Have you heard of the Ketogenic Diet? Many have started the Keto diet with successful results! Today we have are having a guest post by the amazing Louise Hendon, The Keto Expert from The Keto Summit on Nurture My Gut. She will teach you all you need to know about the Ketogenic Diet. She goes over the basics of the Keto diet, how it all got started, the benefits of going keto and how to overcome challenges on Keto. She even has a delicious cookbook with easy to follow recipes that I know you will love!
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The Ketogenic Diet:
A Delicious and Nourishing Way To Eat
When I first started researching the Ketogenic diet, I was really concerned that this would be a boring diet.
I was already doing Paleo, but to also have to cut out honey and sweet potatoes seemed a bit too much!
What on earth do people eat on Keto and why would they choose to eat such a restrictive diet?
But as I researched further and ultimately gave Keto a try, I realized that my initial reactions were completely wrong.
I got interested in Keto after trying intermittent fasting, and so the main benefit I was hoping for from Keto was fewer sugar cravings and more consistent focus and energy.
Keto most definitely delivered that and more! I discovered that eating this way was not only delicious, but also helped me slim down, be way more productive, and not suffer as many mood swings.
It feels amazing to be able to think clearly all day long and not feel like I have to take a nap after breakfast or lunch.
So, in this post I’m going to share with you just what the Ketogenic diet is, some of the pros and cons to the diet, and also give you some tips as to how to get started if you’re interested in trying it.
The Basics of a Ketogenic Diet
Keto started around a century ago as an effective diet for treating kids with epilepsy. But more recent research has found that it’s also an effective way for people to lose weight, have more stable moods, and potentially even help prevent cancer and neurological conditions.
When you eat a ketogenic diet, you typically eat very few carbohydrates, a fair amount of health fats, and a moderate amount of proteins. This way of eating helps your body get into the metabolic state of ketosis when your body starts using more ketones instead of glucose for energy.
But, What Do You Eat?
This is the part that interested me the most initially, so I thought I’d try to get to it quickly in this post.
So, foods that are good to eat are:
- Non-starchy veggies
- Fish and seafood
- Meats and organ meats
- Healthy fats
- Nuts, seeds, berries
In general, that means Keto is both gluten-free and Paleo. It’s just Keto cuts out a few additional items (like honey, maple syrup, sugary fruits, and starchy vegetables).
As with any diet or lifestyle, different folks will have different interpretations on it.
Personally, I like to emphasize eating real foods that nourish your body.
This means eating more foods like kale, fatty fish, as well as liver as they’ll will be higher in essential vitamins and minerals that we’re often lacking. This also means avoiding artificial sweeteners, seed and vegetable oils, and low carb junk food.
As it turns out, this way of eating is also really delicious.
Real, unprocessed foods have flavors that processed foods just can’t replace. And cooking your vegetables and meats in healthy oils adds additional amazing flavors. Think kale and bacon salads or oxtail stews or sautéed asparagus.
Pros of Keto
Most people start doing Keto because they love all the benefits it brings, so here are some of the main ones that draw people to Keto.
1. It can help with weight loss.
One of the reasons why Keto has gotten so popular recently is because it has helped many people lose weight. Wim and Saïda Tilburgs from the Netherlands each lost over 40 lbs on Keto.
2. It can get rid of brain fog.
I personally love this benefit, and this was one of the main reasons why I got hooked on Keto. When you have mental clarity, life just feels right. You feel happier and you can make better decisions about what to eat as well as how to spend your day.
3. Less hunger and cravings.
As I point out in the cons section, many people initially feel hungry on Keto, but this transition period usually ends after a week or two. After that period, most people feel a lot less hungry and various studies on Keto have found the same thing.
4. Can help with blood sugar issues.
Many people with blood sugar issues find that a ketogenic diet can help to stabilize their blood sugar levels. As Wim Tilburgs stated, it even helped him reverse “all the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.”
If you’re taking insulin or blood sugar medication, then just be aware that eating Keto can make your blood sugar levels much lower than usual and so you may need to talk to your doctor about how to adjust for that.
And for those of us without blood sugar issues, eating Keto will prevent sugar highs and their corresponding crashes. This means you won’t feel like you need that mid-morning or mid-afternoon nap anymore.
Cons of Keto
As with anything, there are always downsides. So here are some of the main cons of Keto that people point to.
1. It can be hard to eat out.
Not many restaurants cater for the ketogenic diet, and so eating out can be hard.
I would start by cooking more and taking packed lunches for work instead of eating out.
And when you have to eat out, try to find restaurants that serve salads, grilled fish, or steak on the menu. Just make sure they don’t add a sugary salad dressing (ask for olive oil and vinegar instead), bread the fish, or marinate their meats in a sugary sauce.
2. It can be hard to get your family and friends on board.
Like any major change, it can be difficult to get your friends and family to support your decision.
And if they’re not on Keto with you, then it can be really annoying to have to cook one meal for yourself and a different meal for the rest of your family.
3. Some people find adding more fats into their diet tough.
Most of us are so used to eating low fat foods that adding more fat into our diet can be tough from a taste perspective but also from a digestive perspective.
So if you’ve been eating low-fat for a long time, then add healthy fats back in slowly. Try to buy fattier cuts of meat, add high quality extra virgin olive oil to your salads, and saute your vegetables in coconut oil.
4. The first few weeks of transitioning to Keto can be tough.
If you’ve been fairly dependent on carbohydrates for most of your life, then giving them all up all of a sudden can be tough. In particular, you might feel hungry, tired, and a bit listless at first.
These are all symptoms of something we call Keto Flu (which this article explains in more detail). Luckily, this goes away after a few weeks, but it can be frustrating at first.
How To Get Started on Keto
Like any lifestyle change, you need a bit of dedication initially. So, if you’re looking to give Keto a try, then here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Remove tempting foods like sugary snacks from your pantry and stock up with lots of fatty fish and meats.
- Recognize that it’s going to be tough at first, so start during a weekend when you have time. This will allow you to focus more on Keto instead of falling back into old eating habits.
- Learn to cook easy Keto meals like Ester’s easy roasted rosemary chicken breast meal or her garlic chicken Greek cucumber noodle salad. And for more recipe ideas, you can check out my Keto cookbooks.
Many people love Keto after they get started and never want to eat another way, but you can also alternate between a Keto and Paleo diet.
I personally love using Paleo as my basic go-to diet. This makes eating out easier too.
But when I want to slim down or really focus on a new project, then I’ll go Keto for a bit to access all those additional benefits.
I hope you’ll think about giving Keto a try to see if it fits into your life.