Introduction The ketogenic diet or as like some people prefer to call it; the Keto diet or low carb diet is about consuming a lot of protein and fats but fewer carbs.
This diet makes the body send the fats that we consume to the liver, which the latter transform it into energy to keep the body strong and active for a long time without feeling tired quickly.
The word ketogenic is derived from the word “ketosis” which means the state of the body when it doesn’t have enough glucose in it to turn it into energy, so it generates ketones that work as an amazing source of energy for both the body and the brain which makes it a great option for losing weight in a short term.
The keto diet prevents you from consuming carbs that are the main reason of gaining weight because the sugar makes you hungry most of the time.
When you consume carbs with small portions and focus more on protein and fat; your body doesn’t push you most of the time to eat; instead, it uses those fats to satisfy your hunger and keep you active.
If you are looking for a diet that will help you lose weight in a very short term, the ketogenic diet is the perfect diet for you because it not only helps you achieve great lean body; but also provides immense health benefits.
The Benefits of The Ketogenic Diet So far, there are a lot of great benefits of the keto diet, but no negative effects have appeared yet at all; which makes it the delicious diet that fits everybody. Here are other health benefits of keto diet:
1. Increases the level of HDL: One of the best aspects of the ketogenic diet is that it increases the level of HDL in the body, which is the good cholesterol that helps in lowering the risk of heart diseases.
2. Helps in Alleviating Diabetes Type 2: By removing carbs from your daily meals, you say goodbye to sugar and insulin because your body already has what it needs, and you won’t have to be worried about what you eat.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is a catastrophe because it might lead to kidney failure, heart diseases, strokes… With this diet, you can say goodbye to all those worries and live a healthy life away from all those malignant diseases that threaten your life.
4. Gum Disease: Gum disease is one of the worst and most painful diseases which is commonly caused by the consumption of too much sugar. When you eliminate sugar from your daily meals, you can avoid gum diseases and toothaches.
While on the keto diet, most of your diet will consist of foods high in fats coupled with a measured intake of proteins and low carbohydrate intake. Some of the food categories allowed in this diet include:
Fish and Seafood: Cod, tuna, scrod, anchovies, mackerel, flounder, catfish, trout, mahi-mahi, halibut, sole, sardines, salmon, halibut, snapper, and calamari. Always opt for wild caught fish to avoid toxins present in commercially reared fish.
Grass-fed Meat: These include beef, venison, goat, and lamb. Meat from wild animals are also acceptable; however, avoid sausages and meats that come with sugary sauces and those covered in breadcrumbs. Choose the chunks of meat with more fat since they contain less protein and more fat.
Pork: Boston butt, pork chops, ham pork, and loin. When choosing ham, be on the lookout for added sugar.
Bacon and Sausages: Preferably, you should buy these at specialty health food stores. If this is not possible, always read the labels to avoid those which contain fillers such as soy or sugars.
Canned Tuna and Salmon: Canned tuna and salmon are okay to consume while you are on the keto diet. However, avoid seafood rich in fillers, breaded seafood, and fried seafood.
Vegetable Protein Powders: Protein supplements such as whey protein, hemp protein, pea, and rice are acceptable.
Whole Eggs: This includes chicken eggs, and quail eggs which you can prepare through any mean desired; fried, soft or hard boiled, deviled, scrambled, or omelet style.
Shellfish: Oyster, mussels, lobster, shrimp, crab (not imitation crab that contains additives), clams, scallops, and squid.
2. Fats and Oils
Because these are your main sources of energy while you are on this diet, go for the types of fats and oils you enjoy. These may include: * Omega 3 fatty acids from fish such as tuna, shellfish, and salmon * Fish supplements or krill * Monounsaturated fats such as egg yolks, avocado, and butter * Vegetable oils such as olive oil, coconut oil * Non-hydrogenated beef tallow, ghee, and lard. * Duck and chicken fat
In order to make it easier to stick to this diet, be aware of which types of fat your body can tolerate. Many people seem to have zero or very low tolerance of vegetable oils and mayo.
This may be a good thing because most of these oils are rich in omega 6 fatty acids – the kind that is bad for your body’s cholesterol levels.
In this case, work with the listed monounsaturated fats to reduce the inflammatory effect brought about by polyunsaturated fats. Nevertheless, work to balance both fats because you cannot survive on monounsaturated fats alone (You need a lot of fats and oils).
Even then, avoid hydrogenated fats such as margarine to reduce the amount of trans-fats you eat.
3. Fresh Vegetables
For these foods, opt for organic ones or better yet, grow your own to avoid all pesticide toxins. Avoid starchy vegetables (corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, and winter squash) that are high in carbs. Instead, opt for moderate intake of sweet vegetables (squashes, peppers, tomatoes, and carrots). Vegetables that make it to the list are: Celery Collard Greens Onions (high in sugar; moderate intake) Alfalfa Sprouts Beet Greens Broccoli Spinach Dandelion Greens Bamboo Shoots Cabbage Brussels sprouts Garlic Mushrooms Shallots Kale Bok Choy Sauerkraut Chives Celery Root Swiss chard Cauliflower Snow Peas Bean Sprouts Olives Cucumbers Salad greens and lettuces: Romaine, Arugula, Fennel, Bok Choy, Boston lettuce, Endive, Mache, Escarole, Sorrel, Radicchio, Chicory Water Chestnuts Turnips Scallions Dill Pickles Leeks Radishes Chard Asparagus
4. Dairy Products
Mascarpone cheese Unsweetened whole milk yogurt (limit intake of this type of yogurt because it is a little high in carbs) All soft and hard cheeses Cream cheese Full fat sour cream (do not forget to check for additives) Full fat cottage cheese Heavy whipping cream In any case, always go for raw milk products and if you do not have easy access to them, go for the organic ones.
Bulletproof coffee Decaf Tea Flavored seltzer water Decaf coffee Water Herbal tea Lemon and lime juice (limit intake) Clear broth or bouillon
6. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts: almonds, macadamias, pecans, and walnuts are the nuts with the lowest level of carbs meaning you can consume them in small amounts. Other nuts such as chestnuts, pistachios, and cashews contain a higher amount of carbs; thus, you should carefully monitor their intake. Nuts are best soaked for some time before roasted. Nut flours: these are necessary because while you are on this diet, it does not mean baking no longer fits into your life. Nut flours such as almond flour will suffice.
Some options include: Erythritol Splendor-liquid Inulin and Chicory root Lo Han Guo Liquid Stevia Xylitol Swerve
Here are spices allowed on the keto diet: Sea salt Peppermint Ginger Basil Chili pepper Cloves Thyme Cilantro or coriander seeds Rosemary Black pepper Cumin seeds Oregano Turmeric Cayenne pepper Cinnamon Mustard seeds Parsley Dill Sage As you can see from the above very detailed list, keto diet is NOT a highly-restrictive dieting lifestyle, it also offers you a variety of foods to choose from; thus, you should not feel overwhelmed.
However, there are foods you should avoid to achieve optimal ketosis as your body makes the switch from using glucose to synthesizing fats for ketones.
In the next section, we shall outline the foods you should avoid
Achieving Optimal Ketosis: Foods to Avoid
If you stick to the food listed in the previous section, you do not have to worry about not achieving optimal ketosis. On the same note, as you increase intake of those foods, you should also be on the lookout for the following foods that may hinder ketosis:
Avoid all grains, whole meal included (rye, wheat, oats, barley, corn, millet, rice sorghum and buckwheat). Also, avoid all products made from grains; these include foods such as crackers, pasta, pizza, and cookies.
Avoid refined fats and oils like sunflower, canola, grape seed, corn oil, soybean, and Trans-fats such as margarine.
Avoid milk (only full-fat raw milk is acceptable). For coffee, replace milk with reasonable amounts of cream.
Avoid tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples, mango papaya, etc., and some high carb fruit.
Avoid fruit juice.
Avoid factory-farmed pork and fish.
Avoid all artificial sweeteners containing Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharine, etc.
Avoid alcoholic sweet drinks such as beer, and sweet wine
Avoid Soy products
Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, is there a way to guarantee faster adoption of ketosis? The answer is yes. The following section illuminates such tips:
How to Get Into Ketosis ‘Fast’: Invaluable Tips It takes 48 hours to get into ketosis. To get there, you must correctly adapt the keto diet. Below are tips that should help you do just that and get your body into ketosis faster:
Tip 1: To get into ketosis faster, eat less than 20g of carbs a day.
Tip 2: Drink water, about 100 ounces per day. Drink more to lose more.
Tip 3: Purchase some Ketosis. Getting some validation that the diet is actually working will be a great motivation to keep you on a diet considering the intimidating nature of the first few days of the diet.
Tip 4: Do not panic. Be aware of the keto flu coming your way. The dizziness, the irritability, and fatigue you will be feeling on the first three days may have you experiencing mood swings; but don’t give in just yet. Reward yourself with bacon and delicious keto friendly foods as you crave for carbs and sugars. The craving will disappear as long as you’re full.
Tip 5: Consume more salt. This is really important. While on a keto diet, your body does not retain water as it normally would; hence, electrolytes like sodium quickly flush out of your body. Therefore, you need constant replenishing; otherwise, you will feel awful. As indicated earlier, opt for sea salt.
Tip 6: Never open the door to hunger. When you feel the tiniest bit of a hunger pang, immediately eat high-fat low-carb foods. The moment you get too hungry, it forms the temptation pathway. Remember: go simple. Do not over plan things because when you do, you may end up making everything strict and less fun. The keto diet is fun; keep it so.
Tip 7: Remember: this is not a high protein diet. The keto diet is high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet. Moderate is the key word here.
Tip 8: Embrace the fat. Eat fat to lose fat that is your new motto. Do not shy away from the fat because it is your ticket to a healthier you.
Common Keto Diet Mistakes You Should Avoid
Nobody is perfect, and no diet is perfect. As you adopt this diet for good health and weight loss, you are bound to make several mistakes; this is normal. The best way to avoid, or minimize the effects of mistakes is by learning and preparing for common mistakes. Below is a list of common keto diet mistakes dieters make:
Eating Too Many Carbs
There is no exact definition of what ‘low carb’ means. Some would say it is simply anything under 100 to 150 grams a day simply because they get amazing results with this range.
However, this may be excessive if your aim is to have plenty of ketones in your bloodstream. Most keto dieters go for under 50-grams of carbs per day to get into optimal ketosis. Anything beyond that is termed as excessive.
Eating Too Much Protein
Remember: the keto diet is all about protein moderation.
As you adopt a keto diet, you need patience: patience to get into ketosis and patience to adapt to ketosis. Understand that previously, your body’s main source of energy was carbs; now, it has to adapt to a new source of energy, fats. The body requires time to do this; therefore, be patient.
Obsessing Over The Scale
The number on your weigh scale should not determine your keto diet success. Let this be the least of your worries. Just live life and enjoy your diet. Weight loss will happen; do yourself a favor and keep away from that scale.
Not Eating Enough Fats
The unrestricted consumption of fats may seem excessive. However, the keto diet is a high-fat diet. Just trust keto and enjoy the fat. However, you should eat the right kind of fats, preferably monounsaturated and saturated fats.
Eating Processed Keto’ Foods
When you are on a keto diet, always think about it this way: the intention is to eat natural ingredients and not foods that come in wrappers such as Atkins bars and Quest bars.
Although you can occasionally eat these, the idea is for a large portion of your diet (we are talking about 70-80% of your entire diet) to consist of natural ingredients.
Being After A Quick Fix
If this is your aim, do not start the diet. The Keto diet is more of a lifestyle change than a short-term diet plan. Dropping a few pounds and then going back to your normal bad eating habits will be a waste of time.
Half-heartedly adopting the keto diet could be the worst thing you could do to yourself because you are just wasting time. If you are not all in, you will not survive through the temporary effects that come with adopting the diet. Decide on what you want and think of everything you will gain by going keto to keep you motivated.
1. Egg Salad Serves 6 Ingredients 1/3 cup of finely minced white onion ½ cup of mayonnaise 12 large eggs 1-teaspoon salt ½-teaspoon ground mustard 2 tablespoons melted butter 1-teaspoon black pepper
1. Place eggs in a pot of water. Let this boil for 10 minutes, pour the water from the pot, and replace it with cold water. Let the eggs sit in the water for 2 to 3 minutes. 2. Take out the eggs and peel them. Using an egg slicer, chop the eggs into ¼-inch pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve. Total carbs: 1g
2. Keto Porridge Serves 1 Ingredients ¼ cup of crushed almonds ½ cup of hemp seeds 1 tablespoon of xylitol 1 cup of non-dairy milk 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds ¾-teaspoon pure vanilla extract ½-teaspoon ground cinnamon 1-tablespoon chia seeds Topping 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds Instructions 1. Mix ingredients except the topping and the almonds in a saucepan and stir well until they are properly mixed. 2. Heat this over medium heat until it begins to boil lightly. Stir once and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes. 3. Remove from the heat, add in the ground almonds, and pour into a bowl. Add toppings then serve right away. Net carbs per serving: 4g
3. Avocado Salmon Breakfast Serves 1 Ingredients 60 grams of wild caught smoked salmon 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil Celtic sea salt Juice of 1 lemon 30 grams of fresh, soft goat cheese 1 ripe organic avocado Instructions 1. Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. 2. In a food processor, process the other ingredients until coarsely chopped. 3. Place the cream inside the avocados then serve. Alternatively, you could also cut the avocados into cubes and the salmon in small pieces and mix them up together. Add the rest of the ingredients with the goat cheese and mix well. Net carbs per serving: 4g
Keto Main Meals
4. Spaghetti Squash Casserole Serves 4 Ingredients Sea salt and black pepper, to taste 3 ounces of Italian salami, thinly sliced ½ teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning 4 tablespoons of butter ½ cup of organic tomatoes, diced 1 large spaghetti squash, halved and seeded 1 cup of onion, diced A handful of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 4 large pastured eggs 2 cloves of garlic, minced ½ cup of Kalamata olives, halved Instructions 1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and place spaghetti squash on rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on each half and sprinkle with black pepper and salt. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 2. As the spaghetti bakes, heat a skillet and add remaining butter to it. Once melted, add onions, garlic, pepper, and salt to taste. When the onion starts turning golden, add the salami and tomatoes. 3. Sauté for about 10 minutes and add in the olives. 4. Once done, scrape off the flesh from the spaghetti squash and mix it with the onion mixture. Create four wells in the mixture and crack an egg onto each. 5. Place pan in oven and bake the egg whites cook through. Just before serving, sprinkle some fresh parsley. Net carbs per serving: 13.25g
5. Tuna Salad Serves 1 Ingredients 1-tablespoon virgin olive oil 1 head lettuce Salt taste 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 140g of tinned tuna 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 medium spring onion 2 organic hard-boiled eggs Directions 1. Tear up the lettuce, wash, and then drain. 2. Spread the leaves at the bottom of your serving bowl and place the shredded tuna on top. 3. Place the mayo, fresh chopped onions, and the boiled egg on top. Mix well, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy. Net carbs per serving: 3.9g
6. Ginger Beef Serves 2 Ingredients 2 sirloin steaks cut into strips 1 clove of garlic, crushed 1-tablespoon olive oil 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 small onion Salt and pepper 1 teaspoon ground ginger 2 small diced tomatoes Instructions 1. Add oil to a skillet and cook the steak over medium-high heat until brown. 2. Once the steaks are well seared, add in tomatoes, onion, and garlic. 3. In a bowl, stir ginger, pepper, vinegar and salt and stir. 4. Cover, lower the heat and simmer until the liquid evaporates. Serve and enjoy. Net carbs per serving: 3g
7. Keto Casserole Serves 4 Ingredients 1 package cream cheese ½-cup low sugar ketchup ½ pound corned beef 2 cups Swiss cheese 1 can sauerkraut ½ teaspoon of caraway seeds 2 tablespoons of pickle brine ½ cup of mayo Instructions 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 2. In low heat place pan, melt cream cheese; add ketchup and mayo. 3. After a few minutes, add the sauerkraut, beef, and Swiss cheese. Mix until the cheese melts. 4. Remove from the heat and mix with the pickle juice. Pour this into a greased dish and top with the remaining Swiss cheese. 5. Garnish with caraway seeds. Place in the oven until the cheese melts and enjoy. Net carbs per serving: 6g
8. Keto Pork Chops Serves 2 Ingredients 1 medium star anise 1 tablespoon of almond flour 4 boneless pork chops ½ teaspoon of five spice ½ tablespoon of sugar-free ketchup 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce 4 halved garlic cloves ½ tablespoon of chili paste 1 stalk of lemongrass ½ teaspoon of peppercorns 1-tablespoon fish sauce 1-teaspoon sesame oil Instructions 1. Put the pork chops on a flat table and use a rolling pin wrapped in wax paper to pound the pork chops into ½-inch thick pieces. 2. Grind peppercorns and anise in a blender (or mortar and pestle) to a fine powder. 3. Add the garlic and lemongrass to the blender or pound to a puree. 4. Add the fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and five-spice powder then mix well. 5. Season the pork chops, place them on a tray, add the marinade, and then turn over to ensure the pork chops are well coated. Cover and leave for about 1 to 2 hours. 6. Place a pan on high heat, add oil, and then coat the pork chops lightly with almond flour. 7. Place the coated chops in the pan and cook both sides (about 2 minutes on each side). 8. When done, cut the chops into several strips. 9. To make the sauce, mix together sugar-free ketchup and chili paste. You can serve with Parmesan green beans. Net carbs per serving: 6g
9. Zucchini Hummus Makes 3 cups Ingredients ½ cup of fresh lemon juice 1½ teaspoons of cumin 4 tablespoons of olive oil 2 organic chopped zucchinis 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste) 1 cup of raw tahini ½ cup of raw sesame seeds Instructions 1. Start by soaking the sesame seeds for about four hours. 2. Drain them and dump all the other ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed as you scrape the sides. Serve with carrot or vegetable sticks. Net carbs per cup: 3g
10. Parsnip Chips Makes 4 cups Ingredients 2 medium parsnips, peeled & sliced Salt Oil for frying (your choice) Instructions 1. Heat oil to 350 degrees and add parsnip chips in small chunks. 2. Cook for 20 to 30 seconds until the chips are golden brown. Place on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt and kosher. Net carbs per cup: 4g
11. Sugar-Free Turtles Makes 24 Ingredients ½ cup of organic heavy whipping cream 6 tablespoons of organic butter 1 cup of Swerve confectioners 2 dark chocolate bars, chopped finely 24 whole pecans Instructions 1. Heat butter in a saucepan. 2. Add cream and the swerve to the pan. Whisk until the sauce is smooth. 3. Pour it into a glass mason jar and let it cool at room temperature. Store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. 4. Once cooled a bit, place a tablespoon on a cluster of pecans and place in the fridge to set. 5. Meanwhile, chop dark chocolate bars and heat in a double boiler until chocolate melts. Drizzle this over the cool caramel covered pecans and enjoy. Net carbs per turtle: 3.7g
12. Protein Bagel Makes 12 bagels Ingredients ¼ teaspoon of Celtic sea salt ¼ cup of melted coconut oil ½ cup of vanilla egg white protein powder 2 tablespoons of coconut flour ½ teaspoon of guar gum 2 teaspoons of blueberry extract 1 teaspoon of baking powder 10 eggs Instructions 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Mix ingredients in bowl 3. Spoon the dough into a greased donut mold; place on a cookie sheet and allow them to bake. Net carbs per bagel: 1g
13. Kale Chips with Lime Serves: 2 Ingredients 1-teaspoon soy sauce 1-teaspoon fish sauce 2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 tablespoon Sriracha 1 bunch of kale, washed well Juice of half a lime Instructions 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Chop the stem off the kale. Break them into chip-sized pieces and thoroughly dry them. 3. In bowl, combine lime juice, Sriracha, olive oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce and mix. Taste for saltiness and hotness and adjust as desired. 4. Pour the dressing over the kale to coat the chips. Spread the leaves over 2 cookie sheets (greased) but do not overlap them. 5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes as you monitor them. Net carbs per serving: 6g
14. Raspberry Avocado Smoothie Serves 2 Ingredients ½ cup frozen unsweetened raspberries 3 tablespoons of lemon juice 2 packets swerve sweetener 1 ripe avocado 1 1/3 cups water Instructions 1. Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Net carbs per serving: 4g
15. Chocolate Green Smoothie Serves 2 Ingredients ¼ cup of cocoa powder 1 tablespoon of granulated stevia (or sweetener of choice) ½ cup of frozen boysenberries (or berries of choice) 100g of spinach 1 cup of coconut cream Instructions 1. Add everything to a blender and blend. Net carbs per serving: 5.2g
16. Vanilla Almond Milk Shake Serves 1 Ingredients ¾ cup of unsweetened almond milk ¼ cup of vanilla protein powder ½ cup of avocado 1 cup of crushed ice 2 tablespoons of cream cheese ¼-teaspoon of mint extract 4 tablespoons of Erythritol ½ teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt (for minerals) 1 teaspoon of stevia glyceride Instructions 1. Place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Net carbs per serving: 2.1g
17. Detox Smoothie Serves 4 Ingredients 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley 1 tablespoon of Swerve 1 cup of raw cucumber, peeled then sliced ½ cup of kiwi fruit, peeled then chopped 1 cup of mixed berries 4 cups of filtered water 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger-peeled then chopped ½ Hass avocado 1 cup of romaine lettuce Instructions 1. Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve cold. Net carbs per serving: 4g
18. Green Tea Shake Serves 2 Ingredients 2 teaspoons of Swerve Sweetener or granulated Erythritol ½ cup of Greek yogurt 1 tablespoon of hot water 1 teaspoon of match green tea powder ½ medium avocado ¼ cup of vanilla whey protein powder 1 ¼ cups of unsweetened almond milk Instructions 1. Place in a blender and blend until smooth. Net carbs per serving: 6.5g
19. Almond Raspberry Smoothie Serves 1 Ingredients 20 almonds ½ cup red raspberries 1 tablespoon protein powder 2/3 cup almond milk Instructions 1. Combine the ingredients in a blender; pulse until smooth. 2. You can add ice as you blend. Serve immediately. Net carbs per serving: 6.3g
Conclusion As you have seen, other than a rapid fat loss, the keto diet also has many other health benefits. Most importantly, you now have multiple delicious recipes based on Top Keto Foods to try out anytime!
Variety is the spice of life. With the variety of foods to choose from, you can easily get into the Keto Lifestyle in an easy, painless and hassle-free manner. Making it a new way of life – For both physical and mental wellness.
Your journey to a leaner, healthier you in only one step away.