Recently, when experimenting with a more intense ketogenic diet, I experienced 9 days of ‘keto-flu’: headaches, disrupted sleep, and low energy being the most noticeable symptoms. My transition to a full-on ketogenic diet was no doubt easier than those who switch from a standard Western diet as I had been following a low-carb, high-fat diet for about seven months. Here are the tips and tricks which helped me to endure the keto-flu!
I ate these during my low-carb, high-fat diet but increased my intake during the first few weeks of strict keto.
- Grass-fed ghee and coconut oil – Adding more of both at each meal helped with low energy.
- Avocados – Avocados are high in potassium, a mineral lost as the body offloads water-weight stored from carbohydrate consumption. My headaches eased after eating avocados or spinach.
- Spinach – Spinach is also high in potassium. Its low-carb content makes it an ideal vegetable to eat whilst keto-adapting.
- Cinnamon – I spiced the majority of my meals with freshly ground Ceylon cinnamon. It can help prevent spikes in blood glucose after eating, click here to read more.
- Water – Upon waking, I drink a litre of water with up to 1½ teaspoons of high quality sea salt / pink Himalayan salt to help relieve taxed adrenals1. I feel far more energetic in the mornings and don’t feel the need for coffee.
- Bone broth – Bone broth replaces my morning coffee. It contains a multitude of easily-absorbed minerals which provide a variety of benefits, from healing the gut to boosting the immune system2 (click here to read more). As electrolytes are lost via excess water-weight in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, bone broth is a great tool to replenish depleted stores. I blend mine with a tablespoon of grass-fed ghee and a tablespoon of MCT oil, equally as delicious as a coffee but more nutritious.
- Magnesium – Magnesium has done wonders for my sleep quality. I had always considered myself a sound sleeper but in retrospect my sleep wasn’t at all restorative. On average, I now experience at least two vivid dreams every night and feel refreshed upon waking.
- Evening Primrose oil – Having suffered from chronic chalazions in the past, which can be caused by dry eyes, I supplement with 2ml Evening Primrose oil daily as the omega-6 fatty acids can ease symptoms. Increase the dosage slowly as too much at once can cause suspect bowel movements, likely due to the prostaglandins.
- MCT oil – During the first nine days there were a couple occasions when I awoke at around 04:00 a.m. feeling incredibly hungry so I had a night-cap of MCT oil before returning to bed. I’m unsure whether this was the optimal protocol as the digestive system is meant to be at rest during sleep but I chose to listen to my body and satiate the hunger with an easily-digested fat.