Keto Flu Is Real and Here’s How to Avoid or Stop It
I’m down 4 1/2 pounds.
I wanted to lose the last stubborn 10 pounds or so and I knew I needed to tweak my low carb, high fat, moderate protein of the past few years to accomplish that goal. Over time, when life stressors hit me, I did what so many do and I reached for carbs. My poison happened to be “organic” (as if that helps with carbs) corn tortilla chips and small corn tortilla street tacos. I justified the tortillas as “they only have 8 carbs each.” A breakfast taco was no meal at all without my beloved corn tortilla. Still, the chips and carbs are both made of grain and non-natural, unhealthy other gunk. These two things in decent quantities each week over the summer (when my dog was diagnosed with a brain tumor — she survived and she is keto, too!) brought back the 20 pounds I so easily shed the previous years.
So, yeah. I fell off the keto wagon.
Luckily I knew a way to pull myself back up on that low-carb, life-saving wagon. It’s Maria Emmerich’s 30 day cleanse program. The menu each day is incredibly tasty and fulfilling, and I am a foodie and I won’t eat things that don’t taste great. I have loved every meal and have been pleasantly surprised at the depth of flavors.
I first went keto two years ago and saw immediate results, including removing myself among the millions diagnosed as pre-diabetic. As someone who went undiagnosed and made worse by a broken “health care” system when I was extremely hypothyoid a decade ago, I am forever in search of finding more energy. I have a lot of things I want to get done every day and when powered by keto, I get shit done. I love it!
I also caught a bad case of the keto flu the first few weeks of doing a ketogenic diet. It left me so tired that I wanted to stay in bed all day but I had to get up to take copious amounts of aspirin for my blinding headaches. As someone in search of energy, this was at first a devastating blow. I was cranky. I had my first and last panic attack. I was dizzy. I could not make a good decision. I did not know about the vital importance of electrolytes. I get it now and I want you to understand as well. So many well-intentioned keto dieters drop out for good when smacked down by the keto flu.
Maria and Craig Emmerich have a short, to-the-point video here that explains what the keto flu is and what you can do to prevent it. I’ll explain it, too.
The keto flu occurs in some (many?) people as you lower your carbohydrate intake while increasing your healthy fat intake and consume moderate amounts of protein. Most Americans easily consume 300-400 grams of carbs a day, and usually in pre-packaged, sodium-loaded, not-whole-food, off-the-shelf kind of carbs. On the ketogenic diet, you reduce your carbs to strictly 20 grams a day of truly healthy, whole-food carbs. It’s a huge change to your body.
Your insulin levels are lowered when you switch to a very low carb diet, and that is a very good thing, especially in our very insulin resistant and chronically ill culture. When insulin levels are low your liver converts fat into ketones and your cells can than use ketones instead of glucose. This is when you are in ketosis. Your body notices this change and tries to adapt by secreting sodium and water and that can and often does lead to dehydration and that in turns leaves you feeling punk. It gives you the keto flu.
How to avoid the keto flu?
Some people suggest drinking two teaspoons of quality sea salt in warm water a day but that didn’t help me that much. I needed quality electrolytes. Thankfully there is a new brand of electrolytes that is outstanding! You can find them here.
Other ways to help yourself include reducing your carb intake more slowly over time. Anytime you eat whole foods verses pre-packaged carb-age, you are helping your own self and you are worth helping. You can also increase your intake of good fats (coconut oil, avocados, olives, fatty meats, etc.) during this transition. You can also not exercise or reduce exercise during this time. Be gentle and kind to YOU.
Healing takes time and there are some ups and down along this path. Those of us who have made this journey can assure you the lifetime health benefits are worth learning about how to reduce the unwanted, occasional bad symptoms such as the keto flu.
If you would like to learn about my personalized coaching or receive my newsletter, please check out my website, www.HappyFatMouth.com. I share incredible recipes that make your mouth happy (and your heart, gut, and brain). I also have a Happy Fat Mouth Facebook page here.
Here are my starting numbers I will update the carb count at the end of the day. I am highlighting the carb count as that is what I am most interested in reducing right now:
Starting Weight: 170 pounds
Weight Day 3: 164 1/2 pounds
30 Day Keto Challenge Goal Weight: 160
Ultimate Goal Weight: 150 Pounds
Waist: 38 inches
Chest: 41 inches
Hips: 41 inches
Carb count: 21 carbs
- 2 carbs in Creamy Egg Scramble
- 2 carbs small pickles
- 2 carbs deli turkey
- 4 carbs some avocado
- 5 carb California Wrap
- 3 carbs electrolytes
- 3 carbs Vit C supplement