You can barely walk in to a cafe or gym these days without overhearing someone boasting about their life changing results from “going keto”. Everyone and their mom (and my dad actually, who lost 10 lbs in a couple weeks) are jumping on to this keto-centric diet, and though the concept is not new, it is swiftly picking up speed!
As cross fitters slide their scale away from excess in protein towards an incomprehensible amount of fat, even those who are dieting newbies are jumping on board due to the diets promise of high brain functionality, increased energy, and science backed fat burning elite qualities. The ketogenic diet grew its teeth with its success in treating epilepsy. I first got in tune to this concept when working with clients battling cancer and its benefits in decreasing rogue cancer cells, as well as stabilizing many autoimmune diseases and decreasing pain (by way of lowering inflammation) for those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.
So what does it actually mean to be in ketosis? As a normal functioning person of 2018, we run on glucose. This means our body takes carbohydrates, sugars and proteins and breaks it down into glucose to use for energy. With the ketogenic diet, you are essentially re-routing your body’s communication channels and, by starving it of glucose, teaching your body to burn fat for fuel. In the first week alone, many claim to losing 5-10 lbs; this, of course, is not your body becoming an instant fat burning machine, but your body ridding itself of water weight.
But this is a diet we are talking about, which means none of this success comes without its possible complications. One being that if you so much as look at a croissant or so be it a fruit smoothie it may derail your progress. All kidding aside (it is not that crazy), because the process involves a new train of thought regarding how we approach fat and slowly step away from even the complex carbs, the likelihood that this will deflate your energy momentarily is practically guaranteed. The most common (and short lived) reaction is referred to as the Keto Flu, where your body, starved of fast energy inducing sugar, goes into slow motion leaving you feeling sluggish, feverish, and dizzy. I have heard that this comes and goes within day 4-10 and you should feel a huge energy breakthrough by the end of it.
Having grown up as an athlete and working in the fitness industry for the last 10 years, my relationship with food is fairly clear: food= energy. But this is not to say I don’t enjoy the not so occasional ice-cream and glass of wine, but the more challenging part for those of us who “eat pretty clean”, activity levels aside, have a tendency to binge at night; because even the healthiest food is detrimental if there is too much of it.
This has lead to my curiosity and willingness to go on my first ever diet! For the next 30 days I will be diving in to all things keto- the bulletproof coffee, the bottomless avocados, the test strips and all things with butter on top. With hope in answering all of your questions from where and what to eat, should I actually stick through this keto flu, and is this the diet that is going to successfully help in dropping a couple extra pounds, decrease joint pain and leave me at peak energy? Check in next week.