My second year of thoughts from maintaining Keto for this second entire year 2017; exclusively surrounding Cyclical Ketogenic intervention (CKD).
As a major feature article one would expect this article is to be split into several Parts.Keep in mind however that these are subject to REWRITES & REVISIONS for readibility purposes. My opinions however remains intact.
- PART 1
- Where and how I feel right now.
- FOOD SELECTION/s
- Types of fats / seasonal periodisations.
- My macro ratios
- PART 2
- The Carb Refeed
- Context & Reception.
- Refeed Type 1/2 – 48 hour Standard
- Refeed Type 2/2 – Delayed Refeed
- Training & Injuries.
- Training philosophy
- Thoughts on Cardio / importance of mineral levels
- About me / my average stats
- Training Samples / how hard do I train?
- Supplementation – Training
- What I no longer take
- Supplementation – for SKD days
- The crucial, the conditionally essential and not so essential
- Betaine HCL
- Vitamins and micronutrients
- Pre/Post/Intra Workout supplementations
- What you should be worried about (or not)
- How culture predetermines and confounds cravings
- The Carb Refeed
- PART 3
- CKD Keto for already skinny and lean – best of both worlds?
- Costings & Meals Prepping – is Keto/LCHF more resourcefully affordable?
- Where to go from here?
After all, you are reading someone else’s in-depth account/s upon nutritional & life intervention/s spanning across ONE YEAR; covering everything from psychology, supplementation and fitness training principles. This is NOT a light reading. Don’t like it? Then go somewhere else. Pedestrian Normalcy welcomes you back with open arms.
In the celebration of this feature write up – I’ve decided to make myself a whey protein cheese cake. check out the recipe / instructions here. Sadly I do not have a number “2” decor or spare candle to coincide the 2nd year anniversary of Ketogenic intervention. I just rely on imagination to pretend; that number exists somehow as an apparition for self-gratitude.
So where and how am I feeling (right now)?
Resilient yet weak. Ambivalent yet stoic. I remain curious upon arriving this one same answer over and over again; despite asking the same question loudly in my head from one day to the next – “Why am I still alive?”
Some days I felt gloriously resilient in my training and fitness regiment; allowing me to break through plateaus; evidently accounted throughout my separate exercise journalling. Other days however; weren’t so welcoming to that of my own embarrasments through multiple injuries namely my L4/5/S1. And many, many other days, weeks and months – of lingering stress, anxieties from feeling inadequate or uncertain of my absolute capacity for addressing each and every one of life’s own problems.
Yet despite me not being so well recently; uncannily in one way or another, this way of living and persisting indeed remains an ambivalent realm. For it is NEITHER as I increasingly learned out of it – a state of “paradise”, nor is it a state of loss or deprivations either.
Does this mean that Ketosis is a metabolic state of infinitely abundant – alternative form of energy? No. Absolutely Not. Is it a state of overall euphoria or energetic paradise? No, it’s absolutely not that either.
- Pedestrian Normalcy: “What the hell? So it is not the most “ideal” state of metabolic pathway then, is it?”
- Me: “<sighs> It all depends on how you reason and accept – the word Ideal to your physiological, capacitive resilience and (once again) – tolerances, resource availability limits and your OWN values/belief systems as Self-Authenticity.”
Ketosis, thus is a state of relentless search for accepting reasons – through Life’s own INfinite curiosities despite finite rewards and gratifications; through Time and Scarcities. It is absolutely difficult to describe this in concise terms/linguistics for the attention-span deprived.
That; is simply – my interpretation of Ketosis. Nothing more. Nothing less. Whether you “agree” or “disagree” to this interpretation is not up for moral or institutionalised “correctness” debate. I have failed every institutionalised academia of ‘corectness’. Yet I carry within me things that “Science” still do not even yet understand.
The human body; at its true, complex and chaotic – resilience.
Food selection/s on CKD intervention.
1/4 Types of fats & seasonal periodisations
I have mentioned before specifically within my manuscript (edition 1.4); that for many months I was convinced that I could sustain predominantly on monounsaturated sources of fats. That conclusion; however overtime needs to be taken with a grain of salt. My “belief” here may sound strange and alien, but take it or leave it. I believe geographical and climatic control can have DRASTIC effect upon the body’s metabolic & overall physiological conditioning.
Summer & Hotter climates = Monounsaturated (Extra Virgin Olive oils).
As logical as this could ever get – if there is anything in Life that promotes degradation or oxidation – it is heat. Heat is stress. Stress therefore is one of many such reasons that expects and demands – greater intakes of dietary antioxidants. Hence, in this instance, olive oils / monounsaturated sources are what I would consider a focused intake during the much warmer climates.
Monounsaturated source of fats have virtues that saturated fats do not have. From preserving endothelial function, to (yes, rather interestingly) anabolic properties. Reportedly; compared against saturated fats, olive oils are observed as better at increasing insulin sensitivity. Another study seemingly confirms this effect on rats.
Other micronutrients of which remains noteworthy amongst monounsaturated sources of fats (olive oils and various nuts) – are its Vitamin E, Selenium and interestingly – Potassium content. The extra Vitamin E of olive oils, or the insanely high selenium contents of brazil nuts or the peculiarly high potassium in peanut butters (of course in moderation due to carb contents); these might not be easily found elsewhere without supplementations (especially Vitamin E and Selenium).
Cooler and Colder climates = Saturated Fats.
Done and dusted then? Everyone should ditch butter, lard, cheese, bacons, beef, etc? Well, not so fast. During winters I find that with predominant meals set towards using more monounsaturated fats – I felt more sensitive towards cold temperatures. I also find that I (subconsciously) felt more needy of digestive enzyme supplementations; particularly Betaine HCLs + Pepsin. This somewhat persisted whenever a profoundly high amount of monounsaturated fats are used on my main meal/s.
Now, when butter comes along during winters….the opposite somehow occured. Heartburn-like symptoms somewhat lowered if olive oils and nut sources intakes were reduced. Saturated Fats are also commonly associated with comfort. This poses some curiosity; as different types fats (Sat, Unsat and Polyunsats) do raise different effects on the brain neurotransmitter receptors (at least; from a study done on rats).
I found my urges to take betaine HCL + pepsins to be somewhat less severe. than what I remembered from incorporating (almost) exclusively monounsaturated sources on olive oils, almond meals and walnuts.
But for what other reasons than comfort, then that of our saturated block cheddar cheese or other full fat dairy offers? The ever so elusive yet VERY important Vitamin K2. No, NOT so much from K1; as this type seems poorly converted into the much needed calcium-redirecting K2 away from arteries. Nevertheless, I’d continue consuming grounded parsley beyond its’ K1 content (for other reasons such as Vitamin C and keto-breath management). But would never ever neglect the importance of K2 from dairy cheese.
What about polyunsaturated Fats?
The question I still unfortunately am yet to confidently address is how to balance such ideal intakes between polyunsaturated against all other essential fats. Nevertheless I do and am still using from time to time a non-GMO canola oil spray whenever I need to cook up my flaxmeal pancakes on the frying pan or to bake my whey / pea protein loaf slices.
At the vary least, I do however am somewhat relieved from having read (preliminarily) that cooking meats from time to time with a good non-GMO quality canola oil OR a high oleic sunflower oil – favourably improves the Omega3 VS Omega6 ratio.
2/4 Type of meats – my preferences thus far
Beef/Chicken livers still remains an affordable staple; though I’d likely continue consuming them with a bit of caution. They both possess an unbelievably high amounts of vitamin A and B12 in every meagre 100g per cooked serve. So much so that I had to re-allocate my small consumption of pumpkins (within carb allowance) on certain days AWAY from liver consumptions as an attempt to avoid any Vitamin A overdose.
I find lean cuts of white meats; particularly amongst chickens (and though only seldom – fish) nevertheless remain plausible for consumption within the SKD regiment. Despite that I am likely to be flamed by Keto zealots. Meat is meat. Period.
Thankfully on some days I am able to source chicken breast for as low as $6 AUD per kilogram. My tip would be to advise you to go on your less travelled combined Asian butcher + vegs produce stores. You may be surprised at what you’ll find from one month to the next.
One ritual I have recently been practising (especially when buying economy commercial minced meats) is to always drain the excess water + fat content once cooked. This helps put me in a peace of mind of abstaining from excess Omega 6 PUFAs.
Another source of meats I have been consuming (though only liberally) is a deli meat in a form of Champagne leg hams. This is possible ONLY as fortnightly novelty should my $35-$45 weekly budget allows. A 350 to 400g shaved purchase should last anywhere between 10 to 12 days of good use (from 20-40g per serve).
Why I don’t eat much bacon. Or (elitist) steaks.
Some may turn curious as to why; ever since my earliest days of Ketogenic transitions and inevitably then turn to CKD interventions – main reason is that of convenience and much distraction of smell senses. I am one of few who quickly grow stressful amidst presence of cooked aromas lingering for hours on end.
To put things straight to perspective; I am not a Muslim. I may be born as a Catholic but I don’t believe a “God” is out there in the sky watching us all. What I believe is my own primal senses. My nose and stress levels can attest to that at reconciling how “peaceful” I am, relative to that of my surroundings.
Marine / Seafood sources
My preference for fish throughout my second year of CKD – largely more or less leans towards smaller ones. Especially sardines. Unfortunately mackerel cans (my prior endorsement) have been bearing warning labels with soy content. Whilst this is of course trivial and subjectively open for debate upon their intensity of such suspected soy contents – they still nevertheless are viable source of protein.
I have also begun consuming tuna; but not so regularly as I still fear from it being suspected of its higher than usual mercury concentrations.
When it comes to whole fish, I am finding it difficult to source anything more affordable than the humble tilapia. Be warned however if you are not familiar with eating whole fishes – Tilapia can be quite full of bones. One may need to learn some filleting skills to at least separate away as many meats away from the bones.
Vegetarian source proteins
As of the completion (version 1.4) of my manuscript; I am no longer convinced on consuming Textured Vegetable Proteins. I have felt numerous adverse effects/ most of which I believe gets accumulative overtime. From daily cognitive / psychological “numbness” or “blankness”. To sluggish digestion. And complete – LOSS of libido and sedating/nullifying interests towards attractive women in general. Sperm count was also greatly diminished. Alongside with decreased training performance overtime.
However nevertheless, I believe I have something of an alternative. I have been experimenting with solely unflavoured Pea Protein Isolates for use in meat loaf patty recipes. This I hope, nevertheless would hopefully serve adequate respect and honour to all (prospective) vegetarian readers.
3/4 What about greens?
I could not be ever so thankful that there is indeed such a thing as a humble vegetable.I’m talking about none other – than the mighty, humble cabbage. This I would gladly put my stamp of approval for any frugal eating. From one year to the next of me persisting within this regiment, modified CKD, or otherwise standard isocaloric perhaps in a near future – I must say that to this day – you are getting a lot from this such affordable green. “Green”coloured variant that is; is what I’m referring to. The “RED” variant (though my eyes interpret it as “purple”) are only an exotic novelty given its elitist steep pricing ($4 per head).
Next to this would be everyone’s staple in Keto. Cauliflower. If you can find a marked down discount of 50 cents PER HEAD OR LESS; buy it without hesitation. You will never regret it.
Another I have been consuming much of lately is the baby spinach. Rich in Potassium; they are still what I would consider a priority to consume greater amounts during the warmer seasons as you are subject to lose even more electrolyte levels. This however comes at a higher cost bracket. If you can find one DIY-serve cabinet at an independent fruit+veg store for $10AUD per kilogram – then trust me – that IS A GOOD deal you may not see anywhere else.
A 400g of baby spinach should be okay for one full week of copious consumption. Gobble that up raw and fresh with sour cream and garlic powder. Heat gently if you must, but I would not cook it.
4/4 Condiments & Flavouring
This is an important subject few rarely discuss. But this determines how well you can sustain your overall digestive function during prolonged SKD. The most prominent condiments I am using as of late; are teaspoon/s of Apple Cider Vinegar with Sauerkrauts. Followed by parsley and the usual savouries – garlic powders, turmeric and in some cases ginger powder.
Whenever my Betaine HCL supplement runs low, I would resort to use Sauerkrauts; often combined with parsley to encourage and promote gastric support to digest and assimilate proteins and fats as effectively possible. Parsley (grounded just for affordability) is rich in Vitamin K1 although less implicative to calcium metabolism compared to the K2; both nevertheless share an important synergy with Vitamin D intakes. Lemons (or lime) also remains highly versatile substitutes should sauerkrauts or the cider vinegars supply run scarce.
Apart from that, Himalayan salt, (grounded) garlic powder, and turmeric remains a basic staple at minimum. Sometimes if I’m more in the mood for a curry like dish I’d have an extra heaping of turmeric. This is also to ensure an adequate potassium intake especially for long term Ketogenic practitioners. Garlic powder (or freshly cut but sold cold garlic); remains a daily use but not so much so to worsen my already bad-breath.
Ginger powders too; remains as both versatile condiment as well as – HCL digestive support should my betaine HCL tablets run low. I feel that it’s best to pair these with leaner source of white proteins especially amongst lean cuts of chicken (drenched in sourcream/oliveoil of course). One tip I’d like to share is that during shortage of any condiments – I actually use teabags. Yes that’s right – those dried lemon + ginger teabags – as condiments. Try it. YOU WILL BE SURPRISED how effective they are as condiments.
For those who need to “tame” their lingering heartburns after meals; Ginger powders + hot boiling water; is a heaven-sent solution. No need to buy expensive brands. Just grounded ginger will do. Otherwise, winding down at any time during the day with Apple Cider Vinegar with the Ginger would do as well.
Apple Cider Vinegar + Baking Soda “hack”
At the time of writing this article – the climate here is closely approaching to that of Spring, then soon – Summers. I have at times experimented drinking Hot ACV water with a sprinkle of baking soda (effectively turning both to Sodium Acetate). This makes a somewhat strangely both a warm yet also “refreshing” drink inbetween meals. Some may frown at this practise however; as baking soda intake DOES LOWER potassium levels and other trace micronutrients (interestingly – Folate, B Vitamins, and Chromium).
I am yet to formulate my conclusive opinions on these thus far given the confusingly mixed opinions out there. During SKD intervention; it is widely believed (including The Ketogenic Diet written by Lyle himself; page 47) – that bicarbonate intakes DOES HELP REDUCE protein breakdowns and thus improves anaerobic performance.
On some days I have felt and noted that upon drinking ACV + Baking soda concoction felt an improved muscular glycogen uptake upon digesting proteins. Which led me to suspect that the Bicarbonates MAY have an Insulin sensitising effect. Only (1) One study so far do replicate this effect. However another; did NOT show any appreciable benefit on glycemic controls.
Whilst my thoughts remain preliminary, I may perhaps revise this later in the near future.
Nori / kelp / seaweed
Kelp is astoundingly the only significant precursor to thyroid function. However, its Iodine content has both confusingly a supportive AND depressive – effect upon thyroid functions. Finding the optimal dosage dietary intake always going to vary from one day one circumstance to the next. Nori remains to this day my only such source of iodine. Beyond that, it also serves as an palatable added “crunch” on top of my main meals.
Ketogenic paradigm or not, I conclude it as essential nevertheless throughout winters amidst concern of lowered bodily temperatures overall.
My preferred CKD Ratios & protein timing
It is often said and encouraged that Ketogenic regiments are almost always composed of at least 70% fats. 20-25% proteins and 1% (from zero / trace) – 10% carbohydrates. This has nevertheless has been my ratio for quite some time during SKD days Mondays to Fridays. Although recently – I have made adjustments favouring towards the need for retaining of lean body mass. Hence the need for increasing protein towards anywhere between 25 to even 35% range.
Do I do this every-single-day? Of course not. This is only one isolated thought and opinion from my own eyes and my own metabolic physiology.
Periodisations / individually monitored experiments between more proteins vs less proteins are nonetheless necessary to those who are resistance training under the SKD or in this case – the CKD regiment.
Calorie cycling is also; what I would consider plausible to practise in long term. For day/s or weeks of attempts towards surpluses – are pleasingly met with reasonably improved fitness / strength training parameters evident through my exercise journalling. Although please note these surpluses are possible only within the presence and emphasis towards protein intakes…. And most likely meant additional Betaine HCL + Pepsin supplementations as whenever felt required.
It is interesting that the more SKD weekdays I increased my calorie intakes; the more likely I feel compelled to “delay” my carbohydrate refeeding until as late as early Saturday afternoon/s. Hence, my introduction and invention concept of “Delayed Refeeding”. This will be explained further in Part 2 of this anniversary feature write up.
CKD for 2017 – my Summary
This second year; as primarily focused on the CKD intervention; has been less turbulent than when I first started between 2015 and late of 2016 (when I ended the permanent Standard SKD).
Many would still argue (for arguments and moral superiority’s sake) that what I have shared / written “day-in-life” samples thus far is not “Keto-enough”. I do not blame whomever holds such opinions and conclusions. Do what works for “you”. I do not care more. And I do not care less.
Admittedly, I do not know whether CKD is “indeed” the right way for me to sustain for very long term (eg. 2 or even three+ years constant practise). But at least within the socio-economical stratification context that I have been imposed upon for years (involuntarily / structurally of course) – I feel this intervention is still largely relevant and logistically plausible.
End (Part 1/3).
That concludes our part 1 of this feature write up. Click here for the next part as I discuss my thoughts surrounding training, the carbohydrate intakes and supplementations for during either the SKD portion (Mondays to Fridays) and the 42-48 hour refeeds (Saturdays – Sundays).