After a little more than a week I think I am figuring this diet out. Right now I am targeting 3000 calories per day, but we'll see if I need to up that. Based on other runners' data, that number seems low. My goal has been to target 125-150 g per day in Protein, which I have been doing pretty consistently. My goal is 50 g of carbs per day, which I have exceeded a few days. The devil in the details is whether you consider net (carbs - fiber grams) or gross carbs. There seems to be some disagreement on this. If I count net carbs, I am easily under 50. And finally, I need to be eating upwards of 200 grams per day of fat. That is much tougher than it sounds.
Anyway, week one is in the books and here are a few lessons I learned:
- Making Bulletproof Coffee (hot coffee blended with butter, ghee, coconut oil or MCT oil) is a good way to start the day and get a ton of fat in easily. I started with 1 tbsp each of Ghee and Coconut oil, which is about 30 g of fat in a cup. Lately I am upping the dosage a bit to get more fat. Soon I will experiment with drinking this before AM runs.
- You can overdue avocados or nuts. They sound like the perfect LCHF food, but if you take them to extremes, they blow out your proper ratios. I am basically targeting a 10 to 1 ratio of fat grams to carbohydrate grams per day and a 2 to 1 ratio of fat grams to protein grams. Avocados are close to a 1 to 1 ratio of carbs to fat. Too much avocado quickly becomes too much carbohydrates. Nuts have the same issue with carbohydrates. Almonds have a good ratio of fat to protein (near 2 to 1), but only a one to one ratio of fat to carbs but only a 2 to 1 ratio of fat to carbs. Even bacon doesn't have near the fat to protein ratio necessary (about 1 to 1).
- Based on the above, I have had to find creative ways to eat pure fat whenever possible. I found and tweaked a smoothie recipe that gives me roughly 45 grams of fat per serving, with little protein or carbs. If I have two of those a day, then I can quite easily get into the ball park for the day. The recipe includes heavy whipping cream, unsweetened coconut milk, and a few tbsp of coconut oil. Then I might include one or two berries or some cinnamon for flavor. It is actually pretty darn tasty. If I want to make it healthy, maybe add some kale or spinach.
- Supplements are necessary to balance things out. I am currently taking Magnesium Citrate and Sodium (in the form of bullion cubes). In ketosis, your body will shed water from the carbohydrate stores. This results in an imbalance of electrolytes and causes people to feel nauseous or light headed. I also take at least one shot of Amazing Wheat Grass each day for additional micronutrients.
I'll keep playing with this and see how it goes. My goal is to be able to run long with much less fuel than the average runner. At near 190 lbs, I need to be more fat adapted than the next guy or prepared to eat 400 Kcals an hour, which is tough. My experimentation will begin with VESPA, UCann, and watered down organic apple juice as my in-run carbohydrates. I may even "game" the ketosis system by changing the amount of carbohydrates I eat each day based on my activity level for the day. In that case, I might even be able to have a beer after one of my long runs!