Mistakes I Made When I Began a Keto Diet

I have now surpassed my six month Keto diet anniversary (I began in August 2020). Overall, I am pleased with how I feel. Since I don’t go to a doctor, I don’t have medical results to share, only my own personal observations.

The breakfast I used to eat was something like the one pictured below. Black coffee with lots of coconut oil, and yogurt with nuts, coconut and bananas (or other fruit). I thought it was a great meal, and it’s not bad, except for the carbs in bananas.

The little bananas came from my neighbors backyard here in Florida. They are the perfect size since bananas are a no-no on Keto. (Hint hint, I don’t give up everything because I believe that variety is good.)

coffee yogurt little bananas
Florida bananas in yogurt

Since I began Keto, I also do intermittent fasting so I don’t eat until noon. Sometimes I eat a “breakfast” and other times I eat a regular meal – low carb of course.

Balancing Good Foods and Keto

Which brings me to one of the things that bothers me about Keto. I don’t want to give up fruit. So I have been eating a little, like the tiny bananas. Or I add a few blueberries or a couple strawberries to my yogurt – (Cabot Creek, full fat, plain Greek Yogurt is my favorite.) I’ve stopped drinking juice, but still eat a little fruit. If I eat more carbs than usual for breakfast I am careful the rest of the day.

I don’t count my carbs. For a few days I used a carb counter app but I just can’t spend time entering all the foods I eat to see how many carbs I’m getting. I feel like I know the basic foods to avoid, and I read labels if I’m not sure.

I’m cutting back on the Keto breads and biscuits which really have no nutritional value.

Keto breakfast of quick bread and omelet
My breakfast of spinach and egg with a keto biscuit containing poppy seeds

I Was Eating Too Much Cheese, Bacon and Replacement Bread

After a few weeks on Keto, I stopped losing weight. In fact, I gained a few pounds! This was depressing after having a good beginning and dropping a few pounds every week. Something was wrong.

Lots of online Keto recipes are loaded with cheese and I was eating too much of it. I’ve gone back to eating more normally and using less cheese in my dishes. I also quit eating so many Keto biscuits. Once I did these things, I stopped gaining weight. Keto replacement food can be yummy but loaded with calories!

***Eat healthy, using lots of organic vegetables, grass-fed proteins, and good oils while greatly reducing carbs is the goal. Stay away from processed foods.

Read more about the differences between a clean Keto diet and a dirty Keto diet.

Keto cheese biscuits
Keto biscuits with cheese have little nutritional value and lots of calories

Where to Find Keto Recipes Online

I bought Maria Emmerich’s Keto recipes book (Amazon affiliate link), but she also has a website with recipes. In fact, many popular food sites also list Keto dishes. Just eat sensibly and watch the sodium as many Keto foods don’t worry about sodium content.

Eating to Help My Mind and Body

My original reason for trying Keto is to help with my PKD, so I had to remind myself of this constantly. Since I don’t go to a doctor, all I have to go on is the way I feel, how I sleep, and my own blood pressure readings. I do Keto and think about what is best for my kidneys at the same time.

My mother, and now my younger sister, have had dementia. Before my mother, no one in my family had impaired mental abilities at all, especially at a fairly young age – my sister is only 63! So this is scary. I tell myself it is lifestyle and food that contributes, and I especially believe in eating correctly.

Dementia forgetting puzzle pieces missing
Losing brain power is a scary thing

A big plus from eating this way is that my mind feels good. I do not get tired in the middle of the day, and I am sleeping very well most nights. Because I don’t bother with food for the first five to six hours of my day, I get more work done (I own an online business). I am very focused and do not miss breakfast, nor do I believe it is necessary to eat first thing in the morning.

I’ve actually come to like the fasting part of this diet. It might sound odd, but not eating all morning has been a good thing for me. I stop eating by at least 6:00 pm and that gives me 18 hours total without eating. When I get up in the morning, I make a regular cup or two of coffee then I drink watered down versions of coffee – or Dandy Blend (this is an Amazon affiliate link to a Dandelion coffee replacement drink) – until I can eat. I do get hungry, so when you hear people say “you won’t be hungry on Keto”, if you fast, you will probably get hungry.

Use that non-eating time to think about a healthy meal you will cook for your first meal of the day.

A Keto food shopping trip

Monday Morning Weigh In

I am now three weeks into my Keto / timed-eating (fasting) diet plan. Each Monday morning I will weigh myself and measure my waistline to track my progress. You don’t get to see my weight, but how many pounds I lose.

With PKD (polycystic kidney disease) the cysts are constantly growing and forming, which expands the waistline and gives us an overall feeling of being “full” all the time. At least that is how I’ve been feeling, until I began to make this change.

floor scale weight tape measure

As of today – after 3 weeks time – I have lost nine pounds total, and four pounds in the last week. My waistline has only shrunk about 1/2 inch.

My big goal is to see a decrease in my waist. I suspect that as the kidney cysts shrink my midsection will get smaller. I started this diet to help with my disease after reading Dr. Weimbs’ articles on diet, fasting and PKD.

I’m not one for getting on the scales, and haven’t for a long time. Weighing oneself is usually depressing, especially if the overall feeling is that weight is not coming off.

I Like the Fasting Part of This Plan

So far, my new meal planning is working out. The limited eating hours have been easy to follow. I found that it was tough to stop eating by 5:00PM, so I’ve moved that goal up to 6:00PM. Now, I fast longer in the morning to make up for later evening meals. When I wake up and start my day, I don’t eat anything, and drink only black coffee and water, until 11:00AM or Noon.

I can only fit two meals into this space of time, with maybe a small snack in between. Because of this I am eating less.

If I stop eating by 6:00PM, and don’t eat until noon the next day, I have fasted for 6 hours. If I do this every day of the week, I will have fasted 42 hours for the week.

The fasting part of this new eating regimen is quite easy for me.

And don’t fool yourself into believing that all those hours of not eating are really “fasting” hours. The body spends twelve hours dealing with the previous meal, and only after that are you truly “fasting”, or so I’ve read. Read about intermittent fasting at the DietDoctor site.

Changing the Food I Eat

I’m used to watching the amount of sodium in my food, and now I also have to look for carbs. Even some vegetables can contain lots of carbs. On a Keto diet, carbs for the day should not be more than 50 total. Some people go even lower.

I honestly don’t count carbs, just make myself aware if I eat anything high carb. Then I try to do better the rest of the day.

Some food that I ate and drank regularly are off my plate now. No more potatoes. Skip that occasional piece of toast with breakfast (but I found a good replacement bread for that), and don’t drink juice! I had already mostly given up pasta and rice and sandwiches, so that’s not tough for me.

But fruit, like bananas, remain part of my meal plan – occasionally. I could also do with a sweet potato now and then, and maybe oatmeal with an apple for breakfast.

Eating a big variety of good food is always a good idea, but now I am more aware of what all those carbs can do.

Me and PKD and Hope

Today I realized that Dr. Thomas Weimbs has discovered in his research on curing PKD that diet (ketosis) and fasting may be the answer. He published papers on the results of his experiments in Fall 2019.

In 2011 I had appendicitis, and while in the ER, a doctor told me I had lots of cysts on my kidneys. He asked me if anyone in my family had polycystic kidney disease. This is the first time I had ever heard of this disease, and the fact that I had this problem was news to me.

At the time I was more concerned with my current problem of appendicitis, so I pushed the kidney news to the back of my brain.

Eventually I discovered that I had high blood pressure, and that the kidneys regulated that. Since my kidneys were becoming saturated with cysts, what hope did I have of fixing my BP? I began taking Lisinopril. I also learned that my form of kidney disease was incurable. This was depressing to say the least.

The news explained why I’d never been able to achieve that “hourglass figure” many women long for. My waistline was always too big. Kidneys grow to huge sizes because of these cysts, which expands our mid-section. No amount of exercise or effort will help. I am destined to look pregnant for the rest of my life.

And if that isn’t bad enough, my kidneys could eventually fail. This means dialysis or even death. You can’t live without functioning kidneys.

I decided not to give up and began searching for more information about CKD and PKD. There was no hope out there. The PKD website raised money had sponsored “walks for the cure”. They have dietary guidelines and lots of info about how to deal with the disease, but offer no hope for actual help. So, for me, and millions of others I suspect, all we could do was wait for a pill to make us better. And of course we are supposed to go to a doctor and dietician and monitor ourselves for worsening.

But today while searching around once again for the food I should avoid, I came across this page with the title, “Reversing Polycystic Kidney Disease“. Reversing?? I gobbled up that page and my smile must have been a mile wide by the time I finished. I fell instantly in love with the two men who discovered this and offered me hope. And that hope for help did not come in the form of a pill, but in diet and fasting. Two things I could easily do.

Starting tomorrow.