Guest blogger Jennifer Dodd shares her insights about a newly found passion - going keto!
So, you’ve heard about this thing called “the keto diet.” Maybe a friend is losing weight or celebrating that she’s been taken off medication, or maybe you’ve seen a sudden flurry of #keto posts on social media. So you became keto-curious and did a little research.
You know that in simplest (and scientifically accurate) terms, adopting the ketogenic way of eating means lowering your carbohydrate intake to a sufficient level each day to move your body from burning glucose for fuel to burning fat  . You’re game for all the best-known benefits of this way of eating: weight loss, appetite control, and diabetes management or reversal.  But there are still many more wonderful advantages that you can experience as you move through your keto journey.
Let’s jump in and talk about five of them.
Keto isn’t some new fad. In fact, it’s been used clinically to treat epilepsy for 80 years,  and is being widely studied today for its ability to protect and improve neurological function. [3,4] Eating ketogenically can protect your brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and even help patients with Parkinson’s and Traumatic Brain Injury. 
Increased Performance & Improved Body Composition
Yes, keto can help you lose weight, but this way of eating is also muscle sparing and can help increase your lean body mass while nibbling away at your fat cells. If you’re an athlete, you may see an initial decrease in performance while you transition from glucose burning, but keep training and, once fat adapted, you’ll find you have more power and endurance. [6, 7, 8] A bonus for you distance runners: no more goo-induced disaster pants!
Feeling tired all the time? Blame the carbs. They’re keeping your insulin levels high and preventing your body from accessing the energy stores you’re carrying around every day (fat). Eating low carb/healthy fat (LCHF), a.k.a. keto, helps keep insulin levels low, which allows your body to access your energy reserves.  So don’t be surprised to find yourself excited to head to the gym because you have so much energy. (And FYI, “keto libido” is a real thing.)
Ketogenic diets have proven helpful in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and some cancers.  And many trailblazers in the keto community, like Ali Miller, Christina Curp, Josh Perry, and Shawn Wells, describe this way of eating as a key disease management strategy in their lives (check out their stories in the What the Fat podcasts).
Increased Happiness & Self-Confidence
When you look good you feel good! Cutting out processed foods and adding in nutrient-dense whole foods bring changes like stronger nails; youthful, glowing skin; and new hair growth that will have you posting #goodhair selfies.
The antidepressant properties of the keto diet have been observed though not yet rigorously studied. [11, 12, 13]
Keto isn’t a magic pill, and not all your problems will disappear, but when you have increased mental clarity and more even moods, you can confront them head on—and overcome! Fewer problems equal less stress, right?
1. The Keto Diet for Beginners. https://ketogenic.com/keto-diet-for-beginners/.
September 5, 2016.
2. Gasior M, Rogawski MA, Hartman AL. Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behavioural Pharmacology, 2002;17(5-6):431-439.
3. Henderson ST, Vogel JL, Barr LJ, Garvin F, Jones JJ, Costantini LC. Study of the ketogenic agent AC-1202 in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. Nutrition & Metabolism, 2009;6(1):1.
4. VanItallie TB, Nonas C, Di Rocco A, Boyar K, Hyams K, Heymsfield SB. Treatment of Parkinson disease with diet-induced hyperketonemia: a feasibility study. Neurology, 2005;64(4):728-730.
5. Studies Show Efficacy of Keto for TBI. https://charliefoundation.org/keto-for-tbi/.
Accessed November 14, 2018.
6. Wilson JM, Lowery RP, Roberts MD, Sharp MH, Joy JM, Shields KA, D’Agostino D. The Effects of Ketogenic Dieting on Body Composition, Strength, Power, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance Training Males. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2017.
7. Gregory RM, Hamdan H, Torisky DM, Akers JD. A low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet
combined with 6-weeks of crossfit training improves body composition and
performance. Int. J. Sports Exer. Med, 2017;3:1-10.
8. Volek JS, Sharman MJ, Love DM, Avery NG, Scheett TP, Kraemer WJ. Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism, 2002;51(7):864-870.
9. My Best Weight Loss Tip. https://idmprogram.com/my-single-best-weight-loss-tip/. Accessed November 14, 2018.
10. Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, Grimaldi KA. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013;67:789–796.
11. Brietzke E, Mansur RB, Subramaniapillai M et al. Ketogenic diet as a metabolic therapy for mood disorders: Evidence and developments. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2018;94:11-16. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.07.020.
12. Murphy P, Likhodii S, Nylen K, Burnham WM. The antidepressant properties of the ketogenic diet. Biological Psychiatry, 2004;56(12): 981-983. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.09.019.
13. El‐Mallakh RS, Paskitti ME. The ketogenic diet may have mood‐stabilizing properties. Med Hypotheses, 2001;57:724–726. doi: 10.1054/mehy.2001.1446.
Keto Nutrition. Two words joined together in dietary matrimony. If you're ready to say, "I do" to keto, this is a must watch podcast with Dr. Amy Savagian, a Functional Medicine doctor in Colorado (Denver's Diet Doctor) who explains why it takes more than food for this marital bliss.
Click here to see the full presentation and download PDF slides of her presentation.
What's the deal with all the fat in the keto diet? Are all fats equal? And do I have to eat cheese? Dr. Mark Hyman gives us the skinny on fats in this podcast (or read the transcription).
Fat is not the enemy, says Mark Hyman, MD, medical director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. It plays a crucial role in our diet and is the cornerstone of the increasingly popular ketogenic diet. Learn the science behind keto and who it’s appropriate for as Dr. Hyman answers your frequently asked questions. Click here for the podcast or to read the transcription.
Is it a fad? Is it a diet? Is it science based? We're taking a look at what our favorite array of Functional Medicine practitioners say about the ketogenic diet and whether it's a viable (and healthy) option.
To start with, Dr. Josh Axe walks us through the basics of this diet that's been around for quite some time!
Unlike many fad diets that come and go with very limited rates of long-term success, the ketogenic diet (or keto diet) has been practiced for more than nine decades (since the 1920s) and is based upon a solid understanding of physiology and nutrition science.
The keto diet works for such a high percentage of people because it targets several key, underlying causes of weight gain — including hormonal imbalances, especially insulin resistance coupled with high blood sugar levels, and the cycle of restricting and “binging” on empty calories due to hunger that so many dieters struggle with.
Rather than relying on counting calories, limiting portion sizes, resorting to extreme exercise or requiring lots of willpower, this low-carb diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvements. It works because...click here to see the full post.
It's been the Master Class of Master Classes! For the past 3 months, Sharon and I have been busy interviewing the most amazing doctors, educators, wellness practitioners, artists, and business and community leaders, and now all of these interviews are available to you, FREE!
Join us on this 21 day journey as we hear from MDs and DOs, PhDs and PsyDs, educators, business leaders, community and relationship experts, artists and spiritual leaders - all sharing the professional research (evidence based) and personal effects (experience based) gratitude has had on our overall health and wellness.
Our experts speak to five core areas:
SELF: Gratitude's impact on our physical, mental and emotional health through topics such as weight loss and diabetes, cardiovascular and brain health, hormones, mental health, cancer and more.
FAMILY: How a shared gratitude practice strengthens marriages, mends strained connections and opens communication.
RELATIONSHIPS: Insight into gratitude's magnetic effect in healing relationships, building trust and helping us relate personally, in groups and in community settings.
HOME: A look into gratitude's effect in our safe spaces, our homes, our schools and our neighborhoods.
WORK: Revealing how gratitude can boost company morale, influence how we feel about our jobs, our co-workers, our productivity and our life purpose.
The Global Gratitude Summit runs November 1 - 21, 2018, with a new featured speaker each day, and each day the talk is FREE for 24 hours! We encourage you to sign up today to catch all 21 speakers. Or, the Global Gratitude Summit is available for purchase (individual talks as well as the complete set) if you wish.
At just 39 years of age, Kelly Buckley experienced the most painful event in a mother's life - the death of her 23 year old son. Through her grief, she found her Life's Purpose and a pathway to healing. This month, we're sharing one of her blog posts that resonates with the more than 125,000 followers of her Facebook page, "Just One Little Thing" and a short clip of her interview on the Global Gratitude Summit.
WALKING WITH ANXIETY - TIPS FOR MANAGING DAY TO DAY - by Kelly Buckley.
I haven’t really discussed it before. I’ve dealt with it quietly. My husband and son understand. As a family, we’ve talked openly about it, and have figured out how to deal with it. I sometimes mention a little hint here or there in passing, sliding it into conversation with family or friends.
But mostly, it lives quietly beneath the surface of my life.
I’ll be honest, when I first felt the grip of it, I was shocked. Emotionally, I’ve lived a white knuckle kind of life. I often joke and say my life could be called a cautionary tale for others to learn from. The ups have been up and the downs have been subterranean. And I’ve handled it. I’ve been worried, scared, angry and bitter. But the grip of anxiety did not close its vice grip on me until my son died. And then everything changed. CLICK HERE for the rest of the post and to hear more from Kelly Buckley.
Julie Santiago understands the power of Gratitude as shared within Community, and has created The Gratitude Circle group on Facebook as a place more than 40,000 people globally now call home. Her guided Gratitude Meditation in this month's newsletter, followed by a short clip of her talk from the Global Gratitude Summit, "The Gratitude Circle of Life."
GUIDED GRATITUDE MEDITATION by Julie Santiago.
True gratitude isn’t about giving thanks when things are “good”. It’s easy enough to be grateful when Life is going our way or when we’re on vacation. The challenge is finding gratitude even when things seem like they’re falling apart. CLICK HERE to access Julie's meditation and visit her website.
Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter is an advocate of the dying, instilling hope at the end of life. She practices gratitude as a means to connect, in a very special way, with the dying patient and the patient's family, and explains it in the blog post we've shared this month, which was an article she wrote as a contributor to The Washington Post. Below, we've also included a short clip of her talk from the Global Gratitude Summit, "Bringing Hope Back into Life Even as it Approaches the End."
AN INTENSIVE CARE DOCTOR ADVISES HOW TO SOOTHE THE SENSES OF A DYING LOVED ONE - by Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter.
I once walked into the room of a dying patient to hear a game show blaring on television. The sound of the buzzer, slapped down by eager contestants, was jarring in this room from which a soul would soon depart. This program probably had been left on by someone — a nurse, a family member, one of the cleaning people — who had turned it on while in the room, focusing on some task and forgetting the patient in the bed. And now, although the room was empty of people, it was filled with a cacophony that jarred me, and, I presume, the dying patient in the bed.
As an ICU and palliative care physician, I am a frequent witness to death. And I am often struck by the broad range of experiences for dying patients. CLICK HERE to read the rest of the post and visit Dr. Zitter's website.
DEEP GRATITUDE is the key to connecting students and teachers, teachers and parents, and parents and administrators - but it's not necessarily such an easy practice. With nearly 3 decades of research, Dr. Kerry Howells has radicalized the view of gratitude in the classroom and is changing schools around the world. This month, we've included a thought provoking article in which Dr. Howells explains nine aspects of deep gratitude, followed by a short clip from her talk, "Gratitude in Education: A Radical View" on the Global Gratitude Summit.
CREATING COMMUNITIES OF GRATITUDE PRACTICE - by Dr. Kerry Howells.
Have you wondered how you might join with others in practising gratitude together?
Recently I’ve had the experience of this through engaging online with my wonderful students who are part of the UTAS Summer School unit ESM704 Gratitude in Education. Our class is comprised of school leaders, experienced teachers, pre-service teachers, and researchers in fields as diverse as paramedics, oncology and environmental science. They are from all around Australia.
One of the components of the unit is a weekly discussion board that...CLICK HERE to read the rest of the post and visit her website to see the amazing research she's compiled over the past several decades.
Lisa Ryan has seen gratitude shift a corporate culture for good, boost failing businesses, and uplift company morale again and again. It's why she works directly with senior executives throughout the United States and Canada to create a culture of employee engagement through Grategies - Gratitude Strategies. This month, we feature her blog post and a short clip of her talk from the Global Gratitude Summit. Enjoy!
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS COMPOUNDED BY GRATITUDE - by Lisa Ryan.
A simple practice of gratitude started with friends in 2009 changed my life. Can it change yours? YES! You may be saying, “Yes, but Lisa, I’m grateful all the time. I’m always thanking people. Why do I need to write it down?”
Because it takes less than two minutes, and it works!
First thing in the morning, or last thing at night, give yourself the gift of writing in your gratitude journal. Your “journal” may be a notebook, a journal, or loose leaf paper – it’s all good. Write down 3-5 things for which you are grateful and in doing so, you’ll experience that feeling of gratefulness. Add details to each entry so your writings are slightly different each day.
When I consult with organizations, one of the first things I share with participants is the power of keeping a gratitude journal. Why? CLICK HERE to see the rest of her post and visit LisaRyanSpeaks.com.
Living my WellnessME.Life is our quarterly newsletter, compiled of separate blog posts created by Louanne and Sharon Saraga Walters and contributed by esteemed healthcare practitioners, colleagues and friends with a holistic (interrelated, synergistic, systemic) view of wellness.