Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Challenge Accepted: Trying the Keto Diet


It's been a while since I did a food challenge, so why not take a skeptical step into the world of keto diets?

Skeptical because it eliminates so much, and because keto diet enthusiasts make pretty lofty claims about the benefits (see below). It's also a weird mental leap to track and restrict my intake of vegetables. Aren't vegetables supposed to be the be-all-end-all of a healthy diet? All vegetables all the time?

Let's see how this goes.

What is Keto?

A keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that puts your body into a state of ketosis, which means that your body is using fat and ketones for energy, not carbs and sugar. In life, an average person's diet is going to consist off 200-500g of carbs a day. A keto diet is 15-30. Big difference.

Keto claims many benefits, including improving many types of cancer and diabetes, epilepsy, Alzeihmer's, Parkinson's, and weight loss. I've also read claims of increasing mental focus and energy, reducing acne, and normalizing blood pressure. Phew! That is a lot of benefits, most of which I will have no way to measure.

What Do You Leave Behind?

As with most diets, you leave behind many sources of happiness: no sugary foods, no grains, no starchy foods, no tubers (bye bye french fries), no legumes, as well as very restricted fruit and alcohol.

What Do You Get?

The first thing you get is a new life where you read nutritional labels and do a lot of basic addition.

The second is an intense need for a decent food tracking app so that you don't have to carry a spreadsheet of everything you've eaten. I haven't yet found one I love, but am currently making do with the Stupid Simple Keto app.

In terms of the actual food you get to eat, there are a lot of delicious options! Because fat is a-okay, you still get a lot of tasty and filling meals and snacks. Cheese and avocados are your friend! I can get behind almost any diet in which cheese and avocados are my friend.

Also: fat bombs. This is a diet where FAT BOMBS are a thing! Need a snack and can't have carbs? Make little bite-sized treats that are basically 100% fat and taste so so so so good.

So basically, what I'm saying is that this diet is half torture, half ridiculous indulgence.

What About Meat?

Keto diets are typically really high in meat and I'm a vegetarian. Tricky.

At first I thought I would still be able to have beans and legumes and was pretty excited about that, but I was dead wrong, thanks to the starchiness of most legumes. I can get protein from my favourite sources, however: eggs, cheese, and peanut butter. Yumyumyumyum! Also, some veggies are pretty good for protein.

For a Month and the Rest of Our Lives

My boyfriend and I are going doing a one month trial that he intends to be the start of a lifelong relationship with ketosis. I am ready to commit to this one month to start, with the caveat that buying groceries for the first week of this was INSANELY expensive and I might just throw it all out the window if it keeps costing this much.

I'll let you know how it goes!

ADDED NOTE: I entered the Pacific Blue Cross' New Year's Resolution Challenge, promising to cut sugar (hey, what a coincidence, you don't eat sugar on keto!) Vote for me?


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