To Keto or not to Keto?

Hello my lovelies,

Today’s post is about the infamous ketogenic diet and my first two months on this woe(way of eating, it took me a while to figure out what woe meant).

I am 5’11” for 63kg so it’s clear I did not embark on this journey to lose weight( which is primarily what most people do it for): ketogenic diet can be very beneficial for other issues such as chronic fatigue, anxiety, epilepsy, diabetes and so on. Chronic fatigue affects many people and is thankfully becoming less of a taboo. I first read Sarah Myhill book ‘ Diagnosis and treatment of chronic fatigue’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diagnosis-Treatment-Chronic-Syndrome-Encephalitis/dp/1781610797/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with chronic fatigue as it really explains how this disease works and what you can do to better yourself while living with it. To make the story short Dr Sarah Myhill advise all of her patients to embark on a Paleo Keto diet as the first treatment of chronic fatigue.Hence my decision to give it a try.

The ketogenic diet is a low car high-fat diet where ideally 75 per cent of your calories comes from fat, around 20 per cent from protein and the remaining 5 per cent from carbs. It is meant to be an anti-inflammatory diet that enables you to move from glucose to fat as your main energy source. The aim is to reach a state of ketosis where every cell in your body is eventually using fat for energy. This state of ketosis will help you lose weight, feel more alert, improve concentration, increase your libido and much more.Or so they claim. A good read, if you decide keto is for you, is this great and cheap book which I love: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginners-KetoDiet-Cookbook-Delicious-Weight-Loss/dp/1592338151/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534588208&sr=1-7&keywords=the+ketogenic+diet+beginner

The ketogenic diet consists mostly of meat, fish, non-starchy vegetables, olive and coconut oil, dairy( which dr Sarah Myhill is against and that is why she named her regimen Keto Paleo diet) to name a few. Out are grains, legumes, most high fructose fruits, starchy veggies such as potatoes and root vegetables, SUGAR, and any high carb food. It is, for this purpose, advisable to use a macronutrients tracker when embarking on this diet as you are required to keep your net carbs intake below 20/25 grs a day.  The app I use is Carb Manager , which works out your macros for you.

Some people,especially if they have been living on high carb diets for long, find it easier to transition slowly into this diet; I, on the other hand, went full out and started immediately on 20gr of carbs a day 8 weeks ago.

A little side note is that while on a ketogenic diet you will excrete a lot of sodium from your body and that means your electrolytes will be out of balance.It is therefore VERY IMPORTANT  to consume higher amounts of salt and potassium than normal and magnesium too. I normally put a tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt on my 2lt water bottle and one teaspoon of potassium chloride and drink it throughout the day.P lease do not underestimate this step as if you do you will most likely suffer the so-called keto flu: headaches, nausea, muscle cramps and other very uncomfortable side effects. Keep your water intake at at least 3lt a day.

Now my experience:

Week 1 and 2: I was prepared, I researched ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks. My breakfast would look like avocado,two fried eggs and two slices of nitrate free bacon. Lunch would be salmon with olives and feta cheese,dinner steak with asparagus and cheese. Snack for me would be some nuts( macadamia) and one or two squares of 85 percent dark chocolate(this is not strictly keto and not advisable if you are a sugar addict,but works for me). I did not feel particularly hungry but I did experience some headaches and during the really hot weather spell in London, I actually fainted on the tube because I was not taking my electrolytes!! I used keto sticks to check the ketones in my pee to make sure I was entering Ketosis. You can purchase them cheaply on Amazon.I entered ketosis on day 3 .

Week 3 and 4: I upped my game and decided to become more inventive with food to avoid boredom and to remain enthusiastic: almond muffins with mascarpone, chia puddings for breakfast, bacon and egg muffins and so on. I also learned Erythritol is the best sweetener on this woe, it is safe on teeth, does not cause digestive issues, great for diabetics, does not spike insulin and measure cup for cup like sugar. Its carb content can be dismissed when macro tracking. A couple of days I did not come to work prepared and ended up being unable to find anything suitable to eat and starved until I got home, which was awful. Prepping is key!!

Week 5 and 6 : my ketosticks started showing no traces of ketones so I thought I had somehow eaten something I should not have but after chatting to a few people on facebook keto groups I realised that after a few weeks your body start utilising those ketones instead of flushing them out so if you want a reading of them you need a blood monitor. So I purchased on amazon for around 20 quid but the strips you need to use to measure ketones are crazy expensive, roughly one each. Anyhow my measurement was 1.2( anything between 0.5 to 3.5 is considered the ideal range)and was happy about it.M y ibs seemed to have settled but my energy had not yet improved. I had lost at this point around 3kg. You can have some white spirits while on keto but be careful that you will get drunk very easily.I had one glass of white wine and I was smashed.

Week 7 and 8: I started to snack less and feel less hungry in between meals which is a sign of fat adaptation. My energy started to improve a little but, maybe it’s TMY I entered constipation land.I then upped my fibre intake via chia seeds and a supplement with aloe vera to try and balance things out.I decided to switch to decaff coffee as caffeine was making me very jittery and I purchased MCT oil (guess where? Yes amazon again) which I  pour into my decaff as it boosts ketones production and helps with energy levels. So far so good.No more weight loss for me as I was careful to add lots of fats on my plates and keep an eye on calories to make sure I was not fading away. Started adding double cream or butter to decaff coffee too.

So this is where I am at 8  weeks in, I am not craving bread, pasta, fruit or sugar at this point. My body has started to change, feels and looks more defined even though I have been slacking at the gym. I am enjoying learning new recipes and experimenting. A slow cooker can be your friends on this diet/lifestyle to save you time and money. At nighttime, I take a magnesium supplement which really helps me relax and sleep better called Natural Calm. Constipation has not completely eased off but I am working on it.

If you have started this journey or are thinking about it and have questions please do comment below and I will try to respond to the best of my abilities.This is my experience,my journey and so far I am loving Keto.

I attached a few pictures of the foods I have been enjoying so you can see that keto is not just bacon and steaks.

Love ,

Alex

nfd

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