A brief history on me: I used to be the QUEEN (yaaaassss, but no) of blood sugar mismanagement. I’m only 32 and if I wasn’t already insulin insensitive, I was well on my way. I was a carb and sugar (I had chocolate after every meal) fanatic; I would have massive blood sugar drops in between meals where I got shaky, irritable (HANGRY – this is not cute, people), and lightheaded; and nightly I would have 1-2 glasses of wine (and more chocolate) before bed. And I never thought twice about these things! Until I got a bit older, more tuned into my body, and realized that throughout the day I generally felt like there was a “brick on my head” – my head felt heavy, my brain felt foggy, and I was having pretty regular headaches. At this point, I decided to do standard blood labs. I’ve become kind of addicted to running labs on myself to see how my body’s functioning and how I can hack it to make it run more optimally. Doing this, in conjunction with doing my genetic panel and looking at it from a health perspective, completely transformed how I take care of myself. And this is where ketosis comes in.
Side Note: I’m a keto coach and work doing, essentially, nutritional counseling for a functional medicine office, and had been preaching the diet for about a year and a half before actually implementing. And when I finally did, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long.
For myself personally, I’m not 100% keto all the time. I prefer to do it more cyclically, with an emphasis on evening meals being super high fat to the extent that I can (sometimes pizza just calls my name, you know?!). And since making my meals more fat dense and cutting back on my evening wine/dessert, I’ve seen a vast improvement in the symptoms noted above, along with my blood sugar, my lipids, my total inflammatory load, even my gut integrity on my labs!
I feel like I should note that the ketosis I follow is light ketosis, with an emphasis on plant-based fats and green leafys, small to moderate amounts of protein, and very little carb. Lately I’ve been feeling like I want to take things to the next level in terms of my eating habits, and intermittent fasting (timing windows for eating) grabbed my attention… Probably because it’s everywhere right now. 🙂
I was nervous to start. I work until pretty late every day which means I usually don’t eat dinner until 8, and then try to be in bed by 9:30, so eating before 6 PM literally isn’t feasible for me most days of the week. What I didn’t realize about fasting is that you can shift your eating windows to work for you. For me that meant, if I don’t eat until 8 and then give myself 2 hours to get into bed, and then don’t eat until closer to noon the next day, I’ve got a solid 15-hour window for my body to digest and enter into a ketosis fasting state, and reap the benefits of doing so. So, this is what I’ve followed and ever since doing so the benefits I’ve seen have included clearer skin, improvement in under eye darkness/bags, more energy which seems to be dispersed evenly throughout the day, and better sleep. I’ve found this to be WAY easier and way more beneficial than I was expecting, which is why I wanted to share how I’ve made it work. Because if I can make the shift, YOU can make the shift!
My Steps to Implement Fasting Windows:
- Have a fat dense dinner :: This is SUPER important. The brain and body need ketones to feed off of not only while you sleep, but also while you’re in your fasting state.
- Start with minerals :: I like a cup of warm water with a generous pinch of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. This is going to help you both hydrate and flush. As the body enters into a ketotic state, you’ll literally be peeing out inflammation. Ensure that you’re giving yourself the proper hydration support and electrolyte balance by starting off with some minerals.
- Have a fat-dense AM drink :: Since I’m off the coff (never thought I’d say that, but also have never felt better) I do a decaffeinated Tazo chai tea with cashew milk (unsweetened), a small amount of sweetener, and a heaping scoop of MCT Oil powder (which is ridiculously creamy when blended into anything). MCT oil is derived from coconuts and is a fat source that doesn’t require any bodily processes to break down. It’s like giving yourself a dose of straight ketones. It keeps me satiated, and gives both my brain and my energy a boost!
- Feed the body with supplements :: I like taking omegas in the morning (I rotate sources – right now I’m doing plant-based) and a probiotic. The probiotic in the photo, which is my current probiotic, is specifically targeted to restoring gut flora post-antibiotics (which I sadly recently had to use).
- Give the gallbladder a helping hand :: Add in bile with any high-fat meals and snacks. My favorite form is Beta Plus by Biotics Research. It’s a blend that has a little bit of hydrochloric acid in it, which helps the body to break down and assimilate the nutrients you’re taking in via food. I take one with each fat-dense meal to make sure I’m actually able to break down my fats and tap into my own fat stores for fuel.
If I do this formula, I kid you not, I won’t even think about food until probably around 11:00 – 11:30 AM, at which time I’ll typically have a boatload of leafy greens, a small amount of protein, and lots more fat (olive oil, avocado, hemp hearts – usually all 3).
It should be noted that I’m not perfect on this. I’m, proudly, an imperfect human. I do sometimes still have wine before bed (last night it was that and a paleo brownie – no judgement) but when I do I also know how I’ll sleep (poorly) and I know how I’ll feel (crummy and hungry) the next morning. I’ve never done well with intense restrictions and find that if I do the best I can the majority of the time, without putting too many boundaries on myself, my headspace will be healthier and I’ll be more successful. Sometimes I give in because I won’t deprive myself of what I want. But I also know that if I follow the steps above I’ll have more energy and more mental clarity than if I were to do the prior.
If you’re interested in learning more about keto or intermittent fasting, message me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers to health!
Brand Shout Out (totally unendorsed)
Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts – I put these in literally EVERYTHING. Salads, smoothies, pesto, on veggies, you name it. They’re my staple fat topping.
CA Olive Ranch Olive Oil – never tasted anything better, seriously. Find it at your local Whole Foods.
Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder – adds so much creaminess with zero taste. Great for smoothies, morning drinks, or in water just before bed.
Source Naturals – Their flax and Primrose Oil has zero taste and comes in easy to swallow capsules.
Klaire Labs – you can’t go wrong with any of their products, and their probitocs make my tummy super happy.