This post is part of a series about my Ketogenic diet: Month 1, Month 2, Month 3Month 4, Month 5, Month 6, Month 7, Month 8, Month 9, Month 10, Month 12


Carole Freeman:              Well, hi there, I’m Carole Freeman of Hypnotic Nutrition. I’m the creator of the 90-Day Keto Diet Challenge Program, and I’m here today with a new format for you for my monthly update. Today marks 11 months that I’ve been on a ketogenic diet. Usually, I blog all about that and it takes me days and days to perfect it and get all the details down. This month, I thought I would just do a little video update for you and see how that goes, see if you like this.

Almost, always people want to know like, “What’s going on with your weight?” For me, my weight has been very stable, probably, since November. I’ve pretty much weighed the same within about a five-pound range.

That’s pretty cool because a lot of people say, “You’re on a ketogenic diet. It ruins your metabolism, and then you’ll have to weigh, measure, and track everything. You’re just going to gain all the weight back.” However, I stopped tracking, weighing, measuring my food months ago. Once in a while, randomly, I will check things, just because I want to know something or see how I’m doing.

My weight has stayed the same for, what has it been, four months now, and that’s without weighing or measuring or tracking anything because I use the meal formula that I teach in my program. That’s how I developed it is through my own application, and I just use that for meals and it works beautifully. A happy, satisfied, delicious food, and my weight’s very, very stable too.

As far as what I’m eating right now, that’s also the question people have. You can always follow me on Instagram. I post pretty much everything that I eat on there, and so that gives you a really good idea of what I’m eating.

I was doing a month of dairy-free to support my son. It’s been really, really great for him. His skin has pretty much completely cleared up. Before keto, he was very, very sensitive to dairy. He had cystic acne pretty bad.

Going keto, he actually added dairy back in, and all the cystic acne cleared up. He still had some surface acne though, and so he wanted to see if going completely dairy-free plus keto would be the magic bullet, magic ticket, magic bullet coffee, whatever, and his skin has really, really cleared up and pretty much has almost nothing going on, acne-wise, now.

I decided to try a little bit more dairy, add that back in myself. I seemed like I was doing really well with it. However, the last, maybe, week or 10 days or so, I’ve added a lot more back in. I even got some cream back in my coffee at home, and I’m starting to notice congestion and post-nasal drip after eating.

It’s a good indicator for me that I probably should go back to no dairy or very little dairy, much less than I’m doing right now, although it doesn’t seem to affect my weight at all and then also my ketones, which I’ll talk about here in just a second.

It doesn’t affect either of those, but for me, I do seem to have some kind of a sensitivity that causes some post-nasal drip. When you have that, it is an inflammatory response in the body and very likely, it also affects a lot of other things going on inside. Good indicators for me that I probably should minimize dairy in my life.

Ketone strips, all right, let’s talk about that. Up to this point or actually, up until maybe a couple of weeks ago, so ten and a half months of keto, I hadn’t peed on one strip. I hadn’t checked my blood ketones at all. I had just felt really confident that eating 20 grams or less of carbs per day and keeping my fat high that I was going to be in ketosis.

It was after I chatted with Doc Nally about a month ago in Phoenix. He shared his story about how he thought he was doing keto for so long, and then he finally checked his blood test strips or he checked the ketone levels in his blood and he found that he actually wasn’t even in ketosis, so that got me super curious and I wanted to find out. Was I doing this right?

I had the blood glucose meter, the Precision Xtra, for quite a while now. I just never bought the blood ketone strips, so I finally bit the bullet. I bought some on eBay. They’re still really expensive. I think I ended up paying about $2.80 apiece, but I figured I might as well get some validation of what I’m doing.

The first morning, I got those. I got up. My blood level was 1.8. I was super happy. The optimal nutritional ketosis level in blood, you want to see between 1.5 and 3, and some of them even say 1 to 3 is great too, and anywhere above 0.5, you’re in nutritional ketosis.

I definitely was in ketosis. I was in the optimal nutritional ketosis range, so I felt really happy, very proud of myself as well, and so then I thought, “Well, it’s time to start doing some experimentation,” so I’ve got these test strips. Let’s find out, “How do I react to different foods?” I guess foods was the main thing I wanted to find out.

After I had a grande coffee with two inches of heavy cream, my ketones were the same, and so that’s another thing that can happen. If you’re sensitive to a certain type of food, even though the carbs are low enough to technically fit on a ketogenic diet, it could be something that kicks you out of ketosis.

I maintained my blood level of ketones after having a considerable amount of dairy in the form of heavy whipping cream. That was one of the things that made me think, “Ah, I can add more dairy in,” but when I did, I have started to notice the congestion coming back. It doesn’t seem to affect my ketosis level, but it does seem to affect me in other ways, so I’m going to go back to minimizing that.

The other thing that I wanted to check with my ketone strips was … Of course, after hearing some podcast that was touting the powers of MCT oil, which I’ve had in the past, but I just tend to be more of a whole-foods-based nutrition practitioner and there’s just more compounds in whole foods than just the one thing that we identify as being good for us, and so I just tended to use coconut oil instead of MCT oil, but after hearing a podcast, it really got me curious about how much I could boost my ketone levels.

Now that I could actually measure them, I wanted to do a trial, so I decided to do all-proof coffee in the morning. I made coffee and then I blended in one tablespoon total of MCT oil, plus one tablespoon of butter. In the past, when I had done MCT oil, I could be kind of sensitive to it, and so I did it very slowly. I did one teaspoon at a time in a cup and was able to consume a full tablespoon of MCT oil, plus one tablespoon of butter.

I started out … Before I drank the coffee with any oil in it, so I woke up, fasted overnight, my ketone levels were 1.3, and then I did the coffee with one tablespoon of MCT, plus one tablespoon of butter, and within an hour, my ketone level was up to 2.3 millimolar, so it was a huge jump, right?

I was super excited. I thought, “Oh my gosh. This is really cool that I could get such an improvement, so what they said is true that MCT is very pro-ketogenic, and it can significantly boost blood ketone levels.”

However, what surprised me was shortly after that, I found that I had a very strong appetite. I was really hungry. This was odd for me because I don’t eat breakfast because I’m not hungry. I typically eat my first meal of the day between about 1 and 3 pm, and so this was probably about 11 in the morning that I had measured a 2.3 blood ketones.

I was really hungry, and so I thought, “Well, that’s really weird,” because when you’re in ketosis, one of the hallmarks of that is that you have a very low appetite and you’re not hungry, so I was really confused as to why, boosting my ketone levels one whole point and going up to 2.3, why I would be hungry.

Later that day, I was listening to a podcast with Dom D’Agostino on there, talking about how blood ketones, when they get too high, they can actually cause an insulin release, and so I thought, “That’s really interesting,” because I’ve heard of other people reporting that when they try to drink bulletproof coffee or this coffee blended with MCT oil and butter, that it makes them hungrier, whereas it’s supposed to promote ketosis and make you not hungry.

Actually, I contacted Dr. Nally because I wondered if he had seen this in practice or if he knew what was going on with this. It’s pretty cool because he, of course, knows all about this. He is Mr. Ketosis and in practice, he has a lot of experience with this.

The way that he explained it to me was that your body has kind of like this ketone break that wants to protect your ketones from going too high. When your ketone levels jump up, and he said it tends to be greater than 2.0, that your body responds with a couple of different mechanisms and some different hormones. It’s all about the hormones.

What that does is that it does release glucagon and it stimulates gluconeogenesis and in turn, it causes a little bit of an insulin spike, which serves to bring down your ketones, and it also stimulates hunger at the same time. That’s your body’s way of preventing your ketone levels from going too high, which could turn into ketoacidosis, so it was pretty cool that our body has this regulatory mechanism or another piece of evidence that ketosis is very safe and our body’s able to regulate and manage it.

I love the way he pointed out to me. There’s more evidence that real whole foods are better for us than isolated nutrients. For me, I decided that the MCT oil in small amounts could fit, but as a boost for low ketones, but when I’m already in nutritional ketosis, all it’s going to do is stimulate hunger for me, which is the opposite of what I want in those situations. If you’re out there and you’re using MCT oil and you find that it makes you hungry, perhaps try cutting that out and do your own experiment there.

I also wanted to compare that then to the same experiment with using coconut oil instead of MCT oil. The next morning, same thing. I woke up fasted and I had coffee. Similarly, I had one tablespoon of butter blended with one tablespoon of coconut oil this time, instead of MCT.

Again, my fasted blood ketone level was 1.4, so very similar to what it was the day before, and after consuming the coffee with butter and coconut oil, I got a rise up to 1.9, so it still went up about, what’s the math there, 0.5 millimolar, which is half the response that I got from the same amount of MCT oil.

Also, interestingly, I didn’t experience any hunger for that, so that was really cool. I could increase my ketone levels for coconut oil, but it didn’t push it up so much that I got that hunger response. For me, it shows that coconut oil is a much better choice for me in the morning in my coffee than would be MCT oil.

Oh, the other thing that’s continuing to go on for me, I think I’ve been reporting on this, at least, last month and probably the month before, is that I’m having a lot of hair growth. I reported many months ago that part of significant weight loss, it’s a big stressor on the body, often, people experience thinning of hair.

Now there are some bloggers out there that misappropriate this hair loss as something wrong with your thyroid, and it isn’t true. There’s a lot of adjustments and things going on in the body, and so significant weight loss is a really big stressor on the body and you can see that with any kind of dietary approach that people will experience is thinning of hair. Same thing happens when people do gastric bypass surgery and they lose a lot of hair, so it’s not your thyroid, as some people mistakenly say.

Mine, I had a pretty significant thinning of hair. However, you can see this. See these frizzy things sticking out at the side here of my hair? [inaudible 00:12:18] on the other side. It makes for interesting hairdos going on. I’ve got that outgrowth, which, I think, is probably about three months worth of hair length growing out all over my head. Like I’ve been reporting is that my weight’s been really stable for about four months now, and so once my weight stabilized, then my body’s like, “Oh, we’re not under stress anymore. It’s time to make a full, luscious head of hair again.”

Not only this outgrowth that I’ve got that you can definitely see, but as I look up really close around my hairline here, about a half inch down from my normal hairline, I’ve got these other fine hairs that are coming in here. I’m going to have more hair than I have ever, ever had in my entire life, which is really interesting to me. In the meantime, I’ve got some interesting hairdo challenges that I get to work with, but for the most part, it just kind of makes my hair really kind of fluffy on the top of my head and really full.

Anyone out there that’s experiencing any hair loss as you lose weight, just hang on. Your body will even out. It’s not your thyroid freaking out. Probably. I mean, I don’t know what’s going on with you, but if that’s all you’re experiencing, it’s not because your thyroid is crying and dying or anything like that.

Some bloggers out there that are promoting, “If you’re losing your hair, it means your thyroid is not working well and that you need more carbs,” so I wanted to talk about my opinion on carb-up. There are some bloggers out there that are promoting that women need more carbs, that you need to frequently have high-carb meals, and that’s the only way to protect your hormones and protect your thyroid.

I love the fact that Jimmy Moore and Dr. Nally talked about this on their last keto talk. They come up with those every Thursday and really great content. If you guys aren’t listening to that, they run about half an hour long, so they’re quick. They explain things in practical, easy-to-understand terms.

On their last episode, so that would’ve been the second week in April, they talked about this carb-up thing. It doesn’t even base in a science. There was one study I saw [inaudible 00:14:39] they were talking about was based on thyroid function, but it had nothing to do with the ketogenic or low-carb diet at all.

My take on it is that anyone who’s really insulin-resistant … Those are people that have diabetes, prediabetes. They’ve got a large waist circumference, so for example, men with a waist circumference of 40 inches or greater, women with 35 inches or greater, those are all indicators of what we call metabolic syndrome, and it’s also an indicator of metabolic resistance, insulin-resistant, specifically.

People that have this, they are just really, really carb intolerant, and if they try to do these carb-ups that are being recommended, they fail miserably. It makes them feel terrible. It makes them gain weight. It makes their appetite come back, and one of the hallmarks of being in ketosis is that you have a really low appetite. You’re not hungry all the time and you’re not overeating.

I see posts over and over again in different keto Facebook groups, where people are saying, “I’m trying this carb-up, and my appetite came back and my weight loss stalled” or “I’m gaining weight. What’s wrong with me?” There’s nothing wrong with you. It just means that 70% of the population that’s so insulin-resistant, that you can’t tolerate carbs, and so a carb-up for you is not going to work. It’s not going to work at all, and it’s actually going to be very detrimental to you.

I think that the people that a carb-up can work for are the same type of people that do generally really well in a paleo-type approach. They’re not insulin-resistant. These are people that maybe they started out on keto. Maybe they were five or 10 pounds heavier than they’d like to be. Generally, very lean, to begin with. Those people have a lot of metabolic flexibility, and their body can still tolerate a higher carb allowance.

What I’ve seen from the people that do well, having a carb-up approach, where a few times a week, they have more carbs in the evening, those type of people tend to be ones that have metabolic flexibility. They haven’t ever been overweight or obese in their life, and they’re already pretty lean when they start out, and so that tends to be the type of person that that works for and again, that’s a very small percentage of the population. Maybe 20%. Maybe a little higher than that, but not most of the people that are already trying a ketogenic diet.

Carb-ups can be really, really dangerous for somebody who does have type 2 diabetes and has been doing a lower carb approach for a while. That actually can lead to blood sugar spikes. When the hunger comes back, carb addiction is triggered and it can lead to overeating and binging.

It’s really, really common, actually, where I’ve heard of people that are “I’m trying to do the carb-ups because I think I need it. I’ve been told I need it. What’s wrong with me? Because,” this is three days later or a week later or three weeks later, “I’m still binging on carbs and I can’t stop.” That’s because for most people, it doesn’t work and it’s really detrimental.

Most people don’t need carb-ups. There are some people that can tolerate a carb-up is what I see, and people do report that “Well, it makes me feel better. I must need it because it really makes me feel a lot better.” Well, here’s the thing. It triggers a dopamine release in the brain, and it will make you feel good. It will make you feel happy. However, the next day, you’re not going to feel as happy, and you’re going to be thinking about carbs again and you’re going to want some more because they made you feel so good and made you feel so happy.

Eating carbs and feeling happy and feeling better is not a good indicator of whether it’s healthy for your body or not. It just means that you’re having the normal dopamine response to carbohydrates that humans have.

Just a few other things for me to check in with you on. Those of you who are new to my updates, I started ketogenic diet after a car accident. I had a car accident about two years ago that left me with a chronic pain syndrome on my legs.

I’ve been working full-time from home for over the last … It’s been more than a month now, and I have noticed that because I’m not on my feet as much. I’m sitting on my computer more. I’m not getting as much activity. The pain has flared up just a little bit in the evening, and so I’m recognizing that I need to make a concerted effort to get out and walk and exercise and make sure that I’m moving those muscles on my legs that were damaged there to keep that pain down, which has significantly reduced, nearly gone from adopting a ketogenic diet.

The other thing is the continuing sleep issues that I’ve had that are related to the car accident, as well as central apnea that’s developed. It’s much better. I’ve been working with a chiropractor and a massage therapist on my neck and my back, and I’ve got some ergonomic things set up with my computer now, so that it’s a better position for me, and it’s getting better.

I’m still having some issues though with this very early morning sleep apnea and not getting that restful sleep that I need, so I’m continuing to work on that. I don’t have any really, really good solutions. Unfortunately, everybody I’ve contacted just said, “Yeah, that’s a hard one to treat,” so still working on it and hoping it resolves here over the next few years because I know now that the longer you’re on a ketogenic diet, the more healing goes on in your body, so I’m just really hopeful that the longer I do this, that that would just resolve over time, as it continues to heal my brain.

Well, that’s all that I have for you now. Thanks for watching and listening. If you like this format, let me know. Give me a thumbs up. Subscribe it, because I think this has been fun for me to be able to just chat with you this way and give you my update and I’ll keep checking in with you every month, because guess what, next month is my one-year anniversary of being keto and still going strong and looking forward to all the good stuff that’s here to come. All right. Take care. We’ll see you soon. Bye.

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