What Exactly is the Keto Diet?

Having researched this keto/lchf lifestyle exstensively and spent time a lot of time mingling in groups where it is understood quite well, I sometimes forget when talking to non-keto friends that they don’t have a clue what I am rambling on about. Macros this, keto that, LCHF friendly the other.

I created this site to be an informative source of motivation and a useful home-base of insight so it makes sense that we go back to the bare bones of what LCHF & Keto diets actually are.

 

Introducing Keto

In it’s purest form a low carb or ketogenic diet is a health program that limits carbohydrate intake and increases our consumption of fat while keeping a moderate amount of protein present.

Generally speaking, this ketogenic practice is put in place to aid people in losing weight, managing diabetes or fixing issues relating to blood pressure and cholesterol. The Charlie Foundation have put a significant amount of work into creating awareness around how a ketogenic lifestyle can in many cases reduce epileptic seizures in children. And more recently, studies are being conducted to ascertain how well this diet can be used to treat neurological disorders and even cancer.

But lets pull it back for a second. How on earth does it do all this and how am I only hearing about it now?

We’ll Start With Our Bodies & a Normal Diet

Our bodies, complex creatures that they are, need energy, a lot of it, to survive. We draw this energy from the food we eat on a daily basis... Simples.

In our modern day, carb loaded diet, the food we eat is broken down into glucose by our bodies in the small intestines.

Glucose is your bodies main source of energy for everything it does, from healing itself and creating new cells, to reading, thinking or walking.

Basically, glucose wanders around our body, via the bloodstream, looking for cells that need energy, and like mini superheros, they give themselves to the cells that need it.

But glucose doesn’t work alone. Little bodyguards are created in your pancreas. These bodyguards are know as insulin and glucose can’t get into the cells without insulins permission.

Once all of your cells are full of the energy they need insulin does its other job, it pushes all the excess glucose towards the liver to be turned into glycogen.

Glycogen is then stored in the liver or sent to our fat cells as storage to be turned into free fatty acids for when we need more energy later. Once that’s done, insulin goes away.

If your body needs more energy, the free fatty acids leave the fat cells and go feed the cells that need them.

BUT

If insulin is still present in the bloodstream when your body calls for more energy, the free fatty acids can’t get out. So your body does the next best thing. It tells you that you’re hungry. You eat more food and the process starts all over again.

See the problem?

The more glucose there is in your bloodstream, the more insulin that is needed to compensate.

Insulin takes quite a long time to leave your system. So your fat cells are continually storing “backup” energy  that is never getting used up.

In essence, insulin is the reason you’re gaining weight.

This Video Explains this Whole Process Brilliantly

 Please don't listen to the cheesy add at the end!!

 

So How does the Ketogenic Diet Differ?

So we have learned that our body runs on glucose and creates energy from carbohydrates. But the Keto lifestyle is LOW CARB. How is this even Possible?

Well let’s see shall we? Let’s reduce the amount of carbohydrates in our diet. Right down to 50 grams or less. (this puts the body in a ketogenic state)

Our bodies, that have been well adapted to utilising glucose, will look at the liver to figure something out. First it will deplete it’s own glycogen stores. After that it gets smart.

You may have depleted the glucose in your body, but you still need to eat. Your liver will break down fat from 2 main sources. The fat you have ingested and the fat that you have stored in your “reserves”/fat cells.

The brain and other organs can’t directly process fat for energy, so we look to the liver again. Your liver will process the fat and turn it into ketones.

Ketones, like glucose will wander around in the bloodstream looking for cells that need energy and similarly give themselves up for use.

When fully satisfied, insulin will be secreted to close the fat stores and stop them from unnecessarily releasing free fatty acids for conversion to ketones.

Later on, when your cells need more energy they can easily access your fat cells for free fatty acids.

Because there was a relatively small amount of carbohydrate eaten, there was a similarly small amount of glucose created and therein there was only a small amount of insulin released. Obviously a smaller amount will leave the bloodstream muck quicker than if you were on a carb loaded diet.

And the above process, again, repeats itself when necessary.

What About the Excess Ketones?

While excess glucose is stored in fat cells, our bodies actually have no storage for ketones. Therefore our body gets rid of them by one of two methods. Either through the breath or in the urine. It’s quite common for people to use urine test strips to see if they are in ketosis. Similar to a pregnancy test, you pee on them and the strip will change color if ketones are present.

What about Low Blood Sugar?

You’re on your own with that.... No. I’m just kidding. Low blood sugar can be just as dangerous as high blood sugar and it’s understandable to conclude that low carb would result in low blood sugar levels. But again, our bodies are amazingly resilient. While the diet is strictly low carb, it’s actually quite hard to live zero carb. Possible but extremely hard work. Turns out that certain amino acids contain glucose and  some byproducts of gluconeogenisis (the breakdown of fats) are glucose. The perfect amount to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Winning!

 

So it’s All about the Insulin?

Pretty much. Like it or not, insulin is in charge of how big your body gets. It’s not a protagonist though... He’s not the bad guy. If insulin were to let glucose run rampant in your blood stream you would be susceptible to a whole host of health problems.  Atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels) is caused by excessive levels of blood sugar. This in turn can cause a whole other host of problems. Kidney disease or kidney failure, requiring dialysis, strokes, heart attacks, loss of vision or blindness, a weakened immune system, with a greater risk of infections, erectile disfunction, nerve damage, called neuropathy, that causes tingling, pain, or less sensation in your feet, legs, and hands, poor circulation to the legs and feet and lets not forget the auld Diabetes.


Just for your perusal, you might be on a bit of an insulin buzz, here’s a video that explains how insulin works when your diabetic or insulin resistant.


So In Conclusion

 

We have covered a lot of ground here today and while I would love to write a longer more detailed piece, I think that any more would be overkill. So it will have to be split. Keep an eye out for future pieces. And as always, if you see anything you think needs editing just let me know.

Does Your Diet Push The Right Buttons?

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Think about your home for a minute. We spend a significant amount of time in our home, in most cases years but in many others it’s a lifetime.How much time did you spend researching the location and comparing it to other houses. You most likely checked all the amenities for ease of use. Does it have a dishwasher or a tumble dryer? How many rooms? How many bathrooms? Why did you choose the very home you are sitting in?

We each have a very long checklist of what the ideal home is like. While the house we are in right now may not be perfect (yet) we know what needs to be done, bought or changed. We understand the importance of finding a place that fulfills our needs.

So when it comes to what we eat why don’t we follow suit? Our body is our permanent home. You may be able to compare or alter it, but you can never get a new one. Our diet, the enigma that is, follows us every day and we put less thought into it than we do on what socks to buy for work.

How you treat yourself determines how long you get to live in your body and how enjoyable your stay is. I for one have been terrible and imagine if my body were a house it would be complete with peeling paint, broken windows and missing shutters. But with a bit of effort and care it can be restored to its best state.

Below is the keto convert checklist.  Inclusive of the many benefits of going LCHF, I’m pretty sure you will see why I have chosen it as my new eating style.

Take a look through, I’m pretty sure you’ll be a convert by the end.

 

The Keto Convert Checklist

No calorie counting.

There’s way too much effort in counting calories. Needing to know how many are in every single morsel of food you put in your mouth? I imagine I would last exactly half an hour. I’d forget about breakfast, jot down lunch and give up long before dinner.

Besides, I’m sure we all know that the whole calories in vs calories out is a farce at this point. Yes, the maths work, but the quality of the calories consumed are far more important.

Eating until satisfied.

Starving yourself? Do people still do that? The ultimate goal here is your health. Sure you want to lose weight but at the detriment of your happiness? Really? Now I know all you amazing people are extremely intelligent but I just love this picture. It really gets the point across. You can lose weight and not be hungry or #hangry.

Great variety.

No Pasta? No Rice? No Potatoes? What on earth can you make for dinner? When you start off on LCHF you most likely won’t have a clue what to make for dinner. But as you continue, your recipe stockpile will build and your taste buds will re-adapt to normality. You’ll realize that your old meat and starch or meat and carbs meal plan was horrendous. And as an added benefit you’ll have learned a new skill... Cooking!

Lifestyle rather than quickfix

People are willing to put up with something as mundane and unbearable as cabbage soup for weeks as long as there is an end in sight. Tell someone that in order to keep the weight off they will have to eat only cabbage soup for the rest of their lives and they will never even start.

Keto is a change in lifestyle. A way of life. While it may take a few weeks to adapt to your new eating regimen, you will slowly embrace it. To the point that, one day, you’ll turn down spaghetti bolognese and realize that you’re a completely different person.

Easy to implement.

When taking on a new way of eating a lot of mental energy will be used. Learning how to cook. What to put together. How to track your macros. How to meal plan. How to track your progress. Etc etc. With the keto lifestyle, there is an easy way to implement things. Slowly.

Because this is a lifestyle there is no rush. If it takes a few months to get everything in place that’s fine. The benefits will last a lifetime.

 

Drastic & Lasting Changes.

It’s simple really. The only reason anyone ever changes their diet is to see a significant difference. It’s generally preferred if those changes happen quickly and it’s rare that we hope to return to our original state after a few weeks.

Initially, some may come down with the Keto Flu, but upon recovering you feel different. Clearer, more focused, energetic and all with the added benefits of dropping the water weight and a few pounds on top.

Real food.          

No. It’s not necessary to go completely whole foods when going LCHF. But if you’ve taken the time to put more interest into your health, why not only use real food? There’s a real sense of accomplishment when you’ve just eaten a meal that was 100%  sourced and created by you.

Real Food

Little to no supplements.

Have you ever researched a diet that will “dramatically change your life” only to find a whole section that revolves around supplements. Multivitamins, electrolytes, minerals etc. As far as I’m concerned if it were truly good for you, you shouldn’t have to substitute anything. Your diet should be sufficient to give you energy and satiate you on its own. If it can’t do that, well then it’s probably all it’s cracked up to be.

Healthy results.

In a lot of cases, people consider weight loss to be purely an aesthetic result. But it is so much more than that. People have used the resulting weight loss to start a healthy life. Cholesterol has been lowered. Diabetes reversed. Skin tags removed. Heart problems healed. Mental issues resolved. Self-esteem skyrockets. Skin issues disappear. PMS subsides. Hormones regulate.

LCHF is so much more than a weight loss program. It helps your body heal itself. That is something a “diet” in it’s purest form can’t do.

A Drastic energy shift.

What goals do you have in life? Build a business? Raise a family? Travel the world? Anything you can ever imagine yourself doing takes energy. Yet the vast majority of people are suffering from an energy deficiency.

Taking on this way of eating is a huge step towards achieving your goals. When you wake up fully rested, nourish your body and treat it well. It treats you well in return.

Better Sleep

Sleep

Scientists have yet to understand what exactly happens when we sleep. They understand a certain percentage of what goes on but the rest is still a mystery. What they do know is that our bodys use this crucial time to heal and regenerate itself.

When you are overloading with carbohydrates your body will spend the majority of it time trying to control the damage and inflammation that has occurred. Only after it has done this can it continue with it’s job of healing and strengthening everything else. However when you live LCHF there is significantly less damage to repair and you are literally giving your body the building blocks to repair itself.

So There You Have It

11 Brilliant Reasons to go LCHF. Are you a convert yet? Where are you on your health journey? Have I left out any benefits? Let me know in the comments below and we can add them to the list.

As an aside I do want to point out that I am not a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist. Will Keto be perfect for you? I can’t say. Every body is different and so are your own personal circumstances. I’ve done my research and am hitting up the doctor regularly to ensure that this is beneficial to my health. I strongly urge you to do the same. Weigh up the pro’s and con’s, find multiple sources of information, cross reference them and make a decision that you feel is right for you.

Here's to New Beginnings

All things come to an end and none live forever. Some chapters finish up without you wanting them to and others are completely within your control. But in every circumstance, when something ends, something else must begin. This process is normally referred to as "change".

That is exactly the journey I am embarking on. I want to change a lot of things in my life, both big and small and I am starting with my health and fitness based on this one simple truth.

If you barely have the energy to get out of bed in the morning and complete the mundane tasks of your day, how do you ever expect to build a business, change the world or be who you want to be?

 

So Here’s to New Beginnings

Starting on September 1st, I will be completely overhauling my entire eating plan from its current disgraceful state to a more energy efficient LCHF lifestyle. Well, when I say overhauling I really mean transitioning because completely changing every aspect of my (bad) diet and (non-existent) exercise program is not so simples and sure to result in failure. The plan is to slowly remove the high carb food and also add in more healthy high fat meals.

Meaning:

No Meal Repalcements

No Shakes

No Supplements

No Single Food for Days Plans

No Quick Fixes

No Fake Foods

 

Just real food, made by me, from real ingredients that are naturally high in fat and low in carbohydrates. Simples.

 

Why September 1st?

During the remainder of August I have a few major events. My closest friend is leaving the country for a few years and as such we are using the time to get very drunk and make as many fuzzy memories as we possibly can. To top it off at the end of the month my boyfriend is celebrating his birthday so that’s another event filled with food, wine and an exorbitant amount of shots. Both events come with a hefty price-tag and while celebrations happen (and have to be paid for) all year round these two are the biggest I will come across this year until Christmas so my wages between now and Christmas shopping can be funnelled towards my new priority.

Plus I bought myself a fun gizmo for my new diet and that arrives at the end of August.. Yay!!

 

So What’s Going to Happen Between Now & September?

A few things will happen – apart from the boozing and saying goodbye.

I’m going to start a little stockpile of non perishables like frozen berries, coconut water, coconut oil, mct oil, tinned tuna and the like.

 I’m going to get into the habit of tracking my weight and measurements. I would also like to keep a food diary.

I’m going to scour the internet for easy but yummy LCHF recipies  to be prepared.

I’m going to start introducing more water into my daily routine.

And I’m going to continue to cut down on sugar... Slowly.

 

So What Now?

Well, as you can see I’ll be quite busy. I have done my research and hope to post the resources for you over the coming weeks, just encase you decide to come on this journey with me. But in reality.... I'm going to bed. Getting into a proper sleeping pattern is never a bad idea, especially when your altering parts of your life.

So bon nuit mes amis. And I hope to chat to you all soon.