As many of you know, I am fascinated with the world of food and the various impacts different foods and diets can have on your body. Before I go recommending any supplement or eating style, I prefer to experiment on myself.

My latest experiment has been the Ketogenic Diet. For those unfamiliar with the Keto diet, it is an eating style where about 70% of your calories come from healthy fat sources, 25% of your calories come from protein and about 5% from carbohydrates. Healthy fat sources include avocado, eggs, almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, fatty meats, chia seeds, coconut flakes, peanut butter, almond butter and full fat dairy products. Personally, I struggle to digest dairy so I was dairy free for this experiment. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to rewire your body to use fats as its primary source of energy as opposed to carbohydrates. Once your body starts successfully doing this, you will enter into what is called “a state of ketosis”. In this state, your body will start producing ketones which you can test for to make sure you are on the right track with your nutrition.

During these two months a typical day for me looked like this:

Breakfast: 4 eggs scrambled with ground pork and spinach and coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil

Snack: Celery with almond butter

Lunch: 2 burger patties, brussel sprouts and 1 piece of bacon

Snack: 1 keto english muffin with peanut butter and 1 serving of macadamia nuts

Dinner: 2 chicken thighs, asparagus with a fried egg and 1 keto english muffin with ghee

Dessert: Keto Cup from Whole Foods

Over the course of my experiment, I tested my blood ketones regularly along with my blood glucose. My blood glucose averaged 83 mg/dL and my ketones ranged from 0.2-1.0. For those unfamiliar with what these numbers mean, that is an ideal blood glucose reading, but my ketones never got as high as I would have preferred.

As far as how I felt throughout the two months, I never experienced the “keto flu” or had a lull in energy. I felt extremely clear mentally and energized all day long, even through the dreaded 2:30pm hour. My workouts and strength remained the same with the exception of longer workouts. My endurance seemed to take the biggest hit and from the research this is normal but had I continued with the keto lifestyle, it would return within 6 months as my body adjusted to the high fats.

I did my blood work before and after. My total cholesterol went up 33 points but remained in the optimal range. My fasting glucose was 81 the day of the test. My liver enzymes, kidneys, electrolytes and thyroid hormones all remained in great condition. According to the functional medicine nurse practitioner I have been working with, a strict ketogenic diet probably is not for me, however I would benefit from a moderately high fat diet.

As far as my body composition, according to the InBody, I actually gained 2% body fat over the two months. This was despite not eating one gram of added sugar or any carbohydrates outside of the carbs in vegetables and nuts. I think this could be due to a number of factors including overeating and stressing too much about “being perfect” at keto.

From here I plan to return to a moderately high fat diet where I will eat primarily a variety of meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, but if I want to indulge in a margarita with chips and guacamole with friends, I will! I will ditch the stress of tracking my food and instead, listen to my body and eat what it is telling me I need.

Overall I learned a great deal about the ketogenic eating style and for any of you interested in potentially trying it, I would love to help! Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions!

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Michelle was a diver at the University of North Carolina a Chapel Hill where she majored in Exercise and Sport Science. Since graduation she has been very active in the fitness and nutrition world. She is a certified level 1 nutrition coach through Precision Nutrition. She is currently the director of corporate wellness for SweatNet.