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Getting Into The Ketogenic Groove

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Getting Into The Ketogenic Groove

Ketogenic Dining

Roasted Chicken at Cafe Sonder

Don’t beat yourself up…just keep trying! And you can eat amazing food!


Remember when I said I likely had never gotten into ketosis? Well, now I’m thinking I was wrong. In the first post of this blog series I discussed how I have been doing cleanses for several years. During each of those cleanses I’ve lost around ten pounds. Except for the first cleanse, where I was able to keep off the ten I had acquired above and beyond what I had ever weighed (ugh), I have been unable to keep anymore of it off. Now I realize why, which I will get into a bit later, but back to having previously been in ketosis. The reason I thought this was because when it comes to the Master Cleanse there is sugar involved – maple syrup to be exact – and when it comes to the Smoothie Shakedown there’s sugar and protein involved.

The Smoothie Shakedown consists of two fruit smoothies per day plus one meal along with unlimited veggies and salad. There is a limit to the healthy fat allowed and in addition to the protein with the one meal, it is recommended to eat two omega-3 eggs per day. There are other recommendations and restrictions but as far as glucose metabolism this cleanse is really not ketogenic. This is a highly effective liver detox “diet” and if you’re a woman you can expect to lose ten pounds in two weeks and if you’re a man you can expect to lose up to fifteen. Additionally, it is extremely effective at normalizing lipid levels, particularly triglycerides, as high triglycerides can be a sign of a fatty liver.

With regards to the Master Cleanse, it consists of fresh squeezed lemon, pure maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and purified water. This is all you drink for ten days – or longer, depending on how long you feel you can go. The recommendation is to have six to twelve 10 oz. drinks a day depending on your hunger sensation. There is more to this cleanse but for the purposes of this blog post I wanted to discuss the ingredients that are non-ketogenic.

When it comes to both the Smoothie Shakedown and especially the Master Cleanse there is calorie restriction going on. Neither can be considered a “fast” because you’re still consuming calories and sugar and on the Shakedown you’re actually eating so it’s not even close to being a fast. Yet with both you can lose a great deal of fat. Why is this? It is because of the caloric restriction involved in both and, with the Shakedown there are some additional metabolic processes going on in the body, albeit different than what occurs on the ketogenic diet. The body does switch its metabolism to burning fat because it is necessary. Even if you are eating glucose forming foods, the key is in the amount.

So, backpedaling on my assertion that I had never been in ketosis I was clearly wrong. They say that the first time you get into ketosis could be difficult but subsequently it happens quickly. This is what I am finding is happening with me. I’m able to get into ketosis very easily once I am out. In fact, after my somewhat gluttonous week/weekend of margaritas and burgers I was able to go back into ketosis after a 23-hour fast. My last meal of the weekend was the Sugar Burger and I did not eat anything until the following day.

During the following week I kept myself in a mild state of ketosis even if I consumed something containing carbs. We went to the lake again so, you can imagine, there was beer. I was able to stay in ketosis even though. The weekend was pretty busy with social events again so I didn’t even bother checking the ketones but now I know that I can easily get back into ketosis once I’m out. The experts such as Dr. Perlmutter, Dr. Jockers, Dr. Seyfried, and Dr. D’Agostino (among others) all emphasize that it is not necessary to always be eating ketogenically in order to achieve the benefits of being in ketosis.

In fact, as long as we make sure to get into ketosis sometimes we will definitely reap some benefits. Dr. Seyfried suggests a four-day water fast to get into ketosis easily. I don’t know if I would call that easy but you get the point. He suggests that even doing a four-day water fast just once a year would provide great benefits.

If one were dealing with a health issue, however, it would appear that being in a ketosis until that illness is resolved or close to resolved is most beneficial. For the rest of us who are relatively healthy we benefit the most when we ensure being in a state of ketosis for a period of time. This goes for those of us who have been able to manage our weight even when we have never gotten into ketosis.

I am aware of people who have been diagnosed with cancer despite appearing to be extremely healthy. There have actually been personal trainers and athletes who eat very healthy but have been diagnosed with diabetes and other very serious illnesses. Triathlete Mark Sisson who previously believed in carb loading while training changed his own tune when he began having serious health issues while purportedly living a healthy lifestyle.

So this blog isn’t just about weight loss, nor is my keto journey. In fact it is far from it. Most people seem to be interested in that one aspect of any diet; however, like I said before, weight loss has never been a big incentive for me to change any established habit but health always has been a huge incentive. This is one of the main reasons I exercise as well. A word on this with regards to getting into ketosis. It is entirely possible that I was able to get into ketosis simply because of my fitness level. Now, I’m not the most “fit” person; however, my numbers are really good. My resting heart rate and blood pressure is excellent, as is my O2 (oxygen) level and it has been for quite some time. Being relatively healthy can also help people get into ketosis much more quickly for the first time. Obese, unhealthy individuals can take up to three weeks. For me it might have happened within a few short days. Too bad I didn’t have the ketostrips to check!

I’m finally getting into the keto groove now that I know what it takes for me to get into or get kicked out of ketosis. I’m pretty sure I still haven’t become keto adapted but that is my goal although I do feel better. My running paces are gradually improving and my afternoon energy level is as well. I realize doing this during the summer with all of the events going on is quite difficult. This doesn’t mean I won’t continue trying. Like I said before I’m simply not willing to completely deprive myself or make huge sacrifices at this point. Would I do so if I were facing a major health issue? Absolutely. I would go drastic. But thankfully I am not facing a health issue at all so I have the luxury of easing myself into this.

Many people don’t realize how beneficial it is to do it this way. When faced with a health scare those who have never gone drastic in any way or even made minor lifestyle changes must deal not only with the blow of the diagnosis but also with a lifestyle change. This can’t be easy. I’m a huge advocate of easing into lifestyle changes, especially when the ultimate goal is very different from what you are used to. This is why I feel it is so important to make the changes before a crisis occurs.

As for me, I’m generally eating ketogenically during the week. I can tell when I’m in or out of ketosis now, especially because of my hunger. I know I’m not in ketosis when I feel famished. When I’m in ketosis I can go for hours without eating and feel good. I find intermittent fasting to be very easy for me so I am incorporating that as well. There have been so many events it’s hard to stay focused but I’m doing my best within reason. The weight is stable and I feel pretty good. I’ve made some pretty tasty ketogenic meals and have found some good stuff when we decide to eat out. Local New Mexico food is not very ketogenic therefore eating out while doing this is a bit of a challenge but Santa Fe has some amazing restaurants with really good food made with quality ingredients and prepared in house. If you’ve subscribed to my newsletter you will have read about this.

Here are a few of the meals I have prepared:

Grilled chicken thigh on a bed of arugula with blueberries, feta cheese and Annie’s organic shiitake sesame dressing

Breakfast for lunch! Fresh egg omelet with sauteed mushrooms, chard, and goat cheese sprinkled with cilantro and parmesan. Served with a side of roasted green chile!

Chicken salad (made with leftover beer butt chicken, organic mayo, bell pepper, and celery) on a bed of arugula and mixed super greens, topped with a hard boiled omega-3 egg

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