Keto or Not Keto, That is the Question

There are probably a thousand different nutritional plans out there.  While I was originally talking a lot about moving to a Keto type nutritional plan after the fast, I have since changed my mind for a number of reasons, not the least of which is over emphasis on fat on many of the plans I have been looking at. I’m not talking a little bit. I’m talking like 75%-80% overall calories from fat on a regular basis. I simply cannot see how this can be good for anyone.

My feeling on nutrition at this point is based on the following:

  1. Whole foods, not processed. That means more cooking but at least you aren’t loading your body up with chemicals.
  2. Fibre, not Carbs. Given a choice between low fibre and high fibre foods, go for the higher fibre ones.
  3. Butter, not margarine. Read the labels and then try to convince me that all that processed plastic is good for you. I don’t think so.
  4. Sugar, not sweetener. Especially replacing refined sugar for natural sugar or honey.
  5. Olive and Coconut Oil, not Canola or Vegetable. Better fats, better health.
  6. Organic, not GMO. This one is harder as the definition of what is / isn’t GMO is constantly being debated and the health impacts of GMO foods probably won’t be really known for another 100 years. By which point it may be too late to do anything about it. So just remember that you are the future’s lab rat when buying GMO foods. I’m sure it will all be fine though, really (not).
  7. Alkaline foods, not Acidic. Again this is not to say acidic foods are bad, just that if given a choice, go for alkaline foods.
  8. Potassium, not sodium. We need twice as much potassium as sodium and since sodium (table salt) is in just about everything, opt for potassium.
  9. Low Glycemic, not High Glycemic. Constant exposure to high glycemic foods drive insulin and insulin sensitivity related problems. Opt for lower glycemic choices.
  10. Whole Wheat, not White. White flour is always processed and its often more more readily converted into glucose. The more whole grains you can physically see, the better it is going to be.
  11. Baked, not Fried. Food will cook up just fine without extra oil to speed the process along. In general, if you add additional stuff to your food it should be for either flavor or nutrition, not heat transfer. 
  12. Water Before Meals, Not After. Helps with feeling full faster.
  13. Switch it up. Vary nutritional content on a regular basis. The body is very good at getting efficient with a specific nutritional profile (e.g. Keto having 10% carbs, 20% protein, and 70% fat). Something like that may be okay for a few days but ideally switching it around on a regular basis seems to be better. So 20/20/60 on one day and 40/30/30 on another, and so on.
  14. Keep a log. I have hated keeping a food log in the past but I’ve reach the point now where I understand the necessity for it. You cannot eyeball food and say “that is 1700 calories” until you have trained yourself as to what is a reasonable portion size. It needs to be second nature to you as to what 100g of banana looks like compared to 150g. That will take time, constant reinforcement, and training. Plus you need a good recipe collection.
  15. Smaller meals, not large ones. One half cup (4 oz) to one cup (8 oz) at a time and then push away from the table for at least 20 minutes to an hour before going to look for more.  This is harder than it sounds but the prevailing wisdom seems to be smaller, more frequent meals rather than larger, less frequent ones. Plus larger meals are going to spike insulin levels more resulting in peaks and valleys throughout the day.
  16. Eat slower. It is not a race although sometimes it may feel that way. Eating slower allows the body to signal when you are full to prevent over eating. It satisfies your cravings for flavors easier so that you feel more fulfilled when eating. It also helps with digestion when you spend more time chewing allowing more nutrients to be obtained from your food.
  17. Cheat Days, not Cheat Meals. Although to be honest you can’t have one without the other, but in general the idea of a cheat anything is that it helps reset your metabolism so that it doesn’t become used to a low caloric nutritional plan. A single meal won’t really accomplish that, so you need to think in terms of a day, not a meal, with a few restrictions.

    1. Your minimum calories for the day, in all cases, should not be below 110% of your total energy expenditure (TEE) of your current weight. You want to go at least little bit over in order to stimulate the body into understanding that you really aren’t trying to starve it to death, and that it doesn’t need to conserve calories through lowering your metabolism.
    2. Your maximum calories for the day should not exceed 150% of your total energy expenditure of your goal weight or 50% of your total calorie deficit since the previous cheat day, whichever number is lower.
    3. Your calories should still follow your general nutritional plan (i.e. no loading up on ice cream and potato chips)
    4. Your nutritional plan for the day should be different from how you have been eating for the past week. (i.e. if you have been doing keto for the past week – switch to a high protein or high carbohydrate nutritional plan for the day).
    5. Your calories should be spread-out and not consumed all in one sitting.
    6. A cheat day is exactly that, one day – not 3 or 5 days. 
      So for example, my current TEE today is 2600 calories. That means my minimum calories for my cheat day is 2860. My goal TEE is 2100 calories. That means my maximum calories for the cheat day is 3150. However, if in the past week, I only had a total deficit of 700 calories (i.e. 100 cal per day), then I don’t want to undo all that work. My actual max would be 2600 + 350 or 2950 calories. My cheat day should therefore target for 5-6 small meals with a total count of between 2860 and 2950 calories.
      However, if my actual deficit is closer to 1400 calories for the week (200 cal/dy) then 2600 + 700 = 3300. Therefore my maximum calories for the day would be the lower of 3150 and 3300 (i.e. 2860 – 3150 for the day).
  18. Remove the word Diet from your vocabulary. Food is a drug. You need to think of it in terms of nutrition (something you gain from), not a diet (something you restrict yourself from). The connotation of the word is a powerful inducement to setting a proper mental state in how you think about food and food preparation. You will notice that I’ve tried to keep that four-letter word off these blog posts as much as possible. That is a deliberate choice and it does help.
  19. Measure everything. Don’t trust your eyes. Get some good measuring spoons, a kitchen scale, and glass storage containers (1/2 cup and 1 cup mason jars are really good for this) so that when you create a meal that should be 6 servings, you store it as 6 servings and not all into one container.
  20. Cook it Yourself. I love ordering-in or eating-out. But you have zero control over what goes into your food and how it is prepared when you do that. The typical restaurant meal is often 1200-1700 calories and uses a lot of low quality fats, MSG, and other additives as part of the cooking process. If you cook it you can control the cooking method, additives, portion sizes, sugar, sodium, and other components. In addition, even if you are a lousy cook to begin with you will get better and it will taste better as a result.
Intervention v 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *