[DIET] Ketosis. The good and bad.

I did ketosis for 3 months, now I’m geared up and ready for 6 months! Below are some of the good and bad things I experienced.

The diet I followed went like this –

During the work week (5 days) I combined intermittent fasting with Keto. I would have a 1 hour eating window once every 23 hours, so essentially I was eating once a day. My meals would run an estimated 1600-2000 calories (yea a lot of food, it was great). I would wake up and take down 2 tbsp. of Olive oil.  I would have 1 snack in the morning around noon that was either Hot tea water with 2 scoops of almond butter and 100% cacao powder, or coffee with almond butter or grass fed butter.

The weekends (2 days) I would eat 3 meals but they would all be high fat, mod protein, no snacks. I would wake up to 4 poached eggs, bacon, bratwurst with melted cheese and sauerkraut, avocado covered in olive oil, lime and sea salt. That was just breakfast! I didn’t care about calories these 2 days, still my tummy stayed flat.

Every 10 days I would “carb load” to keep my body sensitive to insulin and provide my body with things only carbs can produce, such as leptins for the brain. There’s talk that “gluconeogenesis” takes care of this but I like to give my liver a break. I’ll go get a 9 inch Submarina sandwich or a carne asada burrito, maybe tacos these days.

Some serious keto peeps hit 20g of carbs a day for months on end and that’s all well and good but I know that they’ll only share the good things about keto, not the fact that your hair starts to fall out due to high levels of cortisol (stress) in the blood due to who knows what but it’s linked to prolong levels of low carbohydrates.. Besides, 20g of carbs is considered “nutritional ketosis” given to epileptic patients, it isn’t meant to be followed by the average person just trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I did 20g of carbs the first 2 weeks just to kick myself into ketosis but I brought that number up to 50g net carbs as I began losing a lot of muscle. No, 50g carbs won’t kick you out of Keto. Everyone is different, I go with what felt right to my body. Above 60g I started retaining a little water and getting hungry and little cravings so I knew I went back to sugar burning, 40-50g would keep me steady and my muscles strong, no cravings, no hunger. Carbs came from Spinach and broccoli.

Please keep in mind I was no health nut prior to doing this whatsoever. I binge drank every Friday and Saturday night with my friends, I ate 5-6 times a day, sometimes every meal would be fast food. I loved pizza and sushi all the time. I would work out here and there but it would be so strenuous and uncomfortable that I would go at it hard for 2 weeks, build a lot of muscle but not lose much weight and eventually quit. With that said, please know I was the epitome of sugar burning. When I wouldn’t eat after a few hours I would start to get weak at the knees, space out, begin to shiver and at times even get this cold sweat around my body. I HAD to eat or I felt I was eventually going to pass out. I knew there was something wrong with me; the human body shouldn’t be so dependent on eating 5 to 6 times a day. I knew there was something wrong with the standard American diet so I began my super awesome google/Wikipedia research on early ancestral diets and I began reading about the Paleolithic diet. I’ve always felt that humanity has distanced itself from nature; I wanted to get back to that. In my research for better health (it has been over a year now!) I read about how our ancestors used to eat, which then took me to studying the physiology of the human body, which then dragged me into the biochemistry which then lead me to studying about Ketosis, which as it turned out, was an entire community! I had no idea so many people were into Ketosis. I got excited about it. Started reading about results and success stories, the pros and cons and why etc. When I got a good grip on the fundamentals and the bio chemistry and bio mechanics behind ketosis my gut told me, “This is it, this is what you’ve been looking for.. Let’s kick it into high gear my friend”.

So I did…
I won’t get into any specifics of what I ate and what I didn’t eat. Just know I had no grains, refined carbs, sugar or anything that acted like sugar, such as excess proteins, and know I went through more avocadoes and poached eggs than I ever have in my life!

The good and bad about ketosis. I’m currently out of keto, for the negative reasons stated below, but I’m working to get back into it as we speak

The good things!
I’ll just list through them. – Consistent energy. Mental clarity. Positive thoughts. Positive life outlook. Weight loss. Consistent strength. Ability to own and control when and what I ate, no longer being at the mercy or control of my hunger. Weird but, I’ve always had a problem with bleeding gums when I brushed my teeth (every night/morning), my gums don’t bleed anymore. Increased sexual stamina. The lil man downstairs experienced growth lol. Better appearance therefore more confidence. The good feeling that comes with being able to fit in clothes you haven’t fit into in years. Compliments from others. An internal feeling of ‘cleanliness’. I learned to enjoy my weekends without alcohol. When I did drink alcohol after 3 months, my tolerance went down, so after 3 whisky’s I was having a good time and I was able to bounce back from it the very next day, didn’t drink again for another 3 weeks though. My patience increased in every area. I became indifferent to inconveniences in my life; I’d shrug a lot of stuff off and not get mad. Running began to feel natural whereas before it was my #1 most hated exercise. I didn’t have cheat “days” I had A cheat “meal” every now and again that would burn right off. Bloating and gas went away. I’ve had a problem with heart palpitations (when you can feel your heart beating hard in your chest laying down or standing up fast) for years, they went away almost completely.

Some crappy experiences were-

When I did keto I studied quite a bit but completely missed the importance of electrolytes and potassium and the differences of Medium chain triglycerides compared to non MCT fats. Sometime within my first month, one night I experienced waking up at 2 in the morning with my heart beating really fast. I was sweating and freaking out. I almost went to urgent care. I rode it out until about 3:30 am and eventually fell asleep. The next day I looked into it and saw that I created a recipe for disaster. I had low potassium levels as I was eating high fat foods but NO greens, or very few greens so I wasn’t getting any potassium this whole time. On top of that, I was taking coconut oil every night before bed the last 3 nights. Yea, the Keto peeps here are saying “oh man you messed up”. Apparently coconut oil and butter are “MCT’s” or Medium chain triglycerides. I’m not going to get into it but think of them as the “Monster energy” of the fat burner world. I didn’t know this. I paired low potassium levels, which will and did result in getting my palpitations back. Pair heart palpitations with a Monster energy drink that kicked in a few hours after going to bed. Not a good feeling. The next day I woke up to eating 2 large bowls of steamed kale spinach and broccoli in the morning, stopped taking coco oil at night. Never happened again, palpitations went away. Don’t take coconut oil or large amounts of butter before bed, they’ll keep you up. They’re perfect for the mornings though. Purchase some food grade Potassium bicarbonate as well if you’re like me and can’t enjoy large amounts of greens. Read labels, make calculations and take no more than 3g of the powder potassium a day. Never exceed 4.7g in a 24 hour period either from powders or greens.

Other crappy experiences-

Whenever I did eat sugar or high refined carbs, my ankles, knees and body would get weak. I would get dark circles under my eyes and I would literally have to take a nap, wherever I was. To this day I’m not sure what it was but I’m sure it had to do with a spike in blood sugar and insulin that took me straight to the sugar crash without the sugar high (as I wasn’t burning sugar).

Next – If you stop having cheat “meals” and start having cheat “days”, because whatever reason, family in town, birthday parties, boredom, whatever. There is a chance you will slip back into your old ways despite how long you’ve been doing keto, as I did. As a matter of fact I’m still working to get back on the wagon 100%. This is because you will re activate those addictive pleasure responses, you’ll start burning sugar and the mentality and lack of self-control that come with eating that way all kick back in pretty quickly. Before you know it, like me, you look up and find that you’ve been off keto for 3 straight weeks and you’re bloating up, feeling tired, anxious and negative all over again. Getting back into keto is faster this time around, but your addiction centers somehow feel like they have built a “defense” and keto just doesn’t sound as appealing as it did the first time around, so getting back into keto gets harder every time you go prolonged periods (more than 7 days) eating as you used to. It’s a mental thing, it’s just harder the second time around. The devotion and dedication seems to dilute in your personality. Be careful! To get back into ketosis the second, third, fourth time you’ll have to have the will and discipline of an ancient Samurai. The first time is easier because you have so much excitement and curiosity. Also, the second time, as the first time around be prepared to tell everyone around you to piss off (nicely) if they make negative comments like “oh you’re doing that again? Dude just get a slice of pizza you’ll be fine!”. Build a defense and stick to your guns.

Next– On that point.. the people.. ah, the people.. You will run into 3 types of people. The people that see your positive changes and become curious about what you’re doing and ask how they can start themselves, help them out! The people that ask “how you did it”, say “oh that’s cool” and move on to another conversation and finally, the people that, despite all positive results will still pour their doubts and fear s onto you, put you down and lecture you. I like the first 2 types. I don’t want to talk about my diet with anyone, I’ll help whoever shows interest if they are the ones that initiated the conversation but aside from that I never bring it up. I did at first, because I thought I owed people an explanation on why I wasn’t joining in on “the fun” (eating like shit) and this is where the 3rd types were given a platform. After a while, when people asked how I lost so much weight I just said “oh you know, diet and exercise” the end, move along. The 3rd types are the people that know nothing of what you’re doing. Believe all the myths of eating “whole grains” and fruit 5-6 times a day to lose weight (it’s possible but takes longer and doesn’t feel nearly as good, I know, I’ve been there). They question your intermittent fasting; they question the high fat intake, making comments like “you’re going to die of a heart attack, idiot”. I’ve even had a friend of mine get mad, literally upset when I told her i’m only eating once every 24 hours, 1400 calorie meal, with a 200 cal snack in the morning (ballpark, I never measured anything) and mentioned I never felt better my entire life. She told me that it didn’t sound right and that it isn’t a long term way to eat and I agreed with her there but I told her I’ll listen to my body and I’ll know when I’m ready to split into 2 meals a day… “2 meals!?” which really set her off. Eventually she shook her head and walked away.

Next, and Last– I guess the worst thing about keto is the people- The last crappy thing I experienced was being at events with food or go out with friends and we would go grab food and I wouldn’t eat or eat something small while they grubbed out on a full course meal. I would get questioned every 5 minutes on why I’m not eating, “I should just cheat today”, “get something low calorie” (I stopped caring about calories after 2 weeks) “dude, when do we ever hang out”, “Just skip today and start again tomorrow man!” (been “started” for a few weeks now though), “just get a salad”… then later in the day, around my eating window I would get a juicy, greasy steak with lots of bacon and steamed broccoli doused in butter with a juicy bratwurst on the side and they say “thought you said you were on a diet you dick” lol! The people are the hardest part. Eventually your friends and fam get used to it and leave you alone but it takes a few weeks… then they start asking how they can start too lol. When that day comes help them for sure… but give them the “Stanley look” when they do finally ask to hop on board the keto train after giving you so much grief!..

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