So, you are thinking about starting keto diet? You are probably wondering exactly what it is, how people dont eat carbs, and how on earth to get started. How can one manage keto diet being vegetarian/ eggetarian. That’s exactly how i felt when I first heard about keto. Just know you are not alone.
This post will highlight all the major bullet points of keto. I will also suggest resources that have helped me along the way. Keto is actually a very simple concept when broken down but it is so foreign to our traditional american diets that it can be hard for our brains to process.
WHAT IS KETO?
First thing to know, keto is short for K E T O G E N I C. A ketogenic diet consists of L O W C A R B, H I G H F A T , M O D E R A T E P R O T E I N meals. The goal on a ketogenic diet is to keep your body in the natural state of nutritional ketosis. Nutritional ketosis is a process by which the body burns FAT for fuel instead of glucose. Glucose is consumed in many forms (sugar, protein, and carbohydrates) that all break down into glucose. When your body learns to burn fat for energy, one result is weight loss! Another result is the production of K E T O N E S in the liver. These ketones give you energy!
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
- Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.
It’s important to note that keto is a L I F E S T Y L E and not a diet. Much like diabetics who avoid sugar or Celiac patients who avoid gluten, keto is about avoiding carbs. The majority of carbohydrates come in the form of processed foods (cereals, breads, pastas, sauces, sugary foods, sodas, etc.). These foods have little to no nutritional value, even though they might taste delicious. Most people have heard the correlation between sugar and cocaine. It is said that sugar is M O R E addictive to humans than cocaine! Think about the last time you went a while without sugar. Did you experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, or irritability? Doctors call that withdrawal. Much like drugs, sugar has the same effect on our bodies.
So, when you switch to a ketogenic diet, you stop feeding your body extraneous sugar and carbs. The result is nutritional ketosis and healthful bliss!
WHAT CAN YOU EAT ON KETO?
Eating keto is much tastier than it sounds! Replacing carbs with fat is easy and I’ll show you how!
Before keto, you might eat a egg and cheese biscuit and a cup of coffee with cream and two sugars. If you are indian, you tend to adapt to high carb diet such as roti/bhakri/poha/toast/mamra/khakra with your tea.
On keto, you omit the biscuit and sugar. Replace the sugar with a natural sweetener (erythritol, xylitol, Stevia, Monkfruit extract, etc.). Sandwich your veggies and cheese between two eggs! For indian breakfast, you can make paneer scramble, coconut flour thepla, almond flour paratha, poha made with cauliflour, almond flour bread toasted with butter or cheese/eggs. You have unlimited options.
In the standard American diet, the average person eats 225g-325g of carbohydrates PER DAY! On a ketogenic diet, the recommended amount of carbohydrates per day is 20g or less (or 5% of your daily caloric intake)! Talk about a huge difference! If you do laid back keto as a beginner you can get away with 30g of carbohydrates per day.
The majority of your meals will come from high fat foods. Think along the lines of eggs, heavy cream, cheeses, fatty meats, avocados, nuts, low carb vegetables.
Before keto, you might order subway, taco bell, french fries, a side salad with croutons and ranch, and a sweet tea. We eat so much junk/fast foods without thinking of the carb intake.
On keto, you would make breads using almond/coconut flour (this includes thepla, parathas, idli, dosa, etc) , side of low carb veggies, sparkling water or any drink with keto approved sweetner.
Before keto, you might have 3 soft tacos with refried beans and rice and a margarita. I can easily eat this since I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD! Its our favorite place to go!
On keto, you cant afford to eat outside unless you eat meat, then you can skip the carbs and just eat fajitas stir fry on lettuce wrap. but if you are vegetarian/eggetarian then you could make a cheese shell (or lettuce wrap), cheese, salsa, guacamole, and queso with a Coke Zero.
So, as you can see, keto-friendly foods can be just as delicious and satisfying as their unhealthy counterparts. Yes, you’re eliminating refined sugar, processed foods, grains, pastas, and most fruits but you’re gaining so much in return! You’ll be surprised how much you DON’T miss them after eliminating those foods for just a week! Believe it or not, once you are in ketosis, you won’t even crave all of the foods you used to. Once you’ve detoxed from sugar, you’ll have a feeling of purity that you didn’t even know existed!
WHY SHOULD YOU EAT KETO?
Other than the fact that processed foods are bad for you, eating low carb has a plethora of positive side effects.
No. 1– Most of us have extra fat on our bodies. Why not let your body work FOR YOU and burn fat cells that are already stored up in your body for energy instead of feeding it excess? When you become fat adapted (that just means you are burning fat for fuel), your body will use up the fat cells already in your body FIRST before saving new ones. This is why so many people see amazing weight loss results eating keto!
No. 2– Mental clarity, reduced anxiety, and depression. Many people on low carb diets attest to feeling better mentally as well as physically. Some people are able to stop taking anti-depressants after successful low-carb eating. Personally, I can faithfully admit that I have less brain fog and bouts of depression than I did before eating low carb. My mood swings are virtually non-existent and my overall happiness has rebounded.
No. 3– Reversal of chronic illnesses, reduced/eliminated inflammation, and overall better health. I use to suffer from severe acid reflux and since starting keto, I have noticed a significant reduction in discomfort and flareups. I have personally known lots of people who are on keto and their cholestrol /bp levels have drastically has reduced over 6 month period and some have been off their medications now. Low carb diets are also known to help women who suffer from PCOS, infertility, and gynecologic issues. People with auto-immune diseases have been able to significantly reduce their symptoms as well. **Please consult your doctor before beginning any new diet regimen.**
No. 4- Freedom from unhealthy relationships with food. You will no longer feel like a slave to food after adapting to a ketogenic diet. When you learn how to fuel your body efficiently, you will find that food does not become your enemy any longer. Your relationship with food will turn from one of food for comfort to food for nutrition. I can go to birthday parties without eating cake. I can take my kiddo to get pizza without feeling like I’m “missing out”. My family time doesn’t revolve around food anymore. Instead, we spend time making memories. As someone who used food for comfort, celebration, and recreation, I can attest that I no longer feel like a slave to my bad habits.
No. 5– Because it’s awesome!!! If I could bottle up how clean your body will feel, how much better you will sleep, how much happier you will be eliminating carbohydrates and sugar from your diet, I’d be a rich woman! By eating clean, nutrient rich, God provided foods, your body is going to thank you abundantly. I feel so much energetic, lighter, face glows, mental clarity, and overall happiness.
MAKE THE SWITCH
Common sense tells us that foods from nature, in their purest form, are the most beneficial to us so why continue to stuff it with rice, pasta, bread, cookies, donuts, ice cream, and candy? If you’re serious about starting the ketogenic diet, I HIGHLY recommend you read The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel. Every person that contacts me for advice is told to R E A D T H I S B O O K F I R S T! It is that good!
If you have any questions about keto, I’m happy to help answer them the best way I know how. And if I can’t answer them, I’ll point you in the right direction!
I will be posting keto vegetarian/ indian keto recipes soon! Please ask if you have any questions.