Keto Diet / by Cinthia Contreras

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Here is why I got interested in learning more about the Keto Diet, between 2012 and 2014 I hit 200 pounds out of 135, cool huh? Ehhh NO.

It did not matter what I tried I just couldn’t lose the 65 extra pounds I gained! I got to the point of giving up and started enjoying every kind of crappy food you can imagine and tons of sweets, I was able to push 9 YORK and a bag of M&M in 10 minutes and that was just one of the many unhealthy intakes; others were lamb over rice from the habibi’s carts any time of the day and night, 15’ foot long meatball sandwiches from Subway, burgers and fries, cocktails, pasta, etc…

I got out of my I gave up state of mind, the day I went to the store and tried out a trikini, oh dear lord, after I saw myself on the mirror, I ran back home and started reading about the Paleo Diet, I knew the “term” because a friend had mentioned it to me ages before, long story short that night all I had for dinner was can of tuna while reading about this magical diet.

After reading the information I got to the conclusion that Paleo was doable for me. I can’t count calories, I can’t starve, I can’t hate what I am eating and I need to keep myself healthy, so changing to this lifestyle (that is how I like to call it) was not going to be “as difficult” because there are always options for those who avoid empty carbs or sweets. None of these are necessary for the body anyway, but they are a hell of addicting and hard to leave behind. When I stopped consuming them I literally had withdrawn like a drug addict in rehab, but once I passed that stage, my life started looking pinker, I was feeling great, my mood improved, I finally started noticing the weight loss, I had more energy, and on a pinch, I wasn’t starving.

I lost 53 out of the 65 pounds I had gained BUT I never hit the goal because after years of doing something you kind off start slipping in old bad habits here and there and then more often. Now is time for me to hit the mark so I need to clean my diet again, and this was how Keto came to the picture.

The “Keto Lifestyle” sounds very good to me, similar to Paleo, but the problem is that now I can’t consume lactose, even though I love cow milk and cheese and I rarely consume red meat, well since a few years ago but that is another story.

I can’t follow this to the letter, I’ll have to do modifications but I wanted to share the information with you anyway because if you are like me and you want to lose weight keeping your health intact and not starve yourself to death, this diet is a good option.

And always remember that the mind and the body are connected and if you enter a new lifestyle desperate and wanting to see results after three hours you might not reach your goal, get frustrated and stop. If you do it, do it because is good for you in the long term. Also, do not forget to exercise. The combination is 80% what you eat and 20% exercising. When I was younger it was opposite but life happens and then you hit your 30’s.

Keto Diet mini guide for beginners:

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The ketogenic diet (or keto diet, for short) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits.

In fact, over 20 studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health.

Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.

What Is a Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets.

It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.

Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits.

Different Types of Ketogenic Diets

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:

  • Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs.

  • Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.

  • Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.

  • High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

However, only the standard and high-protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes.

The information in this article mostly applies to the standard ketogenic diet (SKD), although many of the same principles also apply to the other versions.

Foods to Avoid

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Any food that is high in carbs should be limited.

Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:

  • Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.

  • Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.

  • Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.

  • Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.

  • Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.

  • Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.

  • Some condiments or sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.

  • Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.

  • Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.

  • Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.

Foods to Eat

You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:

  • Meat: Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.

  • Fatty fish: Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.

  • Eggs: Look for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.

  • Butter and cream: Look for grass-fed when possible.

  • Cheese: Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella).

  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.

  • Healthy oils: Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.

  • Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.

  • Low-carb veggies: Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.

  • Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.

It is best to base your diet mostly on whole, single-ingredient foods. Here is a list of 44 healthy low-carb foods.

A Sample Keto Meal Plan For 1 Week

To help get you started, here is a sample ketogenic diet meal plan for one week:

Monday

  • Breakfast: Bacon, eggs and tomatoes.

  • Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil and feta cheese.

  • Dinner: Salmon with asparagus cooked in butter.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Egg, tomato, basil and goat cheese omelet.

  • Lunch: Almond milk, peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia milkshake.

  • Dinner: Meatballs, cheddar cheese and vegetables.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: A ketogenic milkshake (try this or this).

  • Lunch: Shrimp salad with olive oil and avocado.

  • Dinner: Pork chops with Parmesan cheese, broccoli and salad.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with avocado, salsa, peppers, onion and spices.

  • Lunch: A handful of nuts and celery sticks with guacamole and salsa.

  • Dinner: Chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese, along with vegetables.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Sugar-free yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia.

  • Lunch: Beef stir-fry cooked in coconut oil with vegetables.

  • Dinner: Bun-less burger with bacon, egg and cheese.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Ham and cheese omelet with vegetables.

  • Lunch: Ham and cheese slices with nuts.

  • Dinner: White fish, egg and spinach cooked in coconut oil.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Fried eggs with bacon and mushrooms.

  • Lunch: Burger with salsa, cheese and guacamole.

  • Dinner: Steak and eggs with a side salad.

Always try to rotate the vegetables and meat over the long term, as each type provides different nutrients and health benefits.

For tons of recipes, check out these 101 healthy low-carb recipes.

Healthy Keto Snacks

In case you get hungry between meals, here are some healthy, keto-approved snacks:

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  • Fatty meat or fish

  • Cheese

  • A handful of nuts or seeds

  • Cheese with olives

  • 1–2 hard-boiled eggs

  • 90% dark chocolate

  • A low-carb milkshake with almond milk, cocoa powder and nut butter

  • Full-fat yogurt mixed with nut butter and cocoa powder

  • Strawberries and cream

  • Celery with salsa and guacamole

  • Smaller portions of leftover meals

Tips for Eating Out on a Ketogenic Diet

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It is not very hard to make most restaurant meals keto-friendly when eating out.

Most restaurants offer some kind of meat or fish-based dish. Order this, and replace any high-carb food with extra vegetables.

Egg-based meals are also a great option, such as an omelet or eggs and bacon.

Another favorite is bun-less burgers. You could also swap the fries for vegetables instead. Add extra avocado, cheese, bacon or eggs.

At Mexican restaurants, you can enjoy any type of meat with extra cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

For dessert, ask for a mixed cheese board or berries with cream.