I've been following a Ketogenic diet (30g of carbs or less) for 4 weeks now and some of you have asked how I'm getting on and if I plan to stick with this long-term . . .
Well, it's a resounding . . . YES!
Keto is easy, quick and delicious. It looks really naughty on a plate (mostly), which I LOVE - and let's face it, my dearest Keto, you had me at Bacon.
The diabetes control alone is reason enough, but add the soaring energy levels, like I've never experienced in my lifetime with this dis-ease; multiply by how damn taut my body has gotten so fast; and whip that all up with a huge double cream filled bowl of I FEEL AMAZING! The results - are undeniably insane.
Barry has also started eating a lot less carbs and any small amount of belly he had, has pretty much vanished. He ate Pizza (real deal stuff, not the Fat Head Dough kind) last week and his belly came back a little too much for his liking. Now he's eating low carb with me for Brekkie and Dinner and just grabbing a sandwich for lunch. Amazing results.
Only 4 weeks?
This is not my first rodeo. Nope. I followed Dr Bernstein's plan when I was about 21 years old and vegetarian. It was tougher without Bacon.
Life. Is. Generally. Tougher. Without. Bacon.
My diet back then seemed to comprise eggs, bags upon bags of nuts and as many of the cakes as I could manage to create. It did not work out well.
What's different this time? Studying nutrition helped. I mean I studied and tried over 100 diets inside a 7 year period and nothing . . . NOTHING . . . compares blood sugar wise to this. I also understand the biology / chemistry behind this and don't panic when a Keto strip turns deep purple. As long as my blood sugars are normal, of course.
Let's be honest though, there are pitfalls too, as with everything . . .
I'm thirsty a lot, so I need water / Diet Coke (favourite!) with me all the time. Hopefully this wears off after the intro. But hey, it makes me drink healthy amounts.
I'm scared my warning signals will go for hypo's. They seem a little less, but nothing serious as I still pick up a low before my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). I'll keep an eye on this though as I know the NHS will be on me about this one.
And . . . there will be times when I've not eaten and someone is eating doughnuts and I want one! Not happened yet, but it could. You have to pre-plan with this way of eating. But, on the other hand, most places serve protein. A Drive Thru will do. Just toss the bun and ask for extra Bacon.
How are you Blood Sugar Levels?
I can easily maintain static blood sugar levels 95% of the time and the remaining 5% is just the unpredictable nature of diabetes. And that will always remain.
By this I mean the usual culprits - which I can (and do) plan for, but they still have the ability to screw things up! Things like: different types of exercise, menstruation, hot weather / baths, stress, excitement . . . list goes on. Coping with these is MUCH easier on Keto than not though. Much.
My blood sugars are now regularly as low or lower + as stable or more stable than most of the 'people without diabetes' I have ever tested. That's pretty incredible in itself for a Person With Diabetes (PWD).
By NHS standards, I would be in range 100% of the time now. By Bernstein standards, I'm doing pretty great, but I'm sure he'd say I have a way to go!
I'm working on varying my meals now I'm used to how the foods I love affect my personal blood sugar levels. Mostly, I can eyeball a meal and know I have a cup of salad or an ounce of cheese. It pays to weigh every now and again though as you can easily let the carbs / protein run away with you and those few grams add up to make a big difference.
What makes it work so well?
The 'law of small numbers' is key to the huge success of Keto with type 1 diabetes. It means correcting mistakes is miles easier.
How the Law of Small Numbers Helps Dramatically
Let's say I had my insulin ratio set at 1:10, so I inject / pump 1 unit of insulin for every 10 grams of carbs. Well, on this eating plan I'm only ever eating 12 grams of carbs maximum. So if my ratio was wrong and it should have been 1:11, for example, here's how it plays out:
- I inject 1:10 = 1.2 units insulin
- It should have been 1:11 = 1.1 units insulin
- I over injected by 0.1 of a unit.
- = No biggie and easily correctable with a tiny, tiny amount of dextrose.
However, when I was eating meals of 80g carbs - as was common, you can see how this could go horribly wrong.
- I inject 1:10 = 8 units insulin
- It should have been 1:11 = 7.3 units
- I'm now 0.7 units over with my insulin - which is dramatic in terms of diabetes management!!! This has the potential to cause a severe hypo. And often did. Teeny-tiny droplets of insulin have such a powerful effect, it's humbling.
Is Keto a restrictive eating plan?
My final answer is no. Although, to answer fully - yes, you must severely restrict carbohydrates and not rebound - or there are consequences. There's no accepting biscuits from well-meaning relatives or just giving into the cake because it's someone's birthday and they'll be offended.
Be prepared to say no. And offend if necessary! If you have T1D, your health literally depends on it and stable blood sugars are so important for avoidance of diabetes complications.
On the plus side -
- I'm never hungry in the way I was when I ate a lot of carbs.
- I eat to satiety at every meal and I LOVE the food.
- I can still eat out, just as I would before, I just need to read the menu and check they don't steep their meats / veggies in sugar!
What about Sweet Foods, do you miss them?
No - there are so many great carb free options. Sugar free jelly and cream. Sugar free chocolate. Chocolate mug cake - favourite! With cream. Cheesecakes . . . and a heap of recipes I've not explored yet.
If people offer me sweet foods, I truly have no issue saying no because I'm not craving them / have no appetite for them at all now. The answer should always really have been no anyway! Running at high levels feels absolutely horrendous and it's just not worth the pain. If I want sweet, there are so many great options, there's really no need to stray.
Plus, who needs any more sweet in their life when they have this little guy?! Post bath Puppy.
Do I miss anything?
Potatoes - very occasionally. But I'm yet to try some of the amazing cauliflower mash recipes out there. Many of which are twice baked and feature my beloved . . . Bacon! And it's partner in crime, Cheese!
I guess you could say, Keto is going great and once I settle into it, I'll start sharing more recipes.