The Basics of Keto

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There are a lot of opinions on how a person should implement the Keto way of eating.  Strict keto, lazy keto, dirty keto, higher protein keto, higher fat keto.  I mean how does someone starting keto wade through all of the conflicting information out there?  It can be very confusing and sometimes you just want to give up and throw in the towel!

Well in my opinion there is no perfect formula for every individual.  After 18 months researching and learning about what is right for my body here is what I have learned.

Macro Craziness!

So when you’re starting keto you need to pay attention to 3 macros.  What are macros you ask?  Well the macros or macronutrients that we focus on are carbs, protein, and fat.  There is a lot of controversy on what percentage of each nutrient that we should consume for optimal health and weight loss.  This is what I have learned!

Every person and every body is different!  A lot of people suffer from an array of diseases and metabolic issues.   Thus we need to tweak our macros individually.  There is no perfect calculation out there.  I feel like the best way to approach keto, if you are a beginner  is to start with a baseline with your macros and tweak it according to how your body reacts to the percentages that you’re using.

A good place to start is to keep your carbs at 20 grams or less per day or 5% of your total calories.  Wait….. what?  Yes 20 grams is a good baseline to see how your body will respond.    I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of food but if you get your carbs from low glycemic, nonstarchy vegetables you will fill yourself up and your body will love you because you are feeding it real wholesome foods.

Moderate protein is key!  The calculation that I found is best is to consume is 1 gram of protein per day for every kg of body weight.  To calculate that divide your body weight by 2.2 and that number will tell you what your protein grams should be.  Start out with that number and see how your body responds.  Make sure that you are eating high fat sources of protein.   Higher the fat in your protein will minimize the insulin spike in your body and thats the goal for optimal weight loss.

The remainder of your total daily calories will come from fat.  Make sure that you are consuming healthy fats from your protein source as well as adding in butter (not margarine), avocado oil, and coconut oil.  Ghee is a good dairy free healthy fat to consider.  If you are hungry between meals then add more fat to your meals until ketosis takes over and your body starts the fat adaptation process. Ketosis simply put is when your body stops burning carbs and glucose as energy and starts using fat as its primary source.  I can promise you that you will start to feel less hungry and you will have amazing energy.  

Start out with this formula and tweak it according to how your body responds.

The Dreaded Keto Flu

Many people ( not everyone) who starts a low carbs diet experience what is called the keto flu in the first few days or even the first week while the body is adapting to burning ketones instead of glucose.  The basic symptoms are:  

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • upset stomach
  • lack of mental clarity or brain fog
  • sleepiness
  • fatigue

So what can be done to lessen the symptoms?

First you have to understand why your body is reacting this way.  Your body has been burning glucose for energy so its basically full of enzymes that are waiting to deal with the carbs you eat (and probably store them as fat).  But now your body needs to make new enzymes that burn fat for fuel instead of carbs, and the transition period causes your flu like symptoms.  There are some things that you can do to lessen the symptoms of the keto flu and to make it go away sooner or to avoid the keto flu completely.

4 Tips To Avoid The Keto Flu Or At Least Get Though It Faster

  • First of all – you’re probably dehydrated.  Drink plenty of water and then some more.  Keep your body hydrated.  I’m not going to tell you how much to drink.  Your body will do that.  But if you’re thirsty drink water.  Avoid running to coffee, tea, and diet sodas.  I’m not telling you to not drink those things.  Its a fact that I love my coffee in the morning but make sure that you are drinking enough water throughout the day.  Especially when your exercise.
  • Watch your electrolytes! When the body is getting rid of excess insulin from your former carb crazy diet you’ll lose lots of fluids that have been retained in your body.  This causes the rapid weight loss that most people see in their first few days of ketosis.  When you lose all of the retained water you also lose electrolytes.  While on this diet its important to make sure that you’re getting your electrolytes in.  Electrolytes are sodium, potassium and magnesium. When you’re lacking in electrolytes you will feel like crap!  So when you’re feeling ill with the keto flu try things like chicken or beef broth and look for foods rich in these minerals.  Take a muti vitamin and a multi mineral supplement.  Salt your food!  Pink himalayan salt, celtic sea salt or Real Salt from Utah are the best sources of sodium.  They have the most minerals that your body needs.  You get sodium through salting your foods liberally.  It is recommended that you consume 3,000 – 4,000 mg of sodium a day.  Another thing that helps is drinking sole water.  If you are eating plenty of protein you will get a lot of the potassium that you need.  It is recommended that you consume 1,500 – 2,500 mg of potassium a day.  Another product that helps you reach your potassium goal is No Salt or Nu Salt.  1/2 teaspoon of No Salt has 1,280 mg of potassium.  And lastly magnesium.  It is recommended that you consume 500 mg of magnesium a day.  Our soil has been depleted of many of the minerals that we need and magnesium is one of those nutrients.  I like to supplement my magnesium with Magnesium Glycinate.
  • Eat more fat — Yup, load it up!  Butter everything, bacon everything, eat fatty meats and put heavy whipping cream in your coffee.  This will force your body to hurry up the transition.  You will think that this is crazy and you will think that you will never lose weight eating this way, but you will!  Don’t fear the fat!  Don’t fear the fat!  Don’t fear the fat!
  • Don’t start off by eating too much protein.  Too much protein can slow down the transition.  There is a lot of controversy on whether or not too much protein can turn to glucose in your body.  I am not a scientist so I will not get into the details of that.   I just know that when I consume too much protein my ketones go down.  Play with it and adjust to how your body reacts.  Go for fatty meats and cheese.  Add fat to your protein.  Your first instinct when you’re on a diet might be to nibble on a skinless chicken breast to lose weight.  Don’t do that unless it has the skin on, wrap it in bacon, smother it in full fat cheese and serve it with a dollop of mayo on the side!  Don’t fear the fat!   

So there you have it!  There is so much more that we could discuss but for now I will leave it right there.  If you have any questions do hesitate to email me or leave a comment below.  I would love to see you succeed and meet your goals!

Keep Calm and Keto on!!

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