The Johns Hopkins Hospital protocol for initiating the ketogenic diet has been widely adopted.[42] It involves a consultation with the patient and their caregivers and, later, a short hospital admission.[18] Because of the risk of complications during ketogenic diet initiation, most centres begin the diet under close medical supervision in the hospital.[9]
I should note that I fully believe the key to success on a keto diet is to be prepared.  If you precook your meals, you are setting yourself up for success.  You are only choosing to do keto once a week when you prepare your food. If you have no keto food at your house and its 9 pm on a Wednesday, then you are just asking to revert back to something easy like chinese food or pizza.  However, if all you need to do is pull a premade meal out of the fridge and microwave it, you are much better off. Make sure to pick up some rugged, microwaveable containers to store your food. Now then, lets get started!

You've likely heard horror stories of what competitors feel like when they cut carbs low, or when the average bro talks about going keto. However, the odds are that those people were not actually in nutritional ketosis, or more importantly, following a well-formulated ketogenic diet. Yes, you may experience some fogginess and discomfort, but it doesn't have to be intense if you handle it right.
Grocery shopping on a budget can be a fun and thrilling adventure(I’ve reached this point in my life…). The first thing you’re going to want to do is take a good long look at the sales paper. For this grocery haul we just walked to our local grocery store and shopped the deals they had at the time, which happened to be really good. If you want to really maximize your savings you can look through all of the local grocery store papers before deciding which one has the best deals for your meal plan. You can also give this online coupon database a try! You’ll be able to find some good deals at just about every local grocery store that will make this meal plan achievable. Don’t go walking into Whole Foods expecting to pull this off though! Check out our video to see our trip to the grocery store:
I tried to balance this keto meal plan for the proper ratio so you don’t really have to worry too much to start. For more detailed information visit the keto ebooks section of the site. If you’re just starting keto, check out Caveman Keto’s Kitchen for useful kitchen gadgets. This is the first of what I hope to be several different guides.  Generally, I am assuming you are cooking for two people.  If not, either eat the same food longer or half the portions. I’m going to post the nutrition facts but I strongly believe that you should configure MFP (My Fitness Pal) yourself and track on your account as well.

So, we have a situation where the body has way too much insulin in the blood—yet the insulin is not able to do its job in the cells, either. The cells are resisting it. As a result, the body keeps making more and more insulin. These hormones are on a constant feedback loop, sending and receiving messages of “Sugar is high—release more insulin. . . . Must lower blood sugar for the body to stay alive.”
Drink lots of water. This is especially crucial on a low carb or keto diet. Why? When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores the extra as glycogen in the liver, where they are bound to water molecules. Eating low carb depletes this glycogen, which allows you to burn fat – but it also means you are storing less water, making it easier to get dehydrated. Instead of the traditional recommendation of 8 cups of water per day, aim for 16 cups when following a low carb lifestyle.
If you’re not sure after your initial test, explore other healthy diets such as clean eating and always have in mind that your number 1 goal should be to avoid overly processed foods (keeping this definition fairly broad of course, as we live in the 21st century and have to adapt to modern age as well, where hardly any of us have time to spend 12 hours a day evolving around food production, gathering and cooking).
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.
Yvette, Oh no, sorry to hear about the chicken not being cooked! Was the chicken frozen to start with? If so, be sure to add 5 minutes to your Instant Pot cooking time (on manual high pressure). When we tested this, we literally just put everything into the IP (nestled down into the liquid, of course), and let it do its thing. The cream cheese softened, and when it was done cooking we removed the chicken to shred it, and the sauce stirred together nicely.
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.  

Low Carb Bars — There are a plethora of “keto-friendly” on-the-go bars that have hit the store online and on the shelves. Before you fall for their marketing scheme, check the ingredients and calculate the net carbs per bar. Make sure the bar will fit within your calorie and net carb limits for the day. The two most common bars that can be eaten on keto, albeit sparingly, are Quest Bars and NuGo Smarte Carb Bars. Use these as a last resort if you have no other keto snacks available.
There are many scenarios that can cause constipation with the ketogenic diet. Most people assume it’s a fiber issue; but it’s not that simple. You want to compare what you were doing before ketosis and after. Look at the change in vegetable fiber consumption; if you don’t have enough gut bacteria to digest all these vegetables, they will cause bloating, constipation, gas and all kinds of digestive issues. Some people can digest vegetables and others can’t. Some people can’t digest cabbage or cruciferous veggies. So, you might have to switch to less fibrous vegetables, such as various kinds of lettuce, and especially kale and beet greens, for your potassium. Electrolytes greatly help with constipation, too. If you need more support getting electrolytes, try my electrolyte powder. It helps supply the 4,700 mg a day of potassium you need, which is hard to manage without eating loads of vegetables. 
Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist, estimates that about 25% of people who try a ketogenic diet experience these symptoms, with fatigue being the most common. “That happens because your body runs out of sugar to burn for energy, and it has to start using fat,” he says. “That transition alone is enough to make your body feel tired for a few days.”
A survey in 2005 of 88 paediatric neurologists in the US found that 36% regularly prescribed the diet after three or more drugs had failed; 24% occasionally prescribed the diet as a last resort; 24% had only prescribed the diet in a few rare cases; and 16% had never prescribed the diet. There are several possible explanations for this gap between evidence and clinical practice.[33] One major factor may be the lack of adequately trained dietitians, who are needed to administer a ketogenic diet programme.[30]
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.
Gina, We recommend cooking the chicken thighs first, pulling the chicken meat off, and then combining it with everything else. To cook the creamy sauce on the stovetop, we recommend crisping the bacon in a saucepan and then removing it and adding the water and spices. Once the water is simmering, add the cream cheese a bit at a time (slightly softened would probably work best), whisking until it’s incorporated. Cooked this way, you may need to add a splash more liquid (water or broth, if you prefer) to the sauce, because some of the liquid will evaporate off as the cream cheese melts down. Finally, stir in the cooked shredded chicken and shredded cheddar, and serve! If you try it this way, please let us know how it goes!
The ketogenic diet has been studied in at least 14 rodent animal models of seizures. It is protective in many of these models and has a different protection profile than any known anticonvulsant. Conversely, fenofibrate, not used clinically as an antiepileptic, exhibits experimental anticonvulsant properties in adult rats comparable to the ketogenic diet.[57] This, together with studies showing its efficacy in patients who have failed to achieve seizure control on half a dozen drugs, suggests a unique mechanism of action.[55]
I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!
In regimented keto diets, only 10% of total calories per day (about a measly 20 grams!) come from carbs, 20% from protein, and a whopping 70% from fats. Since our bodies preferentially use carbs for energy, cutting them means we have to use something else to keep organs functioning. Our bodies then turn to the glucose stored in our muscles as glycogen for fuel.

Trying to lose weight with exercise and starting a keto diet at the same time can provide fast results for a "multiplier" effect. However, if you haven't exercised in more than 6 months, you should wait to start the keto eating plan. Begin an exercise program first so you are adapting to only one physical change at a time. After 2 weeks of working out 3-4 times per week, you should be ready to start the keto diet.
A low carb diet plan is a way of eating that is high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. There are different variations of low carb, and the keto diet is a special type of low carb with added characteristics. The number of carbohydrates will vary depending on your insulin tolerance and activity level, but on average, these are the common numbers of carbs:
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. Insulin levels become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
Con: Results can vary depending on how much fluid you drink. By drinking more water, you dilute the concentration of ketones in the urine and thus a lower level of ketones will be detected on the strips. The strips don’t show a precise ketone level. Finally, and most importantly, as you become increasingly keto-adapted and your body reabsorbs ketones from the urine, urine strips may become unreliable, even if you’re in ketosis.
The easiest macro to calculate in the ketogenic diet is fat. Once you've got your carbs and protein set, simply fill the rest of your daily calorie needs with fat sources. If you find yourself wanting to gain a bit of weight, add approximately 500 calories, or 55 grams. If you want to lose weight, cut down on your fat intake by 200-500 calories, or 22-55 grams.

Ketogenic diets are very, very powerful, metabolically speaking and this is especially important if you take any kind of medication for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol or triglycerides. The amount taken of these medications will most likely need to be sharply reduced while on a ketogenic diet to avoid negative effects such as excessively low blood sugar or blood pressure.


For the purpose of this keto meal plan, you will be making food for Monday morning through Sunday night.  This should provide a full, 7 day comprehensive meal plan for you to follow. On Sunday you will make breakfast and lunch for the 5 day work week as well as the first dinner.  Then mid week you will make a second dinner.  The weekend is more of a free for all with less set parameters. This is the time to experiment and try new things. I am going under the assumption that you have more time to cook and prepare on the weekend and also that you might have leftover food from the week.  If your weekends are totally slammed, consider just premaking all 7 days of food by tweaking the quantities in the recipes.
In a recent study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, Weiss and his colleagues found that participants performed worse on high-intensity cycling and running tasks after four days on a ketogenic diet, compared to those who’d spent four days on a high-carb diet. Weiss says that the body is in a more acidic state when it’s in ketosis, which may limit its ability to perform at peak levels.
These avocado bites (made only from freeze-dried avocado pieces and sea salt) are high in fat and have 7 grams of carbs per serving, making it a perfect portable keto-friendly snack. And if its low-carb appeal isn't enough, avocados are also full of fiber and potassium, she says, two nutrients that can be difficult to get enough of on the keto diet. "I recommend eating an avocado per day to most people on the keto diet, and these dried bites are a good way to help reach that goal," she says. Best part? They won't go brown like the avocado sitting on your kitchen counter.
Helen, We think this recipe would also work well in the oven! Here’s how we would cook it: 1) crisp the bacon on the stovetop; 2) for step 2 in the recipe above, add all ingredients to a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish, cover it with foil, and bake it at 350F until the chicken is fully cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes (the chicken should not be pink in the center, and it should shred easily with a fork); 3) remove and shred the chicken; 4) stir the shredded chicken into the creamy sauce along with the cheddar cheese; 5) top with bacon and scallion and serve. If you give it a try, please let us know how it goes!
Actually, YES—ketchup, BBQ sauce, Asian sauces like duck sauce and sweet and sour sauce are LOADED with sugar and eating sugar with protein greatly spikes INSULIN—exactly what you don’t want to do. Mustard doesn’t. So choose fattier salad dressings like ranch. I like Paul Newman’s line of salad dressings as they contain almost no sugar. Start looking at sugar grams on EVERYTHING. Try to stick around one or less. Two max and only once a day.
No. Ketosis allows your adrenals to function more stably. It works like this: The adrenal glands make cortisol, which is triggered by stress. Cortisol increases insulin, which will kick you out of ketosis. When you decrease insulin (as with ketosis), you lower stress and lower cortisol. Therefore, the adrenal glands don't have to work so hard, and will function more healthily.
These nachos use the trendy Fat Head pizza crust as the “nachos” with a Tex-Mex twist, substituting cilantro, cumin and chili for the rosemary and garlic in the pizza base. After you cut them into tortilla shapes, you’ll load them with a meaty sauce and finish off the nachos with your favorite toppings, like guacamole, jalapeños and salsa. They’re the perfect snack to enjoy with family on movie night.

Low carb recipes are essential for a keto diet! A few years ago, we started making keto recipes and after realizing just how delicious they are and how they make us feel, we never looked back! These low carb recipes will make you feel better, live better and eat better. Each recipe is absolutely delicious – we know because we only share the ones we absolutely love. You can also try our low carb breakfasts, low carb lunches, low carb dinners, low carb desserts and more!
We understand not everyone in your family will be eating a low carb high fat (lchf) diet.  To adjust our keto recipes to fit a family who are not all eating a ketogenic diet, you may simply cook a side of carbohydrates along with our recipe.  A side of mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice will usually make a great accompaniment for our keto diet recipes so that you don't have to cook two separate meals - you will just avoid the carbohydrate portion.
When you lose weight, fat cells shrink. In a fat cell, there are triglycerides and cholesterol. Now, as that fat cell shrinks, you can burn triglycerides, but you cannot burn cholesterol. So it will go into the blood, go to the liver, and come out through the bile. But you’ll be totally fine as long as your triglycerides are low. (If you’re not using those as fuel, then you’re eating too much sugar.)
I should note that I fully believe the key to success on a keto diet is to be prepared.  If you precook your meals, you are setting yourself up for success.  You are only choosing to do keto once a week when you prepare your food. If you have no keto food at your house and its 9 pm on a Wednesday, then you are just asking to revert back to something easy like chinese food or pizza.  However, if all you need to do is pull a premade meal out of the fridge and microwave it, you are much better off. Make sure to pick up some rugged, microwaveable containers to store your food. Now then, lets get started!

Nuts or nut butters and seeds: Remember some nuts are fairly high in carbs (like peanuts, cashews, and pistachios). Stay away from any nut butters that have added polyunsaturated oils or “vegetable oils.” Choose higher fats choices, such as almonds or macadamia nuts, and seeds high in omega 3s like flaxseed and chia. Nuttzo is a great choice for a blend of good nuts. We, of course, make a delicious keto nut butter with MCTs and macadamia nuts. If you’re interested how nuts can affect you on a ketogenic diet, check out our Full Guide to Nuts on the Ketogenic Diet.


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:
The ketogenic diet is a medical nutrition therapy that involves participants from various disciplines. Team members include a registered paediatric dietitian who coordinates the diet programme; a paediatric neurologist who is experienced in offering the ketogenic diet; and a registered nurse who is familiar with childhood epilepsy. Additional help may come from a medical social worker who works with the family and a pharmacist who can advise on the carbohydrate content of medicines. Lastly, the parents and other caregivers must be educated in many aspects of the diet for it to be safely implemented.[5]
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they make much it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.
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