Keto Diet

8 Things I’ve Noticed During My First Week Of Keto

It’s been over a week since I starting a keto diet.  Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

1.  Keto flu Is Real:  Before starting the diet I heard that some people experienced what is known as the “keto flu.”  Some people had minor symptoms and full blown flu like symptoms for weeks.  I thought it wouldn’t hit me so hard since my original diet wasn’t heavy in carbs and sugar.  I was wrong.

The first couple days I was fine, but by day three I was floored.  Day 4 was even worse.  It wasn’t until I started chugging bullion and popping magnesium and potassium pills that I started to feel normal again.  It’s day 9 and I think it’s safe to say the worse is over.

2. Brain Fog But Less Anxiety:  The bad part of my first week on keto – the brain fog.  The good – less anxiety.  I’ve gone through waves of brain fog since starting the diet.  When the brain fog hits my concentration goes out the window.  Even typing out a simple post becomes a chore.  Yesterday I tried to write a post and ended up just staring at the computer screen like an idiot.  But I was a happy idiot, which is the good side about going keto.  Since starting this diet I’ve noticed that I’ve become a lot more calm.  I don’t react negatively to situations that would usually anger me (road rage has gone way down).

3. Less Energy:  My energy levels took a major hit since starting this diet.  There coming back a little, but it’s nowhere near the levels I had when I was eating a moderate to high carb diet.  I still workout, but I just don’t have the same juice.  This has been the most disappointing aspect of the diet so far.

I started a keto diet because I heard it was suppose to give you more energy.  I knew it would take sometime to become “keto adapted”(your body learns to burn fat instead of glucose), but I didn’t expect my energy to dip this low.

4.  Shredding Weight:  I’m losing so much weight I’m afraid I might wither away.  Losing weight wasn’t my main goal of this diet since I didn’t have much to lose in the first place, but if your looking to shred weight quickly keto is definitely for you.

5.  Thirst:  I’ve been drinking over a gallon of water a day plus a couple cups of bullion.  After being hit by the keto flu hard on day 3 & 4 I’ve made sure to keep hydrated.

6.  It’s Tougher Than You Think:  Limiting yourself to 20-30 carbs a day isn’t easy.  You find yourself analyzing every food label.  You’ll start to notice that foods you thought were good choices are actually loaded with carbs.

It’s also, hard to eat a ton of fat while not getting an equal amount of protein.  Sure, a ribeye steak may have 63 grams of fat but it also has 69 grams of protein.  A keto diet is suppose to 65% fat and 35% protein, a balancing act that is sometimes tough to manage.  The last week I’ve been on a quest to find foods that are high in fat without much protein, and 0 carbs.  My recommendation – learn to love coconut oil, avocados, and cacao butter.

7. Phantom Hunger Pains: I get these weird hunger pains after meals that I can only describe as phantom hunger pains.  I’m full yet I still have something telling me I need to eat more.  I guess it’s my body’s way off dealing with the carb & sugar withdrawal.

8.  Sleep:  For as long as I can remember I’ve had a problem with insomnia.  It’s either I can’t fall asleep or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and won’t be able to fall back asleep.  Not anymore.

I sleep like baby since starting the keto diet.  No tossing and turning.  No more waking up in the middle of the night.  The most beneficial and unexpected part of this diet is the quality of sleep I’m getting.

Conclusion 

After a week I think I may up my carb intake from 20-30g’s a day to the 40-50 range.  I feel that limiting you carb intake to 20-30g’s is for people who are really trying to cut weight, which is not one of my goals.  I also really don’t like the idea of skimping on certain vegetables in fear they’ll push me past my carb limit.

If your interested in starting a keto diet I suggest you don’t start it while training.  If you’re accustom to the Standard American Diet your first week is going to be brutal.  Your energy levels will be shot.  They say it takes 21 days on average to transform your body into fat burner.  It’s probably best to start a training program after that time has passed.

If you do decide to train hard or have a physically demanding job while doing keto I suggest you shoot for the 100g a day average instead of 20-30g’s.     

10 Best Ketogenic Foods

When starting a new diet it’s tough remembering what’s acceptable in a diet and what’s not.  The keto diet is particular hard because you really need to keep an eye on carbs & sugars.  A lot of foods you think are fine end up being loaded with carbs & sugars.

I believe it’s important to have a couple of go to foods when starting the keto diet.  It’s especially important to have foods the meet the requirement – high fat, moderate protein, and low carb.

To save you time and hassle, I’ve put together a list of the 10 best keto foods to build your diet around.  Now you won’t have to spam reddit forums and check labels constantly.

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1. Avocados:  The only fruit on the keto diet that’s encouraged.  Avocados are the fattest of the fruits containing 22 grams of fat on average.  Not only are they high in fat, they’re also loaded with B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E & vitamin C. Make them a staple in your diet.

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2. Coconut Oil:  Make this the main staple of your diet.  Coconut oil is great because you can cook high heat with it, unlike olive oil, and it’s easier to find than high heat oils like lard, ghee, and tallow.  It’s also high in fat (14g) and has no carbs.  Sneak it into as many meals as you can.

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3. Eggs: Cheap and easy to cook.  Eggs should be a staple in your diet as well. They’re a good source of fat and protein and don’t contain any carbs.  Just remember to always eat the yolk.

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4. Bacon:  Bacon gets a bad wrap.  It’s not a food most dietitians would praise, but it’s more than acceptable on keto diet, even encouraged.  Bacon is high in fat, moderate in protein, and has 0 carbs.  It also make just about any food better.  But make sure to get bacon that isn’t cured with sugar and don’t go stuffing an entire package in your face on daily basis.  To much of good thing can become a bad thing.

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5. Heavy Cream:  Sneak a few tablespoons into your coffee each morning.  Heavy cream contains 5 grams of fat per tablespoons with 0 carbs.

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6. Macadamias, Pecans, Brazil Nuts: Nuts are a great snack on the keto diet, especially macadamias, pecans, and Brazil nuts.  These nuts are extremely fatty with a low amount of carbs.  Go out and buy a big container of each.  It will be expensive, but you can mix them all together into a keto trail mix.  This should last you a while, and provide you quick relief from hunger pains when you don’t feel like cooking.

A photo by paul morris. unsplash.com/photos/d5xQVtmTUeo

7.  Leafy Greens:   In general, green is good.  Vegetables that grow above ground are good.  Vegetables like spinach, asparagus, and cabbage are all good options because their packed with nutrients and low on carbs.  It will be hard to go over you carb total even if you eat a lot of these type of vegetables.

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8.  Brie:  If you’re going to go for a cheese on the keto diet make it brie.  Not only is it delicious but it’s also loaded with fat.  One cup of sliced brie contains 40 grams of fat and 0 carbs.

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9. Salmon:  If your in the mood for seafood go for Salmon.  It’s the fattiest of the fish containing 27 grams on average.  It’s also packed with nutrients like omega-3’s, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and Selenium.

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10.  Cacao Butter: If need to satisfy your sweet tooth reach for cacao butter chips.  They’re not as sweet as regular chocolate but have the same texture.  If you want to add some sweetness you can melt them down with nut butter.  Cacao butter is great because it’s high in fat without any carbs or sugar.  The only problem is finding edible cocoa butter.  You won’t find it in most supermarkets.  I get Navitas Cacao Butter.

Day 3 Of A Ketogenic Diet – “Keto Flu”

It’s not even three days into my ketogenic diet and I can feel the effects of the “keto flu.”

If your not familiar with ketogenic diet, it’s basically a diet where you starve your body of carbohydrates.  This is unusual for most since the Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with carbs.

Carbs get broken down into glucose & insulin which your body turns into energy.  When you starve yourself of carbs your body is forced to use fat storages to produce energy.  Of course this is a complete laymen’s description of a ketogenic diet.  If you want to learn more you should read up on it.  Ruled.me is good place to start.

My old diet wasn’t loaded with carbs.  I stayed away from bread and pasta.  My main sources of carbs came from brown rice, quinoa, and steel oats.  My diet was also low in sugar (another thing you starve yourself of on a ketogenic diet).  I knew the transition to a ketogenic diet wouldn’t be as tough for me as it for some, but that doesn’t mean I still haven’t felt the effects.

New comers to a ketogenic diet usually experience flu like symptoms for the first few days.  Some cases are worse than others.  Basically you’re experiencing withdrawals from carbs and sugar.  Here’s a few things I’ve notice since switching to a ketogenic diet:

1. Constant Thirst:  My mouth is constantly dry.  If your thinking about switching to a ketogenic diet make sure to have a water bottle handy.  I’ve been taking a gallon water jug with me everywhere, and have had no problem finishing it before the day is done.

The Ketogenic diet acts as a diuretic.  You’ll constantly be running to the bathroom.  You’re going to lose a lot of electrolytes.  Most of the flu like symptoms that people experience during the first couple of days of a ketogenic diet are a result of dehydration.  Drink lots of water.  It also helps to throw a lemon and some sea salt in your glass.   

2.  Brain Fog:  The last couple of days my brain has been in a fog, and generally just  feel lazy.  It’s a bit harder to keep concentration.  Even writing this post right now feels like a chore.  Supposedly, the ketogenic diet is suppose to increase mental focus, but that’s after your body has adapted to burning fats to create energy.  It’s only day 3, so will see what happens.

3.  Phantom Hunger Pains: After I ate last night I felt hunger pains even though I was completely full.  I felt these throughout the night.  I ate a few handfuls of nuts to curb these cravings, but it was like force feeding myself.  I can only assume this was my body screaming for carbs since I ate more than enough.    

Conclusion

Even though it’s only been a few days I figured I would let people know what to expect if they were considering a ketogenic diet.

If you do decided to try it keep in mind what in store for you. Of course, these results will vary drastically depending on your lifestyle.  You may have no symptoms at all or you may feel like you have a full blown fever.  So far the effects I’ve noticed are mild, and nothing that will throw you off too much.

I will keep you posted on my journey with ketogenic diet.  At this moment, I’m treating it like an experiment.  If I notice benefits after a two weeks I will stick with it.