Recently I discovered that my blood sugar and insulin levels were elevated. After doing some research I discovered that the underlying reason my blood sugar was elevated was that I had been taking Red Rice Yeast extract. Why? It was recommended to me as a natural alternative to taking a statin. What I failed to do while taking it, was also supplement with CoQ10. This is super important for anyone considering taking statin or taking red rice yeast extract.
Determined to lower my blood sugar level, I recently embarked on a ketogenic meal plan. Ketogenic meals are typically associated with people seeking weight loss, precisely because they lower blood sugar and insulin levels. But there are actually many reasons someone might want to try this type of eating.
graphic courtesy of www.myketokitchen.com
The great thing about a ketogenic meal plan is that it is whole food based. That means there are no processed foods when eating this way, and food sources should be the highest quality that you can afford.
While eating this way, each meal consists of 70% good fats, 20-25% protein and 5% limited and low glycemic load carbohydrates. Yes, you read that right, 70% healthy fats. The key to the ketogenic meal plan is healthy fat. At first trying to determine these percentages can be a bit daunting, but once you understand the formula and the foods that fall into the categories, it becomes easy.
So what are the good fats? These include coconut oil, avocado, grassfed butter, olive oil, avocado oil, and lard. You will also enjoy full fat cheeses, yogurts, cream cheeses and crème. You will be using these fats in cooking, as well as creating delicious sauces and dressings (hello, avocado sour cream dressing!)
For protein choices, consider the following options: grass fed beef, bacon, pastured chicken and turkey, wild caught fish- really any protein in its whole form is acceptable as long as it is not processed. Again, you are looking for organic, grass fed, wild caught, pastured proteins.
What’s a low glycemic load carbohydrate? It’s a non starchy fruit or vegetable. For fruits, think berries- strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. For vegetables, think vegetables that grow above ground- lettuces, kale, collard greens, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchinni, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes, cabbage, bell pepper, fennel, bok choy. Stay away from corn,carrots, beets, and potatoes of any kind.
The goal of a ketogenic diet is keeping your body in a state of ketosis. When you are in ketosis, your body burns more fat. There are three things that prevent you from being in ketosis. 1) You are consuming more carbohydrates than you should be. You could also be consuming starchy carbohydrates. 2) You are not eating enough fat. We are so trained to think that fat is bad for us, when in fact healthy fats are critical to our health. 3) You are not eating enough protein. Satiety, the feeling of fullness, really comes from protein being consumed with healthy fat. You will be eating much more fat than you are normally accustomed to consuming.
The hardest part for me was eating less protein, as it only makes up about 20% of the calories. I knew it would be hard to stop eating all of the fruit, as I am sort of a fruitaholic as it turns out. But cutting back on the protein was trickier than I imagined because I had to keep checking to see what has protein in it and what does not. So heavy cream has no protein and coconut milk next to none. But a steak has a lot of protein and buffalo meat has even more. Fish is a very good choice, as well as chicken.
So what does a day of eating on a ketogenic meal plan look like?
Consider the following quick and easy breakfasts: an omelette with cheese on top cooked in coconut oil; An egg baked in half an avocado with cheese or bacon melted on top; Berry green smoothie made from blueberries, sour cream, spinach, and heavy whipping cream. I also throw in some of Dr. Axe’s collagen powder or some Naked Whey protein powder, but not too much.
Have I mentioned how much I love this product? Dr. Axe’s Collagen Protein.
For lunch, a meal may be something like a bacon lettuce and tomato salad; cauliflower cheddar soup; an omelette with bacon and veggies cooked in coconut oil, crab salad stuffed avocado.
Dinner are mostly protein and vegetable. For example, lamb with pesto zucchini noodles; turkey meatloaf made with heavy cream and fresh parsley served with creamed spinach; garlic braised short ribs served with cheesy mashed cauliflower.
And don’t forget, you should be eating 2-3 snacks a day. Some of my favorites include, homemade crispy parmesan crackers; almond butter fudge; a smoothie; desserts called fat bombs and bacon and cheese deviled eggs.
Does all this sound pretty rich? Indeed! The whole idea of ketogenic meals centers around eating healthy fats. Consuming these healthy fats with proteins is what keeps the person feeling sated throughout the day. The way it works is that it resets your fat metabolism. In other words, you burn fat more efficiently. I have also found that I am building muscle much more easily. Mostly, I have no inflammation, sleep better and have thicker hair and eyelashes. I am awaiting my blood sugar test results.
I’ve been using some of the recipes from The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners by Amy Ramos, and have found it to be concise and easy to understand. I also like it because most of the recipes have only 4 or 5 ingredients.
Every recipe I’ve tried in this book is delicious, more importantly, simple. There’s a super helpful shopping list as well that is for two weeks.
So, if you are looking to increase your levels of HDL and lower triglycerides, lower your blood sugar and insulin response- or if you are seeking the neurological benefits of this meal plan because you have epilepsy, anxiety or depression- you want to try this.
Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), as well as obesity.
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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.
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