Hey there, Health-Conscious, Fat-Loving, Fat Bomb-Devouring Humans! Who loves fat as their main source of fuel? ME! And I hope you do, too! Before we continue, let me tell you a bit about myself and what started me on my ketogenic journey.
I am Jade a.k.a. @TheTrainInsideMe on Instagram. (Quick! Look me up, follow me, then hurry back!) I joined the fat-loving world about two and a half years ago. After struggling through 28 years with epilepsy, I had hit a rock bottom of sorts after 10 medications, multiple hospital stays, a brain biopsy, and countless side effects. I was fed up, exhausted, and ready to call it quits on life. Then one day, a phone call from my sister changed my life.
Ring, Ring! “Hey, sissy, just calling to check on you.” Long miserable crying jag, and then I hear: “Why don’t you look into the ketogenic diet?” Me: “That’s for kids.” Sissy: “Things are different now. Just look into it.”
I became a dog with a bone and by the end of the week, I had read and researched the ketogenic diet, called my doctor and started on a plan to lower my meds, and was on my way down the road to becoming a therapeutic ketogenic fat-fueled machine with epilepsy in the rearview mirror. Well, it didn’t quite go like that. Before it was sunshine and roses, we had to tackle fat and make it my friend. Increasing fat intake when beginning a ketogenic diet can be daunting. Especially if you are eating very little fat and way too many carbohydrates. Which brings me to my fat mishaps and fat hacks.
Increase fat without increasing protein
Ever look at your fridge and try to figure out how to increase fat without overdoing it on protein? This is the most common mishap when starting the ketogenic diet. In fact, I struggled with this mightily for the first six months and every day, I would end up going way over my protein macros and way under my fat macros. This is where reading labels becomes critical. I found my biggest issue was cheese. Yes, cheese is fatty, but it also has protein. If you are always adding cheese, it’s very likely increasing your protein by 5-7g, which you may not need. Instead of always reaching for cheese, just cook your food in butter, bacon grease, or coconut oil. If you really want cheese with your meal, a quick fix to ensure you don’t go over on protein is to simply cut back on your meat portion. You will still get your needed protein without experiencing gluconeogenesis -- and you won’t go over on fat.
Increase fat while getting over the fear of fat
A huge mishap I hear is one believing that “fat makes you fat.” Well, times have changed and if your carbohydrates are low, then fat won’t make you fat. Instead, it will help fuel your brain and body. My whole first year of eating keto, I had a voice in my head telling me that “I was going to get fat if I ate fat.” In my experience, the only true way through this fear is to take your time and stick to your plan, look at how your clothes fit, and occasionally step on the scale. When things stay steady or the numbers go the way you want, the voice will fall silent and confidence will grow. Time, knowledge, and patience gave me the strength to keep going.
Increase fat without fear of digestive disturbance
A result of overdoing fat consumption is something referred to as “disaster pants.” Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. And yes, it’s the worst kind of mishap. In the spirit of full disclosure and to let you know you are not alone, this has happened to me and could possibly happen to you.
So now that you have fear in your hearts (or pants), how do we avoid this issue? My recommendation is to choose the right fats and go slow when increasing your intake. When I say the right fats, this is something you will figure out on your own. I don’t recommend running out and buying a huge bottle of MCT oil and downing a few tablespoons as this will most likely be too much too soon. What to do, what to do… Start by looking at what fats you’re currently eating and simply bump it up a bit, add in olive oil which is usually easier on the belly, and then slowly introduce small amounts of coconut oil and/or MCT oil into your diet. Find the fats your belly and body like by testing them out, and then slowly increase your intake a small amount at a time. Eventually, you’ll find your happy place with fat.
My personal fat hacks
- Cook with or dump 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat on everything you eat. My go-to fats are avocado oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil, and MCT and/or coconut oil. There are many other forms of fats out there that may be more to your liking. I encourage you to try different fats and find what works best for you.
- Always have homemade dressings in the fridge. There are so many ketogenic dressings out there so find one you like and make a big batch. I personally add 2 tablespoons of MCT oil to the recipes I create or find because it helps boost the production of ketones.
- Drink Fat Tea or Fat Coffee daily for the first six months. I had to do this twice a day to reach my fat macros for the first year. This may not be true for you, but if it is, pick your favorite hot beverage, add 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, and 1 tablespoon of MCT oil or coconut oil. Learn how here.
- Carry FBOMBs in your purse or bag. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered a salad at a restaurant and found the tiny serving of ranch to be questionable. Instead of causing a scene, I just bust out my FBOMB avocado oil packet and dump it on.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to all salads. One tablespoon is 14g of healthy fat.
- Carry an avocado in your purse or bag. Yes, you read that right. Trust me, it comes in handy.
- When traveling, bring bacon. Yes, you read that right, too. Each time I travel, I have my husband cook up a pound of bacon, which I double-bag in a Ziploc and bring along in the car, plane, or train.
- Make friends with digestive enzymes. I am a fan of NOW® Foods because their supplements will break down fats, proteins, and carbs. These guys have saved me on many occasions!
Final truth bomb here… nothing stays the same. What worked last year may not work this year. What worked for your body last month might not work this month. So be open to making constant tweaks and changes. I do it daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Don’t be afraid of change – welcome it! And keep in mind you may have a few mishaps (some smellier than others), but those are the greatest opportunities for growth.
Now get out there and hack that fat!
The Ketogenic Epilepsy Warrior
About the author:
Jade is an Epilepsy Advocate, Community Health Educator, Lifestyle writer and Licensed Massage Therapist. She is passionate about self-care, the ketogenic diet, and Epilepsy advocacy. Jade focuses her energy on sharing her personal journey of healing and overcoming the challenges of Epilepsy to help bring hope, empowerment and education to those seeking to change or accept the challenges in their life. Jade uses her experience and education to work with individuals and businesses to bring out their best version of themselves.