All Things Keto: I talk with an expert!

Ah, the Keto diet. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Maybe you’ve made some resolutions about your health this year? Me too. Just looking to feel better, be able to think clearer and perhaps get those joints feeling good? Me too. But with such BIG promises, can Keto really deliver? According to Allister Johnson, that kind of depends on you.

My experience with Keto started this summer when Ryan lost 25 lbs on it in a matter of two months (crazy- I didn’t even know he had an extra 25 lbs to lose!). Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it.

One day after he called me proclaiming he was “freaking out” by how fast the weight was falling off, I knew there was something to be said for this diet lifestyle. So after I punched him through the phone (yes, he said that to his wife who just had his child. We can laugh about it now…kinda), I knew I wanted to have Allister on the blog to share his knowledge with you all, too.

See, Allister had lost a whopping 90 lbs on Keto and when he and his lovely wife came to visit us last summer, I wanted to know more about their amazing transformations. Now they run their own website and Facebook group educating peeps on all things Keto.

I gotta tell ya, this isn’t another diet fad and it’s probably not going away anytime soon. Curious? Keep reading.

Without further ado, here is my interview with Allister Johnson

keto coach chic traveling mama

You’re a Keto coach. Can you tell us your qualifications for becoming an expert in this area?

My initial exposure to sports medicine and nutritional insights began as a teenage athlete. The flexibility to become a personal trainer while attending college was perfect. I trained clients throughout my college years and re-certified again post graduation in 2010. The course material covered in broad spectrum: training program development, fitness & health, kinesiology & biomechanics, nutrition as well as anatomy and physiology. BUT, I truly believe my years as a pharmaceutical sales rep for one of the largest pharma companies in the world prepared me most. As a rep I was given extensive and regular trainings on everything from enzymatic pathway utilization, drug interactions, disease state recognition, treatment and manipulation and more. I was also tasked with calling on and providing continuous education to endocrinologists and cardiologists and other specialists. This time in my life truly allowed me to take all the information I learned over the years from the sports medicine and training side and tie a great bow around our overall body function. I will say, even with that knowledge the 100+ people I have successfully started and coached on Keto has provided me so much raw data. My youngest client is 13 years old and my oldest is 78. These differences have allowed me the privilege to know how the state of ketosis can be maximized to fit each person uniquely.

Wow, ok, I trust you! Now speaking of that, Keto is short for ketosis, which is a different way to burn fuel. Can you tell everyone in simple terms what it means exactly?

In simple terms, ketosis is the process in which the body takes fat and then utilizes those ketones for energy. This is opposed to the norm which is taking in sugar and carbohydrates to create energy. Even simpler than that; you’re turning your body from a sugar burner to a fat burner.

Burning and fat are often used in the same sentence but this is different. Now, eating fat for fuel comes with so many questions and it goes against everything we’ve been taught. Maybe it’s all the bacon he consumes, but Ryan always gets asked about cholesterol and blood pressure. Can you explain what kind of effect Keto has on these things?

In recognizing most of your readers may not fully understand cholesterol and blood pressure beyond the basics, I will use a few analogies to help. The first thing to understand is cholesterol in its true nature is not bad or unhealthy. High levels of cholesterol are found in several nutritious places such as mothers milk where the number one ingredient is colostrum. We have to understand that cholesterol alone is not bad. The trouble comes when you have high levels of glucose involved. That’s when cholesterol can’t be used properly.

On a ketogenic style of eating, you convert your body into using fat for fuel. This enables blood vessels to stay clean and clear as well as reducing the blood pressure that increases because of said blockage. I actually just had a brand new client take his blood pressure from 164/110 to 120/83 in just 7 days! This is the norm when converting your body to a fat burning machine. Fat is not what causes our body to store and create fat. Insulin and high levels of glucose causes us to.

So to recap: sugar=bad and so this means carbs=also bad. Fat=good (when not accompanied by sugar and carbs)

So then what does a typical day eating the Keto lifestyle look like for you?

Normally my eating is really simple: meat of almost any kind, a portion of vegetables and fatty condiments to go along with them. Sunday football could be buffalo wings with lots of ranch dressing. Or you may find me at Chipotle loading up on meat, guac and sour cream (just omitting the rice and beans). Eating, once your mind is aware of what items have carbs and their quantities, is extremely intuitive. I will also say it is very possible to live a meat restricted diet as long as you get creative with your fat sources.

That seems do-able. I know if Ryan has to eat out he will usually go to Five Guys and grab a bacon double cheeseburger, minus the bun and add ranch dressing. But still, there’s a lot of misconceptions (and haters!) of Keto. What do you want to clear the air about?

SOOOO many! I think the biggest 3 are:
-That Keto isn’t for everyone
-That eating fat will make you fat
-That Keto isn’t healthy
Keto is most definitely for everyone. Literally, we were conceived, grown in our mother’s womb and birthed in a ketogenic state. It’s actually the way God intended for us to eat and thrive. It’s not until we start feeding infants cereal and formula that the ketogenic state is altered. Eating fat does NOT make you fat. Eating glucose and utilizing less than the giant amounts we tend to consume cause our bodies to store the excess glucose as fat. Converting your body to burning fat for fuel is literally allowing your body to become the most efficient it can be in a variety of ways.
As for health, Keto has been reversing disease states in so many that it is impossible to not recognize the health benefits. From heart disease to endometriosis, Keto has proven to not only help the regulation of hormones, increase the absorption and overall uptake of nutrients but also allow the increase of things like dopamine and serotonin by the improved neurological function that Keto provides.

I challenge anyone no matter their age, ethnicity or overall background to give me 6 months of strict Keto and tell me their life is not forever changed in a positive direction.

I hear that! I know if Ryan has a ‘cheat meal’ he feels like he has a hangover the next day, headache and all. The biggest thing is that his joints (which have always been problematic), start aching again! And his joints have felt so much better since Keto that it’s just not worth the hassle. Breads and sweets don’t even tempt him anymore. I will also mention that if Ryan drinks, he will have vodka and Zevia (if you don’t know what Zevia is, you better get hip- it’s amazing!).

So for fun, best meal you’ve ever had on Keto?
Easy, that’d be a bone-in Cowboy Ribeye with bacon wrapped asparagus. For dessert, vanilla bean chocolate chip crust cheesecake (a special Keto recipe which is sugar-free and has limited carbs, of course).

Nice! I know you just have to modify the sweets you eat. Xylitol, monk fruit and Stevia are also acceptable sweet sources because they won’t make your insulin spike. Also, giving up your morning coffee creamer is a big concern for people. It was for me! Ryan makes his coffee with organic heavy whipping cream, a few drops of Stevia (the liquid tastes better in my opinion) and a dash of cinnamon. Having heavy whipping cream at your disposal has been a blessing for desserts as well. 

So if someone is interested in starting this, what do they need to know?

This is a lifestyle not a short-term diet. Success is found in truly recognizing that the body needs absolutely zero carbs to not only survive, but to THRIVE. As soon as that mentality is adopted, the journey begins. This is a low to no carb eating lifestyle not a high fat lifestyle though more fat than traditional will be consumed.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t start the Keto diet?

The person that is not ready to change (and truly adhere to the changes) should not start. Any person who has their want in a higher priority than their why should not start. You must first understand why you want to improve your health and have that desire be greater than anything else.

Where can people find out more about you? is my website.

I’m Keto Neo on Instagram 


also on Facebook.

As a Keto Coach, Allister helps people based on their individual needs. You will get a private consultation and he will assess your body’s chemistry from there. He can give you a jumpstart or guide you through your whole health journey. He has even been known to consult with your trainers and/or other healthcare providers. What I like even more, is that he is into holistic alternatives (like essential oils) and clean eating.

So GUYS! Allister is offering my readers a heavy discount for his Keto coaching services. But you only have until midnight of Daylight Savings Time, which is March 11th (you’re welcome for the reminder). Just use code CTM. 

I hope you’ve been inspired by this post! And if you have been, please share this with someone who could benefit from it also!

P.S. Don’t forget to join my party on Insta ;)


About Rana Mancini Cavanaugh

Rana is a Chic Mama dedicated to helping other Mama's live a fuller, happier, healthier life through this blog. She is proud to announce she just finished an eBook on how to travel with kids and is finishing up her first novel. She is a happy wife to her sweetheart since the fourth grade and Mama to a lovely little girl. Happy Travels! xo

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