10 Tips For Starting The Ketogenic Diet
So you’re on the fence about starting the ketogenic diet. You’ve heard about it, you have a few friends who have been doing it with great results, but you’re not sure how to start it yourself. That’s okay, I’ve got 10 tips for starting the ketogenic diet to give you inspiration and help get you started on your journey of weight loss and wellness.
1. Clean Out Your Pantry and Freezer
It’s time to declutter all the build up in that pantry, but this time it will be to rid your cupboard of all high carb options for cooking and premade ‘jar food’. This is the processed stuff that has so many chemicals in them. These are not only high in sugar generally speaking, they are also messing with our bodies as many of the artificial ingredients have negative effects on us and our children’s health including behavioural and for some mental health. It’s just not worth the risk of consuming these additives on an ongoing basis and risk our health. If it’s not natural, don’t have it. If you happen to have any of these premade foods in there, have a look at the label and see if there is any sugar added to it, or how many additives have been listed in the ingredients list.
Identify what is a high carb ingredient. These are all wheat based products including whole grain and bleached wheat flour. They all are converted to sugar once they are digested and will kick you out of ketosis which will prevent fat burning for energy. If in doubt, check this book out as this has lots of information on what happens when we eat grains and includes a guide to what to eat as an alternative. Other high carbohydrate ingredients are cereals, crackers, biscuits, crisps, rice, potatoes among others.
Once you’ve gone through your pantry, next is your freezer. You may find a number of high carb premade frozen meals in there. Here I’m talking about things like dim sims, crumbed fish, pizzas, nuggets and the wide range of frozen convenience foods. Trust me, you will replace these with healthier alternatives that you have created with your own hands that your body will appreciate.
2. Replace With Low Carb Alternatives
When replacing these items, be sure to do it gradually so not to be overwhelmed and burdened with the cost. This can be done over time in line with your meal planning. Purchase the ingredients for the meals you plan to make during the upcoming week. This will allow you to gradually replace what you have had to remove with what you will need for the upcoming meals.
3. Meal Plan – Be Prepared
Think of the types of meals you’ve prepared in the past that you and your family have eaten and enjoyed. Now consider whether these meals are high in carbohydrates or not. If they are high in carbs, what is it that makes them high? Consider what would you replace these carbs with and then you’ve got your low carb meal. If in doubt, google it :).
Or see below for a mini meal plan I have created as a starting guide. Use searches such as ‘low carb bolognese’ or ‘low carb tuna mornay’. Be sure to check how many carbs are included. If in doubt, here’s a handy list on the diet doctor’s website and see if they are on this low carb list. Print this low carb list out or email it to yourself as a reminder to help you learn where to find carbs and what’s okay on a low carb diet.
4. When Those Sugar Cravings Hit
If you have consumed a diet high in carbs and sugar in particular, you may experience sugar cravings when you decide to go keto. Be sure to have on hand some low carb options so you don’t break your commitment to your ketogenic goals.
Some options here include but aren’t limited to…
5. Ramp Up Your Healthy Fat Intake
Be sure to include in every meal possible extra fats. These include olive oil, avocado oil, butter, mct oil and coconut oil. These fats are the good fats that our bodies need to thrive and help us get into ketosis.
In addition to ketone production, this also helps your body nourish your cells. Ever heard of essential fatty acids? These include omega 3, 6 and 9. The standard western diet generally has the ratio an average of 16:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. The optimum ratio is actually 4:1 of omega 6 to Omega 3. This can even be lower for an anti aging goal.
6. Bread replacements
This includes anything breadlike. I know how easy, convenient and handy wheat based breads are. I do school lunches 40 weeks a year, for 3 children, I KNOW! Despite this, it’s hard to let go of something that is so convenient. Especially when you’re rushed to get out of the door and you may have children who might not be as motivated to move as you are. So if you can create something that is low carb for the whole family, you’ll be getting your children into good habits and giving their bodies reduced insulin burst every day. If you have the will power and don’t feel that you will cave with having bread for the family, then leave the low carb bread for yourself and keep things simple for your mornings.
Some options such as bread rolls from the Diet Doctor site are very much like the real thing. I’ve also had good experiences with almond meal bread. It tastes great and can be toasted if you wish as well. If you miss having a sandwich, give these a try, you’ll be surprised. Here are ones that I’ve made.
Tortillas are another wheat based food you might miss that can be swapped with a low carb alternative. Other high carb foods people say they miss include cakes, scones, pancakes, waffles and English muffins. The web is an amazing resource for finding low carb alternatives to help you transition from your old way of eating. Be sure you do your research and choose recipes that are definitely low carb and sugar free. I’ve found this english muffin recipe my go-to these days. You can even make them in the morning and still manage to get out of the house on time, as they are very quick and easy to make.
Another option is to link in with the Great Low Carb Bread company for convenience and low carbs. They have a sampler box which allows you to taste test their wide range of low carb options available.
7. The Mind Stuff
This is the psychological and emotional stuff that can happen when changing habits. This is what people find usually messes with their commitment to and goal of improved health and weight loss – shifting the ingrained mindset of the last 40 years of fearing fat.
I’ve been through this process myself, so I too know what this is like and can understand where the resistance comes from. But through discovering inspirational guides and learning from them I found myself shifting my perspective and open to learning a new way of understanding on how to burn energy differently.
Christine Cronau, an Australian nutritionist, introduced me to increasing fat and that butter is our friend. From there, I looked up low carb everything and studied. I became a tad bit obsessed while intrigued, so ran with learning about ketosis and energy.
Sometimes we have to learn things through doing them. Or read more about something before we can shift a belief, perspective or long held idea. If nothing has made any difference for some time, despite your best efforts and following other diet plans, then why not give this one a go. You’ve given other diets a try, so why not ketogenic?
Ask yourself what is holding you back or getting in your way. What do you need to read about further in order for you to get your head around switching to fat burning mode instead of a carb burning way of eating.
8. Keep Your Fluids Up Keto Style
Drink water. The recommended amount is 2 litres per day. This varies depending on your activity levels. You will lose a fair amount when you first start to change from glucose burning to fat burning. Drinking water will release stored fluid from fat cells as fat is burned. Keep yourself hydrated and flush out any toxins released as you continue on your journey. Another tip is to add salt to your water if keto flu occurs.
Be sure to cut out those nasty sugary concoctions. You know what Im talking about. These soft drinks are full of so much sugar. One 375ml bottle of Coke contains 40 grams of sugar. This is equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar in one drink. The sugar free alternatives aren’t ideal either. Although they are sugar free, they use an artificial sweetener combination of aspartame and acesulfame potassium which have been linked to multiple health issues such as cancer, heart disease and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Other low carb drinks:
If you want to add milk use a dairy free, sugar free option such as almond, coconut, or pea milk. It just depends on your taste. I use almond milk for reduced carbs and cream to get a dairy-like flavour while increasing the fat content.
To make your own low carb dairy milk – Create your own dairy style milk using 300ml cream blended with 450ml of water. Add pinch of salt and erythritol if you prefer.
Despite the long held belief that exercise equals burning extra calories, which then helps you lose weight, this isn’t actually the way to lose weight. When we continue carb burning for energy and exercise, you then get hungry and generally consume most if not all of what you have burnt off. That’s not to say that exercise isn’t helpful, it just doesn’t help you with weight loss.
It has numerous other benefits however. Things like improving mental health, build muscle, increase strength, improve bone density, improved insulin sensitivity and metabolic rate. There is a lot of research now showing that exercise without any changes in diet are not effective in weight loss. It also shows improvement in cognitive performance as this study shows.
10. Intermittent Fasting
When intermittent fasting (IF) is combined with the ketogenic diet, the body detoxes at the cellular level while also taking a break from releasing insulin. It also increases the metabolism to kick start ketone production helping the body get into a fat-burning state. Studies such as this one have also shown the health and weight loss benefits of combining IF with ketogenic diet is more effective for weight loss than either alone.
Here’s a Sample Meal Plan to Get Started
Have you changed your way of eating? What has your experience been with changing your pantry foods over?
Let me know in the comments below