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Can't seem to enter ketosis!!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 12, 2012 at 6:12 PM

I have been Paleo for a month now and yes I have had a trip up but I was wholly paleo for 3 weeks before a day off the wagon as it were. I am paleo for the health benefits but I also am intrigued by weight loss and want to try ketosis. I thought I might have been in ketosis as I IF everyday and do so comfortably and though that was a sign of ketosis. I wake up and won't eat until ~1/2pm and then I will have a meal of cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccolli/cauliflower, mushrooms and a fatty meat. Admittedly I could eat alot of meat but then I may not have another meal the rest of the day. In fact the meal at 1pm may even be delayed until 5/6/7pm. However, my morning consists of coffee with the solid part of coconut milk I have pre-chilled (cream?). I have stopped that this week.

I know that's alot of veg but it's only one meal and I thought they were low carb veggies? I am don't really know what I am doing tbh. I have read, re-read and am now confused again. I just don't know. I want to be healthy hence paleo but I know want to additionally lean out. I am 11 stone and 5ft 10in. I am muscular not too noticeably, my legs are ok but you could never tell I had strong arms. I want to reduce bf% but I don't want to lose muscle. I am scared if I don't eat the protein I will lose muscle but then I am scared of eating too much and so kicking off glucogenesis. I know people may say it's hard to eat too much meat/protein but I love it, I could easily sit down to a pack of bacon and 6 eggs in one sitting or like last week I ate 1 pound of beef mince in my sole meal of the day; had it with the aforementioned veggies.

I am really confused and would love your help!

FYI Despite originally thinking so, I now don't think I am in ketosis as I bought keto stix and they are negative or have 'trace' ketones in morning. I also don't have smelly breath as far as I am aware of and I definitely don't have stinky pee. I do have constipation though possibly from eating all the sprouts! I supplement daily on 3-5 dessertspoons of extra strength cod lover oil <-- is that ok?

Thank you.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 08, 2012
at 03:10 PM

I should also aim for ketosis as this is will help suppress the appetite and encourage fat adaption whilst normalising my natural dietary mechanism making me more of an efficiently functioning human (wrt nutrition anyway!) However, being in ketosis doesn't mean fat-adaption but fat-adaption means ketosis and the ketosis where fat/ketones is being released by liver for use in energy? Also, when will your website be finished?

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 08, 2012
at 03:05 PM

So just to clarify, in you opinion would the following be true: I wish to lose weight but am lucky enough to have no apparent medical condition that requires ketosis. I will eat at a calorie deficit to achieve weight loss but aim for fat-adaption as this is optimal mechanism for human function (that's just my own opinion based on the fact we naturally store fat for energy). In order to do this I will consume a high fat, medium protein, low carb diet. Ideally for fat loss there would be zero carbs but for optimal nutrition I should consume some as well as multi-vitamins.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 08, 2012
at 02:59 PM

See that's the thing, the bulletproof coffee doesn't turn my stix pruple or indeed any colour. I went to bed last night apparently 'in' ketosis (I understand what you mean by in and out but for purposes of the context I will say in when I mean detectable via stix) but forgot to test when I woke up (ate late and wanted to check if what I had eaten had kicked me out once digested) but after bulletproof coffee, it wasn't detected, not even 3 hours later. I had hoped to go train fasted but thesis work is a bummer and can't afford the time so just had a ham, cheese and mushroom omlette.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

(...continued) ...therefore, when we eat these foods, our Ketostix turn a darker color. But this doesn't indicate that our metabolism has shifted toward the fasting/ketone end of the spectrum. It only indicates that we've swallowed some medium chain fatty acids, and the body turned them automatically into ketone bodies, and some of them are coming out in the urine. This second type of ketogenisis may be useful for treating certain diseases but it's not the same thing as shifting our metabolism.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

(...continued) However, as I said, there are two ketogenic mechanisms, and if you put MCT oil or coconut oil in your coffee, this second mechanism comes into play. These foods contains substances which I call "obligately ketogenic." (Nobody else calls them this but there really should be a term for this concept, and there isn't.) These substances are peculiar because no matter what our metabolic state, the body turns them immediately into ketone bodies. Therefore, when we swallow them, our measured ketone bodies immediately rise and... (Continued....)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

(...continued) Eating carbs (even a small amount) causes the body to shift metabolically toward the fed/glucose end of the continuum. However eating fat has almost no effect. Therefore, if your bulletproof coffee contains only fat and coffee, it won't shift you toward the fed/glucose end of the continuum. In this sense, yes, it's true that the coffee doesn't count. (continued...)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

About your bulletproof coffee: This is a bit complicated. There are two completely different mechanisms by which diet can be ketogenic. The one that is of more interest for losing weight is the one that gets triggered by scarcity of carbs and protein. This scarcity causes the liver to manufacture ketone bodies. We can think of this as a shift toward the "fasting" end of the metabolic continuum. Usually we're at the "glucose" or "fed" end of the continuum. When we stop eating carbs and protein, we shift toward the "ketone" or "fasting" end of the continuum. (Continued...)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

High levels are something else. They have enormous effects on the body, some of which are beneficial. (We should remember that these benefits are a tradeoff because the diet that creates high levels also causes harmful effects). For an overweight but otherwise healthy person, I know only two reasons why ketosis would help: appetite suppression and prevention of cancer. (In high ketosis, blood sugar is extremely low and there is evidence that this kills cancer cells).

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:01 PM

(...continued) Therefore, when we eat these foods, our Ketostix turn a darker color. But this doesn't indicate that our metabolism has shifted toward the fasting/ketone end of the spectrum. It only indicates that we've swallowed some medium chain fatty acids, and the body turned them automatically into ketone bodies, and some of them are coming out in the urine. This second type of ketogenisis may be useful for treating certain diseases but it's not the same thing as shifting our metabolism.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:52 PM

(...continued) However, as I said, there are two ketogenic mechanisms, and if you put MCT oil or coconut oil in your coffee, this second mechanism comes into play. These foods contains substances which I call "obligately ketogenic." (Nobody else calls them this but there really should be a term for this concept, and there isn't.) These substances are peculiar because no matter what our metabolic state, the body turns them immediately into ketone bodies. Therefore, when we swallow them, our measured ketone bodies immediately rise. (Continued....)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:49 PM

(...continued) Eating only a tiny amount of carbs causes the body to shift metabolically toward the fed/glucose end of the continuum. However eating fat has almost no effect at all. Therefore, if your bulletproof coffee contains only fat and coffee, it won't shift you toward the fed/glucose end of the continuum. In this sense, yes, it's true that the coffee doesn't count. (continued...)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:44 PM

About your bulletproof coffee: This is a bit complicated. There are two completely different mechanisms by which diet can be ketogenic. The one that is of interest for losing weight is the one that gets triggered by scarcity of carbs and protein. This scarcity causes the liver to manufacture ketone bodies. We can think of this as a shift toward the "fasting" end of the metabolic continuum. Usually we're at the "glucose" or "fed" end of the continuum. When we stop eating carbs and protein, we shift toward the "ketone" or "fasting" end of the continuum. (Continued...)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:36 PM

High levels are something else. They have enormous effects on the body, some of which are beneficial and some harmful. For an overweight but otherwise healthy person, I know only two reasons why ketosis would help: appetite suppression and prevention of cancer. (In high ketosis, blood sugar is extremely low and there is evidence that this kills cancer cells).

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:32 PM

Contrary to what many people believe when they speak about going "in" and "out" of ketosis, ketosis is actually a matter of degree and everybody is at some level of ketosis at all times. The body always produces some ketone bodies and there are always some in the blood. The level constantly varies depending on diet, time of day, and many other factors. There's a scientific paper which showed that it depends on ambient temperature, how much work the person is doing, and other things. I don't know any reason why higher mild levels would be healthier than lower mild levels.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:31 PM

Contrary to what many people believe when they speak about going "in" and "out" of ketosis, ketosis is actually a matter of degree and everybody is at some level of ketosis at all times. The body always produces some ketone bodies and there are always some in the blood. The level constantly varies depending on diet, time of day, and many other factors. There's a scientific paper which showed that it depends on ambient temperature, how much work the person is doing, and other things. I don't know any reason why higher levels would be healthier than lower ones.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:37 PM

I just tested my urine before dinner there, IT WAS PURPLE!!!!!! :D \O/

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:36 PM

Just realised I didn't fast, I had bulletproof coffee this morning :( I presume that doesn't count? HOWEVER.....I tested my urine before dinner - IT WAS PURPLE!! :D I was moderate ketosis! :D

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:35 PM

nutritious foods. I do however wish to be in mild ketosis as I feel it would be more indicative of a healthy state eventhough I know if I am efficient, there won't be any ketones produced in the urine (only have strips). I will attempt to keep the carbs very low, the protein moderate (or as low as I can maintain while enjoying food) and fat high. If I go over a little I don't mind, lif eis for living and I want to enjoy my foods and now I am eating clean I can especially since I am lucky not to need to do it for medical pruposes!

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:35 PM

nutritious foods. I do however wish to be in mild ketosis as I feel it would be more indicative of a healthy state eventhough I know if I am efficient, there won't be any ketones produced in the urine (only have strips). I will attempt to keep the carbs very low, the protein moderate (or as low as I can maintain while enjoying food) and fat high. If I go over a little I don't mind, lif eis for living and I want to enjoy my foods and now I am eating clean I can especially since I am lucky not to need to do it for medical pruposes! Just realised I didn't fast I had b/proof coffee this morning :(

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:34 PM

nutritious foods. I do however wish to be in mild ketosis as I feel it would be more indicative of a healthy state eventhough I know if I am efficient, there won't be any ketones produced in the urine (only have strips). I will attempt to keep the carbs very low, the protein moderate (or as low as I can maintain while enjoying food) and fat high. If I go over a little I don't mind, lif eis for living and I want to enjoy my foods and now I am eating clean I can especially since I am lucky not to need to do it for medical pruposes! Realised I didn't fast. I had b/proof coffee this morning :(

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:29 PM

I was having difficulty I guess because I didn't understand it fully and I didn't understand it becuase it wasn't making sense. Now it does. I want to be in ketosis as I had liked the idea of weight loss and assumed ketosis caused it as it enabled your body to become a fat burner and then lead to becoming fat adapted. I also liked the idea of being fat adapted as, for me, I think it seems to be the most healthy and natural mechanisms. I don't think I now want to be in deep ketosis as I have no medical reason and would prefer to be in a more healthy state by including more varieties of

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I agree completely; the one thing about Paleo that has me hooked is the same reason for doing it. It's not for weight loss because you can put on weight on paleo but because I become more in tune with my body. I listen to it instead of conventioal wisdom. If I don't want to eat, I won't, if I don't respond well to a food I won't force it down becuase of apparent benefits. Best of all is that I am retuning my body, resetting all markers and levels so I can hear it better. I want to thank you again for your post on Ketosis. It makes much more sense now.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:28 PM

One last thing. You wrote, "I am tracking on Cronometer and keeping macros at 20/5/75." I think the single most important thing for people to keep in mind about ketosis is that the level is determined mainly by the absolute quantities of carbs and protein. Above some absolute level, your ketosis will be negligible. Below some level, your liver will start making ketone bodies.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:18 PM

You say that you've read that fasting for females isn't ideal. I'm skeptical about such warnings. It seems to me that if you are overweight, and if your body's natural appetite mechanism has decided to make you hungry only once or twice every 48 hours, and if you feel fine on that diet, perhaps you should consider taking advantage of the situation. My own view is that I trust my body a lot more than I trust what I read. I think your choice to eat the lamb for the reason you gave is sensible. That's how I approach this stuff too.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:16 PM

You say that you've read that fasting for females isn't ideal. I'm skeptical about such warnings. It seems to me that if you are overweight, and if your body's natural appetite mechanism has decided to make you hungry only once or twice every 48 hours, and if you feel fine on that diet, perhaps you should consider taking advantage of the situation. My own view is that I trust my body a lot more than I trust what I read. So anyway ... what's your thesis about? :)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:12 PM

Your comment about the 26 hour fast is wonderful! Absolutely wonderful. I wish every overweight person in the world could read it. This is exactly what I was talking about. I just described this phenomenon to somebody here in another thread. Isn't it unbelievable? Your body is normalizing its appetite mechanism. Your body realizes it has plenty of food stored, so it doesn't to eat that much, so it's not making you hungry. This is a sign of health, imho.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Your comment about the 26 hour fast is wonderful! Absolutely wonderful. I wish every obese person in the world could read it. This is exactly what I was talking about. I just described this exact thing to somebody here in another thread. I wish there was a way to send notes here so he or she could see it. Isn't it unbelievable? Your body is normalizing it's appetite mechanism. Your body realizes it has plenty of food stored, so it doesn't to eat that much, so it's not making you hungry. This is a sign of health, imho.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 08:59 PM

You ask how can you eat high fat without eating spoonfuls of butter and oil. When kids are put on these diets, their parents give them tons of heavy cream because it's the most palatable fat. I've resorted to mixing spices with pure tallow and eating it with a spoon like mashed potatoes. But these things are only necessary if you're trying to eat enough to maintain body weight. Remember, it's the lack of carbs and protein that creates ketosis, not the fat. The fat is ony there to supply calories to maintain the person's weight. But you want to lose weight. You don't need that much fat.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 08:55 PM

You're welcome and thanks for the compliment. You ask how you can eat zero carb and get enough nutrients from food. You can't. A highly ketogenic diet is not healthy. There's a widespread misunderstanding in these forums (not just Paleohacks, but all over the Web) that ketosis is a wonderful healthy thing. It's not. It's like a medicine. Medicines have tradeoffs and side effects. Same thing here. Ketosis is something you resort to in order to lose weight. But it has both pros and cons, and the cons include lack of nutrition. So the answer is, you need to take supplements.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 08:03 PM

Oh I don't know if I could give up my beloved caffeine!! I have however been on coconut milk though have recently dropped that for more coconut oil and started drinking bulletproof coffee which is actually, to my surprise, REALLY nice! I have also, this week just started eating dairy again just so I could enjoy the deliciousness of butter and increase fat more with the likes of cheese and the bulletproof coffee. I'm so pleased for the purple!! I know I don't know you but I smiled & share your excitement in that, I so look forward to when I experience it as well, just for the sheer achievement!

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Also, today I just realised that I have done a 24 hour fast, I am currently cooking fatty lamb chops and I'd say when they're done I will have fasted for 26 hours. I have never been able to do that and the strangest thing is, I did it without realising. Sure I knew I hadn't eaten but I just assumed I'd eat a little later. I carried on with my day without a thought to food. It was unbelievable! The only reason I am cooking the lamb is because I am starting to feel a little low on energy and need a boost for my thesis writing/brain power. Also I've read fasting for females isn't ideal!

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 07:54 PM

Waow, that's sucvh an amazing and comprehensive answer, thank you!! Funnily enough I started a 'ketogenic' diet a few days though whether it is remains to be seen. I have started drinking bulletproof coffee for breakfast then the remaining meals are mostly fat, as much as I can. I am tracking on Cronometer and keeping macros at 20/5/75. I had thought about going zero carb but tbh I don't know how. I use the veggies for minerals/vitamins that the meat and dairy lacks but also as fat carriers. How do I eat high fat without resorting to just eating spoonfuls of butter and oil?

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 06, 2012
at 06:10 PM

No, it's not right. The rule of thumb for protein for a highly ketogenic diet for adults is 0.8 g protein per day per KILOGRAM of lean bodyweight. For you, based on your estimate of 180 lbs lean weight, that's about 66 g/day. See my answer below for more info.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 06, 2012
at 06:05 PM

The rule of thumb for protein for a highly ketogenic diet for adults is 0.8 g protein per day per KILOGRAM of lean bodyweight. For you, that's about 66 g/day. See my answer below for more info.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 06, 2012
at 05:56 PM

The rule of thumb for protein for a highly ketogenic diet for adults is 0.8 g protein per day per KILOGRAM of lean bodyweight. For you, that's about 65 g/day. See my answer below for more info.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on December 06, 2012
at 03:14 PM

So, just to clarify (and I apologize for being so uncertain) but, if I estimate my lean mass to 180 lbs (reasonable at 6'3"?) I'm shooting for 140-150 g of protein. Does this seem right? Thank you in advance.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 13, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Sorry, by muscle meat I meant "not organ meat". You should be eating it all. Besides cooking in fat, add fatty sauces, load your veggies with butter or olive oil, etc. Not everyone has to eat 85% fat for ketosis, but aim high.

Aa78c339d5f97e14f5d477a6cc108e5a

(30)

on November 13, 2012
at 06:34 PM

You depleat your glycogen stores when your in ketosis, so bring them back up once a week helps your body. It shocks the system. Martin Berkhan (leangains IFing king) believes it helps with muscle growth. http://www.leangains.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on November 13, 2012
at 01:14 PM

I'm a diabetic though, so the Very Low Carb thing is kind of a given if I want to control my Blood Glucose.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on November 13, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Lots of fat: fatty meat, eggs, avocados, cheese, cream. Of course, if you are looking to lose weight, instead of eating some of that fat, you could simply not eat the calories and burn body fat instead.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on November 13, 2012
at 11:09 AM

What a wonderful answer thank you very much! How do you get 85% fat, I fry everything in coconut oil but aside from that, everytime I eat fat it is either attached to a protein source (egg/meat) or vegetable/fruit (avocado, olives, nuts). How do I avoid that and get more fat but less protein? I never thought of muscle meats, I thought they would a detriment to the requirement to increase fat, don't they contain less fat than other meat forms like pork belly? See, I don't get hungry at all nowadays, I only think I should eat because I am low on energy/gettig cold. I don't have the others :(

F4a6fc9f0b701e12cdf2ad5dadaeb2dd

(360)

on November 13, 2012
at 02:48 AM

I personally don't think you should stress out about whether you are in ketosis or not. Based on what you say you eat, I would think that you are DEFINITELY in ketosis. In an imaginary world, if there was no test for ketosis, would you be stressing out right now? Something to think about...

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on November 12, 2012
at 10:48 PM

What are re-feeds??

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on November 12, 2012
at 10:47 PM

When you were deep purple what were you eating? I can't wrap my head round those macros! I'm really impressed!!!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on November 12, 2012
at 10:29 PM

Borofergie, are you using the new Ketostix that come loose in a bottle (not individually wrapped)? I'm finding that they are much less accurate than the old individually wrapped ones ... is your experience different?

B1d3dfe470ba901b2b107545b923b024

(184)

on November 12, 2012
at 10:20 PM

I was told that those who can't get into ketosis all go to hell too

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8 Answers

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B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on November 12, 2012
at 08:18 PM

Ketosis is governed by your brains need for glucose. If you fail to provide 100-120g a day of glucose (from dietary carbohydrate, stored glycogen reserves or gluconeogenesis) then you meet some of that need with ketones.

I've got to "deep purple" but only by restricting my carbs to <25g Net Carbs (ie with the fibre subtracted), restricting my protein to <15% and exercising.

There are lots of reasons why your ketostix might not be turning purple:

  • They're out of date
  • They've got damp
  • You're drinking too much liquid and diluting them out
  • You're testing at the wrong time (they're highest in the evening, lowest in the morning).
  • You're burning them all up.

However, the most likely reason is that you're not deep in ketosis are:

  • You're eating too many carbs
  • You're eating too much protein (more than 0.8g per lb of lean body mass)
  • You're eating too many calories
  • You're fundamentally a bad person.

Number 2 will probably catch you out the most. (I made the last one up).

In my experience ketostix are a pretty fair guide to blood ketones. If my blood ketones are over 2mmol/l then the stix will be deep purple.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on November 12, 2012
at 10:47 PM

When you were deep purple what were you eating? I can't wrap my head round those macros! I'm really impressed!!!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on November 13, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Lots of fat: fatty meat, eggs, avocados, cheese, cream. Of course, if you are looking to lose weight, instead of eating some of that fat, you could simply not eat the calories and burn body fat instead.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on November 13, 2012
at 01:14 PM

I'm a diabetic though, so the Very Low Carb thing is kind of a given if I want to control my Blood Glucose.

B1d3dfe470ba901b2b107545b923b024

(184)

on November 12, 2012
at 10:20 PM

I was told that those who can't get into ketosis all go to hell too

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on November 12, 2012
at 10:29 PM

Borofergie, are you using the new Ketostix that come loose in a bottle (not individually wrapped)? I'm finding that they are much less accurate than the old individually wrapped ones ... is your experience different?

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on December 06, 2012
at 03:14 PM

So, just to clarify (and I apologize for being so uncertain) but, if I estimate my lean mass to 180 lbs (reasonable at 6'3"?) I'm shooting for 140-150 g of protein. Does this seem right? Thank you in advance.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 06, 2012
at 05:56 PM

The rule of thumb for protein for a highly ketogenic diet for adults is 0.8 g protein per day per KILOGRAM of lean bodyweight. For you, that's about 65 g/day. See my answer below for more info.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 06, 2012
at 06:10 PM

No, it's not right. The rule of thumb for protein for a highly ketogenic diet for adults is 0.8 g protein per day per KILOGRAM of lean bodyweight. For you, based on your estimate of 180 lbs lean weight, that's about 66 g/day. See my answer below for more info.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 06, 2012
at 06:05 PM

The rule of thumb for protein for a highly ketogenic diet for adults is 0.8 g protein per day per KILOGRAM of lean bodyweight. For you, that's about 66 g/day. See my answer below for more info.

best answer

1
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 06, 2012
at 05:55 PM

You said your purpose is to lose body fat. If that's your purpose, it's useful to understand that the reason ketosis causes weight loss is because it suppresses appetite, causing you to eat hypocalorically without effort.

(A hypocaloric diet is one which provides fewer calories than your body burns.)

This causes the person to enter a virtuous cycle where they eat hypocalorically, which induces continuing ketosis, which suppresses appetite, which causes them to eat hypocalorically, etc. It's possible for an overweight person to eat only 400 to 600 calories every other day in this situation, without any hunger between meals. The extreme case of this is a long-term, total fast. There is no hunger on long fasts, because ketosis suppresses appetite. I've fasted as long as 30 days, and I wasn't hungry. It's a remarkable thing.

The Atkins people have spread the misconception that ketosis is an indication that the body is burning its own fat. This isn't true. Ketosis can indicate two things: (1) That you're eating certain obligately ketogenic foods like coconut oil, or (2) that you are eating such small amounts of carbs and protein that the liver starts manufacturing more ketone bodies and less glucose. In the case of (2), the liver doesn't care where it gets the raw material for the ketone bodies. It can make ketone bodies from the fat you eat, not just from fat that is stored in your body.

You can very easily be in high ketosis without burning net amounts of body fat. I myself have been in this state for a couple of years now. In fact you can gain body fat in high ketosis. I've done that too. If you want to burn net amounts of body fat, you need to eat hypocalorically.

You asked in comments about 0.8 g of protein per pound of lean bodyweight.

The rule of thumb for protein for an adult on a highly ketogenic diet is 0.8 g per KILOGRAM, not per pound. For you that's 66 g/day. That's only an estimated starting point, and it's for a highly ketogenic diet, which may not be what you want. The best way to use this rule of thumb is to try it and then adjust it according to measured results. To measure results, you need to buy a blood ketone meter.

Coaxing the body to enter high ketosis is much harder than most people think. As little as 7.5 grams of carbs per day has been shown in a scientific study to reduce ketosis markedly. I can tell you from my experience that a single stalk of celery (which contains less than a gram of carbs) reduces my ketosis noticeably. A pound of mince contains about 90 grams of protein; right there you're over your limit. Your vegetable meal probably contains enough carbs to prevent you from going above very low levels of ketosis.

If you're serious about this, I suggest that you start with a diet that is guaranteed to cause high ketosis. Then gradually make the diet less extreme until you get to a point you like. Such a starting diet, for you, would be 66 grams per day protein, zero carbs except what you consume in meat, and the rest of calories as fat. An unpleasant diet to be sure, but you'll only be on it for about a week. Then you can add some carbs back.

And again, if you want to lose weight, keep in mind that you have to eat hypocalorically.

Also, you would probably reach higher ketosis if you divided your day's food into four small meals, because the insulin impact (the highest spike) would be lower.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:36 PM

Just realised I didn't fast, I had bulletproof coffee this morning :( I presume that doesn't count? HOWEVER.....I tested my urine before dinner - IT WAS PURPLE!! :D I was moderate ketosis! :D

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:36 PM

High levels are something else. They have enormous effects on the body, some of which are beneficial and some harmful. For an overweight but otherwise healthy person, I know only two reasons why ketosis would help: appetite suppression and prevention of cancer. (In high ketosis, blood sugar is extremely low and there is evidence that this kills cancer cells).

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:16 PM

You say that you've read that fasting for females isn't ideal. I'm skeptical about such warnings. It seems to me that if you are overweight, and if your body's natural appetite mechanism has decided to make you hungry only once or twice every 48 hours, and if you feel fine on that diet, perhaps you should consider taking advantage of the situation. My own view is that I trust my body a lot more than I trust what I read. So anyway ... what's your thesis about? :)

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:29 PM

I was having difficulty I guess because I didn't understand it fully and I didn't understand it becuase it wasn't making sense. Now it does. I want to be in ketosis as I had liked the idea of weight loss and assumed ketosis caused it as it enabled your body to become a fat burner and then lead to becoming fat adapted. I also liked the idea of being fat adapted as, for me, I think it seems to be the most healthy and natural mechanisms. I don't think I now want to be in deep ketosis as I have no medical reason and would prefer to be in a more healthy state by including more varieties of

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:12 PM

Your comment about the 26 hour fast is wonderful! Absolutely wonderful. I wish every overweight person in the world could read it. This is exactly what I was talking about. I just described this phenomenon to somebody here in another thread. Isn't it unbelievable? Your body is normalizing its appetite mechanism. Your body realizes it has plenty of food stored, so it doesn't to eat that much, so it's not making you hungry. This is a sign of health, imho.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 08:55 PM

You're welcome and thanks for the compliment. You ask how you can eat zero carb and get enough nutrients from food. You can't. A highly ketogenic diet is not healthy. There's a widespread misunderstanding in these forums (not just Paleohacks, but all over the Web) that ketosis is a wonderful healthy thing. It's not. It's like a medicine. Medicines have tradeoffs and side effects. Same thing here. Ketosis is something you resort to in order to lose weight. But it has both pros and cons, and the cons include lack of nutrition. So the answer is, you need to take supplements.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:35 PM

nutritious foods. I do however wish to be in mild ketosis as I feel it would be more indicative of a healthy state eventhough I know if I am efficient, there won't be any ketones produced in the urine (only have strips). I will attempt to keep the carbs very low, the protein moderate (or as low as I can maintain while enjoying food) and fat high. If I go over a little I don't mind, lif eis for living and I want to enjoy my foods and now I am eating clean I can especially since I am lucky not to need to do it for medical pruposes! Just realised I didn't fast I had b/proof coffee this morning :(

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:44 PM

About your bulletproof coffee: This is a bit complicated. There are two completely different mechanisms by which diet can be ketogenic. The one that is of interest for losing weight is the one that gets triggered by scarcity of carbs and protein. This scarcity causes the liver to manufacture ketone bodies. We can think of this as a shift toward the "fasting" end of the metabolic continuum. Usually we're at the "glucose" or "fed" end of the continuum. When we stop eating carbs and protein, we shift toward the "ketone" or "fasting" end of the continuum. (Continued...)

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 08, 2012
at 03:05 PM

So just to clarify, in you opinion would the following be true: I wish to lose weight but am lucky enough to have no apparent medical condition that requires ketosis. I will eat at a calorie deficit to achieve weight loss but aim for fat-adaption as this is optimal mechanism for human function (that's just my own opinion based on the fact we naturally store fat for energy). In order to do this I will consume a high fat, medium protein, low carb diet. Ideally for fat loss there would be zero carbs but for optimal nutrition I should consume some as well as multi-vitamins.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Your comment about the 26 hour fast is wonderful! Absolutely wonderful. I wish every obese person in the world could read it. This is exactly what I was talking about. I just described this exact thing to somebody here in another thread. I wish there was a way to send notes here so he or she could see it. Isn't it unbelievable? Your body is normalizing it's appetite mechanism. Your body realizes it has plenty of food stored, so it doesn't to eat that much, so it's not making you hungry. This is a sign of health, imho.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:31 PM

Contrary to what many people believe when they speak about going "in" and "out" of ketosis, ketosis is actually a matter of degree and everybody is at some level of ketosis at all times. The body always produces some ketone bodies and there are always some in the blood. The level constantly varies depending on diet, time of day, and many other factors. There's a scientific paper which showed that it depends on ambient temperature, how much work the person is doing, and other things. I don't know any reason why higher levels would be healthier than lower ones.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:49 PM

(...continued) Eating only a tiny amount of carbs causes the body to shift metabolically toward the fed/glucose end of the continuum. However eating fat has almost no effect at all. Therefore, if your bulletproof coffee contains only fat and coffee, it won't shift you toward the fed/glucose end of the continuum. In this sense, yes, it's true that the coffee doesn't count. (continued...)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

High levels are something else. They have enormous effects on the body, some of which are beneficial. (We should remember that these benefits are a tradeoff because the diet that creates high levels also causes harmful effects). For an overweight but otherwise healthy person, I know only two reasons why ketosis would help: appetite suppression and prevention of cancer. (In high ketosis, blood sugar is extremely low and there is evidence that this kills cancer cells).

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

(...continued) Eating carbs (even a small amount) causes the body to shift metabolically toward the fed/glucose end of the continuum. However eating fat has almost no effect. Therefore, if your bulletproof coffee contains only fat and coffee, it won't shift you toward the fed/glucose end of the continuum. In this sense, yes, it's true that the coffee doesn't count. (continued...)

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 07:54 PM

Waow, that's sucvh an amazing and comprehensive answer, thank you!! Funnily enough I started a 'ketogenic' diet a few days though whether it is remains to be seen. I have started drinking bulletproof coffee for breakfast then the remaining meals are mostly fat, as much as I can. I am tracking on Cronometer and keeping macros at 20/5/75. I had thought about going zero carb but tbh I don't know how. I use the veggies for minerals/vitamins that the meat and dairy lacks but also as fat carriers. How do I eat high fat without resorting to just eating spoonfuls of butter and oil?

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:35 PM

nutritious foods. I do however wish to be in mild ketosis as I feel it would be more indicative of a healthy state eventhough I know if I am efficient, there won't be any ketones produced in the urine (only have strips). I will attempt to keep the carbs very low, the protein moderate (or as low as I can maintain while enjoying food) and fat high. If I go over a little I don't mind, lif eis for living and I want to enjoy my foods and now I am eating clean I can especially since I am lucky not to need to do it for medical pruposes!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

(...continued) However, as I said, there are two ketogenic mechanisms, and if you put MCT oil or coconut oil in your coffee, this second mechanism comes into play. These foods contains substances which I call "obligately ketogenic." (Nobody else calls them this but there really should be a term for this concept, and there isn't.) These substances are peculiar because no matter what our metabolic state, the body turns them immediately into ketone bodies. Therefore, when we swallow them, our measured ketone bodies immediately rise and... (Continued....)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 08:59 PM

You ask how can you eat high fat without eating spoonfuls of butter and oil. When kids are put on these diets, their parents give them tons of heavy cream because it's the most palatable fat. I've resorted to mixing spices with pure tallow and eating it with a spoon like mashed potatoes. But these things are only necessary if you're trying to eat enough to maintain body weight. Remember, it's the lack of carbs and protein that creates ketosis, not the fat. The fat is ony there to supply calories to maintain the person's weight. But you want to lose weight. You don't need that much fat.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I agree completely; the one thing about Paleo that has me hooked is the same reason for doing it. It's not for weight loss because you can put on weight on paleo but because I become more in tune with my body. I listen to it instead of conventioal wisdom. If I don't want to eat, I won't, if I don't respond well to a food I won't force it down becuase of apparent benefits. Best of all is that I am retuning my body, resetting all markers and levels so I can hear it better. I want to thank you again for your post on Ketosis. It makes much more sense now.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Also, today I just realised that I have done a 24 hour fast, I am currently cooking fatty lamb chops and I'd say when they're done I will have fasted for 26 hours. I have never been able to do that and the strangest thing is, I did it without realising. Sure I knew I hadn't eaten but I just assumed I'd eat a little later. I carried on with my day without a thought to food. It was unbelievable! The only reason I am cooking the lamb is because I am starting to feel a little low on energy and need a boost for my thesis writing/brain power. Also I've read fasting for females isn't ideal!

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:34 PM

nutritious foods. I do however wish to be in mild ketosis as I feel it would be more indicative of a healthy state eventhough I know if I am efficient, there won't be any ketones produced in the urine (only have strips). I will attempt to keep the carbs very low, the protein moderate (or as low as I can maintain while enjoying food) and fat high. If I go over a little I don't mind, lif eis for living and I want to enjoy my foods and now I am eating clean I can especially since I am lucky not to need to do it for medical pruposes! Realised I didn't fast. I had b/proof coffee this morning :(

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:01 PM

(...continued) Therefore, when we eat these foods, our Ketostix turn a darker color. But this doesn't indicate that our metabolism has shifted toward the fasting/ketone end of the spectrum. It only indicates that we've swallowed some medium chain fatty acids, and the body turned them automatically into ketone bodies, and some of them are coming out in the urine. This second type of ketogenisis may be useful for treating certain diseases but it's not the same thing as shifting our metabolism.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:18 PM

You say that you've read that fasting for females isn't ideal. I'm skeptical about such warnings. It seems to me that if you are overweight, and if your body's natural appetite mechanism has decided to make you hungry only once or twice every 48 hours, and if you feel fine on that diet, perhaps you should consider taking advantage of the situation. My own view is that I trust my body a lot more than I trust what I read. I think your choice to eat the lamb for the reason you gave is sensible. That's how I approach this stuff too.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 08, 2012
at 02:59 PM

See that's the thing, the bulletproof coffee doesn't turn my stix pruple or indeed any colour. I went to bed last night apparently 'in' ketosis (I understand what you mean by in and out but for purposes of the context I will say in when I mean detectable via stix) but forgot to test when I woke up (ate late and wanted to check if what I had eaten had kicked me out once digested) but after bulletproof coffee, it wasn't detected, not even 3 hours later. I had hoped to go train fasted but thesis work is a bummer and can't afford the time so just had a ham, cheese and mushroom omlette.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 07, 2012
at 09:28 PM

One last thing. You wrote, "I am tracking on Cronometer and keeping macros at 20/5/75." I think the single most important thing for people to keep in mind about ketosis is that the level is determined mainly by the absolute quantities of carbs and protein. Above some absolute level, your ketosis will be negligible. Below some level, your liver will start making ketone bodies.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

(...continued) ...therefore, when we eat these foods, our Ketostix turn a darker color. But this doesn't indicate that our metabolism has shifted toward the fasting/ketone end of the spectrum. It only indicates that we've swallowed some medium chain fatty acids, and the body turned them automatically into ketone bodies, and some of them are coming out in the urine. This second type of ketogenisis may be useful for treating certain diseases but it's not the same thing as shifting our metabolism.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:32 PM

Contrary to what many people believe when they speak about going "in" and "out" of ketosis, ketosis is actually a matter of degree and everybody is at some level of ketosis at all times. The body always produces some ketone bodies and there are always some in the blood. The level constantly varies depending on diet, time of day, and many other factors. There's a scientific paper which showed that it depends on ambient temperature, how much work the person is doing, and other things. I don't know any reason why higher mild levels would be healthier than lower mild levels.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 01:52 PM

(...continued) However, as I said, there are two ketogenic mechanisms, and if you put MCT oil or coconut oil in your coffee, this second mechanism comes into play. These foods contains substances which I call "obligately ketogenic." (Nobody else calls them this but there really should be a term for this concept, and there isn't.) These substances are peculiar because no matter what our metabolic state, the body turns them immediately into ketone bodies. Therefore, when we swallow them, our measured ketone bodies immediately rise. (Continued....)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 08, 2012
at 02:28 PM

About your bulletproof coffee: This is a bit complicated. There are two completely different mechanisms by which diet can be ketogenic. The one that is of more interest for losing weight is the one that gets triggered by scarcity of carbs and protein. This scarcity causes the liver to manufacture ketone bodies. We can think of this as a shift toward the "fasting" end of the metabolic continuum. Usually we're at the "glucose" or "fed" end of the continuum. When we stop eating carbs and protein, we shift toward the "ketone" or "fasting" end of the continuum. (Continued...)

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 08, 2012
at 03:10 PM

I should also aim for ketosis as this is will help suppress the appetite and encourage fat adaption whilst normalising my natural dietary mechanism making me more of an efficiently functioning human (wrt nutrition anyway!) However, being in ketosis doesn't mean fat-adaption but fat-adaption means ketosis and the ketosis where fat/ketones is being released by liver for use in energy? Also, when will your website be finished?

3
Fce356005a83353009c11567c217a9bd

on November 12, 2012
at 07:59 PM

I wonder if you're consuming too many veggies to support ketosis? Check out his sample ketogenic menu plan: http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/ketogenic-diet-menu.html. I'll quote the author here:

Here are a few examples of a daily ketogenic diet menu. As you can see, it comes down to eating controlled portions of meat, as much fat as you like, and low carb veggies...."

Note the author's wording "as much fat as you like" while the amounts of meat (protein) and low carb veggies are understood to be controlled. This is a single source albeit a similar to other available examples. Perhaps you might consider trying this approach for a few weeks.

-YMMV

2
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 13, 2012
at 02:31 AM

Ketostix only show excess ketones that spill in the urine, and only one kind of ketones (there are two types). They are not a reliable indicator of ketosis. There are blood ketone meters that will give you a much more accurate assessment of ketosis, but the strips are pretty expensive (~$5 each).

Tips to get into ketosis: Moderate protein--enough to preserve your lean body mass is OK, but too much protein can be converted to glucose and knock you out of ketosis. Lots of fat--as much as 85% of caloric intake Very few carbs--not knowing the portion size of the veggies you eat, you want to aim for fewer than 20 grams of carbs net (minus fiber grams). Load the veggies you do eat with butter or other healthy fat.

When in ketosis, you may be thirsty, have bad smelling breath and urine. Things may taste funny, and you should not be hungry at all.

For vitamins, eat organ meats/offal as well as muscle meats.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on November 13, 2012
at 11:09 AM

What a wonderful answer thank you very much! How do you get 85% fat, I fry everything in coconut oil but aside from that, everytime I eat fat it is either attached to a protein source (egg/meat) or vegetable/fruit (avocado, olives, nuts). How do I avoid that and get more fat but less protein? I never thought of muscle meats, I thought they would a detriment to the requirement to increase fat, don't they contain less fat than other meat forms like pork belly? See, I don't get hungry at all nowadays, I only think I should eat because I am low on energy/gettig cold. I don't have the others :(

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 13, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Sorry, by muscle meat I meant "not organ meat". You should be eating it all. Besides cooking in fat, add fatty sauces, load your veggies with butter or olive oil, etc. Not everyone has to eat 85% fat for ketosis, but aim high.

1
3ba7a9972345a27c04d593949ae88df5

on December 06, 2012
at 12:41 PM

After eating low carb off and on for over 10 years, I was frustrated that I had never reached ketosis until I tried the "6 Week Cure for the Middle Age Middle", by the Docters Eades. After two weeks, I am in constant ketosis. I've eaten very low carb a lot, so I don't think that's what worked, but the three new things I did -- eliminating caffeine, adding coconut milk, no dairy, and taking the supplement luceine, may have done the trick. My weight is good, but I'd still like to lose another 10 pounds. As a 63 year old female, 5'5" and a 139 pounds, I did lose 4 pounds on the first week of Drs. Eades "cure". I'm hoping to lose another 6. I was just so excited when that stick turned purple!!!!

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 08:03 PM

Oh I don't know if I could give up my beloved caffeine!! I have however been on coconut milk though have recently dropped that for more coconut oil and started drinking bulletproof coffee which is actually, to my surprise, REALLY nice! I have also, this week just started eating dairy again just so I could enjoy the deliciousness of butter and increase fat more with the likes of cheese and the bulletproof coffee. I'm so pleased for the purple!! I know I don't know you but I smiled & share your excitement in that, I so look forward to when I experience it as well, just for the sheer achievement!

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on December 07, 2012
at 11:37 PM

I just tested my urine before dinner there, IT WAS PURPLE!!!!!! :D \O/

1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 12, 2012
at 08:45 PM

Dang it tripper maybe you should change your mushrooms. More hope, more change. Burn your mothers Atkins and try the sweet potatoes you evolved to eat.

1
Aa78c339d5f97e14f5d477a6cc108e5a

on November 12, 2012
at 08:25 PM

track your carbs. Under 25g is ketosis. Thats a sure fire way to control your ketiosis. Make sure you do re-feeds. Also check out bulletproof coffee (adding coconut oil and organic grassfed butter to coffe while IFing) that kickstarts ketosis and aids to IFing.

C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

(637)

on November 12, 2012
at 10:48 PM

What are re-feeds??

Aa78c339d5f97e14f5d477a6cc108e5a

(30)

on November 13, 2012
at 06:34 PM

You depleat your glycogen stores when your in ketosis, so bring them back up once a week helps your body. It shocks the system. Martin Berkhan (leangains IFing king) believes it helps with muscle growth. http://www.leangains.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html

0
C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

on November 12, 2012
at 10:45 PM

Thank you all very much for your quick responses! I still am slightly confused in that could I really be eating too much if I eat, well so little? Is my eating too infrequently hampering weight loss and ketosis? I fry everything in lots and lots of coconut oil and try to choose the fattest cuts of meat. I will try reducing carbs but I have an embarrassing question so please don't ridicule me but I find it hard to get rid of CW. To me vegetables mean vitamins and nutrients. I am kind of scared about not getting enough as I can't guarantee my meat is grass-fed. I buy mostly supermarket meat but ensure its local (NI) or at least British hoping that will make it more likely to be grass-fed. How do I get vitamins and minerals if my meat isn't grass-fed?

Also I thought BFC in the morning kicks you out of ketosis? The link mentions nuts, aren't they high in omega 6?!

Sorry, I'm just getting frustrated that I don't think I'm doing this right. :(

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