Breaking Keto – Week 1 recap

The wife and I decided to cycle into a Ketogenic state for at least the next 21 days. For the background of the “experiment,” please check out the original page here.

If you don’t know what the Ketogenic Diet is, check out this link from Dr. James Mercola. 

keto meme nph

Test strip results (we use the ones from smackfat purchased on Amazon):

  • Wife – strips are in the “moderate” to “large” color range (4-8 mmol/L). Her “colors” started changing within a day or two – she moved quickly.
  • Brad – strips are in the “small” to “moderate” color range (1.5-4 mmol/L). My colors took a while to get darker. I was getting frustrated.

Technically, we are both in the ketone range where (if sustained), your body should be using fat for its primary energy source. Hooray for us! If you checked out the link, you now know that the high-level road map looks like this:

  1. Absent glucose in the blood, the body breaks down fat into fatty acids and glycerol.
  2. To meet the energy needs of the brain, the fatty acids and glycerol go into the liver, and convert to sugar and ketones.

If your body is creating an excess of ketones, they are excreted via urine – that is how the test strips work – they look for acetoacetate (one of the ketone bodies) in your pee.

 

Food log notes:

  • Wife – it took a couple of days for her to get into the practice of having enough fat. It really can be a shock for people when the first try to eat over 70% of their daily calories as fat. She started doing butter coffee which is a great way to start the day fatty and right. She’s also going to be using avocados a lot (since the net carb impact isn’t too bad). She was doing a lot of dairy, but she wants to reduce that since it might be causing some minor eczema on our son’s skin. Overall, she is doing a great job – just gotta keep the calories up and the hydration up. She had a “head start” over most people because, if I had to ballpark, she was probably only consuming about 100g-150g total carbs daily. A lot of my “sugar is evil” brainwashing was taking hold, and she was much more aware of the sugar going into her system. As a result, she didn’t go through any type of major detox or shock that others might.
    • On that note, if a person has been consuming a diet of over 150g carbs per day for the balance of their life, going strict keto out of the gate might not be advised. As Mark Sisson suggests in his book, “The Keto Reset Diet,” you might want to consider a block of time (3-4 weeks) where you live in a lower carb range (100-150g per day) and slowly adjust to better habits before going hog wild. It just makes the process easier from a mental/emotional standpoint.
  • Brad – This isn’t my first rodeo. I kept a strict journal on my first day, and when I totaled up the macros at the end of the day, I hit the percentages perfectly. That was probably a coincidence, but it showed me that I still know how to do this based on making good food choices, and only really eating when I’m hungry. I was getting frustrated that my ketone tests weren’t showing me in deeper levels of ketosis. I got to the point where I was going to fast for 24 hours just to jump start the ketone production. But, the next day, my strip darkened, and that made me happy.

BIG NOTE – if you ever consider doing something like this, especially for the first time, try to be process oriented, and not necessarily results oriented in the early stages. Everybody’s biome is different, and they all will move along at different rates. If you have an unrealistic and/or rigid expectation for the milestones you’ll hit, and you miss them, it can be very demoralizing and torpedo the whole experience. If you do this, commit to the process and the results (albeit it stubbornly) will follow along eventually. If you keep missing your targets, go back and check your macros again to make sure are getting enough fat, not too much protein, and minimal net carbs.

trust the process

General notes:

  • Wife – her keto flu went by FAST. I’m talking like 48 hours fast. As I read more about what causes the keto flu, I found a bunch of articles that talk about sodium, potassium, and other electrolyte imbalances that can cause the symptoms. When she was pregnant, she developed an affinity for Vitamin Water Zero. To this day, she still drinks one a day. The ingredients aren’t really “objectionable” so it won’t sabotage her Keto journey (sugar alcohols and/or stevia are the sweeteners). I read over the labels, and if I see one flavor sneaking in maltodextrin or some type of derivative, I steer her away. Anyway, the very unscientific conclusion I came to is that these beverages helped keep her mineral/electrolyte balance right where they needed to be, and it minimized her symptoms. The only other explanation is that she is some type of biological freak, and made the transition sans glucose very easily. That is NOT the usual story. Either way, her experience wasn’t as tough as others. The keto flu can last for a week or so sometimes.
  • Brad – no keto flu here. Woot! Since I’m usually no more than 100g or so of carbs when I’m not keto, there was not a ton of transition to happen. BUT, I did notice that my workout session yesterday (I did hypertrophy training for chest/back) was a little weaker than I anticipated. Workouts will suffer in your first couple of weeks when going strict keto, but that is short-lived, and you bounce back quickly. I’m not worried about it at all.
    • Side note – as I read more and more, I’m starting to think that I should get a blood meter and use that instead of the test strips. The measurement is more precise. AND, if you want to experiment and see if certain food/drink is reducing your ketone levels, that data would be more specific than subjective colors on pee strips.

 

Are we still going:

  • Wife – yes. She is feeling very good, and is in the phase now where she is shedding old water weight/bloat. She loves the way it feels.
  • Brad – yes. I do miss my beer thought 🙂 Oh well, I’ll crack a good cold one in a few weeks once this cycle is over. I read some articles about red wine (very dry) and keto diets. Maybe if I get the blood meter, I can have a glass and see how much it affects my ketone production.

 

Do you currently, or have you ever followed a ketogenic-style diet? If so, what were your experiences? Please comment below. If you like this post, please be sure to like and share! Thank you.

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