Welcome to my new blog site!

another side by side

Hello, friends and family.  Some of you may be familiar with my blogs about our family’s journey to health. A few months ago, my blog hosting site went haywire and my blogs started looking pretty ridiculous. If you’ll bare with me through some bumps, I’m going to try transferring my content and posting here at WordPress.  We’ll give it a go, and see if this works out better. I hope that our experiences and insight will continue to help others get on the road to successful journeys, taking back their health!

Amanda

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What is Keto?

I recently asked on my keto facebook page for ideas for what to blog about. The most popular reply was explaining what macros are.  To do that, we need to first take care of a misconception that is being propagated by some supposedly ketogenic facebook groups.  True keto is extremely high fat, moderate to low protein, and extremely low carb.  Unfortunately, there is misinformation in some of those groups saying that keto is high protein, lower fat than say an LCHF diet. That is completely wrong.

I typed this into a search on google: What is Keto?

This was the answer that google gave me:
“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.”

It’s a quote from a website called ruled.me where there is a beginner’s guide to keto.

But let’s not stop there. Here are quotes from a few other ketogenic websites.

This is from The Charlie Foundation, which uses ketogenic therapy to treat epilepsy, with close medical supervision:

“The diet is high in fat, supplies adequate protein and is low in carbohydrates. This combination changes the way energy is used in the body. Fat is converted in the liver into fatty acids and ketone bodies. Another effect of the diet is that it lowers glucose levels and improves insulin resistance. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the occurrence of epileptic seizures.”

Here is another from ibreatheimhungry.com, a blogger site dedicated to sharing recipes.

“WARNING! This is not a high protein diet! Your body can convert excess protein into glucose and we don’t want that. You want your body to learn to use fat for energy – that is the secret to unlocking your fat stores and losing weight almost effortlessly on a low carb plan.

Keto is a Low Carb / Moderate Protein / High Fat Plan.

Don’t think you’re going to cheat the system and lose faster by restricting carbs AND fat – you will feel (even more) awful, and after the intial water weight drop your weight loss can be inhibited by eating a lot of protein.”

And if you still aren’t convinced, here are a couple of books you can check out.

Keto Adapted is written by Maria Emmerich, with forewords by 2 well known keto doctors. Maria runs the blog mariamindbodyhealth.com which is full of ketogenic recipes. I use it a LOT. She is a nutritionist who offers personalized keto plans (for a fee). She has written several cookbooks, the most recent of which was a collaboration with the infamous Jimmy Moore.

Speaking of Jimmy, he collaborated with the well respected Dr. Eric Westman, MD on the book Keto Clarity, as well as the book Cholesterol Clarity, which both explain that a high fat, low carb diet is healthy and how to live ketogenic.

Now that I’ve given you so many great resources, I’ll try to explain what a macro is. Macro is short for macronutrients – in this case, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Basically, it’s an individualized pie chart for what percentage of your diet should be fat, what percentage should be protein, and what percentage should to be carbs, so that you can reach the ideal ratio for your body’s maximum health and weight. There are several keto macro calculators online, but the best I’ve found so far is definitely by Maria and can be found here: Keto Calculator.

I was asked what my own macros are. For my current weight of 215.6 lbs, my height being 5 foot nothin’, and a mostly sedentary lifestyle (due to my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue), my ideal ratio for accelerated weight loss is as follows:

my macros at 215Now, the 2 big questions this brings up… do I follow this religiously, and how on earth do I track it?

As for the first, no. Plain and simple, I use this as a general guideline, because I’m bullheaded and don’t like to be told what to do. I do not count calories, ever. And frankly, I was on Weight Watchers for 3 years and tracked everything, and it didn’t do me a lick of good past the first 9 months. As to the second, when I do track, which is only every so often, I use fatsecret.com. There is a mobile app for this site, which you can sync to your computer account. However, I find using it on the desktop is better than doing mobile, because it actually gives you a pie chart showing your macro percentages.  For example:

fat fast day oneSo how do I keep my fat as high as I need to, my protein down, and my carbs as low as all that without tracking religiously? Well, some days I probably don’t. But for the most part, I stick to the foods I know work. I have discovered that once I hit that long plateau, I needed to cut back on things like nut flour, and also on packets of splenda. After this many months of being on this plan, you start to learn what works best for you. When you get to a rut where it stops working, you adjust and tweak again, but you do not, under any circumstances, give up!

Now, here’s the thing. You can totally do this WOE without ever once calculating your macros. You can lose weight and feel fantastic and heal your body never even understanding what a macro is. The key is to KISS. Keep It Simple Silly!
Here is a wonderful blog post about that by none other than my good friend Butter Bob. I have really started sticking to this lately, and between KISS food and a good IF, I have gotten moving again. And this way, you never once have to track your macros!!

I hope this helps to quell some of the confusion surrounding this WOE! So glad to have you along for the journey.

Intermittent Fasting

I’ve been eating LCHF, with the goal of staying in ketosis, for well over a year now. But around springtime (2015) I hit a stall that stretched into about a 5 month plateau.  I was frustrated, I was irritated, I was disappointed, but I refused to give up. If nothing else, I knew that sticking with this WOE (way of eating) would keep me from gaining back the 98 lbs I’d already lost.

Throughout the summer, my friend Bob, over at Butter Makes Your Pants Fall Off, posted several times on facebook about how important IF (intermittent fasting) was. I couldn’t quite get my head in that game, and was starting to think that maybe I needed to cut out some more foods, or egg fast for a couple of years straight, or exercise myself silly. Finally, about the beginning of October, I found myself ready to submit to Bob’s teaching and shrink my IF window.

What is Intermittent Fasting? Basically, when you eat ketogenic, that is extremely high fat, moderate protein, and extremely low carb, you are aiming for staying in ketosis ALL of the time. If you eat enough fat to control your appetite, you can easily skip some meals. IF is a fancy way of saying, skip some meals. There are many different ways to go about it, the most common seems to be skipping breakfast, that way you have a fasted “window” from the last meal you eat in the evening, all the way through the night, until lunchtime.  If you stop eating a certain time every evening, and wait 16 hours before you eat again, then you have a 16/8 IF. 16 hours fasting, and then an 8 hour eating window. 18/6 is quite common as well.

Now Bob did a video about how insulin resistance is the root of obesity and actually the root of many other illnesses as well. He basically explained that after much research, his conclusion was that the longer you go between eating, the longer you go between releasing insulin, thereby automatically making your body more sensitive to insulin and less resistant.  He has a video that explains it really well.

What I took away from the video was that with my starting weight being over 300 lbs, my health not being ideal (I suffer from fibromyalgia) and having abused my body with food and sugar for so long, my fasting window needed to be much longer than other people’s, and my eating window much shorter.

I have been trying to stick to a 4-5 hour eating window. The beauty of ketogenic eating is that I’m not hungry during that time, and if I DO get hungry, I can eat some straight fat without interrupting that fasted state. I drink some coffee with heavy cream, or I eat a couple of spoonfuls of coconut oil, or drink some broth with butter in it.  When I thought back to losing so much weight in the beginning, I realized I’d already been doing a short IF by only having coffee with cream for breakfast and pushing away the plate until 11 or 12 o’clock.  I’ve now just pushed that breaking of the fast a little further.

The only other change I’ve made is hydration. I tend to forget to drink enough water, so I recently swapped diet soda for powerade zero, a sugar free sports drink. It still has some of those ingredients that make health gurus cringe, but I feel better drinking it, and it doesn’t have carbonation or nasty aspartame (which makes me ache).

I didn’t have to cut out dairy or nuts like was suggested to me. I didn’t have to start adding exercise to my routine, though I am slowly trying to add in some aerobics for my heart health. I just had to make sure my fat was extremely high, my carbs extremely low, my eating window short, and my hydration kept up. I’ve now lost 105 lbs! I’m almost to my wedding weight. I’m the thinnest my kids have ever known me! And I’m ecstatic to see the scale moving again.

(Just as a side note, my family insists that I was still getting smaller during that plateau, and I know that I was shrinking skin during that time. So if you plateau, just keep going! Even if it takes you a while to get the scale moving again, it’s worth it!!)