Last week I went on a 4 day Grand Canyon river rafting trip. It was really cool. I went to spend some time with my dad who was doing a Night Photography workshop – I didn’t have nearly as good of a camera as the other photographers, plus it was the first time I was actually shooting milky way photos instead of just holding the lights. I still got a few really cool shots:
If you want to kill some time there’s a photo album of all the various photos and videos I took. I also had a GoPro strapped to my chest taking a photo every 10 seconds that I later correlated with the GPS tracks. There are 3200 photos between album 1, and album 2. It’s a bit easier to watch as a hyperlapse video.
Going into all this I was worried about what I would be able to eat. I put on the sign-up form in the dietary restrictions section that I was on an “Atkins diet” (meh, it’s easier to explain than Keto and essentially I’m just continually doing the induction phase of Atkins, so whatever). The reply I got was:
Thank you for sharing your dietary restriction of “Atkins diet” with us. Please review our menu below which does have many options that should fit your dietary needs. Feel free to bring additional food items to supplement if needed. When bringing supplemental items you will want to ensure that it would not require any special preparation or use of our cooking facilities. Due to the demands on the guides they are not able to accommodate special requests.
OK, I can understand that. I looked over the menu and decided I would make whatever was available work. Worst case scenario I would just do intermittent fasting: eat when keto food is available and skip eating when it’s not. My dad (also doing keto) brought along a few cartons of Trader Joe’s shelf-stable whipping cream so we could make Keto Chow on the river. Here’s how it went down:
Day 1: Keto Chow for Breakfast. I had another one ready for lunch and decided to drink it early (at like 10) so I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping it cold. Lunch at the ranch was meat and cheese for sandwiches. I didn’t know what dinner was going to be so I ate some meat on a cheese sandwich. There was a guy named Leon from Australia that saw me eating it and asked if I was doing Keto or something… wait, what? Yeah, he had been doing keto for a few months but had stopped for their trip. I tell you: the day is fast approaching where I won’t have to explain my way of eating! Dinner that night was a bunch of carbs plus some roast beef grown there on the ranch. Only had salt and pepper, so I ate some of that too.
Day 2: Bacon, eggs, and carbage for breakfast, I had the bacon and eggs =) Lunch was on the river and was tuna salad cones (which I later adapted for my own use). I piled up some tuna and mayo onto cheese. The funny thing was others in the group were starting to copy us and skip the bread: “If they can eat the center of the sandwich then so can I!” Dinner was spaghetti and garlic bread. There was really nothing I could eat so my dad and I split a carton of whipping cream and had Keto Chow for dinner. Two of the guides are sisters and their mom was put on a ketogenic diet by her doctor so they knew what was up. They said their mom had a hard time finding keto food and sticking with the diet – I happen to have something that helps with that =).
Day 3: Bacon, eggs, and carbage for breakfast, I had the bacon and eggs =) Meat and cheese for lunch again (mostly cheese), more people skipping the bread. Dinner was steak and shrimp (plus some other stuff I didn’t care about).
Day 4: Big sausages, eggs, and carbage for breakfast, I had the sausage and eggs =) Lunch was a sandwich in the bus back to Las Vegas (I gave away the brownie, chips and got an extra mayo packet for my cheese and meat).
I felt like I was doing rather well sticking to my diet. I had been overdoing it on the protein a bit but I was still keeping the carbs down probably between 20-50g (yes that’s wide margin). BUT my electrolytes were getting low. I started to really feel it on the morning of the 4th day. An abnormally high requirement for Magnesium runs in my family and I had only brought 4 Magnesium Malate pills. My normal diet of Keto Chow for most meals makes that more than sufficient but that morning I was starting to feel cramps in my thighs, calves and other large muscles. I also had a headache growing and was feeling pretty tired. I had planned a bit ahead and brought along a bag of “Real Salt” that had some potassium chloride mixed in as well – I mixed about 2 teaspoons of that into some tepid water I had in my bottle and drank it. It was way saltier than I normally like but it REALLY tasted good: yep I was definitively low on salt. A few minutes later I felt just fine.
Day 0 of the trip, as we rounded a corner and saw Las Vegas off in the distance, I realized I was in Dave Feldman’s home turf. It was too late to hang out with him that night but we arranged to meet up after returning to civilization. We ended up at a Jason’s Deli having a very early dinner. Dave was doing another of his n=1 experiments on himself so his food was… uncharacteristic =) I’ll not spoil the surprise when he reveals his next results. Suffice it to say that he normally eats 3000 calories/day to maintain his weight and was currently gaining weight on 2000 calories/day because he was eating differently. He is sharing some advance info about his experiments over on his Patreon page though. I will report that Dave took photos of all his food so I didn’t get the $100 bounty prize for anybody that catches him not taking a photo before he eats.
Dave has gotten a lot of unjustified criticism from lipidologists (who, frankly, should have been the ones making the discoveries he is finding but they have too much invested in the current model to admit to being so terribly wrong). He is absurdly methodical with the way he does his testing and not only tracks, but takes a freaking picture of what he eats AND a picture of anything he doesn’t finish too – just in case there’s a potential question about his methods. He also declares his hypothesis PUBLICLY before doing a test instead of crafting the narrative to fit the results he likes.
Anyhow, it was a really fun conversation and totally worth the detour.
I tried to find some magnesium supplement pills when we stopped in Mesquite, but all of them were magnesium oxide. Effectively worthless as the least bioavailable form of magnesium. I dosed up on Magnesium at 2 A.M. when I got home and felt just dandy when I woke up 3 hours later to get the kids ready for school (my awesome wife left for the Kansas City Low Carb conference while I was on my way home).