KETO DIET TIPS FOR SUCCESS
If you are curious about low carb eating, then these keto diet tips are for you. There’s no other nutrition trend that’s more talked about than the keto diet this year. You may hear it called the ketogenic diet, or just keto diet, for short. I’ll explain what it is, and how to make transitioning to a keto lifestyle successful.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet originally was developed as a treatment for epilepsy patients. It worked incredibly well and has withstood the test of time for reducing seizures in epilepsy patients.
Today, we hear about the ketogenic diet as a mean to enter “ketosis,” and make your body a fat-burning machine. By switching to a low-carb, high fat and protein diet, our metabolism switches from burning sugar to burning fat. This can help women dealing with weight loss challenges, balance blood sugars, stabilize hormones, and reduce food cravings. As you can see, these keto diet tips can help a really wide range of women.
You can expect a keto meal plan that looks like 60-70% fat, 25-33% protein, and 5-8% carbs. How do you do that?
Entering ketosis is accomplished by eating a diet focused on the following foods:
The foods that are avoided are all grains, gluten, legumes, sugar, processed fats, starchy vegetables, and higher carb fruits.
Keto Diet Tip #1: Food Quality Matters
Not enough conversation is happening about the quality of the food you eat on a keto diet. It’s so important that you are choosing higher quality proteins, especially if your intake is on the upswing. Here are my shopping tips for making your keto diet a success with a “qualitarian” approach. Look for the following:
- organic, pastured eggs
- grass-fed beef
- pastured poultry/pork
- wild, low-mercury seafood
- BPA free lined cans of meat/seafood
- organic produce
Keto Diet Tip #2: Choose Healthy Fats
Your choices of healthy fats for keto diet cooking affects the inflammation in your body, and will help your body transition to ketosis in a healthier manner. When you increase the amount of fat you eat, you need to choose well.
Here’s how I explain healthy cooking oils and healthy fats.
- For high heat cooking, it’s safe to use coconut, avocado, ghee, tallow, lard, duck fat, and sustainably sourced palm oil.
- For lower heat cooking, or for salad dressings, I’ll use extra virgin olive oil.
- For dressings and topping cooked vegetables, use nut and seed oils like flaxseed, walnut, sesame, and pumpkin. These oils also have Omega 3 fatty acids, but heat will degrade them so they are not to be used in cooking.
- Avoid anything with the following oils: vegetable, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, soy, cottonseed, and grapes oils. All of these oils turn rancid during their production phase, often using chemical deodorizers leading to oxidation. (Oxidation in our body is seen at STRESS!)
Keto Diet Tip #3: Don’t Overdo the Protein
In our food culture, we hear a lot about getting enough protein in, or we need protein for energy. It’s not exactly true. Protein isn’t an efficient fuel source on it’s own. Too much will also raise your insulin (blood sugar) levels, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid on a keto diet.
Your exact need depends on your activity level, gender, and body type. It’s more important to choose a balance of nutrients, instead of just focusing on protein. If you load up on too much protein, it tends to mean you are not getting enough fiber.
While we are all comfortable with the idea of getting our protein from animal sources, there is also some plant foods rich in protein.
- Tempeh (fermented soy, opt for organic/GMO-free)
- Hempeh (tempeh made from hemp seeds)
- Hemp heart/seeds
- Nutritional yeast
- Almond butter
Keto Diet Tip #4: Keep the Pipes Clear
Remember I said fiber is still important? Too often what happens for people testing out the keto diet is they load up on fat and protein, and they have digestive issues. Constipation tends to be the #1 complaint at for keto diet beginners.
You should be eliminating every day. You don’t want to get backed up so don’t overdo it on the healthy fat side of the equation. Those fat bombs may be delicious, but you don’t have a free pass. Although my Lemon Cashew Coconut Energy Balls are rather awesome. (Here’s another keto diet tip- if your poop floats, it means your body is having trouble digesting fat. Reduce your fat intake and make sure you are getting enough fiber in each day.)
The “keto flu” can also occur in week one when you lower your carb intake. This is normal and will go away, but can throw you for a loop when you first test out keto. The best way to help your body adjust is to make sure you are getting enough electrolytes to help regulate your body processes. Unsweetened coconut water is a great beverage to add to your daily routine.
Keto Diet Tip #5: Ketosis may take longer than you expect
Everyone’s body responds differently to change. Getting your body into ketosis is not simple science as everyone’s body type is different. You all come to keto at a different starting point. An lean athlete may get into ketosis faster than someone carrying a lot of extra weight. However, both may feel great benefits from trying the keto diet. I want you to understand that it can take longer than you think. It’s not something that happens in a couple of days. Be prepared for a few weeks to allow your body to convert to a fat burning state.
How will you know if you are in ketosis? There are three options:
- Blood Testing
- Urine Testing
- Breath Testing
Urine testing strips are widely available, although I happen to trust the Perfect Keto ketone strips as this is their primary focus. Blood meter testing is more accurate, but can be expensive, especially at the beginning.
I’m not a huge fan of number tracking your food, as I don’t like people to get consumed by tracking everything. What I do love about the keto diet is the focus on healthy fats and real food. Everyone can expect to see health boosts when editing the processed foods from their diet. This way of eating is becoming so mainstream they just added a new Keto module to my Academy of Culinary Nutrition course work.
Ready to give it a test run?! I’ve created a one-week free meal plan to help get you started. It’s easy to follow, with a mix of delicious recipes and simple snacks.
Should we all be on the Keto Diet?
I think this is a great question as there is a lot of potential benefits for everyone on a keto diet. However, it’s not a good fit for everyone. Women with thyroid issues, or Hashimoto’s, need to be particularly aware of how the keto diet affects their hormones. Ketosis can alter how productive your thyroid is, resulting in an imbalance if you are on medication.
Second, some women will not feel awesome on a keto diet. Even if you are eating all the “right” foods, you may not feel like yourself. An adjustment as you get start on a keto diet is normal, but a long term feeling of yuck is not. Food is meant to nourish your body and make you feel amazing. If this particular way of eating doesn’t do it for you, add in more things that make your body sing. Like maybe sweet potatoes.
Keto Diet Tips for Real Life
One of the books I read that had a great approach to a Keto lifestyle is Ketotarian, by Dr. Will Cole. His manifesto is above, and is based on wholesome, plant food. He acknowledges that while a plant-based approach to keto, adding in some quality seafood and the occasional grass-fed meat can be quite beneficial. His book is filled with nutrient dense recipes, and lots of tips on how to eat out and still follow a keto diet.
The other great resource I love is the new Keto Quick Start from Diane Sanfilippo. Diane explains a lot of the science behind ketosis, and I love how easy her recipes are. The meal plans she offers are totally doable, although you won’t find any snacks included. The tacos al pastor and the cacio e pepe spaghetti squash look delicious!
You can grab my free one week guide to the ketogenic lifestyle. This is a great add-on to this post as you will get a clear sense of the types of foods included in a keto diet. With these keto diet tips, a week’s worth of recipes and snack ideas, you can hit the ground running. If you get started and want a personalized approach, book an appointment with me to create a custom plan for you.