The ketogenic diet method, or “keto diets” as some call them in short, is a form of dieting which involve taking in less and very low carbohydrates, so your body uses the other naturally consumed source known as ketones to help your body with various issues. No matter whether you are simply wanting to lose weight, help your body prevent itself from contracting diseases, increase your energy levels, and endurance levels, the keto diets can help tackle these common problems that most people have. It has even been known to combat and help prevent Alzheimer’s and cancer in some people. Whether the keto diet you choose is for short or long term, both forms have increased beneficial values as compared to other forms of dieting, yet the most common mistake is that people don’t prepare themselves enough for a keto diet before actually performing them. In this article, we’re going to help you better understand a way to prepare yourself for a keto diet.
The First Preparations
The main thing to realize is that you will be trying to achieve ketosis – a state where your body is trying to stop using carbohydrates to make your body create glucose for itself, and instead use ketones by burning fat for more energy. Once you get to that state, you’ll start to feel the amazing results that come with it.
First, you need to understand macronutrients, your body’s carbohydrate needs (these diets vary from person to person, with many underlying factors being present). If you don’t do this, you won’t get enough carbohydrates and other macronutrients that you need in order to perform your normal day to day routines properly without losing energy and crashing, or becoming fatigued. There are many keto calculators and macronutrient calculators on the internet that can help achieve this first step of planning.
You will also be thriving on more supplemental electrolytes and hydration. Therefore, drinking plenty of fluids is necessary. Of course you’ll have to use the restroom more often, as this is common. Believe it or not, even the military uses hydration as a tool for a filtering and detoxifying mechanism, and they force electrolyte supplements (primarily Powerade) down your throat at every meal.
Why are electrolytes and hydration important? Because when your body is working to achieve a state of ketosis, you are losing both water and electrolytes at what would normally be an alarming rate, as well as all of the “macronutrients” that come with it that help your body’s muscles and other organs. Many keto diets implement light exercise, fasting, adding more natural fats (unsaturated, polyunsaturated fats primarily, and a dose of healthy saturated fats) to make your body adjust easier without causing a crash.
Top Way To Get Your Healthy Fats
There are numerous ways to get your healthy amount of fats and fatty acids you need in order to achieve this state of ketosis. While it’s easy to go overboard and fall into the habit of convenience, a lot of times these foods which are processed can cause more problems and weight gain , high cholesterol, and more, when you should be trying to achieve the opposite. Here’s a healthy fats checklist:
- Stick with healthy organic (grass-fed) meats and proteins (such as from organs like livers, etc.)
- Make sure your sea-food you ingest is wild, or not heavily processed with preservatives. Yes, it’s okay to buy a large bag of tilapia filets if you don’t like the idea of getting wild fish to eat. However, you don’t want to get things such as “fried catfish nuggets” to use as a supplement, or breaded sea-food.
- Get organic butter, or naturally made butter. Things like this may be harder to get on the market, so you may need to eliminate this altogether, or depending on your area, search your market for stores such as Amish or native stores where you can get naturally made butter or alternatives.
- Ghee butter (a special butter which originated in India eons ago, and is still used today).
- Eggs – If you can at all help it, try to ensure that you are getting farm fresh eggs. If that is not available, substitute them for store bought eggs, but see if you can find organic eggs from chickens that are raised properly, not just on grain feed farms.
- Coconut Oil and other forms – Coconut oil is extremely healthy for you. Both externally and internally, it can help your body in many ways, aside from just giving you the extra fatty acids you need.
- While you can buy MCT Oil and the powder (which is a short way of saying medium chain triglyerides, which are fatty acids). These are normally derived from coconut oil (and are a lot more expensive), so you may just want to opt for coconut oil and other means.
- Some people swear by cacao oil. However, there are those that simply don’t like the flavor it gives their food also. This is entirely up to you.
This list of protein contains natural anti-oxidants, macronutrients, and have more fatty acids, vitamins to help cell regeneration and more.
- Grass-fed beef (yes, it helps on more than one plane to eat this type of meat).
- Dark meat from poultry.
- Pork chops, bacon, ham (Yes, you can eat bacon and ham on a keto diet, just not excess amounts).
- Various forms of fish which contain high amounts of Omega-3 acids (From tuna, to mahi mahi, and even tilapia and swai, the list could go on and on because fish is just plain good for you)
- You can eat organs such as beef liver and onions, chicken liver, gizzards, hearts, even brain (even though it sounds gross, it can be delicious when fried if you don’t know what your eating).
- As mentioned above, eggs (don’t just stick with the whites, but utilize the yokes as well).
- Dairy from pastured animals. This applies to many cheeses as well.
Carbohydrates… Wait, What?
You should still consume carbohydrates when you are preparing yourself for ketosis, because well, your body needs to actually take the time to adapt to changing its cycle, not eliminate carbohydrates completely. Your body is still primarily feeding itself through gluconeogenesis (a.k.a. GNG), which is a necessary way your body converts lactic acids and fatty acids and healthy sugars into glucose for your body.
- Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables. While kale is on the market, it’s understandable that many people actually don’t like it. You can eat spinach, bok choy, romaine lettuce (the scare is over people), collard greens, and even other natural leafy greens (from dandelion greens to plantain, which can be found in your own back yard).
- Cabbage or Raddichio
- You can eat brussel sprouds which have a high amount of nutrients and are a good form of healthy carbohydrates
- Various forms of squash and zucchini
- Shoots of asparagus, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and more
- You can use fresh mushrooms (if you cook them, do it from fresh rather than from canned mushrooms for less sodium)
- You can have berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries
- avocados (which are actually a fruit), olives, coconut
- Various forms of tree nuts
With these foods, you are consuming not only a healthy minimal amount of carbohydrates, while also increasing your fiber intake, as well as have more vitamins and macronutrients than those which are processed and over-indulged (citrus fruits are actually very high in citric acid, which is one of the few primary 3 contributers to GNG… which while you need to keep it somewhat active, the whole point is actually to ensure that you can achieve ketosis and lower the GNG rate in your body so you can lose weight, gain healthy lean muscle, and feel better overall).
Keto Diet for the First Week
There are plenty of keto diets that you can follow for beginners which provide your body with all of the low carbohydrates to transition yourself into ketosis, but still ensure that you get the proper amounts and nutrients you need. One of the common misconceptions that some “keto activists” say is to not eat protein so much. Remember, this is false, and that’s why many people fail. You HAVE to have a high enough amount of protein in order to not lose muscle mass and cause tissue damage to your body and brain.
You’ll want to ensure that you get many of the listed-above fruits that can help your body the most during the start of your keto diet. These items should be used a lot, as well as buying items such as sesame seeds, chia and flax seeds, baking powder and baking soda, almond milk, and more (when it comes to baking, remember you’ll be making everything from scratch on a “health nut” low-carb account. No more high calorie and carb chocolate chip cookies).
You also want to get as many herbs and spices in order to flavor your food, because let’s face it – diet food can be totally bland. There are plenty of great herbs and spices to get, but you want to get them as un-processed as possible. Why we love the idea of a good “steak rub”, a lot of times when you buy these processed and pre-packaged products, they contain monosodium glutamate, a natural salt that is extracted from glutamic acid and is highly processed. You’ll want many of your seasonings to be individual.
Lean organic and grass-fed meats with plenty of fatty acids to help your body transition from GNG to ketosis faster. While some lists tell you to “minimize protein intake” and actually give you a small amount of protein, other lists will tell you to eat more. Protein is really independent, it’s the type of protein that’s important.
Be sure to buy various types of cheeses. You don’t have to buy them all, but various recipes you cook will contain different types of dairy products in small amounts. Be sure to grab them all to get a good well-balanced mix. Along with this, be sure to also get plenty of various oils, certain condiments that can help to enhance your food, and if you wish, you can even buy supplements to add into your foods (although these are not necessary).
When it comes to fruits, try to limit your actual consumption, but buy plenty of fruits and various vegetables that are on the list of healthy vegetables above, so you can feed your body the micronutrients (also known as “nutrients” when it comes to labels). These come in forms such as iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and many many more. You want to make sure that your body is getting the fullest amount of vitamins and nutrients to kickstart the ketosis process, while adding your nutrition to better your health, longevity, and overall well-being.
For extra electrolyte beverages, there are many out there, and most options have sugar free alternatives which help in the process of ketosis. Such beverages that some recommend are Powerade, Crystal Light, Gatorade, various electrolyte filled waters, Pedialyte, and Propel (which is actually a common favorite among most people with Powerade). You must make sure that this is not the only thing you drink though, and ensure that you are drinking plenty of water – approximately 1 gallon per day to be exact. There is a rule that you should drink 8 – 8oz glasses of water per day, and this still applies. While some will say to drink less than that, science and medicine have proven otherwise. You can even drink more depending on your activity levels and how fast you lose water.
There are numerous guides out there, as well as resources. Be sure to fully utilize websites such as Pinterest, as well as do plenty of research before starting a Keto diet. In this article, we’ve described such items so you would have a better general idea of what types of items you want to add to your “keto repertoire”. We’ve also tried to explain the purpose of a keto diet in some detail, because there are many people, including current keto dieters out there who are having issues when it comes to achieving their goals, maintaining functional consistency, as well as even having flu like symptoms (fatigue, nausea, cold like symptoms, and muscle loss) when all of this is completely avoidable if the diets are properly done.
Does this mean that you have to spend a ton of money on supplements and food? No. Many popular grocery stores in various locations actually have organic products, and some even have an entire section where there is nothing but “organic” foods that can help the keto dieter. And remember to shop around when it comes to trying to find products to help you in your keto diet, as there are not only sources online, but depending on your location there are what is generally called “health food stores”, which usually contain nothing but organic foods, spices, and more. There are even stores that grow their very own herbs and spices that you can simply cut and pull yourself (such as parsley or garlic), and then you simply have to rinse them off once you’re home.
Does this mean you can’t enjoy real food? Absolutely not. A keto diet is not for everyone, and every keto diet is not for just anyone either. When looking to start a keto diet, one has to remember that the type of keto diet they need to start is entirely based on their individual self. There are many factors that come into play such as weight, health, diseases they may currently have (a diabetic that wants to do a keto diet has to do things completely different for example because they have problems with glucose and insulin production compared to the normal person), activity levels (someone who is very active may not need the same type of keto diet as someone who spends most of their days sitting at a desk job, or just sitting in general), a person’s height, body build, body mass index, amount of fat, other health conditions, and many other factors – the list could really go on and on.
Does this mean that anyone can utilize a keto diet? That answer is also unfortunately no. There are some people who just can’t handle a keto diet. Certain medications have been found (especially regulatory blood pressure medications) to actually cause problems if someone is taking them and they start a keto diet, simply because a keto diet will make drastic changes to blood pressure, and blood sugars.
Other forms of medication that require special monitoring are mood stabilizers, stimulants for patients with ADD, antidepressants, products such as Lithium, etc. The reason being is that the keto diet generally makes your body get rid of extra water during the first few days. When you are dehydrating, many of these types of medications can actually have adverse affects, as it can cause the medicine to actually grow stronger in the blood-stream rather than dilute it, and there is a fine line between over-hydration and hydrating, so you can’t overstep that.