5 Things That Surprised Me on a 2 Week Keto Diet

 
 
The Keto Diet: Friend or Foe? The all-you-can-eat bacon and cheese version is obviously a no go, but I was satisfied and pleasantly surprised by many things I learned while eating a whole foods, mostly vegetarian Keto diet! Image courtesy of:  Brooke Lark

The Keto Diet: Friend or Foe? The all-you-can-eat bacon and cheese version is obviously a no go, but I was satisfied and pleasantly surprised by many things I learned while eating a whole foods, mostly vegetarian Keto diet! Image courtesy of: Brooke Lark

1.I wasn’t controlled by hunger.

Probably the most astounding thing I experienced while eating a ketogenic diet was a lack of HANGER. Instead of feeling low energy, cranky, and irritable if I went longer between meals, I just had a slight stomach hunger creep up later than usual. For many dieters, this makes it easier to control calorie intake. The satiating effect of fat combined with lower insulin levels (in response to lower carbohydrate intake) frees people from the blood sugar roller coaster created by the Standard American Diet (aptly abbreviated SAD).

2. My teeth felt cleaner!

This was something completely unexpected! I guess it makes sense that my dental hygiene would improve when eating less sugar, which is exactly what bacteria in our mouths thrive on. Nonetheless, I was surprised that my teeth felt as clean as they did. I actually almost forgot to brush my teeth one night because they felt so clean! I did experience some of the classic keto side effects of fruity breath and a metallic taste, but neither were unbearable. The metallic taste was the strongest on the 4th day of the diet, which is probably when I had exhausted all of my glycogen (carbohydrate stores), so it wasn’t surprising. I adjusted my protein intake down slightly after the first week to combat the metallic taste. Since ammonia is a waste product of protein metabolism and is excreted through exhalation and urine, this helped my breath significantly.


3. My digestive health got better.

I have struggled with digestive problems almost as long as I can remember. I even went to a specialist once, who prescribed a fiber supplement but didn’t offer much help. The specialist was adamant that stress couldn’t have an impact on my digestive health, even though my symptoms were worst when I was stressed. Over the years, I have tried many diet and lifestyle changes to improve my digestive health. I found that eating a vegan diet helped, but only if I ate a whole foods vegan diet low in processed items. A gluten free diet didn’t seem to make a difference for me when I tried it at the recommendation of another physician. Initially, the thought of eliminating grains and beans from my diet caused me to expect my digestive health would suffer. However, while eating this way, my digestion became as good or better than when I had eaten a vegan diet.


A high volume of leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, and lack of processed foods on the keto diet helped me feel great in regards to digestive health! Image courtesy of:  Paul Morris

A high volume of leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, and lack of processed foods on the keto diet helped me feel great in regards to digestive health! Image courtesy of: Paul Morris

4. My hormones were impacted.

The only major downside I experienced while eating keto was a big hormonal shift. This can be caused in some women by a drastic change in either carbohydrate or calorie intake. As you start to break down fat for your primary energy source, hormones and toxins stored in that fat are released. This caused me to have a period for almost the entire time I was following this specific protocol (10/14 days). While it was not heavy, it was very inconvenient and annoying. Luckily, when I adjusted my calories up (even staying low carb), the problem was resolved.

5. My mid-afternoon energy dip went away.

While many keto enthusiasts exclaim that they have exceptional energy on this kind of diet, I didn’t experience a huge increase in energy. However, I did experience a good level of energy throughout the day, whereas in the past, I would experience a dramatic dip in energy in the afternoon. Before trying the keto diet, I had already noticed this dip was the most prominent if I had a high carbohydrate meal for lunch. Therefore, I had typically avoided high carb lunches on most days anyways. I have noticed when helping people change their diets that most have no idea how good they can really feel. Once they are giving their body what it needs and limiting processed foods, they always feel amazing! Anyone transitioning from a SAD to a healthy version of a keto diet would likely experience an increase in energy due to eating less processed foods and more vegetables.


So there you have it- five things that surprised me while eating Keto for 2 weeks!

There were ups and downs, but overall, it was a positive experience. Wondering why I decided to try a keto diet in the first place? Or what the heck I ate as a (mostly) vegetarian on a keto diet? Stay tuned for several articles coming soon as well as more recipes! For now, check out these fajitas!

Fiesta Fajitas with Low Carb Tortillas

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I had never made tortillas before, and was highly skeptical of the very wet dough at first, but they turned out great- and even made good chips!