After finishing exams and moving home for the summer, I decided to join my parents on the ketogenic diet. They both started the keto diet in the new year, and it was a resolution that stuck. When I saw their success in achieving healthier weights I was inspired to give it a try as well. I have been keto for two weeks, and it gets easier every day. 

Starting in 2016, the keto diet became one of the biggest trends for losing weight. Additionally, there are many other health benefits of being keto such as lower insulin levels, lower blood pressure, and controlled hunger. Since dietary guidelines from The Canada Food Guide are leading to obesity amongst Canadians, it's time to turn to other lifestyles such as keto.

What Is Keto?

Keto is a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet where your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis to produce ketones. When you stop eating carbohydrates and eat more fats instead, your body burns ketones for energy. In other words, fat is the main source of energy. Your goal is to consume roughly 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs in a day.

For example, a keto breakfast might be eggs and bacon. Lunch could consist of a chicken caesar salad (with no croutons). For a healthy dinner, you could have grilled salmon and vegetables or beef and broccoli. Popular keto snacks include cheese, pork rinds with hummus, guacamole or spinach dip, and nuts.

Home is where food is made photo by NordWood Themes (@nordwood) on Unsplash

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If you have a sweet tooth like me and are concerned about giving up desserts, don't worry—there are plenty of ways to keto-fy your favourite treats. Almond flour brownies and muffins or low-carb donuts always manage to satisfy cravings. Just remember, there are substitutes for everything.

My Experience

Spring Greens photo by Brooke Lark (@brookelark) on Unsplash

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When I started the keto diet, I experienced headaches for the first few days. However, this is completely normal since your body has to adjust to the lack of carbs and become fat adapted. By the one week mark, I was feeling great and had already begun to lose weight.

One of the things that I have learned so far is that it's still easy to eat at restaurants without cheating. My go-to is chicken wings with Frank's hot sauce, as long as they aren't breaded. Even fast food restaurants have keto options. For example, if you order a burger, just ask for it lettuce-wrapped instead of eating the bun. 

Why Am I Sticking With Keto?

Orange juice photo by Piotr Chrobot (@chrumo) on Unsplash

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After starting the keto diet, I began researching more about it to see if this was a suitable lifestyle for me. An article published by University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine explains how Canada's current food guide is furthering obesity. It is doing so through suggested serving sizes to fulfil vitamin and mineral requirements.

Since The Canada Food Guide has a huge influence on what we choose to eat, many doctors are now advocating for lower-carb dietary guidelines from the government to counter these effects.

Not only have doctors become aware of this, so has the Senate of Canada. When fruit juice is equated to actual fruit in the Guide, it is hard to deny that change is necessary. These guidelines promote the intake of too much sugar, and the government plans to revise nutrition labels in June.

Fresh Fruit at the Market in Summer photo by Jakub Kapusnak (@foodiesfeed) on Unsplash

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If you're thinking about changing your lifestyle and are looking for support, consider joining a Facebook group to share ideas and recipes, and get help from like-minded individuals.

Furthermore, if becoming keto right away is too big of a jump, start with a smaller step by reading labels at the grocery store and looking for low-carb, low-sugar products (including hidden sugars such as dextrose and maltodextrin). Changing your lifestyle for the better does not have to be daunting.