Once You Go Keto, You Won’t Want to Go Back by Sarah & Ashley Armstrong
I’m sure we’ve all heard this buzz word flying around,
especially recently as a few of the Kardashian sisters have picked it up as
their latest ‘quick fat loss’ regimen *eyeroll* …
Maybe you’ve considered trying Keto, you tried Keto but
didn’t like it, or maybe you’ve been completely turned off from the start
because you can’t fathom giving up your precious carbs…
going to be real – we were the latter.
Give up my sweet potatoes and oatmeal?
Even after basically drowning in all the research out there
regarding the health and performance benefits of going Keto… we weren’t
sold on the idea of it.
Until… we realized that if we actually were after optimizing our health and performance (what we kept telling everyone) …we probably shouldn’t pass up on all that Keto has to offer.
We’re here to talk about why we finally switched to Keto, and to promise you (yes, PROMISE) that you will NOT miss your precious carbs once transitioning to Keto!
Why We Switched to Keto: The Key to Health &
We made the switch to Keto in order to truly optimize our
health and mental and physical performance.
When you think about our evolution, at no point were
cavemen reaching for their Sara Lee loafs of bread and making marshmallow sweet
potato pie casseroles.
Reality is, most of mankind evolved eating fattier cuts of
meat [whatever they could get their hands on] & the leafy greens, nuts, and
seeds that were available to them depending on their geographical location. So,
mostly fats and protein.
When it came to fruit, fruit was a LUXURY – something they’d
come across only occasionally, and something that we, too, can absolutely enjoy
occasionally, but is not an essential part of a ‘healthy diet’ [contrary to
Tangent aside, our biology as humans is built to thrive
A few health benefits associated with the Ketogenic diet
that we were most intrigued by include improved insulin resistance, improved
cognition, and reduced deuterium levels.
Less discussed is deuterium, which you can read more about here on our blog post if interested (it’s real interesting stuff, peeps!)
But most relevant to society is insulin resistance.
In short, insulin is a hormone that determines whether you burn or store the
food you eat.
Over consuming refined carbs (breads, grain, pasta)
alcohol, and sweets means your pancreas has to produce more insulin to process
all of the sugar. Your body’s response of becoming resistant to this insulin is
intuitive — whenever there is an excessive amount of a given stimulus, an
organism becomes resistant to that stimulus. It is similar to developing a
resistance to a drug after taking it for a long period of time.
This can lead to a whole host of health problems down the
road, but most noticeable from the start is the difficulty one can
experience losing weight, and the brain fog, fatigue, and overall drowsiness one will experience
throughout the day as they’re constantly relying on more and more carbs for
Keto eliminates this,
and is a healthy way to reverse one’s insulin resistance. Further, Keto combats
the debilitating brain fog and fatigue as one’s body begins to produce Ketones,
which can help to improve one’s cognition, overall energy levels, and
3 Reasons Keto Will Make You Forget About Carbs
First off, there’s no such thing. Just because you go Keto
does not mean that you can never touch any of those foods again. There’s always
room for balance.
Ok, as we mentioned, our initial hesitation with Keto was
fueled by our taste buds. It’s not easy to think about a world with no bread,
no oatmeal, no high sugary ice cream…
Second, we assure you, once you DO go Keto, you will never
want to touch those food items again.
1. The benefits you will experience are too good
Simply put, if you stick with Keto long enough to
experience the cognition and performance benefits, you will not want to go back
to eating carbs.
It is different operating on Ketones. From our experience,
no longer relying on carbs for energy has eliminated the dreaded midday crashes
we’d go through where we either required some sort of quick carbs, an energy
drink, or a nap to carry on.
I don’t know about you, but we don’t like being reliant on
any sort of stimulant or feeling like 2 heavy potato sacks by 3pm.
Here’s the thing: unless you’ve practiced intermittent fasting
for some time and your body is relatively good at switching from using glucose
to ketones, you may have a hard time initially transitioning to Keto.
So, if you are someone who tried Keto but didn’t like it,
perhaps it is because you experienced the Keto flu as your body was weaning off
of relying on carbs and making the transition to using fats.
It is NOT easy to start a new style of eating and feel like
crap, but the mental clarity and enhanced energy you will eventually experience
on Keto makes the transition worth it. Once you reach that point, one will have
developed a whole new appreciation for the power of fats and will not look at
carbs quite the same.
2. Your taste buds will adapt
HONEST opinion – asking for a friend… which is better:
1. PB2 vs. 2. All natural creamy peanut butter? 1. Turkey bacon vs. 2. Bacon? 1. 99% lean ground turkey vs. 2. A juicy Ribeye steak? 1. Arctic Zero vs. 2. Gelato?
If ANY of your answers were (1), were you really being honest?
Before Keto, we tried convincing ourselves that we liked
low fat, tasteless ice cream for the sake of eating low fat and fitting in more
The result? A lot of bland food. A lot of carbs, sure, but
what’s the fun in oatmeal without a dollop of almond butter? Or an omelet without
a few eggs and a side of avocado?
Fat is where the FLAVOR is at! Do you ACTUALLY crave plain
oatmeal or bread, or the oatmeal toppings and the crispy, buttery taste of the
When we started to eat Keto and implement a whole lot more
of full fat, nutritious foods, we began to realize how much we were previously
depriving ourselves from enjoying fat, and how superior the taste of things are
when you don’t strip the fat out.
Once we experienced how satisfying it is to actually eat
healthy fats, our cravings for carbs diminished.
To further exemplify this, we even tried incorporating a
day of high carbs into our Keto diet (which is totally possible in the form of ‘cyclic
Keto’ – a method useful for enhancing athletic performance where you cycle in
days of high carb, low fat occasionally), but we actually couldn’t get
ourselves to finish our carb macros due to the unfortunate lack of flavor and
Have you ever tried eating an entire bowl of plain cream of
We missed our fats, and we have not done another day of
high carb since that experience.
If you give it some time, we’re confident your taste buds
can and will make the switch, too.
3. Keto doesn’t mean boring
And this is absolutely key for those of us with a sweet
tooth – Keto does NOT have to be boring, and it does NOT mean ‘no sweets’!
There are SO many amazing Keto-friendly products on the
market to spice up your plate, and even more so, there’s a Keto-friendly recipe
for every single one of your favorite dishes.
(insert dish name)”
All it takes is getting a little creative in the kitchen
and using a bit of all natural sweetener [like stevia or monk fruit] to kick
those sweet cravings to the curb.
Luckily, True Nutrition has been MAJOR KEY for all of our Keto baking! First off, their ‘TrueFlavor ’ flavoring is sweetened with STEVIA and contains no unnecessary additives or ingredients (we’re all about being as natural as possible over here)…
Second, the flavors are bomb. You want to make some sort of cinnamon roll flavored Keto cloud bread? Use the cinnamon roll egg white protein powder– Problem solved.
Missing ice cream? Try the classic ‘protein ice cream’ using their egg white protein powder (which gets 100x more thick and fluffy than other protein powders, we promise!)
Anything baked good related? We love using their grass-fed
beef hydrolyzed collagen. The texture in cookies and brownies is perfect – it
is similar how brown sugar really adds to a recipe.
True Nutrition has made eliminating OUR reliance on carbs,
and our switch to the Keto diet, 10x easier by providing clutch products for us
to get creative in the kitchen with.
As mentioned, our favorites are egg white protein and the grass-fed beef hydrolyzed collagen, but anything with no sugar and very few carbs will work and will help you stick to your Keto diet too. (Yes, even in those times where all you can think about is stuffing your face into a giant cheesecake!)
By education, Ashley is an engineer, currently pursuing her PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois, but on the side, she’s (still) an extreme science nerd who is extremely passionate about learning how the human body functions and how we can optimize it (AKA, biohacking). Sarah is an integrative nutritionist, recreation specialist, & certified personal trainer who is all about taking a holistic approach to health, and is admittedly a little obsessed with all things mushrooms.
by Tony DiCostanzo Health Coach / Keto Transformation Specialist
Imagine… Imagine being able to condition your body to burn only fat for energy. Would that excite you? I’m sure to most it would sound pretty amazing. We all want to get rid of that excess fat in those hard to lose areas—love handles and lower abdomen (pooch)—just to name a couple.
Well, what if I told you that you don’t need to imagine any longer because it’s already possible? That’s right, it is! There is a way to create a metabolic environment in your body, where fat becomes its preferred source of fuel. Enter the ketogenic diet.
A Brief History
Dr. Russell Wilder
As of late, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the keto lifestyle. However, make no mistakes about it, keto goes all the way back to the 1920s. It was way back then when Dr. Russell Wilder and some of his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic began experimenting with what he called the “ketogenic diet” in an effort to help children with epilepsy.
What they discovered was not only did the diet help to
control epileptic seizures, but the children were also thinking and behaving
better, as well. It was the direct
effect of the “ketones” produced in the fastest state which they attributed as
being the cause for the benefits of the diet on epilepsy. What was next was to stimulate the body to
create these ketone bodies without total starvation. They accomplished this “state of ketosis” by
restricting carbs and increasing fat intake.
The “state of ketosis” is when your body is breaking down fat for energy
to produce ketones.
Carbs Are Not Your Friend
Keep in mind, it is the absence of carbohydrates and sugar
that brings your body into a state of ketosis—not simply the addition of a higher
fat diet. You must restrict your carbs in
order to force your body to look for other fuels to burn. If your body doesn’t
have readily available glucose produced from carbs and sugar, it then begins to
burn fat for energy. This also means
that if glucose is present, your body will stop using fat. That’s why on a ketogenic diet you want to
restrict your carbs as much as possible.
Hence, the ketogenic diet, is a high fat, moderate protein,
low carb diet that forces the body to burn fat for fuel. So now, rather than your body using stored
glycogen from carbohydrates, it must break down fat instead. Where will it get that fat from? Well, it will either come from the fat you
eat or the fat you wear on your body. Stay
with me here, because this is why so many on the ketogenic diet can get stuck in
their weight loss efforts. We will come
back to this in a little bit.
Losing weight is just one of the many benefits within a Ketogenic diet
It’s Not Just Fat Loss
First, I think it’s important to point out the many benefits
of ketosis and the keto diet beyond just the fat loss.
Increased Mental Sharpness and Clarity
Reduced Appetite and Cravings
Lower blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Improved Mitochondrial Health
Less Anxiety and Depression
Combat Cancer and Chronic Disease
As you can see, it goes far beyond just weight loss. Personally, I have been utilizing a ketogenic approach to eating for many years now and I believe it to be one of the healthiest and most sustainable diets out there, if done correctly. When just starting out on the keto diet, it’s important to keep in mind that your macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbs) will always need to be shifted to reflect your body’s changes in weight and composition.
Mind Your Macros
For instance, inductively, a typical ketogenic diet may
require the following ratio of macronutrients: 60-70% of calories from fat,
20-30% from protein and 5-10% of calories from carbs. While your carbs will not move much, your
protein and/or fat intake must be adjusted to meet your current needs and goals
as your body is changing.
This takes us back to what I stated earlier. Quite often those who are new to the keto
lifestyle jump out of the gate eating way too much fat for their caloric
requirements. Yet, since they restricted
carbs, initially they’ll see a big drop in weight and so they continue down the
same path without changing a thing.
Unfortunately, the weight loss at the beginning was also a
lot of unwanted water weight. For every
single gram of carb ingested, your body can hold on to 3-4 grams of water. If you do the math, you’ll see just why
cutting carbs can drastically reduce water retention. Yet, that weight loss does not continue. Why?
Because if your body is constantly busy burning off the fat you eat, how
can it burn off the unwanted body fat you so desperately want to lose?
If you’re new to keto, be sure to keep track of your
macronutrients, calories and don’t fear increasing your protein to fat
ratios—particularly if your goal is to get leaner. Remember, based on your body’s needs, you can
always bring those fats up again. As a
coach and trainer, the biggest mistake I see new keto clients making is
overdoing their fats and calories and undereating their protein.
The other issue that can arise on the ketogenic diet is the
overindulging of foods like processed cold cut meats, bacon, butter, sugar
alcohols and nuts. All of these things
have their place in the keto lifestyle, but they should not and cannot be
abused. What happens is that you not
only find yourself eating too many calories in fat and protein, but also
impacting your blood sugar and insulin levels negatively. The next thing that happens is your fat loss
comes to a halt.
So, What Can I Eat?
Assuming that you will try to keep your macronutrients and
calories in check, let’s look at what you should be eating:
Meats and Eggs (Chicken, Beef, Fish, Pork, lamb, etc.). if you use fattier cuts of meat, cut your fat intake elsewhere. However, I recommend leaner cuts of meat. This allows you to use your fat calories elsewhere on healthy fats like oils, nuts and butters)
Greens– Arugula, Collard Greens, Romaine Lettuce, Asparagus, brussels Sprouts, Kale. Virtually all leafy greens and above ground vegetables are fine in moderation and if in line with your daily macros.
Healthy Fats and Oils– Avocados, Macadamia Nut oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Avocado Oil, MCT oil and Coconut oil.
High-Fat Dairy– Cheese, Cream, Butter, etc. Be careful with overdoing dairy. Many will find that it stalls their weight loss.. Try not to abuse.
Nuts and Seeds– Pecans, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Walnuts and Brazil Nuts.
Berries– Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries and Blackberries (in moderation)
You want to stay away from sugar and sugary foods, grains (rice, pasta, wheat), root veggies like potatoes, starches, fruits, beans and legumes, alcohol, most condiments (hot sauce and mayo are okay in moderation).
You should avoid most artificial sweeteners and “net carb”
products, at least until your body enters a state of ketosis. Then, if possible, you would want to utilize
the natural sweeteners with the least impact on blood sugar (Stevia and Monk
The Final Recap
Now that you know what the Ketogenic diet is, let’s do a
quick overview on how to get started and get your body into a fat burning state
of ketosis in the fastest amount of time.
all carbohydrates to under 30 grams daily.
Get carbs from greens and nuts and seeds. It’s the absence of sugar and carbs that
keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels low.
This allows your body to release fat more freely.
fasting to help deplete your body of its stored glycogen. We need to get all of
the glycogen out of your system so that we can get into a state of ketosis and
burn that body fat. If fasting and going
without food is too difficult, try skipping a meal or two.
and move your body. Full body workouts
will deplete the body of glycogen faster than any other type of workout. Focus on major body parts like legs, back and
chest and move through the workout quickly with little rest between sets and
lots of water and be sure to supplement with minerals and electrolytes.
As your body is shifting fuel sources and acclimating from
glucose to a ketogenic state, you may feel lightheaded, dizzy, experience
weakness and fatigue. It’s important to
remember, you’re not only transitioning your body to a different metabolic mode
of energy management, but you’re also detoxing your body from sugar, processed
foods and unhealthy carbs.
In the long run, this will all lead to a leaner, healthier and much more vibrant you!
Anthony lost 40 lbs on a Ketogenic diet
Tony has been a health coach for many years, specializing in Ketogenic transformations. He provides a straight-forward approach to diet and nutrition with proven successes among all of his clients. His favorite True Nutrition products include our Grass-Fed Beef Protein Isolate and Egg White Protein. Hungry for more information? Be sure to follow Tony on Instagram: @ketoshreds!
“So, imagine my delight when I had the opportunity to create my OWN custom oatmeal. True Nutrition has a product called MyOatmeal, a personalized blend of all the oats, mix-ins, and flavorings your heart desires. True Nutrition did provide me with free product to sample, although I was under no obligation to share my opinions and this is not a sponsored post. I thought it was such a fun concept that I just had to share with all my fellow oatmeal lovers out there!”
Flavors: Unflavored, Chocolate, Vanilla, Mocha, Cinnamon Bun, Cookies N Cream
If you’re trying to lose weight, you want a protein powder supplement with as high of a protein content as possible, which will have minimal extra calories.
In other words, as high as a “nutrition score” as possible (which measures protein content).
Three products in my results table have perfect nutrition scores, but True Nutrition is the best for weight loss.
It would have a score of greater than 25 because it broke my formula, more on that in the nutrition section below.
True Nutrition let’s you create custom protein blends and you can choose from several flavors. Vegan lean is a popular pre-made blend that I ordered. You can also order a few of their powders on Amazon, although there’s less flexibility.
Does Vegan Lean Taste Good?
There are many flavors to choose from – I chose the cinnamon bun.
The flavor was great, and I quickly went through my 1 lb bag of protein powder.
But it wasn’t perfect: The only real issues were that there was both a bit of a chalky texture, and a bit of an aftertaste.
Not enough to stop you from enjoying the shake, but enough that you probably won’t love it like PlantFusion.
But it’s still excellent, which is why it scored 22 out of 25 here.
Is True Nutrition Vegan Lean Cheap?
Calculating a price score was tricky because different custom blends cost different amounts. Even the packaging and flavor intensity change the overall price. And then there’s shipping on top of that if you order from the True Nutrition website.
To keep it simple and consistent with every other product here, I used the Amazon price, as True Nutrition sells Vegan Lean on there too.
Using that price, it got a price score of 12 out of 25, so a bit more expensive than average (around 16/25).
You may be able to get it cheaper off of their website.
How Easily Does Vegan Lean Mix?
Vegan lean mixes really well, there was a total of 1 gram of clumps during the mixability test.
This equates to a score of 22 out of 25, near perfect.
In most cases, your shake will be very smooth and you’ll barely taste the clumps.
How Much Protein Does Vegan Lean Have?
Here’s the label for this protein blend:
As I said, it actually broke my nutrition score formula.
Originally, I did a bunch of research and created formulas based on the data I collected. At the time, it seemed like getting 80% of the calories from protein was the best it could get.
I was wrong…Vegan lean would have scored a 29 using my formula if I didn’t cap it at 25. The ingredients list is very short:
Pea Protein Isolate, Rice Protein Concentrate, Flavoring (optional)
So if all you want is the most protein possible with the fewest calories, this is your best option.