For Anchorage woman, keto diet drops pounds, raises spirits
Dieting can be frustrating and rewarding at the same time. The question is, which one, if any, is right?
For Bethany Brown, it's keto – short for ketogenic. The diet has actually been around since the 1920s when it was used to treat epilepsy.
Brown says it's done wonders for her, a mother of four and wife of a Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson airman.
"My weight was getting to the point where it was affecting me mentally and physically," Brown said. "Not just like, 'Oh I'm a little plump.' It was starting to affect the way I'm feeling, especially at my age."
But the diet change was about more than shedding pounds. With four children ranging in age from 2 to 13, she was in search of that boost.
Keto was it.
In 2018, following a detox from sugar, she was on her way. Once she ridded herself of the sugar addiction, she says the "brain fog went away."
And so did the weight.
"Had immediate success between August and maybe December. I lost like 40 pounds and felt really good."
So how does it work? It’s low carb, high fat – the good kinds.
"With the ketogenic diet what you're trying to do is kind of put your body in a starvation mode to burn fat," said Leslee Rogers, a clinical dietician with Providence Alaska Medical Center. "You have to restrict your carbohydrates to where you're taking in less than 50 grams a day, about."
Bethany does minimize those carbs but also sticks with a disciplined eating schedule.
"I don't eat until roughly after about noon and I stop eating by 8." And she does have a "coffee" in the morning too, but not your typical cup.
It's bulletproof coffee. In Bethany's case, it's a combination of MCT — or medium chain triglycerides — which is derivative of coconut oil, plus butter. She blends the two and presto — morning coffee.
Vegetables are important in keto too. Brown makes a snack called egg bites. In a cupcake pan, she combined eggs, bacon and zucchini. The zucchini is used as noodles.
Another go-to is riced cauliflower. "You cook it up just like you would rice in the skillet and use it for anything that you would use rice for. I use that a lot," Brown said.
Almond flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour to make cakes and pancakes, even bread. A monk fruit sweetener handles that occasional sweet tooth.
The rest of the Brown family is not on the keto diet, though a son who Brown says has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — known as ADHD — is about to join with the blessing of their doctor. Children who have ADHD can have trouble with digestion. As undigested food gets back into the bloodstream, it can affect brain chemistry.
In keto, Bethany has found happiness and compromise, which is not an easy task for many.
But Rogers says food doesn’t have to be restrictive. "Often times with diets it's restrictive and it makes you feel deprived, and you are not experiencing joy in your food," Rogers said.
Brown’s routine in place.
"A lot of people are scared to do keto because they feel like they're not going to be able to eat any of their favorite foods," she said. "First off, all it is is a habit. You just have to break the habit of what you have been eating and start a new habit of what is a new way to cook, a new way to eat."
Correction: This story has been edited to change the year Bethany Brown began her diet. She started in 2018, not 2008.
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