Hi book dragons!
I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions about my new diet change, so I thought I would make a gargantuan post all about my new low carb, specifically ketogenic, diet and I thought I’d lay it all out here to keep it neat. This is going to be a very long post, so buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gents.
First of all, I am in no way, shape, or form a doctor. Nor do I play one on TV. This is all information from my own personal research as well as what my doctor has told me and my own personal experiences. I’m fully aware I will still most likely get hate and people telling me that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I never said that I did, nor is this a health blog. So get over yourselves. You will be made fun of and blocked.
If you’re looking for a specific part of this post, you can hit control+F to search for a word or phrase. Nifty, right? Some of my favorite keto recipies will come last.
I’ll post my before and after pictures here when I get around to finding them on my phone and taking “after” pictures. I weighed in the day before I started this diet at 167.4 pounds on June 19th (HOLY CRAP I DID NOT REALIZE IT HAS BEEN THAT LONG) and I weighed in this morning at 149.5.
Now, let’s talk about the word diet. The word diet means the things you eat. It is NOT a negative term. It is NOT a term to describe unhealthy behaviors. It is just a word to describe what somebody eats on a daily basis. Gotta break that stigma before we go any further.
Next vocab word before we get into the thick of it is ketosis. The ketogenic diet is all about getting your body into and keeping it in a state of ketosis. Ketosis, according to dictionary.com, is “a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, with is typically pathological in conditions such as diabetes, or may be the consequences of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates.” In human words, ketosis is a state your body goes into when it does not have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy and it resorts to burning stored fat for its energy resulting in a build up of ketones, AKA acids, in your body. Hence the name, ketosis.
Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering, Victoria, you aren’t very large, you’re healthy and go to the gym, why did you try this diet? At least, I’m hoping you guys were thinking that. I am a walking medical bill. I have had extreme eczema my entire life and it has only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I now get it on my eyelids, scalp, lips, and inside of my mouth as well as armpits bikini line, arms, legs, and chest. Sound like fun? Throw in stress and poor diet related acne and you’ve got yourself an incurable concoction. For those that don’t know, the cure for one is keeping skin dry and the cure for the other is keeping your skin super moisturized. See my dilemma? I also almost hit 170 pounds. This might not seem like a lot, but I’m only 5’5″ so that’s an unhealthy overweight size for me. I normally hang out between 150 and 160, but had never gotten that big before. I also found myself exhausted all the time, even after a full 8 hours of sleep. No matter what I did, I could not shrug off the sluggish feelings I had. I knew that I needed a serious change. Now, I’m not one who used to eat too horribly, but over 80 percent of the foods I consumed were processed. Yes, I ate fruits and meats, but the majority of what I ate was cereal, rice, bread, oats, wheat, etc.
I’ve done countless hours of research online and finally stumbled across the Ketogenic diet. “Cure for IBS, eczema, acne, and sluggishness!” “Energy abound!” “Lose pesky belly fat fast!” Sound too good to be true? Well, the fast part is, but the rest of it sounded wonderful! The catch? Little to no carbs. WHAT?! I couldn’t live without my carbs! No rice? No snacking on a full loaf of bread? No cereal? What was I supposed to eat?! I can’t cook! SOS!
Then, I got lost in testimonials of chronic eczema and IBS sufferers. Hundreds of people who had zero issues with eczema after switching to this diet. IBS gone in a week or two after switching to this diet. Pounds falling off. The only stories I found where it didn’t work was because people never stuck to it or they didn’t decrease their carb intake low enough to reach ketosis.
So I asked myself, “What have I got to lose?” And dove in.
Week 1: suck, suck, and more suck. I’m constantly hungry. I hurt. My bowels are so confused. I’m SO THIRSTY. I have nothing to eat. I have body aches. I’m sweating. I pee every hour on the hour. My head is pounding. I’m not seeing immediate results. In fact, I feel worse than when I started! Every site said this would happen, but I wasn’t insanely unhealthy before I started. I should have been fine. The worst part of week one was the fact that the first 3 days, I had no idea what to eat, so I settled on whatever I had in my house. Which wasn’t much. Part of the reason I got so sick was because for those first 3 days, I was only eating about 400 calories a day. Mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. Research is key with this diet. Just because somebody had a certain carb level does not mean that the same level would get you into ketosis.
Week 2: okay, body aches, cold sweats, and headaches are mostly gone. I can do this. I’m feeling better, I haven’t cheated. Mouth is still insanely dry and I still drink and pee like I get paid for it. TMI TIME. I also severely pissed off my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I was at first not going at all and it was almost impossible to go when I actually tried. Then, and for the next few weeks, it was constant diarrhea. Completely liquid. This, of course, horrified me so I went to my doctor. She told me that as long as there was no blood and I was adequately hydrating that it should go away within a week or two. Hydration is key with this diet, especially if you’re getting diarrhea. Dehydration is a very scary thing; we don’t need anyone being hospitalized here.
After this point, my body started to regulate and things became easier to deal with. I still am having issues with my IBS, but it’s because I cheated a few times. Another key thing to this diet is NOT cheating. Cheating even one day will get you out of ketosis and it can take days or even weeks, depending on your body, to get back into it. Not only will you come out of ketosis, you will go through the “carb-flu” again. This means withdrawals, body aches, cold sweats, no energy, headaches. All over one day of eating horribly. Once you’ve been low carb for a while, you won’t have cravings for them anymore. I’ve been on this diet for a little over a month and I’ve already lost the cravings for those types of food. Eating out is still difficult, but I don’t have a want to cheat anymore. Plus, I have some amazing food that I CAN eat and they make me feel amazing.
A good way to prevent cheating is to sit down with yourself and honestly find out why you’re doing this diet. If it’s a temporary change where you’re only eating low carb for a month or two and then going back to exactly what you were eating before, you will gain all of the weight back and more. I know that I’ll be low carb, probably not THIS low, but much lower than I was before, for years. Especially since it’s clearing up my skin, which is the main reason I tried this diet. I’ll eventually move to carbs like yogurt, brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc. I’ll introduce them back into my diet very slowly and over a very long period of time. Introducing carbs back into your diet too quickly can make you gain weight. Your body, after being in ketosis for so long, is used to burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. Introducing them too quickly will confuse the heck out of your body and do nothing but bad things to it.
Okay, time for pros and cons. We’ll do cons first. This diet isn’t all good, even if it’s mostly good.
Cons: the main con is being an annoying patron when going out to eat. It is very not easy to find food that is extremely low carb. Almost everything these days has corn starch in it, or breaking, or potatoes as a side, etc. I normally eat before hand, not a full meal, but enough to make me not super hungry. That way, if I get a meal and have to skip some of the sides or if it’s just a salad, it still fills me up and I’m not feeling left out and hungry after the meal. Another con is the fact that I now have to take a multivitamin. Which I guess isn’t REALLY a con. You should be taking multivitamins anyway if you don’t have an adequate diet. I also was not drinking quite enough, even though it felt like I was drinking all the time. Last week, or the week before, I got two severe cramps in my calves. They woke me up and I thought that was the way I was going to die. They were horrific. My doctor told me that it was a mix of not drinking enough and being mildly dehydrated and the fact that I’m not taking multivitamins. I couldn’t eat bananas to get the potassium to help with the cramps, because bananas have tons of carbs in them (plot twist, so do grapes, so be wary). Another con for me is snacking. I’m very used to quick and easy, AKA no cooking required unless it’s pasta, so getting used to actually cooking and preparing meals is still annoying. I’ll get used to it eventually. I hope.
Pros: I’ll keep this part brief, most of my pros have already been discussed. Rapid fire: I’ve lost weight, my acne and eczema is clearing up, I’m less hungry, I have so much more energy, I sleep better, I’m not exhausted throughout the day, I eat less because I’m not constantly hungry, I no longer feel sluggish and slow and lethargic, I no longer feel and look bloated, I’m happier, I stress less often. I could go on! Even with the few cons, I definitely am SO glad that I have this new diet and am looking forward to keeping this up to see if it stays this awesome. I’m also excited to finally be learning how to cook and how to meal plan. I love being prepared and I love planning things out, so this will turn into something great.
Let’s talk gym for a few minutes. Working out right when you start will be very difficult because you’ll feel like garbage and have zero energy. I got back into the gym at the 2.5 week mark and I was so surprised at how tired I was afterward. It took me only a few days of working out to get back into the swing of things and to get my body used to working out while using a different type of energy source. I do also use protein shakes after my workouts to help get that spent energy back, but I use a low carb one. Mine has 4g of carbs per scoop (I only ever use one scoop anyway). They do make NO carb protein, but I like caramel flavored protein. I use it with plain, non-sweetened almond milk and it’s delicious. Sweetened almond milk is NOT low carb, so make sure you get the low carb milk. Or you can have some chicken or bacon when you get out of the gym! Protein is very important with this diet, but again, in moderation. Too much protein will get out you of ketosis which IS NOT what we want here.
Recipie time! These are a few of my favorite recipies that I’ve found on Pinterest. Another secret: Pinterest has pretty much every single low carb and specifically ketogenic diet recipies that are very easy to follow and they’re all free!
Loaded Cauliflower (like a loaded potato) (serves 6 people, great for freezing)
1 pound cauliflower
4 oz sour cream
1 cup cheese
Salt and pepper
The cauliflower is obviously the most important part, you can top it with whatever low carb things you want!
Steam your cauliflower (for fluffy consistency), let sit uncovered for a few minutes. Add cauliflower to food processor and process until fluffy, then add toppings and serve!
Low Carb Taco Shells
They’re made of cheese, so they are completely keto friendly!
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or a silicone mat if you have one), use about 3oz of cheese per shell (recommended with cheddar), bake at 350F for about 6 minutes or until the cheese melts and the edges start to brown, create a drying rack (I use two cups and a spatula with a thick handle to keep room inside the shell for taco yummy-ness), MAKE SURE you let the cheese cool for a minute or two once you take it out of the oven before putting it on the rack so you don’t ruin it, once it’s cool, they’re done!
Low Carb Pancakes
60g (1/2 cup + 1tbsp) of almond flour (not all almond flour is created equally, make sure you check the labels)
1/2 cup of cream cheese (full fat)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Put all of the ingredients in a blender (I use my nutri bullet) and cook like regular pancakes. Make sure to keep them relatively small or they risk breaking apart when you cook them.
Slow Cooker Low Carb Taco Soup
2 lbs ground pork, beef, or sausage
2, 8oz packages of cream cheese
2, 10 oz cans of Rotel (tomatoes and such)
2 tbsp taco seasonings (or more if you prefer)
4 cups of chicken broth
Cilantro for taste
Shredded cheese for garnish if you want
Brown the meat until fully cooked, put the cream cheese, Rotel, and seasoning into the crock pot, drain grease from meat and put it into the crock pot and stir, pour in chicken broth, cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours, garnish and serve!
Honorable snacking mentions: cucumber salad, tuna salad, deviled egg salad, Caesar salad with chicken or shrimp, mixed nuts, pumpkin seeds, berries, pepperoni and string cheese, diet Snapple
NOTE: not all of these recipies are very healthy, if you want to lose weight while on this diet, maybe the tons of cheese and cream cheese isn’t the best option for you. But if losing weight is just a side effect that you’ll gladly welcome on this diet, these are some of my favorite recipies!
I think that’s everything! If you have any questions, you can shoot me an email or contact me in any of my social medias listed on here.
Thanks for reading and as always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time!