Introduction to Ketosis: A Map To Get There

Sometimes, when you’re a chiropractor, you touch a nerve.

So it seems that last week’s post about emotional detox impacted some people in the ways I hope all my articles would. As hard as it was to say some of the things I had to say, the comments I got afterward would suggest that it helped some people. For that, I am grateful for God’s grace to write it. Thanks to everyone who had such encouraging words to say about it.

So, like any good chiropractor, I’ll move away from that nerve for a bit and work on something else. But we will come back to it. After all, wellness isn’t just a straight spine or a clean diet. Wellness includes movement, nutrition, mind, spirit, emotions, sleep, environment, relationships, career, finances, and more.

Review: Some Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Two weeks ago, we looked at the power of intermittent fasting for physical detox. By setting aside 8 hours each day for eating and 16 hours for fasting, you set up a chain reaction of biochemical processes that help to flush out damaged and dead cells, free radicals, and other toxins. It gradually moves the body away from burning sugar for fuel (which has approximately the same effect as burning sugar for fuel in your car) and toward burning fat for fuel, the way you were originally designed. I encourage you to go back and read that article because it creates some context for what I want to share this week.

Intro to Ketosis

If you’ve been lingering around health and wellness websites lately, the words “keto” or “ketosis” have crossed your screen. In fact, now that you are reading this, chances are very good that a video from Thomas DeLauer will appear in your Facebook news feed this afternoon. He’s a powerful advocate for ketogenics (and a very effective social media marketer).

Behind all the Keto commotion is some pretty compelling science. Naturally, it’s controversial in some medical circles, often because it is conflated with ketoacidosis, which is a condition where a diabetic patient has lost control of his blood sugar and his ketones are spiking far beyond a healthy limit.

Simply put, ketosis is a condition where your body switches from burning glucose for fuel to burning tiny fuel cells called “ketones.” Ketones are produced from the metabolism of fat in the liver. It has been used to great effect in the treatment of type-2 diabetes, epilepsy, and even treating brain cancer. Many of the people I’ve talked to who have adopted it shared that, after a couple of days of transition, they experienced greater mental clarity, physical endurance, and fewer headaches. They also found that they experienced feelings of hunger less often.

If It’s Good, How Do I Get It?

The key to achieving ketosis is to decrease the body’s supply of glucose by removing carbs from your diet. In all honesty, that’s the over-simplified version of the keto diet that people often latch onto. Actually, going cold-turkey on all carbs could give you a couple of very unpleasant days of nausea, fatigue, muscle cramping, and headaches. A safer transition is to move to a 1-to-1 ratio of healthy fats to net carbs and protein, where you decrease your grains and sugars, increase and your healthy fats over time.

And, as we shared previously, intermittent fasting is the factor that makes all the other choices more powerful. By giving your digestive system 16 hours to rest, you allow your body to reset and stabilize your blood glucose levels, as well as several other systems.

Choosing Well

An important part of the eating puzzle is what to leave out and what to leave in. While we want to reduce your carb intake overall, the idea here is not counting calories, or even counting carbs. I want to encourage you to increase your intake of healthy fats, vegetables (especially ones that grow above the ground), nuts, legumes, and some proteins. Again, this is one of those areas where different practitioners vary on amounts. Some promote lots of proteins, but that can create problems because your body converts excess protein to glucose. That defeats the purpose and shuts down the production of ketones.

I recently read this and it brought some clarity. Randy Evans has a master’s degree in nutrition at the University of Kansas Integrative Medical Center. In an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola, he said, “We have essential proteins and we have essential fats. We don’t have any essential carbs.” Again, your body will convert carbs to fuel, but it’s an inefficient process with a laundry list of unpleasant side effects.

Understanding Fat Is Not A Monster

That brings us to fat. Your body was designed to burn two fuels – fats and carbs – but fat is better for all the systems of your body because carbs tend to be inflammatory in many parts of your body. Fat got a bad name in the 1950s and 1960s when “scientists” with less-than-pure motives began a marketing campaign to discredit the health benefits of fat in favor of sugar. The current health care disaster in the US, with exploding rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and dementia, is a direct result of that faulty advice.

That being said, fats lie across a spectrum from healthy to toxic. I shared an oil guide a couple of years ago to help you recognize the differences. Fats from olives, coconuts, avocados, and fish are usually healthy choices, while vegetable oil, corn oil, and canola oil and not just unhealthy, they are toxic and should be avoided.

Naturally, what do you see more of on the shelves at Publix? Vegetable, corn, and canola oil, right? I can only shake my head.

Easy Ways to Increase Your Fat Intake

Every time I say it, it sounds crazy, but the opposite is true. Certain fats are amazingly healthy and should be increased in your diet. Some easy ways to increase your fat intake include:

  • Add avocado and olive oil to your salad.
  • Cook with coconut oil because it has a very high safe cooking range.
  • Eat organic butter from grass-fed milk. If you are still using margarine, go ahead and dump it in the nearest landfill (I would be willing to bet that your great grandchildren will be able to find that margarine intact in 100 years.)
  • If you want a refreshing and delicious snack, let me recommend macadamia nuts and pecans. They have the exact right balance of omega-3 and omega-6. Almonds come in at a close second place. Pumpkin seeds are also excellent.
  • Hard-boiled eggs are also a great source of protein and good cholesterol.

Since fat is going to be an important part of your daily eating plan for awhile, I want to make sure you enjoy it.

Avoiding Problems With Carbs

When it comes to avoiding carbs, it’s not as clear-cut as you might think. We typically associate carbohydrates with bread and pasta. That’s fair, but it falls short. You’re also going to want to stay away from potatoes and other starchy vegetables, candy, rice, juice, and most fruits.

That is often shocking to people because we think of fruit as being super-healthy. Well, yes and no.

A little fruit is a good thing. Maybe an apple or a banana or an orange. But fruit is high in sugar. The reason fruit is usually looked at as good is that the sugar in fruit comes packaged in fiber, so it takes your body longer to break it down, thus releasing the sugar more slowly. Fruit juice is so hard on your health, especially for children, because squeezing out the juice removes it from its fiber shell, so the sugar goes straight to your bloodstream, unfiltered.

Now, I didn’t say you can’t have any, but the more you have, the harder it will be for your body to achieve ketosis. It has to do something with that glucose, so it’s naturally going to burn it first.

Do We Have To Eat Plain Lettuce For The Rest of Our Lives?

This is part where people start complaining that I’m taking all the good things away from them. Like the t-shirt I saw recently at the mall said:

“Removing bacon from your diet will extend your life ten years – ten long, miserable, baconless years.”

I don’t want that to be your experience at all. But to achieve the benefits of ketosis, including:

  • More energy
  • Fat burning
  • Weight loss
  • Clearer thinking
  • Less hunger pangs and cravings

…we have to get the carbs out. So, let’s try this:

  • Instead of rice, use cauliflower.
  • Choose romaine lettuce to wrap a sandwich.
  • Replace french fries with a sliced up yellow bell pepper.
  • Instead of chips, try pecans. Instead of candy, keep berries handy.

You can enjoy a plate of fresh raspberries and not match the carb content of a hamburger bun. Mix them into some ice cold vanilla yogurt and you’ve got a feast!

So Much More To Say

Next week, I want to explore this more deeply and share tips for implementing this effectively in your life. There a lot of positives to eating this way, but it’s not perfect, and I want to make sure we cover the pros and the cons. I’m so grateful to have this platform, where we can take our time and discuss these topics in depth.

As with anything, if you are getting treatment for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or cancer, or if you’re pregnant or nursing, you always need to run these kinds of ideas past your doctor. Some medical doctors are more open to it than others. If you’re looking for a doctor in the Naples area who incorporates nutrition into their treatment plans, I’d be happy to recommend one. Stop by my office and let’s catch up.

Help Me Get The Word Out About Wellness

In the meantime, I appreciate you reading all the way to the end. If you found this article to be helpful, I’ll just ask you to take 8 seconds to share it on your favorite social media channel. You never know who else you know who might be looking for this information right now – or maybe in the near future. Who knows? We might give someone an insight that will help them lose weight naturally, get free from diabetes treatments, or give their body the strength to fight off cancer.

Thank you for helping me get the word out.

“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.”  — Eric Thomas

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