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Do you struggle with weight loss? Suffer with chronic health conditions? Do you find yourself exhausted after lunch? Are you lacking focus and finding yourself with brain fog? If you answered yes to any of these questions you should take a look at the Keto Diet. This clean eating lifestyle could very well be the answer to all of your problems. Get the low-down on the Keto Diet in Why I Keto – Keto Diet Explained.
Why I Keto – Keto Diet Explained
I have yo-yo dieted for the past 18 years (since the birth of my first child). If there is a diet out there I can guarantee you I’ve tried it. I have been successful with quite a few diets in the past, however, I always put the weight right back on (and then some). I will be the first to admit I wasn’t too excited about starting a diet that restricts sugar and carbohydrate intake. While I don’t typically eat a lot of carbs, I do love a big bowl of ice cream. I was amazed to find out how much better I felt when eliminating carbs and sugar from my diet completely.
Keto Diet Health Benefits
Ketogenic diets are said to have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. I personally have struggled with digestive issues for years. I’ve had my gallbladder and my appendix removed, and I’ve been diagnosed with Diverticulitis as well as MALS (Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome), celiac artery compression. All of these medical issues have made it extremely hard for me to maintain a healthy weight. I am either one extreme or the other. After my most recent surgery my physician recommended I try the Keto Diet. Let me just tell you, this is a game changer.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Ketogenic diet (Keto for short) is a very low-carb, high-fat diet, similar to Atkins. The main focus is to reduce carbohydrate intake (including all sugar) and replace it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. This is when the body produces ketones in the liver that are used for energy. The keto diet lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.
How Does the Keto Diet Work?
Whenever we eat something high in carbs our bodies produce insulin and glucose. Glucose is the easiest molecule for our bodies to convert for use as energy so it will always be chosen over any other energy sources. Since the glucose is being used for energy, our fats are not needed and therefore become stored. We all know what that means.
By lowering the intake of carbohydrates, our bodies are placed into a state known as ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain
How Do I Know if I’m in Ketosis?
Being in ketosis generates elevated levels of ketones which are detectable in the breath, urine, and blood. There are several different ways to know whenever your body is actively in ketosis. Ketone urine testing strips are the quickest and easiest way to detect ketones. If your body is in ketosis the strip will change color depending on the level of ketones detected.
Distracted Tip: Ketone levels in urine do not necessarily match ketone levels in the blood. If you are properly hydrated you may not get a positive result with a urine strip. Also, if you are dehydrated you may get a false positive.
There are natural ways to determine when our bodies are in ketosis. The extra release of acetones in the body may create a fruity or metallic taste in your mouth that is known as “keto breath.” Another common way to detect ketosis is through weight loss. In the beginning the weight loss can be fairly significant. The first time I went on a keto diet I lost 16 pounds within the first four weeks. I have been back on the diet for 14 days and have shed 7 pounds.
What is the Keto Flu?
Adapting to the keto diet can trigger the following flu-like symptoms:
- Brain fog
- Stomach pains
- Muscle soreness
These keto flu symptoms are caused by our body’s response to the restriction of carbohydrates, not from being in ketosis. Basically your body is going through carb withdrawals. Because our bodies are all different we do not all experience the same keto flu symptoms. I experienced exhaustion, insomnia and headaches (I suffer with chronic migraines) for about 24 hours and then felt great. You may get lucky and not present with any symptoms.
How to Battle Keto Flu
If you find yourself experiencing any of the aforementioned keto flu symptoms, there are ways to battle it.
- Drink more water (and add a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt)
- Eat more fat (think MCTs)
- Drink bone broth
- Supplement your diet with sodium, magnesium and potassium
- Low intensity exercise
- Sleep more
What is Fat Adapted?
Fat adapted is the term used when your body has adjusted to the low-carb way of life and it now sees fat as its primary source of fuel. The process of becoming fat adapted can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks once you begin the keto diet.
Distracted Tip: When your body becomes fat adapted you usually will not be able to get a positive reading on a ketone urine testing strip.
What Can I Eat on the Keto Diet?
You will be amazed at all of things you CAN eat while on a keto diet. The following is a sample of some of your food options:
- Grass-fed animals (beef, lamb, goat, venison)
- Caught fish and seafood
- Healthy fats (avocados, clarified butter, Ghee)
- Non-starchy vegetables
Keto Diet Simplified
Most people lose interest in the Keto Diet once they learn you have to give up sugar, bread, and other complex carbohydrates. I too was a skeptic in the beginning, however, after a few days on the diet I became a true believer. It is CRAZY how addicted our bodies are to sugar and carbs. Once you eliminate them from your diet completely you will be amazed at how much better you feel. Not only have I lost weight, but I have seen an overall improvement in my health. I have more energy, I think clearer, and my digestive issues are a thing of the past. Some additional health benefits to the keto diet include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower triglycerides
- Less frequent migraine headaches
- Seizure control
- Increased memory
- Decreased inflammation (acne included)
- Increased fertility
- Less heartburn and acid reflux
Great Keto Resources
There are so many wonderful resources out there for how to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle on the keto diet. You can find a lot of inspiration on social media by simply using #keto. Several of my favorite go-to keto resources are listed below.
- Motivation and Information on the keto lifestyle – Healthful Pursuit
- Great keto-friendly recipes – Kaseytrenum.com
- Amazing keto cookies and tea – Fat Snax
- Keto friendly travel snacks