So, you want to get started on the Keto diet and you’re not sure where to start. Nine chances out of ten, at some point in your life, you’ve already gone through a ‘Pay to play’ diet plan and realized that those aren’t really sustainable, unless you want to pay for the rest of your life. The trouble is, every keto web page brings up conflicting information and the more you read, the more it confuses you. I know that’s where we were at the beginning, totally confused and wondering if this would work for us, if it was healthy and how to get started. Our first advice would be to check with your health care provider. Its advised to check with your doctor before starting any new regime. Keep in mind that depending on how up to date and recently trained your GP is, will depend on how supportive they are of this way of eating.
Did you know?
Over 60 years ago, the sugar industry launched a VERY successful ad campaign, they paid ‘sponsorships’ to scientists to have them tell governments and the public that sugar was good for you and fat was bad.
They did such a good job of this that everybody got scared of fat. And companies around the world responded with low fat and diet formulas. BUT, the diet foods lacked flavour without the fat, so they added sugar and chemicals to give them taste. That’s when people really started to get fat.
Everything you’ve learned about nutrition is based around this. Fat is good, sugar is not. Imagine its like a scale of what’s best and what’s worst. At one end you have fried, processed carbs, cakes, sweets, ice cream. At the other end, very little carbs, real natural foods, and no processed or packaged food. Right now, you’re somewhere in the middle.
We think the best approach is to start simple and smart. Don’t worry about the big picture, that can be overwhelming. Just do the best you can and each step that you make is a step closer to optimal health. Every step you can take to reduce your carbs is fantastic. We recommend that you slowly start to ease back on the carbs that you consume instead of going cold turkey all at once. This will not only ease you into this change mentally, but it will also prepare your body for the things that are about to come. Maybe start with cutting out pasta, or potatoes, or bread. Once you’ve conquered that, move on to the next carb, and so on.
First timers to Keto usually make the mistake of jumping on the ‘fancy recipe’ bandwagon. Fat bombs, pork rinds, keto snacks are all things for further down the road. When you’re first starting out, its all about keeping it simple. Your whole life, you have fed your body chemicals, overloaded it with sugar and likely never learned to listen to what its trying to tell you. Its time to detox, give your body a break and cut the crap.
The time between starting ketosis and fat adaption is THE most crucial time in the life of a Ketonian. Its the time that you reset your metabolism and help it to learn how to heal itself. Stick with healthy fats, protein and green leafy vegetables. Stay away from the fancy Keto recipes and snacks.
TRUST ME, those cravings are 100% superficial and you CAN get past them. The idea of cravings never played a part in the life of humans. The idea of cravings originated with pregnant women, who just ‘had’ to have a certain food. Its theorized that these cravings might be used to replace nutrients lost during morning sickness. Cravings (also called selective hunger) is the desire to consume a specific food and is different from hunger. They stem from your ‘sugar fuel days’. When you eat sugar or glucose, your body quickly uses that (read insulin spike and then crash) your body wants more, much like an alcoholic. You have conditioned your brain to release ‘happy hormones’ every time sugar is present.
Cravings are not a sign of hunger in any way, if anything, they are a sign of boredom and weakness. An old habit of stuffing food in your face, just for the sake of eating. The next time you feel a craving, ask yourself – Is this a mental or a physical hunger? If its mental, give yourself a gentle nudge to move on. If its physical, give your body the nutrients it needs not empty calories.
Pro Tip –
It really helped me when I made the realization that all those carbs have zero taste, they are filler only. French Fries/potato have no flavour at all, you’re craving the fat they’re fried in and the salt. Pasta or pizza? It’s the sauce, spices, cheese and sauce. Bread/ flour is totally bland, but the butter and sandwich fixin’s you put on them have the taste.
You can still have the cheese, sauce, spices, fat, butter. These are the tasty things. Just spoon them up instead of putting them between slices of bread.
Think of it this way, if you eat 3 meals a day and maybe 3 snacks, that equates to 42 opportunities to improve weekly. If you make a small change and start by just changing your snacks, you’ve already improved 21 of your food choices each week. You’re halfway there.
Once you’re comfortable with this, now work on your breakfast. That part is easy, who doesn’t LOVE bacon! You’ve now improved 28 out of 42. Step by step, choice by choice you will get there and we will help you along the way!!
Some basic tips to get you started
-Slowly cut carbs. Don’t try to do it all at once. Start with the basics, bread, pasta, sugar. Eat mostly from the veggies and meat/fish sections of your supermarket.
-We recommend to low carb for a week or so and then Keto, so 50g and under. And then 20 g and under, unless you want to follow a Low Carb Way of eating and stay there. That gets your body and your head used to the fact that your diet is changing.
We support a ketogenic lifestyle, meaning low carb, moderate protein and high fats. This is a cleaner eating, lower carb version of LCHF. Low carb means <50 grams of carbs a day, while Ketogenic WOE is <20 grams of carbs a day. Most Ketonians try to stay at 20 grams or less per day. Some people work with total carbs and others with net carbs, either is fine. Please respect these limits and respect the choices of others.
There are many different beliefs on how to Keto properly. Keto means something different to most people. Our version of Keto is the standard accepted Keto and is as follows –
Keto is low carbs, moderate protein and high fat. (5%, 25% and 70%) of your daily diet.
Don’t worry about calories, your main concentration it to make sure your carb intake is low, generally that translates to about 20g daily.
In the Keto world some count total carbs and other count net.
Net is carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols.
In regard to sugar alcohols there is two schools of thought. Some subtract them all and others only subtract half of the amount is over five.
20 Total Carbs
-6 Sugar Alcohols
7 Net carbs
20 Total Carbs
-6 (1/2 Sugar Alcohols Is 3)
10 Net carbs
You just have to figure out which works best for you.
Personally, I’m a net carb girl and I use caution with sugar alcohols so I Measure using half the count.
Your next priority after carbs would be ensuring you’re getting enough protein. Generally from 60g to 110g. There is a myth in the Keto world saying if you eat too much protein it will take you out of ketosis. This should not be a concern, unless you eat massive amounts of protein daily. You would have to eat a huge amount of protein for that to be a factor. Generally, the rule of thumb is to eat the same amount of protein you did in your pre-Keto days.
Lastly, you use fats to satisfy your hunger and provide your body with a new source of energy. The hardest part of Keto is getting your head around the high fat part. Don’t fear the fat.
Choose healthy fats like avocado, coconut, MCT and EVOO. Stay away from low quality vegetable oils. They are inflammatory and aren’t really made from vegetable at all, they are made by processing seeds with chemicals and heat. They are not your friend.
Eat real whole food and stay clear of packaged or processed food. The more a food is processed, the more you should stay away.
Check all labels, not only for carb counts but the ingredients list as well. Shoot for foods with a very small ingredients list. Learn the many alternate names for sugar and starches, and be prepared to find them everywhere. If they took sugar and hidden sugars from your local grocery store, over 80% of the stores food would be gone.
-The general rule of thumb for vegetables is, if it grows below the ground it is starchier and not Keto friendly. Exception would be turnip, in moderation. Vegetables that grow above the ground are Keto good. An exception to this would be peas, they are high in sugars and they are not recommended on a keto diet.
-Berries in moderation is the only fruit. If you’re going to step outside of this and have anything other than that, eat the real fruit and not juice. There is more fiber in the fruit and the fiber will counteract some of the sugars.
– Milk is full of sugar. If you use milk in your coffee and you can’t go without, try bulletproof coffee instead. Add whipping cream, butter and sweetener to your coffee and blend it in your bullet or blender. Many people use this as a meal replacement for breakfast or lunch. Its delicious and a great way to get extra fats in.
-Get used to reading all nutritional labels and ingredients and educate yourself on all the different names for sugar.
-Do you have an app for counting? If not, download a tracking app that helps you track your food on a daily basis and figure out how to set your macros. You should be somewhere around 5% carbs, 75% fat and 20% protein. We use my fitness pal. It tracks what you’re eating, in particular it tracks carbs. Lots of people do lazy keto and don’t track. Our recommendation is to start off tracking until you get a sense of what your goal day looks like. Then decide if you want to track long term or not.
-Take pictures and measurements. You don’t have to share them with anyone, but take them. You can’t always depend on the scales to give you an accurate picture, but one glance at a side by side comparison can give you a better picture of your progress.
Get ready for Keto Flu. Nip it in the bud before it happens by following these steps.
-You will need to supplement magnesium. The best I’ve found is at the bulk barn, Magnesium Glycinate.
-Eat potassium rich foods, don’t supplement potassium without checking with your Doctor first.
-Get some pink salt for increased sodium. Your body needs it because Keto is a diuretic and you will also be increasing the amount of water you will be drinking.
You will stumble and falter, that’s normal, its something we all do. The mindset that we need to adopt is one of ‘If you stumble 7 times, you get up 8 times’. The main thing is not to wallow or beat yourself up during these times. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off and get right back on that horse. You are making good choices for yourself, you are making progress.
You CAN do this. Keto on.