Yep it’s time for another diet….this time, I’m trying the ketogenic diet. I know that right now you’re either scratching your head and saying “what the heck is that?” or wondering if it’s that thing you hear about in diabetes commercials called ketoacidosis. Let me start with a brief – VERY brief science lesson. When a person is in ketosis, they are burning fats for brain power and body power. It’s a good thing – especially if you’re like me and have a lot of extra body fat to burn 😉
So how does this happen? Well it’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen over night. You do have to change the way you’re eating. You limit carbs in a huge way, eat moderate protein, and load up on healthy fats. Please notice that I said HEALTHY fats. Things like bacon and butter are okay, but you also want to consider things like nuts, avocados, salmon and olives.
To get into ketosis, you need to limit your carbs to under 50 grams a day, and these need to come from things like the leafy greens. Failure to do so could result in some backed up plumbing, and you don’t want that, either. To help your body switch into fat-burning mode and enter ketosis, you’ll need to eliminate all the “good stuff”. This includes grains, including breakfast cereals, breads, pasta, rice and granola bars; sugar in desserts, baked goods, jams, syrups and drinks; starchy vegetables, such as mashed potatoes, french fries, baked potatoes and corn; fruits; and milk and yogurt. It’s a pretty huge list, and I’m going to be honest, some of my favorite things are on that list. I’m not going to lie, french fries, potato chips and popcorn are 3 of my major food groups. So I’m saying goodbye to them, but hey, I get to have bacon. Show me a diet where you get to have bacon, or cook your eggs in butter. They are pretty much non-existent, right? I’m also missing milk in a big way, but the addition of heavy whipping cream to my morning tea helps – a little!
So where do you get the carbs? Your carbs come from non-starchy vegetables, including broccoli, artichokes, kale, tomatoes and mushrooms. Most non-starchy vegetables contain less than 5 g of carbs per cup, but the carb content varies among vegetables. But it’s super important to keep track of those carbs. Log them religiously! Actually log all your food religiously – it’s another great tool in your weight loss arsenal.
You need to include a moderate amount of protein in your diet. This is where it’s hard for me. I could happily eat steak all day long, but that’s not
really moderation. You generally want to shoot for a serving size of between 4 – 6 oz of protein per serving. Don’t forget to take your weight and activity level into account. If you’re an exercising demon (which I am not) you’re going to need to increase the protein a bit. So where does the protein come from? It’s mainly found in eggs, cheese, meat, poultry, fish and seafood. And the best part of all? When you put your veggies on your plate, you get to top them off with a dollop of butter, or olive oil. Stay away from the low fat stuff – it’s full of sugar. Sugar is carbs and those kinds of carbs are NOT our friends.
Also drink lots and lots of water. Again, you want to keep that plumbing running smoothly, don’t you? Water is your friend. Now there are some drawbacks to this way of eating (WOE). As your body starts to change where it gets it’s fuel from, you can be subject to what is called keto flu. The potential is there to feel like crap. Some even liken it to withdrawal from an addiction. So if you’re feeling tired, irritable, achy, nauseous, and just generally blah, your body is making the switch from burning carbs for fuel to burning fat. Power through because the feeling will go away. Remember to stay hydrated, you can take an electrolyte supplement or cook up some bone broth – it replaces potassium and sodium and helps to keep you hydrated.
I’m on a lot of keto groups on facebook and they are super supportive. It’s always good to have a strong support system when you’re trying to make a change in your life. A virtual one works well. They are full of suggestions, recipes and support. They’re also there to help you navigate the keto language which is a minefield of acronyms. Just ask any one of them what BCP is and you’ll get a hundred answers. In case you’re interested, BCP is bullet proof coffee, and it’s made with coffee (or in my case tea), heavy whipping cream, with a tablespoon of organic butter and a tablespoon of MCT oil. Oh look another acronym. Medium-chain triglycerides are triglycerides whose fatty acids have an aliphatic tail of 6–12 carbon atoms. The fatty acids found in MCTs are called medium-chain fatty acids. Sorry – I just gave you another science lesson. Anyhow, it sounds pretty disgusting, doesn’t it. It’s not, but you have to blend it all together in a blender. It gets all frothy and yummy. Seriously. When I read about it, it sounded disgusting, but it’s actually really good. Most people start their day off with it, but I don’t. I use it at night if I haven’t reached my fat goal for the day.
Now this blog post is not intended to replace a doctor’s advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor before embarking on a weight loss and/or exercise program. And if you want to learn more about a ketogenic diet, google is your friend. But if you decide to give it a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.