So you want to know more about keto?
Eat fat to burn fat and you don't need carbs.
Read that line again. Memorize it. Let it become your mantra because that is truly what Keto is about. Sure, there are other guidelines to follow but that is truly the basis of the ketogenic lifestyle. My favorite part of Keto is that I always feel full and satisfied. That alone has helped me stick to it and its due largely to the high fat intake which keeps me both mentally and physically satiated.
From a young age we have it ingrained in our heads that we need carbs for our bodies to function, if you've read anything about Keto you will already know that this is not entirely accurate. While our bodies are well adapted to converting and using carbs as glucose for energy, we also have the ability to convert and use fat as ketones for energy as well. The human body is a truly marvelous creation, imagine a car that can run on gas or water? That's the way I see it anyway, our body is capable of using its internal "computer" to change fuel sources. When our fuel source changes to ketones our metabolism does something incredible, it starts to use all our fat for energy. I'm not kidding, since our body burns our fat stores during ketosis, you begin to see crazy changes happening before your eyes. You know that problem spot you have, the one that you just can't get to go flat no matter how much dieting and exercise you do? Ya, well imagine that spot, gone! Seriously. You know that unspeakable cellulite? Also gone! It sounds too good to be true, but give it a month and you will see that I'm not making stuff up.
Of course for great rewards one must exercise great self discipline. That means, for that first month of keto you should be SUPER on point about things. Seriously, be obsessive about it. Count and log every little thing you put in your mouth. That glass of green tea? Log it. That pepper on your eggs? Log it. That one single celery stick? Log it. By knowing what you are putting into your body you will be giving yourself a good frame of reference to look back on in order to make adjustments.
No matter what your cravings are, keep those carbs in check and know there is always a tasty low carb keto substitution. Once again, I'm not kidding. Craving pancakes? There's a tasty keto option. Cheesecake? Again, there's a keto option. Bread? Keto option. Pasta? Keto option. The list goes on and on but I think you get the point. Stick to your guns and you will be rewarded. That brings me to my next point, stock up on low carb pantry items and snacks. Please see my pantry recommendations page for more info on this.
And lastly, Water! Drink it! Drink around 64oz per day, more if you're thirsty. Water matters because it helps you organs to filter out the extra ketones that you don't use. It helps your liver and kidneys get rid of waste and toxins and carries vital nutrients to your cells. Drinking water also helps to reduce bloating, so while 64 ounces of water weighs around 2 pounds, the act of drinking it will help your body to release water that you have retained in your cells. Oh and lastly, it helps to keep you full, so just drink it.
Also, make sure to watch your macros! What macros are is explained below but just remember, carbs and protein will both turn into glucose and glucose will turn into fat if left unused so keep those two numbers in check.
Lastly but definitely one of the most important is, watch your minerals and take your vitamins! Sorry to sound like your mom here but extremely people on low carb diets like keto often times do not get enough minerals. When this happens, you can start feeling the symptoms of the keto flu, muscle cramps, digestive discomfort, headaches, dizziness, etc. I have had this happen to me and to my hubby and trust, it is not fun! Here is my keto flu remedy - LOTS OF WATER, bone broth seasoned with sea salt (for sodium and other goodies), heart of palm (good low carb source of potassium) and nori (for magnesium), we also poped an emergency packet (effervescent vitamin c and other vitamins). But truly, you just really want to avoid having to get the keto flu in the first place, so make sure you are getting in your daily reccomended sodium, potassium and magnesium along with your daily multi vitamin and you should be pretty good to go.
Now, enough of my blabble. Are you ready to get started with keto? Here are your basics.
I recommend you use this Keto Calculator to figure out your recommended daily Macros. Wait, what the heck are macros? Macronutrients are by definition: A type of food required in large amounts in the human diet. Think of macros as Fat, Carb and Protein counts. The traditional Keto Diet requires macro percentages around 5% Carbs, 30% Protein and 65% Fat. So in a 2,000 calorie diet you would be aiming at 100 Calories from Carbs, 600 Calories from Protein and 1,300 Calories from fat. Macros have the following amount of calories per gram:
You can get as detailed as you want with your meal planning but what matters the most at the end of the day is that your carb macros be in check. This brings me to the next question that I had when transitioning to keto, what carbs count? The answer is all of them with the exception of fiber. Some people even count fiber towards their macros but in all honesty, your body can't physically break it down so why should you count it at all(?). Although in all fairness that's just a matter of personal opinion.
One question that I had and that other people have asked me is, how to make sure that I reach my macros for the day? What has worked best for me is splitting up my total grams into 4, allotting 1/4th of my total macros per meal and 1/8th per snack. So looking back at the 2,000 calorie diet that I mentioned above and dividing it by 4 you would end up with:
500 Calories per meal - and divide in half per snack
25 Calories from Carbs - 6.25g
150 Calories from Protein - 37.5g
325 Calories from Fat - 36g
If I don't reach my fat macro i usually make it up with dessert, and I never make an effort to make up the carb macros. Protein I only worry about if I do weights that day.
Okay, I don't want to lose your attention and I feel that this article has enough information for you to process as of now. I will be posting other links on this page that you can read at a later time but for now, just let this info sink in and check back later for a few more details. Below there is also a short outline of what I covered in case you are like me and would rather read the cliff notes version.
Most important things to remember when attempting to lose weight through ketosis:
Eat Fat to Burn Fat
You don't need carbs
Exercise self discipline and track you intake
Satisfy your cravings with Keto Substitutions
Drink your Water
What are macros? Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein
Calculate your Macros
Watch your Macro Intake
To meet your macros, split them evenly across meals
Stay under 30g of Carbs per day
All carbs count, including veggies - just don't count the fiber towards your daily goal
Watch your Minerals and Take your Vitamins
Sample Daily Meals - stick to a max of 8g carb per meal and you will be golden
Breakfast - Eggs and Bacon with Spinach or Avocado, you may drink coffee or tea with half and half if desired. Arificial sweeteners or stevia are your perogative. In some cases they knock people out of ketosis but that is a trial and error thing.
Snack - hard boiled eggs, or leftover protein of some sort (from previous meals), beef jerky, turkey or other deli meat slices
Lunch - Shirataki Carbonara
Snack - Cheese slices, bacon, pork rinds, coconut oil truffles or a protein shake if you wish
Dinner - Salmon Chimichurri with spinach or asparagus
Dessert - Taisan cupcakes with whipped cream and stevia
All of the items that I post as Keto Friendly can be used towards any of your meals, the carb range I aim for is 6-10g per meal.
A few good links...
Tips for Starting or Restarting a Low Carb Diet - Michael R. Eades, M.D.
The Keto Calculator
The Keto Diet: A Low-Carb Approach To Fat Loss - By Shannon Clark on Bodybuilders.com
The Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Guide for the Dieter and Practitioner By Lyle McDonald
The Ketogenic Diet - Ketosis 101 - A Post
By Mooshue on Extreme Fitness
A Guide to Ketosis -
A Post By Shadowwalker021 on Bodybuilding.com
The Cholesterol Myth Part 1 of 3 - a post on Maria's Health Blog
Cholesterol Part 2 - What Causes Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) - a post on Maria's Health Blog
Cholesterol Part 3 - How Can We Reduce Our Risk? - a post on Maria's Health Bog