What is Keto?
The Keto diet consists of eating foods that are low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high fat. Eating this way will put your body into ketosis which basically means your body will burn fat for fuel. In our current culture, carbs dominate nearly everything we eat. Carbs are burned very quickly and provide a bunch of energy in that short burst. If you compare this against fats and proteins, they burn at a much slower rate and give a steady stream of energy. When’s the last time you had a “sugar crash”?
Ketosis also helps regulate your blood. When you have carbs in your diet, your blood has elevated levels of blood sugar and as a result produces insulin. High blood sugar is interpreted as poisonous by your body, so insulin is introduced into the blood stream to cleanse it. When you eat large quantities of carbs (sugar), eventually the insulin can’t keep up so your body converts sugar to fat and insulin stores it in your cells. Your body is capable of regulating your blood sugar on its own without the help of insulin as long as the intake is kept to moderate levels.
So in a nutshell, when you eat “the keto way” your body is trained to burn fats as the primary fuel source and you prevent insulin from being introduced into you blood. When you eat this way, the fat is burned slowly and is not stored in your cells. Efficiency. Food in, energy out.
What To Eat on Keto
I personally do not track my daily calories and macronutrients because for me it’s too annoying, but a lot of people do. Even though I don’t track, I am mindful of the nutrition info. When you are looking at the nutrition information of your next meal, look straight to the carbohydrates. The recommended daily limit for carbs is 20 grams. This is about the equivalent of one chocolate chip cookie. While looking at the label, I also try to choose foods that have REAL ingredients that I understand. Skip out on the food coloring and preservatives whenever possible.
Things that I eat: Bacon, cheese, burgers, pizza, chicken wings, salami, chicken, salad, macadamia nuts, bacon, cheese, pepperoni, tuna, sugar free jello, cheese, heavy whipping cream, coffee with coconut oil, and tacos.
Things I won’t eat: Sugar, bread, rice, starch, beans, fruits, chips, crackers, beer, and corn.
Don’t Half-Ass This
There is no such thing as “trying keto for a day”. When you are starting out, it can take 2-3 days before your body switches over to burning fats. With this in mind, commit yourself to do two full weeks with no cheating. The first few days of starting are always the hardest, but if you make a plan of what you will eat then it’s much easier!
Before You Start Eating Keto
I strongly encourage everyone that wants to start this diet to weigh themselves, take measurements, and take pictures. I keep an Excel spreadsheet that update every week with my weight and measurements. The biggest reason you want to take measurements is that some weeks the scale may not show a change, but the ruler will. The pictures will come in useful down the road when you look back and go “Holy crap! I was huge!”
Here’s what you should measure:
- Upper Arm
When taking measurements, do them in the morning and on the same day each week. The last thing you need to do before you start keto is get rid of all of the carbs in your house. Take all of the chips, breads, candy – anything that could be a temptation for you while you’re getting started and throw it away or stash it out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind.
Getting Started Shopping List
Once you’ve thrown out all of the carbs, it’s time to stock up on keto supplies. The first thing you’ll need are some vitamins and supplements. These will keep you from getting some intense muscle cramps, and keep you running in tip-top shape. Every day, I take one daily vitamin, and one 400mg tablet of magnesium. Every other day I add in a 99mg tablet of potassium.
The recipes that I’ll list out later may have some more specific ingredient requirements, but here’s my common grocery list:
- Salad (I really like the Endless Summer Salad Kit)
- Yellow Onion
- Green Pepper
- Cauliflower Rice
- Chicken Wings
- Chicken Thighs (thighs are much higher in fat than breasts, and cheaper!)
- Ground Beef
- Brats/ Sausage
- Steak (if you want a treat)
- Cheese and cheese sticks (watch out: pre-shredded cheese have added starch to keep the cheese from sticking to each other. If you can, buy blocks of cheese of red it yourself)
- Heavy Whipping Cream (you should be able to find ones with no added sugars)
- Cream Cheese
- Butter (KerryGold is worth the cost)
You may need to visit a health food store or natural grocer to stock up on these items.
- Coconut oil
- Almond flour
- Stevia drops (regular and/or vanilla)
- Sugar free Jello
- Erythritol, Swerve (sugar replacements)
- Parchment Paper
- Pork Rinds (BBQ and Flaming Hot)
- Macadamia nuts or almonds
- Blue Cheese
- Franks Red Hot (You can add this to EVERYTHING! 0 carb!)