So this is where we are: almost one year into keto.
A little backstory, perhaps?
I was walking down the street, just a having a think, when a snake of a guy gave me an *evil* wink
Sorry, wrong story!
I was always the salty snack person. Chips, popcorn, pretzels; all those magical carby wonders had a huge place in my life. I also have RA (rheumatoid arthritis, if you’re not familar) and 95% of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition. I was diagnosed with RA in 2000 and was medicated for several years. At one point, I didn’t have insurance so I stopped taking any prescription meds. The RA wasn’t terribly painful most of the time so I didn’t really pursue any treatment beyond ibuprofen and ice packs. I have a fair amount of joint damage and loss of movement in my wrists and hands and that isn’t always helpful. Eventually, more pain became a daily occurrence. I was setting myself up for either a larger dose of methotrexate or one of the new (at that time) injectable treatments. By this time, I was back in school studying nutrition and the gluten-free “craze” was taking off. Removing gluten from a non-Celiac’s diet is still officially frowned upon by most dietitians, but the more I read about gluten and inflammation and with RA being a disease that thrives on inflammation, I had to try something. I didn’t jump right in, but I started paying more attention to when I had the worst flares: always, always, always after ingesting something with gluten.
I cut way back on bread and pretzels and that helped for a while. After a few years of less gluten, I broke off our relationship completely. WOW. What a difference! Fewer and less intense flares? I am sold! I was still eating things I love(d) like potato chips, cheese fries, tacos with corn tortillas, and some of the fabulous gluten-free treats that are so prevalent now. Unfortunately, one afternoon eating burgers and fries with my best friend led to indigestion that wouldn’t go away. A few months of this led to my gallbladder coming out. I felt even better than after quitting gluten! I still had some bloating issues here and there but nothing overtly life-changing. Because of the missing gallbladder, a low-fat diet was the way to go for several weeks until the liver can jump in and start picking up the slack breaking down fat. I may have lost a few pounds on low-fat, but nothing substantial.
(my surgeon: “you want to eat fat again, right?”)
I reintroduced wonderful, delicious, amazing fat back into my diet, but I didn’t cut back on carbs at all. I wasn’t having flares per se, but I didn’t feel like I thought I should. The gallbladder coming out made my digestive system feel much better. Maybe my joints should feel better too? I began reading up on diets for rheumatoid arthritis online and eventually stumbled on the idea of keto for an anti-inflammatory RA diet on a *totally* scientific source – reddit. If you don’t know reddit, it’s essentially a gigantic forum with thousands of “subreddits” that you can peruse and find answers to probably any question you have about anything.
I fell down the ketogenic rabbit hole.
I read about it constantly on reddit and elsewhere. I knew about the diet from school as a treatment for epileptic seizures but that was where my formal education about keto ended. It’s not something to jump into without some idea of what’s going to happen to your body. Once I thought I had a handle on the process, I started. On the subreddits I frequent (/r/keto, /r/xxketo, /r/ketorecipes), what I did to start is called “lazy keto” because it doesn’t involve serious carb counting or meal planning.
Eat: protein and fat. Drink: water (or coffee, ha!). Supplement: sodium/magnesium/potassium. Avoid: carbohydrates.