Kristi and Dan

Hey there fellow Ketonians, Low-Carb Lovers, and Healthy Humans!

My name is Dan Littman, and in the picture above you can see me here with my partner in Ketone-crime, my girlfriend, Keto Kristi. Please excuse the cheesiness.  (Or don’t, if you can handle the dairy.)

In case you’re curious, here’s a little bit about me and why I’m doing this…

I’m a “Type 1” Diabetic (since the age of 7), have Hashimoto’s, and lived most of my life with a long, love-hate relationship with nutrition, food, and exercise.

I have gotten a lot of things right, I have gotten a lot of things wrong, I’ve learned a great deal about the ketogenic lifestyle, but I’m not perfect. I’m still learning as we all are. Not only am I looking to share what I’ve learned in my expertise, but I’m also excited to learn from others experiences in adapting to the ketogenic lifestyle.
The beauty of being human is that we are all unique with our own unique ideas in our own unique life experiences. The thrill of living I believe is being able to share in those experiences and learn from each other. I believe together we can make each other better human beings through improved accountability and shortening the learning curve on how to make this an easy long term lifestyle. 

From the day I was diagnosed as diabetic, I was taught by the people I trusted most to provide me with the information to keep me healthy, that I needed to eat carbohydrates.  Things like graham crackers, fruit, whole grain cereal, and skim milk.

And I simply was to balance these carbs with injectable insulin while trying to live the life of a “normal” kid.

Needless to say, I had blood sugar swings all over the place – high’s, low’s, and along with them, came even more mood swings and temper tantrums than what a “normal” kid delivers.

I soon realized how food, particularly carbohydrates, affected everything – how well I could think when taking tests, how often I had to pee, how thirsty I got, how much energy I had for a soccer game, how ravenously hungry I got when my blood sugar went too low, and ultimately, the relationships I had with my friends and family.

This forced me to focus most of my life on what, when, and how I was eating, and ultimately led me to earning a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from Rutgers University in 1998.

Unfortunately at that time, it was difficult to make a good living in the field of nutrition, so I opted to not go on to become an RD (Registered Dietician), but always maintained my passion for food and how it affects us.

What I was taught as a kid, and then again 15 years later in college, was that we needed carbs to live.  And that fat was bad, and should be kept to a minimum, as it was the cause of diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Speaking of which, my entire life I heard over and over again about the high risk of diabetics getting heart disease and tons of diabetic complications like kidney disease and blindness from consistently high blood sugar.   Yet I was told I needed to eat lots of healthy grains, fruits, and veggies like potatoes and carrots, for 3 meals per day, PLUS 3 SNACKS!  Needless to say that meant I had to take lots of insulin (to control my blood sugar).

I had wild swings every day as I ate carbs, had to guesstimate how much insulin I needed, and if it wasn’t enough, I’d want to fall asleep and pee all the time. If it was too much insulin, I’d shake, sweat, and want to eat everything in sight.

It didn’t matter how much I exercised or how many healthy fruits and grains I ate, I struggled on a daily basis from these fluctuating hormones (you should’ve seen my acne in college!), which resulted in a daily brain fog, excess weight, little energy, and severe sleep apnea.

I felt like crap consistently.  I didn’t understand these people who woke up each morning feeling rested, not waking up to pee or eat every few hours because you were sweating through the sheets or keeping the entire dorm floor up with your snoring…

Despite warnings on every diet pill bottle or at the bottom of every diet book that said it shouldn’t be used for diabetics, I was desperate to try them all, because the only advice I was given, by both doctors and university professors, wasn’t working!

I tried extremely low-fat diets like I was initially recommended by my dieticians like Pritikin.  And then there was Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, The Zone, and South Beach.  I was able to lose a few pounds on them, but most of that was the initial water weight we’re all familiar with.

Then in college, my Dad told me about the Atkins diet, and the success he’d with it.  When I heard you lose weight eating just meat and cheese, something somewhere inside burst with joy, and I ran to buy the book and started right away.

I had some pretty good results with Atkins.  I loved peeing on those Ketostix and watching them turn purple, because it was a sign I was doing it right!  And I ended up losing the most weight, in the easiest and quickest ways, and used the least amount of insulin I ever had before, and felt great!

The only problem was that I followed the protocol of the book, which had you start to slowly incorporate carbs back into your meals over time.

And this was the problem.  Once I did that, I came out of ketosis, and my appetite suppressing ketones were gone.  My hunger and blood sugars swung out of control again, often enough to cause me to gain all the weight back (and then some).

And I didn’t put together that I just needed to keep the carbs down permanently.

In the 90’s there wasn’t much support, online or offline, for low carb diets.  Especially not from the university’s nutrition department or any ADA (American Diabetes Association) approved dietician.  Low carb was controversial.  And even more so for a Type 1 diabetic.

So I forgot about it and resigned to follow the carbohydrate myths we were taught via “good science” in the classroom and buy into the marketing that we’ve all been bombarded with by the government and food companies – that we needed healthy grains and fiber for energy and fats make you fat.  “You are what you eat.”

Then I got into lifting heavy things at the gym, and discovered how the “bro-science” out there also reinforces the carb myth – that it’s essential for building muscle, and the more often you eat, and the more carbs you eat, the more it “stokes your metabolism”.

But I was always hungry, and my blood sugar was still not well controlled.  I came to learn this hunger and suffering to lose fat and build muscle was just part of the culture, and almost a badge of honor that many of these fitness athletes and hard core “worker-outers” wore with pride.

As you may have guessed,  while carbs were still in the picture, I continued to have big swings in my weight and blood sugar, despite working out 2 times per day, for more than 2 hours, almost every day.

Over the last few years, in search for a better answer to reducing my body fat, controlling my blood sugar, and improving my energy levels, I found Paleo.  And while I did see improvements in these areas because I had reduced the amount of carbs, it still wasn’t perfect.  I was still hungry quite often and stopped losing weight and inches.

I then found LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat), and saw even more improvements (specifically in my weight loss, blood sugar control, and energy level), but realized that I needed to dial it in a bit more to make this easy.  And for me, that meant suppressing my hunger.

Enter ketones.

Ketones, the magical molecules that keep my hunger and blood sugar under control.  And provided me with the energy and clarity like I’ve never felt before.

I found an answer.  An answer for me, and as I’m discovering an answer for many others – thanks to the keto-themed podcasts like KetoTalk and the Ketovangelist and books like Keto Clarity, The Complete Guide to Fasting, Keto Adapted, and Good Calories, Bad Calories that I’m consuming every day.  I’m discovering that this is an answer for those who’ve been struggling to lose weight despite following the recommendations of medical professionals and our government, which I’ve come to learn is mostly based on flawed or non-existent science, as well as those with more serious issues like autoimmune diseases and cancer.

I’m fortunate in that my girlfriend Kristi, my sister, and father have also joined me in this ketogenic adventure.  So we’ve been able to share our wins, struggles, and learned from each other along the way.

Now I want to give back (as well as learn even more myself, because no one has it all figured out) through these Keto Mastermind groups I’m putting together here.

My vision is to help anyone trying to live a healthier and happier life in any way I can.  In turn, if we have more happy, healthy people walking around, we’ll:

1) Become good examples for our family, friends, and coworkers.

2) See the creation and adoption of more low carbohydrate products and services.  This will make it easier for us to maintain this way of life by having more real food and low carbohydrate options at social events.

3) Become a more productive society as we’ll have more energy, be able to think more clearly, and no longer be addicted to sugar or have our time (and lives) revolve around food.

That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to be part of the movement to help make this happen for all of us.

Thanks for spending some (a lot of) time with me to read this!  Get in touch!  You can reach me here.