Is the Ketogenic diet healthy? My thoughts & experience with keto.
Is the keto diet healthy? Is this the right diet for me?
- These are the questions I asked myself when I studied the hip and trendy ketogenic diet. It looked interesting, had some compelling arguments and sounded like a miracle diet for many reasons. As a lifestyle alchemist, naturopathic practitioner and science nerd, I knew I was going to dive deep into the research and once I did, I gave it a shot (3 times actually).
Each time, I experienced similar results. I felt REALLY awful for the first few days, then I felt great, and then I felt like I was in a prison. I personally do not love eating all that fat, I don’t love being restricted and I don’t love the pressure to track and fixate on what I am eating to THAT extent!
After trying three times with similar feelings, I trusted my body and quit for what feels like good. I experienced drastic swing backs (pendulum effect) and binged on sugars for a few days after but then came into a really nice and healthy balance. What just feels best for me, is to eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and some animal proteins, with about 20% of my diet being WHATEVER the heck I want (and yes that means fries, pizza, chocolate cake and cookies!)
FREEDOM is the primary motivator in my life, and it feels good to be free in my diet as well, while honouring my body and what it needs to feel fully optimal and nourished!
One of the main things I have noticed within myself as well as my clients and friends is the attachment to binary consciousness and an unhealthy attachment to opinion when it comes to nutrition.
Watch my keto diet testimonial here:
ENDING BINARY CONSCIOUSNESS
We live in a world of duality, with contrast and comparison, where opposing opinions and belief systems have been the seed of war since possibly the beginning of physical existence. The war of opinion can certainly be experienced greatly in the world of nutrition.
One era it is said that meat, eggs and cheese are the devil and the next era these same hellish foods will save your life. Vegans will proclaim that they have the answers to salvation for the planet, yet the paleo community believe they have solved the chronic health crisis. High carb eaters think fat will kill you where the high fat team thinks carbs will kill you, while the bodybuilders only care about 12 eggwhites and a thousand pounds of protein in any form they can get it.
Let’s face it, the nutrition world is confusing, contrasting, convoluted and just outright insane to navigate unless you have some kind of formal training under your belt, and even then it’s still challenging to truly discern what is ‘right’ vs. what is ‘wrong’.
In my opinion, it is EXACTLY the ‘right vs wrong” mentality that IS THE PROBLEM ITSELF! This right vs wrong thinking is what causes duality, it’s what creates an enemy and what fuels war.
I personally have experienced the inner struggle searching for what is right, and after dying a million ego deaths, I have finally adopted a belief system that there is very little objective truth, and that we do exist in a world that is infinite shades of grey.
Trust me when I say this, I BROKE MY BRAIN and drained my body trying on EVERY SINGLE nutritional philosophy to really see if this was finally the one winning way of nourishing the body. It took a lot of trial, error, experimentation, philosophizing, spiritual searching and death/rebirth cycles to come to a place where I now feel that nothing is right per se, nor nothing is wrong, but everything is bioindividual and ever fluid…meaning, things change and what is effective for my body now, may be different to what was effective 4 years ago, to what will be effective in 4 months.. AND that what works for me, is not necessarily what will work for you, or anyone else to the exact specifics that it worked for me.
With this being said, in my professional practice, I stopped teaching people what they ‘should’ be eating, and I now teach them how to understand their own needs, to listen to the changes as they come and to honour the ever fluid evolutions as they come.
Tools like advanced symptom assessments, ayurvedic profiling, bioindividual nutrition, genetic based diet plans, hormone profiling nutrition and intuitive eating are much more effective and empowering for people than giving them a meal plan and trying to box them into something that may or may not be the right thing for them.
If you are looking for personalized support with your nutrition or overall wellness, you get contact me here.
For those of you who came to this article to learn more about the ketogenic diet, this doesn’t go into all the specifics at all, because that’s not why I wrote the article, but I do want to mention some of the potentially unhealthy effects of the ketogenic diet that you would benefit from exploring before trying out the diet.
Some of the potentially negative health effects of the ketogenic diet include:
Adrenal issues: High fat combined with high protein
Although the keto diet doesn’t always specify it’s protein levels, what we see is people consuming extremely high amounts of fat and animal protein (think bacon bacon bacon).
The ketogenic diet is especially problematic for the adrenals because when you eat a high-protein and high-fat diet, your adrenals flood adrenaline into your bloodstream to help your liver properly disperse fats. Your liver needs this help because bile, whose job it is to breakdown fats, is weakened when your liver is under stress. If your adrenals do not respond with aid, excess fat in the bloodstream can lead to stroke or heart attack. This extra adrenaline, while corrosive and damaging, is your body’s way of protecting your life. - Medical Medium
A critical mistake people suffering from chronic illness could make is to adopt an all-cooked, ketogenic diet. In this instance the person is likely to grow extremely dehydrated and develop thick blood, which are the perfect conditions for viruses and bacteria to proliferate and wreak havoc - medical medium
Doing it wrong - High fat AND high carbs
If you aren’t fully ketogenic, and you are doing “high fat” while also eating high carb (as well as some protein in there too), chances are that your body is not going to properly metabolize the fuel sources and end up packing on extra fat, clogging the liver and lymphatic system and priming the body for excess candida yeast from fermented or undigested foods in the gut. The body’s main fuel source is traditionally glucose, but it can also convert and use the triglycerides from fat, however it gets complicated when the body is being flushed with too much of both.
Also, when people eat foods that are high in fat and sugar (plus add some salt in there), the combination is highly taste pleasing and addictive in the brain, which triggers many people to consume more calories than the body needs.
This gets people into more trouble with insulin, blood sugar, pressure on the digestive organs, etc.
There is a keto flu to be aware of, you may experience diarrhea or foul smelling breath and body odour, reduced athletic performance, reduced muscle mass, food cravings, feelings of restriction, longer term weight gain and increased risk of heart disease or diabetes.
More commonly people will speak of ketoacidosis, which is what occurs when the body stores up too many ketones, which are acids produced as a byproduct of burning fat, and the blood becomes too acidic, which can damage the liver, kidneys, and brain.
Positive benefits of the keto diet
I’ve worked with several clients (all men) who have definitely thrived off short periods of cyclical ketogenic diets as well as intermittent fasting. Many of my peers in the wellness space also swear by the diet and lifestyle.
If you are interested, there are a lot of articles claiming tons of positive benefits of the ketogenic diet and explaining how to do it right, like Dr Axe’s website for instance, which may turn out to be right for you, but I am not here to tell you what to do. I am here to tell you that there is no big blanket statement overarching right or wrong answer for everyone, so you would do best to dive into the research, work with a practitioner and try it out for yourself while supervised!
Again, if you want help with a bio=individual health and wellness plan, or to learn more about my other programs, check this out!
With love & gratitude,