[Keto in the Kitchen] – Cheese Crust Pizza


To make this pizza I combined the recipe from here (but doubled the ingredients) with some techniques from this video. It came up to about 12″ in diameter.

Cost and Macro Breakdown For Whole Pizza:

  • Fat: 141.33g (1271.97 cal)
  • Carbs: 2g (8 cal)
  • Protein: 134.5g (538 cal)
  • Total Calories: 1817.97 cal
  • Fat/Protein Ratio (g): 0.95
  • Cost: $4.02

Cost and Macro Breakdown For 1/6th Slice:

  • Fat: 23.5g (211.5 cal)
  • Carbs: 0.33g (1.32 cal)
  • Protein: 22.4g (89.6 cal)
  • Total Calories: 302.42 cal
  • Fat/Protein Ratio (g): 0.95
  • Cost: $0.67

Meh. Wasn’t at all crispy even though I nearly burnt the cheese crust by broiling it. It was as greasy as you would expect crust entirely made of cheese to be. And very floppy too. I couldn’t hold up a slice without folding it in half first. The flavor was very good however. I’d give the flavor a 8/10 and the texture a 4/10 giving an overall score of 6/10.

Next Time:
There are many, many variations on this recipe, most involving cream cheese and almond flour to give the pizza more rigidity. I have some leftover ground up flax so maybe I can incorporate that into the crust as well. As this pizza did not yield as much food as I wanted, I’ll probably have to make this new pizza in a couple days.


[Mensis Mirabilis] – Week 1 Update

WOO I survived week 1! Now here’s some stats:

Physical Difference

Week 1 Weight And Circ

Before we get into it let me just explain the setup of this graph. I consider Sunday night to be week ending and starting points. This is represented by the vertical lines on the graph. I consider everything before the first line to be Week 0 AKA no-diet, baseline week. Everything up to the next line is Week 1. I took weight and belly circumference measurements (measuring horizontally 1″ below navel) every morning right after waking up and tried to take another weight measurement in the evening approximately 12 hours after. The weight, in blue, is measured in lbs and uses the left axis and circumference, in orange, is measured in cm and uses the right axis. If I forgot to take an evening weight measurement I just took the average of the 12 hour before and after points, which worked out to be a pretty accurate estimate. Circumference measurements were only taken at the beginning of the day because they can get pretty wild, wacky and uninformative as you can see by that hump at the end of the week when I took a measurement in the evening. To account for all that noise, I’m also taking weekly averages for both, denoted in a lighter shade of both colors. The Week 0 average values are slightly meaningless because they were only taken for the Saturday and Sunday and represent the aftermath of New Years. Next weeks averages should be far more interesting to compare.

Right off the bat you can see a dip at the beginning of the week. This was definitely due to water lost during my workout Sunday night, which was later recovered a few days later, as you can clearly see. Even taking this into account there does seem to be a smooth, consistent decline in weight. This seems to be about 2.5lb in 4 days. Doing some reckless extrapolating I can expect my weight loss at the end of the month to be about 12lbs. This is a bit lower than I was expected but maybe things will get better as I go because I haven’t even been able to maintain full ketosis for more than an afternoon. This brings me to my next topic:


Blood Measurements

Week 1 BS and Ketones

Both blood sugar and ketones were measured every 12 hours. Blood sugar (red) uses the left axis and ketones (blue) use the right, both measure in mmol/L.

To be honest I really thought I would be in ketosis (> 0.5 mmol/L) on Monday morning but it turns out I either underestimated the amount work that goes into fully depleting your glycogen reserves or I underestimated the effects of gluconeogenesis AKA the transubstantiation of muscles into brain fuel. Even the Catholic Church is not this efficient. For the life of me I can’t figured out what happened Wednesday evening (the drastic dip/rise in the graph) as it wasn’t radically different than the other days. With all the elegance of a tango duo, the ketones (my own body fat!) seem to perfectly mirror the dip in glucose, making up the deficit and keeping me from being hypoglycemic. This peak/trough relationship right here perfectly explains how the ketogenic diet is supposed to work and why it is independent of calorie intake. The problem is, I apparently don’t understand this relationship enough to exploit it when I want. I suspect it has to do with the amount of protein I’m eating, but more on that later.

As you can see, my blood glucose was going AWOL at the beginning of the week but stabilized at around 5 mmol/L after Wednesday’s big dip. This was partially due to the fact that I started out measuring my evening glucose after my nap which unexpectedly spiked my glucose. I measured my before and after nap blood sugar a couple times and I consistently got a 0.6-0.8 mmol/l increase. I’m not sure why this is the case but it might have something to do with the dawn phenomen which causes a similar effect in the morning. From Wednesday onwards I made sure I took blood measurements right before my nap. The blood glucose variation could also be due to the test strips I was using which expired a month ago. The going rate for 100 more test strips is about $130 but a sweet ol’man sold me his brand new pack of 100 for $15 (God, I love Kijiji!). I started using the new strips Friday onwards but the stabilization started a day earlier so I’m not sure the expired strips were all that faulty. I tried to measure both strips to verify this but it’s surprisingly hard to draw enough blood for 3 strips from a single finger, especially since all that fish oil is supposed to act as a blood thinner.


Macro Breakdown

Week 1 Macros

Fats, Carbs, and Protein are are shown in blue, red and purple respectively and use the right axis and is measured in grams. The green line represents total calories and uses the left axis.

Since fat has more than double the calorie density of the other macro-nutrients as well as being my primary source of food by weight, it’s not surprising that it’s driving my total calorie input for the day. What is surprising is a) my carb intake during the Great Dip of ’16 and b) my slightly increasing protein intake throughout the week. As per classic Keto lore, eating too much protein is not a good thing, especially since I’m not working out. According to this site, low end protein intake to avoid muscle breakdown is 1g/Kg f Lean Body Mass and the high end is at 3.0g/Kg LBM. Assuming my body fat% is 20%, this range for me would be about 62g-185g. I was averaging about 110g by the end of the week but I’m going to experiment this week by bringing it closer to the lower end.


Mental State Tracking

Week 1 Mental State

Ew! Who knew tracking data points for 5 different values every hour for a week would make for a crowded graph? I’ll have to figure out how I can combine these values to day and week averages to make a more easy to read, more informative graph. In general I can say that the first few days were rough, but once I got into the swing of things I had far more focus and less cravings, especially by the end of the week.


Money Spent

Week 1 Cost

Total money spent on groceries this week: $42.39

Last Sunday I made steaks that have been sitting in my freezer for a while given to me free a while ago. I had to guess their price which I set at $12 for the pair even though I only ate about $7.50 worth of it. I kinda gave up on them by the end of the week because they started to smell funky. Apparently you can’t just cook steaks rare, cut them up and leave them in your fridge for a week.

Keep in mind this graph doesn’t represent the total amount spent this week, just the total amount spent of what I ate. I used to spend about $300 on groceries and going out on the weekends so it seems I’ve saved quite a bit. In fact, extrapolating out, I could save around $1000 by the end of the month if I keep up this pace. There was a lot of experimentation this week so perhaps next week I’ll be spending even less.


Goals for Week 2

I really need to get my protein down. I think all the stuff I’ve been eating this week has been unnecessarily protein rich, and coupled with my 50g salmon protein in the morning, my overall protein intake is just too damn high. I suspect this is what is keeping me from ketosis. As a mini-experiment this week I;m going to stick closer to the lower range of 65g protein as mentioned earlier and see what happens. To do this I need to eat foods that have way more fat than than protein. I made a query on the USDA nutrition databases to find foods that fit the following criteria: less than 5% usable carbs and a high fat/protein ratio.  I learned some interesting things. For one, nuts vary wildly in fat and protein amounts. Peanuts for example, my go to snack this week, has a F/P ratio of 1.36 while pecans blow it out of the water with ratio of 8! It is also only 4% usable, non-fiber carbs compared to peanuts which is 7%. But they’re also about double the price. I need to find a happy-medium snack.

I got some magnesium and vitamin D supplements on Wednesday and I’ve been taking 300mg and 4000IU, respectively, every day since. The one thing I have definitely been low on all through out is potassium because, as I mentioned in previous posts, it’s extremely hard to get enough. Potassium chloride seems to be the most efficient way to supplement potassium because to get to your daily recommended requirement you only need 1.5 teaspoons of the stuff. Unfortunately this is impossible to find only in Canada and any site that used to have it mysteriously no longer sells it anymore, perhaps due to a government ban. Luckily one Canadian site didn’t get the memo and I’m now holding in my hand 230g of potassium chloirde which arrived today. Adding this to my diet I should finally put to rest any mineral deficiencies I have.

I’m going to play basketball this Thursday to see how my cardio is affected by this diet. If all goes well, I should be running around for about 2-3 hours. Lets see if/when I start to feel exhausted. Theoretically a normal person will feel exhausted when his glycogen supply is depleted but my ketone supply is nearly infinite in comparison. It’will also see how my body deals with the massive calories deficit the next day and when the cravings will start.

Speaking of which, I think my eating schedule is too rigid and defined. My body knows exactly when it needs food but I ignore it for some reason. From now on I’m going to listen to my body and only eat when I have a craving or if I feel tired. Lets see how this effects my calorie totals this week.

[Mensis Mirabilis] – Depletion Day

Oh… oh God I’m so sore…

After not going to the gym in 3 months I tried to force myself into ketosis as fast as possible yesterday by doing a full body workout as follows:

  • Deadlift: 5×5 @ 135lbs
  •  Row: 3×8 @ 120lb + 1×8 @100lb + 1×8 @80lb
  • Bench Machine: 3×8 @ number 10
  • Seated Leg Press: 3×8 @ number 16
  • Calf Raises on leg press machine: 3×8 @ number 10
  • Tricep Pull Downs: 3×8 @number 10 + 1×8 @ number 8 + 1×8 @ number 6

(I’m not sure if the numbers on the machines refer to 10’s of lbs or Kgs so I just noted down the number of the plate)

Rest time between sets: 2 min
Total time at the gym: 1hr 15 min

The problem is, it didn’t quite work.

Today, upon waking, I completed a 24 hour fast and surprisingly I wasn’t hungry. Even more surprising, my blood sugar was 5.8 mmol/L and blood ketones were at 0.1 mmol/L. For reference, this is on the high end of normal blood sugar levels and the very very low end of blood ketone levels for someone who fasted for a day and had a full workout. According to the leading experts in ketogenic diets, Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, nutritional ketosis officially starts at 0.5 mmol/l, meaning I’m not even close.

When I took another set of measurements after my evening nap my ketones were only 0.3 and my blood glucose was at 6.2! It could be due to a couple things: 1. I noticed my test strips actually expired last month but a glucose strip company would be crazy not to put a significant safety factor on test strip so it’s probably is more to do with 2. Something like the dawn phenomenon is occurring after the nap. I know this effect occurs upon waking, and I have a feeling it has to do with muscle wasting via GNG, but it’s interesting that it happens after a nap as well. I’ll try to measure blood glucose before and after my nap tomorrow to see if there’s a difference.

Additionally, I’m already down four pounds since Saturday but this is probably either due to the initial drop in water weight, a common effect on low carb diets, or more probably my body still returning to baseline after my holiday binge. It should be interesting to see if the decline tapers off tomorrow morning and by how much.


Additional stuff:

Electrolyte Gripes

I always thought that creme of tartar was the holy grail of low-key potassium supplements, and I was prepared to take a shot of it, but then I discovered a salt substitute called No Salt actually has 5 times more potassium. This means I have to take a 5 times less disgusting drink to get my daily potassium needs. I could also add it to my cooking but I don’t want to skimp on sodium which is also very important on this diet. Now I just need to find out where to buy it.

Magnesium is a whole different ball game. I know in my intro post I said all I need is a handful of flax seeds to meet my daily requirements but really it’s more like 100g. The thing with flax seeds is you have to grind them up to be able to digest them and when you do that it’s volume increases and now that 100g is actually 7 heaping tablespoons! And so it looked I was eating a flower pot for dinner.


And tasted like it too.

For the sake of sanity I’ll need to find another way to get my magnesium, and though I’ll be missing out on the fiber, I think a supplement is a better idea.


My Lunch This Week

I cooked two steaks in coconut oil and cut them up into 8 pieces. Hopefully this should hold me over for lunch until next Sunday when I’ll make something new. Maybe I’ll pick something from here and do a little review. This no-dough, cheese crust pizza doesn’t look too complicated. I think I’ll make that next week.


[Mensis Mirabilis] – Initial Conditions

Morning Weigh In:

  • Fasting Blood Sugar: 5.2 mmol/L
  • Weight: 176.6 lb
  • Belly Circumference (taken horizontally, 1″ below navel): 107 cm

Before Shots:

I tried to take 4 pictures: Gut pushed out, sucked in for both side and front profiles. Behold, my beer gut:


Subcutaneous Cross-sectional Measurement or How I Estimated My Abdominal Cross-section Without a $1000 CT Scan:

(Waring: This section is for the nerds, read at your own peril) From what I’ve read, a low carb diet is very good at reducing the fat around your organs (visceral fat) but not so much when it comes to anything else. This is great for reducing your chance of death but it sucks if you’re trying to look like Tyler Durden. Your abdominal subcutaneous fat (the fat that gives you rolls) is a very stubborn type of fat, which you probably already knew if you’ve ever glanced at any health magazine cover ever. Since I’m going to force burn the fat off me, my body will have to dip into this vast fuel supply to keep up. Even though it probably won’t be a lot, it will be interesting to see what ratio of subcutaneous to visceral fat gets burned by the end of the month. To figure this out I need to cut across my midriff and compare the area of the subcutaneous sections to the same cross section a month from now. To do this I’ll need to measure my subcutaneous fat layer thickness all around my belly. Luckily I have a portable ultrasound machine that can do just that. Here an example of what I see when I scan:



The brighter lines indicate a phase transition. The lowest one should be where the subcutaneous fat layer stops and my abs start. Sorry it’s not so clear, I don’t have any ultrasound gel lying around so I had to resort to hand sanitizer. By the way, don’t mistake this for the 2D image you’d get at the hospital. This is a one dimensional “core sample” plotted over about 5 seconds. At the end you can see I pushed it in and released. This was done to verify that the lowest light band is in fact the subcutaneous layer (I made sure my abs wouldn’t compress by flexing). If you want to try this yourself and you’re not crazy enough to buy an ultrasound machine like I am you can always just use a ruler to push into your belly and measure how far it went in. Of course there is an uncompressible layer of fat you need to account for while doing this method. I usually tag on 2cm to my ruler measurements. I found this method is only off by about 10-15% so it’s a pretty good cheap alternative. I marked out 7 equidistant spots on the right side of a horizontal plane on my belly like the numbers 12 to 6 on a clock. These are where I took my core samples. I also took my circumference at this plane as well as overall length and width. In Autocad I used these values and some curve-fitting techniques to create my cross-section.

Cross-Section 1

After mirroring the half and cleaning it up a bit I used Autocad again to calculate the area. Here is the finished cross-section beside a real CT abdominal cross-section so you can see the similarities:

Cross-Section 2

My cross-section was taken 1″ below the belly button which is why there is no dip in the front like the CT scan.

The only thing this wont tell me however, is the total visceral fat in the cross-section. This should be okay though because I don’t expect my bones or organs to shrink dramatically. I’ll just consider any reduction in that middle part to be a reduction in visceral fat.

EDIT: In some insane coincidence, I just happen to find this study published in this months issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine that suggests that the method I just outlined above has numerous advantages over other body composition analysis methods.


Ok that’s it. The diet officially starts tomorrow which I am calling D-Day, or Depletion Day.  From past experience I know that the initial phase of this type of diet is really crappy so it’s best to get it out of the way in one shot. Hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow I’ll be in full blown ketosis. I don’t want to make daily posting a thing but I’ll do another post tomorrow just to document the fast and workout routine and hopefully I’ll write it a bit earlier so I can get some sleep.




[Mensis Mirabilis] – Introduction

101 years ago, a bumbling, goofy and rebellious German PHD student, who had previously never amounted to anything in his life, wrote four papers. The first got him the Nobel prize and started the mind-bending branch of physics we now call Quantum Physics. The second proved the existence of atoms, ending a millennia-old debate. The third used insane out-of-the-box thinking to show that time itself is a variable, uprooting the gold standard of physics for the previous 200 years. The fourth produced quite possibly the most famous equation in history. These 4 mostly unrelated papers were written in a 6-month span. This man’s year was seen as so remarkable it was given a name: Annus Mirabilis, latin for Miracle Year. What if I could do something similar? Of course genetics play a huge role but what if I could engineer conditions to make something similar happen on a smaller scale. A personal Miracle Month. My very own Mensis Mirabilis.


Let’s face it, I’ve been quite a bit overdue for another wild and wacky extreme diet experiment. Despite being such a keto evangelist, I’ve never actually experienced long term ketosis. The most I’ve done was 2 weeks and only because I had a job that required me to work 10 hour days, 14 days straight. As it turns out, trying to do one thing every single day is very easy if you are already doing everything the same everyday anyways. It becomes routine. But as soon as plans change you have to adapt, which means thinking on your feet, which is difficult, so you just end up abandoning your project and taking the easier route. And so on the 15th day I proclaimed “LET THERE BE CARBS!”, and the beer flowed, the blood sugar rose, ketones dropped and my belt buckle tightened. My current situation makes it much harder to develop a routine. I live in close proximity to food, friends and a fast lifestyle, the perfect storm for terrible diet choices. Of course most people in my situation would counteract the horrible dieting with some good ‘ol fashioned exercise but my knee and shoulder injuries keep me from doing the weight lifting and cardio activities I used to enjoy. I feel that alcohol is the key culprit in all this. A night of drinking almost always leads to an unnecessary late night gorging and the following day tends to consist mainly of anti-productive dopamine binging activities.


In an effort to counteract the unproductive days I’ve been experimenting on ways to improve my focus and creativity. For the last couple months I’ve been assigning qualitative values to my alertness, how creative I feel, how antsy I am, how lazy I am, how heavy my eyelids feel, and how heavy my head feels, which are all surprisingly unrelated. One by one I’ve been trying to isolate variables in an effort to control my mental state and boy have I made some breakthroughs! Most notably, I noticed that I get very tired about an hour or two after eating carbs. I have a feeling that because I’ve been experimenting with low carb diets for so long I have become extremely sensitive to insulin, and so my body actually overshoots the insulin flush and I end up with even lower blood sugar than when I started. It’s just a theory and I haven’t tested it rigorously. It could very well be the gluten that everyone’s apparently allergic to. Cause aside, the effect is very real and seems to scale proportionally with glycemic load. It will be interesting to see how my mental faculties fare while cutting out carbs completely.


Extreme diets like this, however successful, often wreak havoc on a person psychologically. In a typical high exercise low calorie diet, at least initially, people feel terrible. Your body was in homeostasis at your previous calorie intake and now you’ve ruined everything by reducing it. You’ll feel tired because your body has not started burning fat yet to supplement the deficit. You’ll have cravings because your body is trying to force you to eat more because it thinks you might die. You will feel unsatisfied after a meal because your hunger signalling hormones are so used to giving a full signal for a larger meal. Sure you could use some tried and tested Will Power™ to get you through this, and perhaps even watch some inspirational videos to generate new will power, but you’ll soon find that a majority of your will power is spent forcing yourself to exercise or avoiding the seductive gaze of a jelly filled donut. This is mentally draining. Do you think this person is working on their screenplay during this time? Do you think this person is going to start learning Spanish like they always wanted? No they are not. They are going to sit on the couch and watch reality TV because that is all their brain is capable of at the moment. I think how focused and creative you feel should be taken into account when evaluating your new diet. And so, not only am I going to try to lose as much weight as I’ve ever lost in my life in a one month span, I’m going to do it with high energy and high focus. I want to be Bradley Cooper from Limitless. Perhaps a lofty goal but you know what they say, shoot for the a-list stars and you’ll end up moonlighting as Dave Franco’s chauffeur… or something like that.


Anyway, I have about 3 or 4 creative projects I’m working on right now. Some require more creativity, others more focus, but none of them can be accomplished while I’m feeling lazy and/or tired. So here’s the goal: In one month, lose as much weight as possible while also being as productive as possible with minimal use of will power. Sounds impossible? Perhaps, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve.



Keys to success

Salmon for breakfast

Apart from providing me with 50g of protein right off the bat, a 355ml can of salmon packs a whopping 3.1g of omega-3, the equivalent of taking 8 Kirkland fish oil pills. The omega-3 in fish oil is the holy grail of nutritional supplements. Just check out this Examine page that summarizes all the scientific research done on fish oil. There is high scientific consensus about fish oils effect on fat loss, mood and focus. Spoiler alert, I’ve already been having salmon breakfast for over a month and the effects, have been mind-blowing. My dreams have become insanely vivid and I remember minute details, such as fictional people’s faces and even names, several hours after. I am able to focus easily. I used to come home from work all tired and lazy and just spend my night watching stupid Youtube videos and dumb TV shows. Now I spend 3 hours every day learning programming, without coffee, and I’m not bored or distracted at all. Joe Rogan can keep his Alpha Brain, I’ll just have some salmon.


A Medium Chain Triglyceride is a fat molecule that your body doesn’t know what to do with. Initially, it will try to flush it out but if you keep ingesting it, your body will slowly adapt and learn to burn it for fuel instead. Because your body lacks the mechanism of storing it, it burns it instantly. Of course this is a moot point on a ketogenic diet where ALL fats should have a similar effect but it’s the only omega-6 free liquid oil I have at my disposal since this weather has turned my tub of coconut oil into a solid white block. In previous experiments I’ve been able to take as much as 2-3 tsbp at a time without running to the bathroom, and curiously, more after taking probiotics, despite not experiencing an increase in energy levels. I have a feeling that my gut bacteria is actually feasting on this oil rather than me, reducing my actual cal intake while technically eating more, and thus proving another fault in basic calorie counting methods. In fact this recently published study verifies my hypothesis. Either way, I have found that the volume-energy relationship of MCT does scale proportionally while having it with my morning salmon, but I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I’m having salmon, protein or just food in general that’s making the difference.

Cold Showers

Yes, I will be taking a cold shower every day for a month in the middle of a Canadian winter. Besides well documented effects related to mood, hormone regulation, muscle therapy and your hair, cold exposure has been shown to have a significant effect on fat loss, and I’m not just talking about calories burned while shivering. Recently, we’ve discovered a hormone called Irisin that gets produced during exercise. This hormone converts your static White Fat to a more active and burnable, brown colored fat with a creative name: Brown Fat. You know what else produces irisin? Cold exposure. A cold shower in the morning could theoretically prepare my fat to be burned more efficiently throughout the day. I know what you’re thinking, and yes this will be a horrible, painful experience, but perhaps I can circumvent the pain using techniques discovered by Wim Hof. Wim discovered a breathing method that supersaturates your body with oxygen, which increases the ph of your blood to a level at which your pain receptors stop working. He also claims with enough practice with his breathing method he can control subconscious processes such as his metabolism and his immune system. The reason why my quack meter didn’t explode is because he backs up these claims with scientific studies, most notably one where he taught a group of 12 people in just 2 weeks to control their immune system and fend off an infection. Oh yeah, he’s also climbed Mt. Everest in his shorts, so there’s that too. Though controlling your metabolism is something that would definitely help me, I feel like that might take a while to learn. For now I’ll breathe a few times and hopefully I can get through these cold showers pain free.

Power Naps

A 20 minute power nap has made the most significant improvement on my mental state and the explanation of why it works is probably the most interesting thing I’ve learned all year. Have you ever wondered why you feel refreshed after a nap? It’s as if your brain was filled with gunk and then took a bath and is now shiny and clean. Well it turns out this is not an analogy, this is exactly what happens and you probably have never heard about it because it was only discovered a couple years ago. The Glymphatic system is responsible for clearing metabolic waste from your brain and is activated during a nap. I was ecstatic when I first heard of this because it was completely congruent with my experience and explained why I could feel completely alert but have no problem falling asleep for a nap. This also explained why I sometimes felt that my head was “heavy” and mind was “cloudy” even though I did not feel tired. This flush only takes 10 minutes (after the 10 minutes it takes to fall asleep) and I feel this cloudiness melt away upon waking. It’s wonderful, I have a clear head and I’m able to focus for hours after without coffee.

Protein Fasting at Night

You can think of the protein in your body as origami, folded in different ways to produced different shapes for different purposes. Sometimes you eat a protein that never went through the folding process and just looks like a flat piece of paper. The body doesn’t have time to deal with this so it just tosses it to the side. Eventually you can get to a point where you have these scrap pieces of paper lying around everywhere. Fortunately, your body has a recycling process known autophagy that takes these abandoned unfolded pieces of paper and turns them into beautiful towering construction equipment.  To initiate this autophagy process you need to not eat protein for several hours. I find the best way to do this is to just avoid it at night which works out well because I often get too hot and restless to sleep when eating lots of protein before bed, possibly due to the thermogenic response during metabolism.

Minimizing Deficiencies

I’ve built a spreadsheet (and working on a website) that calculates the total vitamin and mineral content of your daily diet (with the help of USDA databases) and flags any nutritional deficiencies in it. I’ve noticed a few interesting things, mainly the importance of taking multivitamins of a low calorie diet. When you take in less food, though you take in less calories, you also take in less nutrients, the very thing that makes your body work properly. Like your car, your body also needs regular maintenance for your microscopic functions to work efficiently. For example, I noticed a very strong correlation between taking a multivitamin or two before sleeping and waking up feeling absolutely fantastic. This means waking up and feeling groggy has to be due to some sort of nutrient deficiency, though I’m not sure which in particular so I’ll just make sure all my deficiencies are low so that I cover all my bases, not just to improve wake up energy but all other daily processes as well. Furthermore, a common mistake of low carbers is to underestimate the amount magnesium, potassium and sodium they need and so they develop what is known as “keto flu” which often leads to them giving up the diet. Extra sodium is quite easy to take in and handful of flax seeds will give you your daily intake of magnesium but potassium, however, is very hard to supplement. Multivatims and even specialized supplements usually only provide up to 2% of your daily needs of potassium, capped by law because overdosing is extremely dangerous. Even the highly praised potassium god: The All Glorious Banana will only provide you with 25% of you daily intake. And to avoid coming down with keto flu I might need to eat 25% more. Now as much as you may enjoy the thought of me downing 5 bananas every day I might have to go with alternate routes, like shooting a solution of water and cream of tartar (potassium bicarbonate) or using low sodium salt (potassium chloride) in my cooking.

Avoiding Dopamine Binging

Instant gratification corrodes the mind. They call an addiction to dumb memes and social media a novel pixel addiction. After a while, my brain starts to deteriorate and I seek out anything that would move the corner of lips outward by a couple nanometers.  I suspect this also contributes to the brain gunk I was talking about earlier because it physically manifests as a feeling of your brain getting “heavy”, although the term “brain fog” is probably more used in academia. This is the feeling that goes from 100 to 0 real quick after taking a nap. Just like any other addiction, the more you indulge this small dopamine spike the more you need to achieve the same high. The best way to avoid this downward spiral is to avoid dopamine binging all together. Since I can pretty much reset these dopamine levels after sleeping I will restrict any social media/memeing activity to right before napping or sleeping and try to keep my mornings free of any activities that last less than an hour.



An Average Day

Though I do anticipate some hiccups, I will try to roughly stick to this schedule for the whole 30 days:

  • 7:00 am:
    • Wakeup
    • Measure glucose
    • Measure ketones (first two weeks)
    • Measure weight
    • Measure waist circumference
    • Wim Hof breathing exercises
    • Cold shower
  • 7:30:
    • Can of salmon with MCT oil and Chimmichurri sauce
  • 8:00:
    • Coffee
  • 12:00:
    • Lunch
      • Roughly 30g-40g protein (i.e. 200g ground beef)
      • Roughly 2:1 Fat/Protein ratio by calories, 1:1 by weight
      • This will be something different every week and made in bulk on Sunday
    • Salad with high fat dressing (Caesar)
    • Coffee
  • 5:00:
    • Multivitamin
    • Power Nap
  • 5:30:
  • 6:00:
    • Salad
      • Mixed leaves
      • Ground flax seeds
      • Olive oil dressing
  • 12:30 am:
    • Bed

For snacks I’ll either have nuts, porkrinds or processed meats as directed by my cravings.

From this, my diet breakdown (sans snacks) should roughly be the following:

  • Calories: 1300
  • Fat: 102g (71%)
  • Carbs: 6g (2%)
  • Protein: 90g (28%)
  • Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio: 2.1

Obviously the snacking will ruin all of this but hopefully I’ll get to a point where I won’t get any cravings because my body will be snacking on it’s own reserves.



Apart from the full body workout in a couple days to deplete my glycogen reserves, I won’t be going to the gym until the end of the month. This is mostly because I want to study the effects of muscle loss on a ketogenic diet. If I’m not providing my body with glucose and it doesn’t want to dip into it’s starvation supply (my belly) it can always convert my muscles into glucose. Initially this will be the go-to glucose source for my body and slowly it will taper off to preserve muscle tissue, but the question is when. Since I’m already avoiding protein at night, this is a good opportunity to test my hypothesis that GNG (gluconeogenesis AKA the process that converts protein into glucose) can be measured indirectly by taking Fasting Blood Sugar measurements in the morning. If my FBS is high even after depleting my glycogen it means that GNG is underway to make up the glucose deficit. If my FBS is very low and I don’t feel like dying it means that my own body fat is making up the deficit. At the end of the month, I’ll try to do the exact same workout, using the exact same equipment in the same order to document how much muscle was lost… or gained? No but really it’ll probably be a loss.




I’ve built a tasker app that prompts me every hour on the hour to evaluate 5 aspects of my mental state:

  • Focus: How easy would it be to write or read something for an hour right now
  • Restlessness: Sometimes I feel the need to bounce my legs or twirl pens as if my body is reaching max capacity of energy and it’s desperately trying to get rid of it. How antsy do I feel right now?
  • Eyelid Heaviness: How badly do I want to sleep right now?
  • Head Heaviness: How cloudy and heavy does my head feel?
  • Cravings: How bad do I have the munchies? This value should give me a good indication of how low I am on calories. Note, this is purely for high fat, salty, crunchy things. I’m not monitoring my sweet tooth because frankly I’ve never had a sweet tooth, before or after I started low carb dieting, and I doubt I’ll have one now even after completely cutting out carbs. I’ll make sure to make a note of it however if I do.

These values will be uploaded and plotted in real time to a graph on google docs. Since I am undergoing such a distinct change in diet I wanted to monitor my mind on a micro level. I do foresee this being very annoying however so I may just keep this for the first two weeks, which should be ok because it should only take a couple weeks for my mental state to stabilize.



  • Fasting blood sugar in morning and again in evening
  • Fasting blood ketones in morning and again in evening (first two weeks only because the test strips ain’t cheap)
  • Weight and waist circumference in the morning



  • Weekly totals
  • Weekly averages
  • Money spent/saved
  • Creative project updates
  • General Notes


Initial/Final Comparison

Hype is  a dangerous thing. In an effort to curb confirmation bias, I’ll try to be extra precise when comparing before and after pictures. Because it’s so easy to just suck in your gut and say you’ve lost weight I’ll control that variable by comparing the extremes: One picture with my gut pushed out and one with my gut sucked all the way in. Also, because clothing tightness changes the perception of someones body fat composition I’ll be using the same white compression shirt for my before and after pictures. And of course, I’ll try to duplicate the lighting and setting as well.

Obviously It would be disingenuous to take before pics on new years day so I’ll give myself a couple days to return to baseline. I’ll take initial conditions on the 2nd officially start on the 3rd with a full day fast and full body workout. Should be fun.


So there it is, no alcohol, no carbs, all work for one month. If my preschool calculations are correct, this should render me a dull boy. I’ll be posting updates every week so follow this blog if you’re interested in my progress/regression down several levels of hell. Or just come come back here in a month. I promise I’ll have some juicy graphs for you to satisfy your geeky urges. I’m very interested in how well this is all going to work. I’ve tried all the previously mentioned hacks with positive results, albeit individually and within short durations. If they all work synergistically like I’m hoping for I might have to continue this diet for another month, or perhaps indefinitely.






[Food For Thought] Nutrition Science is Seasoned with Sweet Succulent Ignorance

Studying biology is hard. Remembering facts is easy.  Running experiments is hard. Taking someones word for it is easy. Reading through peer-review studies is hard. Reading through magazine articles is easy and reading just the headlines is even easier.

Imagine an alien gave us the automobile.

Just hear me out…

Imagine that instead of Henry Ford, and alien came by and dropped a bunch of cars everywhere, all over the world. At first no one knew what to do with it. The car had wheels and a steering mechanism but it was obvious from it’s weight that it couldn’t be pulled by horses like regular carriages. They aliens also provided a key, and it was obvious where it fit (the lock next to the steering handle) but any attempts to turn the key just resulted in a lot of noise and strange symbols flashing in the main display but no one could figure out what they meant. The front bulbs also went on after the key was turned so many people used their car as a lamp. After a few weeks, however, the lights stopped flashing and no noise came from the car. Then an exceptionally persistent individual discovered, after many months of trial and error, that applying an electrical current to a particular component in the front body caused the lights to go back on.

Fast forward a few years and there are now two basic camps. Those that try trial and error experiments to figure out how the car moves and those that have taken apart the main front component (which they now call the engine) to figure exactly how it works. The public, however, only believe in the former approach, particularly in a hypothesis called the fast-in fast-out model. The theory works like this: the faster you blast liquid at the car, the faster it will move. Of course the key has to be turned, lever pulled and pedal pushed but this has been shown time and time again to be true and so the public has never second guessed the theory. Those working on the engine claim the engine is way too complex for such a simple explanation but the majority of people don’t care. The media and corporations love cars. There are magazines and newspapers entirely devoted to car motion. “10 Unusual Fuels That Can Move Your Car”. “Optimize your fuel input angle with the new Nike FuelBit”. “I moved my car 10 ft in a week! Buy my book to find out how.” It seems that every month they discover a new technique to move your car and every month someone makes a dollar out of an unresearched, generalized and sensational headline.

This is where we are now with nutrition science. We are standing on the hood of a car blasting it with gasoline and the little fuel that trickles into the gas tank, inches the car forward just enough to justify the theory.

Fortunately for us, we know how cars work. We don’t just make educated guesses based on correlations, we actually KNOW how it works. We know where the fuel tank is, how the engine works, and what chemical properties can make the most efficient fuel.

The human body is only a million times more complex than a car engine. The guys working on the engine in our analogy? They are called biologists and this is their life’s work. Despite what we’ve accomplished, we still have a lot to learn. The amount of known unknowns in nutrition science is astounding.

Because of this, the nutrition industry is run by correlation. It’s the best we can do with our limited knowledge. Unfortunately, correlations are dangerously easy to misinterpret. For example, people who eat fast food every day tend to have more heart attacks. Is it the mustard, the ketchup, the bun, the lettuce, the cheese, the burger meat, the burger fat? Unfortunately and seemingly arbitrarily, the burger fat took the rap even though no one has any idea about what mechanisms are involved in converting the cholesterol you eat into LDL (bad cholesterol) in your blood. We, as a society, just assumed it was true. Fortunately science is self-correcting.  In fact I just recently read a thorough causative argument on how excess carbs can be converted into serum LDL cholesterol.

Generalized, birds-eye view correlations confuse the public and demonize entire groups of food rather than a specific molecular culprit. I’ve read many articles that say polyunsaturated fats are good for you and many that say they are bad for you. The truth is that there are many types of polyunsaturated fats and each article is purposefully being vague to support their argument.

Now I’m not suggesting cutting out carbs or telling you what to eat but at the very least you should be aware that there’s a lot about our body that we don’t know. Don’t take people’s word for it. Try it out yourself. If it works, keep doing it, if it doesn’t, modifiy a variable and retest. Whenever you hear the term “everybody’s different” it’s code for “we’re too dumb as a species to figure out the underlying variables involved”. Someday we will understand everything and we’ll laugh at how ignorant we were but for now we are still just trying to figure out where the fuel tank is.

[Food For Thought] Why Would You Want To Eat Fat?

As with most discussions, it’s probably best to start by getting your ego out of the way: You are not in control of anything. Well, to be fair, that’s not entirely true. You can control some thoughts and some muscle contractions but for the most part, your conscious self (You) is at the mercy of your subconscious, involuntary self (Your Body). It’s best to separate these in your mind into two distinct entities as it will help you to see the bigger picture.

Your Body does not want to lose weight. It does not want to gain weight. It wants to maintain homoeostasis. Your Body wants to maintain a body fat set point. Your Body is governed by millions of years of evolutionary adaptation. You are governed by social pressures. You want to get rid of Your Body‘s fat stores because You feel it will potentially lead to finding a better mate. Even though Your Body agrees that finding the best possible mate is the prime directive, Your Body can’t understand why getting rid of its fat stores will be of any benefit. You figure this is probably because low body fat as a desirable quality is an extremely recent cultural trend, making up only .022% of the entire human existence. Your Body is not quick to catch on to these cultural trends. Regardless, Your Body is the boss, and is stubborn to change. You will have to convince Your Body to get rid of its fat. There’s a problem however. Any resistance to Your Body‘s wishes results in friction (Stress) and uses up your Will Power. You only have a certain amount of Will Power to use per day, and if You get too low Your Body will make You frustrated, tired and depressed. That’s why it is important apply a method that will use the least amount of Will Power.

Not to sound like an infomercial peddling cleaning products, but a Ketogenic Diet can meet all these requirements, and more! A Ketogenic Diet is one where one is or tries to be in a state of Ketosis. You get into this state by limiting your carb and protein intake. I won’t get into specifics (because the underlining variables are not well understood) but basically you need to make sure 70-80% of your calories come from fat. The best way to check if you are in Ketosis is to either take daily blood ketone measurements (stay between 1-8 mmol/L) or urinate on a Ketone Strip (get it as red as possible). Ketosis is a very distinct metabolic state and is somewhat difficult to get into. And it’s not a linear progression either. You get less than half the benefits for being half way in. You have to build momentum, which takes some time. Once you’re there however you will start to reap the amazing benefits.


Fat Loss

First of all it’s important to note that you can’t gain fat on a Ketogenic Diet. I mean that quite literally. The mechanism for storing fat on your body (insulin) is inhibited on this diet. The absolute worst case scenario is you maintain the same body fat %. The reason you lose fat is because Your Body is making up the deficit of glucose You caused by limiting your carb intake. It does this by converting fat into a glucose substitute called a Ketone. With sufficient time, Ketones can become an excellent substitute for glucose in nearly every respect. What’s that? You don’t want to read theoretical scientific mumbo jumbo and only believe in facts and hard evidence? Well here’s some facts for you then:

  • Fact 1: r/Keto is the largest dieting community on reddit.
  • Fact 2: Countless of studies comparing low carb diets to low fat diets show that low carb dieters always lose more fat in ADDITION to improving their lipid profile and insulin sensitivity.
  • Fact 3: The entire Lakers team is on a low carb, high fat diet and they even put butter in their coffee.
  • Fact 4: 7 out the top 10 highest rated dieting books with the most reviews on amazon.com advocate a low carb, high fat diet. Correcting for duplicates and obvious errors (Gone With The Wind??) this number increases to 8 out of 10.

Other than curing epilepsy, as we will discuss later, fat loss is the reason why most people try out this diet. In the same way cutting calories makes a deficit that needs to be made up by burning fat, cutting carbs makes a deficit that needs to be made up by burning ketones. It’s that simple.


Improved Satiety

Dr. Oz will tell you that protein is more satiating than carbs. Also, because fat has more than twice the calories of carbs, it should be obvious that fat is more satiating than carbs. After eating low carb for over a year now it’s pretty obvious to me (and a statistician would agree) that its not that fat and protein keep you full for longer, it just that carbs make you hungry. I can easily go a day eating only 1000 calories (less than half of what most people eat with my BMI and BF%) and not feel hungry. As a matter of fact, I honestly can’t remember the last time I was actually very  hungry. I’ve gone full days without eating and only experienced the most minor of hunger pangs. That’s not to say I didn’t feel irritated, have headaches or cravings, it’s just nice to know in a survival situation I would fair better than most.


Cheap Food

Basic requirements to reach ketosis is to have 70-80% of your calories from fat, have just enough protein so your muscles don’t break down and not too much protein that you raise your insulin levels. This means, technically, that all you have to eat to get into and stay in ketosis is 1 lb of lean ground beef and 4 tsbp of coconut oil per day. That works out to around $4.70 a day or $33 a week. How’s that for a grocery bill?


Good Tasting Food

Every Sunday I spend an hour making my food for the entire week. You may be asking “wait, you eat the same thing every single day? How do you not get bored?” Easy, it’s delicious.  It’s not that I’m a good cook (I just throw some beef, oil, spinach and spices into a big pot) or I have low standards but I find I just really, really enjoy my meals. We have adapted the evolutionary trait of “flavour” to help us seek energy dense foods, which is why its not surprising that fat is so tasty. It also helps that your taste buds adapt to your diet. Fat becomes tastier and tastier the more you eat it.


Less Stress

As I alluded to in the opening paragraphs, fighting Your Body stresses you out, which is just about the worst thing that You can do to Your Body. Apart from not feeling particularly great when your stressed out, you should avoid stress to avoid the release of a hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol are associated with bodyfat storage, reduction in cognitive abilities and lowered immune function, not to mention an increased risk of CVD and mental illnesses. Don’t fight Your Body, just convince it to do Your bidding.


Improvement in Lipid Profiles

If you read my last post you’ll notice that eating cholesterol rich bacon for a week did not result in high levels of cholesterol. The reason you maybe surprised about this is because you have placed too much belief on a flaky idea known as the Lipid-Hypothesis. This is the idea that 1: Cholesterol intake + Saturated Fat intake = Cholesterol in your blood and 2: High Cholesterol = Death.  So you maybe asking, “If high cholesterol doesn’t cause heart attacks, doesn’t that mean a good lipid profile won’t guarantee you won’t get one?” Yes, this is true, but I believe inflammation is the actual root cause of most heart attacks, which brings me to our next topic:


Reduction in Inflammation

Cheap Food, Fast Food, Healthy Food: Pick 2. We paid a price for conveniently priced and conveniently packaged foods, conveniently located in convenience stores. Something had to give, and it wasn’t just our belt buckles. Heavily processed, sweetened and fried foods can cause chronic inflammation (not to be confused with the acute inflammation you get from an injury). Some people even think chronic systemic inflammation is the root cause of most, if not all forms of disease.  Why do so many people feel better when avoiding gluten even though only about 1% of the population has celiac disease? A reduction in gluten means a reduction in gluten containing foods, a list that often includes foods that are highly inflammatory. Speaking of which, scroll half way down this page to see a list of the worlds most inflammatory foods. Note that most of these are banned on a ketogenic diet. Inflamation also causes acne so, in fact, eating fat will give you better looking skin. Mind blown yet? Well piece it back together, we’re only half way done.


Improved Overall Energy Output

Why is it generally accepted that kids get hyper when they eat sugar but adults get fat? While you ponder that, let me introduce you to the concept of involuntary energy expenditure: Ok, so you have just ingested a lot of fat, but your insulin levels are too low to store it. What happens next? In my experience, 1 of 2 things will happen. If your body is not used to that much fat it will try to flush it out as quick as possible. This is not fun. If you’re just starting out on keto I recommend not having too much fat if you want to avoid stomach upsets. If you’ve been on the diet for a little while and you eat a lot of fat you’ll find out the body has another way to deal with excess calories: burn baby, burn. Nowadays I avoid eating a lot of fat before bed because I just get way too hot to sleep. Not to mention being way too alert to sleep. This is why I think the calories in, calories out model is fundamentally flawed. It doesn’t take into account involuntary energy expenditure and instead assumes You are in control of your weight loss directly. Your Body is, in fact, a smart, strong and independent entity who don’t need no conscious input. If Calories In does in fact equal Calories Out, as the famous equation states, then it should be obvious that without a way to store calories (as in an insulin inhibiting ketogenic diet) the excess energy intake should equal excess energy output, whether induced by You or not. In other words, eating too much on a Ketogenic diet doesn’t make you fat, it gives you more energy.


Improved Energy Stabilization

Being on a well adapted ketogenic diet is like switching from a gas guzzler to a car that runs on air. Say goodbye to the gas station AKA stuffing your face when you get tired or hungry. Your Body doesn’t have to “wait” for You to supply it with energy. You have given it the key to its own energy storage silo and it will dip into the reserves when it wants to. On a typical day, on a typical diet, your energy will peak and crash like the Behemoth. A ketogenic diet, however, takes more of a Ghoster Coaster approach to energy distribution. Many people not only report increased energy while on this diet, but also sustained energy through out the day. Life’s too short to take naps, and on a ketogenic diet you’ll forget the concept existed.


Improved Glucose Stabilization

I like to think of our insulin receptors as delicate flowers growing along a coastline. Eating a jelly donut is like unleashing a monstrous tsunami on the unsuspecting flowers. Most will survive but some will be damaged or destroyed. Destroy enough flowers and congratulations, You’ve got Type II Diabetes! A long absence of tsunamis allows for repair and growth as well better resilience against future tsunamis. I know what you’re thinking: “That’s all well and good, but I don’t think I can resist demolishing a jelly donut if it’s placed in front of me”. Don’t worry, if you train your body to utilize fat, you’ll stop craving carbs. Say good by to your sweet tooth.


Improved Energy for Endurance

Sport nutrition science is mostly devoted to improving “refueling” methods because the go-to “fuel”  that athletes use is limited and depletes quickly. Not that this method is particularly bad for, say, 100m sprints but when running a marathon, runners will need to constantly replenish their glycogen levels to avoid “hitting the wall“. This video provided me with an eureka moment about a the potential exercise benefits of a ketogenic diet, particularly the graph regarding metabolic flexability. Above a certain heart rate, carbs are used for energy and below it, fat is used for energy. This in itself is not big news considering it is printed on most treadmills. The “optimum fat burning zone” is ALWAYS less than you’re max heart rate. This is because at a certain point the intensity of the activity becomes too much for your body to rely on slow burning fat so it has to switch to fast burning carbs. Lets call this point a turnover point (although no one has ever named it, probably because it’s not so much a point as it is a gradient). Like with most things calculated on a treadmill, the treadmill turnover point or “fat burning zone” is a very simplistic, one-size-fits all number based on complex and dynamic variables. The longer you go on Keto, the higher your turnover point will be, and therefore a higher percentage of the energy needs can come from fat. Lets say two people go for a run in the morning on an empty stomach but one is on a well adapted keto diet and one is on a regular carb-based diet. You can only store around 1000 Cal of carbs. So the carb guy will become exhausted after burning 1000 Cal, which is about an hour of running. A 180lb man with 10% BF has around 73,000 Cal of stored fat, meaning the Keto guy can theoretically run for 3 days before he runs out of energy! I want to stress the fact that he is WELL ADAPTED, meaning he has gone 3 or more months of eating under 20g of carbs a day, without cheating. If you try this on any other type of low carb diet you will run face first into the big red brick wall of exhaustion WAY before the carb guy does.


Protection Against Neurological Disorders

The Ketogenic Diet was originally developed in the 1920’s as a way to treat epilepsy and to this day still remains the only way to treat the disease without medication. No one knew why it worked so well until about 10 years ago when scientists discovered that a ketogenic diet actually change gene expressions to increase energy production in parts of the brain while making it resilient to metabolic changes, suggesting it also can also be used as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. There is also evidence that a ketogenic diet can protect against traumatic and ischemic brain injury (stroke). For a more technical insight into experiments and potential theories on why a ketogenic diet works so well on the brain, check out this in-depth article.


Cancer Treatment

If you’ve gotten this far and you’re even some what skeptical aforementioned benefits, your BS meter must be off the charts after reading this heading. Your suspicion is understandable. Despite there being a purported cancer cure nearly every week , death rates have only decreased 5% in the last 65 years . But perhaps there was something we missed. A weakness we discovered long ago but only recently determined how to exploit. In 1931, a German scientist was awarded the Nobel prize for discovering that cancer cells metabolise differently than normal cells. In fact, as it turns out, cancer cells have an insatiable sweet tooth. Unlike normal cells undergoing carb restriction, tumor cells can’t just switch to ketones because abnormalities in it’s unusual mitochondria won’t allow it. Instead they just, quite literally, starve to death. In theory this should allow for complete remission of the cancer. I say “in theory” because the current evidence of this working well in humans are either anecdotal or come from studies with small sample sizes. Mouse models however are very promising . More research needs to be done to verify if a ketogenic diet is one-stop cancer eradicating solution or a just one of many tools that, when used in combination, can decrease tumor size. What we know for sure is, at the very least, a ketogenic diet is harmless to a cancer patient. At most it is an anti-drug, anti-invasive, side-effect free, inexpensive cancer treatment alternative that is available to anyone.



If nothing else, you should take away from this the fact that a Ketogenic Diet may prevent you from getting Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, strokes and Alzheimer’s, 5 of the top 7 most common causes of death in Canada.

So, I have to ask you, why wouldn’t you want to eat fat??