Ketogenic diet for dummies – How to get fit.
The Ketogenic diet is a lifestyle change. Much like Rome was not built in a day, you cannot expect to lose huge amounts of weight in the first few days. Consistency is key. 12 months of the Ketogenic diet getting 30g carbs with a 10% deficit is going to be more sustainable than 3 months at 10g carbs and a 30% deficit. Remember, the Ketogenic diet is malleable. If you cannot see yourself doing it for a long time, then make some changes.
Before you start, take pictures. Keep the clothes you plan on getting to thing for. Measure yourself and write it down. Keep this safe for a rainy day.
One day of high calories is not going to break the bank. Going over your carb count every now and then is not going to undo all the hard work you have put in. Don’t give up. Relax, take a deep breath and get back on the horse. If you find these happening more often than not, then try and figure out what is triggering these over car days.
Work on you. Find your goal and stick to it. Keep pushing yourself. In the days you feel like you cannot carry on, look back at the photos, old clothes and measurements you had from the beginning.
Celebrate your success and be aware of how far you’ve come. Not just the drop in pants sizes or the number on the scale, look at how you handle stress, social situations, your grocery list, your cooking ability, your confidence, your habits etc.
In the Ketogenic diet, you will hear about your Macros. Here is a breakdown:
- Protein is a GOAL; you need to ingest your suggested protein grams to maintain or increase muscle.
- Carbs are a LIMIT; you need to stay below 30g (NET) to maintain ketosis.
- Fat is a LEVER; you adjust fat intake depending on your goals.
Here is a list of what you can eat on the Ketogenic diet.
Remember, you can substitute items from these lists to obtain the macro nutrients you require per day. Here is a handy Calculator to use to check out your Macros. Keep track of your macros! Our suggested tool is MyFitnessPal.
Fats and Oils
Fats will be the majority of your daily calorie intake when you are on a ketogenic diet, so choices should be made with your likes and dislikes in mind. They can be combined in many different ways to add to your meals – sauces, dressings, or just simply topping off a piece of meat with butter.
Some ketogenic diet foods that are ideal for fats and oils (organic and grass-fed sources are preferred):
- Fatty Fish
- Animal Fat (non-hydrogenated)
- Egg Yolks
- Macadamia/Brazil Nuts
- Coconut Butter
- Cocoa Butter
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- MCT Oil
If you’re using vegetable oils (olive, soybean, flax, or safflower) choose the “cold pressed” options if they are available.
Your best bet when it comes to protein is choosing pasture-raised and grass-fed. This will minimize your bacteria and steroid hormone intake. Try to choose the darker meat where possible with poultry, as it is much fattier than white meat. Eating fatty fish is a great way to get omega 3’s in as well.
One thing you do need to be careful of when dealing with meat is your protein intake. Too much protein on a ketogenic diet can lead to lower levels of ketone production and increased production of glucose. You want to aim for nutritional ketosis, so you must not over-consume on protein.
Some examples of how to get your protein in on a ketogenic diet are below:
- Preferably eating anything that is caught wild like catfish, cod, flounder, halibut, mackerel, mahi-mahi, salmon, snapper, trout, and tuna. Fattier fish is better.
- Clams, oysters, lobster, crab, scallops, mussels, and squid.
- Whole Eggs. Try to get them free-range from the local market if possible. You can prepare them in many different ways like fried, deviled, boiled, poached, and scrambled.
- Ground beef, steak, roasts, and stew meat. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
- Ground pork, pork loin, pork chops, tenderloin, and ham. Watch out for added sugars and try to stick with fattier cuts.
- Chicken, duck, quail, pheasant and other wild game.
- Offal/Organ. Heart, liver, kidney, and tongue. Offal is one of the best sources of vitamins/nutrients.
- Other Meat. Veal, Goat, Lamb, Turkey and other wild game. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
- Bacon and Sausage. Check labels for anything cured in sugar, or if it contains extra fillers. Don’t be overly concerned with nitrates.
- Nut Butter. Go for natural, unsweetened nuts and try to stick with fattier versions like almond butter and macadamia nut butter. Legumes (peanuts) are high in omega 6’s so be careful about over-consumption.
Vegetables and Fruit
Vegetables are a paramount part of a healthy keto diet, but sometimes we’re stuck with decisions we might regret later. Some vegetables are high in sugar and don’t cut it nutritionally – so we need to weed them out.
The best type of vegetables for a ketogenic diet are high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates. These, as most of you can guess, are dark and leafy. Anything that resembles spinach or kale will fall into this category and will be the best thing to include in anything you can.
Try to go after cruciferous vegetables that are grown above ground, leafy, and green. If you can opt for organic as there are fewer pesticide residues, but if you can’t then don’t worry. Studies show that organic and non-organic vegetables still have the same nutritional qualities. Both frozen and fresh vegetables are good to eat.
Be careful and monitor the vegetables (and their respective carb counts) you add to any of your meals. Especially try to limit your intake of:
- This includes tomato, eggplant, and peppers.
- Root Vegetables. Including onion, parsnip, garlic, mushrooms, and squash.
- This includes raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
- This includes lemon, lime, and orange juice (or zest) in water and in recipes.
- Completely avoid starchy vegetables and large fruits like potatoes and bananas.
Dairy is commonly consumed in tandem with meals on keto. Try to keep your dairy consumption to a moderate level. Most of your meals should be coming from protein, vegetables, and added fats/cooking oils.
Raw and organic dairy products are preferred here, if available. Highly processed dairy normally has 2-5x the number of carbohydrates as raw/organic dairy so it does add up over time. Make sure to choose full fat products over fat-free or low-fat as they will have significantly more carbs and less “filling” effects.
If you have lactose sensitivities, stick with very hard and long-aged dairy products as they contain much less lactose. Some examples of dairy you can eat on keto are:
- Greek yogurt
- Heavy whipping cream
- Mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
- Spreadables including cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, creme fraiche, etc.
- Soft Cheese including mozzarella, brie, blue, colby, monterey jack, etc.
- Hard Cheese including aged cheddar, parmesan, feta, swiss, etc.
Dairy is a great way to add extra fats into meals by creating sauces or fatty side dishes like creamed spinach, but always remember that it does have protein in it as well. You should always take this into account when pairing dairy with protein-heavy dishes.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are best when they are roasted to remove any anti-nutrients. Try to avoid peanuts if possible, as they are legumes which are not highly permitted in the ketogenic diet food list.
Typically raw nuts can be used to add flavorings or texture to meals. Some people choose to consume them as snacks – which can be rewarding but may work against weight loss goals. Snacking, in general, will raise insulin levels and lead to slower weight loss in the long term.
Nuts can be a great source of fats, but you always have to remember that they do have carbohydrate counts that can add up quickly. It’s also particularly important to note that they do contain protein as well. Nut flours especially can add up in protein rather fast – so be wary of the amount you use.
- Fatty, low carbohydrate nuts. Macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans can be consumed with meals to supplement fat.
- Fatty, moderate carbohydrate nuts. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and pine nuts can be used in moderation to supplement for texture or flavor.
- Higher carbohydrate nuts. Pistachios and cashews should rarely be eaten or avoided as they’re very high in carbohydrates (2 handfuls of cashews is almost a full day’s allowance of carbs).
Water and Beverages
The ketogenic diet has a natural diuretic effect, so dehydration is common for most people starting out. If you’re prone to urinary tract infections or bladder pain, you have to be especially prepared.
The eight glasses of water we’re recommended to drink? Drink those, and then some more. Considering we’re made up of about two-thirds water, hydration plays a substantial role in our everyday life. We recommend that you try to drink as close to a gallon of water a day as possible.
Many people choose ketoproof coffee or tea in the morning to ramp up energy with added fats. While it is a great thing, it’s also important to consume flavored beverages in moderation. This is amplified when it comes to caffeine as too much will lead to weight loss stalls; try to limit yourself to a maximum of 2 cups of caffeinated beverages a day.
Some examples of commonly consumed beverages on keto are below:
- This will be your staple, go-to source for hydration. You can drink still or sparkling water.
- Loaded with vitamins and nutrients. More importantly, it will kickstart your energy by replenishing your electrolytes.
- Improves mental focus and has some added weight loss benefits.
- Has the same effects as coffee, but many don’t enjoy tea. Try to stick with black or green.
- Coconut/Almond milk. You can use the unsweetened versions in the carton from the store to replace your favorite dairy beverage.
- Diet soda. Try to severely reduce or completely stop drinking this. It can lead to sugar cravings and sometimes insulin spikes in the long run.
- The small packets that are flavored with sucralose or stevia are fine. You can alternatively add a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange to your water bottle.
- Choose hard liquor. More beer and wine will be too high carb to consume. Frequent consumption of alcohol will slow weight loss down.