It’s been a little over 7 weeks since I started a ketogenic diet. I am doing fine and, after losing 20 pounds, I am halfway to my goal. All I have to avoid is Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December! If I can drop another 20 pounds in seven weeks then the New Year will be wide open. But, I expect the rate I lose per week will start to slow down so I will be happy to drop another 20 pounds in 12 weeks or so.
The hardest part of the diet has been finding the right balance of fat and protein in my meals. I am trying to keep below 2000 calories total per day, split between 40 grams of net carbs, 144 grams of fat, 135 grams of protein, and 0 grams of alcohol.
Two problems I have found are sodium levels and potassium levels. The recommended daily sodium level is 2300 mg and I find I am easily coming in above that daily and often 2-3 times that daily. And high sodium levels are tied to high blood pressure. On the other hand, with potassium – associated with lowering blood pressure, among other healthy affects – I have to guess what the levels are. Food processors don’t note the potassium levels on their packaging and I often have to navigate the inter-webs to get an idea of what the potassium levels are. I am using the MyFitnessPal app to track my food and they do allow me to edit the nutrient section of the foods to add potassium but I don’t know for sure how close I am coming to the actual totals. Fortunately, food labels will be changing in the next two years and potassium will be included on the label. The recommended daily potassium intake to 3500 mg per day. a lot of the foods I am eating, meats and cheeses, are high in potassium but I don’t hit the 3500 level very often. Maybe I am reaching it in reality but I don’t have the numbers to back it up.
Another general problem has been calculating carbs. I am trying to limit my total carb intake to 40 grams net. Included in the overall carb number is dietary fiber and sugar. Dietary fiber is not absorbed into the body and will just pass through the system. So, dietary fiber doesn’t add to the calorie total and should be subtracted from the carb total. My food tracker doesn’t allow this automatically.
My main meat is pork. Between bacon (low sodium), pork chops, pork roasts, and pork sausages, I get a lot of fat and protein, and a lot of sodium and potassium(I think). I have also added salmon, cod, and tuna to my diet. I usually have a salad with cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, and Parmesan cheese, with an oil and vinegar dressing. Broccoli and cauliflower are good vegetables. When I am dining out, a nice rib-eye steak (8 oz) will do. I have also found problems with getting the nutrient lists for some restaurants which again leads to the google search for ‘what am I eating?’
I have found a number of low-carb recipes to try. I just made a Cabbage and Sausage dish that was very tasty. A Cauliflower and Ground Beef Hash worked very well. A Cabbage and Beef Stir Fry turned out well, too.
Unfortunately, Elaine is on a low-sodium diet and our food choices do not overlap very often so I have to be careful on the quantity of food I make at one time. Tasty as some dishes are, six days of leftovers can be a bit too much.
Hmmm. Maybe I should try to make a Cole Slaw as a salad. That would be a low carb, high fiber, high potassium, high fat (with mayonnaise), and low sodium food. Just don’t add sugar.