Keto and Other Diets

  • To follow a strict ketogenic diet, you will need to consume no more than 20 net carbohydrates a day (most Americans eat closer to 300). While no foods are off-limits, many ketoers choose not to eat sugar, bread, and grains. Their carbs come instead from whole foods like vegetables. Proteins are also consumed, but healthy fats make up much of the meal plans.
  • The paleo diet is meant to mimic the diet of early humans, which did not include refined sugars, grains, and dairy. The idea is that the foods of our early ancestors—protein, vegetables, and fruits—provided all the necessary nutrients and energy. The sugars, grains, and dairy we consume today are linked to food allergies and intolerances, as well as the increase in celiac disease, diabetes, and lactose intolerance, among other ailments.
  • While the paleo diet can often be ketogenic, the ketogenic diet is not necessarily paleo. The keto diet doesn’t preclude certain foods—you simply won’t want to waste your carbs on them. The goal of the keto diet is only to stay in ketosis, so any of these foods at low levels likely won’t kick you out. These same principles apply to the recipes in this book. You won’t find any grains or sugars here, but you’ll find plenty of dairy—delicious, wonderful dairy. However, if you’re going the paleo route, keep an eye out for my “Make it paleo” tips, which are provided wherever possible.
  • Following are some of the best ways to stay in ketosis and get the most out of your ketogenic experience. These tips will help you survive what’s known as “keto flu.” During your first few days, or up to a week, of ketosis, you may feel a bit tired, sluggish, and dizzy as your body adjusts to producing and burning ketones as energy instead of carbohydrates. (In the Atkins diet, this period is known as “induction.”)
  • Too many carbs and you won’t burn fat. Too much protein and it won’t burn off if you don’t use it. Not enough fat and you won’t be full. All these problems add up to less energy. The recommended ratio allows for a whole food approach to ketosis that includes alkalizing green veggies, which break down the acids in meat.
  • Electrolytes are the minerals in our blood that keep us hydrated and keep our nerves and muscles working properly in balance. By producing ketones, you’ll be flushing out more electrolytes than usual. This means you should increase your salt intake while following keto because your body won’t hang onto sodium like it used to. Most ketoers do this by drinking chicken broth or bouillon daily, especially in the first few weeks of ketosis while the body is adjusting. If you feel achy in the first week on keto while going through carbohydrate withdrawal, bouillon helps. Many ketoers use magnesium supplements as well.
  • Drinking water is one of those things that everyone tells you to do, and you don’t take it seriously until you end up with a kidney stone! I promise that drinking two to three liters of water every day will make your body feel clean, full, and hydrated; keep your bowels moving; and help you lose weight faster if that’s what you’re ketoing for.
  • Measuring what you eat turns any diet into a game. Use apps like MyFitnessPal to track your meals and measure your macros at the end of the day. There’s also an app called Quip you can use to make shopping lists. It includes check marks that allow you to reuse your shopping list every week.
  • Don’t try to do a low-calorie ketogenic diet, or you’ll end up without any fuel. Fat is your new fuel. Without it, you’ll not only be hungry, but you also won’t lose weight. Many ketoers eat 1,800 calories or more per day, and I find that eating less actually makes me stop losing weight. But don’t overindulge, either. You won’t likely lose weight eating 5,000 calories a day. The good news is that you won’t be hungry enough to eat that much anyway!
  • Fat has become a dirty word in our society. But there are plenty of good fats out there. Cook everything in ghee, which is lactose- and casein-free clarified butter, high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. For times when you run out of this magical golden buttery oil, keep a backup of coconut oil and olive oil. Avoid processed oils like vegetable, sunflower seed, soybean, and corn—they are high in inflammatory omega-6s, which in turn destroy the healthy omega-3s in your body.
  • I’m not trying to go all crunchy granola on you, but now that your diet is exchanging highly refined carbohydrates for mostly fats and proteins, you’ll want to pay extra-special attention to the quality of those ingredients. I’ll identify such ingredients in most of the recipes, and I recommend you buy them if your budget allows.
  • If you check the label of most low-carb products, unless they’re also paleo products, you’ll be shocked at their ingredients, such as unpronounceable chemical additives. You can control what goes into your body by making your own meals and sticking to whole foods.