I Tried KETO (for cancer) And Here is What Happened
My Opinion of the Keto Diet
After putting it to the test
There is a lot of talk of Keto, and some are sick of even hearing the word anymore. I was curious about the idea, thinking it was just another low carb diet. The more research I did, the more it intrigued me. As a cancer survivor, one of the best things I can do for my anxiety of cancer returning, is finding positive things I can do for my health. So I am very interested in what foods I should and should not be eating.
I have a lot of other health issues as well, and was wondering if Keto would be better or worse for them. I asked my Endocrinologist if there is any special diet I should consider to help with my very uncomfortable and serious thyroid issues. He said “It doesn’t matter what you eat.” Okay, from my own research I knew that is not true. So I dropped him and got a different doctor. The new doctor confirmed that a low carb type diet could be better, specifically dropping wheat and gluten completely. Mayo Clinic agreed with her so I did just that. I noticed within 6 weeks that my symptoms (which at one time I was hospitalized for) decreased dramatically.
I have had friends try the Keto diet, and within 3 days to a month, they all quit because the didn't notice any difference to their health or weight. When I asked them in more detail what they ate each day, I found that they were not on Keto at all, more like a lower carb diet. One of my friends was not even on a low carb diet. She ate the way she normally did, toast for breakfast etc, and just added a “Keto Approved” energy bar every day. To do Keto, to really do it, takes research, planning and discipline. You will have to know exactly what foods you can eat, and in what ratio.
Benefits I personally noticed while on the strict Keto diet:
Blood Sugar - This is probably one of the most important improvements to my health. Just before I started Keto, I went to my Doctor and got full bloodwork done. He alerted me right away that my A1C was really bad and I needed to do something immediately. Although I was shocked to hear this, fortunately I already had a plan. He told me that even if I drastically changed my habits, it would still take months to correct but that I should start right away with a diet change. I started Keto the very next day. In 6 weeks, I went back and had my A1C checked again. Can you guess what happened? It was back to normal, healthy levels! That was enough proof for me. But wait, there was more…
Energy - Although most people think of Keto as a “diet” and relate that to denying yourself, and having low energy, Keto is quite the opposite. I am never hungry and I have the most energy while eating this way.
Skin - My skin started feeling very soft. The small skin issues I had started cleaning up.
Hair - My hair started growing much faster as well as my nails. I went from trimming my nails monthly, to weekly.
Menstrual Cycle - The cramps I had during my monthly cycle would not subside with over the counter pain relievers. I was getting to the point that I needed prescription medication to handle the pain. I also had excessing bleeding. After the first 30 days on Keto, these issues both mellowed considerably. After 3 months, I rarely needed to take any pain relievers. The bleeding went from being afraid to go outside to feeling free and light! That alone will keep me on Keto.
Sleep - I have always had a hard time sleeping through the night. While on Keto, I was tired and night, and refreshed in the morning. I sleep through the night without tossing and turning.
Clear Thinking - As I mentioned before I have other health issues, some of which cause fogginess and scattered thinking. I notice my thinking is clear and sharp while I’m keto’ing.
So what is a Keto diet?
Keto is a very low carb diet, with emphasis on eating healthy fats - something that was definitely missing from my low carb eating in the past. Basically you will be drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Your body responds by becoming incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones, which can supply energy for the brain. In the beginning you will be focusing on Macros, and will be very strict in what you eat and the amounts. You will be counting fats, carbs and fiber. Once you get the hang of it, and know how your body responds, you will easily be able to stay on Keto without much effort. You will start to love eating this way, because of how it will make you feel. You will probably have more energy and strength they you have felt before. Do your research through reliable channels to make sure you are doing it correctly and check with your doctor to get started.
As you can see, I have very strong feelings about the Keto Diet. I have a friend who is also now a breast cancer survivor. She was told by her Oncologist that what you eat doesn't really matter either. It was only when she exhausted all chemo options, that her new oncologist suggested the Keto diet. Why don't they suggest that first? I will let you decide. She has recovered from stage 3 or 4, cancer free, and she attributes this to the Ketogenic way of eating. She was terminal. Since cancer feeds on glucose (blood sugar), wouldn’t reducing that glucose effectively starve the cancer? It is something to consider. One of the cancer tests is a glucose test, and the cancer “lights up” during the test, I am told. I consider Keto my insurance policy against future issues.
Doing this one thing gives me so much more peace of mind, and helps me have some way to fight back, for the rest of my life.