KETOGENIC DIET RULES FOR BEGINNERS

Keto Rules for Beginners:  How to get into Ketosis and Lose Weight

These ketogenic diet rules will help beginners to get into ketosis and stay there as long as they want/need.  Using your body’s ability to use up stored energy is the key to reversing aging, obesity, and lifestyle related diseases.

This is not a diet fad.  A Plant-Based Ketogenic Diet will show you:

  1. how your body was designed to work,
  2. how you can manipulate the normal, biochemical functions in your own body to cause either sickness or wellness.

You see, your body has form and function that was DESIGNED into it.  If you honor the form and function (the design) of your body, you decrease the chances of chronic lifestyle-related illness.

If you try to give your body things it was not designed to tolerate, you will become sick.

Eat Real Food

The way that I encourage people to do a ketogenic diet is one that is based on eating real, whole, nutrient dense foods from each of the macronutrient categories.

  1. Low to moderate healthy protein
  2. High in healthy plant and animal fat
  3. All carbohydrate from no grain, low-starch, nutrient dense vegetables.

On a daily basis, that is what we should be eating: high quality fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that nourish the body but don’t contribute to disease.

Please read the overview articles about each of those macronutrients for the background information: Good Carb/Bad Carb, Good Fat/Bad Fat, and Good Protein/Bad Protein.

Also, the article Ketogenic Diet: Healthy or Harmful? explains the hormonal and biochemical changes that happen when blood sugar is lowered through diet and how that contributes to weight loss and the reversal of disease.

THE PLANT-BASED KETOGENIC DIET

There seems to be some misunderstanding about how to do a keto diet in a way that both allows for weight loss and decreases the risk of ALL diseases.  You can’t just eat meat and fat and expect to be healthy.

You will lose weight initially, but you will NOT decrease your risk of all lifestyle diseases.

If you would like to read the reasons for my protein level recommendations, please read Three Potentially Life-Saving Benefits of a Low Protein Keto Diet.

PLANT-BASED KETOGENIC DIET GOAL

The goal of the Plant-Based Ketogenic Diet is

  1. To decrease blood sugar to the point where the body is forced to start using stored fat as energy,
  2. To feed the body with the nutrient dense food that it needs to be nourished and to start healing.

The basis of the idea behind this 2-fold approach is that lifestyle diseases are caused by:

  1. too much sugar and processed foods being added to the body, AND
  2. malnourishment from a lack of nutrient dense foods being given to the body.

So, too much of disease-causing foods, and not enough disease healing foods.

When the above goals are met, not only are weight-loss goals met, but diseases of all kinds are halted and very often reversed.

On the other hand, when a ketogenic diet is done in a way that is high in protein consumption, weight loss will happen for a while but will eventually stall. Also, the risk of some cancers, for example, will increase due to those cancers being moderated by high protein levels.

LOW-PROTEIN FOR SPECIFIC DISEASE AREAS

For diabetics, moderate to high levels of protein can cause the liver to turn excess protein into blood glucose via gluconeogenesis.  This will increase blood sugar levels and stop weight loss and disease reversal.  The more insulin resistant (ie have diabetes) you are, the stricter you will have to be with your protein intake.

A low-protein plant-based diet is also appropriate for those with kidney disease, or liver disease such as non-alcoholic fatty liver.

The following rules to The Plant-Based Ketogenic Diet will cause weight loss and decrease your risk of ALL diseases including the ones that Americans fear the most: cancer and dementia.

PLANT-BASED KETOGENIC DIET RULES

This post may contain affiliate links.  I get a small referral fee at no extra cost to you.

1. Decide how strict you want your ketogenic diet to be.

  • Strict Plan—keep your net carb count to <20 grams/day and protein to 0.8mg/kg/day of body weight.
  • Moderate Plan—keep your net carb count to <30 grams/day and protein to 1.0mg/kg/day of body weight.
  • Relaxed Plan—keep your net carb count to <50 grams/day and protein to 1.5mg/kg/day of body weight.

If you are just starting out on a ketogenic diet for the first time, I would recommend doing at least a Moderate Plan.

Most people who are insulin resistant (diabetic or pre-diabetic, for example) or under a lot of stress (which is most of us) won’t get into ketosis unless they’re at 30 grams of carbs per day or less.

If you are doing a good job tracking your carb intake, and still aren’t getting into ketosis, move to a Strict Plan or incorporate intermittent fasting into your plan.  This will be especially important to do for diabetics who are trying to get off of medications (per doctor instructions!!!).

A Relaxed Plan is for those who have met their weight loss and/or health goals, OR those who feel the need to cycle off a stricter plan for a time.

Blood sugar, ketones, and weight should continue to be monitored.

2.  Understand

which foods (especially carbs) are in the good category.

Read the articles on Good Carb/Bad CarbGood Fat/Bad Fat, and Good Protein/Bad Protein.

3.  DON’T count calories!

Seriously, don’t do it!  It doesn’t matter anyhow! It doesn’t matter how many calories you eat, but the type of food those calories are from.  We know instinctively the 100 calories from a donut and 100 calories from kale are NOT going to have the same metabolic effects on your body.

4.  DO count grams of carbs and protein.

  • Use a macronutrient counter to keep track of grams of macros (See #12 below)
  • Having a simple digital scale like the OXO Digital Kitchen Scale that I use makes it easy to measure and weigh.  Don’t try to estimate quantity.  Weighing your food initially will give you accurate and concrete numbers to go by and help you to see how much food you really need (or don’t need).

5.  Eliminate ALL carbs from sugar, grains, and legumes

You will not lose weight if you don’t do this!

6.  Get your carbs from dark, leafy green vegetables.

Download the Produce Shopping List and read the Good Carb/Bad Carb post to understand how to make a ketogenic diet plant-based.

7.  Don’t let yourself get hungry.

Choose foods that are GOOD carbs, proteins, and fats and track all your macro-nutrients.

8.  Get your body ready for detox with GROUND FLAX SEED

Don’t take this part lightly!  Intestinal health is essential to good over-all health and well-being.  You won’t be as successful at reversing disease, balancing hormones and healing your body if you don’t take this part seriously.

Get your intestines moving!  As your body begins to mobilize fat, all of the fat-soluble toxins, like herbicides and pesticides, that have been stored there will also come on out.

Because you’ll be giving your body plenty of healing foods and eliminating the foods that cause the liver to be overworked, your liver will do the job of metabolizing those toxins for elimination.

Elimination of those toxins is the next step.  If you’re not having a bowel movement every day, your body won’t eliminate those toxins efficiently.  Instead, they will sit in your intestines with the potential to be reabsorbed all over again.

Take a daily dose of ground flax seed.  1 to 2 tablespoonfuls daily.  To learn how to properly prepare and use flax seed, please read 5 Powerful Benefits of Flax Seed.

9,  Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!

One of the reasons blood pressure is one of the first things to be corrected on a ketogenic diet of any kind, is because urination increases.

This happens because the body will have extra ketones to get rid of (we often have so much stored fat, we can’t use them all up for energy).

Many of those excess ketones are eliminated by the kidneys.  When the kidneys get rid of ketones, they are also releasing water and electrolytes which can cause blood pressure to go too low and can cause dehydration.

Either buy a keto-friendly electrolyte drink or make this one that I use and give to my family.  We also use it after exercise or during the summer after working or playing outside in the hot sun:

 Homemade Electrolyte-Replenishing Drink:

  1. 2 cups filtered water (hot or cold)
  2. Juice from ½ lemon
  3. 1/8 to ¼ teaspoonful of GOOD, unrefined sea salt (I use Sea-90) or Pink Himalayan Salt.  These salts are full of electrolytes other than just sodium and chloride.

Replenishing water and electrolytes is THE WAY to deal with KETO FLU.  You MUST be ready to rehydrate with some kind of electrolyte solution BEFORE you start a ketogenic diet.

 10.  Write down your goals.

Write down both long-term and short-term goals.

Weight loss is a beautiful thing for those of us who need it, but improving health is often a more motivating long-term goal for most people.

Write down what you eat and drink each day and how you feel.  Sign up to download the printable PDF “Ketogenic Diet Daily Monitoring” for help with that and biometrics monitoring.

11.  Make a Plan

Failing to plan…You know the rest.

After you write down your short-term and long-term goals, here are some other things to help you plan.

  • Sign up for the
  • The Daily Meal Planning Guidelines give a more specific idea of what can be eaten at each meal.  This, in conjunction with the Produce Shopping List, will help you to be ready for meal planning each week.
  • Be inspired from recipes on the Internet.  Pinterest is a great place find all kinds of keto-friendly recipes.
  • Do a search for “keto-friendly green beans”, for example.  You’ll get plenty of ideas!
  • Plan your meals, get your shopping done, and prep all your veggies by washing and storing.  Even better, prep as much of the food ahead of time as possible.

It takes time to create new habits.  Having a plan and a little bit of organization will help you to be successful.

12.  Monitor Your Progress

  1. Track your macronutrients. There are many trackers on the internet.  I use Cronometer.com because it also gives valuable information beyond just macronutrient counter.  There is a free and a paid version.  In the free version, you can only look back at your progress for the last week or so, and you don’t get information on omega-6/omega-3 ratio, zinc/copper ratio, calcium/magnesium ratio, and sodium/potassium ratio.  Knowing these ratios, particularly the omega 6/3 ratio, is important when trying to decrease inflammatory responses that underlie chronic conditions like arthritis, heart disease, asthma, and all other lifestyle diseases.  If it’s in your budget, the paid version can give you valuable information.
  2. Monitor your ketone levels
  • Urine test strips. This is the least expensive way to test for ketone bodies.  It is not quantitative, but qualitative.  That is, it won’t tell you the exact amount, but gives a range of how deeply into ketosis you are.
  • Blood testing. Some blood glucose meters for diabetics will also test for ketones if you purchase special strips. The problem is, the strips are VERY expensive.  But it is essential to monitor blood sugar if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, even if you’re not insulin dependent.  Seeing those blood sugar numbers decreasing will tell you what’s happening in your own body.  Keeping track of blood sugar will also give you concrete numbers to show your doctor. Doctors need to see those concrete numbers to be convinced that keto works.
  • I recommend the KetoMojo meter kits.  They are much less expensive than blood glucose monitors/strips and will monitor both blood glucose and blood ketones. If you would like one of those, you can buy one through my affiliate link and get a 15% discount off any metered kit.  This discount does NOT apply to a strips only purchase.  I do get a small percentage of each purchase if you buy through this link at no extra cost to you.  That affiliate link is:
  1. KetoMojo Kits for 15% off
  2. Take a before picture!  I avoid cameras, if possible.  Especially when I was heavier, but I’m sorry I didn’t think to do this right before I started.
  3. If you have a chronic condition that you are trying to manage, keep track of symptoms on a daily basis. Monitor your blood pressure daily if you have high blood pressure.  Monitor blood sugar and ketone levels if you have diabetes/pre-diabetes.  Sign up for my printable Keto Diet Daily Monitoring PDF to help you keep track of daily macronutrient consumption and biometrics like blood and urine ketones, weight loss, and blood pressure changes.  Use it as a daily journal to help you see patterns associated with the foods you eat.  This will help you taper off of medications as advised by your doctor.

Anyone on medications for chronic health conditions should consult their health care provider before they start a ketogenic diet to get an understanding of how to lower their medications as they progress.

Get ready to feel so amazing!  It doesn’t matter what age or stage of life you’re in.  The high fat/low carb life will help you feel good, have energy, and decrease your risk of all lifestyle diseases.

 

Your turn to share!  Share your best Keto Meal Hacks for Busy Mom’s to share how you make the low-carb life work for your family. Click on the link to share your experience and it will be included in an upcoming post!

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2 thoughts on “KETOGENIC DIET RULES FOR BEGINNERS”

  1. Jennifer Baker

    I too am a pharmacist and have been living keto for just a month shy of one year! I try to tell anyone who will listen! I want the neuro-protective benefits for sure! Thanks for the article!

    1. That’s so great, Jennifer! I think we have a unique opportunity as pharmacists to interact with people who don’t need to make an appointment or give a co-pay just to talk to us. Keep up the good work! I’m proud of you! Feel free to share the benefits you’ve seen personally…

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