HI, MY NAME IS CHARISSE (pronounced ‘sha-reese’)!
… and I’m a FORMER CARBAHOLIC….
I kicked the Carbivorous habits that were wreaking havoc on my health with a Ketogenic Diet at the beginning of 2018. By just simply changing my diet, I was able to lose 25 lbs, increase my energy levels dramatically, decrease the aches and pains from inflammation in my neck and back, diminish my horrible migraines, rid myself of carbohydrate cravings, and completely change the way I FEEL everyday!
It only took one night of carb relapse (which included a piece bread, plate full of rice, and a giant bowl of Coldstone Ice Cream), 30 days into my ketogenic diet, to horrifically remind myself how BAD I USED to feel when I was eating carbohydrates. JUST one night full of 100 yawns, crawling into bed before 9 PM, lower energy levels, a subsequent 2 day-long throbbing
headache, was all it took to make me vow to never do that again. I am now KETO FOR LIFE, and I have not had a carb ‘cheat’ day ever since.
The more I researched and studied how the foods I was filling my plate with was impacting my health, the more baffled I became that my
diet wasn’t something that was ever covered by the many medical professionals I’d seen over my lifetime! Doctors don’t usually ask you what you eat when you they take your medical history. They don’t inquire about your diet when you go in for a medical issue or a chronic illness. What you usually feed yourself is not covered in the questionnaire during a standard health check up. It should be though, because what you eat can make a huge difference in your overall health! Food is Medicine; a Ketogenic diet was all it took to heal me (keep reading for the rest of THAT story).
I created FATKitchen as a place to share EVERYTHING I’ve learned on my ketogenic journey – from delicious easy high fat, low carb recipes I’ve created to the delectable sugarfree desserts I enjoy every night, from how start a keto diet to the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. I want to give you as many resources I can to help you succeed on keto, in hopes that all this information I’ve gathered can help you, in similar ways that it’s HELPED ME! ????
I currently live in Portland, OR with my beloved husband, 2 year old daughter, Sienna, and two very animated Huskies named Timber and Brutus (my trusted Fat Kitchen Recipe Taste Testers). I love being in the outdoors, whether it be camping, hiking, backpacking, paddle boarding, snowboarding, or taking the dogs for a walk- really anything involving fresh air and trees ???? I spend most of my free time (HA, what is free time?) “reading” books or rather, listening to them on AUDIBLE, or enjoying a good podcast. In the reality of having a toddler at home with me, those moments of “free time” are really just moments when I can multi-task with my headphones in- at the gym, driving in my car, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, or walking the dogs.
Here’s How Keto ‘Healed’ Me:
I’ve honestly never been overweight, maybe a little squishy around the edges for most of my life, but fairly ‘slim’ and small (5’2 over here!)….. Unfortunately, my size was NOT an indication of good health.
I ate whatever I wanted most of the time, but I also spent a lot time feeling AWEFUL. I was always tired and in some sort of pain. I, along with my doctors, always consistently pointed the blame to my known neurological issues or passed it off to some mysterious health problems that we had yet to identify. “Let’s try another new medication ” they always said, as we tried something new to attempt to fix me. I’ve tried literally upwards of 60 different medications, (preventative and acute medicines) and treatments (like botox for migraines and physical therapy), to NO AVAIL.
See-the thing is- I’ve suffered my whole life from brutally debilitating migraines. I mean death defying migraines…have to go to the hospital
at least 4-6 times a year kind of migraines….have new MRI’s every year kind of migraines…heavily MEDICATED kind of migraines….regularly see my neurologist every single month since I was 16 kind of migraines… bed ridden, in fetal position, ice packs on my head, sick to my stomach, lasting up to 24 hours, at least 2 days a week KIND OF MIGRAINES! You get the picture; they were some serious business. In addition to my migraines, I also found out that I have Arnold Chiari Malformation (which means my brain tissue hangs too low into my spinal canal) with a Syrinx (this is a cyst all the way up down my spinal cord caused by the blockage of cerebral spinal fluid from the Chiari Malformation . This condition contributes additional headaches (literally and figuratively) to my life, gives me numb and tingly feeling in my hands and feet, and lots of pain in my neck and back.
This combination of headaches and migraines made me feel totally helpless when they hit, which was multiple days a week (EVERY WEEK SINCE I WAS 16) disrupting my life CONSTANTLY . I even had a nasty migraine ON MY WEDDING DAY for goodness sake and had to be heavily medicated to make it through! They affected me at work, they affected me at home, they affected my social life, and they certainly affected my overall sense of well-being. With such a high frequency of days needing medicines or to be in bed, I felt chronically ill, all the time.
Through all the attempts to get these headaches under control – with countless Doctors, Neurologist, Neurosurgeons- I NEVER EVER had anyone suggest that I change my diet like I did to ease or prevent my symptoms.
In the beginning of 2018, as fate would have it, I sort of fell into a ketogenic diet.To make a long story, semi-short it started as a bet between my husband and I one night as we enjoyed our nightly bowl of cookie dough ice cream smothered in Chocolate Hardshell. As we debated whether sugar was physically addicting or not, we decided to make it a competition to prove one another’s point- which one of use could last longer WITHOUT EATING ANY SUGAR. I committed to doing it not for my health, my weight, or honestly, any reason other than winning another marital wager (we do these often- for fun ????).
Determined to win, I researched sugar-free diets, and coincidentally found the Ketogenic diet as an option. I knew it was going to be challenging, but that didn’t stop me from jumping in the next morning. As much as I loved sugar and carbs, I liked winning more. I started eating healthier fats, super low carb, organic and grassfed animal products, and most importantly SUGAR FREE. Through the first week, I started seriously doubting whether I’d make it through, but I pushed on.
Then something magical and TOTALLY unexpected happened…..
One week into eating Keto, I woke up suddenly feeling full of energy with barely any of the aches and pains that I usually had in my neck and back. I was more productive that day than I’d been in years and in the best MOOD feeling like I could tackle ANYTHING. Having a chronic illness of any kind, means days like that are few and far between. As I started keto, I’d read stories of positive benefits, but I didn’t really expect anything life changing-I mean, I was just trying to win a bet.
Fast forward 2 more weeks to the 3 week mark of being on a ketogenic diet. I found myself looking at the calendar, COMPLETELY AWESTRUCK as counted the days that I hadn’t had a migraine- it had been 3 FULL WEEKS (and I was WINNING THE BET)! Prior to eating keto, I was getting upwards of 2-3 days A WEEK of these nasty migraines, not to mention the additional migraine ‘hangover’ day after each one where I was shaky and exhausted just from the pain and sickness of the day before.
I had effectively gone from 5-6 days a week affected by migraines in some way, down to 0 for the first time in over 16 years. I had lower inflammation which also made my body feel amazing. I had more energy than I’d had since I was a TEENAGER, and I had lost 8 lbs in 3 weeks ALL while still eating many of the foods I loved, just without the carbs!
‘WINNING’ – does not EVEN describe it!
As it turns out, my previous diet was actually responsible for wreaking havoc on my body in a number of ways I had never realized that all contributed to how bad I felt all the time, and even how poorly I was SLEEPING!
The blood sugar spikes and crashes that I had been (unknowingly) experiencing from a heavy carbohydrate diet, had been dramatically affecting the frequency AND severity of my migraines. It seemed to even be triggering them, as going for too long without eating, always meant I’d trigger another migraine (which is no longer the case!). All the little aches and pains that myself and the neurologists attributed to my diagnoses were nearly ELIMINATED, when I reduced inflammation caused by my diet. I didn’t feel chronically ill anymore. I didn’t feel hopeless about the hundreds of medicines I’d tried that DIDN’T do anything for me over the years. I didn’t feel sorry for myself, thinking it was all out of my control any longer. I had never been a good “sleeper” since I always woke up many times during the night, and I was sleeping straight through the night like a rock every single night!
Aside from all the positive benefits that come cascading down just from healing my debilitating headaches there’s ALSO all the positive benefits that just generally accompany a keto diet like good mood, less depression, less anxiety, more stable energy, better sleep, and weight loss that I added to my list of positive changes to my health and well-being. When you add it all up, the benefits were exponentially greater than I ever expected.
It only took me 3 months on a keto diet to lose 25 lbs, and I did NOT have to work hard to do that. I wasn’t even trying to lose weight (remember, this was just a bet) but I did end up losing all the post-baby weight that had stubbornly clung to me for a year after having my daughter. I actually weighed (and still do) less than I did in college! As soon as the weight started falling off, it INSPIRED me to get back into the gym again on a regular basis which just meant even MORE good things for my health! I had loads of energy from the keto diet, along with additional energy from working out, PLUS all of the endorphins I was adding by going to the gym again! As I said before…. exponential benefits from Keto. Now I’m in the best shape I think I’ve actually ever been in.
Needless to say, Keto truly changed my life and my health for the better; it’s changed my body, my mind, and my total outlook on life.
If you’re contemplating starting a keto diet but have some questions about it that are not answered on my blog, then please feel free to ask me anything by clicking below!
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