Hi Melissa,I’ve been trying on my own to eliminate carbs and sugar from my diet for obvious health reasons and weight loss. I’ve been doing ok and have lost 30 lbs. Since Memorial Day. The more I research, however, I realize I really need to fully commit to Keto if I’m really to be successful in losing a total of 90 lbs. Your blog and recipes and advice are the first time anyone has really explained and encouraged. I’m starting tomorrow with the 3 day kickstart and am very much looking forward to following you for meal plans and menus. Thanks for making things understandable.

A keto diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup. More specifically low-carb, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL and decrease in LDL particle concentration compared to low-fat diets.3A study in the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet shows a significant reduction in cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood glucose. Read more on keto and cholesterol >
On average it takes most people about three days to get into ketosis.The sticks will confirm that ketones are being excreted through your urine. That’s all. They won’t change color at all for no ketones, then there is trace (light pink) and it goes up from there to dark purple. The darkness of the stick doesn’t matter. As long as you are showing even trace amounts, then you are in ketosis and good to go. In fact, if you are showing really dark on the stick, you may be dehydrated and need to drink more water (see #4.)

Positive science on ketosis coupled with personal successes passed by word-of-mouth have driven more people to explore the ketogenic diet, says Volek. More recently, the keto diet hints at having a promising therapeutic role in cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Research is still early in many areas, but Volek suspects there will more definitive answers on the wider scope of the diet’s benefits within the next decade.


Fairly recently, the diet was introduced as a weight-loss diet by an Italian professor of surgery, Dr. Gianfranco Cappello of Sapienza University in Rome. In his 2012 study, about 19,000 dieters received a high-fat liquid diet via a feeding tube inserted down the nose. The study showed an average weight loss of more than 20 pounds in participants, most of whom kept it off for at least a year. The researchers reported a few minor side effects, like fatigue.

Your body is going to be like an angry child having a tantrum – IT WANTS SUGAR AND CARBS NOW, but you aren’t going to give it any are you? ARE YOU??? Just like with children, the key is to distract, distract, distract (oooh shiny!). Give it something else desirable, (bacon, cheese, etc.) even if it isn’t what it really wants. Don’t give in thinking you’ll feel better if you just eat a little bit of carbs – there is no compromising!


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.
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]
Which leads us to your personality. You need to be VERY strong willed to follow this diet. It follows very strict rules and you need to be able to commit to this. It makes it hard to eat out with friends or eat with friends in general. It’s hard to find food that fits this diet in common restaurants, but and this takes us to the next point, your health goals might be more important.

A small Feb. 20, 2017, study looked at the impact of a six-week ketogenic diet on physical fitness and body composition in 42 healthy adults. The study, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, found a mildly negative impact on physical performance in terms of endurance capacity, peak power and faster exhaustion. Overall, researchers concluded, “Our findings lead us to assume that a [ketogenic diet] does not impact physical fitness in a clinically relevant manner that would impair activities of daily living and aerobic training.” The “significant” weight loss of about 4.4 pounds, on average, did not affect muscle mass or function.

Hi Mel, Assuming that your ranch dressing doesn’t have sugar added, you don’t need to worry too much about limiting it, but within reason. This is my homemade ranch dressing recipe, which has 0.9g net carbs per 2-tbsp serving. It would be hard to find a store bought one with much less than that, even though some round anything less than 1g down to 0g, which isn’t truly accurate. Also, keep in mind that if weight loss is your goal, some people find that too much dairy can cause a stall. Finally, make sure you aren’t using all your “available” carbs on ranch dressing – have it with some low carb veggies!
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)
Hi Melissa! I’m a female, 6 feet, 2 inches tall and I need to lose about 45 to 50 pounds…SO glad I found your website…it’s nothing short of amazing! I’m on day one of the Keto Kickstart and my question is, do the serving sizes apply to everyone’s size, BMI, height, etc.? I am a bit nervous of taking in too few calories. I plugged in my stats for the Keto calculator and I wonder if I can have larger portions of some of your recipes. Thank you for the beautiful recipes and menu plans!!!
A systematic review in 2018 looked at sixteen studies on the ketogenic diet in adults. It concluded that the treatment was becoming more popular for that group of patients, that the efficacy in adults was similar to children, the side effects relatively mild. However, many patients gave up with the diet, for various reasons, and the quality of evidence inferior to studies on children. Health issues include high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high total cholesterol, and weight loss.[23]
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.
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!
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.[3] A typical day of food for a child on a 4:1 ratio, 1,500 kcal (6,300 kJ) ketogenic diet comprises:[27]

“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.”
A survey in 2005 of 88 paediatric neurologists in the US found that 36% regularly prescribed the diet after three or more drugs had failed; 24% occasionally prescribed the diet as a last resort; 24% had only prescribed the diet in a few rare cases; and 16% had never prescribed the diet. There are several possible explanations for this gap between evidence and clinical practice.[33] One major factor may be the lack of adequately trained dietitians, who are needed to administer a ketogenic diet programme.[30]
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
When you said the following my inhibitions dropped to zero. Probably because I just could not stop laughing, and the reality at the base of your putting it this way -“Don’t obsessively plan everything and overwhelm yourself so it feels harder than it has to. This may be controversial for some, but I’m here to tell you not to worry about calories, or nitrates, or Omega 3 vs Omega 6, or if the meat you’re eating skipped about on acres of lush pastureland, while being hand fed organic vegan feed by the tiny perfect hands of 1000 virgin milkmaids.”
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]

You should really ask your OB and/or a dietician. You have an increased calorie need while breastfeeding, and since your body will take what it needs from YOU to make quality milk for baby, you need to be sure your nutrition is sufficient. You could be way too tired to have a good postpartum experience if your baby is very young. If your baby is older and has started some type of solid, it would probably be less of an issue.
So happy I found your site, out of all the keto sites I’ve clicked on yours is the best!! You actually give us a plan to get started and I love your humor :) I’ve tried living keto before but it was the diet along with a lot of supplements and nasty shakes…it wasn’t for me! I don’t like drinking my snacks and meals just to get into ketosis! Looking forward to trying this again and trying your recipes!
It is very interesting to read about the keto/low card diet.I love to change my lifestyle as I an TYPE 2 Diabetic.I subscribed for a free printable low carb meal .The initial email stated that that I will receive an email for instructions to access the members area .Your free download will be there.However it is very deceiving ,I never got the 2nd email with instructions which is frustrating and not good .Hopefully this is not a way to get us to pay to get the printable version.
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 :)
2 years ago I cut suger out of my diet and lowered my carbs. went from 230 down to 192, then I wasn’t so good about being careful and creeped back upto 207 and wasn’t a happy camper about it, but was having problems being good with a bunch of personal & work chaos going on. so a few days ago I really started looking at keto once again, now I’m back at 199 and looking forward to working through the keto flu, god I hate headaches but the scale is telling me to keep going
What she said…I, too, get overwhelmed when I think of trying to put a keto diet together. The basic concepts are clear, but the stumbling block is what to make, and how to combine recipes to get the magic numbers for the day. I would appreciate menu plans very much…and thank you for this post which has me determined to get started on a keto way of eating.
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.
As I understand intermittent fasting, the long period between my early dinner at 6 pm and breakfast at about 8:30 am qualifies. As a past yoga instructor, fasting was something that we were encouraged to do regularly as well as cleansing. I feel so frustrated and helpless at not being able to make any difference no matter what I’ve tried. I am very disciplined and cheating is not an option.
Take a multivitamin. “Because you are removing grains, the majority of fruit, some vegetables, and a significant amount of dairy from your menu, a multivitamin is good insurance against any micronutrient deficiencies,” says Jadin. Depending on what your individual overall diet looks like, Jadin says you might also need to add a calcium, vitamin D, and potassium supplement.
In Asia, the normal diet includes rice and noodles as the main energy source, making their elimination difficult. Therefore, the MCT-oil form of the diet, which allows more carbohydrate, has proved useful. In India, religious beliefs commonly affect the diet: some patients are vegetarians, will not eat root vegetables or avoid beef. The Indian ketogenic diet is started without a fast due to cultural opposition towards fasting in children. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate nature of the normal Indian and Asian diet means that their ketogenic diets typically have a lower ketogenic ratio (1:1) than in America and Europe. However, they appear to be just as effective.[53]
I’m starting my third day and already down a pound! Happy to see the scale move in the right direction. Your recipes are delicious. Thank you! On a side note, I noticed your comment in one of your other blogs about the processed Atkin products. Couldn’t agree more with you. I did Atkins very successfully about 10 years ago and kept the weight off for a long time. I followed one of Dr. Atkin’s first books. Fast forward to now and here I am trying to lose again. I picked up one of the newest editions of the books and was so disappointed to see they listed those processed items in phase one. I quickly put the book back on the shelf!Your posts and recipes are very motivating and I really appreciate your work. Again, thank you!
“The cleaner, the better when it comes to the keto diet,” says Jadin. Focus on “whole” and “unprocessed.” Also, strive for a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats for balance. Note: Tipping the scale toward too much protein is a common pitfall many people make on the keto diet. Mind your protein intake, since too much can kick you out of ketosis, says Jadin.
That’s why many health experts are concerned about people on the keto diet, especially those who try it without the guidance of a doctor or nutritionist. Doctors say that high-fat diets like this one may raise cholesterol levels, and some studies suggest that they increase the risk of diabetes. Some have even called it a “cardiologist’s nightmare.”
Early studies reported high success rates: in one study in 1925, 60% of patients became seizure-free, and another 35% of patients had a 50% reduction in seizure frequency. These studies generally examined a cohort of patients recently treated by the physician (what is known as a retrospective study) and selected patients who had successfully maintained the dietary restrictions. However, these studies are difficult to compare to modern trials. One reason is that these older trials suffered from selection bias, as they excluded patients who were unable to start or maintain the diet and thereby selected from patients who would generate better results. In an attempt to control for this bias, modern study design prefers a prospective cohort (the patients in the study are chosen before therapy begins) in which the results are presented for all patients regardless of whether they started or completed the treatment (known as intent-to-treat analysis).[18]
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?
Help me please! Ketosis is the only thing that has ever helped to alleviate my chronic migraines but it is so hard for me to stick to because all of the plans I can find ( like this 3 day one ) use dairy products to fill most of the fat content. I am deathly allergic to dairy and soy products. How do I stay keto without all of the cheese and cream?!?!
Many ketogenic dieters also swear by MCT oil. (MCT simply stands for medium chain triglycerides.) MCT's energy-sustaining powers can be explained as follows: When MCT oil is metabolized in the body, it behaves more like a carbohydrate than a fat. Unlike other fats, MCT oil does not go through the lymphatic system. Instead, it is transported directly to the liver where it is metabolized so it releases energy like a carbohydrate and creates lots of ketones (which can be used for fuel) in the process.
This means that if you have risk factors for heart disease — such as elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure (hypertension), or a strong family history of the disease — you should use caution when following this diet. The diet's heavy reliance on fat, especially saturated fat, can elevate cholesterol levels, further increasing your chances of developing heart disease in the future. (7)
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 Patricia, you can replace the avocado with any of the other snack options. I would omit the dessert rather than trying to sub for the avocado in it – or you can have 2 squares of Lindt 90% chocolate in place of it. Just be aware that there are a few grams of carbs in them so don’t overindulge and keep your carbs under 20g per day and you should be good to go!
You’re so welcome Jessica – you and me both! I’m looking forward to feeling good again and having my clothes fit right will be nice too! ha ha! Thanks to all of your feedback I’ll be posting 7 day menu plans every Saturday, and we’ll all hopefully be reporting our pounds lost so far progress in the comments. I’m so looking forward to it – hope you’ll join us!!!
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.
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.
I don’t see how this will be within the allowed protein retirements. I found this blog through the Senza app and have found most “meal plans” have a lot of protein and not enough fat. I should be eating 80g of protein a day. One string cheese is 6g and 2 eggs are 12g, plus the 25g protein per 6oz serving most meat contains. If I ate this 3 day start up plan, is be WAY over my protein and under on my fat. She even addressed that this isn’t a high protein diet but I don’t see how it’s not when almost every meal and stack contains at least 20g protein.
So, I started the 3 day kick-start a week ago and am still following the plan! I went out and purchased the cookbook on Thursday and have been pouring over it since. Made the cauliflower mashed potatoes last night and they were awesome. A keeper for my household. Even hubby liked them. I feel great and am feeling the effects of weight loss and no carbs in my system…in a good way. Passed on the carb flu- probably because I had cut way down on the carbs before starting this. I dont miss them a bit…I keep thinking I should increase my carbs, LOL but I m not sure I want to ! Thank you for your book and thank you for your humor and thank you for your motivating spirit!
Please try reading jason fungs book that Melissa recommended, even though you are familiar with IF. I’ve only read the introduction and some from his blog as well as his posts on dietdoctor.com and it looks like sometimes if your insulin sensitivity is very damaged it could require longer fasts to get it back in check. Dr. Fung states that everything in his book is available in his blog, just that the book is a more organized way to access it but he wants everyone to have access to this life changing information. The testimonial from Jimmy Moore was eye opening where he recounted his experiences with IF
1) Fat weighs less than healthy muscle… EVEN IF you are not showing a loss in the scales… check your clothes.. they’ll be fitting better… If you lacked good muscle tissue.. eating the protein will rebuild that. If you were VERY out of shape, your body will feel GREAT with all the new muscle, but it DOES weigh more… that will not stop you from losing, you just need to stick it out… you will lose inches even if you’re not losing lbs…
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]
You’re transitioning. Your body is equipped to process a high intake of carbs and a lower intake of fat. Your body needs to create enzymes to be able to do this. In the transitional period, the brain may run low on energy which can lead to grogginess, nausea, and headaches. If you’re having a large problem with this, you can choose to reduce carb intake gradually.
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One area where food tracking can be especially helpful, though, is ensuring that you're hitting the right ratios of macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat. "The most researched version of the ketogenic diet derives 70 percent of calories from healthy fats, 20 percent from protein, and only 10 percent from carbs," explains Charles Passler, D.C., nutritionist, and founder of Pure Change. "In the ideal world, each keto meal and snack should have that same (70/20/10) ratio of macronutrients, but studies have shown that you'll still achieve great results even if each meal varies slightly from that ratio, just as long as you don't exceed 50 grams per day of carbs, or eat those carbs in one sitting," says Passler. In order to achieve these ratios without a preset meal plan from a dietitian or doctor, some food tracking is probably going to be necessary. But once you get the hang of things, you may not need it anymore.
I have the same addiction…. I strongly recommend switching to Zevia, a carbonated beverage that is sweetened with stevia and comes in caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions. The taste won’t compare to your full sugar sodas, it’s more like a diet drink but without the harmful sugar substitutes that diet sodas use. It is only available at a handful of groceries, and is slightly more expensive but well worth it.
I am a type 1 diabetic of 57 years. I am my doctor’s only patient that has had this disease this long with no diabetic problems. My A1C average is 7.0. My experience with eating a Keto diet is my blood glucose goes very high when eating more fat. I got no help from doctor, so I learned by trial and error to take more insulin for the among of fat I eat. I have it down to a percentage. If eating 6 carbs for breakfast and 18g of fat, I divide 30% into the 18g of fat, which will be 6. I add the 6 with the 6 carbs and I take 12 units of insulin for my breakfast. Not only do we need to take insulin for the carbs we eat, but also for the fat when eating the amount you should consume on a Keto diet. I have been using My Fitness Pal for 9 years to document everything I eat, keeping up with the total calories, carbs, fat, sodium, protein and sugar.

I have the same addiction…. I strongly recommend switching to Zevia, a carbonated beverage that is sweetened with stevia and comes in caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions. The taste won’t compare to your full sugar sodas, it’s more like a diet drink but without the harmful sugar substitutes that diet sodas use. It is only available at a handful of groceries, and is slightly more expensive but well worth it.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Kossoff EH, Zupec-Kania BA, Amark PE, Ballaban-Gil KR, Bergqvist AG, Blackford R, et al. Optimal clinical management of children receiving the ketogenic diet: recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. Epilepsia. 2009 Feb;50(2):304–17. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01765.x. PMID 18823325
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.
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