It’s been quite a few months since I provided an update on my ketogenic diet so I thought it would be a good idea to bring you all up to speed with what’s been happening. In reviewing this period I became aware for the very first time of some profound changes that have taken place in my life. Firstly, the headlines:
1. I’m still off refined carbs but I’ve been eating more foods containing sugar (homemade ice cream using honey primarily) and I’ve been drinking a few bottles of cider. In other words I’m not strictly following a ketogenic diet any more, it is more of a paleo diet. I now eat around 100g (400kcals) carbs, 150g (600kcals) protein and about 125g (1075kcals) fat. These are just estimates as I don’t record anything. On average I eat twice a day five days a week and I eat just once a day twice a week. I still eat lots of green veg with all my meals. I currently take the following supplements: Slo-Mag, Lo-Salt, creatine, BCAA’s, carnitine and fish oil.
2. I’ve lost more body fat and put on more lean muscle mass. My weight is now around 70kg. My musculature continues to improve.
3. I can fast for up to a day very easily. This is a great convenience especially when I go to University because it means I don’t have to worry about breakfast or lunch, I can just focus on studying. Generally I eat twice a day usually within an 8-hour window and I don’t snack or eat outside this time frame.
4. My views about exercise have completely changed, I’m now far more relaxed about what I do or more specifically what I choose not to do. I’m aiming for better overall health and better family/work/life balance as opposed to simply becoming a stronger faster cyclist. I’m currently in a phase where I am focused on building muscle mass.
5. I’ve had some health and autoimmunity issues, suffering with itchy skin, irritability, inflamed athletes foot and inflamed knees. My initial response was to up my carbs by including oats, potatoes and a little pasta but this just made the situation worse! I then started eating more protein, eggs, fish and meat and also just eating more generally. This put a stop to the symptoms so I knew I was on the right track. I believe the need for proteins was a response to months of eating relatively low amounts of animal proteins but also because I switched to more muscle building exercises.
6. I very rarely take blood ketone measurements any more. If I want to be in ketosis I can achieve this very quickly by fasting. The main benefit to me of being in ketosis is a heightened cognitive ability which is particularly useful when studying. I don’t ever worry about being fed or fasted before a training session, I know I’ll be fine in either state. I will tend to eat more carbs than normal after a training session in order to get insulin levels up to promote protein synthesis. My focus has switched from being ketogenic to becoming metabolically flexible, that is, being able to turn fat burning on and off quickly when required.
When I looked back over the past few months I became aware that I had transitioned from what was a tightly prescribed dietary approach (the ketogenic diet) to a much more relaxed approach to both diet and exercise and in addition, last month I started a one year full-time Masters course in Human Nutrition. If I had never started the keto diet I would never have started University, that’s a stonewall fact. It then dawned on me, possibly for the first time, just how much my dietary self-experiment had led into something much bigger and more profound. I had morphed from a keto-dieter into a ‘paleo’ lifestyler.
My paleo lifestyle at its heart incorporates a low-carbohydrate diet but it also includes a whole load of non-dietary stuff too, maybe things that I had always done but had not been aware of and also new stuff I was learning about. Yes, I was feeling so much better, but I hadn’t associated that or connected that directly with the paleo lifestyle. I’ll delve more into the paleo lifestyle in future blogs.
So, it appears that the last few months have marked an important period of change in my life and actually it feels kind of odd sharing it with you so publicly like this because in reality I’m actually a very private person! Anyway, I do hope you find something of value in this and my other posts and I thank you again, sincerely, for taking the time and trouble to read it.