The KETO buzz word is all over, and there is no stopping it.
There are so many benefits of this high-fat, low carb diet ranging from effortless weight loss, lowered inflammation, higher brain function and improved memory. There are even studies that are showing ketogenic diets to potentially be the cure for cancer and for Alzheimers, so there is a reason this diet is gaining popularity.
As someone who has sworn by a high-fat diet for a long time (it's delicious, I only have to eat 2-3x, and my energy is out of this world) AND as someone who has worked with thousands of clients through my Challenge to become "fat adapted", I want to go over the biggest things you should know if interested in the ketogenic lifestyle.
1. Fat Adapted does not necessarily mean KETO.
The biggest misconception that I want to address is that being a fat-adapted individual, meaning you use FAT instead of GLUCOSE for energy, doesn't necessarily mean you need to be full on ketogenic. Scroll down to the resources below for more detailed information, but simply put, a true ketogenic diet has anywhere from 70-75% of your total calories coming from fat. Fats like butter, bacon, avocado, olive oils, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, and MCT oil. That means that protein is around 20%, and net carbohydrates, or total carbohydrate intake after subtracting fiber content, is around 5-10%.
Let's get back to that number- 5-10%. That is EXTREMELY low carb. For a diet that is 1700 calories, that means your total grams for the day would be 25-35 grams. Basically an apple. ONE APPLE. Yes, totally doable, but not easy. I want my clients to know what they are getting into when they start the keto lifestyle. When your body has no carbohydrates to use, your body produces KETONES, hence the name "Ketogenic" and "Keto". (Again, listen to the resources below to get more nerdy with me!)
I find that full keto is best when you are in strict control of your environment and have zero issues with dieting, meaning you can stay consistent without the mental exhaustion that some diets can cause. If that sounds exhausting already, DO NOT WORRY. You can still benefit from a higher fat diet without being full-on carb crazy, and that's what I teach with my Challenge. There are two meal plans: Keto, with the requirements one needs for keto, and Non-Keto, which is around 50% fat, 25-30% protein, and 15-20% carb.
I have had more success with the non-keto meal plan with myself and clients, but is totally personal preference on what you can sustain for a long time without hitting burnout.
Still interested in this wonder diet? Good. Keep reading for some seriously important notes.
2. You are NOT what you eat. You are what you digest.
My biggest issue with the ketogenic diet is the lack of education that is included when someone is switching to a high fat lifestyle. If you do not properly digest your fats, it will cause serious upset. This could look like skin breakouts, running to the bathroom, bloating and distension, and even nausau. When stress is high, when we lack good fats with a low-fat diet, or when we jump into a high-fat diet too quickly, our body will FREAK OUT. If these issues aren't addressed, we are in for big problems down the road.
Breaking down fats is a combination of bile being released from gallbladder and pancreatic enzymes released from the pancreas. The gallbladder needs good fats to function properly, so sometimes it needs a little help with ox bile, Vitamin C, dandelion root, and even beets. I use Beta Plus or Beta TCP with clients who have gallladder issues or no gallbladder and need help breaking fats down. What is super interesting is that our gallbladder stops working in times of emotional trauma and high stress, so it's always good to periodically address the stress in our life and the need for some extra gallbladder support while eating more fat. As far as the pancreas, I suggest Enzymix-Pro with food to help break down fats as well as carbs and proteins, especially if you can't figure out what food is causing stomach upset, if you are eating out and aren't sure of the food, or if you struggling with random food reactions.
If you have had lots of gut issues in the past, and possibly if you are feeling slightly overwhelmed right now with my previous paragraph, I highly suggest my 7 Day Happy Gut Challenge. Addressing issues in the small intestine like bloating, allergies, gas, and irregularity can all cause inflammation which equals stubborn weight loss and even anxiety. Trust me, it's all connected!
3. Intuitive Eating: When To and When Not To
This is something I aim for all my clients- teaching them enough about their body that they finally learn to trust it! Realizing you need more protein, carbs, or fats without constantly checking My Fitness Pal may seem impossible, but you'll get there. Until you get there, I highly suggest tracking a couple different things.
The first week you will be a very, very grumpy person to be around without carbohydrates. I was the absolute WORST my first week switching from a typical bodybuilder diet to a high-fat diet, and that's totally normal. Just be sure to download My Fitness Pal and be sure you are eating enough fat, monitoring your net carbohydrates, and not overdoing protein. If you are the opposite, and not hungry at all, that's okay too. Just be sure you are digesting your fats, drinking a lot of water, and also getting your minerals in: magnesium, sodium, and trace minerals. I love NUUN tablets and various low sugar electrolyte blends, as well as trace mineral drops that you can add to your water.
Invest in a blood ketone monitor! They check the ketones in your blood. I use one from Amazon but my friend Jimmy Moore is trying to help launch a ketone meter that is more accessible and affordable! Again, listen to the podcasts below for more info on what a blood ketone meter does and the number you are aiming for.
Be sure to check out some resources below that dive into the Keto world in more depth!
And of course...
My 21 Day Challenge! Instant access to 21 Videos, including at-home workouts and a Keto/Non-Keto meal plan. Start whenever you are ready.
As always, email with questions and comments! I love hearing from you guys.
Enjoy that yummy fat! :)