Is the Keto Community Exclusionary?

christie 56When I was a kid, 10 year olds didn’t get type 2 diabetes, so I wasn’t tested. I weighed nearly 200 lbs, I had yeast infections (I didn’t know that at the time, I just knew I itched), and I kept getting yelled at for not washing my neck (acanthosis nigricans). In junior high school, I developed a spot under my ponytail (another yeast infection)that eventually left me with a bald spot that is still there to this day, although the spot is long gone.

At one point in my single digits, I was put on a diet by Dr. Werthammer (not his fault, he was awesome. And still practicing!). That diet was AMAZING, at least to a sugar – addicted kid. It had a list of “free” foods. Lots of low-fat, high sugar options like angel food cake, pretzels, animal crackers, even gummy bears. I was in heaven. But I didn’t lose any weight. And I wasn’t diagnosed with type 2 diabetes until I was 25, and my years of sugar had already done irreparable damage to my eyesight.

A few years ago. a show came out called, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”. It was filmed across the river from my hometown, in Huntington, WV. Huntington was chosen because it had just been named the unhealthiest city in America. They are poor, they are unhealthy, and they are obese. I’d guess that if you looked at the health stats for the city of Huntington, you’d find that a shocking percent have diabetes, hypertension, and a number of other metabolic disorders. I haven’t lived in the Huntington area for more than 20 years, but I carry the lingering effects of my childhood.

My ex-husband was from the poor part of Baltimore, MD. He grew up eating cold ravioli from the can because they often didn’t have electricity. He ate whatevers he could get from the corner store – often snack cakes and Mountain Dew and chips. He continued that into adulthood. I often saw him put away and entire package of Oreo cookies in one sitting. He once told me, when he was in the hospital, that the sandwich and fruit and veggie they gave him for lunch wasn’t a full meal. He had sleep apnea. When we divorced, he weighed more than 350lbs.

Keto could be a miracle to the unhealthy and underprivileged. Unfortunately, most of the resources available come from a place of blind privilege. Keto personalities preach expensive supplements, grassfed this and organic that. And if you can’t spend $10 or $15 dollars a pound on grass fed ground beef and $4 a dozen for organic eggs, you’re dirty keto. You’re below, you’re sub keto, you’re not as good at keto. You’re not part of the club, and that’s if you even look into it enough to learn that it’s possible without investing in your local Whole Foods. That’s all great if you can afford it, but we’re excluding a very vulnerable part of the population. They need accessible tools and we – as a community – have a responsibility to make keto available to everyone. Stop preaching health from a place of privilege. Stop called it dirty keto – it’s ALL keto and it ALL counts.

It’s ok to keto however it works for you.

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