It’s early morning. I’ve just finished my coffee with butter, coconut oil, and Keto-OS. A perfect blend of brain and body energizing foods that is a customary meal on the ketogenic diet. Ketogenic? The question everyone is asking me. Now, after having appeared on an internationally famous podcast about ketosis and healing my body, everyone wants to know how to do it. In this blog I will outline the fundamentals of what it is and what it looks like.
Basically… the keto diet is a manipulation of your macronutrients (proteins,carbs,fats) that teaches your body to burn fat and ketones as fuel instead of glucose that’s derived from carbs. It happens when you restrict carbohydrates over a prolonged period of time while increasing fat intake.
To begin, you would want to restrict carbs to 20 grams a day and back off your protein a little. Too much protein is going to work against you. Go ahead and increase your fats to reach 70-80% of your total macro ratio. Hence, the butter and coconut oil in my coffee.
What will happen is your body will begin to switch fuel sources. (Note:it is biologically impossible to fuel from both carbs and fat at the same time.) Any time your insulin is up, which happens from carb intake, you will not burn fat. As your body begins to make the shift, people often complain of the “keto flu”, several days of lethargy, headaches, irritability and exhaustion. I’ve been there. However you can bypass this completely with a product called Keto-OS. It’s drinkable ketones and it puts you into ketosis almost immediately and is a great way to start. You can find them here.
Once your body makes the switch from carb burning to fat burning, game on. You will notice energy levels soar and stay elevated, fat loss happens fairly drastically, muscle catabolism halts, mental focus enhances, inflammation goes away, and so much more. Why? Ketosis is like running on jet fuel when carbs are like running on gasoline. Your brain and body are able to utilize ketones in a much better way! Ever notice how you get sleepy around 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon, or how after a workout you HAVE to eat? Your carbs got used up and your insulin dropped. As a carb burner you have to keep carbs topped off or else you crash. In ketosis, this doesn’t happen. Your body is ably to supply your fuel source through adipose fat reserves hanging around your midsection and by producing ketones. You’re in a constant fat burning state.
What to eat. Eating keto is a shift in lifestyle so don’t expect it to come naturally but it doesn’t have to be difficult. It basically comes down to viewing your grocery list through a different set of lenses. I look through a high fat/low carb lense. If it’s a carb, it doesn’t go in the cart. If it is high in fat, it probably will. So, no breads, pastas, cereals, fruits (except berries), sugars, or junk. By the way, ketosis has taught me so much about eating real food, and staying away from processed garbage. You will want to stock up on real fat like butter, cream, cream cheese, cheeses, nuts and oils such as coconut, avacodo, and extra Virgin olive oil. Get your carbs from veggies. Eat as much as you want! And then eat your protein from meet sources like fatty fish (salmon and tuna), bacon, hamburger, steak, chicken, bison pepperoni, etc. Drinks should include water, coffee, green tea, and kombucha. Check out my blog “drinking to good health” to find out more about kombucha.
Testing ketones should be a regular part of your lifestyle. There are 3 ways of doing this. At first and for several weeks after starting, you want to test your urine. Simply go to your pharmacy and purchase ketone urine strips.
If your panel changes color, your producing ketones. It’s that simple. They come in 50 per container and cost around $10. Not bad. However, as your body begins to utilize your ketones better, you may start to fade out of ketones in the urine. That’s ok. You’ll want to start testing in one of 2 other ways. You can test your breath with a breath ketone meter called “ketonix” or test your blood with a blood glucose monitor and blood ketone strips. An optimal range is between .5-3ml of ketones.
Tips. Drink plenty of water. Take in extra sodium and electrolytes, and Do NOT Cheat. Consistency is your best friend. Give it time and be patient. You’ve been a carb burner all your life. Give your body time to learn to burn fat. Once it happens, your body will thank you.
In summary, ketosis is not a fad, it’s not a “diet”, and it’s not weird. It’s simply teaching your body to use a more efficient fuel source to function at an optimal level. Ketones are naturally produced in the body as a way to fuel during times of fasting, starvation or restricted carbs. By increasing fat, your body will see that it isn’t starving at all, and quit opposite. Therefore, it will be happily convinced to let go of reserved fat stores. I hope this helps clear up some confusion about ketosis and helps you on your journey of optimizing your health.