What is a Ketogenic diet?
Ketosis is the process where your body uses stored body fat as a fuel rather than the glucose we take in (in the form of carbohydrates).
(It is not to be confused with Ketoacidodis which is a dangerous complication of diabetes that is caused by a lack of insulin in the body. They are not the same thing).
When you eat foods high in carbohydrates your body will produce glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest fuel for your body to use as energy so it will get used first.
So normally, if you have lots of glucose in your bloodstream, the body will mainly use glucose for energy. When you restrict carb intake, those glucose stores quickly become depleted and your body begins burning fat – dietary fat and….wait for it……your stored body fat.
I first dabbled with a Ketogenic diet about 10 years ago. I started experimenting with it long before I wrote my Six Pack Chick book. Despite it working very well for me I decided to ‘moderate’ it because my Doctor at the time scared me by declaring that it was too high in fat and that would be detrimental to my health.
Instead of listening to my gut I found myself nodding in the doctor’s surgery and vowing to go low-fat and high carb I skipped out of there silently hoping that it would help my health problems.
I got worse.
I turned into a permanently ‘hangry’ nasty piece of work.
I should have trusted my instinct and gone with what suited ME.
At the time I had the following ailments:
PCOS, acne, IBS, wildly fluctuating depression, repeated infections, under active thyroid,
Those days are long gone now and I love empowering other women to do the same. I can give them all the advice in the world but if it doesn’t feel right then it isn’t. I don’t take it personally I actually LOVE it when they learn to trust what they truly feel and run with it.
Why would I want to do that?
In my case my carbohydrate tolerance was really poor, my skin was bad, I felt sluggish. I would suffer from big drops in blood sugar at several points in the day. My IBS seemed to get worse on days when my carbohydrate intake was higher and I felt permanently hungry (even after a big meal).
Now I rarely get hungry, my skin is clear, my mood is so much better and my brain sharper amongst many other benefits.
How do I do a Ketogenic diet?
My diet is basically 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrate.
I made the changes gradually. I slowly replaced carbohydrates with fats like adding an avocado to a salad instead of some rice and replacing the milk in my daily coffee with heavy cream. Once on a fully Ketogenic diet it became very easy to follow.
Mistakes I made at the beginning?
I tried to guess whether or not I was in Ketosis. Then I tried using Ketostix (little urine test strips)
Now I use a Ketonix breath monitor (it shows up ketones in the breath). It is a great investment for me and really lets me experiment with different foods and daily plans to get it just right.
The breath monitor has different coloured lights to show you whether you are in Ketosis or not. I love it.
What do I typically eat in a day?
I LOVE food – this is just a typical day in the life of Ketogenic me…
Breakfast (8am)- omelette made with 3 eggs, grated hard goats cheese, spring onions.
Mid-morning – coffee with a tablespoon of Organic Double Cream.
Lunch – Salad with salmon fillet, 1 medium avocado, dressing made with olive oil and lemon.
Afternoon snack – a handful of nuts e.g. 25 almonds.
Dinner – My favourite dinner at the moment is a Bolognese sauce made with grass-fed beef mince, tomatoes, onion and plenty of seasoning. Served on a bed of courgette pasta (courgettes that I have put through a spiralizer) and topped with some grated parmesan. Yum.
After dinner I usually have one of my Keto Truffles or Keto Pralines…yummy.
The biggest benefits I have seen?
Now that I am approaching my 40’s I obsess much less about the way I look (phew) and concentrate more on how I feel. I can’t tell you how liberating this is. Weight loss is definitely an advantage to this way of eating for most people trying a Ketogenic Diet. For me…. I just feel so much more balanced. The greatest benefit for me is feeling at peace with myself. I don’t have the horrible mood swings that used to make me feel so angry. I am much calmer, clearer and my brain is sharper.
I have also added a sprinkling of 16:8 fasting (16 hours fasting and then eating in an 8 hour window) so I will write about that soon and let you know how I have got on.
Have a sparkling week everyone