Keto Life: Week One

“I hate everything and everyone.” – Me, Day 3 (and 4, and 5)

The week started out ROUGH. No amount of reading can prepare you for the things you’ll actually feel. I realize now the warnings of “keto flu” did not do justice to the true feelings. The fatigue, anger, and mild depression that accompanies a sugar withdrawal, in no uncertain terms, SUCKS ASS.

So much ass sucking.

Still, this is a choice, something that I keep reminding myself. It’s also an experiment, but one that will take time to see the full benefit for, so suck it up buttercup, we’re in for the long haul.

“The right thing and the easy thing are never the same.”

– Kami Garcia

I met with a Kaiser dietician on Friday who nearly threw a wrench into this whole thing. As she put it, “I’m not going to dissuade you from this diet, but you’re pretty much doing the opposite of what we would recommend.”

Typically, the recommendation for after-cancer nutrition would be a plant-based diet (read: vegan) with foods that reduce the inflammatory response in the body. Meat and dairy, which can be highly processed, can cause inflammatory responses.

All that being said, she acknowledged where I’m coming from, and my motivation behind trying this. And so, she gave me guidance on what I can do to make this as healthy as possible.

  1. Eat whole, minimally processed foods.
    This seems obvious on face value, but that means ALL food items. Bacon? Yeah, highly processed. Deli meats — um, no. Even cheese and milk all go through some type of processing. The good news is free-range, grass-fed cows produce higher quality meat, milk, and cheese (imagine that) and the inflammatory issues associated with eating these items is reduced (it’s an omega-6/omega-3 ratio thing that I can explain another time).
  2. Diversify your fats
    At first I thought, “All the coconut oil on all the things! Give me pounds of butter!” Turns out, coconut oil (and butter) is super high in saturated fat. So, a mixture of monounsaturated fats is on the docket (ex. olive and peanut oils). Oh yes, and all the avocados I can hope for. (Though, this past week, they all ripened at the same time. #firstworldproblems)
    An interesting note, adding coconut oil (I use 1TB in a standard coffee mug) makes your coffee taste SO GOOD. There’s an added element of richness. Pair that with some heavy cream… happy mornings, let me tell you.

    A slight rebuttal to the notion of eating a diet that doesn’t have a lot of fat and cholesterol — the science supporting that idea is flawed. So, do with that what you will.

  3. Speaking of fats, modified keto is the recommendation
    Because I lack that fat-busting gall bladder, the dietician recommended against doing the full ketogenic diet (80% fat). GI distress is practically guaranteed, and we already know how much I like not being able to poop.
  4. As read on Reddit:“You better love water more than Michael Phelps himself if you plan to last longer than a fuckin’ week on Keto.” – BCrosby, 2012

    60-80oz of water a day is my goal.

To keep track of how this is affecting my body in other ways (cholesterol, kidney function, hemoglobin, etc.) I’m getting baseline labwork that’s usually part of my regular physical (which I haven’t had for… er… 7 years. Whoops.). I’m also working to not lose any weight.

Ultimately, this is an experiment. While the (definitive) science is still out, I only need this to work for me. My sample size of 1 will be okay if the results are positive.

Week one is in the books. There were lots of lessons learned, and overall, I’m feeling better than I did a week ago.

New recipes we liked:
Cream Cheese Pancakes
Chili Spaghetti Squash Casserole

8 thoughts on “Keto Life: Week One

  1. Ahhh yes, the coconut oil in coffee trick. There’s an actual creamer, called “Better Half” from a company called Califia Farms; it’s dairy free and is made from coconut cream and almond milk. It lasts longer than cream and tastes…wonderful. VERY nice when used to make English tea (by which I mean either PG Tips or English Breakfast tea leaves made very strong with lots of sugar and lots of cream). It’s in a red and white carton near the cream in the dairy section.
    Does the dietitian differentiate (such alliteration) between organic and non-organic foods when talking about your diet? As you say, cheese is a processed food…but there’s a HUGE difference between cheese that’s organic and made with the minimal amount of processing to move from milk to solid meltable goodness and Industrial Food-Like Products (IFLP) that are processed with hormone/antibiotic-laden milk and chemicals designed to make the cheese, color the cheese, add flavor to the cheese, give it shelf stabilization and preserve it beyond a reasonable amount of time. And this holds true for pretty much anything else in the modern grocery store. Guess which one I think is healthier?
    I think I’ve told you that Paul and I are doing organics for our health issues and it does make a difference–if only because organics taste the way your brain thinks food should taste and has sufficient nutrition that we actually eat smaller portions and are satisfied. (“Smaller portions” should probably be written as “proper” portions. No super-size me necessary.) Sorry if I’m repeating myself; food is something that I am passionate about–and not just to eat! I was actually working towards quitting the day job to be a personal chef/caterer when I became disabled.
    I am interested in whether the ketogenic diet would be something that we should try–but you point out the missing gall bladder issue and that’s something we have to consider as well, since Paul is lacking his. (He had a gall stone. One stone. The size of a golf ball. Ouch.) It may just be something we use to modify how we eat already. I follow Hippocrates: “Make food thy medicine and make medicine thy food.”
    If nothing else, this is an adventure for you. And we all know how adventurous you are! Hugs for you both, share them back and forth.


    1. I’m realizing quickly that the dietician is basing her recommendations on old science. She did not differentiate between organic and non-organic. Truly though, the difference lies with grass-fed/pasture-raised versus not. The inflammatory response occurs when the Omega6/Omega3 ratios are imbalanced — something that occurs in grain-fed animals. Pasture-raised (AND FINISHED) cows produce to appropriate ratios. The sad reality is that health care providers are basing their opinions on old science, since new science takes time to make it into those machines. Ugh.


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