Easing Into the Ketogenic Diet Plan
Getting started on the Keto diet plan.
Making the decision to go low carb/high fat is a difficult one to make, but one that I am glad I did. I've lost over 100 lbs, mostly on keto. You can too! And you'll be able to do it while eating bacon, eggs, steak, and sour cream. I know this, because the majority of my diet over the last few years have been those exact things, along with chicken thighs and cheese.
During my years on this diet, I have learned to substitute different things to satisfy my cravings. For example, I really love corn chips and guacamole or salsa. Instead I use pork rings for that satisfying crunch. It isn't exactly the same, but it it does satisfy that craving for me.
Eliminate all fructose (especially High Fructose Corn Syrup)
Yes, this means fruit has to go first thing, as well as regular soda/pop. The reasoning is quite simple. Fructose is almost entirely metabolized in the liver. It is either stored as glycogen or turned into fat. Being that (until now) the majority of you reading have been eating carbohydrates regularly, your liver is replete with glycogen (stored sugar) and unable to handle the extra fructose.
What happens to fructose if there is no room in the liver to store it? By and large, it gets turned into fat. Glucose and other carbohydrates can be absorbed or burned other ways, but fructose MUST go through the liver.
Get rid of the rest of the sugars
While getting rid of fructose will help just by itself, the rest of the sugars will have to go if you ever want to successfully transition to a full keto diet. Things like sports drinks will have to go. There are a myriad other options that are sugar free (like Powerade zero, sugar free jello).
Try checking out the diabetic section of your local supermarket. Beware of sugar-alcohols! They do count, just not quite as much as a normal carbohydrate. Sometimes they can cause some GI distress and bloating as well. I usually count them at about half the grams of carbohydrates than is listed, but it really depends on the exact sugar alcohol.
When counting carbohydrates, remember that fiber doesn't really count.
Photo by Ben Frantzdale
Eliminate Grains, starches, and grain-like seeds
This includes pseudocereals (like Quinoa and Amaranth)
This is going to be the hardest part for most people. Grains make up a large part of almost everyone's diet. The are everywhere and very convenient. A donut and coffee on the go seems to be half of America's breakfast. Keep the coffee (use splenda!) but ditch the donut for bacon and eggs! The calorie count will be about the same, but here is the kicker: Once you reach the office you won't be hungry again.
And other high carb dairy (like yogurt)
Not all dairy, just the dairy with lactose and other sweeteners. I have heavy cream or half and half with my coffee daily. I definitely eat sour cream with just about everything (try a dollop in chili or even scrambled eggs).
I also eat cheese on just about everything, or even just break chunks of it off the brick to snack on.
And butter! Butter on everything!
Yogurt is mostly off the table, along with milk.
Photo: Janine Chedid
...and limit carrots, beets, and other higher carbohydrate vegetables.
Beans, unfortunately, will also have to go, or at least very limited quantities occasionally. Baked beans with molasses are, of course, no longer a good choice, at all. But plain or seasoned pinto, black, and other unsweetened beans can still be eaten occasionally. I do enjoy a chipotle burrito bowl with black beans from time to time.
But make sure eating beans and legumes are the exception, not the rule. Peanuts are also acceptable from time to time, but large servings will start racking up the carbohydrates.
Picture: Hugo Wolf
I've lost over 100 lbs since my heaviest, most of which was on the ketogenic diet. It is the easiest diet for me to adhere to and I experienced a lot of other benefits other than weight loss.
What is your experience?