The Healthy KetoTM Diet for Beginners: Your Quick Start Guide
Your Quick Start Guide
Let's jump in
What is a ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is simply a diet, which causes your body to run on what are called ketones instead of sugar from carbohydrates like pasta, grains or sugary foods. Ketones are a type of acid formed when your body begins burning stored or dietary fat for fuel instead of carbs. They’re actually a very efficient fuel for your body. The most abundant, and beneficial, ketone is called beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB.
On a typical American diet, your body is constantly converting sugar from carbs into energy. However, when you change to a high-fat diet and limit your net carbs, your body starts producing ketones for energy. As a result, on a low carb diet, your body automatically begins burning fat(1).
In a keto diet, the goal is to switch your body from burning sugar fuel to fat fuel.
Do You Really Need Carbs?
The dictionary defines carbohydrates as “substances such as sugar or starch that provide the body with energy.”
Simple carbohydrate made of refined flour and added sugar rapidly converts to blood sugar (glucose) when you eat them. Complex carbohydrates, such as grains and beans, convert more slowly. Regardless, all carbohydrates convert to sugar in the body - and when your net carb intake is high you'll gain weight.
All your life you've been told that you need carbohydrates for energy or that your brain can only run on glucose made from carbs, a type of sugar. Those are myths, as evidenced by the countless healthy, happy individuals on low-sugar or low-carbohydrate diets(2). Instead, you can run your body on other fuel sources such as fatty acids and ketones produced by fat burning. While your body does need a very tiny amount of glucose (sugar) to function, it has the capability to produce all the glucose it needs internally from fat or protein, not carbs.
The carbs you do need are vegetables—but only for the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber they supply. Otherwise, your body does not require carbohydrates for good health. In fact, the opposite is true. Carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates, deplete your nutrients and negatively affect your health. Carbs also turn to fat in your body, and they impede fat burning. (That's why you haven't been able to lose weight on a high-carb diet(3).)
“Ketosis” is the state your body is in when it is converting fat into energy. When a diet is referred to as “ketogenic,” it only uses a particular combination of foods that puts your body into ketosis using a process called ketogenesis. This food combination is:
Non-starchy vegetable carbs
The goal of the ketogenic diet is to get your body into ketosis and keep it there. When you're in ketosis, your body creates better fuel for itself and for your brain.
As you can guess, the foods that throw you out of ketosis are excessive carbs and sugar and high protein. So too will frequent eating.
Getting your body into ketosis is like flipping a switch from using energy from carbs to using energy from fat. The result is that you start burning fat automatically as you go through your day.
Traditional Keto Diet Plan Vs. Healthy Ketosis™
Although the common denominator of all keto diets is low net carbs to induce ketosis, not all keto diets are created equal. In fact, traditional ketogenic diets do not differentiate the type of food. Many times they include processed, genetically modified foods, gluten products, unhealthy trans fats, and synthetic vitamins. This gives keto a bad rap.
Traditional low-carb, high-fat keto's primary goal is usually rapid weight loss or a reduction of epilepsy symptoms, and not necessarily good nutrition. As a result, you could lose weight or reduce certain symptoms but become less healthy overall.
Any type of ketogenic diet, by limiting net carbs, also reduces your fat storing hormone(4) - but why limit yourself when there are an impressive variety of long-term health benefits, which await you?
To distinguish my keto program from others, I coined the term “Healthy Ketosis.” It’s based on a guiding principle of mine:
It’s not “Lose weight to get healthy,” its “Get healthy to lose weight!”
Healthy Keto is groundbreaking because it emphasizes obtaining your required nutrients from high-quality foods such as organic vegetables, full-fat organic dairy, and wild-caught, grass fed, pasture-raised meat, fish, fowl, and eggs —all with the goal of getting you healthy to lose weight rather than losing weight to get healthy.
No Counting Calories On The Keto Diet
As you know, typical diets are centered on calorie counting. You’re told you need to simply consume fewer calories than you burn and you’ll lose weight, regardless of where those calories come from. This is not only wrong but it’s unhealthy.
When you look at the definition of food in the dictionary, you’ll see why:
Food: (n) That which is eaten to sustain life, provide energy and promote the growth and repair of tissues; nourishment. The word “food” comes from an old English word “foda” which meant nourishment.
Eating is not simply a matter of getting calories; it’s about getting nutrients from those calories(5). And that is what Healthy KetoTM is all about: getting the nutrition you need from the foods you eat.
Another vital point is that not all calories are created equal when it comes to your hormones. Carb calories trigger fat-making and fat-storing hormones the most, while calories from fat trigger those same hormones the least(6).
In other words, you need to eat keto-approved fat to lose fat.
Healthy KetoTM Diet Guidelines
When you keep in mind that food is intended to provide nourishment not only calories, there are two principles that form the foundation of a healthy ketogenic diet:
Eat low carb, high-fat foods that cause you to use your own fat reserves when you're in ketosis.
Eat foods that provide all the nutrients your body requires for health.
Don’t Eat Sugar at All
To get into ketosis and stay there, stay away from any type of sugar or anything that turns quickly into sugar such as wheat, corn, rice, cereal, most fruits, and the like.
When you consume sugar, your body will burn it as fuel, and you won’t experience the healthy, weight-loss benefits of fat burning.
You’ll need to be alert to the ingredients of all foods and beverages you consume. Be sure to check nutrition labels for sugars or sugar-creating ingredients.
Examples of these include:
High-fructose corn syrup
What to Eat Overview
On the Healthy Ketogenic plan, I recommend the following breakdown of the types of calories you eat:
Non-starchy vegetable carbs
Although this plan is not based on calorie counting, I’m giving you these percentages in terms of calories since they are a common measurement guideline in the food industry.
The Truth About Fat
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, widespread media stories about the alleged virtues of low-fat diets resulted in hundreds of unhealthy low-fat foods on our grocery shelves. These low-fat processed foods were (and still are) loaded with sweeteners and chemicals to make them more palatable because they lacked delicious fats like butter or coconut oil.
Rest assured that healthy dietary fat is a vital component of any diet. Your body needs it! Fat assists in cell growth, the production of hormones, the absorption of nutrients, and more(7).
Although 70 percent of your diet as fat seems like an excessive amount, remember we are talking about 70 percent of the total calories. Because fat is more than double the calories per gram than protein or carbs, the amount of fat in weight size is a lot smaller. Instead of focusing on the 70 percent, let’s look at it in the volume of food on your plate.
I recommend you gradually work your way up to your daily amount of fat. If you add too much fat too quickly, you’ll overwhelm your gallbladder, which can cause shoulder pain and bloating. Keto involves eating more fats, and your body will adapt to this by producing more bile. This is a gradual process and may take time, so if you react to an increase in dietary fat cut back a little and introduce it more slowly.
On my Healthy Keto Plan, you’ll be eating foods like beef, large salads, butter, and eggs. If you want to know the gram amounts of fat you’ll be consuming, it would range between 20 to 50 grams in each meal.
I recommend everyone start off on a higher amount of fat in the beginning to help satisfy you between meals. As your body adapts to ketosis over time, you can reduce your fat if you need to lose more weight. Since either your ketones are generated from your own body fat or the dietary fat you eat, eating too much fat may keep you from losing your own fat, particularly if your metabolism is slow despite still being in ketosis.
Healthy dietary fats include:
Organic, grass-fed unprocessed meats, pasture-raised eggs, and wild-caught fish are perfect for this diet. The fattier types of fish and meat are recommended to help you stay in ketosis. An important note is that the leaner the protein is, the more it will elevate your fat storing hormone thus preventing ketosis(8).
And remember, this is a moderate-protein diet. While you may have heard stories of people going crazy eating all the bunless cheeseburgers they want while on a low carb diet, eating too much protein will result in some of the protein being converted to glucose and booting you out of ketosis.
You’ll only need three to six ounces of protein per meal, and maybe a bit more if your metabolism is fast, you’re exercising, or are a large person. Don’t worry about counting grams here, as this can be a little complicated when it comes to protein—just stick with three to six ounces per meal while you're on the keto diet.
Here’s an example of three (3) ounce protein versus six (6) ounce protein.
Limit your net carbs to keep your body in ketosis. Choose healthier types of carbs ideally suited to a ketogenic diet such as green and leafy vegetables. You will be able to consume a small amount of berries too.
Stay away from carbs like these:
If you feel like you might miss your favorite high-carbohydrate foods, there are plenty of ketogenic substitutes that I will share with you later in this article. One of the beauties of the keto diet is once you adapt to fat burning, your hunger and cravings will greatly subside, and you may not even miss your favorites(9).
Consuming enough keto-friendly vegetables is a vital part of this healthy keto diet plan. These veggies will provide your body with plenty of nutrients and help you stay in ketosis. Your main choices will be green leafy vegetables along with cruciferous ones.
The more raw vegetables you can eat, the better. However, if you bloat when you eat vegetables, you will need to start with a smaller amount of raw ones. Steaming them will help.
A big salad at lunch or dinner could provide several cups of greens. For dinner, steam vegetables then top them generously with butter. For an abundance of ideas, you can check out my free keto recipes.
Though avocados are fruits, their high level of healthy fats means you can eat them freely on a keto diet. A typical avocado also contains fiber and only two grams of carbohydrates. Plus, it includes minerals such as potassium, which is an essential ingredient of the Healthy Ketogenic diet. Avocados also help improve triglyceride and cholesterol levels(10).
Steer clear of corn and soy; they are usually genetically modified organism (GMO) foods that are problematic on a keto diet.
Choosing Your Carbs
To keep your body in ketosis, your consumption of carbohydrates should be between 20 and 50 grams per day. These images show you a typical serving size of carbohydrates on the keto diet:
What does 20-50 grams of carbohydrates look like?
In choosing carbs, avoid unhealthy carbs like grains, potatoes, or concentrated carbs like juice. They're not part of a low carb diet; they'll boot you out of ketosis, spike your fat storing hormone, and bring your weight loss to a screeching halt.
I've mentioned net carbs several times. Net carbs in food are calculated like so: total carbs minus fiber = net carbs.
It's worth calculating the amount of net carbs in many of the foods that you eat. Doing so will help you stick to your keto diet with greater ease, as well as increase your awareness of the nutritional value of the food you’re putting into your body.
Here are other carbs to avoid:
All fruits (except blackberries and raspberries as they have a minimal effect on blood sugar)
Grains (like bread)
Tubers like potatoes and yams
You should also avoid foods with unhealthy artificial sweeteners like aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, sucralose, or saccharine. And there is one more to avoid; it’s called maltitol. Despite being so called sugar free, it can spike your blood sugar similar to how sugar does(11).
Healthy KetoTM Beverages and Food
Now that I've mentioned a little bit about the food and drink you should avoid while on a low carb diet, here's the good news: there are many delicious items you can enjoy while on the keto diet for beginners. To make it easy for you to compare the healthy items with those to avoid, I've put them together in this section:
The best beverage choice while in ketosis is pure water. Choose filtered or spring water, sparkling or bottled.
Other Healthy KetoTM choices include:
Carbonated drinks unsweetened or sweetened with xylitol, stevia or erythritol
Apple cider vinegar added to spring water
Unsweetened almond milk
Coffee in small quantities, preferably only one cup a day
You may drink tea through the day if it is naturally decaffeinated. Many people use tea to help them fast longer when they begin to combine keto with intermittent fasting. (I’ll cover intermittent fasting later in this document.)
If you use cream, use organic half and half or whole cream. If you can get grass-fed it would be even better.
Beverages to Avoid
Avoid the following liquids:
Diet soda or any drink with aspartame, Nutrasweet, Equal, Splenda, sucralose, saccharine or acesulfame potassium (another artificial sweetener)
Coconut water (because of sugar content)
Sweetened cranberry juice
Milk, except for half and half and whole cream.
Keto Recipes for the Foods You Love
Do you like buttery, chocolatey brownies? How about pizza? You don’t have to sacrifice these treats on the Healthy Ketosis diet, if you tweak the recipes.
With a little work, you can convert your favorites treats to a low carb keto version. Try replacing wheat flour with almond or coconut flour. Almond flour is great for everything from pancakes to piecrusts. Replace sugar, honey or other sweeteners with xylitol, stevia or monk fruit sweetener.
Just wait till you check out my pizza recipe using cauliflower in the crust.
And my favorite, making mashed cauliflower to replace mashed potatoes!
We have plenty of recipes to help you substitute the foods you love with keto-friendly versions
Keto Breakfast Meals
Asparagus and Bacon Frittata
Cheese and Onion Omelet
Click here to see breakfast recipes.
Keto Lunch and Dinner
Bacon Cheeseburger Wrap
Salmon Cabbage Bowl
Ketogenic Chicken Pot Pie
Click here to see lunch and dinner recipes.
Keto Steak Salad
Chicken Cobb Salad
Click here to see salad recipes.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Fat Bomb
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pound Cake Muffins
Click here to see dessert recipes.
Keto Meal Plans Simplified
You’ll find it much easier to stay on your healthy ketoTM diet when you plan meals in advance.
If you’ve never planned out meals before, think about how you might be able to cook for multiple meals at one time. The salmon you eat on Monday night can also be part of your lunch on Tuesday. Steamed broccoli or Brussels sprouts can accompany your grass-fed steak tonight and top your salad tomorrow. Drizzle olive oil, a good source of a healthy fat called omega-3s, onto your vegetables and you're set for a delicious low carb keto meal.
In other words, you do not have to follow a long list of recipe ingredients. You can use basic foods that take minutes to prepare.
Something else that will come in handy is the time you will save by not eating as often. When you're in ketosis, your hunger will naturally subside and you'll find yourself eating fewer times per day. When you do this deliberately, it's called intermittent fasting (IF) - and it will help you save a lot of money. Most people on keto and IF are eating two meals and some even one meal a day. This is called OMAD (one-meal-a-day).
I also recommend using my Meal Maker, which allows you to select the foods you like and within minutes combine them to form your entire week of eating. Post it on the fridge and it’s done!
Here are some example keto meal plans:
Keto Shopping List
After you’ve decided on some recipes, review our shopping list of recommended food brands. Create your own shopping list for the meals you’d like to create, plus foods you can reach for quickly when you get busy but still want to maintain ketosis. (And not succumb to high carb temptation!)
When you go to the store, you will need to read labels looking for very low sugar content and without soy oil or corn oil. I have a list of brands I recommend that you can check out here.
Keto Meal Planning Tools
Here are some free resources to help simplify your meal planning:
Foods to Avoid
The following foods should be avoided:
Starchy foods like white potatoes
Sweet potatoes and yams
Foods with monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Seven Foods And Drinks You Must Never Consume On A Healthy KetoTM Diet
1. Orange juice
Commercial orange juice is pasteurized, which means it’s heated to a high temperature to kill bacteria. The pasteurization process destroys any vitamin C, enzymes, or other nutritional benefits. You’re basically drinking a glass of water and sugar(13).
2. Soy protein isolates (processed soy protein)
Many protein powders and bars contain soy protein isolates. Human bodies don’t do well on this highly processed product. It irritates the liver and could potentially increase your estrogen levels(14).
3. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
This sugar syrup is present in hundreds of foods and drinks. It will rocket your blood sugar, causing your body to start burning sugar and to stop burning fat for energy(15).
4. Processed meats with nitrates
Nitrates are chemicals added to food as a preservative to stop bacterial growth. They are commonly found in sandwich meats such as salami, hot dogs, bacon, and sausages(16).
5. Milk from large commercial dairies
Most milk sold out of big dairies contains residues of antibiotics and hormones used to keep the cows producing milk. These substances negatively affect your body(17).
6. Packaged, frozen meals
Once known as “TV dinners,” these low-quality meals contain unhealthy protein, starches, and carbs that will stop fat burning.
7. Imported fruits
Not all countries have health and safety laws about pesticides such as DDT, which is banned in America. And even though you can’t sell DDT in the U.S., it is sold to other countries. These countries then export DDT-exposed fruit to the U.S. In short, we can’t control the pesticides used by foreign countries but we can avoid their fruit imports.
Healthy KetoTM Combined With Intermittent
Now that you have a feel for keto diets and my Healthy KetoTM plan, it’s time to introduce you to intermittent fasting (IF).
When you hear the word “fasting,” you might think you have to starve yourself through hours of food deprivation. That’s not what I’m talking about! Intermittent fasting is not a starvation plan but another powerful strategy to boost the health and weight-loss benefits of Healthy KetoTM.
Intermittent Fasting Explained
Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet; it’s a pattern of eating and not eating. It’s not about cutting calories; it’s about changing when you eat and when you don’t eat.
Intermittent fasting triggers one of the most powerful hormones in your body. It’s called growth hormone (GH). GH has anti-aging properties and is the most powerful fat-burning hormone you have. As well, it protects your muscles and builds lean body mass(18).
There’s another substantial benefit from fasting: your fat storing hormone will be reduced(19).
Fat storing hormone is a hormone produced by the pancreas and is the body’s defense against glucose (sugar). When there is glucose in your bloodstream, your pancreas produces fat storing hormone to quickly remove the sugar and feed it to cells plus store it as fat. This explains why you get a quick burst of energy after eating sugary treats. Of course, it lasts only for a second before fat storing hormone comes along to remove the sugar, leaving you with low blood sugar fatigue (otherwise known as a sugar crash).
Why should you care about your fat storing hormone levels? Because in the presence of fat storing hormone, you cannot lose weight; fat storing hormone prevents the burning of fat. In fact, fat storing hormone is so dominant; it will actually block the beneficial growth hormone I mentioned.
Eating triggers fat storing hormone - even when you're on the keto diet, you'll trigger some fat storing hormone. Thus, the less often you eat, the less fat storing hormone you'll produce.
What’s interesting about this is if you consumed 2000 calories in a given day but ate them spread out over six meals as compared to two meals, you would gain more weight because of this fat storing hormone factor.
Thus, intermittent fasting enables you to influence the action of fat storing hormone and growth hormone for your benefit.
How Intermittent Fasting Accelerates Fat Burning
Your body needs very little sugar to function. In fact, it requires just 1 teaspoon of sugar per day, which could easily be converted from the protein or fat you eat. You don’t need any dietary sugar. However, the average American consumes 31 teaspoons of sugar every single day—over 30 times the amount of sugar required by your body!
Sugar is highly toxic to the body. It causes damage to the nerves, affects vision, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and contributes to Alzheimer’s and other diseases(20).
When sugar is detected in your body, fat storing hormone will use it as the primary fuel source. Not because it is a high-quality fuel, but because it is so damaging your body tries to get rid of it as quickly as possible. People mistakenly take this body response to mean that sugar is the primary preferred fuel of the body. But as you can see, it's not.
However, carbs aren’t the only thing, which causes the body to produce fat storing hormone. Fat storing hormone production is triggered when you eat any type of food. As a result, every time you eat—even healthy fat storing hormone levels in your body spike and block fat burning. Bodies weren’t designed to eat and graze all day long. Which means snacking is a very bad habit!
A Healthy KetoTM diet combined with intermittent fasting maximizes fat burning by:
1. Greatly reducing the volume of carbohydrates (sugar), and thus fat storing hormone, in the body.
2. Providing a lengthy time period in which growth hormone can burn fat without interruption from fat storing hormone.
You may be thinking, how on earth do people stay with keto without feeling deprived, hungry, and cranky? The reason people - like you - can sustain this eating plan and easily stick to it is because cravings and hunger disappear, you’ll maintain stable energy levels, and feel more positive.
You May Be In Fat Storing Hormone Resistance
When your body has chronically high sugar and fat storing hormone levels, it tries to protect itself by blocking fat storing hormone from delivering sugar to the cells. This causes sugar levels to stay in the bloodstream rather than being absorbed by the cells.
The body then detects the excess sugar in the blood. The pancreas responds by producing even more fat storing hormone to reduce the excess blood sugar—even though the cells continue to resist it. This is called “fat storing hormone resistance(21).”
Fat storing hormone resistance is a damaging cycle to the body. It results in elevated levels of both fat storing hormone and sugar and definitely inhibits weight loss. As if these issues weren’t bad enough, fat storing hormone also has more serious effects.
Chronically elevated sugar and fat storing hormone can have extremely toxic effects on the body. Take type 2 diabetes, for instance—a disease caused by fat storing hormone resistance. Individuals with type 2 diabetes suffer from blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and other grave health issues.
Consuming low-carb foods on a keto diet, and eating less frequently as you do with intermittent fasting, helps reverse fat storing hormone resistance(22).
How to Transition to Intermittent Fasting (H3)
There are different levels of intermittent fasting. I recommend a gradual transition with these steps:
Level 1. Three Meals a Day
A lot of people eat many times a day with snacks in between and also a snack after dinner. They don’t realize that they are actually spiking their fat storing hormone all day long.
So, the first level of IF would be for you to eat three meals per day with no snacks at all.
Your ability to go from one meal to the next without being hungry involves eating more fat, which will keep you satisfied longer.
Level 2. Three Meals a Day in an Eight-Hour Window
When you are comfortable with three meals a day, you can take your fat burning to the next level by implementing an IF pattern of fasting for 16 hours while eating all three meals within an eight-hour window.
Ideally, you’d wait four hours before having your first meal. If you wake up at 6 a.m., you’d have breakfast at 10 a.m., lunch at 2 p.m., then you’d have your last meal of the day eight hours later at 6 p.m. (or earlier).
You’ll burn more fat with this 16:8 pattern because you are giving your body more uninterrupted fasting time.
Level 3. Two Meals a Day
Moving from three meals a day down to two will really step up the fat burning. But to get maximum results, you should transition to two meals a day within a six-hour window. That will give you 18 hours of fasting and six hours for eating.
Eat your first meal at 12 noon and your last meal at 6 pm.
The real power of IF is at night, while you’re sleeping, and in the morning when you refrain from eating until noon. That’s when you have some serious uninterrupted time for fat burning.
At this point, work on closing the eating window to four hours, giving you 20 hours of fasting.
On the 20:4 schedule, you’ll notice even more health benefits, especially decreasing inflammation(23).
Level 4. One Meal a Day (OMAD)
Many people eventually eat only once a day, but I recommend letting your body tell you when to eat.
The rule of thumb is “only eat when you are hungry” and DO NOT EAT IF YOU’RE NOT HUNGRY.
So many people snack at night and between meals when they are not hungry at all: either they're at a social occasion with food, or it’s a bad habit, or eating gives you something to do when you are bored.
Most people eat their one meal at dinner. You have to make sure that it is nutrient dense and supply all your nutrients. You don’t have to eat the same calories as you did at three meals a day because it would be too much food. Eat what you can and realize that your body will lower its nutrient requirements when you fast.
Give It Time
It can take some time to move from three meals a day to two meals a day in a four-hour window, to one meal per day. If you have some metabolism issues from years of dieting or other stressful events, it can take longer up to three weeks or longer.
And you don't have to do this on your own! I offer a free mini-course on how to do intermittent fasting. You can sign up for it here.
The Life-Changing Benefits of Low Carb
We’ve covered a lot of ground on the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. But it’s important to keep in mind why I'm giving you all this information. These aren’t just “good diet tips,” but a road map many people have followed to completely change their life, as you can see in the comments section of many of my YouTube videos.
The life-changing benefits of Healthy KetoTM and intermittent fasting include:
1. More efficient fuel for the body
On the Healthy Keto dietTM, you’re burning your own body fat for energy rather than relying on carbohydrates. This is a much cleaner, more efficient way to fuel the body.
2. Dramatic weight loss
Healthy KetoTM and IF produce some of the fastest weight loss of any diet. They also eliminate stubborn belly fat(24).
3. Brainpower booster
A ketogenic diet improves memory and relieves cognitive disorders such as childhood epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurological issues(25).
4. A happier outlook
When your body runs on sugar, you can get irritable and cranky once your sugar supply drops. Running your body on ketones instead stabilizes your blood sugar and mental outlook.
5. Reduced hunger and cravings
A keto diet stabilizes your blood sugar level. This relieves the cravings and hunger that can overwhelm dieters.
6. Bust through the weight loss barrier
Do you have a set weight point that you can’t seem to get past? This repairs your metabolism so you can bust through that point where your weight loss stalls.
7. Bring fat storing hormone levels (and your health) under control
High fat storing hormone levels pose severe risks to your health. Left untreated, high fat storing hormone levels can result in serious physical conditions including diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular issues, and Alzheimer’s, to name just a few. A ketogenic diet enables you to take control of your fat storing hormone level. It will not only vastly improve your health; it could save your life.
We have hundreds, if not thousands, of success stories from ketogenic diet followers whose lives were changed by recovering their health, losing weight, rejuvenating their bodies, and regaining their zest for life. By following the simple principles described here, these benefits are available to anyone who wants to make a change for the better.
The 6 Most Vital Keto Hacks
Here are some tips to aid your adaptation to ketosis.
1. Use a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting at the same time.
2. Add apple cider vinegar and lemon to your water.
3. Supplement your diet with electrolytes and nutritional yeast.
4. If you get intensely hungry between meals, only add a small fatty snack, no protein.
5. Add more fat to your meals.
6. Add more greens to your diet.
Overcoming Obstacles to Keto Success
Sticking to a diet can be tough when you’re eating out, attending social events, or simply engaging in the many different aspects of life. Here are recommendations that have worked for me:
Get a buddy
Ask someone close to you to support you when you’re eating away from home.
Pick a keto-friendly restaurant.
Part of winning this battle is picking a restaurant with a variety of healthy, low-carb choices. Order meats, fish, cheese and vegetables, all without breading. Salads are usually good if they are not loaded with high-carb veggies or toppings.
Ask for the right salad dressing
A little olive oil and balsamic vinegar make a healthy and tasty salad dressing. Fatty dressings like Caesar, ranch, or blue cheese are acceptable in modest quantities. Ask your server for recommendations that meet your needs.
Bring your own
Consider taking your own snacks and beverages to a party.
Think before you leap
Certain foods might make you feel better when you’re under stress. But any apparent comfort you anticipate will be short-lived and followed by the physical and emotional discomfort of going off your keto plan. Be proactive by asking yourself what problem you are trying to solve. Reduce temptation by eating a big breakfast with plenty of protein. Finally, eat comfort food alternatives such as an avocado with salsa and cheese, cauliflower popcorn with sea salt and organic butter or make a keto-friendly dessert. And take B vitamins from nutritional yeast to reduce your stress.
Realize that any food eaten from boredom is not really going to satisfy you. Your cravings will probably kick in an hour or so later. Plan your day so you don’t have gaps in which you lapse into feeling bored. If you’re inclined to boredom eating after dinner, ensure your dinner has lots of fat and greens so you are fully satisfied for the whole evening.
Keep a log and break your bad habits
Tracking your foods and how you feel after you eat will be vital. Here’s why. There will be times you stuff yourself or slip and eating something sweet and then feel tired and bloated. If you document this and see your pattern, it will make it easier to change. You want to learn from your past failures. I guarantee if you crave sweets today, it was because of what you ate yesterday. If you logged in, it will be easy to find out.
Busting 11 Keto Myths
There’s plenty of false information about the ketogenic diet, spread by people who don’t know much about it.
Our brains need more carbohydrates than are provided on this diet
This myth is based on the idea that your brain can only run on glucose. Actually, when your body depletes its glucose stores it will begin to run on ketones, which is much healthier for the brain than burning carbs. In fact, there are some brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease that are improved by a ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet reduces your lifespan
I found one study that claimed that a low-carb diet shortens a lifespan. When I took a closer look, I found that the researchers had a conflict of interest because they had received fees from large pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, this “study” was based only on questionnaires using people’s memories of what their diets had been like.
The ketogenic diet will give you a fatty liver
What gives a person a fatty liver is high levels of sugar in the body. Any blood sugar not needed immediately for energy is converted to fat and sent to the liver. The Healthy KetoTM diet allows the body to flush out stored fats, including from the liver, that it no longer needs(26).
The ketogenic diet will cause nutritional deficiencies
Traditional ketogenic diets could cause some nutritional deficiencies because their focus is on weight loss, not nutrition. That’s why I developed the Healthy Ketosis diet. It’s a keto diet with this twist: it’s based on you deriving all the nutrients you need from the foods you eat.
The ketogenic diet is not good for people with hypoglycemia
With hypoglycemia, the amount of sugar in the blood drops too much. This makes a person irritable and craves carbohydrates. But keto doesn’t cause your blood sugar to drop; instead, eating sweets or starches does. If you have a tendency toward hypoglycemia, be sure to 1) consume more fat at each meal, 2) don’t eat too frequently, 3) avoid sugars and carbohydrates, and, 4) include plenty of leafy greens to provide the minerals (especially potassium and magnesium) to help fat storing hormone resistance. You can learn my #1 tip for people with hypoglycemia in this video.
The ketogenic diet causes bad breath
Bad breath is easily handled by eating 7 to 10 cups of low-carb vegetables each day. If there’s an ammonia smell to your breath, cut back on your protein. If you overload your body will protein, it can’t digest it and the protein turns up as waste. Vegetables help offset this.
The ketogenic diet causes kidney damage
Kidneys are actually damaged by high levels of fat storing hormone or sugar. The Healthy Ketosis diet lowers fat storing hormone and sugar levels. It also requires eating lots of greens, which supports kidney health with minerals like potassium. This video will explain more about how the Healthy Ketosis diet actually protects your kidneys(27).
The ketogenic diet causes ketoacidosis
Ketoacidosis is a serious medical condition related to diabetes. Ketosis is a completely different state resulting from the body burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. The two are not related. Learn more about the difference between the two in this video.
The ketogenic diet is not sustainable
Our bodies weren’t designed to take in the high volume of sugar a typical American consumes in a day. Excess sugar consumption results in high blood sugar and fat storing hormone levels, which ultimately load up the liver with fat. Burning ketones for fuel, which is what one does on a keto diet, is much healthier than burning carbohydrates. Your brain can use ketones for fuel indefinitely. I explain why this diet can be sustained for long periods of time in this video.
The ketogenic diet is too restrictive.
The restrictions on the keto diet are to prevent the consumption of unhealthy food. Just as a doctor would advise a patient to quit smoking to prolong the patient’s life, I advise keto followers to restrict the intake of foods, which cause diabetes, organ damage, heart disease, fatigue, and many other unwanted physical conditions. And like the patient who quits smoking, keto followers live happier, healthier lives.
Side Effects of a Ketogenic Diet and How You Can Eliminate Them
You may experience some undesirable effects as your body transitions from burning carbs to burning fat. I don't want you to suffer, so I've worked hard to give you remedies:
Add B vitamins from nutritional yeast.
Cut down on fat. Increase apple cider vinegar. It can help to add bile salts like those you find in my Gallbladder Formula. However, if your bloating is coming from vegetables, then cut back on them too. Bloating could be coming from a certain type of vegetable. For example, I can’t eat broccoli without feeling cramps. Just avoid it then. Most of the cruciferous vegetables should be steamed or even cooked, which will also enhance the phytonutrients in those vegetables.
Cholesterol too high
Cholesterol is present in your fat cells. As you lose weight you are releasing your fat and cholesterol from your fat cells. This is why your cholesterol can go up at least temporarily when you start the ketogenic plan. However, most people find their cholesterol reduces.
This can mean too much meat or cheese. Increase vegetables and potassium. If you are consuming large quantities of vegetables already, you might need to change the kinds of vegetables you eat. Adding more fermented vegetables can help your digestive system. However, in some cases, it’s too many vegetables that can cause constipation. This can occur especially if you have a condition called Small Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome (SIBO), which I talk about here.
If you experience vivid dreams or nightmares, add more B1 from nutritional yeast.
Flu-like symptoms, popularly known as the keto flu
Symptoms of keto flu include headache, body aches, cravings, brain fog, and fatigue. This is symptomatic of the conversion from burning sugar to burning fat. You need more electrolytes and B vitamins from nutritional yeast.
This is usually a low blood sugar situation. Your brain has not fully adapted to ketosis quite yet. Add one more meal for a while until your body adapts more efficiently and can go longer without the drop in blood sugars. But make sure it’s exactly like I explain it in my book.
Menstrual cycle changes
Make sure you are getting enough food and the right amount of carbs. If you are exercising heavily, ease up while your body is adjusting to this diet.
Palpitations of the heart
As your body gets rid of stored sugars it doesn’t need, you lose a lot of water and this flushes out minerals. Add more potassium.
Performance in exercise decreased
Ensure you are getting enough food, but do not eat more than the recommended amount of protein. Do not reduce protein below the recommended amount. Usually adding B1 (natural and or nutritional yeast works).
You might need more B vitamins from nutritional yeast or your liver could be eliminating toxins. You can support your liver by keeping your vegetable intake very high.
If your breath has the odor of ammonia, cut back on protein and add more salads in your diet. You can also add a little apple cider vinegar to aid digestion.
Reduce your protein and ensure you are eating lots of vegetables. Stay well hydrated; which is not just adding more water, it’s also adding more electrolytes (which could be from vegetables). Most of the time when someone comes to me with this complaint, I find they are not doing Healthy KetoTM and Intermittent Fasting like I recommend in my book.
Add iodine from good quality sea kelp to your diet, especially during intermittent fasting. Cold can also occur when you do intermittent fasting because your body is not getting the frequency of meals like it did; thus, it doesn’t have to work as much, and your thyroid is just trying to adapt.
This usually means you need more salt (sea salt).
Take more vitamin B1 and B5. Nutritional yeast will provide these and other B vitamins as well.
Check your calories and ensure you are getting enough nutrient-dense food. You may need to increase your protein. Sometimes you need more trace minerals as well.
Hunger and cravings
Add more fat to your meal. This normally resolves once your body makes a complete transition to ketosis. You may also need to keep up your greens as well.
Add a potassium supplement and make sure you are getting enough potassium-rich greens. It may be a magnesium deficiency and rarely a sodium deficiency. I recommend getting my Electrolyte Powder for this.
Pain, low back or abdominal:
If you developed pain when starting the keto plan, it could be a possible kidney stone forming. Add more potassium citrate from an electrolyte powder. Drink lots of water with 3 to 4 ounces of lemon juice added. The other hack, which works nicely, is adding 1 level tsp. of baking soda in some water in the early morning, but not just before a meal. This will tweak the pH and help reduce uric acid levels.
Pain, right shoulder
Too many nuts due to a chemical lectin. Reduce. Also, do stricter intermittent fasting and start to go longer between meals. Sometimes avoiding cheese also helps.
This usually indicates the need for more salt. Sea salt is the best source.
There is also a very good video that covers this material. Usually, shifting the balance of your macronutrients, hydrating more or adding a vitamin or mineral supplement will alleviate unwanted side effects.
Here are some keto troubleshooting tips:
Achieving ketosis more quickly
You could lower your net carbs down to 10 percent or less. You could also drop your fat down to 75 percent and force your body to burn more of its own fat.
Ketones not showing in the urine
Some people use urine test strips to judge whether they’re in ketosis. If you have been strictly following the diet for a couple of months and they’re not showing up, you could be burning up all the ketones. Realize that ketones coming out through the urine are a waste product. Over time, your system will become more efficient and burn more ketones, leaving fewer in your urine. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. If you have not yet tried intermittent fasting, this will help you go into ketosis.
Tweaking your dietary fat
Stick with nutrient-dense fat like grass-fed butter, avocados, olive oil, or coconut oil. Coconut oil is especially good because it contains what are called medium-chain triglycerides, a type of fat that's good to induce more fat burning. Some other fats like corn, soy or cottonseed oil are not only nutrient empty but also usually GMO - avoid them.
Digestion and bloating
Make sure that the vegetables you eat don’t bloat you. If they do, switch the type or reduce the amount. Add apple cider vinegar to your diet to help your digestion.
Sleep and stress
Sleep problems usually result from the stress that is stuck in the body. Your adrenal glands regulate stress. The three minerals that help reduce stress are potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B1. I also developed a do-it-yourself technique to rid stress from your body.
Tweaking your carbs
Even if you’re counting grams of net carbs, don’t let that stop you from eating lots of leafy green vegetables. You need 7 to 10 cups of non-starchy vegetables each day to get enough vitamins and minerals to feel good.
Tweaking your protein
Beef, lamb, and bison are good proteins, but make sure they are grass fed. With poultry or eggs, buy organic or else you could risk exposure to GMO that’s in the feed these animals eat.
Dealing with Specific Body Problems
Here are some keto troubleshooting tips:
The medical treatment for autoimmune conditions is often cortisol or prednisone. One of the best things you can do is reduce stress in your life. An improved diet with lots of nutrients also helps alleviate these problems. But the most powerful thing you can do is do intermittent fasting
Pain and inflammation
There can be many causes of pain, some of which might prevent you from losing weight. I explain more about the varied causes of pain and their solutions in this video.
Greatly reducing carbohydrates from your diet as well as increasing fats improves most diabetic conditions. I talk more about diabetes in this video.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Eliminating gluten, grains, and dairy is a good start. Fermented foods can also be helpful. Get more tips on overcoming irritable bowel syndrome here.
Problems with a sluggish thyroid often stem from more basic issues. Supporting the liver and gallbladder is often the solution. It may also be necessary to support these organs with bile salts or, for women, to balance estrogen.
Lowering your blood sugar can relieve sleep apnea. You can also benefit from adding vitamin B1 by consuming nutritional yeast.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
Intermittent fasting is very helpful. Keep sugar and high levels of fiber out of your diet. For this condition, avoid vegetables for one month. Add apple cider vinegar and betaine hydrochloride supplements, and reduce your stress.
Medication and the Ketogenic Diet
Some medications cause weight gain or block weight loss. These drugs include:
Estrogen and birth control pills
Fat Storing Hormone
High blood pressure medication
If you are not losing weight and are taking any of the medications above, consult with your doctor to find an alternative solution, including natural remedies.
Antidepressants can block your weight loss. If you are taking antidepressants, ask your doctor for an alternative.
This drug is prescribed for diabetics and women with PCOS. Lowering your fat storing hormone with a low-carb diet is helpful, as well as exercising. But there are other things you can do: get more sun and sleep, reduce your stress, take apple cider vinegar, eat cinnamon, and take vitamin B1.
As you cut down sugars and refined carbs, you are likely to see your cholesterol levels drop. When they do, ask your doctor if you can discontinue statins. One side-effect statins have is fat storing hormone resistance, the very thing we are trying to get rid of.
The Ketogenic Diet for Vegans
If you are a vegan, you will have to consume low carb vegan proteins. Avoid fruits, grains, juice, potatoes, rice, any sugars, and corn. But do eat healthy fats like olives, avocado, nuts, nut butter, chia seeds, pecans, coconut, mushrooms, peanut butter, tofu (non-GMO), hummus, and many other foods. I explain more about how vegans can adapt to my keto diet in this video.