Your Beginner's Guide to the Keto Diet Plan
We’ve always been told that to lose weight our diet should be low in fat, but what if the opposite were true?
The ketogenic or keto diet, busts that theory by using healthy fat to help loose weight without feeling tired or sluggish.
I’m about to share what I’ve learned about being on the keto diet as a beginner.
Along the way I’ve realized there are many ways to try the keto diet. You can ease in or go cold-turkey.
You can do a quick 7-day keto diet, 1 month while others set an end goal of 3 months.
Or, you could even follow it for 5 days of the week and take a mini-break over the weekend too.
Either way, keto is not recommended as a long-term diet.
What is the keto diet?
Opposite to many other traditional diets, the keto diet embraces fatty foods. It makes use of high amounts of unsaturated fats and moderate intakes of saturated fats to fuel the body.
As well, most of the carbohydrates are reduced or removed and replaced with lean proteins.
There are 5 other variations of the Classic, or original keto diet.
These are the Modified, MCT, modified Atkins, low-glycemic index, and intermittent fasting.
What they all have in common however is, they change the way our body processes and stores fat.
An example of an average daily low-carb, keto diet is approximately 60% of calories from fat, 25% from protein, and 15% from carbohydrates, but if you look closer at the variations above, you’ll notice a wide range of flexibility.
Why try the keto diet?
There are many reasons why people go keto.
For some, it is to get into that dress for a wedding and some use the diet to reset their eating habits back to ‘healthy.’
Most people who look at the keto diet have struggled for years to lose weight even with a healthy lifestyle.
As each year passes, another pound sneaks on and stays so a low-carb diet is one way to make a change without feeling you’re on a depravation diet.
Note: the keto diet is not for everyone. Like everything in life, some people have a food group sensitivity or a medical concern that prohibits them from trying a high-fat, high-fibre diet.
3 things to consider if extra fats are hard for you to digest
Moving from a flexitarian diet to one with more animal proteins can be a big change for the body.
I knew this going in, but what helped me most were two supplements to support digestion.
The first is liver support and the other is a digestive enzyme.
Then I increased my vegetable fibre with an organic greens booster.
Once these were in place, I was fine.
How does a keto diet work?
Essentially, the keto diet helps our body burn the excess fat we’re carrying.
It does this when you replace a portion of your calories with fats, not carbohydrates. When your body has fewer carbohydrates it is forced to use the energy it stored, which as it turns out, is the fat.
The keto diet works best when you’re in a stage called ketosis. This usually takes a week to happen, but begins when you start using your own stored fat as fuel.
As your body learns to use its stored supply of fat, you may experience some symptoms such as:
1. Dizziness, headaches, sluggish energy.
Solution: Drink more water, add a little extra sea salt to balance out the electrolytes and recheck that the fats you are consuming are healthy.
TIP: If you struggle with the taste of water, add a slice of cucumber or a sprig of fresh mint leaves to your glass. Not only does it look more enticing but it tastes wonderful.
2. A change in the sweetness of your breath as the level of ketones increase.
Solution: Drink plenty of water to help flush these out!
3. Rapid weight loss in the first 1-2 weeks as your body learns to adjust.
Reason: This is because the first phase is more diuretic. The weight loss is from fluid retention because of the carbohydrates, and not from the fat. (That’s next!)
4. Flu-like symptoms.
Solution: Drink plenty of calorie-free drinks to help flush out the build-up of excess ketones.
Reason: Because we no longer consume as many carbohydrates to produce insulin, the liver gets busy turning stored fat into a chemical called ketones. It can then send the ketones to our muscles for fuel.
If you’re healthy, having more ketones is manageable.
If you have DIABETES, this is a serious health problem and you need to avoid the ketosis state at all costs.
Get this keto-easy, Crunchy Broccoli Slaw recipe
How do you know when you're going through the ketosis stage?
One sure way to know is by testing your blood (more accurate), or at home through your urine.
As your body eliminates fats, the urine composition changes and is quickly measured with keto paper strips specifically designed to test ketone levels.
Note: these are different from pH strips that measure acidity.
What do you eat on a keto diet?
The main idea on a keto diet is to eat as few carbs as possible.
However, you always need some carbohydrates in your diet.
The ultimate goal is to avoid high carbohydrate foods and let you reach the ketosis stage quicker.
The best foods to eat on a keto diet
- Natural fats. The staple nutrients on a low-carb diet are natural fats, including oils, butter, nuts and seeds.
- Meats and seafood. Both meat and seafood contain high amounts of fat and are great sources of protein. Beef, chicken, cod, Basa fish, and other meats are also staples in a keto diet.
- Eggs and cheese. This a great way to start the day and use as a quick snack.
- Dark, leafy vegetables. Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and kale are ideal to consume on a daily basis.
If this is a huge struggle for you, consider picking up an Organic Greens Booster.
I’ve tried a lot of different greens and this brand is by far, my favourite for 4 important-to-me reasons:
- it’s not expensive.
- with just pure dehydrated vegetables you’re also getting fibre.
- 1 spoonful is equivalent to 1 CUP of raw broccoli, kale, and spinach which means a lot less extra fresh vegetables to keep in the fridge.
- It’s harder to skip a day because they make is this easy: sprinkle a scoop on top of your juice, stir, and drink.
NOTE: Vegetables should be your main source of carbohydrates on the keto diet.
Foods to avoid
Try to avoid all foods with moderate to high concentrations of carbohydrates.
This means limit your fruit, especially bananas, and eliminate bread, cookies, crackers, pasta, and pastries.
Can you exercise while on a keto diet?
Exercise works with the keto diet as movement helps boosts your immune system and maintain the rate of ketosis.
This 3-page booklet explains how to track your meals and exercise along with room for notes so you can follow how you feel and note down your ketone levels.
Grab your guide here
Is a keto diet right for you?
The keto diet isn’t ideal for everyone but if you’ve been struggling to lose a few pesky pounds, it might be worth changing your diet.
If nothing else, the change helps you become more aware of what you’re eating. There is no processed food, no candy, desserts, or baked goods – just good old-fashioned whole foods.
And, if you are serious about making a diet change, please consult with your general practitioner before switching to keto.
Best gifts for someone you know going keto
To get that extra 1 cup of greens, kale, spinach, and broccoli with all the fibre in your diet, I add Organic Greens Booster to a daily shake.
It’s gluten-free, vegan, Non-GMO, Kosher, and a great way to sneak some greens in those kid’s meals too.
The olives were grown from ancient, 1000-year-old trees then cold-pressed within hours of being picked.
This Greek organic olive oil is used by many Michelin star chefs.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
These measuring strips test the ketones in your urine, helping you understand and learn when you are in the ketosis state and see how your body responds to the different foods.
When researching the best time to test, I learned it is first thing in the morning.
An easy colour chart lets you see at a glance what your ketosis level is.
If you’ve grabbed the recipe above, I use avocado oil mayonnaise which is rich and smooth on any salad with big leafy greens too.
To 3 tablespoons of avocado oil mayonnaise, I often add:
- 1/4 tsp of cardamom
- 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- a pinch of sea salt
- a small squeeze of lemon juice
- 1/4 finely chopped preserved lemon
Information on this site should not be relied upon to make a medical diagnosis or determine treatment for a medical condition and it is not intended to replace your one-on-one relationship with your doctor or health care professional.
Why not try keto with this easy vegetarian pizza?
A quick and easy weeknight vegetarian keto pizza that uses cream cheese as the base and it’s seriously amazing!
This was helpful since I do not know much about keto and had questions about possible issues related to changing diet to keto.
Thanks so much, Vicki! I’m pleased you found the information helpful. These were questions I had too when changing to a keto diet.