Guest Blogger: Kirsty Does Keto
This week, I've asked my close friend and co-worker, Kirsty Thurston, to guest blog on Fully Well! She will be discussing her Keto lifestyle and how she's used this way of eating to lose 30 pounds!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Kirsty! I am a teacher with Emily. I am originally from North Carolina but I have spent my fair share living all over. I am a coffee addict and constantly on the hunt for my next cup. I can be seen spending most of my days with my nose stuck in a book. I talk too much and love the little things in life (like a good smelling candle and a Target run). My health journey is new but I have been blown away by how powerful a good squat can make you feel.
What exactly is Keto?
Keto is short for ketosis. The Keto diet is essentially the process of putting your body in a state of Ketosis. When your body is in Ketosis, it is burning fat instead of carbs for fuel, in turn, allowing you to not only lose weight, but also gain energy. In order to get into Ketosis, you have to cut the carbs and stack on the fat. The perfect Keto macros are 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbs. For most people, this looks like no more than 20-50 carbs a day depending on your goals. The best part of Keto is that there are many ways you can Keto. I follow a more traditional approach to the diet that allows dairy, but there are many who are whole Keto which is a Paleo/Whole30 style Keto.
Why did you choose to start Keto?
A little over six months ago the realization struck that I was quickly losing control of my health. My diet mostly consisted of fast food, nachos, and pasta. I wasn’t looking healthy and I wasn’t feeling it. I was taking long naps and getting sick a lot (more than I think is even acceptable for a first-year teacher). I knew I needed to make a change, I just wasn’t sure what that was going to look like yet. Cue my boyfriend. He has a lot of the same food habits as me and was all on board for a diet in a new year. He suggested Keto. He and a few of his friends had done it before and had great results and he knew it worked. Being the person I am, I instantly went to Pinterest. I realized that I could do this. Well, at least I could try.
Did you experience any adverse effects during the first few days of Keto?
The first week of Keto is rough. Your body keeps looking for carbs and sugars that it is used to but instead you keep just supplying it fats. You are pretty much telling your body “Hey, I know you like those carbs, but we aren’t going to have those anymore. I want you use fat instead.” Your body kind of has a temper tantrum and you may go through the Keto Flu. I had a pretty terrible headache the first week and felt extremely tired. My energy levels were low and I was pretty grumpy. After about a week and a half I started noticing changes. I did not feel as bloated, my face had cleared up, and I had a lot more energy. It wasn’t long after that I started to notice a weight loss as well.
What does an average Keto day look like for you?
For breakfast, I usually stick to the basics: eggs, bacon, and coffee. If I have time in the morning I will make bacon and eggs. Since I started Keto I have kept my coffee pretty much the same: coffee, half and half, stevia, and a dash of cinnamon on top. I occasionally add MCT oil to my coffee if I am wanting to get in some extra fats in my diet. A lot of people in the Keto community also make Bulletproof Coffee or Rocket Fuel Coffee and swear by it.
For lunch, I usually eat leftovers or a low carb wrap. I find that keeping lunch simple takes a lot of stress off of me. I am not much of a meal prepper, so for me leftovers is the way to go. There are a ton of great Keto recipes out there for the meal preppers of the world too!
Snacks are a hard one for Keto, I must admit. It takes some experimenting and some perseverance to figure out what helps get you through the day. I started out my Keto journey with using Quest Bars. Although they are not truly Keto because they lack a lot of fats, they are low carb. I then moved to pork rinds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. Recently I have found myself reaching for a spoonful of Trader Joes Almond Butter.
Dinner is my favorite and I spend a lot of my day thinking about it. After six months of Keto I find that we have gotten ourselves into a routine and eat a lot of the same foods every week. Typically, we eat either pork chops, wings, burgers or some other ground beef concoction, and Keto pizza. On the side, I am a big fan of steam-able cauliflower or broccoli (we are all about convenience in my house). I love frozen vegetables because they take five minutes to make and they taste great with a little butter on them. Keep it simple.
What are your top Keto pantry/fridge staples?
With Keto you can never go wrong with meat and green veggies but there are a few things that makes Keto a bit more interesting that I like to keep on hand. I find that coconut and almond flour are used in a lot of different recipes. There are a lot of recipes for “bread” that require these two and its just good to keep them on hand. Bacon and eggs are another essential. They are both really good sources of fat and let's be honest, what is life without bacon?
My favorite condiments and cooking materials to have are: sugar free ketchup (bonus points when I can find it organic), G Hughes Barbeque Sauce (sugar free and low carb), coconut oil, MCT oil, sour cream, coffee rub, Ranch, Duke’s Mayo, stevia, cacao powder, and cream cheese.
As a Ketoer that includes dairy in her diet, I like to keep a variety of cheese in my fridge. One of my guilty pleasures is Halo Top. It is not always the best option for everyone, especially if you are dairy free, but it helps satisfy my never ending sweet tooth. We also keep pork rinds and sunflower seeds on hand for when we need a bit of salty.
How do you grocery shop on a budget?
I have found the best way to stretch a dollar is to buy our food staples in bulk. Without a doubt, I know that I will eat a lot of meat and frozen vegetables. I recently fell in love with shopping at Trader Joes. Coconut flour for $2.99? Sign me up!
What are your favorite Keto recipes?
- Coconut flour bread- https://www.ketoconnect.net/recipe/coconut-flour-bread/
- Keto Pizza- http://pin.it/z3J3r5a
- Keto Chili- We make a normal chili minus the beans.
- Apple Dump Cake-http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/low-carb-grain-free-apple-dump-cake/
- This smothered pork chop recipe- https://www.thatslowcarb.com/low-carb-fat-bomb-pork-chops-recipe/#_a5y_p=5523480
- Meatballs- https://therecipecritic.com/2016/12/mozzarella-stuffed-meatballs/
Do you have any Keto tips/tricks?
Do not let the fat scare you. Healthy fats can be really good for the body and create a whole new energy source that many of us have avoided.
Also, don’t let the cravings get you down. The beginning is rough, especially the cupcake dreams. This is a great time to experiment with some fun recipes.
Be ready for people to assume that you are on a low carb diet and that it won’t work. Keto is new and though it has been proven to be effective, people are very hesitant and can get pretty judgey about it. Don’t let the haters get you down.
Do you have any Keto resources (books, cookbooks, pinterest boards, websites, etc.?)
I have found several resources over the past 6 months of Keto that have made it a lot easier to stick to this way of life.
KetoConnect is an awesome couple that do Keto together. They have an Instagram, website, and YouTube channel where they offer a lot of awesome recipes and tips. They are currently doing a #wholeketo month and working on their first cookbook together.
Kayla does Keto is an awesome YouTube channel with lots of great tips and recipes, especially for women. She is one of the creators of the Girls with Ketotude, an awesome resource within itself.
Leanne Vogel is another great resource, especially if you are considering a more dairy-free style Keto. She has a podcast called The Keto Diet Podcast and she has written an awesome how-to/recipe book that is a great resource for anyone that decides to do Keto.
Other resources are Pinterest, Ruled.me, and Reddit.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Keto is not always the easiest diet. It takes some time to figure out how to make it work best for you. But it does allow flexibility and everyone can Keto differently. That is one thing I love about Keto, it’s accepting. There is no wrong way to Keto.
I hope you've enjoyed hearing from my friend Kirsty about how she stays Fully Well living a Keto lifestyle! If you have any questions, comment or send me a message. I will forward your questions along to Kirsty who will be happy to answer!