Happy Monday, friends! If you’ve been following along on my Instagram stories the past week, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been talking a lot about the keto diet. Keto is the hottest thing in weight loss right now, and I’ve been getting a lot of questions asking my opinion on whether or not it’s worth a try. You might think, as the denouncer of ALL diets, that I would say, NO! No keto! But actually, I don’t view keto as a diet at all. When done the right way, keto can be used as a total reset for your body’s metabolism, and a tool you can rely on for a weight loss boost if and when you need it in the future.
Much like The Whole30, if you tried to do keto forever, it would eventually start to feel restrictive and unsustainable. Most people do a strict Whole30 reset once, then integrate the main principles into a less rigid lifestyle called the Food Freedom phase. Keto can work the same way, but the benefits, in my opinion, are greater than Whole30, especially if you're trying to lose weight. While it's perfectly healthy to be on keto long term, for 99 percent of people it's just not necessary. Even so, most people are surprised to find they can sustain keto longer than they thought. I’ll talk about why that’s true later in the post, plus I have an exciting announcement, so make sure you read to the end!
For now, let’s back up and talk about how confusing it can be to figure out the best way to eat period. I constantly get asked, “What should I eat?” With so much conflicting information out there, that’s not surprising! I really feel for the average person who doesn’t have the time or interest to dig into this type of information or keep up with the latest research, much less be able to figure out what it means for them. Every day a new health guru is saying something different and it can be so hard to know who to trust or what to believe.
For that reason, I wanted to share the books that have helped shaped my views on food. These books cut through the confusion and make complicated nutrition information easy to understand and apply to your life. The authors are just a few of my own trusted sources for all things health and nutrition. Each book shares a perspective that has changed the way I eat and live for the better, and I think they will for you too!
THE NEW PRIMAL BLUEPRINT - REPROGRAM YOUR GENES FOR EFFORTLESS WEIGHT LOSS, VIBRANT HEALTH, AND BOUNDLESS ENERGY by Mark Sisson.
This is the book that started it all for me. Mark is the OG of ancestral health blogging and the master of putting things into perspective. I read the original Primal Blueprint in 2015 and I’m not saying this to be funny - it pretty much made my head explode. It challenged everything I thought I knew about food and I realized pretty quickly why so many of my efforts were failing. It was, for me, revolutionary.
Not only did everything in the book make SO MUCH SENSE, the wisdom of Mark's 10 Primal Blueprint Laws resonated on a deep level. I wasn't eating enough, sleeping enough, relaxing enough, and I was definitely over-exercising. It was the first time I felt like someone was telling me, "Hey, you can relax. It doesn't have to be this hard."
I finally began to understand why none of my diets had never worked longer than a few weeks. I began understanding the difference between weight loss and fat loss. I had never considered how the food I was eating was working for or against my hormones. I had no idea I was "addicted" to sugar or carbs or how amazing I'd feel once I wasn't. I immediately started implementing an 80/20 lifestyle instead of blowing an entire week of clean eating for a cheat day. After years of not really wanting to believe that gluten was affecting my health, Mark finally convinced me to go without it for 30 days, just to see what happened. The results were major. My recurring headaches and crazy joint pain in my left knee disappeared in just a few weeks. I believe in this way of eating so much, I became a Certified Primal Blueprint Health Coach and use the principles in Mark's books as the basis of my weight loss philosophy. You can’t fail on the Primal Blueprint, plain and simple.
BODY LOVE - LIVE IN BALANCE, WEIGH WHAT YOU WANT, AND FREE YOURSELF FROM FOOD DRAMA FOREVER by Kelly LeVeque.
I first heard about Kelly on the Lewis Howes Podcast and immediately fell in love with her science based, but very chill approach to weight loss. She’s a celebrity health coach based in L.A. and has coached everyone from Chelsea Handler to Brene Brown! She’s a must-follow on Instagram and her book is an absolute must-read!
To be honest, I originally bought Body Love for the Fab Four Smoothie recipes. HELLO - flavors like Mint Chip, Snickerdoodle, and Lemon Cookie? I was drooling flipping through the pages at Barnes and Noble and that book couldn’t come home with me fast enough! I was already well into my coaching practice and was pretty sure I knew basically everything there was to know about how to eat. In other words, I wasn’t buying the book for advice. But I was surprised to learn just how much Kelly’s Fab Four plan aligned with my own philosophy. Her knowledge and gift for making complicated, sciencey stuff easy to understand gave me a new perspective yet again. I constantly find myself referring back to it’s pages, telling people to buy it, and making her smoothies almost every day!
Body Love will help you understand things like why you have such crazy cravings, mood swings, and energy crashes. She explains why balancing blood sugar and insulin levels is so important, how to eat to turn off your hunger hormones - something I am such a proponent of and teach all of my clients! - and how to really tune into your body to know when it’s time to stop eating. The best coaches know there's got to be wiggle room to live your life and enjoy a guilty pleasure from time to time. It's ALL about teaching our clients how to make empowered choices that don't involve regret. Kelly is all about that kind of balance, and that’s why I love her.
FOOD: WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I EAT? THE NO NONSENSE GUIDE TO ACHIEVING OPTIMAL WEIGHT AND LIFELONG HEALTH by Dr. Mark Hyman.
Like I said earlier - knowing what to eat can be absolutely mystifying. One minute something's bad for us, the next minute it’s the next super food! Eggs, coffee, chocolate, wine...I could go on and on, but you get the point. It’s part of the reason we jump from diet to diet, stress out over every bite we take, and obsess over our plates.
Dr. Hyman calls this kind of confusion “nutrition whiplash”, and it's so true. The book is simple and straightforward, based on the latest science as well as his 35 years in the nutrition space. The chapters cover absolutely EVERYTHING - meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, seafood, vegetables, fruits, fats, oils, beans, grains, nuts and seeds, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and beverages. He breaks down what to eat and what to avoid and he also tells you straight-up what we still don’t know for sure. Gotta love that kind of honesty. He shifts the focus back to eating real, whole food, instead of following the latest trend and I promise, you will have way more confidence and clarity about what food's you should and shouldn't be eating after you read this book!
THE KETO RESET DIET - REBOOT YOUR METABOLISM IN 21 DAYS AND BURN FAT FOREVER by Mark Sisson with Brad Kearns.
Every book I’ve recommended to you so far has a common thread - each teaches you a way of eating that switches your metabolism from a sugar-burning metabolism to one that uses fat for fuel instead. This is called being “fat-adapted” and it will change your life.
After years of misinformation and bad science surrounding fat, we finally know the truth. What actually drives weight gain is insulin - our fat storage hormone. Not fat itself.
If you’re like me, you probably grew up in the 90’s low-fat era. You were told fat was bad, caused high cholesterol, weight gain, and clogged your arteries. Your mom and dad likely rode this train hard. Cheerios for breakfast, cottage cheese and fruit for lunch, and boiled chicken for dinner. No butter, no salt. BLAH!
Eating low-fat and watching your calories was just the name of the game back then. It’s all we knew. For me, it meant big bowls of pasta and soda - hey, it was all fat-free! And yet I wondered why I couldn’t lose a dang pound. The low-fat recommendations of that past few decades have resulted in Americans becoming overly dependent on carbs and sugar - or carb-dependent. When you eat low-fat, you almost immediately eat high-carb with lots of added sugar. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this has been a disaster for our collective health. But old habits and beliefs die hard.
When you eat a diet high in processed carbohydrates, you spike your blood sugar, slow down your metabolism and this roller-coaster is the real cause of weight gain. It’s inflammatory and causes all kinds of metabolic dysfunction and disease. Riding this miserable insulin wave all day will leave you constantly hungry, crashing, and searching for your next snack. BUT - when FAT is your body’s main fuel source, it speeds up your metabolism and allows your body to burn its own fat for energy.. Because fat doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin, there are no big waves. Energy wise, you feel more like you're floating down a steady river instead of being thrown up and down and back again. Being fat-adapted, your body uses the fat that you eat, as well as the fat that is already on your body for fuel. It’s a win, win. Body fat can fall off without much effort or hunger, without cravings or energy crashes, and without counting calories or working out like a crazy person. In other words, it’s pretty awesome.
You can learn how to become fat-adapted by reading and implementing the advice of ANY of the three books I’ve recommended so far - and without going all the way keto. You'll still lose weight, gain energy, and experience many of the benefits that come with getting off the blood sugar roller-coaster. Keto, however, takes fat adaptation and the benefits that go along with it to the next level.
So what exactly is keto, anyway? Here's a very basic explanation...
Keto is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb eating pattern. After a few days to a week of eating this way, a fourth energy source is thrown into the mix - ketones! Ketones are produced in the liver as a result of the body breaking down fat for energy. So now, not only are you fat-adapted, you’re keto-adapted!
Becoming keto-adapted virtually eliminates hunger but the benefits go way, WAY beyond weight loss. Keto has been around for decades, as a therapeutic method for people suffering from epilepsy and different types of brain trauma. It was never intended to be used for weight loss, but what they found was that it not only helped people lose weight, it slowed aging, lowered inflammation, and was an immunity builder. These are all reasons why I can wholeheartedly throw my support behind keto and truly believe everyone should try a full reset at least once. Like I said at the beginning of this post, keto doesn't have to be a forever thing.
Going Keto for just SIX WEEKS, as outlined in The Keto Reset Diet, can completely change your metabolism and make you an efficient fat burner. Beyond six weeks, you can continue on keto or you can transition out, choosing to start adding back in some high-nutrient carbs, fruit, and continue on a more relaxed eating strategy. But you will always have keto as a tool in your back pocket. The Keto Reset diet makes the case for keto both as a lifestyle and/or a 6 week program.
I can personally attest to the benefits of keto, and find myself drifting in and out of ketosis on a regular basis. This basically means some days I might feel like having a huge bowl of fruit salad because my body is craving it, or even a slice of pizza, and that's totally cool. The next day I may eat no carbs but tons of veggies, and slip right back into keto. I can do this because I've become an efficient fat and ketone burner.
How the book works: The Keto Reset Diet takes you through a three week “beginner phase” where you slowly start lowering carbs and priming yourself to go full keto. This helps to eliminate what most people experience as “keto flu” which is what happens when you try to go keto cold turkey. Going keto is a big shift for your body and you can feel kind of miserable if you don’t do it the right way. This is also why most people quit keto before ever actually getting into ketosis or reaping all the amazing benefits. It’s a process you should take slowly!
After the three weeks, you do a full six weeks of ketogenic eating. This might sound crazy, but at this point you will already have started to lose weight, feel better, have more energy, and you will be happy to continue on. You may still experience a touch of the keto flu and a dip in energy but it passes quickly. Once you’re in full blown ketosis, you’ll start to understand why everyone raves about it. The mental clarity is insane, your energy levels are through the roof, your mood is up, AND you’re not hungry - I promise the fat loss will seem like just an added bonus. I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t felt awesome after a few weeks on keto.
If you still want more information, another book I’ve found helpful is Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan of Keto Karma on Instagram. Suzanne lost over 100 pounds on keto and her recipes are the bomb. Maria Emmerich is another great source for keto info, and her cookbooks are amazing too. I have Keto Comfort Foods and I just ordered her Keto Restaurant Favorites after flipping through it at a friends house. The Keto Reset Instant Pot Cookbook has been my go-to, but I’m excited to switch it up!
And there ya have it! My four books that will change the way you think about food forever, plus a few bonus cookbooks ;)
Okay, now for that announcement I was talking about!
Yesterday on Instagram I gauged interest about a keto kickstart program of sorts. (I'm sure keto kickstart is copyrighted somewhere so don't count on that being the name!) Anyway - the response BLEW ME AWAY! I got over 100 DM's and tons of votes saying a big, fat YES! So, that being said, I want to help you commit to keto!
If you missed the story, I explained the a little bit how it would work, but I'm still ironing out details!
The program will be held in 2 phases in a private Facebook group and start on Monday, August 13. The first phase will be a 3 week commitment where you slowly and thoughtfully transition from being a sugar-burner to a fat-burner. I will teach you the basics of eating for blood sugar balance and burning fat for fuel. Not only will the group support be powerful, but you'll have my constant support and I'll be there to answer any questions and troubleshoot if need be along the way. Best part? It's going to be totally free!
The second phase of the program will be six weeks and start Monday, September 3. The cost will be $99 and I'll coach you through a full keto reset. We will be done mid-October - just in time for the holiday craziness to start!
I'm working on a sign up page and will let everyone know how to sign up as soon as it's ready! Look out for that next week. :)
My entire philosophy and motivation behind what I do is based on the belief that everyone deserves to feel happy and healthy and live with abundant energy. And I believe that starts with FOOD. Real, whole, healthy food. If keto isn't your *thing*, you're pregnant or nursing, or you can't do keto for health reasons, I’m confident the first three books I’ve recommended will help you understand food and your body better, without the “help” of a crazy restrictive diet plan that doesn’t work long term. I want you to be able to learn from the best and find what works for your own unique circumstances and each book provides endless options for you to customize your own healthy way of eating you can live with forever.
As always, I’m here to help! Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments, shoot me an email, or DM me on Instagram!
Have a great week, friends!
*Disclosure: some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. At no cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. :)