Achieving ketosis is a pretty straightforward, but it can seem complicated and confusing with all of the information out there.4If you want to learn more about ketosis and the scientific process around it, you can visit a very in-depth discussion about on Dr. Peter Attia’s website. Here’s the bottom line on what you need to do, ordered in levels of importance:
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.

I want to be able to switch something out for an atkins shake which I love and have gotten used to as my breakfast and I need to know the total net carb count for each food item listed so if I add the atkins shake, I know if I need to nix something else in the plan for that day or nix something and add something else with a low carb count in addition to my shake.
Hi Gigi, Low carb and keto is about the balance of macronutrients eaten (fat, protein and carbs), not specifically meat or lack thereof. Most people on keto do eat meat, though some people do vegetarian keto. Fat is actually necessary for many body processes. There is no issue for the kidneys with a high fat diet, but if you eat too much protein that isn’t great for the kidneys. It’s a common misconception that keto is high protein (it isn’t). Keto is great for diabetics as it naturally helps stabilize insulin. All of this being said, please know I’m not a doctor and you should consult your doctor on any medical questions or before starting any diet. If you have more questions that aren’t medical questions, I recommend our low carb & keto support group here.
Protein: Keep in mind that keto is high-fat, and not high-protein, so you don’t need to eat very much meat. Too much protein turns into glucose in the body, making it harder to stay in ketosis. Stick to fatty cuts of grass-fed, pasture-raised, or wild meat, and wild-caught fish. Red meats, offal/organ meats, pork, eggs (preferably pastured), fish, shellfish, and whey protein concentrate.

When a person goes off the ketogenic diet and regains much of their original weight, it’s often not in the same proportions, says Kizer: Instead of regaining lean muscle, you’re likely to regain fat. “Now you’re back to your starting weight, but you no longer have the muscle mass to burn the calories that you did before,” she says. “That can have lasting effects on your resting metabolic rate, and on your weight long-term.”
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]
My numbers come out similar to yours. I’m confused about your daily menu example, though. I figure I can only eat 70g or 2 – 3 oz of meat per day. That is one very small piece of meat. But you show meat at every meal. Also, the fat requirement is about equal to one cup of lard. How do you do that if you’re on the go and want to, say, pack a quick lunch? Or if you’re traveling?

Started the kickstart yesterday and stuck to it all day. Was so easy and the dishes were good! I did bacon and eggs, tuna with Romaine, buffalo chicken…even made the mousse! I dont want to use bottled dressings so I made this one…. the BEST! https://lowcarbyum.com/creamy-blue-cheese-dressing/ I already hit ketosis this morning! I have been trying to cut down on carbs for the last month or more so maybe that’s why I hit it so quickly. Im excited to stick with this! Thank you for the recipes and the humor!

If you’re eating fewer carbohydrates than you’re used to, you’re probably also skimping on the insoluble fibre found in fruit, vegetables and whole-grain foods – the kind that adds bulk to your digestive tract and keeps things running smoothly. “When you cut out carbs, it’s hard to consume 25g of fibre a day – the amount you need for healthy bowel functioning,” says dietitian Bethany Doerfler. 
I had 12 lb that I had to shed. Zero carbs for one week then the cruise phase. there are two other phases that help keep it off. This is what helped me I did chicken, fish , eggs, and avocado since it has zero carbs. I really hate meat so after research I went on two different great zero carb protein powder mixes with almond mils Vega Sport Mocha and Isopure zero carb tossed in magic bullet with ice and almond milk does the trick for me. This is what I do once I lost the weight I weigh myself daily if I even see an one pound gain . I go back on high protein diet Dealing with one pound is easier than fifty … so that is my method for keeping it under control.

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.
Anticonvulsants suppress epileptic seizures, but they neither cure nor prevent the development of seizure susceptibility. The development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) is a process that is poorly understood. A few anticonvulsants (valproate, levetiracetam and benzodiazepines) have shown antiepileptogenic properties in animal models of epileptogenesis. However, no anticonvulsant has ever achieved this in a clinical trial in humans. The ketogenic diet has been found to have antiepileptogenic properties in rats.[55]
I’ve only one question. I work in shifts and at 4.30 in the morning I can not eat my breakfast (lazy – I manage to get out of bed and into my car in 30 minutes ;-). Not even if I make it the day before…I just can’t swallow the stuff. But I have to eat something because I’m in my car for more than a hour. Can I have a liquid breakfast at those times?
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.
Anticonvulsants suppress epileptic seizures, but they neither cure nor prevent the development of seizure susceptibility. The development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) is a process that is poorly understood. A few anticonvulsants (valproate, levetiracetam and benzodiazepines) have shown antiepileptogenic properties in animal models of epileptogenesis. However, no anticonvulsant has ever achieved this in a clinical trial in humans. The ketogenic diet has been found to have antiepileptogenic properties in rats.[55]
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]
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] 

When you eat tons of carbs, your blood sugar is consistently elevated, and then so is insulin. Insulin is a hormone that keeps your blood sugar in check by shuttling the glucose into cells, but when there’s a consistently high amount of insulin, your cells become resistant. This insulin resistance makes it easier to store fat, and chronically high levels of insulin also cause excessive inflammation in the body, which contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, and potentially type 2 diabetes.


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 the 1960s, it was discovered that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) produce more ketone bodies per unit of energy than normal dietary fats (which are mostly long-chain triglycerides).[15] MCTs are more efficiently absorbed and are rapidly transported to the liver via the hepatic portal system rather than the lymphatic system.[16] The severe carbohydrate restrictions of the classic ketogenic diet made it difficult for parents to produce palatable meals that their children would tolerate. In 1971, Peter Huttenlocher devised a ketogenic diet where about 60% of the calories came from the MCT oil, and this allowed more protein and up to three times as much carbohydrate as the classic ketogenic diet. The oil was mixed with at least twice its volume of skimmed milk, chilled, and sipped during the meal or incorporated into food. He tested it on twelve children and adolescents with intractable seizures. Most children improved in both seizure control and alertness, results that were similar to the classic ketogenic diet. Gastrointestinal upset was a problem, which led one patient to abandon the diet, but meals were easier to prepare and better accepted by the children.[15] The MCT diet replaced the classic ketogenic diet in many hospitals, though some devised diets that were a combination of the two.[10]
Everyone’s protein requirements are different on a keto diet, and when you are just starting out it’s less important than getting adapted to less carbs – this kickstart is designed to get people into ketosis as quickly and painlessly as possible and it does that very well. If you want to customize for your own macros with less protein you can certainly do that. I am working on some new meal plans with even less protein that I’ll be rolling out in the next few weeks for more advanced keto dieters.
^ Freeman JM, Vining EP, Pillas DJ, Pyzik PL, Casey JC, Kelly LM. The efficacy of the ketogenic diet—1998: a prospective evaluation of intervention in 150 children. Pediatrics. 1998 Dec;102(6):1358–63. doi:10.1542/peds.102.6.1358. PMID 9832569. https://web.archive.org/web/20040629224858/http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/1998/DECEMBER/981207.HTM Lay summary]—JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Updated 7 December 1998. Cited 6 March 2008.
Hi, I know this is an old post but I did a very strict keto based diet back in May and lost 30 pounds in 2 months which was great, now I’m trying to keep this pounds off, especially after the holidays. I came across your site a while back and remembered an email that a friend sent me. The menu here is great but I wanted to know if there was an alternate to the cream cheese pancakes (not a big pancake fan). Thank you!!!
“One of the best meal planning tips I’ve ever received is to structure breakfast and lunch so that you don’t have to think too much about it,” says Emily Bartlett, co-founder of Real Plans. “If you’re okay with repetition, it’s ideal to have a simple selection of recipes for breakfast—including some that can be taken on the go. For lunch, go ahead and use your leftovers with a fresh green salad, and be sure to include a dressing that you really love.”

“Eggs have a lot of vitamins like vitamin A, B complex, D, K, E, calcium, and zinc,” says Ryan Weaver, a personal trainer and keto enthusiast. “That’s why eggs are an excellent choice for breakfast when you follow the keto diet. To avoid getting bored, you can try different ways of preparing the eggs—boiled, fried, or baked. Also, you can combine the eggs with different foods like bacon, ham, cheddar cheese, butter, mayonnaise, so you get a different recipe each day although using the same main ingredient.”
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]
Without peer-reviewed clinical trials, many of the benefits remain anecdotal. For instance, Weiss himself has been on a low-carb high-fat (though not strictly ketogenic) diet for more than six months, and claims he does feel much better. But he’s clear about what he knows and what he doesn’t. He’s lost weight and his borderline pre-diabetes is gone.  
Wow – that’s a lot of dairy! I’m gluten and dairy free, but I’ll watch your recipes to see what I can use. The thing that concerns me about the dairy is that casein in cheese has a molecular structure similar to gluten, difficult for my system to break that down. I wouldn’t be surprised if others with gluten issues also have the same problem. I, too, had the impression that fat = bad… but boy, am I really enjoying salads more with real vinaigrette, homemade with healthy oils. I’ve been low carb and almost sugar free for about two years because of a gut issue. But, I want to get back to cutting out the sugar… so I’ll be eager to see what you share.

It doesn’t matter to your body whether the fat it’s burning is from your existing reserves or from the high fat meal that you just ate. And the production of ketones doesn’t necessarily mean you are burning body fat. So when keto dieters add fat to their diet through bulletproof coffee or coconut oil, it is burnt as fuel instead of body fat – which defeats the object of the diet achieving weight loss.

I am in ketosis!!!! I got the keto test strips and did the test this morning!! I am so excited!!! I have been on/off of the diet since my birthday on Aug. 11th when the kids took me out to eat! But I got back on the ball, did the soup diet again, and the 3 day kickstart and by golly it worked. I am now going to skip to week 2 of the meal plans coz there are so many fresh veggies at the food pantry and out in my garden. I can’t wait to taste the jalapeno popper soup! I am a little leery about the jalapeno and cheese muffins. I’ll post my thoughts after I try them. A little rest and then I will get to doing the prep. I really wanted to do that on Sunday after shopping but it just didn’t work out that way.
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!
Leftovers will be another thing we will take into consideration. Not only is it easier on you, but why put yourself through the hassle to cook the same food more than once? Breakfast is something I normally do leftover style, where I don’t have to worry about it in the morning and I certainly don’t have to stress about it. Grab some food out the fridge, pre-made for me, and head out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?

I’ve only one question. I work in shifts and at 4.30 in the morning I can not eat my breakfast (lazy – I manage to get out of bed and into my car in 30 minutes ;-). Not even if I make it the day before…I just can’t swallow the stuff. But I have to eat something because I’m in my car for more than a hour. Can I have a liquid breakfast at those times?
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?
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!
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they might make it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.
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