People are interested in the low carb Keto lifestyle for a variety of reasons. Some want to lose weight and improve their body composition while others want to improve their metabolic health and perhaps even reverse diabetes. People often ask me, “How do I do the keto diet?” “How much protein can I eat?” “What is the Keto flu?”
As a Ph.D in biochemistry and a health coach with numerous certifications in the application of the ketogenic diet and diabetes reversal, I use the MAKSME Healthy Protocol to enable my clients to be successful in the Keto Lifestyle.
The MAKSME Healthy Protocol is an easy six step process to Keto happiness. Let’s dive in!
Step 1: M stands for metrics. Undergoing a lifestyle change can be hard. However, you can track your progress in the keto lifestyle because we can measure ketones! The word “keto” was invented by Dr. Steven Phinney to describe what happens to your body when you switch to a low carb diet. When you reduce the carbs in your diet low enough your body produces ketones. These are small fat molecules that are markers of ketosis (defined below). Since we can detect ketones in the urine, blood or breath, we can measure our keto progress as our body shifts into the fat burning mode.
When ketones are present we say that you are in ketosis which is the goal of the lifestyle. Ketosis means that you are in the fat burning mode. If you don’t measure the ketones you can’t know if you are in ketosis or not. Here are two methods to measure ketones and glucose:
Other important metrics include fasting glucose, blood pressure, and weight. All four metrics should be measured daily and the trends analyzed weekly.
Over time ketones should rise (0.5-5 mM), blood glucose should normalize (66-99 mg/dL), weight and blood pressure should come down with time.
Step 2: A stands for biomarker app. The metrics should be recorded and monitored. There are many different apps on the market. I advocate for the Heads Up Health app which allows for the easy entry of values and provides fingertip analysis of the trends that can be easily reviewed by a health coach if you have one.
Step 3: K stands for the foods that you can eat on Keto and the foods that you need to avoid. The diet is rich and delicious and involves eating whole food beautifully prepared with fat and protein taking center stage. (Figure). As an example of keto approved foods, see this list:
We say, No GPS: No grains, potatoes, or rice. However, to be successful on Keto there are additional foods that should be avoided so if you are considering a food not on the above list, don’t eat it.
Fats such as ghee, butter, beef tallow, bacon grease, avocado and olive oil are the fats of choice. I use the butter, olive and avocado oil for low temperature cooking and the other fats for high temperature frying because of their high smoke points—less oxidation is a good thing. Moreover, the olive and avocado oils are used for coverings like drenching salads or coating vegetables.
We eat moderate protein on the keto diet. So how much protein is moderate protein? Adequate protein can be calculated based on 1.5-2 grams of protein per Kg of body weight. Take your weight and divide by 2.2. This will give you Kg’s. Then multiply by 1.5-2 grams. This gives the grams of pure protein on average that you need each day. Next, divide by 6.5 grams of protein containing food (1 oz equals 6.5 grams) and this gives you an estimate of how many ounces of protein containing food you need each day. Split this value between 3 meals and you’ve got your protein.
Protein can also be estimated by using the “deck of cards” analogy. At each meal eat protein that is approximately equivalent to the size of a deck of cards. This can be adjusted based on how you feel over time. Athletes probably will bump the protein up to higher levels.
Note that the first three steps outlined above contribute to about 80% to the success on the diet. The steps that follow are also important but are less effective if the diet itself is not under control.
Step 4: S is for sleep. Humans evolved with the cycle of the sun. We awake with the sun and sleep when it is dark. Of course modern life has compromised this cycle. The fact that many of us eat well after dark, drink alcohol, and watch our computers and TV’s until the late hours adversely effects our sleep. Often this adversity leads to high fasting levels of glucose and weight gain. Therefore, it is crucial to eat earlier in the evening, cut down on alcohol consumption, and reduce screen time. Stay off the late night snacks and read a good book. Keep low light in your bedroom and maintain a cool sleeping temperature.
Step 5: M is for mindfulness. Stress causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol which if released in a chronic pattern can cause irregularities in insulin regulation and other regulatory pathways. This can have negative effects on our metabolic health as a consequence if the stress is a chronic day-in and day-out pattern. Therefore, finding ways to bring mindfulness into your life is essential to optimizing your metabolic health. Take time for yourself. Perhaps use some meditation. Set boundaries at work and home so that you have the space to stay balanced in your perspectives and daily routines.
Step 6: E is for exercise. Exercise is very important because it will enhance the bodies ability to adapt to the keto lifestyle as well as the ability to operate in the physical world. Heart health and vascularity is increased with exercise. The reproduction of mitochondria happens through exercise making the utilization of energy more efficient. Increased balance and the development of power and strength increases with exercise. Therefore, any major lifestyle change should have exercise as a component and there are three main components: general daily movement, high intensity exercise, and lifting weights.
Using these six fundamental steps my clients have been highly successful transitioning into the keto lifestyle and sustaining this way of living in their lives. Many times I am asked: What if I am a vegetarian or vegan? What about us?
There is no problem. The concept is the same—the carbs have to come down. The carbs are the key. They have to come down. No GPS applies to vegetarians and vegans alike. Fats are raised to offset the loss in calories when the carbs are lowered.
It’s crucial to emphasize that getting into ketosis is by lowering the carbs not by elevating the fat. However, the fat has to come up in order to offset the calorie loss due to lowering the carbs. The keto diet is not calorie restricted. We are not going around hungry. Embrace the fat!
Try the MAKSMEY Protocol and let us know how it goes!
Did I miss anything?
What strategy did you use from our six steps?
I’d like to hear from you! Comment below!
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