I have tried all kinds of diets.
Starting from the Atkins diet, the apple vinegar diet, the low-fat diet and the paleo diet. All of them had short-lived effects that rebounded almost right away. Many had adverse effects on my health, and almost all of them were unsustainable. I mean, how can I live with just drinking lemon juice for the rest of my life? Therefore, when I learned about the ketogenic diet, I had my doubts. Is it just another fad? Or is it the real deal?
Ketogenic diet comes from the word “Ketosis”, which means that your body is burning fat as fuel, rather than sugars. The theory is sound. In fact, it really does work. Have you watched the latest Tomb Raider movie? The main character swears by the keto diet and she’s got some amazing abs!
Following the ketogenic diet will bring your body into a ketosis state. The benefits of ketosis may include:
- Weight Loss.
- Increased Energy.
- Mental Clarity.
- Better Blood Pressure.
- Improved Acne and Less Skin Problems.
- Lower Inflammation throughout the Body.
- Curbed Food Cravings.
- Lowered Risk of Some Cancers.
- Improved (if not reversed) Type 2 Diabetes.
What Can We Eat in a Ketogenic Diet?
The key is to incorporate more fats into our diets, eliminate all bad carbs (pastas, breads, rice, noodles), and only consume a limited amount of good carbohydrates (starchy vegetables and fruits).
Eating a ketogenic diet means you are allowed to eat bacon. WOW! I hate almost all pork products, even bacon (yes, I’m weird) so it has no appeal to me. But that is how I sold my husband Andy to try the keto diet. The minute he heard the word ‘bacon,’ he was in.
However, a typical ketogenic diet may also have some potential problems, such as:
Just because a particular food is ‘ketogenic’ does not mean it is healthy.
It still may contain hormones, antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring and other potentially harmful ingredients.
Too much dairy.
Milk, cream, eggs, cheeses are also considered ‘keto’ foods. However, be careful of the amount of casein in dairy products.
Lack of plant foods.
Plant food has essential phytonutrients, fiber and other beneficial nutrients that our bodies need but are mostly ignored by keto diets.
Ketogenic diets have a lot of healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, wild caught fish and many nuts and seeds.
Keto also allows animal fats. Animal fats is where I have my doubts about being keto. While it makes sense that eating high amounts of animal fats will lean you out, give you muscles and reduces body fat, animal fats also come with health concerns such as antibiotics and growth hormones in the meats. Not to mention the environmental concerns about raising cows for consumption.
My version of ketogenic diet consists of mostly healthy fats, not much bacon or animal fats. And I would still make sure that half my plate is filled with healthy vegetables such as spinach, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Later, I realized that I am following a similar diet that Dr. Will Cole recommended in his book ‘Keto-tarian.’
In his book, Dr. Cole recommend your daily caloric intake to be the following:
- 60-75% Healthy Fats.
- 15-30% Proteins.
- 5-15% Healthy Carbohydrates.
We still eat the occasional steak, but our daily diets are mainly lean proteins and lots of leafy vegetables. The biggest change is to incorporate more fats into our diets. We started cooking with coconut oil or avocado oil. We use olive oil and balsamic vinegar in our salads, and we started drinking keto coffee, which is surprisingly delicious.
Keto coffee, made popular by Bulletproof coffee, is basically coffee mixed with a healthy oil. My keto coffee consists of 8 oz of fresh brewed hot coffee, blended with a sprinkle of cardamom, a tablespoon of ghee, a tablespoon of MCT oil and a tablespoon of protein powder. You can experiment with your favorite spices, oils and proteins as you wish. The outcome is a foamy, creamy, delicious coffee.
What intrigues me the most about the keto diet isn’t about the weight loss.
After 25 years of being overweight, I have outgrown the need to ‘look good’. At the ripe age of 48, I really don’t care how people see me anymore. Phewww.
But I still want to feel good. I still want to be healthy and have the energy and vibrancy to keep up with my super energetic husband. I still want to look younger than my age (it’s an ego booster). And, most importantly, I have high concerns of having Alzheimer’s.
In my 20’s, I watched my grandfather waste away by Alzheimer’s. The signs are subtle. In the beginning, it is a loss of short-term memory. Which he simply blamed on ‘old age’. Things got worse and he had to be put into a hospital. I visited him every day, but he did not even recognize me. Every day, I am ‘this nice kid that goes and talk to him and fed him dinner’. But he didn’t know I was his granddaughter. Eventually, the only person he would recognize was my grandmother. And then his brain simply forgot to regulate his bodily functions and he passed away. My mother is now suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s.
For me, brain disease is my number 1 health concern. And recent research has shown that eating healthy fats can really help prevent brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. That is enough motivation for me to maintain a ketotarian lifestyle. 3 months into my version of the Keto diet, I am 12 pounds lighter, my complexion has completely cleared up, my energy level is up, and I am sleeping better than before.
All in all, I would call my ketogenic diet a success.