Kait is a certified health coach and Youtuber from Australia. We invited her to share her journey into a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle and the decision behind shifting to an animal-based diet: including positive changes, challenges, and tips for all keto beginners out there!
Hi Kait, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how did you become a health coach?
My name is Kait and I am a certified health coach and YouTuber based in Australia. I use a nutrient-dense, ketogenic way of eating to help my clients reach their weight loss and fitness goals.
Growing up I always struggled with my weight. I was never severely overweight, but I was always "bigger" than my peers, and I was very self-conscious about it. After high school, the weight only seemed to be piling on quicker. I tried to lose weight through calorie restriction and exercise, and it would work temporarily, but it wasn't sustainable. I would be hungry all the time and miserable, until I would give in and gain back what I had lost.
It wasn't until I tried the keto diet that everything seemed to click and the extra kilos fell off effortlessly! Add to that the other benefits I experienced: mental clarity, sustained energy and improved exercise recovery and I felt like I hit the jackpot! Now I want to share my experiences and allow others to learn from my struggles and successes.
Calorie restriction can really create that yo-yo effect for some people. Losing weight but then bingeing the way back to it. Been there too!
You are very open about being a carnivore. How and why did you switch to an animal-based high-fat, low-carb diet?
When I first started getting interested in nutrition, I was eating mainly paleo. That evolved into a traditional keto diet and from there I started eating more animal products and less plants. I made the switch to a more animal-based approach when I realized that foods such as eggs, meat and fish have a higher nutritional value and are more bioavailable than plants. It just made sense to focus on eating the foods that were going to serve my body better.
What are the health benefits, in your opinion, of an animal-based diet in comparison with a plant-based diet?
I believe an animal-based diet has the edge over a vegan diet because animal contains all the nutrients humans need in the correct form. There are certain nutrients that we cannot get from plants, EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids for example. Foods such as chia and hemp seeds contain a different form of omega 3, that has to be converted for our bodies to use it, and we aren't very good at making that conversion. Foods such as fish and eggs already contain the active form, so there is no conversion required.
Eating a vegan diet just makes it harder to get all the nutrients you need. If your diet is based around plants, you are also consuming anti-nutrients which bind to minerals and stop their absorption. On paper, it may seem like you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, but what you are consuming and what you actually absorb can be entirely different.
Basically, eating an animal-based diet is eliminating a lot of factors that can hinder nutrient absorption.
That’s interesting! And how do you respond to the claims that a carnivore diet is bad for health and the environment?
The claims around meat causing disease do not have any solid evidence supporting them. They are based on data gathered by observing populations. These types of studies can show a correlation but not causation. Countries with higher meat consumption also consume more processed sugar and grains, and yet the blame is put on meat. Our ancestors were eating meat long ago and did not suffer any modern day diseases meat is said to cause (heart disease, diabetes, etc.)
The environment is a trickier topic to tackle as the issue is not black and white. The role animal agriculture plays in greenhouse gas emissions has been blown out of proportion. Transportation has a huge negative environmental impact, so buying your food local, no matter if it is animals or plants, is the best way to minimize your impact on the environment.
You mentioned a bit of the benefits you experienced after starting on a keto diet. Overall, what has changed in your own life and health since you’ve been on this journey?
Since I have begun my health journey, I have experienced several positive changes. For starters, I was able to lose the excess weight I was carrying and keep it off. I also have always struggled with anxiety, especially in social situations, and since I started eating ketogenically, that has decreased drastically. I also really enjoy being able to go for hours between meals without my energy crashing.
My journey has taught me a lot, and it has also brought me to a career I am passionate about. I am grateful for all of my experiences and am glad I can use them to help others.
Besides all the good stuff, have you been through any challenges along the road?
Most of the challenges I have faced on my journey have been mental. When I first began keto I had a very hard time wrapping my head around (and accepting) I would have to give up most fruit. I really didn't know if I could live without my daily banana smoothie! Whenever I face a mental hurdle such as this, I tell myself it doesn't have to be forever. I can always try something, and if it doesn't work, I can go back to what I was doing before. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.
A quote we’ve said before and that is so true is that if you “ put your mind to it, your body will follow”. Having the right mindset is so important in just about any journey!
But now, out of curiosity... what does a day in your life look like? Do you have any morning or night routines?
A day in my life usually starts pretty early. I wake-up and like to get some form of exercise in right away, whether that is a bike ride, weights at the gym or gentle yoga at home. I try to be flexible with my workout routine and just do what feels right that day. I almost always exercise fasted and depending on how I feel when I get home, I might have breakfast right away or wait a few hours.
Because I do most of my coaching online, my clients are often in different time zones. Sometimes I will have sessions in the morning, other times in the evening. It varies from day to day and I adjust the rest of my day from there. Another chunk of my day is usually spent planning, filming or editing content for my YouTube channel.
I spend a lot of time working from home, so I try to break up my day by taking walks. This also helps me not spend all day sitting.
Depending on if I had a late or early breakfast, I may not have anything for lunch and have a big dinner. After dinner, I like to turn off my phone and start winding down for the night. This might mean watching a movie, playing a board game or reading, before I go to bed.
Working on the 'turning the phone off" part at night too...
You share a lot of great looking food on your instagram page. Do you have an all-time favorite food? The one you cannot live without?
Eggs are definitely my favorite food, and have been for as long as I can remember. They are so versatile in terms of how they can be prepared. Recently I have really been loving making omelettes with goats cheese.
By the way, we have a team member who just started keto and probably many others who are reading this too. What is your number one tip for beginners?
You really have to commit! Choose a period of time, ideally at least a month, and stick to it. Starting keto is unlike any other diet because your body has to adapt to using an energy source it is not used to. You really need to give it at least a couple of weeks before you will start to experience all of the benefits.
Commitment and patience are key. We hear so many people who want to give up because they haven't lost weight or haven't experienced the benefits... in a week. Don't compare your journey with others. Be patient and keep going!
And talking about that, in your experience, what are the biggest mistakes people make over the ketogenic diet?
I think a lot of people still believe we should limit fat, and I don't blame them. We have had that notion drilled into our minds for decades. Often times people will start a ketogenic diet, cut all carbs, and not increase their fat. They end up eating low carb, low fat and moderate protein, which can leave you low on energy. Don't be afraid to eat fat!
Say yes to the fats, everybody!
Now to wrap it up, what do you think of Keto Cacao and what’s your favourite flavour?
I love Keto Cacao! It is hard to find keto-friendly treats that with simple ingredients that are also delicious. I am a sucker for all things coconut so of course, that is my favourite Keto Cacao flavour!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Kait.