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.
Because people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, there’s a specific concern that the saturated fat in the diet may drive up LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, and further increase the odds of heart problems. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor before attempting a ketogenic diet. They may recommend a different weight-loss diet for you, like a reduced-calorie diet, to manage diabetes. Those with epilepsy should also consult their doctor before using this as part of their treatment plan.
We’re also going to keep it simple here. Most of the time, it’ll be salad and meat, slathered in high fat dressings and calling it a day. We don’t want to get too rowdy here. You can use leftover meat from previous nights or use easy accessible canned chicken/fish. If you do use canned meats, try to read the labels and get the one that uses the least (or no) additives!
Melissa I stumbled upon your site today and am so thankful that I did!!!! I’m starting this 3 day keto jump start today!!! I have 50 lbs to loose and I want my energy back and I want my life back!!!! Tired of being tired!! I love that you have gluten free recipes as my son was diagnosed with Aspbergers a year ago (high functioning autism) and I let my self go! I’ve got to get heathy so I can help my son so we can be on this journey together!!!! Thank you so much Melissa!!!
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).
I am excited to try your 3 day kick start and then get into the rest of your menus! The pancakes sound really yummy. How many did you intend for us to each for each of the “breakfasts”. You didn’t indicate a number. Though the recipe says it yields 4 cakes and 1 is a serving. So should I just have 1. I want to make sure I am no going over my 20 carbs. Thanks!
Hi Melissa! Thanks for this an awesome resource, thank you so much! A quick question – do you have any suggestions for doing keto with a milk allergy? I’m gluten and dairy free due to food sensitivities, but I’d love to try keto – the only problem is that 99% of the keto recipes/guides/meal plans that I’ve found a full of DELICIOUS but evil cheese! Thanks for your help :)
The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? "They're everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work," McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. "But again, we don't know about the long term," she says. "And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return."
Cyclical ketogenic diet: The Bulletproof Diet falls into this category. You eat high fat, low carb (less than 50 grams of net carbs a day) five to six days of the week. On day seven, you up your carb intake to roughly 150 grams, during what’s called a carb refeed day. Carb cycling this way helps you avoid the negative effects some people experience when they restrict carbs long term, like thyroid issues, fatigue and dry eyes.  Full ketosis isn’t for everyone, and adding carbs such as sweet potatoes, squash, and white rice one day a week keeps your body systems that need some amount of carbs functioning properly.
Lots of apps and website offer keto diet challenges—basically, a blueprint for the keto diet with a fixed starting and ending point (they typically last for a week to a month, though some may be longer). Speaking of apps, plenty of keto-centric ones are right at your fingertips (a.k.a., your smartphone), like the KetoDiet app, which can help you calculate your macros and track your keto diet effectively.
A: The most common ways to track your carbs is through MyFitnessPal and their mobile app. You cannot track net carbs on the app, although you can track your total carb intake and your total fiber intake. To get your net carbs, just subtract your total fiber intake from your total carb intake. I have written an article on How to Track Carbs on MyFitnessPal.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if there is little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Almost half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. There is some evidence that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. The most common adverse effect is constipation, affecting about 30% of patients—this was due to fluid restriction, which was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of kidney stones and is no longer considered beneficial.
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?
I would get seriously scientific. I happen to be diabetic and test my blood sugar on a regular basis. I had to keep testing my blood sugar after I started Keto as it is a requirement for me. I was flabbergasted by the numbers that started turning up. It is an additional point of data and can sometimes be very eye-opening. My tester helped me discover certain keto friendly foods that I don’t tolerate. You can pick up a tester at the pharmacy. I can’t say that pricking your finger several times a day is fun but it will give you a good read on how your body is reacting to certain meals and ingredients.
Funny story, I didn’t mean to start the keto diet. My best friend has been doing it for a few months, and I was not really paying close attention to her journey. I assumed it was too restrictive for me, and I love food, so conversely hate “restrictive”. I’ve been lowering calories, eating more protein/vegetables, fewer carbs and working out. I feel great, but I’m not really losing weight, which is frustrating. But, being 44, i was beginning to accept it as part of my metabolic process. The funny thing is, one day I felt like total, deep-fried dog crap. It was right before going on vacation: body aches, dizziness, irritability, I was sure I caught the flu. IN SUMMER!! Awful. However, the next day I woke up, feeling mildly better, and a conversation with my bestie came back to me. Could this be keto flu???? I loaded up on electrolytes that day, WHAM it was gone. I went on vacation and just limited my carbs because I wanted to eat all the good stuff (fatty, hot cheesy, meaty scrumptiousness), but not get gluten bloat. I LOST WEIGHT. YEAAHHHH!!!!!! So I did some research and realized that keto was definitely for me because it really is all my favorite foods. I love to cook, so I had been creating clean, gluten free recipes for quite some time. So now I’m here with you because I loved the name of your blog, just about every recipe appeals to me, as does your writing style. So relatable. I just wanted to share how excited I am to be here, at ground zero of what is to me, a life changing experience. Starting a diet is usually done with grim determination, but today, I’ve never been more excited to start a diet! Looking forward to exploring this gem of a site!
I love your sense of humour and vigour when explaining the ketone thingy. I started it last year and lost 23 kgs/50 pounds in just under a year. Never looked back but I too have a sweet tooth when it comes to fruit and this took me out of ketones and my motivation took a downer. Back on track and its my day 3 and already in ketones. Put on 2 pounds since my cheating but I had never lost all my weight. Had 10 kgs still to go. My entire family and their spouses are ketone believers. I often found that if I increased my fat with bulletproofcoffee it helped me with my sugar cravings. Also I have found that keeping boiled eggs and chicken in the fridge helps with my nibbling. Use a lot of mayo. Eggs full you up. Thank you. Take are and happy Low Carb eating.
Option 3: "Make your own keto 'lunchable' with cubes of grilled chicken, a slice of nitrate-free ham, cheese cubes, pickle slices, a hard-boiled egg, a few raw grape tomatoes, raw veggies like cauliflower or broccoli, a few almonds or walnuts, guacamole, and ranch dressing," says Stefanski. (Looking for something meat-free? Here are 29 Vegetarian Keto Recipes for Plant-Based Eaters.)
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.
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.
Please help!!! Love your plan, it is a dream come true, I’m in ketosis and have lost 10 lbs the first week on the 3 day plan, I’m still in ketosis but have not lost 1 lb in the last 4 days??? Is this suppose to happen or am I doing something wrong…the only thing different from the beginning is that I am not hungry and have eaten alot less, does that matter? Am I suppose to eat high calories to lose? Do I need to move on to the 7 day plan now? And how long is,it safe to stay in ketosis? Do I want to,be there all of the time? Please help I have been so happy on this plan losing this way eating foods I love, I have tried every other diet out there with no success…thank you for all that you are doing to help so many people lose weigjt, eat healthier and feel better…you are my answered prayer
Along the same vein, some of my recipes on the blog include hemp seeds, coconut flour, almond flour, and other not so easy to find ingredients – IGNORE THOSE RECIPES (for now). The focus here is, again, simplicity. You will likely be irritable, fatigued, and not feeling awesome during the first three days to a week. Trust me on this – the last thing you are going to want to do is make complicated meals.
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
People use a ketogenic diet most often to lose weight, but it can help manage certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, too. It also may help people with heart disease, certain brain diseases, and even acne, but there needs to be more research in those areas. Talk with your doctor first to find out if it’s safe for you to try a ketogenic diet, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
I just want to say THANK YOU for putting together such an informative, encouraging, and realistic introduction to what it means to follow a Keto plan. I have finally decided that I can no longer put off giving myself a food makeover. Started following the Keto guidelines today, and I’m determined to stick with it. Your site gives me the confidence to be able to do it. Thank you!
Most carbs you consume are broken down into sugar that enters the bloodstream. When you rein in carbohydrates on the keto diet, you have lower levels of blood glucose (high blood glucose can lead to diabetes). A study in the journal Nutrition reveals that a ketogenic diet improves blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics more significantly than a low-calorie diet and can also decrease the dosage of your diabetes meds.
The good news is that snacks are totally allowed (and I're not just talking about carrot sticks.) There are plenty of packaged options out there designed for keto fans. FATBAR is one of them. These snack bars have 200 calories, 16 grams of fat, and four grams of net carbs. They're also plant-based and are made with almond or cashew butter, cocoa butter, coconut, pea protein, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds.
To produce energy, the body typically uses carbohydrates. But after a few days on the keto diet, with its restrictive carb intake, your body cannot produce enough energy and looks for another source — breaking down stored fat to generate energy in a process called ketosis. It takes about a week for the body to start that shift from using carbohydrates or glucose, to using ketone bodies. The keto diet can help people lose weight. Some studies show those on the keto diet lose an average of five percent of their body weight, however the mechanisms are not clearly established.
The classic ketogenic diet is not a balanced diet and only contains tiny portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, fortified cereals and calcium-rich foods. In particular, the B vitamins, calcium and vitamin D must be artificially supplemented. This is achieved by taking two sugar-free supplements designed for the patient's age: a multivitamin with minerals and calcium with vitamin D. A typical day of food for a child on a 4:1 ratio, 1,500 kcal (6,300 kJ) ketogenic diet comprises:
Yes your are totally right, I meant to take off 500 calories a day to lose 1 pound a week (7 days/week x 500 calories/day = 3500 calories/week = 1 pound of fat/week) or take off 1000 calories to lose 2 pounds a week (7 days/week x 1000 calories/day = 7000 calories/week = 2 pounds of fat/week). Thanks to you, I fixed this little typo 🙂 Thanks a lot!
OMG! I have a household of 9. 3 of us are Keto. EVERYONE in the house asks for this recipe on the regular! I add a little heavy cream into the ground beef with the cream cheese and make the recipe for 16 servings (have dad, hubby and 18 yo son in the house.) I like to carmalize the onion and garlic in bacon grease as well. This recipe is an easy “go to” that pleases anyone in the house as well as a great idea when we have extra company. This is probably our favorite keto recipe to date!
As always, I’m late to the party. Thank you so much for this fantastic resource! I did this 6 years ago, lost 60 lbs. and maintained it for five years. But over the past year or so, my weight has gone up and down the same 18 lbs. To add insult to injury, I’m now borderline pre-diabetic (higher A1C than is healthy), my anxiety attacks have returned and so I’m on medication for that. It’s time to go back to what I know makes me feel better and get off the sugar and garbage once and for all.
The keto diet does provide short-term benefits, but the long-term benefits are still unknown. Researchers caution that a very low carb diet can be difficult to maintain long term, leading to “yo-yo” dieting and increased weight gain. Researchers suggest that the keto diet can be used to kick start weight loss, but should be followed up with healthy eating plans that can be sustained long term.
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.
I see your point – but at the same time some people are squeamish about the normal terms and when I first heard shark week I laughed out loud so I thought it might be fun to inject some humor into a sometimes totally humorless subject, especially for people who have really painful and debilitating cycles every month. Glad you’re enjoying the site though and thanks for letting me know! :)
The nerve impulse is characterised by a great influx of sodium ions through channels in the neuron's cell membrane followed by an efflux of potassium ions through other channels. The neuron is unable to fire again for a short time (known as the refractory period), which is mediated by another potassium channel. The flow through these ion channels is governed by a "gate" which is opened by either a voltage change or a chemical messenger known as a ligand (such as a neurotransmitter). These channels are another target for anticonvulsant drugs.
Thank you! Yea, no bread/pasta for me, by all accounts I was eating a (what I thought and what everyone would tell me, even a dietician I went to!) ‘healthy’ diet of whole grains, rice, fruit, vegetables, low fat, etc. and couldn’t understand why I was steadily gaining weight. That’s what led me here, as I was getting so frustrated and the more I read up on low carb/ketosis and how the body processes even conventionally healthy foods, it made sense to me, but I don’t think I can give up oatmeal and fruit forever! So I will definitely just make sure I only eat those in small amounts, but that is much farther down the road anyway.. I’m on to Week 1 and I’ll post an update at the end of the week. Thanks again!
You’ll just have to search for some recipes that are low carb and dairy free! Week 5 of my keto menu plans is mostly dairy free and easily made completely dairy free. I have also started a pinterest board where I’m collecting low carb recipes that are also dairy free and I’ll be working on adding more recipes to that. You might also try searching for Paleo recipes, many of them are dairy free and can easily be made low carb as well! Hope that helps!
These types of back-and-forth weight fluctuations can contribute to disordered eating, Kizer says, or can worsen an already unhealthy relationship with food. “I think this diet appeals to people who have issues with portion control and with binge eating,” she says. "And in many cases, what they really need is a lifestyle coach or a professional counselor to help them get to the bottom of those issues."
“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.”
To get the most benefit from the Keto diet, you should stay physically active. You might need to take it easier during the early ketosis period, especially if you feel fatigued or lightheaded. Walking, running, doing aerobics, weightlifting, training with kettlebells or whatever workout you prefer will boost your energy further. You can find books and online resources on how to adapt Keto meals or snacks for athletic training.