First off, welcome to my blog. My first post appropriately addresses my health. At the age of 48, I had my first major surgery. Appendicitis literally knocked me to my knees around my birthday in early March. Not fun!
It was then I learned that my blood pressure was “extremely high” registering at about 180 over 118. To say that freaked me out is an understatement. Especially when I read this: According to HealthCommunities.com, “A hypertensive crisis occurs when blood pressure readings are 180/110 or higher.” It was a shock to my soul and a blessing in disguise. As I lay in my hospital bed, the phrase “no more” became a mantra in my head. Every jolt of pain and discomfort served as motivation to get back to being me.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu
Since that experience my health, I’m happy to report, has bounced back nicely. For a couple of months, my routine included light logging and just a portion control diet consisting of mostly meats, veggies, fruit, and legumes. In between, I would fill my belly with ice cream and fries. Though I lost a bit of weight, I just couldn’t kick my cravings.
I think the fundamental misunderstanding that cravings can only be defeated through discipline was the root of my backsliding. The problem with discipline, as it applies to my situation, is that it did not address the cause of the cravings. I’m sure many of you can relate. Most everyone’s instinct is that giving in to cravings is a sign of mental weakness. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
I can resist everything but temptation. – Mark Twain
Enter The Ketogenic Diet
I first heard about this diet on Joe Rogan’s podcast featuring Dom D’Agostino. Dom is one of the leading scientists on the forefront of ketogenic science. Listening to this podcast really inspired me. It made me realize that the foods we eat cause our cravings – the main culprit being added sugar. There’s actually a way to eat that will suppress cravings, encourage weight loss, and promote organ health. That’s all I needed to hear.
Fat Is Where It’s At
The fact that most of my diet consists of fats goes against everything I’ve ever been taught about food as it relates to health. Here’s how it works:
A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
- Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.
The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates.Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.
I’ll be sharing a “Getting Started Guide” with more details on exactly what to do later, but for me, the easiest way to get started was with the following foods:
- Coconut Oil (MCT)
- High Fat Ground Beef
- Ground Flaxseed
- Salad Mix
The Fats I Consume On A Regular Basis:
Here’s what a typical day looks like:
3 Egg Omelet with Avocado Slices, a side of sauteed spinach, and Butter or Bulletproof Coffee
Spinach Salad with bacon, avocado, chopped almonds, chopped boiled eggs, and greek dressing.
Sauteed Salmon with Sauteed Spinach
So far so good. The wonderful thing about keto is that the food (mostly fat) is satiating, easy to prepare, and delicious – all important elements for a 48-year-old bachelor! It is literally the easiest diet I’ve ever tried.
Regarding snacks, I don’t spend a lot of time trying to mimic the foods I used to eat when my eating habits were terrible. I feel a sense of freedom and detachment from the garbage I used to shovel in. I like to snack on celery with whole cream cheese or sour cream. If I happen to get a sweet tooth, I’ll grab one of these delicious dark chocolate bars with almonds from Trader Joes:
This is by far the best tasting dark chocolate I’ve ever had. ZERO grams of sugar! There is, however, sugar alcohol, so don’t eat too many of these bars. Some labels may also list sugar alcohols under total carbohydrate. Sugar alcohols may be found in products that are labeled “sugar-free” or “no sugar added.”
This can include sugar-free candies, chocolate, and energy bars. But don’t be fooled – sugar alcohols are still a form of carbohydrate, and they still affect your blood sugar levels, though not as dramatically. I would suggest just having a small piece if your sweet tooth is out of control.
Sugar alcohol can also cause digestive problems resulting in diarrhea-like symptoms. Just an FYI!
I’ll leave you with this thought: I am not a keto expert, nor will I likely ever be one. But, I’m mastering my health intuitively through the ketogenic diet and exercise. I hope that makes sense and helps a bit. I know some of you need it. I see your Facebook posts! Just kidding! I kid!
If you have something to add, please leave a comment below. Thanks a bunch.