Starting The Keto Diet – Useful Tips
The ketogenic diet is quickly taking the health world by storm as its followers continue to rave about its many benefits. If you’re looking to switch to a healthier way of eating or simply want to add some variety to your low-carb, high-fat meals, this diet may be perfect for you.
There are so many keto diet foods and recipes out there, but finding the best ones can be difficult. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you and compiled a list of the best keto diet recipes we could find. You’ll find just about everything you need to start today, from delicious keto breakfast recipes to mouthwatering keto dinner recipes. Even if you’re new to the keto diet, you’ll be able to find a delicious recipe to try that suits your tastes and lifestyle. You’ll always have something satisfying on the menu.
You’ll never have to worry about what type of meal to make again. It also provides a shopping list so you can get everything you need for each recipe in one place. This will save you time and money as well as ensure your dietary needs are met without having to run around town trying to find the ingredients.
The ketogenic diet causes ketone bodies to be produced by your liver, thus shifting your body’s metabolism away from using glucose as the primary source of fuel and toward fat utilization. –To accomplish this, the ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrate intake below а certain level – usually 100 grams per day. The daily amount depends on your health and weight loss goals.
A ketogenic diet ( simply known as keto) aims to convert your body into a fat-burning machine. Such a diet is loaded with benefits and is highly recommended by nutritional experts for the following results:
- Natural appetite control
- Increased mental clarity
- Lowered levels of inflammation in the body system
- Improved stability in blood sugar levels
- Elimination or lower risk of heartburn
- Using natural stored body fat as a fuel source
- Weight loss
The effects listed are just some of the numerous effects that take place when a person embarks on a ketogenic diet and makes it a point to stick to it. A ketogenic diet consists of meals with low carbohydrates, moderate proteins, and high-fat content.
The mechanism works like this: when we drastically reduce our intake of carbohydrates, our body is compelled to convert fat to release energy. This process of converting fats instead of carbohydrates to release energy is called Ketosis.
How Does Ketosis Work?
Ketosis is а natural state of the body wherein the liver will break down the available fats instead of glucose or carbohydrates, and ketones will be produced, which will then be burned by the body as the primary energy source.
Your goal with the ketogenic diet is to force your body into this metabolic state.
Your body is designed to adapt to а metabolic state easily, so you only need to worry about following the diet and letting your body handle the rest.
The ketogenic diet is different from other low-carb diets. The difference is that your diet should be about 70-75 percent of calories from fat, 20-25 percent from protein, and 5-10 percent from carbohydrates each day.
Our main goal with the ketogenic diet is to drastically reduce the intake of carbohydrates and choose healthier alternatives. In theory, if you limit your carb intake and achieve а state of Ketosis, the excess weight will be shed easily.
How to know when you are in Ketosis? Whether you have taken any tests to discover your ketosis status, your body will exhibit physical signs to prompt you. You may have a loss of appetite, increased thirst, have bad breath, or notice a stronger urine smell. These are all clues from your body.
Foods Allowed, Limit, And Avoid
The foods we eat on a keto diet can be divided into three categories: allowed, limit, and avoid. But even the foods should avoid have healthier alternatives, so you won’t be going without. Having these categories in your head will make it easier to shop for foods that will provide solid nutrition throughout your journey.
Keto isn’t as restrictive as you might think. Yes, you need to eliminate most carbs, but there’s a long list of delicious, nutritious foods to take their place. Focus on the following categories when structuring your plates.
Fats And Oils
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, contains the powerful antioxidant oleuropein, and has been shown to improve heart-disease risk markers in numerous studies. Other fats and oils to eat include:
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Egg yolks
- Macadamia nut oil
- MCT oil
- Organic, unrefined red palm oil
- Sesame oil
- Tallow (fat from sheep and cattle)
- Walnut oil
Nuts And Seeds
Of all the nuts, macadamia has the lowest omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio. Researchers believe that lowering this ratio can help lower inflammation and obesity risk. Other nuts and seeds to eat include:
- Brazil nuts
- Coconut meat (shredded or whole)
- Nut butter (made with any of the nuts listed)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Tahini (sesame seed paste)
The egg is the perfect keto food: high-fat, medium protein, and very low-carb. Plus, egg yolks are rich in essential nutrients such as choline and vitamin A. Other proteins to eat include:
- Collagen protein powder
- Fish (includes cod, mackerel, mahi-mahi, red snapper, salmon, and tuna)
- Organ meats (includes heart, kidney, and liver)
- Poultry (includes chicken, duck, and turkey)
- Shellfish (includes clams, lobster, oysters, and shrimp)
- Vegan protein options (includes hemp protein, pea protein, tempeh, tofu, and vegan cheese)
- Whey protein powder
Butter is high in vitamins A, D, and K, as well as the anti-inflammatory compound butyrate. Get your butter from pasture-raised cows for maximum nutrition. Other dairy products to eat include:
- Cheese (includes Brie, cream cheese, feta, goat, Gouda, mozzarella, and Parmesan)
- Heavy cream
- Whole milk
Note: Many folks don’t react well to the lactose (milk sugar) or casein (milk protein) in these foods. If you’re one of these people, use almond and coconut products in recipes calling for dairy.
Kale is rich in vitamin K, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and isothiocyanates—compounds with promising anticancer effects. Other non-starchy vegetables to eat include:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Romaine lettuce
As a general rule, look for vegetables with under 5 grams of net carbs per serving (you want to stay under about 20 grams of net carbs per day).
Flavorings And Sweeteners
Superstar: erythritol. Noncaloric and a potent antioxidant, erythritol doesn’t raise blood sugar and insulin levels like most other sweeteners do. Other sweeteners and flavorings to eat include:
- Brown sugar replacement
- Cocoa powder
- Monk fruit
- Vanilla extract
Compounds in green tea called catechins may help stimulate weight loss by increasing metabolic rate. Other beverages to drink include:
- Almond milk
- Black tea
- Hemp milk
- Herbal tea
- Lemon juice
- Sparkling water
Foods to Limit
Enjoy the following foods in moderation on the keto diet.
Alcohol: Alcohol won’t help your keto goals, but the occasional serving of wine or hard alcohol (both low-carb) should be fine. Strive to avoid concoctions with added sugar, though.
Avocados: Technically a fruit, avocados are high in fiber, monounsaturated fat, and vitamin E, but also contain 12 grams of carbs. Limit to one per day.
Berries (includes blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries): These fruits are low in sugar and high in antioxidants. You can have a few berries, but keep portions small to limit carbs.
Dark chocolate: Shoot for at least 85 percent cacao bars with minimal added sugar.
Processed meats (includes ham, prosciutto, hot dogs, lunch meats, and pepperoni): These meats are okay in moderation, but be strict about label reading—they can contain added sugar, artifi cial ingredients, and preservatives. Look for all-natural, organic, no-sugar-added versions of these items and limit consumption to a few times per week.
Tomatoes: Though high in the antioxidant lutein, tomatoes also have about 5 grams of carbs each.
Turnips and carrots: Though most root vegetables are too starchy for the keto diet, turnips and carrots have a relatively lower amount of carbs and are okay in small amounts.
Foods to Avoid
Get the donation bag ready. Here are the foods that don’t belong in your keto kitchen.
Why avoid them? Grains contain too many carbs for keto. Grains also contain compounds such as gluten, phytic acid, and lectins that damage the gut and block nutrient absorption. Examples include:
Why avoid them? These foods aren’t unhealthy per se, but they’ll spike insulin and keep you from entering Ketosis. Examples include:
- Sweet potatoes
Why avoid them? Except for berries, tomatoes, avocados, lemons, and limes, most fruits are too high in fructose (sugar) to make the keto cut. Examples include:
- Kiwi fruit
- Melon (all types)
Anything With Added Sugar
Why avoid them? Sugar raises insulin levels and prevents fat-burning. In other words, sugar is the nemesis of Ketosis. Examples include:
- Granola bars
- Salad dressing
Pro tip: To avoid refined sugar, shop the periphery of the grocery store. If it comes in a package, there’s probably sugar in it.
Industrial Seed Oils
Why avoid them? These vegetable oils are high in the inflammatory omega-6 fat linoleic acid. Researchers believe that excessive linoleic acid consumption is partly responsible for the American obesity epidemic. Examples include:
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Peanut oil
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
Pro tip: Avoid cooking with these unstable oils. They oxidize when heated, forming compounds called oxidized lipids, which drive the progression of heart disease.
Why avoid them? A study published found that drinking just one artificially sweetened soda per day is associated with a 67 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Examples include:
- Acesulfame potassium
Tips On How to Succeed in Your Keto Transition
When you switch to the ketogenic diet, you will most likely experience what’s known as the “carb flu” or “keto flu.” Your body is transitioning from using carbs to fat as its main energy source, and depending on how carb-heavy your previous diet was , you’ll end up with symptoms resembling the flu. For the first week or so, you’ll deal with fatigue, headaches, nausea, and so on. It can be a challenging time, so here are some tips on how to make the transition easier:
Drink Lots of Water
When you’re in the early stages of Ketosis, you lose more water weight than usual. You need to be intentional about staying hydrated, so always have a bottle close by. Drinking lots of water should help with headaches and fatigue.
Get In Electrolytes
As you’re losing water, you also lose electrolytes. In addition to drinking water, sip bone broth (that you add a high-quality salt to) to replenish. You’ll experience fewer headaches, less fatigue, and less joint cramping.
Eat Lots of Healthy Fat and Protein
The most important goal during these first weeks is to cut carbs. You don’t have to pay as close attention to your fat and protein, at least in terms of limiting them. Eat as much as you need. The keto diet doesn’t require calorie-counting, though if you want to lose weight, you’ll probably need to do a bit of that. During these early days, however, focus on cutting carbs and eating lots of fats and protein to reduce your keto flu symptoms.
It’s not unusual to experience “carb flu” symptoms. To help, be sure to stay hydrated, get in your electrolytes, eat lots of fat and protein, drink some water with coconut oil, and exercise gently. If the symptoms are especially bad, try eating some clean carbs, like sweet potatoes or a nectarine.
Start The Day with Coconut Oil
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are found in coconut oil and sold in supplemental concentrations. They are great for Ketosis; there’s even a form of the ketogenic diet that’s founded on consuming as much MCT as possible. If you’re suffering from the carb flu, starting your day with a spoonful of high-quality coconut oil mixed in water can help speed up Ketosis and shorten the transition process.
Working out speeds up Ketosis, but since you’ll be feeling more tired and achy during the carb flu, you can keep it light with exercises like pilates and yoga. These exercises use fat as fuel instead of glucose.
Eat Some Healthy Carbs
If your carb flu symptoms are terrible, you should eat food with slow-burning carbs like sweet potatoes, nectarines, or grapes. It will slow down the ketosis process a little, but you’ll feel much better and able to go about your normal life.