It’s been about 4 months since I started down this ketogenic path; well…4 weeks & 10 days to be exact. I’ve eaten this way through my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I tell you this not to brag, (by any means) but to let you know I’m still alive…and still sticking with it…and still quite happy with the process. 🙂
I’ve had a LOT of you who have questions regarding this method of eating, and quite a few of you who’ve decided to take the keto plunge yourself. If you haven’t read my first post on WHY I decided to start eating in a ketogenic way, and the method behind the madness read HERE first. It will help give you a proper introduction into this post. I hope that through my past few months of experience, trial & error, & researching, I can give some support, information, and answers to those who might be seeking it.
What I’ve learned thus far in the process…
- I personally, am prone to NOT eat enough fat. As far as my macronutrient percentages, I shoot for 80% fat in my diet. For someone who is used to eating high protein, (and who doesn’t naturally have an affinity for things like cheese…) I find myself still reaching for those lean options. It’s a total mindset change for me to be sure to get fat in first with regards to meal prep. It makes a HUGE difference. It is key to get enough fat. It is THE key.
- It is VERY beneficial to properly test your ketones. Without testing, you don’t have a way to know if you’re eating correctly. I would recommend testing with a blood glucose testing meter like THIS ONE. If your ketones are low, you know you need to switch something up in your diet. There are other methods of ketone testing (breath & urine strips) However, they tend to be less accurate.
- It is FAR better to stick to REAL healthy food options, even though there might be a barrage of “low carb” no calorie, artificially sweetened options. I see a lot of people get really excited about how easy eating Keto is going to be because they see a lot of options for “low carb” treats. Yes, they can be a great OCCASIONAL way to curb the sweet tooth, but the less artificial sweeteners the better. It’s better to just stick to real food, and not try so hard to fit in all the extra “treats.” Those are the foods that tend to lead to what is called “carb creep..” a few carbs here a few there, and before you know it, you’re not in ketosis. Things are called “treats” because they should be a treat…not an every day occurrence. Even things like gum or sugar free candies might surprise you with how the carb count adds up.
- This process has allowed me to decrease my body fat, and lose weight. So, yes…I’ve been eating fat in order to lose fat. As I explained in my first post, despite the fact that I am cutting out carbs to a high degree, it’s necessary to have fuel still. I’m just trading where my fuel source is coming from. Instead of using glucose to fuel my body, i’m using fat. I’m trying to re-train my body to become fat adapted…and it’s working. I won’t give you my exact number of lbs, mainly because it will be different for everyone according to what you have to lose.
- There are SO many different methods of eating this way when you search info on ketogenic eating on the internet. I would highly recommend working with someone who knows what they are doing to make sure you are doing it correctly. It can save time and misspent effort. I offer meal plans to those who are interested.
- Salt replacement is ABSOLUTELY KEY. This is especially true for those who are working out. With cutting out processed foods, salt intake is cut down dramatically. Insulin signals salt retention in the kidneys. When insulin levels aren’t elevated, the body doesn’t retain that salt, it actually excretes it. That being said, your body NEEDS salt to function. So, you must replace it. Drinking broth is a great way to do this. Those who start out eating this way might experience what is called the “keto flu” initially as the body is becoming depleted of it’s glucose stores, and the best way to combat this is through salt replacement.
The questions that I get on a regular basis…
- So..what’s the next step? Are you going to eat like this forever? My answer…I’m honestly still not sure. I’m over 4 months in, and i’m really taking this process a week at a time. Each week I test my ketones, reevaluate what needs to be shifted, and keep moving forward. I’m not where I want to be yet, goal-wise, so I’m still focusing on getting there. However, I’ve been studying a lot on ketogenic carb cycling for the future, and that might be a route I take if I feel like it might be beneficial to me. I guess I don’t fully have an answer there, but in the mean time I’m enjoying the processes I am in. I’m hoping to correct some health issues, and get my body working properly again.
- But, I thought eating fat was bad for your cholesterol…heart…insides…etc. Turns out a LOT of the information that we’ve had through the years telling us to fear fat may be a bit off. The more I study this information, the more I realize that it is the combination of excess calories & sugar (coming from actual sugar as well as carbohydrates) WITH the large amounts of fat that people are eating that are causing most of the problems. I’m eating a low carb, high fat diet, and my health stats are great. In addition to that my weight is decreasing, as well as my body fat.
- Are you still able to go out to eat?? Absolutely. I have simply had to figure out ways to ditch the carb heavy options for other low carb substitutions. For example…I’ll order chicken fettuccine alfredo, but instead of noodles I’ll have them sub broccoli or brussel sprouts. I’ll check w/the location on their salad dressing stats, and if it doesn’t contain sugar i’ll get a cobb or cesar salad. Those who like beef could order a steak w/a side of veggies topped with melted butter. Fajitas are a great options with the meat, cheese, veggies, guacamole, & sour cream…just ditch the tortillas. You get it. I will say that I have found myself cooking at home a lot more because I like to know exactly what is going into what i’m eating. I’ve found a ton of awesome recipes on pinterest, and pinned them on my Ketogenic board HERE.
- What do you eat all the time? My day typically goes like this
- 8 oz heated up chicken broth + 2 tbs heavy cream in the morning (This tides me over until lunch, & helps with the intermittent fasting, which drives the ketones up)
- Lunch: Low carb chocolate protein shake with added fats (heavy cream & MCT oil)
- Snacks: (if hungry, a lot of the time i’m not) string cheese, veggies dipped in low carb ranch, cheese wisps, hard boiled egg, fat bombs, pickles, 1/2 a questbar if i’m really in a pinch.
- Dinner: some combo of a hearty amount of fat + protein … Chicken Alfredo over zoodles, chicken broccoli & cheese bake, green chile chicken soup, cauliflower crust pizza, etc.
- Do I think this way of living is maintainable. I actually do. Does it require some effort, and some mind set changes in some areas…absolutely. However, Once you get into a routine it’s really not that difficult to maintain. HOWEVER…and this is a big however…It’s not something I think you should do for a couple days and then ditch on the weekends. In order for your body to actually enter into nutritional ketosis, you need to eat this way consistently. You need to decide to make it a lifestyle change, and not just a day to day decision.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say on the topic in the future. This is still a learning process for me as well. I’m just happy to share with you as I go along, and hopefully help some along the way as I do! 🙂