"I feel amazing physically, yes, but the biggest changes have been with the people I have connected with in this community."
For this week's high-fat story, we had the pleasure to ask a few questions to Kristi. She's a world traveller, science writer, and has been following a ketogenic lifestyle for more than a year now. She told us everything about when she's started, what she eats in a day, the biggest misconceptions people have about keto and other great tips to make this lifestyle your very own.
Hey Kristi, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m Kristi, and I am a science writer. I focus on the ketogenic diet and metabolic therapies. I was exposed to the natural health world and the power of nutrition at a very young age, growing up working in my family-owned health food store. So, health and fitness have always been a major passion of mine. As a lover of science, academics and ‘food as medicine’, when I came across the ketogenic diet it was as if all the stars aligned. I quickly became extremely passionate about understanding and communicating the science behind the diet.
That's awesome! When did you start Keto? and what motivated you to start?
I started my ketogenic diet in 2017 simply as an experiment. I’ve always had fun trialling different styles of eating to see how my body responds. Keto was simply something new I had never tried. Once I started learning and communicating the science, the diet became part of my lifestyle and I feel amazing so there’s been no reason to stop! The more I dive into the research, the more I’m convinced of the beneficial long-term effects.
It does hook us up, doesn't it?!
What has changed in your life and health since you’ve been on this journey?
The biggest part of my life that has changed since starting keto really has nothing to do with the diet at all, ironically. I feel amazing physically, yes, but the biggest changes have been with the people I have connected with in this community. I’ve met and worked with some really amazing people, and I think community and purpose is a big piece of the overall health puzzle that people overlook sometimes.
We totally agree with you. The keto community is great, everyone is so supportive of each other. We're glad to be part of it as well.
But besides the good stuff, have you been through any challenges along the road? how did you overcome them?
Adopting a ketogenic diet was very eye-opening for me as I had to become accustomed to a diet based around foods I hardly ever touched. I transitioned from a high carb diet, and I realized once I started keto that I had subconsciously created barriers around certain foods like fatty meats and oils. Breaking past these barriers was extremely mentally liberating, and has made me so much more comfortable around food. It’s funny because on paper the ketogenic diet seems like one of the most restrictive diets, yet it’s made me less restrictive in a way.
In your own experience, what are the biggest misconceptions people have when approaching a ketogenic diet?
I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when approaching a ketogenic diet is not embracing fat. They restrict carbohydrates but replace these calories with protein, not fat. Unless you are calorie restricting, you might find it difficult to enter ketosis eating this way. It takes a real shift in mentality to accept fat as your primary macronutrient, and people end up eating a high protein diet instead of a high-fat diet. If you’re not in ketosis, by definition you are not following a ketogenic diet. With that said, if you have no therapeutic reason to be in ketosis, simply eating low-carb will likely have many similar benefits in terms of appetite control, glucose regulation, and lower insulin levels. I personally like being in ketosis to expose my brain and body to ketones for their widespread benefits.
Always good to clear that up for people who are starting this lifestyle.
By the way, we’ve seen that you do some biohacking experiments: is there any special ones you would like to tell us more about? (the ones we should definitely try out!)
My biggest “biohack” has been testing blood glucose and ketone levels in different scenarios. For example, following an ~18-20 hour fast, my blood glucose drops under 4.0mmol/L and my ketones get above ~3mmol/L. I can now associate how I feel with these readings. I find that when I am in this state of therapeutic ketosis I feel very mentally clear, calm, focused, and productive. I also test these markers on different types of foods, which has allowed me to tweak my ketogenic diet to me, since we all have different metabolic responses to certain foods and everyone’s ketogenic diet won’t necessarily look the same.
Yes! This is a great way to experiment with their keto diet and also measure ketones efficiently.
Now, out of curiosity, what do you usually eat in a day? Is there any big fave food you cannot live without?
I start every day with coffee blended with MCT oil. This is my favourite part of the day. I usually have my first meal around 11am-1pm and it will typically include eggs and/or sardines, ghee, a whole avocado and some mixed greens. Eggs are certainly the one food I couldn’t live without! I prefer not to snack throughout the day, but if I do I might have some canned mussels/oysters in olive oil, dehydrated grass-fed beef bars, or some nuts. For dinner, I’ve started implementing a lot more red meat. I opt for fatty cuts of grass-fed beef or lamb, but I also like to include organ meats throughout the week which is usually either liver or heart. If I don’t make another salad, I will cook up some low carb vegetables in some ghee or coconut oil.
We've seen you work a lot remotely, how do you maintain the lifestyle when you are on the go? Any tips for travellers out there?
I think travelling has become easier since adopting a ketogenic lifestyle. If I need to fast during travel days because there are no healthy food options, I find this very easy. I also travel with MCT powder, so I consume these throughout the mornings when I’m travelling. When I’m in a new location, meat and vegetables seem to always be available. I’ve never found it difficult to follow a ketogenic diet even in the most remote places I have travelled. I think it’s just a matter of understanding what foods you can eat, and which to avoid. I keep things simple and try not to overcomplicate my diet. With all this said, if I can’t follow a ketogenic diet in a certain location, I just try my best to stay low-carb – I appreciate the concept of metabolic flexibility!
What's the biggest message you would like to share with our followers about the keto lifestyle?
I think the biggest message I can share is that this is a lifestyle and that you shouldn’t be sacrificing the quality of life just to be in a state of ketosis 24/7. Don’t pass up opportunities to be surrounded by friends and family because you’re scared of what food or drinks are going to be available. Essentially, don’t let food options control your decisions, because, at the end of the day, diet is only one component of our over health.
Thank you so much, Kristi for sharing your story with us.