What is the ketogenic way of eating?
In a nutshell, a ketogenic (keto for short) way of eating is one in which you keep your carbohydrate intake low, protein amount moderate, and healthy fats high. Doing this allows your body to use up its supply of stored sugar, which is the first source it will use for fuel, and start burning fat instead.
It takes some time to make the transition; some people get there sooner than others. Typically it takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to reach fat-burning mode, otherwise known as nutritional ketosis.
When your body starts burning fat as its primary fuel, your liver produces something called ketones. A simple way of understanding how they work is to think of a balancing scale. Ketones and sugar are on opposite sides of the scale – if your sugar levels are too high, your ketones will be low (or even non-existent!). If you are producing ketones, this means your sugar levels are low. Weight loss is a big perk of being in nutritional ketosis, but there are also a lot of other health benefits as well.
The greatest benefits will come from adopting keto as a lifestyle rather than seeing it as something you do temporarily. Remember that good health is a journey, one that you will ideally stay on for the rest of your life!
By choosing to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle, you are putting yourself on the right track to optimal health. That’s huge, so first congratulate yourself on making this amazing, life-changing decision! It’s never too late to start taking good care of yourself, and you are totally worth it.
The keto way of eating is high in healthy fats, moderate in protein and low in carbs and sugar. Your own personal optimal amounts will vary depending on factors such as your age, gender, and activity level, but generally you’ll want your diet to be made up of about 70-75% healthy fats, 15-25% protein and 5-10% carbs. Here are some tips to help get you started with your keto lifestyle.
First, go shopping! Fill your refrigerator and cupboards with keto-friendly foods. If you’re on a tight budget like I am, some menu planning before your trip will be really helpful so you can be sure to have everything you need without breaking the bank. Here’s a partial list of foods to shop for:
~ healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, milk and meat, butter, ghee (clarified butter), avocado and olives
~ proteins – poultry, meat and eggs (organic and pasture-raised as much as your budget will allow) and seafood such as salmon, tuna, shrimp, sardines and anchovies. There are multiple reasons to avoid farm-raised seafood (more on this coming in a future article), so please choose wild-caught varieties
~ non-starchy vegetables like dark leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, collard greens), arugula, asparagus, celery, lettuces, bok choy, cucumbers, zucchini, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and bell peppers
~ low sugar fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or cranberries can be eaten in small amounts on occasion; a little lemon or lime juice in your drinks or on foods is ok too
~ beverages – water, coffee, tea
~ dairy – hard cheeses, heavy whipping cream, full fat sour cream and cream cheese
~ nuts and seeds – macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, black sesame seeds, freshly-ground flax seeds
~ sweeteners – liquid stevia drops, monk fruit, Xylitol (be careful though – Xylitol is toxic to dogs!) Always read the label on any product you buy to make sure there are no added ingredients that you don’t want!
Once you’ve got a lot of these foods on hand, I HIGHLY recommend going through your kitchen and getting rid of any sugary or high-carb foods you have – they will only tempt you! If you have others in your household who still eat those foods (kids, husbands, etc.) at least try to put them all in a separate cabinet or area of the refrigerator where they won’t be constantly in your face!
It’s always great to have support when you’re making major life changes such as this, so if you can enlist the help of your spouse, kids, friends and other family, that’s awesome! But regardless, YOU can still do this! Remember that this is a choice YOU are making to improve your life and your health – don’t let anyone discourage you from pursuing your goals!
I’m thrilled that you have decided to follow this path, and I am happy to support you every step of the way. You can do this, and I promise it will be one of the most rewarding decisions you will ever make!
I’d love to hear about your keto journey! Please feel free to comment below or email me with questions/comments. I will respond to as many as possible. You can also join my Facebook group Choose Keto Living . I know it will be a great source for sharing support, encouragement, answers and recipes!