Hello Dear Readers!
I cannot believe it’s already been a month since I started the ketogenic diet! Time has just flown by and I’m thrilled to report that I’m still feeling super motivated and I (amazingly!) don’t miss the non-keto foods I’ve cut from my diet…well, okay I do miss eating fresh berries, a tiny bit, but not enough to make me cheat!
In last week’s post I talked about why I feel so passionate about the ketogenic diet, my motivation for launching this life-changing weight loss program (and why I decided to participate in the program myself), plus the successes and challenges I experienced during the first three weeks on the keto diet.
I am also working on a blog post about the major health dangers of sugar and carbohydrates- and how toxic they are. Coming soon!
This week I continued my search for the perfect keto-friendly cracker recipe and mused about the meaning of the word “diet”. I also solved a mysterious sugar craving, celebrated my birthday in (nearly perfect) keto-style, remained strong even when a family member ate potato chips in front of me, and learned how I need to tweak my exercise routine in order to give my body adequate recovery time between workouts while on the ketogenic diet. Read on to learn more!
The Keto Crunch Chase
Since starting this the ketogenic diet, I have been working on some new recipes to replace those old “go-to” foods that so many of us think of as dietary staples. For example, I found a great cracker recipe that really hits the spot. These keto-friendly crackers come out really nice and crunchy- which is great because finding keto-friendly foods that “crunch” can sometimes take a little searching and creativity!
Ketogenic Diet vs. Ketogenic Lifestyle?
I often hesitate to refer to this experience exclusively as a “diet” because of the negative connotation that word carries. The modern understanding of the word “diet” also implies a temporary (and oftentimes extremely unhealthy) change in how you eat, only to return to old eating habits after a predetermined amount of time. While the ketogenic diet is a “diet”, it isn’t anything like those “crash/fad diets” that we have seen over the years. In fact, the original meaning of the word “diet” is “[t]he kinds of foods a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” So I challenge you to redefine the way you think of the word “diet”. I prefer to think of this as a “lifestyle” rather than just a “diet”- a new and completely sustainable way of eating. This lifestyle has so many incredible healing benefits to it. People thrive on this low carb way of eating!
Mysterious Sugar Cravings
Week 4 has been an interesting week with a few bumps in the road. It was a little annoying since I had been doing so well and had been dealing with very few cravings. I noticed that I was a bit hungrier this week than I had been during the first three weeks and I found myself looking for something sweet and “carby”- something like cookies. I did a lot of cooking and baking and kept trying out new recipes looking for just the right thing to satisfy me. I didn’t realize until later that I was about to get my cycle- which helped explained the sugar cravings! (Women tend to need a bit more carbs around that time of the month.) The good thing about the ketogenic diet is that it is an anti-inflammatory diet and it helps balance out hormones. So thankfully, I had no real issues with cramping, bloating, or moodiness during the few days leading up to it- just the craving for sugar. I stayed on the diet but ate a few more calories than I should have. I have also been so busy I haven’t been consistently tracking my daily food intake (something that is so crucial to being successful on this diet.) When I am tracking, I use the My Fitness Pal app and it works great!
My Birthday Dinner + the Ketogenic Diet
The other minor diet setback I faced recently was going out to dinner to celebrate my birthday with my family. Of course going out to dinner on your birthday is great (and I really enjoyed the glass of red wine I had) but it can make staying in ketosis a little tricky. But I’m pleased to report that other than the wine I stuck to the diet; I had raw oysters, a small salad, a tiny piece of beef, and no dessert! Yum!
Just remember that when you do eat more carbs than you should it will stop the fat burning for a few days so you have to decide if it is truly worth it. (Honestly I think that the birthday wine set me back a few days- my blood sugar has been higher, I am eating more than I should, and the scale has been unkind to me.) When this happens just get right back on the keto horse (so to speak) and keep going. You are worth it!
Resist the “Carbage”!
My husband does not follow a ketogenic diet and sometimes he eats naughty things like potato chips and Twix ice cream bars. (By the way, I do not condone this but he is a grown man and can decide for himself what he puts in his body, which he refers to as a “prime physical specimen”. I nod and smile when he says this and say, “Yes, dear”! This week he ate a bag of potato chips and I had absolutely no desire to eat them, not even one bite! Now that is awesome! That’s what this diet does; it satiates you and stops you from making “bad” food choices. You find that you just don’t want to put that “carbage” (carbs + garbage) in your body anymore. And those chips really are “carbage”: a single-serving bag of potato chips has 15 grams of carbs, 160 calories, and a bunch of toxic fats that clog up your cells! It’s just a bag of chemicals, not food!
Ketogenic Diet = Flex-Fuel Body!
When you become keto-adapted (which can take a month or more) you have a flexible metabolism and can burn either glucose or fats (ketones). So if I decide to skip a meal my body can burn ketones and I still feel great and don’t suffer from low blood sugar.
If I hit the gym and do some high intensity workouts, I can use glycogen (stored glucose) for the speed work and then switch back to burning fats or ketones for the less intense sets. You always have fuel on board unless your workouts are longer than, say 90 minutes, then you need to refuel.
To refuel for those longer workouts, I recommend using Generation UCAN products. They offer healthy refueling alternatives that are perfect for high-performance athletes that are readily absorbed and won’t cause GI distress. Steer clear of those conventional refueling products like Gatorade and “energy gels”. Those types of products are loaded with sugar and can knot up the gut because the gut can only handle so much sugar at a time. When you use those conventional products, you are taking in way more sugar than your stomach can metabolize so your stomach will hurt and you’ll run out of steam! Bonk! Keep in mind that you don’t need these types of products if you are working out for an hour or less; they are more for the athletes doing long training sessions and athletic events.
Finding that Exercise “Sweet Spot”
This week I have been pushing myself pretty hard in my spin classes but I think that I need to take longer rests after the high intensity sets to give my body a chance to recover. By pushing too hard, and not taking long enough rests, I am raising my cortisol levels. When cortisol goes up, fat burning goes down and I don’t want to do that. Keep in mind that stress of any kind (whether it’s fighting a tiger, work, family, lack of sleep, poor diet, or even excess exercise) will raise cortisol levels. The best type of exercise is high intensity sets with longer recoveries followed by strength training. This will get you fit and help you burn fat long after your workout is over, build strong bones, tone your body, and raise human growth hormone levels (which is the fat burning hormone).
Sneak Peek into Next Week
Next week I will experiment with doing my high intensity sets while giving myself more time to recover between high intensity sets and between workout sessions. I will also be experimenting with some new supplements to help curb food cravings. Because I have been eating more than I should, I am feeling hungrier. That may sound strange but it is a vicious cycle that you don’t want to get caught in. I will keep you posted on how the supplements help curb cravings. I am also going to cut back on dairy (it can stall fat loss) I think I have been over doing it there.
Hope you have a great week and keto on…
You have got to try this recipe for Keto "Magic" Crackers! All the crunch of normal crackers but without the carbs! Yum!
VITAL NUTRITION FOR HEALTH
by Beth Winter, Master Nutrition Therapist
Welcome! My name is Beth Winter and I am the proud founder and director of Vital Nutrition for Health. As a holistic nutritionist, mother, cancer survivor, and enthusiastic epicurean my decision to found Vital Nutrition for Health was the realization of a longstanding aspiration to revolutionize how people approach their own health. Learn more at vitalnutritionforhealth.com or send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org