My Top Keto Diet Tips

Program Summary

This post is a summary of a 4 week Keto Diet program I completed, with top tips and observations. If you have not had a chance to following along with my posts, please take a few moments to look at the introduction and summary post. In particular, the introduction post is helpful to give you an idea of why people try the Keto Diet, and also outlines the parameters I followed during the Keto Diet.

Introduction of the Keto Diet

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Before and After: 4 Weeks of Keto

Photos

Before
After

Weight

Before: 196.2 lbs

After: 195.8 lbs

*Both photos and weights taken after a morning run.

Best Deadlift

Before: (best 4 sets of a workout): 225 x 5,5,5; 255×3- Total work (total weight x total reps)= 4,140 lbs

After: 225 x 5,5,5,5- Total work= 4,500 lbs

Best Run

Before: 4.9 miles, no breaks, 48:12.

After: Same 4.9 mile loop, no breaks, 44:30.

*Please see thoughts about this running improvement under Keto and exercise.

Best Pull Up Set

Before: 6,6,5,5,5

After: 7,7,6,6,4

Keto and Exercise

Can you exercise on Keto? Don’t you need carbs for energy? These are common questions which arise, and I put them to the test during my 4 week programs. In basic terms, there are certain types of exercise which are well suited to using ketones as fuel. These are sub-maximal exercises which are aerobic (with oxegen) in nature, for example:

  1. Jogging
  2. Walking
  3. Hiking
  4. Cycling

Exercises/sports which require maximal strength and power output and are anaerobic (without oxygen) in nature are not well suited to be fueled by blood ketones, examples include:

  1. Power Lifting
  2. Track and Field Throws
  3. Sprinting
  4. Gymnastics

What I found is that my jogging and walking felt great on Keto, and I believe this is based on the type of exercise it is and being more aerobic in nature. On the other hand, weightlifting was ok in the beginning when I was shooting for 20 grams of carbs daily, but it wasn’t great. I found that by increasing my total carbs to between 30-40 grams per day (which is still very low), I found that my weight lifting felt much better, and I still felt the benefits of ketosis on my walks and jogs.

So, for me, I was able to be quite successful exercising while on Keto, and also needed to be mindful to add some carbs back in based on my frequency, intensity, and type of exercise.

A Word on Measuring Progress/Success

The reason I included many before and after comparisons as part of my post is to encourage anyone reading this to think holistically about health and well-being when trying out any new plan/routine. Using weight on a scale alone can be a popular measure of success, and it certainly has its place in helping to document progress related to lifestyle changes. However, it is possible for you to not lose any weight, or even gain a pound or two over a period of time, but still be making progress.

For my example, I did not lose any weight to speak of on Keto, and this does not surprise me for a few reasons. One reason is that I was not trying to lose weight, in other words I was not intentionally restricting the amount of food I ate with the goal of weight loss. Reason number two is that I have been following a theme of eating real food and cutting out junk for about 3 months, and at the time I started Keto I had already lost around 13 lbs. I did not measure body composition to know for sure about fat loss, but I am making an educated guess that I lost mostly fat based on my photos and the fact that my strength numbers improved.

Other ideas to help measure progress/success could be:

  1. Waist circumference.
  2. How clothing fits.
  3. Body composition/body fat %.
  4. Food journal.
  5. Exercise journal.

The Benefits

In spite of what you may have heard, Keto is not intended to be a weight loss diet; the main purpose of eating Keto is to use Fat/Ketone bodies as fuel, rather than Sugar/Blood glucose. So, the main benefit of Keto is metabolic flexibility, training your body to efficiently use fat as fuel. Weight loss can be a result/added benefit of Keto, but this is not the main purpose/objective.

I certainly experienced the benefits of Ketosis during my 4 weeks; I felt very sustained energy levels throughout each day, with no peaks and valleys. During aerobic exercise such as walking or jogging, I felt I needed to put in less effort for the same results, which I believe was a result of being in Ketosis and using fat as fuel during this sub-maximal exercise.

Being able to eat to satiety (being full) and not experiencing hunger cravings in between meals was an excellent perk of eating Keto. I did not find myself overeating at any point during my Keto program. On the same topic, intermittent fasting was MUCH easier to adhere to while eating Keto, I attribute this to not having the peaks and valleys of blood sugar/insulin levels associated with more high carb meals*.

*This is completely my own educated guess, based on how I felt during my 4 week Keto Diet and the science behind this way of eating. I did not measure my insulin, blood glucose, or ketone levels at any point.

My Top Keto Tips

Use a food journal. This will help you keep track of your macro-nutrients day to day, and will allow you to reflect back on trends, and also compare how you are feeling with what you have been eating recently. Using a food journal helped me make a slight adjustment to my daily carb intake during Keto, and also helped me spot an early trend that packaged snacks were setting me up to be over my daily protein target.

Use google to help you find nutrition facts for foods you are eating which do not have a label. Ideally, you will be eating a lot of foods which are fresh/not packaged, so this will be a helpful tool. For example, if you build a plate at a buffet (like I did at a family wedding), you can google search the nutrition facts of each food, and estimate your portions to calculate nutrient content. This will not be perfect, but it will help you with a general idea if you are hitting target carb and protein totals each day.

You may not need supplement with protein if eating Keto, you can easily achieve the moderate amount which is recommended from dietary sources (as I found out during my 4 week program). Supplementing may actually put you over the recommended moderate intake if you are eating meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and other sources of protein daily. Now, if you are trying to do vegetarian or vegan Keto, perhaps you may look into protein supplementation, especially if you exercise.

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

To look at the breakdown of where calories come from, you can simply multiply the serving (how many grams) of each marco-nutrient in your food by the numbers above, and look at what % calories are coming from. A way you can accomplish this higher fat 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.

Bulletproof Coffee: 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 below in favorite meals), 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 pictured contains 0 sugar, 0 carb, and around 230 calories if you are counting, which is significantly less than most latte/ cappuccino drinks. 

The Challenges

  • The adaptation period can be a challenge, especially if you eat foods that are highly processed on a regular basis. Approaching the adaptation phase slowing can be helpful (see section below for more on the adaptation phase).
  • Planning meals can be a challenge, since carbs and protein are kept at relatively low levels compared to what most people are accustomed to.
  • Getting over the stigma of eating higher fat foods can be challenging. It helps to do some research before trying out the Keto plan, and make sure you understand and are comfortable with the science behind it.
  • Meal planning while going out to eat and/or at events can be a challenge for sure. It helps to look at menu’s in advance if you are going out to eat, and even ask the restaurant/venue to make a slight adjustment to a meal if needed.

My Favorite Keto Meals

Keto Coleslaw!
Burger with Lettuce Wrap
Prime Rib and Veggies
Bulletproof Coffee
Keto Bowl

A word on Keto adaptation

If you have not had a chance to look at my Introduction post to learn about the Keto adaptation phase, it is linked here. Keto adaptation is very important to understand if you are thinking about trying the Keto Diet, you need to transition your body to burning (primarily) fat as fuel in the form of Ketones.

Think about the adaptation phase the way you would exercising, we will use running for an example. Let’s say you have not been running regularly, and decide you want to train for a 5 or 10 kilometre road race. What do you think would be a better way to approach your training:

  1. Start with walking or light jogging a manageable distance, while monitoring how your body responds and gradually increasing your pace over time? Or…
  2. Jump right off your couch and run as far as you can, as fast as you can?

I hope you took option number 1…is it possible to train for a race by jumping in full throttle? Sure, it is possible….it is also possible that your body will become stiff and sore, your morale will be low, and you will be unlikely to complete your training and run your race.

Think about Keto adaptation with the same mindset, because you are attempting to train your body to use a different fuel source, and at first it will not like it. Applying the same logic we did with running, what do you think would be a more ideal approach to Keto adaptation:

  1. Cut yourself down to 20 grams of total carbs per day, no excuses, no exceptions?
  2. Try an (honest) assessment of how many carbs you eat in a typical day at baseline. Start your adaptation by eliminating all added sugars for a week, reassess, and go from there?

In this case, I hope you chose option #2…could you be successful with option number 1? Maybe…however it is more likely that you would have very intense cravings for carbs and sugar, would feel miserable, and would not stick to your plan to become Keto adapted.

As a reminder for my specific case, I had 2 months of adaptation which involved completely cutting out all added sugar, grain, and alcohol. I also spent at least a month prior to that time experimenting with cutting out grains, in preparation for the Whole 30. 20 grams of total carbs per day is very low, and I moved the target up to 30-40 grams per day, but these levels were not unrealistic for me based on my long adaptation and planning period.

Lifestyle changes to continue

I will continue to not include grain, legumes, or added sugar as frequent parts of my diet, they will all be treats. I found during the whole 30 that my digestion improved when I removed beans as a main staple, and the removal of grain and added sugar has made making good food choices and controlling appetite much easier for me. On days I am looking to keep a fast going, I will incorporate a bullet proof coffee, these have become a nice addition.

Let’s Talk about it [Video]

What is Next?

The holidays are coming, so my next posts are going to be related to making and sustaining healthy lifestyle changes, and not allowing life circumstances (like the holidays) to disturb your progress. Thanks for checking out my post, like if you like, comment with any questions!

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.

*Source for Bulletproof Coffee: https://www.bulletproof.com/recipes/bulletproof-diet-recipes/bulletproof-coffee-recipe/

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!