Ketosis- Everything you need to know
What is Ketosis?
How to get into Ketosis?
What are the common mistakes?
What are the risks?
Ketosis is an effective weapon when used properly.
Have you seen people drastically lose 80 pounds in one year? I bet a large percentage of them are following some sort of Ketogenic/carbohydrate-restricted diet. You may have seen them under the names of Atkins, Ideal Protein or simply low-carb dieting.
It’s becoming popular in a world full of people looking for a rapid change. The benefits of Ketosis are very similar to the benefits of fasting. It’s actually a safe process. Personally, I get into Ketosis as a way to cleanse and heal my body four times a year for a one-month period. Lifting weights and playing sports my entire life has left my joints hurting. I notice a drastic decrease in inflammation yet, in Ketosis, my joints feel best. I sleep better. I wake up without puffy eyes and I feel younger! It has increased my cognitive focus. It makes biological sense for our energy and focus to increase when we are in a fasted state!
I’ve been blood testing my Ketones for years now. I’ve made many mistakes doing Ketosis. Here’s the plan to do it safely.
Ketosis is the ultimate shortcut…but wait, what exactly is it?
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel source. Ketones are your body’s backup fuel source. Carbs are stored in your liver and in your muscles. But when you restrict carbohydrate intake for a few days your body needs fuel and begins to tap into its stored fat. From this fat your liver begins to produce these magical little things called KETONES. As your body becomes more fat adapted over time it will produce more ketones and it will take less time to transition into ketosis. Now, you’ve entered a cleansing state and you begin to burn stored fat as energy. Instead of fluctuating between meals, your energy becomes steady. Your body will also require less oxygen to function. Ketosis puts you at an oxygen-surplus since you are still inhaling the same amount of oxygen per breath. You can hold your breath two times longer! With all that extra oxygen doesn’t it make sense that Ketosis makes you feel and function better?
Is it worth trying? Who is it for?
I find myself recommending this diet to these types of clients:
1. Anyone looking to burn fat rapidly!
2. A highly disciplined professional who doesn’t have much time to eat, views food as fuel and is looking for a mental edge.
3. Someone with multiple joint injuries who probably has a significant amount of inflammation in their body. They would most probably have a lot less joint pain.
4. It has been known to increase the recovery time after surgery or Chemotherapy/ radiation.
You’ll be eating meals with very little carbs, a moderate amount of protein (20 to 30 grams per meal) and a high amount of fat (80 percent of total calorie consumption).
The goal is to minimize carbohydrate intake down to 50 grams or less a day for a 12-to-30-day period, maybe longer if looking to lose a lot of fat, however I have encountered some risks to long-term ketosis. I’ll discuss these later.
Think of 3 food groups.
1. A protein source – chicken, fish, meat, eggs, lamb or turkey.
2. A fat source – meat, eggs, avocado, grass-fed butter, olive oil or coconut oil.
3. A low-carb vegetable source – most above ground vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, lettuce, peppers, celery, sauerkraut, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.
Avoid starchy carbs or below ground carbs such as potatoes, beets or carrots. Avoid rice, squash, and beans.
Avoid fruit – it is pure sugar and it may provide nutrition but it does not fit this dieting strategy.
Nuts, seeds, and cheeses can be eaten in small amounts because they do contain some carbs.
I enjoy this diet because I can include delicious meats, some cheese, a lot of fat, sea salt and caffeine! You can enjoy Spicy food in Ketosis!
You will need discipline for this diet. You will have to remove alcohol!
I suggest a two-phase approach.
Phase 1 Practice and Adapt – may take months
Start to identify the carbohydrates in the meals you are eating. Start to replace them with fats and low-carb vegetables. Practice cooking Keto meals and begin to work them into your lifestyle. It’s going to take some trial and error. Make your mistakes in Phase 1 to avoid making them when you are fully committed in Phase 2.
You may want to try intermittent fasting during Phase 1. That is a practice of daily fasting for 16 hour long periods. Basically, you only eat meals between noon and 8:00 p.m. Fast from carbs specifically. I do this year round. It becomes very useful on a Keto diet.
Have you hear of heard of “Bulletproof” coffee – coffee with butter and MCT oil? Drinking it is a helpful way to keep energy up during intermittent fasting and Ketosis. I suggest trying intermittent fasting as much as possible in Phase 1 to decrease your dependence on carbs and increase your ability to burn fat a fuel source. It is not necessarybut it is helpful.
Gluten and sugar withdrawal can be particularly challenging. Phase 1 is a good time to remove that obstacle. You can still enjoy carbs during this Phase 1 period because you will not enter ketosis anyway. Phase 1 is a learning process to practice the meals and make mistakes. You may notice that you lose weight and feel better during this period. You will be able to go longer periods of time without feeling hungry.
Phase 2 Commit and Execute
Now, you are adapted and you know what your meals will be like. You’ve practiced cooking them and you know how to make it work for your budget, your time, and your taste.
In Phase 2 the first thing you need to do is to pick a TIME PERIOD TO COMMIT TO EXECUTE THE PLAN. I suggest you pick a time period when you don’t have a holiday or a party with lots of food and alcohol tempting you. How many days will you need? It may take five days to reach full Ketosis. How long do you want to stay there? I suggest a minimum of 12 days. (That’s just one weekend without alcohol)
Now just execute!
Here are some tips.
1. You may feel a little tired during the transition. That’s why caffeine is helpful. Try not to drink caffeine past noon so it doesn’t disrupt your sleep. You won’t need any after a week or so. The Ketone energy gives you an amazing mental clarity. Many executives combine Ketones with caffeine to get a lot of work done.
2. Take long walks. Walk as long as 90 minutes. You will burn extra fat and it helps empty out the stored carbohydrates so that you can enter Ketosis sooner. You can actually triple the amount of fat you burn during low intensity cardio sessions when in Ketosis!
3. Consume coconut oil or MCT oil in moderate amounts. Your body loves making Ketones from MCT oil, which is found in coconut oil. Moderate amounts equal one teaspoon per meal. Overdosing on MCT oil can create “disaster pants.” (diarrhea) Limit to one tablespoon per meal.
4. Practice yoga. (Not necessary) You are healing anyway. Your inflammation is low. This is a great time to work on your flexibility and release toxins from your muscles and joints..
5. Drink bone broth at night or for breakfast. This helps your joints heal. It’s also tasty and can keep you full. It’s got magnesium and a bunch of other stuff your liver needs to heal and detox.
6. Soak in a magnesium footbath. You may experience a carbohydrate withdrawal effect – mainly from gluten and sugar withdrawal. I soak my feet in magnesium chloride flakes for 20 minutes daily to mitigate the detox process. Almost all of my clients that try this are sleeping better. (Side note: Transdermal magnesium chloride is also a lifesaver for those suffering from migraines headaches. I’ve helped seven people get rid of their migraines.)
Contraindications and Confusion about Ketosis
Ketosis, if done properly, should be safe for almost anyone. It’s a difficult diet to follow but it’s safe for over 95% of the population. Ketones also do a great job of preserving muscle mass as muscle loss isn’t an issue. Medical professionals seem concerned with diabetics in Ketosis – mainly Type 1. I’ve had Type 2 diabetic friends who have had success with it when practiced properly. Ketosis is barely mentioned in college and medical classes and medical professionals without experience with Ketosis tend to have an overly cautious opinion. Ketosis may increase your ability to process medical drugs. Adjustments may need to be made according to what meds you are on. But it has become obvious that practicing Ketosis isn’t dangerous. I have yet to see any immediate negative consequences from this process. There are many books written and vast research has been done proving how Ketosis can improve all sorts of illnesses – even preventing cancer. But please, do your own research. These are two doctors that have been pioneering research for decades:
Peter Attia – http://eatingacademy.com
Dom D’agostino – http://www.ketonutrition.org
To see the carbohydrate content of your food—Nutritiondata.com
The main concept of this diet is to heal the body, assuming it is infinitely toxic and backed-up. We heal by flushing, hydrating, and resting. Make food quality a top priority! Eat plant-based foods, and create enzyme rich environment in the gut. Support the adrenals and liver. Get sleep.
Dangers of Ketosis:
Long term confusion
Makes the body more acidic
Starving Good Bacteria
Increased Carbohydrate sensitivity, managing sugar cravings
Mucoid Plaque build-up (undigested meat)
Long-term confusion about Ketosis
Ketosis is all or nothing strategy. We feel so good in a Ketogenic state that we start to think eating carbohydrates is unhealthy. In Ketosis, we are always looking to lower carbs, but at some point we have cheat days where we consume sugar and alcohol. This is a very common trap. This means that the only carbs they ever eat are sugar and alcohol. I suggest committing to a specific period of time for ketosis and then returning to a balanced diet including fruits and starchy vegetables for quality carbs.
Ketosis indirectly creates acidity in the body. We need things to enjoy eating. On a Ketogenic diet, these things tend to be acidic. We tend to drink coffee for energy. We tend to drink zero-calorie-carbonated beverages. We eat lots of meat and cheese. We get lactic acid from exercise. While none of these things are overly problematic, a long-term consistent dosage of all of them without alkaline fruits and vegetables shifts our PH towards acidity.
It’s strange that something that decreases the inflammation in your body can also create acidity. Bacteria, fungus, disease and cancer can thrive in an acidic environment. This might be the greatest limiting factor as to why you should not maintain a Ketogenic diet long term. After testing my blood and my tissue I noticed that my blood stayed in a safe range but the PH level of my tissues dropped very low over time. It may be best to alternate the Ketogenic diet with a balanced/ Alkaline diet.
After eating a Ketogenic diet for 2 years I noticed I wasn’t feeling well. I shifted to a strict alkaline diet for 1 month. I felt lighter. I had more energy. I felt more hydrated. I was most surprised when my wrist injury completely disappeared! It had been nagging me for 5 years!
There’s an ideal balance, not an ideal diet.
Feeding Good Bacteria
The bacteria in your gut need to be fed healthy fiber. You could feed the good bacteria in your gut by consuming 1-2 teaspoon of psyllium-husk in the morning to help sweep the intestines and provide fiber for these bacteria. This may not be necessary if you are only in Ketosis for a month. You will naturally restore balance in your gut when you return to a normal – fiber rich- diet.
Hydration, electrolytes, and Gallstones
I began to notice a pain in my upper right back. It took me years to figure out that it was gallstones. I had been intermittent fasting for years, which doubles your chances of getting gallstones!
While you are in Ketosis, consider consuming MCT oil in the morning to empty out the gall bladder and to increase ketones in the morning.
Dehydration is another risk factor for gallstones. Consider consuming an electrolyte supplement in the morning. I use “Hi Lyte.” Both MCT oil and electrolytes will benefit the Ketogenic process and help maintain balance. Eating a ton a saturated fat (butter) for an extended period of time can contribute to gall stones.
While in Ketosis…….Avoid!
-Gluten, sugar, bread, alcohol, fruit, yogurt and milk (grass-fed butter is ok, cheese is acidic but will not take you out of ketosis). It is important that gluten intake stays at absolute zero. Minimizing alcohol is also very important as most alcohol contains sugar and overwhelms the liver for days. Wine and beer are the worst. Tequila and Vodka are less harmful.
Even though most fruits are alkalizing, the natural sugars will take you out of ketosis.
Restricting your carbohydrate intake could make you “carbohydrate-sensitive” which could cause you to gain fat very quickly especially if you consume too many carbs immediately after ending your Ketogenic diet. Be mindful of the foods you eat when exiting Ketosis. You may have cravings. Ideally, eat lots of Alkalinizing fruits and veggies to rebalance. Search for Alkaline food lists. Always avoid processed sugar and bread!
How to manage sugar cravings during ketosis:
Drink a full glass of water
Add cinnamon to coffee or food
Take a BCAA supplement
Consume MCT oil
Drink green tea for energy
Use stevia in smoothies, some protein powders taste good
If you must:
½ cup Black berries and raspberries are very high in fiber, and relatively low in sugar compared to other fruits.
Plaque Build-up, Bloating, and Inflammation
Undigested protein or dairy in an inflamed system can cause a buildup of toxic mucoid plaque in an acidic gut environment. Conversely, when the body consumes too little protein it cleanses by simply looking for undigested “trash protein.” Ideally, you need to keep protein intake to 60-90 grams per day. It is not your goal to consume as much protein as possible like some bodybuilding diets suggest. Keeping an enzyme rich environment should help maximize the amount of protein absorbed. To do this, eat a lot of vegetables for enzymes. In order to maintain muscle mass, instead of consuming high amounts of protein, focus on being consistent with frequency and intensity of exercise. Your body will adapt with what it has. Best protein sources are small fish, wild canned sardines (inexpensive), Vegan powders, eggs, and grass-fed beef. Less cooked the better. Careful eating too many large fish, they often contain mercury. Avoid Processed meat. Cheese is tasty, eating it will not lower you ketones but it is not the best thing for your gut.
A crapping trans fat diet, while it may be Ketogenic, mixed with calorie surplus can contribute to cancer growth.
To prevent adrenal fatigue during ketosis, you should consume vitamin C (peppers are a good source), pink salt, and a variety of fats in your diet. Also, minimize stimulants and average at least 7 hours of sleep. Make sure you get tons of fat. At 180 pounds I require 220 grams of fat a day to maintain my weight and fuel my adrenals in Ketosis. A functional medicine doctor once told me that she sees improved adrenal function with many of her patients by taking grapefruit seed extract.
To reduce acidity, more than half of the food you eat should be vegetables. It’s usually safer to steam them. Ideally, 80% of food intake should be plant based, enzyme rich, while the remaining 20% would be acidic (meat, fish etc..). It shifts to 50%/50% when allowing for coffee and cheese in the diet. Another easy replacement for coffee is ginger and turmeric tea. Grind ginger and turmeric and soak it in water like a tea. The lemon shot and the tea are great for energy in the morning instead of coffee.
The types of fats that help fuel the adrenals are coconut oil, avocado, and olive oil, quality animal fat or walnut oil. Coconut oil is great for cooking. MCT in coconut oil helps produce ketones. After blood testing ketones for years, I have found the ideal MCT oil is “Bulletproof High Octane” to help produce ketones in the body. Avocados mixed with vegetables are a filling snack. Olive oil or Walnut oil (has omega-3) can be used with salads. Vegetables should function as your “fat carriers.” When looking to shred body fat consume smaller doses of fat but make sure to always include the variety.
It’s not the volume of water that you consume, but the qualityof the water hat you absorbthat is our main concern. Drink when you’re thirsty. You can replenish water, making it more nutrient-rich, by adding “trace mineral drops” or “Hi Lyte”- supplement, also a pinch of Himalayan salt. Carbohydrates also help rehydrate. Use them if you need them
Keto Cocao by Giant is my favorite MCT powder mix to make a Mocha like chocolate coffee.
For breakfast, this is what I do to stay alkaline and crank up Ketones: Detox tea, MCT oil, and electrolytes
Goat milk is better than dairy milk.
There are no exercise restrictions when in Ketosis. You may want to just walk while in the transition process because your energy may be low.
Overall, it is a safe and extremely effective process. I have just made all of the mistakes and gathered the research to make it as safe as possible.
There are lots of these online. I found this to be a useful menu:
Bell Peppers (green, red, yellow, orange)
Green Bell Peppers
Assuming all is well for you in the dairy department, these are the Keto friendly dairy foods you can enjoy:
Heavy Whipping Cream
Full Fat / Full Cream Milk
Baby Back Ribs
All cuts (don’t go for lean, you need the fat!)
Go easy on nitrates with these:
Lamb, Veal, and other meats I don’t eat 😉
Processed Meats: Try to go organic and nitrate free when possible
Canned Chicken (read labels)
Eggs & Meat
Eggs & Meat
Eggs & Meat
Watch for nitrates: Turkey & Chicken deli meats, Turkey Bacon, Turkey Sausage
Chicken Broth (great for adding sodium back into your diet)
Canned Salmon & Tuna