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Why I Tried the Keto Diet + What Happened

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Why I Tried the Keto Diet + What Happened



"TO EAT IS A NECESSITY, BUT TO EAT INTELLIGENTLY IS AN ART"




Over the past year, my work has led me to a regular writing position with the Chopra Center, which has me knee deep in health research regularly.


Amid my hours reading health journals and medical studies the ketogenic diet (and its many benefits) keeps popping up over and over as an effective healing approach for many of health issues that I’ve been researching.


Have you heard of the KETO diet?


At its core, the ketogenic diet (“keto” for short) is a macronutrient ratio that is high fat, moderate protein, and low carb.


Ketosis is when the body burns fat for energy (instead of sugar).


The ketogenic diet was originally developed in the 1920’s for children with epilepsy and can be –– if done wisely –– very healing for the body on a number of levels.


Inspired by the research, I personally decided to give it a try. to see the impact with some of my own health challenges.


I put a little Boulder Nutrition spin on it, to make it work even better for me.


I coined it 'the KONSCIOUSLY KETO approach'.


The results were pretty astonishing, which is why I'm excited to share my story with you today!



WHY I TRIED THE KETO DIET + WHAT HAPPENED


Each of us has our own bio-individuality.  What works for one person, may or may not work for another. We all also come with our own ancestry, genetics, family history and constitutions.  What all of this means is truly that we are all unique.  

I wanted to share with you my personal experience in eating (and living) the KONSCIOUSLY KETO approach.


WHAT IS THE KONSCIOUSLY KETO APPROACH:

There are many ways and variations of the ketogenic diet. There are also many common misunderstandings out there when looking at navigating such a change on one’s own.  


In fact, I have heard many people interpreting the ketogenic diet as one that is very meat focused (similar to the Atkins diet). I ensured that I could eat some plant-based meals and have a heavy plant focus when I gave it a try.

While what works for one person may not work for all people is surely a principle that I stand behind, there are some biochemical universals that I want to address here, so you understand how KONSCIOUSLY KETO works and why. 

THE SIX PRINCIPLES OF THE KONSCIOUSLY KETO APPROACH:

  • Plant focused and alkalizing: Plants are the most alkalizing foods you can eat. Alkalizing your body (how it is supposed to be) ensures that your cells are functioning optimally and that you feel healthy and vital.

  • Based in ancient nutrition: Eating this way is derived from the hunter-gatherer approach to eating, which is heavily programed in our DNA.

  • Full of natural Healthy Fats: When we get enough healthy fat, we feel satiated, calm, energized and balanced.

  • Konscious: Choosing our foods konsciously is, what I consider, an integral aspect of healthy eating and living.

  • Hydrating: Our bodies need adequate hydration to function. Dehydration is a primary cause of low energy and fatigue. Smart hydration (including electrolytes) makes a big difference.

  • A mind-body approach: Our lifestyles, our self-care, and how we move through our days is integral to our health — body, mind and soul. I was sure to include some of my favorite mind-body practices daily.

There are a few areas of my health that I have been focussed on lately –– some of which are more elaborate than others.

Here is what happened when I put the KONSCIOUSLY KETO approach into practice:

Hypoglycemia:

Many years ago I was diagnosed with severe hypoglycemia.  Hypoglycemia is an extreme sensitivity to sugar that becomes dangerous when blood sugar levels dip extremely low.  Hypoglycemia is exacerbated when one eats high glycemic foods, processed sugars, or doesn’t eat enough food altogether. 


Managing hypoglycemia was an anomaly for me for many years, especially as a young child.  Growing up in the 80’s, I surely ate plenty of refined carbohydrates — hello Cheerios — and sugars (a primary part of our diet at the time) and I was constantly in a blood sugar crisis.

As I got older, I was able to learn to manage this better with the blood sugar  knowledge to eat more protein and fat — therefore keeping my blood sugar more stable. 

Eating KONSCIOUSLY KETO has made even more of a difference.  My blood sugar has been solidly stable, and I feel more balanced and even higher in energy than ever.  No blood sugar crashes and none of the symptoms that come with them –– cold sweats, quick drops in energy, migraines, shaky ravenous hunger, fatigue and grumpiness.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome:

Over the past couple of years, I have noticed some morning stiffness in my hands, primarily my right hand. After a visit to the specialist, I was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (a condition similar to carpal tunnel but involving three compressed nerves instead of one).

After testing the KONSCIOUSLY KETO approach, I noticed my left hand completely self-resolved and my right hand improved approximately seventy-five percent. This is directly related to inflammation.  KONSCIOUSLY KETO is very anti-inflammatory because when the blood sugar is stable, and there is minimal sugar in the body, we automatically go into an anti-inflammatory state. High blood sugar sets off an inflammatory cascade (tracked by markers in the blood) that exacerbates systemic inflammation in the body.

Hashimotos:

Hashimotos is an autoimmune condition of the thyroid.  Almost every woman in my family has the antibody. I wanted to test out the the KONSCIOUSLY KETO approach to see how it would affect my blood work in relationship to my thyroid. The results (also tracked through my blood) were amazing. Although I will always have the antibody, I currently have no symptoms nor any activation of the autoimmune disease.

I found this study that illustrates it well: The study looked at 180 people with Hashimoto’s, over the course of 3 weeks, who were randomized to receive the ketogenic diet vs. a standard low-calorie diet. The 108 ketogenic patients ate the study diet, while 72 patients served as the control group and followed a low-calorie diet without any food restrictions or guidelines. Thyroid antibodies (Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies (TPO antibodies), Thyroglobulin antibodies (TG antibodies) and anti-microsomal antibodies), TSH, free T3, free T4 as well as body weight, mass, and composition was measured before the start of the study and after the study ended 3 weeks later in both the study group and the control group.

After just 2 days the results showed a great improvement. 

  • Thyroglobulin (TG) antibodies dropped by 40% 

  • Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) antibodies dropped by 44%

  • Anti-microsomal antibodies dropped by 57%!! 

This shows a res a notable improvement in symptoms after just 2 days!


Migraines:

Due to my hypoglycemia, for years I have struggled with blood sugar migraines. This is a common side effect of hypoglycemia.  When my blood sugar dips too low, I often get blurred vision and some tingling, followed by a migraine. Eating KONSCIOUSLY KETO has helped this condition diminish immensely.  


Body Composition:

Toning up and feeling strong in our bodies is something most of us want. The eating and movement plan you see here has directly helped me lower my percentage of body fat, build lean muscle and feel better in my body than I have in years.  This is not just about the number on the scale. This is more about muscle mass, tone, strength, and energy.   


I have never felt better than I do following the KONSCIOUSLY KETO plan. I have begun to make it my regular go-to eating style with some carb-cycling every couple of weeks.

As always, I would love to support you in creating a sustainable and supportive health plan for yourself where you can live your strong, radiant and vital self to the fullest.

Fine tuning our eating is something that is always at our fingertips as we continue to change and transform. Our eating (and our self-care) can match exactly what we are working on in our health and what we want for ourselves for the long term!


Much Love

Sue

P.S. Lastly, I have something very exciting coming to your INBOX in just a couple of days. Be sure to open the next email from me, as I don't want you to miss this!



THE DATA

As promised, here’s a little of the data I have found on many of the ways ketogenic eating may help you too!

If you are anything like me, you like to know the science behind what you are doing with your body and your health. There is a lot of hoopla out there, and just so you know, not all hoopla is scientifically sound. While there is so much well-rounded research on the ketogenic diet, I wanted to be sure to highlight some of the most relevant and revolutionary results for you.

Along with my assistant, Anne Crosby, I went a little research ballistic, and luckily, distilled down some of the most important takeaways from our wide angle lens of research.


Therapeutic use for disease 

One study showed a review of ketogenic eating and an overall improvement in weight loss, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

One case study showed how the ketogenic diet and high doses of vitamin D3 intake (10,000 IU/day) led to changes in some biological markers of breast cancer.

This study examined the effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle modifications using low carbohydrate interventions is effective for improving and reversing type 2 diabetes.


Weight Loss Related

One study looked at long-term effects of a ketogenic diet on various physical and biochemical parameters in obese patients. The ketogenic diet acted as a natural therapy for weight reduction in obese patients and there was a significant decrease in the level of triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and glucose, and a significant increase in the level of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) in the patients. 

A study done with military personnel on an extended ketogenic diet showed remarkable weight loss and improvements in body composition, including loss of visceral fat, without compromising physical performance adaptations to exercise training.

A study on ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones  after weight loss showed that circulating ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and subjective appetite which typically accompany dietary weight reduction were reduced when participants were in ketosis. 


Brain Health

Researchers at UCSF have found that ketogenic diets may lower inflammation in the brain through multiple mechanisms. 

MCTs and Ketogenic Eating

This study found that a diet rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) resulted in a greater loss of adipose tissue compared with long chain triglycerides. MCTs may be considered as agents that aid in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss.

Mental health

One study suggests that a ketogenic diet may have an antidepressant effect.  



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B.L.A.T. LETTUCE WRAPS

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B.L.A.T. LETTUCE WRAPS

I grew up eating BLTs with my dad. It was one food that we both loved, especially when we had fresh garden tomatoes to use.


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Lately, I have been playing with this lettuce wrap version (and adding 🥑 avocado). Butter lettuce is my favorite lettuce for a lettuce wrap, and pair it with avocado mayo and it's a little slice of heaven.

Try this yummy lunch when you can!



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WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT? 10 EATING STYLES FOR YOU TO CHEW ON

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WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT? 10 EATING STYLES FOR YOU TO CHEW ON

"THE WAY WE DO ANYTHING IS THE WAY WE DO EVERYTHING.  THE WAY WE EAT IS THE WAY WE LIVE"


GENEEN ROTH

 

Vegan or Paleo? Gluten free or whole grain? Whole food or fat free? What we “should” eat gets a lot of press these days. We know eating healthy is a great first step, but when it comes to aligning with a particular eating style, there are many factors to consider.

Eaters are often left confused around which eating style to choose in order to obtain optimal health and vitality––if choosing any at all. Each of the eating styles below comes with specific health benefits and characteristics that may help you navigate what lands on your plate. 

Whole Food

The whole food diet is likely the most basic and simple way of eating.  Whole food eating means eating food in its whole form with minimal processing. In 2011, Harvard School of Public Health created one formula of a whole food diet, The Healthy Eating Plate:  A simple and thorough guide to creating healthy whole food meals. With this version of a whole food diet a few simple guidelines are recommended: 

o   Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits

o   One-quarter of your plate with whole grains

o   One-quarter of your plate with proteins (plant or animal based)

o   Use healthy natural oils in moderation

o   Drink lots of water (avoid sugary drinks)

o   Get your daily exercise.

These guidelines are basic, simple and healthful. If you are dealing with specific health issues, you may need to alter the foods within the whole food regimen to address your health more assertively.

 

Gluten Free

Gluten free substitutions and health trends have become more and more popular in local health food stores over the past decade. Studies now show that 1 percent of the population has celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and 10 percent of Amercians are gluten sensitive. Grains containing gluten include wheat, spelt, barley, rye, farro, and kamut (along with other grains that may be contaminated with gluten such as oats).

While many of us may not be technically gluten intolerant or sensitive (or undiagnosed) eating less gluten can be beneficial for reasons such as decreasing inflammation, improving candida symptoms, healing leaky gut, and reducing migraines.

But don’t be fooled, eating gluten free does not guarantee your health. Beware of the ingredients in many gluten free substitutions as they are often refined, high in sugar, GMO’s, or preservatives.

 

Traditional

Originally coined by Dr. Weston A Price, the Traditional diet is exactly what it sounds like: Eating the traditional and local food of your climate and culture. In the early 1900’s, Dr. Price travelled around the globe, making the world his laboratory, while he observed many cultures far and wide––from Eskimos to Swiss and African tribes to Polynesian Sea islanders. His research is based on the dental structure and health of these varying populations and how their traditional diets affected physical degeneration related to nutritional deficiencies.

His complete body of work can be found in his masterpiece: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. The Weston A. Price Foundation was created in 1999 to continue his work and research in the world, while also educating folks on restoring nutrient dense foods to the human diet.

The Traditional Diet recommends a whole food based regimen based on nutrient dense local foods from plants and animals, with a special focus on nutrient dense foods, such as local cultured butter, local raw milk, farm fresh egg yolks, bone broth, as well as traditional sourdough breads and organ meats. 

 

Paleo

The Paleo regimen is fairly simple: If the caveman did not eat it, then neither should you. The Paleo diet is based on the premise that genetically, we are almost identical to our caveman ancestors. While studies show this premise to be only partially true, this hunter-gatherer type of eating style has many positives.  Paleo eaters avoid processed sugar, grains, legumes and dairy.

The Paleo eating style is based on a diet heavy in

o   Vegetables

o    Fruits

o   Unprocessed meats of all sorts

o   Eggs, nuts and seeds. 

While some folks find it meat heavy, studies have shown the Paleo diet has a positive impact on glucose intolerance, weight loss, and cardiovascular health. The Paleo Diet is a highly anti-inflammatory, pure and clean option to check out. 

 

Ketogenic

Originally created by the medical community as a supportive diet for children with epilepsy, the Ketogenic diet focuses on high fat and protein foods that force the body into a ketogenic state—burning fat for energy instead of the usual glucose and glucose-rich carbohydrates. This eating style surely busts the myth that “fat makes you fat”.

The Ketogenic diet has become more widespread recently with various associated health benefits outside of managing childhood epilepsy. While the Ketogenic diet requires more than a little diligence and a commitment and many folks question these drastic dietary changes, studies show that the extended use of the Ketogenic diet has a positive impact on weight loss, body mass index, cholesterol levels (raising HDL and lowering LDL) and blood glucose levels with no noted long term safety issues.

 

Low FODMAP

With digestive issues on the rise, the low FODMAP diet addresses some of the more common digestive issues of our time and is often recommended because many eaters have trouble digesting short-chain carbohydrates (tiny carbohydrates with less than 10 sugars).

FODMAP stands for "Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols”. The result of eating high FODMAP foods can be that these partially digested carbohydrates reach the large intestine and create a fermentation effect.  Also, in the gut one’s “bad bacteria” uses these partially digested carbohydrates for fuel, exacerbating digestive issues, leading to gas, bloating, stomach pain and even constipation. 

While the low FODMAP diet can feel a bit restrictive and challenging at first, studies show this diet to be a very healing option for many who struggle with IBS. You can find a complete list of the high FODMAP foods to avoid here.

 

Whole 30

Whole30 was founded by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig in 2009. Their Motto:  Eat. Real. Food. This popular 30-day program is a whole food short-term nutritional reset, governed by a few particular do’s and don’ts. Do’s include eating a real food diet rich in meats, fish, eggs, poultry, natural fats, and spices. Don’ts are to avoid processed sugars (including artificial sweeteners), grains, alcohol, legumes, dairy, MSG, sulfites and carrageenan and processed foods of any kind.

While there is no recommended calorie counting or weighing during the program (in fact it is forbidden), weight loss is highlighted as a primary benefit. Whole30 is considered more of a diet than an eating style with it’s 30-day focus on structure, duration, support, and regulation. 

 

Plant-Based

Michael Pollan said it well:  “Eat food, mostly plants.”  This is the foundation of the plant-based diet. Plant-based is not as strict as it sounds, with a wide range of plant based foods – vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes and can include small amounts of animal protein.

Often confused with the vegan or vegetarian diet, plant-based eating has a foundation of plant-based foods without the strict guidelines.

But beware, according to the Harvard School of health: “All plants are not created equal”. Technically fruit juice, potato chips and white bread are plant-based foods but can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and bodily inflammation, while a diet high in leafy greens and whole food based plants can do wonders for health and vitality.

If you choose to eat plant-based, be sure to choose your plant-based foods wisely.

 

Vegan

Veganism is known as a diet and lifestyle (often for ethical and environmental reasons) that excludes all forms of animal products, including all dairy, honey and eggs. When done well, the vegan diet can be sustainable, satiating and create and array of health benefits, specifically lowering body weight, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the rate of cardiovascular disease. However, not all vegan diets are healthy. Eating vegan requires attentiveness and an understanding that certain nutrients (such as omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, zinc, iodine iron, calcium, and iron) are harder to come by in the vegan world. 

When eating vegan, it is important to stay away from processed, nutrient-weak foods that lack proteins and fats, instead choosing whole food proteins (in the form of nuts, seeds and legumes) and naturally fat-rich foods that provide a stronger base for nutrition, while in some cases supplementing with nutrients such as vitamin B12. 

 

Flexitarian

This witty marriage of the two words, flexible and vegetarian, was voted the third most popular diet trends of 2018 by US News. The diet was originally described in the book, "The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life," by registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner. Flexitarian eating emphasizes a diet high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, plant-based proteins with occasional animal protein options. The original Flexitarian regimen comes with a supportive menu plan, lots of resources on cooking tofu and other plant-based proteins, and many supportive intentions including pleasure, satiety, and convenience.

The Flexitarian diet is just like it sounds, flexible. While this works well for some, others may prefer a bit more structure. There are many versions of eating flexibly and finding the best one for you is important to consider.


Finding an eating style that works for you can take a little patience, education and mind-body awareness. In general, when filling your plate with nutrient-dense whole foods, you can be confident that you are getting a high quality nutritious diet. Many of the above eating styles are strong and healthy options that over time, you can customize to align with your health and wellness needs.

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