As I move through the world interacting with all the people, a lot of questions come my way. It’s an understandable circumstance. The changes in my body and mind are total. Acquaintances and neighbors often don’t even recognize me in public. When spending time with friends, it’s like there’s a one ton elephant in the room, or more accurately, the absence of a 325 lb. elephant (or woman if the term elephant rubs you the wrong way). By virtue of existing in this changed body, questions arise. That, coupled with the fact that I’m all too eager to share my excitement, means that social events often get hijacked by one topic of conversation, which is, “Brandy & Keto”. It’s just too compelling a topic. With that in mind, maybe a good inaugural post is to answer some of my most frequently asked questions. It’s a good starting place I think.
So you’re doing Keto. What is it exactly?
Keto is a low carb/high fat dietary model with an emphasis on whole foods. It’s pretty simple really. I just limit my sugar and carbohydrate intake to those found naturally and incidentally in above ground vegetables and replace those lost calories with fat. I don’t eat grains, most fruits, most root veggies, or legumes or seed oils such as canola or vegetable. I focus on meats, eggs, some dairy, nuts, and veg. There are lots of reliable sources about getting started with Keto on the internet. Alternatively, you may want to get yourself some Keto coaching, particularly with regards to the meals you’re going to eat. There is one in particular that I like to refer people to- Happy Healthy Keto with Carrie Brown and Kim Howerton. These ladies have put together an affordable eight week coaching program that includes several different meal plans to suit everyone’s needs. There are a lot of people selling “Keto Snake Oil”. Carrie and Kim are not those people. They’re the real deal and can really get you launched in the right direction.
Don’t you feel deprived? I could never give up carbs.
Did you know babies are born in a state of Ketosis? They aren’t kicked out of a Ketogenic state until we give them those first meals of highly processed formula and rice cereal. Think about that for a minute. You were born in a certain state of being. You only exited that state because some full grown humans forcefully took you out of that state of being. Doesn’t that rub you the wrong way- even a little bit? I’m not kidding man. Read up on it here.
The answer is no. I do not feel deprived. I eat delicious, fully satisfying food every day. I like to cook (which is a definite advantage with Keto) and I’m good at it to boot. The joke around here is that I’m literally cooking my ass off. I still eat baked goods and sweets on occasion. I just use alternative ingredients to make them. Some of my favorite recipes are coming! I promise!
Yeah but, what about all that fat? Your cholesterol! You’re going to have a heart attack!
You know what causes coronary disease? It ain’t fat! It ain’t dietary cholesterol! It’s sugar. It’s being awash in insulin. You may be thinking, “but I don’t even eat a lot of sugar”. Well, do you eat anything from a package? Do you eat bread? Do you eat noodles made from grains? Do you eat a lot of “healthy fruits”? Do you eat any products labeled “low fat”? If the answer is yes to any of these, then you eat a lot of sugar and frankly, you’re at a much larger risk of having a heart attack than I am. Read this article. Its important.
Did you get the Keto Flu?
Yep, I got the Keto Flu. I hope you’ll consider a few things about that though.
Firstly, lets not call it the Keto Flu anymore. Let’s call it Carb Withdrawal. Let’s not even give it proper status. Let’s call it carb withdrawal. I mean, why are we assigning the blame to the remedy? Shouldn’t we be assigning the blame to the thing we’re fighting? Processed, carbohydrate and sugar laden stuff is not food. If your body gets sick in their absence for a period of time, it’s simply not food. It’s drug. And you’re an addict. Hello, my name is Brandy and I’m an addict. Full stop.
Secondly, it is not necessary to suffer the full effects of a bad carb withdrawal. Had I been armed with the right information, I could have lessoned, or even skipped over this highly uncomfortable portion of “Keto induction”. When we get rid of carbs, our bodies stop retaining so much water and what’s in that water? Salt. Just a little more water and some sea salt would have prevented the worst of it. That simple.
When are you going to start eating normal food again?
Well, if you mean by “normal”, the Standard American Diet, the answer is never. Recall what I said above. Processed, carb and sugar rich food is not real food. Add to that the idea that I spent the first 43 years of my life putting my body into a catastrophic state. It’s going to take some years to heal all that. Probably all the rest of my years, may they be many.
There is a caveat here however. Someone in a thread on a forum I belong to said today, “Keto is a way of eating, not a religion”. That seemed so poignant to me. On a very rare occasion, say a wedding or a big event, I’ve been known to try the cake or have a cookie. Those occasions had their consequences, especially at first, by way of carb cravings for a day or two.
On occasion I drink dry wine or liquor. Many wines and liquors are naturally low carb. Alcohol is fermented and then sometimes distilled afterward (spirits). Fermentation is the process of eating sugar and starches. That’s how it becomes alcohol (or vinegar). It eats the sugars and starch, thereby lowering the carb count in the finished product.
And finally, I still eat sweet potatoes and taro. These are nutritional power houses in relation to their high carb counts. The benefits my body gets from eating these foods on occasion far outweighs the negative. So I eat them.
There are lots of people who don’t ever let sugar, alcohol or even complex carbs pass their lips. They have various reasons for such strict adherence. Some may be much, much further down the disease rabbit hole than I got and their bodies simply can’t handle it, ever again. Some may just have bad physical reactions every time, or they can’t trust themselves to not go on a six month carb binge after one taste. Some may really look at this way of eating as a religion. People love their religiosity after all. Have you listened to a Vegan lately? Anyway…
Speaking of vegans, aren’t you worried that all your meat eating is ruining the environment and is inhumane?
I am in fact, but my worry isn’t restricted to animal products. Listen, the way we practice agriculture and food production is totally bananas. Both plant and animal farming in it’s current iteration has got to go. Right now, I buy grass finished beef, heritage pork, wild caught seafood and free range chickens. I look for farms and sources that are proven to be running small, humane operations. This is such a deep and intricate topic that it deserves it’s very own post, so I’m going to keep it short here. But I look forward to being a part of the conversation about how we return to local, restorative farming practices that not only restore human health, but restore our planet as well.