We are going to go there today. There’s been some comments recently that have prompted this post. These comments span multiple outlets – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and here. Right upfront, this isn’t a bitch session or whining, I want to clarify a few things as I understand – especially in the current state of the “keto world” – that things are not always what they seem and it can be confusing and misleading without the whole story. I’ve been agonizing over this topic for a while, rewriting it in my head over and over, I want to get it right. I hope I do.
This isn’t my job. This isn’t my income. This isn’t something I can spend days and days refining, tweaking, and making “perfect.” It will never be these things. What you get is pretty raw, just like me. Typos, shitty pics, rambling prose, weird hobbit hippy crap, but I will always be authentic.
Let’s start with a quote from one of my favorite songs:
Once I thought the truth was gonna set me free
But now I feel the chains of its responsibility
I will not be a puppet I cannot play it safe
I’ll give myself away with a blind and simple faith
I’m just the same as you I just do the best I can
That’s the only answer…for an ordinary man
The best place is to start at the beginning, so let’s turn the page back to spring 2011. This whole journey didn’t start with me, it started with my better half Karen. We were going through a lot of stuff both individually and as a couple. Changes had to happen. One of them was how we ate. Karen is a researcher by nature. She will find something that interests her and scour all she can on the topic until it (and she) are exhausted. This all started – not by looking for a diet – but because of a corset.
Yup. A corset.
She wanted to do waist training, so down that rabbit hole she went. Along the way, the question popped up of “what happens to the stuff in your middle when you squeeze it?” No, think about it. A corset squeezes your midsection. Stuff that won’t compress will squirt out either end, right? Like squeezing a balloon. She was digging into this topic when she saw a post on one of the boards about the ketogenic diet. She started digging sideways. She found a few blogs on it. There weren’t many back then, less than 2 dozen that were of any use at all. She didn’t just dig into the conventional wisdom that she found, she dug into the science.
Science. It matters.
Me, on the other hand, being a typical hobbit was like “yeh ok, so no more gluten and sugar,” then proceeded to buy GF-everything that was packed with rice and starch. Oops. Nope, I didn’t get it because I hadn’t done the research. RESEARCH. SCIENCE. They MATTER, damnit. This would be a good time to point out that science isn’t foreign to me. I have a Masters in Engineering and a BS in Biology, multiple certifications in Computer Science, and I’m a multi-certified licensed medical practitioner in the State of Maine. Science is kinda my thing. Change is not, lol, so that’s why in the beginning, I was an idiot. I didn’t want to change so I didn’t do the work. Once she started seeing results, well, damn, then I wanted to change. So I did. My thoughts. My eating. My understanding of the science behind nutrition, metabolism, neurology, and the endocrine system. My life.
Most people read one book and stopped. That’s not a criticism, that’s human nature. Look at it this way, if I say “picture a dragon in your mind,” what do you see? Is it the dragon from Snow White of the 30s? The dragon from Dragon Tales of the 80s&90s? Puff the Magic Dragon? Pete’s Dragon? Far East dragon? Is it scary or cute? This is human nature, we read something and typically, the first thing we “learn” is the one that sticks around the longest and is the basis for everything we learn\think\do moving forward (this is why CBT – Cognitive Behavior Therapy works as it “resets” these learned things that might be unhealthy). Many built their lifestyles off these early bloggers or one book. Is that bad? Of course not. Is it complete? Of course not. Is that what we did?
Of course not.
We read all of them. We read thousands of peer-reviewed studies. We read scientific blogs, articles, and posts across the spectrum.
The more I read, the more I realized a couple of things:
- This is real, it works.
- There’s a lot of people out there who could benefit from a well-formed-to-their-needs ketogenic diet and lifestyle.
- There’s a lot of shitty, incomplete, inaccurate, and biased information out there on both sides of the argument.
- There’s blind trust in people that don’t deserve it because they don’t understand – for a variety of reasons – what they are putting out there isn’t correct.
- There was – and still is – a lack of information and recipes for people who on a budget or just want simple, convenient, easy-to-make recipes.
- There’s a lot of people out there who need not only nutritional support, but emotional support, empowerment, and love.
- There’s a blogger that is a licensed nutritionist that has an obvious, untreated eating disorder. There’s a blogger that doesn’t understand how the metabolic process and the circadian rhythm work. There’s a blogger out there that doesn’t know the difference between insulin being high and serum blood sugar being high. There are multiple bloggers out there that say calories don’t matter. There’s multiple sources of really bad information out there.
- There’s fantastic bloggers out there with amazing recipes.
- There’s fantastic bloggers out there with good science.
- There’s very few that do both.
- There’s even less of them that do both, plus empowerment, and easy recipes.
- There’s now over 20 recognized variations of the ketogenic diet. One size does not fit all.
Our approach was different. Our approach was the constant “WHY?”
Fat satiates. Ok, but why?
Carbs in excess can cause multiple health issues. Ok, but why?
Protein is a constant. Ok, but why?
Calories do matter, so does calorie partitioning. Ok, but why?
Gluten is hard to replace in baking. Ok, but why?
Dairy can be an issue. Ok, but why?
I think you get the point. We were not just following one script. We read all of them we could find. We asked “why” until we understood “why.” We used science as a platform. We used the knowledge of how the peer-reviewed system works to our advantage. We looked at addiction from a medical (not moral) perspective. We looked at emotional damage. We looked at the immune system and its responses. We looked. And looked. And looked. We changed this. We tweaked that. We started from scratch. We started from scratch again. And again. We tossed out conventional wisdom, flawed, incomplete, and completely inaccurate science.
Honestly, this blog was never in the vision. How it came about was by accident. There were very few Facebook groups focusing on keto. I got thrown out of most of them for challenging conventional wisdom and bad interpretation of science. I was put off by the “my way or the highway” mentality of most of them. There were hardly any that allowed recipe posts outside of a day or two a week. I’m a hobbit, this lifestyle centers around food, to me, sharing recipes is kind of a big thing. So, along with a few like-minded people we started two groups – one focused just on food and recipe sharing, the other on the science, empowerment, and understanding that we are all different. They have been a success. I’ve since passed the reigns on to others for both groups, they are well-run and still hold onto the core values. To say I’m proud is an understatement.
We were collecting mounds of recipe printouts with notes all over them how we changed them along with ratty notebooks of our own creations. Hobbits are messy :). I looked at different ways to get organized and decided that a simple WordPress site would let me store this stuff long term, be easily accessible, and I could share some of them with friends and family easily. I shared a few of them in the groups. They were well-received. I became friends the Tyo, the Keto Iron Chef. He was quite active in the groups with some amazing cultural recipes, a gift with food science, and a genuinely nice person. As you know, Facebook is more of an instant gratification source than a good place for long-term storage and access. I offered up to Tyo to put his recipes up on here for safe keeping and future reference. That was a game-changer. A few months later, we were asked if we could put together a cookbook, so in the winter of 2015 we released Ketofy Everything. Shortly after the release, typhoon & cyclone season hit the Far East where Tyo lives. He shared the devastation online. That was when it hit me: let’s do more than create recipes, let’s go further and better lives. I pitched to Tyo using any proceeds from the cookbook – which was selling unexpectedly well – for charity. We were already trying to figure out how to split profits between us and the logistics of sending money half way around the globe. This was the perfect answer. Since then, anything and everything that came in – cookbook sales, product sales, affiliate bonuses – all have gone to charity. This will never change. This lead to leveraging science, support, and empowerment into the content. The more you know, the more you know. The better information you have, the better choice you can make. The more you understand that you are not a failure, the more you heal.
I already have two jobs, one as a Sr Systems Administrator and DBA for a software company, the other as a medical provider (volunteer). When the point came in life when something had to give, this was what was dropped. It was a hard decision but I was stretched thin and it was affecting my mental and emotional well-being. Yes, there’s people out there feeding their families doing similar things, that was never my goal. I love what I do here, but I love what I do in my dual careers just as much. I reset, recovered, and came back recently re-energized.
A lot has changed in the past few years in the keto world. When I left there were a few dozen bloggers, now there’s thousands just on Instagram alone. Science is still not the core of a large majority of them. There’s still a lack of wide-spread understanding of treating the entire person, not just what is on the plate. I needed to come back because I wanted to help. I came back because we are still reeling from a global pandemic, people are struggling and suffering. If I can help raise a few bucks to help them, I’m going to do that. I’m promoting this blog, the YouTube channel, and the stores across multiple channels to raise awareness in respect to keto and to raise funds to help those who cannot help themselves. If you can help, I have a bunch of different products that I’m listing in the store, if something catches your eye and you purchase it, thank you. If you can’t, thank you anyway just for being you.
As I bring this to a close, I hope it has been accepted on its face value and not some rant or whine. Just remember, in this world there are some constants:
1) My pictures still suck 🙂
2) I have typos.
3) I believe in you.
4) People all over the world are still suffering. They need help, and that’s what I do. You can help.
5) Obesity is a medical issue, not a moral one.
6) Heal the mind, you heal the body. Heal the body, you heal the mind.
7) Protein is a goal. Fat is not, it’s a throttle.
8) Sugar alcohols are safe, unless they aren’t.
9) Fiber is overrated.
10) Calories matter.
11) Insulin isn’t bad. Insulin resistance is.
12) Keto is a metabolic process, not a food.
13) Keto doesn’t have to be stupid expensive or complex.
14) Science matters.
15) You matter.
16) I still won’t separate goddamn egg whites.
Ask “why.” Learn, then learn some more. Be good to yourself. Believe in yourself. Love yourself. I do.