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Modified Keto and Me

We all know carbs are fucking delicious.  Pizza, Swedish Fish, pasta; I want to rub them all over my body they’re so tasty. But I’m older and my body hates me when I start eating more than 50-100 carbs a day.  Most days I aim for less than 50, but I need a cheat day once every 10 days or so.

I thought my life would suck without carbs.  I figured I’d be starving all the time and miserable.  I mean, how often could I eat meat and nuts or chicken and avocado.  Turns out I can eat these meals way more than I thought without getting bored.

I love going out to eat and housing some delicious gourmet.  However, most of my meals I consume for fuel for my body, nothing more.  Consistently eating the same or similar meals actually makes eating for this purpose much easier and less time consuming.  Which is great for someone like me who’s short on time and indecisive.  Now, making decision about what to eat is no longer taking up space in my day that I can devote elsewhere.

There’s some obvious benefits to cutting carbs, most notably is fat loss. When you start a modified ketogenic diet, your body starts using ketones (fats) for energy instead of sugars.  You can peel off a lot of fat while maintaining lean muscle if you keep your protein and fat intake high.  Somewhere around 250-300g  of protein and 90-110g of fat for someone my size (215-220) seems to be a good starting point.  You can experiment by increasing or decreasing these macros depending on your body goals, but we will talk about that a little later.

It’s important to choose your fats wisely.  I stick to coconut oil, olive oil, whole eggs, avocado, cashews, walnuts, almonds, lean meats and occasionally some cheeses.

One of the other major benefits, for me at least, is controlling inflammation in my body.  This is one of the main reasons I decided to start a modified keto diet.  I have an autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis, which is a form of arthritis.  This means keeping inflammation under control is a must.  When I overload on carbs, my hands swell, elbows and shoulders ache and my back pain flares up within 24 hours. Sugars cause an increase of pro-inflammatory cytokines which cause inflammation as well as increase body fat, and a host of other health issues.

Keto diets have been used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children for many years.   Researches are finding evidence that suggests it may also be effective in treating many other neurological disorders like: headaches, sleep disorders and bipolar disorder.  The reason for this is that ketones, which are now your energy source instead of glucose, are used more efficiently in the brain than glucose.  A keto diet may also increase the number of mitochondria (create energy in your body) in your brain cells.  In my experience with a modified keto diet I think clearer and feel less fatigue.  Eating lots of carbs always left me sleepy and slow.  My mental and physical fitness perform at a higher level using ketones as a primary energy source.

Ok, so let’s get into what I eat on a daily basis.  When I wake up the first thing I do is drink a cup of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it and a shot of ACV.  This is good for cleansing your liver, increasing immune function and will also get things moving in digestive system.  About 20-30 minutes after I drink this I have my first meal.

  • Meal 1 – Protein shake using 50g of Whey Hydrolysate or New Zealand Grass-fed Whey with 2 tbsp coconut oil and 10-15g of Leucine.  I’m lazy and don’t like to cook in the morning.  I want to get my morning routine done and hit the gym before I head to work.
  • Intraworkout Shake – I mix 10g Glutamine, 20g Leucine, 15-20g BCAA, 6g L-Citrulline DL-Malate , 5g of creatine and 3-5g Beta Alanine in water and drink this during my workout.
  • Meal 2 – Postworkout I usually drink 30g of Whey Hydrolysate within 15-20 minutes of completing my workout.  Then I eat 5-6 oz grass-fed beef or steak and 6-8 oz of sweet potato with a little bit of grass-fed butter on it.  The sweet potato has about 30-40g of carbs, which is the majority of my carbs for the day.
  • Meal 3 – 8 oz of chicken breast, broccoli and 1-2 oz of cashews or almonds.
  • Meal 4 – 8 oz of lean protein source (chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef), mixed green salad and 1-2 oz nuts or an avocado.  Avocado’s do have a small amount of carbs in them
  • Meal 5 – 4-6 eggs cooked in coconut oil and 8 ounces plain yogurt with some blueberries.  This is usually my last meal of the day and has about 10-15 g of carbs in it.  Berries are a good choice as they are low GI carbs.

That’s about it for eating on days I workout.  I consume 250-300g protein a day, 90-100g fat and ~50g of carbs.  On days I don’t workout, I eat very similarly except I skip the carbs in meal 2.

My food choices aren’t overly exciting, but it’s easy for me to follow and meal prep time is minimal.  I buy 6-7 pounds of chicken at a time and throw it in my pressure cooker with Buffalo Sauce (zero calories) and in 30 minutes I have my chicken for the week.  I also like to throw in 5g of Leucine a couple times a day to help promote lean muscle.  Occasionally I will eat a Powercrunch bar or snack on some cashews between meals if I had a really exhausting workout that day.

The diet is easy to manipulate because there are only 2 macros to shift up or down in order to meet your dietary needs.  If losing fat is your goal, my suggestion would be to start by removing fat from one meal and gauge the results.  If hypertrophy is what you are after, up your protein intake by 25-30g a day and add 5g of Leucine in 2 times daily and see how your body reacts.

I’t not a perfect diet, but It works for me.  I’m still fine tuning it for maximum results to achieve my goals (I.e fat loss, muscle hypertrophy, decreasing inflammation in my joints).  However, after 3 months of following this diet, my joints feel my better, my body fat is lower, and my energy levels are high.

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