Well I did it! I’ve started the the keto diet. I have tried a low carb diet in the past and lost weight so I know those benefits, but this time I am trying keto to work toward better health and not just weight loss. Losing weight will be a welcome side effect for sure! But the key to any diet, or change in eating, is being able to stick to it.
At it’s most basic, the Ketogenic Diet is a low carb, no sugar, high fat diet. I think we’ve all been trained to think that fat is bad but in reality, fat doesn’t make you fat. We know that eating too much makes you fat, but once you’ve gained a bit of weight, it sure takes a lot of work to get it off. Having a plan is the easiest way to lose weight, and keto has been around for a very long time so there are plenty of studies about the benefits.
The Beginning Basics of the Keto Diet
I’ve been researching recipes, supplements and the how to’s for this plan and whew! – there is a lot of information out there. I have sifted through a few websites and these are my main take away’s:
Drink Plenty of water – I recall that being easy on low carb since you are likely to feel thirsty, and that has held true with the keto plan as well.
Get Some Exercise – At the beginning you may not feel like exercising (let’s be honest – I’m not a huge fan of exercise), but getting active can actually help you get past the transition onto the new eating plan. Tiredness and irritability may come from cutting back sugar and even just a quick walk can help improve these symptoms. I only experienced a slight headache the first few days and I’m going to chalk it up to not drinking enough water.
Don’t avoid salt – you need plenty of electrolytes on this eating plan, and salt is very important. This is another change of thought since we are conditioned to avoid salt.
Recipes We Tried the First Week
To get started we did a widespread pantry cleaning and grocery shop. Grocery shopping was an interesting time, but not as hard as I thought it would be. There are so many more variations of products these days that it makes it a lot easier to pick out items that are sugar free. Nutrition labels make it far easier to figure out what we’re looking for and compare brands. Figuring out Keto is as easy as subtracting fiber from carbs to get your net carbs. For the first round we have stuck to meats and cheese with a bit of veggies thrown in. Yay for cheese – that may be the main selling point of this plan! The label reading was trying to find salad dressing and ketchup.
Burgers – These are really no different than the ones we usually make we just ate them without a bun and fries (insert sad face here for the love of tater tots)
This recipe contains chicken poblano sausage sauteed with garlic, broccoli, tomato sauce and spinach, and then topped with parmesan cheese. I wasn’t sure I would like the texture of the chicken sausage but it actually had a great flavor and when it was mixed with the other ingredients it made for a delicious meal. We found this recipe at ruled.me and enjoyed it for dinner and then leftovers for lunch the next day. Since it’s a one pot meal we didn’t include any sides.
Best Boiled Shrimp
This is absolutely the easiest meal ever and one of our favorites, what can be better than picking up some shrimp and throwing it in boiling water for a few minutes? Add some sliced lemon and cocktail sauce with sugar free ketchup – party on! Add something green on the side like steamed broccoli or green beans and you’ve got a well rounded meal.
These are a delicious variation for breakfast, my favorite way to cook them is to boil them for 7 minutes so that the yolk is soft but not runny, sprinkle a bit of salt on them and eat up!
Now that we have a couple of weeks under our belts, we’re looking for some new ideas and the internet is a great help. There are an endless amount of recipes to try and I’m looking forward to stretching our skills and making keto bread and cauliflower crusts. So far I’ve been able to avoid craving sugar by adding Stevia to my coffee, and since I drink coffee all day I’m probably getting way too much sweetener. I’m planning to start cutting back on that this week. I think the long term key to this eating plan is going to be variation. It can be easy to get stuck on a meat, cheese and egg diet. Even though I love meat, cheese and eggs. I think I’ll crave a bit of variety.