Read my first post on Zero Carb Diets here.
I'm on my 4th day of my Zero Carb Diet experiment (I started Monday April 6, 2015), and doing pretty well! Have noticed some major differences so far.
Keto Diet versus Zero Carb Diet
I didn't think I would see many differences very soon, because in the month previous to my Zero Carb experiment, I was eating a keto diet and was in a low level of ketosis at all times. I had transitioned to eating 20 or less TOTAL CARBS per day (not net carbs). I've been testing my blood ketones with the Precision Xtra blood ketone meter for years now, but I've almost always found it hard to even get to a .5 reading (point five) which is the minimum level you need for optimum fat loss (based on the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living book). ZC veterans do not preach a certain level of ketones, nor do they believe they're in ketosis all of the time. I have noticed that ZC veterans are pretty chill, don't track anything and just eat meat and drink water. Sounds great to me!
I didn't expect to get the “keto flu” again, since I was mostly keto-adapted. However, I do have a low level of keto flu and have felt headachy and tired at times in the last 4 days. Not full blown keto flu like when I first started low carb, but a low grade one. Not sure how scientific this is, but it seems that my body was having trouble processing even with the small amount of carbs that I was consuming before.
Here's what I've been eating the last 4 days. I'm surprised, but I'm not missing any particular foods. Sometimes I miss the act of eating, but not the food itself. I have been sticking to mostly 3 meals/day and 1 snack. I hope to reduce this to no snacks and only 2-3 meals per day:
- I'm eating about 70% of my meat as beef – ground, steaks, tri-tip, pot roast and the rest is chicken thighs or fatty fish.
- I have been eating some full fat dairy, heavy cream in my coffee, sour cream or butter on my steak.
- I've been eating a couple eggs per day. Hard boiled they make good snacks too.
- I'm not bored yet! Everything tastes good when I'm eating it and I'm eating when I'm hungry. “If meat doesn't sound good, you're not hungry” — Charles Washington
- I have one cup of coffee in the morning with heavy cream. Not sure if I'll be removing all dairy or not yet. I also drink peppermint tea at work (unsweetened of course).
I have always liked meat, but have always loved fruits and vegetables so was a little worried going on Zero Carb that I would really miss the veggies. Hasn't happened so far though! And yesterday on Day 3 I had what I'll call a “carnivorous episode” where I became very hungry and ate one pound of steak in a sitting, and then a spoonful of Kerrygold butter. After all of that food I was finally satiated – I could feel my brain humming happily. This is odd behavior for me – I have literally never eaten butter from a spoon before!
I have noticed an increase in my need for salt, so I'm satisfying this “craving” with celtic sea salt and Himalayan pink salt – about a teaspoon per day (not including seasoned food). Many ZC'ers don't even salt their meat! I'm consuming this salt in water throughout the day. I also have some homemade broth that I haven't had yet but am considering using to get me through this stage.
I have always loved salt, but this level of consumption is high even for me. I'm really trying to trust what my body is telling me and giving it what it needs. Apparently my body is really needing these electrolytes and trace minerals that are in the salt.
During the 4 days, I've lost 3 pounds! My clothes fit better too, so I'm pretty sure it's not just water loss. As for measurements, I'll take some comparison ones in a few days to see how that's going.
Digestion was not good for me prior to Zero Carb. Things were going through too fast, if you know what mean. In days 1-3 on ZC, diarrhea was actually worse for me, although not debilitating (I could still go to work and not worry). However today on Day 4 it's starting to get better. So I'm hoping for improvement in this area, but this might be the toughest area for me since I've always had issues. I'm left wondering what the lack of plant fiber will do to my bowels.
Muscles, Joints, and Bones
Pre-ZC this was a difficult one for me. I have osteo-arthritis and have a lot of trouble with my right knee, left elbow, middle back and neck/shoulders. I've seen small improvements in this area so far, but nothing conclusive. When I get up from a seated position, my muscles still hurt too. I also have weak ankles and tore my miniscus in my right knee about 6 weeks ago falling down the stairs. It's a minor tear so I'm hoping ZC will help the healing process.
I've never broken a bone, but I have osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis). I need to keep an eye on my bone density to make sure that I'm making improvements and not going backwards. If I continue the experiment past 30 days I will definitely get another bone density test.
Although I don't wear glasses, I was getting to the point of needing them, especially at night when I'm tired and I'm trying to read. Also, I have problems with night blindness and can't see as well in the dark as I used to. Hoping that I see improvement in this area because I don't really want to get glasses.
I've had thyroid issues all of my adult life. I'm currently on 120mg of Armour thyroid per day, and hoping to reduce this.
Mental Clarity & Depression
Pre-ZC I was on 20 mg of Celexa per day… looking forward to seeing if I can get off of this. Mental clarity has definitely increased since starting ZC! Depression symptoms seem to be getting better – I actually don't mind talking to people and socializing. I'm not as tired at the end of the day from the pure effort of human interaction.
This one is a mixed bag – I do have reduced cravings, and actually less cravings than on keto. But I'm not yet at the point where I don't think about food until I'm hungry. So, some improvement so far but not where I want to be.
Been sleeping well but waking up early, this could be a new normal for me though! I've always been a good sleeper but it seems already I'm sleeping a bit sounder.
Summary of Changes in 4 days:
- Lost 3 pounds
- Eating a lot of salt
- Have more mental clarity even though I have a minor case of keto flu
- Minor improvements on sleep, joint pain
- Not hungry between meals and limited amounts of cravings but I miss eating “behavior” (boredom??)
- increased diarrhea
- increase in carnivorous behavior LOL
Seems to be going well! I will update again in a couple days…PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.