Sweet summertime is finally here. The sun is up, the sky is blue, and the kids are out of school. We wait all year for summer, and when it finally rolls around, I want to look and feel my best.
My body never looked better than when I did the keto diet two and half years ago, when I did it for two months. In my experience, I’ve found the best method to train my body to curb sugar cravings, burn fat, and kick-start weight loss is by sticking to a keto diet. “Keto” is short for “ketosis,” a metabolic state that happens when your body switches from burning carbs to burning fat. I’ve been treating myself lately and really want to get back on track, so I’ve committed myself to keto for the next month. The meal plan is all about eating high-fat, high-protein, and low-carb.
Everybody is different, so I suggest consulting a doctor before jumping into new eating habits. I wanted to share why I’m restarting my keto journey and how I make it work for my lifestyle.
The basic idea behind ketosis is pretty simple—eat more fat and very few carbs. Eating this way leads your body to go into a state of ketosis, which makes you burn your body fat for energy instead of carbohydrates that come from your food.
The ketosis diet actually started as a type of medical therapy to treat epilepsy because it impacts metabolic regulation, inflammation, and stress. Studies show that ketosis can help with everything from weight loss to low energy to diabetes. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.
My doctor actually put me on the keto diet a couple of years ago for a metal detox. He tested my muscles and found that I had high levels of mercury and lead in my system. He let me know that one of the fastest ways to detox was to keep my body in a state of ketosis. I would check my blood sugar and ketone levels every morning to make sure I was on track.
I had a really positive experience the last time around and wanted to restart my routine this summer. It’s definitely a more restrictive eating plan, but I found that once I knew the ground rules, I was very strict and really stuck to it.
My plan this time is to eat minimal carbs and no grains, beans, or legumes. I’m focusing my meals on fresh vegetables and lean proteins. I eat three meals a day with no snacking in between if possible.
Intermittent fasting went hand in hand with my keto experience last time. For me, this meant not eating for 14 to 16 hours after dinner. I wouldn’t eat past 7 p.m. at night and then I would wait to eat the next day until after my morning workout, which would be around 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. Then, one day a week, I did a 24-hour fast. For these fasting days, I only drank bone broth, water, and green tea. It would start after my last meal of the day at 7 p.m., and then I could eat dinner the next night, so I would only be missing two meals.
Research says that our bodies are built to perform with stretches of fasting, and benefits can include reduced inflammation, lower chances of diabetes, more effective weight loss, and improved metabolism function.
I’m not sure if I’m going to fast this time, but I do a similar practice each morning. I’ll have my collagen powder with water on an empty stomach first thing when I wake up and then I won’t eat until after my workout. Collagen helps me feel full and balances insulin levels, which can help avoid sugar crashes.
• Processed foods: The way that I do keto, it’s really necessary for me to avoid processed foods altogether.
• Sugary foods: Honey, soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy.
• Grains or starches: Rice, pasta, cereal.
• Fruit: All fruit, except I can have small portions of berries like strawberries.
• Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas.
• Root vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips.
• Some condiments and sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
• Unhealthy fats: Like processed vegetable oils and mayonnaise.
• Alcohol: Due to its carb content, alcohol can throw you out of ketosis. Everyone is different, but I noticed that if I had a glass of wine, it threw me off. If I had one tequila, I was OK. But typically, drinking alcohol isn’t ideal for ketosis.
For breakfast, I’ll have my avocado smoothie. Since I’m not able to eat honey or dates while on keto, I’ll swap that for a couple drops of Stevia. I’ll still mix in my MCT oil, bone broth powder, and blue-green algae.
My go-to for lunch is usually a protein-based chef salad with turkey, a base of mixed greens, and egg whites.
For dinner, I keep my meals really clean and simple. I’ll usually eat chicken or salmon, and I love getting creative to substitute carbs. I make cauliflower rice or broccoli rice because even though they’re made entirely from shredded veggies, they kind of trick my brain and make me feel like I’m eating some carbs. I remember last time being able to eat a small amount of sweet potato once in a while.
Like I mentioned earlier, I really try not to snack while on keto at all. If I find I really need something to keep me going throughout the day, I’ll have a green tea or some bone broth to give me a boost. I will also eat nuts like walnuts or pecans.
Once it gets going, I was told that being in a state of ketosis can also be anti-aging, produce higher levels of HGH in the body, reduce anxiety, and increase energy.
Sometimes the keto diet can cause headaches and low energy at the beginning, since your body is detoxing and getting used to this new style of eating. I’m really excited to be jumping back in and have committed to keto as my summer kick-start. I know after the month is up, I will most likely go back to my regular lifestyle, especially during summer with my kids. It’s all about balance.