I’ve been doing keto for three years now (approaching four years), to help with my PCOS. Low carb is a lifestyle that I will continue for overall health since it supports whole foods and no overly processed stuff. Low carb is a lifestyle that is good for everyone even if you don’t have a medical condition, since “bad carbs” such as bread, sugar, tortillas, most things made with flour, have no nutritional value. I’ve had my fair share of conversations with people that range from no understanding of keto to moderate understanding, and here are their most common questions.
Wait so you just don’t eat carbs? Is that what it is?
Almost! It’s supposed to be no carbs but high fat. Also no sugar, because sugar is carbs. You train your body to use fat as an energy source and enter ketosis. It’s great for weight loss and helps with mental clarity since your brain uses fat for energy.
Isn’t fat bad? How is this healthy?
Society has branded fat as “bad,” which is so unfortunate because the more you look into it that’s not true. Good fats keep you fuller, and there has never been any researched documentation that good fat contributes to heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, or blocking of arteries. If you read Dr. Fung’s book The Obesity Code, the generic labeling fats as bad was all a scheme to sell people more carbs which increases insulin resistance, and ultimately is what contributes to obesity. It comes down to that, carbs make people fat.
Ok so which are the good fats? As you journey into keto you learn more about which are good and which are bad fats. Palm oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, which are most of what restaurants use to cook with, are bad fats. These saturated and trans fats are the baddies, and increases LDL cholesterol. But good fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, grass-fed cheeses, salmon, are the right fats you want.
Wait so, you don’t eat rice? How can you not eat rice or bread?
Yup, no rice or bread. But for keto you can buy substitutes of almost everything, you just have to be willing to pay more. We’re talking like 3x more. There is keto bread, keto donuts, keto bagels, keto pasta, etc.
Keto bread and pasta? What’s that made of?
It’s usually made with lots of almond flour, flaxseed, xantham gum, or some combination of other flours that contain a lot of fiber. To stay in ketosis it’s about staying under 20–50g of net carbs, which means you minus fiber content from carbohydrates, so it works out.
Almond flour doesn’t have carbs?
It does, but it’s the least carb-heavy out of all the other types of flours. It’s basically ground up almonds which contain a lot of fiber. A cup of almond flour is about 12g net carbs. So you can totally have some and add it to your cooking and baking, but eating an entire 12in pizza made of almond flour could put you over the limit.
I don’t think I could ever do this, I have a crazy sweet tooth
Me too, I love sweets so much. The great thing is you can make a lot of keto sweets, and they taste as good as the real deal! You can make cakes, pancakes, waffles (called chaffles!), brownies, cinnamon rolls, and cheesecakes! For the most part you substitute just two ingredients, white flour for almond flour, and sugar for a keto approved sweetener like erithytol, xylitol, stevia, or allulose. Even if you’re not doing keto specifically as a diet, this is better for you in general. There is nothing healthy about sugar. The reason why restaurants and bakeries don’t use these keto sweeteners is because it’s more expensive.
What about fruits?
Yeah I can have the low carb fruits, which are all the berries, such as strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry! But things like mango which I love so much have too much sugar content to be keto approved. Did you know two bananas has the same carb content as a can of coke? Of course, the sugar source in the banana is healthier than the coke, but in terms of raw carb count to stay in ketosis, it’s the same.
What about boba?
Very good question. You can still do an almost boba. Milk actually has a lot of sugar, but heavy whipping cream or half and half have almost no carbs. Interesting right? So you get regular black tea with 0% sugar, and ask to add heavy cream on top. Mix it together and it tastes pretty similar to milk tea. Instead of boba you can do grass jelly, which is low carb if they don’t soak it in honey.
This sounds like a lot of work, I’m too lazy to cook every day.
That’s why I order from meal delivery services so I don’t have to do that. It can be really tiring counting macros and cooking for one, so I tried like 10 different meal delivery companies (and I also wrote a review for each). It was important for me that things were in a microwavable container, so I could just bring it to work and easily heat it up. I also cared that the macros were right with low carbs and high fat. I think a lot of companies missed the high-fat component. At the end of the day, I really recommend Factor 75. They go beyond my expectations because all their foods are grass-fed, they don’t add preservatives, no added sugars (some places still add sugars I have no idea why), and their price makes sense. They also have some add-ons like keto desserts, they have like keto shakes, keto truffles, and keto cheesecakes! Also if you’re tired of keto, they also have paleo, non-dairy, high protein, low carb meals that you can choose from to switch things up.
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I work out a lot so this won’t work
I work out a lot too, and those in the keto community typically do not have a problem working out while on the keto diet. If anything, you can supplement with powders, should you need them.
I heard about the keto flu, is that a thing?
It’s a thing, but different people react differently to it. I am fortunate that I have never gotten the keto flu. For some people, it might just be feeling really tired or groggy when you start, and that’s probably the withdrawals from being addicted to sugar. Some people truly experience bed ridden flu symptoms. There is also a rare thing called the keto rash. If your body is craving sweets you can do a keto dessert with the approved keto sweeteners. But once your body is in ketosis, you can feel a huge wave of energy.
Do you really feel a difference in ketosis?
For me, I can really feel it. It’s the difference between night and day. In fact I feel a little bit superhuman. I don’t feel tired, I don’t need to sleep as much, I don’t really feel hungry, and I have more mental clarity. The mental clarity is hard to explain if you’ve never felt it, but when I’m out of ketosis, things feel hazy. When I started out I used the keto stips to help me identify if I’m doing it right, and later I bought a more long term breathalyzer. I think those things did help me recognize what I was feeling and making sure I was doing it right, since there are hidden carbs everywhere. After being on keto and knowing my body better, I don’t need either of those anymore, I already know if I’m in or out.
Wow! Maybe I should try at some point
Yes! Definitely try it because you might make the swap and do it as a lifestyle too! The more people who do keto the more awareness it’ll bring for low carb options, and hopefully, it’ll perpetuate markets to use more healthy ingredients. If you do try, I highly recommend doing it for at least a month. It’s going to feel really tough at first, but hang in there. The first time it can take up to two weeks to enter ketosis, so don’t quit early!