Keto Diet - A Year in Ketosis - Keto Recipes, Snacks, Desserts
Keto Die ?
Keto Die ? When I first started my keto diet on July 4th, 2018 - that was the first thing that came up when I searched on keto on Google. I had health issues, and keto seemed like a good way to help. That, of course, was if I could get through all the websites that stated "Why Keto is Bad" or asked "Are Keto Diets Dangerous" and actually figure out how to achieve ketosis.
As of November 4, 2019, I've been 16 months on a keto diet, and living keto adapted. My weight dropped from 221 pounds to 165 pounds, and at age 45, I feel the most fit I have been over the past decade. I achieved this keto weight loss over the first 6 months, and since February 4, 2019, I have maintained this weight for the last 9 months.
I am not a doctor, or a nutritionist, but just a guy who had to be on a keto diet or I might die. I'll be keto the rest of my life. Also, just for fun, I'm a co-founder of a BBQ food and snack company, Pork Barrel BBQ, that was on Shark Tank. I'm proud that we have been able to provide keto friendly no sugar spice rubs, pork rinds and bacon jerky that I can eat (you need flavor in your food, the crunch of a chip, and always need bacon). My mental clarity, consistent energy, and overall fitness let me know that keto was right for me.
Is Keto Right for You?
I'll lead you through the ups and downs of my journey, and you, in consultation with your doctor and family, can decide what is right for you. I'm sharing my journey on a keto diet, but must of course disclaim that what is right for me may not be right for you.
What is Keto Diet?
I'm not a scientist, but the ultimate goal of a keto diet is to become keto adapted, or in ketosis, and fuel your body from fat, not glucose. Why? Our bodies have become used to a sugar filled cycle of spikes and valleys, leading us to crave sugar during moments of stress, anxiety, joy, or focus. I remember how I would apologize for being grouchy, and just needed to get some sugar in me and I'd be better. Before a big test or meeting, I would down a sugary drink. It was a hard sugar filled cycle.
Our body is an amazing thing, and you hear about paleo, or caveman diets (and ultimately a keto diet), that reflect when people had to go sometimes days without eating. What did that mean? In practice, it meant the brain and the body learned to feed off of dietary, or stored fat processed by the liver (lipids or ketones), as fuel for the executive function and muscles. But did this mean they were low energy and had cloudy brain function? No - because they better be able to hunt for their food, which meant they had to be at their physical and mental best or they and their family would die. We are here today with our iPhones, Teslas and UberEats, so they must have done something right.
How Does Keto Feel?
Do you remember the last time you had a good night's sleep? That's how keto feels to me. You wake up ready to take on the world, you don't experience the spikes of sugar in your system, you are emotionally balanced and mentally clear - and that's a pretty good way to feel.
Now for a bit of reality - most people who claim to be in keto / ketosis / keto adapted are just lying to you, and themselves. Getting and staying in a keto state is not hard, but you also can't lie to yourself. I check my ketone and glucose levels almost every day (using a blood testing unit similar to someone with diabetes, but can also test ketone (fat) levels). I'll go into detail on that later. Some people start out using keto urine testing strips, which are a fine way to start out, as they record when you switch from feeding off of glucose, and switch to ketosis. But it appears they don't help track after that to test if you remain in a keto state. If you are not consistently testing your blood, you are just guessing, and probably won't maintain ketosis. I'm not saying that to discourage you, in fact, it was my wife who from the beginning told me "let's not be guessing!" I meet people everyday who tell me about their keto lifestyle, but then mention the banana they had for breakfast (27 g carbs!) and the wine they had last night (which contains sugars, and some believe the body processes alcohols as fuel before glucose or fats). I was taught that its better to tell the truth, even if the truth is not what you want to hear. I'll try to share my truths, including where I messed up, so we can figure out this journey together.
I try to eat 75 to 80 percent of my calories each day from fat (think avocados, macadamia nuts, olive oil, mozzarella cheese), 15-20 percent protein (fatty meats like steak, pork/bacon, lamb, eggs) and 5 percent carbohydrates (I go for NET carbs of 30g a day, so net carbs after subtracting fiber. I started out my first few months eating 50g TOTAL carbs a day, until I knew my body was "keto adapted" - which means it wanted to stay using dietary/stored fat as fuel, instead of glucose.
Probably the most important lesson I learned early on my keto journey, besides the need to test your blood for a keto state, is that a keto diet is not the Atkins diet. I'm a fan of Atkins and give him huge credit for helping us focus on the right balance of protein and carbs. When you think of Atkins, I remember large meals of steak, bacon, and as much as I wanted to eat. In another way the human body is amazing (and frustrating), is that if you eat more protein than your body needs, it actually (through dorky process of "gluconeogenesis") turns excess protein into glucose! This means if you really want to achieve ketosis, it is just as important to monitor and control your intake of protein as well as carbs.
As part of a way to help me to achieve and maintain keto, I take part in monthly 3 day water fasts, daily intermittent fasting (16/8 intermittent fasting). I'll go over both of those as well, and let you decide if you want them to be part of your approach.
Intermittent Fasting - 16/8 Intermittent Fast Plan
I use intermittent fasting every day to kelp me stay keto adapted. I am on the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan - meaning I do not eat for 16 hours, and then feed during an 8 hour window. How does intermittent fasting really work? We try to eat by 6:30 pm each evening (I'm married with a teen-age kid, so this is always a moving target). If we are done with dinner by 7 pm, then I won't eat again until 11 am the following day.
Keto Recipes and Keto Menus
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