The Zen Beach Diet is a detailed guide of Kristy Alford’s experiences with the Dr Ray Peat style of eating.
After eating low carb/keto for 10 years, she realised it was no longer working. Weight was coming back on, she was feeling cold all the time and her hair started to fall out. Kristy sought further answers and found the work of Dr Ray Peat.
After researching, experimenting and eating this way for nearly four years now, Kristy has finally found her answers. It was about fine tuning the calorie level, balance of macros and types of food to maximise her health, metabolism and finally reach the weight loss goal she desired.
The book includes information, food guides, a how to build your own meal plan formula as well as a 7-day meal plan and new recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kristy says, “Many of the resources on Ray’s way of eating give the general guidelines, but no-one tells you specifically WHAT to eat and HOW MUCH to eat. This is where the Zen Beach Diet book fills the gap.”
Beautifully photographed by her husband and professional photographer Adrian Alford, it features a stunning collection of beaches from around the world.
Enjoy the amazing view as you learn how to finally get your health and weight on track and into the Zen Beach vibe.
Priced at only AU$9.95 (US$6.65, £5.15), it’s a PDF file of 34 mb and is available for immediate download now.
“I love it! Such an easy concept to follow and the pictures are stunning. Feeling better already.” – Lindy Z.
“Easy plan, easy recipes. Love the way she incorporates fruit into everything.” – Rita A.
“Ray’s information and education is amazing but I could never find it all in just the one spot, so this book is amazing!”– E.D.
“Yep I have bought this recipe book and can safely say we are given fabulous recipes with lots to eat. I feel very well fed plus the gorgeous photography images are sunny and cheery!”– Lisa W.
“You are to be commended on putting the basics in one easy reference for sure! This isn’t easy to simplify at all! Very, very helpful” Marcine P.
“I am really enjoying the Zen Beach Diet. Great info in it and easy to understand.“ J.V.
“I’ve been trying to follow a pro-metabolic diet for years but it didn’t click until I started working with Kristy and reading her books – the Zen Beach Diet is SO simple and easy to understand and makes me feel like I can do this. With Kristy’s help, I’ve been able to get my temperatures back to where they should be and feel more energized. Thank you, Kristy!” – Rachel B.
“What a gorgeous book, it’s such a delight to read and use.The pictures are amazing, it’s beautifully written and easy to follow.I love all of Kristy Alford’s books and I think The Zen Beach Diet is her best book so far! Very inspiring! – K.D.
“I recently purchased the Zen Beach Diet book and Sweet Treats. Both of these books contain great recipes and break down the macro nutrients for each meal/snack. When I’m out of ideas for what to make, I pull out your books for easy meals and snacks that also hit my nutrient needs (especially protein!) I also recommend both books to my clients because you follows the principles I teach. Recipe development is NOT my favorite thing to do, which is why I am so grateful for the diligent, hard work you’ve put into these resources, Kristy. Thank you!”
“While I am pretty new to the Peaty way of eating, (about 2 months now,) I have all three of your Peaty books and am having great success with gradual changes and love your perspective of watching the fat and calories so I don’t blimp out!
So far, I have lost 10 pounds, feel so much less bloated and never felt like I was on a diet but rather quite satisfied. I can totally eat this way the rest of my life and my only hunger is to learn more about this way of eating.
Truly though it has been MOST helpful to ‘see’ the Ray Peat plan simply laid out in your Zen book with the information and daily food plan. Can’t say enough how much this has helped me and I always refer back to it.
After on and off again dieting and interests in nutrition, etc., since my teens, I can wholeheartedly say, I’ve finally found it…what really works to keep me healthy, balanced & happy.” – Jen H
“I also want to thank you for writing an excellent book. It really explains things well. I guess I didn’t realize one needed to eat that much fruit at a meal.
I think as simple as your food measurement method might sound, it is brilliant. It does make this way of eating easier. I don’t want to have to count my macros.” – J.F.
While I mentioned in passing in a few social media posts that I was making a dessert recipes book, I prefer not to say much about it while I’m doing it, because you never know when the finish line is going to be.
I’m super excited now though to announce – IT’S HERE! Ta da!
Months in the making, this Sweet Treats recipe book is a collection of fruit based and gluten free easy desserts.
Kristy Alford has been eating according to Dr Ray Peat principles for about three years. She has successfully increased her body temperature, metabolism and cleared all of her hypothyroidism symptoms caused by a keto diet. Symptoms included her hair falling out and feeling cold all the time. To read the complete list of symptoms click here.
Central to that success is the use of fruit and sugar correctly as a main carbohydrate source. This book is a small collection of beautiful easy desserts and recipes that she created.
What’s in it?
It features puddings, cakes, a parfait, ice cream, custard and more. As well as a unique solution to a slice base, that is not nuts or the traditional flour or biscuit options. There are just over twenty recipes and it is spectacularly photographed by her husband, Adrian Alford, bringing the dessert creations to life.
There are also snippets of Dr Ray Peat inspired information and stories of finding the right ingredients, when just sticking everything together with nuts is no longer favoured!
It’s priced at only AU$9.95, (US$6.50, GBP 5.15) and is a 32 page PDF file of 35 mb.
This book is part of the five book series on the Dr Ray Peat style of health and a fast metabolism written by Alford. The others include One Ten Toned which is a home workout plan. This book explains how traditional exercise is lowering your metabolism. It also details what to do instead.
The third book, called the ZEN Beach Diet, is the eating plan using Dr Ray Peat principles to achieve metabolic health while losing weight at the same time.
The fourth book called the FAT Burner HIIT Guide is short guide showing how frequent movement throughout the day aids weight loss.
And the fifth book called the 3 Day Summer RESTART, takes the principles from the ZEN Beach Diet and simplifies it even further. A diet plan that’s easy to stick with, is one that will last long term.
I frequently get asked what I eat in a day. So I thought I would document it, to help others out.
Note I have updated this to reflect the fact that I am not doing super low fat of 20g a day (or 10% of calories any more.) Click here to read why this came about.
So overall I aim for 1,800 calories – 100g protein, 40g of fat and the rest carbs per day. I won’t always hit these targets, as measuring and counting every ounce of food I eat is not conducive to a balanced, happy life for me. However every quarter or so, I plug everything into cronometer.com to see what’s what, and if anything needs adjusting.
This Rice Bake recipe was created due to the outrageously long-term summer heat in Brisbane, and my laziness!
I just don’t want to cook elaborate meals every day, especially after a workday. So we needed to be able to cook something once and eat it for the rest of the week. We do add other things to switch it up, but at least half the cooking and thinking about it is already done.
Ray Peat weight loss is elusive for many, mainly due to following wrong advice. Hopefully by the end of this article you may figure out where you are going wrong.
Interesting reading in the Ray Peat groups recently and the study where a bunch of guys were given 6,000 calories and no exercise. It demonstrated that while their metabolism increased, so too did their fat and other, not so great, health markers.
While the study was extreme, I think it was a great example of how too many people emphasise the increase of calories as the only way to get to health and a higher metabolism using Dr Ray Peat principles. (Anything under 2,500 calories was deemed to be an eating disorder! What?)
Stories of Ketogenic Diet Dangers, Health Damage & Excessive Exercise
More and more people are suffering diet health damage from Ketogenic Diets, Low Carb, Vegan, and just Low Calorie Diets as well as excessive exercise, especially cardio. I just wanted to create a page to share stories of people who have been affected, to serve as a warning to others. Most who may be heading down this path are completely unaware there may be an issue. Read on….
Paleo, low carb, ill health and the road back
I’ll never forget how excited I was when I learned about the Paleo lifestyle and the benefits of eating and living in accordance with our evolutionary history. I devoured information for a few years, while implementing many of the principles. Mark Sisson’s podcast was often playing in my ears, and I remember eating more meat on a daily basis than I ever had. This was saying something because I had always enjoyed meat through my life anyway. Eating more fat was exciting and felt counter cultural, and therefore empowering. Things got weird though, as most attempts at dieting usually do.
The food I was eating ended up becoming more bizarre, and left me with an inability to properly process sugars/carbs. I easily developed symptoms of candida overgrowth whenever I let myself eat more varied carbs than I normally would. Weight wasn’t staying off like I hoped, too. My hair was starting to recede but I had no idea why. I was often cold and also dealt with frequent urination and strange body odour. (It turns out that often happens to people when eating so much meat every day and also so few carbs).
I was also finding myself obsessed with food. Thinking about food. Cooking food. Savoring food. This heightened focus on food was part of the effect on my body when eating a “Paleo” diet. This is normal for most people who engage in restrictive diets (hence the proliferation of “food porn.” Check out the Minnesota Starvation Experiment for more on what happens when caloric consumption is restricted to typical “dieting” levels.)
In June of 2015 someone I often spoke about diet and exercise with suggested I try the ketogenic diet. She was on it and was losing her “brown fat” – the stubborn fat that usually doesn’t melt away without concerted effort, she explained. I looked into the ketogenic diet and it seriously intrigued me! Eat loads of fat and moderate protein, become a “fat burner”, and shed pounds, gain clarity, rosy cheeks, stamina, less hunger, greater mood stability, etc. etc.? “Yes! Sign me up,” I thought.
Messed with my body and mind
In July of 2015 I started working with Maria Emmerich, as she had just come out with a cookbook that had a lot of seemingly delicious recipes to get me started. The plan I chose to follow, through her, was one that included weight loss through becoming fat adapted (ketosis) while limiting portions/calories, and also exercising daily. Not a good combo, in hindsight. Not beneficial at all.
I could write a book about all of the ways I was negatively impacted by this particular diet, and all variations of the ketogenic diet I tried thereafter. It messed with not only my body, but my mind.
I have numerous stories of monumental fatigue…the kind that is alarmingly concerning. I developed even more of an inability to handle sugars/carbs if I did ever veer from my ketogenic ways. Much more hair loss, more food obsession and irritability with others around my preferences/routines with eating (didn’t eat the same food as my family, for instance.) Even greater frequency of urination, cold intolerance and inability to get warm. I wore fingerless gloves and a sweater and brought a space heater to work with me. Frequent stomach aches were the norm. (I was also taking a powder supplement called Keto/OS during the end of my time practicing ketosis). Looking back on this, I seemed to have developed orthorexic behavior around food/exercise. All while thinking I was being “healthy.”
At the end of January 2016, when I finally sought change through working with an Eating Psychology Coach, everything shifted. I allowed myself to eat foods that had terrified me, particularly sugar. The adjustment was intense. Shifting from being in ketosis to then adapting to burning glucose for energy/fuel again can be a tumultuous undertaking for the body.
I remember the day when my client randomly said, “Sarah, where’s your heater? And your gloves and sweater? Your arms are bare and you’re not cold?” I explained in a few sentences what I had been doing to warm myself up again. Eat for Heat by Matt Stone was a huge help to me at that time. She pointed out that my face looked much less pale too. In fact, she said it was rosy! I marvelled at my bare arms in the air conditioned room, fully comfortable at that temperature, not cold at all. Astounding, compared to before.
My digestion improved dramatically and I was able to eat ALL kinds of food. Stomach pains went away. Receding hair line started growing back in. Frequency of urination diminished. Most importantly, my obsession with thoughts of food began to tame. I had room in my mind to focus on other things – not primarily what I was going to eat or cook next.
My relationship to exercise has also been a long and winding road. It included obsessive tendencies and overdoing it/overtaxing myself, but is now much more balanced. I don’t engage like I used to in daily endurance focused exercise that made me pour sweat like I stepped out of a pool. But focus more on building muscle through strategic weight training. I’m continually tuning in to my body, bearing in mind the need to recover and rest appropriately.
It wasn’t until 2017 that I began implementing lifestyle and eating changes inspired by Ray Peat, and that journey has brought with it ups and downs too. What I know for sure is that we are all fascinatingly unique. There is no particular way of eating that works well for everyone. Our bodies need ample nourishment from a wide array of food sources. Carbohydrates are not the enemy, but rather, supportive of our entire physiology and psychology. – Sarah B. (Sarah was on Instagram @sarah15fitness but has since changed her IG name and focus.)
Low sugar, carb & calories leading to many ailments including Lyme Disease
I spent many years in my 20’s and 30’s following restrictive diets, specifically low carbohydrate. Starving my body of sugars and carbs activated my stress hormones, throwing my body into metabolic chaos. I was addicted to this way of eating because of the huge weight loss benefits that initially came with it.
Frequently angry and irritable all the time when I was eating this way, it completely sucked all the life and joy out of me. It got to the point that I just became a shell of a person that I once used to be. I was absolutely stressed out of my brain, completely running on stress and adrenaline. Strangely enough I believed that I was very healthy??
My body finally crashed
Fast forward another few years and by the time I had reached 45 years old, my body finally crashed. Hypothyroidism , insulin resistance, estrogen dominance, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, severe exercise intolerance, weakness and numbness in arms and legs, spinal problems , brain fog , memory problems, slowed thinking.
I believe all of the above were due mostly to my restrictive way of eating, as well as over exercising!
Through adding back more calories in my diet , mostly sugars and carbs in the form of fruits, I am slowly gaining my health back. A lot of my symptoms have improved and I am finally feeling happy again. My body needs sugar and carbs to function at its best and I am looking forward to continuing to eat this way and regaining my full health back. – Rebecca M.
Ketogenic Diet/Low Carb – damaged metabolism, hair falling out and more
I was on keto then low carb for 10 years, and thought it was fabulous. I lost all the weight I wanted to, I found it easy to do, I was never hungry, made all these fabulous fat bombs desserts.
But then one day I realised my body was falling apart – body temperature was really low 35.3C (95.5F), pulse low – 60 bpm and I would always have cold hands and feet, even though I lived in a hot climate – so super low metabolism. My hair started falling out and blood tests showed I had high cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar (heading towards pre-diabetes), low white blood cells (low immunity), weight started to come back on and I had about 10 other symptoms pointing to hypothyroidism.
I now eat in a way that supports my health and metabolism, I’m feeling so much better, all health markers are improving and weight is right where I want it to be as well. – Kristy A.www.slimbirdy.com
Ketogenic Diet/Low Carb “Bulletproof” & years of hard core intensive exercise
Coming from keto/low carb “bulletproof” and years of hard core dieting and exercise, I lost 22lbs but I lost my energy, my period, strength, power, joy, personality, sleep, glow, hair amazing skin, muscle, time with friends, youth (I’m 23 feeling 73) and re-developed eating disorder behaviour. My liver enzymes are elevated and the bad cholesterol is high and I’ve re-developed hypoglycemia. Super sensitive to heat and cold. Blood flow sucks. Teeth are in worse shape. Skin issues on my feet. Skin issues period. Irregular hunger cues.
Already 1 month full on Ray Peat style and my body is not going crazy through the night as much. I received my period after almost a year, my fun loving personality is coming back, I am calm and can enjoy my meals. I also feel no need to over train. I’m able to stay up past 6 pm most days, and enjoy time with friends better, and work the next day with energy most of the time. Digestion is more normal. I can get up and move around or clean the kitchen right after a meal without feeling like my stomach is going to explode from all the non starchy veggies. Oh I feel like I can even go play like a kid after eating. Good signs. Time to make memories and live life to the fullest…free from my ED and dieting! – Amanda Lajcaj
Many diets & low calories led to Hashimoto’s
I did a week long intestinal cleanse (virtual starvation) that turned into two years of veganism, followed by tubal ligation that screwed my hormones and developed into Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I then spent several years living abroad where the food quality wasn’t great (lots of polyunsaturates) so I didn’t eat regularly or the right quantity. Getting lots of sun helped keep the damage at bay for a while, but when I returned to the UK the effects hit me at full force. I’m heading in the right direction now with Dr Ray Peat’s work, but it’s a long, slow process of undoing all the damage. – Sophie www.absolutelypure.com
Paleo, Intermittent Fasting and Ketogenic Diet Cycling
Health and fitness has always been a focus and passion of mine. So, when I came across the paleo diet with claims of being most in line with our ancestral human nature, I dove right in. From there I learned about the “danger” of carbs, which produce “toxic” insulin. And before long I was intermittent fasting and on a cyclical ketogenic diet.
At the time, I could rattle off all the supposed reasons why these were the best dietary practices – they improved mitochondria respiration, improved insulin sensitivity, increased autophagy, reversed chronic conditions, and on and on. I truly thought that I understood why these dietary practices were ideal for our health.
Then came the symptoms
But, while I was extremely lean on these diets, I began to experience symptoms. I wasn’t making improvements in the gym and didn’t have the energy for workouts, I had to study more for my classes because I wasn’t processing information as well, my libido was almost nonexistent, I had high cholesterol, and I had an unquenching craving for carbohydrates.
It was around this time that I came across the work of Dr. Ray Peat, which completely changed my perspective on health. It also led to the realization that I didn’t truly understand the physiological effects of low-carb/ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting. Instead I was simply attracted to the claims that were being made about those dietary practices.
As I dug deeper and developed a stronger understanding of physiology, the picture became clear. I was able to change my dietary and lifestyle practices to fall in line with what our physiology dictates is healthy. As that happened, the many symptoms I experienced on the low-carb/ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting were resolved. I felt far better than I ever had before. – Jaywww.jayfeldmanwellness.com
Ketogenic Diet/Low Carb & circuit training
I’ve never been particularly over weight but I have had a few health problems growing up. My periods had never been regular; I could go two or three months without one. A diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome finally explained my frequent stomach pains. I was told I had poly-cystic ovary syndrome.
After reading an article, I found the low carb diet. After a rocky start on it, I started to feel better and had loads of energy. I thought it was the best thing ever. Even started to preach to everyone how great it was and how they should all follow it.
Fast forward two and a half years and I still thought things were pretty great. My stomach pains cleared up and to top it off, I discovered circuit training. I loved it! It was empowering and I felt strong. Never mind that every time I left the place I had a weird throbbing headache.
I remember attempting some kind of test to be able to do a certain class. My competitive spirit is, how shall we put it, erm, fierce!! I remember having nothing left to give but pushed myself to the end and literally fell down on the finish line. I felt sick and was shaking like a leaf but the others were laughing so I laughed too, it was funny right? When I got home my boyfriend said I looked ill. I couldn’t sleep all night. It was puzzling, I had no idea what was wrong. I had terrible anxiety.
Then I read another article about how being a fat burner is not such a good idea. When I really thought about it, I actually hadn’t felt brilliant for some time. My sleep had gradually been getting worse; I had been feeling tired, and I had totally lost interest in my PhD – which I previously loved doing. Suffering terrible anxiety attacks, I was always cold, I had insomnia and my hair was falling out. I just thought if low carb really was that bad for you, then that could explain all my health issues.
Undoing the damage
So the next steps trying to undo all this damage got worse, before it got better. I ballooned from size 8 to size 18 trying to re-carb myself and get my metabolism back up. Also no exercise was recommended, as this was contributing to the metabolism decline.
It took 2 years to start to feel better. While in my recovery my weight isn’t budging fast, my skin is getting less dry. My hair is the shiniest it’s ever been. I have periods regular as clockwork, and my sleep is better than ever. It’s a work in progress but at least now it’s on the right track. – Karenhttp://www.honestlykaren.co.uk/
(Help warn others about the Ketogenic diet or any extreme diet. Contact Kristy on E: email@example.com to add your story.)
For a more balanced approach, read more about One Ten Toned the exercise program and the Zen Beach Diet. Both are based on the principles of Dr Ray Peat. Read more here.
A fast metabolism is one of the key factors that improves overall health no matter what your specific ailment.
I’m coming across more and more people who are health damaged by keto, low carb, paleo, veganism, intermittent fasting and even excess exercise, so I just wanted to make a summary post of all my articles so far, that talk about my journey back to health via the Dr Ray Peat guidelines. A fast metabolism is a really big part of the solution.
Examples of issues
Just this past week a friend with weight issues tested her waking temperature and came in at 36.1C (97F) – so it’s not diabolical but whatever she is doing is contributing to her metabolism decline, which will only get worse if she doesn’t address it now.
Another follower on IG complained about not being able to lose weight any more, she had lost and regained a few times in the past but just couldn’t budge it any more, despite still eating the recommended balanced diet with low calories and doing heaps of cardio. Her temperature – 35.0C (95F) and pulse 60 bpm – which is pretty bad and the level I was when I realised I was heading down the wrong path.
Then two other people where a dietitian and an obesity specialist both recommended low carb/keto diets!
So there is no surprise that the US currently has a thyroid dysfunction epidemic and Australia will soon follow. Already world wide nearly 20% of all women have PCOS! Given the popularity of keto/low carb and quitting sugar, these issues are no surprise.
What controls the metabolism? The Thyroid gland!
So if you are already in the damaged state, these articles will give you an insight as to what you may be doing wrong and the steps required to fix it.
So this is a snapshot of the pro-metabolic direction for optimising your health and hormones with food and exercise. (I don’t know anything about the supplementation side of things because I didn’t need to do that. I do take about 2000mg of non acidic Vitamin C a day though, just because it makes me feel better and it actually reduces cortisol.)
After two years now my body temperature has increased from:
A waking temperature of 35.3C (95.5F) – and after exercise/walking was 34.3C (93.7C).
To now, just in the last few weeks, I’ve reached 36.7C (98F) waking and goes right up to 37.7C (99.9F) after food. (I credit my new light weights exercise program for this last boost.)
When my body fell into a heap two years ago with a pile of hypothyroid symptoms, I had also put on about 6kgs (12lbs) since my lowest low carbing weight, but I didn’t put on any more while switching to Peaty foods. This was because I ignored most of the advice to drastically increase calories to help the body heal. I researched the forums first and everyone who said they did this put on loads of weight. Honestly I don’t think it gets you there any faster. Your body needs time to learn how to process carbs again properly, and clearing the fat out of the way via a lower fat diet was probably the most effective tool for me.
4 years on
Now I am four years into committing to a Ray Peat style lifestyle, the weight I want to be and thriving. A few more recent articles may be helpful:-