You’ve heard about all of the benefits of going low-carb, but for transparency, you may want to know about keto bloating and gas. The good news is, it’s temporary, and not everyone experiences it.
You know I’m a big fan of self-experimentation, but here’s the rub. Whenever you try something new— be it a new diet, sleep hack, exercise program, whatever—you hope the results will be favorable. Unfortunately, though, you can’t guarantee a good result. Or at least, you can’t guarantee a good result immediately. Sometimes there’s an adjustment period before you get the outcome you want.
That’s certainly true with a keto diet. For most people, especially folks who aren’t already eating Primally, going keto means significant dietary changes. All of a sudden, they’re eating many more healthy fats, animal products, and vegetables; few or no grains or legumes; and limited root vegetables and fruits.
A little planning and motivation will help you start a low-carb, keto, or Primal lifestyle, and under normal circumstances, keeping your carbs on the low side is easy. But let’s not create the illusion that it is easy all the time. From time to time, you may get stressed and eat mindlessly. Or, your aunt drops off her blue-ribbon cake that you’ve loved since you were in preschool, and you give in, just this once. Or, you had a jam-packed day and all you can muster to make for dinner is that package of gluten-free noodles in the back of your pantry. The next thing you know, you’ve eaten enough carbs for a week, and you wonder how you’ll get back into ketosis after a carb binge.
The short answer is, yes you will recover from a carb binge. Yes, you will get back into ketosis. As far as how long it will take to get back into ketosis – that depends on numerous factors, that we’ll dive into here. The important thing to remember is, you did not obliterate your goals with one misstep. Especially after you’ve spent some amount of time in ketosis, your body will allow for fluctuations in carb consumption here and there. That’s called metabolic flexibility, which we’ll go into shortly.
Every “keto for women” forum abounds with stories about menstrual cycles gone haywire in the first few months of keto. Common complaints include:
Irregular menstrual cycles
Sudden changes in menstrual cycle length, especially periods lasting much longer than normal
Keto critics love to cite these stories as evidence that keto isn’t good for women. After all, for premenopausal women, menstrual cycle activity acts as a barometer for overall health. Menstrual cycle disruptions are usually a sign that your body is under some kind of stress.
I use my Los Angeles surroundings as a barometer for changes in the mainstream approach to health, and it holds up quite well. Silicon Valley can claim to be the cradle of technology, but L.A. is definitely the cradle of diet and fitness trends; and the latest is most definitely keto. At the local cafe where every species of Malibu fitness enthusiast gathers to gossip and fuel up, I’m seeing fewer gels and energy bars, and way more butter coffees and discarded packets of the new powdered ketone supplement products.
One of the upsides of indoor venues being closed this past year is that a lot of people have (re)discovered a love of the great outdoors. More people than ever seem to be venturing out on the trails, camping with their families, and generally taking advantage of nature. Although avid hikers and campers might lament the busyness of their once-isolated outdoor spaces, I think we can all agree that this is a good thing for society as a whole.
The food situation can be a barrier to entry, though. Traditional camping and hiking foods tend to be high-carb and grain-based, so Primal and keto outdoors enthusiasts may find themselves at a loss for what to eat. Portable, shelf-stable items like oatmeal, granola bars, sandwiches, pasta, and s’mores probably aren’t on your Primal menu. (You can make better-for-you s’mores that are pretty darn amazing!) Never fear. Plenty of Primal- and keto-friendly foods work just as well in these scenarios.
Conventional backpacking wisdom also suggests that hikers need to keep carb intake high to maintain energy and stamina. Not so! Primal and keto diets are ideal for camping and especially for hiking and backpacking. These sustained submaximal efforts rely largely on fat-burning for energy, at least for the metabolically flexible among us. A growing contingent of Primal, paleo, and keto backpackers are demonstrating in real time that it’s not only possible to fuel your outdoor adventures on a low-carb diet, it may actually be ideal.
When we talk about “getting enough electrolytes,” we usually mean the big three: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. There are many others, including calcium, chloride, and bicarbonate, but the big three are the ones targeted by supplement and sports nutrition companies.
In part, that’s because sodium especially, but also potassium and magnesium, are lost through sweat. Athletes need to replenish these electrolytes during and after hard workouts or endurance outings in order to maintain optimal hydration and performance. Sodium and potassium work together to manage fluid balance throughout the body and facilitate muscle contractions and nerve firing. Magnesium is critical for cellular energy production and the transport of sodium and potassium across cell membranes.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about the other functions of electrolytes in the body since Mark recently covered the topic in his Electrolytes 101 post. Suffice it to say that if you don’t maintain the proper levels of electrolytes, you’re in a world of hurt.
Potentially controversial statement alert: burgers are the most perfect food.
Hear me out.
Burgers are delicious. They are portable. As meat goes, ground beef is relatively affordable. It takes less than 10 minutes to cook a burger on the stovetop or grill. Kids and adults like them equally.
Most of all, they are endlessly adaptable. Burgers are the vanilla ice cream of main dishes: great on their own and also a perfect canvas upon which to build your culinary masterpiece.
The problem is, since burgers are ubiquitous in the fast food world, they sometimes garner an unfair reputation for being unhealthy. Not so! Sure, a drive-thru burger isn’t the world’s healthiest food. Nor is it the worst by a long shot. In any case, there are ways to take a basic burger and build a healthier meal.
It’s time burgers ascend to their rightful place in the food hierarchy—at the top, obviously. First, though, let’s give them a little glow up to make sure they are as nourishing as possible.
Soon after starting a carnivore diet, you may be wondering what to eat to keep things interesting. With an eating style that’s so restrictive, it’s easy to get bored quickly. That’s where sauces, dressings, and marinades come in. If you’re pure carnivore, those are out, but a lot of people are adopting a Carniflex style of eating so that they can add flavor and variety to their meals. It’s been the Primal philosophy all along that you’ll stick with a healthy habit if 1. it doesn’t feel too restrictive, and 2. you can keep things exciting! Primal Health Coach Brian has been eating a Carniflex style diet for some time now, and he’s here to share his tips and tricks to avoid getting stuck in a rut. One of his favorite hacks is to use ground beef for the convenience and versatility it offers. He came up with four different Carniflex ground beef bowls that he makes in just minutes for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Why Use Ground Beef on a Carnivore or Carniflex Diet? Ground beef has a lot of appeal to carnivore dieters for its: Ease of preparation. Ground beef cooks in minutes, and it’s as simple as browning it in a pan. No fancy techniques required. Versatility. You can experiment with mixing a lot of things like organ meats, sauces, marinades, collagen, herbs… the possibilities are endless. Cost effectiveness. Carnivore can be expensive, if you’re reaching for a ribeye or three every day. But ground beef is cheaper and just as satisfying. Carnivore Diet Cost: Steak vs. Ground Beef Ground beef is a lot less expensive than steak. If you watch for sales, you can easily find grass-fed ground beef, fresh or frozen, for around $5 a pound. You might find bulk or conventional ground beef cheaper, and you might find it more expensive, too. At the time this article was published, you can expect to pay around $5 a pound. A lot of carnivore diet beginners go the “Costco ribeye” approach where conventional (not organic or grass-fed) ribeyes are aorund $15/pound. To give you an idea of the cost of enhancements: About $0.70 for a serving of Primal Kitchen® collagen peptides Roughly $0.60 for 2 servings of Primal Kitchen® sauce $0.50 for 2 pasture raised eggs 1 oz of liver – maybe $0.50 for an oz if buying from high quality source, but you might find it much cheaper So, you’re looking at around $7-8 for a 1 pound meal. https://youtu.be/L0f5uoZar78 On the Carnivore Diet, You Don’t Just Eat Muscle Meat Muscle meat is nutritious, but has a very limited nutritional profile. You can incorporate a broader range of nutrients by using organ meats, like heart, liver, tripe, etc. A lot of people consider collagen an organ meat and include collagen protein as a way to round out amino acids in your meal. If organs make you squeamish, you can sneak them into ground beef bowls like these, or chop them finely and add … Continue reading “4 Budget Carniflex Recipes: Cost-effective Ground Beef Bowls for the Carnivore Diet”
Hi folks, in today’s Ask a Health Coach, Erin will be answering a few more of your carb-related questions, from knowing which ones to include in your total macro intakes to strategies for managing the aftermath of a carb binge. We love getting your questions, so be sure to post them in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group or in the comments below. Stephanie asked: When counting carbs, which carbs are counted? Does this include fruits and vegetables too? I realize that all grains and starches should be counted, but does this also include “moderated” foods such as bananas and sweet potatoes? Any advice is appreciated! As a culture, we’re obsessed with carbs. We’re so totally in love with demonizing, scrutinizing, anddissecting the nuances of carbohydrates. The total carbs, subtracting sugar alcohols and fiber, staking a claim on which carbs are good and which are bad. The whole thing’s gotten really out of hand and way too fussy if you ask me. I work with a lot of clients who exhibit symptoms of being carbophobic, swearing that low-carb is the answer to all their struggles. Even if you’ve successfully removed the word “diet” from your vocabulary (congratulations, by the way), I find that people absolutely love to have rules around what they should and shouldn’t be eating. Why Are We So Obsessed with Carbs? Ever heard of decision fatigue? It’s based on the idea that when making a multitude of decisions (especially in rapid succession), our ability to make additional decisions gets worse. And since we make more than 200 food choices per day, it’s easy to see why having rules takes the edge off. Types of food decisions you might recognize: Should I eat breakfast or fast? How much creamer takes me out of ketosis? Should I even have coffee? What about lunch? How many carbs does this have? Is wine okay? And that doesn’t even include the decisions make when dining out, assuming we get to do that more regularly moving forward. The conversations we have in our heads are overwhelming to say the least. Why? Because our minds prefer things that don’t require a lot of thought. And deciding what we should eat — or how many carbs we should have — is just one more thing to tack onto our to-do lists. Martin Binks, PhD and Director of the Nutrition Metabolic Health Initiative at Texas Tech says, “It’s easier to make a yes or no choice. It’s simpler and less stressful to make binary decisions rather than get into nuanced ones,” adding that “food rules can simplify things.” The more variables there are, the harder it is for our brains to make a decision, which at least partially explains our obsession with food rules. Sure, some structure and guidance is helpful — like knowing which foods agree with your body and which ones make you feel foggy and fatigued. But it’s important to learn how to be flexible and eat mindfully to keep your emotional … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: More of Your Carb Questions Answered”
The keto diet has a reputation for being strict and regimented. Some guidelines you do have to follow, particularly concerning carbohydrate intake. However, just as a Primal diet allows plenty of room for personalization based on food preferences, goals, activity level, and more, keto diets can actually be quite flexible. In fact, once you’ve successfully made the transition to keto, I think you should make adjustments to ensure your diet feels sustainable and works for your life. That said, all of the suggestions below are totally optional. They aren’t inherently better than whatever you’re doing now. If you’re happy with your current diet, there’s no need to change it. I know, though, that many of us in the MDA community are questioners or enthusiastic self-experimenters, always up for trying something new and looking for ways to tweak and optimize our diets and lifestyles. I’m all for self-experimenting and developing your personal expression of keto, one that you find easiest and most enjoyable. So, without further ado, here are nine things you can do to personalize your keto diet. 9 Ideas for Creating a Custom Keto Diet 1. Increase Carbohydrate Intake The Keto Reset recommends a carb intake of about 50 grams per day (total, not net) for most people, perhaps down to 30 grams for folks who are sedentary or insulin resistant. Other keto protocols recommend capping carb intake at 20 grams or less. That’s tough to do unless you’re sticking to a fairly limited range of foods. A small handful of macadamia nuts or blueberries represents a quarter of your daily carb allowance if you’re trying to stay under 20 grams. One big-ass salad can put you near or even over your limit. Some people need to keep carbs that low for medical reasons. There’s no need for the rest of us to be that restrictive, especially not if it makes your diet difficult and unenjoyable. Even 50 grams may be overly conservative for some people. Athletes and other very active folks can probably go above 50 grams per day and still stay in ketosis, especially if they time their carb intake around training. 2. Decrease Carbohydrate Intake In the Keto Reset community, I see fewer people overeating carbs than restricting carbs unnecessarily. Still, there are a few reasons someone might want to consider decreasing their carb intake: To increase ketone levels for specific medical purposes (on the advice of a doctor or nutritionist) or as a self-experiment Still experiencing unwanted sugar cravings Dealing with insulin resistance or poor glycemic control Trending toward a carnivore or carniflex approach 3. Increase Protein Intake Just a few years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that protein intake should be kept to low-to-moderate levels on a keto diet. Now, a growing number of folks who identify as keto are eating meat-centric or entirely carnivorous diets. Anecdotally, many people feel better, experience greater satiety, and have an easier time losing weight when they increase their protein intake (if they were on the lower end … Continue reading “9 Ways to Customize Your Keto Diet”