my keto'ish lifestyle
Many people practicing a vegetarian or vegan diet do it for moral reasons. These individuals believe that animals should not be consumed for our "delight", and that plant based foods are more than enough to nourish the human body. With that being said, it is a commitment, for a moral reason, so eating beef tacos here are there is pretty much off the table. Now what about the person who wants to heal the body through a plant based lifestyle, but occasionally eats Grandma's spaghetti? Are they kicked out of the vegan club, banned from ever speaking of it again? Often times, yes. Veganism really is the absence of animal derived foods from he diet. Can you say you are a vegan if you eat meat once a year? I think not.
Although it may seem extreme, extreme diets almost always come with some sort of social pact. The same is happening with keto. People often label themselves with he type of diet they are consuming. "I'm keto". "I'm pescatarian". "I'm carnivore". Are you? Is it part of your identity? If so, do you.
I eat a primarily ketosis inducing diet, aka, keto, because it makes me feel great, my body functions better, and I honestly believe that being in a state of ketosis is a healthier state for ME. However, unlike veganism, I do not look at this as a religion, as a cult, as a commitment to ONLY and ALWAYS. I will say, that I aim to be in ketosis for the vast majority of the year. This is my preferred state of being. However, when I am on vacation, during the holidays, and during special occasions, I will definitely eat foods that have the potential to throw me out of ketosis. I don't, nor will I, go all-in and all crazy and abandon the very reasons I choose a keto lifestyle in the first place. I am a firm believer that we all should limit the amount of refined starches, grains, and sugars that we commonly eat as part of the standard American diet. So even if I enjoy foods that are traditionally known to halt ketosis, I am still pretty much reasonable. The old me would have all-in abandonment "cheat" days, when I abandon all that I know about sugars and refined carbs, and go crazy. I'm taking wheat based and sugar laden cereals, juice, soda, wheat buns and bagels, cake, ice cream, crackers and the likes. Now, I may have a ground corn tamale cake from cheese cake factory and some mashed potatoes once every other month. At a birthday party, I *may* have one small slice of cake, a couple of carby appetizers, but I simply don't go crazy with the refined carbs anymore. Here's how I eat now.
1. I eat animal proteins, aiming for 60-100 grams a day, but I usually land around 80 grams a day. This is to make sure I preserve as much muscle while working out losing weight.
2. I don't over do the fat. Why? I prefer to use my body fat for energy than dietary fat for energy. I have excess body fat. So that CAN technically mean I am only consuming 800 calories a day, but my body has access to over a hundred thousand calories
3. I only eat when I am hungry.
4. I try my best to stay away from keto friendly foods that contain wheat derivatives such as when fibers, wheat glutens, etc, because of the inflammatory properties that they still possess.
5. I have learned over the years that I can eat up to 40 net carbs a day to stay in ketosis, but much carbs still stalls me. I prefer to stay under 30 grams net carbs a day, which is a balance of sanity and weight loss.
6. I test my blood ketones once a week, or after introducing new foods/products into my routine.
7. I supplement with potassium, magnesium, and sodium 2-3 days a week to keep my electrolytes in check. I also take a multivitamin on my eating days (yes, I fast as well, more about that on my fasting page).
8. I do not "cheat". I simply have days where I eat more carbs than I need to keep me in ketosis.
9. I still have a general aversion to simple sugars and wheat flour. I simple HATE the way it makes me feel when I eat a good amount of it, so I have very very little of it a few times a year.
10. Veggies matter! I love kale, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, radish, green beans, collard greens.
learn more about ketosis keto
The idea that we have this amazingly complex, adaptive, and evolving body should excite you. Or is that just me? Anyways, learning about the human body has been a hobby for me since I was a little child. We are petty much a highly complex biological machine with so much sophistication, that not even AI could mimic. Ketosis is a metabolic state, in which a body is using ketones, a byproduct of fat metabolism, for the majority of it's metabolic functioning. There are so many benefits of this type of metabolism, and minimizing sugars, starches, grains and other simple carbohydrates forces the body to make the switch from a primarily carbohydrate, GLUCOSE metabolism to a ketogenic one.
I lost 40 lbs in the early 2000s when I did the Atkin's diet. The Atkin's diet is a low carb diet that uses ketosis as a segway into weight loss and allowing the body to use fat for energy, but only for a short amount of time. Atkin's allowed individuals to pretty much introduce carbs back into their diet UNTIL the weight loss begins to stall. While I loved Atkin's, and it worked well for my 19-24 year old body, it really lacked education regarding what ketosis was, and how insulin was the major variable in weight loss and metabolic health. The more I learned about ketosis, the more intrigued I became.
Moving forward, I now know how huge a role that insulin plays when it comes to weight loss. When we consume any type of carbohydrates, including starches, sugars, grains, legumes, it eventually gets broken down into glucose through digestion and digestive enzymes. This glucose gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and as more gets absorbed, a higher concentration of glucose is now in the blood. High blood sugar is deadly, but thankfully our body produces a hormone called insulin, which is released from the pancreas in response to the ingestion and absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
Insulin's primary role is to keep blood sugar levels as normal as possible. It does this by escorting the excess blood glucose into cells, the liver, and muscles. But the cells, muscles and liver all have a capacity for glucose. Any additional glucose that cannot be taken up, is then converted into fat in adipose tissue, aka, fat cells. HERES THE THING: Insulin is also a fat storing hormone. Yes, you read it right. As long as insulin is secreted, and even marginally elevated, you cannot burn body fat. Why? Because insulin is only elevated in the presence of glucose metabolism, meaning, if your body has glucose as a source of energy, it wont use fat. Body fat is supposed to be a precious resource that is to be used when glucose in the cells, muscle and liver are low. A reserve. The problem is that we store wayyyy too much of it, because we are eating too much, and too often.
So how do we tap into our bodyfat, or how do we intentionally lose bodyfat? Ketosis. Lets be clear now, before it gets more complicated.
1. Your body only uses one primary fuel source at a time. Glucose first. Once that runs out, fat. Once that runs out, protein. Unless you have hardly any body fat, your body WILL NOT burn muscle under normal circumstances.
2. As long as insulin is even somewhat elevated, ketones can't be produced, because fat can't be burned.
3. You must use up a good amount of glucose in the muscle, liver and bloodstream before your body will switch to fat as a fuel source. The first, active cells will use up glucose, such as organs, and muscle. After that, the liver will release it's stored glucose back into circulation, where it will be taken up by the muscles and cells again. Once the liver has been depleted, it will then start to convert and break down fats into ketones.
How can one effectively get into ketosis and start to burn one's own body fat for energy?
1. Stop putting carbs into the body. Yes. Stop eating all the sugars, grains, and starches. Since you have no carbs coming in, your body will use up/burn glucose. You can do this gradually, over a week's time, or cold turkey.
2. Replace those used to be carbs with proteins and healthy fats, such as salmon, poultry, organic and grass-fed beef, as grass-fed and organic butter, and avocado.
3. Add some healthy and fibrous veggies such as broccoli, zucchini, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach. These veggies have minimal amounts of carbohydrates. A person can generally eat between 25-50 net carbs (net carbs are those total carbs after fiber and certain sugar alcohols are subtracted) a day and still get into ketosis. Start on the lower side first, and then add more if needed, but check your ketones to make sure you stay in ketosis with a meter like this one.
Ketones in this sense are a byproduct of a fat metabolism. It is a good sign that you have burned through most of your stored glucose and your body is now running on fat! Yay!
I prefer being in ketosis for the large majority of my year because I feel amazing. Ketones are readily used by the body, and it a preferred and superior source of fuel for the brain, the heart and other organs. This is why many people in ketosis report feeling energetic, super concentrated and mentally sharp.