Now gather round all you keto diet for beginners people – let me get this right you are hearing all this stuff about keto like ‘you can eat butter and cheese but fruits’ off the menu’ – and you are thinking well that can’t be right? What on earth is going on?
And then you read that Keto is the latest trend to get fit and healthy and to be one of the cool guys, no more low carb with Dr Atkins which is so old hat. So are you feeling out of the loop? Want to know more? Then keep reading my complete guide to keto diet for beginners and all will become clear.
So, what’s this Keto Diet for Beginners thing all about?
You’ve seen it on the news how that guy up the road went keto now he’s given up his job and living a life of luxury, OK so maybe that wasn’t quite what you saw but it sounded good though.
Let’s try again, maybe it was more that you heard from your girlfriend, that her girlfriend’s boyfriend went keto, lost mega amounts of weight and is on an all-time high with energy and became a rock star. Which actually is closer to the truth, as to what could happen on keto.
Which is the perfect opener for me to get down to the nitty gritty and actually draw (or maybe write) you a detailed keto diet for beginners road map and explain what’s involved for you to set your dainty little footsies or size 10’s on this unknown and maybe perilous road.
Now I will put a disclaimer in here in that for a story to be good (read nearly accurate or at least semi accurate) much depends on who is telling the story, how they interpret the benefits and what they have personally experienced. So make your coffee, sit back and prepare to be entertained oops I mean educated.
Apparently, this marvelous diet called keto can give you a makeover and turn you into a new you, well maybe not quite a new you, but it can help you lose weight, vanquish a whole heap of health problems. Plus I can seriously give you a real example here as my osteo-arthritis has long since bit the dust and disappeared.
Yay! But moving on Keto is also attributed with giving you unlimited energy, better fitness and makes you smarter and sexy, well maybe not the last two but one can always hope.
Stay Strong Believe – There will always be Naysayers
It’s also possible that you will come across some naysayers who will deny all of the above and tell you it won’t work, its not sustainable and unhealthy.
Which unfortunately seems to correlate to some extent with the view of ABC News who said: “Keto, Whole30 diets rank last on one best diets of 2018 list” However, all that said I am sure you are familiar with the expression “You can’t believe all you read in the newspapers”. So instead of taking this at face value lets did a little deeper.
But first a test…to make sure you are concentrating? Look at this picture. Do you think that is keto friendly?
If you said yes, you would be wrong, so knuckle down all you keto diet for beginners and start concentrating you obviously have a lot to learn.
Now let’s continue, if we want to get to bed before midnight, well I do I don’t know about you.
If you are going to be successful and reap the benefits of this keto diet and you are even if I have to drag you kicking and screaming, you need to learn how to make the right food choices. I have written a comprehensive keto food list on another page and you can click on the link to check it out. If you need a visual you can stick on your fridge, actually that’s a good idea go and download the PDF and then come straight back here.
In this Keto Diet for Beginners guide it is my intention to bring to the table (I amuse myself sometimes) the very best information and advice I have researched, experienced and in some cases rejected. Hopefully this will give you a good grounding on how to move forward in getting started on your own personal keto diet basics journey. I know you are keto beginner newbies right now but soon you will be experts. Stay strong!
Why am I having this little rave? Well basically because this is one complicated lifestyle till you get your head round it, then you will be a convert for life. What’s that saying once you go keto you’ll never go back, maybe that’s not quite how it goes but you get my meaning.
Now lets get into the good, the bad and the ugly, I know I should stop keep using that expression but my keto diet for beginners people I really like it and it is such a good lead in to what we are going to cover.
Lets start with the tough stuff, the Keto lifestyle has what feels initially like some very different rules when you first start, and you may feel pretty crappy during the first couple of weeks transitioning, but you may not – I never did, but I want to make sure you are prepared for … nope I’m not going to say my favourite expression again, I’ll just be like a boy scout or is it girl guide that has the motto “Be Prepared”
Finally, I can hear you saying, Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and stuck into this keto diet for beginners thing….
So, what the heck is a keto diet or ketogenic diet?
You may have realised by now that I have a somewhat warped sense of humour, and tend to write as I talk. However, for the purpose of explaining the really technical stuff I am going to rein said humour in a bit as I want to make sure you grasp an accurate picture of a keto diet for beginners and keto lifestyle without my little interjections. I can’t promise to totally succeed but will try.
A ketogenic diet or keto as it is affectionately known by many is a diet which requires you to radically reduce your carbohydrate intake and replace it with ‘good’ fats. The objective is to stimulate your metabolism to burn fat for energy instead of glucose, achieving this metabolic state is known as ketosis. So, picture this little furnace inside of you burning up all that unwanted fat … OK I know I said no more humour but didn’t promise.
Once you achieve ketosis (which can be any where between 3 -14 days) your body starts using up all that excess fat, which results in big wins for you in the, “yay my clothes are falling off department, and wow I look good.”
Note bit of caution before you get too excited don’t forget for Ketosis to occur you need to of deprived your body of its habitual glucose source, meaning don’t give your body any sugar or you’ll go right back to ground zero again.
There are two ways you can approach this:
• By Fasting: If you don’t eat anything your body will use up your current glucose stores fairly rapidly and then will fall back on converting your fat to ketones, so it can use this for fuel.
• Or you can eat like a “Keto” person: which means you only feed your body the right foods especially good fats for fuel and you avoid eating any food that could be converted to sugar.
And in case you are still a little confused as to where that sugar comes from in most cases it is from carbs. You know those things we love but need to learn to hate or if not hate to ignore.
In today’s overweight society it seems we have adopted a mantra of keep eating carbs, and keep adding to sugar stores, with very little fat burning taking place. But not as if we are in the caveman era when it was necessary to stock our bodies full of food in summer to sustain us in leaner winter times. Since that no longer applies what’s our excuse today?
Now think about this: If you stop eating all those carbs and substituted another source of fuel, what do you think would happen? Exactly you would start burning fat, because that’s what your body turns to when there is no glucose.
In other words when you deprive your body of sugar and either fast or only eat Keto approved foods, which are low carb, moderate protein and high fats, then your body has no alternative but to utilise your fat stores for energy. Is the picture starting to become clear can you see where I am going with this keto diet for beginners?
Is that starting to make any sense?
Something else for you to digest (I love plays on words): you are probably already aware that your body produces insulin to cope with excess sugar/glucose in your system, when you over indulge in carbs. However, when you radically cut back on your carbohydrate intake, your body produces less insulin, which for diabetics is a huge health benefit.
Are all Keto Diets the same?
In a word no they aren’t, there are different horses for different courses. It comes down to exactly how strict you are going to be with yourself in following this new keto diet for beginners. Because don’t fool yourself that’s what it is a “Lifestyle” not a “Diet”
For example, the three most common regimes would be:
Less than 5% carbs daily;
Less than 50g carbs daily;
Less than 20g carbs daily.
So, you are probably thinking what does all that mean How do I know which is most suitable for me? But don’t worry we will be getting to that shortly.
Keep in mind that keto diet for beginners or not you are all individuals and have different needs when it comes to getting into ketosis and equally as important, staying there.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule as to which keto diet for beginners you will need to follow, but keep in mind even if you don’t get it right straight away, to get anywhere at all you “Need to Pick One & Start”
Your goal is to find the plan which will catapult you into ketosis, demand that you are suitably focused and record your results. In short this is a challenge so treat it as such with the objective being success.
Once you achieve ketosis, you will be able to sit back and ponder on your awesomeness, whether it be massive weight loss, improved insulin levels, scintillating brain function, and maybe even physical whoo hoo….
Will the Keto Diet guarantee I lose weight?
Now whilst I understand you asking the question, you should know by now there are no guarantees in life. But having said that the keto diet for beginners would have to come pretty close to delivering what it promises for the majority of people. However, I will add the caveat that it only works if you follow it properly. No half-hearted attempts if you want to see really good results.
So just to make sure you have no excuses down the track for not following along, lets look at the factors that make the Keto diet work.
We’ve already touched on the fact that you enter ketosis when your body breaks down fat into ketones for energy. Basically, the more you expand energy the more you use up your stores of fat because that’s what your body is now using as a source for fuel, and suddenly you notice YOU are shrinking. You will find reports and studies everywhere you look reporting on a huge range of weight loss results and many other health benefits achieved whilst following a keto diet.
But its important to remember that everyone is different and will have different results, for me the weight loss, improved energy and vanishing osteo-arthritis were the major improvements in my lifestyle.
How Do I Follow the Keto Diet for Beginners?
Now, I can hear you breathing a sigh of relief, she’s finally getting down to specifics.
Now I know you are here because you want a complete keto diet for beginners guide and you all want to look like a million dollars and be super fit and healthy, but in the meantime lets settle for working with what we have and that’s the Keto Diet Basics.
Keeping in mind your objective is to lose weight, right? You need to understand that this will require a few changes to your lifestyle and eating habits. But never fear, we are going to treat this like a project and track exactly what you are consuming each day. I am keeping in mind that you are new to this so am trying to really make this an easy keto for beginners diet plan to follow.
The principal of the keto diet as we have previously mentioned is LOW CARB – HIGH FAT – MEDIUM PROTEIN, and your daily intake of each of these needs to be monitored.
If you are starting to think this could be complicated don’t panic. Each one of you will have different requirements in terms of actual “amounts” of carbs, fat and protein, because obviously you aren’t all starting from the same base level and will be different shapes, builds and sizes.
But whether you are tracking:
• 20 net grams or under;
• 50 grams or under;
• 5% of your daily calories;
It doesn’t make any difference it is exactly the same rule in that carbohydrate consumption is severely restricted.
There are many online calculators for working out your Ketogenic Macros but the one I prefer can be found at Ruled.Me Just click on the link to be delivered to their door.
Why make life complicated for yourself when someone else has done all the hard work.
Keto Food Counts on a Keto Diet for Beginners
Now let’s move on to understanding what you eat and expanding your education on what amounts of the following actually represent.
Unfortunately, we have been pre-programmed to believe that lean meat, vegetables, some grains and most fruits are healthy and consequently good for us. Sadly this isn’t always the truth and in some instances it’s the exact opposite.
In the keto diet the carb intake allowance is very low and many of what you previously thought were healthy foods would knock you right out of ketosis if you aren’t careful. What this means is that you need to very conscientious in regard to monitoring your daily carb intake.
Whilst on the topic of carbs I need to briefly touch on “net carbs” as you will come across this quite often in your Keto lifestyle and need to know exactly what it means.
Don’t get too hung up on it, its not difficult. If you have a vegetable that has 6 grams of carbs of which 4 grams are fibre this simply means the “Net Carb” count is 2 (this is arrived at by subtracting the fibre from total count)
Sample Carb Counts:
• One cup of raw broccoli contains 6 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fibre;
• One cup of cooked asparagus contains 8 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fibre;
• White mushrooms contain just 2 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre;
• Raw zucchini contains 4 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre;
• Avocados have 13 grams of carbs, 10 of which are fibre
• Raw cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fibre;
• 1 cup of green beans contains 10 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fibre;
• One cup of lettuce contains 2 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre;
• One cup of raw kale contains 7 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre;
• Half-cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 6 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fibre;
You are probably wondering why I am talking about fibre? But think of it like this, you are going to be reducing your carb intake from maybe more than 100 grams a day to maybe less than 20 grams and in this process, you will be eliminating a lot of fibre, which you would of got previously from bread, grains, pasta etc.
But when you eat the right type of greens and vegetables you are still able to get sufficient fibre to stay healthy yet remain in ketosis. Of course, you will have to buckle up and harden yourself from giving in to the many supposedly “keto friendly” snacks you will see promoted on your local supermarket and online, just make sure you “ALWAYS” check the ingredients, because many of them have hidden sugars and other “nasties” that could knock you out of ketosis in the blink of an eye.
TIP 1: I use MyFitnessPal for monitoring my daily food intake, but it also has a handy little bar code scanner when I want to quickly check something in the supermarket.
TIP 2: Try and stick with eating REAL FOOD and there are lots of keto snacks you can make and store in freezer.
This what you can eat on the Keto Diet Basics Plan
I know you are probably gnawing on your knuckles and wishing I would hurry up and get to the good stuff like what foods you can eat, but I needed to be sure you fully understood how important Macros were going to become in your keto diet for beginners life.
So, keeping in mind everything you have learned about the importance of ketosis and how you get there and stay there, by eating a diet consisting of high fat, minimal carbs and sufficient protein lets look at what you can actually eat on Keto:
• Meat: This includes red meats like mince and steak preferably all from grass-fed beef. Sausages and bacon and ham plus white meats like chicken and turkey are also acceptable. Meats containing fat are the preferred choice for your ketogenic diet.
• Eggs: Eggs play a major role in your keto diet – try and choose organic and cage free where possible.
• Dairy: Dairy (excluding milk) Ghee and Butter are your new favourite foods, though you want to pick the least processed ones. Hard cheeses and butter that comes from organic sources are best.
• Fish: Choose fish which are high in fat content like salmon or tuna.
• Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, pecans, Brazil & macadamia nuts are all allowed in moderation, along with nut butters (preservative free) Plus seeds like sunflower or sesame.
• Fruits: Avocados are your best friend on keto, but you can have berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.
• Oils: Extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil.
• Vegetables: The rule of thumb is that above ground leafy green vegetables are acceptable such as kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach etc.
These are just the basic foods that you can eat, but it will give you an idea of what to expect as we move on and examine the things you can’t have.
Are you still reading? You haven’t thrown your hands up in disgust and walked away? Good, that’s what I like to see “determination” … you’ll go far in keto I can tell…
Moving on I know you are probably sick of my “Good, Bad & Ugly” comparisons but I cant help it they are just so relevant to what I am trying to explain.
So, we’ve had the good, sort of but let’s address next what you can’t eat:
This is what you can’t eat on a Keto Diet?
So, you should be fully primed on what you can eat but lets look at the foods you need to avoid and give a wide berth to whilst on keto. Top of the list and a big “No No Never” isn’t there a song starts with those words? Sorry got distracted again, where was I, that’s right foods you can’t eat:
Sugar: I think the why is self-explanatory, no sugar in any shape or form, don’t forget its often hidden, in sneaky things like ketchup. Make checking ingredients labels your mantra when out shopping. Sodas and juices all are potential danger zones check for sugars.
Starches: This one is going to hurt, but no bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice in fact anything made with wheat or corn, be it flour or other products. All of these items are full of carbs and will prevent you from reaching ketosis.
Fruit: What no fruit I can hear you say, but isn’t fruit healthy? That’s what we were led to believe but what we didn’t get told was the amount of sugar (fructose) in most fruits. Do the maths too much sugar means you won’t make the ketosis cut. If you think I’m repeating myself, it’s because it’s really important. Just so you don’t get too discouraged you are allowed some berries on keto- so its not all bad news.
Diet Foods: Well they are a debatable food at the best of times, processed to the hilt and often full of sugar as well. Not much there to help you with your keto journey.
Bad Fats: What are bad fats you might ask? Basically, they are vegetable fats like canola or those found in shop bought mayonnaise. Try to stick to healthy ones like olive oil and nut oils like coconut oil.
Legumes & Beans: No I’m not kidding, I know you have always thought beans were healthy but they are also extremely high in carbs so are a keto no no.
I hope you aren’t feeling too discouraged I know it’s a lot to take in, but believe me when I tell you that in 3 months’ time or even less when you are well and truly Keto adapted you will look back at these foods and think I cant even remember what some of them taste like and certainly don’t miss them. Take this from someone who previously had a very sweet tooth.
One bright spot in this list of yes and no foods is that for all of you chocolate lovers, you can still have dark chocolate as long as it is unsweetened and contains a minimum of 70% coca solids (preferably higher), just use common sense in the amount you eat obviously don’t go crazy. See I told you this keto diet for beginners would have a few perks.
How do you know you are in Ketosis?
As a keto diet for beginners person that’s actually a pretty valid question and one you do need to know the answer to, fortunately its fairly easy to know and there are a few different ways to check.
One of the most obvious is that you will see that you are losing weight, hey that’s a good indicator for starters. But some people (Like me) want facts and figures and real data to look at, ok maybe I have a bit of OCD!
I mean if I am in ketosis, am I just in? Am I a lot in? I like to know. Let’s look at the three different methods to determine where you are at on your keto diet for beginners journey.
1. Breath testing
2. Urine testing
3. Blood testing
Breath testing is pretty obvious and cheap, when your body goes into ketosis and starts burning ketones initially there can be a couple of rather unpleasant side effects one of these being bad breath. Don’t worry it doesn’t last, and in the meantime just suck on a sugarless mint, or even a sugarless vitamin C tablet. We’ll cover the other potential side effects later in this article. But before you start worrying do take note that I said potential, some people myself being one of them never had any side effects at all.
Urine testing is one of the most popular methods and for this you need to buy what are commonly known as pee sticks which are relatively cheap at about $8-$10 for a box of usually around 100. Click on the image or here to check out the ones I used. I found they were useful as markers initially to tell me whether I was in ketosis. But they are not as accurate as the blood meters and can often give a false indicator when you are ketone adapted.
However, when you first start keto this is an easy way to measure, just pee on the end of the strip which will then change colour and you compare this to the colour chart of the side of the stick container to determine what level you are at. The best time to check this is your first pee of the day, for the first two weeks I checked once a day.
The reason for the decline in their effectiveness is that you excrete fewer ketones through your urine once you are ketone adapted, so the result you see is not necessarily a true representation of your actual ketone level.
With the ketone meter you are able to accurately measure your exact ketones. However the downside to the meter is that is that it is quite expensive ranging from $50 to $100 depending on the model you select. Then you have to reorder the strips and needles once your initial supply runs out which can be a bit pricey but there is no denying it provides an accurate visible analysis. At the end of the day it comes down to your own preferences I didn’t buy a meter for a long time and managed with strips but I am glad now that I gave in and got one, I like being able to see exactly what my level is. This one is definitely worth a look if you are contemplating buying a ketone meter.
Those bad side effects like Keto Flu
I mentioned earlier that there are a few not so good side effects that you need to be prepared for when following a keto diet. The most common one of these is what’s known as “Keto Flu”
But before panicking be aware we are not all created equal and not everyone gets the flu, I certainly didn’t, and I will tell you what I did to offset it in a minute.
So, what exactly is keto flu? Gather round my keto diet for beginners picture ordinary flu when you feel really crappy, you are tired, irritable, head-achy, brain fog looms, and you are hungry. Doesn’t sound like much fun does it?
The reason this occurs is that your body is undergoing some major shifts and changes when entering ketosis which cause a shock to your system. Your body responds with these flu-like systems, which I might add are not actually caused by the transition to ketosis.
The keto flu is occurring as a reaction to your withdrawal from carbohydrates. However, your body will adapt, do not let this deter you from sticking to your keto diet for beginners and your road to weight loss and good health. It takes time to get adapted to a keto way of eating and the “keto flu” period will vary depending on the individual, do not give up remember the reward that is waiting for you.
How you can avoid Keto Flu?
For the majority of people the onset of the headaches and subsequently keto flu symptoms is caused by the body trying to adjust to possible imbalances of electrolytes, being dehydrated (this is a biggie) and transitioning to being fat-adapted. One thing to keep in mind is that when you omit carbohydrates from your day to day diet you are possibly also eliminating intake of certain necessary electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium.
When you add these back into your keto diet for beginners you can offset some of the negative impact you are experiencing. It might sound complicated but its not, its common sense really.
For the sodium, just add more salt into your diet, and for the other two nuts, avocado & leafy greens should do the job nicely. Electrolyte supplements added to your water help as well. On that note, don’t sell yourself short on water. You need to be drinking lots of water. The keto diet will flush you out, so you need to replenish all that liquid or you will become dehydrated.
Now I said I would tell you my own little trick for warding off the dreaded keto flu, I simply made sure I drank one or two cups of bone broth every day. Obviously, I can’t guarantee this works for everyone, but I am convinced that is what staved off my potential flu.
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Have you read enough? Are you ready to start getting keto benefits?
If you have read this far and are still keen I think you are just amazing already especially as a keto diet for beginners person and show all the signs of becoming a dedicated follower of keto (I know the original song said “dedicated follower of fashion” but keto sounded much better)
Tip1: get out your camera and take pics of yourself, front, back, left and right. You don’t need to show them to anyone but believe me in the coming months you are going to want to look back and gloat about how far you have come.
Tip 2: so you’ve committed to a keto lifestyle now you have to put it into practice.
Tip 3: want a hand holding plan? Go here and check this out or here. You have choices.
Tip 4: Work out your macros and calories. Use the calculator I mentioned earlier on Ruled.me
Tip 5: Go through your pantry and throw out all non keto foods, this way you are tempted to stray.
Tip 6: Drinks lots of water and don’t forget if you get headaches to add electrolytes, salt and leafy greens to your diet.
Tip 7: Track and record your progress, use your scales, track with MyFitnessPal on your phone, or computer.[/color-box]
This has been an excessively lengthy article, but I hope it has shed some light and answers to your questions about the keto diet for beginners and keto lifestyle. Its not all conclusive and I will be adding other articles but I wanted to give you a keto diet for beginners overview that covered the main topics and an understanding that most obstacles are surmountable with a bit of patience and understanding of the end goals.
Please feel free to comment below and let me know what other things you would like to see written about or discussed.
You are wished every success in your keto journey.