I will agree that having family support helps to be successful in this type of lifestyle change. On the flip side of that same coin, it is equally important to do this lifestyle change for you alone. I’m not going to always have my family there on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis to keep me on track. I have to find it within myself to stay motivated. But having the support of your family is definitely helpful.
Every week we have family dinner at my parents’ house. There’s about twelve of us (the Ruff family makes four, my sister and her family make six, and then my parents). My mom is used to low carb because we’ve done it before, but I don’t think she is used to just how strict I am right now. And I’m not sure how the rest of the family feels about it. My brother-in-law has asked a lot of questions about the Keto lifestyle and we have talked in great deal about it. There is a general hesitation across the dinner table though about this high fat diet thing I’m doing (and no fruits is just blowing people’s minds). I explained that I’m not downing vats of canola oil (EEEWWWWW!!!!) nor am I drinking cups of coconut oil (a lot less eww, but still – not something I would do). It’s about not being afraid of natural fats that occur in meats. It’s about increasing my intake with good fats like avocado and coconut oil.
Of course when the subject of fasting came up, again there was hesitation on the benefits of it. Common question – aren’t you just messing up your metabolism by starving yourself? I’m not starving myself. I’m drinking a lot of water and I’m drinking bone broth to make sure I get my essential nutrients (along with taking a multivitamin). And I didn’t just start fasting right from the start. I did Keto lifestyle for at least 6 weeks and made sure I was in ketosis before starting the fasting regimen.
Since starting this lifestyle, I’ve heard and read so much research on the science of this. I also started noticing things, especially habits of my kids. I have two – a 17-year-old and a 13-year-old. A couple of nights ago, my husband and I went out to dinner (mini-date) and I texted my kids that they were to eat leftovers – there was chicken and salad in the fridge that they could eat. When we came home, we were relaxing in the living room and we heard my son come out of his room and go in the kitchen. It was about 8:45pm. Then I started smelling grilled cheese sandwiches, and sure enough that was what he was cooking – 2 grilled cheese sandwiches.
“Didn’t you eat dinner at 6pm when I texted you?” Nope. Now, my son, as you can see in the picture above, is a very skinny kid. He’s about 6-foot and probably barely over 150 pounds. He’s active, plays soccer, no huge weight issues. But his eating habits SUCK! Four pieces of bread and 2 slices of cheese for dinner at 8:45pm? And he’s 17 now, so trying to force him to eat a certain way is challenging. I have no control over what he eats during the day, especially when he works and buys his own snacks.
The next day, he came home from soccer practice with a half-dranken container of Egg Nog. I said, “Duquan, let’s look at what’s in this. Serving size is 1/2 a cup and you just drank 2 cups. That’s over 80 grams of sugar you just drank.” Of course, I made dinner and he wasn’t hungry. I wonder why. I was blowing a gasket. The next day I went into his room, just out of curiosity. I found (counted them) 6 empty boxes of movie candy, multiple empty bottles of Gatorade, and a half-eaten Family Size bag of Lays potato chips behind his loveseat. That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. When he got home I confronted him. And of course he was not only defensive, but he was irrationally emotionally/combative about it. I got seriously upset with him and I told him to give me 14 days. Two weeks. Solid. Give me two weeks of doing no sugar and no carbs and see how you feel. Just give me two weeks. At first he declined, but the next morning he saw how upset and how worried I was about him, and he texted me that he would accept my challenge.
See, one thing I have learned through this journey is that although diabetes is not hereditary, insulin resistance is. My grandfather had type II diabetes, my mom has it, and I have it. WHen I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was given information explaining that once you are diagnosed with diabetes, then it known for a fact that you have had uncontrolled sugars for years leading to this. I’ll tell you something, I’ve never eaten like my son. I’ve never eaten tons of sugars nor carbs. Yes, I’ll admit that potatoes have been my main source of carbs, but nothing crazy. Then why did I end up with diabetes? Because I was born with insulin resistance. That’s just my body chemistry. So what does this mean for my children? Yep. They are MORE than likely to be insulin resistant. BUt they are young and it might not be seen yet.
I can see it in my son though. His favorite breakfast at our local cafe is a deconstructed french toast sandwich (two pieces of french toast, 2 eggs, 2 pieces of sausage) and a side of spicy home fries. Thirty minutes to an hour later, his facial expression drops and he looks like he’s been up all night. He has classic signs of “hangry” attitudes when he doesn’t eat, and he crashes after he does eat. He struggles staying motivated to get through his homework and it’s only gotten worse. And being thin doesn’t help because he can’t SEE what I’m talking about. So when he accepted my challenge, I jumped at the opportunity.
So, then there’s my daughter…
Let’s go back to that night they were supposed to have leftovers. So 15 minutes after her brother was in the kitchen, she walked in. I start hearing sizzling on the stove. I go in the kitchen and she’s cooking up some bacon, there’s a pile of lettuce on the kitchen counter, and there’s SIX PIECES OF BREAD IN THE TOASTER! I mean, I was okay with the bacon and lettuce (of course, not at 9pm at night), but all of that bread?! It was time to educate my daughter as well.
The next day I brought her to one of her favorite restaurants. I asked her to pick her favorite dish and said that we were going to do it Keto style. She picked the cheeseburger. Okay, so it’s a cheeseburger with bacon, mustard, no ketchup. And instead of fries, we’re going to get a side salad, no carrots. And we are going to have water, no soda. I looked across the table and she was crying.
“Jaden, why are you crying?” Because of no fries (well, and because, her words, she was hormonal). But crying because of no fries? I pointed out that it was an irrational reaction to just something like some fried potatoes. I mean, she was eating a cheeseburger and bacon, and if she wanted two of them she could. Was she really that upset over some potatoes? She slowly started to get what I was saying.
After lunch, we started talking about what some of her choices could be at school in the cafeteria. We talked about what her options were for breakfast before school (she is not one that likes to get up early just for breakfast before school). We talked about that it would be okay if she had a small cup of coffee in the morning with a tablespoon of coconut oil in it. And she started to do it. She asked questions. She started to go to yoga with me. She started looking at labels on food.
So here my kids have joined me in the Keto lifestyle. Now of course, they are not fasting (because they really don’t need to since they are still young), but they are more aware. I saw my son fill up a plate of treats at church during coffee hour, look down at it, and then handed it to someone because he realized that he couldn’t eat anything on there. I was very proud of him. I can say that both of them have really stabilized in their moods. As far as how they are feeling on the inside, I’m going to see if I can get them to each post something on here describing their experiences.
My husband has joined in as well, but he’s not going full board like me (he likes his fruit and doesn’t want to limit himself, even though I have noticed that he’s really only eating the strawberries and blueberries). In the couple of weeks my husband started up (and this isn’t the first time he’s done no carbs – he’s done it very well before), you can definitely tell the inflammation has gone down and he too has lost some inches around the waist.
So here we are – the whole Ruff family. We all are … Keto in the Ruff.