Interested in starting out on keto but haven’t a clue where to start? Don’t worry! At first glance, it can seem quite overwhelming exactly what foods you are and are not allowed to eat. While it is essential to get these right from the very start to reach effective ketosis, the rules are quite easy (with a couple of exceptions!). But eating right is only part of the story, and there are a few easy to avoid pitfalls and easy to implement tips that will help anyone looking to lose weight.
1) What You Can Eat On A Keto Diet
You may have heard that keto is purely about meat and cheese – but that is not quite the case. It is also important to add plenty of certain low carb vegetables in order to keep healthy. After all, cavemen ate plenty of those too. The key to keto lies in eliminating carbs to a mere fraction of a normal diet. Sure these include rice, legumes, pasta, potatoes – but there many other foods that also contain carbohydrates. It is easy to slip up so if in doubt always check the labels or look them up online.
Foods which are going to be the basis of any successful keto are generally high fat:
* All meats
* Healthy fats such as coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil.
* Green leafy vegetables and a few other none starchy options.
* Certain berries
* Plain Greek-style unsugared yogurt.
* Black coffee, teas, water.
As for the foods to avoid… everything else!
2) Increase Your Electrolytes – Magnesium, Potassium & Sodium
Keto is a healthy way to lose weight but it is important to do so healthily. Something which most people will encounter following this diet is an increase in the frequency of using the bathroom. Your kidneys will also pass through much-needed electrolytes which are essential for health. So to prevent this it is important to considerably uptake your salt consumption, eat plenty of those leafy greens and consider drinking salted broths (check for carbs).
You’ll know if this is becoming a problem by experiencing quite nasty side effects such as nausea/vomiting, headaches, lethargy, irregular/fast heartbeat and so on. Some people find that supplements help with this but either way be sure to get that salt in you!
3) Use Online Recipes & Resources
It can come as quite a shock after the first few days how difficult it can be to eat properly with next to no carbohydrates on the menu. Fortunately and thanks to the growing popularity of keto (because done properly it really does work) there are huge amounts of resources available. Keto recipes can be easily found online and it may be helpful to look at keto forums on the likes of Reddit for support and advice.
It is evident that there are great tips out there you can use to remain on your keto diet. But you are not limited to researching every little bit of information separately about this topic, which can be quite time-consuming.
One shortcut that I’m always recommending is to check out some programs to determine which one will fit you best and begin on this life-changing mission. You’ll have all the vital information packed in one place. In no time at all, you will notice outcomes that other diets didn’t give you and you’re going to feel and look incredible!
One well-written and comprehensive program I always recommend is The 28-Day Keto Challenge.
A highly popular program that provides you with many different easy daily recipes as well as uncomplicatedly written information about the keto diet.
4) The Dreaded ‘Carb Flu’
Almost everyone is going to experience carb flu and it is perhaps the most common reason why people give up keto early. The good news is that it will pass in no more than a fortnight and the symptoms are very similar to those experienced by low electrolytes. It is a prime reason why it is suggested that people looking to enter keto do so when they can take things easier or even a week or so off work.
Carb flu occurs because your body is essentially transitioning from using carbohydrates as the main source of energy through to ketones instead. It is a little unpleasant but by drinking plenty of water, taking some MCT oil, adding more fat to your diet and perhaps just a little more fruit it can be much easier to ride through.
You’ll feel much better once you are in ketosis and you can purchase meters to help you monitor your levels (great morale boost!).
5) Be Ready To Eat Fats
Something which people often underestimate about keto is the quantity of fats involved in the diet. It really is a lot, and it is always a good idea to research some keto-friendly recipes before starting out. Meat and green leafy vegetables will otherwise become very boring after a couple of days! For this reason, it is important to make use of those fatty oils listed above. Drizzled over a varied meal plan adds a high-quality amount of fat which you will hardly notice you are even actually eating.
For example, if you are used to enjoying grilled skinless chicken then you are going to need to adapt that recipe. Leave the skin on, drizzle it with a keto-friendly oil of your choice, and top with some avocado. All of a sudden a simple source of protein alone becomes protein and lots of ketoses stimulating fats.
6) Get Your Veggies & Fruits Right
Compared to the likes of potatoes and pasta veggies, generally speaking, contain far fewer carbs across the board. You need to keep eating vegetables to maintain a healthy body, and keto does make provision for a very low number of grams/day of carbs. Use these on veggies other than those leafy greens that you’ll be eating plenty of any way to add not just a little variety to your menu but also an additional boost in other minerals and nutrients.
But be careful. Some are far worse than others so stick to small quantities of pumpkin, bell peppers, asparagus, zucchini, kale, and onions. Measure out your portions and keep to under 20g per day to keep healthy.
The same applies to fruits but be aware that these generally do pack a little more carbs than keto-approved vegetables so portion sizes must be kept lower. Most people opt for berries as these pack the most vitamins per punch, but cherries, watermelon, and cantaloupes are also popular alternatives. Just be sure to keep a close eye on intake and be prepared for a very small portion!
7) Exercise Helps
A good proportion of keto experts swear that upping their exercise regularity and intensity helps speed up the transition into ketosis. If you can pump up the energy to do so while enduring carb flu it is a really good idea as not only does it burn fat but it also forces the body to expend additional energy. Even if it is something as simple as a fast walk around the block, try and do this – it will help you feel better sooner!
Hopefully, this guide will be useful to anyone setting out on keto and doesn’t know quite what to expect. The golden rule is to force yourself through the first couple of weeks and into ketosis. Some people struggle more than others, but everyone should have a variety meal plan in mind and understand the quantities of carbs that can be included on their dinner plate. Once you are past that first stage you will feel really good. You will have more energy throughout the day, think better and actually, need to eat less than before – all of which is good for health and of course losing weight too.
Best of luck!