My 1-Year Anniversary Eating Keto, and What I’ve Learned

Keto 1 Year Anniversary

While I have been developing gluten-free sourdough recipes to replace the recipes my family gave up when we gave up gluten, I have personally been following a Ketogenic Diet.

I’ve noticed that people’s responses to talk about the Ketogenic Diet can be rather strong, whichever way they swing.  So I’m not here to try to convince anyone to do what I’m doing.  I’m just sharing for those who are curious or can benefit.

A Ketogenic diet consists of low carbs, moderate proteins, and a high amount of healthy fats.  In a while, the body switches from using carbohydrates as a primary energy source to using fats.

I first heard of the ketogenic diet about 10 years ago when I happened upon Maria Emmerich’s beautiful and informative website.  I was intrigued by the diet’s therapeutic effect on individuals with Epilepsy, allowing many Epileptics to live free from seizures.  I spent a day reading through recipes and thought I’d return later to to learn more, but it was before the invention of Pinterest and, once I closed my browser, I was never able to find her site again (until last year). Chalk it up to God’s timing.

A decade later I was working with a client who was interested in doing the Ketogenic Diet and wanted help figuring it out.  I had to decline for lack of experience.

Today Keto is quite the buzz word, and there is a plethora of information out there, but I realized that in order to truly understand the diet and to be equipped to help others implement it, I would need some very personal experience putting it into practice.  Didn’t hurt that I still had a few baby pounds to lose.

At this point, I had already cut refined sugar out of my diet.  I took it a step farther by cutting out all grains, potato varieties, squash, high sugar containing fruits, and legumes.  Instead, I focus on healthy fats, clean meats and dairy products (organic and grass fed when possible), low carb vegetables, low sugar fruits like blueberries and raspberries, and sources of fiber such as nuts, flax, coconut and psyllium husks (which help make excellent “breads”).

I didn’t experience any withdrawal, but if you are accustomed to a diet high in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, expect to go through a period of fatigue and cravings.  Drink lots of water and don’t be afraid of some high quality mineral salt, true unbleached sea salt or himalayan salt.

I have always loved high fat foods, it’s just that eating a carb rich diet makes it necessary to limit fats in order to avoid weight gain.  Eating a Ketogenic Diet trains the body to burn fat as it’s foremost fuel, and so fat becomes necessary instead of taboo.  I pretty much LOVE my food.  🙂  And that’s always a good thing, right?

I track my calories and macros (carbs, protein and fats) using cronometer.com.   I use their free version. It also keeps track of the nutritional content of my meals so that if my calcium, for example, is low–I know how to supplement.

The other feature I enjoy about cronometer‘s platform is that I can enter my own recipes and parse them into servings to keep track of nutrient and macros.  I can eat home-made and know exactly what I’m getting!  That is useful, no matter what diet you follow.

I learned how to do intermittent fasting, and enjoy it two or three days a week.  I don’t have to eat until I’m hungry and I can have a larger, more satisfying meal when I do.

I expected to lose weight when I began eating ketogenically.  I was counting on losing the baby fat and the stubborn belly fat, and I wasn’t disappointed.

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{Picking up a co-op order.  Do I know I’m wearing a banana sticker?  Why, yes I do, thank you.  Every time my boys get a banana with a sticker, they give it to me.   🙂 }

What I didn’t anticipate when I began the Keto-diet?

  • A substantial increase in energy
  • Reduction in the amount of sleep I require
  • Cessation of swelling in my gums (almost immediately) and a halt to the recession that had become fairly regular (so far, so good)
  • Younger looking skin
  • Balanced hormones!  Going through school to become a certified natural health provider, I recognized I was on the path to early menopause.  Extremely light, and shortened periods had become the norm.  I was doing everything I learned to do with pH and diet to help swing the hormones back to normal, but no change.  A few months into my keto journey,  my period ceased for a couple months however, it came back, and at my 1 year keto anniversary I can say my cycle has officially returned to a healthy normal.  Just like in my 20’s. 🙂  Yes, this makes me happy.  Menopause will come, but on time, not early.  This took 11 months to achieve.
  • Flexible menus: I didn’t expect it to be this easy.  The longer I do this, the more I learn and the more flexibility I have in what I eat.  I’ve gone beyond just trying other people’s recipes to creating my own.
  • Low fasting blood sugars: Mercola, a huge proponent of eating Keto, suggests that fasting blood sugar levels in the 80’s, and better still–the 70’s, are optimal for health, so the 70’s were my goal.  However, my morning fasting blood sugar levels stay in the therapeutic 60’s with great energy.  This also makes me happy.  Really. Happy. 😀
  • No more joint pain.  I was developing the same pain in my knees and hands that my mom and her mom had when they developed arthritis.  No more.  Also, neck pain from a car accident more than a decade ago has been continuously improving.  Banish the inflammation!
  • The ability to fast on a dime.  When my church sisters have decided to fast and spend time in intercessory prayer, they have complained of headaches, spacey-ness, and plain ole’ ill health on the days they have fasted, making it difficult for them to focus on prayer (and focusing on prayer is the whole reason for the fasting!)  With today’s Standard American Diets, people often need to spend time changing their diets ahead, preparing their bodies for fasting, in order to experience success.  The Bible makes it clear that fasting is part of Christian life.  Sticking to a healthful diet can make it much easier to fast when prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Following a ketogenic or low carb diet that is free of sugars and “fast energy carbs” that spike blood sugar and insulin make it possible for me to fast immediately when prompted, and I never suffer the effects of withdrawal or low blood sugar.  The body is used to burning fat for energy.  It just switches to a different source of fat for the duration of the fast (body fat instead of dietary fat).
  • Keto buddies~ I have found encouragement in unexpected places, not the least of which turned out to be right at home.  My kids.

At Christmas I converted several of our favorite traditional treats into low carb versions that were truly hits.  I rotate my family’s menu between low carb choices and our traditional gluten-free healthy choices.  They enjoy it all.  I know, I am extremely blessed in this way.  No picky eaters at my house.  Makes providing for my family easy and enjoyable!

2 of my oldest girls have decided to eat “Mom’s food”.  That being the case, and me not wanting them to miss out on special food occasions the other kids might have (like lemon breakfast cookies) I have put forth the effort to create low carb versions of the treats they love.  These girls, 14 and 16, have also experienced positive hormone adjustments, clearer skin, and a healthy weight gain where needed. (Yes, low carb does not have to mean weight loss.  The right macro proportions can adjust body weight up when that is what needs to happen.  It’s all about a well formulated diet.)

Has a ketogenic diet hampered my ability to work-out and build muscle?  Not that I can tell.  I work out regularly, 5-6 days a week for 30-50 minutes, and though I’m not aiming to be a body builder, I have definitely rebuilt a LOT of muscle that was lost over the years I spent being inactive.

Do I plan to go off keto any time soon?

No.  I’m enjoying this lifestyle, and have a lot more to learn. I’m thankful for the positive health changes I’ve experienced.  I’m thankful the practical application will enable me to help others when the opportunity arises.  And I’m thankful for the client who pushed me to learn!

What does this mean for future food posts?  It means I’ll not only be sharing our gluten-free sourdough recipes, but also low carb versions. 😉  

My girls have always been concerned that they would have copies of our favorite foods.  In sharing with you, I am getting them all in order, pics and all.  I see full kitchen books in their futures!

Do you have questions about a low carb/ketogenic diet?  I’ll do my best to answer them.

Have a blessed February!  ~Linda

3 thoughts on “My 1-Year Anniversary Eating Keto, and What I’ve Learned

  1. Oh… I had no idea, but I think by necessity I am on a diet that is very close to what you describe. I have a lot of food intolerance, and so what you describe here parallels what I eat… with the exception of the nuts since I am allergic. I think I will explore this more. 🙂 Thank you for this post!

    Like

    • That is the background with our family as well–lots of sensitivities that led us to “better” choices we may not have taken on our own. A ketogenic diet, done well, is known for starving cancer also. The trick is in the proportions of these foods: about 70% fats, 10-15% carbs, and 15-20% protein.

      Liked by 1 person

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