Have you seen people drastically lose 80 pounds in one year? I guarantee you 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 the lifestyle blog/podcasting 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 have left my joints hurting. I notice a drastic decrease in inflammation and, in Ketosis, my joints feel the best. I sleep better. I wake up without puffy eyes and I look and feel younger! I’ve been blood testing my Ketones for years now. It has increased my cognitive focus. It makes biological sense for our energy and focus to increase when we are in a fasted state!
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. So now you’ve entered a cleansing state and you begin to burn stored fat as energy. Instead of fluctuating between meals, your energy now 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. But 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.
Where do I begin?
The goal is to minimize carbohydrate intake down to 50 grams or less a day for a 12-to-30-day period. 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).
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!
Sample meals include:
You can have “Bulletproof” coffee for breakfast, omelets, salads, dinners with a meat and a vegetable. You can eat unlimited fat and stay in ketosis which is useful for those, like me, who are not primarily interested in fat loss.
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. Ever heard of “Bulletproof” coffee – coffee with butter and coconut 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 necessary but it is helpful. Gluten 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. The point of Phase 1 is to practice. 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 wedding 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…many have gone months).
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 any 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 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)
4. Practice yoga. You are healing anyway. Your inflammation is low. This is a great time to work on your flexibility and breath. Continue to flood your body with oxygen while in Ketosis for better results! I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone on the Internet combining yoga with Ketosis for healing. Probably because most yogis are vegan for spiritual reasons and this diet is very difficult with vegan restrictions.
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 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. So I’m 7/7!)
Dangers and Contraindications
Ketosis, if done properly, should be safe for almost anyone. It’s a difficult diet to follow but it’s safe for 90 percent of the population and it’s very effective. 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.self.com
These websites will answer a lot of your questions.
Also, Check out the "MyKeto" app. You simply plug in your personal details and it prescribes your keto needs for fat, carb, and protein intake. It also helps you track the food you eat
There you have it – the ultimate shortcut that’s been here forever. I think you’ll probably be hearing a lot more about Ketosis in the future. It’s as challenging as it is effective! Keep trying. Do your research. It’s a learning process. In the long term you may see a benefit in keeping your carbohydrate consumption low. Your mind is the only thing preventing you from benefitting from this experience.
I really enjoy uncovering the misconceptions along with learning how much of an impact these types of changes have on our physiology. I hope I’ve explained things clearly. If not, please leave questions and comments in the section below as I would love to hear your feedback.
Be nice :)
Thanks for reading.
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