What is Keto?
A keto diet is composed of 75% healthy fats (coconut, mct oil, etc), 20% protein (preferable lean meat), and 5% carbohydrates. The keto diet eliminates the use of bread, grain-based flours, beans, sugar, starchy foods, legumes, and high-carb fruits/veggies. You can have meat, low-carb fruits/veggies, dairy products, nuts/seeds, spices, and healthy fats.
What about carbs in vegetables?
You can still eat vegetables, but it's reduced in amount. Look at the nutritional value of vegetables. The type you want to aim for are low carb veggies with a sufficient serving size. Leafy greens are excellent for this. Here is a small list of excellent vegetables for the keto diet.
- Celery, 2 stalks, 4g carbs
- Cucumber, 1/3 medium, 2g carbs
- Green Cabbage, 3oz, 5g carbs
- Radishes, 7 radishes, 3g carbs
- Leaf Lettuce, 1-1/2 cup, 2g carbs
- Iceberg Lettuce, 1/6 head, 2g carbs
- Green Onion, 1/4 cup, 2g carbs
- Asparagus, 5 spears, 4g carbs
- Kale, 1 cup, 2g carbs
- Cauliflower, 1/2 cup, >1g carbs
- Mustard Greens, 1 cup, 2.9g carbs
- Avocado, 1/2 fruit, 4.5g carbs
- Zucchini, 1 medium, 7g carbs
I always try to have a 1/2 gallon of water a day, not including coffee and tea. If you don't drink much water, you're probably like "Whoa! That's a lot!". It's actually the daily recommended amount. I have a 32oz water bottle that I fill twice a day. My magical secret is adding Mio or other brand that basically adds calorie-free flavoring to water. It sure helps get the water down in a timely fashion. Another thing that helps me, is sparkling water (make sure it's unsweetened). It's carbonated and you can get it flavored. I use it to fool myself into thinking that I'm drinking something special, like you might with a soda.
I don't just drink water. I drink a shit ton of coffee too. I just don't count my coffee intake with my water intake.
Also, with this amount of water, I recommend trying NOT to drink anything after 6pm or 7pm. This is only so you can get to sleep without having to get up in the middle of the night to run for the bathroom.
What are healthy fats?
Healthy fats become your fuel source. Here are the top 10 for the keto diet:
- MCT Oil (medium chain triglycerides)
- Coconut Oil (natural source of MCT oil)
- Palm Kernel Oil
- Suet (this is an animal fat)
- Cocoa Butter
- Butter (standard butter)
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (recommended for non-heat use only)
MCT oils are naturally found in coconut oil, palm oil, and in dairy. MCTs are easy for the body to turn into ketones, which are the fat bodies your body will burn for energy (aka your body uses your fat cells as fuel).
If I have a list of healthy fats, I should probably list some bad fats:
- Grapeseed Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Flax Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Corn Oil
- Vegetable Shortening
- Vegetable Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- Canola Oil
Things I Do That Help Me Immensely!!!
- I preplan and prepare my lunch for the work week. I use divided containers. This last week it was buffalo chicken meatloaf, broccoli, and snack-size cheese.
- I eat a lot of fish and other seafood.
- I tend to eat lean meat and use dairy to help get the high fats.
- Tuna for breakfast. Almost every morning I have tuna for breakfast, followed by a fat bomb "shake".
- If I need a snack, I try to reach for: nuts, cheese, meat pieces, pork rinds, keto ice cream, keto cheesecake, and pumpkin fudge (see my list of recipes). I try not to snack, reverting back to my high school mindset of "if I think I'm hungry, I'm probably just thirsty instead".
- I bought a 1 pint ice cream maker by Nostalgia Electronics. Check amazon. A basic ice cream base for 1 pint is: 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup almond milk, 2-3 TBSP stevia, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tsp salt. From that base, you can add nuts or flavoring or whatever to it.
- K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid. I tend to make a big pan of something that will span across the week, especially for lunch items. You might want to cook up some plain chicken, separate it out into serving size, and for your meals you can liven it up with different sauces. Simple!
Things I Don't Care For
- Bulletproof Coffee. Every once in a while, I can drink a cup of bulletproof coffee. I really don't like putting anything in my coffee, so to me it just ruins it. Bulletproof coffee is coffee with 2 TBSP Kerrygold Butter (or heavy cream) and 2 TBSP Coconut Oil. I really like black coffee.
- Making Fake Bread. I don't usually have a craving for bread. I'm not going to go out of my way to (essentially) fool myself into thinking "Hey, I have keto bread" or something like that. I'm just not into it. If I get an acidic stomach (sometimes happens after I take my vitamins) that I can't ignore, I'll have a cracker or two which I can usually find at work. I try not to worry about these carbs, but I absolutely try to ignore the acid stomach by drinking water or having a piece of cheese or something like that.