Establishing a well-formulated ketogenic diet may not be as complicated as you’re anticipating. The health and growth of the human body relies on three macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrates. It’s likely you’re already accustomed to eating all three in ascending order. If so, you’ll simply need to reevaluate your current distribution, and reprogram your body to consume its macros in descending order.
What the hell does that mean?
It means, if you are accustomed to consuming tremendous amounts of carbs and very modest amounts of fat, the ketogenic diet will require you to reprioritize your macros.
- 70-80% of your dietary intake should be derived from fat
- 10-20% of your dietary intake should be derived from protein and
- 5-10% of your daily dietary intake should be derived from carbohydrates
How do you know if you’re consuming the appropriate percentages?
To lose weight, you want to consumer fewer calories than you burn. As a 150lb, 36 year old female, I’ve approximated that 1,500 calories a day should sufficiently shred my midsection. Click here to calculate your specific caloric needs. Once you’ve determined your caloric needs use the following equation to determine appropriate macros percentages:
(Calories x macros percentage) / 9 = appropriate grams per day
(1,500 x .75) / 9 = 125g of fat per day
(1,500 x .15) / 9 = 33g of protein per day
(1,500 x .10) / 9 = 16g of carbs per day
16g of carbs a day?! There are 27g of carbs in my favorite IPA 😦
125g of fat per day. Holy hell!
I know what you’re thinking…
How the hell am I going to lose weight while stuffing my face full of fat?
I know, it seems counterintuitive. If you’re caught up in the, how can this possibly work? Click here to find out how eating fat will help you lose weight.
10 basic keto guidelines:
- Eliminate sugar and high-carbohydrate foods from your diet (starch, processed food, beer, etc.).
- Reserve your carb count for veggies (green leafy’s are a freebie).
- Consume moderate amounts of protein; focus on fatty rather than lean protein.
- Include healthy fats (ghee, olive oil, coconut oil etc.) at every meal.
- Avoid unhealthy fats such as: trans fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (margarine, canola oil, sesame oil, vegetable shortening, corn oil, vegetable oil).
- Allow yourself a cheat day if need be. Remember, a healthy diet isn’t about denial and depravation. It’s about balance and optimal performance.
- Don’t focus on what you can’t have, instead, experiment with all that you can have. I would suggest investing in a ketogenic cookbook and getting your ass in the kitchen!
- Keep a food journal and track your performance simply with My Fitness Pal.
- Fruit is acceptable in limited quantities and varietals. Beware that most fruit contains high amounts of sugar and carbs. Some keto-friendly fruits include: avocados, tomatoes, berries, lemon and lime.
- Foster the habit of reading labels. Retrain yourself to examine carb and sugar counts rather than calories.
Here is an ideal keto meal plan to help you get started…
1 handful arugula
Drizzle olive or hempseed oil
Pinch Himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
3 cups fresh kale
2 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
2 TBL olive oil
Splash red wine vinegar
Fresh cracked pepper
4-6 ounces wild caught salmon, pan fried or baked in coconut oil
2 cups sautéed spinach (cooks down to 1/2 cup)
1 cup sautéed asparagus
1 TBL butter, ghee or lard (for saute)
Handful unadulterated nuts
2 oz dark chocolate (85% cacao or higher)
3 things to beware of while ‘dieting’
- Eating too little fat– If you’re hungry during ketosis you’re doing something wrong. Expect a 2-4 week adjustment period. Thereafter, you should feel fully satiated while maintaining the ketogenic diet.
- High blood ketone levels– Individuals with diabetes are at risk for ketone buildup in their blood. If you do not suffer from diabetes you can assume that insulin, glucagon, and other hormones will prevent ketone levels from getting too high. If you are concerned with ketone levels there are a variety of methods for testing blood ketones such as: urine test strips (ketostix), breath ketone testing (ketonix breath analyzer) as well as blood ketone testing.
- Not eating enough greens– Leafy greens energize us on a cellular level. If you’re not meeting your nutritional needs the body is bound to feel heavy, sluggish and fatigued. Instead of ‘energizing’ your body with caffeine and energy drinks, try eating more veggies.
Suggestions for optimal choice macros:
Extra-virgin olive oil
Macadamia nut oil
I’d love to hear about your experience with the ketogenic diet in the comments below. Aloha.