Committing to anything for an entire month isn't easy, especially if it means giving up conventional pizza, pasta, and bread. Yes, PIZZA. Well, five of our Dangsters spent the last 31 days following a Ketogenic diet—a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb food plan—and lived to tell the tale. Actually, they're thriving. From losing 16 pounds to gaining more energy, read about Curt, Jarvis, Jina, Lindsay, and Rich's experience with the #CommitToKeto Challenge in our Q&A below.
What was the hardest part about committing to Keto?
Curt: Maintaining a diet while traveling and/or WEEKENDS!
Jarvis: Definitely giving up bread. Sandwiches are my favorite meal vehicle so I was sad to cut that out.
Jina: Not eating pizza or lasagna.
Lindsay: Probably not being able to squeeze any craft beers into my macros. My friends and family spend a lot of our social time exploring different breweries. They had to adjust their plans, I couldn't join, or I would join and not be able to enjoy that latest juicy IPA from the new brewery that popped up in the next town over.
Rich: I love all the foods that aren’t good for you and I LOVE bread.
What, if anything, was surprisingly easy?
Curt: Breaking old eating habits and saying no to chips and bread!
Jarvis: I found learning and joining the Keto movement very easy. There are tons of resources out there which I relied upon heavily to successfully complete the challenge.
Jina: Once you get past the Keto Flu, your appetite goes down and it's easy breezy.
Lindsay: Being tempted by non-Keto friendly foods in general. After a week or so the cravings went away for me. I attended several social functions where there was inevitably some sort of chip/pretzel snack. I wasn't even tempted and went straight for the Keto friendly foods I could eat like cheese, salami, and veggies. Thankfully my friends love putting together a good cheeseboard!
Rich: Nothing until week 3 then I wasn’t hungry as much and actually stopped eating when I was full vs finishing my plate.
How did your mind and body feel in the beginning of the month? How do you feel now?
Curt: Great question, the loss of weight as been most encouraging; SEVEN POUNDS down!
Jarvis: In the beginning, I felt terrible, absolute trash. I now feel energized and light (weird way to describe it), but I can feel the difference.
Jina: I feel a lot less fatigue. My skin and hair have improved as well!
Lindsay: For me, cutting out sugar always makes me feel better within a couple days in terms of improved sleep, better mental focus, and less bloating. I was feeling those benefits within the first week although I did experience some signs of Keto Flu, like a prolonged headache and feeling a little run down. That cleared up pretty quickly and I've been feeling as energized as ever. The biggest challenge was working out and running. Switching to a Keto diet means your body is switching from using carbs as fuel to using fats. It takes some time for your body to do that efficiently and I definitely felt it in my workouts. It's been harder to go my usual distance and pace while running and I was definitely feeling it more in weight workouts. I feel like I am still not back to where I was performance-wise but feel improvements every day and understand that takes longer. If I stick with the diet another few weeks I should be feeling like my normal self in the gym again. I don't have a scale that works so haven't weighed myself but a pair of pants that are somewhat hard to button now slip right on!
Rich: My mind and body wanted salty and sugar foods (badly). My body now thanks me as does my doctor. I just had a physical this week and all of my blood work was the BEST ever.
What food did you miss/crave the most?
Curt: Pizza and hard rolls.
Lindsay: Apples, mangoes, kiwis, nectarines, peaches, cherries, and as many blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries as I want.
Rich: M&Ms and bread.
Which recipes or Keto-approved foods became your go-to?
Curt: Meat and veggies, especially spinach and green beans!
Jarvis: Dang Bars (I ate 3 every day!) and salads with steak, chicken or salmon.
Jina: I am really enjoying making a keto bread using psyllium husks, and also making my own homemade almond milk which is so much better than store-bought.
Lindsay: I've been keeping it pretty simple since I don't have much time to cook. For breakfast, I mostly ate eggs (hard-boiled, soft boiled, fried, scrambled...) and avocados. Dinners were primarily some sort of grass-fed meat (ground beef or bison or steak), chicken thighs, or salmon with a simple side of veggies (spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini) topped with some butter! Lunches were dinner leftovers. I ate a Dang Bar mid-morning or late-afternoon almost every day and treated myself to some Lily's Chocolate in the evenings.
Rich: I eat eggs for breakfast and a very healthy dinner (beef, salmon or chicken).
Would you Commit to Keto again? Why or why not?
Curt: Both my wife and I are planning to stick with it. We found a number of meals equally as tasty as what we were eating in our past diet.
Jarvis: Not in the short term; I'm a pretty active runner so I need some carbs to stay balanced after long runs. When I'm older I'll definitely shift closer to Keto as I find it a great way to burn the right energy.
Jina: I'd love to continue this for the rest of my life! But maybe eat carbs on the weekend.
Lindsay: I would definitely do it again and am actually going to continue it after the 30 days are up. Who knows for how long but I feel great when I eat low carb, high fat and really agree with the science behind the diet.
Rich: Yes, but not 100% of the time. I would hope now that I’m down over 16lbs I could have a cheat day every other week.
Which Dang Bar is your "flavorite"? AKA favorite flavor!
Curt: By far Chocolate Sea Salt and Lemon Matcha.
Jarvis: Cardamom Chai!! Love it.
Jina: PB, for sure.
Lindsay: Haha funny! Peanut butter because it tastes like nutter butter or do-si-do. Always so sad when I finish the last bite!
Rich: Peanut Butter of course!!!!