Journey into ketosis | Notes from month 1

Asparagus & bone broth soup with homemade dukkah

Asparagus & bone broth soup with homemade dukkah

One of my favorite people to follow on Instagram is Teri from No Crumbs Left.  She does these awesome how-to videos, geared towards the home cook.  Just after Thanksgiving, which I can't believe was already 4 weeks ago, she suggested that we participate in a "21 Day Clean Sweep".  Just tossing all the Turkey Day holiday treats and leftovers, with a fresh start until Christmas. 

Somehow, here in my early 40's, I've come to love a month-long (or in this case 3 week) challenge.  It just seems like a very doable amount of time for me to develop a new, positive habit.  Over time, of course, I want something that works and is sustainable, but for a set period of time at the beginning of a new habit, it's really helpful for me to have some rules and a bit of a stretch in my goal.  I'd been eating and drinking all the things over the Thanksgiving holiday, and it just felt right to dive in and join Teri.  Granted, I eat pretty well all the time, gluten-free/paleo, but things were sneaking in that I know don't make me feel top shape.  I've been considering trying out keto for awhile for its cognitive benefits, and thought this might be a great time to give it a twirl.

Out with my beloved Simple Mills crackers, Siete Foods tortilla chips, sweet potato breakfasts, and also the extra booze and glasses of wine.  In with (very) low carb, high fat lattes, all the avocados, and a lot more dairy than I'm used to having around the house.

Mussels in fennel & white wine / butter sauce with bacon-y kale.  Not starving at all on keto.

Mussels in fennel & white wine / butter sauce with bacon-y kale.  Not starving at all on keto.

The first few days were par for the course, part of the reason I'm attracted to keto is that I typically eat pretty low carb, to the point that I'm pretty sure I'm in ketosis for a few days, and then will have some more carb-y meals back to back and I can feel that I get knocked out.  I really thought everything was going to be smooth sailing, and I that I wouldn't experience any of the "keto flu" symptoms.  I remember back to my vey first Whole30, and how sick I felt.  While it was nothing of that magnitude, I did have some dizziness late in the day on Days 4 and 5 that took me by surprise.  I was doing a wine delivery, and I had to take things suuuuuppper slow.  With a little research I started drinking a keto lemonade with magnesium, and felt much better.

I've had 2 "carb-ups" over the past 3 weeks, intentional times when I'll eat carbs at night, with the idea of burning them off while sleeping.  These were both sort of treat meals, one where I was having dinner at Tim's restaurant, and there were these amazing GF mashed potatoes, and the other was at a Thai restaurant and some rice sounded super good with my green curry.  Rice is a relatively new re-intro for me, after a few long years of going completely grain-free and working on gut health.   I'm not really ready to give up the occasional bite of sushi, so this idea of carb-ups works for me. Leanne Vogel of Healthful Pursuit, one of my favorite keto resources, subscribes by this practice of cyclical ketosis and it makes a lot of sense to me.  With a carb-up practice, keto feels a lot less restrictive.   I did notice I was completely tired out after both of those meals, like ready for sleep immediately.  Probably a good reason not to do a carb-up during the middle of the day.

My own ongoing drama with my relationship with alcohol has come up a few times. Recently, drinking just makes me sick.  I'm either having a full-on histamine reaction with a flushed face, nausea and a migraine headache, or I'm feeling like my blood sugar is completely whacked out.  Alcohol and I are just not working out.  I've been sticking with the most keto-inspired drinks - dry wine, and chilled, shaken tequila.  I did buy some Stevia sweetened tonic water for a keto G&T, that was gross.  Tim also made us keto-ritas on Saturday afternoon with the Lakanto monkfruit / Erythritol sweetener, and those were super amazing.  It's a little scary how much that stuff tastes like sugar.  I decided to have 2 of the margaritas, and that was not so awesome.  By the early evening, I had a ridiculous hangover which did not let up until the next day.  My body hates booze.

Keto baking, on the other hand, has been super inspirational and way more successful than attempting to force the drinking.  I've tried a few low carb recipes for breads and muffins and I'm totally into it! Everything has turned out better than expected, even the non-keto family members have enjoyed.

I've made my own hollandaise a couple times since beginning keto, it's super fun and totally delicious.  New sauce in my bag of tricks, yay.  This is the almond flour Keto Bread from    Elana's Pantry  .

I've made my own hollandaise a couple times since beginning keto, it's super fun and totally delicious.  New sauce in my bag of tricks, yay.  This is the almond flour Keto Bread from Elana's Pantry.

Another part of my keto Why is fitness goals.  Just like with a Whole30, I'm not super inspired to go crazy on exercise during the first few weeks of a new diet regime, but now I'm starting to feel antsy to work out a little more.  I typically go to yoga 3ish days a week, one of my goals is to up that a bit, and get in both a few strength training and cardio sessions like Pilates or HIIT.  So for the next stretch of keto, that's where I'm going to try and focus more of my energy.

We have Christmas coming up this weekend, and there will be some eating out in restaurants, and some cooking at home so that will be very fun!  By now my parents are used to my sometimes abrupt diet shifts by now.  They've followed me though gluten free, paleo, and Whole30 so I'm sure we'll have some fun with this.  I want to make a big keto veggie snack & cheese board for Christmas day, so I'll start gathering some of those ingredients at the farmer's markets this week.  Tim has committed to starting keto with me in January for 6 weeks, so it will be super great to have a keto buddy in the house!

Melinda StaehlingComment