By Elizabeth (3-5’s parent)
Have you been hearing about the Keto diet? Seeing “Keto” recipes on pinterest and wondering what it is?
As someone who has had life-long struggles with food, there are few subjects that get me as amped to talk about as diets, especially when they are going well. In this blog post I will sum up what it is, provide some links to some more detailed descriptions, then relay my experiences which are hopefully helpful to anyone wanting to give this eating style a go.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
I’ll reference someone who already wrote it down succinctly, from the site: https://www.ditchthecarbs.com/what-is-a-keto-diet/
“The ketogenic, or keto diet can be described as a very low carb and high-fat diet (LCHF). With the keto diet, you will be reducing your carbohydrates dramatically and replacing them with healthy fats. Generally, a keto diet is considered to be less than 20g carbohydrates per day, moderate protein and plenty of healthy fats.”
“Doing this will put your body into what is called nutritional ketosis, a metabolic state. This ketosis, is what allows your body to become extremely efficient at burning fat. Ketogenic diets are incredibly successful at producing stable blood sugar levels and therefore reducing insulin demand from the body.”
I have found this website helpful for more information and recipe ideas: https://www.dietdoctor.com
And this site talks a lot about using a keto diet to balance hormones and has many dairy-free recipes: https://www.healthfulpursuit.com
I decided to try this eating plan for the first time after approximately my 20th go at a paleo diet, in which I couldn’t get my cravings and “nibbliness” under control. My first try with Keto lasted for a couple of weeks during which I lost about 10 lbs, but somehow I lost my resolve, and by this past Halloween I was eating candy by the handful every evening. I’ve always felt like I need a new plan to really stick with it and be successful, but I decided that I needed to get the sugar out of my system and that Keto was the way to do it.
Fast forward five months, and I am sold. This has been the best diet I’ve been on. I rarely feel hungry, as fat burns so slowly, and my cravings are lessened. Also, I’m down almost 20 lbs! While it has been slow going, my favorite part is that other than the first 10 or so days, I have suffered very little deprivation.
Fortunately I went into this new lifestyle forewarned by the internet that I would start out feeling pretty lousy. Symptoms of the “Keto flu” can include headache, shakiness, nausea, fatigue and lack of focus. It is recommended that one drink plenty of fluids, and keep one’s mineral levels (potassium sodium and magnesium) at normal levels by increasing salt intake.
I started by counting the carbs I ate to get a sense of what 20g look like, and its not very much. To be a purist about this, I would recommend lots of healthy fats, moderate protein, and eating all one’s allotted carbs in non-starchy vegetables only.
However, I have too much of a sweet tooth to be a purist. At some point I intend to try going back to eating this way to see if I feel even more awesome, but for the moment I do eat items sweetened with erythritol, (a sugar alcohol that doesn’t cause gastrointestinal distress or cause huge blood sugar swings) some fruit, and I have been known to have the occasional mentos sugar free gum binge (insert guilty looking emoji)
Meal and Snack Ideas:
Pinterest is my menu idea savior.
There are many “bread” and “bun” recipes of which cloud bread has been my favorite: https://www.fatforweightloss.com.au/recipe/cloud-bread/
Toast lightly and top with sandwich fixings, make a blt with avocado or a tuna melt.
“Pizza eggs” -for lack of a better name, my own solution to pizza cravings, is a regular for me:
Saute green peppers and mushrooms in a cast iron pan, pour in 3-4 eggs whisked with heavy cream and broil until solid. Spread a thin layer of marinara over the solid egg and veggie mixure, then layer pepperoni and mozzarella cheese and broil until bubbling. This dish keeps well and its easy to microwave a slice for any meal.
Any egg scramble or frittata
Grain free porridge made with seeds and nuts: https://www.healthfulpursuit.com/2015/01/grain-free-hemp-heart-porridge-just-nuts-seeds/
Salads with meat, cheese, nuts and ranch dressing
Substitute “zoodles” (noodles made by grating zucchini in a pasta dish
Keto cheese cake sweetened with erythritol with an almond flour crust: https://www.wholesomeyum.com/recipes/low-carb-cheesecake-keto-gluten-free-sugar-free/
Guacamole scooped with cut veggies
Bacon and anything
Hamburgers without the bun
I tend to find a new favorite, eat it for a while and then move onto something else.
On a closing note…
After writing all this, it is occurring, to me that I am a little off track. My daily latte consumption alone equals more than 20g carbs. While I am slowly losing weight and my level of consumption is reasonably well controlled, I am fairly certain my body is not in ketosis. I’d actually like to get back to feeling more energetic and having less cravings, so I think I am going to be a purist for a while… Wish me luck!