Keto Week 2: Why I'm Trying Keto
Reflecting on my second week of a full Keto diet, so many people have asked me why I’m even trying this diet. They say that it is just another fad diet and as long as you eat in moderation, you’ll live a happy and healthy life.
I used to believe in the moderation diet. That is the diet I have lived by pretty much my whole life. However, I have also been sick most of my life with digestive issues. Beginning as a child, I have shown sensitivity to not only what foods I eat, but also how often I eat. Doctors have stated this could be anything from lactose intolerance to IBS to IBD to the precursors of Crohn’s Disease. Supplementing my diet with enzymes and probiotics, though in some cases does alleviate some pain and sickness, did not fix my digestion.
Because this is all I can really remember, I normalized my situation. It was my husband who finally told me that it was not normal to get sick, if not every day, at least 3-4 times per week. My husband, with a background in biochemistry and a passion for nutrition, has researched in depth different diets, and after the FODMAPs diet failed, a dairy-free diet failed, and a vegan diet failed, when my husband mentioned to me that he wanted to try a new diet that was very different than anything I had tried, I jumped on board.
So, I am approaching this new Keto diet with an open-mind and also the willingness to accept that this diet may not work for me.
I was also diagnosed with an autoimmune skin disease when I was 18 called Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis. Basically when my skin gets irritated, either from irritants internally or externally, my skin cells go into a state of skin suicide in which my skin cells start eating each other. Sounds more like cannibalism to me! As a result, I have blood sores on my skin that burn, itch, and are painful, especially under clothes. I have not been very public about this, because, honestly, it grosses me out. I have to be careful of not only what I eat (yes, some foods cause the sores to appear such as too much yeast), but also have to be extremely careful about what touches my skin from clothes, laundry detergent, soap, lotion, etc. And forget chlorine swimming pools! All in all, it's been a pain. Luckily the sores are concentrated on my legs and did not spread to my trunk. Plus, over the years, I have been able to keep the sores mostly at bay, but I still have flare ups and a difficult time just shaving or waxing my legs.
But what's my point with this? What do autoimmune diseases have to do with the Keto diet, you may ask? When we first decided to give the Keto diet a try, I dug up as much information, studies, and testimonials as I could find. One surprise that I found were the number of studies and testimonials reversing or easing symptoms for autoimmune diseases and disorders. As our modern world seems to be more and more riddled with autoimmune diseases, an excess of carbs and glucose in our diets could be continuing to fuel and cause these diseases. By eating a whole food Keto diet, the idea is that you deprive the disease of its needed nutrients and keep the symptoms at a minimum. I figure it's worth a shot! So, I'm giving it a try.
So, although I was sick for day 4 of the transition with the “Keto Flu”, I have not been sick for over a week now --that might be a new record for me! I have had zero inflammation or painful cramping since I began eating low carb, so I am very optimistic and hopeful for the longer term outcomes of this dietary change.
Some observations I have for week 2 include:
Random cravings --anything from cake to ramen broth to pickles to salted pork rinds
Sustained and even energy throughout the workday without caffeine --my usual drops in energy around 2-3pm have completely gone away
Waking in the middle of the night, but also waking up in the mornings alert (though my sleep is beginning to become more solid and sound)
Vivid dreams --when I wake in the morning, I can usually remember 2-4 dreams from the night
Sniffly nose, not easy to blow and more like an allergy-drip nose
Less oily skin and hair as well as less drool in my sleep
Occasional rapid heartbeat that calms as soon as I drink some salted water
Absolutely no gut inflammation or cramping (my pants are still loose at the end of the day which used to never be the case)
Slight weight loss from the fluid loss of the transition
Overall improved mood and no “hangrys”
We also tried testing our ketosis level through keto urine strips this week. We used Perfect Keto ketone test strips, which are easy to use and give you results instantly. We first tested on Wednesday, and Nic was in a light to moderate level of ketosis. After his results, he was a little anxious about my level of ketosis, being smaller than him --maybe I need less carbs in my diet, etc. However, when I tested myself, I was was in a deep to deeper level of ketosis! Has Nic been cheating?! I don’t think he was super pleased about that! Haha!
Next week, we will try adding back small amounts of carbs in increments of 5-10g, to test our upper limits of carb intake to stay in ketosis. I’m excited to add back tomatoes, bell peppers, and maybe even some butternut squash.
Onwards to week 3! Hopefully these positive changes are not just the placebo effect from wishful thinking. I sure hope not. I feel better now than I have in years!