I have been living a Ketogenic lifestyle for over 4 years now. I started long before keto became a trend diet. I had a bad accident on one of my travels that stopped me from my hikes and gym sessions for a period. I carried on eating bad food of course and I put on so much weight!
My waist grew to 38 inches! Something had to be done, and I started a keto lifestyle and have never looked back.
My mind went to a better place and my wellness and health is in a much better place. I can see it visually too. Here is a recent advert I did for Karcher.
That is a stark difference to just a year or 2 previously when I was full unhealthy size in the Wrangler advert
Once I got into strict Keto plus able to get back outdoors walking properly, the weight flew off. In six months or so I was down to waist 34 and ongoing even lower. I also felt absolutely fantastic with it too. After 8 months I got down to a healthy for my shape 30-32 waist and staying on keto I have no problem maintaining.
This is due to positive side effects of the keto lifestyle. No more bloated feeling after eating, never really feeling hungry, more alertness and best of all, being able to look at biscuits and chocolate and shrugging my shoulders with no lust for it.
What Is The Keto Diet?
I will put this my way and try to avoid a long ramble using complicated scientific terms etc. The keto diet is getting your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. A ketogenic state. This is where the body produces ketones via the liver. Their job is to use existing body fat as a fuel source for energy.
On the flip side, a normal daily diet you do not go into a ketogenic state. You intake sugar and carbohydrates through food, the body produces insulin which then transports this as glucose around the body.
If say you eat a bag of crisps, some bread, pasta or rice, ‘then do nothing’, this glucose from those carbs has to go somewhere. Insulin saves it for a rainy day, as belly fat! Evolution brought us to this. However in ketosis our bodies stop producing so much insulin and produce ketones instead. We are not eating sugar or carbs that turn into glucose but we still need energy. So the reverse happens. That fat, ready for that rainy day, is burnt as energy. That is why people doing the keto diet ‘properly’ have great weight loss results.
The reduced insulin effect is why the keto diet is often prescribed to control Type 2 Diabetes.
Why Are Carbs Classed with Sugar?
What people forget is that carbs are basically a lot of sugars. If you don’t believe me take look at the back of a bag of crisps or biscuits. You will see it is even broken down now on the label and has to show you how much of those carbs are sugars!
Hence people that do lots of active sports, for example marathon runners, eat a lot of carbs before a race. They are constantly burning it, not letting it turn to fat.
The Fat Makes You Fat Myth
I will explain more later in this post about what food my lifestyle involves. Those that are brainwashed into the 80s (clever marketing) myth that fat makes you fat will look at what I eat and feel disgusted. Real fats and lots of it! And with that I lose weight or maintain. It is also really tasty and naturally so.
People my age and older know that food used to be simpler didn’t it? Not many brands, not as many supermarkets and competition. Then in the 80s and 90s the marketers needed to make brands stand out more. Let’s make Diet versions, fat free and sugar free versions! Let us stigmatise ‘all’ fats.
To get round this there is a lot of – If we say sugar free we replace that sugar with extra carbs to keep the taste and cravings. So still heavy on sugar technically! And fat free meant legally wording wise they could put extra sugar in etc etc. Make you want it more.
‘Real’ fats, I am not talking processed fats here, real fats do not make you fat. In fact most of it passes through your body and out with the urine when you drink plenty of water. However, it will make you feel satiated and that is another key to the keto diet. The calorie consumption overall goes down even if you eat a lot of fat. More on that later.
Difference Between Keto and Low Carb Diet
The difference is basically on a Keto diet you keep your body in a state of ketosis. Constantly.
I must say at this point that it takes around 3 or 4 days to enter ketosis from a normal diet. To do this I eat no sugar and strictly keep myself under 20g of carbs per day. And carry on like that. Some people can enter ketosis by staying under 30 or even 50g per day, everybody is different. During that 3 or 4 days you WILL perhaps feel groggy and fatigued, this is what we call, Keto Flu. In simple terms it is the body desperately trying to find energy from sugar as it is used to before it then turn to a ketosis state. Then suddenly the fog clears and you feel full of energy, burning fat and in the zone.
On a low carb diet, yes you are reducing carbs a lot but not being ‘ketosis’ strict on the sugars and carbs. You may have fruit? The odd slice of bread? etc. But although you are doing a good thing eating less carbs, I would find this difficult myself as then I would still have cravings for sugar plus a lot of fatigue. The body is needing sugars but you are not providing. For me ketosis removes that want completely.
I was chatting to someone on Instagram the other day who told me they were in Keto too. And then showed me they ate lots of banana, oils on salads, milk etc. All of which would not keep you in keto basically. There is a lot of confusion and blurred lines between low carb and ketosis.
What Foods Do You Eat On A Keto Diet?
Ok, so we have learnt I eat no sugar at all, and I keep under 20g of carbs per day (most foods have carbs so I need real full fat versions that have minimum). When I start my weekly shopping list as shown here you can see that there are lots of healthy fatty options that are real tasty. But contain hardly any carbs and no sugar. And yes, fruit never passes my lips. That is natures way of eating a bag of sweets.
Double cream (instead of milk for my coffee and sauces)
Grass fed full fat Butter (lots of it)
Full fat cheese
Fatty meats like rib-eye steak, pork belly, boned parts of a chicken.
Fatty fish, salmon etc.
Eggs (only 1g of carbs per egg)
Broccoli and Broccoli Rice
Cauliflower and Cauliflower Rice
Pork Scratchings as a snack instead of crisps
Those items above are my mainstays. Filling, satiating and satisfying when in ketosis. Find below how portions affect calorie intake and more on how the weigh tloss works with this.
What Food Do You Definitely Avoid?
Any food with higher carbs and definitely those with sugars are a big no no or else you will slip out of ketosis. The big big no-nos are.
Wheat based products
The above are packed with sugars and carbs! Even if not on keto, you should do exercise soon after eating any of these or the glucose turns to fat. Hence toast, sandwiches bananas and apples may seem diet friendly but can stop or stagnate weight loss on another diet you may be on.
In the second article on this subject I will do a list of good through to bad foods for this keto lifestyle plus grams of carbs involved.
A Typical Day Of Meals On Keto
So, here we go. What do I typically eat in a day? Not as much as you think.
Breakfast – Bulletproof Keto coffee (coffee, butter, coconut oil)
Lunch – 2 fried eggs and a rasher of bacon
Dinner – Pork belly and shredded cabbage all fried in real butter
Now then, sounds calorific yes? But in keto with enough real fat you get satiated faster. The portions get smaller and smaller before you know it. You forget to eat sometimes as you lose all the lust that sugar and carb filled diets give you. The fat goes out the body as waste and you realise you are not eating as many calories as you where on what people call a balanced diet. Plus! For energy your body is using the stored body fats and burning it. You inadvertently also end up doing a fasting diet of sorts as a bonus.
Do You Drink Alcohol on Keto?
Damn right I do drink alcohol! Just what types have changed. Normal beer and sugary mixers of course are a massive no-no. I have just looked around and found new things I didn’t know I liked.
Champagne, Prosecco and Red/White wine all have only about 1g carbs per glass and no sugar! Even though grape based the sugar is long gone before making it to the bottle in the process of making it.
Beer – If you must have beer there are really low carb options (taste subjective). The best low carb beers are actually american light beers, Coors Light, Budweiser Light etc. Around 5g per bottle, So be careful if you want to stay in ketosis.
Gin and Slimline Tonic – I have found I stay in ketosis if I have a few drinks of Gin and ‘Slimline’ Tonic. Beware the bigger named brands as they tend to put sneaky sugars or carbs in so you like it more.
I must add here, remember I said that ketones are produced by the liver. If you drink every day then the liver can only do so much at once. The weight loss results could slow. Plus it is found, and I realise this. Being in keto tends to make you drunk faster on the whole.
What About When You Travel To Other Countries
Well, as this is a lifestyle choice, not a health one, I come out of ketosis when I am travelling. That way I can enjoy and review the local delicacies and dishes.
What About Keto and Eating Out? Or Takeaways?
People say it is an unsocial lifestyle. Why so? I can drink and can eat. Ok, maybe it is hard if a group meal is at an Italian restaurant for sure. However at normal eateries there is always something like steak? Pork belly? Gammon? Omelette? I just get funny looks when I say no chips, no potatoes, no veg, no sauce, maybe some dry salad as my side please. That is what I meant earlier. A steak, on its own will fill me. Watch everyone else order steak, a pile of chips, and bread. And then they tell me my diet is bad for me?
Takeaways are harder, but remember your lust for stuff will disappear too. If I get hungry I eat a little bit of full fat cheddar and suddenly I forget about food. If you must then kebab meat (on its own, no bread) is enough.
So, I have been living this lifestyle for a few years now with the odd week off a year for travels and so I can do food reviews. I love it. I lose weight, I maintain my weight. I feel alert. So much so now I can walk the 25 miles of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks with just having the butter coffee beforehand and a couple of boiled eggs on the way round.
In ketosis I never have that overfull bloated carb feeling. I have more get up and go. I can knock up a dinner real quick.
Of course people say to me things like ‘I read an article on the internet that that diet is bad for you’ as they grab a bag of crisps or order a chippy tea. I never say you must do what I do. But this is my lifestyle and I love it. It works wonders for me.
This is a new section of the site and will be sharing some of my favourite keto recipes so watch this space. I will also show you that it is not all meat and meat at all.
Hi Paul just been reading your article on Keto… Have you a recipe book and dietary guide all in one… I have been overweight for too many years… Just over 13 stone at present… I used to love walking not far mind… But over the years arthritis has affected my joints.. Must run from mums side of the family… I’ve had left knee then right hip… Left hip just over a year ago then recently my right knee has been giving way… Had X-rays still due to get results…. Sorry side tracking a bit.. But admire your weight loss and overall achievements.
Hi Gillian, thanks for the comment. I will be adding more and more recipes to this Keto section of the site and it will grow. Recipes for all meals of the day too
Very interesting read, I would love to try this but as I am vegan I don’t think this is possible for me
Hi Kaz, it can be done as a vegan diet. It is not all meat and butter etc if you don’t wish. Key then is to make sure you get fats from coconut oil, avocado and the right seeds and nuts etc. There are plenty of low carb veg and plant based foods.