how i lost 6 lbs in 6 days while eating cheesecake
...and also carrot cake, which happens to be my favorite.
Many people have heard about the ketogenic diet - keto, for short, and some of you may have tried it, or are currently in ketosis (which is different from diabetic ketoacidosis, which is not a good thing and very dangerous).
Being in ketosis, simply put, means that your body has made a major metabolic shift from burning glucose as its primary fuel source to burning fat as its primary fuel source. Who wouldn't want to burn body fat all the while eating loads of healthy fat every day? And when I say "loads," I'm talking 70(ish)% of daily caloric intake. For me, that looks like an ounce or two of grass-fed dairy cheese daily, organic eggs, organic heavy cream in my coffee (or whipped, if I feel like whipping some raw cream), grass-fed fatty meats (ribeye steaks, dark meat poultry, organ meats), cream cheese, sour cream, cream soups, grass-fed butter, avocados and bacon (organic turkey for me), coconut cream and small amounts of organic nuts. Twenty-ish percent of my diet is protein and a hefty 5 percent is carbs (usually in the form of low-carb veg like greens, broccoli and cauliflower).
A while back, I stated that I didn't think I could do paleo (let alone keto) because of all the protein/fat consumption. I will eat those words along with my no-sugar keto cheesecake, because I'm thoroughly enjoying the Hello Kitty out of the food itself. [Edit: while the food was tasty, it was so not worth the damage done to my gut!]
That said, the "keto flu" which is something often experienced during the phase of transitioning from a glucose burner to a fat burner, has been offal. I mean awful. First, water weight drops off like it's just melting and flowing off the body, hence my six pound loss in the first six days. Staying hydrated is a challenge for me normally, so add the stress of massive water loss and major metabolic shifts, and hydration became a full-time job the first 10 days (I'm on day 11 and this is the first day I don't feel like I need to go to the hospital for an IV. That may be slight hyperbole. Slight.). Add to that brain fog from my brain not yet figuring out how to burn primarily ketones instead of glucose (this has also passed), lethargy, and PMS straight from the devil and it's been a super great week for my family and me!
So if the transition phase is so hellish, why continue? Partly because of the self-experimentalist in me. I started, so I won't stop until I send in a gut microbiome sequencing kit to see what effect this high-fat diet has had on my gut buddies (likely lower Akkermansia, for one, based on a study I read earlier today). And, my frequent hunger and "overly enthusiastic love" of food has disappeared (a very weird feeling for a foodie). Here I am in the midst of the most angry PMS of my life (again, sorry, family) and I don't want chocolate, I don't want cake (although I made some keto cakes anyway, just to see how they were. They're pretty good. I'll link recipes below), I don't want carbs. I can go many many hours without eating (because my body is now able to eat my love handles instead of crying out for glucose) and my joint pain has reduced. I look forward to seeing what other effects I experience as I continue on in ketosis. And I sure hope the angry PMS levels out. I started Evening Primrose Oil today as an aid.
And lastly, the burning question: does my microbiome like it? Nope, and I'm sorry to do this to my sweet sweet gut buddies, but it's for our own good (I'm in part doing this to correct a previous gut experiment). They have complained by giving me bouts of diarrhea mixed with absolutely nothing happening on the toilet uh-tall. They have been quite spoiled on my very high fiber diet until now, so it's to be expected. I'm hoping we'll reach a truce in the next few days. [send good juju!]
Before deciding whether the ketogenic diet is something that might be good for you, please get very very informed about how to handle the transition phase and how to eat properly. Drinking sea salt in water helps a ton, along with taking electrolytes and tracking your food macros (fat, protein and carbs) with a phone app (I like BiteSnap). If you have a serious illness, please consult with your doctor before changing your diet.