I was very leery when I began the Keto diet because the idea of so much fat in my diet scared me. I was petrified to try it. It also had very little appeal to me as it made me think of a grease laden diet and to be sure there are plenty who practice the diet as just that. I'm also a stickler for counting calories while dieting which Ketoers typically shun. I was also disapointed that many of my favorite fruits and veggies were either big no no's or "treats". This is not to say I never found anyone taking things in moderation, like Martina from Ketodietapp.com/blog, but she's a rare bread as far as I'm concerned. I also find that women bloggers are more likely to incorporate food items that perhaps men are more than happy to give up. The minute my husband went on the diet he barely touched a vegetable unless I made him. So what is the Keto Diet, for those of you unfamiliar with it?
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet is essentially a low carb high fat diet in which you are more concerned with counting your micros, like grams of fat taken in daily, than calories. The point of this diet is to get your body from running on carbs to running on fat. During the transition period you get what is known as Keto flu and you'll feel pretty crappy while making the transition. Also if you are not careful and have a carb day you can throw yourself out of ketosis and have to essentially start over. That's essentially the jest but it is far more complicated than I can explain and will require further research if you are truly interested.
Did it Work for Me?I began the diet a little over a month ago, a few days before my husband cruelly brought home 15!! Cadbury eggs. A challenge to say the least. I did this in combination with Toneitup Workouts from Youtube and made sure to work out 5 days a week and walk 2 times a week. I also made sure to increase my water intake to around 64 ounces a day. For me the most beneficial change was my sleep. I had been one sleep aid or another since having my daughter 5 years ago. Its a very unhealthy habit but I just couldn't sleep. I didn't drink caffeine or sugary drinks but I still couldn't sleep on a nightly basis. That completely changed once I started the diet and within a week I was sleep aid free. I had more energy, I could tell my body composition was changing and leaning out. Needless to say I was tickled pink.
Over the last 5 weeks I have continued to count calories and using the KetoDiet Buddy figured out that I needed a daily intake of 1395 calories, 15 g carbs, 70.7 g protein, and 116.9 g fat. I was actually able to maintain that on a regular basis but its time consuming!! Even if you are not watching what you are eating your days are utterly swamped with prepping meals, cleaning up after those meals, and scouring the internet for new recipes. I realize it's suppose to be a lifestyle change but its also a very expensive one.
The Cost of the Keto Diet
For example one evening I made a cauliflower pizza crust. It was fabulous and was seriously the best tasting pizza I've ever had but it was cheap. I typically have my cupboard stalked with everything I need for pizza crust which is pretty simple: flour, yeast, salt, water, and oil. We're talking pennies since I typically buy a bag of flour when it goes on sale for $0.99. Needless to say the cauliflower crust requires a great deal more:
whole head of cauliflower $3
2 free range eggs $0.60
1/2 cup grated parm $1.50
1/2 cup mozz $0.75
So that brings us to $4.80 for pizza crust when I was paying $0.99.
Needless to say that's a hard and expensive pill to swallow. Don't get me wrong I'm all for whole food and I understand the need to reduce carbs and I really don't want my carbs back, for the most part. I miss oats and granola the most. I don't even miss sugar. I enjoy being able to actually taste the sugar in real foods. And don't even get me started on the cost of nuts!
Bacon and Eggs
This will be one of your biggest expenses as bacon is pretty much your go to breakfast. Don't get me wrong I like bacon but geeze is it expensive, a pain to cook, and I'd rather buy it from a local farmer which would be ever more expensive! Most of us can't afford good quality, free range, meats and we're just upping our hormone intakes as well as bad fats (from grain fed). We buy free range eggs which cost around $3.50 a dozen! Gone are the days of $0.99 eggs and I have no intention of going back, but I won't consume 2 dozen a week either! I'd like an apple and granola for breakfast or a ruby red grapefruit without added sugar. I'll admit meat and eggs are filling and I'm not starving but I will be if I can't afford food anymore.
There is No Good Substitute for Chocolate
Keto chocolate is awful. It's too dark for my taste and is bitter. My husband likes it but why would you eat something like that if you didn't enjoy it. I get the whole its a lifestyle thing and food is nutrition etc. etc. but come on. Why torture yourself? There are plenty of healthy individuals eating chocolate IN MODERATION, key word, who look a feel better than I do. I can't gripe about what I've been eating, since I've had no cravings, but this is not chocolate.
Did Keto Work?
Yes, I did loose 11 pounds and am now at 142.5 lbs. Some have said when you quit you will gain it all back like that but I have no intention of pigging out and eating more than 1400 calories a day. I still plan to work out, eat good fats, take in protein, and eat low carb. I just have no intention of living off protein and fat. I want fruits and veggies and when I decide to include carbs I will eat quinoa and whole oats. The diet is just too much work and I want a balanced lifestyle. For some it would seem I'm taking the easy way out; but I don't see working out 6-7 days a week, with calorie monitoring, as the easy way out. I was never a big sugar person. My weakness was potatoes any way they came, wheat, and anything breaded and fried. I feel if I can keep away from those I'll be doing great.