Wondering what fits into a keto diet — and what doesn’t? “It’s so important to know what foods you’ll be eating before you start, and how to incorporate more fats into your diet,” says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet: A Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss, who is based in New York City. We asked her for some guidelines.
Staying in Ketosis long-term: Chronic Ketosis can cause fatigue, muscle soreness, insomnia and nausea. "Unless you have a medical condition that requires you to stay in Ketosis for long-term, you shouldn't stay in that state for a prolonged period without any carb ups," Mavridis suggests. And if you're a beginner, "it’s recommended that you go through the fat-adaptation phase so that your body becomes accustomed to burning both glucose and fat for fuel," says the nutritionist.
What a great post. I thought i would add about the selection of food you eat on keto and that everyone is different. Some food gives you energy and some doesnt, this varies person to person. I started and quit keto 3 times before i managed to find my balance. The first few times it made be poorly, from the shock of diet change. However, you can wean yourself into the diet which i did the last time when i had the most success.
Those of you who may be new to what they call “keto flu” might panic, thinking your death is imminent. I can assure you that it is highly unlikely that you will die from sugar/carb withdrawal – but just to be sure it’s always wise to consult your doctor before you embark on any new eating plan, or if something feels truly off it’s better to be safe than sorry – seek medical attention if you feel it’s necessary. Most symptoms can be alleviated by supplementing and drinking enough water (see #3 and >4.)
I love this menu plan! One of the things I find difficult in low carb dieting/eating is that most of the recipes given are so complicated. Yours are not. Another point is that most low carb bloggers and recipe writers? Sometimes forget that people all around the world read your recipes, and a lot of the items listed just can not be bought! Thank you for keeping it nice and simple
I don’t know how much cheese is ‘too much’ as I’m sure it varies for everyone, but I know that on the Atkins plan they recommend only having 3-4 ounces per day, as cheese does have carbs, anywhere from .4g/oz. (cheddar) to .9g/oz. (parmesan). So, I would just make sure that you’re accurately calculating the carbs and keep your daily total under 20g. Hope that helps!
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The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? "They're everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work," McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. "But again, we don't know about the long term," she says. "And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return."
Just found this (link from All Day I Dream About Food on FB), but I’m on it! Starting 3-day kickstart today, then wil jump into week 1 and 2 meal plans. I just want to thank you for putting together something I can realistically follow, not confusing, and has everything I need to know all in one place! I have had a very similar low-carb gluten-free journey to what you describe, and knew that keto was going to be the solution. I had lots of info sources, but even more questions – and you answered them! Thank you, thank you – you ROCK!
Carol- so sorry to hear about your stroke. I am not sure most doctors would approve of this diet due to most not being taught much on nutrition in med school, and most still believe in the old school high carb low fat way of eating. My experience has been a dramatic drop in my blood pressure in only a few weeks after starting this diet (172/105 down to 144/95!). I suggest giving it a trial of a few months to see how it may work for you.
Bonnie J. Brehm, Randy J. Seeley, Stephen R. Daniels, and David A. D’Alessio, “A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women,” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism: Vol 88, No 4; January 14, 2009. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2002-021480.
Hi Melissa! Thanks for this an awesome resource, thank you so much! A quick question – do you have any suggestions for doing keto with a milk allergy? I’m gluten and dairy free due to food sensitivities, but I’d love to try keto – the only problem is that 99% of the keto recipes/guides/meal plans that I’ve found a full of DELICIOUS but evil cheese! Thanks for your help :)
"My suggestion is to start with changing your mindset first and foremost around three very important facts: this is not just another diet, you don’t have to live in Ketosis forever, and you will not be depriving yourself. Having said that, if you are used to eating highly-processed sugary food and refined carbohydrates you’ll need to ease into it," she explains.

I have been a long time viewer but have been drowning in graduate studies, needless to say I fully fell off the wagon! Well May 17th graduation is almost here time to get back on the wagon! I was soooo happy that you have Keto Meal Plans!! Did you have any recipes for a Keto Smoothie that meets the Keto LCHF requirements for the mornings I have to get the kids off to school & run out the door. A lot of great smoothies on the web but they usually include fruit which significantly increases the carbs… Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

So you've decided you want to try out the high-fat, low-carb diet, better-known as the fat-burning ketogenic diet. Whether it's to lose weight, have more energy, or fuel workouts differently, going keto is a popular choice right now. But figuring out a keto meal plan on your own is no easy feat, especially since eating a diet super high in fats doesn't come naturally to many people who are accustomed to the traditionally carb-heavy American diet. (It's especially hard if you're vegan and want to try keto.) But this should help: Keto experts explain how to set yourself up for success, plus provide ideas for exactly what keto foods to eat when you're first getting started. (While you're at it, check out these Low-Carb Keto drinks That Will Keep You in Ketosis.)

The ketogenic diet is not a benign, holistic or natural treatment for epilepsy; as with any serious medical therapy, there may be complications.[27] These are generally less severe and less frequent than with anticonvulsant medication or surgery.[27] Common but easily treatable short-term side effects include constipation, low-grade acidosis and hypoglycaemia if there is an initial fast. Raised levels of lipids in the blood affect up to 60% of children[37] and cholesterol levels may increase by around 30%.[27] This can be treated by changes to the fat content of the diet, such as from saturated fats towards polyunsaturated fats, and, if persistent, by lowering the ketogenic ratio.[37] Supplements are necessary to counter the dietary deficiency of many micronutrients.[3]


This low-carb chicken pad thai is one of the best keto recipes for replacing Asian takeout. It’s got all of the flavors that come with normal pad thai, like ginger, crushed peanuts, tamari and chicken, but all served up on spiralized zucchini instead of carb-heavy noodles. Best of all, you’ll have this keto chicken recipe on the table in just 30 minutes.
In Asia, the normal diet includes rice and noodles as the main energy source, making their elimination difficult. Therefore, the MCT-oil form of the diet, which allows more carbohydrate, has proved useful. In India, religious beliefs commonly affect the diet: some patients are vegetarians, will not eat root vegetables or avoid beef. The Indian ketogenic diet is started without a fast due to cultural opposition towards fasting in children. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate nature of the normal Indian and Asian diet means that their ketogenic diets typically have a lower ketogenic ratio (1:1) than in America and Europe. However, they appear to be just as effective.[53]
As a note, you do need to check the carbohydrate content of everything you eat, especially processed foods such as sausages, cheeses and sauces. There could be hidden carbs in the products used to preserve or “pad out” these foods, so make sure you are buying the lowest carb options and counting the carbs they do contain to ensure you don’t go over your daily limit.
Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show specific very-low-carb diets help people with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers are also studying the effects of these diets on acne, cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and nervous system diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's disease.
Cyclical ketogenic diet: The Bulletproof Diet falls into this category. You eat high fat, low carb (less than 50 grams of net carbs a day) five to six days of the week. On day seven, you up your carb intake to roughly 150 grams, during what’s called a carb refeed day. Carb cycling this way helps you avoid the negative effects some people experience when they restrict carbs long term, like thyroid issues, fatigue and dry eyes.[10] [11] Full ketosis isn’t for everyone, and adding carbs such as sweet potatoes, squash, and white rice one day a week keeps your body systems that need some amount of carbs functioning properly.
The first signs of ketosis are known as the “keto flu” where headaches, brain fogginess, fatigue, and the like can really rile your body up. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of waterand eating plenty of salt. The ketogenic diet is a natural diuretic and you’ll be peeing more than normal. Take into account that you’re peeing out electrolytes, and you can guess that you’ll be having a thumping headache in no time. Keeping your salt intake and water intake high enough is very important, allowing your body to re-hydrate and re-supply your electrolytes. Doing this will help with the headaches, if not get rid of them completely.
Still, it can be hard to get enough fat when you first start this diet. Butter, nuts, coconut and olive oils, and fatty cuts of meat are all on the menu. However, don't go overboard with polyunsaturated fats like soybean, corn, or sunflower oil. Keto dieters who increase their intake of those fats often end up with gastrointestinal distress that causes them to jump ship.
Love this! So glad I found you! Your menus are great, you make it easy with the shopping lists, (now if I could just find someone to do the shopping for me ;-)) I usually fall off the wagon to easy, my usual excuse not knowing what to make, but with your menus and lists it gives me no excuse. I just started and am anxious to see how it goes. I have also started my exercise again!
Physicians of ancient Greece treated diseases, including epilepsy, by altering their patients' diet. An early treatise in the Hippocratic Corpus, On the Sacred Disease, covers the disease; it dates from c. 400 BC. Its author argued against the prevailing view that epilepsy was supernatural in origin and cure, and proposed that dietary therapy had a rational and physical basis.[Note 3] In the same collection, the author of Epidemics describes the case of a man whose epilepsy is cured as quickly as it had appeared, through complete abstinence of food and drink.[Note 4] The royal physician Erasistratus declared, "One inclining to epilepsy should be made to fast without mercy and be put on short rations."[Note 5] Galen believed an "attenuating diet"[Note 6] might afford a cure in mild cases and be helpful in others.[11]

A small Feb. 20, 2017, study looked at the impact of a six-week ketogenic diet on physical fitness and body composition in 42 healthy adults. The study, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, found a mildly negative impact on physical performance in terms of endurance capacity, peak power and faster exhaustion. Overall, researchers concluded, “Our findings lead us to assume that a [ketogenic diet] does not impact physical fitness in a clinically relevant manner that would impair activities of daily living and aerobic training.” The “significant” weight loss of about 4.4 pounds, on average, did not affect muscle mass or function.
It’s important to remember that the goal of any dietary change is to promote a healthy lifestyle, so make sure to select a meal plan you can envision yourself following long term. If you know you will not be able to comply with such stringent carbohydrate restrictions for years to come, the ketogenic diet is most likely not the right choice for you.
If you’re not sure after your initial test, explore other healthy diets such as clean eating and always have in mind that your number 1 goal should be to avoid overly processed foods (keeping this definition fairly broad of course, as we live in the 21st century and have to adapt to modern age as well, where hardly any of us have time to spend 12 hours a day evolving around food production, gathering and cooking).
Hi Valerie, I was the same way with coffee until I figured a way to wean mysel off of it by slowly adding decaf to my regular coffee. each day I would add more decaf and less regular coffee until eventually I would have a cup of decaf. it tastes the same but the caffeine effect is different Im not sure with soda though, but at least now you can try the half and half with regular soda and diet sodas in a cup. It may taste too sweet at first but you have to allow yourself to get used to it and gradually decrease the regular soda in the cup and add more diet soda. You can also lower your intake of it as well. These days they also have caffeine free soda as well so you have some weaning options instead of cold turkey. Your soda mixture will have just enough caffeine in it to prevent a migraine, but allow you to consume less caffeine eventually until you might try adding some water to your soda to wean yourself completely off of it. It’s worth a try.
Avoid “low fat” foods. Because you aren’t eating many carbs, you need to ensure you are eating enough fat so that you have plenty of energy and to prevent your metabolism slowing down as your body thinks it is starving due to a low caloric intake (this inhibits weight loss and makes you feel off color). This means leaving the skin on chicken, and not cooking your meat on a fat reducing grill or similar. Feel free to use butter and oil in cooking, and ensure you buy full fat cheese and mayonnaise. In the low fat alternatives, the fat is often replaced by carbs.
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Some keto cookies or a keto brownie can certainly be delicious, but if you’re looking for a dessert that’s a little more interesting, then you have to try this chocolate chia pudding! I love chia seeds for a number of reasons. They’re high in antioxidants, vitamins such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, Omega-3 ALA, dietary fiber and even protein. So, while this dish feels like a dessert, you’re receiving plenty of necessary nutrients. Enjoy guilty-free!
I’ve never really thought of myself as a coach Monica but thank you! (note to self: buy an obnoxious whistle to wear around my neck at all times) I’m so happy to hear that you are excited and optimistic about losing weight with the plans! I am looking forward to hearing about your progress as you move through the weeks! I’m with you on the avoiding bad decisions – if I get too hungry and don’t have on plan stuff available, that’s always a recipe (no pun intended) for disaster!
Miss Mellissa…. I was doing *so well* with keto eating last summer and dropped some weight, but all the old (bad, bad) habits started sneaking in and I’m in one heck of a pickle. Just wanted to say “thanks” for this jump-start… Hopefully this will help me remember what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing. Got a long slog ahead of me, but I have hope I can make it. Your site is so, so helpful, and I really appreciate all you do. Thank you.
Following a diet that drastically restricts carbohydrates requires carefully monitoring your food choices to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs. Working together with a registered dietitian can make sure you follow this diet in a healthy manner without increasing your risk for complications or negative side effects. You can find a registered dietitian at EatRight.org.

1. Eat less than 20g net carbs per day if you want to get into ketosis. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the fiber grams (or sugar alcohols in some cases) from the total carb grams. Don’t guess – you’d be surprised how many grams of carbs there are in things you might have considered “free” like onions, garlic, tomatoes, and kale, just to name a few.
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