Why I Quit (Most) Carbs

This summer we spent some time with my mom and her partner and were introduced to the ketogenic diet, or more commonly, ‘keto.’ I’d heard of it before and had some concept of low-carb, thanks to my parents trying Atkins when I was younger, but staying with two keto dieters for the weekend was a great crash course. While the rest of us ate sandwiches and cookies and amusement park food, they stuck with meat, cheese, and veggies.

Keto is low-carb, high-fat, so your body eventually gets used to burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. The ‘rules’ are fairly simple: you can have dairy, any kind of meat, veggies grown above ground, and berries. Alcohol isn’t forbidden, so you can drink wine/spirits, but it may stall your weight loss as your body will burn the alcohol before the fat. This site (and others) will explain it better than I can, in greater detail.

I was intrigued by the concept, especially the benefits my mom outlined: weight loss, of course, but also increased energy, no sugar cravings, and less hunger. I did some research during our trip, determined that it’s a lifestyle that is compatible with breastfeeding for some — for others, the body really requires carbs to produce milk — and after two weeks of craft beer and ice cream, I came home wanting a change. I love sugar and I love bread but both of those things make me feel bloated and sluggish.

So, I finished the last beer and set out on a keto adventure. I went into it woefully unprepared, despite my mom telling me I needed to handle my electrolytes — sodium, magnesium, and potassium are harder to come by on keto! I was stricken by ‘keto flu’ by day two and felt hopelessly ill for two days until I started salting everything, using a salt alternative on top of it (potassium), and shovelling leafy greens and avocados into my mouth.

Aside from being thirsty a lot that week, once I was over keto flu, I found myself feeling normal, but better. I didn’t crave sugar despite kicking it cold turkey, and I wasn’t all that hungry. Since then I have mostly felt great — a few days of amazing energy, which was especially nice, but overall, less bloated, fewer stomach issues, weight loss, and a decreased appetite. I find this way of eating fairly easy to stick with, though I cheated with two jujubes when Matt kept eating them in front of me last weekend (my favourite candy — ugh).

We generally eat simply. Breakfast for me is eggs and cheese/meat/avocado/whatever, or nuts and seeds and yogurt/milk/peanut butter/berries/whatever. Lunch is typically deli-type snacks: meat, cheese, pickles; or I’ll put together a salad. Dinner is more involved, with various keto casseroles, but often it’s just a roasted or grilled cut of meat and a side of veggies, typically roasted broccoli or cauliflower in some form. I’ve tried a few keto alternatives to ‘regular’ food — ice cream is good, bread seems not worth it until I figure out how to tweak the recipe. I’ve yet to try the pizza crust recipes out there, but they’re on my list!

I’m keeping various Pinterest boards with recipe/meal ideas going, but here’s one with my tried and true favourites. Matt is officially giving keto a try as of this week so here’s hoping it sticks and we find more great meals — and great results!

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