We’re back in the thick of it guys. If you’ve been following along, you know the hubs and I did strict keto last year (April to July) and while we stopped counting every macro after that (strict keto), we did remain sugar-free, grain-free and very low carb since then. So, why am I going back to a strict keto diet again? Well, I’ll tell ya.
THE KETO DIET CHANGED MY LIFE
As a former sugar addict, the keto diet helped me kick sugar for good – no joke. Like, I’m one plus years out from starting and have maybe had 5 things with sugar in them (all in the past few months…but, more on that below). Some of the bigger things keto did for me was help to completely get rid of some pretty crippling perimenopausal symptoms that started when I turned 40. I’m talking terrible headaches that lasted for weeks, untouchable by any medicine, achy joints, horrible cramping, really (really) rowdy mood swings, hot flashes…you name it. If a person can get the symptom, I had it. And, within weeks of changing my diet, almost everything went and stayed away.
My skin felt brighter and more alive, I looked younger, I lost 25 pounds and a ton of inches and really, if I’m being honest, felt more alive and healthy than I had in my whole, entire life. I kid you not. It changed me. And it helped me deal with even bigger issues I have had my entire life – either overeating or undereating – really abusive stuff.
I am a changed woman.
SO WHY DID I GO OF IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Keto isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work if you’re doing it right. I’d spend 2+ hours planning breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for myself and my husband…and another couple hours meal prepping it all. It got pretty tiring. And, measuring every little thing I ate became equally exhausting. I wanted to enjoy myself a bit on the weekends (moderation, of course – maybe a few grain-free chips and salsa or an extra sugar-free cookie). And, for several months – it was working! The weight stayed off, still felt great and all was good.
Buuuuut, then we started giving ourselves even more cheats. And, to be clear here, cheats were still 98% grain-free and sugar-free. Yeah, we had some gluten-free Chinese food every so often, and I ate a few S’mores here and there, but, our macros (even when eating grain- free and sugar-free almost exclusively) were all over the place. And, that’s when we started to feel the physical shift.
Our trouble spots started bothering us again – achy knees, bloating and for me, headaches, mood shifts, sleep issues, etc. While we didn’t pack on anything more than maybe 5 pounds each (probably, mostly water and bloat), we just noticed that we slowly started to feel heavy again. Heavy is the best representation of how it felt encompassing all of the little things that started going back. And, we didn’t like it. And, since we know now, what works best for us, we’re going back to it.
ALL THE REASONS IM GOING BACK
I feel like this post could be 10,000 words long with all of the reasons I have for going back. So, I thought I’d pop in a few quick bullet points instead:
- Hormonal Balance – regulate my mood and headaches
- Inflammation reduction – regulating those annoying throbbing aches you get in old injury spots (for us its our knees), but I suffer from joint pain, pretty much everywhere since perimenopause struck
- Regulating Perimenopause Symptoms – this goes with hormonal balance and inflammation, but to elaborate here – the keto diet completely removed all hot flashes, almost all headaches, cramps, irregular periods, etc.
- Better Skin – my skin LOVES a proper keto diet (Rosacea and dry skin, pretty much disappears – and former triggers don’t create the same inflammation they used to)
- Bloating – measuring macros is the ONLY time in my life I’m not bloated. I am one of these people that gains 8 pounds of bloat for 3 weeks of the month, with 1 week “normal”. Keto diet keeps me “normal” for almost the entire month.
- The Best Sleep Ever – even just slightly upsetting our macro balance changed our sleep patterns. We were more tired at night and super sluggish in the morning, even with a good night’s sleep. Definitely better sleep regardless without the sugar and high carbs, but the balance of those macros did something magical, allowing us to wake up feeling rested.
- More Energy – along with the sleep is the increased energy. Measuring macros really helps kick off the morning right. We wake up alert and ready to face the day without the sluggish feeling. And, I just feel more energetic throughout the day without the NEED for afternoon coffee (although I do still enjoy an afternoon cuppa Joe because I will never abandon my BFF, coffee).
- Brain Power! I’m not gonna sugar coat this. I have been stupider since I stopped balancing macros. I know it sounds crazy, and it’s really kinda funny, but I have noticed an INSANE shift in my ability to focus, remember things and just generally not mess up a million tasks a day because my brain is on strike. Keto makes your brain happy. So, yes to this.
- Heart Health – Here’s a bunch of research on that
- Healthy Weight – this is honestly the least important on our list, but a nice perk of kicking bad sugars and processed carb intake is the weight loss and balance.
WHAT I’M DOING DIFFERENT THIS TIME AROUND
I’m NOT going to Feed into the “Fad”– While it didn’t make me stop being Keto, the constant chatter about the keto diet weighed heavy on me sometimes (it’s a fad…it’s not good for you…it’s bad for disordered eating, etc). I’m going to continue eating this way because I have done the research, I feel like it’s best for my health, and quite honestly, it’s better for my health than anything I ever did in the past. My body is at its best (function wise) and it’s one of the only ways I’ve ever found to control under and overeating. I’m a firm believer that when you find something that works for you, you drown out all the BS that makes you second guess. Go with your gutt. Trust yourself.
I’m NOT going to Feed into the “Die Hards” – There are a lot of great keto groups and websites out there. But, there are a lot of people who are super judgy and nasty about how people live their keto lives. I let that get to me a bit in the very beginning of my keto journey last year. But, I quickly stopped following any person, website or group that made me feel bad about my health or my decisions. If I want to have a little popcorn at the movies with my daughter this Summer, I’m gonna do that…mmmmmkay? I’m in charge of my food journey, whether that’s strict keto, lazy keto, sugar-free, grain-free or a combination of all the diets out there.
I AM taking Vitamins & Supplements – Last time around I wasn’t the best with my vitamins and supplements. When you ditch grains you lose most of your biotin sources (necessary for skin, hair and nail health). I got brittle nails and my hair fell out a bit more than usual. This time around, I’m taking a multi-vitamin and biotin supplement. I’m also continuing my evening dose of Magnesium (it helps with restless legs and electrolyte regulation) AND, I’ve added a digestive enzyme. Here’s why those are good when you’re older and eating keto.
MY KETO RECIPES
I’m popping in a few of my favorite recipes to make it super easy to stay in ketosis without feeling like you’ve given up all the things you love (I’m a dessert girl for life!).
Here’s the link to all my keto recipes and here are a few of the most viewed on kiddoandsoul…
Cinnamon Sticks + Icing (tastes just like Dominos!)
WHERE I BUY MY INGREDIENTS
Since it can get expensive baking with specialty ingredients like almond flour and erythritol (my sweetener of choice for baking), I purchase everything in bulk, once per month on Thrive Market. Their prices are AMAZING and almost always $2 cheaper than anywhere else. And, I made the migration to a lot of the Thrive brand versions (like almond flour) and end up saving even more (like $4 bucks per bag!). It makes eating this way super budget friendly.
They have a great referral program which allows me to offer you if you 25% off your first order decide to become a member using my link. There is an annual membership fee of $59.95, which averages out to around $5 bucks per month. I’ve already saved almost $700 shopping through Thrive and it hasn’t even been a year yet. Crazytown.
KETO MUST HAVES
That covers it! Wish us luck and let me know if you have any questions about your own keto journey!
*DISCLAIMER: This post is a combination of my personal insights, opinions and thoughts on various topics and products and may contain affiliate or referral links. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my links, which helps me continue on this fabulous journey of blogging! Full disclaimers avail. here.