Today I’m sharing a guest post from my fat-loving friend Kezia Hall (we’re even planning on creating merchandise to cement our love for healthy, dietary fat!) Kezia runs an online health coaching practice that utilises both nutritional science and a more functional medicine approach and often dives deep into both the biochemical and emotional elements of healing and health…..and eating!
Kezia is sharing her story on how she transitioned from a low fat diet to a high fat diet and how it impacted her healing, health and hormones. If you missed my post last week, Kezia has also revealed her day on a plate as many of you on Instagram ask how much fat is enough so I’m super grateful for Kezia for sharing her daily routine with us all. Check out Kezia’s, mine and my friends Jenna from Raw Rhubarb and Georgie from Greens of The Stone Age’s ‘Day On A Plate’ here.
How I went from low fat lady to high fat fiend
From a gal who at one point devoured only fat-free yogurts and used fake spray oil to scramble an egg and measured out 1/2 tsp of olive oil to ‘drizzle’ over my salads, my current way of eating is pretty different.
I don’t track what I eat daily as I find it unhelpful, but in general I am eating about 2100 kcal a day and about 60-70% is coming from fat. From ghee, organic sausages, coconut oil, MCT oil, cocoa butter, butter, salmon, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, coconut milk….did I mention butter?
And it tastes SO damn good.
But here is the low down of how this low fat lady because a fat-full fiend.
Its been a slow progression for me over the years. Having health issues since being a child I slowly came to this ‘food is medicine’ thing after my digestion, hormones and mental health was suffering. I ditched wheat, dairy, then gluten, refined sugar and started to eat lots of veggies and real whole foods.
High fat low carb diet and nutritional ketosis
But my deep dive into full fat didn’t happen overnight. The current ketogenic way of eating has been more a of a gradual progression and it began back in 2013 when I started the Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet. Technically this is not classed as a ketogenic diet, but is very low carb and high fat. I ditched all grained at this point and followed this approach for about a year. And in hindsight, I think I would have been in a state of nutritional ketosis during this diet and was naturally cycling in more carbohydrates as and when needed.
Fast forward to this year, and after uncovering some underlying infections and health issues I decided to intentionally follow a high fat low carb approach, aiming to use nutritional ketosis to support my health and healing.
Also as a research and nutrition geek completing my MSc in nutritional science, I just kept on coming across more and more research about the awesome impact a high fat low carb diet can have on the body. From cancer to epilepsy, to PCOS, to diabetes and so much more, it seemed to be a worth exploring.
Now bear in mind prior to this I pretty much ate a paleo-ish diet, which is naturally lower in carbs and higher in fat and had done A LOT of work on my digestion, meaning my poops were good and periods where relatively balanced and happy. So if all this is new to you, a paleo-ish way of eating can be a great place to start.
This year I discovered I had a gut infections, poor mitochondrial functioning, a parasite and a few other things going on (I discovered this via an organic acids and stool test). I also suspected I had some thyroid issues (still under investigation but I feel like I do) and adrenal dysfunction which found out through salvia testing (also known as adrenal fatigue but really is Hypothalamic Pituitary Axis -HPA – dysregulation).
Otherwise known as a hot mess 😉
So why choose a high fat diet approach?
I knew from research and study that being in nutritional ketosis is a super healing state to be in – it can really help regulate blood sugar which I suspected was out of balance for me still (and guys blood sugar regulation is a BIG DEAL – its one of the first things I work on with my clients) – can be fabulous for cognitive ability and focus – I struggle with brain fog – mean your body can be adaptable and burn both glucose and ketones for energy – I want to live till I am 120 free of degenerative diseases and this style of eating seems to be the best approach
That is not to say this is the ‘perfect’ way to eat. I had some reservations and if it something you are considering you do need to bear in mind some of the following:
- Adrenal and thyroid issues may require more carbs. I knew I had adrenal and thyroid issues and there is some debate on if low carb helps with these conditions due to inherent blood sugar dysregulation of adrenal fatigue and the thyroids need for glucose to convert hormones. (That doesn’t mean you have an excuse to binge on pizza, bread and pasta at every meal! Choose acne-friendly gentle carbs like potatoes, carrots and squash to feed your adrenals instead!)
- Fat metabolism. This style of eating only works through gluconeogensis, meaning your body ability to metabolism energy, in form of ATP, from non glucose substances – fat and protein. If you fat metabolism is under performing, which is the case for me and many of my one to one clients, then this can be an issue as it means you struggle to produce enough energy from fat. (I use a great lab test call ONE test or organic acids test to figure this out)
- Candida overgrowth. If you have confirmed candida issues then eating in a ketogenic way is not ideal as the ketone produced for energy in the body can actually feed the overgrown yeast. A lower carb, sugar free paleo ish diet is a better approach if you know you have a yeast overgrowth problem.
- Infections. Diet, no matter what it is, alone won’t deal with parasite or bacterial overgrowth (like SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). You need the correct supplement protocol too to help the body heal.
So it was a gamble for me. I don’t have the typical ‘I ate high fat low carb and now feel amazing’ story, due to the thyroid and adrenal issues but I know I LOVE this way of eating and am figuring the rest out as I go.
And before I go any further this is really about you listening to your body. There is a lots of ‘should’ and ‘have to’s’ in the ketogenic lifestyle worlds. ‘You HAVE to eat less than 30g carbs’ or ‘You have to blend butter in your coffee’. But really you don’t and you get to set the rules and listen to your body in it.
High fat low carb diet is about listening to your body
For me I have learnt after eating under 50g carbohydrates a day for about 6 weeks that I need to eat more than that to feel good (probably due to poor fat metabolism). So now I aim for at least one serving of fruit a day and maybe some sweet potato too if I have been exercising. I am also experimenting with eating more carbs to see how I feel.
Amazingly I have noticed a HUGE difference in my blood sugar. I now no longer get very hungry/hangry or the sensation is very different. My energy is slowly becoming more sustained and it makes me realise how out of balance my blood sugar was.
I also love eating this way – did I mention that ? 🙂 Eating real whole fats just feels really good for my body. It means sugar cravings disappear and you finally ditch the food obsession. Its honestly the most freeing ways of eating I have ever done.
Seriously, it’s so freeing to be off the hungry train all the time!
Also I am slowly seeing my body heal, its a slow process and I am still getting to the bottom of it. More days of energy and to be honest like all things health, its all about finding what works for you. I work with clients some of which thrive on a higher fat diet and others who struggle due to genetic or metabolic issues. So its really about figuring out what works for you.
For me, the fat phobia is long gone! I know that I will always have a minimum of 50% of my daily intake come from fat because its just makes sense from a research stand point and a ‘I like tasty food’ stand point.
Want to know more about a high fat diet?
If you would like to get a FREE high fat, whole food meal plan from Kezia to get your started then simply click the link below to get one sent straight to you inbox!
If you have any questions about Kezia’s healing journey or the best ways to start increasing your fat intake, then pop your question in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,