The Keto Diet for Chronic Pain Relief

Keto Pain Relief

“Keto” is certainly a buzzword these days, and for good reason. Not only is safe and rapid weight loss a reality on the Ketogenic diet, there are many other medical benefits like lowered blood sugar levels, improved cholesterol and lipid panels and increased insulin sensitivity.

The incredibly long list also includes mood stabilization, increased energy and mental function, and has shown to be beneficial to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, early dementia, diabetes, mental health disorder and even some cancers.

Chronic pain is not exempt from the list. The research so far has shown this to be a three-fold combination of Ketogenic benefits which aid in neurological and other inflammatory pains.

First though, let’s go over the basics of the Ketogenic diet, so you can then understand how it can help with pain relief.

The Keto Diet

In a nutshell, the Ketogenic diet, is a carbohydrate-restricted way of eating. Instead of using sugar to provide the energy necessary for the body and brain, the body naturally switches over and uses Ketones. Ketones are produced when carbs aren’t present. The alternative, cleaner fuel!

Keto Macros

On the Ketogenic diet, followers are recommended to limit carbs, get adequate protein and high fat on a 5%-25%-70% caloric ratio respectively. The numbers may differ slightly for certain individuals however, the ratio clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of calories are ingested from fats. It sounds drastic and certainly unrealistic at first.

However, it should be noted fat has more than twice the calories of carbohydrates or proteins gram for gram. There are 9 calories per gram of fat versus only 4 calories per gram of carbs and proteins.

Many foods you may be eating currently may not be included in a Keto diet, and many of these foods may actually be causing you inflammation and pain.

What to Eat?

The simplest way to summarize Keto-approved foods is to label it as clean eating. There are many Keto-approved foods that are both delicious and satiating. Here are the basics:

Keto Fats

Good fats. Avocado, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, full fat dairy and eggs are great for reaching that 70% daily intake of fats.

Above-ground vegetables. The best choices with the least amount of carbs are dark, leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, collards, etc.), broccoli and cauliflower. Green beans and squash are also great options. Spiralizers have taken zucchini to a whole new level for the Keto-ers!

Nuts are a good source of both fat and protein but should be eaten in moderation. Likewise, fruits should be limited to berries as most other fruits are loaded with sugar.

Lean meats with the least amount of processing are optimal. Shellfish is another great option, however watch out for the fat content!

What NOT to Eat?

This list is much shorter and tends to scare people away at first. Here’s the no-no list:

Basically, keep things simple. Stay away from processed foods, sugary/starchy fruits and vegetables, artificial sweeteners, grains, legumes and refined oils/fats. Foods pre-agriculture is a good starting point.

Again, many of these foods cause inflammation and therefore pain.

The Trifecta of Keto on Chronic Pain

Essentially there are three components in the Ketogenic way of eating which help with chronic pain relief. Some argue most pain issues are originated by inflammation. And it turns out, sugar is inflammatory.

Research, and common sense, indicates a diet high in carbohydrates could certainly be the source of at least some chronic pain. Goodbye ibuprofen and hello Ketogenic diet!

Keto Chronic Pain Relief

1. Less Weight, Less Pain

One of the benefits of the Ketogenic diet, and probably the main reason most venture out and try it, is weight loss. And with weight loss comes less pressure on painful joints and stiff bones. It makes perfect sense.

2. Adenosine

The human body is smarter than most realize. Adenosine is the body’s naturally produced anti-inflammatory analgesic. Studies have shown those who maintain a state of Ketosis also have higher levels of adenosine.

3. Sugar-Free

Keto Chronic Pain

Ingested sugar, which as above is highly inflammatory, sets off the insulin alarms to help get the sugar to the cells that need energy. What happens when there is leftover sugar roaming around? Most of it is turned into fat.

Double trouble: Sugar is inflammatory and increases fat stores. The Ketogenic diet is devoid of inflammatory sugars and artificial sweeteners. Remove the sugar, remove the pain?

Maybe “remove the pain” is reaching a bit, but the science is there. Those with IBS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathy, and any number of other problems where inflammation is at the core could benefit from a great deal of relief.

Additionally, better mental focus, increased strength and stamina, and improved overall health are all part of the reward plan of the Ketogenic diet.

The Ketogenic diet is a great option for most people with unlimited benefits, but unfortunately isn’t for everyone. There are certain circumstances where one should not entertain the Ketogenic lifestyle. As always, discuss any drastic dietary changes with medical professionals to be on the safe side.


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Cholesterol on the Keto Diet

Cholesterol and Keto

Much of what most people thought to have understood about Cholesterol (both “good” and “bad” Cholesterol and off and on Keto) is outdated and completely misunderstood. Until now doctors and medical professionals warned patients about eating high-fat foods for fear of increasing cholesterol levels which then would undoubtedly lead to heart disease and other metabolic issues like diabetes.

Likewise, some folks are very reluctant to begin a Ketogenic diet based on the all you can eat bacon and cheese buffet (Dirty Keto) which goes against everything the medical professionals have been preaching all these years.

Both are wrong!

It’s true. And once the bigger picture, the true picture, is clear… it will all make sense. Only humans and animals produce Cholesterol which means humans get the 25% mentioned above through animal proteins. Plants are naturally Cholesterol-free.

Cholesterol Myths and Truths

First, we need to get a better understanding of the whole Cholesterol fiasco and why the previous myths have been debunked.

  • Cholesterol isn’t harmful. In fact, the human body produces 75% of the necessary Cholesterol supply and the other 25% is ingested.
  • Cholesterol doesn’t just float around willy-nilly in the bloodstream causing plaques and heart disease.
  • A “Cholesterol panel” is actually a lipid panel. Cholesterol isn’t even an interest; it’s the vehicle in which Cholesterol travels that wreaks havoc on the cardiovascular system.
Keto Cholesterol Panel

When a lipid panel is drawn the good old doctors are looking for the numbers and sizes of the Cholesterol carriers (lipoproteins), not the Cholesterol itself. HDL (good), LDL (bad) and VLDL (ugly) are the vehicles, like a car per se, for Cholesterol.

These particles move the Cholesterol around the parts of body where it’s needed.

  • The HDL, high-density lipoprotein, is deemed the “good” one because it’s responsible for returning any leftover LDL Cholesterol vehicles back to the liver to be recycled or sent down the poop chute. HDL has anti-inflammatory properties and assists the immune system.
  • The LDL, low-density lipoprotein, is not so good. These guys are slow and tend to get stuck in the arteries which starts plaque buildup. The LDL value calculates how many and the size of these lipoprotein vehicles are in the blood. An overabundance of smaller LDL vehicles can cause problems. The best scenario is there is a lower number and they are bigger in size.
  • Then there is the VLDL, very-low-density lipoprotein, which doesn’t even carry Cholesterol and instead carts around triglycerides. Triglycerides are the byproduct of leftover and unused sugars (carbohydrates) that need a place to hide. They are smaller than LDL Cholesterol carriers, thus the risk for heart disease is much greater with these guys.

In summary, Cholesterol gets a free ride and a bad rap. Lipoproteins are just trying to do a good job, for the most part, and it appears that eating foods high in carbohydrates and sugars is the real culprit.

How Does Keto Help Cholesterol Levels?

Keto Cholesterol Levels

Research has shown improved lipid panels in both men and women in several studies. A low-fat diet versus a ketogenic diet has also been examined and studied specifically for lipoprotein improvements. Studies have been conducted for as few as 24 weeks to more than a year.

The common factors in research thus far:

  • Triglycerides decreased due to the ketogenic diet limitations on carbohydrates and refined sugars.
  • Increased LDL carrier size.
  • Increased the number of HDL carries to deal with the LDL.
  • Decreased body mass index and weight.
  • Better blood glucose readings.

Pretty awesome news for those struggling with an out of whack lipid panel. And weight loss. And glucose issues.

The #1 Ketogenic Diet Myth – Cholesterol on Keto

A menu consisting of bacon and cheese (Dirty Keto) isn’t going to cut it on the Ketogenic diet. That is a terrible meal plan (especially long term). The Ketogenic diet is based on getting the correct number of macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) to maximize results and maintain a state of Ketosis.

It’s all about balance. Adequate protein, higher percentage of calories in fat than anything else and limit carbohydrates to 20-50 grams. Individual numbers vary based on goals and other factors. There are a number of macronutrient apps and calculators online. So, go ahead and eat the bacon and savor that cheese. They aren’t forbidden; they just have to fit the ratio.

Need another reason the bacon and cheese diet is absurd? Humans need to balance electrolytes. Sodium, potassium and magnesium are imperative for health and wellness. Some of these can come from animal proteins, but the best sources are above-ground veggies. Plus, vegetables are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants.

Cholesterol isn’t such a bad guy after all. The Ketogenic diet can absolutely assist in correcting a lipid panel, along with many other benefits. Oh, and a slab of bacon a day with a block of cheese certainly doesn’t fulfill the Ketogenic dietary needs, but both are in fact Keto-friendly foods!


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How to Exercise on Keto

Exercise on Keto

For many people, one of the biggest perks in following Keto is that exercise is not a requirement for weight loss. So many people have successfully gotten to their goal weight on a Ketogenic diet without so much as adding an evening stroll around the block to their daily routine.

However, there are also those who are interested in exercise, or are already established in an exercise routine, and have concerns about macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates).

exercise on keto

What are your Goals?

It’s important to first establish a goal for exercising. Getting healthier? Weight loss? Muscle toning? Adding activity to a sedentary lifestyle? Muscle gain? Increasing endurance and stamina?

There is an endless supply of reasons for exercising, from heart health to intense bodybuilding. The goal, however, determines a great deal when adjusting macronutrients is necessary for maximum effects.

Adding an exercise routine to virtually any diet where there is a calorie deficit will enhance weight loss results and improve overall health. Likewise, adding exercise to a diet with a calorie surplus will enhance muscle gain and improve performance.

However, when exercise is added to the Ketogenic diet, stored fat is used for energy at an increased rate and oftentimes the results are noticeable in just a short period of time.

Types of Exercise on Keto

This is where there seems to be a bit of confusion regarding exercising while already enjoying the many benefits of the Ketogenic diet. The biggest question is predominantly regarding carbohydrates and should one carb-up pre and post workout. The answer is Yes and No. It depends on the type of physical activity.

Aerobic Exercise / “Cardio” – Exercises which are longer in duration and low intensity usually do not require adjustments to macronutrients. These are fat-burning activities, and if the goal is weight loss, incredibly beneficial. Walking is probably the most popular type of cardio.

Workout routines where the body is in movement for three minutes or longer without breaks is considered cardio as well, like kickboxing, Zumba, etc. Even dancing is cardio!

exercise ketosis faster

Flexibility & Stability Exercise – This group includes core and balance routines, yoga, Pilates, stretching and range of motion exercises aimed at muscle tone while still being low impact. Wall squats while doing any number of tricep/bicep curls with 5 lb weights is a good example.

This works the core, legs and arms simultaneously. These are also fat-burning activities, and again, upping carbs isn’t usually necessary but also isn’t out of the question.

exercise ketosis faster

Strength & High Intensity Exercise – In this category are the folks who do CrossFit, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), weightlifters, bodybuilders and other athletes. These types of exercises are carb-burners and yes, increasing carbohydrate intake is the way to go here.

Adjusting Macros for Exercise on Keto

Undereating and overeating are undeniably common while exercising and living a Ketogenic lifestyle. People sometimes don’t eat enough or are eating too much of the wrong foods for the type of exercise regimen, thus weight loss stalls or weight gain ensues.

Here is the key:

  • Aerobic Exercise / “Cardio” – Don’t change a thing. If after exercise sluggishness or lethargy is noticed, eat a healthy snack featuring good fats and a little protein. Something like cream cheese spread on a piece of ham and rolled on a dill pickle (ham and pickle rollups) should do the trick nicely.
  • Flexibility & Stability Exercise – It’s okay to increase protein here, and even carbs if necessary, but not by much and make certain they are good choices. And only on exercise days. Adequate protein is essential to retain muscle mass and still lose fat. Perhaps increasing by 10-15 grams on exercise days for protein. As far as carbs, only take in enough to provide a small energy burst without kicking the body out of Ketosis. A few almonds or berries are good for carb-ups. Quality jerky, avocado or boiled eggs are easy ways to add in some extra protein and good fats
  • Strength & High Intensity Exercise – Definitely get in additional carbs. This is not an excuse to jump into the drive-thru and get a super-sized order of French fries. Fast-acting, clean carbs are always the best option, like fruit. A general rule is 15-30 additional carbs pre and post workout are a good starting point. Further adjustments might be necessary.

Pay Attention & Listen to your Body

Ultimately paying attention and listening to one’s body is going to be the biggest key to success. Everyone is different; what works best for one might not work that way for another. Listen to the body. Feed it what’s necessary.

Sometimes there’s a period of adjustment until the right combination of macros is discovered. Make good choices and enjoy the results!

What the Keto Flu is and how you can avoid it

Keto Flu and how to avoid it

If you have been researching the Ketogenic diet, you have most likely heard of the Keto Flu. Soon after switching to a low-carb way of eating, like the Ketogenic diet, many people experience a blast of flu-like symptoms. But don’t worry! It doesn’t happen to everyone and it is completely avoidable!

First and foremost, the name “Keto Flu” is a bit of a misconception. These symptoms of drowsiness, body aches, nausea, dizziness, carb cravings and irritability aren’t related to Ketones, being in Ketosis or the actual Flu at all. This is the body’s natural reaction, sort of a withdrawal, to carbohydrate restriction.

This perturbing ‘faux flu’ can be somewhat discouraging for those just starting the Keto diet. Some tend to give up and give in to carbs again to curb the symptoms, which is the complete opposite reaction necessary to stay in Ketosis.

Keto Flu and how to avoid it

Common Symptoms of Keto Flu

The Keto flu generally hits within the first couple of days of Ketosis. The body is adjusting to switching fuel types from sugar to fat, and it can vary in length and intensity.

Some of the most common symptoms of the Keto flu are:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability
  • Muscle soreness
  • Decreased focus
  • Sleep disruption; difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep
  • Stomachache
  • Bowel issues; diarrhea or constipation
  • Sugar cravings

Some may have no symptoms at all, and others might experience the Keto flu for a week or more. Don’t give up! It does go away once the body is fully adapted to the new fuel source, but there are also methods to help decrease the severity of symptoms.

Ways to Reduce or Avoid Keto Flu Symptoms

Don’t give the Keto flu a fighting chance! It is awful in general, but we can help eradicate and even avoid the symptoms altogether with a few simple measures and incorporating essential micro-nutrients in our daily consumption:

Keto Electrolytes

Electrolytes – This is the best defense in circumventing the Keto flu completely. Electrolytes are extremely important and should be tracked daily along with the macros (carbs, fat and protein).

Sodium: Goal 5000-7000 mg per day. The optimal source is bone broth, but if that’s not available try supplementing with bullion or sole water.

Magnesium: Goal 300-500 mg per day. The easiest way to get magnesium is from a supplement in pill form. Be careful taking magnesium citrate or magnesium stearate as they are used typically for constipation. Also, if gel caps are taken, add 1 carb to the diary.

Potassium: Goal 1000-3500 mg per day. Try to achieve this with potassium rich foods like raw spinach, avocado, mushrooms, salmon, pork tenderloin or sirloin steak. Also, salt alternatives like Lite Salt/No Salt are acceptable.

Water on Keto

Water – In the beginning of any diet there is a substantial amount of water loss. Drink water regularly throughout the day and always drink to thirst to avoid dehydration. Helpful hint: Clear urine is a sign of being well-hydrated and yellow urine indicates the need for more water.

Increase Fat Intake – Sounds crazy, but it’s true. As the transition from sugar fuel to fat fuel is happening, assist by taking in more fats to accommodate. As always, stick with Keto-approved fat sources.

Exercise – Getting light exercise at least three times a week helps with keeping muscle soreness associated with Keto flu at bay, the heart happy and increases energy and endurance.

Sleep on Keto

Sleep – To battle increased stress on the body and fatigue, make sure sleep is a priority. Good quality sleep is essential regardless, but even more so when the body is experiencing a change of this magnitude.

Up the Carbs – Obviously this is a last resort, however in some bodies a drastic decrease in carbs all at once can be traumatic. If this is the case, try eating clean carbs and decrease gradually. This will help in warding off the Keto flu symptoms and be less of a shock to the system.

After the Keto Flu

As far as dietary changes go, the Keto flu can be somewhat tough to endure. It’s important not to give up and try the remedies above to help eradicate the symptoms. It’s quite possible to even avoid them altogether if these measures are closely monitored along with macros from the very beginning.

Luckily, the Keto flu is the only downside to the Ketogenic diet. From this point forward there should be results! And not just fat loss! The Keto diet, when followed diligently, will deliver limitless energy, vanquish sugary food cravings, and increase mental sharpness.

Remember, shifting the body into Ketosis is a different experience for everyone. The more sedentary the lifestyle prior to starting the Keto diet, the more chances of developing Keto flu. For those who have a higher metabolism and workout several times a week, their symptoms might be less or even nonexistent.

Either way, keep pushing forward and stay on plan. The results will be transformational and life-changing!

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8 Keto Micronutrients That Maximize The Benefits of Keto

Keto Micronutrients Vitamins Minerals

Whether you may be on a diet or not, it’s important to provide your body the vital vitamins and nutrients (micronutrients) it needs to function effectively. It is all the more important to provide micronutrients to your body while on Keto.

Although Keto focuses on the macronutrients – carbs, fats and proteins – you also need to be very aware of your micronutrients, which are the vitamins and minerals you consume (or should be consuming)!

Those who have tried the Ketogenic diet admit to feeling lousy when they start. That’s understandable considering this diet deprives people of many foods they may have eaten regularly before. Perhaps there’s no more cake with the coffee, or ice-cream after dinner. Anyone with a sweet tooth will definitely feel some level of withdrawal symptoms!

As you begin to flush out Sodium and water from your body when you start, you can expect to feel sluggish and tired, but more than that, your new food choices may also lead to nutrient deficiencies. Don’t expect to immediately get a boost (mentally or physically) the moment you start the Ketogenic diet. While people ultimately achieve this, it may take some time before you finally reap the benefits of a Ketogenic diet.

It is also possible that your body will show some initial adverse reactions from following this diet, known to practitioners as the Keto flu. These effects will only be temporary and you can expect to enjoy the benefits of the Ketogenic diet in no time at all.

Don’t Deprive Yourself of These Keto Micronutrients

Keto Micronutrients

To maximize the benefits of going Keto, you should watch out for specific nutrients that your body may be deprived of, because of the food restrictions involved. While your Keto food choices are healthy, as they include meat, eggs, nuts, fish and vegetables, you may also need to supplement .

Here are some of the important vitamins and minerals that your body may possibly be deprived of while on the Keto diet.

Sodium

Doctors have told patients to watch their excessive Sodium intake especially those diagnosed with high blood pressure. While that is true if you consume a high carbohydrate diet, which is a diet full of sodium laden foods, it is totally different if you follow a Ketogenic diet. This is because you are now not eating foods that contain high amounts Sodium. Therefore, you need to make sure you get enough Sodium in your diet.

Athletes or people who are physically active also lose Sodium through perspiration. So they need to watch their Sodium intake closely.

Potassium

Keto Potassium

When you go on a Ketogenic diet, you will not only lose Sodium but also Potassium. You have to be careful you don’t suffer from hypokalemia or a Potassium deficiency, which can manifest in various health problems including muscular cramps, irritability, weakness and even constipation.

Athletes or physically active people should make sure they keep up their Potassium as any deficiency will not only affect their performance, but it can lead to irregular heartbeats and heart palpitation.

Magnesium

Keto Micronutrients

Getting rid of many carbohydrates in your diet can also cause a reduction in intake of the essential mineral, Magnesium. This is an important mineral your body needs. It helps in bone development and protein synthesis. It is also important in controlling your blood sugar and muscle relaxation. You can get your Magnesium from foods, such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts, and green vegetables.

Thiamin

Thiamin or Vitamin B1 plays an important role in the development of your brain and in the production of energy. A deficiency in Thiamin can also lead to a depletion in the other B vitamins such as Folic or Vitamin B9. You can get this important vitamin from sources such as chicken liver, macadamia nuts, flaxseed and asparagus.

Iron

An Iron deficiency is common among many women, however, the problem can get worse for those women who start on the Ketogenic diet. Iron is important in the formation of hemoglobin and in providing oxygen to the body’s cells. You can get good sources form Keto friendly foods, such as beef, beef and chicken livers, and spinach.

Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Calcium

Keto Vitamins

You need not be on a Ketogenic diet to suffer from a deficiency in these vitamins and nutrients. However, a deficiency can become more serious when you restrict your carbohydrate intake. So you need to make sure you eat the foods containing these essential nutrients. These nutrients are important for various body functions and optimal health.

Remember that every time you eliminate certain foods from your diet, you may also be restricting intake of certain minerals and vitamins that your body requires daily. For best results, and to ensure that you do not suffer from the side effects of going Keto, make sure any lost nutrients are replaced, either by taking supplements, or better yet, sourcing them from targeted Keto-friendly whole foods.

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The Keto Diet for Vegans and Vegetarians

Vegan and Vegetarian Keto

Did you know that the number of people following Vegan and Vegetarian lifestyles worldwide is on the rise? In this post, we will take a look at how the Keto diet works for Vegans as well as Vegetarians.

The Ketogenic diet, better known as the Keto diet, is a very low carbohydrate diet which has been proven to aid in weight loss. This diet works by using Ketones as fuel for the body’s energy requirements which is where the term “Keto” comes from.

These Ketones are produced in the liver from fat cells and are turned into a useable fuel for the body to run on. Your body can use either glucose or Ketones, but if glucose is readily available it will use it first.

This means that when glucose is available the body will not break down fat. It is actually in fat storage mode as most excess glucose is eventually converted into fat stores. A Ketogenic diet limits carbohydrate intake, and by doing so causes your insulin levels to decrease. This results in your body turning to fat stores, breaking them down and burning the resulting Ketones for fuel.

On the Keto diet the most important thing to remember is to not eat too many carbohydrates per day. The amount of carbohydrates you should consume per day should be under 50 grams, although ideally under 20 grams, as the lesser the better if weight loss is the goal. The goal ratio that you should eat per day is 75% fat, 15-20% protein and the last 5-10% are made up of carbohydrates.

Because the carb intake is limited, it is imperative that whatever carbs are consumed are of the highest quality, to ensure nutrition is not compromised. This means that high-GI (Glycemic Index) simple carbs need to eliminated, and any carbs eaten are high-nutrition, complex carbs.

There is sometimes a misunderstanding that being on Keto involves eating a lot of meat (protein). However this is completely untrue and Keto for both Vegans and Vegetarians is completely practical and realistic to practice.

Vegan Keto

Keto for Vegans

As a vegan, this diet is possible but it may be initially difficult for some, as there are few adequate sources of protein that are allowed to be consumed. Most alternative vegan protein meats are not allowed on the diet making it extremely hard to consume sufficient amounts of protein to maintain recommended macro ratios.

The vegan Keto diet would be the same as the vegetarian Keto diet although it will contain zero amounts of animal products. A higher amount of plant based proteins and nuts and seeds will be needed to attempt to make up for the lack of more usual protein sources.

Vegetarian Keto

Keto for Vegans and Vegetarians

For vegetarians, this diet is very achievable as you are allowed to consume dairy and eggs as sources of protein. Legumes are considered prohibited on the Ketogenic diet so they need to be avoided as a protein source. Some other protein sources on the Ketogenic diet can include paneer, cottage cheese, tempeh, natto, miso and nuts and seeds.

If you are using meat alternatives always make sure you check the nutritional content, as they could be high in carbohydrates and/or be full of preservatives and fillers. If your protein needs are still not being met you can try an alternative supplement like hemp protein powder although this is not to be used as a meal replacement, just a protein top up.

Supplements and multivitamins are recommended to ensure that you receive enough nutrients including omega-3 (plant based EPA-DHA), iron, zinc and vitamin D although being a vegetarian you will likely already be taking some of these.

Foods to eat on Vegetarian Keto

When following the Keto diet as a vegetarian, it is important to ensure that you are well informed of the right foods that you should be eating. While the initial focus is on the healthy carbohydrates, fats and protein which are the three macronutrients, it is essential that you incorporate foods high in zinc, omega-3, iron and calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals that can be under-supplied by not consuming meats.

Examples of these foods are listed below:

  • Protein – Eggs, cheese, spinach
  • Good carbohydrates – Blueberries, tempeh, sweet potatoes
  • Omega-3 (plant based) – Walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds
  • Zinc – Kidney beans, sesame seeds, dark chocolate
  • Iron – Pumpkin seeds, soy items, kale
  • Calcium and vitamin D – Tempe, almond milk, almond butter

The best and easiest source of vitamin D is from the sun, but may need supplementation from dietary sources if adequate sun exposure is impractical.

All types of fruit should be limited, although most berries including blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are fine in small amounts as they are low in sugar and carbohydrate making them ideal snacks or a desert. Most spices and quite a few condiments are also allowed on the Ketogenic diet as they contain little to no carbohydrates.

There are plenty of foods to stay away from whilst on the Keto diet. These include any refined carbohydrate foods that are highly processed and have a high glycemic index. Some of these are our day to day staple items that we use to cook with or just eat in general.

Pastas, bread, rice and starchy vegetables are among the many foods that are prohibited from the Keto diet as they are rich in high-GI carbohydrates. When choosing nuts it is important to limit intake of peanuts, cashews and pistachios as they are all high in carbohydrates. Better nuts to choose include pecans, macadamia nuts and hazelnuts as they are all less than 2 grams per serving.

Always consult your healthcare professional or dietitian before starting a new diet as they will be able to determine if it is right for you.

The Complete Guide to the Ketogenic Diet

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Want to learn in-depth about the Keto Lifestyle and more about the different types of Keto diets? This special Ketogenic Diet EBook will answer all your pertinent questions!

For less than the price of a restaurant dinner for one, this 100+ page EBook provides detailed information about low-carb eating and how to get started on your journey to better health and weight loss today!

To get the details on its valuable contents, click here now! 

Clean Keto, Dirty Keto and Lazy Keto

Clean Keto, Dirty Keto, Lazy Keto

Today we will look at types of Keto from a different perspective, essentially the 3 different types are: Clean, Dirty and Lazy Keto. The Ketogenic diet is a way of eating to lose weight that limits carbohydrates and includes plenty of healthy fats. People following Keto are strict with their food intake. They eat whole, unprocessed foods and monitor their macros (their fat, protein and carbohydrate intake ratios). Their aim is to force or keep their body in a state of Ketosis.

If you follow the Keto diet, your body burns fat instead of glucose for its energy needs. Those who strictly follow the diet attest to losing weight fast in just a few days of drastically reducing their carbohydrates.

However, as with any diet there are some rules that some follow and other people follow different rules. Even the Keto diet has followers that do the ‘Clean Keto’ version, while others do the ‘Dirty Keto’ version, and some swear by the ‘Lazy Keto’ version.

Clean Keto

The Clean Keto diet follows the principle of eating foods with low carbohydrate content, but those that keep you feeling fuller longer due to their high fiber content, such as green leafy vegetables.

The clean Keto diet is often referred to as the ‘strict’ Keto diet. You only eat healthy, whole foods. You do not eat any processed foods at all. Although the Keto diet allows nuts and dairy, there are some advocates who avoid these foods as well as they believe they will not help them with fast weight loss.

If you are on the clean Keto diet, then drinking alcohol is a definite no-no. It all boils down to eating a clean diet, focusing on whole foods, without eating anything processed or even drinking an occasional glass of wine.

Dirty Keto

If you decide you want to go Keto, but don’t particularly want to follow the restrictions religiously, then your diet will no doubt be branded as being the ‘dirty Keto’ diet.

Following this diet means you can eat anything as long as your carb intake remains low and it’s still high in fat. This way of eating does not focus as stringently on where you source your food and nutrients, just as long as you follow the Keto principle. In other words, this diet puts a premium on convenience, so you can eat whatever is available or on hand, provided you keep the carbo-fat percentage intact.

Lazy Keto

The one rule to Lazy Keto focuses only keeping the carbohydrate intake to no more than 20 grams per day. Unlike clean Keto, you don’t have to track your calories, nor do you have to count the other macronutrients (fat and protein).

This method is appealing to people who find tracking to be a chore. And who want quick results without much work. Just focusing on counting the carbohydrates is way simpler. But simple does not always mean easy. While it is a fact that you will lose weight doing a Lazy Keto diet (at the end of it, it is a low-carb eating plan, and we know those work), the chances of hitting a weight-loss plateau (likely fairly soon) are very high.

Clean, Dirty and Lazy Keto – A Summary

Clean Keto, Dirty Keto, Lazy Keto

The Golden Rule of a regular Keto diet (also called ‘strict’ or ‘clean’ Keto) is to focus on the Fats and keep your daily Carb intake to less than 20-30 grams per day. With the dirty version, the macronutrient ratio remains the same, but the quality of the foods you eat matters a whole lot less.
With Lazy Keto, neither are you tracking calories, nor are you counting the other macronutrients (fat and protein).

It is easy to understand why some people prefer to go for the Dirty Keto or Lazy Keto diet if they lead a busy lifestyle and can’t organize their meals in advance. It’s a lot easier to throw a ready-made frozen meal in the microwave than it is to plan your meals, chop and peel vegetables and find healthy cuts of meat.

If you enjoy being in the kitchen, then you won’t find cooking Keto meals a chore at all. Weighing your foods, watching the portions, counting the ratios etc., may all be fun for one person, but not for someone else. Usually the one it’s not fun for is the dirty Keto or lazy Keto dieter, who may find the convenience of other foods better for them. They will look for foods that are as low in carb as possible, but the meat may be processed, and the vegetables may not be organically grown.

Let’s take a look at an example. A fast food chain may be selling a chicken burger, complete with salad. The clean dieter won’t eat it all, however, the dirty dieter will eat most of it, processed meat and all, but throw away the bun. At the end of the day their macros may not look too bad, however, the clean Keto dieter’s nutrients and overall long term health will look a whole lot better!

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5 Tips For Getting Started With The Keto Diet

Get started with Keto

We’ve all heard of the Keto diet sweeping the world due to its effectiveness. Here are 5 tips for getting started with the Keto Diet today! This diet is a low-carbohydrate diet that involves putting your body into Ketosis with the intention of losing weight. It can be a challenging initial adjustment for some people, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes so much easier. It’s all about having the right mindset (focusing on what you will gain rather than what you may be fearful of losing)!

So how do you get started on the Keto diet?

Obviously, the Keto diet involves more than just eating low-carb. You have to consume the correct amounts of healthy fats, quality protein, and carbs to hit the right balance to get you into the state of Ketosis but not harm your body.

The ideal percentages are as follows:

● Carbohydrates: 5-10%
● Proteins: 20-25%
● Fat: 70-80% of calories

The exact caloric intake and macronutrient ratios you aim for will depend on the following factors:

● Desired amount of fat loss
● Goals you set for yourself
● Your health
● Your level of physical activity

When in Doubt, Eat Less Carbs and More Fat !

The idea behind putting yourself into Ketosis is so that your body will begin to use (and burn) fat instead of glucose, as its main energy source. Getting into the rhythm of this diet is the key, and we’re here to help make it easier.

1) Do your research

Keto Fats

When starting the Keto diet, research the types of food you can and should eat to keep yourself in healthy, effective Ketosis. You should be sure to incorporate plenty of vegetables with a low-carb count like broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower and cabbage. You also want to include quality proteins like grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and organic meats and seafood.

High-quality fats are a huge part of Keto as well. Some of these fats include coconut oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, fatty meats and avocados. Some high-quality full-fat dairy that is free of antibiotics is also good to work into your diet, as well as low glycemic index fruits like blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.

2) Determine your Macros

Keto Macros

You need to determine the exact number of macronutrients (i.e. how much fats, proteins and carbohydrates you ingest at every meal) you need to consume. Every person is created differently with different needs, activity levels, goals, and body types; you have to determine what exact nutrients you need. Some need 20-30 grams of net carbs a day to have success on the Keto diet, but others can’t go over this limit at all.

There are many macronutrient calculators available online to help you determine your personal carb, protein, and fat-intake, and to help you figure out your daily caloric intake. Here’s a link to a good one! For the first few weeks of your Keto diet, don’t worry about tracking these macros exactly or sticking too hard to the restricted calories unless your goal is weight loss. Once you’re comfortable with Keto, you can scale them down.

3) Get yourself into Ketosis quickly

In order to get any of the benefits of the Keto diet, you have to enter the state of Ketosis. Once you’ve gotten used to keeping to your macros, it’s time to speed up your transition with the following:

● Fasting: An intermittent fasting approach of fasting for 16 hours a day and eating only within an 8-hour window can help to raise your Ketone levels.
● Exercise: You can burn off glycogen and speed up your adaptation to Ketosis by exercising more.

One thing you have to be prepared for is the Keto flu. This is a temporary condition that some experience as they first make the transition into Ketosis. To limit your symptoms and maybe avoid Keto flu entirely, eat real food and stay hydrated and take electrolytes.

4) Watch out for or Test your Ketones

Believe it or not, Ketosis is a metabolic state that is entirely measurable. One of the ways to determine if you’re actually in Ketosis is to test your Ketone levels with test strips or a blood meter. This will help you determine if you need to make adjustments to your caloric-intake or your macros.
Another way is to be mindful of and listen to signals that your body sends you that it is in a state of Ketosis. Some these are ..

  • Strong smelling urine
  • Bad breath (like acetone or nail polish)
  • Short-term fatigue and/or flu symptoms
  • Appetite suppression
  • Weight loss!

Keeping a food journal or maintaining a record of what you eat in an app can also help you stay in Ketosis and see where you went wrong if you fall out of it.

5) Maintain Ketosis

The last step is to stick with it. Keep yourself in Ketosis, keep checking your Ketones, and don’t diverge from your structured diet and allotted macros. You’ll start to reap the many benefits of the Keto diet the longer you stay on it.

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Types of Ketogenic Diets

Types of Ketogenic Diets

By now pretty much every health and fitness enthusiast and yo-yo dieter has heard about the Ketogenic diet. But did you know there are actually different types of Ketogenic diets? Originally researched, developed and used under medical supervision in children with epilepsy and other neurological disorders, the Ketogenic diet has taken the world by storm (and not without much confusion and controversy).

The human body has a hierarchy for preferred sources of energy, Carbohydrates being at the top of the list. Next in line is Fats, and then finally Proteins. Together, these three are called Macronutrients (or Macros). The current health status and reason for employing a Ketogenic diet usually dictate how much of each macronutrient is consumed; carbs, fats and protein.

The first and most important concept in the Ketogenic diet is consuming a limited number of carbs daily, usually 30 grams or less, to force the body into a state called “Ketosis”.

Understanding Ketosis

Before we go any further, let’s dig a little deeper into Ketosis and its benefits. By limiting carbohydrates, which is the body’s fuel of choice, the body responds by using fat as the next available energy source. Fatty acids also get released from the cells and transferred to the liver.

The liver turns the fatty acids into Ketones. Ketones are spectacular molecules that cross the blood-brain barrier to provide a power source to the brain in the absence of glucose.

Types of Ketogenic Diets

A carb-loaded diet is a disaster waiting to happen. Carbohydrates turn into blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is a fantastic fuel on a cellular level when it’s at normal levels. Too much glucose causes the production of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

Over time too much insulin production can lead to insulin resistance and problems with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Recap: 1) Ketosis forces the body to burn fat for fuel, 2) Ketosis aids in glucose regulation. These are key components to how each of the Ketogenic diets function and why someone would choose one over another.

Types of Ketogenic Diets

The word “diet” carries some misconception. It can either mean the kinds of foods a person habitually eats or a special course of foods/food restrictions either for weight loss or medical reasons. In the Keto-world, the word means both.

The Ketogenic diet can be either a permanent way of eating or a temporary weight loss program. The individual needs and goals of the person using the Ketogenic diet should be considered through the entire process.

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

In this version, the ratio is typically 5% carbs, 75% fat and 20% protein. The numbers for fat and protein may shift a little, but for the most part, fat is a huge part of the diet and caloric intake. This extremely popular version utilizes a super simple concept; stay at or below carb limit to remain in ketosis.

High-Protein Ketogenic Diet

Ketosis is achieved the same as in the standard ketogenic diet however in this model there is a bit more protein. A normal macronutrient ratio might look like 55-60% fat, 35-40% protein and still 5% carbs. As with the SKD, one must remain at or below the carb limit for ketosis to work its magic.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

Ever heard of carb-loading before a workout? This is the main idea with the targeted ketogenic diet. About 30-60 minutes prior to exercise the participant should consume anywhere from 25-50g of easily digestible carbs (the actual number depends on the individual’s needs and type of workout).

Glucose-based foods are used more efficiently than fructose-based and are usually burned completely without throwing the body out of ketosis. Post-workout meals should include plenty of protein and be less fatty. Normally fat is encouraged, however for muscle recovery and nutrient absorption, protein is a better choice here.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

This one sounds a bit strange considering what we’ve just learned. CKD is geared toward bodybuilders and athletes who wish to build lean muscle mass and still maximize fat loss.

In this regimen the SKD is followed for five days before cycling into the two-day phase of carb-loading. On the first day one might have a limit of 50g of carbs. On the second day the carb count could be anywhere from 400-600g. The premise is to load up on carbs so the body is properly fueled for the next five days of grueling workouts.

The CKD should not be used as a “cheat day” for those using the standard ketogenic diet protocol. This approach is suitable only for extremely active individuals.

Restricted Ketogenic Diet

On this last version, both carbs and calories are limited and is typically supervised by medical professionals. Based on studies, cancer cells can’t use Ketones for energy and quite literally can starve to death.

As with any diet regimen or lifestyle change, one should always seek the advice of their primary care provider or health professional before beginning any of the above types of Ketogenic diets. Medical history and current state of health should be considered, as well as the person’s individual needs and goals need to be kept in mind.


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Is the Keto Diet Similar to Paleo (or Atkins) Diets?

Is the Keto Diet Similar to Paleo (or Atkins) Diets?

It’s safe to say that just about everyone pursuing weight loss goals or a healthier way of eating has heard of the Keto Diet, the Paleo Diet and the Atkins Diet. All three of them have gained popularity in the last 30 years or so and make no mistake, they are effective methods for losing weight, as well as providing a multitude of other health benefits in their own way.

The Keto and Paleo diets are commonly grouped together as they do share a great deal of qualities, however they are vastly different. From the core concept right down to the “allowed foods”, they are very different from one another. Let’s take a closer look at both the similarities and differences of both the Keto diet and Paleo diet.

Core Concept – Keto vs Paleo

Ketogenic Diet – Those enjoying a Keto lifestyle are continually counting macronutrients, specifically the incredibly low carbohydrate intake necessary to get into and remain in a state of nutritional ketosis.

When carbohydrates are limited the body naturally reverts to the next energy source in line: ketones. Stored fat releases fatty acids which are then converted into ketones in the liver. Basically, the body is a fat burning machine.

Paleo Diet – People here aren’t interested in counting macros and the seemingly daunting task of logging each and every meal to stay within a certain boundary.

The term Paleo is derived from the Paleolithic Era, the Stone Age, some 2.5 million years ago, when cavemen roamed the land hunting and gathering food. This dietary plan is all about getting back to the basics and avoiding manmade food products.

Keto vs Paleo vs Atkins

What to Eat

Ketogenic Diet – The biggest restriction with this way of eating is carbs, which should be no more than 5-10% of daily intake. Not all carbs are equal. Keto-followers are encouraged to stay within their daily allowance by eating natural carbs, such as in vegetables, and steer clear of box meals, highly processed foods, and virtually anything “white” such as potatoes, rice and breads. Grains are a no-no.

The biggest percentage of daily dietary intake should come from healthy fats found in animal protein, full fat dairy and avocados. Speaking of animal protein, keto dieters should choose organic and grass-fed meat products if possible.

Lunch meat and hot dogs are a thing of the past. Hello chicken, turkey, beef, fish and eggs. Leafy greens become a staple and starchy vegetables don’t even make it to the table.

A helpful hint: If the vegetable grows above ground, in most cases it’s a keeper.

Also, though it may be hard to believe, most fruits are incredibly high in carbohydrates. Fruits should be consumed in moderation and berries are the best choice. Nuts are in the same boat; a little goes a long way on the carb count.

And finally, as far as sweeteners go, the ketogenic diet does not advocate refined sugars or artificial sweeteners. Liquid Stevia can be used, but sparingly.

Paleo Diet – Paleo people keep it simple. That’s the key to this lifestyle in a nutshell. The categories of forbidden foods are: grains, legumes, dairy and refined sugar. The list might be short, but what does that really leave the Paleo dieter to eat? Protein. And like the ketogenic folks, choosing organic, grass-fed animal protein is always best.

The focus in Paleo is more on the food quality and digestive health than counting carbs. Nutrient-rich, high-quality foods free from chemicals and toxins are the way to go. Don’t stress about the carbs in a sweet potato or a banana. Enjoy it! Remember, the idea isn’t carb-counting; eat those vegetables, starchy ones too! A moderate amount of fruits and nuts are welcome here in Paleo-land.

Opposite those on the keto diet, dairy is on the bad foods list. Studies have shown dairy to be a direct link to digestive issues and other inflammatory conditions like arthritis and joint pain.

Another big difference is the use of Paleo-approved sweeteners. Honey, coconut sugar and dried fruits are allowed.

Atkins vs Keto

The Atkins diet is not the same as the ketogenic diet. Atkins is simply a hard limit on carbohydrate intake without concerns of food quality. This means junk food and poor fat choices are abundant.

Weight loss still occurs even with diet soft drinks and loads of bacon. The body still burns fat as it is in ketosis. But the body is also being deprived of essential minerals and nutrients found in nutritious foods.

The Verdict

Yes, the Keto diet and Paleo diet are both similar and very different. It is entirely a matter of personal goals and lifestyle as to which is the better option for any individual.

One could even combine the two or do a periodic switch. As with any diet, adding in exercise, getting plenty of good quality rest and minimizing stress are extremely beneficial for overall health and wellness.


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