How Do Ketogenic Diets Work? When carbohydrates (sugar and starch) are digested, they are broken down into blood sugar (glucose). Higher carbohydrate intake results in higher blood sugar and insulin, a hormone that manages blood sugar. If carb intake is replaced with more fat and protein, it results in a metabolic pathways switch from using sugar as a primary fuel to burning stored and dietary fat as a primary energy source. As more fat is burned, some of it is converted into ketone bodies. As blood glucose and insulin levels drop and ketone levels rise, muscle tissue, including the heart, use the available fatty acids in the bloodstream as fuel and the brain begins using ketones as an energy source. Being in this metabolic state of “nutritional ketosis“ (where blood sugar is low and ketone levels are moderate) has some powerful benefits.
Time to get rid of that fat once and for all. Keto is going to help you do it. This quick start guide is a boiled down, bare bones guide to get you started on your keto journey. We made it super simple and super easy to follow.
Here’s what you NEED to know.
The basics: Your body’s primary fuel source is carbohydrates. When you eat a ketogenic diet, your body literally switches its primary fuel source to fat! Consume less than 20g per day of net carbs Approximately 75% of your food should come from good keto fat sources Approximately 20% of your food should come from good protein sources
Again, you’re going for simple. Your 7 Day Quickstart will be built off these foods. If it’s not on this list, don’t eat it. If you think, “Well, what about...” the answer is no.
If you eat things that are on this list: you win! Meats: Beef, pork (bacon!!), lamb, chicken, etc. Fatty Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, sardines, oysters, shrimp, lobster, Tuna, Whole Eggs
Full-Fat Dairy: Butter, cheeses, cream Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil. If you stay on this list, you’ll be golden.
Food To Say “No” To The Ketogenic diet requires you to pay attention to your macronutrients (the numbers (in grams) of carbs, protein, and fat consumed. Tracked throughout the day). And since those need to be in line in order for you to be in ketosis, there are absolute “no”s in this diet. This list is not comprehensive but if what you’re wondering about looks like any of these things, just say no
Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, cakes, candy, ice cream, etc. Grains: Wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils/trans fats: Soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil. Avoid any oil that has the word “Hydrogenated” on the label. “Diet” and “Low-Fat” Foods: These are usually very high in sugar or chemically based preservatives and sweeteners. High-Carb Vegetables: Carrots, Green Peas etc. High-Carb Fruits: Bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes Starches: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc If you’re paying attention to the macros, you’ll be able to see very quickly if something sneaks in. Just be really strict about it as you’re learning.
Fool-Proof Meals Here are some examples of easy, fool-proof keto friendly meals. Planning your meals is a great way to make sure you stay on track and having these guidelines should set you up for success!
Fool-Proof Meal 1: Eggs + Bacon + Optional Coffee + Heavy Cream Fool-Proof Meal 2: Beef stir fry + Bell peppers + Mushrooms + Broccoli. Cooked in coconut oil (or butter) Fool-Proof Meal 3: Ribeye Steak + Salad with blue cheese dressing + Bacon + Green beans. Fool-Proof Meal 4: Salad- Spinach + Bacon + 1⁄4 Avocado + Blue cheese dressing (or a super low carb ranch. 1-2 grams per serving)
Fool-Proof Snack 1: Two String Cheese Fool-Proof Snack 2: 1 Hard-boiled Egg + Salt & Pepper (also, it is advisable to listen to Salt & Pepper) Fool-Proof Snack 3: 1⁄4 Avocado + salt & pepper
Portion sizes Hand (or fist) size portions will do for now. If you have a food scale, you can weigh it but it is unnecessary at this point. Just put your hand (yes, your whole hand. Not just your palm.) or your fist over your servings of meat and veggies to measure. Don’t cheat and use perspective to make it seem like 4 lbs of ground beef is the size of your hand
Beverage options for the 7 Day Quick Start plan should be ZERO calorie: like water, black coffee, unsweetened tea. The exception to this is adding a couple of tablespoons of some cream, coconut oil or butter to your coffee. If you’re missing that soda feeling, try some sparkling water! There’s plenty of flavors. Just make sure there are absolutely no carbs or sugars in there.
Note on artificial sweeteners and zero calorie drinks: They make some people crave sugar, and make some people hungry and want to eat much more than they need to eat. If you are affected this way, you should limit or avoid them all together.
Day 1: You’re just getting started. Make sure you have all the food you need for the week in the house. This is very important to the success of this change you’re embarking on
Main goals are: track everything you eat. We suggest downloading an app called My Macros+. (MyFitnessPal will also do the trick) or just plain old pen and paper. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay on top of your meals. Stay under 20g net carbs for the day
NET CARBS= TOTAL CARB GRAMS - FIBER GRAMS Eat: 3 meals from the list above or compile your own from only the foods on the “yes” list. Snack if you get hungry. (max of 2 snacks) Dont forget about portion size!!
Here’s a sample menu for the day. Day 1: Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
Lunch: Leftover chicken and veggies from the night before.
Dinner: Bacon Cheeseburger (without the bun), mixed vegetables cooked in butter.
Expect This: You may start to feel a little fatigue by the end of the day. That’s ok. Your body is making the connection that you just stopped feeding it the fuel source it’s been using and storing as fat for the last however many years. Embrace it as normal and get some rest.
Day 2: You made it through day 1! Awesome. You’re turning the corner and you’re flipping the switch! Today is all about mindset. Just set your mind to “Hey, I committed to do this and I’m going to see it through.” The more you remind yourself of your goals, the more the resistance will leave you alone. So: “I’m doing this to change my life.” or “This isn’t that hard.” Don’t get stuck in a complaining loop because it will drag you down. We create our own reality. You’ve got this!
Eat: 3 meals from the list above or compile your own from only the foods on the “yes” list. Snack if you get hungry. (max of 2 snacks) Dont forget about portion size!! Expect This: You might be starting to feel pretty crappy after day 2. Fret not, my dear friend for this is very normal. You are doing the good work here. Stay strong and stay positive. Keep excedrin on hand if you have that detox headache and drink a boat load of water
Day 3: You’re totally killing it! Eat: 3 meals from the list above or compile your own from only the foods on the “yes” list. Snack if you get hungry. (max of 2 snacks) Dont forget about portion size!! Expect This: This is the day. The day where you go to be and you’re 3 days into this new way of living and you’re probably feeling a lot more clear, and energetic and starting to come out of that carb detox fog! Then again, maybe not. Some folks take longer than other but where ever you are, be there You’re halfway through week one for crying out loud! Congrats!
Day 4: You’re solid now. Just keep portion sizes in line and you’ll be fine. Keep watching those macros. Eat: 3 meals from the list above or compile your own from only the foods on the “yes” list. Snack if you get hungry. (max of 2 snacks) Dont forget about portion size!! Expect This: Most people feel great on day four. The detox is done and you’re starting to lean into being fat-adapted and the ketone levels in your body are raising. In fact, if you have some KetoStix, I’d say go ahead and test just for fun. You might already be there!
Day 5: This is the day you’ll likely feel your best. Enjoy your new-found, carb-less- ness. Eat: 3 meals from the list above or compile your own from only the foods on the “yes” list. Snack if you get hungry. (max of 2 snacks) Dont forget about portion size!! Expect This: If you’ve been really strict and really watching your macros and portion size this week so far, you’re SO far along. I mean really. Most people who start Keto don’t have HALF the info you have in this document. So you are so far ahead of the game it’s crazy. Expect to ride that energy high and start to incorporate exercise if you haven’t already. You’ll be surprised how much you can do with so little carb intake.
Day 6: You’re doing so well and have already made it further than most who start. Remember, you’re in control here. Stay positive. Eat: 3 meals from the list above or compile your own from only the foods on the “yes” list. Snack if you get hungry. (max of 2 snacks) Dont forget about portion size!! Expect This: The weekend is when folks who are new to this was of living start to get fed up. Because you want to have a beer or some nachos while you hang out with friends. Just remember that we create our own reality. Don’t talk about how hard it is and it won’t be. Don’t talk about how much it sucks that we can’t eat a doughnut right now and you won’t even want one. Just keep pushing. If you need that drink : Vodka with Seltzer Water
Day 7: YASSSS!!!! You freaking made it. A whole week on Keto. Great job! Celebrate today by acknowledging how you feel after a week of eating this way. Write it down, internalize it. Then make your meal plan for the next week and keep going. Eat: 3 meals from the list above or compile your own from only the foods on the “yes” list. Snack if you get hungry. (max of 2 snacks) Dont forget about portion size!!
Expect This: If you’ve made it 7 you can make it 21. Expect to feel amazing! You’re going to feel so good about how your clothes are fitting and how easy it was this week that you’ll be chomping at the bit to keep going! Embrace this feeling. Bottle it up if you can and sell it to your friends! Some ending notes about ketosis and some other things to expect on your journey Entering ketosis is the first step towards becoming fat adapted. That is the point on which your body switches its primary fuel source from carbohydrates to fat.
Here’s what to expect after that happens: Your appetite will decrease. You will need to eat a lot less food to feel satisfied. You no longer get hangry. When you get hungry — it’s simply time to eat. Not time to DESTROY unless you are fed immediately! You fall asleep faster, sleep better, and require less sleep to feel rested You no longer experience getting super tired in the middle of the day, anymore If you want to enter ketosis faster, try a product like Xtreme Ketosis (exogenous ketones)
Exogenous Ketones will put your body into a state of ketosis for 5-6 hours after your first drink. This will help you reach full ketosis quickly. Also good if you have a cheat and knock yourself out!
FAQ's 1. Hey, my ketostix (a simple test strip to test for ketone levels in your body) aren’t indicating that I’m in ketosis by day 3. Is that ok? You may find it beneficial to track your eating using an app like MyFitnessPal or our personal favorite, MyMacros+. Though tracking calories isn’t required on a ketogenic diet, this can help you discover where you may be making a mistake. 20 grams of net carbs per day is a lot lower than you might expect it to be, and one or two carbs here and there hidden in foods, toppings and condiments that you might not expect. 2. How much protein is too much? Too much protein= When your calories for the day are made up of more than 25% protein. This is too much protein and you body may start converting the excess to glucose. Which would be no bueno. 3. What if I get through most of the day and haven’t met my macros? When we were young as a species, we would hunt and gather all day (heavy activity, not a lot of food) and come home with an animal for a feast. This is how I like to eat now. Light on my intake throughout the day, workout in the evening, then feast and get the bulk of my calories and macros caught up at dinner. So, If you get through the day and haven’t met feast in the evening. (Just don’t over-do the protein.) 4. What if I stall out, weight loss wise? This diet is for fat loss. When that happens, sometimes the scale takes awhile to catch up. If after 2 weeks the numbers haven’t moved, try cutting out any artifcial sweeteners as they may be affecting you. Also try to make the space between your dinner and breakfast a bit longer. Do that for a week and see if it helps. 5. I have a crazy headache? Is this normal? Yes. It’s a pretty typical symptom of starting a keto diet. We suggest making sure you’re getting enough sodium (so, salt those avocados!) and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. 6. What if I have a dairy intolerance? Do I have to eat cheese? No. Cheese is a great was to get extra fat in your diet. But of course you don’t have to eat it. Even if you DON’T have an intolerance. Cook with fatty oils more if you need more fat. 7. If I want to sweeten my tea or coffee with an artifcial sweetener, is that ok? Totally. But like we said earlier. If it started to make you have sweet cravings or if you’ve stalled out, it’s gotta go. 8. I’m not sure it’s working, how can I be sure? Are you tracking your food? Are you reading the ingredients in everything? If you’re eating the way described above, it should work. Don’t pay too close attention to the scale. Fat loss is not necessarily tied to weight loss. If you do all this and it’s still not adding up, send me your food log if you’re really concerned. One more thing. Don’t miss this...
DON’T EAT TOO MUCH PROTEIN: The ketogenic diet is NOT simply a low carb diet. Excess protein can be converted to glucose by your body, which will totally throw off everything. This could be another trouble shooting spot if you’re not seeing results. Listen, I am soooo pumped for you!! We’ve all seen first hand how if can change people’s lives. This journey, should you choose to undertake it (and I don’t think you’d be here if you weren’t serious) will change your life. And this is only the beginning!