The concept seems easy enough, right? If you reduce your carbohydrates low enough and increase your healthy fat sources, you will allow for fats to become your primary energy source versus glucose – thus achieving a state of ketosis!
But when it comes to implementation of this TRENDY (but not new) lifestyle, why are so many people failing or finding it next to impossible?
Friends, stop overcomplicating it!
I'm here, as a coach and also an active ketonian for over 3.5 years, to say that you do not need all the fancy schmancy ingredients, joined 17 forums and become an overnight expert.
I'm here to tell you that if you start with a MINDSET shift, a few handy tricks and focus on the goal of shifting to fat burning - you can do this! Furthermore, there are biohacking tools that will allow you to be more compliant, to feel satisfied and less hungry and to thrive in this metabolic change.
So, before you tell me that never eating bread again is impossible or that you love sugar too much, let's start with reviewing my TOP 5 keto startup guide to not giving up!
SUCCESS HACK #1: Stocking Up on Staples & Simplifying Your Menu!
Before you grab the xantham gum and cacao butter (both great items, but not necessarily considered keto STAPLES), let's focus on simply REPLACING your regular kitchen everyday use items with keto alternatives.
Here is my list that will get you through majority of start-ups:
Others that I love, but optional at onset:
Natural nut butter: quick, easy, fat and protein fueled option to pair with celery, keto bread/buns, in smoothies or by the tablespoon
Cacao butter: alternative to dairy, rich white chocolate taste, perfect to emulsify in tea/coffee or baking
Coconut flakes: fat source, great in trail mix with nuts/seeds, pair with food colouring for keto sprinkles
Bone broth: increase collagen intake, amino acids that are not present in muscle of meat, natural electrolyte booster
Sparkling water, such as La Croix: shake up your water intake with natural sparkling water, with many flavours to satisfy your cravings (I love Peach-Pear and Passionfruit)
Variety of herbs and spices: kick up all your dishes with herbs, spices in moderation
Low carb/low glycemic fruit (in moderation): seasonal berries, tomatoes
Psyllium husk and/or xantham gum: used as a thickening agent for soups, gravies, bread, and even smoothies (check recipe for which is best option)
Shirataki or konjac noodles: replace your pasta with these high fibre, virtually zero carb alternatives that are so easy to use you simply rinse and combine with sauce/meat!
Now that you have your go-to items, it’s time to build out a SIMPLIFIED menu by narrowing down your option per week. Use this sheet as a handy guide to work with limited ingredients but make multiple recipes in bulk to achieve your macros, keep costs down and not be overwhelmed.
SUCCESS HACK #2 Macro Calculator & Tracking!
After cleaning out the kitchen, restocking on items for your first few weeks, it’s important to know your proper caloric intake AND macronutrient profile for your body.
Let’s preface this by saying that EVERY single person will have different needs, different goals and thus, different requirements at the end of the day. Over time, you will see how your body feels, your tolerance to carbohydrates and fat intake, and find the optimal levels with some adjustment.
That being said – let’s begin by using a helpful online tool that can give you an estimate (it’s not perfect, but it will be more accurate than automatic tracking app calculations) of your macronutrient profile based on height, age, weight, activity level, and goals.
Once you have your baseline, it’s time to download a free tracking app. Carb Manager is by far my favourite, as it auto calculates your NET carbs and is more low-carb friendly. The alternative and still a great resource is MyFitness Pal.
I have put together a YouTube video walking you through how to set it up, check it out here.
WHY SHOULD YOU TRACK?
Learning the composition of your food, keeping your carbohydrates low with high fibre and finding means to boost your fat content are all very important – especially at the beginning – to ensure you are achieving not only ketosis, but FAT ADAPTATION.
Your body will take 4-6 weeks of strict adherence to your macros in order to make the metabolic switch to allow your body to PREFER ketones versus glucose. This is greatly important to allow your body to optimize the process, down to the cellular level, and bounce back more quickly if you do deviate or have an incident that bumps you out of ketosis.
This list will help you understand more benefits of tracking.