The Challenges of Going Keto

As one begins to embark on the Ketogenic diet many challenges arise; ranging from social to medical to the fear-inducing Keto-flu to fighting carbohydrate or sweet cravings to the “what on Earth am I going to eat?!” question.

Friends and family may be shocked when you decide to eat a high fat diet after believing that fat is the enemy campaign for the last 40 years, options at the coffee shop are slim to none, and people look at you like you are in a cult as you describe your fat-burning breakthrough.

While all these challenges may seem funny, they feel very real to those of us that have “Gone Keto.”

Let’s go through and see how we can get through some of these challenges.

Medically research has shown the Keto diet has shown great promise in slowing and in some cases stopping the progression of many chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritic conditions, high cholesterol/low HDL cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for a high carbohydrate diet.

The Keto-Flu is a short period during which the body is adapting over to using ketones for fuel instead of carbohydrates. One way to reduce the symptoms of the Keto-Flu is to begin the Keto diet slowly with a slow carb diet by gradually getting rid of carbs over a few weeks.

Increasing salt intake will also help as it is critical to keep a healthy electrolyte balance; pink Himalayan sea salt has a nice blend of minerals and works well for this. Increasing water intake to about 2-3 liters per day is very important as well because as we decrease the number of carbs we eat the body will flush out excess water.

Social life can get a little tricky on Keto. Most people socialize around food and will not support a person who isn’t eating the typical American fare. This is when Keto support groups and Keto meet-ups can be helpful. There are many options for support groups that only meet online and there are some groups that meet in person on a regular basis.

Sharing recipes and pushing through a plateau is always easier with friends that have been through the same struggles. Carrying your own oil packets can also be helpful when eating out as you can add a healthy fat to most meals and still get it to be Keto-friendly.

And the question What am I going to eat?!

As one transitions from high carb to slow carb to keto increasing fat is easy because it is done in steps. Cutting out grains, sugar, and potatoes the first week is a great way to reduce carbs. Adding coconut oil or grass-fed butter to coffee is a nice way to increase fat intake. Pouring olive oil on everything you eat will increase the fat intake. Eating one avocado per day will add over 20g of fat while only adding about 10g of carbs. Taking the next steps of eliminating underground vegetables, keeping protein to about 20% of your caloric intake and fueling up on fats can come later when you have gotten comfortable with the slow carb lifestyle.

Fighting the carb and sweets craving can be a challenge if there are no healthy options around. A great thing to have on hand at all times is dark chocolate (either 70% cacao or stevia sweetened); a square or two can usually cut through any sweet craving. Also, dropping one in your coffee along with a spoon of coconut oil is like eating a Mounds bar. Another option to have stored in your freezer or fridge is sweet or savory Keto-bombs/fat-bombs. These are like truffles made with healthy fat and a small amount of flavoring (you choose) that can be popped in your mouth whenever you feel a craving come on.

As with any new diet or exercise program, it is always recommended to consult your medical doctor especially if you are on any medications.

Listen to your body and go slowly.

– Erin Kirkpatrick

I lost 6 lbs in 2 weeks on the keto diet

1 week into Keto, is the hype real?

Has it been hard to cut the carbs, skip on desert, and find nothing to order while at dinner? Its been an interesting 1 1/2 week journey, to say the least. In this time I learned that MyFitness Pal app doesnt like me intermittent fasting or eating coconut oil. My mom was disappointed that I was doing keto since I wouldnt be able to eat tamales. Finally, I found out that Keto Urine strips have a limited shelf life once you open them and testing to see if they work by dipping them in vinegar does not tell you if theyre functioning!

Why am I still continuing keto? The results.

1 1/2 weeks in and Im starting to feel different. My energy is consistent throughout the day and my hunger has been well under control. Dont get me wrong, the first couple of days I was having pretty strong hunger pains regardless of how many macadamias, pork rinds, and slices of cheese I had. But 4 days into switching my diet I finally felt like I had control of my hunger. I was able to eat lunch and dinner and not feel a ravenous hunger 1-2 hours after eating. Ill give a break down of some of the meals I had eaten during this time. I know that there is no breakfast, since I always skip breakfast. As Jason Fung MD, author of The Obesity Code, states breakfast is the most important meal to skip.

Left: Day 1
Right: Day 7

Left: Day 1 Right: Day 7

I would normally never post these progress photos on social media, but Im posting these because I really believe in this lifestyle because of the crazy amount of health benefits. The results you see is just me adhering to a pretty strict ketogenic diet (<20 grams of carbs/day & 70% of calories coming from fat) with yoga 2-3 times per week. Ive also integrated 18 hour fasts to help get my body used to using fat as its primary energy source. What this means is that I give myself a 6 hour interval to eat. So Ill eat my lunch at 1 pm and will eat dinner around 6:30 pm. Ill talk more about the benefits of intermittent fasting in a later post, so you all can know the science behind it. Check out some of the meals I ate over the last 2 weeks.

Lunch Dinner
Mozzarella with prosciutto, salami, sopressata, and walnuts. Drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Kielbasa sausage stir-fried with organic broccoli in oyster sauce.
Pork rinds and hummus In-n-out double double, lettuce wrapped
Caesar salad with no croutons Wild-caught pacific rock fish cooked in butter, Cauliflower kale rice.

-Will Leon aka the Keto Latino

Who are the Keto Guys?

My name is Will Leon and Im a fourth year medical student (MS4) at UC Riverside. I have a strong background in biochemistry and have several years of experience working in laboratories conducting research ranging from organic chemistry to clinical science. Ive had the pleasure of growing up in sunny Southern California and can say confidently that Ive tried >20 different types of cuisine. Obviously Guatemalan cuisine reins supreme, but Im biased (Mom and Pops are from Guatemala). Im writing this blog because: 1) I want to document my journey with the ketogenic diet from the perspective of a healthcare professional and 2) I wanted to blend together my love for food and attempt to make popular food ketogenic.

I became curious about the ketogenic diet while presenting a research project at symposium. During my talk, an audience member by the name of Dr. Jerry Hizon, an assistant clinical professor, stated that caloric restriction doesnt work. Curious about his remark, I approached Dr. Hizon after the talk and asked him to elaborate. He let me know about this diet he was implementing on his patients in his private practice with great results, called the Ketogenic Diet or keto. He stated that his obese patients were losing weight and his diabetics were needing less and less medications. So like any good scientist would do, I began to investigate keto. As I read more about it, my reluctance with attempting the diet began to slowly fade. Curiously, I decided to experiment on myself and started my first keto journey last year. I got great results over a period of 2 months. I dropped about 15 lbs, had keto clarity, and had enough energy to keep up with the surgeons while on my surgery rotations. I stopped doing keto after my honeymoon and just used intermittent fasting to keep the weight off. But now, nearly a year later I wanted to restart the diet and prove to many of those around me that the keto lifestyle is feasible, leads to weight loss and is a great solution to combat many of the chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity that are plaguing the U.S. So follow me as I post about doing the keto diet from an (almost) doctor and amateur chefs perspective.

—–

My name is Michael Ibrahim. I am 28 years old and currently a fourth-year medical student at UC Riverside. Im a big guy with a big appetite. I am a person who loves food. You couldve always found me at Thai or Persian restaurants as well as all you can eat sushi and Korean BBQ. Im roughly 62 and 240 lbs. Had I not chosen the path of medicine and had better knees, I wouldve been a decent fullback. I grew up playing basketball, working on cars and lifting weights however, I have always struggled with my weight. My journey has been an interesting one to say the least. Ive tried multiple weight loss programs from the traditional low-fat diet to the NutriSystem. Ive bought pills from GNC and ran hundreds of miles, foolishly trying to outrun my excess weight. Little did I know that the answer was much simpler (and cheaper) than what I was doing.

I was introduced to the ketogenic diet through Dr. Hizon, who pulled me aside on my first day in his clinic and remarked that the physician should always be the healthiest person in the room. That comment hit home for me; he didnt say it to judge or critique me, it was to help me. How can a physician expect patients to be healthy, make time for exercise and eat a balanced diet without achieving that balance in their own lives? Soon after, I familiarized myself with the ketogenic diet and the concept of low-carbohydrate and high-fat (LCHF) living, which went against conventional medical wisdom. I went all in; I started intermittent fasting 20+ hours each day and cut out the carbs. In the first month, I dropped 25 lbs. and was in sheer awe that I did it without feeling hungry. One year later, I have plateaued on my weight loss (mostly from too many cheat days and not being in true ketosis). I want to break through this plateau and I want to share my journey with you.

Mike’s Daily Blog Post: Day 3 & 4

Days Three and Four: Wednesday, 11/29/2017 and Thursday, 11/30/2017

stripThe past few days were a bit hectic because of interview season and the website we are working on, so I was unable to post. The good thing about being busy is we get caught up in our task and forget about food. It makes intermittent fasting much easier. I’m glad to say that in the same time frame, I have successfully entered ketosis.

That means my body has switched over from burning sugar/glucose for energy to burning fat for energy. Fat can be used by the brain and muscles in the form of ketone bodies. There are 3 types of ketone bodies that may be measured in different ways: acetone (breath), beta-hydroxybutyrate (blood) and acetoacetate (urine). The cheapest way to measure this is by urinating on ketone strips. Yes…I pee on a strip every morning.

The fastest way to get into ketosis is by fasting. From Sunday to Thursday evening, I almost completely abstained from food. My intake was in the form of fat from bulletproof coffee and bone broth (had some nuts here and there). I felt amazing during that time. Physical hunger was virtually non-existent. Social hunger, however, the type where you see others eating or think it’s time to eat because you “should eat something”, were plentiful. I can proudly say that I resisted eating at my residency interview. They were serving bread, pasta and soda (I honestly had no desire for that anyway). Peeing on the strip helps keep me motivated throughout the day; I want that thing to be able to change color every morning. That’s my external motivation.

Mike’s Daily Blog: Day 1

Day One: Monday, 11/27/2017

*Disclaimer: I’ve been doing keto for 1 year on and off and consider myself at an advanced level. It is advisable that you consult with your doctor(s) before making major lifestyle changes

Here we are, day one. I’ve said that to myself plenty of times. “Diets ALWAYS have to start on a Monday or they don’t count”, “Get all your cravings out the day before”, been there and done that throughout the years.

If you read my intro, you’ll know I’ve been at this a long time. At my worst in July 2013, I weighed in at a meaty 315 lbs. (photos to come shortly). Over the four subsequent years, I have finagled my way down to 240 lbs. This started off with low-calorie diets, low-fat diets, running over 4 miles per day, cutting sodas and fast food and incorporating some weight training in there. That got me from 315 lbs. down to 265 lbs. At that point, I hit the proverbial great wall. Nothing I did from August 2014 through November 2016 worked for weight loss. While working at Dr. Hizon’s office starting in November 2016, I was introduced to the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. I lost 25 lbs. in one month and have been at the new weight of 240 lbs. since then. One year later from the day I discovered the Keto diet, I am embarking on my journey to break through this current wall.

So, here we go. Anyone that knows me knows I don’t like taking off my shirt. Why? Sheer embarrassment. When you’re so big for so long, you get used to certain things like not wanting to take off your shirt in public.

Then why am I posting a collage of myself from all angles? Because I’m all in. This will help hold me accountable. I want to share my ups and downs with everyone. Weight loss is not easy; I know that firsthand. More importantly, I want to show that average individuals, such as myself, can achieve their physical goals.

How I feel: Genuinely excited. There was an internal debate over whether I would post to this blog as I went along or later in time. I knew that if I waited to post, I had a safety net. If it worked, I would post it. If it didn’t, I could always start on another Monday. That said, I’m sharing from the start.

What I expect: Ebbs and flows. Definitely feeling motivated to start. It helps that my family (mother, brother, sister) are all on board. Everyone is as excited as I am. I know that with Christmas coming, I will be tempted by food everywhere. I expect to have cravings when I hang around friends or go into work.

Alright, down to brass tacks, some measurements:
Weight: 241.8 lbs.
Body Fat: 24.1% (correlates to 58 lbs.)
Biceps: 35 cm (13 3/4 inch)
Bust: 114 cm (44 7/8 inch)
Chest: 108.5 cm (42 3/4 inch)
Waist: 98.5 cm (38 3/4 inch)
Hips: 101.5 cm (39 15/16 inch)
Thigh: 66 cm (26 inch)

Meals:
Breakfast: coffee + coconut oil + butter + heavy cream
Lunch: bone broth + coffee
Dinner: fasting

Breakdown: approximately 900 calories (95% fat, 2% protein, 3% carbs)
Water intake: over 128 ounces
Exercise: Ab workout, 1 hour spin class

Relaxation: Stretching, Steam room

Motivational word for the day: ENOUGH
You have to be fed up with your current situation to make real change. I am fed up with mine. Enough is enough. Enough hiding myself behind loose fitting clothing. Enough making excuses for myself. Enough starting diets and never continuing them. Enough not being happy. It’s time for a change