"This is my last ice cream, and then I'm starting keto tomorrow," Leah said. "Keto," I asked, "What is that?"
My best friend Leah got me hooked on trying the keto diet. I'll admit I was skeptical at first, as we all are by now with diets. I mean paleo, atkins, vegeterian, pescatarian, low-carb, no-carb, one hundred thousand carbs, you get my point. It's daunting to pick through what really can work for you, amirite?
WHAT IS KETO
Keto in the simplest terms is high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs. Should you decide to start keto, this will be your mantra. The description is also that simple. You eat high-fat foods, throw in some protein, and stay the heck away from carbs. Doing this allows your body to enter into ketosis, a state where your body stops feeding off of carbs and begins to use the fat that, get this, is already in your body! After hearing Leah explain this to me, I immediately thought I HAVE FAT IN MY BODY ALREADY! mind = blown. It just made sense, hellooooooo.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS
The benefits for me personally include more energy, fewer cravings (although I still yearn for pecan pie), more restful sleep, super focus, an average appetite and of course WEIGHT LOSS. In these two weeks, even with C H E A T I N G (twice if you ask my husband), I've lost a solid 9 pounds. Technically it's probably a little more, but ya girl gets lazy (see scared, frightened, terrified) with stepping on the scale. I wanted to post a good before and after picture but I guess I reeeeeeeaally didn't like taking full body shots before, I guess. I also think that's the life of a photographer. So here's a picture of how great I feel in my own skin, anyway!
And these are just the benefits I've experienced, but some others are insulin resistance, improved cholesterol, better blood pressure (usually from the weight loss), improved skin, and help lowering medications for people with epilepsy. These are alllllll amazing benefits from a diet that allows you to eat your traditional "bad" stuff, which brings me to my next topic!
WHAT DO I EAT
I had already started on a path of meal prep because I wanted to spend more time on the things I love during the week, so transitioning wasn't super hard. A simple list for what you should and shouldn't eat:
To Eat: Meat, Leafy Greens, High Fat Dairy, Nuts, Non-Tuber (above ground) Vegetables
To Avoid: Grains, Sugar, Fruit, Tubers (underground) Vegetables
If you want visual aids you can view them on this Pinterest board, All Things Keto along with the recipes I post on this blog.
HOW TO PREPARE
Looking at my pantry was OVERWHELMING because it was filled with alllll the bad stuff. There were bags of kettlecorn, cereals, oatmeals, rice crackers called 旺旺 (wang wang), chips, crackers, brownie mixes, and my most favorite of all, O R E O S. I looked in that pantry and found two packages of those bad boys and visibly mourned as I put the rest of them in a plastic bag for our donate box. Of course Nicholas helped by pulling items out of the pantry and loudly shouting, "WELP WE CAN'T HAVE THIS NO' MO'!" after every. single. thing.
After clearing out the pantry, we promptly went grocery shopping and bought quite a bit of food. Because I'm serious about this, and so is Nicholas, we bulk-shopped to save money on:
unsweetened almond milk
With the avocados, make sure you get the firmest ones because you're definitely not going to eat 10 avocados in a few days, unless you're a guac-aholic, haha! Oh, and gently squeeze to test the ripeness so you don't bruise it.
Change does not happen overnight, okay? Did I feel great relishing in four vanilla cupcakes with no icing at a child's birthday party, kind of, yes, but I didn't give up and say, "Oh, I didn't stick to it, I must not be able to do it." I basically fasted until the next day, eating some bacon the next morning and resuming the keto dinner the next day. It wasn't the end of the world for me, because now I don't even think about those kinds of sweets...besides pie! Oh sweet, glorious pecan pie. And anyway I've been eating straight up sugar for twenty five years. I've tried this diet for two weeks. So I give myself a break or two.
Meal planning and finding out the kind of products you need before going grocery shopping will save you a LOT of time in the store. It's not fun wandering around hopelessly asking people who are also wandering around where almond flour might be. It'll also save you a lot of time during the week to focus on the important things.
Stevia/Truvia is your friend. ALWAYS.
Carbs/sugars are in everything! Check the nutrition or do a quick Google search on your phone if you're out and about so you can stay informed! Believe me, there's nothing more disheartening than figuring out something actually has 10 net carbs in it for the smallest serving size.
Get an accountability partner! It's not going to be the easiest thing you'll ever do at first, and studies show that you're more apt to stick to something if you do it in groups, hence the term "stronger in numbers." You can join our keto group here if you don't have anyone close. Nicholas is my rock when it comes to my pecan pie urges at home, and my fried lemon pepper chicken urges when we're out and about.
This is NOT starvation, so when I felt my belly grumble during the twilight hours, I thought back to the last time I had eaten, which was breakfast. They say to eat only when you're hungry because your appetite isn't based on gluttony so much as satisfaction. So for me, it's around two times a day, but for Nicholas it's sometimes three. I've started exercising every day so I think my diet with adjust with that, but otherwise I still only eat when I'm hungry.
Last, but not least, believe in yourself! There is literally nothing to it, but to do it. Research. Try something. Research some more and try again. We love sharing recipes, so if you try something that works, let us know! And if you want to eat out, check out Snippets.of.Us' post on keto!