My Keto Journey
What Is Keto?
Keto is shorthand for ketogenic. Simply put, it is the process your body undergoes when it burns fat. A ketogenic diet is when you eat foods that shift your metabolism from burning sugars and carbs to burning your own fat for fuel by eating a high healthy fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet.
BUT WHAT DO I GET TO EAT?
Well, it’s not cardboard and carrots that’s for sure! I have personally lost over 130 pounds and almost 100 pounds of that has been through the keto way of eating.
For Breakfast I Eat
- Bagels with Cream Cheese
- Eggs & Bacon
- French Toast
- even Cheesecake!
- Cobb salads with Ranch Dressing
- Double Bacon Cheeseburgers
Dinners are Everything From
- Steak with Broccoli & Cheese Sauce
- Loaded thick crust Pizza
- Fried Chicken
- Chicken Pot Pie
Beyond Mouthwatering Deserts & Treats
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- French Silk Pie
- Cookie dough
- Even Custard Ice Cream!
Oh Yeah, I Almost Forgot to Tell You About the Snacks:
- Roasted Nuts,
- Beef sticks,
- …and did I mention the cookie dough?!
So not only is the food insanely delicious, but it’s putting your body in a state where it will burn its own fat for fuel! You gain energy, heal your body, lose weight and eat phenomenal food. It sounds too good to be true! That’s exactly what I said when I first came across this way of eating 15 months ago. In fact I immediately thought that there was some sort of dangerous drug that these people were taking, or some serious calorie restricted starvation that was going on. It didn’t make sense. I have a strong medical science background and knew how the metabolism works. Well, I thought I knew. I set out to prove this was all a lie and researched this ketogenic diet for months.
As it turns out there was a lie being told! But it wasn’t from the ketogenic diet. It was what we were being fed in our schools and literally in our school lunches. We were misguided by the FDA, the American Heart Association, our schools, big Pharma, and the entire food industry. Their interest was and still is in profits, not your health.
Sugars, processed carbohydrates, and hydrogenated vegetable oils are complete garbage fuel for our bodies. They are cheap to produce, extremely addictive, and make us sick! So, it’s not your fault that you are craving the food that you do. It’s not your fault that you are over eating and aren’t feeling satisfied after a meal. We have all been deceived through every commercial seen on TV, the “nutritional guidelines” on all the food we buy, and the information we get from text books – we have all been misled by this since we could first eat solid food.
BUT THAT STUFF YOU MENTIONED IS IN ALL THE FOOD I EAT! YOU MENTIONED COOKIES AND PIZZA AND FRIED CHICKEN …. WHAT’S THE DEAL?!
The deal is that you can eat all the food I mentioned, made from real food, that you cook yourself, in your own kitchen. That’s why I created Bon Appe Keto! To teach you and really show you how amazing this way of eating is! With my recipes, you can eat just about any food you desire! And have it be healthy, satisfying and delicious. I’m here to show you how.
Ready to Learn More?
I’ve worked very hard to make this as easy for you as possible. But there is some learning you must do. Here we are going to learn
- The basics of nutrition
- The perfect formula on how you get into nutritional ketosis
- Why you must increase your electrolytes
- How to know if you are in nutritional ketosis
- The amazing benefits you can experience from this way of eating.
So, let’s get started!!
Water, Electrolytes & The Keto Flu
On a ketogenic diet one of the things that happens is that you will lose a lot of water. That’s why when you first lower your carb consumption you will have to pee like a pregnant woman: a lot and often.
The simple answer is that carbs cause you to retain water. On a ketogenic diet, your body is burning through its carb stores, and those carbs are not being replaced so you will lose a lot of water.
Glycogen, which is your body’s carbohydrate storage, retains 4g of water per 1 g of glycogen. On a SAD (Standard American Diet) your body will store 400 grams of glycogen in the liver and about 100 grams in the muscle cells. That 500 grams equals 2000 grams of water retention, or almost 4.5 pounds of water. About the weight of ½ gallon of water. Many of us, because of other inflammatory situations, can retain double or triple that amount. That’s a lot of water!
So, it’s very important to make sure you drink enough water to keep from dehydrating. Water is essential is proper body function. Every cell needs it. Read more ->
WHY IS WATER IMPORTANT?
- Your body is 70% water
- Water is essential for every single cell and organ in your body to function
- Drinking 68 ounces (2 liters) per day increases calorie burn by approximately 96 calories per day!! Read more ->
- It helps flush toxins out of your body
- It helps you look younger when your skin is properly hydrated – from the inside! Read more ->
So how much water do I need?
The simple formula is:
(Your Body Weight / 2) = Ounces of Water per Day
Example: (200 pounds/ 2) = 100 ounces per day or 12.5 8oz glasses
Increase this by at least 16oz if you exercise, live at an elevation over 8600ft, or are in a hot climate.
Along with the water being flushed from your body, you will also be flushing out important minerals that your body absolutely needs to function. These minerals are called electrolytes.
Having adequate amounts of minerals helps prevent the Keto Flu.
Sodium – just salt your food with a mineral rich salt like Himalayan Pink Salt, or Sea Salt
Potassium – use NoSalt or Low Salt this is Potassium Chloride instead of Sodium Chloride
Magnesium – is best absorbed through the skin, so use a magnesium cream or do an Epsom salt foot bath for 15 minutes.
Many of the other minerals our bodies need do NOT need to be supplemented, as adequate amounts are absorbed from the foods we eat.
Nutritional Ketosis. What Is it?
Nutritional Ketosis is a normal and natural metabolic state that takes place when your body burns fat for fuel. This occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) and muscle glycogen (the concentrated form of sugar that is stored in your muscle cells) are exhausted, and your body needs fuel. Your body will turn to its reserve fuel in your fat cells and turn them into ketones, which is super fuel.
How we make this happen is by reducing our carbohydrates to between 20 net grams to 25 net grams of carbohydrates per day. At the same time, eating a moderate amount of protein (20-25% of your diet), and a whole lot of healthy fats (70-75% of your diet).
How it Works
When your body burns sugars/carbohydrates for fuel, it is burning like a quick hot fire. Yeah, it’s going to give you an instant burst of energy, but it’s short lived. When you eliminate that quick burning fuel source, your body goes to its back up: your fat cells. What’s stored in your fat cells is a more concentrated form of fuel. So, imagine running your car on gasoline (which is like running your body on a carb/sugar diet); yeah, it gets you from point a to point b and it does ok, but it needs constant refueling especially when you are taking a longer trip. Now imagine if you could run your car on an unlimited supply of jet fuel with a nitro booster (that’s what keto does). Not only will your car have more power, be able to go further distances, and have every system run more efficiently, but it also clears out the gunk that’s clogging the engine.
The healthy fats keep you full and satisfied. The moderate amount of protein (which we will calculate below) keeps your muscle mass stable, and the low amount of net carbohydrates allow you to eat enough of the vegetables and some fruits that will provide you with the vitamins and minerals your body needs to run all its functions.
Macros? Do Those Come with Cheese?
Macro is short for Macro Nutrients. And yes, they do come with cheese. Those nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the foods we eat and are measured in grams.
On the Keto way of eating, your primary energy source is fat. In addition to the healthy fat you are eating, you will be using your own body fat for energy.
All About Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are sugar-based nutrients found in things like starches, rice, pasta, grains, sugar, fruits and vegetables. There are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are super-fast burning nutrients found in fruits and sugar. These are the ones that spike your blood sugar quickly. Complex carbohydrates, like rice, bread and pasta, are typically slower burning nutrients and take longer to digest, but still spike your blood sugar. Eating any type of carbohydrates causes a spike in your blood sugar, and a spike in insulin. On a ketogenic diet, net carbohydrates will comprise 5% of your food.
Net carbs are total carb grams minus fiber grams and sugar alcohol grams.
We don’t count the fiber and we don’t count the sugar alcohols. There are many great apps out there that will do this work for you. See the Calculating Your Macros section.
A Tale of Two Hormones: Insulin & Glucagon
Insulin and glucagon are both hormones that are secreted by the pancreas. They perform opposite tasks.
On a Standard American Diet (SAD), we are encouraged to eat frequently and consume a lot of carbohydrates. This results in high and frequent insulin spikes to get that sugar out of the blood stream and into the cells where the glucose (sugar) will either be used for energy or stored as fat. But the main goal is to get it out of the blood stream one way or another.
Our bodies are smart and need to keep a balance. Too much sugar in the blood is an unstable state. Our bodies don’t like it. The body does whatever it can to bring the blood sugar back down to its normal level.
When we frequently eat foods with high carbs, we are causing insulin to spike multiple times a day. Sadly, insulin spikes also cause inflammation. By eating the way the SAD recommends, we are subjecting our bodies to continual bouts of inflammation. This, repeated over time, will lead to chronic inflammation and it becomes the precursor of type two diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and many more diseases.
One of the goals, on a ketogenic diet is to keep your blood sugar stabilized.
Keeping the insulin spikes low and your blood sugar stable will reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Now let’s introduce glucagon. Glucagon is secreted when blood sugar levels are too low. It unlocks the fat cells to release their stores and shuttles fat (triglycerides) into the bloodstream so that it can get to the liver where the fat can be converted into ketones and be used for energy.
Glucagon and Insulin are opposites and cannot be released at the same time. If you are consuming enough carbs for your pancreas to release insulin then your fat cells will only have their intake door open and keep storing fat. When you drop carbs to 20g per day, you will only secrete a tiny amount of insulin that will be quickly be depleted, and because your body needs energy to function, your pancreas will then release glucagon which draws the fat from storage. And that’s the simple version on how these two hormones can make or break your weight loss.
Insulin opens the fat storage doors: you store fat in the presence of insulin.
Glucagon unlocks the fat releasing doors: you release fat in the presence of glucagon.
Proteins are amino acids that are used in the body as building blocks. They are used to build and maintain muscle, collagen and keratin in your skin, hair and nails, and create hormones and enzymes. Proteins are found in meats, cheese, fish, eggs, and some vegetables.
When you calculate your macros, your daily minimum amount of protein is non-negotiable. This is the minimum amount of protein your body will need to function.
Protein will make up 20 – 25% of your daily food intake.
Why Organic & Grass Fed
It is best to get your protein from organic, pasture raised and grass-fed animals. Why? Well, think of the old principle of garbage in, garbage out. Commercially raised animals are fed antibiotics, hormones, and gmo grains. The meat, eggs, and cheese produced from these animals will carry those toxins and chemicals in them. You will be eating that toxic chemical stew indirectly and it will wreak havoc on your body and hormones causing inflammation. Grass-fed and pasture raised animals are not exposed to that toxic mix and therefore you are not consuming them either.
Essentially, you are eating what the animal did.
Sadly, fat has been given an unjustly bad name in the nutrition industry. The truth is that you absolutely need fat to survive. It is not only important for cell structure and growth, but also to maintain your body temperature, your skin, healing, your immune system, the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, and the production of your body’s hormones.
There have been hundreds of studies, with almost 1,000,000 subjects that show similar conclusions: eating saturated and monounsaturated fats has no effects on heart disease risks. Here is a great example from the Cleveland Clinic -> View Report
Fat is essential! It is the most energy efficient nutrient that you can put into your body. It provides you with 9 calories of energy per gram, where carbs and proteins only provide you with 4 calories of energy per gram. That said, there are good fats and bad fats.
The good fats heal and fuel your body. These fat sources come from
Make a Graphic
Net carbs are total carb grams minus fiber grams and sugar alcohol grams.
I will stress this again, because we have been so misled: Eating Fat Is Good for Your Body and Essential to Your Health! And there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate!
Calculating Your Macros
**First you need to know what your lean body mass is. The most accurate way is to have a DEXA Scan, BodPod, or Hydrostatic Weighing test done. These tests must be scheduled and can cost up to a few hundred dollars.
If that’s not something that’s in your budget, then a moderately accurate way to figure out your lean body mass is through the US Navy’s Body Mass Calculator – all you need is a tape measure and to plug those numbers into their online tool.
There is a third way, which I do not recommend unless you are under 30% body fat, and that is the Caliper Method. The caliper has the greatest room for error as it depends on the skill of the tester. And if you cannot use any of the above, then see the chart below. Please note that this chart is based on an average of adult males and females, it is approximate. You may have more muscle or less muscle than the average person. It’s a good place to start, but again, I recommend doing the testing or the US Navy method.
To demonstrate how vaguely accurate this chart is, I just had a DEXA Scan test and it turns out that my lean body mass is 121.6 lbs and I am 5’7” female. If I used this chart, which again is an average, my protein macros would be way off, almost 18% off. Doing the same with the US Navy Calculator, the calculation came out to 126 lbs of lean body mass. Pretty close.
OK, now that you have your lean body mass, the first thing we need to calculate is your protein. I recommend that everyone start at 0.6g of protein per pound of lean body mass. If you are involved in a heavy lifting gym routine (3 days a week – lifting, not cardio), then you can go as high as 0.8g of protein per pound of lean body mass. But stick with the 0.6g to start.
Lean Body Mass in Pounds x 0.6g Protein = Your daily protein allowance
121.6 pounds lean body mass x 0.6g = 72.96g
I would round up to 73 grams.
The amount of fat grams you should consume should be at least equal to the protein grams, and up to double the protein grams. To make it easy, aim for the middle at 1.5 times the protein, and if you are hungry, eat more fat.
Minimum 1:1 = 73g protein and 73g fat
Average 1:1.5 = 73g protein and 110g fat
Maximum 1:2 = 73g protein and 146g fat
Please note when you are first starting out, and at least for the first two weeks, I recommend the 1:2 ratio of protein to fats. This will help you feel full and help kick start your fat adaptation. Also, never go under 45g of fat per day as fat is essential in so many body functions.
Tracking Your Macros
It’s not difficult, but you will need to be diligent! Consistency is the key! There are many apps out there that can help you do this. My favorite is MyFitnessPal. You can use it from your smart phone or log in from a regular PC and it’s FREE. They do offer a premium version, but the free version works just fine.
Here’s a video to show you how to set up MyFitnessPal and enter your food:
The only thing it does not automatically do is calculate net carbs, but here’s a video that shows you how to modify the app to track net carbs. Watch Now >
How to Know if You Are in Ketosis
There are several ways to know if you are in ketosis.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight Loss
- Increased Energy
- Use Ketone Urine Strips (first 30 days only)
- Use a Ketone Blood Monitor
- Use a Ketone Breath Analyzer
You can go off of your physical symptoms: your appetite is down, you are experiencing weight loss and increased energy.
- Fights Obesity
- Curbs diabetes, and metabolic syndrome while sparing muscle loss
- Focusing the brain (increased memory, cognition, clarity, and seizure control; less migraines)
- Fighting some types of cancer
- Preventing Heart Disease (lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, better cholesterol profiles)
- Decreasing inflammation (which improves acne, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, IBS, pain, etc…)
- Improving energy levels and sleep
- Keeping uric acid levels in check (helping kidney function and preventing gout)
- Assisting GI and gallbladder health (less heartburn and acid reflux, less risk for gallstones, improved digestion, less gas and bloating)
- Battling a wide variety of neurologic and metabolic diseases – alzheimers, parkinsons, autism, depression, headaches, narcolepsy
- Assisting Women’s Health (increased fertility, stabilizing hormones, PCOS)
- Helping the eyes (more stable vision; less risk for cataracts)
- Gaining muscle and improving endurance
So, How Do I get Started?
- Start by cutting the sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, refined oils and junk out of your diet, and removed them from your kitchen.
- Explore recipes to find substitutions for the foods you love.
- Equip your kitchen with the tools you need – see my recommended kitchen tools
- Go grocery shopping to stock your pantry, fridge and freezer.
- Make a meal plan.
- Increase your electrolytes.
- Download a food tracking app or get a journal to write down everything you eat in.
- Write out your “why” – why you want to make this change.
- Join a support group – like my facebook group – Bon Appe Keto
- Take before photos and measurements.
- Check in with your doctor to make sure that there is nothing going on to prevent you from starting this way of eating. Example, type 1 diabetes, cancer or if you are
- Get your carb macros down to 20 Net grams per day.
- Figure out your lean body mass and protein macros.
- Eat until you are satisfied. Not stuffed, but listen to your body, it will tell you.
- Don’t give up.
Life is not meant to be microwaved. There are no short cuts, and there are many people out there trying to sell you some expensive supplement that will “miraculously do this or that”. Don’t fall for it. The only thing you will lose is your money. Most of the things out there are either harmful, or just make very expensive urine.
If I recommend something, a product or supplement, it’s not for my own personal gain, but because I have concrete proof that it will benefit you.
The only way to get the weight off and keep it off is to create a sustainable lifestyle. Keto is that sustainable lifestyle. I know this is a lot of information, but once you put the basics into practice, it will become second nature.