Some people on a keto or low carb diet choose to count total carbs instead of net carbs. This makes it more difficult to fit in more leafy greens and low carb vegetables (which are filled with fiber), so you should only try that if you don’t get results with a net carb method. And, start with reducing sugar alcohols and low carb treats before deciding to do a “total carbs” method.
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.)
Hi Melissa! So I went on ideal protein to lose weight before my daughter’s wedding. It was great! I loved the products and of course I loved losing 64 pounds. HOWEVER, after the wedding I started to enjoy drinking again. And since July 2014, I have gained 34 pounds. I have yo-yo’d with IP but after the taste of real food it is very difficult for me to stay on track. I know it works but after 3 weeks losing 9 pounds I end up eating a whole pizza! Anyway, I love all of your insight to keto. How do you think your suggestions will work if I am throwing in a IP packet for snack instead of say almonds? I just want to feel better again and not spend $100 every week on IP. Thanks for your time and commitment to helping those of us who are weak!
It usually takes three to four days for your body to go into ketosis because you have to use up your body's stores of glucose, i.e., sugar first, Keatley says. Any major diet change can give you some, uh, issues, and Keatley says he often sees patients who complain of IBS-like symptoms and feeling wiped out at the beginning of the diet. (The tiredness happens because you have less access to carbs, which give you quick energy, he explains.)

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!
This doesn’t mean that you can never have some of your favorite foods again.  Once you get past the adaptation phase and you have tested that you are in Ketosis, you can start experimenting with Keto versions of the foods you don't want to give up. Here are a few simple Keto recipes to start with. If you're looking for ready-to-eat Keto-friendly options, check out Country Archer Meat Sticks, Cuvee Coffee and FBOMB nut butters.
If you want to intake potassium intake in your diet, eat lite salt. To strengthen your bones in sodium have the broth of the chicken bones. But never have dairy products in your keto diet plan. Also avoid sweets that are low in carbs. If you have them you might be affected with random loss of weight. If you want to have your usual tea and coffee, use coconut milk instead of milk.
Thank you soooo much for this. I have been a big fan of your recipes for a few months-delicious! I was floundering on my low carb for a while and this holiday season was the first in years that I just ate everything…whatever I wanted. I was left feeling huge, bloated, uncomfortable in my own skin. I had forgotten what I loved about low carb, that it wasn’t complicated and I did get to eat what I loved. Thank you again for reminding that it can be easy and delicious.

You should really ask your OB and/or a dietician. You have an increased calorie need while breastfeeding, and since your body will take what it needs from YOU to make quality milk for baby, you need to be sure your nutrition is sufficient. You could be way too tired to have a good postpartum experience if your baby is very young. If your baby is older and has started some type of solid, it would probably be less of an issue.


The keto diet isn’t new, and it’s been around for nearly a century. It was originally developed to treat people with epilepsy. In the 1920s, researchers found that raised levels of ketones in the blood led to fewer epileptic seizures in patients. The keto diet is still used today to treat children with epilepsy who don’t respond well to anti-epileptic drugs.[2] 
My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.
MY HUSBAND AND I WENT ON LOW CARB IN JANUARY AND DOING WELL. I HAVE BEEN EATING AN APPLE A DAY AND ADDED STRAWBERRIES AND STRAWBERRIE VINAGRETTE DRESSING TO SALADS ,WHICH I LOVE. KEEPING AN EYE ON THE CARBS IN THAT. BUT I HAVE BEEN ON A PLATAU FOR A BIT AND FORGOT HOW KETOSIS WAS SUCH A BIG PART OF THIS, I AM INSPIRED TO REDUCE MY CARBS A BIT MORE AND SEE IF THAT HELPS. THANKS
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!
But it’s worth noting that, as yet, there hasn’t been enough research into the ketogenic diet to support its use in some medical conditions – so people using the diet to treat diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome, should consult their doctor before trying it, as it can affect blood sugar levels. People with pancreatic or liver problems, or problems with fat metabolism should also avoid the ketogenic diet. This is because the diet is so high in fat that it puts added pressure on both organs, which are essential for fat metabolism .
Keep up electrolytes. The major electrolytes in our bodies are sodium, potassium and magnesium. Because a low carb diet (especially a keto diet!) reduces the amount of water you store, this can flush out electrolytes and make you feel sick (called “keto flu”). This is temporary, but you can avoid or eliminate it by salting your food liberally, drinking broth (especially bone broth), and eating pickled vegetables. Some people also choose to take supplements for electrolytes, but it’s best to first consult a doctor that understands and supports keto/low carb lifestyles.
I’ve never heard of this program, but am definitely willing to try it. I do have a question, however; in my faith, we do not eat pig meat in any way, shape or form, so can I eat turkey bacon or sausage instead (for breakfast meats)? I’m not a day person, having worked the midnight shift for almost 20 years, so the meat/breakfast just isn’t relevant–I’d prefer to eat dinner-type foods instead–but if it has to be done in order to lose (a huge amount of) weight, I’ll adjust.
Thank you! My inflammation seems to be all hormonne based from pregnancy. If i miss one cycle i get cysts & swollen joints. Taking Maca Root & going to start Magnesium to see if it helps with keeping regular. I find low carb just makes me feel better all round & hoping for weight loss by really keeping it to under 20g. It has to now become a lifestyle rather than just maintenance i think.
Because the ketogenic diet alters the body's metabolism, it is a first-line therapy in children with certain congenital metabolic diseases such as pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) deficiency and glucose transporter 1 deficiency syndrome,[34] which prevent the body from using carbohydrates as fuel, leading to a dependency on ketone bodies. The ketogenic diet is beneficial in treating the seizures and some other symptoms in these diseases and is an absolute indication.[35] On the other hand, it is absolutely contraindicated in the treatment of other diseases such as pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, porphyria and other rare genetic disorders of fat metabolism.[9] A person with a disorder of fatty acid oxidation is unable to metabolise fatty acids, which replace carbohydrates as the major energy source on the diet. On the ketogenic diet, their body would consume its own protein stores for fuel, leading to ketoacidosis, and eventually coma and death.[36]

Advocates for the diet recommend that it be seriously considered after two medications have failed, as the chance of other drugs succeeding is only 10%.[9][30][31] The diet can be considered earlier for some epilepsy and genetic syndromes where it has shown particular usefulness. These include Dravet syndrome, infantile spasms, myoclonic-astatic epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis complex.[9][32]
Thank you Mira for your quick reply. I didn’t make it that same day but I just made a batch now and they are excellent! I really enjoyed them. I made the recipe times 10 for 12 large muffin slots in the muffin tin. I’m thinking of shaping a larger round of batter on a parchment lined pan next time and after baking, carefully cutting in half to make 2 rounds to make a pizza crust. Thank you so much!!!
The ketogenic diet has recently become very popular, and many food companies want to cash in by putting a “ketogenic” or “low carb” label on a new product. Be very cautious of special “keto” or “low-carb” products, such as pastas, chocolate bars, energy bars, protein powders, snack foods, cakes, cookies and other “low carb” or “ketogenic” treats. Read all labels carefully for natural low carb ingredients. The fewer ingredients the better.
I was real proud of myself this morning. I adapted your your pancake recipe to make an awesome tasting bread for sandwiches. I left out the sugar and cinnamon and added a couple twists from my Italian seasonings grinder. I was sooooo good. Tasted like a Italian sandwich wrap. My husband loves it cause he really misses bread sometimes. Thank you for the recipe. I think I will have pancakes for breakfast. YUM!
Symptoms of the keto flu include headache, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, heart palpitations, cramps, and diarrhea. These side effects usually lessen and eventually resolve in about two weeks. (2) But to lessen the effects of any discomfort, simply consider slowly transitioning onto a ketogenic diet rather than rushing to change your eating habits. By slowly lowering your carbohydrate intake, while gradually increasing your intake of dietary fat over time, you can transition with less of a negative impact and potentially prevent the keto flu.

Probably, and there are a few reasons why, Keatley says. For starters, people usually reduce their daily caloric intake to about 1,500 calories a day because healthy fats and lean proteins make you feel fuller sooner—and for a longer period of time. And then there’s the fact that it takes more energy to process and burn fat and protein than carbs, so you're burning slightly more calories than you did before. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.


Low carb recipes are essential for a keto diet! A few years ago, we started making keto recipes and after realizing just how delicious they are and how they make us feel, we never looked back! These low carb recipes will make you feel better, live better and eat better. Each recipe is absolutely delicious – we know because we only share the ones we absolutely love. You can also try our low carb breakfasts, low carb lunches, low carb dinners, low carb desserts and more!
Hi Mellissa. I am starting your 3 day kick start menu today (again) and was wondering, how do you calculate the carbs in sugar free syrup (with the LC pancakes)? Do you subtract the sugar alcohols the same as you do fiber? I’ve added about 1 Tbsp. to the pancakes but if I don’t subtract the sugar alcohols, it would be around 14 carbs! Help? Thank you!

Normal dietary fat contains mostly long-chain triglycerides (LCT). Medium-chain triglycerides are more ketogenic than LCTs because they generate more ketones per unit of energy when metabolised. Their use allows for a diet with a lower proportion of fat and a greater proportion of protein and carbohydrate,[3] leading to more food choices and larger portion sizes.[4] The original MCT diet developed by Peter Huttenlocher in the 1970s derived 60% of its calories from MCT oil.[15] Consuming that quantity of MCT oil caused abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting in some children. A figure of 45% is regarded as a balance between achieving good ketosis and minimising gastrointestinal complaints. The classical and modified MCT ketogenic diets are equally effective and differences in tolerability are not statistically significant.[9] The MCT diet is less popular in the United States; MCT oil is more expensive than other dietary fats and is not covered by insurance companies.[3]

Keep up electrolytes. The major electrolytes in our bodies are sodium, potassium and magnesium. Because a low carb diet (especially a keto diet!) reduces the amount of water you store, this can flush out electrolytes and make you feel sick (called “keto flu”). This is temporary, but you can avoid or eliminate it by salting your food liberally, drinking broth (especially bone broth), and eating pickled vegetables. Some people also choose to take supplements for electrolytes, but it’s best to first consult a doctor that understands and supports keto/low carb lifestyles.


I wanted to put it out there that I made this meal plan specifically with women in mind. I took an average of about 150 women and what their macros were. The end result was 1600 calories – broken down into 136g of fat, 74g of protein, and 20g net carbs a day. This is all built around a sedentary lifestyle, like most of us live. If you need to increase or decrease calories, you will need to do that on your own terms.
Check the nutrition labels on all your products to see if they’re high in carbs. There are hidden carbs in the unlikeliest of places (like ketchup and canned soups). Try to avoid buying products with dozens of incomprehensible ingredients. Less is usually healthier.Always check the serving sizes against the carb counts. Manufacturers can sometimes recommend inconceivably small serving sizes to seemingly reduce calorie and carb numbers.
The ketogenic diet has recently become very popular, and many food companies want to cash in by putting a “ketogenic” or “low carb” label on a new product. Be very cautious of special “keto” or “low-carb” products, such as pastas, chocolate bars, energy bars, protein powders, snack foods, cakes, cookies and other “low carb” or “ketogenic” treats. Read all labels carefully for natural low carb ingredients. The fewer ingredients the better.
Having tempting, unhealthy foods in your home is one of the biggest reasons for failure when starting any diet. To maximize your chances of success with the keto diet, you need to remove as many triggers as you can. This crucial step will help prevent moments of weakness from ruining all your hard work.If you aren’t living alone, make sure to discuss with your family or housemates before throwing anything out. If some items are simply not yours to throw out, try to compromise and agree on a special location so you can keep them out of sight.

OMG! This was so good, and so easy! My husband raved about it, and my 13 and 15 year old son and daughter loved it too! I’ll definitely make it again! I had no clue what I was going to make for dinner–but it had to be fast as I was heading out with a friend to see some live music in the city… so I just googled “Keto ground beef” and found your recipe. Instead of pickles, I put pickled jalapeños on top (my son had once again eaten all of our pickles). I didn’t find that it needed any condiments – we have reduced sugar ketchup on hand, but hubby didn’t feel it was needed. I cut the casserole into 6 servings, and it’s a good thing there are only 4 of us eating as my son and husband had seconds. I found my single portion very filling. The recipe far exceeded my expectations! Will definitely make this again!

“A lot of folks find that batch cooking once or twice a week saves a tremendous amount of time and keeps you from spending every evening in the kitchen,” Weaver says. “When keto meal planning, you want to follow general good meal planning practices, like shopping for the week’s food all at once, which helps to save money, and prepping your vegetables when you get home. These 10 keto recipes are so good you’ll forget you’re on a diet.
Great post! I’ve been following Maria Emmerich’s keto plan for a few months now. Ketosis is AMAZING! The energy, focus, and lack of hunger are what make this plan so easy to follow, and maintain long term. I would love love love for you to do 7 day meal plans. I love your recipies and implement them in my keto lifestyle already, but meal plans would ROCK! Great job.
The first month or two on keto you may experience some strange periods (aka. Shark Week.) Don’t be alarmed. When you lose weight and your body detoxes from sugar and excess carbs, all kinds of hormonal changes (for the better) occur. Initially though, you may experience heavier periods than normal, more extreme PMS symptoms, etc. This is normal, and while it’s inconvenient it shouldn’t last more than a few months at the most.If your weight loss is rapid on keto (let’s hope), you may also lose more hair than normal for a month or two. It can be disconcerting, but it’s not permanent and will stop when your hormones regulate.
okay so i am very new at this…starting this tomorrow with my mom. i know it says in the 3 day blog not to be concerned with portion size at first, but when that’s over with how do i know how much to eat? for instance, how many of the cream cheese pancakes are a normal portion size and how much ham and cheese am i supposed to put in them? sorry if any of these questions were answered previously, i just have read like every blog and i am confused.
My husband and I started Ideal Protein last July and had lost about 60 pounds each by November. We decided to take a break for the holidays, and unfortunately, our holidays are still going. Like you mentioned, we both have 10 to 15 pounds we keep gaining and losing, and we can’t seem to get back the momentum we had last fall. I am so excited about your meal plans! I think we could actually be satisfied enough to stick to these plans and get back on track. They look really tasty, and I love how the ingredients are pretty easy to find. Thank you for your time and effort!
So, I started the 3 day kick-start a week ago and am still following the plan! I went out and purchased the cookbook on Thursday and have been pouring over it since. Made the cauliflower mashed potatoes last night and they were awesome. A keeper for my household. Even hubby liked them. I feel great and am feeling the effects of weight loss and no carbs in my system…in a good way. Passed on the carb flu- probably because I had cut way down on the carbs before starting this. I dont miss them a bit…I keep thinking I should increase my carbs, LOL but I m not sure I want to ! Thank you for your book and thank you for your humor and thank you for your motivating spirit!
The ketogenic diet—also known as "keto"—has become the latest big thing in weight-loss plans, touted recently by celebs like Jenna Jameson, Mama June, and Halle Berry. The diet involves cutting way back on carbohydrates, to 50 grams a day or less, to help the body achieve a state of ketosis, in which it has to burn fat (rather than sugar) for energy.

Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
Let me know if you have questions on the ingredients and I’ll help you decipher them – I also try to link to examples of the harder to find ingredients on amazon so people can see a picture and get a description of what it is to help find them in the stores. I can’t imagine that you won’t see amazing results combining crossfit with lchf – can’t wait to hear how you do on the plans!!! Keep us posted and welcome to IBIH!
H. Guldbrand, B. Dizdar, B. Bunjaku, T. Lindström, M. Bachrach-Lindström, M. Fredrikson, C. J. Östgren, F. H. Nystrom, “In Type 2 Diabetes, Randomisation to Advice to Follow a Low-carbohydrate Diet Transiently Improves Glycaemic Control Compared with Advice to Follow a Low-fat Diet Producing a Similar Weight Loss,” Diabetologia (2012) 55: 2118. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-012-2567-4.
The ketogenic diet is indicated as an adjunctive (additional) treatment in children and young people with drug-resistant epilepsy.[25][26] It is approved by national clinical guidelines in Scotland,[26] England and Wales[25] and reimbursed by nearly all US insurance companies.[27] Children with a focal lesion (a single point of brain abnormality causing the epilepsy) who would make suitable candidates for surgery are more likely to become seizure-free with surgery than with the ketogenic diet.[9][28] About a third of epilepsy centres that offer the ketogenic diet also offer a dietary therapy to adults. Some clinicians consider the two less restrictive dietary variants—the low glycaemic index treatment and the modified Atkins diet—to be more appropriate for adolescents and adults.[9] A liquid form of the ketogenic diet is particularly easy to prepare for, and well tolerated by, infants on formula and children who are tube-fed.[5][29]
If you want to slam a protein shake post-workout, that's probably fine as long as you've got room for it in your macros. But shoot for one that is very low—like, zero—in carbohydrates. Pure isolates, such as Signature 100% Whey Isolate, are extremely low in carbohydrate. If you struggle to fit fat in during the day, toss a tablespoon of olive oil in with your shake. You won't taste it, and it gives a quick 13-14 grams of fat.

Some people on a keto or low carb diet choose to count total carbs instead of net carbs. This makes it more difficult to fit in more leafy greens and low carb vegetables (which are filled with fiber), so you should only try that if you don’t get results with a net carb method. And, start with reducing sugar alcohols and low carb treats before deciding to do a “total carbs” method.
In addition to burning fat reserves and super charging weight loss, ketosis produces a clean burning metabolic fuel that has many benefits. Ketones lower production of reactive oxygen species (ROS),1 enhance mitochondrial biogenesis,2 3 and induce positive epigenetic expression.4 Because of its neurological benefits, I went on a Keto Diet in 2014, and it has been helpful in moderating my MS symptoms.
I too started Atkins years ago- back in the ‘80’s. I did well as long as i stuck to it. But, it’s a tough road and restaurants and snack food companies are not very low carb friendly. It’s all too easy for me to grab something quick & the donuts in the break room do me in everytime!!! I read your post this morning & It inspired me. I also am 57 and have been discouraged lately with my weight and lack of ability to stay away from carbs. But, I am going at it again – and this time with a vengeance. Thanks again for your post – very inspiring & appreciated. By the way – I found that Mellissa’s website the best for keto. Her recipes are simply delicious and not over complicated or time consuming. She also has a great sense of humor. It’s nice to know she goes through the same trials we do – and what it’s like to mess up !! !!. Thank you Mellissa for your articles, recipes, humor and your perseverance!!
Well, I managed to get to the store and get a few things to fire up this kickstart. I made the pudding today and it was a bit tangy so I decided to turn it into the Mousse instead. It was awesome and even though this is officially the 2nd day, I was ready for something chocolaty. I happened to have Hershey’s cocoa powder on hand, but I was wondering what “premium” powder you normally use? I have more questions building up, but I have not read the above questions yet. You may have answered them. This was more to tell you how much I liked the Mousse. I tried tofu mousse once and it was an epic fail!
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Keeping your tastebuds entertained while following a keto diet does not have to be a struggle.  Some low-carb, high-fat dieters find that they have the most success with their diet when they eat consistent meals on a regular basis and do not deviate from their plan.  Others find that if their diet has too much repetition it will get boring and difficult to stick to.  Whether you choose to stick to a set of staple meals that you eat every week or you’d rather spice things up, there are plenty of amazing food choices on the ketogenic diet.

Mellissa, I didn’t read through all the comments … just half :) Wondering if this will work for someone who’s a diet controlled diabetic? The nutritionist said I should have 45 carb meals and 20 carb snacks … I’ve been gaining weight steadily BUT my blood sugars are awesome! I’m working with a double edge sword here. My biggest issue (other than always feeling bloated) is I have to have a good, hefty snack at midnight each night to keep my blood sugars within range in the morning. Needless to say my waistline no longer exists … buy hey … my blood sugars are good. *rolling eyes*
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.
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