Tonight marks the end of 2 weeks of Keto. Strict Keto. I am finding Keto to have its goods and its beds, its pros as well as its cons. There are foods I will miss for sure. Yet as much as I will miss these foods I have yet to catch myself wishing for the end of my Keto lifestyle.
I am calling it a lifestyle on purpose here, because my intention is to make this change for the long term. Not to worry! I will not be on a strict Keto diet for ever. I will be on strict Keto for a maximum of 90 days. I will determine this as I progress through the months, through my weightless, as well as by how I am feeling physically and mentally. After this “adaptation” period, (FYI: Keto adaptation does not take a full 90 days) I will begin the process of Keto Cycling. This will allow me to incorporate up to 2 days per week where I increase my intake of healthy carbs to 80-100g per day. These days should be far enough apart that my body returns to ketosis in between. I am not quite sure how this will fit into my lifestyle yet and which days I will choose for Keto Cycling. The truth is, I don’t need to decide now. I’m not there yet…
Tomorrow: measurements, to compare with when I started.
Carbs are everywhere. Yummy tasty carbs. Foods and meals that I have loved and adored and that I can no longer enjoy. Yes, I know, it is my choice. I am the one choosing strict Keto. Obviously, I can’t complain about it. If I really dislike it all that much, I can go back to eating all these beautiful, tasty, carb rich foods.
Usually the temptation doesn’t last very long. Whenever I feel momentarily tempted to eat carbs, be it picking at my children’s plates of fries, finishing their pasta meals or just grabbing one of the delicious croissants that are in full view on the dining room table, I can’t help but remember how all these foods make me feel after I eat them. Sleepy, sluggish, full and bloated. All things I have not felt in almost two weeks.
So far, remembering how I feel after eating carb rich foods has been enough to deter me from the impulse to just grab something and enjoy it. I have to say that going Keto has so far required a lot of discipline on my part.
You have to remember that in my household, most of the foods consist of carbs. This isn’t going to change any time soon. Even though I am now quite carb conscious, I don’t feel Keto is the way to go for my young children. They are all strong healthy little ones bursting with energy. Let them have the carbs for now… There is no need for them to go cold turkey Keto like I chose to do. In time I will adjust the family’s eating habits to move towards a more Keto lifestyle for everyone.
Friday nights are McDonald’s night. More recently, my oldest daughter has taken a liking to sushi and so this is what I buy her. It’s healthier than McD’s so I’m good with that.
So after the kids got off the bus this afternoon, we went straight to the McD drive through to pick up food for the 2 youngest. When our food was handed over to us and I put the bags on the front seat of the car, temptation struck! The smell of those french fries that I had been eating religiously every Friday for the past 8 years had me realizing the extent of what I was giving up.
I know, I know, it’s not even good for me. But you have to understand that this has been a family tradition for a long while. It will take some time to get over… Perhaps it’s time to create a new Friday night tradition.
Like any other habit change, going Keto has its challenges. The first one being is that I now eat differently than the rest of my family who happen to live under the same roof and for whom I am responsible for feeding every meal. That’s three meals a day I am already preparing for other people. Now, I am cooking extra to feed myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving the cooking Keto part. And I’ve been feeding my family long enough to know what I can whip up quickly that everyone will love. But let’s face it, any change requires some adaptation time.
Today, I feel like I am finding a rhythm with my Keto diet. I have chosen a meal schedule that works for me and allows me to go back to intermittent fasting. Here’s what it looks like:
5 AM – Wake up and relax in bed
6 AM – Get up, wake the kids up and go prepare lunches. Drink lots of water with a pinch of salt in it.
7:30 AM – Get the kids out the door and leave for work with tea in hand
9 AM – Drink my Keto Coffee (coffee with heavy cream and 1tbsp of MCT Oil) and have breakfast
12:30 PM – Eat lunch
4 PM – Eat dinner
I am usually done dinner by 4:30 pm and I usually won’t eat anything until 16 hours later. One thing about the Keto diet that is absolutely fascinating me is that I am simply not hungry. Often, I will not be hungry enough for lunch and will go right till dinner. I refuse to force myself to eat when my body is clearly saying it does not want to eat. And having a later lunch means one of two thing: either I will have a later dinner and will not fast for 16 hours that day (If that is the case, I still try to fast for at least 12 hours) or I will skip dinner all together in order to fast at least 16 hours but this throws the schedule for the next day way off.
All in all, I am happy that I seem to have fallen into a rhythm. I home this will make things easier as I progress through this first month on the Ketogenic diet.
More and more, I am realizing that if I am going strict Keto, I need to make my own food from scratch. You would be surprised how much hidden sugar there is in everything. Maybe I’ve gone paranoid, but after checking labels for a few days now, it’s clear that you can never assume anything about any consumable pre-packaged product. Even the 90% dark chocolate contains 3g of carbs per little square. When you are restricting carbs, a sweet treat can become costly and kick you out of ketosis.
I’ve come to the conclusion that during my learning curve, I will check many labels and I will probably make anything that can easily be made from scratch. There is no point in risking a higher sugar or carb intake. When you make your own, you control what goes in it. So tonight, bacon bits were prepared for an awesome caesar salad for lunch tomorrow.
If you have been reading the labels of the food you buy for a while, you may not be getting sticker shock like I am right now. Since I have gone Keto, I have had to check a lot of labels. Let’s face it, no one wants to be unknowingly yanked out of ketosis because of a small mistake (i.e. overlooking nutrition facts). So I’m checking labels and the first thing I’m checking is the sugar content. I obviously need to control my sugar intake so my body remains in ketosis, but I also want to control sugar in particular to try and eliminate refined sugars.
Often when checking labels, I get excited when a product has low or no sugars. and then I look at the carb content and my jaw drops to the floor. Holy Cow! Some of the things I have seen in terms of the amount of carbs in the foods we tend to consume are astronomical.
I was unknowingly increasing my carb intake by consuming cashews. A nut that I love enough to eat by the handfuls; but the carb content is a little on the high side. In other words, eat enough cashews and your body spits you right out of ketosis. Ouch!
The good news is that I’ve learned to be careful and read the label of almost everything I intend to consume. It’s been quite a leaning curve so far! I am sure I will keep discovering new things as I go along.
Looking at so many beautiful pictures of Keto food has gotten me creative. The discovery of heavy cream has been one of the most inspiring to say the least. First off, I had to have a coffee with heavy cream. The only hold up was that I stopped drinking coffee back in July of 2018. I found that every time I would “skip” a coffee that I normally had, I would get some serious headaches. Well, you know what they say… If there’s a will, there’s a way. Luckily, I always keep decaf coffee on hand. Just in case I get the craving for that coffee taste, but without the caffeine.
This coffee wasn’t complicated. Decaf coffee, some heavy cream to taste and 1 tbsp of MCT oil. Voila! Creamy, delicious coffee. I fell in love! I just might go back to having coffee in the morning. I wonder if it would be yummy in a matcha green tea!?!? Something for me to try in the next few days.
I went on a cooking rampage this afternoon. Please keep in mind that cooking isn’t my thing. So when I spend time in the kitchen, it’s a big deal! Firstly, I cooked up some amazing creamy turmeric chicken with broccoli and mushroom (yes I made it with heavy cream). And I made myself some cauliflower rice, but not just any cauliflower rice. Some really tasty fried cauliflower rice. I LOVED it!!! I have always been a huge fan of deep fried cauliflower. And if you have never tried it, I recommend that you do. For the cauliflower rice though, I pan fried it till the pieces started turning brown. Oh so good!
In the first few days on Keto, I had no time to miss the things I can no longer eat. I was too busy trying to figure out how to make meals that I can eat. Another thing is that during the week, I usually eat on my own. There is very little in terms of temptation watching someone else eat. Weekends are a different story…
On weekends, we tend to eat more as a family and often will go have lunch out in a restaurant. This means not everyone is eating the same thing and yummy carbs are bound to find their way to our table. Although I have learned to ask about what is in a meal and adapt menus to find Keto friendly alternatives, I can’t force my family to follow my food choices. Today, I ate my steak (a very yummy steak) with broccoli and salad while others ate their food with french fries and poutine (a typically french Canadian meal consisting of french friend, cheese and gravy). I would be lying if I said I was not tempted at all.
As much as I love steak and all kinds of vegetables, I am missing the starches. Potatoes, are something that were once a staple in my diet, that I have now said no to. Dessert is something else that I miss. Having something sweet to eat after a meal had become a habit. This enforces my theory that I (and I think humans in general) eat out of habit rather than out of need.
Some of the foods I will really miss are my weekly McD. A tradition started 8 years ago to bribe my daughter into going to her dance class. Chocolate is another one I will miss greatly. Poutine of course will be missed and so will pancakes and waffles. I am sure I will come across food I will miss on a regular basis and I will reminisce of times where I enjoyed them. So far, each time I do come across a high carb meal I miss, I’ve focused on the reasons I went Keto in the first place. To feel better and get healthier. It’s gotten me 7 days. No reason it can’t get me through more. It takes 21 days to form a habit. I’m one third of the way there!
I know I’m not the only one who does this. You know, grabbing a few pieces of chips because the bag just happens to be laying around on the dining room table. Or seeing a piece of banana bread on the kitchen counter and having an impulse to have a piece. These sudden craving, I’m sure everyone can relate to.
Over the past 6 days, I have been seriously pondering if I really do eat out of necessity, meaning that I am genuinely hungry. As a matter of fact each time the urge to chow down on something came up in the past few days, I questioned the motive behind it. Did I want it because I couldn’t have it? Did I want it because I was truly and truthfully hungry? Or was I doing all this out of habit? Was it that the availability and the ease of access to the food made it desirable in an instant of noticing it?
I have to say, more often than not, my sudden urges to grab myself something that was simply lying around on the counter or table or was within sight was really more out of habit than it was out of genuine hunger. The truth is, I have not been really all that hungry. The reason being that I have a lot more fat in my diet now and consuming healthy fats will fill you up. You will feel fuller for longer periods of time. I know in time these urges to eat what I see will subside, making way for more healthy Keto conscious choices.
Today was a big day. A bit scary in terms of my Keto diet. I had a networking lunch to attend, and it’s not like I could skip it… I am the one who runs it. Running the meeting is not a problem. Eating out on day 5 was a little nerve racking. I kept wondering if there would be anything that I would be able to eat and enjoy. I had come to the conclusion that in a worst case scenario, I would take my meal to go and someone at home would eat it.
The truth is, at these meetings, I talk a lot. I am entertaining and animating. The only time I actually sit down is while my guest speaker is speaking. And since I have been feeling so full on the Keto Diet so far, I figured that with a good breakfast, I could likely hold off till the meeting was over and I was back home to eat a Keto meal. But that was only my worst case scenario. I had every intention of asking the waiter what my options are. And so I did.
Oh how blessed I felt when he explained that his girlfriend is following a Keto diet as well. He was able to make a Keto friendly recommendation and I was able to enjoy a lovely Greek salad with a beautiful grilled chicken. Yum!
You see, I am a total newbie at the Keto diet and even though I have a lot of knowledge when it comes to health, wellness and nutrition, even I feel insecure when it comes to things unknown. I have yet to learn so much about Keto and especially eating out on a Keto diet. Every day I get more and more excited about my Keto lifestyle and the learning that goes along with it.