Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician or medical professional, so please consult your doctor or nutritionist before going on any diets.

You may have heard of the ketogenic or “keto” diet from co-workers, family, and friends. It sounded a bit extreme to me at first, but I tried it out after hearing about it from my own friends and family, I looked into it some more.

Instead of eating sugary snacks or carbs like rice and pasta or junk food (chips), I would be replacing these foods with more cheese, avocado, and green vegetables. Instead of a burger with buns, I would eat the burger fillings with lettuce. At first, it was hard but I learned to get snacks (see below) and stay hydrated with electrolytes. Soon I felt like I had more energy and focus than before and even was eating more vegetables than I had ever before because I was eating my greens instead of rice or noodles. Just reducing my sugar intake has helped me so much from reducing inflammation to having more energy.

I am happy to report, since October 2018 to April 2019, I am down 34lbs from 209 lbs to 175 lbs on the keto diet. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I hope to continue this.

 

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet focuses more on eating protein and fat and less from carbohydrates – think sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread – usually less than 20 grams a day from carbs (which includes sugar). This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.

Basically, when you are eating less carbs and more fats, you are using more fat as your energy instead of storing fat in your body. The first few weeks are the most dramatic, probably due to water weight loss, but for me it averaged about 1 lb a week loss after that. I did not count calories during the entire time and only counted the carbs – but it might be a good idea to count calories if you are having trouble with weight loss after a few weeks.

Recent studies show that the keto diet can help people lose weight and improve health and may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are some tips I have learned along the way on this Keto Journey.

Foods to Avoid

  • Any food that is high in carbs should be limited. Use google to find out how much carbs your foods have – it is eye opening. I think my biggest surprise was how much sugar a lot of sauces have.
  • According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are (7): Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons). Imagine how much sugar is in a can of soda and you can imagine how our current diets are totally above the current recommendations for sugar.
  • Avoid carb-based foods like grains, sugars, legumes, rice, potatoes, candy, juice and even most fruits, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
  • Be careful of sauces which often are high in sugar.
  • Limit Unhealthy fats including processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.

Foods to Eat

  • You should base the majority of your meals around these foods: Meat, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, avocado, green veggies and low-carb veggies, hot sauces / spices. It is best to base your diet mostly on whole, single-ingredient foods.
  • Switch out rice for cauliflower rice, pasta and noodles for shirataki noodles or zucchini noodles, and add an avocado or more green veggies to your meal to make up for the base.

5 Favorite Keto Snacks

Great snacks for a keto diet include pieces of meat, cheese, olives, boiled eggs, nuts and dark chocolate.

Here are some of my favorite snacks:

  • Moon Cheese – an all natural gluten-free crunchy snack made entirely out of 100% cheese!

  • Chicharrones / Pork Rinds – Epic Provisions Artisanal Oven Baked Pork Rinds
  • Avocado – lightly salted

  • Coffee with heavy cream or coconut oil

  • Seaweed Snacks

Tips for Eating Out on a Ketogenic Diet

  • Most restaurants offer some kind of meat or fish-based dish. Order this, and replace any high-carb food (tortillas, rice, bread, pasta, etc.) with extra vegetables.
  • Egg-based meals are also a great option, such as an omelet or eggs and bacon.
  • Burgers – Go for bunless burgers and swap out fries for veggies.
  • At Mexican restaurants, you can enjoy any type of meat with extra cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
  • Wondering if a dish or food item is keto friendly? Use google to search for the dish and add keto or carbs to the search query to find out more information.

Other Keto Diet Tips I Learned…

  • A ketogenic diet can also change the water and mineral balance of your body, so adding extra salt to your meals or taking mineral supplements (electrolytes) can help. For minerals, try taking 3,000–4,000 mg of sodium, 1,000 mg of potassium and 300 mg of magnesium per day to minimize side effects. I use Ultima electrolytes which have no sugar.

In conclusion, as with any diet, it will only work if you are consistent and stick with it in the long term. I think for me I will be on this diet/lifestyle for a long time.

Keto Resources:
https://www.reddit.com/r/keto/wiki/faq
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101
https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto
https://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/beginners-guide-to-ketogenic-diet/

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