With my first ever marathon coming up in one week’s time (6th May) some have been asking about my latest preparations.
In many ways I have been preparing for this event since I started my low-carb / ketogenic diet back in April 2016. Since then I lost a lot of weight and as I became energised, I became interested to learn how far I could push myself in this new found state.
My primary goal on my diet is to keep my insulin levels low. I’ll explain more about why later. To achieve this, I predominantly consume foods with a low-GI (Glycaemic Index) – probably lower than most would consider low. I thus avoid all sugars, carbohydrates (especially refined or processed), most fruits, and starches. I favour natural fats and proteins.
My secondary aim is to maintain a low level of body inflammation, which I will also explain more later. To achieve this, I avoid inflammatory foods. Rather conveniently, there is quite a cross over between high-GI and inflammatory foods (which I do not believe to be a coincidence). I avoid sugars, vegetable / seed oils, processed foods, fake fats (esp. trans fats), refined carbohydrates, and alcohol. I favour whole foods rich in nutritious and well formed, natural fats that are dominant in saturated and monounsaturated fats, whilst avoiding polyunsaturated fats. These foods also happen to include an appropriate amount of natural proteins.
My macronutrient goals that work for me, having been refined over years of experimentation are 10% carbohydrate, 20% protein and 70% fat. (My average over 2017 came to 12%/34%/54% respectively however).
Roughly speaking I observe the micronutrient guidelines, but I take them with a pinch of salt (literally) for reasons I will explain later. I like to eat a variety of foods that I believe will give me everything I need.
Overall, I want my diet to support me in:
Never feeling hungry
Maintaining a healthy weight
Eating when I want to, rather than because I feel I must
Having as much energy as I need, when I need it
Achieving a healthy lipid panel (cholesterol, etc.)
I am a big fan of quality meats and dairy products of all kinds. (By the way, it is possible to achieve all the above as a vegetarian, if meat is not your thing.) I try to buy organic wherever possible, because what animals eat and are exposed to really does make a difference to its nutritional properties. Whilst not a huge fan of “greens” I do eat cabbage, spinach, green beans and other leafy “above ground” produce. I eat a lot of eggs, which I believe are probably amongst the most nutritious thing we can eat (eaten whole, preferably organic). I enjoy high fat (low sugar) yoghurt and berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries), and 90-100% dark chocolate in moderation. I like eating nuts. I eat too many salted peanuts, but otherwise walnuts. I cook in real butter or olive oil, favouring frying as there is less loss of nutritious fat in the process. My wife kindly makes a whole host of amazing recipes and we thus enjoy a great variety of meals. Probably the worst thing I ever eat is KFC – my vice. I only ever eat the chicken and very rarely the “sides”. KFC is not the highest carb take-away, but it is highly processed and contains numerous inflammatory ingredients. It doesn’t happen too often, so I do not worry!
In April 2016 I felt sick most mornings, was overweight, lethargic, didn’t sleep well, was overly emotional, and drank too much. I felt old at 37 years. Having a one-year-old child, I was not the father or the person I wanted to be. I decided it was time to do something about it. Continue reading “What the keto?”→