People ask me all the time how to get started on the keto diet and I TOTALLY get it guys! I was the same way and I understand how overwhelming it can be! First off, I want to start with a little disclaimer and say that I am NOT a doctor or nutritionist…I’m just a busy momma that has done ton of research on the keto/low carb diet and I am SUPER passionate about it! It is always a good idea to check with your doc before starting a new nutrition plan – especially if you have any existing medical conditions.
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Ok. So the big question….what is the keto diet and ketosis? Our body typically uses glucose (sugar/carbs) as a fuel source that is why we tend to have high/low energy levels throughout the day. When you are a “sugar burner” you eat carbs for breakfast, your blood sugar spikes, your body burns the carbs for fuel, then comes the crash before your next “carb fix” and then cycle repeats itself over and over. When you eat high fat/low carb/moderate protein your body no longer has glucose to burn and taps into a alternative fuel source called ketones. Ketones are produced by the breakdown of fats in your liver which literally puts your body into fat burning mode..aka KETOSIS. The process of burning fat not only helps us to to lose weight it also helps to control the release of insulin. Burning fat can also help with energy levels, brain fog, appetite control, and more.
Ok…so how do I get into ketosis? To put it simply you are going to DECREASE your carbohydrate intake and INCREASE your healthy fat intake. There are certain foods you are going to have to avoid such as sugar and grains. But don’t worry there are SO many wonderful low carb recipes and substitutions out there that you won’t feel deprived.
Foods to Avoid
Grains – (even whole grains) wheat, rice, bread, bagels, muffins, etc.
Sugar – this includes honey, maple syrup, and agave
Beans and Legumes
Root Vegetables – corn, potatoes, etc.
Most fruits – see exceptions below
Foods to Eat
Meat/Eggs – Beef, poultry, pork, etc.
Above Ground Veggies and Greens – cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale, etc.
Full Fat Dairy – cheese, cream, butter
Nuts and Seeds – macadamias, sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc.
Berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
Healthy Fats – avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
Low Carb Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit.
RELATED: Comprehensive Keto Diet Food Guide
Macronutrients are our daily breakdown of fat, carbs, and protein. The recommended daily breakdown when following a ketogenic diet is 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Typically, no more than 20-30 grams of net carbs is recommended per day. A net carb is the total carb amount on a nutrition label minus the dietary fiber. The best way to make sure that you are getting in the right ratio of carbs, fat, and protein is to track your macros in the My Fitness Pal app. You enter in all of your food to the app and it will calculate the macronutrient breakdown for you. Pretty cool! To figure out your exact macros you can use a keto calculator such as THIS ONE
One important thing to be aware of when transitioning into a ketogenic lifestyle is something called the keto flu. The keto flu is your body adjusting to using glucose vs. ketones as a fuel source. Symptoms of the keto flu can include headaches, fatigue, nausea, and irritability. As you transition to ketosis and start losing water weight you will lose electrolytes and water so it is SUPER important stay hydrated and supplement with electrolytes BEFORE you experience any symptoms of the keto flu. These are the two types of electrolytes that I use: Dr. Price’s Electrolyte Mix Supplement Powder and Trace Minerals Electrolyte Stamina Tablets.
RELATED: The Keto Flu and How To Beat It
Try not to be overwhelmed and take it one day at a time. If counting carbs and tracking macros is too overwhelming for you then start by cutting back on sugar and carbs. You don’t have to jump in with both feet.
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