Just coming off my experiment with reducing foods that might cause me inflammation and gaining a few pounds on vacation, I set out to try something I have been hearing about since I took my course in Integrative Nutrition – Ketosis. Your body is in a normal state of Ketosis when it does not have enough glucose for energy and has to burn stored fats instead. Who doesn’t want to burn FAT!
The original purpose of this concept or what they call the ketogenic diet was to prevent epilepsy in children. But since then, it’s been utilized for all sorts of reasons. Some of the most popular benefits of the ketogenic diet include:
- Better mood
- Better sleep
- Mental clarity
- Fat loss
- Better skin
Your brain MUST have energy all the time and it wants to get it the easiest way it can. The easiest form of energy is glucose. Glucose is in carbohydrates; sugar, fruit, pasta, grains, starchy veggies and legumes. The bummer is that any excess you have gets stored as FAT. For example if you eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and don’t burn it off you will literally see it on your thighs later as fat. The body does this just in case it needs energy and there is no glucose around (i.e. you have to skip breakfast).
There are two ways to get your body into Ketosis:
- EAT Zero or very few carbohydrates, LIMIT your protein (this isn’t Atkins) and INCREASE your healthy fats (yes they claim in order to lose fat you have to eat more fat – yay!)
- Don’t eat – if you don’t have anything in your stomach for long enough your body has to turn to your stored fat to survive.
OK, sounds crazy doesn’t it – living off ZERO carbohydrates? And it is. I just love my morning toast with peanut butter and banana and couldn’t imagine giving up my Ezekiel bread and brown rice let alone my dark chocolate and wine. All of these are healthy foods but I was willing to give them up and use my body for science.
My process was to start this on a Monday after shopping and prepping, gather my data (weight, body fat, muscle, blood sugar) do the best I could for the week and then take my data again.
What did I eat?
Breakfast was typically my smoothie with mostly veggies and only berries (I took out the banana for this experiment because those are very high in carbs). I would add my beloved peanut butter or I would have eggs with veggies
Lunch was a salad with a protein – I have GREAT chicken salad recipe and would make this or Tuna Salad with organic mayo and tried to get a quarter of an avocado in too (if I had one).
Dinner was a protein and veggie. One of the rules of the Ketogenic diet is to not eat grain fed meet. I found this site that sells free range, grass fed beef and pork which tasted incredible. The company is called The Butcher Box and they ship you a box of high quality, humanely raised products. Here is a coupon if you want to check it out The Butcher Box Coupon
Snacks and Dessert were nuts, celery with peanut butter or lunch meat with some mustard
My Results after just one week:
I just didn’t feel right. My digestion was off because my body was trying to get used to this new way of eating.
Ketones are a by-product of being in Ketosis and I bought test strips to pee on to see if I was there. Nope, I never got into the state of Ketosis. I needed to stay on this longer but my body missed the grains and fruit and dark chocolate!
In one week I did lose 2 pounds and my body fat went down 0.6%. My blood sugar went down 6 points. This was big for me because type 2 diabetes runs in my family and my last blood work it was at 103, which in the high range.
Results were good but if I wasn’t willing to give up all carbs so what about giving up food? Yes, the next step in trying to get into Ketosis is to increase the length of your FAST or decrease your eating window. Oh boy this was harder than giving up carbs but for science, I did it! Oh MY GOSH I had the most amazing paradigm shift in how I think about food now. But you will just have to stay tuned for next post – My Experiment with Intermittent Fasting.
Until next post.
P.S. WARNING – DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT trying a ketogenic diet if you have Type 1 diabetes or are pregnant. Also, if you have any health issues I recommend you talk with your doctor before trying something like this.
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