What to eat on Keto? That is the question.
What should you eat to get to ketosis?
That's easy, stop eating carbohydrates and eat more fat. Ketosis is simple right? You need to eat at least 75% fat, up to 20% protein, and not more than 5% carbs. It is simple, but it is not easy.
Bacon and cheese will get you into ketosis, but this is not the bacon-and-cheese diet either. Bacon and cheese is good and you can have some, but you need all the nutrition that comes from vegetables.
But still, almost everything you buy has carbs in it.
I could have a little tizzy telling you all the reasons why our diets have evolved to be carb laden and why the ADA allows it but I don't think that would help.
Suffice-it-to-say that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is almost 70% carbs, and most of those carbs might as well be sugar.
So, what I am going to give you here is a guide. What's available, and how to determine if you should eat it.
Ketosis Achievement: The Bad News
There is very little Keto friendly processed food. And there is almost no Keto convenience food.
I was going to watch sports with my dad, so I visited the chips isle for the traditional salty, crunchy, snacky thing that goes so well with football.
Of the 100 choices, the only one that was keto friendly was pork rinds.
I like pork rinds - especially the spicy ones - so it was a good day.
Ketosis Achievement, The Good News
It's a bummer that you can't eat whatever you want on the Keto diet. But eating every doughnut and French fry you see is not really that big of a problem.
The good news is that for most of the food you can't eat, there are Keto friendly substitutes that are even better.
So you can't have potato chips - bummer.
What you can have is peanuts, or almonds or sunflower seeds. You can have pork rinds.
There are tons of things that you can make out of cheese. Check out these Keto Spicy Cheese Chips.
There are even very tasty substitutes for candy bars.
If you live in the sticks like I do, your local grocery store probably will not have too many Keto friendly candy options, but you can get keto friendly candy by just doing a quick search. I like Amazon the best because their prices are usually better than anywhere else and I have Prime two day delivery. (Yeah it takes a little planning ahead to survive the High Rockies)
You can also make your own. Check out Keto Deserts
One more bit of good news, when you get to ketosis you will start to lose the cravings for sweets and other carbs.
Back to Finding Keto Friendly Foods
Keep in mind that the the ketosis is achieved by eliminating the carbs that create an insulin response.
In the the American food delivery system carbohydrates are everywhere. Not only are they in junk food, they are in are in sit-down-with-the-family dinner food.
They are in bread, tortillas, pasta, beans, potatoes, corn, rice, yams, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Sugar is added to the majority of prepared food, like pasta sauce and soups.
You cannot eat the following food on the Keto Diet
Grains - wheat, corn, rice, cereal
Sugar - honey, agave, maple syrup
Fruit - apples, bananas, oranges
Tubers - potato, yams
Legumes - pinto beans navy beans black beans etc.
But you CAN eat the food on this list:
(It could be just me, but the Keto list looks a lot better. This is just a sample of the Keto Approved Shopping List I made for you. Check it out.)
Meats - fish, beef, lamb, poultry, egg (try to go for the high fat meat)
Leafy Greens - spinach, kale
Above ground vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower
High fat dairy - hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter
Nuts and seeds - macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds etc. These are important sources of fiber so make sure you include them.
Avocado and berries - raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
Sweeteners - stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners
Other fats - coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
A Note on Fiber
Before I go further fiber confuses a lot of people - me included when I first started Keto. Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate.
It does not act like a act like a carb because we can't digest it. The reason we need it in our diet is to keep things moving. If you don't get enough fiber you may find out how painful constipation can be.
My favorite example of this is flax seeds. In two cups of flax seed meal there is 97 grams of carbs, but 92 of those grams are dietary fiber, so there is only 5 net carbs. Flax seeds are very Keto friendly. ( I am in no way suggesting that you eat two cups of flax seed meal in one day, this is just an example of how net carbs work).
Read The Labels
Here is some more good news for the purpose of the Keto diet.
Reading the labels is simple and easy. You don't have to be a chemist. You don't even have to know what Maltodextrin is.
All you need to do is look at the nutrition information on the label.
The nutrition information will have - in grams - total fat, total carbohydrate, total dietary fiber, and total protein.
The number you're concerned with is NET CARBS. The carbs that turn into blood sugar.
I know that there isn't a line on the nutrition information that says "net carbs."
But it's easy enough to figure out the net carbs with a tiny bit of math.
Just take the total carbohydrates and subtract the dietary fiber and the sugar alcohols.
Let me give a couple examples.
Let's say you have your macros figured and you are allowed 23 carbs (grams) for the whole day. Let's also say that just had fried eggs for breakfast (no carbs).
The label on the can of broccoli-cheese soup you are considering for lunch says, one serving (half the can) has 21 total carbs, 1 gram dietary fiber.
That means half the can of soup has a 20 grams of net carbs.
You could eat half that can of soup if you really want to, but I wouldn't because: That would leave only 3 carbs for the rest of the day. I wouldn't eat the soup because it would be too easy to blow the whole day on a half of a can of soup...pfft.
Sugar-free Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. The label says that in a 44 gram serving there is 27 grams total carbs, 6 grams of fiber and 20 grams of sugar alcohols. This makes for net carbs of 1 gram.
Now this I can go for. And with the 6 grams of fiber that's practically a salad.
So there you have it.
Keto Meal Plans...
When you are seriously trying to lose weight on the Keto diet you need to make a serious plan. In the beginning this can seem time intensive but it it's worth it for two reasons...
- If you want to see the long term health benefits of the Keto diet you need to put some effort in to learning what your body needs to achieve the weight loss and healing.
2. It doesn't take long once you get used to recognizing what actions produce results for you. (It's like being on autopilot)
Of course knowing that you are cutting out foods with added sugar is obvious.
Learning which healthy fats and fatty acids will actually get you to Ketosis so that you can burn fat that your body has stored is a great starting point.
I know it seems counter intuitive to fill your diet with heavy cream and other dairy products that we have been taught are bad for us, but you have to get over this way of thinking.
For years we stopped eating meat all but one day a week - and I couldn't understand why I wasn't losing weight. I was just sure this would do the trick. But, I had cut out almost all fats and meat. My body was hanging on to every calorie and I was thinking that I was doomed to be overweight forever....
I was going about it all wrong and gave up.
Until Keto came along...
If you are short on time you should consider a Keto Meal Plan.
Plenty of bloggers on Keto Sites offer meal plans and they range from about $20.00 to $200.00. Obviously some go into more depth than others but this takes the guesswork out of meal planning when you are new to the Keto Lifestyle.
Thom is actually working on a meal plan right now and we will be offering it by the end of October or early November. That'll be just in time for the Holidays and give everyone enough time to gear themselves up for their New Years goals.
He has a fancy degree that he earned by doing A LOT of research and this diet has been no different. He is a Keto Expert and you can trust him to present meal plans in plain English with explanations as to how this diet really works.
He won't tell you to eat a bunch of cheap meat and send you on your way either. That has to be one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to all of the pop-up Keto Diet sites.
Yes you need fat. And, it cant all come from healthy olive oil. But there are reasons not to just eat a package of hot dogs and call it a "Keto" day.
Sure you will still lose weight and will be thin when the doctor tells you that you have heart disease.....
Keto is appealing because it helps people lose weight fast. But there is a healthy vs. unhealthy way to achieve that goal.
If you are at all unsure about what to make, how to figure out your macros or how to get enough fat in your diet you should consider investing a small amount of money in your health and go for it.
You don't NEED to buy any of this stuff but we recommend that you have the basics before you start this diet....
No, I am not going to try to push ketone strips or any of that stuff on you...
But there are a couple of basics that will make your life easier once you do decide to take the plunge and change your life and body.
A good scale:
Having a good scale that measures you body composition and will help you stay motivated (and know when you are headed in the right direction).
Once you start seeing the results of this diet it may become an addiction....
A lot of people recommend a food scale as well. We bought one but once the Keto Lifestyle became a habit we didn't need it. So it was kind of a waste.
Most people already have this item but it comes in handy for making smoothies. I love to make a rich and chocolatey shake with cocoa, peanut butter, swerve, ice and almond milk. it doesn't need to be super fancy, if it blends than you are good to go.
What you should really make sure to have ON HAND is the right food.
You can check out our shopping list and check out the items that are hard to find at your local grocery store. We live in the High Rocky Mountains of Colorado and our town boasts one grocery store...a tiny one.
They don't carry many specialty items but when they do, you can bet they will cost a lot more than they would anywhere else. So I do most of my "specialty" shopping on Amazon.
Yes, there are some items that you absolutely must have on hand (food) but you can get by without a lot of fancy apps or gadgets of you need to.
Cheers til next time,
At CastleintheMountains.com we have tons of Great Keto friendly recipes