It’s hard to stick to a diet. You have so much to deal with. Hunger and cravings, not to mention expense, all come to mind when you think of the word diet. But the truth is, all that expensive diet food is really harming you.
It’s usually over-processed to the point that your body probably doesn’t even recognize that it is food. It cannot digest it, and you have stomach issues, heartburn, and vacillate between constipation and diarrhea.
But, when you have a good plan, it’s not hard to stick to at all. Not if it’s a lifestyle, and certainly not if it’s good food. It’s food you really want to eat, and since ketogenic is not a diet but a lifestyle, you can eat as much as you need to without hunger. What more could anyone want?
What Is It and What Makes It a Lifestyle?
A ketogenic lifestyle consists of eating the ketogenic way: low carb, high healthy fat, and moderate protein 99 percent of the time – even if it’s your birthday. What does it mean to eat ketogenic, though? Well, basically you eat in such a way that your body produces ketones.
Don’t worry, this is not scary; in fact, ketones can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and other problems, such as brain fog and memory.
What if you started eating the way your ancestors used to eat? What would that look like? When you consider what your ancestors did not have, namely processed food, you can see what that might look like.
The food around was that which was easily available such as berries, wild animals, and vegetables that are easy to grow like spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Because it was hard to catch food, they also had to ensure everything they ate was as high in fat as possible so that they could keep on enough weight to be healthy. But not fake fat, of course – healthy fat from fruit like coconut oil and olive oil.
Some people also enjoy ghee, which is clarified butter, in this plan. That’s the other thing that is awesome about the ketogenic lifestyle; you do have lots of leeway in what you eat if it follows the main goals, which are to eat low carb, high fat, and moderate protein most of the time.
Processed food is full of refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and chemicals that no one can pronounce and will leave you unsatisfied, always craving more. And guess what; it’s not your fault if you’re always craving more. They made the food that way.
The food you’re eating is designed to cause cravings. Processed food is made to hook you on it, just like opiates. The food scientists know the exact combinations of fat, salt, and sugar to hook you. They’ve found the formula to make every meal into a drug.
What’s worse is that this drug will make you fat, unhealthy, prone to diabetes and you’ll likely die earlier than you otherwise would.
Even when you think you’re eating small amounts of food called “diet” food, you can be fat and very unhealthy. In fact, thin people who are eating a fully processed diet are also very unhealthy and prone to illness. Disease manifests differently in everyone.
Thankfully, the ketogenic diet has become more mainstream. People are taking to it and getting healthier. They’re getting healthier because it’s simple. They don’t have to think too hard to know whether they can have that food or not. Due to this fact, it makes it easy for the ketogenic way of eating to become a full-on lifestyle.
That’s good, because one thing that can ensure that people really change for life, and make eating keto a habit, is to turn it into a lifestyle. When you know you’re going to live this way forever, that you’re not taking breaks, and that you’re not doing it for just the next few weeks until the big party, then you tend to stick to a healthier way of eating because it’s just normal and natural.
Since ketogenetic eating is so natural, you’ll agree that it can easily become a lifestyle.
Reasons the Ketogenic Lifestyle Is So Effective
The main reason that the ketogenic lifestyle is so effective is simply that it works. When something you do gets results, it’s easy to want to keep doing it. All you have to do is take the first steps, and after that, the proof is in the pudding.
- It’s Easy – Yes there are numerous products out today to make it easier still, but even if you never buy a single prepared item, it’s still easy to eat this way. When you start doing it within a week, you’ll realize that this is easier than what you did before.
- You Don’t Have to Spend Lots of Money – The keto lifestyle is simple and due to that it’s not expensive, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can go out to almost any sit-down restaurant and find something to eat that will work, even if it’s not perfect.
- You Feel Satisfied – When you eat the right combination of food, you simply feel more satisfied. The food is higher in nutrition, so your body will eventually stop turning on the cravings because it’s getting what it wants and needs. It doesn’t hurt that the food is delicious.
- You Feel More Energetic – Nothing is like the energy you get once your body has adjusted to the keto lifestyle, which will only take a few weeks of sticking to it. One day you’ll wake up and feel so much more energetic, and because of that, you’ll also be able to get more done in the 24 hours you’re given.
- Ends Brain Fog – You may not even know you have brain fog until it’s cleared. When it clears, you’ll wonder how you were surviving and getting things done before. You’re going to feel so much clearer about everything.
- Almost Everyone Can Do It – With few exceptions, almost anyone can eat this way. The main exception is someone with kidney disease. This is not because it’s an unhealthy diet, but because someone with kidney disease must control their fluid intake and eat less protein.
You know it’s true. When you do something that gives you pleasure, you keep doing it. We all make time for the things we really like doing, and once you get going on the ketogenic way of life, you’ll want to keep going.
You’ll feel so much better fast that you’ll be surprised. Don’t test the waters and go back to your old ways, because you will find out that this lifestyle works.
Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Lifestyle
Besides being easy to stick to, there are enormous health benefits to the ketogenic lifestyle. It’s amazing how well this way of eating works for improving and even reversing many diseases.
- Fights Obesity – If you eat a ketogenic diet, eventually you will not be overweight. It’s just a fact of life that eating keto properly will make you lose weight. At first, it’ll happen fast and then it’ll slow down, but if you’re doing it, you’ll be losing it.
- Manages Diabetes – Keto lowers your blood sugar levels substantially since you will not be eating lots of high-starch veggies, lots of high-sugar fruit, or any processed food. In addition, you’re going to be eating a variety of low-starch veggies, which is going to help you even further.
- Improves Alzheimer’s Disease – Because ketones are neuroprotective, Alzheimer’s patients have seen some improvements and slowing of the progression of the disease by maintaining a ketogenic lifestyle.
- Helps Prevent / Slows Cancer – One of the most common types of brain cancer (gliomas) can shrink substantially in someone on a ketogenic diet. Going extra low carb and ensuring that you take out every single processed food will help with this.
- Lowers High Blood Pressure – If you have high blood pressure, you may end up going off your meds after a few weeks of the keto way of life. Because the diet is anti-inflammatory, it helps to lower blood pressure.
- Fights Chronic Inflammation – This way of life, drinking plenty of water, avoiding processed food, and eating enough nutrition, will keep your inflammation at bay. This is one reason people with autoimmune illness do so well on a keto way of life. Because you’re not triggering your inflammatory response by what you’re eating now, you won’t get inflamed as much.
- Helps with Other Brain Disorders – Because ketones are neuroprotective, people with any type of brain issue – ranging from memory issues and brain fog to serious issues like stroke – will find that this way of eating can help improve their condition.
- Improves Epilepsy – This has been a way of life for many people with intractable epilepsy, providing relief to many parents of children with epilepsy. Ketogenesis is featured in the movie about a child with epilepsy called Lorenzo’s Oil, which is still very interesting to watch.
- Helps Reverse Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – A major cause of infertility today, the main reason people have PCOS is that they have elevated insulin levels. The high insulin environment will cause the ovaries to produce more male hormones called androgens, which can affect everything about this system. The keto way of eating can reverse this condition and if done soon enough will help restore fertility.
- Reduces Migraines – Many people who live the ketogenic lifestyle report that they get many fewer migraines than they did before. It is thought that it works because the ketones are neuroprotective but also because of the reduction in inflammation.
The health benefits are so numerous that you can probably add to this list yourself once you get started. Many people report life-changing results from following the ketogenic lifestyle.
Eating Do’s and Don’ts
One thing that can help you find out more about this lifestyle is learning some eating dos and don’ts. This will make all the difference in your ability to turn this into your lifestyle. Because here’s the thing; if you’re following a lifestyle, you cannot put your toe in another lifestyle every day and expect to see results. Therefore, if you really want to follow this way of life, study this list.
- Don’t Eat High Protein – The ketogenic way of eating is not meant to be high protein. It’s a high-fat diet but low in carbs and moderate in protein. You want to eat at least 60 percent of your calories in fat (can go up to 75 percent), only 15 to 30% from protein, and the rest up to 10 percent as carbs.
- Do Choose the Right Type of Meat – The meat you choose should be as natural as possible. Don’t buy meat that has been doctored with sugar and additives to make it taste better. You want to find organic, grass-fed, free-range, and so forth. However, just do the best you can and don’t stress too much.
- Do Eat Fruit Fats – The main fats that you want to eat should be natural. They should mostly come from fruit like olive oil and coconut oil. You can also use animal fats and ghee, but most of your fat should come from fruit.
- Do Eat When Hungry – You don’t need to restrict your food intake when you’re eating keto. You can eat when you’re hungry if it meets the rules of the ratio you’re trying to stick to.
- Don’t Drink Milk – While you can have some dairy, living the ketogenic way you want to avoid drinking milk as a beverage. If you use any, a splash in your coffee is all you should use. One glass of milk can have quite a lot of carbs. Read your labels.
- Don’t Eat Sugar – This is the hardest part to get used to, but you will, and you’ll be glad you did. But you cannot eat sugar, and you should try to avoid adding any type of sweetener to any of your food for a few weeks. Later you can use some sweeteners if you must, such as stevia.
- Do Drink Your Bone Broth – One thing that some people overlook is the bone broth. Drinking it is your key to sticking to this long enough that it becomes second nature and finally a true lifestyle for you.
- Do Enjoy Something Special – On special occasions, you won’t ruin everything if you enjoy a glass of dry wine, whiskey, brandy, vodka or any low-sugar drink of your choice and a serving of at least 70% dark chocolate. Count your carbs, and you can do it at least weekly.
Eating right on the ketogenic way of life is not hard to do. If you can visually divide your plate to fit the food on it in the right quantities, that will help. They even sell some keto plates online; just do a Google search to find out more.
Common Side Effects and How to Combat Them
Many people call the combination of symptoms they have when first embarking on the keto way as the “keto flu.” If you do feel any of these symptoms and side effects, realize that they are just a sign that you’re pushing your body into ketosis. Once the change fully occurs, you’ll start feeling better.
These unpleasant side effects may include:
- Brain fog
- Muscle cramps
- Keto breath
- Heart palpitations
How to Combat Side Effects
- Drink More Water – Pretty much every single symptom you get can be combated by ensuring that you are properly hydrated. Try drinking more of your bone broth during the day and drinking 32 ounces of water with citrus every morning. It may also help you to measure out your water, so you know you’re drinking enough.
- Check Your Ratios – Are you keeping your fat ratio high and your carbs low? If you tend to fall off the wagon every weekend or monthly, you’re going to cause your body to struggle harder. If you feel like you’re sticking to everything, go back to checking ratios to be sure.
- Boost Your Carb Intake – If you have suffered more than a couple weeks without getting relief, you may want to add more carbs. But let’s be clear, by carbs we mean that you should eat more veggies. Try upping your veggies for a couple weeks to see if that helps.
- Work Out Carefully – When you’re in transition, it’s okay to baby yourself and do slower and more gentle forms of exercise like walking, stretching, and swimming. Avoid strenuous exercise for at least the first month; after that you’ll likely be able to outperform your previous efforts.
- Avoid Restricting Food Intake – If you get hungry, try to judge realistically whether you should eat something or not. If it’s an hour before dinner, you’re supposed to be hungry, so wait. But if it’s more than that, it’s okay to eat something small to take away the hunger. Don’t focus on calories; only pay attention to your hunger.
- Check Your Meds – Often people get to stop taking their meds when on the keto way of eating. If you notice anything that concerns you about your meds, talk to your doctor right away so they can advise you.
You can use breath spray in the meantime, but if you add more water, that will help too. Also, ensure that you’re getting enough bone broth and eating in the right ratios without shocking your body. Don’t allow cheat days every other day or week or month either.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll find that these side effects go away on their own not to return – unless you kick your body out of ketosis and then back in by not minding your ratios.
Note: If you get heart palpitations, do talk to your doctor about it – especially if you have diabetes.
Reasons to Stop or Modify Your Ketogenic Lifestyle
The strange fact about being a human is that as much as we’re the same, we’re all different. Everyone does not respond the same. Two different people can respond differently to a medication, a diet, or really anything. You’re unique. Therefore, there are sometimes reasons to modify the keto lifestyle to fit your needs better.
- Seizures – The keto diet that treats seizures is high fat, but low in carbs and low in protein. If you want to use the ketogenic lifestyle to treat something like that you should also speak to a physician who is trained in planning this type of diet.
- Pregnancy – If you are pregnant, you can still enjoy the ketogenic lifestyle if you’re ensuring you are getting enough nutrients. You don’t want to lose weight, so boost your caloric intake by adding more fruit and more vegetables to your day and go ahead and add some nuts, seeds, legumes, and even some dairy.
- Losing Too Much Weight – Once you get to your normal weight, it can be a challenge to figure out how much food to add. Always add in more veggies and fruit and see if you can add more varieties of food in small amounts from the nuts, seed, and legume category too.
- You Work Out a Lot – If you work out a lot and are losing weight using keto, you may experience muscle cramps after or during your workouts. Consider adding some fast-digesting carbs before your workout to help.
- You Simply Feel Bad – If you’ve given it a go for at least a month and you still do not feel good on this lifestyle, you should stop. But you should also go to the doctor to get a full check-up in case there is an underlying illness you’re missing.
- You’re a Body Builder – If you’re a body builder, you may need to eat a lot more carbs. You may even be able to do this without affecting whether you’re in ketosis or not.
- You Are Diagnosed with Kidney Disease – You may need to lower your protein further if you are diagnosed with kidney disease. However, that doesn’t mean you have to quit; just modify.
- You Take Medication – You may need to slow your transition to ketosis if you’re using certain meds, especially insulin and blood pressure medication. If you’re having issues, just go more slowly with moving down your carbs and upping your fat.
- Having Trouble Getting into Ketosis – Some people are resistant, and it will take more work to get into ketosis. You may have to lower your carbs even more than normal at first. Check ingredients on everything to ensure you’re not getting added sugars you didn’t know about; this is often the case as sugar is used in a lot of meat preparations.
There is never a real reason to quit the ketogenic lifestyle totally. You can change your ratios of fat, carbs, and protein around if you keep it within the ranges discussed before. When you do adjust your levels, don’t reach for the processed food that you’re not supposed to have. Instead, reach for healthy additions to your plate.
Common Questions about the Ketogenic Lifestyle
The ketogenic way of life is very safe if you’re doing it correctly, putting nutrition above everything else. But like most situations, everyone wants something for nothing. The ketogenic lifestyle is not about eating a pound of bacon every day; in fact, that would not be good for anyone to do at all.
Here are answers to some common questions about the keto lifestyle.
# Should I Talk to My Doctor?
Most people can do it easily and successfully with only good things to report. However, almost everyone can benefit from seeing their doctor before starting a diet. This is especially true for anyone who is taking medication for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. This is because this diet is very powerful, and you will lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. How much depends on the person.
Some doctors don’t like any type of “diet” and others are partial to other types of “diets.” There is a lot of opinions that go into doctoring, so don’t take it personally. The first question you want to ask your doctor is how they feel about the keto lifestyle or a low-carb diet in general. Then you may want to ask follow-up questions based on their answer.
If they do know about the real keto lifestyle, you can then ask any other questions you may have. Write them down before you go so that you don’t forget. It’s easy to feel rushed in the doctor’s office. A good thing to ask for is “before” tests to find out where you stand health-wise; you can then get a check-up in a couple months to see how well you’re doing.
# What Food Can I Eat on the Keto Lifestyle?
In general, you want to ensure you eat the right ratio of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Most people will be in the following ranges: 60 to 75% calories from fat, 15 to 30% calories from protein and 5 to 10% from carbohydrates.
To fill those macronutrient ratios, you’ll need to eat only whole healthy food that is produced in the most natural way possible, without the use of hormones and chemicals. Plus, you should not eat any processed food.
This is a healthy lifestyle. Just because something is “low carb” or says “keto” on it, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. What you will eat are healthy sources of protein in moderate amounts, fresh veggies of all sorts, some fruit, and healthy fat.
In fact, most of your calories are supposed to come from healthy fats from sources like coconut, olive, nuts, and seeds. When you have a choice, always eat the whole thing over going for the processed version. For example, eating olives gives you healthy olive fat plus veggie nutrients.
# What Should I Not Eat on the Keto Lifestyle?
This is a short and easy answer because there isn’t much you cannot eat when you think about it. Compare it to other lifestyles, and you quickly realize that every single healthy way of eating includes avoiding processed food, sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats – especially in combination. When you live the ketogenic lifestyle, it’s easy to say no because you realize those things aren’t food. There is no world where eating pop tarts for breakfast, for instance, is going to be healthy.
The foods you should not eat on keto are:
- Most fruit
- Refined sugars
- Soft drinks/fruit juices
- Starchy vegetables
You can literally eat everything else. Name one diet where you can eat the things on this list in a way that you want to eat them. No one wants to eat whole grains without fat on them, but that’s the only way you can eat them on that lifestyle and be healthy.
There are versions of some of these that you can make but remember that when you try to make something to take the place of something else, it never tastes as good. Instead, consider cooking new things that have their own special flavors that you enjoy. When you start reading labels, understand that if the ingredients include any of the above you should not eat it.
# Do I Have to Count Calories?
Even though there are guidelines in terms of the ratios of the macronutrients that you eat, you don’t have to really count. You can just eyeball your meals on your plate. In general, a serving size of a piece of protein is the same size as the palm of your hand.
Fill your plate halfway with veggies, about a fourth of the plate should have the protein, and the rest of the plate includes all the fat you’re supposed to eat – which of course is likely used to flavor the veggies and protein. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. It really is that easy. That is why it’s such a good lifestyle.
However, if you want to, you can count calories when you first start. Start by eating at the top of the calorie requirements for your desired weight range and stay there if you’re happy with the results. If you need to cut back more, you’re at the top so you can still cut back.
You can also choose to figure out how many grams of carbohydrates would be in your ideal day and just count that, as this can often be simpler to keep track. As you grow into the lifestyle, you’ll end up not needing to this, but in the beginning, it does help to know what you should be eating so you have an idea and guideline to go by.
# Do I Need to Take Supplements?
Because of the state of our food sources, most people do need to take some supplements, but not as many as you might think. Also, each person is different, so the best thing to do is to look at your personal situation and find the right supplements for that.
However, in most cases, you can benefit from supplementing with MCT oil, BHB salts, vitamin B12, and vitamin D3. You can ask your doctor for a blood test to determine your levels.
The main problem with B12 and D3 is environmental. We wash our food too much to get enough B12, and some people just don’t produce it, so almost everyone can benefit from taking it.
The problem with B12 is that a deficiency may not show up until it’s too late and it’s irreversible and can cause serious neurological problems and fatigue. The issue with D is that we tend to wear sunscreen (and we should) and wash too (you should not wash for 24 to 48 hours after sun exposure to get enough D).
Having a vitamin D deficiency can result in body pain, lower back pain, and fatigue.
# Am I Going to Get High Cholesterol?
While no one can speak to how any lifestyle will affect another, research shows that the opposite happens to most people. Many people end up with higher good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. The truth is, many people have high cholesterol due to genetics.
The best thing to do is to get tested before, during, and after about 90 days of sticking to the ketogenic lifestyle. You may be surprised by the results, and so will your doctor.
To Sum Up
We’ve discussed what makes the ketogenic way of eating so effective, the health benefits, and why it’s a great lifestyle to be part of. We’ve also covered what to eat and what not to eat, the side effects of eating this way, and how to make it your lifestyle easily.
Finally, we’ve given some common questions and answers about the ketogenic lifestyle. Now it’s up to you to choose whether you want to be part of this amazing lifestyle or not.
The real question is, do you want to feel great, be more energetic, and overall healthier? And guess what, after a bit of a transition you’ll never have to give it much thought again. It’ll be second nature and a true lifestyle – not a fad and not a diet.