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What is Ketosis Part 2: Summer Ketogenic Diet

ketogenic meal

With all the great warm weather we’ve been having, many of us are taking part in all the fun activities of summer. In a place like Michigan where there’s more cold days than warm ones during the year, we try to spend as much time outside as we can! A big focus of the summer months is helping those winter bodies shape up…let’s face it, the idea of getting into a bathing suit or even shorts can still be daunting for some even now. If you’re like most people you could use a jump start and one of the best ways to do that is to get into a state of ketosis.

Think of your body as a hybrid car that can burn electricity or gas for fuel. Our bodies are made to use two different fuel sources as well – glucose (sugar) or ketones (fat). Our bodies can only store a finite amount of glucose in the liver and muscle. When you eat glucose your body will use that as its energy source and the fat you eat (or have) will be stored. On the other hand our body can store large amounts of fat. To put it in perspective, a 150 pound person with a 10% body fat has over 60,000 calories of fat storage! The good news is that you can use that fat storage for fuel. When the body does not have glucose for it’s primary source of fuel, it will use ketones or fat, even stored fat for fuel.

Studies show that our bodies thrive when living off ketones (fat) for fuel. For instance, hunger and cravings decrease, fat loss and improvement in body composition, energy levels increase, moods improve, mental clarity and focus is sharper, skin improvements and reduction in inflammation. With summer in full swing some fat loss, increase in energy and “body recomposition” are just the thing for the season.

So you ask, how do I get into ketosis? You can get the body using ketones for fuel through a ketogenic diet, exogenous ketones or a combination of both. Reducing carbohydrate intake, especially processed foods, grains and sugars along with supplementing with exogenous ketones is a great way to jump start that fat loss, body recomposition and even increase muscle mass. You can also practice intermittent fasting to help your body transition to ketones for fuel. I found the following guidelines to be tremendously effective in helping me convert to ketones for fuel and see/feel all the amazing benefits.

  1. Start morning with 15-20 ounces of purified water
  2. Weekdays have exogenous ketone supplement 30 minutes prior to exercise (yoga, weight lifting, walk, bike, hike, cardio class, farm chores – whatever strikes your fancy and gets you moving for at least 20 minutes). On Saturday and Sundays I have a ketogenic breakfast (find a ketogenic website or cookbook for tasty and satisfying recipes ? and I may or may not supplement with exogenous ketones)
  3. If I’ve had a lot of physical activity and get hungry before lunch I will have a “fat bomb” to help me curb that hunger yet stay in ketosis.
  4. Between 12:00-2:00 I have a big, ketogenic or paleo lunch.
  5. Between 6:00-8:00 I have a big, ketogenic or paleo dinner.
  6. I’ll have lots of liquids during the day and may even make a chai or matcha latte with a keto friendly cream.
  7. I try to fast from my last meal to my first meal of the next day.
  8. I also try to limit alcohol and carbohydrates as much as possible, but if I do “cheat” I will supplement with the exogenous ketones to help put me back into ketosis.

You can modify these guidelines to best suit your needs (i.e. eat foods based on blood type or take your exogenous ketones in the afternoon, if that is when you work out, as they will help you get more out of your workout and exercise increases the cognitive benefits of ketones). So get started burning that stored fat for fuel and enjoy the rest of this beautiful season!