McDonald's is not Keto
I fuckin’ love McDonald’s! That’s right. I said it. The Big Mac? Are you kidding me? Love! And McDonald’s French Fries? Holy shit! What are they made of? I also love the Whopper at Burger King. Yep! I eat fast food and have been eating it all my life.
When I was a kid, maybe 10-11 years old, my mom would send me to the grocery store at least a couple times a week during the summer months. My mom never drove a car so she would walk everywhere. It was the 70’s and it was not a big deal. But in the summer when it was hot, she would give me a list and some money and send me off on my bicycle to get some things she needed. She always gave me two extra dollars to get a Big Mac and a milk shake at the McDonald’s which was next to the grocery store. That’s right. $2 could buy you a Big Mac (which actually had decent size meat paddies in them then) and a milk shake, usually vanilla but I would switch up once in a while. The strawberry milkshakes back then were amazing!
I had a ten year old’s metabolism. I was on the move constantly. I rode my bike everywhere. I played 3 sports and if I wasn’t playing the games or practicing, we were playing football or baseball or stickball or basketball in the neighborhood. In the summer, going to the public pools and running around there. (God it was great growing up then!) Whatever fast food I may have eaten had no chance. Those calories were going to be used and used quickly!
Fast-forward a few years and we’re in high school. I was growing up and wow could I eat! Back then, in some odd tradition, the place to hang out after football games, wrestling matches or basketball games was the local Burger King. Ever see a Burger King completely packed? That was every Friday night in the fall after a home football game. Cheeseburgers were 69¢ then. I’d get at least 5. Again, with an active teenager’s metabolism, I might as well have eaten air because those calories and fat were never going to accumulate.
Several years go by. I’m out of school, working a full-time job and living on my own. Paying my own bills. Buying my own groceries, which usually consisted of eggs, pasta, and tuna. I was going to the gym almost every day and still very active. I was working the 2pm-10pm shift. The last thing I wanted to do when I got home was cooking myself a meal. 89¢ cheeseburgers at McDonald’s was a quick and cheap way to satisfy my hunger and absorb some of the alcohol I was about to consume. I was in my early 20’s. Of course, I was going to the bar.
I would guess I was around 26-28 when I noticed a little extra around my mid-section, not terrible but not what I was used too. What it all the beer? Was it the fast food? Was it age? All of the above, no doubt.
It was also around this time that my life really changed. I met the woman who would eventually be my wife. We went out to dinner a lot. We traveled a lot. We partied with our friends. Then we moved in together and something changed. We started acting like adults. We would actually go to the grocery store to buy “ingredients” to make our own food! Real recipes and dishes. Healthier options. Kind of reminds me of when I bought my first lamp for my apartment. I said to myself “Fuck, I must be an adult now. I’m buying a lamp.”
I don’t want this to get misconstrued. I ate fast food when I was a young adult because I could and it was convenient, but I also ate somewhat healthy. I learned about proper nutrition in the mid 1980’s, even if it was primitive back then. Basically, it was a clean protein, clean carb and low fat. Throw in some veggies and you were doing good. I ate like this for literally decades with pockets of time when it was better and sometimes it was worse. Worse usually meant more fast food. One thing that was always consistent, and maybe was the equalizer, was my training.
Now really fast forward to 2020. I got sick at the end of January. Only one time in my life can I ever remember being sicker and that was after getting my one and only flu shot. This sickness was all upper respiratory. I felt like death. Coughing for 4-5 weeks! Lost my sense of taste. I missed work for 2 weeks. I wonder what I had??? When I went to see the doctor, COVID was barely on the radar.
Eventually I got my appetite back with my sense of taste. It was about this time that everything started shutting down. Lucky for me, my job was considered essential, but my wife, who is a teacher, was going to be home indefinitely. She decided, while she was going to be home, she wanted to try the keto diet. Her sister was doing it and had some success. I feel terrible now, but I scoffed at the idea initially. I was thinking it was a fad and not realistic. Was I ever wrong!
A very generic definition of a keto (ketogenic) diet is a very low carb, high fat diet. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn't have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can use for fuel. Ketones are made in your liver and then sent to your bloodstream. So basically, you are eating any kind of protein and any kind of fat with virtually no carbohydrates, or as little as possible.
Is the keto diet healthy and sustainable? In my opinion and from research on this diet, I would say that the keto diet is neither safe nor sustainable in its purest form. BUT, slightly adjusted I believe it is both healthy and sustainable. The pure form of the diet consists of 75% fats, 20% proteins, and 5% carbohydrates. There is no way on earth I am doing a diet that suggest 75% of my intake is from fats! No way on earth! That sounds dangerous just on its face.
We adjusted the percentages to approximately 50% protein, 40% fats, and 10% carbs. Bear in mind, this is just an estimation. We are not weighing food or trying to be that precise.
Here is a typical meal:
Caprese Chicken over cauliflower rice:
42g of protein
5g of carbs
20g of fats
And let me tell you, it is delicious! In fact, my wife found several recipes for insanely delicious dishes. It just so happens that she is an amazing cook, which is very helpful and very fortunate for me!
I believe in its modified form that it is 100% sustainable. My wife has been at it since March of 2020, and I started this past January. Initially she lost 25lbs. but leveled off at 20lbs. less. I lost 10lbs. and leveled off at 8-10lb. loss. I honestly can say that I can see myself eating this way for the rest of my life…
Every once in a while, I treat myself to McDonald’s! Or Burger King! Or pizza! Or cake! Or a number of other things that I love to eat. The key is “every once in a while”. More than two days in a row of having a “cheat meal” is not advised. So have that #1 at McDonald's (Big Mac, medium fries, medium coke) but then get right back to the plan.
A friend who coached me into my first bodybuilding show in 25 years, taught me many things and gave me some great advice that I often think about. One nugget he offered was this; eating 5-7 meals a day, that is 35-42 meals a week. If 2 or 3 of those meals are cheat meals, that’s 90% to 95% of your meals that are great! That’s what we all should strive for, while still enjoying the tastes of life.
The Beast Life
***I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist. These are my opinions. Probably a good idea to go see a doctor and/or a nutritionist before you start a high fat diet.