Thousands of people have lost weight on the popular Keto diet from celebrities to every day folks, myself included. It’s so popular because it’s so versatile, there’s literally thousands of recipes you can make, you get to eat amazing things heavy cream and bacon, it’s easy and most importantly you drop weight fast and you don’t get hungry. With that being said, it’s not for everyone and it’s important to know what foods you’ll be eating before you start and how to incorporate more fats into your diet. Remember that Ketogenic diets aren’t as high in protein as Paleo, they focus on fat. Always check with your doctor first to make sure that the keto diet is right for you. If you’d like to try going keto here’s a 7 day sample menu full of keto friendly foods.
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Basics of the Keto Plan
The diet calls for consuming high amounts of fat, a moderate amount of protein, and a very limited amount of carbs. It’s usually broken down to 75, 20, and 5 percent of your daily calories, respectively, says Pamela Nisevich Bede, RD, a dietitian with Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition in Columbus, Ohio.
Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source.
Ketosis is the state characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood. Very simply put, ketosis is when your body stops using glucose for energy and instead uses fat broken down into ketones.
Plan menus and snacks at least a week ahead of time, so you aren’t caught with only high carb meal choices.
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What You Can’t Eat (or Drink) on the Keto Diet
Foods and drinks that you’ll avoid on the keto diet include many whole fruits (though some fruits are keto-friendly), dried fruits (high in sugar), whole grains, cold cuts, chicken nuggets, milk, ice cream, some alcohol, and desserts. (keto friendly desserts are fine).
Benefits of The Keto Plan
The benefit of keto is that there are hundreds of recipes to choose from so you can never get bored. It’s much less restrictive than Whole30 for instance.
In the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Diets rankings, keto lands at number 38 of 41 diets profiled. That’s because while it may lead to a short-term weight loss, experts flag that for some it is difficult to follow, there is a lack of nutrition with the cutting out of whole grains, and potential health risks of eliminating other major food groups and eating more saturated fat.
However, the keto plan has been shown to improve the health of those living with type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, dementia and Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder, certain metabolic diseases like PCOS and some cancers according to some experts, like Richard Isaacson, MD, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York–Presbyterian in New York City.
If you find that keto is right for you immerse yourself in the keto lifestyle, find your favorite recipes, and stick with them. There are a few items that are staples of a keto diet. Be sure to always have these items on hand:
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Eggs – Used in omelets, quiches (yes, heavy cream is legal on keto!), hard boiled as a snack, low carb pizza crust, and more; if you like eggs, you have a great chance of success on this diet.
Bacon – Do I need a reason? breakfast, salad garnish, burger topper, BLT’s (no bread of course; try a BLT in a bowl, tossed in mayo)
Cream cheese – Dozens of recipes, pizza crusts, main dishes, desserts
Shredded cheese – Sprinkle over taco meat in a bowl, made into tortilla chips in the microwave, salad toppers, low-carb pizza and enchiladas
Romaine and spinach – Fill up on the green veggies; have plenty on hand for a quick salad when hunger pangs hit
EZ Sweetz or Splenda liquid sweetener – Use a couple of drops in place of sugar.
Cauliflower – Fresh or frozen bags you can eat this low-carb veggie by itself, tossed in olive oil and baked, mashed in fake potatoes, chopped/shredded and used in place of rice under main dishes, in low-carb and keto pizza crusts, and much more
Chicken tenders – Have a large bag on hand; thaw quickly and grill, saute, mix with veggies and top with garlic sauce in a low carb flatbread, use in Chicken piccata, chicken alfredo, tacos, enchiladas, Indian Butter chicken, and more
Ground beef/lean pork/poultry/turkey – Make a big burger and top with all sorts of things from cheese, to sauteed mushrooms, to grilled onions… or crumble and cook with taco seasoning and use in provolone cheese taco shells; throw in a dish with lettuce, avocado, cheese, sour cream for a tortilla-less taco salad
Almonds/walnuts/macademia nuts (plain or flavored) – these are a tasty and healthy snack; however, be sure to count them as you eat, because the carbs DO add up. Flavors include habanero, coconut, salt and vinegar and more.
Avocados – Super food, high in unsaturated fat and loaded with incredible benefits for you. You can use them in puddings and other dessert recipes for added creaminess and get all the added antioxidant benefits and weight management.
A 7-Day Sample Menu for the Keto Diet
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs in grass fed butter on a bed of lettuce topped with avocado
Snack: Sunflower seeds
Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled salmon
Snack: Celery and pepper strips dipped in guacamole
Dinner: Pork chop (or choice of lean meat) with cauliflower mash with grass fed butter and red cabbage slaw (no sugar).
Breakfast: Bulletproof coffee (made with butter and coconut oil), hard-boiled eggs
Mind you- you don’t have to purchase Bulletproof coffee you can make your own. Here’s the recipe. This coffee keeps me super charged for hours! I literally have to remind myself to eat though!
Snack: Macadamia nuts (handful)
Lunch: Tuna salad stuffed in tomatoes (whole fat mayo)
Snack: Roast beef and sliced cheese roll-ups (whole fat cheese)
Dinner: Meatballs on zucchini noodles, topped with cream sauce
Breakfast: Cheese and veggie omelet topped with salsa
Snack: Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt topped with crushed pecans
Lunch: Sashimi – raw fish (no rice) with miso soup
Snack: Smoothie made with almond milk, greens, almond butter, and protein powder
Dinner: Roasted chicken with asparagus and sautéed mushrooms
Breakfast: Smoothie made with almond milk, greens, almond butter, and protein powder
Snack: Two hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: Broiled chicken tenders made with almond flour on a bed of greens with cucumbers and goat cheese
Snack: Sliced cheese and bell pepper slices
Dinner: Grilled shrimp topped with a lemon butter sauce with a side of asparagus
Breakfast: Fried eggs with bacon and a side of greens
Snack: A handful of walnuts with a quarter cup of berries
Lunch: Grass-fed burger in a lettuce “bun” topped with avocado and a side salad
Snack: Celery sticks dipped in almond butter
Dinner: Baked tofu with cauliflower rice, broccoli, and peppers, topped with a homemade peanut sauce
Breakfast: Baked eggs in avocado cups
Snack: Kale chips
Lunch: Poached salmon avocado rolls wrapped in seaweed (rice-free)
Snack: Meat-based bar (turkey or pork)
Dinner: Grilled beef kabobs with peppers and sautéed broccolini
Breakfast: Eggs scrambled with veggies, topped with salsa
Snack: Dried seaweed strips and cheese
Lunch: Sardine salad made with mayo in half an avocado
Snack: Turkey jerky (look for no added sugars)
Dinner: Broiled trout with butter, sautéed bok choy