I have had an interesting time over xmas, thought I would post my experiences and muses here, which might be of help to others.
I’m generally very strict with my diet, I IM until mid day to 4pm most days. Do a lot of exercise and normally eat 2 meals a day. I’ve stopped measuring my food relying on a blood tester to see where my keytones are. And I’ve got a good sense of what I can / can’t eat, plus some go-to meals.
I posted something recently about cycling: To Cycle or not to Cycle - Mercola's advice
After 3-4 months very strict keto, measuring / monitoring the whole time, I have softened my position on occasionally having higher levels of carbs and even experimenting with cycling every so often.
Since I started in summer last year I have lost 1.5 stone (21 pounds / 9.5kg) and I got to use some fancy scales that measure body fat percentage, I’m currently 14.5%, which for middle age is pretty good.
I visited friends in the countryside just before xmas, we stayed in hotels and there were limited eating out options. I chose the least carb intensive food and had MCT oil with me. After the first two days of my usual strictness, I softened and ate some sour dough bread with breakfast and rice with an evening meals. And even had a couple fo beers.
Testing my keynotes, I stayed in ketosis the whole time, reducing from my usual 1.5-2 mmol level to c0.5.
Over xmas I gave up altogether and had a traditional Christmas lunch with roast potatoes. And then gorged myself on chocolate of the worst kind and enjoyed every minute. Although, continued having lots of fat. I didn’t test myself over the holiday for a few days. So I’m not sure if I cycled out, but would assume I did.
Once back home, I fasted until mid-day and upon testing, was amazed to see I was still at 0.6 mmol.
So I have been playing with this a little more lately during January, in the week, I generally stick to my normal diet habits.
On the weekend, I have a bit more carbs. I had lunch with a group I was on a course with on Saturday. The only place we could find open was Japanese. I had a few sushi rolls, dumplings, cooked salmon as a main with no rice but extra salad. And then ate dark chocolate with coffee after.
For dinner I had Turkish kebab with came in bread, I had a small amount of it, but also had fried halloumi cheese to make up for it.
Again, I did not come out of ketosis with my levels remaining 0.5mmol that evening and 0.6mmol in the morning after.
I am taking Niacin B3 (the flushing kind) my friend says this helps you stay in ketosis, although I’m yet to get to the bottom of why but this might be part of the answer.
I also eat tonnes of fibre in the form of nuts, greens, avocados, so I assume some of the carbs I have been eating lately are being countered by the fibre.
Either-way, It’s really nice to have a little bit of flexibility, mainly around eating with others, I don’t want to be the one who is super fussy and difficult to cook for or in terms of eating out. Or avoid it altogether as the social element is also nourishing.
I’m also of the belief that stress is not good for you at all. So although I’m very strict on the whole, I don’t ever want to be in a state of stress or anxiety about food or conflict with people in order to get my personal nutritional needs met.
My friend jokes, it’s better to have a joyful donut than a miserable broccoli. I mean, I don’t agree with this from a nutritional perspective but the point is that being very stressed and anxious around food isn’t healthy either.
So although I have wanted to experiment with cycling in and out of ketosis, I have yet to really come out even with more carbs, and I’m quite sure my carbs have been over 50g a few times in the above examples. My normal diet would be aiming for 20g or less.
I also don’t find that my mood is affected, that I get any more cravings or any sense my blood sugar or insulin levels are going haywire (although they might be).
I’m really happy with the above, it’s working really well for me to be in ketosis but still be able to have a little bit of the things I like, especially sushi!