Tag: ketosis

Caveman Keto: Ultra Low Carb Creativity

Posted by on March 27, 2012 | No comments

Just wanted to send a shout-out to my new favorite recipe blog, Caveman Keto.
Egg in a Cloud from cavemanketo.com

Now this is a website that’s going places, particularly in Google, and particularly for the keyword “keto”. How could it not, with recipes like:

Kitchen Sink Keto Burger — burger ALL the keto!

Keto Taco Salad — looks like cat food mixed with rabbit food, probably tastes better. Or the same, if you feed your cat good pork.

And who could successfully avert their eyes from beholding the wonder of BACONE, The Ultimate Keto Breakfast! — shown below, possibly actual size?

My personal favorite thus far has been Eggs in a Cloud, although I made them with sheep’s milk manchego rather than parmesan. Then I swiped his photos!

While the food photography may not be top notch, the ideas are great, and ideas are what most of us ultra-low-carb dieters really need. So keep it coming, caveman!

BACONE the ketonator by cavemanketo.com

BACONE! the ketonator!!!

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Proof that I Am Negatively Motivated

Posted by on August 7, 2011 | No comments

I was reading this interview with bodybuilder Jamie “Chaos and Pain” Lewis, and he had this to say about getting ultra-lean (emphasis mine):

I think that keto dieting is essential to getting ultra lean, even if it’s simply short keto runs. Right now, I’m ascribing to a diet wherein I keto diet Monday-Thursday, moderate carb with high protein and low fat Friday, and then a 3 hour cheat window Friday night, moderate carbs, high protein, low fat on Saturday, and then same as Friday on Sunday. Cycling my macro nutrients that way helps me lean out and build muscle simultaneously.

Warren Willey is a big proponent of those cheat windows, and I swear by them – refeeds really will get you leaner.

Incidentally, I don’t give any nutrition advice to women. So my recommendation on carb cycling is just for guys. Especially refeeds.

MG: Why wont you deal with women?

Jamie: Women have a psychological attachment to food. Meaning no disrespect to women (for once in my life), I think they need a psychologist more than a nutritionist for dieting. Because I have no idea how to break that emotional attachment, and it alternately amuses and horrifies me, the refeeds derail their diets every fucking time. Thus, they’re either dieting, or they’re eating like shit. There’s no in between. I can’t be bothered to deal with that. (Laughs)

OK, so I will admit that there is some truth to what he’s saying: women do seem to have more of an emotional attachment to food than men do. (MORE of, not the black-and-white, on-or-off notion he’s proposing here.)

But you know what, buddy? Carb Nite is way fucking harder to stick with than what you’re peddling.

So I’m going to do things your way, right down to the day of the week, for 3 weeks, just to… just to SHOW you! Haha :)

I’ll start this diet tomorrow (Monday).

In the meantime, I should find some of my progress pics and post them up here on this website. I’ve had this blog too long to not have my snapshots up.

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Experiences on the Carb Nite Program

Posted by on June 30, 2011 | 9 comments

I’ve talked before about doing the Carb Nite program (I won’t call it a “diet”, because you’re only meant to do Carb Nite for a limited amount of time and then switch to a more sustainable long-term diet), and, at the prodding of a commenter on an earlier blog post, decided to follow up about it.

The short and sweet: I dropped to 22% bodyfat from about 24% in 5 weeks. Although the scale shows I lost only 5 pounds (coming to about 133 lbs), I must have gained about a pound of muscle to end up as I did.

I also reduced my waist from 29.5″ to 28″, and my “mommy tummy” to about 33″. I still feel I have a few inches to lose in that area, but I’m very happy with my progress.

I’m not still doing Carb Nite. In fact, while I was thinking about this post, I ended up finding someone else’s experience with the Carb Nite diet which was quite similar to mine.

“Polymath Scanner” — I love that name! — wrote a post entitled “Why I Dropped the Carb Nite Solution Diet”, and said:

On Thursday, I woke up and tried to go about my regular day after carb night. I didn’t really eat much, as I didn’t feel hungry at all. In the early afternoon I had an egg omelet as I knew I had to eat something, but it really didn’t taste good to me at all. For dinner I made steak and salad, and even though the salad tasted good I really did not enjoy the steak at all. The whole time I was eating it, my body was saying “Don’t eat this.”

On Friday morning, I once again did not feel like eating so I just had a protein shake but by the time mid-afternoon rolled around I knew I had to eat something.

That’s when it happened.

I went upstairs, opened up the fridge and saw all the different foods I had there which were Carb Nite® Solution friendly and I had everything in there to make a few dozen different types of meals.

I stood there for about 2 minutes, stared at the food in the fridge, and then closed the fridge door with the intuitive thought “I am no longer on this diet.”

And that’s pretty much how it went for me, too — on both month-long rounds of Carb Nite. I lost a bunch of fat up front, then hardly any fat (comparatively) the following weeks, just like Mr. Polymath describes in his post.

Around the fourth or fifth week on this diet, it really did just feel wrong to keep eating the high protein, high fat things all day. I quit the diet both times without having planned to, simply because at a certain point, it felt more right to eat a banana than an omelet for breakfast… and then it felt better to eat some baked yam with butter instead a turkey salad for lunch… and so on.

Interestingly — and I think quite positively — the end result of these two Carb Nite cycles was that it put me at a place where I am intuitively eating around 100 grams of carbs per day without even noticing it. I still have “sugar cravings” that I instantly recognize as a need for minerals (e.g. greens) or potassium. And the small amounts of high-carb foods that I do eat, I find so incredibly sugary that it’s actually hard for me stomach what would be considered a full serving of it.

So that’s it. I would definitely, definitely recommend giving this program a try. You will lose fat and you will gain untold insights about your body that will help you interpret your needs and cravings, no matter what program you’re on.

Oh, and as I wrote in another blog post, I found that being on the Carb Nite program, which is a cyclic ketogenic diet, was not only preservative of breastfeeding, it actually seemed to make my breastmilk fattier (which is good).

Have you tried Carb Nite or another ketogenic diet? Let me know!

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Breastfeeding and Ketosis: Nursing on an Ultra Low-Carb Diet

Posted by on April 3, 2011 | 13 comments

your standard stock photo of breastfeeding Before I started the Carb Nite diet, which is a cyclic ketogenic diet, I studied long and hard on the possible effects of being in ketosis while breastfeeding. Might it affect the quality of breastmilk? Might my milk supply go down? These would be unacceptable outcomes for me, as I’m committed to supplying my 6-month-old son with breastmilk as his nearly-exclusive source of nutrition.

So I read “Nursing and the Primal Blueprint Diet” from marksdailyapple.com, a website dedicated to the paleolithic diet (which is not necessarily ketogenic, but is usually moderately low-carb and can often be ketogenic).

I read forum threads like this one, where posters insisted that ketones either wouldn’t get into breastmilk or wouldn’t get harm the quality of the breastmilk.

I also talked to Dave Asprey, author of the recent Better Baby Book, who explained that the fat in babies’ brains is assembled FROM ketones in the blood. So how could a few ketones in the breastmilk be anything but beneficial?

In the end, it came down to trying SOMETHING. So I embarked on the Carb Nite diet and kept good records, watchful for any changes, problems, etc.

It’s now been 2.5 weeks since I started a cyclic ketogenic diet in the midst of exclusively breastfeeding my 6-month-old son. I can now say with confidence that consuming 30 to 40 grams of carbohydrates per day, effecting an 8% caloric intake from carbohydrates, has no effect whatsoever on milk supply.

Of course I can only speak for myself here, since I’m hardly a medical professional or even a scientific expert.

However, I have conducted my own scientific micro-study on the effects of eating an ultra-low-carb and ketogenic diet while exclusively breastfeeding. I tracked my caloric intake, keeping my macronutrient ratio to strictly 8% of calories earned from carbohydrates, and eating (as a guideline) my body weight in protein in grams (135, if you must know) every day. And I have been tracking my nursing time, my son’s weight, and my pumping output every single day since my son was 3 weeks old.

At this point I am highly confident in saying that being in ketosis — periodically — has absolutely no effect on milk supply.

I can’t say the same for being in constant ketosis, because I haven’t tried that yet. My diet has been cyclic: 3 days of burning off carbohydrate stores (non-ketogenic), 3 days of ketosis, and then one day of “carbing up” where carbohydrates are consumed in excess and stored for the next cycle.

I plan on staying on this diet for another 2 weeks at the very least, because I’m interested in the fat loss it purports to bestow, and I will be watching my milk output as I go through each CKD cycle.

In case you are curious, I am using MyNetDiary for my nutritional intake recording, and Total Baby for my nursing and pumping recording. I absolutely adore these programs as they seem to be extremely well-programmed (they don’t crash my “ancient” iPhone 3G) and their interfaces are intuitive. These programs save me time over writing things down on paper, and that’s not a compliment I ever give lightly!

Full disclosure: I am continuing to use the phytoestrogenic / phyto-oxytoxic herb fenugreek on a 2-weeks-on / 2-weeks-off cycle, because even when I was eating a “balanced” diet my milk supply has tended to be low, and this particular herb has given me measurable boosts in my milk production.

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The Ketosis Flu: Potassium Deficiency?

Posted by on March 27, 2011 | 8 comments

I’d never been in ketosis before, and the Carb Nite book says very little about the way it feels to run out of glycogen stores with no glucose in your bloodstream.

Atkins dieters call it the “induction flu” . . . and it feels CRUMMY!

Kiefer says of this low period, “you just won’t be as quick-witted or -footed”. Me? I felt like if I didn’t spend all weekend in bed, I wasn’t going to have any wits left to speak of.

Granted, I’m also sitting on a huge backlog of sleep deprivation going back to my son’s birth in October. But nothing’s hit me that hard in all of that time (other than my son himself), even when I’ve done ridiculously intense 45-minute workouts on 4 or 5 hours of sleep.

See, on top of the general malaise, I also felt constantly hungry or thirsty — it was hard to tell which, because NOTHING made me feel better. It was like a sucking sensation in the pit of my stomach. I drank water; I ate coconut oil; I took rest; nothing helped.

So the question I asked myself was, does it HAVE to feel so bad? Or is there something else going on here?

I opened up my trusty food journal and took a look at my micronutrients, since a diet with pretty much no fruit in it is going to produce some obvious deficits. I immediately noticed that my sodium intake was about 3 GRAMS per day, whereas my potassium intake had been about 500mg at best. (That was in fact the only really big deficit, much to my surprise.)

Potassium and sodium are classified as electrolytes in the human diet, needed for all kinds of essential chemical interactions. Na and K are supposed to be in balance, about 2 to 1, which is why having an RDA for each of them is kind of silly. If you eat lots of bananas, you need to balance their potassium with a little salt; if you eat bratwursts for breakfast (ahem), you’ll need to get lots of extra potassium.

A low-carb diet can be an excessively salty diet without too much effort. There just isn’t a low carb food in existence with enough potassium to balance out the salt in a sausage; supplementation was called for.

So on Day 4 of last week’s Reorientation phase of Carb Nite, I biked out to my local druggist and bought a bottle of potassium gluconate (550mg per tablet).

When I got home, I downed 3 tablets with a liter of water. Within three hours, all of those “pit of the stomach” feelings totally went away. My ability to lift my head and stay alert improved immensely. And I finally felt hydrated!

The tiredness stayed with me, however, until I’d slept about 4 or 5 hours during the day on Sunday, and went to bed at my normal 11pm bedtime.

On Monday, I woke up rather refreshed and tentatively energetic — I probably could have done a workout, but I wanted to “be sure” before I used energy that way.

On Tuesday, having added the potassium tablets to every meal (to get 2000mg per day), and making a special effort to avoid adding salt to my food, I felt pretty much normal!

Of course at that point, presumably my body had figured out how to be in ketosis. So the question is, if I went through reorientation again, could I prevent most or all of these “keto flu” symptoms by taking potassium?

I’ll just have to do this again someday and find out!

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Starting Carb Nite Diet for Fat Loss

Posted by on March 21, 2011 | 5 comments

Definitely not me.

So it’s been 3 months since I set a goal of reaching 20% bodyfat by March 30th. It’s now March 21st and there’s no way I’m going to drop 5 pounds of fat and gain 1-2 pounds of lean muscle in 7 days — not at my current pace.

I have failed.

But that’s okay. I failed the same way a gazillion other people have failed: cutting calories.

Back in 2008, a friend of mine gave me a copy of his book, Carb Nite, which details a system of muscle-sparing fat loss that is something akin to a cyclic ketogenic diet. The system purports to manipulate hormone levels in order to make the body run on fat — and therefore never store fat — and then to keep the metabolism on an upward trend.

Keeping the metabolism on an upward trend is apparently something the traditional “just stay the course” low-carb diets like Atkins fail at. Many people reach a plateau where they should still be dropping fat, but their bodies have adjusted somehow; these people often resort to calorie-cutting, which tells the body to down-shift the metabolism even more. Kiefer explains this in his book, both scientifically and from his own personal experience doing a low carb slow-and-steady diet with disappointing results.

Anyway, here’s the short and “sweet” on how this diet works. You eat 30 grams of carbohydrates every day for 9 days. Then on the 10th day, starting at about 4pm, you eat all kinds of high-carb foods that would be off-limits on just about any other long-term lifestyle diet (which this diet is not) — pizza, doughnuts, bagels, even your favorite gluten-free baked treats made with all-organic ingredients (yes, the Wholesome Bakery tops my list for “carb night”).

How does this work?

Well, Tim Ferriss uses this same hormone manipulation technique in his Four Hour Body diet, although he doesn’t explain it to nearly the degree that Kiefer does in Carb Nite. And William Banting is usually credited as the first “dietitian” (he was a coroner who experimented on himself, to good effect) on record to figure out that it’s the QUALITY of a diet, not the QUANTITY consumed, that makes the difference in one’s constitution — and that eating very few carbohydrates but lots of fat was the key to fat loss.

You may notice I never say “weight loss”. I’m only interested in losing fat, obviously! If I dropped 5 pounds of fat but gained the equivalent poundage in muscle, I’d be a happy camper.

That’s why I have a bodyfat analyzer. Mine is on the cheap end of the spectrum, but it seems to be measuring consistently. It’s the fact that the numbers on this little machine haven’t budged much at all in 3 months that I’m switching to a plan that promises actual results and has the science to back it up.

I’ve spent a decade variously experimenting with calorie cutting, cardiovascular exercise, a raw vegan diet, and many other faddish approaches that ultimately have their roots in a carbohydrate-loving view of the human diet that may be completely unfounded — or at least, so says the primal diet world.

I think I can honestly say that there was one time in my life that calorie-cutting worked for me, but it was during a period of time where I just didn’t have time to deal with food, so I didn’t even notice! It was the slow-and-steady effect that probably only happens when you’re not stressing over it.

Anyway, let’s face it: many people probably do succeed on the calories-in/calories-out model, including the fitness experts who do slow cardio every morning. But there’s actually not much evidence showing that this approach works for too many people. And I know it doesn’t work too well for me — particularly because I’m breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding, in fact, is one of the reasons I’m doing this diet. I’ve struggled to determine how many calories breastfeeding burns and come up short. So, while keeping a food diary did help me see how many calories I was eating per day, it’s hard to tell how many fewer I could eat and still produce milk enough to feed a growing baby who exists entirely on it alone.

Thus it gives me great peace of mind to be on a diet geared toward fat loss and muscle preservation that doesn’t force me to cut calories at all.

I am actually now halfway through the first 10 days of this system, having started this past Wednesday, and if this past week had a theme song, it would be called “And I’m Still Hungry!?” I have slabbed tons of butter on things, including steak, and still wound up with an appetite for more. So I eat. And I record what I eat — and in the final tally, I’m eating almost EXACTLY the same number of calories as in my “balanced” diet.

So if this diet works, it will be because of its stated pathway of hormone manipulation, not because of calorie cutting!

Many more thoughts have come to mind — like whether ketosis would be a problem for breastfeeding — so stay tuned for more blog posts where hopefully I ramble a little less and stay on a focused topic a little more.

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