Please, don't be the Keto Police

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There is a fine line between being informative and being judgemental

Keto is great, but it has a learning curve. Please, please, please, do not discourage people that are new to this lifestyle. Don't paint every choice as black or white. There are different types of keto (lazy, dirty, strict, nothing processed, carnivore, ketovore and many more). You do not get to decide what style other people choose. Not everyone wants to be super-strict, not everyone needs to be super-strict. As much as I cringe when people say, we are all different, in a sense it is true. Different goals, different metabolic health, different style.

The ketogenic lifestyle is a journey, not a destination. No one is perfect from day one. Scolding others for a perceived poor choice is like scolding a child that is learning to play the piano. We praise effort and progress, we do not belittle them for inevitable mistakes. We encourage them.

Joy and I are passionate about sharing our journey and helping others improve their metabolic health. We share our victories, we share our struggles. We hope others will find themselves in our shares. We hope they will see through our eyes and understand that keto is not about perfection, but that every little step counts.

In an ideal world, we cut carbs to under 20, have no processed food, only choose hand picked, farm raised, grass finished and ban any sweetness. We also eliminate all environmental toxins, obviously all of that on day one.

But that is not the reality. Not for me, not for most people. Unless we can afford staff to do it all for us, we have to acquire the knowledge ourselves. That takes time, we will make mistakes, we will do our best.

One tidbit from my early days, I was very opposed to fasting. I thought it was a stupid idea to starve myself. I was convinced it would inevitably lead me to fail. It took me seven months to realize that I should give it a try. My motivation was to get off of insulin and avoid diabetic complications. A pretty convincing argument.

The advantage of not doing intermittent fasting on day one? After seven months on keto I was fat adapted. I was not hungry when I skipped breakfast. It actually came with an added bonuses: less food preparation, fewer dishes, more time for other stuff ... and it got me off of insulin in just 2 weeks. Winning on every level.

Focus on the important things, do not get hung up on minor details

It might surprise you to know, that when I started this journey I used a lot of sweeteners (erythritol, monk fruit, stevia). It did help me wean off sugar without creating more cravings. Most people experience the same. It is a crutch. Should we replace sugar with non nutritive sweeteners? Yes, to get us started, to keep us on track, to make this journey easier. Eventually we can let go of the sweet kick, but we won't worry about it on day one.

What is the real damage from the keto police?

I avoid the term keto police in my group. It is an insult. But well-meant advice with zero tolerance, expecting newbies to be perfect from day one does a lot of damage. We do not have to be uber perfect to do this journey. We may even consciously choose not to encompass every aspect.

Every small step counts. Every small step is a victory. If I had tried all I do today from day 1, I would have been hopelessly overwhelmed. And even with less than perfect choices, we need to cut ourselves some slack. I am not talking about cheating or going off plan, but even with keto approved foods, there are lots of options. Not all choices have to be super duper healthy.

Isn't sticking to sweetness dangerous?

No doubt, sugar is addictive. Non-nutritive sweetness also triggers dopamine, but not to the extent that sugar does. Many things trigger dopamine: helping others, getting enough sleep, exercising, listening to music, meditating and spending time in the sun. None of these are troubling unless we overdo them. The same is true for sweetness. The same is true for our keto compliant choices. Balance is key.

And yes, eventually it is best to wean off the sweet temptations. Do it at your own pace.

Does that mean, everyone can do just anything?

People react to criticism differently. Some thrive with straight up advice, others are easily spooked. I remember a Weight-Watcher consultant telling me after a 0.2 pound weight gain "What do you think went wrong last week". I was dumbfounded and never returned. In hindsight that was a good thing. But I don't want people turning away from our community, because someone tells them that they are doing it all wrong. I want everyone to succeed.

It goes both ways

The term "keto police" is often effectively used to trivialize comments that seem inconvenient to follow. Rather than discussing the issue, the messenger is attacked. We have to try to spot the difference between helpful advice and a patronizing comment. If you ask yourself, is this condescending, it probably is.

Final thought: Being supportive means to cheer others on and be their champion through their successes and their struggles.


Written by Roxana Soetebeer
Published: January 8th, 2022