Helping my parents follow keto - NEED LOTS OF ADVICE


(Lesli Ross) #1

Hello everyone! I was hoping to get some advice. Sorry - this is a long one.

Both my parents are over weight, especially my dad. My mom is already gluten-free and coconut free, and my dad eats anything and everything.

My dad (age 62) is going to need a knee replacement within the next year (both knees eventually), and really needs to lose 40+ pounds. I don’t doubt the efficacy of keto, as both my husband and I lost weight and felt great and have kept it off. What worries me about starting my parents on keto however, are their prior health issues. Honestly, I feel like most doctors poo-poo the keto diet, so I worry about my dad bringing it up and asking if it’s healthy for him to be on, and the doctor making keto sounds terrible. That being said, he’s on a couple medications, and has elevated creatine levels and can struggle with low iron. At the moment, he uses molasses to boost his iron. I know keto isn’t “high protein” but I’m curious if anyone has had elevated (I don’t know how high) creatine levels and has seen an improvement while on keto. Also - for those who have prior health issues, did you consult your doctors before starting keto, or just started it and surprised your doctors with your health improvements? I believe he has high cholesterol as well.

If you have talked to your doctors - what did they say?

Now, my mom (age 61) had her gallbladder removed and fat flies right through her (TMI sorry). I’m curious if anyone has been successful on keto, without a gallbladder and could give me some tips. She also was pre-diabetic, and while she has done good with losing some weight, I think keto would help balance her hormones, and help with her thyroid. Her hormones are all over the place, and she’s been going through menopause for 5+ years.

They both previously did the “wheat belly diet” and while it wasn’t keto, it was low-ish carb and they felt great. They also lost a good amount of weight but didn’t keep it off.

I’d love any thoughts on the subject, honestly. Even if it’s - don’t start them on keto.

Thank you to anyone who read this far. I really appreciate it.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Ask them both to join the forum. Don’t be the gopher. There are lots of folks here their ages and older who have been there done that and turned their lives around for the better with keto. Best wishes.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #3

I’m a couple of years older than your dad, and I’m doing great. Started as “pre-diabetic,” though if Dr. Kraft was right, I was already a diabetic, just undiagnosed, and within six months all my blood work normalised and my pulse and blood pressure dropped right back into the normal range.

If you can get your dad to eat keto by feeding him lots of meat and few vegetables, he’ll probably be fine. If his creatine is not back to normal by six months, then you can figure out what to do with it.

As for your mother, there are plenty of people on these forums who’ve had their gall bladder removed. A lot of them say they have no trouble with fat whatsoever, and most of the rest say that spacing their fat out during the day works just fine. A very few have reported needing to supplement with bile salts. So I’m sure your mom can do keto, too. She should just watch her reaction to the fat, and take whatever action (if any) seems necessary.

(Edith) #4

It might be good to have your mom increase her fat intake a little at a time, so her body has time to adapt.

Edit: I also agree with @amwassil. Have them join the forum and buy them a book about keto. As someone who is 54, you make them sound a little like doddering old coots. Sixty-two is still pretty young in my 54 year old mind. Definitely young enough to learn and take charge of their health. Just provide them with sound information.


If I were you I’d make that the starting point, it’s familiar to them, they already understand that and it’ll accomplish a lot of the same stuff without the learning curve. Let them get back into the groove and start teaching them the differences and see if they’ll go for it. If your dad is anything like mine, that won’t be an easy sell, especially going in head first!

(Lesli Ross) #6

Thank you to you who read my post!!

I didn’t mean to make my parents sound like invalids, lol.

At the moment, my mom is dealing with a stressful boss change at work and the death of her sister. She’s trying to help plan the funeral and all that comes with death during the pandemic. She’s got a lot on her plate, and having us meal plan for her, just helps take a bit of stress off. We also just moved with them, and added two adults, two toddlers, two dogs and a cat to their already chaotic house. I will say, she does well taking care of her health, and has, since she was diagnosed as pre-diabetic 6 years ago. But at the moment, she doesn’t want to focus on digging into keto and trusts me to guide her in the right direction, until she has the mental capacity to deal with it.

My dad, however, barely knows how to use a computer or his smart phone, can’t see well, even with glasses and doesn’t understand even the three basic food groups. So, until we build up from the basics, I think the forum would be overwhelming. He’s not an idiot, just not great with technology. He’d rather me guide him, teach him slowly about food, instead of trying to read up on things himself. He actually said to me “This is what I’ve needed. Everyone’s told me what not to eat, not what I should eat.” That being said, my goal with guiding him, is that he will take charge of his own health, by noticing how foods make him feel. For years, he just eats whatever and “tried” to follow whatever diet my mom was on, and it’s never helped.

Once we’re into keto a bit, I’d love to show him the forum and have him search for questions he has.

My mom HATES to cook and my dad would rather eat chips then cook something. So my hope is that I can show them both how food effects them, and it will spark interest in their own health.


I just toss some meat into the oven nowadays or grab some cheese. I like cooking but I like simple and I am not always in the mood anyway.
Keto food can be very complicated but super easy too.

Even if they eat some carbs, they don’t need to spend much time on cooking. I cook carby side dishes with 1-2 minute work. And many vegetables are fine raw, maybe not everyone loves that though.

I am with @lfod14, if that older low-carb diet worked before and they obviously could do it, it’s a natural starting point. Not everyone can jump into keto right away, easing into it may be the way. And of course, our sweet spot is different. Maybe they won’t need keto or not your style of keto. It seems, your mom needs to be careful with fat. She probably still can do low-carb and even keto, it may take time to find her sweet spot, to figure out her ideal fat intake and its distribution… It’s probably way harder now that there is so much on her plate, figuratively but maybe not only that way… But start with better food choices, even carbs aren’t the same and many of us are fine with higher protein. Sadly, it probably will take some time and effort to make it work really well but if she really can’t afford that, surely some improvement can be made right now…

I wish your family well!

(Bob M) #8

There are plenty of foods that can substantially lower their carb intake while providing a semblance of normal meals. If they like lasagna, here’s one:

By the great Maria Emmerich. Just cook one day and eat the next (helps the protein “noodles” set up better).

Also, Maria Emmerich has some great cookbooks. We use a chicken cacciatore recipe from her that even my picky daughter loves.

This is a good chili:

If they like these foods, these are reasonable facsimiles. I’m sure you can find others that fit what they like to eat, though of course there are some you can’t replace (like perogies).

(UsedToBeT2D) #9

You need to set the example, and let them see your improvements, with evidence of health gains, maybe reports from your doctor, and visible changes in you. They need to make their own decisions. It is hard to drag them along. Don’t tell them what they should do, let them ask you why you are doing so much better.

(Ken) #10

Here’s a point of practical advice. Have them remove ALL high carb food from their house. People are less likely to break initial lipolysis when they have to actually make an effort and go and get the carbs to do it with.

(Bob M) #11

Good point, Ken.

Personally, I never bring anything into my house that I wouldn’t want to eat.

(Ken) #12

Yeah, even now when I eat my occasional carbs I force myself to plan for it, and never to buy extra to have around… I found that one out long ago.


Yeah, it’s easy if everyone in the house decide about it…

Many of us doesn’t live alone or with other ketoers though. It may be useful too, I am very very used to having carby stuff around me all the time, cooking them and whatnot :slight_smile: It took time though, it’s surely easier not to have the possible temptation in the beginning (and possibly later too).

(And of course, ketoers may keep eating high-carb stuff, just little. I definitely would have quit keto right away without my such items! But even so, lots of high-carb items are out for most of us and not having them around is helpful.)

(Ken) #14

One of my sons is naturally lean, but still eats mainly a fat based pattern. He does eat some carby junk food, but he understands and keeps it in his room.

(Lesli Ross) #15

That’s actually why my parents asked me to help them start keto. My husband has lost and kept off 35 lbs and I lost 7, already being of a healthy weight to start with. I continue with keto for the other benefits, less bloating, level blood sugars and improved sleep. Because my husband and I have been good examples of the benefits of keto so my parents wanted to try.

(Lesli Ross) #16

I WISH I could, as it makes it so much easier to stick to a diet. However, I have two toddlers (2 and 4) and they tend to eat more carby foods than we do, and need easily transported non-refrigerated foods to eat. Not to mention fruits and veggies as well.

(Lesli Ross) #17

So today is day 4 and my parents have done great. My dad had 5 grapes, because my daughter offered them to him, lol. But he’s gone from 266 (post thanksgiving) to 259 this morning, and I can see the difference in his walking already. Just that extra weight off makes a visual difference in his waddling, it’s insane.

My mom has only lost 2 lbs and is very jealous of my dad, lol, but because she was already gluten-free and allergen free, her progress will be different than my dads.

Tomorrow we will know how keto is working for my dad. He usually takes molasses to boost his iron, but because of the sugar and carb content, I prefer he not take it. we eat a lot of pork and deer so I’m hoping that will help boost his iron, but he takes meds that also inhibit absorption of iron. Tomorrow he goes in to donate blood, and pre-keto had been denied due to low iron. Personally I think he should be taking a daily multivitamin anyway, but we’ll see if keto is improving his iron levels or not. I’m also having him eat some 90% dark chocolate, as it contains 5 mg of iron, which is 62% of his daily requirement.

Who knows, but with the slight improvements that we’ve seem so far, I sure hope his iron levels are good enough to donate.


Good luck with everything tomorrow. Seems like you guys are doing it. Does your father like liver. It is a good source of iron. I make chicken liver into pate for snack and what not

(Laurie) #19

Amazing, Lesli! Please continue to let us know how it’s going.

(Lesli Ross) #20

So, he wasn’t able to donate. His hemoglobin needs to be 13 and he was at 12.1. I feel like I let him down, because I am clearly not a nutritionalist. However, because he’s feeling better, and not so bloated, he’s choosing to stick with keto, versus go back to taking molasses every night to boost his iron.

I looked into his meds more, and some of them can cause low hemoglobin, so I’m not quite sure what to do.

I’m glad he’s choosing to stick with keto and I hope it helps him in the long run, even if that means not getting to donate blood for a while.

And no, I don’t believe he likes any organ meats. Personally, I’ve never tried them.