My Strict Keto Diet Is Helping Me Through This
‘In the anxiety of this moment, I deeply appreciate the calm and resilience I’ve found since changing the way I eat.’
Normally, having an article of mine tweeted by Bernie Sanders would have been all I could talk about. But on the day it happened, my doctor told me something that made the career high pale in comparison: “I’ve never had any patient stay on a low-carb diet this long.”
That was six months ago; I’ve now passed the two-year mark as a strict adherent of the ketogenic diet. Originally used as a treatment for epilepsy, keto (as it’s commonly known) involves cutting out virtually all carbohydrates and instead eating a moderate-protein, high-fat diet so that your metabolism flips from burning carbohydrates to burning fat as its primary source of energy. And although it has required storing a daunting volume of bacon and beef in our pandemic prep freezer, the Covid-19 crisis has made me appreciate keto more than ever.
In the anxiety of this moment, I deeply appreciate the calm and resilience I’ve found since changing the way I eat.
What started as a weight loss practice has become much more about wellness. Even more than it’s transformed my waistline, keto has transformed my mental health — and in the anxiety of this moment, I deeply appreciate the calm and resilience I’ve found since changing the way I eat.
This shift began in March 2018, when I committed to limiting my carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day. That’s equivalent to four carrots (I haven’t eaten a carrot in two years), two peaches (I had half a peach one day last summer with very careful planning), or half a slice of challah (I recently had a tiny bite of my kid’s homemade challah, and it was pretty much the most delicious thing I’ve tasted this decade).
Sounds like a crazy way to eat? From an evolutionary point of view, it’s perfectly normal for our bodies to regularly go into ketosis, aka starvation. “Imagine living on the plains of Africa,” says Dr. Rif El-Mallakh, director of the University of Louisville’s Mood Disorders Research Program. “In real nature, before agriculture, food is hard to…