Although, the keto diet has started to be named a “fad diet” by many, it’s been around for quite a while and there are many well versed doctors who support it. It is an amazing tool and can be used to shop yo stop the sugar addiction/crisis that plagues many. There are many misconceptions and myths that are being tossed around. Fortunately there are many others that give amazingly relevant information. I would like to point you in the right direction as a beginner.
So welcome to a journey of discovery about food and how it impacts your whole body and emotional health.
The way I started was by watching a ton of YouTube and other video mediums on the subject. I think this is truly what keeps me going. I’ve sorted through the fluff and want to provide you with exactly what you need right here.
I’m here to help you understand the keto basics for beginners. I want you to understand what keto can do for you and your family.
Keto Diet Overview- Basic #1
High Fat – Low Carb – Moderate Protein
The first thing to understand about the keto diet is that it’s all about keeping yourself fulfilled with high healthy fats(coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nut butters. . .), cutting out the sugar and carbs(sweet treats, bread, pasta, sweeter fruits, rice, corn, potatoes. . .) and eating a moderate level of protein(beef, eggs, chicken, pork. . .).
Experts don’t agree on everything but a basic guideline for keto beginners is to look at a ratio. Every day, you should be eating around 70% of your calories from Fat, 10% of your calories from Carbs and 20% from protein. A great way to figure this out especially with real food is to use a tracker such as My Fitness Pal.
The second thing to know is that it isn’t a one size fits all kind of diet. At first, you have to follow a very strict regimen until you become what is called fat adapted. This takes longer for some than others but as you start burning fat instead of sugar for fuel you will start to be able to adapt the diet to your life and find out what your body tells you about what it can and can’t handle.
It’s a dynamic jumping board that starts a journey of discovery about your body and its health.
So you may be confused by some terms I used in the last paragraph but I want people to understand that this is adaptable after the first stages of getting started. At the most basic level the keto diet means cutting out carbohydrates and sugar and eating a diet high in healthy fats with a moderate dose of protein.
Your normal dinner plate may look something like this…
Fried chicken, mashed potato, corn, and a biscuit.
In order to give you an idea of how many carbs are consumed here I have used info from myfitnesspal.com.
- Fried Chicken 2-3oz pieces 8g Carbs, 34g Fat, 30g Protein
- Mashed Potato 1 cup 42g Carbs, 10g Fat, 4g Protein
- Corn 1/2 cup 11g Carbs, 1g Fat, 2g Protein
- Biscuit 25g Carbs, 6g Fat, 3g Protein
Total Carbs 86g Carbs in one Meal
Compare this to a typical Keto Meal
Keto Chicken in Cream Sauce, over Cauliflour Rice with Fressh or Frozen Green Beans Smothered in Butter.
- Chicken in Cream Sauce over Cauliflour Rice 6g Carbs, 24g Fat, 52g Protein
- Green Beans smothered in Butter. 1g Carb, 11g Fat, 1g Protein
Total Carbs 25g.
This meals macro ratios are Fat 36%, 26%, 55%
Because chicken is often very high in Protein I would suggest rounding out this meal with a High Fat, Low Carb, Low Protein Fat bomb to help up your Fat content for satiation. Try out these Blueberry Cream Pie Fat Bombs from Forget Sugar Friday
Keto Basic #2
Eat real food that fits your budget to get started.
Many keto advocates are out there telling you what to buy and eat. Some have very strict guidelines around buying things that are organic, pasture raised, and not highly processed, all of these things are great goals to work towards. Let’s face it though that stuff can get expensive for the average American family. We are trying to make our families healthy and whole but when you are first starting the most important thing to remember is Just Eat Real Food.
Stay away from the center aisles in the grocery store and look for things that are not prepackaged and that are not high in carbs. If you are looking for some good getting started suggestions I would visit YouTube and start by watching things by people like Keto Connect and Butter Bob Briggs.
If you have a tight budget and are just getting started on your health journey watch
If you have already started your health journey and are looking for the healthiest options watch
- Shopping For Success on a Ketogenic Diet
- Ketogenic Diet | Whole Foods Haul | Keto Snacks – Thomas Delauer
If you want to do this as healthily as possible on a budget or on the run watch
The most important thing to remember is packaged food has almost always been processed highly and often has high carb counts. Even when the carbs are low they are often filled with substandard replacements that are just as bad if not worse for your body a plain old white cane sugar. Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Corn Starch and Modified Starches can all have a negative effect on blood sugar and alternatively on insulin which are both things we are trying to lower with a ketogenic diet.
Keto Basic #3
Read Every Nutrition Label
Another basic skill you need to learn when starting to live a ketogenic lifestyle is to read nutrition labels. You’ve all seen them they are required to be on every product. I can almost guarantee you are focusing on the wrong things. Dr Berg has a couple great videos to check out.
- The Importance of Always Reading Labels
- Important Tips of Reading Labels
- Reading Food Labels: What to Focus On
For an in depth guide on nutrition labels and how to read them when doing keto check out Perfect Keto.
The main thing to remember is to start out by simply informing yourself of how many carbs and sugars are in what you are eating. The second most important factor is the fat content and how high it is. Don’t forget the sneaky serving size. Small packages often have serving sizes that are even smaller.
Keto Basic #4
Know Your Goals
Many people are attracted to the ketogenic lifestyle because they hear about the weight loss benefits. This is a great starting point and can be a motivating factor for many people. The truth is massive weight loss only happens at first. Like any other way of eating weight loss rarely keeps people going forever. I would highly suggest sitting down and writing out the other benefits you can gain from changing the way you eat.
Here are a few things I personally have experienced and continue to focus on to remember why I eat this way. When life gets stressful and the sweets or comfort foods of my past just look super appealing I do two things. I remember this list and then I start listening to youtube videos and podcasts to remind myself what happens inside my body when I eat unhealthily vs. healthily.You can find my recommended youtube channels and podcasts here.
- Increased Energy and less Brain Fog
- Less Inflammation = Less Chronic Pain
- Balancing my hormones
- Decreasing my Insulin Levels
- Getting Rid of Skin Issues
- Better Mood
- Loosing Inches
- Gaining muscle without a ton of exercise
To Sum It Up
The Keto Diet basics are…
- High Fat 70%, Low Carb 10%, Moderate Protein 20%
- Eat Real Food
- Read Every Nutrition Label
- Know Your Goals