Keto

Intro
The goal is to restrict carbs to less than 50 grams per day. This will transition your body to using body fat (ketone) and dietary fat for fuel instead of relying on carbs and sugars (glucose). This state is called ketosis. The lower your carbs, the quicker you’ll transition. We shot for 20 grams per day, but less than 50 is the standard.

You might want to use an App like MyFitnessPal to track your food in order to assure your keeping carbs low. There’s no need to count calories, but it is smart to confirm your micronutrients are in this range: 70% Fat, 25% Protein, 5% Carbs

We started on a Thursday so the worst part of the “keto flu” was on the weekend. All I remember was feeling a little weak the first Monday afternoon after starting, but that was about it. Just try to drink water and keep eating keto foods, once you adapt you’ll feel great.

Keep in mind:
You’ll be more full than you think after you adapt. Fat is more satieting than carbs.
You may find yourself less hungry at times since you’ll be able to fuel yourself with your stored calories (body fat). Some find that they can skip meals or just aren’t terribly hungry as often.
You’ll loose fluids in the beginning, for me I was getting up during the night I was losing so much fluid.

There are a lot of keto-friendly foods we either don’t like or haven’t tried. Just to give you some kind of guidelines here’s how we’ve eaten:

Breakfast
I eat about 2 scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage on probably 4 or 5 mornings a week. I tried a cereal-like substitute with unflavored, unsweetened almond milk (less sugar than reg milk), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and slivered almost. Not the best results, but worth a try if you want something cold and cereal-like for a change. Most yogurts have too much sugar/carbs. Fage 2% is the lowest I’ve found and it’s very bland. Might re-visit to see if I can enhance the flavor in a keto-friendly way. Black coffee with heavy cream is another popular option for breakfast.

Lunch/Dinner
Often I have a fattier meat (beef, pork, or chicken thighs) with about 2 handfuls or so of spinach or arugula. At work, about once a week I get a bacon cheeseburger with avocado spread and no bun. A simpler option is deli meat with cheese and a small salad.

Fast Food Keto Dining
If you’re eating out, here are some ideas:

    • Burgers from McDonald’s, Burger King with no bun. Don’t forget to ask for a knife and fork. They usually place the bun-less burgers in a salad container.
    • A sub in a tub from Jersey Mike’s
    • Unwich with meat, cheese, and bacon from Jimmy John’s (It’s a lettuce wrap)
    • Lettuce wrap or bunless sandwich from Chik-Fil-A (the grilled chicken club, with cheese)
    • PDQ’s Cali Club in a lettuce wrap (grilled chicken, bacon, avocado)
    • Salad with no crutons, meat, and fat-rich dressing (stay away from “light” dressings)

Sides For Fast Food Eating
I can’t think of any keto-friendly sides from fast food restaurants. Since you won’t be having fries with these fast food sandwiches, you might want to have some nuts or pork rinds in the car as a side.

Sit Down Keto Dining
Again, steer clear of any carbs. Go for some kind of meat and a side salad. Here are some things I’ve gotten at sitdown restaurants:

      • Salad with no crutons, meat, and fat-rich dressing (stay away from “light” dressings)
      • Steak with a side salad
      • Salmon with a side salad
      • Pulled pork platter with brocolli
      • Italian sausage with peppers

Sides
Keto-friendly sides at restaurants are kind of rare unfortunately. I usually go with a side salad or a low carb veggie like green beans, broccoli, asparagus, or mushrooms. Stick with a serving and don’t pile these on as their carb content can add up. All leafy greens are good, but stay away from the veggies that grow underground. Good breakdown of higher and lower carb veggies here: The Best Low Carb Vegetables for Keto

Drinks
Stick to water for drinks since sodas, juices, fountain drinks etc. have sugar of some kind. There’s some debate around whether a diet soda will hurt your efforts to stay in ketosis, since they have no carbs they shouldn’t. If nothing else, having that sweetness may keep the sweet cravings going. It’s best to stick with water until you adapt and get to the point where anything sweet is kind of shocking to your taste buds. It won’t take very long at all. But if you feel you really want a soda go Diet Coke or my go-to Diet Dr. Pepper. They add caffeine which can dehydrate you, so make sure to drink water too.

Snacks
Nuts are a good option for snacks, but measure you might want to measure them out so you don’t go over your carb limit. For example, Almonds are typically about 5 or so grams per serving but you wouldn’t want to overdo it and eat a whole container in one day. Also it’s a good idea to measure out the nuts and put them in snack bags so you can grab them in the morning so they’ll be ready to go later in the day. Avoid peanuts, but these kinds of nuts are lower in carbs and better options:

  • Keto-friendly nuts (Almonds, Pecans, Macadamias, Hazelnuts) – I do the 1/4 cup serving that’s on most packages. It’s more filling than you think. You could probably be okay with twice that amount if you didn’t eat it all at once.
  • Pork Rinds – Some like the Epic brand, but it’s a little spicy for my taste. Any pork rinds will be good since they are carb-less, but have fat your body will use for fuel. You may only find at at gas stations or the Epic brand at Earthfare or maybe Whole Foods. I tried to get some from Harris Teeter recently and I couldn’t find any. None at Trader Joe’s either.
  • Cheese Sticks – No need to go low fat, just check for lowest carbs if you compare. Generally, I don’t think they vary a whole lot in terms of carbs. Can be a nice combo with pepperoni slices or jerky/beef sticks. Surprisingly filling as a team.
  • Pepperoni Slices – Can be a nice combo with the cheese sticks. I think we just get one of the more popular brands. No specifics come to mind here, but I just follow the serving size and pop them in a snack bag.
  • Beef Sticks – Epic and Chomp are good brands, both at Trader Joe’s. Probably at other places too. Slim Jim’s might be okay in a pinch, but may have more carbs than those brands.
  • Avocados – The best fruit and one of the “mascots” of keto due to great fat content. You could have at home as a snack with some salt and pepper or as a side to your main dish.
  • Olives – A good choice, but again stick to the serving size (10?).
  • Fresh Mozzarella – Another popular option at the house.

The Occasional Sweet
What worked the best for us was to eat VERY little sweets, which of course makes sense since the point is to avoid carbs/sugars. But our go-to when we have a craving was one spoonful of Maranatha Coconut Almond Butter. When you’ve stayed away from sweets this little taste is very satisfying, plus it’s got some satiating fats and it’s pretty low carb. 1 to 2 spoonfuls of this a few times a week was good enough for us.

There are really tasty keto-friendly deserts, Google “keto fat bombs”. They’re sweetened with erythritol or stevia, the keto-friendly sweeteners. We haven’t made any yet, but will be experimenting soon. Again, they’re high fat, low carb.

Supplements: Have Bullion or Bone Broth Ready
You may experience some light-headedness as you loose excess fluids from reducing your carb intake. I mainly felt weak and light-headed after working out and sweating a lot. A drink box of bone broth helped right away. I’ve experienced this less often now and I take 1 pill of Magnesium Potassium Citrate daily to help with electrolyte levels.

Resources
Complete Keto Food List + Pyramid
See how Keto Athlete Podcast hosts eat and train: Dany Vega and Brian Williamson
Awesome keto recipes for other ideas or when you want to get more creative: Keto Recipes at DietDoctorRecipes at Ruled.meKetoevangelist Kitchen

Definitive Books: Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman & Art and Science of Low Carb Living by Drs. Phinney & Volek
Both are great primers, cover lots of intro info. They’re the go-to gateway books in the keto world. Breaks down all of the standard info, FAQs, etc.

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