What do Parents of Keto Kids Eat?

I get this question all the time “Do Ken and I eat Keto too?” Yes! We follow the Ketogenic diet too, off and on, and see lots of benefits from it! We both have lost weight, we have more energy (especially mid-day when we used to have to drink coffee or soda just to stay awake) and we can often skip meals without too much difficulty. At first we did it as a way to lend support to Drake and to experience what he was going through. But now we do it as a way to stay healthy and energized.

One of the misconceptions we have noticed with the Ketogenic Diet is that people think it is high in protein; like Atkins or Paleo. But it is actually high in fat, and low to moderate in protein. You will have trouble getting into ketosis if you eat too much protein. 70% of our calories come from fat; the other 30% come from protein plus carbohydrates. We generally avoid refined and processed carbohydrates, starchy vegetables, or high-carbohydrate fruits. Higher fat meats are better for getting into ketosis, like non-lean cuts of pork or beef. This would seem like a recipe for heart problems and clogged arteries, but Ken and I have both recently had blood work done, and our cholesterol and blood pressure levels have not increased. And recent research supports our experience.

With the right recipes and an eye for healthy, high-fat foods, we don’t suffer much from not being able to eat sugary or refined carbohydrates. Breakfast is a chocolate-coated pecan cookie with heavy cream in coffee. Or pecan waffles, bacon (or sausage) and high-butter eggs. Or an omelet with olives, mushrooms, tomatoes and sliced avocados on the side. For lunch Ken will go out to eat for a hamburger (minus the bun) on a salad with extra high-fat dressing and mayo. I will eat fish (canned oysters, tuna or trout in oil) for lunch quite often with olives, almonds and macadamia nuts, pickles and cheese. Or sometimes homemade chicken keto soup with carrots and celery (and lots of butter, olive oil and heavy cream).

We get a lot of our fat from heavy cream, butter, and coconut oil. I usually have lots of baked goods on hand (see recipes) that I also eat for lunch or for a snack. Drake isn’t the biggest fan of protein or carbohydrates swimming in ranch dressing or mayonnaise, so I focus on baked goods for him for the majority of his meals (he eats fat on the side type of meals mostly just for dinner). I’ve also started taking MCT oil twice a day (an exogenous ketone, MCT = Medium Chain Triglycerides) for the added fat and help with getting into ketosis.

For dinner we have a rotation of meals. Meatloaf with peas (or steamed broccoli) with extra high-fat butter, fathead pizza with a salad, salmon with cooked bok choy, broccoli and cashews, beef tacos with fresh avocados and tomatoes on low-carb tortillas, parmesan keto chicken nuggets dipped in mayonnaise, chicken alfredo with zoodles and tuna fish with mayo plus carrots and ranch dressing.

And keto pumpkin pie or raspberry pie for dessert, with real whipcream! Yum!  

We have also both started taking a multivitamin every day to make sure we are not deficient in magnesium, potassium or calcium. Ketosis burns through these healthy electrolytes more quickly.

The big take away, which I also have to keep reminding myself about, is that eating low-carb alone will not get you into ketosis, you also have to eat enough fat. Some people can get into ketosis easily, Drake and Ken are lucky in this regard, but I have to really work at it. I have also started intermittent fasting to help lose weight— especially if I’ve gone off diet for a meal. Intermittent fasting means not eating for 16 to 18 hours straight. For some people that means skipping breakfast and lunch and eating just one big meal for dinner and then snacks before bedtime. I have better luck with eating a small, high-fat breakfast and a super big lunch and then not eating again until the next day. If you’ve eaten a lot of carbohydrates recently and have a lot of glycogen stored up, your body will have to burn through all of it to get into ketosis. It is easier to do intermittent fasting if you have been eating ketogenic lately. But I always seem to do it after a carb heavy meal or two — as a way to get my body back on track.

Ken and I have also come to realize that being in ketosis is a natural metabolic state for humans to be in. In fact it was probably more common millennia ago for humans to drift back and forth from using their glucose metabolism system to their ketosis metabolism system than to never being in ketosis at all. Eating three meals a day plus snacks, and always having carbohydrates on hand, is a historically new and an uncommon way for humans to eat. Being able to eat any fruit, vegetable, bread, or rice, no matter the season, is a result of modern food production. This means that in our modern world, there are never any “lean times” when we have no access to food and our bodies haven’t learned the benefits of sometimes switching to this alternative metabolic state, ketosis.

Looking back these past two years I’m still amazed at how much our lives have changed with Drake starting the ketogenic diet. We went from not having even heard of it — to fully embracing it and becoming huge fans. To us it a miracle diet that has allowed our son to be symptom free and full of energy. For Ken and I it is a healthy lifestyle choice that has lots of benefits. Interestingly, experts believe that the therapeutic benefits of being in ketosis are vastly under-utilized as a treatment for all sorts of varied conditions, from Alzheimer’s, to certain cancers, autism and diabetes; so the more people who have heard about it the better!

Author: Debra Lane

Debra & Ken Lane maintain this blog to chronicle their son's journey of living with the rare neurometabolic disorder, Glucose Transporter Type 1 Deficiency Syndrome (Glut1 DS for short). And hope to raise awareness and understanding of the non-epileptic form of Glut1 DS. Drake’s Glut1 journey started at the age of 3 with episodes of Ataxia and Dyskinesia. Now at the age of 8 he is 2 years symptom-free — thanks to the right diagnosis and the ketogenic diet.

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