The perfect diet for you may not be your best friends diet. You see calorie counting, keto, paleo, intermittent fasting and all the many other diets out there all work but not for everyone. The fact is, we all are very specialized and very different chemistry labs.
I don’t have a problem with any of them in and of themselves. However, some are worse than others for specific individuals. Any diet needs to be sustainable, healthy now and long term, and give a variety of taste and nutrition we all desire.
Keto is a great example
Keto, otherwise known as Ketogenic diet, comes up in conversation with many since it is the latest fad. The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet. The Ketogenic diet was developed to control epilepsy in children. By reducing the blood glucose levels in the body, it is forced to use what is known as ketones to feed necessary functions. When the body is using ketones instead of glucose, it is called ketosis.
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. This process keeps you alive when you are unable to restore the glucose levels by eating. Think times of famine. Ketosis can be a good thing.
The Right Diet Needs to be Healthy and Sustainable
All of this sounds great on the surface. The problem I have, though, is many people don’t do an actual Ketogenic diet. Doing a Keto diet, correctly, is difficult to do long term for most people. I have found most people eat more than the 10% protein and less than the required 5% vegetables.
There is also all the fat the ketogenic diet requires, up to 70-75%. Now, if avocado, olives, and nuts are the mainstay of the plan, great! Unfortunately, pork rinds are what people seem to find to fulfill the need for something crunchy. Just as there are good and bad carbs, there are good and bad fats. The result is the same when you overeat of the bad stuff, whether it is fats or carbs, it all ends up as a fatty liver.
I am yet to meet anyone that has been able to sustain the Keto diet as a lifestyle. Because of this, many are setting themselves up for yo-yo dieting and feeling like a failure. However, if you can and you feel better doing it, I say all the power to you. The point is to do something that works for you and your goals, improves your health, and is sustainable.
No matter what our specific lab can or can not have, we all need the nutrients provided by fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and even meat. Unless you specifically have a sensitivity or allergy to a particular whole food, variety, and moderation is the best way to get all your nutrients for optimal health.
What I have found that works for me
Now, who doesn’t want the benefits of low blood glucose, and increased ketones? These are good things for health and weight loss. However, I can’t eat most meat because of the tick bite that caused Alpha-gal Syndrome (AGS). I also have to limit my histamine load because of the Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). I have found I can do all this and get the same benefits with even more significant health benefits by intermittent fasting. It also keeps life simpler for me.
Benefits of intermittent fasting are:
- Less insulin spikes throughout the day
- Increased Ketones
- Lower Blood Glucose
- Reduces Insulin Resistance
- Increased HGH
- Improve fatty liver disease
- Reduced inflammation
- Resistance to diabetes
- Improved blood pressure
- May improve cancer risks
- Improved HRV
Intermittent fasting (IF) has been the most natural lifestyle change. When I decided to give it a try, I was willing to commit to it for my health, and I was hoping for weight loss. I knew whatever I did it had to be a lifestyle change I could live with for the rest of my life, and to be honest, I was hoping to extend that a little since I had been feeling so poorly. I was willing to commit to it for a year as long as I continued to see benefits. I have dropped weight, pounds and inches, and kept it off for over a year. There has been an improvement in my liver functions and size. My blood glucose levels have improved, my blood pressure and overall inflammation.
When I started, I was a little overwhelmed at the thought of not eating for 16 hours. However, I thought it would be easier to wait a few hours than to change my diet all together. That was all I committed to doing a 16 hour fast. After a few months, I found it easier to do 18 hours of fasting. I played around with my eating window to see what worked best for my family and me. I landed on a morning/afternoon eating window. Now I fast anywhere between 16-22 hours daily.
I eat intuitively. If I am hungry, I break my fast earlier that day. If I am not that hungry, I open later and close it earlier. One of the most significant benefits of intermittent fasting, for me, has been learning to listen to my body and what it needs. I am now more conscientious of what I eat. I eat more clean foods. More fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. I eat what I enjoy, and not just what is convenient.
Another essential point, I believe I have been able to figure out several of my health issues because of IF and learning to listen to my body. IF has helped me figure out I have Alpha-gal Syndrome, what foods to avoid with my MCAS, and even helped me continue pushing to find out about the mass on my shoulder.
I hope you find what works for you long term. I hope you can find something that will allow you to improve your health and become a lifestyle that will enable you to eat clean, move daily, pray often, and love much.