Tips to start the Ketogenic diet
Updated: Jul 29, 2020
On paper, starting Keto is fairly straightforward, there is only one rule to remember: eliminate carbs and introduce fat in your diet. As simple as it may sound, it can make you miserable and you may give up on Keto if you follow just that one rule. In an ideal world, that one rule is all you need but we are not living in an ideal world, we have spent our whole life running on inferior fuel. Even though our body is capable of using both carbohydrates and fats as fuel, we have run our body on only carbohydrates our whole life. We have dulled our Petrol engine by running it on diesel for a very long time. As a result, the transition from running our body on Carbohydrates to fats is not smooth. It is important to know what your body goes through during the transition in Keto and how to make it easier.
So you want to start the Ketogenic lifestyle and want to know what it entails.
First of all, you have to prepare yourself mentally for the rough couple of weeks ahead. Second of all, know that it will get easier thereafter. So hang in there my friend, because Keto has the potential of replacing your BFF :-P.
Note: Please consult with your doctor before starting the Ketogenic diet, especially if you are on any medication.
In this article, I have stated 10 simple tips you can follow to enable a smooth transition into Keto. Don't worry you will get accustomed to these pretty quickly:
1. Memorize the number 20
20g is the maximum amount of total "net carbs" you can consume in a DAY on Keto but don't worry you will not starve yourself to death. Believe it or not, carbs make us hungrier so when you remove carbs from equation, you are left with filling wholesome nutrition packed foods. Initially you may need to calculate net-carbs of every meal, simple formula is Net carbs = Total carbs - Dietary Fiber. You can calculate the same from information mentioned on the food labels.
2. More is less when it comes to fat
Fat is not your enemy, I know it is hard to wrap your head around this one but it is true. Dietary fat is essential for the function of our body and it makes you feel satiated for longer periods of time. The more fat you eat, the better you will feel when you start Keto. So bring out the cheeses, the whipped creams, the butters and go nuts with fat, literally :D
3. Vegetables are your best friend
The more LOW CARB veggies you can incorporate, the better you will feel on Keto. Vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods you can find so please do not be stingy here. Have AT LEAST a plate full of salad in your meal. Remember, more is less here as well. Just to keep it simple, do not count salad vegetables like cucumber, lettuce, cabbage under net carbs when you start keto. Eat as much salad and fat as you like and more. But remember, no starchy foods so say good buy to potatoes and grains.
4. Drink a lot of water
When you start Keto, your body loses a lot of water weight in the first couple of weeks so you will need to drink a lot more water. Drink plenty of it to feel good during the transition. Keep a reminder to drink water.
5. Add salt and Potassium
Since your body loses a lot of water weight when you start Keto, it results in depleting electrolytes and dehydration in the body. So increase your salt intake. Add Rock salt or Himalayan salt to your water, making it barely salty every time you drink it. Potassium also plays a huge role in maintaining the Electrolyte balance. You get potassium mainly by consuming vegetables but if you feel lethargic despite, you can consider adding Cream of Tartar to your food.
6. Incorporate protein but no grains
Keto is a high fat, low carb, medium protein diet. Ideally you can have 1g of protein for each Kg of your weight. Of course grains are not allowed in Keto because of their high carbohydrate content so incorporate good quality proteins like eggs, paneer, cheeses, nuts and meat into your diet. If you are a vegetarian like me, no issues. Keto can be easier for you, refer to this article Here.
7. No Snacking between meals
Make a meal plan and limit your total number of meals to maximum of 3. There should be no snacking in between the meals. Remember, tea/coffee with cream/butter counts as a meal so if you really need to have tea or coffee in between meals, have it black.
8. Measure your Ketones
When you start Keto, your body starts running on Ketones instead of glucose and your blood, urine and sweat will contain ketones which can be measured. In my opinion, it is very important to measure your Ketones because it can reassure you that you are following the diet correctly. The easiest and cheapest way to measure your ketone is using Ketone urine test strips available online and will last for months. A Ketone level of 1.5 or above on the urine test strip is what you should maintain on Keto. It may take up to a week for your urine Ketone level to get there.
9. Get your pantry organized
Before you start Keto, you should make sure you have the ingredients to make a wholesome meal so that when you get hungry, you don't reach for the unhealthy choices. Get these 20 essential Pantry items on Keto. Since you are just starting Keto, you can get a lot of cravings in the first week. It is better to remove all unhealthy junk food from your pantry before you start so that you don't get tempted and ruin your Keto. You can refer to this article on How to curb cravings on Keto.
10. Go easy on exercise
Your body goes through a lot of changes when you first transition to Keto. All your muscles, organs, various parts of your body are re-learning to utilize Ketones. The mechanism to use Ketones is there but is rusty because it has not been used. So take it easy for the first month on Keto, stick to walking, Yoga and low intensity exercises and give your body chance to become the well oiled machine it is supposed to be. This is just a temporary phase and you will be left with far more energy than before, once it ends.