Lately, it seems like everyone is into the ketogenic diet, boasting that it aids in weight loss, improves quality of sleep and even increases energy. Before you run to your nearest butcher for the fattiest cut of steak, there are a few pointers that will help you if you’re thinking about trying out keto for the first time.
First, ketosis is the metabolic state you go into when you don’t eat enough carbohydrates to provide your body glucose, its primary fuel source. Your body, being the smart machine that it is has an alternative source called ketones that come from the breakdown of fat. Essentially, on a ketogenic diet your body relies on fat for energy production instead of glucose. This diet was originally used to help control epilepsy but it’s now becoming more popular in the health and wellness industry.
Like many people, you may be apprehensive about following a high fat, low carbohydrate diet but if you can power through the initial shift your body has to make when it switches over from using glucose to fat, it will be well worth it.
In order for your body to get into a state of ketosis, you will need to eat about 60-70 percent healthy fats, 20 to 25 percent protein and around 5-10 percent carbohydrates, mostly from vegetables.
Here are some tips that will help make this transition more comfortable and more sustainable as a lifestyle change.
- Focus on healthy fats and omega 3 sources: Wild caught salmon, nuts, seeds and coconut oil is all fair game! Also, if you’re not lactose intolerant you can include whole fat dairy products such as cheese, milk and plenty of butter and ghee. Don’t forget about animal protein! Enjoy fatty cuts of steak, bacon and beef. If you have a craving for a burger, ditch the bun and opt for a lettuce wrap instead.
- Remember your greens and veggies: Getting enough fiber can be an issue for many who follow this way of eating. That’s where fibrous vegetables come in handy. Make sure you’re eating plenty of greens including kale, lettuce, spinach and collard greens. You can eat these raw or sauté them in butter or coconut oil.
- Minimize your consumption of acidic foods: That means alcohol and coffee- sorry! This is only temporary and once you’re truly into ketosis, you will be able to slowly re-introduce caffeine and some alcohol back into your diet.
- Make sleep and relaxation a priority: Think about it, your body is going through a huge change and it will take a lot out of you. You’re most likely going to feel mentally foggy and lethargic initially and that’s why you need to make sure you are getting enough quality sleep and minimizing stress as much as possible. Meditation, yoga, light exercise such as walking and biking are all great ways to get centered and move your body in a gentle manner.
- Be patient: As the saying goes, this is not a sprint it’s a marathon. Your body is hardwired to rely on glucose for energy and making the switch to using ketones instead is a process. On average, it takes about one week for the body to make the shift but it could take you shorter or longer. Remember, this is a lifestyle transformation, not a quick fix.
Have you ever tried this diet? Thanks for reading and feel free to comment in the section below.