The keto conversation has been buzzing since I touched on what I have been doing for this prep and released my free low carb cookbook, Cut the Carbs (subscribe to my email list on the sidebar for your FREE copy). I got close to my stage weight- within 5 lbs- and we decided to add more carbohydrates back in my daily caloric total and had a bit of a stall. We decided to move forward with a ketogenic diet until we hit my stage weight and then add carbohydrates back in.
When I say a bit of a stall, this was over a 3- 4 week period. Please do not be quick to change your diet constantly as you need consistency to truly determine results. Fat loss is not linear.
I wanted to circle back to the conversation about my ketogenic diet and dive into it a little further by bringing on one of the first people I ran into that utilizes a ketogenic diet much of the time- Drew Manning. Drew Manning is the creator of Fit to Fat to Fit, and we virtually met after Eric spent some time with him in LA when they were filming parts of Season 2. After Eric gave rave reviews about Drew and confirmed what a great resource he is, I reached out with a few questions for Drew about how he diets, how ketosis makes him feel when he refeeds and more. This was wonderful to compare to how I feel during keto and to bust some myths about low carb diets
How long have you been utilizing a ketogenic diet?
DM: I’ve been utilizing a modified keto (high protein, high fat, low carb) diet for years now, but I haven’t been full ketogenic until about six months ago.
Full ketogenic is more restrictive, less carbohydrate (typically 15- 20 grams) and the food is more closely measured. Modified is less restrictive, typically includes a slightly greater amount of carbohydrate and includes more foods that can be consumed while on the diet.
What made you decide to give it a shot?
DM: Once I heard from Dr. Dom D’Agostino on The Tim Ferriss Podcast and hearing him talk about the brain benefits of this diet it peaked my interest in it. I wasn’t looking to get leaner or lose weight but wanted to learn about the improvements in cognitive function through nutritional ketosis.
While low carbohydrate that does not take your body into ketosis can leave you foggy, this, in turn, has been known to improve cognitive function.
What are some of your favorite low carb meals to prepare at home? When you go to restaurants?
DM: For me, I love bulletproof coffee, steak with butter, eggs, and full-fat cheeses on everything. One of my favorite go-to meals is these organic chicken sausages from Aidell’s. When I go out to eat, most places have a bacon cheeseburger without the bun, which is easy and delicious!
It doesn’t sound like you are suffering! These are highly desirable foods that most people banish during a diet! This goes to show that there are no inherently “bad” foods and it is all about how you fit them into your diet to create energy balance.
How often do you refeed (if you do, or a high carb day) when you are dieting (keto)? How do you feel after a refeed? How does your physique change?
DM: Well, when I’m doing strict keto I recommend becoming Keto adapted first, which can take 4-6 weeks for some people. Then for maintenance, I think most athletes can do one carb refeed a week if they want to try a cyclical ketogenic diet. For others, a targeted ketogenic diet works well too (small amount of carbs pre and post workout). For me I try and do it once every couple of weeks though, but only if it’s for special occasions (birthday, celebration of some type, etc.). I feel great while I’m eating the carbs, but the day after I have more cravings temporarily and I get hungrier quicker the day after. After a couple of days, though, that goes away. When I do have a refeed I do notice my muscles a lot more full and an I become more vascular very quick.
I notice the same. I refeed each week and may extend that period this time around but the day after a refeed is very challenging. I think that’s where exogenous ketones come in handy and have yet to try them! That is on my to-do list!
Do you feel your mental capacity suffers when your body is in ketosis?
DM: Not at all. The opposite is what tends to happen because there’s less inflammation in the brain and increased blood flow to the brain when you’re keto adapted. My brain has never been sharper in my life. I feel a very noticeable difference in my mental clarity, focus, and energy throughout the day when I’m in ketosis. Plus your brain can use ketones more efficiently than glucose. Now, in the beginning when you transition from glucose to ketones, your brain can feel foggy, and that’s caused by “keto flu” symptoms. If you increase your sodium (sea salt), increase your water intake and possibly invest in some exogenous ketones (kegenix, etc.) that should help out, but just know that it’s temporary.
I know in my case, it was difficult to be open minded to changing the way I had been eating for so long but changing my mindset to give keto a try as well as educating myself on the process helped me find an amazing alternative to traditional dieting for me. I am always hungry! My energy also increased as well as my mental clarity, and the cravings vanished- winning! Those are great tips on how to accommodate more comfortably to keto!
Do you use a ketogenic diet year round?
DM: Not exactly. For me, I like to switch things up. I generally will follow a low carb diet 90% of the time, but sometimes I will increase my carbs to maybe 100-150g per day for a few weeks every few months, but the majority of the time it’s either strict keto or a modified keto diet.
What is your number one tip you would give to someone just starting out with keto?
DM: To have a plan of what you’re going to eat. If you can afford exogenous ketones, then, by all means, invest in those to help you transition. If not, then no worries, just know that it’s going to take some time to transition. So give it a minimum of 4 weeks of consistency. Then from there prepare your meals and track your macros the first week or so to get a rough idea of what percentages you’re eating.
For more information from Dr. Dom D’Agostino, you can check out http://www.ketonutrition.org
You can follow Drew on Instagram, and Twitter @fit2fat2fit See his transformation below