How I stumbled Upon The Ketogenic Diet and My Life is Better for It:)
Growing up, our meals revolved around rice. We’d pile on the rice in the middle of our plates. High mounds of white, soft, delicious kernels would be the canvas for whatever protein, vegetable would accompany it. I’d have rice with my eggs for breakfast, with spam during lunch and we’d even add condensed milk to it with fruit for dessert or snack. Rice was our staple, a meal wasn’t a meal without rice.
Fast forward to today, many of my relatives are struggling with health challenges that were caused by their lifestyle and quite possibly our mutual love affair with rice. Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, heart burn, and Alzheimer’s disease are a few of the health issues that plague my family. Most of them are overweight, tired and always hungry. Their medicine cabinet is filled with prescriptions that deal with the disease as well as their symptoms and sometimes medications are given to combat the side effect of their medications. It’s madness because the medications are like a blanket that covers the root cause of the disease. Most of their ailments stem from a carbohydrate loaded diet. Now knowing what I know, I’m working with each of them on their diet in hopes of improving if not reversing some of their diagnoses.
Me and Weight Watcher Monster
I didn’t have weight issues, so I thought. I entered college as a young woman who played competitive sports for the past 4 years, who’s favorite meal was salty chips/french fries and ice cream. I rarely weighed myself and to be honest, I remember fondly when the scale wasn’t a stressor for me rather it was a non issue because I focused on my clothing and how I looked. I didn’t gain much weight the first year. I gained it the second, third and kept gaining until I was proposed to. Once my boyfriend put a ring on it, I stepped on a scale and almost fainted. I was overweight!!! And that’s how I found Weight Watchers and my destructive relationship with the scale began.
I joined and I was a Weight Watchers success, however the success was always short lived and I did not feel great before, during and after the weightloss. I counted points, ate a ton of zero point foods which included all vegetables and fruit. I trained for the LA Marathon and completed it in 7 hours! I was exercising, counting points and the combination moved the scale favorably to where I wanted. I ate every 1-2 hours, I was eating all the time. I had fruit in my bag, carrots at my desk at work, heck I ate so much of it because they didn’t have any points. Fat and protein had the most points so I ate very little of them. I needed to eat because my energy levels declined shortly after I ate. I rarely felt satiated. I felt hunger. I had brain fog. I struggled to stay awake and alert. I also felt depressed. Even though the scale showed I was heading in the right direction, my body and mind felt weak. But I kept at it though, hoping I’d find happiness in my smaller jean size. And I did, but it was temporary. I liked how I looked in the mirror and how my clothes fit but I was struggling to maintain my energy level and my emotions. The wedding stress did not help but I powered through, I had a dress to fit into!
I had my last ‘weigh in’ at Weight Watchers the week before my wedding. I had reached goal weight, now I would start maintenance. Maintenance allowed more points, same zero foods. I was ecstatic! I reached my goal, my wedding dress fit, I was skinny and I was excited for my wedding day:)
After the wedding I struggled to maintain the same strict routine that Weight Watchers demanded from me. All those months that I counted points, spent hours working out were wasted as the lost pounds crept back in few short weeks. Not only was I gaining weight, I continued to feel weak and I was experiencing more brain fog however I didn’t feel hungry. I ate every 2 hours everything and everything in sight.
For many years after my wedding, I followed a D.I.E.T-acronym for Did I Eat That? Seriously, I ate whatever I wanted. I returned to Weight Watchers after the births of my first and second children.
When I first heard of the ketogenic diet in 2017, I remember thinking “eating so much fat can’t possibly be good for you!” Bobby, my trainer friend, who introduced keto to me, encouraged me to do my research. And the truth is, there are thousands of studies proving that saturated and monosaturated fat have no effects on heart disease risks. In fact, most fats are essential to our health. Fats (fatty acids) and proteins are essential for our survival. Come again, fats and proteins are essential for our survival, where’s the carbohydrates? Aren’t carbohydrates as important as protein and even more essential than fat for our survival. According to the SAD ( Standard American Diet), carbohydrates such as bread, rice and grains are on the bottom of the pyramid, we should be eating more of that than any other macronutrient, right?
What is The Ketogenic Diet?
It simply can be described as keeping your body in nutritional ketosis. Ketosis is a natural state to provide energy for the brain and body. The body prefers this energy production rather using glucose. It is a process by which your body burns its own fat for energy in the form of ketones. This is done through restricting carbohydrates, in turn depleting glucose in the body.
What are Ketones?
Ketones are produced in the liver by breaking down fatty acids. Three types of ketones are produced, they are acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Ketones are always produced hepatically but the amount of ketones being produced will determine if we are in nutritional ketosis.
Ketosis not Ketoacidosis!
Nutritional ketosis is a coined term from Dr. Phinney. Dr. Phinney with Dr. Volek are true pioneers in the ketogenic dieting field. He gave measurable limits to determine if the body is burning fat for energy through ketone production. That limit is 0.5mmol/dl to 5mmol/dl.]
What’s the Difference between the ketogenic diet and LCHF (low carb high fat) diet?