How to Start a Keto Diet: Tips and Tricks
With a sea of information out there on the ketogenic diet, it can be hard to understand what to do.
This is why we’ve made a simple step-by-step for a keto diet.
Make sure to stick to the end so you can become a keto expert.
But first, what exactly is keto and how does it work? Great question.
So, you’ve made the decision to improve your life and are giving the ketogenic lifestyle a try - congratulations! You are about to embark on an exciting journey that comes with a ton of benefits. Some of those benefits include:
- Weight loss
- Improved cognitive function
- Stabilized blood sugar levels
- Energy Boost
- Improved sleep
- And so much more!
When you eat a traditional high-carb diet, your body converts those carbs into glucose, or blood sugar, which it then uses for energy. Because glucose is the simplest form of energy for the body to use, it’s always used for energy before your body turns to stored fat for fuel.
On a keto diet, the primary goal is to restrict your carb intake so that the body must break down fat for energy instead of carbs/glucose. When this occurs, fat is broken down in the liver producing ketones, which are by-products of your metabolism. These ketones are then used to fuel your body in the absence of glucose. This metabolic state is known as ‘ketosis’.
Putting - and then keeping - your body in a fat-burning state of ketosis isn’t exactly easy. You’ll need to severely minimize your intake of carbs to get there and stay there. Everyone is different but ketosis usually kicks in after about a week or two of restricting your carbohydrates. During this time, as your body changes the way it utilizes food for fuel and begins to enter this metabolic state, you may experience some unfavorable symptoms, such as:
- Sugar cravings
Commonly referred to as the “keto flu”, these symptoms occur as your body adapts to the new low-carb lifestyle and tend to go away once you’ve reached ketosis. The good news is that there are ways to kick these nasty symptoms to the curb like drinking more water, increasing your fat intake and taking supplements (More on this later!)
What to Eat on a Keto Diet:
As we mentioned, in a keto diet, you’ll be replacing carbohydrates with fat as your body’s main source of energy during a process known as ketosis.
Let’s review the macros of the diet a little further.
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
There are many iterations of a keto diet, but we’ll keep it simple since this is the most common iteration.
This variation of the keto diet has low-carb, some protein, and high-fat intake.
High-fat foods you should eat on a keto diet:
- Meat & Poultry
- Plain Greek Yogurt
- Olive Oil
You’ll have to experiment with it to see what works for you, however, this is a great start.
What NOT to Eat on a Keto Diet
While on a keto diet, there are foods that are off-limits since they will interrupt your body’s adaption process to burning fat as fuel, also known as ketosis.
High-carb foods you should avoid on a keto diet:
- Grains (rice, oats, wheat)
- Starchy fruits (apples, bananas, peaches)
- Starchy veggies (potatoes, yams, corn)
Sample Meal Plan
Here are a few meal ideas to give you an idea of what your meals would be comprised of.
- Fried eggs and ham with some cheese.
- Burger with no bun with bacon and cheese with some guacamole on the side.
- Salmon or Steak with eggs and vegetables cooked in coconut butter.
- A handful of seeds and nuts
- Dark Chocolate (90% or higher)
Intermittent Fasting is your best friend
When you’re intermittent fasting (IF) your body keeps its energy balanced by alternating from carbs to fats as fuel sources, which compliments the keto diet.
Think of it as a supercharged keto diet - but what exactly is it?
IF is a pattern of eating that cycles through periods of eating and periods of not eating. To be clear, intermittent fasting is not a diet that indicates what you can or can’t eat. Instead, it shifts when you eat. There are many different approaches to intermittent fasting, but the most common approaches include:
The 16/8 method. This is the most popular intermittent method. It involves a 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour window when you can eat.
The 12/12 method. The 12/12 method is perfectly balanced: 12 hours fasting with a 12-hour eating window. This popular fasting habit is usually what most people begin with when starting IF. Once they get the 12/12 method down, most people will then transition into the 14/10 method.
The 14/10 method. This method follows the same idea as the 16/8 and 12/12 method/ In the 14/10 method, you fast for 14 hours and have 10 hours to consume food throughout the day.
The 5:2 diet. In this approach, you’ll eat normally five days of the week and then limit your calorie intake significantly - if not completely - two days of the week.
OMAD (one meal a day). OMAD means you’re only eating one meal for the whole day. Also known as ‘The Warrior Diet’, this method is practiced as a long-term habit and typically requires a work-up period of 16/8s and 24-hour fasts.
Alternate-day fasting. In this method, you’ll alternate a 24-hour fast and a normal diet every other day.
Spontaneous meal skipping. Last but not least, in this approach, you don’t necessarily follow a rigid plan, but simply skip meals now and again when you’re not hungry or simply don’t have time to prepare a meal.
Intermittent fasting and keto work extremely well together for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s combining a diet that is very specific about what you can eat (keto) with intermittent fasting which main focus is on when you can eat. The combination of a diet specifically focused on restricting your carbohydrates with a form of fasting that tells you when to restrict your calories may be beneficial for a multitude of reasons, some of which include:
- Practicing both IF and keto may help you to get into a state of ketosis faster, as intermittent fasting may help your body to transition and use fat for fuel instead of carbs.
- Practicing IF while following a keto diet may help to support energy levels.
- Adding IF to your ketogenic lifestyle may be a great way to naturally keep your carb intake down.
- Intermittent fasting may help you to burn more fat by naturally helping your body to burn though its fat stores due to thermogenesis.
- When IF and keto are combined, it may help to reduce cravings and surprisingly may even help you to feel full for longer periods of time which can prevent overeating.
Fasting can be difficult to practice, but you can intake certain things that keep you satiated during your fast.
MCT Oil works great for appetite suppression during your fasting period. Just add it to your morning coffee or any other drink to get its benefits.
Pure MCT oil derives from Caprylic acid (known as C8) and is better suited for a keto diet as it helps suppress appetite more effectively than its counterparts.
Be sure to check out our store regularly as we’ll be releasing our own 100% C8 Coconut MCT Oil!
Supplementation on a Keto Diet
One of the main reasons people quit a keto diet is because of the lack of electrolytes.
As we mentioned, during the first couple of days of a keto diet, you might experience flu-like symptoms, known as the keto flu, due to the lack of essential minerals known as electrolytes.
Electrolytes are crucial minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your urine, blood, tissues, sweat, and other bodily fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help:
- Move nutrients into your cells
- Move wastes out of your cells
- Balance your body’s acid/base (pH) level
- Balance the amount of water in your body
- Ensures proper function of your nerves, muscles, heart and brain.
With that in mind, it goes without saying that replenishing your electrolytes is of the utmost importance to avoid feeling miserable.
Here are some must-have supplements to help you stay on track and keep the keto flu away.
The Keto K1000 Electrolyte Powder is an electrolyte supplement specifically designed for a keto diet.
Dissolve one scoop inside a 16-ounce glass of water to get 1,000mg of potassium which will help you to beat keto flu and support muscle recovery and high energy levels.
It also has no sugar or maltodextrin so it won’t increase your blood sugar levels, making it a great keto-friendly supplement.
Cheat meals, drinking and other fun stuff
It’s going to happen: you’re going to binge on a cheat meal one day or go out drinking with your friends rendering all your keto efforts useless up to that point.
When this happens your goal should be to get back into ketosis as soon as possible.
We’ve all been there, so thankfully we have something that will help you get back into ketosis instantly.
- Collagen: Make sure to choose a collagen supplement with Vitamin C and Hyaluronic acid to improve the bioavailability of the collagen and get the most benefit
- Organic Wheatgrass juice powder: Supplements many of the key nutrients, micronutrients and trace minerals your body needs on keto but it is hard to get on a keto diet.
Tips & Tricks for a Keto Diet
Here are a couple of great resources to help you with your keto journey.
Carb Manager (Android and iOS) is easy to use a smartphone app that allows you to keep track of your macros in a simple way. We highly encourage you to get this so you can watch your carbs carefully and stay in ketosis.
There are typically two methods for measuring ketosis: blood and urine keto strips.
Blood keto strips, which are used by pricking your finger to obtain a blood sample, tend to be more accurate in the long run.
If you don’t want to prick your finger you can try the urine keto strip which you can use by... well, it’s pretty self-explanatory.
Well, we hope you learned a thing or two in order to get started on your keto journey!
Don’t forget to check out our store for the best products to help you maximize your keto journey.