This is the last day of my first really ketogenic week. Some things are easier than I thought, some are more difficult.
Explanation of what I’m doing in this experiment and why I do it is here. Protocol of this experiment is here. Tips from my “week 1” are at the end of this article. And my screw-ups are somewhere in the middle…
Breakfast is very easy, thanks to my concurrently running Titanium tea experiment. That way I can get 30 grams of fat (=270 calories), half of it is C8 MCT which is the easiest to convert to ketones, which are the cleanest energy source for the body. I never really feel hungry before 1pm.
Lunches and dinners are much trickier because I don’t eat meat (only fish and seafood), and I’m allergic to avocado – the best and pretty much the only one green source of good fats. Macadamias, butter, heavy and sour cream were my life savers, but of course I can’t be just overdosing on these. I will post my weekly menu separately, including the nutrition facts.
So, how is it going? So far so good. I have not started hating fats. Based on data from Ketonix, I am already in mild ketosis (I know it doesn’t look like that, but this is as far as I could go in 7 months since I have the device). Contrary to my previous experience, my weight is quite stable, only slightly lower than at the beginning.
So all is good. Except that right on my first day, I screwed up big time.
Before lunch time we went out with a friend who was showing us previously unexplored areas in Hong Kong. Of course we went for dim sum. And of course I forgot my oil. I ended up dissecting har gaw for prawns, eating steamed kailan without sauce, and topping it up with macadamias to get to a reasonable number. Luckily I finished my Titanium tea just an hour before that, so I hope it still counted.
Then I screwed up on day 2 evening. How? I don’t even know, but my Ketonix measurement dropped significantly. Maybe the bean sprouts and red radish have more sugar than i thought and shot of olive oil was not enough?
On Wednesday (day 3), I screwed up again. Even more.
Or I should say I screwed up the day before, when I had a mild headache in the evening and didn’t realize what was going on. On Wednesday morning I woke up with a horrible horrible headache. I didn’t want to move or open my eyes at all. Stupid me, I totally forgot that when transitioning to ketosis, the body needs more minerals. It’s often called “keto-flu” because symptoms are similar. I drank water with 1/2 teaspoon of Himalaya salt, went back to bed and felt perfectly normal in 20 minutes.
Overall, I can’t say I feel better compared to my normal diet, but except for the keto-flu incident I feel quite normal. First 2-3 days are usually a bit tough for most of the people, and unfortunately on day 4 my experiment got screwed up by an unplanned 1-day business trip to Mumbai (flying Thursday 7.40am, landing back Friday 7.40am). After two nights of sleeping 4 hours I would feel like shit no matter what I would eat. Now I feel normal again, which in my case means I feel pretty good.
These are my most important findings in Week 1 of Ketogenic diet and fasting experiment:
- Make calculations as you eat. It’s not just the daily nutrients, each meal needs to be balanced. If you overdo carbs for lunch, having fats-only dinner won’t save you.
I made my own excel calculator and I’m adding new items as I explore more foods. I will publish it after the experiment is done.
- Never leave home unprepared. Pack MCT, butter, macadamias, or a creamy dessert if that is an option. Getting fats while eating out will most often be limited to asking for butter. (imagine stewardess on a plane when I told her I don’t want the meal and I asked for 4 pieces of butter instead)
- Take enough minerals. Avoid my keto-flu story above.
- Eat enough veggies. It’s easy to forget about them when you focus on fats, but they’re important. Don’t screw your microbiome. Also, Dr. Dom calls veggies “fat delivery system”. Buttered Brussels sprouts and kale with olive oil became my staples.
- You will have to be creative – especially if you’re like me and your choices are limited (no meat, no avocados). I tried challenging myself to come up with foods “a day without a fish” (success), and “a day without dairy” (no success yet)
- Big keto secret: you can eat a bit of berries. OK, it’s not really a secret. Fatty foods and veggies taste a bit bland and… well, fatty, and after a few days I was craving for some fresh taste. Luckily nature (and farmers) gave us berries. A few blueberries, blackberries or raspberries are relatively safe, and make great dessert with thick or sour cream. Or I put 2 into water, blend and drink with ice as a refreshing drink. Morning entry in my 5 minute journal: “I’m grateful for free market, because it brings berries to my table”.