One thing many people love about keto diet meal plans is that tracking your food is optional. "One of the biggest benefits of the ketogenic diet is that there's no need to meticulously track your calories like you may in other diets," notes Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of DrAxe.com, best-selling author of Eat Dirt, and cofounder of Ancient Nutrition. "Because you're filling up on fat and protein, you're more likely to feel satisfied and energized all day long, which causes you to naturally eat less." This isn't to say that food tracking on keto is discouraged. "Some people may find calorie counting a useful tool to be more mindful and aware of what they're eating, but it's not necessary on the ketogenic diet," says Dr. Axe, but there's no need to get too stressed about hitting a certain caloric goal, especially if you're not trying to lose weight. (Related: The #1 Reason to Stop Counting Calories)


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.
“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.”
Inducing ketosis – a natural state for the body, when it is almost completely fuelled by fat – in therapeutic diets is a skill that needs the close supervision of a dietitian in a specialist clinic. This is because the diet is not balanced and can easily lead to nutrient deficiencies, nausea, vomiting, headache, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, poor exercise tolerance and constipation – sometimes referred to as keto flu.
The ketogenic diet achieved national media exposure in the US in October 1994, when NBC's Dateline television programme reported the case of Charlie Abrahams, son of Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams. The two-year-old suffered from epilepsy that had remained uncontrolled by mainstream and alternative therapies. Abrahams discovered a reference to the ketogenic diet in an epilepsy guide for parents and brought Charlie to John M. Freeman at Johns Hopkins Hospital, which had continued to offer the therapy. Under the diet, Charlie's epilepsy was rapidly controlled and his developmental progress resumed. This inspired Abrahams to create the Charlie Foundation to promote the diet and fund research.[10] A multicentre prospective study began in 1994, the results were presented to the American Epilepsy Society in 1996 and were published[17] in 1998. There followed an explosion of scientific interest in the diet. In 1997, Abrahams produced a TV movie, ...First Do No Harm, starring Meryl Streep, in which a young boy's intractable epilepsy is successfully treated by the ketogenic diet.[1]
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.
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.

Drink lots of water. This is especially crucial on a low carb or keto diet. Why? When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores the extra as glycogen in the liver, where they are bound to water molecules. Eating low carb depletes this glycogen, which allows you to burn fat – but it also means you are storing less water, making it easier to get dehydrated. Instead of the traditional recommendation of 8 cups of water per day, aim for 16 cups when following a low carb lifestyle.
The ketogenic diet reduces seizure frequency by more than 50% in half of the patients who try it and by more than 90% in a third of patients.[3] Three-quarters of children who respond do so within two weeks, though experts recommend a trial of at least three months before assuming it has been ineffective.[9] Children with refractory epilepsy are more likely to benefit from the ketogenic diet than from trying another anticonvulsant drug.[1] There is some evidence that adolescents and adults may also benefit from the diet.[9]
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.
There are theoretically no restrictions on where the ketogenic diet might be used, and it can cost less than modern anticonvulsants. However, fasting and dietary changes are affected by religious and cultural issues. A culture where food is often prepared by grandparents or hired help means more people must be educated about the diet. When families dine together, sharing the same meal, it can be difficult to separate the child's meal. In many countries, food labelling is not mandatory so calculating the proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrate is difficult. In some countries, it may be hard to find sugar-free forms of medicines and supplements, to purchase an accurate electronic scale, or to afford MCT oils.[53]
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.
Swanson, a professor of neurology who has researched the impacts of ketogenic diets on inflammation in the brain, got curious about the ketogenic diet when trying to treat the inflammation that persists for days after a person suffers a stroke. When he tried inducing a ketogenic state in mice with stroke injuries, he said, “I was overwhelmed by the effect.” Blocking glucose metabolism worked to suppress inflammatory genes, which in turn helped stroke healing.
Well 18 is pretty close to 20, and I’m so mad at myself for letting it happen! I kept thinking I could lose it all fast by getting back on the wagon, but now it will probably take me months. So irritating! Congrats on three pounds and getting a head start on us! Keep us posted in the weekly Saturday thread on how you’re doing OK? And yes, DRINK MORE WATER! ha ha!
The brain is composed of a network of neurons that transmit signals by propagating nerve impulses. The propagation of this impulse from one neuron to another is typically controlled by neurotransmitters, though there are also electrical pathways between some neurons. Neurotransmitters can inhibit impulse firing (primarily done by γ-aminobutyric acid, or GABA) or they can excite the neuron into firing (primarily done by glutamate). A neuron that releases inhibitory neurotransmitters from its terminals is called an inhibitory neuron, while one that releases excitatory neurotransmitters is an excitatory neuron. When the normal balance between inhibition and excitation is significantly disrupted in all or part of the brain, a seizure can occur. The GABA system is an important target for anticonvulsant drugs, since seizures may be discouraged by increasing GABA synthesis, decreasing its breakdown, or enhancing its effect on neurons.[7]
The ketogenic diet is based on the principle that by depleting the body of carbohydrates, which are its primary source of energy, you can force the body to burn fat for fuel, thereby maximizing weight loss. When you consume foods that contain carbohydrates, the body converts those carbohydrates into glucose, or blood sugar, which it then uses for energy. (1)
Hi Melissa! I’ve been on track for 4 days now and have actually been feeling pretty good except for fatigue. I’ve been follwing the plan to a “T” but after 4 days I don’t think i’m in ketosis yet. Could some people take a few days longer than others? I’m going to test again in a couple days (or how often should you test? Does morning have more ketones than evening?) and hopefully I am up. Sometimes it is hard to read the strips but I know I am negative to minimal ketones at this point.
Hi Kimberly – sorry I have no experience with menopause yet! Just follow the plan and you should see results, even if they are a bit slower than when you were younger! If you aren’t seeing good results, it could be the artificial sweeteners in your tea that are the culprit – some people find that to be the case and others don’t have a problem with it. Just be aware of it and try kicking the habit if your weight loss is super slow and see if it helps! But yes, it can stand in for part of your water throughout the day.
After initiation, the child regularly visits the hospital outpatient clinic where he or she is seen by the dietitian and neurologist, and various tests and examinations are performed. These are held every three months for the first year and then every six months thereafter. Infants under one year old are seen more frequently, with the initial visit held after just two to four weeks.[9] A period of minor adjustments is necessary to ensure consistent ketosis is maintained and to better adapt the meal plans to the patient. This fine-tuning is typically done over the telephone with the hospital dietitian[18] and includes changing the number of calories, altering the ketogenic ratio, or adding some MCT or coconut oils to a classic diet.[3] Urinary ketone levels are checked daily to detect whether ketosis has been achieved and to confirm that the patient is following the diet, though the level of ketones does not correlate with an anticonvulsant effect.[18] This is performed using ketone test strips containing nitroprusside, which change colour from buff-pink to maroon in the presence of acetoacetate (one of the three ketone bodies).[44]
I am brand new to this Keto diet stuff! I have been searching for the best blog or site and this is just outstanding! I can’t wait till I can buy your books. This is the first time I saw food ideas I actually liked (piky eater alert). I am going to try the 3 day start plan right after I get back from camping. Thank you so much for putting this all together and I will be trying more than just the 3 day I am sure!
My Husband and I started doing Keto July 2018. We got over weight after we got out of the Marine Corps. It has been hard to workout because I became disabled, but my diet was not good. After our friend Amber recommended your site and support group, we found a lot of helpful information to get us started on a successful journey. So far it’s been one month and we have lost 18 pounds each!
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 .

Natural fat, high-fat sauces – Most of the calories on a keto diet should come from fat. You’ll likely get much of it from natural sources like meat, fish, eggs etc. But also use fat in cooking, like butter or coconut fat, and add plenty of olive oil to salads etc. You can also eat delicious high-fat sauces including Bearnaise sauce etc., or garlic butter (recipes).
No matter what your diet has been before now, keto will be a big change. If you're coming from a standard American diet (SAD), your carbs will go way down, your protein may either go up or down, and your fat will go way up. If you're coming from a bodybuilding-style diet, your fat intake will jump to alarming levels, and your protein will likely drop significantly.
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.
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?

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?

Just this week, a 25,000-person study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich suggested that people on the lowest-carb diets had the highest risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and all other causes. Another study, published this month in the Lancet, also found that people who followed diets that were low in carbs and high in animal proteins had a higher risk of early death compared to those who consumed carbs in moderation. (The opposite was true, however, for low-carb dieters who opted for plant-based proteins over meat and dairy.)
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.

Wilder's colleague, paediatrician Mynie Gustav Peterman, later formulated the classic diet, with a ratio of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight in children, 10–15 g of carbohydrate per day, and the remainder of calories from fat. Peterman's work in the 1920s established the techniques for induction and maintenance of the diet. Peterman documented positive effects (improved alertness, behaviour and sleep) and adverse effects (nausea and vomiting due to excess ketosis). The diet proved to be very successful in children: Peterman reported in 1925 that 95% of 37 young patients had improved seizure control on the diet and 60% became seizure-free. By 1930, the diet had also been studied in 100 teenagers and adults. Clifford Joseph Barborka, Sr., also from the Mayo Clinic, reported that 56% of those older patients improved on the diet and 12% became seizure-free. Although the adult results are similar to modern studies of children, they did not compare as well to contemporary studies. Barborka concluded that adults were least likely to benefit from the diet, and the use of the ketogenic diet in adults was not studied again until 1999.[10][14]


8. All brands are not created equal. Sometimes (but not always) you have to pony up for the name brand over the generic because the carbs are less – this is generally true with cream cheese for example. When buying heavy cream, go organic if you can find it because some brands use thickeners that add carbs. Buy your cheese in blocks or slices rather than in shreds – the shredded cheese is coated with food starch to avoid clumping and that adds carbs.

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.
It is possible to combine the results of several small studies to produce evidence that is stronger than that available from each study alone—a statistical method known as meta-analysis. One of four such analyses, conducted in 2006, looked at 19 studies on a total of 1,084 patients.[22] It concluded that a third achieved an excellent reduction in seizure frequency and half the patients achieved a good reduction.[3]

^ 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.
Infants and patients fed via a gastrostomy tube can also be given a ketogenic diet. Parents make up a prescribed powdered formula, such as KetoCal, into a liquid feed.[18] Gastrostomy feeding avoids any issues with palatability, and bottle-fed infants readily accept the ketogenic formula.[30] Some studies have found this liquid feed to be more efficacious and associated with lower total cholesterol than a solid ketogenic diet.[3] KetoCal is a nutritionally complete food containing milk protein and is supplemented with amino acids, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It is used to administer the 4:1 ratio classic ketogenic diet in children over one year. The formula is available in both 3:1 and 4:1 ratios, either unflavoured or in an artificially sweetened vanilla flavour and is suitable for tube or oral feeding.[50] Other formula products include KetoVolve[51] and Ketonia.[52] Alternatively, a liquid ketogenic diet may be produced by combining Ross Carbohydrate Free soy formula with Microlipid and Polycose.[52]
If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin.
When your body burns its stores of fat, it can be hard on your kidneys. And starting a ketogenic diet -- or going back to a normal diet afterward -- can be tricky if you’re obese because of other health issues you’re likely to have, like diabetes, a heart condition, or high blood pressure. If you have any of these conditions, make diet changes slowly and only with the guidance of your doctor.
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!
This was delicious! It will be my new go to easy dinner from now on. I did make a couple of changes though. I swapped the pickles out for jalapenos, doubled the bacon, and added a dollop of Primal Kitchens chipotle lime mayo on top of my serving along with some hot sauce and it was perfect! It reminded me a lot of In-n-Outs animal style cheeseburger.
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.

But if no carbs are available, our bodies start burning fat as a primary fuel source and producing ketones in the liver, which the body can turn into energy. This metabolic state, called ketosis, is what happens when someone is starving. But it's also how Harper's body works every day. His system relies on fats like butter, oil, and lard as a primary energy source instead of packing them on as in-case-of-emergency poundage.

“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.”

Well, apart from following this diet chat, you need to have some snacks every two hours that will help your system run properly. For the snacks, include nuts and berries, baby carrots, boiled eggs, a fruit, slices of apple fried in almond butter, beef steak made at home, any leftovers of previous night. All these will enhance the positive levels in your Ketogenic diet menu plan.

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I have read all the info on the sight but I am still having trouble understanding how to get the amount of protein, carbs and fats. I get keeping my carbs under 20 grams a day but not trying to determine the rest. Not sure what I am missing or I just don’t get it. If you can give any help it would really be appreciated. Thanks your site is wonderful !!

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
Well, apart from following this diet chat, you need to have some snacks every two hours that will help your system run properly. For the snacks, include nuts and berries, baby carrots, boiled eggs, a fruit, slices of apple fried in almond butter, beef steak made at home, any leftovers of previous night. All these will enhance the positive levels in your Ketogenic diet menu plan.
The low glycaemic index treatment (LGIT)[48] is an attempt to achieve the stable blood glucose levels seen in children on the classic ketogenic diet while using a much less restrictive regimen. The hypothesis is that stable blood glucose may be one of the mechanisms of action involved in the ketogenic diet,[9] which occurs because the absorption of the limited carbohydrates is slowed by the high fat content.[5] Although it is also a high-fat diet (with approximately 60% calories from fat),[5] the LGIT allows more carbohydrate than either the classic ketogenic diet or the modified Atkins diet, approximately 40–60 g per day.[3] However, the types of carbohydrates consumed are restricted to those that have a glycaemic index lower than 50. Like the modified Atkins diet, the LGIT is initiated and maintained at outpatient clinics and does not require precise weighing of food or intensive dietitian support. Both are offered at most centres that run ketogenic diet programmes, and in some centres they are often the primary dietary therapy for adolescents.[9]
All I can say is WOW! I am a week in on this Keto way of eating and came across this simple recipe. Gotta admit, I didn’t think I would like it…I LOVE IT! So easy to make…took me 20 minutes total! It was light, moist and delicious. I used one small loaf pan, doubled the ingredients and made the regular one and the cheese mix in. Can’t wait to share the rest with my co-workers…we are doing this together. Will be back to check for other recipes. Thank you!
2) Since this is an older blog… I will tell you that Coconut Oil is “the miracle ingredient”! It goes RIGHT to your liver and is metabolized as ketones… it is what’s called an MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride, kinda of a “good” saturated fat) I have been eating 2 – 3 tbls a day since I started back with a vengeance and will tell you not only has it helped me to be more consistent in my weight loss, but it has even improved my complexion… I am 57, and was starting to get sun spots on my cheeks… but they are actually fading after only a month.. I’ve lost 15 lbs in this first month and feel 35 again…

When your body burns its stores of fat, it can be hard on your kidneys. And starting a ketogenic diet -- or going back to a normal diet afterward -- can be tricky if you’re obese because of other health issues you’re likely to have, like diabetes, a heart condition, or high blood pressure. If you have any of these conditions, make diet changes slowly and only with the guidance of your doctor.
If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin.
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?
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for taking the guesswork out of putting a plan together. Thank you for putting in the time, your dedication and commitment helping people you don’t even know. I get overwhelmed putting a plan together. What I think is healthy is not! I am starting the 3 day kickstart this week. I am putting my shopping list together. While doing so, I find myself asking- are these ingredients enough for 1 person or more? Should I increase the quantity of items to feed the family? I have a family of 5 and we all need to eat healthier. More specifically, my husband and I will be doing Keto. The kids (14, 18 & 20’year olds) will most likely do the dinners and snacks. Thank you for your help with this. Sorry in advance if you already answered these questions. I went through other comments and didn’t notice if it had been addressed. Thanks again!
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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