Developing a Healthy Lifestyle Part 2: Overcoming the Keto Flu

This is the second part of our Healthy Lifestyle Development Series. I am not sure how long this series will be, but I hope this will help you navigate implementing a healthy lifestyle.

So the first part went over developing your why, and last week we spoke about figuring out if a coach would be beneficial for you. Today we are talking about Keto-flu. Next week we will be talking about Fat adaption.

20190211_155126_0000.png

Eating healthy comes in many shapes and sizes depending on your goals, but no matter what style fits you the main underlying principle is that we need to eat real food. It can seem hard at first, but in as little as 30 minutes you can have a meal ready to eat. In the Recipe section, there will be a basic meal breakdown to illustrate this point further. What that looks like is 2 or 3 meals that consist of a hunk of meat, surrounded by veggies with either berries or nuts after dinner If you want a breakdown of the foods I stock my pantry and refrigerator with check out my food philosophy, this post breaks down each of the main foods I use and suggest with clients.

In later posts, we will be diving into four approaches to healthy eating. But for now, the focus is on lowering your carbs. The way of eating I focus on is a low carb, high-fat diet. As we limit out carbs our body will switch from using carbs to fat as the main fuel source. During the transition period, some people may deal with common symptoms that have been commonly called, the “Keto-flu,” “Atkins-flu,” or “Low carb-flu.”

Keto flu (Low carb flu)

First off, the Keto flu may not happen to everyone. If you are already eating lower carb, your body may already be fat adapted. Fat adaption is where you mainly burn fat as fuel instead of carbs/glucose. However, like with any one size fits all statement, there are just as many outliers that ear high carb and never deal with these symptoms. Just know that if you feel sick when starting out, you are not alone and this is normal.

What are these symptoms I am talking about? As you may have inferred from the name “keto flu,” you may experience some basic flu-like symptoms like

  • fatigue
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • cramps and so on.

coaching

There is a two-part reason for this.

First, in some cases, you are breaking your mental and physical dependence on using carbohydrates for fuel. The lack of carbohydrates in your body will then force your body into a fat burning state.

Second, you are clearing a lot of liquids from your body. During this switch, your body will be using the excess carbs, as you lose the excess carbs you lose water too. This happens because for each gram of carbs you hold on to at least 3 grams of water[1]. Since we clear liquids quicker than usual, this could cause you to be both dehydrated and low in electrolytes. “Electrolytes are minerals that can conduct an electrical current. They help with the body’s fluid balance, nerve transmission, acid-base balance, and muscle contraction… The electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus[2].”

The key electrolytes to focus on are sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

  • Increasing sodium means we need to take in more salt (unlike what many sodium guidelines suggest we need to consume more quality sodium than we currently are) or a good bone broth. Also, sodium is needed in your body to help negate sugar craving, some chronic illnesses and can help to improve sports performance. For more on the role of salt in our body check out the book “The Salt Fix,” by James DiNicolantonio, he is a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy.
  • Potassium is also needed when recouping your electrolytes and can be found in avocados, dark leafy veggies, salmon and mushrooms to name a few.
  • Magnesium is also important for not only for staying hydrated, but it can also help keep muscle cramps away, and aid in sleep[3]. Also in the US, magnesium is one of the most deficient nutrients in our diet[4]. Some ways to get in more magnesium is my eating more cacao (dark chocolate), salmon, pumpkin seeds, or by taking a magnesium supplement.

Here is a possible day of eating to help bring these recommendations together:

  • In the morning you could drink water with REDMOND Real Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt. These two types of salt help you absorb water and they are a good source of minerals. You could also warm up a cup of bone broth and add some salt to it.
    • You could take an electrolyte supplement instead of salting your water, I like using Ultra Salt.
    • Kettle and fire are one of the best shelf stable bone broths I have come across.
  • Your first meal could consist of some fajita meat (cooked in butter, avocado oil, or coconut oil) with guacamole (avocado, salt, pepper, lime and pumpkin seeds), sour cream with bell peppers and onion (cooked in the same oils) and a large glass of water.
  • Dinner would be 1 or 2 salmon burgers (ground salmon, chopped mushrooms, chopped kale, an egg and feta, lime, salt, pepper, and garlic) cooked in butter and wrapped in butter lettuce, with guacamole and pork rinds or cheese crisps (for dipping) and a glass of herbal tea.
  • Dessert would be a few squares of dark chocolate (80% or higher) with some strawberries and whipped heavy cream.
  • Finishing the night with another cup of homemade or quality bone broth with some of the salt I mentioned above.
  • If you still want to cover your basis you can take another Ultra Salt, with a 200 mg Magnesium vitamin.

This can serve as a guide to help you conquer the keto flu symptoms while also adapting your body to relying on fat as a fuel.

Key Takeaways:

  • The keto flu is caused by an electrolyte imbalance.
  • Electrolytes become imbalanced at first due to a decrease in water retention and an increase in water excretion.
  • The main electrolytes to focus on during this transition are sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Drinking more water is also important to maintain hydration.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?linkname=pubmed_pubmed_reviews&from_uid=25911631
  2. https://uvacswim.org/electrolytes/
  3. https://www.nps.org.au/news/magnesium-a-treatment-for-leg-cramps
  4. https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Abstract/2016/05000/Magnesium_Deficiency__What_Is_Our_Status_.4.aspx

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.