Last month I went (aka failed) at implementing a keto diet. A keto diet is one where your main source of energy comes from fat and protein. On the diet, you need to kiss carbs, starchy vegetables (potatoes 😭), certain fruits, sauces, juice and sweets GOODBYE. By strictly limiting your carb intake, this takes your body into ketosis mode. Ketosis triggers your body to burn fat instead of carbs, which in turn can result in weight loss.
DISCLAIMER: while reading this blog post bear in mind that I went on keto for two weeks. During that time, I also worked out (3-4 times a week) and remained vegan and gluten-free.
#1 Not Easing Into It
Personally, I should have eased into the keto diet. Coupled with my other dietary restrictions (gluten and dairy), as well as being vegan, it was super hard for me to drastically decrease my intake in carbohydrates. Carbs were the main source of energy for me along with a modest amount of protein so this definitely was a shock for my system. Before going keto I would say that I ate between 200 to 250g of carbs per day. Jumping right into keto and aiming between 50 to 100 grams of carbs per day was extremely difficult.
In fact, I actually struggled to get 150g of carbs per day consistently. This actually made me feel bad because I wasn’t hitting my goal and was trying so hard. It’s also the ridiculous expectation that I’d get it right away when it takes time. I think the lesson here is if you do have certain restrictions (allergies or even other diets that your coupling together with keto), you really need to ease into it and allow yourself to learn more about the lifestyle. You should also allow yourself to make those mistakes and learn new recipes. This brings me to my next point…
#2 Combining Diets
For me, it was definitely a mistake combining my current diet with keto. I had to not only look at the foods I really liked, evaluate their nutritional value and eliminate items. I also had to make sure that my meals were keto, vegan and delicious!
I think that many people who go on keto have an advantage because they can eat meat and cheese. These are the types of things that support this diet and will really fill you up. They also happen to readily be available in restaurants and grocery stores.
Looking at meat and cheese alternatives as a vegan, sometimes the brands I liked didn’t have a nutritional value that supported keto. And so at times, I deprived myself of my usual buys and ate new things. While I was able to minimize the carbs, I would then have to eat more of the pricey item to up on fat and protein (see point #5).
One thing I can say about keto is it that it made me re-evaluate the way I snack. My favourite type of snacks were granola bars, harvest snaps or other type of chips. These were just not good for keto because they can easily knock down your daily maximum carb intake.
Today, I barely eat chips anymore. Instead, I like to snack on nuts to go along with my morning tea. I also enjoy koukla bites which are made with coconut and almonds. When I’d be craving something on the sweet side, these really helped curb my cravings.
On keto you need to snack on things that are higher in fat and lower in carbs. This includes lots of vegetables like celery, carrots, cucumbers and avocados. The one thing you’d have to watch out for is coupling those snacks with sauces because a lot of sauces can include carbs.
I’d say to also limit those snacks to maybe one or two per day, just so that you save those carbs for actual meals.
#4 Tracking Everything
This is honestly more of a complaint rather than a mistake, but going keto you have to track and measure literally everything going into your mouth!
To stay underneath that carb limit, get your fat and protein in order to enter that state of ketosis you have on top of everything. This makes things more accurate because it’ll show you breakdown of how much nutritional value you gain from eating that meal or snack.
I actually used an app called Carb Manager. I entered my height, weight and diet, which calculated daily target nutritional goals. The app allows you to scan food items, but unfortunately some of the Canadian items I entered didn’t already exist on the database, so I had to enter them manually. Because I could get lazy, I’d eat the same things every day.
Other than that, meal prepping every single meal and snack could help with this. The only trouble I’d find is for people with a more on the go/active lifestyle.
Spoiler alert: I lost many coins. The vegan burgers, avocados, low carb spaghetti, veggies, riced cauliflower quickly ate up my monthly grocery budget during the two-week trial. This is because I had to nearly eat twice as much to feel full in the limiting of carbs.
Purchasing high quality foods and fats unfortunately didn’t curb all my cravings. It even sometimes made me go over my recommended calorie intake. Going back to mistake #1, this is why it’s important to ease into the diet. Take your time to do your research, speak to a doctor and/or nutritionist and figure out a meal plan that works best for you.
#6 Painful Post-Cheat Days
I believe in cheat days (Fridays for me). Unfortunately, I felt the effects of the cheat the next day. My stomach was not here for what seemed like a drastic change in such a short amount of time. And sometimes, my cheat would happen over two days (oops!).
To conclude, I don’t think this diet is for me. Because I am already living on a vegan and gluten free lifestyle, while also intermittent fasting, this is restrictive enough.
However, I learned a lot about the diet and applied some changes to my current one, which will yield healthier results for me in the long term. Being more mindful with my food also helped me get better results after exercising.
I love my current diet and I love incorporating carbs in it. Will I be trying the keto diet anytime soon again? No. But I will definitely limit my starches and incorporate even more healthy fats and proteins to my diet, which I believe is what I was lacking to begin with.
Have you ever been on or are you currently on a keto diet? Let me know your tips, tricks, hits and misses in the comment below!
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