Looking back on my health and fitness journey, I remember my beginnings in 2017. I started bodybuilding and was eating a typical ‘fitness diet’, which normally included rice, potatoes, chicken, some vegetables and low fat dairy products.
I soon switched to a diet consisting mainly of high protein foods, low fat products, and sugar substitutes. But along the way, I explored and researched different diets and learned how different foods can affect our body. After reading books, academic studies and articles, I decided to go paleo.
The Paleo Diet
This is one of the most natural diets because it only allows unprocessed food. This diet eliminates wheat, dairy products, beans and legumes, corn, sugar and sugar substitutes, and all processed foods.
I connected with many other people who were following this diet on Instagram. The paleo way of eating opened up a whole new world to me. I could enjoy whole, unprocessed foods, fresh fruit and vegetables, but I completely cut out wheat, dairy, sugar substitutes and high protein artificial snacks.
While I was on the paleo diet, I felt better than I had on the previous diet, where I’d been consuming a lot of ‘fake’ foods.
My Bodybuilding Phase on Paleo
In 2018, I achieved my best physique while competing in different bodybuilding competitions. During this period, I was eating a high protein diet with a moderate amount of fat, and almost no carbs.
My physique, mental clarity and overall well-being improved week by week. It was at this stage that I realised that we don’t need to eat as much food or carbohydrates as we think.
Photoshoot after my first competition (Photo: Laura Bahmann)
‘Healthy diet’ myths debunked
In the fitness industry, there are a lot of myths around what constitutes ‘a healthy diet‘.
After my bodybuilding competitions, I increased my intake of carbohydrates and other foods I had eliminated during the bodybuilding diet.
The months that followed were terrible.
After a while, I experienced changes in my gut health. I felt bad whenever I ate certain kinds of food. Most days I felt like crap. I suffered from bloating, cramps and gut issues nearly everyday. My skin was awful and it affected my mood too.
For three years I went through a really challenging time, marked by numerous health issues.
The paleo diet helped me to reduce some of my symptoms. In July 2019, I reached my highest weight of 76kg, after one year of bulking. I maintained this weight till the end of 2019.
February 2020 during the paleo diet, before going keto. Bodyweight = ~ 72kg
Changing my diet
I started to feel wrong in my body and needed to make a change. Since I was young, I’ve always been a really athletic person. As a child I was outside everyday, did a lot of different sports and loved being active.
So for me, it was disconcerting seeing my body with this physique. I researched a lot about different fat loss diets. From my bodybuilding prep, I knew that cutting carbs would be helpful.
I got in contact with Love Life Supplements and read many blog posts about the ketogenic diet. After a long time spent researching, reading studies and articles and the positive encouragement from the Love Life Supplements team, I decided to try the ketogenic diet.
The keto diet
On 20.04.2020, I started my keto journey. Coming from a moderate carb but very low fat diet, it was completely different to my previous way of eating.
The baseline of my new keto diet was organic lean meat, organic ground beef, eggs, vegetables, avocado, olive oil, nuts, MCT oil and powder, collagen and primal one protein powder. I didn’t eat any dairy, as I am lactose intolerant.
My keto meals with MCT Oil
Calculating and Monitoring my Macronutrient Ratio
I read a lot about macro calculation. I used a macro calculator for athletes , which took into account my fat loss goals, my weight and my height. Based on my research, I know that the ketogenic diet focuses on a macronutrient ratio of ~ 65% fat, 30% protein and 5% carbohydrates .
To hit these targets, I used the FDDB tracking app to make sure that I wasn’t eating too much protein and too little fat. Because this is what I’d been doing throughout my fitness journey up to this point.
In the following picture you can see my macro ratio on a training day.
My macro ratio: Fat (red) ~60g; Protein (green): 30-40g; Carbs (yellow): ~5g
Using MCT oil as my daily fuel
On a typical training day, I used MCT oil as my fuel. Before working out, I would be sure to eat a meal containing a moderate amount of protein (~30g of protein per meal) and a high quantity of fat.
I ate leaner cuts of meat and used MCT oil as a high quality fat source, instead of eating fatty cuts of meat. The benefits of using MCT oil is that it gives a long-lasting boost to your energy levels (with no insulin peaks) and can help enhance performance when working out.
This proved to be true, as my workouts were improving. I didn’t experience any decrease in strength or low energy levels. I felt strong and had constant energy throughout my workouts.
My daily meals on keto
My typical day consisted of 4 small meals, starting with breakfast after my fasted cardio.
I switched between sweet and savoury breakfasts.
‘Keto Oatmeal’: my sweet keto breakfast
My sweet breakfast consisted of:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- coconut flakes
- nuts or nut butter
- Coconut MCT powder
- Primal One
I mixed all these ingredients together in a pot to make a kind of ‘keto oatmeal’ (but without the oats).
My savoury keto breakfast
On other days, when I was craving something savoury, I would eat:
- lean ground beef
- MCT Oil
- macadamia nuts
Pre workout keto meal
The next meal was the pre workout meal. Typically, I’d eat:
- an easily digestible meat source like chicken
- MCT oil
- cooked vegetables
Post workout keto shake and meal
After my workout I used the Primal One Chocolate protein powder as my post workout shake to boost my protein levels fast.
45-60 minutes later I’d eat a high protein meal to get even more protein into my body, but this time with lower fat content. This is because fat slows down the absorption of protein into the body.
Before bedtime (around 3 hours before I go to sleep) I would eat another meal, typically consisting of eggs and nut butter.
Carb refeeds on the keto diet
Because I didn‘t experience any decrease in performance, I limited my carb intake completely. However, carb refeeds or eating carbs around your workouts is recommended if you feel like your performance is being negatively affected, or if you feel lethargic.
My diet on non-training days
I learned that our bodies don’t need as much food as we think. I ate less on non-training days than on training days because I didn’t need that much energy.
I decreased my protein intake on non-training days. My meals were the same, but with less protein and more fat.
My macro ratio on non-training days was: 70% fat, 25% protein, 5% carbs (from vegetables).
The importance of electrolyte supplementation
The important thing I realised was including the right supplementation, especially electrolytes. Some people feel the negative side effects of the ketogenic diet (such as feeling lethargic) because of an electrolyte deficiency.
If you are an active person, you need to focus on hydration and electrolytes. My mornings always started with a fasted cardio workout. When I woke up, I drank a minimum of 500ml to hydrate myself after a long sleep. I would add a little bit of pink Himalayan salt to the water to get minerals.
My electrolyte shake
After my fasted cardio, I make an ‘electrolyte shake’ consisting of:
- Essential Amino Acids
Research the keto diet before getting started
To experience the full benefits of a ketogenic diet, I recommend reading up on how you can get the most out of it. In my opinion, it’s really beneficial to start learning about it weeks or months before you plan to start. That way you’re not jumping in at the deep end.
For me, having a good knowledge of the keto diet before starting was really helpful in helping me to avoid negative side effects. Here's some reading material I recommend:
Mark's Daily Apple blog by Mark Sisson
Diet Doctor blog
Keto Clarity book by Jimmy Moore and Eric C Westman
The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino
The Carnivore Diet by Shawn Baker
The impact of the keto diet on my health
Some of my health issues improved by eating a high fat diet. In particular, my energy levels increased, my skin improved, I felt energised and overall really good.
Since I was 10 years old I’ve suffered from severe asthma and seasonal allergies. This year my symptoms were worse than ever before, and I know that many diseases can be helped by eating the right diet.
The effect of eating processed keto foods during lockdown
During the Covid-19 lockdown, I used the time at home to research how I can improve my health and my symptoms.
My health had definitely improved on the ketogenic diet, so I decided that I would continue with this way of eating, but with some changes. There’s a big variety of food sources you can use in a ketogenic diet, so I started experimenting and getting creative, making keto cakes, sweets and other ketogenic treats. But unfortunately, my gut developed some issues again.
The main disadvantage of the keto diet
Sometimes I stopped eating only natural unprocessed foods and ate other processed keto products. It’s very easy to buy keto snacks, treats and replacement products, and in my opinion, this is one of the main negatives of a ketogenic diet.
It’s too easy to switch to a ‘dirty’ keto diet, where you eat unhealthy and processed foods.
I wasn’t feeling great after experimenting with these changes to my keto diet, so I decided to go back to a completely natural way of eating.
Shifting to a keto carnivore diet
First, I eliminated all inflammatory foods like nuts, avocado and eggs from my daily meals. I read a lot of studies and articles about the carnivore diet, which some people believe has healing qualities. I decided to give it a try.
My current diet is based on organic grass fed meat, organ meat, collagen and eggs. I went from eating 4-5 meals a day to just 2 meals a day.
I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full.
Typically, my day starts with my mineral drink (water + pink Himalayan salt) immediately after waking up, and a coffee with collagen powder.
Using collagen powder has had really surprising benefits; my nails are stronger, my hair is thicker, and the pain in my joints is completely gone.
Every day I have my morning coffee with collagen powder
After my morning fasted cardio, I eat my first meal of the day after a 16-18-hour fast.
Meal 1 mostly consists of organic lean ground beef and eggs.
In between meals, I work, go outside and work out.
Meal 2 is in the afternoon at 4-5pm.
For this second meal (the bigger one of the two), my food options include organic beef and oily salmon.
I stopped tracking my macronutrient intake
Since I’ve been following the keto carnivore diet, I no longer count or keep track of my macronutrient intake. This is something completely new to me, because this was something I had done since the beginning of my fitness journey.
For me this definitely feels like a new kind of freedom.
I went through a strict elimination phase for 30 days, but now I’m slowly reintroducing some things, such as MCT powder, MCT oil and Primal One, in the near future, avocado too.
Primal One post workout shake and pre workout coffee with Coconut MCT Powder
Keto Carnivore Diet Verdict
What can I say… going keto was definitely the best decision ever. My asthma and allergies have improved so much. My physique is getting better week by week. Since last summer I’ve lost 12kg (~26.4lbs ). Now I feel so amazing, and my mood, mental clarity and energy levels have all improved.
Anyone with chronic diseases, health issues or gut problems may like to give the keto diet a try.
For me, it was a life-changing decision.
I’m so happy on the keto carnivore diet and I’m looking forward to what happens next. Because I’ve only been doing the keto and carnivore diet for two months, I’m curious to see what other benefits I get from this way of eating.
Until next time!
My physique in mid June at around -64kg
Do you have any questions about supplements you can take on a keto diet? Reach out to our team and we’ll be more than happy to help.
Remember: it is advisable to consult your doctor before making drastic changes to your eating habits, especially if you have existing health problems.