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Testing for Ketosis

I was asked in an e-mail about ketosis testing and thought I'd share what I wrote. 



There's a few ways to check for ketosis.  There are at least three types of ketones running around in your body and each of the three most common testing methods tests for a different one.  

There are Ketostix which you can get from your pharmacist.  It's one of the cheaper ways but... it's not terribly accurate. It can be diluted by how much you drink and will often disappear after your body becomes more adapted at using ketones.  These test for Acetoacetate.  

Next is a device called a Ketonix which costs about $120 on Amazon. More initial cost up front but it can be reused over and over again. You just blow into it and it gives you one of four colors to tell how high it's measuring the Acetone in your breath. (blue, green, orange and red)  I'd recommend the sport version over the standard version because it gives you more info.  In addition to giving you a color it also flashes to tell you how deep into that color you are.  i.e. orange that blinks twice is lower than orange blinking 9 times.  

The third ketone body is beta-hydroxybutyrate.  This is the ketone found in blood and is meausred much like testing for blood sugar.  In fact I will usually do both these tests off the same finger prick so I don't have to stab myself more often than I have to.  This is the most accurate meathod for checking how well you're doing in ketosis. But it is by far the most expensive.  The meter I use is a Precision Xtra.  It can test for both ketones and blood sugar.  The meter itself isn't expensive but the strips are absolute piracy.  I've seen them as high as $5 a strip!   Shop around online for them if you go this route.  I did find them for about $1.50 each here... .  That's the bad news.  The good news is that you can get the blood sugar testing strips from Walmart relatively cheeply.  The Precision Xtra uses the same strips as the ReliOn Ultima.  

Now, having said all that there is one more far from scientific test I have always found useful.  Take a mouth full of water, swish it around your mouth for a few moments and then spit it into an empty glass.  Now smell.  If you're in ketosis you'll be able to smell it.    

 As for when to test... the ketostix are usually best first pee of the day in my experience.  Though ketones will generally be higher in the evening than in the morning.  The other testing methods can be used at any time.    The best way to get your ketones up and blood sugar down is to eat lots of saturated fats (butter, coconut oil, bacon drippings) few starches, sugars or grains, and modest amounts of protein.    Low-carb, High-fat, Moderate protein.

 For more indepth info on testing for ketosis I recommend Jimmy Moore's Keto Clarity

State of the Diet Jan 2015

Woot! 2014 was a resounding success. I made it through the whole year without eating anything sugary/starchy. If any wheat or other grains made it into my system it was well hidden. I feel great. My blood sugar had been under control. I love being Keto!

I wish I could say I've lost weight but I haven't. My body is very happy where it is, thank you very much. And it has no intention of changing any time soon. I keep trying to tell it we'd both be happier if that last 20lbs came off, especially before the low-carb cruise in May, but I can't seem to convince it.

It may never come off, and that's ok. I'm a 46 year old happily married woman. Old enough to be a grandma really, if the eldest ever met a nice girl and settled down anyway. So instead of grandbabies I have dogs. That's almost as good right? :) Anyway I have only myself to please and I'm very happy that I've lost 100Lbs AND, and this is the hard bit, kept it OFF! So go me!

Doing well with Keto.

I've been doing Keto for awhile now.  Doing fairly well at it. Lost about 15 pounds the past month. Too bad the weight loss always slows down, or I'd be at goal by Halloween.  Protein cravings are still occasionally annoying me, but more on that in a bit.  

Read Jimmy Moore's Keto Clarity and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what this Keto thing is all about.  It's incisive, informative and scientific concepts are made easy to understand.  At least it is for people who WANT to understand; you can't teach someone who thinks they already know everything.  Being a long time listener of Jimmy's I didn't really learn anything new... more confirmed things I was already suspecting.

Which brings us back to the protein cravings.  I guess I can't tolerate as much protein as I'd like.  I knew protein could raise blood sugar too.  I just never realized how much until I started tracking it.  I'd been keeping my protein around 25 grams a day and was doing great.  Then a day came along where I got 69 grams (close to my recommended daily intake) and my blood sugar shot up 20 points overnight.  I know  that doesn't sound like a lot to most people but being a suspected diabetic who isn't taking insulin... well it's taking days for those few points to come back down.  I'm talking about my morning fasting glucose here.  For most people their blood glucose can go up and down very quickly.  Me, I only go up quickly... never down.   So now my carb cravings have morphed into protein cravings.  Some day I'll have to sit down and figure out exactly what my protein tolerance range is.  For now since I'm trying to loose I guess I'll stick to 25g.

Wish I could say I didn't have to count calories anymore, but I still do if I want to loose weight.   I do feel like I've finally found that missing puzzle piece though.  I've been eating low carb for quite awhile now, and while it's always been good at helping me maintain my weight, I was never really able to loose any.  Keeping my low carb diet ketogenic though... that's the key.

Woo! Low Carb Cruise here I come!

So my mom and I have registered for the 2015 Low Carb Cruise and boy are we excited.  I've been doing well this last week staying in ketosis.  Keeping my calories around 1000 a day too.  Sometimes it's hard to get all my calories in.  I could easily eat them all earlier in the day, but I try to space them out a bit... keep some in reserve for the evening.  But half the time when the evening comes I don't want 'em.

Now that I think about it I guess I'm close to fat fasting.  Just a little more protein I guess.  I'd really like to get down another 10 to 15 pounds before the cruise.  It's ten months away... should be doable.  Wish me luck. 

Ugh... what a disaster.

Well it's been 5 days since my 5 day fat fast.  And despite the fact I never ate over 1600 calories, and most days quite a bit less, I still managed to regain every single pound at about the same rate I lost it.  I was looking for that happy medium between gaining and loosing.  I'm not sure it exists.  I spent most of the 5 days hungrier than when I was doing the fat fast.  Some of it makes sense... like the one drink I had on St.Paddy's day. Most of it though is just dumbfounding.  My macronutrient ratios aren't as good as I'd like being only 70-80% fat. But does a serving of cabbage really have THAT many carbs? Come on... 

Yes eating too few calories lowers your metabolism making it easier to gain weight and harder to loose it.  But it's impossible to loose weight unless you eat too few calories.  How are you supposed to win this game?

The amount of calories I'm taking in most people would consider a weight lowering amount.  Not my freaking body.   I've been fighting my weight almost my whole life, and every year that thermostat gets turned a little lower. Nothing EVER turns it back up again.  Today I'm just really tired of banging my head on this freaking wall, but it's not like I can stop.  I have to keep looking for that missing piece of the puzzle.

So, analyzing my diet over the past few days I see I've been eating more nuts than I had. So, eliminating the nuts is the next step.  Also I'd lowered my vitamin intake since I was getting more food.  I'll return to the fat fast vitamin schedule and see if that helps. And I'll make sure I get a full daily dose of water.  We'll see if any of that helps.

Fat Fast Final Results

Ok, fat fast done.  Total weight lost: 3.8 pounds.  Not bad for 5 days. Now for the hard part.  Keeping it off for the next week until the next fat fast.  Usually I just go back to regular low carb eating, but the weight slowly starts to creep back up.  Everyone talks about how when  you do low carb you don't have to watch calories.  "Just eat until sated but not stuffed and your body will take care of the rest."   Well... that doesn't work for everyone I'm afraid.  Some of us still have to be mindful of our intake.

Well the problem for me is right now, I have no idea where my golden zone is.  I want to be around where I'll either hold steady or loose a little bit.  I'm going to start by doubling my intake from the fat fast.  But I still have to keep the macronutrient ratios the same.  So I'll aim for 80-90% of calories from fat. And as much of the last 10% as protein as much as possible.  And there's always a few carbs in there to throw things off.  That's why there's 10% wiggle room.

I suspect 2000 calories a day is going to be a little high for me.  But I did enjoy doubling the size of my breakfast this morning. I suspect I'll have to adjust that down until I find the 'butter zone'.

But for tonight... corned beef!  Probably going to get way too much protein tonight.  I'll have to be careful to not get carried away.  It's already in the crock pot.  Just 8 hours to go. 



Fat Fast Last Day

I've made it to the last day of my fat fast.  Another .8 pounds down since yesterday, so I'm on target for my 163 goal. That will make for a total of 11 pounds in the last 30 days.  Of course that's 11 pounds I shouldn't have let myself regain in the first place. But there's no point in kicking myself.  That won't help.  All we can do is move forward from where we are and try to learn from our mistakes.

Had a couple of low points yesterday in my fat fast. The cravings were coming on hard telling me to eat eat eat. Do it... do it NOW! This accompanied by a wave of depression and that "is it really all worth the effort" thinking.  Well as it turned out in both instances I was overdue for my next feeding.  These were not the usual signs of hunger they tell us about.  No tummy rumbling to be found.  No empty sensation where the stomach is. No feeling weak or light headed.  This was my body telling me it was hungry, through the brain and nowhere else.  This isn't will power versus won't power. This is biochemistry. The brain is receiving chemical signals that the body needs food NOW.  Your brain can't fight itself forever.  It WILL keep nagging you and nagging you until you eat SOMETHING. The trick I'm finding is in choosing what that something is. For me, all I needed was one little choco cloud and my brain shut up and left me alone and happy for 3 hours. That's 3 hours of satiety on one tablespoon of what is essentially a mixture of equal parts unsalted butter and cream cheese. Throw in a little cocoa powder and sweetener for interest and that's all there is to it.

 Here's the recipe if anyone's interested. 


Day three done, day four begun

Almost another pound down yesterday. That's a little over two pounds in three days.  Wanting one more pound before the weekend. Not only will it get me a little more cushion going into the weekend but it will put me at 163 which is my magic number for crossing the line from obese to merely overweight.  Ok, it's a stupid arbitrary distinction but it makes me happy.

Going to make some corned beef this weekend. Got me a nice fatty point cut.  Should be delish!  Know I shouldn't be eating nitrite laden food like that but it's sooooo yummy, and it's not like I have it all the time.  It shouldn't really make me gain weight either which is nice; just less likely to keep loosing during the break.

 My mock shamrock shake was pretty tasty.  Here's what I ended up doing:

3 Oz. Ripe Avocado  (Make sure it's nice and soft for this)

1 C. Unsweetened Almond Milk

16 Drops Liquid Sucralose

2 Drops Peppermint Oil  (Probably 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract)

6 Ice Cubes

Put the first four ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Now's a good time to adjust the peppermint or sweetness to taste. When it's good and smooth put in the ice cubes and blend until thick.  Enjoy!

You could put in a drop of green food coloring if you want, but I found it green enough just the way it was.

10g carbs (7 of which are fiber), 16g fat, 1g protein, calories ~180 

Day two down

Starting day three... Lost .3 the first day and one pound the second.  Did much better with my vitamin intake yesterday.  Today I want to focus on more water.  I've been getting some, but probably not at much as I should.  It's amazing how little food it takes to satisfy your appetite when you're getting 85% of your calories from fat.  I never feel comfortably full when doing a fat fast, but I'm not killing myself with hunger either.

 It's weird but I think a fat fast is easier to do physically than mentally.  I dread having to do one before they start... and I count the days until they end.  But actually DOing it is not particularly hard or painful.

 Love Dana Carpender's Fat Fast Cookbook.  So many great recipes.  But I think I'm going to try an experiment today.  I want to create a mock shamrock shake using avocado, cream and ice.  I've made sweet smoothies with avocado before and they worked well.  The green color will work to my advantage too.  I'll report back on this little experiment once I've tried it. 

Round 2

Starting another fat fast round.  The first one a few weeks back worked well.  Lost about 8 pounds that week.  I managed not to gain it all back on the down week.  Though I'm not sure I can claim credit since I had the stomach flu.  Surprised I didn't loose then but oh well.  Mother nature can be perverse like that.

 It's definitely easier with a partner.  Mom tried to help me out the best she could from a distance.  At least my husband isn't constantly dragging me out to the buffet twice a day.  :)

 Time for bed and I still have 48 calories.  I probably should go eat something since I get so few calories to begin with. 

 Darn... just realized I didn't get my vitamins today.  Very important when you're fat fasting.  Guess I'll take one before bed here and try to do better tomorrow. 

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