Why I love keto and hate it in the same time?

There’s book and a movie called “Julie and Julia” based on a true story of Julia Child – an American cooking teacher, author, and fenomenal television personality. There is one scene in that movie, where Julia Child and her husband Paul are sitting in a french restaurant. Julia doesn’t want to come back to work for government, she’s thinking what to do instead. Finally Paul asks her what does she really likes to do? And Julia said straightway: EAT (BTW I recommend this movie for all food lovers).

“Julie and Julia” dir. Nora Ephron, based on Julie Powell’s book

Sometimes the answer is so obvious that it’s hard to find. When I saw that movie, back in that moment I was moved by the character of Julia Child, because I saw myself in her. Maybe not in the behavior and charisma that she had, but in her love for food. When I saw her almost melting over the fish with butter, I was thinking…when was the last time I was melting over my meal? For sure not over 1543 version of the same lasagna I was ready to make with my eyes closed. Or over flatbread from Tesco…

That was three years ago, when I discovered (again) that I’m a food lover. And that was a second time that I discovered that. First time was many years ago. For five years I was running a cooking blog cultivating and growing my love for food and photography (it’s still alive even though I don’t post anything). But I’ve lost myself somewhere in 1543 version of lasagne to find myself again in keto.

And with this quite long introduction I wanted to tell you the story about my love-hate relationship with keto. I love food. It has always been one of my favorite things: to eat and to cook. And I understand that not everyone will share my love, but keto is not only about food, it’s more importantly about you and how you feel with your body.

I was introduced to keto last year, when my partner has got ill and we couldn’t find a source of his problem (more about that you can find in on “about me” page). For couple of months I was reading tons of articles and watching hours of YouTube videos, mainly Dr Berg’s. And I was amazed how we all got used to this small or bigger daily inconveniences, from our digestion system, skin, eyes, nervous system. How much they have become normal state of our body, when they are actually symptoms that there’s something wrong. Our body tries to tell us something and we completely ignore it, trying to convince ourselves that’s normal.

When we have found a nutritionist who said that keto diet could help with the problem I was wondering HOW? How would it be possible? But I was also desperate, so everything was worth trying. And that’s when the strange things started to happening. (when I write this post we don’t have yet the results of our blood tests, that we are planning to do, after 6 months of keto).

So, what I love about keto?

No digestive issues – gas, stomach cramps, acid reflux, and bloating. That was the first thing I have noticed, after first week of keto. Before that I thought it’s normal to have all this fireworks in your belly.

Reduce of appetite. After eating keto meal I can run through the day not eating anything for hours. Fat not only makes you feel full, but also burns slower, so your body needs much more time to start feeling hungry again. So you can focus on your life, not only on what to eat next. I stopped having this impulse to put something to my mouth each time I see food (at work I see food all the time, so imagine).

Not feeling sleepy after meal. Oh, I’m sure you know this one – after lunch you need a giant coffee because you feel like you’ll fall asleep standing? I was there. On keto I don’t have this kind of problem. I eat my meal and I’m ready to rock and roll. Actually I stopped feeling sleepy during the day, which was happening to me before.

And if we started talking about sleeping. My sleep has improved so much. I never had any sleeping problems, like insomnia. But now, I put my head on the pillow, and fall asleep like a baby. And it’s much deeper sleep that I used to have. And I also noticed that I have much less nightmares, which I had all my life.

Regular periods with no pain and less cravings. I didn’t figure this out yet, but I see huge improvement. My cycles were always all over the place, and my periods were very painful. I was having handful of painkillers every month to be able to function properly. Since I started keto looks like it’s getting better. Periods are more regular, and what’s surprised me the most, I don’t feel anything. Most of my life I was dying every month, now I’m free from pain. I feel slight discomfort on first two days, but it’s nothing comparing to how it was. Through last six months I took one or two tablets of painkiller in three cycles (two cycles was the two first after starting keto). I also don’t have cravings I used to have in a few days before my period starts. That’s my biggest surprise about going keto, and also my biggest concern what’s going to happen if I stop ketosis.

Sharp mind. Oh that’s a good one. When I’m focused I’m Focused with capital F. No more brain fog, no thoughts colliding and bumping in chaos of my head. I’ve noticed that mainly at work, and when I write. I can switch off for everything else and focus on one task or opposite – I can focus on few things at the same time keeping them on the right track. I didn’t become a genius though, I’m just hell more focused than usual 😉

Stay calm. Less things gets me out of my temper. Boss gets kind of annoying? That’s fine, maybe he has a bad day. I spilled something on the floor, no worries just take a mop and clean it up. It’s hard to explain, but we both noticed more calmness and peaceful inside our minds and bodies.

More energy. Comparing to myself from one or to years ago, I have way more energy for my everyday life. I don’t mean that I could climb Mount Everest, but I have more energy working full time, eight hours on my feet, than I had before.

Loosing weight. That’s side effect for me, because I’ve never had any weight problems. I’ve lost about 6 kilograms on keto (going from size UK 10/12 to 8/10) and don’t really feel great with that, I didn’t mind this 6 kilograms. I was feeling good with my weight. But my partner has lost about 17 kilograms in last 6 months. He gained some weight over last years, that he was trying to loose with exercise, but on keto it went just like that. That’s why keto is so popular for loosing weight – you don’t need to count calories, you can eat until you’re full, and weight is loosing by itself.

And looks like you don’t need to go on full keto to improve your life and loose a bit of weight. My work colleague (sweet tooth and carb addicted) encouraged by my improvement decided to lower her carb intake and resignated from carbs for two weeks, than she was eating carbs but in smaller amounts than before. And she confirmed most of the things I noticed: less digestive issues, more energy, less sleepy, reduction of appetite, lost weight. My partner’s father has lost 5 kilograms in a month of experimenting with lowering carbs (no potatoes, pasta and rice). That means that you can improve your life visibly, making only small changes.

So, why the hell I hate keto?

It’s not exactly hate, but lets say that this diet has some disadvantages that a) doesn’t make my life easier b) in some way takes away the pleasure of cooking and eating. Let me explain.

Social situations. It makes our social life a bit complicated. Try to explain our 80 years old lovely neighbour that invited us for afternoon tea, that it’s very kind of her, but we cannot have this delicious biscuits that she has bought especially for us (oh, take just one). Imagine trying chocolate biscuit after six months of not eating ANY sweets… It was seriously a strange feeling.

Most of our friends knows that we’re on diet, and knows more or less what we can eat. So if we visit them, they usually prepare something that we can have, although we cannot expect that the food will meet all our restrictions, so it happened once or twice that we’ve eate something that we shouldn’t because we didn’t want to make them unhappy. They’ve already tried so hard to make something for us. For last six months we also didn’t go out for a meal, because of our restrictions. The easiest for us, is to invite friends and cook something that we can eat, and make something extra for our guests.

That leads me to a second thing, which is – feeling guilty after eating something that’s no-go on our diet. Happened couple of times mainly in social situations. You feel like you’ve ruined few months of your diet, with couple of potatoes or a chocolate biscuit, that your body will fight for weeks (gluten antibodies can stay in the bloodstream even for 6 months). And I don’t want to feel guilty. But after six months of restrictions I feel anxiety when thinking of eating something else.

Spontaneous? No more – plan in advance. And I’m not poking holes, if you have full time job, or you work in various hours, you have to plan in advance. What are you going to eat, when you have to prepare it, and how you’re going to reheat your meal at work, without using a microwave. No chance that you’ll order pizza on a busy day, or you’ll pop in somewhere during lunchtime and grab a sandwich. Plan, plan and one more time – plan. Even harder if you do intermittent fasting and you work full time or in shifts. You have to adjust your life to a diet, and it’s definitely limiting.

We simply miss the food we used to like eating. I’m going to be honest. I miss my morning porridge with fruits, maca, honey and nuts. I miss having piece of meringue with whipped cream and mango with my Sunday coffee. My partner has an obsession about melted cheese on pizza with crispy crust. And sometimes I just miss the variety of texture and flavor in food that I’m eating. Maybe it’s not in everyone’s case, maybe for people who has different needs it’s easier. But after six months we find it hard to constantly restrict ourselves from trying the food we like.

It gets boring. That kind of emerges from the above. I love cooking, I love experimenting with food, I like doing something from nothing. And at the beginning it was kind of challenging – in how many ways I can prepare this few things we can actually eat. But now, after couple of months I started feeling bored with eating the same veg and meat and eggs, on and on in different combinations. Which leads me to next one…

I’m simply not a fan of meat and eggs. I like certain kind of meat products, but I get easily overwhelmed with them. Eggs for me was always kind of special occasions food, I had to feel a desire for an egg to eat it. They had bland taste and I was often feeling sick after eating them. Oh, I remember first few weeks on keto. I was feeling sick when thinking about the egg. Now I have them for my breakfast almost everyday, and I have to admit that I even like them.

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to say that keto is bad, and I don’t like the keto meals I make and show on my blog. But remember that our keto is more restrictive – we have no dairy at all, no processed food. So not having cheese takes away the whole world of different keto meals. So we have even less variety than normal keto diet.

I have to be honest I love keto because of the way I feel on it, and I love crispy bacon and cauliflowers and avocados and fish. But imagine you love ice creams, and you eat ice creams every day, twice a day, for months. You would get bored eventually, even if the ice cream is what you love.

How about you keto lovers? Am I a normal human being? I’m dying to read your thoughts about your relationship with keto. If you hate it, feel free to say that 😉

Julia Child

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