The ketogenic diet tries to bring carbohydrates down to less than 5 percent of a person’s daily caloric intake – which means eliminating most grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, legumes and sweets. Instead, it replaces those calories with fat. That fat is turned into ketone bodies, which are an alternative energy source: besides glucose derived from carbohydrates, ketones from fat are the only fuel the brain can use.
On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids.[56] Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.[55]
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?
So sorry to hear about that Marie! I have found that eliminating grains, especially corn and wheat makes a big difference for me and how my joints feel. If I start indulging, not only do I gain weight and get very bloated, but within a few days my tendonitis returns and my joints (especially my fingers and hips for some reason) start to really ache again. If you haven’t already cut out all grains, you might try experimenting with it for a couple of weeks to see if that gives you further relief!

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.
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.

It’s probably keto flu, make sure you’re drinking lots of water – get plenty of sodium, magnesium supplements and lite salt (potassium) are also helpful. It should only last another day or two until your body adjusts, but if you feel really bad then don’t push it or check with your doctor because something else could be wrong with you. Hope you feel better soon!

A computer program such as KetoCalculator may be used to help generate recipes.[46] The meals often have four components: heavy whipping cream, a protein-rich food (typically meat), a fruit or vegetable and a fat such as butter, vegetable oil or mayonnaise. Only low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables are allowed, which excludes bananas, potatoes, peas and corn. Suitable fruits are divided into two groups based on the amount of carbohydrate they contain, and vegetables are similarly divided into two groups. Foods within each of these four groups may be freely substituted to allow for variation without needing to recalculate portion sizes. For example, cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and green beans are all equivalent. Fresh, canned or frozen foods are equivalent, but raw and cooked vegetables differ, and processed foods are an additional complication. Parents are required to be precise when measuring food quantities on an electronic scale accurate to 1 g. The child must eat the whole meal and cannot have extra portions; any snacks must be incorporated into the meal plan. A small amount of MCT oil may be used to help with constipation or to increase ketosis.[36]
I also have to tell you that you are HILARIOUS! I laughed so hard reading your lead up to the 3 day plan. Thank you for your guidance, honesty, outstanding sense of humor (we all need it), incredibly delicious recipes and your baffling organization. I truly don’t know how you get it all done. You make it “do-able” and fun. I’m actually excited to start!
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!
Because the main tenet of the keto diet is counting and cutting carbs — a commonly used way to control blood sugar — this eating approach has become increasingly popular among people with type 2 diabetes who are looking to lower their A1C, which is the two- to three-month average measurement of blood sugar levels. Indeed, research suggests this diet may lead to fast weight loss and potentially lower blood sugar for people with the disease. (13)
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.
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.
Around this time, Bernarr Macfadden, an American exponent of physical culture, popularised the use of fasting to restore health. His disciple, the osteopathic physician Dr. Hugh William Conklin of Battle Creek, Michigan, began to treat his epilepsy patients by recommending fasting. Conklin conjectured that epileptic seizures were caused when a toxin, secreted from the Peyer's patches in the intestines, was discharged into the bloodstream. He recommended a fast lasting 18 to 25 days to allow this toxin to dissipate. Conklin probably treated hundreds of epilepsy patients with his "water diet" and boasted of a 90% cure rate in children, falling to 50% in adults. Later analysis of Conklin's case records showed 20% of his patients achieved freedom from seizures and 50% had some improvement.[10]

There are so many tricks, shortcuts, and gimmicks out there on achieving optimal ketosis – I’d suggest you don’t bother with any of that. Optimal ketosis can be accomplished through dietary nutrition alone (aka just eating food). You shouldn’t need a magic pill to do it. Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat (to make sure your carb and protein intake are correct).

You've likely heard horror stories of what competitors feel like when they cut carbs low, or when the average bro talks about going keto. However, the odds are that those people were not actually in nutritional ketosis, or more importantly, following a well-formulated ketogenic diet. Yes, you may experience some fogginess and discomfort, but it doesn't have to be intense if you handle it right.


Achieving optimal ketosis hinges on finding the right balance of macronutrients (or “macros” in keto-speak); these are the elements in your diet that account for the majority of your calories, a.k.a. energy—namely, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. By the way, it’s often “net grams” of carbohydrates that are counted toward your daily intake; “net” deducts the amount of fiber in a food from its carbohydrate total.

Getting control of your diet is the first and most important step towards lasting health and weight loss. Low carb recipes like these will give you a good blueprint to move forward with permanent changes to the way you eat that will improve your life and health. When filled with healthy, whole foods that are low in carbs and prepared deliciously, the keto diet is an amazing way to create a lasting, positive difference in your life!
Well, I am going to give this another try. I have great difficulty in eating greens , or drinking them, also I am not fond of fats, years and years of low fat diets have totally screwed my metabolism,and taste buds. I will read this page every day to keep my mind focused. Start tomorrow when I get up …… I work nights which can cause me problems as well. When I tried this diet before, I got terrible cramp, now I realise I wasn’t drinking enough water. Anyway.here goes.
There are many cheese free options Pam, you’ll have to search out recipes without cheese and put a weekly plan together for yourself. Going off plan a few times a week will keep you from losing weight for sure so you’ll need to find a way that works for you to stick to it long enough to reach your goals. A search on Pinterest for dairy free low carb recipes should net a large list of possibilities for you.
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.
because the recipes don’t mention quantities it’s hard to know how much it’s okay to eat of the carb foods. How much carbs is in those foods like kale, cauliflower, lettuce a.s.o. What about mushrooms ? Love to use them as a ‘filler’ instead of bread. Also hard to know how much is too much protein? Cheese, meat, bacon, yoghurt, tuna…. they all are full of protein.
UPDATE: Hi! It’s been 4 weeks already. I am still cooking keto and enjoying many delicious dessert too! I have finally convinced my husband to totally convert to keto food. It’s only been one week since he stopped using diet package food. He is very happy with the food he get to eat and still losing weight but much slower pace this week. That’s because I have been giving him larger portions as this is the first week for him. Since he was already on low carb diet prior to this, keto flue may be not as bad but still want to keep him happy and better transition experience. Meanwhile, I get to cook keto for the whole family and really enjoying the new way of eating and cooking. I have lost total of 6 lb but that was enough to prove to my husband eating bacon and butter is ok as long as we are on keto diet. I was only doing this to convert my husband since he doesn’t have any interest in nutrition or theory behind it, so what he sees is what he believes. 6 lb may not sounds a lot for 4 weeks but I was already below average weight , so it was a lot of loss for me. I think it’s a science 5-30-65 combination works on everyone. Now I just eat more portions of everything ,so we can still eat same food. Today, he had a once a week appointment with his ideal protein dietitian. Seems like they are not convinced that he can still continue to lose weight unless he eat their packaged food. I plan to continue sending him there for once a week appointment , so he sill have something to be accountable for. Next few weeks, I’m hoping he won’t be as hungry so I can start portion control his food without his knowledge, LOL.
Short for “ketogenic diet,” this eating plan is all about minimizing your carbs and upping your fats to get your body to use fat as a form of energy, says Scott Keatley, R.D., of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. While everyone's body and needs are slightly different, that typically translates to: 60 to 75 percent of your calories from fat, 15 to 30 percent of your calories from protein, and 5 to 10 percent of your calories from carbs.
A modified version of the ketogenic diet, which allows you to eat protein more liberally — at 20 to 30 percent of your total calories — with the same carbohydrate restriction, is the more commonly used version of the diet today. Some of the aims of the latest version of the ketogenic diet are weight loss, weight management, and improved athletic performance.
My daughter and I started low carb dieting/no flour,no sugar 6weeks ago. During that time I lost a total of 4 lbs. It was so frustrating because it felt like I should be losing more. So, in our search to figure out what we were doing wrong we found this site. We started with the 3 day plan!!! It has been wonderful. Every single recipe you provide has been absolutely Delicious. I have felt the most satisfied on your plan and as of day #2 I have already lost 6 lbs. 6!!! I worked 6 weeks just to lose 4!!!
Frederick F. Samaha, M.D., Nayyar Iqbal, M.D., Prakash Seshadri, M.D., Kathryn L. Chicano, C.R.N.P., Denise A. Daily, R.D., Joyce McGrory, C.R.N.P., Terrence Williams, B.S., Monica Williams, B.S., Edward J. Gracely, Ph.D., and Linda Stern, M.D., “A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity,” N Engl J Med 2003; 348:2074-2081. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022637.
because the recipes don’t mention quantities it’s hard to know how much it’s okay to eat of the carb foods. How much carbs is in those foods like kale, cauliflower, lettuce a.s.o. What about mushrooms ? Love to use them as a ‘filler’ instead of bread. Also hard to know how much is too much protein? Cheese, meat, bacon, yoghurt, tuna…. they all are full of protein.
Today is day one! Breakfast was delicious. So happy I found your blog and thank you for the recipes and especially the shopping list! You’ve left me with no excuses and actually a little bit excited to begin this 21 day adventure. This is huge. I’ve done Paleo before, felt good, but it didn’t last long term. My body needs to be low carb, no sugar, so again, thank you.
So I’m late to the party, but I just found your blog last week. I can’t thank you enough for these simple, easy to follow recipes, meal plans, and shopping lists! They are so helpful and I appreciate the time you put into this. I did the 3 day kickstart for 5 days, mostly because I still had leftover food, and I’ve lost 5 lbs. so far! I’ve never done low carb before, and usually eat a mainly vegetarian diet, so this is very different for me, I think I purchased more meat in the past week then I have in the past year! I am strictly following the plan, but do you think after I’ve lost the weight I’ve wanted to, transitioning back to a vegetarian diet (with eggs and dairy) is possible or just a recipe for disaster?
After increasing water intake and replacing electrolytes, it should relieve most all symptoms of Keto Flu. For an average person that is starting a ketogenic diet, eating 20-30g of net carbs a day, the entire adaptation process will take about 4-5 days. My advice is to cut your carbs to fewer than 15g to ensure that you are well on your way into ketosis within one week. If you are experiencing any more keto flu symptoms, double check your electrolyte intake and adjust.

[…] Your 3 Day Keto Kickstart and Menu Plan – I Breathe… I’m … – I am starting your 3 day kick start menu today (again) and was wondering, how do you calculate the carbs in sugar free syrup … I am excited to try your version of the keto diet! My husband started this last year and lost a bunch of weight. I then joined him and lost a bunch of weight too … […]
Hi. Loved the article. I ran across this article when I found your pancake recipe. I am going on a cruise in 18 days. I started eating a high cal low carb diet a couple of days ago and noticed how similar it was to the Keto diet. So I said why not since I’m already kind of doing that. Then, I saw that you mentioned unusual periods and I am extremely worried that if I start the keto diet today, I might have my period while on my cruise and that is not going to be fun. What are your thoughts?
A lot of people take their macros as a “set in stone” type of thing. You shouldn’t worry about hitting the mark every single day to the dot. If you’re a few calories over some days, a few calories under on others – it’s fine. Everything will even itself out in the end. It’s all about a long term plan that can work for you, and not the other way around.
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.

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*
Implementing the diet can present difficulties for caregivers and the patient due to the time commitment involved in measuring and planning meals. Since any unplanned eating can potentially break the nutritional balance required, some people find the discipline needed to maintain the diet challenging and unpleasant. Some people terminate the diet or switch to a less demanding diet, like the modified Atkins diet (MAD) or the low-glycaemic index treatment (LGIT) diet, because they find the difficulties too great.[41]
Mellissa, I’ve noted this post is old have not looked through pin for more sites. My husband has been Keto for nearly 2 years and has lost 70lbs, looking excellent for a 60 yr old man. I suffer from seizures and I’m a type 1 diabetic plus only weight 97 lbs. I fill up on carbs to keep weight on my endo. is shocked. I droppped to 87 in the hospital in Jan. after a horrible seizure. I consume massive amounts of carb’s do you have any suggestions. My endo. nurse is clueless my A1C is good 7 for my diet they are shocked. My doctor even told me I could be in the 8’s to gain weight. I want to be in good health avoid the hospital. Seizure can not be controlled but I can fix my diet. Can you help me.
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.
These affect your brain and spine, as well as the nerves that link them together. Epilepsy is one, but others may be helped by a ketogenic diet as well, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep disorders. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it may be that the ketones your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy help protect your brain cells from damage.

These affect your brain and spine, as well as the nerves that link them together. Epilepsy is one, but others may be helped by a ketogenic diet as well, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep disorders. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it may be that the ketones your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy help protect your brain cells from damage.


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.
I have a question on sugar since I see it’s not allowed. Is splenda or any other sugar subsitute ok? What if one of the ingredients that is required for a keto recipe contains sugar, does it matter? I haven’t really seen any discussion on how some things may already contain sugar (even if in low doses) may affect the keto diet. Should they be avoided altogether?

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!!
In a recent study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, Weiss and his colleagues found that participants performed worse on high-intensity cycling and running tasks after four days on a ketogenic diet, compared to those who’d spent four days on a high-carb diet. Weiss says that the body is in a more acidic state when it’s in ketosis, which may limit its ability to perform at peak levels.
The remaining calories in the keto diet come from protein — about 1 gram (g) per kilogram of body weight, so a 140-pound woman would need about 64 g of protein total. As for carbs: “Every body is different, but most people maintain ketosis with between 20 and 50 g of net carbs per day,” says Mattinson. Total carbohydrates minus fiber equals net carbs, she explains.
×