Our Keto Journal
Our Keto Journal was born out of our collective interest at Nourish in the lifestyle. Ineke and I have both been intrigued by the reported health and wellness benefits and wanted to know more. Well, there is no better way to discover than to go on the adventure yourself! So, that’s what we’ve done and here we are now at the end of our 1st month of Keto. How have we found it? Our experiences have been different, and we have very different tastes to one another. So, it’s been interesting to see where our diets have diverged or met in the middle.
Kate – Savoury lover and flexitarian
For complete disclosure I’ve previously followed a Keto lifestyle, stopping when I felt I’d achieved my goal. We also commenced a big build at home, and this was one of the many things I just couldn’t cope with at this time. I first followed Keto in order to try and help reset my hormones after starting menopause far too early. Good news is it worked, bad news, I only managed 9 months and then gave up.
Taking the lessons, I learnt last time I decided to follow a flexitarian approach this time. Not eating meat, or fish last time left me with a few issues with incorporating this lifestyle with the whole family. I was looking forward to Keto January when it came around. It was good to be done of the excess of Christmas.
Planning makes perfect
My shopping took a little more planning at first, but then I found my old recipe book from last time and realised just how much I could eat. I haven’t felt hungry once since I changed over. I have, however, been a lot more mindful about what’s on my plate. I’ve shopped a little differently too, not easily finding everything I want on my normal supermarket shop. I’ve used Eversfield Organic for my Keto friendly veg. and Sow & Arrow and Keto Source for other bits and pieces.
Have I fallen off the wagon? Of course, I have, it’s a global pandemic and I’m a sucker for a glass of red wine after a tough day. Red wine per se, not so bad, but I did have to resort to having that with a Christmas leftover bag of truffle crisps on a particularly bad day!
The key is though, don’t beat yourself up about what has passed your plate already, look ahead to what you can do better next time. Hence our savoury snack box now has lots of lovely nuts, cheese and pork snacks in it. I don’t have a massively sweet tooth, but our Keto Coffee Macaroons are my absolute favourite late evening nibble with a cup of Sleepy Tea.
What have I eaten
I’ve loved my breakfasts in particular, Loaded plates of grilled tomatoes, avocado, piles of spinach, asparagus and the odd organic, free range egg. These have been pretty epic and hit the spot with my growing boys too. Lunchtimes are quick affairs grabbed between schooling and work. I’m often found having soup (I love our Green Goodness Soup), mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach on Keto toast with a little grated vegan cheese on top. Suppertime I’ve loved the same meals as normal just with a few little changes, curry with roasted cauliflower instead of rice, fully loaded chilli with celeriac rice, baked, stuffed mushrooms. When I’m short on time I keep a box of courgetti in the fridge and will chuck in a few other bits from the fridge, like our spinach pesto.
Overall it’s been a good month. My family has been really supportive. Will I carry on? I think I will but possibly with a slightly higher proportion of carbs, still following low carb as a rule. I feel like I need a little more and can handle it too, I’m managing ketosis with more than the advised amounts. I’m very active, do a lot of weight training, walk about 30 miles a week so this could be why. Oh, and I’m super happy that I’ve converted myself from red wine to Willys ACV with fizzy water and lime, it’s my new addiction! So, that’s a fantastic by product as I’d got into a bad habit with a glass of wine every day at supper time. Is it easy to follow Keto, yes. But, preparation is absolutely key, as is measuring your ketones somehow (machine or sticks) otherwise you really don’t know whether it’s working. I imagine that like last time it will all become more routine as time goes on.
Ineke – Flexitarian, mostly plant based diet
Since starting Keto the second week of January, I have loved the journey. I did find the transition pretty easy, but I have been low-carb for quite a while… However I have never seriously ‘done keto’ in its truest sense, measuring blood ketone levels, and consciously thinking about what you eat.
I have sometimes found it challenging being mostly plant based, and so at times haven’t maintained optimum ketone levels, as I love veggies and nut butter too much. They are my go to food (along with 100% chocolate) all the time. However, I do love fish and so that frequented my plate often.
Breaking the fast
I have been hungry at times whilst on keto, but I think that is more due to the line of work I do, where I am frequently in the Nourish Production Kitchen and surrounded by food. I also think that with a history of adrenal fatigue and PCOS, food is a comfort, and so trying to have a focused mindset has been tricky at times. One method I have found helpful, particularly as my mornings are busy, is intermittent fasting. I have fasted until lunchtime and then I break my fast with a huge meal. It is like having dinner at midday. And I often finish it off with a favourite cuppa and some dark chocolate and ‘fat’ energy bites. This usually keeps me going for some time! P.S. some of my favourite condiments to use to dress my large salads are ACV, Nutritional Yeast, Collagen and Nut Butter. I pile these four ingredients into a bowl with all my salad ingredients/veggies and smoked mackerel, and voila!
Late afternoons I have been enjoying a delicious tonic, introduced to me by Pauline from Sow and Arrow. A blend of Apple Cider Vinegar and Sea Buckthorn Juice with water. It is really lovely. I have that with an energy bite and then a light dinner. We have resorted to light dinners followed usually by a bowl of Coyo or Nush yoghurt drizzled with nut butter (my favourite is macadamia, pecan and brazil nut! Delish!) and a few berries. On occasion half a ketone praline bar on top (an absolute favourite in this house by all!). And I can’t forget the keto buns! They have been a lifesaver in our household, toasted for our ‘lighter dinners’.
Have I failed at times? Well I don’t ever think there is a failure…. I have often thought this in the past… and still need to remind myself daily. There is a journey and we are all on one. What my journey looks like is different to someone else’s. The more I delve into nutrition I see that in the way we eat and move. Everyone is different. And every dip in the road is a learning curve to grow stronger. But back to the question… yes, my ketone levels have plummeted a few times when I have overindulged in nut butters, keto breads and taste testing recipes for Nourish. I have maintained blood ketone levels of over 1 for the whole duration, during which most have been hitting 2 or higher, which I am really pleased about. How do I feel? Pretty good. My digestive system has wondered what is happening and I have failed to drink enough water at times which is something I would like to work on over the coming weeks.
Will I continue… yes I will, but I will also allow low-carb days (carb-cycling). I am absolutely loving my food now and look forward to every meal and snack. It feels as though embracing this way actually gives more freedom to the way you eat and you no longer eat ‘what you should’ but until ‘well satisfied’. This way of eating is a lifestyle choice it is not a diet. I would encourage anyone looking to re-boot/improve there health to consider keto, with a plant-based/flexitarian approach.
Note – Two books that we have both found really helpful on our journey have been Pauline Cox’s Primal Living in a Modern World and Keto Diet by Dr Josh Axe.