My Ketogenic Beginnings
Hi Everyone! It has been awhile since I have written a post yet there are reasons why. The main contender – DIETARY CHANGES. Today, I am coming out of the closet. Now, keep in mind, this has been a personal decision based on my own body, mind and soul needs. I ask that you read with an open mind – No judgement or criticism.
Back in early Summer, I was experiencing some “walls” with my health. I was consuming daily green smoothies, juicing, lots of veggies, gluten-free grains, raw salads and dried fruits. I was eating HEALTHY, right? I wasn’t feeling as good as I used to. My energy was lacking, hair had been thinning again, mental fog, blood sugar was eradic throughout the day, gained 8 pounds, dry skin, and the main culprit of all – Digestive issues. My digestive issues have gotten better over the years with healthy eating but I had never gotten to the core of it. I have chipped away A LOT of layers relating to it. My GUT has been speaking to me for some time now and I have been listening. My diet wasn’t working, and I owed it to myself to open my mind. To let go of dietary dogma and teachings I had filled my head with. To do something different.
Around that time, Robin, a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with diabetes. She decided that she was going to approach this diagnosis by healing herself through food, not pharmaceuticals. She is an inspirational and amazing woman. I have seen her transform her weight, her blood sugar readings, cholesterol profile and attitude on life with implementing a Ketogenic lifestyle – for the BETTER. Ketogenic diet is adopting a higher-fat, moderate protein, lower-carb eating style. My intuition was nudging me constantly during this time. I researched a whole weekend on the subject before I decided to do a 30-day experiment implementing a nutritionally balanced KETO lifestyle and see what happened. I created my own food journal and documented the 30 days. I cut out high carb, grain based foods. I am eating lots of healthy fats (coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocado oil, olive oil, avocados, olives and yes, even bacon fat). I am eating meat – grass fed, quality meat. The results have been fantastic!
It is a way of eating which aims to induce nutritional ketosis (a metabolic state where you burn fats instead of sugar) by restricting carbohydrate intake and balancing daily amounts of fat and protein. A Ketogenic diet is NOT a high protein diet. It is a high fat, low carb, moderate protein diet. We are taught that glucose (carbohydrates) is the main source of energy in the body, but when we withdraw it, our body stimulates a genetic program called ketosis. In ketosis, the body uses fats instead of glucose for fuel. That means both dietary fats and stored body fats are burned. Yay! Ketones are small molecules used as a source of energy in a state of ketosis. The ketogenic diet is an effective weight loss tool and has been shown to improve several health conditions such Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, diabetes, minimizing the symptoms of heartburn, GERD, irritable bowel and even cancer. Healthy cells can use ketones for energy, but cancer cells cannot and they literally starve to death.
You can read more from the experts( they explain it so much better than I can):
1) KETOGENIC DIET FAQ – from Vivica at The Nourished Caveman. Vivica has a “Carbohydrate Intolerance” test that I suggest you fill out. You will be amazed – I was. I’m intolerant to certain carbs and now understand why I reacted the way I did upon eating them (or shortly thereafter). I was a high-carb-whore. Yet feeling pretty low. Not anymore!!
2) Practical Guide to Keto & Paleo Diet for Optimal Health and Long-Term Weight Loss – from Martina at The Keto Diet.
3) A Guide to the Keto Diet – from Craig at Ruled.me
4) Athletes and Low Carb – from Maria at Keto Adapted
5) Ketogenic Diet FAQ – from Craig at Ruled.me
6) 10 (scientifically proven) Reasons Why I’m Not Scared of Eating Fat – from Leanne at Healthful Pursuit. Fat is NOT to be feared. My body has been THRIVING since including it into my diet.
The best books for scientific research and practical application :
* The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable – by Jeff Volek and Stephen Finney.
* The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance – by Jeff Volek and Stephen Finney
What Do I Eat?
I eat very well and never feel starved. Actually, I eat less now that I am meeting my macro-nutrients daily. I eat grass-fed, organic meat (I find on sale and stock up – my local grocery store and Costco are my go-to sources), uncured bacon (no nitrtates or chemicals), wild-caught salmon, lamb, organic chicken, sardines. Keep in mind, these are small portions at a meal.
I have larger portions of leafy greens, salads, most veggies above ground which are sauteed or baked in healthy fats (butter, coconut oil or bacon grease). This includes broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini, swiss chard, kale, spinach, lettuces, fresh herbs, onion, garlic, cucumber, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, sweet pepper, some fall squash and celery just to name a few. See – I’m getting plenty of healthy veggies in.
Oils/ fats from Almond Butter, Avocado Oil, Butter, Ghee, MCT oil, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Fish Oil (cod liver), Lard, Mayonnaise – homemade, of course and extra-virgin Olive Oil.
I continue to use nuts and seeds such as chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, almond, macadamia, sesame and hemp seeds. I also use some green powders in my treats, smoothies and puddings. Yes, I have had to ditch most of my smoothie recipes (high carb ingredients) and start from scratch. I have created some wonderful low carb, high protein ones that digest easily without bloating, gas and the all the other unlikely candidates of a meal that is too hard to digest.
Fruits are now lemon, limes, avocado, raspberry and blueberries. Only a few times a week – as I am monitoring how I react to it right now.
Baking low-carb (gluten-free) has been a new adventure and I find it so much easier and cheaper. I use almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium seed husk, protein powder, flax seed meal and others to create wonderful recipes that I feel so good eating.
I will be doing a post in the near future of how to stock a Ketogenic kitchen. Overall, I am spending less on groceries than I was before. We aren’t eating as much because we are satiated with less food. Oh, BTW, Scott has been on this lifestyle too and he is loving it and reaping benefits as well. I am blessed to have a spouse that is open to trying new things. His needs are a bit different than mine, but we are both learning from it.
The Results Are IN!
I know you’re ready for this part! You want to know what my findings were, what changed for me, what happened – “Tell me more, tell me more” (as I’m singing the Grease song in my head). My body was depleted in healthy fats, moderate protein and too amped up on carbohydrates – no matter how “healthy” they were. As of to date, December 11, 2014, for about 2 months now, I’ve been implementing a medicinal, nutritional keto lifestyle and I’m LOVING it. My body is humming with delight and purrs when I eat this way. Of course, I will continue to listen to my body for what it needs.
Here are my results/ experiences/ findings:
1) My energy levels are stable and I have more energy. The first week was rough – detoxing with Keto flu. Basically, as your body is switching from glucose to ketones as its main source of energy, your body will continue to burn the last stores of glycogen. Depleting one reserve and getting set up for another. Drink plenty of salt (pink himalayan) water, bone broth, rest and make sure that you are eating fresh vegetables alongside the fats and proteins of your keto diet. Green vegetables are full of iron, potassium, and manganese which are vital to keeping your energy levels consistent. As time passes, you will see all of the side effects of “keto flu” magically vanish. Your body will no longer be going to glucose as the main source of energy, and your system has built enough enzymes to utilize the ketones. I experience no more crashing – no more blood sugar roller-coaster rides. I am no longer obsessed by food. How freeing!!
2) Healed my digestive system – Yes, REALLY! Within the first week, I noticed and felt the shift. My stomach is no longer bloated upon or after eating, no more gas and grumbles. At first, I was concerned with eating meat and that my digestion couldn’t handle it so well – my past experiences. I was constipated the first two weeks till my body adjusted and transitioned to the different fuel I was taking in. After the second week, something shifted and I have been regular and pooping like a champ. You don’t know how exciting this is for a woman who has always had problems in this area. It is so freeing – literally, no pun intended.
3) Reduced inflammation in joints. My joints are healing. I no longer ache and creak when bending or squatting. My body is oiled and lubed from the inside – out.
4) Eliminated sugar and carb cravings. This coming from a sugar addict many years ago. My body is satiated with healthy fats and proteins and low carb choices. I enjoy the occasional “treats”. Yet they are in the form of high fat/ low carb ratio. They are decadent using my favorite natural sweetener – NuNaturals liquid stevia.
5) Weight loss. It literally melted right off the first two weeks without much exercise. I was amazed. My body is reshaping without muscle loss. My goal is tap into old fat stores on certain areas of my body – we’ll see.
6) Skin and hair. Can I say BEAUTIFUL. My skin looks amazing – it is radiant, hydrated, smoother and younger looking already. My hair has gotten thicker and is more lustrous and shiny.
7) Warts on my right hand that I have had for years are starting to fall off. I had one large wart on my palm that has been there for over 10 years (and growing). About 3 weeks in I noticed it was itching and then three days later, it fell off. New skin below and it is healing naturally. Like I mentioned in the beginning, cancer and viruses can not survive in a body that is low in sugars, carbohydrates and glucose. I essentially am starving the wart virus in my body. The older warts have gone first and the newer ones are slowly changing. I’m sure they are on their way out soon. Again, I am amazed!
8) I feel grounded and balanced. My body is receiving the nutrients and substances that it needed. I feel the fat/ oils being extremely soothing in my body. I am less anxious and stressed.
9) Sharper mental focus and clarity. Ketones aren’t just fuel for our body, but they are also great for our brain. They provide a foundation to help repair damaged neurons and membranes. This is why a high fat/low carb diet is recommended for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, Type 3 Diabetes and seizures. Healthy fats are extremely important and necessary for brain function.
10) I’m WARMER! I’ve always been cold natured. Cold hands and feet. I’m great to cuddle with in the summer but not so much in the winter. My body temperature is regulating itself with this way of eating. This applies to the thyroid and hormones. All of which, for me, were a bit out of whack.
These are just some of the results that I have been experiencing. I am learning more about this lifestyle and enjoying the journey of it so far. I have learned even more about myself physically, emotionally and have gained a greater intuitive awareness of myself. I learn what works for me and what doesn’t. I have approached it with the mindset of FUN. Remember, YOU are unique and what may work for someone might not for you. Learn to flow, adapt and substitute where you can. That’s the fun part. Learning and connecting with yourself in a deeper way.
I hope you understand that this was a difficult decision for me in the beginning – even considering it. Yet, I had to step aside, get out of my head and listen to my body and heart. What was best for ME. Facing the fact that what I was doing was no longer serving me and to be OPEN minded to alternative routes. In doing this, I have learned more compassion, let go of perfectionism and non-judgment of myself. When you work on your inner world, it flows out into your outer world – which it has also. Never bash or judge someone else’s decisions. That is the ego and old dogma’s stepping in. I am so glad I listened to my body, my heart and my intuition! I am THRIVING this way.
I had to be authentic about what I am now choosing to do for MY health. I hope something here inspires you to LISTEN to your body and intuition. I see it as a radio channel. I wasn’t tuning in properly and had lots of static and noise. Once, I decided to commit and allow the guidance to show itself, that radio channel came in loud, crisp and clear. Just keep tuned in to YOUR channel and make adjustments along the way.
I highly recommend these sites for AMAZING recipes and information:
The Nourished Caveman
Check me out on PINTREST for more of my favorite recipe links.
Thank you for your time reading this post.
I’ll be sharing some tips, recipes and thoughts every now and then regarding this lifestyle change.
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May HEALTH be with You! and Be Inspired!