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Babies, ketosis and travel!

At the start of the year, I had the joy of meeting my new grandson. Looking at his newborn little face and body, I was in awe at the complete perfection of nature. He is the blank slate that we all wish we were but as adults, we may have made some poor choices in life that leave us with metabolic issues, which only real lifestyle changes can heal.

If you still wonder if living in a metabolically flexible state where you can use either ketones or glucose as a fuel source is sustainable and the best possible way to protect yourself against disease, then be reminded that babies are born in a state of ketosis! Yes, you read that right! If nature brought us into this world functioning to perfection in a state of ketosis, how could this not be the best way to live? Sustainability lies more in our habits and whether we can adjust to living according to a "Proper Human Diet" to quote Dr Ken Berry, than wondering whether our bodies thrive on a metabolically flexible lifestyle - which they totally can! Our carb addiction is strong, as it should be if we were still foraging for food - but in our food abundant environment, our ancient bodies don't cope, and we have to find strategies to exist alongside our ultra processed food world.

So, starting with the simple fact that babies naturally kick off life in ketosis makes you wonder, doesn't it? It's like, if that's how we're all wired from the get-go, sticking to a keto diet should be a no-brainer. But then, life happens, especially when you're trying to keep it keto while traveling. It's one thing to control what you eat in your own kitchen, but it's a whole other game when you're out and about, dealing with airports, unfamiliar places, and all the tempting food that comes with being on the road. It's like going from the straightforwardness of a baby's diet to the obstacle course of keeping things low-carb and high-fat when you're anywhere but home.

But here's the thing, I've been there, done that, and I've got some stories to share. Keeping keto on the road might sound like a mission impossible, but I promise you, it's doable. I've picked up a few tricks along the way that have made all the difference. So, let's dive into how you can stick to your keto guns, even when you're miles away from your comfort zone. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you. Let's tackle this keto journey together, no matter where we are in the world.

So with all of this in mind, I have revisited my health goals for the year. To be honest, they haven’t gotten off to the start I had hoped. Travel has made things more challenging, and I realize once again, how much of a safe haven my home is. Home is where my food choices, sleep, exercise and stress management is on point, and I don’t have to think about what each day will bring because my systems are in place and it is where I feel safe.

Stepping outside my home is where the challenges lie and here, I will share how I have gone about making things work as best I could while I had been away:

  1. Meals: Here I was lucky because I offered to cook, and which new mother is going to resist being loved on with home cooked meals by the grandma!? Offering to make meals or side dishes is my way of staying on course with my eating because I know that when I eat off plan, I am usually left sluggish, my sleep goes down the tubes and I generally have a worse time. But I may have a trick or two up my sleeve to get around this with some biohacking.

  2. Sleep: I travel with my pillow - hmmm I know, this isn’t always possible but honestly, I will give up extra packing space if it means that I will have the best chance of decent sleep. The other item I will NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT are my silicone earplugs. I had these specially moulded to my ears and their soft silicone nestles inside my ear and I can comfortably sleep on my side. This is the very best investment I have EVER made. They are TOTALLY noise cancelling and not even my grandson’s nighttime cries came through! This was great as I could sleep and give my best the next day much to my sleep deprived daughter’s delight. They also saved me on the last night of my trip where a next-door party was in full swing and sleep was not on the cards.

  3. Dining out: Finding restaurants that served meat and veges/salads was easy and if you have a vegan/vegetarian dining with you, there are always options for them too. The Brazilian BBQ in Christchurch was an absolute delight (Check out my Facebook post) and I could eat my fill of delicious meats and chose the sides that suited keto. Coffees were easy but….there may have been a pastry or cupcake involved for two special “dates”. These two off plan food events were totally planned and I was ready for the inevitable carb slump afterwards….BHB salts are one of the bio hacks I would use in times like this. The first rule is…..if you are going to eat high carbs, do it in the morning. It’s a way that you have a chance to use some of the energy and because I am metabolically flexible, I can use either ketones or glucose as fuel. Drinking the BHB salts helps with the inevitable fatigue and inflammation that results from spiking my insulin higher than usual and helps me feel physically better. Don’t kid yourself by thinking that you have “cancelled out” the carbs by taking ketones - sadly it doesn’t quite work that way. The body will still prioritize your fuel: glucose first, then ketones and if insulin is high, ketones will tank. If your goal is weight loss, this buffering strategy is not something I would advise - stay on course because what I didn’t mention was the inevitable cravings that were back with a vengeance within hours of eating the high carb foods. Save yourself the misery and just stay away.

March is on the doorstep and I challenge you to think back on the past two months. How have things gone for you with your keto journey? Has life thrown lemons at you or has it been a great start to the year? Or do you lie somewhere in between? What will move you from in between to great? What is the small step you can take that will move the needle towards better? Remember: Progress is good and perfection is not required!