I’m fully aware that my diet & lifestyle are extreme. Had you presented me with where I’m at today 2 years ago, I would have looked at you cockeyed & considered never speaking to you again. But let’s take a dive into what I was eating 2 years ago.
Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Oh well.
When I was a kid & teen, I would gravitate toward junk food like…well…everyone. But when I started driving & making money, I was in charge of most of my meals. It was disastrous. This is what a weekly meal plan might’ve looked like:
- Monday: 2 big bowls of Reese’s Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal (or Special K if I was feeling especially healthy…lolz) for breakfast, 2 bean burritos from Taco Bell for lunch, a frozen pizza for dinner, candy or cookies or ice cream for dessert, snacks spread between
- Tuesday: Whatever was leftover of Reese’s Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal for breakfast, a bag of jelly beans & chips for lunch, Chick-fil-a nuggets with fries & a Coke for dinner (or a Diet Coke if I was feeling especially healthy…lmao), candy or cookies or ice cream for dessert, snacks spread between
- Wednesday: You got the idea.
Before I got married in 2008, I had done some weird combo of low-fat & Weight Watchers & exercise to drop about 40 pounds (hello low-calorie, low-fat turkey dogs). Then I eventually started eating the same way again, getting all the way up to 258 in 2016. I had tried several dieting attempts throughout those 8 years, all to no long-term success (obviously). One positive change was that I was at least cooking at home more than I was when I was younger, but it was still far from healthy.
Here are some things I was experiencing at the time:
- My acne was terrible.
- I started getting boils (ew) & started using 1 towel & 1 disposable razor per shower to control it.
- My mood was all over the place & I was downright neurotic.
- I was bloated all the time.
- I was hot & sweaty (68˚ AC setting).
- I never wanted to move.
- I would have cavities every year.
- I was miserable.
What Goes Into My Mouth Now?
My diet over the last 1.5 years has transitioned significantly. My goal for the first 6 months of being in ketosis was just staying in ketosis, which means there were quite a few Frankenfoods consumed. Substitutions with almond flour & sweetener abounded. Low-carb tortillas & pre-packaged keto buns were staples. I continued to work in items from my old diet (looking at you Chick-fil-a nuggets) within my carb limit.
As I started reading about various foods on gut health, brain health, cell health, heart health, etc., my diet transitioned into this:
I love sardines.
I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d look at you cockeyed if you told me years ago what I’d enjoy eating now. And as much as you might struggle to believe me, I do thoroughly enjoy my diet:
- Monday: No breakfast, 3 eggs & 2 slices thick bacon for lunch, ribeye & broccoli for dinner
- Tuesday: No breakfast, 3 eggs & 2 slices thick bacon for lunch, ribeye & cauliflower for dinner
- Wednesday: No breakfast, 3 eggs & 2 slices thick bacon for lunch, pork chop & Brussel sprouts for dinner
- Thursday: No breakfast, 3 eggs & 2 slices thick bacon for lunch, crustless Quiche Lorraine for dinner
- Friday: No breakfast, 3 eggs & 2 slices of bacon for lunch, pulled pork & roasted radishes for dinner
- Saturday: No breakfast, 3 eggs & 2 slices of bacon for lunch, ribeye & chicken livers for dinner
- Sunday: No breakfast, 3 eggs & 2 slices of bacon for lunch, rosemary chicken & radishes for dinner
Actually, that’s way too many meals. I often do One Meal a Day (OMAD) & Alternate Day Fasting (ADF), so if you cut out at least a third of those meals, you have a better idea.
As you can see, it’s pretty simple.
What About Snacks?
I’ll discuss fasting in another post, but ever since I started utilizing fasting more seriously, I’ve cut out snacks. That’s not to say I won’t indulge in them from time to time. Here they are:
- Head cheese
- Smoked salmon
- Hunks of Parmesan cheese
- Macadamia nuts
- Pili nuts
- Coffee w/ cream
Do I Eat at Restaurants?
Yes, I do. I like not having to clean pans every so often, so we go out once a week. Rarely more. Because I cook so much, I’ve become quite good at making meat taste especially good, so restaurant meat tends to be disappointing & not worth the cost anymore. We tend to go for things I don’t make, such as gyro-loaded salads, Mexican burritos in a bowl (hold the rice & beans) & raw oysters.
Unless you’ve experienced it, it’s hard to understand why the hell this would be tolerable, much less enjoyable. But I do, & I feel great. You couldn’t get me to eat a Chick-fil-a nugget anymore unless you put a knife to my throat (& I still might take the knife), but I’ll expand on that in next week’s blog about seed oils.
I evolved from a diet to lose weight to a lifestyle to enjoy the last 20ish years of my life without disease. In order to do that, I needed to cut the foods that increased inflammation & insulin resistance, which means I had to cut out the majority of foods you can buy at the grocery store.
Insulin is the master hormone that runs a bazillion processes in the body. It not only dictates whether you store energy (gain weight) or use energy (lose weight) in any given second, it ensures proper nutrition reaches the cells, it signals organs & other hormones to function properly, & it keeps blood glucose normalized. Unless you’re eating pure fat, you trigger a lot of insulin. The more processed the food you eat is, the more insulin is required. The more sugar you consume, the more insulin you need. If you eat all the time & your foods are highly processed &/or sugar-laden, your insulin is through the roof all the time.
Insulin normalizes blood glucose by opening up fat & muscle cells to store excess glucose. If insulin is constantly storing it, cells become overloaded & start rejecting insulin’s signal to open up. Insulin then has to increase & will eventually signal the creation of new fat cells. & we get fat. & cholesterol starts oxidizing. & our immune system diminishes. & we get inflamed. & fluid retention goes up along with blood pressure. & hormones start acting wonky. Then we get diseased.
Then we keep eating. & eating. & eating. & eating. Because our bodies aren’t actually able to use much of the energy it’s storing. All the body can do is tell you to eat more & the problems compound.
It might surprise you to learn that normal blood glucose numbers & a normal weight don’t mean you’re doing your body good. Weight, blood glucose & A1c tell only part of the story. By the time your numbers start looking all wrong, you are already insulin resistant because of the day-in-&-day-out influx of insulin on your system.
So what happens when insulin is low? You get to enjoy all that stored body fat. Inflammation goes down. Blood pressure normalizes. Blood sugar remains stable. Cells become more insulin sensitive. Hormones normalize.
Some people use the ketogenic diet to reduce insulin, & others use fasting. Others mix the two (like me!).
These are some of the most notable side effects of my diet:
- Easy weight loss
- No out-of-control hunger or blood sugar spikes/slumps
- Improved hormone responses
- Better sleep
- Improved metabolism
- Healthy inflammation responses
- Better, more even mood & mental health
- Improved focus
- Fewer & less severe illnesses
- Rare need of medicine
- Healthy teeth & gums
- Improved acne & skin
- No bloating
- Excellent heat tolerance (73˚ AC temp)
- A newfound desire to move
What About Cholesterol?
This is usually complaint #1 regarding the keto diet. There are so many good resources debunking what has been pushed on the population about cholesterol, red meat & saturated fat (check out my resource links). But suffice it to say that we believe what we believe about LDL & saturated fat being bad because a super sucky scientist had a pet hypothesis in the 1950s that he propagandized & bullied into politics. The hypothesis has never been tested & relies on flawed & barely scientific observational studies that ignore confounding variables, like smoking & sugar consumption. It has become so much a part of “common knowledge” that all studies are done with it as its basis. Nutrition science is a joke.
Animal foods provide complete nutrition that is more bio-available than vegetables can ever be. That means that your body has an easier time absorbing its nutrients, which, by the way, you need fat to do.
When Will I Stop?
Never! Even if I could control my weight way back when, I was still killing myself in half a dozen ways.
In case you’re worried, though, I had my blood work done recently. Everything was perfect.
*Note: None of this is medical advice.