You’ve more than likely heard of it by now – it is arguably the most significant diet trend at the moment.
The low-carb lifestyle has many health benefits, which is why it comes to no surprise that the Keto Diet has become immensely popular, especially with the overload of success pictures.
However, before and after pictures on Instagram don’t really prepare you. Instead, you’re left with no idea how to even start a keto diet.
Well, we’re here to change that.
Here you’ll discover everything you could ever need to start the ketogenic diet, including:
- What is the keto diet
- What is ketosis
- Health benefits of the keto diet
- Keto diet plans for beginners
- Keto shopping list
- Keto diet menu example
- Keto diet menu for vegetarians
- Ketogenic diet menu for vegans
- Keto diet ideas for breakfast
- Keto diet menu what not to eat
- Keto diet exercises
- Keto diet side-effects
What more could you possibly need?
But first off, let’s begin with the absolute basics.
What is the keto diet?
The Ketogenic diet was created in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder, it was interestingly initially used for treating epilepsy.
As the name suggests, and as you’ve more than likely read up on.
The main focus of the diet is, that it uses ketones for as energy.
Ketones are molecules made from fat that are more efficient and cleaner than the power you get from glucose.
We’ll talk about that a little bit later on.
The Ketogenic Diet boils down to these specific percentages
- 70-80% – High fats
- 20-25% – Moderate protein
- 5-10% – Low carbohydrates
We know, from these figures, you’ll probably be focused on one thing, and one thing only – how low those carbohydrates percentages are.
It might be extremely off-putting, what will you do without your chips?
But, it’s this absence of carbs that makes all the difference.
Over time, your body will begin to adjust and transforms the deposited fat into ketones.
You won’t miss chips that much, we promise.
With this eminent quantity of ketone bodies swimming around the bloodstream, you’ll achieve nutritional ketosis.
What is ketosis?
Well, before you can completely understand ketosis, we need to cover some of the simple facts.
The primary source of the energy you receive, which fuels your brain and body, is from glucose.
So, food like bread, sugar, fruits, beans, starchy vegetables and grains all contain glucose.
When your body, for whatever reason, doesn’t have enough glucose in it to convert to energy, it will magically turn to alternative resources – your fat stores.
We’re always so amazed at what our body can do
When this process occurs, things which we call ‘ketones’ are formed, and your body can use them as fuel. Amazing.
This is called ketosis. It’s the change in the body which makes the keto diet so appealing to so many people.
When people are fasting, they also achieve ketosis. However, you can’t fast forever, and that isn’t necessarily healthy, either.
Basically, ketones are produced if your diet has a deficient carb intake.
It also recommends that your diet is low in protein, as this can also be converted to blood sugar.
Ketones are produced from the liver and serve as a great fuels source.
When you switch over to a ketogenic diet, your whole-body switches with it.
Before you would be running on glucose, and now you’re running on fat. In turn, you’re burning fat 24-7, which makes it super powerful.
As well as shedding unwanted pounds, you’ll also feel less hungry throughout the day, and have a steady supply of energy. No more energy crashes half way through the day.
Before you read on, it’s important to point out that, although extremely safe for the majority, there are a few exceptions. These are:
- People taking medication for diabetes
- People who are breastfeeding
- People who are taking medication for high blood pressure.
If you have any worries or concerns, please raise them with a doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Positives of the Keto Diet
It all sounds a little scary right now, we know, but this diet has so many benefits to your health. Here they are.
1. Metabolic flexibility
This looks a little weird, we know, but it’s actually super cool.
Comparing it to any other diet, your body will still run off glucose for energy. However, on the Keto Diet, your body interchangeably uses both. It’s flexible in every sense of the word. Your body will quite literally gain a little superpower. That’s should convince you easily.
What this means, in a practical sense, somebody on this diet can switch between fat and carbs with no side effects.
In comparison to somebody who suddenly cuts out carbs – they’ll have bad mood swings and low energy. Not pretty.
2. Burns a lot of fat
Perhaps you want to lose a bit of your tummy, or just any unwanted weight, the Keto Diet will help you do this. Your cells are running on stored fat, and in fact, when practiced correctly, your body will be burning fat 24/7. Combined with exercise, you could reach your weight loss goals in record time.
3. Keeps your blood sugar low
High blood sugar levels are never a good thing.
You probably already know that, though. However, what most people don’t realize is that insulin sensitivity helps with losing weight too.
In fact, it is sometimes necessary. Keeping your blood sugar low will make the entire diet tonnes easier.
4. Improves exercise performance
Did you know that bodybuilders and athletes go on the keto diet, just to improve their performance?
The first couple of weeks might be a struggle, but that’s just because we’ve become to be addicted to processed carbs, trans fats, and sugar.
Keto diet plan for beginners
Below, we’ve put together a simple guide on what you can enjoy on a ketogenic diet.
Feel free to steal this for your next shopping trip.
Keto shopping list
- Natural fats: butter, olive oil, coconut oil, cream, etc
- Seafood: Salmon, crabs, shrimp, sardines, and mackerel are amongst the best.
- Low carb vegetables: We say low carb vegetables are some starchy vegetables like, say, potatoes or beets, can push you way over your carb limit for the day. Squash, cauliflower, zucchini, and celery are our favorites.
- Fresh meat and poultry: Try to get the grass-fed meat, as it will make a difference.
- Plain Greek Yoghurt
- Nuts and seeds: Some nuts and seeds do have higher carb counts. We recommend Chia Seeds, Pecans, Brazil Nuts, and Flaxseeds.
- Berries: A lot of fruits are actually too high in carbs for the keto diet. This is why we recommend blackberries and strawberries.
- Shirataki Noodles. Shirataki noodles are very low in carbohydrates. In support of this, they contain less than 1 gram of carbs per serving.
- Coffee and Tea without sugar
- Dark chocolate
You might be surprised by just how much choice you have to.
A lot of diets can be restrictive, and unrealistic. The Keto Diet is doable for everybody.
Keto Diet menu example
Okay, so you’ve gone to the shop and bought all the keto ingredients.
However, you have no idea what you can turn it all into?
Below, we’ve created a little make-shift menu.
We’d like to think this would be our menu if we ever opened a keto cafe.
- Grass-fed beef burger, mushrooms for buns, avocado, and leafy greens.
- Pork chops cooked in coconut oil, with green beans
- Grilled salmon, spinach, and broccoli cooked in coconut oil.
- Tuna Salad
- Cauliflower rice with grass-fed steak and avocado
- Cheesy broccoli with grass-fed steak
- Mushroom bunned salmon burgers, with a topping of pesto
- Meatballs created from grass-fed beef. Served with zucchini noodles and cheese.
- Chicken curry with coconut rice, fried in coconut oil
- Salad with hard boiled eggs, cheese, turkey and avocado with pesto topping.
Don’t all of these sound mouth-watering?
Use this ketogenic diet menu for weight loss, and you’ll see results.
Keto Diet menu for vegetarians
Okay, what about all our vegetarian friends?
We have you covered. Here’s out keto diet menu list, for vegetarians.
- Fried cheese with roasted peppers and cauliflower rice
- Avocado pie
- Mushroom and Cheese Frittata
- Spinach and goat cheese pie
- Goat cheese salad, topped with pesto and balsamic butter
- Grilled veggies
- Cheese and mushroom frittata
As a vegetarian, you’ll already be creative with your food. Take a look into your keto ingredients, and see what you can conjure up.
The keto diet prides itself on being non-restrictive, and fun. Make it your own.
We’d love to see some of your recipes, by the way. Please, share them in the comment section.
Ketogenic diet menu for vegans
Okay, we noticed that a lot of our food contained cheese.
Well, what about vegans that want to practice the beauty of the keto diet?
We haven’t forgotten about you, don’t worry. Here is our keto diet menu list for vegans.
You want to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrition you need, so, focus on healthy high-in-fat, low in carb foods.
Here’s our vegan keto menu:
- Vegan cream with vegetable soup
- Cauliflower rice with tofu fried in coconut oil
- Zucchini noodles with vegan cheese and pesto
- Coconut and cauliflower soup
- Tofu curry
- Eggplant lasagna and vegan cheese
- Tofu salad with avocado dressing
- Salad with vegetables, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and avocado
Be inventive, check your vegan alternatives to see how many carbs they have, and make delicious food.
The possibilities are endless. That’s what makes the keto diet so great. It’s accessible to everybody, regardless of lifestyle or dietary restrictions.
Keto diet ideas for breakfast
We’re firm believers that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
However, if you can’t have toast, what exactly can you have? Well, there’s lots to choose from.
We decided to put this in a whole point of its own because they can be adapted into lunches and dinners too.
- Mushroom omelet
- Eggs with asparagus
- Greek or coconut yogurt topped with berries, nuts, and seeds.
- Tofu scramble with avocado
- Scrambled eggs with avocado
- Porridge from chia seeds and shredded coconut
- For the beverages, we propose delicious morning coffee with some MCT oil.
As we said, the keto diet will feel completely natural.
Start your day right, with a healthy breakfast that will keep you on track for the rest of the day.
Keto diet menu – what not to eat
Sometimes it’s easier to say what you shouldn’t eat, rather than should.
This way, you know exactly what foods you should be avoiding, and your kitchen cupboards can be a safe space.
First and foremost you should be avoiding sugar.
Now, be careful because it can be disguised in ingredients.
Corn syrup and fructose syrup are the main ones. It’s how manufacturers attempt to trick us into buying sugar-free foods.
Don’t fall for it.
Follow the Complete List of Names for Sugar to find all the random names that sugar might just be called on your packaged food.
You should also be avoiding starch.
Wheat and corn are significant producers of this, as well as potatoes, and rice.
You’ll also find it in couscous, lentils, soy, and plantain.
Don’t worry; you can still bake well without grains.
Coconut flour and almond flour work just as well and add extra flavor to your baking.
Trans fats are a big no-no with the keto diet too.
- vegetable oils,
You might not think this will affect you majorly, but you might be surprised.
Refined vegetable oils are in many products, which is why you’ll have to start cooking more home-cooked, fresh meals for yourself. Your body will thank you.
You also might think that sugar replacements will be okay to try out, but unfortunately not.
Try to keep these natural and artificial sweeteners at a low. This will ensure a keto diet that runs smoothly.
The good news is – that’s it.
Doesn’t the list of what you can eat seem so much bigger and better now?
Keto diet and exercises
Combining the keto diet with exercise?
Combining aerobic exercise with the keto diet can be really beneficial. It can help increase fat oxidation.
Basically, it helps to burn more fat. What exercises should you do? Don’t even sweat it (or do in this case) we have some really great examples.
Aerobic exercises – this is probably the best type of exercise.
Things like cardio and jogging. It’s low-intensity, long duration and burns fat like crazy. It really is perfect.
Weight lifting for example. These are short duration, but high-intensity exercises.
These types of activities burn carbs and create a body which is more toned and has more muscle. So, it just depends on what you’re aiming for with your exercises.
You can also attempt a few stability exercises; this will help train your core and improve your balance.
Relax your mind and body with yoga. You might not think of this as an exercise which helps you lose weight, but it is. It’ll also make you super at peace, which might help with the chip withdrawal.
Don’t forget. If you exercise intensely a few times a week, you will need to adjust your carb intake accordingly.
Sticking to the standard keto diet just wouldn’t provide you with the energy that you need.
As a rule of thumb, we’d say eat 15-30 grams of fast-acting carbs like, say, fruit, and after your workout. Make sure to do this within 30 minutes. Doing this will ensure that you provide your body with enough glycogen to perform well during your exercise. It’ll also prevent the risk of you leaving ketosis.
Things to be aware of when trying the keto diet
The keto diet, like with every other diet, does have its side effects. Especially since you’re cutting down on something which you’ve depended on your entire life.
There are some side-effects, and they aren’t the prettiest.
Here they are:
- Frequent urination
- Dizziness and drowsiness – to avoid this eat potassium-rich foods like broccoli, avocados, and meat. Why not try a smoothie?
- Low blood sugar
- Cravings – stick it out. You’ll eventually stop having them.
- Brain fog
- Muscle cramps, especially leg cramps. Drink lots of water to avoid this.
- Heart palpitations
- Sleep issues – Try having a keto snack before you go to bed to avoid this. It could be being caused by your insulin levels being low.
Don’t worry; these side effects won’t last long. We just felt it necessary to mention them, so, you don’t get worried and quit before the weight loss can even begin.
If you’re struggling with any of these things, and they seem to be lasting, the last resort could be to increase the number of carbs that you have. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all.
The Bottom Line
Above all, just do your best. We’ve reiterated throughout that the keto diet isn’t restrictive, and it certainly shouldn’t feel that way.
Just have a little bit of fun, and listen to your body throughout.
Remember, this is your diet and your body.
Create recipes that make you excited, exercise when you feel like it, and make sure that you’re not putting yourself at risk.