A while back, many of you responded to my ketogenesis post and have been asking for resources. Ideally these resources are customized to each person, but I’ll try to synthesize some thoughts briefly here and offer some basics.
Firstly, it’s always best to do this process or any big dietary change under the support of a doctor, nutritionist or coach. But for those of you whose interest was piqued by this initial discussion, I’ll continue on…
I’ve spent the last year in school at FMCA (Functional Medicine Coaching Academy) learning how to trace chronic diseases to diet, lifestyle, genetics, stress, trauma, pharmacological and environmental toxicity, amongst other things. I went back to school because from 2014 to 2016 I was incredibly sick, barely functioning. I’ve been walking a long road towards fully healing the underlying causes of my illnesses. Functional Medicine literally saved my life, and that is not an exaggeration.
Although a lot of my symptoms had resolved through huge dietary and lifestyle changes, energy was still a huge problem for me, and I still officially suffered from CFS/Fibro. When we came to the module in school regarding mitochondrial healing and ketogenesis, I knew keto was the path for me. Since Keto I have felt like a normal, energetic person for the first time since 2012 (or maybe ever?), and I have finally broken the inflammatory cycle. I actually have better energy now than I can ever remember having. Turns out my body is REALLY doesn’t like carbs….
I’m sharing my story because you should know your reasons for flex fueling…. whether you want to control inflammation, gain energy, lose fat, build muscle, etc., KNOW YOUR REASONS because that can help you tailor your approach.
Let it be known that I believe no food is good or bad, but some of you might be sensing that a very low carb, high fat, anti-inflammatory diet might be a better option for you. The benefits to a ketogenic diet are manifold; it completely stabilizes blood sugar, it reduces oxidative stress by giving you a cleaner burning fuel for ATP production (ketones), it’s naturally anti- inflammatory, heals your brain, and can serve as an elimination diet as well to test your food sensitivities, burns excess fat, builds muscle…but I’m not here to sell it to you. You should thoroughly KNOW your reasons before going keto.
Who should NOT do a ketogenic diet:
-Those with a history of disordered or restrictive eating
-Those of you who have trouble digesting fats
-People with gallbladder disease or removal
-Anybody with intestinal dysbiosis or leaky gut (clear that up first, I can help if you need)
-If you’re on prescription medications you should only go keto under the supervision of your physician FOR REAL
-Anyone who has had bariatric surgery, pancreatic insufficiency, kidney stones (again, consult your physician- strangely people with kidney issues can do really well on a keto diet)
-People who have a low BMI need to be very careful on a ketogenic diet too, because you WILL lose body fat
-STOP IMMEDIATELY if you are losing hair
That being said, the ketogenic diet is vastly healthier than the Standard American Diet by ANY reasonable measure…
It IS possible to enter ketogenesis with poor food choices. I suggest that you only use whole, organic foods on this diet, nothing pre-packaged (or stick to the 5 ingredients or less rule), because ketogenesis naturally induces a kind of detoxification process in the body. If you’re new to ketosis, and it feels like too a big a stretch, you might want to start out by going Paleo.
It’s definitely healthier to stay in the mild to moderate ketosis range, so check your pee strip and make sure you’re staying in the pink. Many people, especially those who work out a lot or do a lot of aerobic exercise will want to experiment with carb cycling- going keto for a week (or more, or less) and then adding in a day where you eat some fruit or other healthy grain (not too much!). Again, I can definitely help you with carb cycling if needed.
For my Ketogenic approach, I’m using the MITO food plan from the Institute of Functional Medicine as my starting point. This site has published the food plan, its benefits and technical instructions here: http://www.vitality757.com/mitofood.html Check it now, because it might not be up forever! Again, ideally this food plan is tailored, so if you need some support, hit me up.
From the mito food plan, you can modify your macronutrients to go into ketogenesis. This is a great calculator for figuring out how much carbohydrate, fat, protein you will need: https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/ For me, I only restrict carbohydrates and protein, I place absolutely NO restrictions on fats or non starchy vegetables. You do have to watch protein intake, because too much of it and you move back into something called gluconeogenesis, where your body essentially turns the protein back into sugar. If you find that you’re starting to gain weight, you’ll have to watch your fat intake as well.
Your fats MUST be healthy, organic, within their expiration dates and cold pressed whenever possible. Absolutely NO vegetable oils other than avocado, rice bran oil, sesame, coconut, and olive oil (which you should NEVER cook with). Don’t brown your fats, as doing so reverses some of the detoxifying impacts of the diet. Try steaming your food and then adding the oils on top. Again, for more info on healthy fats, hit me up.
Keeping your carbohydrate under 20g is often/usually required to enter ketogenesis, but then you can certainly adjust once you’re in. To know if you are under 20g you will need to do your research on google or I can help you. Focus on getting as many non-starchy vegetables in as is possible for you. And try to eat the full spectrum of colors daily. This alone is incredibly healing.
To know if you’ve achieved ketogenesis, you need to test your pee for keytones with ketone strips which you can get from Amazon. It takes approximately 3 days of eating 20g of carb or less to enter ketosis. Those first three days, even up to a week can be really difficult, as you are literally withdrawing from sugar and carbohydrate and entering a detoxification process. Stick with it, and you’ll feel better than ever shortly. Don’t try to start this process under stressful circumstances. A relatively stable situation creates the best results, and you’ll have to do a lot of cooking and planning ahead.
I really like this lady for tips and recipes: The Keto Diet- Healthful Pursuit: https://www.healthfulpursuit.com/
Good luck and let me know how it goes and if you have more questions!