You’ll quickly find that salads are your friend when in ketosis, and for a good reason: they provide lots of food to fill you up, but they’re not going to bog you down. A bed of spinach with some red onion, bacon, a little tomato, and a hot sauce vinaigrette is quick and delicious. Add in some protein – perhaps that leftover salmon from day 1 – and you’ve got a complete, healthy lunch.
Fears about fat: Most people have trouble on a ketogenic diet plan because they are scared to increase the amount of fat they eat, especially saturated fat. The message that fat is bad has been pounded into the collective American consciousness for the last 30 years. It's hard to unlearn the message that fat makes you fat, and saturated fat especially is very bad for you. I understand that message has been repeated over and over, but it is a lie.
Therein lies the problem, of course. You can’t just walk in to any store or restaurant and grab yourself some keto snacks. We are making progress on that front, for sure, but we’ve still got a ways to go. While there are a number of decent store-bought options like cheese, nuts, and hard-boiled eggs, there are potential pitfalls everywhere. Like beef jerky, which can often contain a startling amount of sugar and carbs.
Now, Week 1’s shopping list is going to be long. I have to make the assumption you have nothing in your house. Many of the items are common items that most people will have already. These are all staples in my everyday cooking for keto, and should be considered an investment for your health. Once you have all of the items from week 1, there won’t be too much else to buy.
I want to give special mention one of the side effects of carb withdrawal because it can really be scary if you don't know what it is. During the first week or so of cutting your carb intake, your blood sugar levels will fall, and you may experience a mild insulin overload and reactive hypoglycemia. This usually happens to people who are severely insulin resistant. It takes about 2-3 days to burn through all of your stored glycogen (carb energy stored in your muscles and liver), and after that you may get these low blood sugar symptoms of shakiness, dizziness, tremors, a pounding heart and more. (See the link above for more info). For those of you that have been living on a high-carb diet for a long time, the effects may be even more pronounced, as your blood sugar and insulin levels are probably chronically high.
The classic ketogenic diet is not a balanced diet and only contains tiny portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, fortified cereals and calcium-rich foods. In particular, the B vitamins, calcium and vitamin D must be artificially supplemented. This is achieved by taking two sugar-free supplements designed for the patient's age: a multivitamin with minerals and calcium with vitamin D. A typical day of food for a child on a 4:1 ratio, 1,500 kcal (6,300 kJ) ketogenic diet comprises:
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What's more, it's especially important to make sure your diet is well-planned when you're eating keto-style, because the foods you can choose from are limited. In addition to checking in with a dietitian if you're able, Stefanski recommends that you "talk to your doctor and make sure she or he is aware that you'll be starting a diet that completely changes how your body metabolizes energy." You might also want to check your most recent bloodwork levels for things such as cholesterol, vitamin D, and other indicators of health because these can change while on keto. That's because for some people, a prolonged keto diet can result in certain nutritional deficiencies or even high cholesterol. But most experts will tell you that the ketogenic diet is not a permanent lifestyle change (as could be the case for something like the 80/20 approach to eating or a Mediterranean eating style).
What's more, studies that have examined the efficacy of the ketogenic diet for weight loss have a few questionable similarities. First, they use the keto diet in conjunction with an extremely low-calorie plan (under 1,000 per day!), which makes it difficult to determine what caused the actual weight loss. Second, they all question the long-term impact on your heart of eating mostly saturated fat, not to mention how hard (and boring) it is to eat mainly coconut oil and butter for months on end.
Now we do have a full meal plan laid out for you below, but I would encourage you to experiment a bit with some meals that might better suit your tastes. We love all of these meals, that’s why we picked them! We know everyone is different though. If you want to sub something in, just check to make sure the nutrition is comparable. Keto on a budget can be pulled off all types of different ways. This is just one example using a lot of our favorite meals. For example, if you have a bunch of coconut oil sitting around feel free to sub it in for the butter. If you have olive oil, sub it in for the blue cheese dressing. Don’t let this meal plan feel restricting, it is best used as a reference point and not as a hard and fast rule book. We put together this full day of eating video to show you an example of how we ate on $5 a day:
In terms of weight loss, you may be interested in trying the ketogenic diet because you’ve heard that it can make a big impact right away. And that’s true. “Ketogenic diets will cause you to lose weight within the first week,” says Mattinson. She explains that your body will first use up all of its glycogen stores (the storage form of carbohydrate). With depleted glycogen, you’ll drop water weight. While it can be motivating to see the number on the scale go down (often dramatically), do keep in mind that most of this is water loss initially.
We’re going full on fats with breakfast, just like we did last week. This time we’ll double the amount of ketoproof coffee (or tea) we drink, meaning we double the amount of coconut oil, butter, and heavy cream. It should come to quite a lot of calories, and should definitely keep us full all the way to dinner. Remember to continue drinking water like a fiend to make sure you’re staying hydrated.
Don’t let the kiddie lunchbox aesthetic fool you—these dehydrated little nuggets might look like they come from a children’s book, but there’s nothing made up about their magic. Whether you’re fiending for the pepper jack, gouda, or cheddar, they’re all shelf-stable, low-carb, high in protein and calcium, delightfully crispy, naturally gluten-free, and super fun to eat. Why? They’re just cheese!
Ketosis takes some time to get into – about two weeks of low carb eating is required for the initial adaptation. During this time there will be bouts of sluggishness, fatigue, headaches, and some gastrointestinal issues as you adapt, often referred to as “keto flu“. Proper electrolyte intake will correct most of these issues. In addition, the “diet” aspect of this ketogenic diet plan – that is, the caloric restriction – shouldn’t be worried about. Weight loss will come as your body regulates appetite as it the addiction to sugar and processed food lessens, so restricting calories during the initial two weeks isn’t recommended.
I have been eating this way (very low carb, high fat, protein in between) for around 3 years now. I have found that for me I can MAINTAIN quite easily at an ideal weight and eating to satiety, but in order to actually LOSE weight, I have to at least have a very small calorie deficit. And though the change is gradual, it is sustainable and quite immediate (just little by little). The amount of that calorie deficit required in order to drop excess varies a lot from one individual to the next though, I think. I am particularly intolerant to hunger, and so I cannot overly emphasize how small of a deficit I will allow for. The nice thing about that though is that the hunger is far more pleasant in the absence of carbs.
I love Urban Remedy but this meal plan has been my least favorite of everything I have tried here, which I have been doing cleanses and plans from Urban Remedy for over 2 years. I like the breakfast. It is lean but filling. The juices for the morning are nice. The protein additions to the lunches and dinners are perfect as well. I have to admit I did not love the Thai Noodles, and I really generally like zucchini noodles. I hated the Matcha bar, and was really excited to try it. I couldn’t bring myself to drink the MCT Oil, though I don’t doubt its benefit. I will unlikely be re-ordering this plan but go back to others that I like better.
Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber and non-digestible sugar alcohols, like erythritol. (This doesn’t apply to high glycemic sugar alcohols, like maltitol.) We don’t have to count fiber and certain sugar alcohols in net carbs, because they either don’t get broken down by our bodies, are not absorbed, or are absorbed but not metabolized. (Read more about sugar alcohols here.)
For another science-based resource on ketogenic diets, I highly recommend visiting the site that Raphael Sirtoli and his team over at Break Nutrition have put together. They have good content about low carb and ketogenic diets, and they offer more information on how to kick-start a ketogenic diet, measure your ketones and there's a great post on the benefits of ketogenic diets for inflammation.
I eat relatively healthy and fairly low carb (I am already gluten free). I am interested in getting into Ketosis for the the health benefits, but am quite thin for a guy and don’t want to lose any weight. I look at the sample diet above and am pretty sure I would drop weight quickly (I consume about 2,500+ calories daily now). I eat 3 meals plus 2-3 snacks (snacks mostly of nuts (with raisins that would have to go), greek yogurt (would switch to plain), peanut butter, cheese and fruit (would need to reduce qty)). Would eating straight up butter be ok for additional calories also once I am in Ketosis?
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
When you eat foods high in carbohydrates and fat, your body naturally produces glucose. Carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to process, and therefore it will use them first – resulting in the excess fats to be stored immediately. In turn, this causes weight gain and health problems that are associated with high fat, high carbohydrate diets (NOT keto).