The Keto Diet
The Keto Diet (short for Ketogenic) is a high-fat, low carb and higher protein diet. I am not going to get into the real specifics of the diet because it would take a long time and you can find all of the information with a quick search.
The reason for this post is to lay it out and tell you what you can and cannot eat on the Keto Diet. (If you see the food in green, it’s ok to eat – if you see the food in red, don’t eat it)
I want to warn you, if you’ve never done a low carb, high protein and higher fat diet before – You will need every piece of strength you can garner up to stick with the diet. I am telling you – the first 4-7 days are going to SUCK. You’ll want to cave in and just have one chip or a small piece of cake… you cannot have many carbs at all or else you’re defeating the purpose of the diet. The general rule is to stay under 20 grams of carbs per day – the lower, the better. BUT after you get through the first couple of days, it’s smooth sailing from there. You just have to make sure you’re reading all labels and understand what the ingredients are.
MyfitnessPal App is going to be your lifesaver! Use it to track EVERYTHING you eat and look at the percentages of Fat, Proteins and Carbs and stay within your goals. You can use this Keto Calculator to input your information and get your macros that are tailored to you. Each person is different and everybody will have a different set of nutrition goals they need to reach each day. So make sure you use the Keto Calculator to find your goals and ensure you’re hitting them each day!
Update: I have since started a sugar free lifestyle and I’m loving it! It’s kinda like the Keto diet but I don’t have any added sugar at all and that is the key to my success. Sugar was screwing up my dieting efforts. Sugar is a poison and since quitting, I feel so much better and I feel a lot better too.
I am going to start by listing the allowed foods on the Keto diet so I don’t end up scaring you off by having you think you won’t be able to eat anything! As you will see, there are a ton of foods you can eat on the Keto diet and all of it is healthy, good for you and great tasting! This list, along with a Keto Diet cookbook will help you out tremendously!
- Coconut Cream
- Unsweetened Coconut Milk
- Heavy Cream
- Unsweetened Ice Cream
- Unsweetened Soy Milk
- Unsweetened Whipped Cream
Fats and Oils:
- Almond Oil
- Canola Oil
- Cocoa Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Cod Liver (Fish Oil)
- Flax Seed Oil
- Grape Seed Oil
- Hemp Seed Oil
- Olive Oil
- Peanut Butter
- Sesame Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Vegetable Oil
Fish and Shellfish:
- Fresh and Canned Tuna
- Pork Chops
Nuts and Legumes:
- Cashews (limited amount)
- Bean Sprouts
- Beet Greens
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Celery Root
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Dill Pickles
- Lettuces and Salad Greens
- Onions (limited amount)
- Snow Peas
- Water Chestnuts
- Clear Broth/Bouillon
- Crystal Light
- Diet Sodas
- Diet Tonic Water
- Unsweetened Flavored Seltzer Water
- Unsweetened Herbal Tea
- Lemon and Lime Juice (limited amount)
- Seltzer Water
- Soda Water
- Sugar-free Energy Drinks
- Sparkling Water
- Unsweetened Tea
- Wine (check labels)
So – those are the items you’re allowed to have on the Keto Diet. Not so bad, huh? Well, get your tissues ready because here is the list of foods that are not allowed on the Keto Diet. But really, it’s not that bad!
The not allowed foods are mostly processed junk that are unhealthy and wreak havoc on your body. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are “healthy” foods in this list, but the reason why they’re not allowed on the Keto diet is because of the high sugar and starch content.
Not Allowed Foods:
Sugars and Sweeteners:
- Brown Sugar
- Cane Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Powdered Sugar
- Sugar Alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol & maltitol)
Grains and Wheat Products:
- Hot and Cold Cereals
- Bread Crumbs
- Don’t even go down the chip aisle – Pork Rinds are ok to eat though
- Corn Chips
- Corn Meal
- Tamale Wrappers
- Read labels to make sure corn isn’t an ingredient in the product because corn is used in a lot of stuff (corn syrup, thickeners, preservatives…etc)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Hash Browns
- French Fries
- Potato Chips
- Tater Tots
- Anything with potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
- Lima Beans
- Basically all fruit. Berries are the lowest in carbs but watch out for the fructose – it can take you out of ketosis
Beans and Lentils:
- Basically all Beans and Lentils – very high in starch
- Basically all beer made from grain (which is most)
Basically all juices since they’ll have some sort of sugar in them
- Try to eliminate all milk from your diet but if you have to a little bit, try to stay with the higher fat ones. Skim and 1% milks have higher lactose.
- Flavored Yogurts (read labels and try to stay with full fat Greek Yogurt)
So that’s pretty much it for the forbidden foods. Even though the list is shorter than the allowed foods, the forbidden foods have more of a presence in almost every processed food.
If you’re going to try the Keto Diet, you have to be strong willed. You have to be able to fight off the urges and temptations. You can’t cave in and have just a bite because you’ll be kicked out of ketosis and then you’re not going to lose any more weight and might actually add it back on.
The Keto Diet is a lifestyle change. You have to be willing to give up all of your favorite high carb snacks and bad eating habits and adopt a cleaner, more fresh food diet or else you’re going to fail. The first 4-7 days are the worst (they’re pure hell, actually) and then it gets a lot easier each day after that. You have to keep going and the biggest motivation is going to be when you step on the scale and when your clothes are fitting better and your appearance changes for the better.
I did the Keto Diet before in the past and I will tell you that it works. Without a doubt it works and I saw results within the first 2 days. Don’t get me wrong, I was a bitch to be around for the first couple of days, but after that, my body adjusted and I was able to eat clean and not have any temptations to eat any of the off limit foods.
Here is a pro tip: Make sure you eat A LOT of green vegetables for the fiber (or even take fiber supplements) because if you don’t, you’ll get bound up real quick and it hurts. I wasn’t getting enough fiber the one time I started this diet and I just wanted to die. I learned my lesson and want to let everyone out there know that you need a lot of fiber while on this diet!
Make sure you’re drinking a lot of water as well.
The benefits you’ll see from the Keto Diet:
- More weight loss. Studies show that people who are on a low-carb diet lose more weight and faster than people on low-fat diets
- Helps lower Triglycerides
- Increased levels of HDL Cholesterol (the good kind)
- Reduced blood sugar levels and major improvements in Type 2 Diabetes
- Helps lower blood pressure
Those are just some of the health benefits of the Keto Diet. But before you go on the Keto Diet or any diet for that matter, make sure you visit a doctor and get the ok first.
To help you along, I really recommend getting a Keto friendly cookbook to help you come up with meal ideas and help give you ideas on what you can be eating. When you’re first starting out, it can be overwhelming and you can have a hard time thinking of what to eat and you end up limiting yourself to only chicken and eggs, when in fact, you can be eating a whole array of awesome meals and snacks – get creative!
If you decide to do it, let me know and I can give you some tips, tricks and encouragement!
As I’ve said earlier, I’ve since cut out all sugar from my diet and you can read more about it in these posts:
- Quit Sugar – It’s Killing You!
- Sugar Free is for Me… and YOU
- This is How I Lost 21 Pounds in 21 Days
- Sugar is Sabotaging Your Diet
- Going Sugar Free? It’s All or Nothing
- What 30 Days of Eating No Sugar Did For Me