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How to Start a Ketogenic Diet

How to Start a Ketogenic Diet

By Jordan Maxwell

January 25, 2021

The ketogenic diet has become one of the most popular diets in recent years. Helping people to lose weight quickly while aiding others with extreme medical conditions — cancer, diabetes and epilepsy — a keto diet can be a healthy way to get you back on track. If you've recently consulted with a doctor or a naturopath about the pros and cons of starting a low-carb diet, chances are you’re looking to get started. This guide will walk you through the specifics and what to look out for if you’re thinking about incorporating a keto diet menu into your lifestyle. We’ve picked out 10 low-carb and high-fat products that will help you stay in ketosis as you start this new keto diet adventure.

1. Editor's Pick: Fatso High Performance Peanut Butter

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Likely to be a staple in your pantry while you’re on a keto diet, Fatso High Performance Peanut Butter is vegan and gluten-free and contains a healthy blend of peanuts, coconut oil, avocado oil and chia seeds — all low-carb and high-fat ingredients that your body needs when you’re entering a keto diet. Although it’s not as thick as traditional peanut butter, it makes for a good spread on leafy green vegetables or just to be eaten directly off the spoon. It comes in a variety of different flavours including a cocoa and crunchy salted caramel option.

2. Best Bone Broth Beef Bone Broth

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For soups that are high in protein, Best Bone Broth's Beef Bone Broth can be a key ingredient. Healthy soups that are keto-based are a great place to start when you’re entering a keto diet. You can ultimately make large batches as part of your weekly meal prep and eat it during the week. The beef broth is grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free beef bones, organic vegetables and spices. It’s simmered for up to 24 hours and can be cooked with or drank right out of the bottle. There are also no added sugars, it’s paleo-friendly and it's fully gluten-free as well.

3. KZ Clean Eating Breakfast Cereal Musli Chunky

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If you’re looking for a good keto breakfast cereal for a healthy morning meal, KZ Clean Eating Breakfast Cereal offers a healthy, gluten-free and low-carb option to get your day started off right. It’s made largely from coconut and nuts and contains high-protein and high fat ingredients. It also includes sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, cinnamon, vanilla powder and pumpkin seeds. Featuring traces of almonds, eggs and other dairy products, you can serve it with your favourite milk and yogurt brand.

4. Lee's Ghee Gold Standard Turmeric-Infused Ghee

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Made from highly clarified butter, ghee is a similar alternative but it doesn’t have the same level of dairy proteins. If you have any dietary issues with butter, it’s a healthy alternative that can be used when you’re sautéing vegetables, making curries, popping corn or cooking rice. It is lactose-free and has a high smoke point to give you a little flavour.

5. Level Up Superfoods Coffee Mix Dark Chocolate

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If you enjoy a little coffee in the morning and want a healthy sweetening option, try this product. Level Up Superfood Coffee Mixes are organic chocolate coconut oils with unique spice blends that you can add your coffee. It also can be added to tea, hot chocolate, smoothies, oatmeal and desserts. The coffee mix contains organic virgin coconut oil, organic raw cacao powder and tree nuts which are all ideal ingredients for someone on a keto-exclusive diet.

6. Love Good Fats Chocolatey Almond Chewy Nutty Bars

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Love Good Fats Chocolatey Almond Chewy Nutty Bars are a good keto chocolate snack that is also a great source of fat and protein especially when you didn't have time for a sit-down breakfast. Perfect for when you’re on the go, it contains 6g of protein and 15g of fat. It’s also gluten-free, vegan and has no sugar alcohols.

7. BPI Sports Keto Bomb Irish Cream

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In addition to the snacks and other products that were mentioned above, it’s also not a bad idea to consider a supplement in addition to the new keto foods you’ll be sticking to exclusively. The Keto Bomb is a creamer that’s made for those looking to lose weight while simultaneously enhancing your performance. It also includes natural source of essential fats by including MCT's (Medium Chain Triglycerides) and a high-performance blend of electrolytes.

8. Nutraphase MCT Oil Powder Unflavoured

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Another natural health supplement you can count on is Nutraphase Clean MCT Oil Powder. Derived from Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), which is extracted from coconut oil, it can help you train your body to use fat as fuel as opposed to carbs. It also helps you to boost your metabolism while regulating your blood glucose levels. What’s great about this as well is that it’s a digestive, gluten-free and dairy-free.

9. Primal Kitchen No-Dairy Alfredo Sauce

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One of the hardest things to do when switching to a keto diet isn’t about the snacks or the supplements; a successful change comes down to your dinner options as well. The Primal Kitchen No-Dairy Alfredo Sauce is a good option to add some flavour to your meat dishes. With no dairy, gluten, soy or canola oil, it’s made with cashew butter, avocado oil, roasted garlic, onion powder and black pepper. It also goes great with Zoodles or chicken.

The Keto Diet Menu

A keto diet requires a drastic change in what you’re putting into your body. Because you’re eliminating carbs, which carry a lot of sugar, from your diet, your body will begin to burn fat instead of the glucose to which it is accustomed. So, focusing on meals with high protein and consuming fat often enough is imperative for the diet to be successful. Ideally, you want to be eating less than 50g of carbs per day and approximately 1.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight. Here’s a list of foods that you can and can’t eat when you’re on a keto diet.

What You Can Eat

  • Fats (butter, coconut oil, lard, avocado, olive oil, etc.)
  • All meats, including processed meat (chicken, bacon, pork, steak, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (full fat yogurt, cream, and cheese)
  • Nuts & seeds (cashews, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, etc.)
  • Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, etc.)

What You Can’t Eat

  • Sugar (honey, cane sugar, maple syrup, etc.)
  • Fruit (apples, pineapples, bananas, mango, dried fruits, etc.)
  • Grains (wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, millet, etc.)
  • Legumes (black beans, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.)
  • Starchy vegetables (white potato, sweet potato, corn, peas, etc.)

What is Ketosis?

When you start anything like this, it’s important to understand the key terms and learn as much as you can about the process, not just the result. Ketosis is a metabolic process that occurs when your body begins to burn fat and energy because it does not have enough carbs. While this is happening, your liver will produce chemicals called ketones. By inducing ketosis to help your body burn fat, you will begin to see weight loss and possible improvements to your overall health. If you want to start a ketogenic diet to fast-track your weight loss or to control what you’re putting into your body, it's not a bad idea to start with a paleo-style diet for a few months to just your body adjusted. It's a little less extreme and still has the same health benefits; with a paleo-diet, you can still eat most fruits and starchy vegetables.

What is the Keto Flu?

As your body begins to transition into ketosis, you may feel signs of the “keto flu” coming on. You always want to start slowly but the reality is that these symptoms are naturally unavoidable. Keto flu systems may include headaches, dizziness, irritability, nausea, and trouble sleeping. It’s important to drink lots of water. Dehydration is a common symptom you will experience when beginning a keto diet so it’s important to stay hydrated. Light exercise is also a recommended option when you’re experiencing symptoms and getting enough electrolytes, salts and potassium can also help.

Who’s the Best Fit for a Keto Diet

While a keto diet can be helpful, it's not for everyone. Be sure to equip yourself with sufficient education and knowledge first. For example, it’s harder for an athlete because a keto diet makes for a longer recovery if you get injured. Also, women with lower thyroid hormones and pregnant women could have a hard time adjusting to this diet. Not enough carbs and too few calories can contribute to irregular menstrual cycles in women as well. Ketogenic diets really benefit people with cancer, people with diabetes and people with epilepsy. That said, ketogenic diets are good for people with no predisposed health conditions. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before doing a diet like this but generally you should be okay to try it gradually.

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Taking control of your health can be challenging and there are many ways to do it. Whether it's about weight loss or eating healthier, take time to find out what works best for you. A keto diet is one of those things that doesn't work for everyone and it's not as easy as just eliminating other foods right off the bat. The recommendations and info above is a good place to start. You're in charge of the rest!

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