A Ketogenic diet is not for everyone. That being said, I don’t view it as a “diet” because it is not – it is a lifestyle. The ketogenic lifestyle is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet which reduces inflammation in the body. Historically, the ketogenic diet became popular as a therapy for children with epilepsy in the 1920s and 30s. The first modern scientific study as a cure for epilepsy was conducted in France in 1911. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. In modern research, Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
I have been following the ketogenic diet (also known as keto) for almost a year now and find many health benefits for myself. I dropped that extra water weight and bloat, have increased energy and endurance in my runs and never feel hungry. The diet is not an easy one to follow – that’s for sure. It is a very specific formula of 75% fat, 25% protein (which I derive from fish and eggs since I am pescatarian), and 10% carbs. The ketogenic diet is different from the paleo diet because it does not freely allow for fruits since fruit does have a high percentage of sugar, albeit natural sugar.
The interesting thing is that I used to rely on fruit for a snack whenever I was hungry, but after an hour or so, I found myself hungry again. What most people don’t realize is that some of the fruit in our supermarkets are specifically bred to have twice as much sugar so that people will want to eat them (The Ketogenic Cookbook, Maria Emmerich). Most of the fruit are also bred to be bigger and therefore typically 2-3 servings instead of 1. I was recently at a Whole Foods and saw a honeycrisp apple nearly the size of a cantaloupe!
Do I never eat fruit on the ketogenic lifestyle? Sometimes I do eat an occasional apple, but there are fruits which are lowest in sugar such as avocado, coconut, olives, and tomatoes. Once you have eliminated processed foods, sugar and white bread, the taste of a tomato can be the most delicious thing – you are actually tasting it. Your taste buds aren’t numbed by all the preservatives and other “junk” in our food supply.
By drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat, the reduction in carbohydrates puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, which is when your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. This eliminates brain fog after eating a heavy meal or the perpetually real feeling of being “hangry”, which means being bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.
Being in ketosis, should not be confused with ketoacidosis, which is most common in untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus. These are two separate things. Here are 7 signs your body is burning fat instead of glycogen. Of course the symptoms are different for everyone. As your body adapts to ketones, and you enter an optimal ketogenic state, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola you may notice:
· Increased energy
· Better blood sugar control
· Less food cravings
· Weight loss
· Better brain function and clearer thinking
· Less migraines
· Improved metabolic status
That being said, the hard part is getting started. Who wants to give up sugar and bread? After the initial several days of hunger and brain fog (which is going to vary for everyone, depending on how much sugar and carbs you eat when you begin), I began to indeed feel increased energy, less food cravings and weight loss. My running endurance increased and I was going faster, on less calories. The truth is that I am never hungry.
The foods I eat now are delicious and nutritious – so easy to make. I substitute coconut and almond flour to make a lot of my “breads”. I have been creative and experiment with a plethora of delicious desserts. I don’t miss my “old” diet at all. Even though at the time I thought I was eating fairly healthy, there is always more to learn. For instance, I was eating up to 3 apples a day, including other fruit, but I was always hungry and couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing belly bloat. My body was in fact burning glucose, the easiest energy source to burn.
Some of my favorite Ketogenic lifestyle products are:
The Ketogenic Cookbook by Maria Emmerich – so knowledgeable and informative about all things pertaining to the ketone diet. The recipes in her book are so easy and delicious.
Keto Kookie – founded in August 2016 by two friends, Victor Macias and Kristoffer Quiaoit who both live by the Ketogenic diet. In fact, Victor lost 28 pounds living the keto lifestyle, but they noticed there was one thing missing. Sweets. They both wanted foods that would satisfy their sweet tooth, but would still fit into a Ketogenic lifestyle. After searching and searching, they decided to develop the product ourselves.
For more information on Jean Chen and her approach to integrated wellness visit her at http://www.projectcloud9.com