What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic (keto) diet is a low carbohydrate, high fat and moderate protein diet.
This drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat, puts the body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
This then makes your body more efficient at burning fat for energy plus, in the liver fat is converted into ketones which can supply energy for the brain.
All of this then causes weight loss and a reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels, which reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.
The diet can be very tough to follow. However, with some tips and tricks to help you get started the whole journey can seem less daunting and more achievable.
1.Remove Temptations From Your Home
Firstly, removing all the non-keto friendly products from your house is one of the simplest but most effective tips for sticking to your goals.
Even if you have a lot of will power, having food in the house that is not keto friendly is always going to make your keto journey harder.
Things to remove are:
- Grains - Wheat, bread, pasta, rice, oats, cereal, corn, etc.
- Sugar - candy, pastries, cakes, ice cream, chocolate, soda, juices, honey, maple syrup, etc.
- Starchy vegetables - potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.
- Legumes - beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- High sugar fruit - bananas, pineapple, oranges, apples, grapes, etc.
- Low fat dairy products and milk - all cow's milk, low fat cheese, etc.
- Seed and vegetable oils - margarine, canola oil, grapeseed oil and soybean oil.
2. Stock Your Fridge with Keto-Friendly Foods
Once you've got rid of the temptations that could make you stray from your diet, you can fill your fridge full of tasty keto friendly foods.
They should be rich in fats and protein, such as:
- Meat - Steak, red meat, chicken, sausage, bacon, turkey and ham
- Fatty fish - Trout, tuna salmon, mackerel
- Cheese - Unprocessed - Cheddar, mozzarella, goat and cream cheese
- Butter and cream: Heavy cream, grass-fed butter
- Eggs - Omega-3 whole and pastured
- Vegetables - Low carb- peppers, green vegetables, cauliflower and asparagus
- Leafy greens - Lettuce, spinach and kale
- Low carb fruit (in moderation) - raspberries, coconuts, blueberries and strawberries
- Plant-based milk - Almond, Coconut, soy
For tips on what foods to stock-up on for a plant-based based diet, check out our blog here.
3. Stock your cupboards
Stocking up your cupboards is just as important.
Having plenty of different herbs, spices and low carb condiments can give simple and plain meals a hit of flavour.
- Seeds and nuts - Walnuts, almonds, chia seeds and pumkin seeds
- Oils - Coconut oil, MCT oil, extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil
- Herbs and spices - basil, dill and cinnamon
- Condiments - Low carb - Mayonnaise, hot sauce and mustard
- Low carb flours - almond flour, coconut flour and flax seed meal
- Sugar free beverages - Water, Coffee and tea
- Natural sweeteners (in moderation) - Stevia, Xylitol and Monk fruit
Keto tip: Just because a product says that it is keto friendly it doesn't mean it is. Always check the label and try not to fill your cupboard with highly processed ingredients.
To avoid heavily processed foods find simple snack recipes that you can easily make and that will be nutritious and beneficial to your diet.
4. Try Bulletproof Coffee - It's One of the Best Keto-Friendly Drinks
So what is the bulletproof coffee? Consisting of butter or grass-feed ghee with MCT oil, the bulletproof coffee is a great staple to anyone on the keto diet.
Whether you make your own or use our ready made Nespresso compatible keto coffee pods, this drink will help keep your hunger at bay, giving you time to plan your next meal.
5. Carbs are a limit, protein is a goal and fat is lever
Limiting your carbohydrates is the most important element of the diet if you are going to achieve ketosis. However, the other macros in your diet also play a role and need to be monitored.
Carbs are a limit
This means that there is a maximum amount of carbohydrates you can consume a day. This is typically 20-30g per day for most people. Don't worry if you're under as its a limit not a goal.
Protein is a goal
Now this is a number that you want to reach each day. Going over slightly is okay but a large excess will convert to glucose and kick you out of ketosis. However, it is also important not to be too low as your body needs protein for growth and repair.
Fat is a lever
After your carb limit and protein goal this should be the rest of your calories. This is how you are going to feel full and satisfied through out your day, so this should still be a high amount. This should also be made up of healthy fats so that your cholesterol levels don't go to high.
6. Avoid the keto flu
Although you don't actually have the flu the symptoms can be just as real. Reports of headache, brain fog, irritability, nausea, fatigue and constipation are enough to put anyone off the diet. However, this can be avoided by staying hydrated and getting enough sleep, electrolytes and fat.
If you do get keto flu don't give up! The symptoms should only last a week or two whilst your body adjust to its new diet.
7. Go easy on the sweeteners
Craving a sweet treat? Don't reach for the heavily processed 'keto-friendly' snack that contains high amounts of artificial sweeteners.
Not only will most artificial sweeteners spike your blood sugar levels just like real sugar but they have also been known to cause addiction, meaning they will increase your cravings for sweetness even more.
There are several alternatives to artificial sweeteners such as Stevia, Xylitol and monk fruit sweetener that are suitable for the keto diet.
These sweeteners are natural sweeteners derived from plants or sugar alcohols. They have little to no net carbs and they won't cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
8. Choose the right keto lifestyle for you
Throughout your journey you need to think about what the best style of the diet is going to work for you.
Everyone is different so there is no right answer for what will work and what is best. If you are only wanting to eat, clean whole foods then the strict/clean keto diet is more for you.
However, this can be more time consuming for preparation of meals and is stricter on monitoring your calories and macros. Therefore, if you have less time and don't mind having more heavily processed foods then dirty keto maybe the route for you.
For more information on dirty vs clean keto diet click here.
Starting a diet like this can be a daunting task but hopefully these tips will help you on you journey.
By Alex Warmisham ANutr - Nutritionist at Rejuvenation Water