My Keto Before and After Story
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was a young teenager. It was mainly seasonal or exercise induced, and I seemed to grow out of it as I hit my late-teens. I rarely had to use my rescue inhaler in my 20’s and 30’s. It bothered me a little more as I reached my 40’s.
One morning, 43 years old, I woke up having an asthma attack. I used my inhaler 4 or 5 times that day, and 4 or 5 times a day for the next 2 years while I tried to find a doctor who would help me find the cause of the asthma rather than just adding on steroid inhalers.
After doctor-shopping for 2 years, I finally found a PA that would refer me to an allergist, but not before I broke down crying from frustration after he gave me the same old song-and-dance about steroid inhalers.
“Why are you crying?” he asked. He was a little annoyed.
I got a little mad.
Sheesh. The things you gotta’ do to get someone to listen.
Trying to Find the Cause
I was allergic to everything. I got allergy shots for 3 ½ years. During that time, our insurance cost doubled, and so did our deductibles. Allergy shots were becoming a financial burden.
I asked the allergist to help me come up with a plan to get off the shots—to get to a maintenance dose that would make the shots effective long-term. My asthma was being controlled by the shots, but I still had terrible coughing fits morning and evening because of the congestion buildup.
The allergist told me that the congestion was harder to treat. But I knew the congestion was being caused by inflammation. I thought that if my diet was contributing to any of that inflammation, I could at least control that much. My hope was that changing my diet wouldn’t just stop contributing to inflammation but would also cause healing where it was needed.
Two months before our insurance deductibles were about to start over, I started doing research on anti-inflammatory diets.
I started a ketogenic diet the day after Thanksgiving 2016 and lost 10 pounds by the end of the year.
I lost weight so fast, it scared me. I increased my carb count a little to slow the weight loss down and just kept going, but more slowly. I lost another 10 pounds by the end of the year. Today I’ve lost a total of 30 pounds. That feels pretty good.
My initial motivation was not weight loss, but asthma control without medication and getting rid of that darned congestion and cough. But the weight loss that came so fast and easy after struggling with that for most of my life, (especially after having kids) became a great motivator too.
When that weight comes off and the inflammation in your body starts to decrease, everything feels better. You can walk, breath, sleep, think, work, and play better.
My family and I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago. We swam in the ocean and went hiking almost daily. And I was able to do it all without steroid or rescue inhalers, and 30 pounds lighter.
Now my motivation to continue clean, healthy eating is all about being able to take part in my own life:
I want to take part in the things my husband and kids do without having to have someone run back to the car for the inhaler I forgot to take on a hike.
I want to go for a walk around the block without gasping for air.
I want to be comfortable in my own skin, and not self-conscience about my weight.
I want my brain to function at its best for as long as possible.
I want abundant energy levels to do the things I like, and to serve the people God puts in my path.
I want to grow old with my husband, and be a burden to my children (haha!)
I want to receive all that God has for me, and I want to give Him all that I am and have, in return.
I want to stay healthy as I age.
I’m 50 years old. My “after” picture doesn’t show a perfect body, but that’s not MY motivation for being on a ketogenic diet. My motivation is maintaining the increased quality of life that I have for as long as I’ve been given on this earth.
My Current Health Status
The congestion hasn’t healed as quickly as the weight has dropped off. It hasn’t been until the last 6 months that I’ve noticed a real difference. I cough a little, but not daily. I wake up in the morning, and I can breathe without having to clear my chest. I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for 3 years.
Three years might sound like a long time, but some people are on asthma medications for their whole lives and all they get for their devotion to their medication is disease progression. I’m so thankful because, really, it’s only been 3 years.
My thinking is so much better and clearer.
I know that I have decreased my risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and cancer as I have lost weight and controlled by blood sugar naturally.
I can deal with stressful situations much better and being a pharmacist can be stressful.
I have a wonderful sense of well being.
I have enough energy to do the things I need and want to do.
All of those things are motivation enough for me.
This is not a fad diet. This is a lifestyle. This is learning to prepare and eat real, God-made food. This is deciding that my health is a priority because it makes me a better person, a better wife, and a better mom.
A Plant-Based Ketogenic Diet
We are all subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Entropy. That tendency for a system (like the human body) to go from order to disorder unless a source of energy is put into that system.
In living things, entropy is part of the aging process and it’s what will get most us in the end.
What can we do to put energy into the system of our bodies to fight entropy?
We can slow the aging process and even reverse it by the things we practice (the energy we add): what we practice eating with our mouths, doing with our bodies, and thinking with our minds.
For example, eating fresh produce that is nutrient dense and full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients slows the aging process by providing healthy cells the nutrients they need for proper metabolic function. These foods have co-factors or other molecules necessary for every metabolic process in the body–things like collagen, bone and muscle production, mitochondrial health, and proper DNA expression.
Also, certain types of exercise like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) have been shown to increase testosterone production and various growth hormones including BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which is lacking in dementia patients. Both are required for building up and maintaining tissues like the neurons in brain tissue.
When we practice eating nutrient dense food and practice healthy exercise, we slow the aging process (entropy) by adding a source of energy to the system that brings order.
Conversely, if we practice eating nutrient depleted food, or we practice not moving our bodies, we increase the rate of aging by adding sources of disorder.
The risk of developing disease increases as entropy increases, and the risk of disease decreases as entropy decreases.
A ketogenic diet contributes to the order of the body by taking out the causes of many types of dietary inflammation (disorder), AND by teaching the body to burn ketone bodies as fuel rather than glucose.
The Ketone Advantage
Why bother trying to get our bodies to burn fat rather than glucose for fuel? There are many metabolic advantages—probably many that we don’t even know yet! Here are a few:
1) gives the body’s tissues a second source of non-glucose energy—especially important for those dealing with diseases caused by too much blood sugar (diabetes/insulin resistance and dementia, for example).
2) causes less oxidative stress and DNA damage in cells by decreasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other free radicals that are increased during glucose metabolism.
3) deprives cancer cells of their main source of energy. Most cancer cells use glucose in a fermentation process rather than clean burning oxidative phosphorylation. This is being studied by Thomas Seyfried of Boston College.
4) ketones themselves are anti-inflammatory.
Making it a Plant-Based Ketogenic Diet by getting your carbohydrates from plenty of fresh, nutrient dense vegetables (rather than nutrient depleted, processed, grain-based foods), adds in minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients like anti-oxidants that also contribute to healing and proper metabolic function.
This is the best way to practice a ketogenic diet:
1) Take out the foods that cause disease,
2) Put in the foods necessary for proper metabolic function and healing.
It’s a simple, beautiful system that complements the design of the human body. Eat clean meats like grass-fed beef, lamb and chicken, and fresh, nutrient dense, beautifully colored vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds. If you do those two things, you can reverse many types of diseases.
Like my asthma, some things take longer to reverse than others, but it will happen. Trust the process, and the design of your body and get advice and encouragement from trusted sources when you need it.
What’s Your Motivation?
Where will you find your motivation? What keeps you from taking part in your own life? Fatigue? Brain fog? Being self-conscience about your weight? Chronic sickness? Chronic pain?
Making dietary changes is hard. But here’s some perspective:
Poking your fingers for blood 4 times a day to check blood sugar is harder
Injecting insulin daily is harder
Being in chronic pain is harder
Being addicted to opiates is harder
Looking at the face of a loved-one and not recognizing them is harder
Chronic headaches are harder
Watching your child have a seizure is harder
All of these “harder” things can be controlled or reversed with a ketogenic diet. No joke.
Dietary changes maybe aren’t that hard.
Whatever your motivation is, an anti-inflammatory Plant-Based Ketogenic Diet will help you get there by removing the things that cause disease and putting in the things that cause healing.
It doesn’t matter what your age, sex, race, color, culture, or genetic tendencies are. Each one of us is beautifully unique, but we are also all exactly the same. Our bodies all function in the same way. Clean, fresh, nutrient dense food is for every body.
Further Reading on this Website
If you would like to read more about how ketosis helps you to achieve your health and weight loss goals, please read the overview articles “Keto diet: Healthy or Harmful?”, “Good Carb/Bad Carb”, “Good Fat/Bad Fat”, and “Good Protein/Bad Protein”.
These articles are meant to give an idea of what to eat and not eat on a Whole Food Ketogenic Diet, and to relate the biochemical changes that happen in the body as you get your blood sugar and insulin levels down and start using fat as your fuel source.
If you’re ready to start eating low-carb, you can read “Ketogenic Diet Rules for Beginners”.
Get Ready to Feel Amazing
A low-carb ketogenic diet is the foundational change that needs to happen for every life-style disease that we suffer from today.
If you are on medications, especially for high blood pressure or diabetes, you must be very careful to include your primary care provider in your plans for dietary changes. Your PCP can help you with a plan (a taper schedule) to properly decrease your medications as your blood pressure and blood sugar begin to fall.
If your doctor doesn’t know how to help you or won’t help you, get another doctor.
You will lose weight. But even better, you will feel amazing and be able to live your life.
Ready to start? Take my 30-Day Keto Challenge to detox from sugar and get healthy again!
You can do it! I’m here to help! If you have questions let me know how I can help!