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Keto Diet 101: Getting Started with Ketogenic Lifestyle

Here we will cover how to get into ketosis, foods to eat and avoid, beginner prep tips, who should be avoiding this diet, recipes and cookbooks to try. Understanding the ketogenic diet is not difficult when you have the right information and guidance.

Ketogenic lifestyle has become rather popular among the health-conscious individuals due to its capability of helping you reduce inflammation, losing weight, and increasing brain function. For people following this diet for a while, it has become a habit. However, if you are new to the keto diet, it may seem confusing. 

Keto Diet Explained

Eating a diet loaded with carbs helps your body in transforming the carbs into blood sugar (glucose) that can spike your levels of blood sugar. When the levels of blood sugar increase, it signals your body to produce insulin, which is a hormone carrying glucose to the cells to be utilized for energy. This is called an insulin spike. 

Your body prefers glucose as its energy source. The more carbs you consume, your body will keep converting it into sugar to generate energy. In simpler words, your body won’t burn the fat when glucose is present. 

To burn fat for energy, you must limit the consumption of carbs as that will reduce the stored glucose. As a result, your body doesn’t have any other choice but to start burning the stored fat. 

Keto diet is a high-fat, low carb diet that includes reducing the intake of carbs drastically and consuming fat instead. When the body receives a low amount of carbs, it enters the metabolic state of ketosis. 

The body becomes relatively efficient in burning fat to produce energy when it is in the ketosis state. It transforms fat into ketones inside your liver that supplies energy for your brain. 

Keto diet reduces the insulin and blood sugar levels, which, along with increased ketones, offer plenty of health benefits. 

The breakdown of carbs, protein, and fat in the ketogenic diet is as follows:

  • Carbs (5% to 10% and fewer calories)
  • Protein (30% to 35% calories)
  • Fat (55% to 60% calories)
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Who Should Avoid Ketogenic Diet?

Before moving forward, it is essential to ensure that the ketogenic diet is safe for you. Generally, a keto diet can be safe for everyone. However, the following three groups must consult a doctor:

  • Diabetic patients taking insulin or other diabetes medication 
  • Individuals taking high blood pressure medication
  • New mothers who are breastfeeding

Be sure to get an opinion and recommendation from a medical expert before starting ketogenic or any other diet to ensure you do not have any pre-existing or unexpected medical conditions that could put your body in harm’s way.

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Ketosis State: How Do you Know You Are in Ketosis? 

Ketosis is a grey area since there are multiple degrees to it. As a beginner, you must understand what the ketosis state is and how do you determine if you have entered the ketosis state. As a general rule, it takes about three to four days to reach full ketosis. 

Here are some of the signs and symptoms:

  • Enhanced ketones in your blood. It is the most accurate way of measuring ketosis using a special kit. 
  • Using a breath analyzer is another effective way to measure acetone, one of the three ketones in the body. 
  • You can use indicator strips to measure ketones presence in your urine. 
  • Increased energy and focus 
  • Weight loss or suppressed appetite 
  • Bad breath 
  • Insomnia 

Foods to Avoid

Food that has a high amount of carbs must be limited. Here is a list of food items you must eliminate or reduce on a keto diet:

  • Alcohol – alcoholic beverages have a high carbs content that can prevent or stop your ketosis state
  • Unhealthy fats – restrict your consumption of mayonnaise, processed vegetable oils, etc
  • Sauces and condiments – these often include unhealthy fat and sugar
  • Diet or low-fat products – these have carbs content and are highly processes
  • Tubers and root vegetables – parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc
  • Legumes or beans – chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, peas, etc
  • Fruit – all fruits, except small portions, like strawberries
  • Starches and grains – cereal, pasta, rice, wheat-based products, etc
  • Sugary foods – candy, ice cream, cake, smoothies, fruit juice, soda, etc
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While some of these food items must be eliminated, you can still consume carbs about 5% to 10% of your overall daily calories. 

You don’t have to cut out bread or dessert from your diet altogether. The good news is there are plenty of keto bread and keto dessert options available, which means you can satisfy your cravings without messing up your ketosis state. There are delicious recipes in the cookbooks by Kelley Herring that you won’t want to miss that we have personally tried.

Foods to Eat

You must be wondering what to eat on a keto diet? Here are the food items you can eat:

  • Condiments – pepper, salt, healthy spices, and herbs
  • Low-carb veggies – peppers, onions, tomatoes, and most green veggies
  • Avocados – freshly made guacamole or whole avocados
  • Healthy oils – avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil
  • Seeds and nuts – chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc
  • Cheese – all unprocessed cheese, including mozzarella, blur, cream, goat, or cheddar
  • Cream and butter – grass-fed is recommended 
  • Eggs – omega-3 or pastured whole eggs
  • Fatty fish – mackerel, tuna, trout, salmon
  • Meat – turkey, chicken, bacon, sausage, ham, steak, and red meat

Your meals should include the majority of the forementioned foods.
But wait, what if you are a vegetarian?
There is a slight variation of the keto diet that is ideal for vegetarians called ketotarian diet.

Two Prep Tips for Keto Diet Plan for Beginners

The keto diet aims to ensure you enter the ketosis state and to enhance your overall health. As mentioned earlier, it means your body must start burning fat instead of carbs for energy. However, to get to that state and to enjoy the full benefits of the keto diet, you must be well prepared. 

While there are various ways to transition to the keto diet, the following two simple tips will help you get started:

1. Calculating Macros

Use a keto calculator to determine your specific carb needs to get you started. For instance, the typical target on this diet is to restrict your daily carbs intake to 20 grams. This general goal might not apply to you, mainly if you are a professional athlete, if your job involves plenty of physical activity, or if you workout at least five times a week.

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This is the reason why you need to identify your unique carbs requirement to ensure you safely support the ketogenic lifestyle. Using a keto calculator is an excellent way of determining the right amount of protein, carbs, and fat, you need to consume every day to reach ketosis and maintain it. 

After that, all you have to do is select the right foods, narrow down your options, prepare your meals, and consume keto-friendly desserts to reach and maintain your target. 

2. Hydrating and Supplementing

While there are plenty of easy keto recipes to follow to maintain your ketogenic lifestyle, many people often neglect another important aspect of reaching ketosis – supplementation and hydration. 

Keeping yourself hydrated and using electrolyte supplementation is ideal for reaching ketosis painlessly and quickly. When the carbs count reduces, the glucogen stores naturally start depleting. As a result, you frequently urinate, losing electrolytes and water in the process. 

You are bound to be more vulnerable to keto flu if you don’t hydrate yourself. The best way to avoid the keto flu is to ensure you consume plenty of electrolytes and water. 

Aside from that, increasing dietary fat, intermittent fasting, and light exercises can also help in recovering and preventing the keto flu. 

The ketogenic lifestyle is excellent for individuals who want to enhance their metabolic health and lose weight. With the right guidance and understanding of this diet, you can easily prepare and began your journey.

Be sure to eat the right food, limit the carbs intake, and be consistent. Don’t deprive yourself by suppressing your cravings as it will only result in your binge eating and losing all that progress.

You can still enjoy bread, your favorite comfort foods, and even desserts on a keto diet without any guilt. Try out the yummy recipes in Kelley Herring cookbooks today!

keto breads cookbook
Keto Breads
Keto Desserts