I Heart Carbohydrates!
For me, they’re curative. A doughnut or two and voila nausea is vanquished, anxiety is subdued, headaches disappear, and mood is elevated.
All this, and delicious too. What’s not to love?
I can grab a cookie, a bag of chips, or a candy bar, in any store across the nation. Meals high in carbs are easy to prepare and even easier to eat. My weight is fine and I feel, well, like I guess everyone feels when they’re 65, fluctuating between pretty good and pretty old. I love my carbs.
In the summer of 2017, my daughter, Amy, called. She is looking extra fit and trim, but I assume it’s due to her penchant for exercise.
“Keto” she gushes, during a FaceTime call. What’s Keto? 75% of your food intake comes from the right kind of fats, like olive and coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. 20% of your diet is derived from protein, and 5% from carbs.
Can I Really Do This?
Drastically reducing carbs from my diet doesn’t seem feasible. My 23 and Me DNA traits report states: “You are likely to prefer sweet snacks.” Uh huh. It’s in the genes. My Neanderthal ancestors likely stumbled into a field of sugar cane while hunting for meat.
Amy peels off a list of health benefits of the high-fat, low-carb diet. Besides weight loss, devotees claim they have higher energy levels, better moods, and clearer thinking. Some studies show a Keto diet prevents epileptic seizures in children, effectively treats diabetes, and helps stave off Alzheimer’s.
Preliminary research suggests it may stop cancer’s progression, inhibit metastases and kill off cancer cells. She is so enthusiastic that I find myself saying, “I’m in, sweetheart!” Just. Like. That.
Amy was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive breast cancer in October of 2013. She celebrated her 7th anniversary last October, but fears of its possible return continue to disturb our peace of mind. For Amy’s type of cancer, years 5-10 pose the greatest threat of recurrence, and so she’s been looking for any and all ways to give herself the best chance at fighting or slowing down any cancer cells that may be lingering.
As we’re talking, I’m watching Amy’s face on the screen. I’m trying my best to hide my own emotions, but we both have a tough time pretending. If there’s a chance this diet can help prevent a return of cancer, then it’s a no-brainer.
I can sum up most of my life choices into a simple verse: For me, it’s all or nothing. Initially, I turned into a bit of a fanatic. Mike and I both dropped 5 pounds in the first 2 weeks, while sticking below 30 net carbs per day. But weight loss wasn’t our priority. We wanted to join Amy in solidarity against cancer. She’s our baby. It felt right.
OK I’m In
Day 1: Breakfast two scrambled eggs, sautéed in butter and topped with cheddar cheese. Lunch turkey chili. Dinner grilled chicken salad. I hesitate while putting on a generous dollop of blue cheese dressing, but do it anyway. I snack on peanuts and cheese.
Day 2: Lunch cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce. Delicious but messy. On and on we go. My husband and I are eating like cavemen.
Days 3-4: I wake feeling tired and cranky. Mental pictures of meat, cheese and eggs are making me gag. By 5 PM, I’ve got a raging headache and my body aches all over. I want to punch my husband in the face. I also want a biscuit smothered in raspberry jam.
“It’s called the Keto flu,” says Amy, calling to check on our progress. “Yay, Mom! That means you’re doing everything right!” This newsflash brings me no solace.
The next day I wake with no appetite and a heart pounding over 100 bpm. Putting on my jeans takes super-human strength. Right leg goes into right side of pants. Rest. Then left leg. Rest. Hot flashes, ear-ringing and mental confusion are compounding my misery. I need an oatmeal-raisin cookie, STAT.
Days 5-10: I’m feeling a tad better. Progress is slow but steady, and I’m feeling some energy and mental acuity returning. I am shocked at the rapid changes in my body. Pants are zipping with ease. Dresses are slipping on effortlessly.
But this is not a diet for sissies. I spend over an hour at the grocery store checking the carb count on the back of packaging. It’s annoying and time-consuming. Jabbing my husband in the arm, I wave my eyes over into the direction of a stranger’s cart. “Look at the carbs in that cart!” they silently say. Carb-judging brings out the ugly in me.
I’m not accustomed to so much food prep, and at first, it’s a bit overwhelming. Amy and I swap Keto recipes via text. Fathead pizza is delish!
Here’s The Amazing Part
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I am never hungry. I was always hungry before Keto. And my sugar cravings have almost vanished. I walk through Publix bakery without stopping, though I do partake in a good whiff of glazed donuts now and then. Squirting real whipping cream from the can into my open mouth brings back memories of Dad lining up all nine of his children to do the same. With a Keto diet, the tradition continues.
Hi. Trying to understand the Keto. So no carb or low carb 5% and no sugar correct ?
Will be trying your recipes
Hi, Cheryl. It can be overwhelming, I know! Go on myketohome and check out “Keto Basics”. Several blogs to help: What is a Ketogenic (Keto) Diet, Benefits, Food List, Stocking Your Pantry, etc. I hope they help answer some of your questions! Thanks for checking out the site!
Saw Amy on GMA this morning and she mentioned your website. I am doing carb cycling and love doing low carb and am leaning towards Keto. I can’t imagine not having bread and potatoes any more. I’ve already printed out several of your recipes to try. Wish me luck. Good luck to you, your husband and Amat and her family as they continue on this journey.
I hear you about no bread and potatoes! When I absolutely MUST have french fries, I go ahead and indulge myself. The next day I keep a tighter reign on my carb count. We love Dave’s Killer Bread-Thin-Sliced 21 Whole Grains-9 net carbs per slice. Found at Publix. Some mornings you just gotta have toast with your eggs! : )
How do you count the net carbs?
Simple: Net carbs equal total carbs minus fiber. Thanks for visiting Denise.
Thank you! This site is great! Your daughter is wonderful. So nice that you ladies are eating great and sharing these fantastic recipes w all of us!❤
Many thanks, Susan, for your kind thoughts and site visit!
Hello. I visited your website because Amy mentioned it on GMA this morning. I want/need to try keto but a healthier one. Drs told me I needed to lose weight due to an episode I had with my liver (injured liver due to antibiotic and diagnosed with NASH) last year and was told I needed to lose weight for a condition I was diagnosed with, HS (hidradenitis suppurativa)….I will be trying your recipes…oh and I really liked/laughed at the comment about wanting to punch your husband….that was funny!
HaHa! Yes, Delma, it was all true. Check with your doc regarding how to reduce carbs in your diet. Clearly I’m not an MD! Thanks for visiting!
Hi Joanie. I’m worried about high cholesterol on this diet. Any tips? Also, do you use an app to keep track of your carbs? Thanks!
Hi, Susan! I don’t use an app to keep track of carbs. The first several months after I started on keto, I’d jot down how many net carbs I’d eat in a day. Now, I’m more likely to keep a mental note instead of a written. Some people do have issues with raised cholesterol on a keto diet, so I’d check with my doctor if that’s a concern for you. Personally, my total cholesterol has gone up, but it’s because my “good” HDL cholesterol has skyrocketed, so my ratio of good/bad has improved. Our son is MD and said more important to look at the ratio. Hope this helps! Stay well.
I’ve been wanting to try a keto diet but I’m trying to lower my LDL to avoid cholesterol medications. I assume this may not be the diet for me even tho its all your good fats. Your recipes look so good!!
Keto can be tricky re cholesterol levels. My total count went up because my HDL (good) levels went through the roof. I’m sure your doc will explain the ratio between the two, and why that’s the better way to evaluate. Thanks for visiting!
I started a doctor supervised keto diet 7 weeks ago, without realizing at the time it was keto. I never believed I would be able to survive without carbs. However, it has been working and I have lost 15 lbs. so far. My resolve for keto was set when the doctor performed a liver scan and found I had a fatty liver. Yikes! He said it could be reversed by this diet, so it would seem to be another health benefit to add to the keto list. I too, found your website through GMA when looking up your cheesecake recipe . Best of luck to your family and thanks for sharing your endeavors! I will be downloading more of your recipes!
Aww, thanks, Cynthia! Your post makes me so happy! Thanks for visiting myketohome and all the best on your journey!
Hi, I found your site on IG when I was looking for the Keto cheesecake that Amy made on GMA. I love watching Amy she looks amazing. My Dr already told me that I should try Keto as she has many patients with great results. I want to start tomorrow but want to know how you overcame the Keto flu especially the racing heart that you had on day 3&4? . Love your recipes And site very organized. Made the string beans tonight my family loved them.
Hi, Denise! If you head over to myketohome and under “Recipes,” click “Keto Basics.” You may have already read, “Hey, What’s Happening to My Body,” and in that article, I talk about a couple solutions that may work for you. You may not experience the keto flu like I did. Article talks about adding mineral supplements, dramatically increasing fluids, and/or easing into keto. I jumped in full-throttle from 300 net carbs per day to only 20-30, so you may want to slowly cut down your carb intake. Glad you checked with your doc first! Son is an MD, but I’m certainly not. Thanks for your kind words, Denise! All the best to you.
Hey. I saw Amy on GMA and like others I looked up your website. After some research, I think this is something I am going to give a try. My doctor says “Sugar is the devil for women over 50”. Haha. Do you have any recommended tracking methods? I have looked at a few apps but there are so many.
You’re recipes all look great but, as someone who travels for work, I need to be able to track meals on the go. Thank you!
Hi, OBI Girl! Yep, I’m def a former sugar addict. On the website, go to “Keto Basics” and check out “The Keto Diet Food List.” I provide links my two fav nutritional databases, what to eat, what to avoid, etc. Currently, I can’t recommend any particular tracking sites. In the beginning, it wasn’t an easy task for me. I read every nutrition label before buying, and checked out the net carbs for everything that went into my mouth. It gets easier, I promise!
I’m struggling with finding the right balance in terms of Carb grams, percent of carbs/fats/protein. I’ve read some things about keto and women specifically. I was using the Carb Manager App to track, but it automatically sets those macros and number of calories per day, and even when playing with the numbers, I can’t seem to get the right balance. I was also recently diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, and had a couple of friends who are medical professionals recommend Keto to me ASAP. So I jumped in right away. I mostly eat low carb anyway, or do fuel separation, so that actual eating and the foods has been super easy. Maybe I’m stressing too much about the numbers, but I would love your input as a woman, and Amy’s regarding the breast cancer. I have had my first chemo treatment and have 5 more to go. Thank you!
First of all Kristina, Bless your heart. I know how difficult this journey can be, but you WILL get through it! As you read, Amy decided keto was the best way for her to go. I joined in mainly for moral support, but then found it to be beneficial for me, too. I’ve never tracked all the numbers – it’s just too overwhelming for me. At first Amy and I counted every carb that entered our body. Now we’ve pretty much got it down. We know what to eat and what to avoid. If we overdo carbs for a day or two, we cut them back the next. We eat good fats, proteins in moderation, lots of greens like broccoli, kale, and spinach, and cauliflower, berries, nuts, etc. If you haven’t checked it out yet, head over to “The Keto Diet Food List” in the “Articles” section of the blog. I would love for you to stop stressing and take great care of yourself. Whatever balance you find will be right for you. All cancer thrivers are in my nightly prayers!
Joanie – thank you so much for your answer. Just what I needed to hear! That feels natural for me also. I also loved your suggestion somewhere for Dave’s Killer Bread Thins. I’m going to look for that! I do love a piece of good toast with a fried egg. I’m grateful that my PCP is integrative and is supporting me in eating this way, as is my naturopath. So it’s good to have them on my team and not following some of the typical medical advice. I had a PA at the Oncologist’s office the other day tell me that I should focus on “white” food when I’m experiencing some of the intestinal side effects from chemo. She literally said “white rice, white toast, potatoes.” My face must have looked shocked because she back-pedaled a little. We agreed to settle on broths, soups with lots of cooked veggies, and soft cooked vegetables on their own. Sigh. It’s hard to be a person who knows that food can heal and not have the medical people always on board. Thanks again – your website is a wealth of really helpful information!
You’re more than welcome, Kris! I promise you’ll get through chemo OK, and I’m praying your side effects will be minimal! XO
I’m gearing up to give Keto another try. Have been following you for a while, and love watching Amy every day.
Also struggle with the balance.
How important are the percentages? Is the most important thing to keep carbs under 30 net grams?
I wish someone would just tell me what to eat each meal. 😂. What are your easy snacks to just be able to grab? I find being hungry out or at work hard because quick snacks are almost always loaded with carbs.
Thanks for a great blog and IG!
Hi, Eleanor! Great questions. The percentages are extremely important for a keto diet, and yes, keeping net carbs under 30 grams is the gold standard for weight loss. Keeping your fat intake to 75% will keep you full and less likely to get hungry between meals. It’s certainly done that for me. I totally get the snacking urge! I usually grab a cheese stick, a handful of nuts, olives, or my favorite: Elevation Bars. They have several varieties. The coconut/chocolate is only 2 net carbs, and tastes as good as an Almond Joy bar. If you have Aldi’s near you, they have the best price for these bars. Smart Sweets Sweet Fish is another great treat that Amy discovered, and tastes just like Swedish Fish. Best price for the Sweet Fish is Amazon. You can read about them under “Recipes,” then scroll down until you find “Keto Basics.” 3rd page: “Exceptional Ready to Eat Keto Foods.” I hope this helps! And thank you for following our website!
I’m starting to lean towards a keto diet but have a bit of concern with the dairy. Just turned 50 and dealing with weight gain around the belly area and that constant feeling of bloating. (Exercise daily) I also worry about cancer as I lost my only sister two years ago to breast cancer. I do a lot of protein shakes but wondering if I should switch from plant based to whey protein. I often feel bloated after drinking them. Always watch GMA so am a big Amy fan!! I would love to have her a energy!
Hi, Wendy. Welcome to myketohome. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your only sister. Hope it’s OK that I keep you in my prayers. Plant based protein is usually made from soy, and I understand that can cause bloating in some people. I’d give the whey protein a try and see if you have any adverse reactions. I hear you about Amy’s energy levels. I’d love to have 50% of her energy!! Hope you find our recipes delicious!