Basics of the Keto Diet

The keto diet has become popular in the last couple of years. Although it’s been around for much longer, it popped on the scene in a big way only recently. There is a plethora of routes you can take with the keto diet, and to a beginner, it can seem overwhelming.

This post is focusing on the basics of the keto diet. Being overwhelmed and with all the opinions flying around, you can feel like you’re getting it all wrong. Knowing the basics of the keto diet is beneficial in finding the right direction for yourself—Your unique path may differ from others.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a combination of specific foods that allows your body to burn high amounts of fat, rather than carbohydrates. And, it makes sure your body has an adequate level of protein. With this type of focus, your body will go into a state of ketosis which is a metabolic state that burns fat for fuel and not carbs.

It can take up to seven days for your body to reach this state, although it can be as fast at 3-4 days. This is when your body starts creating ketones which replaces the lack of carbs you’re not putting into your body.

The keto diet is best followed by 60-75% fat, 5-10% carbs, and 15-30% protein.

What the Ketogenic Diet is NOT

The current, popular keto diet isn’t the same as the low-carb Atkin’s ketogenic diet from back in the day. Although similar in many ways, the newest version of the diet (or dare I say, lifestyle) is “cleaner” in that it’s more specific and detailed in the nutrition department.

It is rumored that the paleo diet movement is the cause for this adjustment in the keto diet. This diet isn’t a miracle weight loss plan. Although you will most likely lose weight while on it; it won’t make you drop a hundred pounds in a month. It’s not a cakewalk either, especially if you’re used to doing whatever the heck you want when it comes to mealtime. The keto diet isn’t a calorie-counting method which makes it feel like less work than most diets.

It’s important to pace yourself when starting this diet and do what feels best for yourself. Focus on the basics of the keto diet, and move on from there.

What Can I Eat on the Keto Diet?

There are lists all over the internet that show you what is allowed on the ketogenic diet, although you may find some lists contradict others! Although something may be allowed on the diet, this doesn’t mean it might be a good choice for you. For myself, I focus only on using healthy oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc.

I stay away from lard and butter simply because it doesn’t work well with my body. Further, contrary to popular belief, the keto diet doesn’t need to be meat-heavy in order to obtain the required protein. There are many other food options that will give you the protein you need.

The keto diet will focus heavily on things such as low-sugar vegetables and consuming plenty of healthy fats. The whole point of the diet is to drastically reduce carbs and drastically increase your fat intake in order for your body to utilize fat for energy, instead of carbs.

What are the Health Benefits of the Keto Diet?

This diet provides a very long list of health benefits which allows it to connect to various types of people. The keto diet was actually created to help patients with epilepsy or seizures such as with epilepsy. The ketones it produces, as well as other aspects, have been linked to the reduction of seizures.

Furthermore, the keto diet is currently being used to treat multiple types of cancer. It can also help reduce acne, blood sugar and insulin levels, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, while also healing brain injuries. This is all outside of the fact that it aids in weight loss and bringing your body to a much healthier state than when your diet included processed foods. These many benefits are the main reasons it has become so popular.

What Should I Know as I Begin the Keto Diet?

If you’re not used to eating fairly healthily, the keto diet can be a shock in more ways than one. It will be hard to follow when first starting out, and you will feel like you’re mostly stumbling through. Don’t feel dumb, all of us on the diet felt the same way. You’ll slowly get used to what you can and can’t have, and before you know it, you’ll be a pro at cooking or buying what you need.

At first, you may feel tired or have symptoms that resemble what is referred to as the “keto flu.” The symptoms usually pass after a couple of days on the diet. It can be quite the adjustment for most, so, again, it will be a little bit of a shock for your body. Be prepared and be aware of the changes occurring to your body. Although the keto diet is safe for the majority of people, that doesn’t mean bumps in the road can’t appear.

 Most changes that arise are harmless, but it’s always smart to consult your doctor if you aren’t sure, when making a health decision concerning your diet.

Can you eat out while on the Keto Diet?

You can still eat out if you go on the keto diet. Many believe that it’s impossible to eat healthy when eating out. However, many restaurants and even fast food places are aware of the changing health-conscious society we are living in. They often have ways for you to easily adjust meals they offer to make them ketogenic-friendly. My all-time favorite is getting a cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce with no bun. Bleu-cheese and mozzarella tend to have fewer carbs than other cheeses. No ketchup, but hot sauce and mustard are safe (as long as they are only that and nothing else added).

Making a big change such as switching to the keto diet can be overwhelming. However, the more you know about what you’re entering into, the easier it will be. I have provided as much detailed information as I can for those of you just starting out on your keto journey (or for those just looking into it).

If you have been on the keto diet or are considering it, we’d love to hear about your thoughts or questions on our Facebook page! Check out our other blog post, “Misconceptions About the Keto Lifestyle”

*Disclaimer – Please know that I am not a medical doctor. I cannot cure, mitigate or diagnose anything. Speak to your health-care practitioner regarding what is best for you. This article is simply my perspective and what has worked out well for me.

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