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How to use the Ketogenic Diet & Intermittent fasting to improve your health

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 13 June 2019
Hits: 6988

There is so much information about food and eating healthy these days it is hard to know where to start. It seems like every day there is something new in the media informing us about something we should eat more or less of to get in good shape. And to make it more confusing there will be another report at the same time with an opposing opinion with scientific evidence to support it. It is no wonder people find it so hard to achieve great health and fitness results when there is just so much conflicting information. The one nutrition method to attract a lot of attention in recent times is the Keto diet. Unlike many other nutrition approaches this is not aimed specifically at weight loss, but at improving overall health and reducing inflammation in your body. This article we asked one of our trainers who has been successfully using this method for the past few months to explain how her body feels since she began experimenting with this eating method and the little tips and tricks she found along the way to make the transition easy to implement. Enjoy.

Back in June 2010 I completed a nutrition course in Metabolic Typing and have been following the guide lines for this diet and nutrition ever since. I found that it worked very well for me and gave me a better understanding of how my body responds to certain foods. I was able to find which foods worked best for me and define the perfect ratio of fats, proteins & carbohydrates that my body needed. In recent months I had heard a lot of talk about Intermittent Fasting & the Keto Dietand had a lot of questions about the value of this nutrition method. I began researching to find out more how it worked and experimenting with combining both Intermittent Fasting and the Keto Diet to find out first-hand what it was like. After a hesitant start I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it and saw instant results. I found that I had more energy and slept much better than I had been. My mental clarity was noticeably different and even lost some weight which I was not trying to! I lost over 5kg in the first 6 weeks. I was fairly strict with the process and followed the recommendations, however I was not perfect. For example, when I had a birthday celebration or a dinner out, I was quite relaxed and made the best choices I could and made sure I got back on track the next day. I still enjoy a glass of red wine on the weekends. The key is to be good for 80% of the time but do not let it run your life. Let's take a closer look at how these nutrition approaches work starting with intermittent fasting.

Intermittent Fasting

With the Intermittent Fasting that I fast for 16 hours, usually from 8pm – 12pm the next day. This means no breakfast and my eating window is from 12pm – 8pm. Research shows that there are no benefits to fasting beyond 18 hours. During the fasting period I drink water, herbal tea and black coffee, as I have eliminated milk. I am limiting my coffee to 1 per day.

But please remember that just because I am fasting it doesn’t mean that I can eat whatever I want during my eating period. A lot of people are jumping on the fasting train to lose weight but this will not work if you are still making poor choices during your eating period. You cannot continue to eat sugar, pasta, rices, fast foods and packaged foods and expect good results. The quality of the food is very important which brings us to the ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic Diet

Here is the definition of the keto diet by Wikipedia: “The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose. The keto diet makes your body more fat dependant and less carbohydrate dependant. Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, growth slowing, acidosis, and kidney stones.” Here are some of the changes I have recently made.

  • I’ve eliminated milk (not dairy) as prior to starting the keto diet I would have milk in my coffee. I wasn’t having a lot of milk but I was finding that it was making me quite bloated.
  • I cut out pasta and replaced this with zucchini noodles
  • I cut out rice and replaced with cauliflower or broccoli rice
  • I eliminated all junk food. 
  • I cut out lentils and beans.
  • I limited my fruit intake. I was not a big fruit eater anyway, as I find fruit makes me hungry. If I was to eat fruit I would be sure to eliminate apples, oranges and bananas.
  • If I need to use flour I use almond flour or coconut flour instead of white flour.

What Have I Been Eating Instead?

With the Keto diet I stick mainly to above ground vegetables. The below ground vegetables like potatoes are a no, no, as they are higher in starch which converts to sugar. I mainly have cauliflower, lots of green vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, spinach, Brussel sprouts, and asparagus. These are the low energy carbohydrates and can eat these as much as you like.

For the protein intake I enjoy slow cooked beef, chicken, seafood, and bacon.

My fats include avocado, cheese, cream, sour cream, coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, and olive oil. I enjoy nuts, limiting them mainly to pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, and macadamia’s. In regards to fruits Keto friendly fruits are blackberries, raspberries, and coconut.

Here are some examples of my meals:

  • Breakfast – Breakfast – l have nothing on Monday to Friday and only consume water, herbal tea, and black coffee. On the weekends I break my Intermittent Fasting with an egg, mushroom and cheese omelette, or poach an egg with a slice of bacon and avocado. Other times I might have scrambled eggs with haloumi cheese and chilli. I prefer to only use 1 egg but you could use 2.
  • Lunch – I normally have salads with a hardboiled egg, avocado, and cheese, drizzled with avocado oil. Other days might include leftover dinner from the night before, frittata with salad, roast chicken in lettuce cups with cheese and avocado, or nice hot soup.
  • Afternoon Tea - I like to have herbal tea, bone broth, mixed nuts, pate, a hardboiled egg, hommus with cucumber, baked ricotta, cottage cheese, beef jerky, pork crackles, cheese or cold chicken.
  • Dinner – These mainly consist of slow cooked meals with cauliflower rice, steak and eggs with avocado, seafood with zucchini noodles, Bolognese sauce with steamed veggies, curries, stir-fry’s, taco bowls, and chicken carbonara with zucchini noodles.
  • Snack – Herbal tea or a square of 90% Lindt dark chocolate, chocolate is allowed providing it is over 85% cocoa.

For more meal ideas check out our recipe page, click here

Ways to make the Keto Transition Easier!!

  1. Don’t Obsess with Weighing Yourself: The weight loss may take time and it will vary from person to person. We must not forget that other factors come into play with weight loss such as training with exercise, stress and sleeping habits.
  2. Don’t Obsess with Your Weighing Food: I didn’t weigh or measure any of my food and I highly suggest this when starting out. I feel it is better to develop a good understanding of your body and find what it needs by becoming aware of your reactions to eating a meal. Some people may find measuring food is useful at first to avoid overeating, but please don’t obsess with measuring food.
  3. Meal Plan: Have an idea of what your meals will be for the week and plan ahead taking care to make a detailed shopping list. Try and plan dinner meals that can be used for lunch the next day.
  4. Eat Your Vegetables: Your vegetables are full of fibre and low energy carbohydrates and be sure though to stick to the ABOVE ground options. If you limit your vegetables you will tend to over eat on protein which is not how the Keto Diet works.
  5. Drink Water: Stay hydrated as any change in your diet can disrupt your digestive system. You must ensure your drink plenty of water to keep your digestive system healthy.
  6. Healthy Fats: Don’t be scared of consuming healthy fats, the Keto Diet has a high good fat intake diet as these fats keep you fuller for longer and become your body's source of fuel.
  7. Avoid Excessive Protein: Overeating protein can have a negative effect on the Keto Diet. If you eat too much protein it can increase your blood sugar levels and send your ketosis levels out of balance.
  8. Clean out Your Fridge and Pantry: Get rid of all the junk food before you start the process.

What To Avoid on the Keto Diet

  1. Fruits: High carbohydrate fruits need to be avoided. Examples of these are apples, bananas, and oranges.
  2. Rice, Pasta & Bread: Grains are very high in carbohydrates and the keto Diet relies on consuming low energy carbohydrates.
  3. Legumes: Beans, legumes are very high in carbohydrates and therefore need to be avoided.
  4. Underground Vegetables: Again, all of these vegetables are very high in carbohydrates. Examples of these are potato, sweet potato, and beetroot.
  5. Cheat Meals: At first the transition can be difficult as you get used to eliminating foods you may have eaten for some time. By allowing any cheat meals too early in the process will produce very negative effects and ruin all your hard work. At the start of your transition make a commitment to yourself to stay on track as close to perfect as possible for the first 3 – 4 weeks before introducing cheat meals.

Summary

If you are thinking of trying out Intermittent Fasting or the Keto diet, don’t be too hard on yourself to get it right straight away as it takes time to get used to. I did the change all at once but had done my reading and research prior to starting and knew exactly what I was in for. Having a plan is very important as this will help you to keep on track and will make the transition much easier. The results to your health will be astounding as you find you will have more energy to enjoy life much more than ever before. And the best part is the food tastes amazing and I never feel like I am on a restriction.

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