The Ketogenic Diet: Time to Jump In!
If you’re here, you have hopefully read part 1 of this Ketogenic blog series. It gives basic information about the ketogenic (low carb, high fat) diet and defines important terms (such as ketosis & ketones) that I will use here. Please check it out if you haven’t already. Now let’s talk about how to transition to a ketogenic style of eating.
My best advice when making the switch from a Standard American Diet (SAD), to the Ketogenic Diet is: Commit, Prepare, and Go For It!
- Commit to this change:
- Pick a starting date. Be sure to give yourself time to complete step 2.
- Let the people in your life know that you will be eating a little differently going forward. Tell them your why (weight loss, mental clarity & diabetes control are just a few) so they better understand your motivation.
- Prepare your home:
- Rid your home of non-keto foods (sugary, processed, high carbohydrate) if the whole house is making the transition. If you’re going solo, remove any foods that are most tempting for you personally (we want to make this transition as smooth as possible).
- Identify some keto meals and recipes that you are excited to try.
- Grab your keto grocery list and head to Fresh & Natural Foods!
- I recommend preparing your home with plenty of keto snacks. Cravings and hunger will go away the longer you are in ketosis, but in the beginning it is good to have plenty of easy and approved snacks around. Some of my favorites include: string cheese, deli meat, veggies & dip (especially guacamole), hard boiled eggs, olives, walnuts, pickles, and celery with nut butter.
- Go for it! You got this.
During this time of transition I encourage people to eat until they feel satisfied and not to stress about the amount they are eating. Simply focus on keeping net carbohydrates* below 20 grams and adjusting to this new style of fueling your body. You can get more specific about your macros and your goals once you are comfortable eating high fat, moderate protein, and low carb.
Getting into ketosis (fat burning mode) is exciting! It can take anywhere from 3-14 days for your body to use up stored glycogen (sugar) and to start burning fat. It is especially important to stay well hydrated when transitioning to a keto diet; drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.
There are symptoms that signal that the body has transitioned to fat burning: increased energy, mental clarity, dry mouth/bad breath, thirst, lack of hunger, and increased urination. On my ketogenic journey I experienced many of these symptoms, but found it helpful and motivating to actually test the amount of ketones in my body.
Testing your ketones will help you verify that you have reached ketosis. There are 3 testing methods: urine testing strips, blood testing, and breath testing. The urine testing strips are the most cost effective and are very easy to use. You can purchase Ketone Urine Testing Strips at a pharmacy or online. I recommend that you start testing for ketones on day 3 or 4 of eating keto. Test during your first urination of the day by following the instructions on the packaging and comparing the absorptive pad to the color chart provided. Any color change/level of ketones = ketosis!
That’s all for today. Head to Fresh & Natural foods for all of your ketogenic food needs and don’t hesitate to reach out to Chelsea with any questions!
*A quick note about total carbohydrates vs net carbohydrates. Total carbs – dietary fiber = net carbs. Fiber has less of an effect on blood sugar and can typically be subtracted out of a person’s daily carbohydrate intake. I personally prefer to track net carbohydrates and find that most people do well with this method. Especially because vegetables are your main carbohydrate source!
Guest Author’s Bio:
Chelsea Kazmierczak-Goethel is a holistic practitioner at MetroEast Nutrition & Chiropractic in Oakdale, MN. She specializes in Nutrition Response Testing, a technique designed to determine the underlying cause of illness or ill-health. Chelsea is motivated by the daily health wins she gets to share with her patients, and is passionate about helping people bring optimum health and wellness back into their lives. She resides in the Twin Cities with her husband & their two cats, and enjoys spending time outdoors, and cooking.