Getting Underway

Over the past few years, I've been intrigued by the burst of interest in the ketogenic diet (also known medically as HFLC) by the health and fitness world. I've perused the pop culture media, followed the medical studies, and reviewed available peer reviewed literature with fascination. I only recently became tempted to try it. You can read more about why here: Ketogenic Brain Bliss. I've been having such an interesting time of it, coming up with recipes, weeding through the facts and unfacts, that I've decided to share the experience. 

Starting this dietary experience was not as challenging initially as I thought it might be. Potentially because I already eat pretty cleanly and don't have alot of manufactured carbs in my diet to contend with. On the first day I decided to prepare a few things to make sure that I could keep on track in those moments when I realize I'm suddenly crashing and needing something to munch on. 

fatbomb ingredients

First up experimenting with Fat Bombs! Honestly, I felt like a naughty child as I loaded tasty fatty ingredients into my blender and swirled up the epicurean anomaly known as the FAT BOMB. I was pleasantly surprised with the results, if not a bit trepidatious to dive into my first bite. As much as I understand the science of the HFLC diet, I must admit I am still a victim of conventional messages decrying the dangers of fat consumption. 

Here's my instagram post: onegranoladoc Just made some amazing and delicious peanut butter chocolate "fudge".  1/4 c butter, 1/2 c peanut butter, coconut flakes, 2 Tbs cacao, dash of vanilla. Voila!

I noshed on a few of those in lieu of lunch and realized they satisfied my hunger quite well. 

Day 2 I woke up and broke my fast with a bulletproof coffee, a few slices of bacon (sustainable, humane, no sugar) and eggs fried in ghee. I quickly realized that ghee might well become a staple so I decided to make up a batch. Recipe here: Getting Into Ghee

After breakfast, I went for a hike and right away noticed something different. My senses were heightened, colors seemed brighter, and mostly my sense of smell was dramatically increased. I could smell the earth with each footstep. It was truly a delight. 

By the end of day 2 I was completely committed to staying the course and seeing where this all ends up...but I realized I was going to have to get creative to make sure that I was meeting the required fat percentages in my daily intake.

Fact: One major mistake that people make when attempting to follow this diet is  not eating enough fat or eating the wrong kinds of fat. Studies indicate that dietary percentages should be in the 70-80% range and for the most part, oils like canola, sunflower, and other processed polyunsaturated should be avoided. Go for the full, whole fat options found in animal products and cold pressed nuts.

Fallacy: Eating a HFLC diet means eating loads and loads of animal products and protein. In fact, since the main ingredient in your diet is fat, you can quite easily be successful on a vegetariand or even vegan diet.  In fact, if you eat too much protein, you will counteract the benefits of the diet and potentially interrupt ketosis as well as really mess with your mental health. So, while you will be eating protein, you want to make sure it is only about 10-15% of your intake.

Day 3 I realized I actually had no idea how much fat I was really eating so I decided to get a little help. I downloaded the app "My Fitness Friend" and logged my food. It was a little bit tedious but it broke everything down for me and I realized that even though I thought I was right on track, I was actually only eating about 60% fat...not enough to keep me in ketosis. Enter more creative food endeavors! 

Now breakfast consisted of half an avocado and an egg or two, lunch became tuna salad with avocado mayonnaise and dinner was drenched in cheese and butter. 

Here are a few more recipes from week 1: 

lemon ricotta smLemon Poppyseed Ricotta Pancakes: Lemon poppyseed ricotta pancakes #yum 2 eggs, 1/3 c ricotta cheese, juice and zest of half lemon, 1/3 tsp baking powder, 1 Tbsp poppyseeds, 1 Tbs of coconut flour or 1 hard boiled egg (to thicken) dash of salt 
Breakfast sorted and delicious.

Next step was to make some 'sugar-free' breath mints. Cinnamon and peppermint. I opted to use xylitol, because it has a sugar like consistency and according to research seems more or less inocuous. I heated the xylitol to 300, let it sit for 10 minutes, then added food grade essential oils, poured the lot onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let it harden over 24 hours. 

A note on xylitol; it is a sugar alcohol derived from Birch bark, and while research suggests it has little to no impact on the system because it can't be metabolized, it can in high doses cause digestive upset. Also, truthfully, I think it's best to learn to enjoy natural flavors, rather than just find ways to substitute and support sugar addiction.