Simple Way to Start the Ketogenic Diet
Start the Ketogenic Diet the EASY WAY!
I get asked over and over again “What’s the Simple Way to Start the Ketogenic Diet?” This diet can be a bit confusing and overwhelming when you jump into all the information out there.
Let me first start off with a little disclaimer. First, I am not a doctor. I don’t claim to be a specialist in the Keto diet either. I’m just a busy mom that started this process herself. I’m 3 weeks in and 13 pounds lighter. Yay! I have plans to study this way of life in depth. I’ve already signed up to attend the very first Keto Conference scheduled later this year. I’ve never really been the dieting type person. I don’t like the restriction of food and I certainly don’t like feeling hungry. The Ketogenic Diet has really helped me feel full and satisfied throughout the whole process. I know I will be successful with it. I’m already successful!
This of this information as a power dump of all the important things I’ve learned from studying this process over the last two months!
UPDATE!!! I was able to create a video starter guide course that will walk your through every step of starting the Ketogenic Diet!
You can access the course here: LowCarbInspirations.com
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
Basically, it’s a high fat, moderate protein and low carb way of eating.
I feel the need to explain how this diet works. You are basically putting your body into ketosis.
What is Ketosis you ask?
Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, which is typically pathological in conditions such as diabetes or may be the consequence of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates.
How does the Ketogenic Diet work?
The best way for me to explain this diet is with this example of a fire. A fire burns in 3 different ways.
- A fire burns with kindling (small brush or branches).
- A fire burns with logs.
- A fire burns with coals.
Kindling burns really, really fast. A log burns slower… probably an hour or two. Coals burn for a long period of time.
Your body burns energy in 3 different ways also.
Carbs burn really, really fast. Protein burns at a slower rate but fat burns for a long period of time! You want to burn fat!
How do your fat cells work?
Fat cells are like little stubborn balloons in your body. They love to hold their shape and resist change. When you are in ketosis and your body starts to burn fat it starts to deplete these fat cells. But these cells don’t want to change. They start to hold more water to resist this type of change until they can no longer change! Why is that important for you to know that? Because the scale is your worst enemy when you start this diet. Your fat cells will hold more water even though you are losing fat. You will notice a change in your measurements so it’s highly recommended to measure success in the beginning.
How do I start the Ketogenic Diet?
The very first thing I would do is make a decision to start this process and be dedicated to it. You will do more harm to yourself if you decide to eat high fat and still consume the carbs. It will lead to obesity.
Know that there is such thing as the “Keto Flu” when you start. Your body is going through a change and it won’t feel good in the beginning. I had pretty bad headaches for about 3 days. It was the kind of a headache you get when you don’t drink enough water. I would drink more water than usual and I would also drink some pickle juice to help with this change. It doesn’t last very long at all.
Order some Ketone Pee Strips to test the ketone levels in your body. This was very important for me in the beginning. I was learning the different foods that put my body out of its ketosis state. Your body needs to remain in ketosis for this to work.
I thought I knew the foods that are allowed but quickly learned that I cannot trust everything I read on the internet. For example, one keto friendly recipe I tried had a sweet potato with butter and plain cinnamon. I love sweet potato but realized after my test that sweet potato takes my body out of ketosis. I trusted a recipe on the internet that told me this was keto approved!
The other reason the strips were important was that I went out to eat and decided to have the cheese sauce with my meal. Cheeses are certainly approved on this diet but I didn’t realize the restaurants all make a fake cheese sauce meaning they don’t actually have cheese in it at all! Talk about a learning experience! Now I know not to ever order queso or cheese sauce at a restaurant. This may sound stupid and most may have already known this but I did not. This is exactly why the test strips are important to me during this learning curve.
The last thing I recommend is to have a clear plan for your meals. You are the only person that can decide what meal ideas will work for you and your timeframe. You will want to set yourself up for success by being prepared. I do my planning one week at a time. I do my shopping over the weekend so I have everything ready during the busy work week. If you like to eat out a lot just determine which restaurants have foods you can enjoy and stick to those. I will put a small recommended grocery list at the very bottom of this post to help you get started on your first trip to the store too.
My brain was programmed a long time ago that fat was bad. Thank goodness for the book How We Get Fat and What to do About It by Gary Taubes helped to flip that switch for me. If you are local to me and want to borrow mine copy I would be happy to loan it to you. It’s an excellent read.
The last thing that I realized I really needed was a protein powder. I don’t eat enough protein and it’s essential on this diet to meet those targets. I really like the Dyamtize Whey Protein Isolate birthday cake flavor. The books I’ve read suggested the Egg Whites protein too but it doesn’t have any flavor and it’s really hard to mix in water. It’s perfect for baking or adding to recipes though.
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How do I know how much Fat, Protein and Carbs to consume?
This part is easy. There are tons of Keto Calculators out there to help you determine what your numbers need to be. I personally really like the simplicity of this Keto Calculator to determine my own diet numbers. This calculator will help you determine your macronutrients and how much of what you should be eating every day! Don’t skip this part because this is the key to getting started!
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide energy for your body and each body is different. It’s important to determine your own numbers and this calculator will ask you lots of information to determine your own numbers.
Rules to remember: Protein is always a target goal. Try hard to meet that target but not go over on the amount. Carbs are a limit. Don’t go over your carb count. Use fat as a lever. Eat enough fat until you are full. You don’t have to meet your fat target number if you don’t feel hungry.
I’ve also found a really good resource for explaining weight loss and fine-tuning your ratio of macronutrients. It’s in the book The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse: Reset Your Metabolism with 160 Tasty Whole-Food Recipes & Meal Plans. This is an excellent book to start out with if you want to read in more detail exactly how this diet works and meal plans for a full 30 days are included. This is the only book that I have found that goes into detail about how much you should consume if you are trying to lose weight.
She states the typical numbers for weight maintenance and ketosis is a 5-20-75 percent ratio but if you are trying to lose weight she suggests sticking to a 20 grams or less in carb intake while keeping your protein intake at a moderate level of about 50 to 75 grams a day to achieve ketosis, a state in which your body will use stored fat for fuel. Which is exactly what you want for weight loss. Then eat fat until you are full or until you reach your calories for the day (whichever comes first).
Here’s a glimpse at the page I am referring to:
UPDATE!!!! We’ve added a Keto Sample Menu 7 Day Plan you can print off here to help you get an idea of what a week on Keto looks like!!
I welcome you to join our Low Carb Inspirations group on Facebook! We have a supportive environment where we share all sorts of information about our Keto and Low Carb Lifestyles!
First Trip to the Grocery Store
This list is something I did when I went to the store for the first time. These foods that I list are just recommendations and certainly not the full list of allowed foods. These were just the easiest for me to start with.
- Bacon (lowest sugar bacon possible)
- Chicken (usually the higher fat types like dark meat cuts)
- Eggs (I buy about 3 18 count cartons a week for my family of four)
- Ground Beef
- Kielbasa sausage
- Pork Ribs
- Pork Rinds (excellent snack if you need the crunch factor)
- Almond butter
- Butter (Kerrygold is a high-quality brand I really like)
- Cheese (Cheddar, Colby, Feta, Mozzarella, Blue cheese, Provolone, Ricotta, and so many others)
- Coconut Cream
- Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
- Cream Cheese (I’m pretty sure I buy about 3 blocks a week now)
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Mayonnaise (Full Fat mayo such as Dukes)
- Olive Oil
- Sour Cream
- Brussel Sprouts
- Snow Peas
- Spaghetti Squash
Grab the printable version of this Keto Friendly Grocery List here: Grocery Store Keto List
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Keto Friendly Cookbook Recommendations
Here are some ideas for quick meal ideas and recipes I trust. I started a tab here on the blog for trusted and tried recipes! Click here to see this Keto Friendly Recipe tab because I plan on updating it with every recipe I make that is a success.
Here are some of my favorite recipes and/or food ideas so far:
Keto Friendly Low Carb Pancakes with sugar-free syrup.
Eggs and sausage or bacon for breakfast with a side of avocado.
Salads for lunch (lettuce, chicken/turkey with tomatoes, cheese and avocado and full fat ranch dressing)
I also keep a package of fully cooked grilled turkey or chicken strips in my refrigerator for the week just in case time gets away from me and I need something already cooked! I’ve been known to heat that up with cheese on top and serve it with a side of avocado too. Yummy!
Bacon Cheeseburger soup (is a family favorite)
Baked Brussel Sprouts Casserole (my family doesn’t like Brussel Sprouts but they LOVE this recipe)
Dinners are usually a meat with cheese or a salad with a low carb biscuit on the side.
My favorite snack idea is the Parmesan cheese wisps made by Cello. You can find them at Costco or your can order them here on Amazon. Best Snack EVER! I can only eat about 15 at a time which is one serving before it fills me up. They are so tasty too!
Dessert ideas are Halo Top Ice cream! You can find this at your local grocery store! Seriously good ice cream with no after taste!
I tend to also mix a few frozen blueberries or frozen strawberries with heavy cream if I need to up my fat numbers for the day. Mix those ingredients together and it tastes just like ice cream! What a treat!
Another way to help up your fat numbers for the day is to have what they call fat bombs. We made some of our own fat bombs but I prefer to call them sugar free chocolate candy hearts because it sounds much more pleasing than fat bombs. Lol!
These are just a few ideas to help get you started. Stay tuned for many more. We are in the process of testing many different pizza recipes and I’ve already found one that I plan to share real soon! But keep in mind that if you are invited somewhere that has pizza, just don’t eat the crust and only eat the topping! This actually happened to me and I made it work. Where there’s a will, there’s a way right?!
You can get free keto meal plans every week here: Keto Meal Plan Ideas(Opens in a new browser tab)
Keto Friendly Facebook Groups and Pages to Follow
We have a page on Facebook dedicated only to really good Keto Friendly Recipes that you can follow here.
Or join our Low Carb Inspirations group on Facebook! We have a supportive environment where we share all sorts of information about our Keto and Low Carb Lifestyles!
UPDATE: Many have asked for the pizza recipe from the photo in this article. This is the BEST Low Carb Keto Friendly pizza recipe I’ve ever tried!!!! SO GOOD!!!
Update! We created a Meal plan for Keto Friendly Freezer Meals! Check out our Facebook live showing how we made 6 meals in under 1 hour!
Ketogenic Diet Health Benefits Infographic
Wow such a simple and detailed description. I am about to start and doing my research. Well i must say landed on the page at the right time. Great explanation in simple words. Made quite clear the reason and how to? Thanks a lot.
Thank you for your generosity in sharing this excellent info!
I wish Dr. Robert Atkins had lived long enough to see how widespread is the adoption of his weight-loss philosophy now — so widespread now that there isn’t even a mention of his name here.
It was 46 years ago that he published his “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution,” the first diet based on the role of ketosis in managing weight loss. For twenty years, he endured accusations of being a fake, a quack, a huckster. But the patients he treated in his practice certainly knew better.
So deeply entrenched were the prevailing nutritional myths of the government recommended “food pyramid” and it’s promotion of massive helpings of carbohydrates over proteins and fats, that for decades no one bothered to examine Dr. Atkins’ claims scientifically. In the meantime, our nation became alarmingly obese, while the solution to that problem was right in front of anyone who was curious enough to purchase Dr. Atkins’ inexpensive, but truly revolutionary book.
Thank you, Dr. Robert Atkins!
Hi ! I read your article I just started the ketogetic diet so far I ‘m doing real good on reading and checking all labels for my carbs so they are low and sugars as well I do eat a lot of salads so this diet is easy for me to do I have to watch a lot of what I eat due health problems in the past I have lost a lot of weight due to my health but I need to lose just from where I have gotten off track .But now I’m back on track I love this diet I really think this is going to work real good for me . For the rest of my life .thank you for the good information I have been online doing a lot of research and recipes I have found look really good I am now starting to prepare my meals everyday I cook my meals at home I don’t eat out in restaurant’s I prefer to cook at home since I don’t use salt when I cook or sugars .plus I really enjoy cooking a lot.
I used the keto calculator and I am always too high on protein at the end of my day? What are some choices of high fat lower protein food options? Great site by the way!
You might have to incorporate some fat bomb recipes into your macros. If I want to up my fat, I might consume pork rinds (but careful because they have protein too). My favorite is the Keto Chocolate Chip Fat Bomb recipe found in this post: https://isavea2z.e.wpstage.net/birthday-celebrations-ketogenic-diet/
Hi…I stumbled onto your site from a keto page, and am enjoying it. On this page, I noticed a typo so thought I’d let you know. “How do you fat cells work?” I think it should be “your.” I wasn’t sure how to email you so sorry for putting this in the comment section. Going to look at your organization stuff next. I’ve been on a roll organizing all day and night the past week! Take Care.
Thank you! I was sick when I wrote this article for a friend. I was so excited to tell her about the Keto diet! I don’t even think I remember proofreading it. I appreciate the message. I corrected it.
Is this diet okay for type 2 diabetic?
So glad I found this on pinterest! Thank you! One quick question – do you calculate the carbs from veggies into your daily ratios? I’ve started plugging everything in to MyFitnessPal and when I enter in all the heaping piles of veggies I eat every day it adds up fast…
Thanks for the help!
Yes! I count everything.
What if you get kicked out of ketosis? How do you get back in?
You get right back to eating the way you need to get you into ketosis.
Thank you for your information!! Very helpful… This may sound stupid, but how many calories should you eat in a day?
Your recipes look good!!
Wow thanks for The information….was getting headache now I know why
Thanks so much, you have made this journey much easier for me. I understand this way of eating much more now.
I’ve recently started a keto diet and feel completely drained – like my body is made out of lead. Anyone ever deal with this?
me too plus I have a headache like never before. Hope this goes away soon
It’s called the keto flu,and quite common when starting a keto diet.
Search up keto flu and you’ll find lots of Information=).
I’m starting mine this weekend
It’s common, look up the Keto flu
This could be keto flu. I had a headache and fatigue for first 3-4 days. Drink water. Use salt.
read up on the keto flu! you may have that
You might be going thru a keto flu.
It is called”keto flu”, and quite normal. It will pass in a few days once your body gets used to the changes. Headaches can also happen, but they, too, shall pass. Good luck!
The last time I did keto dieting I had keto “flu” for a month! But, I’ve done more research and discovered that drinking a cup of beef broth should pull you out of it quickly. (I use a liquid beef bouillon, 2 tsps to hot water) Why you ask? Because your body is craving salt! There are some other sites that can help answer your questions about this. It really has worked for me!
BTW, I LOVE isavea2z.com it is one of the best!
How does this affect cholesterol levels?
I’ve never had cholesterol problems myself. I’m 5 months in and my levels were just checked at the doctor’s office. All is good on my end. This is not medical advice and I would suggest researching that problem yourself.
I have always had a cholesterol problem and my triglycerides has been as high as 600. I decided I needed to loose some weight and really cut the carbs and increased my fats and proteins not concerned with the cholesterol problem. When I had my last check up with my doctor I had lost 38 lbs and normal cholesterol and triglycerides levels. I really thought they would go through the roof but was pleasantly surprised.
Our bodies produce 3000g of cholesterol per day. If you eat cholesterol, the body produces less of it.
I struggle to stay away from bread as it is always a quick fix with a sandwich or toast. Do you know of a low carb alternative to bread?
Yes! I love cloud bread and it’s the closest thing I’ve found! https://isavea2z.e.wpstage.net/low-carb-cloud-bread-recipe-made-baking-soda/
I like the 90 sec bread recipe on Pinterest. Fast and good.
Wrap Sandwiches in Romane Lettuce Leaves. Refreshing and some crunch.
Thank you very much for all the great tips. I’m still confused on how much fat, and protein I’m allowed and do calories matter.
I worry about meeting my protein and very low carb count. I add fat as needed. I hardly focus on calories. Here’s an excellent keto calculator to figure out your macros. https://ketogains.com/wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/ketogains.com//ketogains-calculator//_index.html_gzip
Best information I have ever found on keto. Thank you.
Thanks for all the great information on Ketogenic dieting! 🙂
Thank you for this
I’ve been wanting to start this type of eating for a long time, but thought I would feel too deprived. I love sweets and most fruits. Are artificial sweeteners permitted?
Some of your recipes look delicious. You may have given me the push I’ve needed.
great website…enjoyed it…thanks…