow us to perform TeleRobotic Procedures.


MDs & Patients! Please choose YOUR Telemedicine platform wisely!

January 3, 2015 Leave a comment

2015 will be a huge year for Telehealth/Telemedicine. In the past, as physicians we have always allowed others implement the systems they want us to use and look were it has taken us.
Some might be happy others not so much. Regardless of your emotion we need to choose wisely when we choose the Telemedicine platforms we will be using.

As doctors, it is time we come together and make a wise decision on the platforms we will use in the future. The average debt for a resident at this point in time goes from 170 to 250K dollars. I see many platforms asking for these people in debt to give more for free. Why for free? Well it is simple but not the point of this post. I will elaborate in a later post on this.one_lg

For this post I want to emphasize some key points to avoid Doctors getting screwed one more time…
1) Telemedicine platforms are not here to “help” you as a doctor.  Their main goal for them is to make money. If this was not the case then they would not be a business. It is estimated that Telemedicine in 2020 will reach an estimated value of USD 36.3 billion and business men want a piece of it.  They all have to say they are here to improve healthcare. Blah blah blah. Let’s detach ourselves and see who is running the companies.
2) ALWAYS  check the percentage they will take from the transaction and see if its fare. Probably not. If not Doctors need to stick together…
3) The Telemedicine platform is as good as the doctors enrolled. DO NOT ONLY CHOOSE ONE, ENROLL AS MANY AS YOU CAN. DO NOT GIVE THE POWER JUST TO ONE! Whichever platform benefits the patients and the doctors at a given time will be the choice.
4) Physicians are the only professionals that give their advice for free. Yes, we like to help people but we also like to help our families and provide for them. This comes from money. Try creating an application that asks lawyers to give their advice for free and see how hot it goes.
5) Let’s be blunt here. TIME IS MONEY and nobody works for free (almost nobody). Hey I am up for Pro Bono, but getting lured into a system of telemedicine where everyone wants to make money of the doctor. Not so much.
6) The truth is, if we want Telemedicine to be a pleasant useful tool for us as physicians we need to have a strong PRESENCE in how we practice it. THEREFORE, CHOOSE WISELY. If such platform does not exist, lets just start tweaking Skype, or hangouts, to avoid transaction fees. Microsoft, Google are you listening?
7) WHY IS FOCUSING ON THE PHYSICIAN IMPORTANT??????? Simple, because we all want a happy doctor to take care of us. If they use a platform that they are happy with this is far more likely. Look at all the negative articles out there talking about how frustrated doctors are with how healthcare is going. This is true because we are not truly represented. Doctors know what is best for the patients, trust me, and that is why many complain. Example Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician


In general, what is good for the doctor is good for the patient and what is good for the patient is good for the doctor this is because these 2 entities are a team, a partenership (Unless your doctor is a “dbag” then this does not apply and vice versa). We need to stick together to make a change, its time we start doing it.

Over the last 18 months I have been working on a platform called Curely with 2 other entrepreneurs from Singularity University. This platform has been created by doctors and patients working together. We have tweaked it constantly and have been incorporating our physician’s recommendations. This is a platform that truly focuses on the PATIENT but it ALSO focuses on the DOCTORS. The best interest for both parties. If you are interested on Curely, you can find me at and/or christian.assad @ singularityu. com

Categories: Health, Mobilehealth

Democratizing Healthcare = AI+Sensors+EMR+Mobile

November 22, 2014 Leave a comment


If you have been following the news you likely have heard about how WATSON defeated the two Jeopardy Champions in 2011. More recently, you probably read headlines talking about sending WATSON to medical school and it graduating in a week.

More recent headlines have mentioned the concept of Dr. WATSON being in the house. You may be wondering how does beating to Jeopardy champions (crushed is a better term) make a case to use WATSON (W) in healthcare. The key lies in the capacity of W making sense of unstructured data. For those that do not know what unstructured data is: “Structured data refers to information that either does not have a pre-defined data model and/or does not fit well into relational tables.

Unstructured information is typically text-heavy, but may contain data such as dates, numbers, and facts as well. This results in irregularities and ambiguities that make it difficult to understand using traditional computer programs as compared to data stored in fielded form in databases or annotated (semantically tagged) in documents”. In other words W read so much that it was able to interpret and understand the english language. Watson understands natural language, not only the meaning. It has the capacity to adapt and learn from particular situations.

With the knowledge it has read and digested W generates many hypothesis, not just a single answer and then uses algorithms and lists the possibilities. It could be hundreds it could be 10. Then, it assigns numeric values to the hypothesis and deciders on the best possible option. W usually ended up with top 3 answers but in Jeopardy W needed one answer. For this, IBM added and additional algorithm that helped W decide depending on the strategic position of the game how much he would risk.

What can WATSON do?

1. Devour Huge volumes of text like information 2. 90% of the data created in the last 2 years, 80% unstructured, WATSON knows it already 3. Most physicians can only read at the most 15 hours a month 2 to 3 journals. 4. WATSON can read 4,000 articles, get the most important concepts, and then present the most relevant.

In healthcare we are not expecting a single answer. There could be several answers. Multiple chronic diseases and contribute to each others outcome. WATSON WILL NOT BE A DECISION MAKER (at least not for now), it will understand the nature of your question and develop educated diagnosis. Then a doctor can decide which is the best possible answer based on evidence based information.

As mentioned, WATSON IS ADAPTIVE, the more it “plays” the more knowledgable he becomes. W teaches itself and keeps getting smarter. W can modify its own algorithms and get rid of those that got him into “trouble” or made a bad call and learn to use the right ones more often. W represents cognitive computing or in other words a thinking computing.

1. ASK – you can ask it a very detailed question based on medical history. W will decide what data to access and come back with relevant information

2. DISCOVER: W is interactive, it can tell you which are his suggestions and if deemed necessary, ask you to give him more info to clarify particular doubts (Adding a symptom, quality, intensity, duration) – WATSON will tell you what he used in order to get this information, highlight the information he used and share it with you

3. Decides which is the most relevant answer in the case

4. Doctor WATSON? Not anytime soon

5. The goal is NOT to replace physicians, but to help them achieve the best treatment Another intriguing characteristic that helps WATSON is that he is not human. Not being human removes from the equation self reinforcing perception bias that physicians encounter after facing a particular patient and solving it succesfully. It protects you and the patients of following a path that you believe is right.

Categories: Health, Mobilehealth

Social Media for Doctors: 5 Rules to get you rolling!

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment

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I have been asked a couple of times regarding advice on Social Networks and the feedback has been positive. Therefore I thought making a post would be the next step to share  these recs in an easier way. Hope it helps.

It was not long ago that most people, including doctors thought Social Media was a waste of time. As a medical professional I have found it a tremendous tool which proved to be useful for many things
1) Education
2) Engagement
3) Priceless Networking
4) Making conferences more interactive and interesting
5) Spreading advice and more

As a doctor who has been using Social Media for a while, I will give some advice that I consider extremely important for any medical professional. This advice will help you jump start your social media presence
1) NEVER post anything in any social network that you would not say in front of 1 MILLION people. (Many of us used FB or other platforms before we knew better so it is reasonable to delete your digital footprint in some of these platforms. Get a fresh start.)
2) Use different social media to target different audiences  Take advantage of this. Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, G+, and one of my favorites, Reddit (/r/Science and /r/Futurology are great!). I will stay away from mentioning Doctor designed Social Networks since I rarely use them anymore.
3) Learn how to use #Hashtags in a proper manner, engage with the internet (Priceless advice given to me by (@Lucienengelen). In addition when you choose your twitter handle, I would suggest for you to use your name if you want people to find you quickly and interact with you. If not, then create a nickname that is simple and easy to remember.
4) Follow healthcare Power Twitters and learn from them even if they are not from your specialty. Trust me, you will learn a lot.
– @Lucienengelen – Lucien Engelen
– @ZGJR – Rafael Grossman
– @Berci – Berthalan Mesko
– @Daniel_Kraft – Daniel Kraft
– @Johnnosta – Johnnosta
– @Doctor_V – Bryan Vartabedian
– @Hjluks – Howard Luks
– @Seattlemamadoc – Wendy Sue Swanson
– @Epatientdave – Dave deBronkart
– @doctorwes – Westby Fisher
– @erictopol – Eric Topol
– @Christianassad – Christian Assad 

5) Never trust Direct Messages in twitter. I don’t care how safe you think they are, always assume this could end up seen by millions.

Follow these 5 steps and you will feel more comfortable. (If you do not so already)

Another tremendous reason why the use of Social Media is important among healthcare providers is that is a tool, that in a way, prepares Physicians, Nurses, PAs, you name it, for Telemedicine. Yes, you heard me.

Once your are done with this. Start exploring platforms like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. This is what a Power Twitter is about. You will feel like you have cloned yourself and you are in multiple places at once!

Got questions? You know where to find me! Cheers!

Categories: Health, Mobilehealth