The ketogenic diet, or as I like to call it, the “Healing Diet” is a dietary plan designed to help your body heal by producing ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are a fatty acid that burns hotter and cleaner than sugar, protein or plain fats. It has been shown in several studies to assist in all thing healing in terms of the brain, liver, heart, lungs and intestines.
The ketogenic diet also plays an important role in improving your body’s sensitivity to insulin and blood sugar response, as well as significantly decreasing INFLAMMATION–which is now linked to EVERY KNOWN DISEASE ON THIS PLANET – even CANCER!
The most important aspect of this plan is to switch your body from a “sugar burner” into a lean, mean, disease fighting “keto-machine.”
Here are my 10 Critical Tips to ensuring your Ketogenic Diet is being handled properly and safely.
- Stay well hydrated – This advice comes regardless of if you are doing the Ketogenic diet or not. Its safe to say that most of us don’t drink enough water. I recommend what is called “super hydrating” yourself by drinking 32 oz of water within the first hour of your day and another 32 oz of water before your first meal on the keto-diet (which is usually 12 noon).
- Intermittent Fast – Fasting is the best way to encourage your body to burn fat and create the desired ketone bodies. It’s a good idea to “train your body” to go without at least one meal per day – which has been shown to correct high insulin and high blood sugar. I recommend fasting for 16 hours at the minimum, which means skipping breakfast and starting your feasting around 12-1pm.
- Consume Sea Salt – When on a low carbohydrate diet, we will naturally have lower insulin levels, which make your kidneys naturally excrete more sodium. Typically I recommend adding 1-2tsp of celtic or himalayan sea salt to your daily intake. Another great way is to simply put the salt in your water which also helps to keep the water in you (vs. urinating it out!).
- Get Moving – Exercise, especially using the MaxT3 protocols, helps to activate the transfer of glucose from your blood to your cells. Getting the sugar out of your blood and into the cells encourages your body to burn the excess sugars for energy, and also helps to get your body into fat burning states. If your ketone numbers are not moving, its often because you are not either!
- Improve your Bowel Motility – Constipation is quite common when on a ketogenic diet, mostly because the foods you are eating are clean and instantly used with very little waste. Additionally, your water intake determines a lot of your gastric movement. To stay “regular” we suggest following steps 1-4. If that doesn’t work, increase your consumption of fermented foods once you are finished flushing your gut. You can also use Pro-Magnesium as a safe and gentle assistant. 1-2 tbsp daily can get you going!
- Fat > Protein – While we love our steaks and fish, the key with Ketosis is to keep your protein intake to 30-35% of your plate, leaving the majority for FAT. Eating too much protein will push the proteins into glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis. To prevent that from happening, we suggest eating mostly butter, cheese, coconut oil, coconut milk, chia seeds, and fatty nuts.
- Watch Out For Hidden Carbs – Even though snacking on almonds through your eating periods sounds healthy, 1 cup of almonds has 3.6 grams of naturally occurring sugar! Ideally, if you are in the beginning phases of ketosis dieting, you should only be eating meat, fish, eggs, raw cheese, and fats (oils and butters). Once you reach approximately 15 days, fermented vegetables are a great way to increase probiotics to your gut and keep your carbs low.
- Use MCT oil / Coconut oil frequently – Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) are instantly metabolized into ketone bodies. If you are struggling to increase your ketone blood numbers, consuming MORE coconut or MCT oil can be helpful. Coconut is ~63% MCT while MCT oil is between 95-100%. You can cook with either oils, add them to shakes, coffee/tea etc.
- Improve your sleep – Improper sleep elevates cortisol and can cause blood sugars to spike (which sabotages achieving ketosis). Before you sleep, set up an environment to encourage deep, restful sleep: completely dark (use black out shades or a sleeping mask), cool lower than 70 degrees if possible and a fan to circulate the air. Try not to use electronic devices or bright screens 1-2 hours before sleeping as the artificial light stimulates your brain to think its daytime, keeping you up all hours of the night.
- Keep eating this way until you reach your goals – The #1 question I get is how long do I have to eat this way? I suggest instead of asking that question – ask yourself “Am I happy with the results of my health right now?” To put another way: Did you lose the weight you wanted? Did your diagnosis disappear? Are your test results better? If no, keep going until these goals are met!
Remember, the ideal state of ketosis is to have a blood measurement of 2.0-2.5. Typically once achieved, you want to maintain that for 1-2 weeks or until your desired health effect is maintained.
What does eating look like for the rest of your life after you are healthy? My suggestion is to occasionally go into and out of ketosis on a yearly basis, simply for the cleansing effect it has on your body.
My “On Cycles” look like this: 16 hour daily fasting and eating ketone foods (fats & proteins only)
My “Off Cycles” look like this: 12 hour daily fasting and eating fats, proteins, fermented vegetables, raw vegetables, berries and greens. You find after a while you won’t even want to eat anything else.
Dr. Aaron Ernst, D.C. is host of News Talk 1110 WBT’s “AskDrErnst” show and clinic director of Maximized Living Charlotte.
He specializes in providing customized nutritional and detoxification total body healing programs, utilizing the 5 Essentials of Maximized Living.