Cheat Meals and Ketosis: How to Enjoy La Vida Low Carb
This may come as a surprise to many people who read, watch and listen to our content, but I don’t believe in dieting. Dieting describes something temporary and unsustainable. People go on diets for short periods of time to reach a goal, but they tend to drop any nutritional improvements they’ve made once they’ve lost their requisite number of pounds or inches.
One thing that I really try to instill into the clients I work with and the students who take our courses is that a nutritional regimen should be anything by temporary. Quite to the contrary, your nutrition and exercise program should feed into your greater life’s goals. It shouldn’t just help you lose bodyfat. It should make you happier, healthier, and more capable of doing everything you want to do. I also don’t believe in depriving anyone of foods they enjoy for the rest of their lives. The key, with anything, is moderation. Flexibility is always key, and with the holidays coming up, I know that there’s a lot of foods that I’m going to want to enjoy.
With this being said, you might ask “Awesome Chris, but then why the hell are you always talking about ketosis and restricting carbohydrates? And why do you practice intermittent fasting?”
For those of you who might be new to my content, here’s what this question refers to: on most days, I restrict myself to eating under 100 grams of carbohydrate a day on days when I’m resting. On these days, my carbohydrates come from 9 cups of green leafy vegetables, nuts, and some berries. On days when I train, I keep my carb intake to under 150 grams of carbohydrate, and I get the extra carbs normally from either sweet potatoes or a bit of white rice eaten toward the end of the day when my glycogen is already depleted. All of my meals are generally eaten between 2PM and 10PM, and I do not drink anything but water and apple cider vinegar until between 10AM and 11AM when I have my steaming hot cup of black coffee at least two hours after I’ve done my workout for the day.
A typical day’s eating looks like this:
Upon wake up: Glass of water with 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1030 AM – Black Coffee
2:00 PM – 4 cups of green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard, romaine) piled high on a plate, with 6 brazil nuts, 1/2 tbspn hemp seeds, a handful of pumpkin seeds, and a can of tuna, 4-6oz of grassfed beef, or 4oz of liver pate. I use Primal Kitchen’s Avocado Oil Italian Dressing on this salad. After this, I will drink a serving of kegenix exogenous ketones.
6:00 PM – 1 FBOMB Macadamia nut and coconut butter fuel pack and a small salad with another little bit of Primal Kitchen dressing.
9:00 PM – Whatever I cook for dinner. It’s usually a meat and vegetable based stew or stir fry. I try to have grass fed beef liver at least once per week. I also cook a lot of roasted vegetables including kale, fennel, squash, cabbage, cauliflower, and I always include another plate sized salad minus the nuts for dinner. As I said earlier, on days that I train, I will generally include some white rice or sweet potatoes for some extra carbs. As my glycogen is sufficiently depleted, I generally do not experience problems with getting kicked out of ketosis when I do this.
Now, I’m sure that this sounds pretty strict to you, but I’ll also tell you that I cheat quite a bit. Yes, a couple of times per week, I will have a couple of servings of Halo ice cream (which isn’t really a cheat because it’s generally under 240 calories a pint).
The real benefit to my way of eating is the flexibility it gives me when I find myself in a situation where I’m really going to want to cheat – like the holidays. If I know I’m headed for a big family meal or to a special dinner, I’ll make sure I work out that day and I’ll eat whatever I want – Turkey, stuffing, candied yams, manicotti, lasagna, ham, apple pie, cheesecake, or whatever we’re blessed to have in front of us for that meal.
I’ll even go for the occasional junk food binge at In N Out and order a triple patty three by three. The best part of it is that I get to enjoy these foods a lot more because I’m not eating them every single day and I don’t worry about them ruining my goals because I know I’ll be right back on the regimen the next day. The only time I will avoid these things intensely is if I’m experiencing a colitis flare up, in which case I really don’t want to eat them anyway.
Do I get kicked out of ketosis? Yes, absolutely. But because I’ve been fat adapted for so long, I really don’t have any problems getting right back into it.
And here’s the biggest factor: I love the low carb lifestyle. I love the cognitive clarity, mental sharpness, and physical endurance benefits that ketosis brings to my day to day and honestly, I love most keto friendly foods. Had I been eating any other way, I would not be able to enjoy holidays and special occasions like I do now.
I’m always hearing about how ketosis and intermittent fasting are unsustainable and unnatural. People tell me I’m depriving myself. I think that’s really funny because what’s unnatural for a human is to have an endless supply of sugar and calories at your disposal. We did not evolve with fully stocked refrigerators. I can’t think of a time in years when I didn’t eat something I truly wanted to eat, and I can’t think of a time when I ate something I really didn’t want. Is this the strict archaic version of the ketogenic diet? Hell no. Am I experiencing all the fat burning and lifestyle benefits of ketosis in a sustainable way that keeps me healthy and happy? Hell yes.
I’m also not encouraging you to cheat all the time. Cheating everyday will send you into a weight gain and health spiral. Additionally, there are enough keto friendly foods, including desserts, out there that you will hardly ever need to cheat if you don’t want to. You can check out our newsletter at https://newsletter.warriorsoulketocamp.com if you want a few. I am, however, telling you that you should live and that enjoying yourself every once in a while will lead to more sustainable diet practices.
So if you’re interested in learning how to do the ketogenic diet the right way, check out Warrior Soul Keto Camp at www.warriorsoulketocamp.com/.