On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
For those looking for something just a little closer to real sugar, you can use Xylitol. It cooks and tastes very similar to sugar, but it has a slight glycemic impact (13 vs. 100 for sugar). It is great, but please keep in mind that it is very toxic to animals and it will raise insulin levels slightly. These are the two most cited reasons for not using Xylitol.
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Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
Now we do have a full meal plan laid out for you below, but I would encourage you to experiment a bit with some meals that might better suit your tastes. We love all of these meals, that’s why we picked them! We know everyone is different though. If you want to sub something in, just check to make sure the nutrition is comparable. Keto on a budget can be pulled off all types of different ways. This is just one example using a lot of our favorite meals. For example, if you have a bunch of coconut oil sitting around feel free to sub it in for the butter. If you have olive oil, sub it in for the blue cheese dressing. Don’t let this meal plan feel restricting, it is best used as a reference point and not as a hard and fast rule book. We put together this full day of eating video to show you an example of how we ate on $5 a day:
In this guide the only form of pure fat we use is butter. If possible, coconut oil would really be a nice upgrade. We couldn’t fit coconut oil into our $5 a day keto on a budget meal plan, but it’s cheap if you buy in bulk. Another good substitution would be olive oil or coconut oil and vinegar instead of the premade salad dressing. Most cheap premade dressings will use oils that are frowned upon on keto like canola or vegetable oil.
Great job, Jimmy! Do you eat Macadamia nuts or did you just forget to put them on the list? I think they are about 95% fat so they make a very good meal item on a LCHF menu plan. I need to lose some weight and I hate to be cold so CT is out! That leaves keto-adaptation. I’m about 5 chapters into “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance” and I’ve already identified a major mistake I was making in my LCHF strategy to lose weight! I have a lot of travel coming up in the next couple of months, not to mention the Christmas season, but I’m looking forward to slamming my body into major ketosis and staying there for awhile in January. I’ll keep you posted.
You want to keep your cheats to none. Be prepared, make sure you’re eating what you need to be satiated (“full”), and make sure you’re satisfied with what you’re eating. If you have to force yourself to eat something, it will never work out in the end. This is just a guideline on how you can eat on a ketogenic diet, so you’re very welcome to change up what kind of foods you eat!
I didn’t realize until I read this book just was a Ketogenic diet was all about. Basically, it’s a low carb diet where ketones in the liver are produced to be used by the body as a substitute energy source. There are types or methods of using of Keto Diet, the Standard, the Cyclical and the Targeted, which are explained by the author Amy Young. The idea is to provide alternative fuel combined with a very low carb intake so we are constantly working with glucose and ketones. The author explains Ketosis and Ketoacidosis which is to be avoided and brought on by starvation or fasting, excessive severe exercise, alcohol binges. I like how she explains foods to avoid by calling them don't come near me foods, some of which are sweets, fruits, alcohol, grains and even diet sodas.
When we constantly consume sugar, we release dopamine in our brain – creating an addiction and an increased tolerance. Over time you will have to eat larger and larger amounts of sugar to continue the dopamine secretion. Once our body is dependent on a chemical reaction in the brain, we can find that we’re craving things even when we’re not hungry.
If you want to slam a protein shake post-workout, that's probably fine as long as you've got room for it in your macros. But shoot for one that is very low—like, zero—in carbohydrates. Pure isolates, such as Signature 100% Whey Isolate, are extremely low in carbohydrate. If you struggle to fit fat in during the day, toss a tablespoon of olive oil in with your shake. You won't taste it, and it gives a quick 13-14 grams of fat.
Con: Results can vary depending on how much fluid you drink. By drinking more water, you dilute the concentration of ketones in the urine and thus a lower level of ketones will be detected on the strips. The strips don’t show a precise ketone level. Finally, and most importantly, as you become increasingly keto-adapted and your body reabsorbs ketones from the urine, urine strips may become unreliable, even if you’re in ketosis.

Meal prepping is the secret to eating on a tight budget. It allows you to buy the items that are on sale, in bulk, and prepare them for quick access throughout the week. The meal prep detailed here took us about 2 hours of “active time” and another 3 hours of “passive time”. The passive time was mostly waiting for the chicken to cook/cool. The items we prepped for this meal plan are:
Grass-fed meat is a must for keto dieters. Compared to grain-fed, grass-fed meats are higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which have a range of health benefits including improving heart health, lowering levels of inflammation, and even easing symptoms of depression. High-quality poultry also packs a nutritional punch, with plenty of iron, selenium, zinc, and B vitamins. Dark meat, which is higher in fat, is particularly good for the keto diet.
Helps to control type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders: If you have diabetes, you may be turning to the ketogenic diet as a way to control your insulin and glucose levels. Early research shows that the ketogenic diet can help you significantly improve insulin sensitivity levels (11). One study even shows that some diabetes patients were able to stop taking their diabetes medication altogether while on the keto diet (12)!
In its 2016 report “Healthy Eating Guidelines & Weight Loss Advice,” the Public Health Collaboration, a U.K. nonprofit, evaluated evidence on low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets. (The Keto diet falls under the LCHF umbrella.) Among 53 randomized clinical trials comparing LCHF diets to calorie-counting, low-fat diets, a majority of studies showed greater weight loss for the Keto-type diets, along with more beneficial health outcomes. The collaboration recommends weight-loss guidelines that include a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet of real (rather than processed) foods as an acceptable, effective and safe approach.
When you eat a ketogenic diet, you switch your body’s fuel source to fat rather than the body’s usual source, glucose (1). From this fuel source switch, the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, is reduced which causes your appetite to decrease (1). Because of the reduction in appetite, it is easier to adopt an intermittent fasting approach or an approach that lessons unwanted eating behavior outside your desired hours (AKA curbs the late night munchies). Therefore, I recommend eating 4 bigger meals rather than 6 small meals on a Ketogenic Meal Plan.
•  Humans unlike true carnivores do not have fangs to tear the flesh while the prey is walking.  We need to marinate it to tenderize and so on which basically indicates we are not carnivore and that eating meat is an acquired taste.  Humans are infatuated with the taste of meat and for long time now we have believed that eating meat is legitimate, a mistake with horrible consequences for animals and us.
When trying to shift from a high carb diet to a ketogenic diet, cravings can definitely get strong. It’s always best to try to clean house before you start so that you don’t have food around you that can lead to cravings. We recommend that when switching to keto, you restrict using sweeteners completely for the first 30 days. It normally leads to breaking sugar addiction and ultimately not having cravings.
Hi Debbie, Whole milk yogurt (whether cow milk or goat milk) is a person choice for a keto diet. It does contain some lactose, which is a sugar, but some people evidence suggests that there may be less than the label implies due to the beneficial bacteria in the yogurt. Either way, if you include it, be sure to get the plain kind without any added sugar.
But if your friends have gone #keto and you're curious about what that exactly entails, the basic premise is fairly simple. The diet focuses on eating mostly fat, limited amounts of protein, and almost no carbs at all. The "do" list includes: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables that grow above ground, nuts and seeds, fats and oils, and some dairy products. In terms of drinks, most keto diet guides advise people to stick to water and skip diet soda, even though it's artificially sweetened. (No Diet Coke — sorry!)
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Thank you so much for this post. I do really struggle to find ways of adding fat to my diet without adding more carbs or protein. I noticed you wrote that you cook your eggs in butter or coconut oil. Any other ideas on how to add more of these fats? I tend to over eat the veggies I cook in them like kale chips or cauliflower “rice”. I don’t mix meat or milk or eat pig which eliminates some popular options.

Along with the essential keto cookbook, main content users will have five bonuses at their disposal when they purchase this keto diet plan for weight loss. The first is the keto guide on a diet for boosting energy levels and getting started with losing weight. This bonus guidebook is 100 pages and helps users to increase fat burning power, while at the same time boosting energy levels. The second bonus is an eating like a pro keto guide. This content gives users important tips on how to eat at restaurants while dieting so that they don’t eliminate their social life completely. The third bonus is a quick start guide on keto diet that gives you everything that you require to kick-start the process right away. The content is tailored in a way that it will help you to start at once even with a few things to learn about the keto diet plan. The fourth bonus is a complete keto food list, which outlines what healthy options that are available for consumers to follow. It also has low carb choices that users should make use off. The fifth and the final bonus is a two-week keto meal plan, which helps the user to get rid of the need to figure out their own consuming diet plan for the first two weeks.
And finally, I couldn’t talk about healthy fats without telling you about fish oil. While you won’t be adding this to your food, it is an important supplement to your diet, and will increase your blood ketones dramatically. I take two tablespoons of Carlson’s lemon-flavored liquid cod liver oil daily to infuse my body with healthy omega-3 fats as part of my heart-healthy regimen. There are fish oil capsules and tablets available at drug stores, but many of these tend to be rancid, and therefore counterproductive. That’s why I prefer the liquid fish oil. In case you’re worried about the “fishy” taste of this stuff in your mouth, it’s actually a delightfully pleasant “lemony” taste. I couldn’t imagine going through my day without taking my liquid fish oil, and the resulting blood ketone levels make it worth it!
Jimmy — I’d love to hear you do a podcast with an expert on diabetes who could advise those of us on insulin. I have been VLC on WB (Wheat Belly) for two months (and on-again-off-again kinda sorta LC for twenty years!) and I still can’t get my blood sugars down where they should be. I hate taking so much insulin because it is a fat-storage hormone. I feel so sad and discouraged and stuck between a rock and a hard place …. do I decrease the insulin which will result in higher blood sugar, or do I increase the insulin (no! not MORE!) and get my blood sugars down to where Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, the LC diabetes expert, would like them to be? I am not losing on VLC and I have been totally honest and faithful for two months.
I have a question on sugar since I see it’s not allowed. Is splenda or any other sugar subsitute ok? What if one of the ingredients that is required for a keto recipe contains sugar, does it matter? I haven’t really seen any discussion on how some things may already contain sugar (even if in low doses) may affect the keto diet. Should they be avoided altogether?

When I first started my keto experience I didn’t much fruit. I would occasionally have one strawberry or 1/4 cup of frozen fruit, but I kept it to a minimum. Now, the good news is that fruit sugar is different than white sugar. First of all fruit has fiber in it. Unlike eating white sugar which goes straight into the blood stream and is combated with insulin spikes, the fiber in fruit is harder to digest, so it doesn’t cause your body to react in the same way. So a little fruit can be a good thing.
I also have to tell you that you are HILARIOUS! I laughed so hard reading your lead up to the 3 day plan. Thank you for your guidance, honesty, outstanding sense of humor (we all need it), incredibly delicious recipes and your baffling organization. I truly don’t know how you get it all done. You make it “do-able” and fun. I’m actually excited to start!
Essential fatty acids (the omegas) provide core functions to the human body, but they are often times out of balance when on a standard diet. On keto, with a little bit of preparation, your omega fatty acids are easily manageable. If you want to know more about essential fatty acids, omegas, and how they interact with our body on a ketogenic diet, you can read more here >
Thank you for creating this list! I have an article from Bodybuilding.com to advise how to prepare and be successful before giving up on this plan but the food list was quite short. My trainer suggested this eating plan for me so I found your list so I can go purchase the foods now. I believe I have my macro counts right to start so wish me luck! And thanks again for sharing this !! Rebecca

Get Plenty of Sodium. This might sound counter to what you’ve been told before, but your body really needs sodium. It’s one of the ways that your cells transport nutrients in and out of cells. And when you stop eating processed grains and sugar, you often get much less sodium. So when you go keto, just be sure that you’re eating salt or sodium-rich foods. If not, you will often experience fatigue.


Jimmy, i am type 2 diabetic on insulin. Last April I had a first time bout of pancreatitis and spent 4 days in the hospital. Also 2 years ago I was on a ketogenic diet, lost 30 pounds and my blood work and blood pressure were all in normal ranges and was able to get off all my meds. I have been dealing with diabetic educators who have me eating 105-130 carbs a day. My weight has skyrocketed and my blood sugars are way up also. Would going on a keto diet again harm my pancreas and liver. I was able to get off all my meds, felt great and enjoyed the keto way of life. I believe that I am carbohydrate intolerant according to my blood sugar records for past 2 years. No one mentions pancreatitis that my doctor said was caused by very high triglycerides. Everything I read does not address my question. Thank you for any help you can provide. I have your book Keto Clarity and reading it with a fine tooth comb. Thank you and congratulations on you success with keto.
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