My Keto Experience-Week 3

Bulletproof Coffee

Challenges this Week

Hitting 20 total carbs on a daily basis has become a challenge, so I have decided to move the goal post to 30 grams per day as a target. Without testing Ketones there is no true way to know my current levels/status of ketosis or not, so I am going by feeling. Going by feel, I’m hypothesizing that I could stand a few more non-starch carbs on my exercise days. I am making an educated guess that I can handle a few more carbs on this diet based on my activity levels, and that I am not using Keto therapeutically to treat a chronic condition.

Keto Tips of the Week

Bulletproof Coffee is my tip of the week. The idea behind Keto is using fat for fuel/energy, so a coffee can be a great medium for quality fats.

There are many ways to make this coffee (pictured above), the basic concept is butter and MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil in coffee. Coconut oil is a source of MCT, so I used one spoon of that, one spoon grass fed butter and a little sea salt, used milk frother to combine. A word of caution, if you don’t use the milk frother or a blender, you get an oil slick on top of your coffee.

The drink above is 0 sugar, 0 carb, and around 230 calories if you are counting, which is significantly less than most latte/ cappuccino drinks. 

Meals

Sunday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 8:30 am: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 9 am: 4 slices bacon.

Around 1 pm: Olives, cheese, salami.

Morning Totals:

Total Carbs: 5 grams

Protein: 40 grams

Around 3:30 pm: Roasted Brussels with grass fed butter and olive oil, roast chicken 🍗, coconut flakes with coconut milk.

Meal Totals:

Carbs: 10 grams

Protein: 25 grams

Daily Totals

Total Carbs: 15 grams

Protein: 65 grams

Monday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 8:30 am: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 1:22 pm: Nut butter, 1 spoon coconut oil, coconut flakes, macadamia nuts, salt, coconut milk to drink.

Total Carbs: 16 grams.

Protein: 15 grams.

Around 4:30 pm: Coleslaw with cabbage slaw mix, chopped garlic, 6 slices bacon, cheddar cheese, dressed with salt and pepper, avocado mayo, sriracha sauce, apple cider vinegar; 8 olives.

Total Carbs: 10 grams

Protein: 35 grams

Evening: Herbal Tea

Daily Totals

Carbs: 26 grams

Protein: 50 grams

Tuesday

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 8:30 am: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 10 am: Green tea.

Around 12 noon: 2 servings natural peanut butter, 1 spoon coconut oil, 1 serving hemp seeds, shaved coconut, coconut milk to drink.

Total Carbs: 16 grams

Protein: 28 grams

Around 4:30 pm: Coleslaw over lettuce, greens powder, dressed with olive oil; can of salmon with 1 spoon melted butter; 8 olives.

Total Carbs: 12 grams

Protein: 55 grams

Evening: Herbal Tea

Daily Totals

Total Carbs: 28 grams

Protein: 83 grams

Wednesday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with coconut oil, grass fed butter, and salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea with grated ginger.

Around 4:30 pm: Coleslaw with lettuce, avocado, greens powder; can of sardines; cheddar cheese with 8 olives; 2 spoons peanut butter.

Meal and Daily Totals:

Total Carbs: 26 grams

Protein: 52 grams

Thursday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with coconut oil, grass fed butter, and salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea.

Around 12 noon: 2 servings natural peanut butter, 1 spoon coconut oil, 1 serving hemp seeds, shaved coconut.

Total Carbs: 15 grams

Protein: 28 grams

Around 4:30 pm: Coleslaw with lettuce, avocado, greens powder; can of sardines; 8 olives; 2 spoons peanut butter.

Meal Totals:

Total Carbs: 26 grams

Protein: 48 grams

Daily Totals

Total Carbs: 41 grams

Protein: 76 grams

Friday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with coconut oil, grass fed butter, and salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea.

Around 1 pm: Chicken Jerky, 1 Whole Avocado.

Total Carbs: 12 grams

Protein: 18 grams

Around 6 pm: Grilled chicken salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, egg, cheese, bacon, ranch dressing.

Approximately 20 grams Total Carbs

Approximately 50 grams Protein

Daily Totals

Total Carbs: 32 grams

Protein: 68 grams

Saturday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 8:30 pm: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 3 pm: 3 Handfuls of Cashews.

Total Carbs: Around 15 grams

Protein: Around 10 grams

Around 6 pm: Roast Pork with Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Olive Oil and Grass Fed Butter.

Total Carbs: Around 12 grams

Protein: Around 35 grams

Daily Totals

Total Carbs: 25 grams

Protein: 45 grams

Favorite Meal of the Week

Grilled Chicken Salad

Exercise

Sunday

Mowing lawn, 2.5 miles, around 1 hour total.

Monday

2.5 miles walk, around 50 minutes total, stretch and roll.

Tuesday

Morning stretch and roll.

Deadlifts 205 x 3, 225 x 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,2; Ab wheel roll, 6 sets of 6-8; pull up bar hangs.

Wednesday

2.5 miles walk, around 50 minutes total, stretch and roll.

Thursday

Goblet squat 35 x 8, 44 x 5,6,5; Kettlebell swing 53 x 10, 72 x 8,8,8; Pull up 6,6,6,5; Pushup 10,10,10,10; Total Gym row 10,10,10,12; Concentration curl 20 x 10, 10, 26 x 6, 6

Friday

Morning run, around 4.9 miles, 45:05, no rest.

This time is a full minute faster than last week, and 3 minute improvement from the start of Keto! I have a theory that one factor in my 1 minute improvement this week is my slight increase of total carbs this week, giving me more stored glycogen to chug up the hill towards the end of this run.

Saturday

Stretching and activite rest.

Benefits Noted This Week

I noticed a boost in energy during exercise this week, and I am going to correlate that to adding a little bit more carbs than previous weeks. In particular, I noticed increased energy and performance in types of exercise that would rely more on glycogen stores, such as weight lifting and running up a hill. I decided to strategically move the target of total carbs per day up from 20 grams to 30 grams, specifically to see if I may see a benefit in my exercise.

Important to note, I increased my daily carb intake by adding such items as a whole avocado, or a few spoons of peanut butter (not rice, bread, pasta, etc.).

Sleep was excellent this week! Every night was at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sleep has been a focus area of mine for the last few months, and it is very encouraging to see it paying off.

My Compliance Grade for the Week

Given that I moved my target of total carbs this week from 20-30 grams per day, I give myself a 95% compliance. Moderate protein ranges were easily achieved, and I held firm with no processed food, grain, starch, or alcohol. I found the move to include more carbs, particularly on or before exercise days, was beneficial to my energy levels.

Looking ahead to next week, I will be wrapping up 4 weeks of Keto and reporting out about the experience. The post will include favorite meals, top tips and benefits, and challenges. Thanks so much for checking this out, I will update you soon!

My Keto Experience-Week 2

Keto on Vacation

Benefits Noted this Week

Energy! I have felt very high and sustained energy levels this week, at work and while exercising. In addition to energy, I have noticed that I am able to feel more full, or “satiated” while eating Keto; with this change, I have not felt the urge or craving to overate Keto/high fat foods like I have with higher carb foods in the past. I am making an educated guess that eating the right amount of (real) food to meet my energy needs is helping with my feeling of sustained energy, as compared to periodic grazing/overeating.

Challenges this Week

Keto rash! I noticed that I had a few raised red bumps on my chest, a mild rash. Listening to an early episode of the “Keto Talk” podcast by Jimmy Moore with Dr. Adam Nally, I learned that sometimes your body has reactions (such as a rash) when adjusting to Ketosis, due to temporary changes in your body’s PH (acid vs base). I cannot think of another potential culprit right now, and the rash is not causing any discomfort. I am going to monitor, and hope my body balances out and it disappears soon.

I had a challenging week at work. I will not go into details due to privacy considerations, but lets just say it was the kind of week in which an after work Scotch (or 3) would have been in order for me previously. Accompanying the after work Scotch would most likely be some form of overeating for comfort, followed by bad sleep, followed by more stress the next day (a domino effect).

The situation(s) I faced at work were not any less challenging than others I have experienced previously (far more so, actually). I have recognized and interrupted that previous pattern to the point that over consumption is not even a consideration as a way to deal with stress. So, mark this one as a challenge, and a benefit…

Keto Tips of the Week

If you are trying to eat Keto/achieve Ketosis, try making food choices that have most of their calories coming from fat. Some basic nutrition for you, here are the number of calories per gram of the three macro-nutrients:

  • Carbs: 4 calories per gram
  • Protein: 4 calories per gram
  • Fat: 9 calories per gram

Another way you can accomplish this ratio, is adding fat from real food sources if your meal is naturally higher in protein or carbs by itself. For example, my Coleslaw; by adding some slices of bacon, cheddar cheese, and dressing with avocado mayo, I created a meal that is higher in fat content as compared to protein or carbs.

Meals

Sunday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with coconut oil and salt.

Around 10:30 am: Wedding brunch buffet; eggs, bacon, sausage, smoked salmon, cream cheese, onion, capers.

Total Carbs: Around 5 grams

Protein: Around 45 grams

Around 5:30 pm: 2 spoons coconut oil, Keto shake, 1 cup coconut milk to drink; 1 serving hemp seeds, 1 serving shaved coconut 🥥.

Total Carbs: 9 grams

Protein: 21 grams

Daily Totals

Total Carbs: 14 grams

Protein: 66 grams

Monday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea with grated ginger and lime.

Around 4:30 pm: 3 scrambled eggs with 1 spoon grass fed butter and greens powder; 4 strips bacon; 1 serving coleslaw (chopped salad mix with kale, cabbage,lettuce, carrot, chopped garlic, sauerkraut, cheddar cheese, bacon, dressed with avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce, salt and pepper); 1/2 avocado; 8 olives; handful sunflower seeds; 1 cup coconut milk to drink.

Meal (and Daily) Totals:

Carbs: 22

Protein: 62

Tuesday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea with grated ginger and lime.

Around 4:30 pm: Keto Coleslaw with greens powder; 3 scrambled eggs with grass fed butter and sriracha sauce; 8 olives with 1 serving cheddar cheese; 1 serving hemp seeds, 1 serving coconut flakes; 1 cup coconut milk to drink.

Meal (and Daily) Totals:

Total Carbs: 20 grams

Protein: 58 grams

Wednesday

Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea with grated ginger and lime.

Around 4:30 pm: Coleslaw with greens powder and sardines; 2 egg omelet with 1 serving cheddar cheese; 2 spoons coconut oil; 1 serving coconut flakes, 1 serving hemp seeds; 1 keto shake to drink.

Meal (and Daily) Totals:

Total Carbs: 23 grams

Protein: 70 grams

Thursday

Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea with turmeric.

Around 4:30 pm: Coleslaw with greens powder and 1 serving cheddar cheese; can of sardines; 2 fried eggs; 2 spoons coconut oil; shaved coconut with hemp seeds; keto shake; coconut milk to drink.

Meal (and Daily) Totals:

Total Carbs: 23 grams

Protein: 70 grams

Friday

Coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea with grated ginger and lime.

Around 4:30 pm: 3 egg omelet with cheddar cheese and greens powder; Ruben bowl with 3 servings corned beef, sauerkraut, avocado mayo; 8 olives; macadamia nuts and coconut milk to drink.

Meal and Daily Totals:

Total Carbs: 18

Protein: 72 grams

Saturday

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 8 am: Coffee with coconut oil and grass fed butter.

Around 10 am: Bowl with nut butter, 2 spoons coconut oil, macadamia nuts, shaved coconut, hemp seeds, salt. Coconut milk 🥛 to drink.

Meal (and Daily) totals:

Total Carbs: 20 grams

Protein: 30 grams

(Fast rest of the day)

Favorite Meal of the Week

Keto Coleslaw-Version 2!

Exercise

Sunday

Mowing lawn and weed whacking, around 3 miles, around 1.5 hours total.

Monday

Around 50 minutes of walking, 2.5 miles total, stretch and roll.

Tuesday

Morning stretch and roll.

Deadlift: 205 x 3, 225 x 3,3,3,3,3,6; Ab roll wheel 6 sets of 6-8 reps; Pull up bar hangs 6 sets.

Wednesday

Morning stretch and roll, 50 minutes waking, around 2.5 miles.

Thursday

Kettlebell swing 53 lbs x 10, 72 lbs x 8,8; Goblet squat 35 lbs x 10, 44 lbs x 6, 6; Pull up 6,6,6; Push up 10,12,12; Total gym row 10,10,10; Concentration curl 20 lbs 10, 26 lbs 10, 6

Around 5 miles walking at work.

Friday

4.9 mile run (same route), 46:20, no rest breaks.

Saturday

Around 3 miles walk at work.

Compliance Grade for the Week

This week, I give myself an overall 95%, up from 90% last week. I based this completely arbitrary number on a few factors:

  1. Like last week, I have 100% compliance of avoiding junk food and alcohol.
  2. As a slight improvement from last week, I did not exceed my daily protein target of 90 grams once.
  3. I did exceed 20 grams of daily carbs on a few occasions, however I never went over 25 grams of total carbs in 1 day.

Overall I feel I am following the program in a way that makes sense for me, looking forward to week 3!

My Keto Experience-Week 1

Keto Coleslaw!

Benefits Noted This Week

My energy levels felt great during my first official week of Keto; day to day energy and mental focus have been excellent, as have my energy levels for sustained endurance activities such as jogging. Focusing on my carb and protein totals has been beneficial, and forces me to make smart food choices. For example, I have noticed that Keto compliant snack foods, such as pork rinds or cheese crisps, may put me over my daily protein limits. With this being the case, I am not going to include snack foods which are easy to overeat during week 2, and see if this helps my protein intake.

Challenges This Week

Adjusting to consuming 20 grams of total (not net) carbs takes FOCUS! FYI-Net carbs is a measure by which you start with total carbs, and subtract dietary fiber and sugar alcohols to arrive at “net carbs”. For example, Chia seeds have 12 grams total carbs, 10 grams of dietary fiber, and therefor 2 grams of net carbs per serving. In the spirit of this Keto experiment, I am counting and recording total carbs each day.

Another challenge was a family wedding, and weekend trip to Vermont. While this was a happy occasion and truly wonderful experience, it was a challenge in the sense that I needed to do some serious pre-planning to help me stay on track. Weddings are typically times for eating, drinking, and being merry, and can easily get you off a Keto diet plan if you are not careful. If you are thinking “couldn’t you just give yourself a ‘cheat day’, and have some flexibility?” Well sure, I could, but I chose not to sacrifice the progress I am making during my adaptation phase of this plan.

Some pre-planning and routines that helped me meet this challenge of a Keto wedding weekend included:

  1. Committing to keeping my sleep routine during the weekend away (and keeping my 3 year old son’s schedule as close as possible, goes hand in hand).
  2. Packing Keto supplies and snacks for the weekend.
  3. Planning (roughly) what/where I would eat each day, look at what would be available.
  4. Committing to not drinking alcohol, but still having a wonderful time and enjoying the celebration and scenery.
  5. Committing to exercise/move everyday of the weekend.

Keto Tips of the Week

Coconut oil, grass fed butter, and salt in coffee is my first tip of the week. This has helped me feel peak levels of energy in between my meals, and also not feel hunger cravings. Important to note, when you drink any caffeinated beverage, you MUST stay hydrated with water.

Another tip for the week, do not supplement with protein if eating Keto, you can easily achieve the moderate amount recommended from dietary sources. Supplementing may actually put you over the recommended moderate intake. Now, if you are trying to do vegetarian or vegan Keto (which is possible to do) perhaps you may look into protein supplementation at that point.

Finally, listen to your body. If you find that 20 grams of carbs is not working for you, adjust your intake. If you need more dietary fiber, eat more dietary fiber. Try different (real) foods and fat sources, and see which ones agree with you and/or you like the best. This post series is my experiment, it is definitely not one size fits all.

Let’s Talk About It [Video]

Meals

A few notes on meals:

  1. “Coffee” always means black, unless other additions are noted (such as coconut oil, or grass fed butter).
  2. I will list any beverages consumed which are not water, or seltzer water.
  3. Periods of fasting always include plenty of hydration with water.
  4. “Greens powder” is a powdered green vegetable supplement I take for vitamins (Keto or not), it has around 6 grams of carbs (4 grams are dietary fiber), and 4 grams of protein per serving.

Sunday

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 10:30 am: (Mix together) 1 serving nut butter, 2 spoons coconut oil, 1 serving hemp seeds, 1 serving coconut flakes, 1 cup coconut milk to drink.

Total Carbs: 14 grams

Total Protein: 20 grams

Around 11 am: Black coffee.

Around 6 pm: Bunless Burger from 5 Guys with 2 Beef Patties, Bacon, Cheese, Pickle, Lettuce, Jalapeno Peppers, Grilled Mushrooms, Mayonnaise.

Total Crabs: Around 5 grams

Total Protein: Around 48 grams

Daily Totals: Carbs 19 grams, Protein 68 grams

For day 1, I was able to easily be within the moderate protein range, and just barely stay below 20 grams of total carbs. Based on how I have been eating before starting Keto, I am not worried at all about staying moderate protein during this Keto experiment…20 grams of carbs in a day will take focus.

Monday

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 9 am: Coffee with 1 spoon coconut oil, 1 spoon grass fed butter.

Around 10 am: Iced green tea with ginger and lime.

Around 11 am: Hot green tea.

Around 1 pm: 1 serving Coleslaw with cabbage and cale mix, chopped garlic, sliced hot pepper, bacon.

1 Gyoza filing burger patty.

2 fried eggs.

1 Bowl Miso soup broth.

Total Carbs: Around 10 grams.

Protein: Around 40 grams.

Around 5:30 pm: 2 egg omelet with 1 serving cheddar cheese, and greens powder. 8 Olives, 2 seaweed snacks.

Total Carbs: 10 grams.

Protein: Around 30 grams.

Daily Totals:

Carbs: 20 grams.

Protein: 70 grams.

Tuesday

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with 1 spoon butter, 1 spoon coconut oil, salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea with lemon and ginger.

Around 4:30 pm: Can of salmon with salt/pepper, and 2 spoons melted grass fed butter; bowl of Coleslaw with green powder, avocado, 1 serving cheddar cheese; 8 olives; 2 seaweed snacks.

Evening: Cup of Herbal tea.

Meal (and Daily) totals:

Carbs: Around 22 grams

Protein: Around 65 grams

Wednesday

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with 1 spoon butter, 1 spoon coconut oil, salt.

Around 9 am: Iced green tea with lemon and ginger.

Around 5 pm: Bowl of coleslaw with greens powder, 1 serving cheddar cheese; 2 fried eggs cooked in grass fed butter; 1 can sardines, 1 can herring; 1 avocado; 8 olives; 2 seaweed snacks.

PM: Herbal Tea.

Meal (and Daily) totals:

Carbs: 24 grams

Protein: 72 grams

Thursday

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 8:30 am: Coffee with 1 spoon butter, 1 spoon coconut oil, salt.

Around 4 pm: Keto shake; cheese crisps, 4 Olives.

Total Carbs: 6 grams

Protein: 38 grams

Around 6 pm: 10 oz prime rib; thick cut slab bacon, asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, green beans.

Total Carbs: 14 grams

Protein: 70 grams

Daily Totals:

Total Carbs: 20 grams

Protein: 108 grams

Of note, I overshot my protein today for the first time, but managed to keep carbs in the range. I could have planned my snack protein content a little bit better to give dinner out more flexibility…lesson learned, I am not sweating a delicious steak dinner too badly 😉

Friday

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 9 am: 2 cups coconut milk, coffee with 2 spoons coconut oil.

Total Carbs: 2 grams

Protein: 0 grams

Around 1 pm: 2 cups coconut milk, 1 serving Brazil nuts, 4 servings pork rinds, 2 servings shaved coconut 🥥.

Total Carbs: Around 14 grams

Protein: Around 40 grams

Daily Totals:

Carbs: 16 grams

Protein: 40 grams

Saturday

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Coffee with coconut oil.

Around 12 noon: 1 cup coconut milk, 1 serving shave coconut, 1 serving hemp seeds, 1 serving Brazil nuts, 2 servings pork rinds.

Total Carbs: 13 grams

Protein: 36

Around 4 pm: Wedding buffet, cheese and vegetables appetizer; prime rib with sides of carrots, salad, asparagus.

Carbs: Around 10 grams

Protein: Around 50 grams

Daily Totals:

Carbs: 23 grams

Protein: 86 grams

Favorite Meal of the Week

Prime Rib

Exercise Log

Sunday

Mowing the lawn, around 2.5 miles, around an hour total time. Additional 2 miles of walking at work.

Monday

Morning stretch and foam roll, 50 minute walk, around 2.5 miles total.

Tuesday

Deadlifts: 205×3, 225×3, 255×2, 255×1, 255×1, 205×3,3; Ab wheel roll, 6 sets of 6-8 reps, pull up bar hangs.

Wednesday

Morning stretch and roll, run 4.9 miles, 48:04, improvement from last Friday, same route.

Thursday

Pull up: 5,6; total gym row: 10, 10; concentration curl 20 lbs 10, 10.

Friday

Around an hour of running and walking, hilly terrain in Vermont.

Saturday

Waking, around an hour, hills again (Vermont).

My compliance grade for the week

My compliance grade (out of 100%) is going to be based on the following factors each week:

  1. Staying at or below 20 grams of total carbs per day
  2. Staying at or below 90 grams of protein per day
  3. Eating real food, no processed food or alcohol

I give myself 100% for no processed food (sugar, grains, oils) and no alcohol, which I am very impressed with and proud of. As an overall Keto compliance grade, I am going to give myself a 90%. This number is based on going over carb daily limits, and protein daily limits a few times. Although I did go over my limits on certain days, it was never by a significant amount.

Important to note again that I am not measuring my Ketones, so I am not able to truly grade myself on Ketosis. Thanks so much for following along and your encouragement, comment with any thoughts or questions, see you next week!

Anti Inflammatory Diet-Week 4 (Wrap Up)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I made it!

This week marks 4 weeks of an anti inflammatory diet program. Please take a look at previous weeks to see meals, benefits noted, challenges, tips, and exercise log:

Intro-Anti Inflammatory Diet

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Let’s Talk About It [Video]

Before and After Comparisons

Photos

Before
After

Weight

Before: 201.6 lbs

After: 196.2 lbs

Photos and weight taken after a morning run, same conditions for before and after, 4 weeks in between.

Best Run

Before: Around 4.9 miles, around 53 minutes, no walk breaks

After: Around 4.9 miles, 48:12, no walk breaks.

Important to note that I’ve been running the same loop Friday morning since Whole 30, my phone tells me it’s 4.9 miles. I wanted to give that disclaimer in case anyone is a runner and my times seems off (because I have no idea). I will keep running the same loop, so regardless of distance, improvement is improvement.

Best Deadlift

Before: 255x 2,2,2,1 (best 4 sets in a workout), total volume (weight x reps) 1,785 lbs

After: 225 x 5,5,5; 255 x3 (best 4 sets in a workout), total volume (weight x reps) 4,140 lbs

Best Pull up set

Before: 5,5,5,5

After: 6,6,5,5,5

Best Push up set

Before: 10,10,10,10

After: 12,12,11,12,12

Overall Benefits Noted

Feeling leaner and lighter as compared before and after has been a great benefit to note (reflected in photos and on the scale as well). I have also noticed some improvements in sleep while completing this program; I would not necessarily say that sleep improvements are as a result of the diet, since I have been more actively focusing on my sleep and trying new routines and methods.

One benefit I was surprised at was the disappearance of chronic paid in my left shoulder during this anti-inflammatory diet time period. Similar to sleep, I would not say this is 100% attributable to the diet, because I have been incorporating stretching and therapy for the shoulder as well.

An overarching benefit has been adherence to eating real food, and avoiding processed food during this 4 week period. The framework of the diet plan kept real food in the forefront of my mind, and made food and drink choices easier during the program. I also consider not counting calories or macros, while still feeling good and making progress, to be a beneficial aspect of the past month.

Lifestyle Changes to Maintain

One lifestyle/dietary change I will certainly maintain is incorporation of fresh ginger into food and drinks, for health benefits and taste! I will also continue to focus on sleep quality for overall health maintenance and improvement. I will commit to at least another 30 days of no Sugar, Grain, Legumes, or Alcohol as I try out the Keto Diet next.

Favorite Meals and Drinks

Ginger Cocktails!
Anti-Inflammatory Coleslaw!
Fresh Tomato Slices!
Bunless Burger!

Overall Compliance Grade

I give myself a solid 99% total compliance for the Anti-Inflammatory guidelines I set up at the start:

  1. Eliminate Foods which tend to be inflammatory/contribute to chronic inflammation.
  2. Consume at least 4 servings daily of food and drink shown to be anti inflammatory.

I found the most success incorporating anti inflammatory ingredients by creating food and drinks which stacked 2 or more anti inflammatory ingredients into 1 meal/beverage.

What Now? The Keto Diet

For my next dietary adventure, I will be embarking on a 4 week journey following the Keto Diet. The Ketogenic Diet is high fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrate as the framework.

The “why” behind the Keto Diet is to condition your body to use fat as the primary fuel source in the form of blood ketones (hence Keto), rather than blood glucose (sugar). Unlike the Whole 30 and Anti Inflammatory diets I have recently blogged about, I will need to do some macro-nutrient counting on Keto, mostly to make sure I am keeping carbohydrate intake very low. Can I do it? Tune in next week to find out, and get some great tips!

The Keto Diet Experience

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

Introduction

The Ketogenic (or Keto) Diet consists of high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate intake. A sample macro-nutrient profile for a Keto diet is around 70% Fat, 25% Protein, and 5% Carbohydrates. Macro-nutrients are Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrate; any food you eat will fall into 1 (or more) or these nutrient categories. There are many different schools of thought on an ideal marco-nutrient ratio for Keto, but the general principles are very low carbohydrate intake, and a majority of your calories coming from fat.

Contrast Keto with the marco-nutrient ratio of My Plate.gov, which is around 75% carbohydrate (see grain, vegetables, and fruits) with the remaining allocation to “protein” and “dairy”.

For my Keto experiment, the only macro-nutrients I am going to count will be carbohydrates and protein. My target carbohydrate intake during my keto diet is going to be 20 grams per day, which is a recommendation I picked up from pod caster and author Jimmy Moore (here is Jimmy’s website). Jimmy recommends starting at 20 grams per day to find your carbohydrate tolerance while on Keto. Is 20 grams per day realistic for me? I don’t know yet, but I will found out.

To keep protein intake “moderate”, I am going to set a target cap of 90 grams of protein per day. The general RDA (recommended daily allowance) of protein is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight. I weigh around 90 kilograms as of starting the program, and I am going to set my protein a little bit higher because I exercise 5 days per week. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, 90 grams of protein puts me at around 20% of calories from protein, which falls within the range for Keto.

Why moderate protein on Keto? Protein and amino acids are essential for cell structure, function, regulation, and other important metabolic functions. If you consume more protein than is required to meet these functions, your body will convert the extra protein into sugar (glucose) via a process called Gluconeogenesis. This extra blood glucose will end up being stored as fat, if it is not used for energy during exercise/activity.

Will I be eating 2,000 calories? Maybe more, or maybe less? I have no idea, and I have no intention of counting calories (or fat intake) for my keto experiment. Based on the goal of achieving nutritional ketosis and using fat as fuel, I will count and set a cap (see above) for carbs and protein intake.

The Keto Diet and Fat as Fuel

Why are people interested in the Keto diet anyway, isn’t eating too much fat bad for you? This blog series will not get into the topic of dietary fat recommendations, however I do acknowledge that the Keto diet goes against what most of us were taught in school when it comes to “healthy” food groups and percentage of macro-nutrients. The main objective to a Keto diet is to train your body to use fat (in the form of blood Ketones) as fuel, rather than blood glucose (sugar).

For my experience with the Keto diet, I am not going in with any weight loss or body composition goals. I am more interested in documentation of how I feel, and if this style of eating helps me sustain energy levels for work and exercise. As with my previous series about Whole 30 and Anti Inflammatory Diet, I will include some before and after stats just to help view the whole picture of any benefits that I experience.

*Important to note, I will not be measuring blood sugar or blood ketone levels during this Keto Diet experiment. As such, I will have no way to demonstrate whether or not I am in ketosis, and my results will be purely based on how I feel.

The Keto Diet and Frequency of Meals

The nature of the Keto Diet and using Fat as fuel naturally lends itself to intermittent fasting, or going longer periods of time between meals. The main reason for this is that higher fat meals (which are low in carbs) do not trigger a significant production/high levels of insulin, and spike in blood sugar. The steep rise in blood sugar and high insulin production associated with a high carbohydrate meal results in significant peaks and valleys when it comes to energy level, and hunger cravings.

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Using Fat (ketones) as fuel, lends itself to lower blood sugar levels following a meal/in between meals, and as such does not result in the intense hunger cravings associated with higher carbohydrate meals. The body’s response of insulin and blood sugar following high carb meals can also contribute to what people refer to as “the food coma” following lunch time. The food coma is a sluggish feeling during the hours following lunch, often resulting in someone reaching for a snack, or afternoon coffee to summon enough energy make it through the end of the day.

The Adaption Period

Since you are training your body to use fat (rather than sugar) as your main fuel/energy source, there will be an adjustment period when shifting to a Ketogenic Diet. Depending on many factors, your adaptation phase can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks (or longer). While your body may technically enter Ketosis within a short period of time, it will take a longer period of time following the Keto Diet to become “Keto/Fat Adapted”. This Healthline Article goes into a little more detail about the adaptation phase.

You can measure blood sugar and blood ketones (if you feel so inclined) to help determine if you are in ketosis, however adaptation is going to be more of a feeling than a measurable number. If you are Keto/Fat adapted, you should experience less hunger between meals, fewer (if any) cravings for sugar/carbs, more sustained energy and focus, all while staying in ketosis. From this example, if you jump right into the Keto Diet and measure blood ketones to demonstrate you are in ketosis on day 2, but you still have intense hunger cravings in between meals, you are probably not adapted to using fat as fuel.

My Adaptation Process

It is important to note if you are planning to follow along with my blog posts for informational purposes, at the time of writing this post I have spent around 2 months conditioning myself for fat adaptation. In July, I completed a Whole 30 program, and I have just finished a month following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet. What does this 2 month period have in common? No Grain, Added Sugar, Alcohol, Legumes during this time period. During the final week of my Anti Inflammatory Diet, I also experimented with more Keto type meals, and intentionally kept carbs lower.

I feel it is important to provide the context that I will not be starting my Keto Diet and at the same time rapidly transitioning from the Food Pyramid/My Plate diet which recommends grains at every meal. Jumping into Keto with both feet coming out of a Standard American Diet (SAD) would lead to a very uncomfortable adaptation phases, and I dare say a lower likelihood of compliance.

Keto Diet Yes and No Foods

Another principle followed by most who subscribe to a Keto diet is incorporating real food, and cutting out processed food. Based on the need to limit carbohydrates, and incorporate real food, here are some examples of food and drink on my no list during Keto:

  1. Processed/added sugar
  2. Artificial sweetener
  3. Grains
  4. Starches
  5. Legumes
  6. Alcohol
  7. Dairy, besides butter and hard cheese (most other dairy has high lactose)
  8. Processed oil (vegetable oil, canola oil, trans fats, etc)

Fruit will be in the “use sparingly” category, being mindful of the naturally occurring sugars and high carb content.

Here are some foods and drinks I will be consuming on a regular basis:

  1. Leafy greens
  2. Cruciferous vegetables
  3. Other vegetables (monitoring for sugar and carb content)
  4. Avocados
  5. Healthy added fats (Olive oil, Coconut oil, Avocado mayo)
  6. Eggs
  7. Hard cheese
  8. Coconut
  9. Seaweed
  10. Olives
  11. Meats
  12. Fish
  13. Nuts and nut butters
  14. Bone broth
  15. Tea
  16. Coffee
  17. Water

Structure of posts

I will include posts as a summary each week which will include meal logs (with carb and protein levels), my exercise log for the week, challenges, and tips. Look forward to updating you on how it is going, comment if you have any thoughts or questions!