Sitting here in my massage chair, my new favorite spot with Bella Grace since Christmas.... I figured now was a good time to untangle my ketogenic diet conclusions (side note: ketogenic shows up as a misspelled word without any suggestions). As I mentioned, or at least I think I mentioned, I decided to drink the keto Kool-aid and see what this bacon and butter diet, that is supposedly curing inflammation, casing drastic weight loss, helping depression, curing migraines, fixing blood sugar issues, giving you more energy, repairing your cells even curing cancer and diabetics, blah, blah, blah is all about. Oh and in case you were wondering Wikipedia defines keto or the ketogenic diet as: "a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain-function. However, if there is little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies, which pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source."
I'm a big fan of New Years resolutions, it's a fresh new start and everyone is all encouraged and on the same team cheering each other on. I, just like the rest of us, somewhat over indulged over the holidays, not as bad as in years past, but that is a whole other blog, so I decided to give keto a try. I've had some clients and friends who have had great weight loss and performance results from changing their diets to keto and I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Mind you a dramatic weight loss was not my main goal, however I wouldn't complain loosing the few extra pounds I put on over the holidays, but my goal was decreased inflammation (the annoying back pain I've had for years and I've recently had a lot of swelling in my knuckles, and on one side of my foot), leveling out my blood sugar (I've been diagnosed with hypoglycemia a.k.a. low blood sugar), as well as see if I could see an improvement in my energy and performance. Now in all of my years of fitness competitions I've done low carb and no carb diets before with drastic weigh loss, and I've also burned out my thyroid and adrenals from having my carbs and fats so low, which took me about two years to fix and that was a living nightmare. So I was determined to do this thing right. After hours of podcasts and googling, talking to my chiropractor (man is a genius...) and reading the "30 Ketogenic Cleanse," and "Keto-Adapted" (ok, so I'm still working on that one) by Maria Emmerich, I decided January 2nd (because you should never start a diet on Sunday New Years Day...) it was on like Donkey Kong. Side note here, the Maria Emmerich 30 day keto cleanse is one of the most extreme and she recommends staying away from nuts and dairy during the first 30 days as well as keep your carbs under 30g total (not net as most keto diets say) per day. However she does have recipes for and plans the entire 30 days but most of them contained coconut and I hate, like I'm talking can't stand the smell of lotions or soaps with coconut, plus I have feed the hubs too, who is not into my science experiments, so I didn't use many of her recipes.
Day 1-3 I was doing ok, except for struggling with what to have for a quick preworkout breakfast since I've had an Isagenix shake pretty much every single morning for about 7 years. I discovered collagen protein and MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil in my coffee was only a great idea in theory, hard time getting it down but I still carried on with my science experiment. I also decided to implement a 12 hour daily fast eating from 8am-8pm everyday, which goes hand in hand with keto diets. It was pretty doable after getting used to it for a few days. Day 4ish, now I know the energy crashes that always come with low carb and expected it, but I've never really had the keto flu but low and behold the stomach flu/bug/virus/curse from satan himself, found me and had me nauseous, unless I was laying down, for over a week straight. I can't say I didn't have a case of the keto flu as well (symptoms include: "fatigue or constant feeling of weakness, dizziness or headaches, extreme cravings for carbohydrates i.e. sugar, irritation, diarrhea, mental fogginess or blurry focus, nausea, and sleep deprivation") but I'm 90% sure my problems just came from the stomach bug I got from clients (thanks guys haha) but I still trucked on. I stayed keto while I was sick minus a serving of white rice around day 5 or 6 and 2-3 hard ginger candies for a few days just trying to get calm down the nauseousness so I could function. So needless to say my week 1-2 wasn't exactly a true read. About 2 weeks in, I started to feel a little better and but still no energy, I lost a lot of strength in the gym and still had the unexplained swelling in a bunch of my knuckles. I did develop major chocolate cravings (sign of low magnesium) and found coca nibs with a little almond butter, vanilla extract and a tiny bit of stevia would cut it though. I also did get a little creative with keto recipes and the keto cookies I concocted (recipe is posted under my recipe tab) made Saturday nights, my normal cheat meal, a lot better. Somewhere between 14-21 avocados (2-3 weeks averaging at least an avocado a day since I'm still working on that coconut oil thing) I noticed I seemed to be loosing a little muscle and gaining weight, like a pound or two nothing crazy, which could be attributed to slow digestion and "bloat." However, it was just odd because normally I drop about 2-4lbs a week on a no carb diet (not saying this is healthy) and I normally didn't experience digestion issues on super low carbs. I also had sharp stabbing pains in my elbow, that I've never had and sharp knee pain a few times where I couldn't stand (but I missed a week or so foam rolling my quads but it's never caused sharp pains), No real change in my normal back pain, and I still had one or two migraines so far this month. I've also been very careful to plug in my macros to make sure they were correct but doing ketone urine strips were still not showing I was hitting ketosis. After talking to my chiropractor who also does integrative medicine and the nutrition guy at his place they said to add in more veggies for fiber to help with the digestion and see if that helps, also my low blood sugar was probably causing some problems. Week 4, where I should be in ketosis for sure by now, I still wasn't hitting ketosis even after a 12 hour fast according to my ketone urine strips. I added in exogenous ketones by "Kiss My Keto" and finally showed trace levels of ketones, as well as noticed more energy and mental clarity for a few hours after taking them, as well as what seemed to the "weight" I gained in the first three weeks leveling back off. However still no miracles, I didn't feel any better like everyone else claimed, little to no progress with the inflammation issues, no improvement with strength, energy or performance, and I still felt my digestion was slow. I simply just didn't feel healthy or as healthy as I did before....
So here it is 10pm on January 31, day 30 of my 30 day keto diet and what's my keto verdict?!?Stay tuned for my next blog to find out my keto conclusions (because this blog was about an hour longer than I expected...)!
Quote of the day:
"Don't blame the butter for what the bread did."
"30 Day Ketogenic Cleanse"- Maria Emmerich
"Keto-Adapted"- Maria Emmerich