Sure, "hangry" isn't a scientific term, but the symptoms are in fact, real.
You’ve likely heard buzz around the very high fat, very low carb keto diet. While health professionals (rightfully) advise us to be wary of fad diets, as more research emerges, following a ketogenic diet seems to have staying power.
If you’d like to dig deeply into the technical aspects of the diet there’s a fantastic guide here. At a high level, the goal of eating this way is to change your body from burning carbs as energy to burning fat so it isn’t stored. To become a “fat burner,” aka entering ketosis, carb intake is restricted so the body stops relying on glucose – what it typically uses as a primary fuel source.
Beyond being able to fit into skinny jeans, proponents of the diet claim a number of long-term health benefits. Originally used to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy, the ketogenic diet is being tested to aid maladies from Type II diabetes to acne.
Fat is Back
The days of packaged “diet” foods are numbered as Americans have become more educated and empowered about their health. A movement to eat more real, whole foods was based on evidence that certain fats had been unfairly criticized over the years. While there are no redeeming factors in artificial trans fats (think margarine, microwave popcorn, packaged snacks) and while there is still some debate around saturated fats (meat, dairy, eggs), unsaturated fats are now unanimously viewed as healthy.
Plant sources, like olives, are a great store of these healthy fats. Olives are high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. If skimming Pinterest for keto recipes riddled with the trendy phrase “fat bombs” still makes you cringe, hear us out. Studies have shown that polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory properties helping to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart attack. These types of fats are also very satiating, meaning you stay full longer, helping you cut down on potential overeating.
The Good Fruits
Keto restricts many fruits due to their high sugar content (sugar = carbs). Enter two show-stopping fruits that are both high in good fats and low in carbs: avocados and olives. Avocados are no doubt having their day in the sun, for good reason. They’re great on their own, as a dip, and on top of the now ubiquitous toast. Here’s the rub: When following the keto diet, your food choices are very restricted, so you’ll need to incorporate as many foods as possible to get a diversity of nutrients, and of course, a variety of flavors.. Yes, on keto you can even get sick of the almighty avocado.
Keto requires that 75% of your daily calories come from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbs. That can be a difficult ratio to adjust to from the standard American diet, so finding efficient food sources is critical. Eighty percent of olives’ total calories come from fat. One cup of olives has 14.4 grams of fat but only 160 calories (compared to an avocado’s 234). Even when you’re trying to consume most of your calories from fat, it’s important to keep in mind that you still don’t want to over consume calories. At the end of the day, even good calories are calories.
Another fundamental part of doing keto is preparation and convenience. Prep your meals, , make grocery lists, and have snacks on hand. Sure, “hangry” isn’t a scientific term, but the symptoms are in fact, real. When hunger strikes, it’s a lot easier to grab a few olives than to cut into an avocado. Having olives around keeps the peace.
“Wait, What Do You Eat?!”
When explaining your adventures in keto to your friends and family, they will inevitably ask you the question everyone gets when they are on a restrictive diet: “What do you eat?”. Keto may seem daunting when you start your research, but when you get into it, you’ll realize it’s much easier than it seems.
To help, we’ve compiled a collection of keto compliant recipes. Note, you may need to make a few substitutions. For example if a dish calls for canned tomatoes, read your labels and make sure no sugar is added!