Our Keto For Beginners Ultimate Guide is for anyone looking to start the new year off right! If you want to transition to a keto lifestyle but feel unsure of where to begin, we've got you covered! Allow us to help ease the process with our Keto for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide.
Keto For Beginners: What Exactly is Keto?
Our Keto For Beginners Guide starts with a quick science lesson! We believe knowledge is power, so understanding the science behind keto is the best place to start!
Did you know that your body has 2 fuel sources?
The first one is glucose.
In a standard diet, carbohydrates (grains, pasta, bread, sugar, etc.) that you ingest are converted into glucose, which the body then uses for quick bursts of energy.
Unfortunately, the process of converting these carbs to glucose sends your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride that we like to call the "glu-coaster"!!
Here is how it works:
- After you consume carbohydrates (think refined grains and sugars), your body begins to digests them into glucose
- This process of converting carbs to glucose causes a spike in your blood sugar and gives you an ensuing but temporary energy boost (this is where the term “sugar high” comes from)
- In response to this aggressive blood sugar spike (and because a glucose overdose in your bloodstream can be toxic), your body reacts by signaling to the pancreas to release the hormone insulin which acts to remove the excess glucose from your bloodstream
- The released insulin works swiftly to transport the glucose out of your bloodstream to burn as fuel and then puts the rest in storage (more on this in a minute)
- As the insulin removes all the glucoses from your bloodstream, your blood sugar subsequently drops, your energy level declines, and you feel hungry again
- So you eat more carbs and the cycle begins again…
This process is why most people get an afternoon energy crash around 3pm and start craving sweets or candy (aka carbs).
One piece of comfort we can give you is that it is not your lack of willpower that causes these cravings. It is your body saying “Hey! My blood sugar is low and I need more energy -- give me carbs now!”
If being on the never ending “glu-coaster” wasn’t bad enough - we have more bad news for you...
Since the body cannot use large amounts of glucose at one time, it has to be stored somewhere.
Some of the the extra supply is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. But the remaining extra supply is stored as FAT! Yes - it is sad but true...
Then you eat more carbs at your next meal, you jump on the "glu-coaster,” your body uses what it needs for energy and stores the rest as fat. And those fat cells keep piling up. This is the reason, you gain weight.
But we do have good news for you! Your body has another fuel source called ketones.
This is where the ketogenic diet comes in. If carbohydrates are limited, the liver instead uses ketone bodies for energy.
And the keto diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet designed to enable the body to use ketones as its energy source. This phenomenon is called ketosis.
Ketones are these incredible little energy pods created by your body from stored fat! Yes, you heard us correctly: you can turn those stored fat cells into energy!!
And not just any kind of energy: energy that is long lasting and consistent, with no afternoon crashes. When you use ketones for energy, your body is using its own stored fat as fuel, thus you start losing weight. Brilliant, right?
When your body is in a state of ketosis, the body becomes a literal fat-burning machine!!!!
Keto For Beginners: How to Achieve Ketosis
How do you get into ketosis? Well, it’s all about what you eat and how much you eat of each specific macronutrient (also known as “macros”).
There are three types of macronutrients in the human diet: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. On the ketogenic diet, your daily macronutrient breakdown should be as follows:
- 75% fat
- 20% protein
- 5% carbohydrates
It’s true - approximately 75% of what you eat each day will come from fat. Fat is actually the most essential macronutrient that the body needs. You need fat to live. It keeps you feeling full and satisfied, it keeps cravings away, and it is 100% necessary for you to get into ketosis.
When following this macronutrient ratio, you can get into ketosis within 2 to 7 days depending on your current glycogen supply, body type, and activity level.
This means you can start reaping the amazing benefits of ketosis in as little as one week!
Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet comes with a very long list of benefits.
By using fat as fuel, the body is essentially burning off its storage of fat, which often leads to weight loss.
Those who reach and maintain ketosis typically experience effects including weight loss, better sleep, more energy, improved focus, clear skin, strength gain, reduced appetite, better digestion, and a balanced mood.
Additionally, by cutting out empty, processed carbs, like you do with a Clean Keto Lifestyle, skin issues often diminish, as do energy crashes and the inability to focus! You can kiss afternoon slumps and sugar crashes goodbye, all thanks to keto.
Keto For Beginners: What to Eat on the Keto Diet
Here at Clean Keto Lifestyle, we don’t just follow a keto diet, we follow a clean keto diet.
This means that in addition to following keto guidelines, we aim to consume only high quality, whole, nutrient-dense foods.
If a clean keto diet is on your agenda, it’s time to purge the non keto foods (oils, sugary alcohol, soda, margarine, grains, pasta, etc.) from your kitchen! Consider donating any unwanted items or giving them to a friend or family member.
If you find it hard to part with items that you’ve spent your hard earned cash on, remind yourself that your feelings are valid, but that you’re going to feel great health improvements as you embark on this journey.
To get started on the right foot, here’s a quick list of approved and non-approved foods:
Keto Foods to Embrace:
- Healthy fats: Quality oils (olive, avocado, coconut), animal fats (egg yolks, ghee), nuts and seeds, nut butters, and dairy (cheese, plain Greek yogurt, heavy cream)
- Non-starchy vegetables: Spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, asparagus, etc.
- Protein: Chicken, turkey, duck, steak, beef, pork, bacon, sausage, etc.
- Carbs: Lemons, limes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries
- Other: Drinks (water, seltzer, coffee), baking (dark chocolate, raw cacao powder, cacao nibs), spices (fresh and dried)
Keto Foods to Avoid:
- Grains and starches
- Refined Oils: Vegetable, canola, soybean, corn
- Sugar of all kinds
- Artificial sweeteners
- Factory farmed meat
- Processed foods
For more detail, here is our complete ketogenic food guide.
Check Out This Recipe You Can Enjoy on Keto
Keto For Beginners: Preparing for the Low-Carb Flu
Once you reach ketosis, it’s smooth sailing. However, to get to that point will take a bit of determination and grit, especially during the days that you undergo the “low-carb flu.”
When you transition to the keto diet, your body undergoes a huge process. When it begins to feel deprived of carbs, you may experience what seasoned ketoers refer to as the low-carb flu. These flu-like symptoms occur as a result of dehydration and a loss of electrolytes.
With this flu comes carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms that can include a dip in energy, physical and mental cloudiness, nausea, headaches, fatigue, and sugar cravings. Basically - it feels like you have the flu!
To make your low-carb flu less daunting, there are a few things you can do to prepare and weaken symptoms.
- Stay hydrated: First and foremost, be sure to drink enough water each day. Dehydration can make flu-like symptoms worse, so drinking extra water will be key.
- Ease into keto: Instead of rushing in cold turkey and going from a high carb diet to a very low carb diet, start slowly. Limit your carbs, starting at or around 90 per day, and gradually decreasing from there.
- Intake enough minerals: Be sure that you are intaking enough magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium, as levels often dip when transitioning to keto. We like to sprinkle pink Himalayan salt into our water to restore our minerals.
- Get enough rest: Allow your body to rest and recharge during this time.
Though these symptoms aren’t enjoyable for anyone, know that they will soon pass. Stay strong! Remember that the keto flu isn’t forever, and the way you’ll feel once it’s over will make the experience more than worth it.
So…Where to Begin?
Now that you have the lowdown on the keto diet and what it entails, it’s time to get started! It all starts with learning and getting organized, followed by grabbing the correct foods and carefully planning your meals.
Though it’s a lot to take in at one time, you can totally handle it. Trust, you’ve got this! To help you with the process, we’ve put together a complete checklist.
If you’d like a streamlined keto diet plan with done-for-you directions, handled macro calculations, reduced time in the kitchen, and more, then you need CKL 21.
CKL 21 is our Ultimate Keto Accelerator Plan that will allow you to kick off 2020 the right way. Get your plan now!
Other Keto Guides and Resources
- Debunking Common Keto Myths
- Why the Keto Diet Makes You Thirsty
- 5 Steps to a Clean Keto Kitchen
- The Importance of Food Quality