Keto: It Has What Brains Crave?
Idiocracy by Mike Judge (2005) with David Herman, Anthony "Citric" Campos, Luke Wilson, Sarah Rue, and Brendan Hill starring as US Cabinet Members 500+ years into the future
Disclaimer: This post contains information and opinions from a non-medical professional. Please consult with your own trusted medical and legal practitioners before making any decisions about estate planning, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes for dementia or any other condition. I receive no paid endorsements from any post.
How many of you think that Ketosis means Electrolytes?
Was there, too (until now - here's why methinks it's legit) *All names changed to protect the innocent.
"I'm on Keto. Have you tried Keto? I'm in Ketosis."
Arg! We toss these phrases around like word salad, but, they often sound bogus, pretentious, or both - a bothersome combo to be sure. What to do?
Let me help to show (through ongoing scientific research) why eating more veggies and no sugar puts the body into ketosis and may protect our brains (before reaching an Idiocracy).
In June 2019, before the fresh hell we call COVID-19, my friend *Willow (sorry, but not her real name) invites me to attend a worldwide event in Austin, Texas called: KETOCON [yes, convention - not a con game - promise, but while you're here, go check out the Board Game Geek because their con was supposed to have been in November and is our fave yearly event - stay tuned 2021!] Ketocon shares research and information both from personal and professional Keto practitioners (or, Ketoeaters, as I call 'em as another joyful reference to the Buffyverse) as well as a place for vendors to sample and to sell their latest keto-friendly products (many of which are worthless in my humble O) but will focus here upon memorable lessons and connect these to recent scientific research.
Cavin Balaster, author: Feed a Brain (Ketocon 2019) - Austin, Texas (photo by: Buffy)
One unforgettable true tale heard was from Cavin Balaster who encourages anyone with a chronic health condition to advocate for their own treatment beyond what is often given through current standards of care in health care facilities across the United States. In 2011, he suffered a severe brain injury from a construction site accident and was given only a 10 percent chance to recover after suffering paralyzing injuries including a coma.
Photo by: Cavin Balaster (c. 2011) recovering from a coma & paralysis following an accident.
While in the hospital, he said his mom noticed that the *only* nutrition he was being given through his feeding tube included: "glucose syrup, sugar, milk protein concentrate, vegetable oil...soy protein isolate" so she had an idea: Why not go home and blend fresh veggies (and maybe some meat as I recall?) into his concoction and feed these to her son through his tube, instead? So, she did, and within a few weeks, he began to make significant improvement which he said even the health care providers were flabbergasted to see. Without intending to, Mr. Balaster was living a keto lifestyle thanks to mom. Keto: The Basics
In general, keto has been simplified by many to mean eating more fat (such as butter and bacon) and fewer carbs and sugar (to include fruit and starchy foods); however, I think this approach is misleading based upon recommendations from my own health care provider in own efforts to prevent future dementia. To me, eating keto (or, in a ketogenic way) means taking two actions each day:
Picnik Vendor Adjusts Display at 2019 Ketocon (photo by: Buffy) - Love This Stuff Each AM!
1. intermittent fasting (for me, not eating for at least 16 hours after 7:00 pm because this works for me - keep in mind that someone with Type 1 diabetes would NEVER do this and most people would eat within 12 hours). Yep, the science is still out on any actual benefit but am taking my chances because I feel better when I do this and my brain feels less foggy. Also, I have no scientific basis for this claim WHATSOEVER but I felt nauseous yesterday after eating sweet food (orange peel chicken) and never had any problems before except now it's been more than a month since eating this much sugar with one meal if you don't count two hot fudge sundaes, one trip for a chicken finger basket with Texas toast, and a chocolate dipped cone. Oh, how I love you, too, DQ! By the way, did I mention that Keto is difficult?
Sidenote: I adore coffee with Picnik each morning (no paid endorsements here - promise - and had never heard of them until Ketocon 2019) but now it's sold at Costco - hooray for MCT oil rather than heavy cream which has more saturated fat which could lead to higher bad cholesterol; and
2. eating more plants, less red meat, more SMASH fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, or halibut) and NO sugar including artificial sweeteners or starchy including all processed foods (bread, milk, cereal, pasta, wheat, grains, etc.) as well as most fruit (with some exceptions - in general, berries are better than bananas due to their overall sugar content and antioxidant benefits). Basically, if it's from a package rather than grown in the ground then don't eat it (and, especially if you don't know whether the food has any herbicides or pesticides)! Keto: Sounds impossible to do, right?
Well, yes; and, most impossible because millions across the globe have food scarcity. In short, if you can't get healthy food (or any food) then how can you possibly begin to consider eating keto (or in other healthy ways)? Also, eating healthier might be more expensive (but am having a hard time finding any long-term studies) and have seen firsthand in volunteering last year how food boxes for all ages from the food bank are filled with non-keto choices that maintain shelf life and availability based upon voluntary donations. Believe me, rather than criticism, it's a symptom that food scarcity does not necessarily consider what's healthier especially when demand will be higher than ever during this pandemic. Society must do better to keep people from developing chronic health conditions caused by inflammatory inducing foods which keto may help to combat. Yes, we love these foods but are we getting them because we love them or because they are more affordable? Perhaps both. Either way, will stick to science whenever possible; and, (for now at least), the studies look promising in relation to dementia prevention though larger studies are necessary. Making things trickier for keto is that organic food may still pose risks. With thanks to *Anya for pointing this during a recent unrelated Zoom call among friends. By the way, contrary to the article, I don't personally have any problem with genetically-modified foods without seeing evidence that these modifications are harmful. To date, seems like Frankenfoodyfear (word coinage) without adequate scientific study and the benefits to prevent hunger far outweigh possible risks. Don't know about you but I don't like being sold get-this-quick products or chasing the latest instacraze. Had taken more than a year to write this post because Keto may not be around tomorrow but am sharing this wisdom today because we must find long-term solutions to protect our brains from dementia and other chronic health conditions before it's too late!
Eating veggies good; and, they look like colorful balls!