Several years ago I was introduced by friends to the Ketogenic or LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat) Diet. It was intriguing to me this idea that our bodies should have more fat, and not just more fat, but saturated fat??? I mean, wasn’t that the reason people die of heart disease and aren’t we supposed to avoid saturated fat? That was what I understood about our Food Pyramid and what I’d been taught in school as a health major. This idea intrigued me so much, that I started to research and learn about this “diet” and how to go about cutting out my breads, grains, rice, fruit, and start eating more butter, bacon, and coconut oil?? It seemed crazy to me! I listened to podcasts, I read blogs, I read books and honestly, couldn’t get enough. I was a sponge soaking this all in every day, in my car, late at night. I was absolutely amazed at what I was learning. To sum it all up in a few sentences, FAT is good for us. And the fat we eat and the fat we accumulate on our bodies, are two very different things. Sadly, I learned that our food guide pyramid wasn’t exactly an accurate recommendation of what we should eat to be healthy. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is less than nutritious and can actually do more harm than good. So where did that leave me? In the face of dealing with Epstein Barr Virus that was continually leaving me feeling run down and tired, I was also experiencing the effect of my SAD diet, overcompensating my fatigue with endless ounces of diet soda, and carb cravings that felt beyond my control. I decided to try to cut back on my carbs, enjoy the fat in cheeses, bacon, and my favorite – blue cheese salad dressing – and see how I felt? And honestly, in the beginning, I felt worse. Removing carbs from my diet and going from over 300 grams a day down to 25 grams made me feel sick and even more tired. I remember the first time I tried to go running with “keto flu” and my feet felt like I had lead weights on them, and I had to stop and walk. It made my cravings for carbs even worse, and like many people, I gave up after a few weeks. I tried this several times, with a failed outcome each time. So why did I keep coming back to this? And what made it finally “click”?
I kept going back because I knew it was the right way to eat. For everything I learned and continued to read about it, it just made sense to me… I knew processed foods weren’t good, and it made sense that if you were going to take something out of your diet, like bread and grains, you better increase in another area (like fat and oils) to make up for it! The problem I kept encountering was the amount of carbs. I was lowering them too fast, too hard to maintain that. It wasn’t until I read the book, “The Keto Reset Diet” by Mark Sisson that I understood why it was so hard and why it didn’t work for me. I didn’t allow myself a 3 week period to lower my carbs enough to get me conditioned without making me so tired and ill feeling that I couldn’t continue. It was after this 9 week process of first lowering my carbs to around 100 grams a day for the first 3 weeks, then lowering it to 50 grams a day for 6 weeks, that I finally reached my goals and felt the wonderful effects of a ketogenic diet or in Mark Sisson’s words, “becoming fat adapted”. It’s not exactly a diet for me now, per say. It’s become a lifestyle and the most enjoyable way of eating!
Here’s a short list of some of my favorite go-tos:
*Bulletproof Hot Chocolate with grass-fed butter and MCT oil
* Chia Seed Pudding (see this post on Instagram to see how I make it 🙂
* Raw Veggies (sliced cucumbers or mini peppers) dipped in Bleu Cheese Dressing
*Dry Roasted Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, or Cashews (in small quantities)
*Flackers with guacamole and sliced sharp cheese
*Eggs, eggs, and more eggs…. I LOVE my Instapot for perfectly hard boiled eggs in 8 minutes, perfect for salads, deviled eggs – these are my favorite, or just plain with salt and pepper. I’m a HUGE fan of a good frittata or scrambled eggs made with heavy cream, red peppers, jalapeños, avocado, and sliced cherry tomatoes topped with Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Sauce or spicy salsa.
*Bacon – I love using Butcher Box for delivering me grass-fed, hormone free meats… and their bacon is super yummy. My family’s favorite way to have bacon, besides just plain… is with brussel sprouts! I just chop and cook my bacon on the stove, then pour all the bacon bits, and bacon grease all over the brussel sprouts, then roast them.
This is just the beginning, folks, with posting my food ideas and ways to eat ketogenically AND deliciously without feeling like you have to spend loads of money on expensive “health” foods when you can make simple choices every day to assist you in your wellness and weight loss goals.