A ketogenic diet (aka: keto) is a very low-carb diet, which changes your bodies fuel source to fat as opposed to glucose. Normally, carbohydrates found in food is converted by the body to Glucose. When you intake very little carbohydrate, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketones. The ketones pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. This is also known as ketosis. A body being in ketosis has many potential benefits for weight loss, health and performance.
Keto is similar to other strict low-carb diets, but the main difference is keto restricts protein intake. You can basically intake 3 types of food: fat, carbs or protein. Protein and Carbs can and will spike blood sugar and the insulin response, fat does not. This diet is usually 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. It was originally introduced for children with Epislepsy, as the keto diet leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Almost 1/2 of the epileptics who have followed a form of Keto saw the number of seizures reduced by 50%! The Keto diet has also been coined as a cancer starvation diet, can help with many other metabolic diseases including Diabetes, PCOS, Autism, Depression. The diet is being studied with patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s as well.
A keto diet is designed specifically to result in ketosis. It’s possible to measure and adapt to reach optimal ketone levels for health, weight loss, or for physical and mental performance. Below, you can learn how to use keto to achieve your personal goals.
So What do I eat
The most important thing is to reduce carbohydrates to below 50 grams, ultimately 20 grams. When you are hungry you are supposed to eat until satisfied (well that sounds dangerous!). Focus on: Natual Fats (like butter, olive oil), Fish and Seafood, Meat, Eggs, Cheese, and Vegetables that grow above the ground. When I first started this way of eating, (I don’t like to call it a diet), I struggled with adding fat. I grew up in the LOW FAT movement, so it feels wrong to eat so much fat! I do focus on good fat like Avocado, grass fed irish butter (BUY IT!), coconut oil and olive oil.
One thing to note, the Keto diet focuses on NET CARBS. What is that you might ask? Net Carbs is calculated as: Carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols.
Try to Avoid (TRY! LOL)
Fruit, Potatoes, Pasta, Soda/Juice, Chocolate Bars (duh), Bread, Beer, Rice, Donuts (duh), Candy
What to Drink
Water (AND LOTS OF IT!), Coffee, Tea and Red Wine (must learn to like red wine).
My list here is very small – there are TONS of sources online, that are better than me 🙂 I used this one a lot!
My key Tips
- Drink tons of water. This will help you very much! It helps you go (you know what I mean), it is great for your skin and it is free!
- Get your electrolytes. When you first start, there is something called the Keto Flu. I had this, it is no joke. There are a ton of resources advising how to manage that, and even prevent it. PowerAde Zero helped me tremendously!
- Supplements – Magnesium, Multi-Vitamin, Fiber, Potassium, Fish Oil, Natural Vitality (also Magnesium), Vitamin D, Spirulina is also recommended but I don’t take it yet. I like this source.
- Research – blogs, books, menu plans. Seriously there are oodles of resources out there. I bought some books, follow some blogs, watch YouTube channels (Dr. Berg, Keto Connection, Cooking with Keto Kelli are some of my favorites), joined facebook groups (some are better than others) and looked at sample menus. I ordered and enjoyed these books: this, this, this, this, this, this and this . (I was obsessed and didn’t buy them all at once!). I pick and choose what from each source works for me, and do the best I can. There are a lot of members of the “keto police” who are great at shaming others for not being as perfect as they are, just ignore them, there are a ton of other valuable resources that will not shame you!
- Don’t get discouraged – your body has operated on glucose your whole life, it takes time to switch that and adjust. You will see some people have very fast results, that’s ok, and ok if you don’t. (Preaching to the choir here!)
I have more to say, but am out of time right now! Stay tuned for more information. If you have any questions, please let me know.
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