This week we’re introducing a slight fast. We’re going to get full on fats in the morning and fast all the way until dinner time. Not only are there a myriad of health benefits to this, it’s also easier on our eating schedule (and cooking schedule). I suggest eating (rather, drinking) your breakfast at 7am and then eating dinner at 7pm. Keeping 12 hours between your 2 meals. This will help put your body into a fasted state.
“The cleaner, the better when it comes to the keto diet,” says Jadin. Focus on “whole” and “unprocessed.” Also, strive for a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats for balance. Note: Tipping the scale toward too much protein is a common pitfall many people make on the keto diet. Mind your protein intake, since too much can kick you out of ketosis, says Jadin.
If you’re not sure after your initial test, explore other healthy diets such as clean eating and always have in mind that your number 1 goal should be to avoid overly processed foods (keeping this definition fairly broad of course, as we live in the 21st century and have to adapt to modern age as well, where hardly any of us have time to spend 12 hours a day evolving around food production, gathering and cooking).
Researchers believe that the ketogenic diet can also help patients with schizophrenia to normalize the pathophysiological processes that are causing symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, lack of restraint and unpredictable behavior. One study found that the keto diet lead to elevated concentrations of kynurenic acid (KYNA) in the hippocampus and striatum, which promotes neuroactive activity. Some studies even point to the elimination of gluten as a possible reason for improved symptoms, as researchers observed that patients with schizophrenia tended to eat more carbohydrates immediately before a psychotic episode. (19)
So sorry to hear about that Marie! I have found that eliminating grains, especially corn and wheat makes a big difference for me and how my joints feel. If I start indulging, not only do I gain weight and get very bloated, but within a few days my tendonitis returns and my joints (especially my fingers and hips for some reason) start to really ache again. If you haven’t already cut out all grains, you might try experimenting with it for a couple of weeks to see if that gives you further relief!
Keep an eye on your intake for nut or seed based foods, as they can be quite high in inflammatory omega 6’s. These include items like almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower oil and corn oil. Eating fatty fish and animal meat, keeping snacking to a minimum, and not over-indulging in dessert items that are dense in almond flour is usually enough to keep your omega’s at normal ranges.
Carol- so sorry to hear about your stroke. I am not sure most doctors would approve of this diet due to most not being taught much on nutrition in med school, and most still believe in the old school high carb low fat way of eating. My experience has been a dramatic drop in my blood pressure in only a few weeks after starting this diet (172/105 down to 144/95!). I suggest giving it a trial of a few months to see how it may work for you.
Jimmy, your newsletters are terrific, very helpful & informative. I am Type 2 diabetic & for 6 mos have been on an eating lifestyle of low carb/mod protein/hi fat. In 6 mos I lost 48 # and bg went from 340 to a daily average of between 80 and 99. I don’t understand ketones very well. How do you measure ketones so accurately? Is it a special meter? What is the goal with measuring ketones? What do you “feel” that is so special or what happens when your ketones are optimal?
Natural fat, high-fat sauces – Most of the calories on a keto diet should come from fat. You’ll likely get much of it from natural sources like meat, fish, eggs etc. But also use fat in cooking, like butter or coconut fat, and add plenty of olive oil to salads etc. You can also eat delicious high-fat sauces including Bearnaise sauce etc., or garlic butter (recipes).
Those of you who may be new to what they call “keto flu” might panic, thinking your death is imminent. I can assure you that it is highly unlikely that you will die from sugar/carb withdrawal – but just to be sure it’s always wise to consult your doctor before you embark on any new eating plan, or if something feels truly off it’s better to be safe than sorry – seek medical attention if you feel it’s necessary. Most symptoms can be alleviated by supplementing and drinking enough water (see #3 and >4.)
I am SO very thankful that I found your post because it answered so many questions, especially the whole uterus part. I was a little freaked! lol … I am new to Keto and I must say that I have been a little frustrated because I started this new keto lifestyle since the second week of February and I’ve been loosing and gaining the same freakin 5 lbs! I now realize that I have been overthinking the whole change and overwhelming myself. Thank you for all the great information and meal plans :)
Cheese is one of my favorite foods. Sadly, most people think Velveeta and American cheese are cheese. Nope! Not even close. They are highly-processed, cheese-like products that you really don’t want to eat, no matter how low the carb counts might be. Hard cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Swiss are better choices. Find the ones that you enjoy, and be sure to buy the full-fat versions. Selecting low-fat cheeses defeats the purpose, and won’t help you reach nutritional ketosis. Cheese is so versatile! Put on top of just about anything, or eat us all by itself. I’ve even found that spreading cream cheese (see below) between two slices of cheddar cheese is an excellent high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb snack. I’ve also found cheese adds the perfect extra ration of protein on days that I lift weights at the gym. Can you tell I love my cheese?
As for branched-chain amino acids, you'll find smart people who swear that they're keto-friendly, and others who don't. One of the BCAAs, valine, can be glucogenic, meaning that it can lead to glucose production and potentially contribute to leaving ketosis behind. But does that mean it will happen? Not necessarily, particularly if you're just an occasional supplement user.
Thanks for the reply, Jimmy, but I’m not sure you understood what I was asking. What I’m trying to understand is how you keep your total protein level for the day at moderate when many of the high fat foods you eat daily are also high in protein? Doesn’t that mean you’re eating high protein too? This is where I’m confused — how to eat high fat without over eating protein since many of the fats mentioned are also proteins.
If you’re a newbie planning your weekly keto diet menu, make the meals as easy as possible. A keto breakfast, for example, can take advantage of many classic breakfast foods, including eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham. Eggs are real winners in the keto world. They’re extremely versatile, easy to cook, and have just half a gram of carbs but 6 g of protein and 5 g of fat.
That doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry on a diet. It’s quite the opposite! You’re not starving yourself of calories but of carbohydrates. Your body won’t go into what’s known as starvation mode, which is where your metabolic rate drops considerably. You’re adding more fat to the diet and taking out the carbs, so the metabolism can still work, and you get the energy you need.
Doing a 1:1 substitution would probably change the macros too much but that doesn’t mean that you have to eat dairy to eat a ketogenic diet. If you want to use the meal plan you’d have to adjust it with other sources of fat so that you match the macros. It will require a little work (I recommend using an online diary like MyFitnessPal for support) but you’ll end up with a plan that works for you and your needs
This plan is very high on protein. I’ve learned that high healthy fat is what’s needed, not high protein.. as I am now kicked out of ketosis due to high protein intake (insulin’s fault). Given the fact i didn’t eat a bowl of salad per day (my tummy doesn’t digest salad well at all – i get bloated), but i do eat broccoli (i don’t get bloated from those strangely enough), cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms… tomatoes (rarely, though). So, my question is… are you in ketosis following the menu you’ve presented? I’m 5 months into Keto and the last 3 weeks i am not in ketosis. My carb intake is 20-30g… but my protein is pretty high.
First, a little background: Eric Westman, MD, director of the Duke Lifestyle Medical Clinic, explained to Health in a previous interview that in order to successfully follow the keto diet, you need to eat moderate amounts of protein, reduce your carb intake, and increase fats. When you reduce your carb consumption, your body turns to stored fat as its new fuel source—a process called ketosis. To stay in ketosis, followers of the keto diet must limit their carbs to 50 grams a day, Dr. Westman says.
I too started Atkins years ago- back in the ‘80’s. I did well as long as i stuck to it. But, it’s a tough road and restaurants and snack food companies are not very low carb friendly. It’s all too easy for me to grab something quick & the donuts in the break room do me in everytime!!! I read your post this morning & It inspired me. I also am 57 and have been discouraged lately with my weight and lack of ability to stay away from carbs. But, I am going at it again – and this time with a vengeance. Thanks again for your post – very inspiring & appreciated. By the way – I found that Mellissa’s website the best for keto. Her recipes are simply delicious and not over complicated or time consuming. She also has a great sense of humor. It’s nice to know she goes through the same trials we do – and what it’s like to mess up !! !!. Thank you Mellissa for your articles, recipes, humor and your perseverance!!
This shopping list and meal plan can be heavily substituted to meet your needs. The first thing you’ll want to do is scan it over and make sure you like eating all of the foods listed here. Eating delicious foods is a big part of adhering to a diet long term! If there is a particular item you can’t stand just do a bit of research and find a substitution. Just make sure the item you decide to substitute in is similar in nutrition to the one you’re eliminating. This can be done with a quick google search or by using a website like My Fitness Pal.
Hi James, One of the best things about a low carb or keto diet is you probably won’t be hungry. It’s a very satiating lifestyle. As for calories, they still matter, but whether you need to count or not varies from person to person. Some people succeed by just eating low carb or keto foods, others need to be more strict and count. If you want to find out the right amounts for you, check the macro calculator.
Clinical improvement was observed in Alzheimer’s patients fed a ketogenic diet, and this was marked by improved mitochondrial function. (15) In fact, a European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study pointed to emerging data that suggested the therapeutic use of ketogenic diets for multiple neurological disorders beyond epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, including headaches, neurotrauma, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, brain cancer, autism and multiple sclerosis. (16)
I skip the enormous sections of fat-reduced milk, flavoured yogurt and juice and go right on to the produce section. No more need for potatoes, yams, oranges, apples, bananas and other fruit which used to fill my cart. I now stock up instead on avocadoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, zucchini, scallions, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. I get most of my salad greens and herbs from my own backyard veggie garden — I specialize in kale! — but if my own varieties are low, I’ll top up with something green and leafy.
The only way you can know how you respond to dairy is by slowly adding it to your meals. If you eat dairy and don’t notice any issues, you will probably be okay using dairy as a great source of fat. If however, you find that after eating yogurt or cheese you feel bloated, have cramps, get diarrhea or start vomiting, you will want to eliminate dairy until you figure out the cause. In some cases, people who were previously lactose intolerant have been able to add dairy into their diets after eliminating carbs, so you just never know. Food allergies are a tricky thing.
Those who are interested to have a powerful and an effective approach for weight loss should consider keto diet plan. It is a very successful weight loss program available for those looking to shed extra weight in a short duration of time. Keto diet plan primarily tricks your body into making use of the body fat as the main source of energy instead of using carbohydrates. This is an ultimate review and a guide that will narrow down on the top five best keto diet plan 2018 reviews that you can adapt to your lifestyle.
As always, I’m late to the party. Thank you so much for this fantastic resource! I did this 6 years ago, lost 60 lbs. and maintained it for five years. But over the past year or so, my weight has gone up and down the same 18 lbs. To add insult to injury, I’m now borderline pre-diabetic (higher A1C than is healthy), my anxiety attacks have returned and so I’m on medication for that. It’s time to go back to what I know makes me feel better and get off the sugar and garbage once and for all.
Milk (only small amounts of raw, full-fat milk is allowed). Milk is not recommended for several reasons. Firstly, all the dairy products, milk is difficult to digest, as it lacks the "good" bacteria (eliminated through pasteurization) and may even contain hormones. Secondly, it is quite high in carbs (4-5 grams of carbs per 100 ml). For coffee and tea, replace milk with cream in reasonable amounts. You may have a small amount of raw milk but be aware of the extra carbs. Lastly, farmers in the United States use genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH). rBGH is injected to dairy cows to increase milk production. Opt for full-fat dairy labeled “NO rBGH”.
Just found this (link from All Day I Dream About Food on FB), but I’m on it! Starting 3-day kickstart today, then wil jump into week 1 and 2 meal plans. I just want to thank you for putting together something I can realistically follow, not confusing, and has everything I need to know all in one place! I have had a very similar low-carb gluten-free journey to what you describe, and knew that keto was going to be the solution. I had lots of info sources, but even more questions – and you answered them! Thank you, thank you – you ROCK!
So sorry to hear that! Be sure to read up on ketoacidosis also, it’s something that Diabetics in particular need to be aware of when on a ketogenic diet — get keto strips online or at your local CVS and make sure you’re only in the light purple stage – keep out of the deep purple. This may mean increasing carbs and definitely water. Side note: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on the internet. 🙂
To get the most benefit from the Keto diet, you should stay physically active. You might need to take it easier during the early ketosis period, especially if you feel fatigued or lightheaded. Walking, running, doing aerobics, weightlifting, training with kettlebells or whatever workout you prefer will boost your energy further. You can find books and online resources on how to adapt Keto meals or snacks for athletic training.
I’m also going to note that I consider this a diet for your introductory period, as I’ve always added berries and other things in after a couple of weeks with no bad effects. Your stomach shrinks so much that suddenly a couple strawberries are like eating a seven layer chocolate cake. If this is your first time hearing about the keto diet, learn more about it here.
The cyclical diet is another one that focuses on more carbs. This is more of a cycle—hence the name. You’ll get five days where you follow the standard diet and then two days where you get more carbs. This sort of diet could be perfect for those who struggle to stick to a plan or just know they wouldn’t be able to last without any potatoes, bread or pasta at all. Think of this like your 5:2 diet, where you get two days off.
Hi Melissa! I’ve been on track for 4 days now and have actually been feeling pretty good except for fatigue. I’ve been follwing the plan to a “T” but after 4 days I don’t think i’m in ketosis yet. Could some people take a few days longer than others? I’m going to test again in a couple days (or how often should you test? Does morning have more ketones than evening?) and hopefully I am up. Sometimes it is hard to read the strips but I know I am negative to minimal ketones at this point.
There are so many tricks, shortcuts, and gimmicks out there on achieving optimal ketosis – I’d suggest you don’t bother with any of that. Optimal ketosis can be accomplished through dietary nutrition alone (aka just eating food). You shouldn’t need a magic pill to do it. Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat (to make sure your carb and protein intake are correct).
Individuals with type-2 diabetes have especially found to have major health benefits from the consumption of this compound in foods like shirataki noodles. Although glucose levels elevated following a meal with glucomannan, studies show that insulin levels in type-2 diabetics is not significantly impacted. (36, 37) I use these shiratki noodles on a regular basis. This is one of the best foods to eat on a ketogenic diet.
Wondering how many carb foods you can eat and still be “in ketosis”? The traditional ketogenic diet, created for those with epilepsy consisted of getting about 75 percent of calories from sources of fat (such as oils or fattier cuts of meat), 5 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. For most people a less strict version (what I call a “modified keto diet”) can still help promote weight loss in a safe, and often very fast, way.
Hi Stacey, I can’t give medical advice and definitely recommend following your doctor’s recommendations. You can ask him/her if low carb would be better suited for you. Also, you may want to double check with him/her if the kidney concern was related to high protein, because that is a common misconception about keto – it is not a high protein diet/lifestyle.
The meal plan is designed to ensure you get three balanced, healthy meals a day that address fiber, satiation, and adequate protein intake. The greatest part of a ketogenic diet is the fact that it spares muscle loss, where a carb-based diet doesn’t. Weight lost in a high carb, calorie-restricted diet will often come both from muscle and fat, whereas with keto, you can burn fat without sacrificing muscle. This is referred to often as “body recomposition” and leaves you with a much more preferred physique after weight loss.
Our only complaint is that there are quite a few high protein recipes (although they generally all have a good fat ratio too) and we would love to see some other lower protein options for those that struggle with going over their protein limits. Which brings us to the meal plans that are provided in the book. While it is always nice to have your day planned out, we noticed that the days are quite high in calories and protein, with only one day under 1500 calories. For females looking to lose weight, these meal plans may not fit your needs depending on your activity level and body. Men may have a much easier time utilizing these meal plans.
Now is the time to forget the 1980s strategy of low-fat/reduced-fat/fat-free. When you're assembling your keto diet food stash, go full-fat. And don't stress over the dietary cholesterol content, a factor of how much animal protein you eat, suggests a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. For the healthiest blood cholesterol levels, instead focus on consuming a higher ratio of unsaturated fats (flaxseed, olive oil, nuts) to saturated fats (lard, red meat, palm oil, butter).
At the same time, you need to remember to increase the amount of fat that you eat. Also, it doesn’t mean a complete ban on carbs. You just need to reduce the amount that you eat to 15g or less per day. On average, we tend to eat around a third to a half more than that on a daily basis. Reducing carbs won’t be easy for some, which is why having delicious recipes to try first is the way to go.
I used an online keto calculator to set a goal for calories, carbs and fat. I mostly followed the suggestions, with the exception of fat. The calculator suggested over 200 grams of fat each day. That's tough to hit without loading ghee into my coffee or swigging some coconut oil before lunch. Can it be done? Absolutely. I just couldn't get there. For me, the focus was on reducing carbs. I let the other pieces just fall into place.
Leftovers will be another thing we will take into consideration. Not only is it easier on you, but why put yourself through the hassle to cook the same food more than once? Breakfast is something I normally do leftover style, where I don’t have to worry about it in the morning and I certainly don’t have to stress about it. Grab some food out the fridge, pre-made for me, and head out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?