Ketogenic Soylent

/Ketogenic Soylent

The Nuclear Option: Ketogenic soylent.

This entry is part 2 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

I started consuming People Chow back in January 2014 for a variety of reasons, but primarily to lose weight. Initially it did an excellent job of doing just that with around 14 pounds going away over about a month. The main reason for the loss was I was exceptionally good about only eating People Chow with maybe 100-200 calories of other stuff a week. Unfortunately I didn’t continue losing weight because I got lax in my adherence to People Chow only. I did do a fairly good job of maintaining my weight for the next several months with a sharp uptick more recently due to a bunch of parties. I had been planning on trying a Ketogenic diet for some time and the imminent Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas trifecta of overeating seemed like a good time to start.

The last year in review

The last year in review

It’s pretty easy to see where I started People Chow, where I failed utterly to lose weight in mid-October (thanks Dreamforce parties) and where I started Ketogenic soylent. The most fun was one day when I weighed 4.2 lbs less than the day before (yes, that would be water).

Last Month

Just up-to and the start of Ketogenic soylent

I’m going to do a series of posts about my experience thus far with Ketogenic soylent, Ketosis and other factors. Let me clarify one thing though: doing a ketogenic diet, using soylent or regular “muggle” food is kinda a big deal and not something you can or should do willy-nilly. If you go for ketosis, you’re going to run into “ketosis flu” which feels a lot like having the flu. It’s a difficult diet to maintain with all of society blissfully chowing down on sugar and carbs. Let me put this into perspective: if you’ve heard about Atkins, South Beach or any other carbohydrate restrictive diet: those are modified Ketogenic diets (though they emphasize protein too much). The closest thing I’ve had to candy for the last 2 weeks was a single raisin that I ate without thinking.

Anyhow, be ready for some Ketogenic diet, ketosis and ketone information; whether you want it or not!

 

By | November 4th, 2014|Soylent, Weight Loss|1 Comment

Ketogenic Diet, what is it?

This entry is part 3 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

So yesterday I posted about starting Ketogenic soylent, I thought I’d take a little time to explain what that is and what’s going on. DISCLAIMER: This post will contain some generalizations to simplify things, if you want to do real actual research you’ll want more specifics elsewhere.

The cells in your body like glucose. A LOT. Given a choice between glucose and other energy sources, your cells will say “come back when you’re glucose and we’ll talk.” You get glucose from sugars, starches; in general: from carbohydrates. If your body has glucose to burn, it’s going to use that first (for the most part). If your body *doesn’t* have glucose to burn, it’s going to need a different fuel source. It can break down muscle that’s not being used into glucose, it can also process fatty acids into “Ketone Bodies” that your mitochondria can use for fuel.

Burning fatty acids as fuel through varied levels of ketosis is really the only way to lose excess fat since it doesn’t magically turn into glucose. Apparently normal people will naturally switch into a mild ketogenic state while they’re sleeping and the supply of glucose is low, then they eat breakfast and it goes away. One other place you see ketosis happening, though not in a good way, is with Diabetes. Without the right amount of insulin to help with the glucose, your body freaks out and goes into ketosis overdrive. While a ketogenic diet aims for 0.5-3 millimolar of ketone bodies in your blood, uncontrolled ketosis ends up as ketoacidosis in the 15+ range. At high levels, the slightly acidic ketones pose a significant problem, lowering the pH of your blood, damaging tissue and de-mineralizing bones. Not a good thing. I bought some ketone test strips off Amazon so I could check my levels.

The crucial element to a Ketogenic Diet is to give your body as few carbohydrates as possible, like less than 30 grams a day (which should be around 120 calories). Instead, you feed your body enough protein so that it’s happy and not tearing apart your muscles for fuel, and… a lot of fats and oils. Sounds like the Atkins diet because the Atkins diet is a modified ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic Diets have been around for a long time, but using it for weight loss is relatively new. Personally, I first heard about it in 2009 as a potential treatment for seizures if my son continued to not respond to anti-consultants (which he responded just fine and has been seizure free for 5+ years). A myriad of studies have shown outstanding results with ketogenic diets for the treatment of seizures, it’s just *really* hard to do with traditional food and involves an awful lot of heavy cream.

Anyhow, there’s a little about the diet. You can read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketosis and the links that come off it.

By | November 5th, 2014|Soylent, Weight Loss|4 Comments

My Experience so far with Ketogenic soylent (2 weeks)

This entry is part 4 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

Well, I’ve been doing ketogenic soylent for 2 weeks now, sounds like time to write down my experience so far. I looked at various recipes and QuidNYC Ketofood seemed to be the most popular, was fairly simple, and didn’t sound horrible. I noticed that there was an “Induction Phase” variant with mostly the same ingredients and both used stuff I already had (Potassium Citrate, Choline etc…) So I decided to buy the ingredients to make the Induction Phase recipe, and planned on getting the stuff I needed for the “Ongoing” recipe in a week or so.

The Induction Phase DIY soylent is the most awful stuff I have ever tasted in my life.

I’m still not sure if it was the Soy Lecithin granules, the Chia seeds, the Psyllium Husk powder or what but I don’t like the flavor at all. By the end of the third day I was experiencing a gag reflex from the smell. At that point I didn’t care how long the induction phase was supposed to be, I was ready to move on (frankly I still don’t know how long it’s supposed to be) so I ordered the Coconut Flour, Raw Cocoa and other ingredients that would move me over to the ongoing recipe. I ended up on the induction formula for 7.5 days. There are a few things to note: One of the key components of most ketogenic diets is MCT oil. This stuff is crazy expensive and isn’t something most people are ready for in the quantities specified in the induction recipe. It’s Medium Chain Triglyceride oil and it’s made from Coconut Oil but is liquid even when refrigerated. MCT can more easily be turned into ketones and it will get you into ketosis quicker and more effectively than using any other oil. Did I mention it’s expensive? It is and it’s something you can’t swap out for something else, like MOAR canola or olive oil.

If I was going to start ketosis again I would skip the induction recipe and go straight for the ongoing one.

Since I didn’t have a control group I can’t say definitively what was caused just by going into ketosis and what was caused by the nasty experience of hating what I was drinking. I can say that a commonly known side effect of ketosis is the “ketogenic flu” where going into ketosis will make a person exhibit flu-like symptoms. I started on a 4 day weekend and am exceptionally happy that I did. Another common side effect is constipation, I apparently bucked the trend and went the other way (likely thanks to the oil is my guess). Took about a week to get into the <5 on the Bristol Scale (and I’m done with this subject now).

OK, so the induction recipe and experience was awful, how’s the ongoing… going?

The change in the recipe flavor was massive. I have no way to describe the induction one, the ongoing is overwhelmingly coconut, chocolate and cinnamon (in that order). I added a tiny amount of stevia to help the taste be less bitter (raw cocoa FTW!) and it now tastes an awful lot like a “Mounds” bar (Almond Joy without the almond) that somehow got the sugar taken out and was put through a blender. If I don’t swallow it directly I end up with a mouth full of coconut that’s entertaining to chew for a bit; I usually swallow it directly though.

How long am I planning on continuing this madness? For a while. I’m down 13 lbs in these 2 weeks and it’ll be “fun” to keep it up during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

By | November 6th, 2014|Soylent, Weight Loss|3 Comments

Preparing Ketofood

This entry is part 5 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

So I’m doing ketogenic DIY soylent right now (the “nuclear option” for losing weight, as I like to call it). There’s info about ketosis in a previous post and info about how bad the “induction phase” recipe is in a different post (the “ongoing” one I’m using now is WAY better and quite tasty).

I’ve talked about some of the issues with doing ketogenic DIY before, one thing I didn’t cover much was how expensive it is. If you want to buy the stuff to start outright and don’t have any of the ingredients already it’s over $300 unless you can find smaller packages. The daily cost is around $5.50, which is quite a bit more than People Chow which is around $3.50.

What about preparing the stuff?

When I started on this I was dismayed that the official recipe doesn’t list how much water you need to mix it with(!), so I’ve had to wing it and come up with my own preparation methods.

700g of coconut flour for a week's worth

700g of coconut flour for a week’s worth, banana for scale

I’m using roughly the same mixing method that I still use for mixing up People Chow (I mix for others, the masa smells really good when you can’t eat carbs): a big giant Utz cheese puffs container with ingredients for a weeks worth.

That's a LOT of Chia seeds (pre-grinding)

That’s a LOT of Chia seeds (pre-grinding)

Unlike many other seeds, chia seeds are supposed to be just fine if eaten whole (you body can digest the hull). That said, you apparently don’t get the right Omega-3’s unless they are ground. So I bought a small coffee/spice grinder (cheapest I could find on Amazon with OK reviews) and run them through in batches grinding up the seeds. Another good reason to grind the seeds is so when the seeds soak up the water and form a gel (seriously, Google “chia gel”) it will be in smaller bits. Combine with the lecithin and you want it in small bits.

Ketofood all mixed up

Ketofood all mixed up

There’s really a lot of cocoa powder in the recipe too. Coupled with the coconut and a 1/2 teaspoon of pure stevia that I added and you get that “mounds” flavor I mentioned in an earlier post. The black flecks are ground chia.

MCT and Canola oils, plus my super handy measuring pump

One of the pillars of a ketogenic diet is the fat/oil. This recipe calls for 39.4ml of oils per meal which is 24 pumps of my newer, larger (hand lotion) measuring pump I got from Wal-Mart for $2. I just measure the weekly amount of MCT oil and Canola oil and pour both into an empty canola oil bottle I had. That gets put into my measuring pump as the pump gets low.

I found that I need to let the ketofood sit for a few hours for best consistency so I’m trying to mix it up the night before:

  1. Grab 3 blender bottles and remove the mixing ball or mixing screen or whatever
  2. Zero out my 0.1g scale and measure 81.4g of mixed powder into each one
  3. Put 24 pumps of the oil I previously mixed onto the powder
  4. Fill up the blender bottles about 3/4 of the way with water
  5. Mix it up really well with an immersion blender (I got this one from Walmart)
  6. Stick it in the fridge for tomorrow

I guess a progress update is in order:

2014-11-08 weight

 

By the way, did you know that even if you don’t have a Withings scale you can freely run their app, manually enter your weight from a different scale and get the cool graphs? It’s much less convenient and doesn’t have the other measurements their scale does but it will send weight data to other fitness apps like Up, Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal, Fitbit and others so you only have to enter data once. They also offer exceptionally easy CSV import and export of your data which is why my log goes back to 2006.

By | November 7th, 2014|Soylent, Weight Loss|4 Comments

Ketogenic update: don’t eat carbohydrates

This entry is part 6 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

Ok, so this is fairly obvious, talking about a ketogenic diet where you have to keep all carbohydrates below 30g/day, but you should not decide “hey, I’ve had a good 2 1/2 week run, I’ll go out to dinner with my wife to Texas Roadhouse and get the Cactus Blossom and some grilled chicken and I’ll be fine” I say that because that’s what I did. Here, you can see the bars at the far left where I was on a more regular diet, and the spike on Friday:

carbs

My progress up to this point was steady and beautiful; based on some research I had done, I figured that if I did eat some carbs Friday at dinner, I should be able to get rid of them by:

  1. Doing a crazy workout Saturday morning (the elliptical usually says I burned 850 calories). Your muscles should blow through glucose with aplomb.
  2. Not eating anything at all until Lunch on Saturday to further get it going.

Yeah, I did that and my progress completely stopped. I checked my ketone levels on Saturday and Sunday and it didn’t even register. Today I finally got up to 1.5 (goal is around 1.5-3). One other major problem is: it’s far easier to do something 100% than 99%. Since Friday, sticking to just ketofood has been far more difficult. I’m guessing my brain’s going to take about a week to cut it out and be quiet. So now I’m doubling down and am re-committed to just ketofood. Let’s see how it goes.

By | November 11th, 2014|Soylent, Weight Loss|0 Comments

Ketosis – the “cheat”; Raspberry Ketones are useless

This entry is part 7 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

So first off I’d like to change my description of a Ketogenic diet. I have been referring to it as “The Nuclear Option” since it’s sort of a last-ditch final effort to lose weight. Over on a reddit thread there was a great write up about how when you force your body into ketosis, you are deliberately creating a (non-fatal) deficiency in a (mostly) essential nutrient: carbohydrates (glucose). Yep, that’s exactly it. Our bodies have the ability to run on carbohydrates, amino acids and fatty acids; essentially we’ll take anything we can get so as to not starve.

Ultimately any time you lose weight it simply comes down to your body using/burning more energy than you recently consumed so it’s forced to use reserves. You have some glucose reserves in your liver and muscles, protein that can be broken down into glucose in your liver; and you have fat. Some cells burn fat just fine, most would rather use glucose. Traditional weight loss (just less calories) works because as you have a calorie deficit, your body will eventually convert stored fat into energy. Some will be made into glucose via Gluconeogenesis, some will be made into ketone “bodies”. Specifically forcing your body into a state where it is mostly doing the ketones is the cheat.

the_code_by_decibel_design-d4c34gt

Ketogenic Diet: the Konami Code for your belly

Here’s how I normally play a video game: I’ll start it out normal, playing along, collecting ammo and dying every once in a while. After a few days of 1-2 hours playing in the time I can get, I’ll start to notice that I need to concentrate on other stuff (kids, wife, yard, etc…) so I’ll find the cheat codes, give myself all the weapons, ammo, health, the ability to fly and walk through walls; all the good stuff. Then I plow through the rest of the game and I’m done. I think Unreal Tournament 2004 was one of the few that I did (and still do! Onslaught FTW!!) play normally.

Ketosis/ketogenic diets as a biological cheat? Absolutely. Is it something I’m planning on doing forever? Probably not as strict, but more on that in just a bit. Is it difficult to not eat pizza when lunch at work is from The Pie? It was brutal. Will being on a ketogenic diet teach me to eat better after I go off it? …

UPDATE Feb 18, 2015: Initially I didn’t think it would be a lasting change, reexamining this after a few months on Keto I think I have changed my eating habits permanently. If I ever get down to the point that I’m happy with my weight and am super skinny I guess I can lay off being such a stickler on ketosis and eat a few carbs on select occasions. The new recipe that I’m using (Keto Chow) is better tasting than People Chow ever was, I’m not going back. I see no reason NOT to continue on Keto Chow unless something even better comes along. END UPDATE.

One other fun aspect of ketone bodies is they are water soluble. If your body produces too much for you to use, they do not get re-converted back into fat; instead they are excreted from the body. along with coming out in urine, they can also come out in sweat and even respiration. In really high concentrations (undiagnosed diabetes, for example) the amount coming out through respiration cam give the person “acetone breath” which is usually described as “fruity”.

 

Well, that was fun, now let’s talk about “Raspberry Ketones”. Raspberry ketones are all the rage right now for weight loss. A while ago I ordered potassium citrate from bulksupplements.com and they offered to send a 100g packet of anything they sold if I would review it on Amazon. I had already gotten the stevia, MSM (for kicks, you should be getting all the sulfur you need if you have the right amino acids balance), and they didn’t have pure caffeine that I could give to my brother-in-law as a Christmas present; so I had them send me some raspberry ketone powder. I figured “ketogenic diet, raspberry ketones? why not!” After mixing some into a week of ketofood I actually did some research and found out more about raspberry ketones.

  • There is nothing to actually, for realsies, indicate they help with weight loss in humans
  • They don’t come from actual raspberries (unless it’s crazy expensive and even then there’s no way to know)
  • For all intents and purposes, “raspberry ketones” is just “artificial raspberry flavoring” but new and fancy somehow
  • It will give a marked raspberry flavor to stuff, I don’t like it in my ketofood

I can’t find the original source, but there’s a great write-up about why NOW doesn’t do anything with raspberry ketones. So my official recommendation: don’t bother with it. I really (really) don’t like the additional flavor even though I like raspberries; and it’s not even going to actually do anything for you.

By | November 13th, 2014|Keto Chow, Soylent, Weight Loss|0 Comments

Exercise whilst in ketosis, don’t drink it too fast

This entry is part 8 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

I read a really interesting paper that gave some background on Inuit hunters and keto diets. One very interesting thing that stuck out near the end was the length of time required to adapt to ketosis and its effect exercise. The paper pegs the time needed to adapt to 2-3 or even 3-4 weeks. I have noticed a significant difference in how difficult it is to do my standard Elliptical routine in the morning now that I’m doing ketosis. The program has two spikes of resistance that just about wipe me out every time now. A month ago (normal diet) I didn’t notice it being so hard. Conversely, it’s about the same to do my running program. Anyhow, here’s to hoping it gets easier to do aerobic activity. The paper I linked at the beginning has a really good rundown on the history of ketogenic diets. If you’re at all interested, I’d recommend reading it. Along with the stuff about exercise I also learned that I need more sodium and potassium in my diet for happy ketosis, I’ll fix that in my next batch; until then I’ll just eat some pepperoni.

 

One other “experience” thing I wanted to relate: Ketofood is pretty intese stuff with a lot of nutrients in a tight space. It’s not a good idea to chug it down in a few minutes and be done. With People Chow I had no problem at all with doing exactly that and I have to remind myself that if I don’t slow down and take at least a half hour or so eating my food I’m going to be sorry.

Eating ketofood too fast makes my intestines hurt. I’m saying intestines instead of stomach because it’s far lower (belly-button area). Slowing down to drink my ketofood goes in line with other admonitions to drink it slowly so I’ll feel more full.

By | November 14th, 2014|Soylent, Weight Loss|0 Comments

Video – Mixing up Ketofood, some more details about getting started with keto

This entry is part 9 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

Somebody asked me about the recipe that I’m using for ketosis. It’s the same as QuidNYCs for ongoing ketosis but with Canola oil instead of Olive, mostly because I have issues with the smell/flavor of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you can see it here. The first tab is more of a general overview, you can get down to the nitty-gritty in the “Recipe Editor” tab including omega ratios and other specifics.

Along with that, yesterday I recorded a video of me mixing up a week of Ketofood. Normally it doesn’t take this long but I was ‘splainin’ stuff and taking my sweet time to do it (plus grinding those chia seeds is a pain).

So, there you go. Ideally it only takes me 15 minutes or so to mix up a batch. It’s not rocket science and really it’s easier than baking a cake from scratch: you just weigh stuff and stick it into a big container, then you measure oil.

Final thought: I was asked how quickly I got into ketosis. I started by using the QuidNYC induction phase recipe but I didn’t like it at all and jumped to the “ongoing” after 1 week. I didn’t get the Ketone test strips ($14 for 200 FTW!) I’m using until I was well into my second week so I can’t tell you exactly when I entered ketosis but I was feeling the dreaded ketosis flu by the 3rd day. By the time I got the test strips on Halloween (ordered on the 27th) and tested myself it was showing a level between 4 and 8.

By | November 16th, 2014|Preparation, Soylent, Weight Loss|0 Comments

1 month in 3 days doing Ketosis – Time for an update.

This entry is part 10 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

I had a crazy huge lunch of pizza on October 22nd, that night I tried the “induction” recipe for the first time and then went full-bore the next day on Thursday, October 23, 2014. I’m expecting to hit at least 16 lbs down at the month mark and I’m gunning for 18. Today I took a drill to my belt and added a couple new holes so my pants won’t fall down.

new belt loop

Since I have the data, here is the last year of my weight. TMI, I know. I’ve labeled notable changes in the trend with what was going on at the time.

Last year of weight data, click to "em-biggen"

Last year of weight data, click to “em-biggen”

By | November 18th, 2014|Soylent, Weight Loss|0 Comments

I’ll give shipping Ketofood a shot

This entry is part 11 of 152 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

So I was asked if I am shipping Ketofood. My stance up until now was that I wouldn’t and mainly because of the logistics of getting the oil to people. MCT oil is a rather specialized product that’s very difficult to find away from the Interwebs. MCT oil is also a critical component of ketosis. It gets you into ketosis quicker, helps you maintain ketosis and is very expensive.

We talked back and forth about some stuff and I asked him if he would prefer a more expensive option that included the oil or cheaper powder without the oil. His response was something I actually hadn’t considered. He said he was looking for a low-carb option but wasn’t “hell bent” on ketosis.

Duh.

Including the oil is more convenient for the end user. It’s all there, no additional stuff is required (except some way to measure the oil). Not including the oil opens up additional options for your own customization (you want MCT+Olive? MCT+Canola? Skip the MCT and go straight canola?). It also reduces complexity and even reduces cost: the Oil is shipped once to you by amazon or whatever instead of coming to me and getting repackaged and shipped.

So this actually sounds viable. What do you think? let me know.

 

Oh, and I added https to the site for all pages. Secure server, YAY!

By | November 18th, 2014|Soylent|4 Comments