One of the things most people don’t know when they start a ketogenic or low-carb diet is that you have to STAY on it. The diet changes over your metabolism so you are burning fat rather than glucose. When you overindulge in foods not on your diet— even when quantities are small— it has a big effect.
Why? Because you have changed your metabolism back, and you will have carb-cravings until you change it back. You will start experiencing hunger. After being on keto and never feeling hunger, that will be hard. And you will have a bunch of symptoms because of your indulgence— a carb-eating hangover.
I ate carbs for some days because of my niece’s wedding (and other stresses), and now it’s time for me to detox. I looked up some info on how to do it, and here is my plan. I hope it will help others.
- Drink lots of water. If your tap water tastes bad and filters don’t help, try drinking cups of plain hot tea. I mean real tea, like Lipton, not tea with flavorings, herb ‘tea’, pre-sugared tea mix. Black, green and white tea are OK. My favorite is Prince of Peace brand pu-erh tea.
- DON’T drink juices or fruit smoothies. These items are full of ‘natural’ sugars, and they are just as bad for you as eating white sugar out of the bag.
- Go back to an Induction level low-carb plan as in the Atkins diet books, where you cannot have fruit, nuts, nut flours or other more carby foods.
- Don’t eat all the veggies allowed on Atkins Induction while you are detoxing. Pick veggies like spinach or broccoli, raw or cooked plain. I’m planning to use wild greens like dandelions for my greens allowance.
- Eat enough fat. Perhaps try some of the recipes in Dana Carpender’s Fat Fast cookbook— but don’t limit your portions as in the Fat Fast (temporary) diet. You have to get back on your regular keto first.
- Expect to feel bad, or to have food cravings.
- Don’t exercise if you are feeling symptoms, or do mild exercise like taking a walk.
- A lot of things I have read say not to feel guilty over your carb binge. I disagree. If you KNOW keto works for you and is healthy for you, and you have an unplanned carb binge anyway, you made a mistake and you hurt your health and you should have a little guilt in there because of it. A little guilt can keep us from making the same mistakes over again.
- Make plans to avoid future carb binges— perhaps bringing some foods with you when you travel. Now, you CAN plan to eat some carb food you used to love on certain special occasions, but you have to have a plan or it will turn into a week-long or month-long carb binge.
In conclusion— while a carb binge can be bad, all you have to do is get busy detoxing and you will recover. Your keto diet is not doomed by your carb binge. Hey, if I can (mostly) stick to it, anyone can.