So, I'd like to start by saying how flattered I am that people are starting to message me on Instagram asking for advice on how to get started on a low carb/ketosis diet and just the general science behind it. I started typing and re-typing so many times about how I started and why. I thought, what better way to tell you all everything I know than have a blog post about it. That way, I can reference everyone who asks to the post!
I also want to thank everyone that has been following along on the journey thus far. To be honest, I've been stuck at 52 pounds lost for quite some time because I've had weeks in between where I eat what I want due to stress. I've started to meditate and am working on self-care to better get a handle on this. My grandmother passed away last week and needless to say, it has been hard on me. Food is a comfort and will always be to some extent. Finding the balance, though, is key.
I'm back at it, stronger than ever, because I know Grandma would be so happy to know I finally met my goal. And my gosh, my wedding is just around the corner! So, without further adieu, here is all of my wisdom to bestow upon you guys!
Ketosis is the state in which your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs. When we eat carbs, and we don't expend energy, carbs store and change to fat. This is why weight loss happens so quickly on ketosis. Our bodies basically have an endless energy source of fat to burn for energy. I'd rather my body burn it's fat stores than it's crappy carb stores any day! Get this fat off of me! It's been proven time and time again that healthy fats are so good for you. Carbs make us tired, they're inflammatory for a lot of people, and following a low fat diet is dangerous because this generally causes people to eat way more carbs than usual. Inflammation is the sole reason people develop several diseases such as heart disease and Alzheimer's. The ketosis diet was originally created in the 1920's and it was originally used to treat epileptics. It has also been touted as helping prevent Alzheimer's and helping with the symptoms if it has already been diagnosed. The reason I choose to follow a low carb/keto way of eating is because I have insulin issues due to my polycystic ovarian syndrome. And we all know type 2 diabetes is running rampant in our country. Carbs. And sugar. Those two things are the reason people are being diagnosed left and right with type 2 diabetes. Sugar is said to be as bad for you as CIGARETTES. And simple carbs are basically sugar.
I could go on and on about the science. But, the proof is in the pudding. Let's talk about how I feel, personally, on keto. When I eat the SAD diet (standard American diet, high in carbs), I have cray inflammation. My stomach is bloated, it's tender, and I'm constantly having bathroom issues. Not only that, but I gain weight. I GAIN WEIGHT COUNTING CALORIES. While this works for some people, and more power to you, it doesn't work for me because of my PCOS and because I'm sensitive to carbs. My old "healthy" lunch was a subway sandwich. And after lunch, I didn't feel good. I also felt like I was going to fall asleep at any moment. Lastly, I began having anxiety issues. Little things, like going out to a bar, would make me feel anxious and jittery. This started a couple years ago. It's awful, and so not me. When I follow keto/low carb, I instantly feel mentally more healthy. Brain fog dissipates, my memory improves, my energy improves, and my anxiety weakens. Best of all, my numbers at the doctor's office are so good! My sugars, my A1C, everything. Perfecto. This is all very real, guys. This isn't just some facts I found online. This is my literal experience.
So let's quickly talk about what you can and can't eat. Because that's the number one question I get.
EAT IT ALL:
Meat proteins: chicken, seafood, steak, sausage, bacon, pork chops, pork tenderloin, and eggs
Veggies: greens, low glycemic vegetables, cauliflower, spaghetti squash, zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms
Fruits: low sugar fruits such as berries
Fats: grass fed butter or ghee, clean oils such as avocado oil, olive oil and nut oils. Avocados are an amazing source of fats. Clean cheese! CHEESE YALL.
Fun stuff: heavy cream, cream cheese, whipped cream, cool whip. Low carb versions of tortillas and ice cream, etc. for a treat. Salads with full fat dressings!
Spices spices spices! Salsa salsa salsa! Yummy cream based sauces!
TIP: cauliflower is a wonder vegetable that you can use to make mashed fauxtatoes, tots, etc. Also, almond flour, ground pork rings and spices make a hell of a breading on any meats! Low carb tortillas are a great base for pizza. We love having low carb pizzas.
Bread, pasta, pastries, etc.
Starchy veggies such as potatoes, corn, Lima beans, go easy on carrots.
Sugar: this is pretty self explanatory. No sugar. Even fruit that is high in sugar. Only berries are low in sugar. So, stay away from pineapples, apples, bananas, and other high sugar fruits.
Now, this is a super bare bones list. But, this is a huge start. I'm not going to tell you how many carbs to eat a day as far as grams go, because everyone is different. Some people lose a lot of weight on 50 carbs a day. Some people can only do 20. I recommend starting at 30 net carbs a day and adjusting as needed. Let's spend a second on net carbs. The fun thing about this way of eating is you may see a veggie and the nutrition facts for it and go, oh my god, 8 carbs?! Not worth it. HOWEVER. Make sure you SUBTRACT Dietary Fiber. Same goes for Sugar Alcohols. Both of those nutrients can be subtracted from the total number of carbs. This gives you your NET carbs.
Most important thing: DRINK A FREAK TON OF WATER. Replenish with electrolytes. And supplement magnesium. These three things will keep you from experiencing keto flu. Because our bodies are so adapted to the shitty American diet, our bodies are not used to your new way of eating and you can feel kinda crappy the first few days. If you supplement, this shouldn't happen as badly. And trust me, after 2 weeks on this "diet", your cravings will be gone and you'll feel basically like Wonder Woman.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. I always recommend talking about any extreme dietary changes with your doctor. Perfect example: I was doing hardcore keto and passed out one night after I decided to take a few bites of a pizza. Turns out, the Metformin I'm on for my PCOS insulin issues can lower blood sugar. This diet lowers blood sugar and is why it is recommended for people with Type 2 diabetes. Well, I didn't talk to my doctor about my diet, so my blood sugars were getting dangerously low. SO TELL YOUR DOCTOR. Especially if you're on any medications.
Here are a few websites with seemingly infinite sources on keto and low carb. Not only is there more detailed how to's, but also meal plans AND incredible recipes.
Reddit also has a subreddit for Keto with crazy tips and amazing transformations.
Join me! And good luck guys! I'm always here for questions!