A short and easy to read guide of the keto diet. Everything you need to know to start keto, how to eat keto, and why you should start keto.
So you’re thinking about starting keto? You’re probably wondering exactly what it IS, how people don’t eat carbs, and how on earth to get started. That’s exactly how I felt when I first heard about keto. Just know you’re not alone.
This post will highlight all the major bullet points of keto. I’ll also suggest resources that have helped me along the way. Keto is actually a very simple concept when broken down but it is so foreign to our traditional North American (I’m looking at you too, Canada) diets that it can be hard for our brains to process.
what is keto?
First thing to know, keto is short for ketogenic. A ketogenic diet consists of low carb-high fat-moderate protein meals. The goal on a ketogenic diet is to keep your body in the natural state of nutritional ketosis.
Nutritional ketosis is a process by which the body burns FAT for fuel instead of glucose. Glucose is consumed in many forms (sugar, protein, and carbohydrates) that all break down into glucose. When your body learns to burn fat for energy, one result is weight loss! Another result is the production of ketones in the liver. These ketones give you energy!
It’s important to note that keto is a lifestyle and not a diet. Much like diabetics who avoid sugar or Celiac patients who avoid gluten, keto is about avoiding carbs.
The majority of carbohydrates come in the form of processed foods (cereals, breads, pastas, sauces, sugary foods, sodas, etc.). These foods have little to zero nutritional value, even though they might taste delicious. Most people have heard the correlation between sugar and cocaine. It is said that sugar is more addictive to humans than cocaine!
Think about the last time you felt like you had a “sugar crash”. Did you experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, or irritability? Doctors call that withdrawal. Much like drugs, sugar has the same effect on our bodies.
So, when you switch to a ketogenic diet, you stop feeding your body extraneous sugar and carbs. The result is nutritional ketosis and healthful bliss!
what can you eat on keto?
Eating keto is much tastier than it sounds! Replacing carbs with fat is easy and I’ll show you how!
Before keto, you might eat a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and a cup of coffee with cream and two sugars.
On keto, you omit the biscuit and sugar. Replace the sugar with a natural sweetener (such as erythritol, Stevia, Monk fruit, etc.). Instead of a biscuit, make a batch of these Keto Bagels to use for breakfast sandwiches.
In the standard American diet, the average person eats 225g-325g of carbohydrates PER DAY!
On a ketogenic diet, the recommended amount of carbohydrates per day is 20g or less (or 5% of your daily caloric intake)! Talk about a huge difference!
The majority of your meals will come from high fat foods. No, not Twinkies and Ho-Ho’s. Think along the lines of eggs, heavy cream, cheeses, bacon, fatty meats, avocados, nuts, low carb vegetables.
Before keto, you might order chicken fingers, french fries, a side salad with croutons and ranch, and a sweet tea.
Before keto, you might want a slice of cake with a scoop of ice cream after dinner.
On keto you could make this Dairy Free Chocolate Cake and some fresh whipped cream. If this doesn’t look decadent, I don’t know what does!
Before keto, you might have 3 soft tacos with refried beans and rice and a margarita.
So, as you can see, keto-friendly foods can be just as delicious and satisfying as their unhealthy counterparts. Yes, you’re eliminating refined sugar, processed foods, grains, pastas, and most fruits but you’re gaining so much in return!
You’ll be surprised how much you DON’T miss them after eliminating those foods for just a week! Believe it or not, once you are in ketosis, you won’t even crave all of the foods you used to.
Once you’ve detoxed from sugar, you’ll have a feeling of purity that you didn’t even know existed!
why should you eat keto?
Other than the fact that processed foods are bad for you, eating low carb has a plethora of positive side effects.
No. 1– Fat Adapation
Most of us have extra fat on our bodies. Why not let your body work FOR YOU and burn fat cells that are already stored up in your body for energy instead of feeding it excess?
When you become fat adapted (that just means you are burning fat for fuel), your body will use up the fat cells already in your body FIRST before saving new ones. This is why so many people see amazing weight loss results eating keto!
No. 2– Mental clarity, reduced anxiety, and depression.
Many people on low carb diets attest to feeling better mentally as well as physically. Some people are able to stop taking anti-depressants after successful low-carb eating.
Personally, I can faithfully admit that I have less brain fog and bouts of depression than I did before eating low carb. My mood swings are virtually non-existent and my overall happiness has rebounded.
No. 3– Managing of chronic illnesses, reduced or eliminated inflammation, and overall better health.
To use my husband as an example, after 60 days on keto his cholesterol dropped from 220 to 110, HDL (good) went up from 36 to 66, LDL (bad) down from 184 to 44, and triglycerides down from 308 to 124!
He has been on a staten since he was 28 years old. Now in his 30’s, he will be able to completely eliminate the medication from his diet. My husband also suffers from *severe* acid reflux and has noticed a significant reduction in his pain and flare ups.
Low carb diets are also known to help women who suffer from PCOS, infertility, and gynecologic issues. People with auto-immune diseases have been able to significantly reduce their symptoms as well.
**For more research on these issues, visit www.healthfulpursuit.com and www.ketogenic.com. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new diet regimen.**
No. 4– Freedom from unhealthy relationships with food.
You will no longer feel like a slave to food after adapting to a ketogenic diet. When you learn how to fuel your body efficiently, you will find that food does not become your enemy any longer.
Your relationship with food will turn from one of food for comfort to food for nutrition. I can go to birthday parties without eating cake. I can take my kids to get pizza without feeling like I’m “missing out”. Our family time doesn’t revolve around food anymore. Instead, we spend time making memories.
As someone who used food for comfort, celebration, and recreation, I can attest that I no longer feel like a slave to my bad habits.
No. 5– Because it’s awesome!!!
If I could bottle up how clean your body will feel, how much better you will sleep, how much happier you will be eliminating carbohydrates and sugar from your diet, I’d be a rich woman! By eating clean, nutrient rich, God provided foods, your body is going to thank you abundantly.
make the switch
Common sense tells us that foods from nature, in their purest form, are the most beneficial to us so why continue to stuff it with rice, pasta, bread, cookies, donuts, ice cream, and candy?
If you’re serious about starting the ketogenic diet, I HIGHLY recommend you read The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel. Every person that contacts me for advice is told to read this book first! It is that good!
If you have any questions about keto, I’m happy to help answer them the best way I know how. And if I can’t answer them, I’ll point you in the right direction! Just shoot me an email on my contact page.