Please bear with us, as we are unbearably enthusiastic when it comes to ketogenic eating. We find that a ketogenic diet is superior to any other way of eating that we have tried so far. There are quite a number of reasons for this, and we’ll expand on them in future posts. Here, we give a rough outline and discuss some of the benefits in relation to leading a minimalist life.
One of the obvious keto-benefits that attract a lot of people, is that reaching and sustaining an ideal weight – whatever that means to you in terms of putting on, or losing, a few kilos – is relatively easy. But there is more to it. The biggest pull for us personally, is that keto food makes us feel focused, energetic and satisfied throughout the day, without any energy dips between meals. Another unexpected, but pleasant surprise, is that we’ve noticed considerable improvements to skin- and hair quality. Particularly Kristoffer, who used to have a bit of a vampire-ish reaction to the sun, can now spend hours and hours outdoors in southern Spain mid day without worry – and without expensive and sticky sun screen products. Another common experience for keto-eaters is the reduction, or even elimination, of menstrual cramps and hormone-related mood swings, which is true in Emmie’s case. In addition, the food is easy to cook and tastes great. It’s a no fuss way of eating that is highly compatible with our ambition to lead a minimalist life.
Simply put, ketogenic eating means that most – at least 75 percent – of your caloric intake comes from fat. You eat almost no carbohydrates and only moderate, but sufficient, amounts of protein. Most vegetables growing above ground can be eaten freely, while vegetables growing underground, legumes and fruit need to be avoided or restricted to a minimum, since they contain too many carbohydrates. A ketogenic diet, then, consists of leafy greens, kale and other low carb vegetables, clean and high quality protein such as eggs, beef, chicken and fish, and generous amounts of butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, olive oil and other kinds of saturated and unrefined fats. Margarine, sunflower oil, maize oil and most other low quality vegetable oils are not included in the diet, since they can increase inflammation in the body.
If you want to learn more about the nooks and crannies of keto, we recommend that you read up on research, meal plans, recipes and the like on this website. Before trying it yourself, please read the section on who should and shouldn’t do this.
So, why is ketogenic eating and minimalism a match made in heaven? Let us answer this question by describing an average day in the mountains of Spain. We wake up at sunrise – or when the roosters of Gaucín decide we’ve had enough sleep – and eat breakfast consisting of three eggs each, scrambled in an alarming amount of butter. After that, we head for the great outdoors, bringing nothing with us but a few litres of tap water. We then spend up to six hours hiking the lush hillsides of Serranía de Ronda, enjoying the scenery and each others company.
When we get back from hiking around two o’clock, we dive into the pool and bask in the sun until our powers are restored. Then, we cook lunch. It may be as late as three or four in the afternoon, but despite having exhausted ourselves in the rough terrain, that’s fine. If your body runs on fat instead of carbs, going without food for extended periods of time is quite effortless. You won’t get hangry and light-headed due to your insulin levels going bananas. If you don’t disturb you system by adding sugar into it, you won’t require a constant flow of carbs to stay afloat. Instead, you’ll run steadily on your body fat reserves, putting them to good use while stabilising your hormone levels and metabolism. This is true in the mountains of Spain as well as at your day job, while commuting or after a workout. Effortlessly running on your body fat reserves makes perfect sense, since it’s highly unlikely that we would have survived as a species if a few hours without a snack would have sent our predessesors into despair. Imagine them going “No, sorry, I absolutely will not hunt that buffalo down until I get my pre-workout energy bar with branched chain amino acids and guarana extract!”.
In regard to our strive towards a no fuss, minimalist lifestyle, keto-eating means that we don’t have to plan, shop for and prepare snacks for our hikes. Neither, do we have to pack them and carry them with us. Once we reluctantly get back to civilisation, there is no bag to unpack and no plastic containers to wash up. Being keto, then, lets us spend our time and energy doing what we really want instead of being stuck inside due to tedious preparations. Of course, this logic also applies to a number of situations in everyday life where bringing or buying meals or snacks is expensive or cumbersome. What would it mean for your economy and health if you never had to get emergency chocolate bars, hot dogs or energy drinks to make it through until the next meal?