Welcome to the keto diet
For over ten years I’ve been trying different diets and ways to not only lose weight, but be healthier and feel excellent. I’m healthier, sharper, and look better than I did at eighteen, and I’m here to tell you that you too deserve to feel energetic, healthy, and be at the top of your game no matter your age or physical shape or lifestyle.
Eating salads and hitting the gym aren’t the only ways to lose weight and get healthy. And in fact, they’re some of the hardest ways to get into better shape and achieve health.
The keto diet on the other hand is a game-changer
For myself and so many other people, the keto diet has changed our lives for the better - and I’d like for you to experience that too.
Whether it’s losing weight, getting healthier, looking better, or feeling happier, the keto diet can help you get there!
I’m sure you have questions about this seemingly magic diet - which is why I’ve put together this handy-dandy guide to walk you through it.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE KETO DIET
KETO FOR BEGINNERS
If you’re like me and you’ve paid attention to yourself, you’ve worked hard to stay healthy and in good shape
You did everything you were supposed to do. You watch what you eat, you count calories, you try and get excited about salad, you order the low-fat latte and eat organic.
You exercise too, and keep yourself active. You probably hate exercising, but it’s better than being fat or unhealthy, so you do it.
And yet, you can see it’s not entirely working. You feel yourself getting older, your body is getting softer around the edges, and your pants are getting tight in the waist.
You feel helpless, and wonder if despite everything you’ve done if you’re just fighting against something that is going to happen no matter how much you diet or exercise.
But what if that weren’t true? What if everything that we knew about diet and exercising was wrong? What if there was a way to lose weight and stay healthy without starving yourself or running a marathon?
This is where the keto diet comes in. It changes everything you thought you knew about weight loss, eating, and your health.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet helps to reset your body to support fat loss, fixing your hormones, reducing sugar and food cravings, and a host of other health benefits while allowing you to enjoy foods that other diets won’t let you have.
On the keto diet, you’ll eat
Moderate amount of protein,
A small amount of carbohydrates.
You won’t feel like you’re starving, you won’t get bored with the food, and you won’t have to eat a sad salad every day.
Why the keto diet
The key to the keto diet’s success is one small, but very major difference from other diets.
While other diets focus on reducing calories and increasing activity, the keto diet changes the paradigm of calories-in, calories-out.
Instead, the keto diet focuses on the type of fuel you use - carbs or fat.
When you eat something like a candy bar or a cinnamon roll, your body gets a ton of carbohydrates (or sugar) dumped into it. When your body gets that many carbohydrates, it can’t burn all of them at once - so it stores the extra carbohydrates as fat.
Your body likes having carbohydrates as fuel - it’s the way we were programmed - and is greedy. It doesn’t want to give up any of the carbs stored as fat. So when your blood sugar (the amount of carbohydrates available in your body) starts to dip, instead of tapping into those fat stores, your body makes you reach for something sweet and starchy.
This goes on and on, and you accumulate more and more fat as you keep overloading your body with carbs.
Even worse, if you try to count your calories and cut back on the carbs, your body isn’t going to have any of that. You’ve been on a diet before - you know that despite your best intentions and the greatest willpower, your body eventually wins out and gives in to those cravings, and you suddenly find yourself bingeing on a pan of brownies.
Your cravings will win every single time.
Unless you change the game with the keto diet.
THE KETO DIET makes you burn fat instead of carbs
This changes the rules of the game. Instead of eating carbs over and over in an attempt to keep your body happy, you switch over to using fat as a fuel.
While it will take a while for your body to get used to using fat, it will eventually start burning fat instead of carbs. And it will also take all that fat stored on your body and burn it too.
You see, our bodies have the ability to burn carbs primarily, but it also has this amazing, hidden machinery of burning fat for fuel. Like driving a car that you didn’t know was a hybrid, your body has had this ability all along - and it just needs the right cues to start using it.
Benefits of the keto diet
You might have noticed the keto diet being very popular. There’s a reason for it! People on the keto diet have reported a ton of improvements in their health.
Energy levels that last all day
As opposed to the roller coaster of energy levels throughout the day that most of us experience, you’re going to have steady, stable, easy energy to power you throughout the day. No need for a three o’clock cup of coffee or mid-morning snack - you’ll be able to just keep powering along easily and effortlessly.
No More Cravings
You’ll find that you won’t be wanting a snack at three o’clock, and you won’t be hankering for dessert. You’ll feel satisfied when eating, happy with your food and you actually won’t want to eat junk food.
Mental Clarity and focus
I work a job that requires me to be on top of my game every single minute of the day, processing a lot of information, managing a large team and clients’ expectations. I don’t have time to be eating every thirty minutes, making protein shakes, or dealing with brain fog or hunger pangs. Keto allows me to perform at the top of my game every single day.
This is a big benefit for many people. There are a countless number of people who have successfully lost (and kept off) weight when on the keto diet, and more every day are joining them in melting off the pounds. When your body is able to access the fat stores on your body, it’s a complete game-changer.
When some people start eating keto, they start noticing that their skin quality improves dramatically. It’s not only due to the amount of healthy fats and protein that they are now supplying to their body but also the fact that their inflammation is decreasing and fungal-related acne is no longer an issue.
Steadier Blood Sugar Levels
Since you’re not eating carbohydrates all the time, your blood sugar is not going to be jumping up and down all the time. The keto diet actually works by improving your sensitivity to insulin - one of the main goals for type 2 diabetics, as well as making you more tolerant of carbohydrates without crashing your blood sugar or spiking your insulin.
Decrease in inflammation
If you’re suffering from achy joints or muscles all the time, or have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you may want to consider the keto diet. The reduction of carbohydrates tends to decrease the inflammation in the body, meaning that you’re going to be feeling better, in less pain, and be able to be more active.
Better Portion Control
When you’re eating keto, your food will be very satiating and satisfying. Unlike eating a plate of spinach, on keto you’re going to be consuming foods that are both delicious and fill you up. You won’t be left feeling hungry after your meal, or feeling like you’re out of control beause you’ll find it practically impossible to binge on the diet.
Compare this to having to count calories, weighing chicken breasts and cups of brown rice and reading nutrition information on everything - instead, you’ll be able to just eat until you’re full and
not worry about counting the calories.
What to eat (and not eat) on the keto diet
1. Eliminate sugar
Sugar is inflammatory and will sabotage you on the keto diet. Get rid of sugar in all its forms - white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup and honey and agave syrup, in dressings and sauces and shakes and smoothies.
2. Eliminate grains
Grains are easy to overeat on, especially on the keto diet where carbohydrates are to be kept at a low level. Eliminate bread, pasta, cereal and other starchy foods.
3. Eliminate legumes
Legumes are full of carbohydrates (as well as other factors like lectins and anti-nutrients that cause them to be problematic for many people).
4. Eliminate bad fats
Bad fats - including canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower seed oil and peanut oil - are inflammatory and cause everything from headaches to stomachaches to cancer. Get rid of the vegetable oil and choose a healthy fat like coconut oil or grassfed butter.
5. Limit fruit
Fruits are high carb and will sabotage you on the keto diet. You can have a small piece of fruit every once in a while if you have to, but honestly my recommendation is to really limit fruit (or eliminate it completely if you can).
6. Eat good quality fats
The wrong fats will cause you to feel terrible and wreak havoc on your body. The correct fats on the other hand, will help you to feel better and healthier. Good fats including coconut oil, butter, lard, ghee, olive oil and avocado oil.
7. Eat good quality protein
Try to eat more wild-caught fish and grass-fed beef for reducing your inflammation. Eat chicken and pork in moderation, since they are very pro-inflammatory.
8. Start drinking keto coffee
An easy way to start incorporating more fat into your diet is by drinking what is known as keto coffee - coffee with a lot of fat in the form of heavy cream or butter or coconut oil blended into it until it becomes like a fluffy latte. Delicious and the perfect way to start your day.
9. Eat high fat dairy
High fat dairy like butter, heavy cream, and certain cheeses are a great way to get more fat into your diet.
How do I get used to the keto diet?
Unless you’ve already been on a fat-friendly diet like primal, paleo or Atkins, your body is going to take some time to transition onto the keto diet.
It generally takes most people a few days to a week to transition to the new diet and for the body to start burning fat.
You may experience some initial dizziness, headaches, nausea, fatigue and mental fog the first couple days. Remember that your body wants you to be eating carbs, and this is the way it is trying to dissuade you from switching over to fat burning - but also remember that you’re smarter than your body, and you’re going to make it switch.
People refer to this period as the “keto flu” because it almost feels like you’re getting sick - you get worse before you get better. But once you get through this period, you will feel much, much better.
Generally speaking, some ways that you can speed up your transition to keto include
Eating a small amount of carbohydrates (<15 grams)
Drinking plenty of water
Ensuring you are consuming a lot of electrolytes
Scaling back on physical activity during the transition period
Getting plenty of sleep
Most people transition quickly and easily to a keto diet, and within a week are in great shape.
Can I exercise on the keto diet?
You most certainly can exercise on keto.
A common concern is that your performance may be affected by the keto diet, but with the exception of a few unique circumstances most people will be able to perform well - perhaps even better- on the keto diet.
As I mentioned previously, scale back your physical activity the first couple days to a week while you transition into the keto diet.
By the time you’ve fully transitioned to keto, you’ll find your physical endurance and strength and energy levels have returned to normal. Possibly even higher!
Isn't the keto diet dangerous? Can you die from the keto diet?
The keto diet bears risks that changing to any new diet can incur. If you are suffering from major disease or disorders, check with your physician prior to starting on a keto diet.
That being said, the majority of people will do just fine on a keto diet, with most people also seeing an increase in their health and quality of life.
The keto diet isn’t dangerous. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there about the keto diet.
Won’t Eating tons of fat will give you a heart attack?
Research has found that it’s more likely that bad quality fats and an excess of carbohydrates will lead to heart disease, while eating a keto diet will actually improve your cardiovascular health.
will you miss out on essential vitamins and minerals if you’re not eating whole grains and legumes?
This is a common misconception, but the high quality fats, protein, and vegetables are actually more likely a better source of nutrients, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants in comparison to grains and fruit. They are also usually better absorbed and utilized by the body compared to those from grains and legumes.
Won’t Eating that much fat and protein will give you cancer?
What’s more likely is that an excess of carbohydrates and poor quality fats will give you a higher likelihood of developing cancer.
If you’re in ketogenesis, don’t you fall into a coma and die?
When people mention this, it’s not ketogenesis that they’re talking about - they’re talking about a phenomenon called ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is most commonly seen with type 1 diabetics - where the body can’t produce insulin (and is actually one of the first signs that someone has diabetes). High levels of blood sugar and a lack of insulin causes the entire body to starting producing abnormally high amounts of ketones, turning the blood acidic - damaging the liver and kidneys, causing vomiting, confusion and even death.
When you’re on the keto diet, you’re never going to be in danger of getting into this zone unless you have issues with producing enough insulin (such as a type 1 diabetic or severe type 2 diabetes).
As always, consult your physician if you’re worried about ketoacidosis or other health issues that could potentially occur.
Can I do keto long term?
While technically you can do the keto diet long term (90+ days) I don’t recommend it. And actually, I don’t usually recommend doing the keto for most people beyond 60 days.
People usually do keto to achieve a specific goal - to reset your body, gain control over sugar addiction, become fat-adapted, rapid weight loss - but after that, most people will usually shift to a paleo-type diet.
The restrictive nature of the diet is the problem. First of all, by not consuming as many vegetables and fruits, you’re going to be missing out on a good source of nutrients - specifically antioxidants and phytochemicals and adaptogens. Relaxing the limit on carbohydrates in favor of eating things like tomatoes and sweet potatoes is a good thing.
Secondly, without enough carbohydrates the body can start to suffer in different ways, such as tanking your thyroid or not producing enough mucus. In addition, your body eventually gets used to the keto diet (adapting as it always does to circumstances) - meaning that your weight loss and metabolism will eventually slow down as your body gets used to eating a keto diet.
Third, the restriction on the foods you can eat is pretty severe on keto - to the point where everything starts tasting like a mix between chicken and cream cheese and cauliflower. The human palate gets bored with the same thing over and over again, so it is best to start introducing some variety to prevent yourself from food fatigue.
The keto diet, like anything else is a tool and is useful only as far as your implementation of it. Again, I recommend using for a short period - whether to kick-off fat loss or transitioning to eating clean - after which you can return to a whole food diet.