Having a list of ketogenic diet tips as a go to in order to help keep things simple and in perspective is a must.
A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A keto diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. This the complete opposite of using carbohydrates as fuel.
This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. This leads to reduced risk of chronic disease as well as improved muscle development and fat metabolism.The biggest challenge with this nutrition plan is to get into and maintain the state of fat adaption. Here are several advanced tips to get into and maintain ketosis.
The Keto Diet Beginnings
The Ketogenic (keto) diet was first used to treat kids with epilepsy. However, it’s now being used for weight loss, boosting energy, improving mood, optimizing brain function and much more. Many folks report clearer skin, improved digestive health and even healing of autoimmune conditions. Researchers are diving deep into using it for preventing and treating cancers as well as neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
And the best part, is that you can use the ketogenic diet short term or long-term, if you want to lose weight or improve your productivity.
Please allow me this little rant:
I see a lot of people complaining that after 2 or 3 weeks of following a ketogenic diet they have not lost any weight and they feel terrible. They are thinking about giving up. “Everyone else loses weight! Why can’t I??”
Come on! It has taken you years to gain weight and it may take you a month or more to start to see some ketogenic diet success. This ties in with the instant gratification way of life that plagues us. We want what we want NOW. The human body is an incredibly complex “machine”. You are changing the very way your body works, operates and processes food! Give it time! This is a complex thing you are attempting to do.
Everyone is very different. What works for one person may not work at all for someone else. You must be patient. Keep it simple. Simple, whole foods. Preferably one ingredient foods.
Ketogenic Diet Tips
1. Stay Hydrated:
The ketogenic diet will flush you out, so you need to always be rehydrating. Plus if you happen to be exercising you will be sweating out even more fluids. Aim for super hydrating your system by drinking 32 oz of clean, filtered water within the first hour of waking and another 32-48 oz of water before noon. In general, aiming to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water and closer to your full body weight in ounces of water daily will help you immensely.
As you begin super hydrating your system, you will find this easier and easier and that you will actually crave the extra hydration.
2. Practice Intermittent Fasting:
This is one of the best ways to get into and maintain ketosis because you are reducing calories and not consuming protein or carbs. It is a good idea to go low-carb for at least a few days before starting this in order to avoid a hypoglycemic episode. You can read all about intermittent fasting strategies here.
Consider organic coffee with MCT oil, coconut oil and/or grass-fed butter. The beneficial small and medium chain fats in these foods help to boost up ketone production and stabilize blood sugar more effectively than water fasting alone.
I feel very good when I am fasting like this.
3. Consume Enough Good Salts
We are told in our society that it is important to reduce our sodium intake. Many individuals in our society struggle with a high sodium/potassium ratio. This is due to the fact that when we are on a higher carbohydrate diet, we naturally have higher insulin levels. Insulin effects our kidneys in such a way to retain sodium which can lead to a higher sodium/potassium ratio
When we are on a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet, we have lower insulin levels and therefore our kidneys excrete more sodium which can lead to a lower sodium/potassium ratio and a greater need for sodium in the diet.
I drink a cup of beef broth in a mug every day. When the water goes, so too go your electrolytes. Broth is a good way to keep up on some of your salt requirements, and it can do wonders with the keto flu.
On a low-carb diet you should look to get an additional 3-5 grams of sodium from natural foods and through the use of a pink salt like Himalayan sea salt. 1 tsp of pink salt is equivalent to 2 grams of sodium. Here are the ways I recommend adding in additional sodium:
- Drinking organic broth throughout the day.
- Being generous with the amount of pink salt you use on your food
- Adding ¼ tsp of pink salt to 8-16oz of water throughout the day
- Adding sea vegetable like kelp, nori and dulse to dishes
- Consuming celery and cucumber which are low carb and have natural sodium
- Having sprouted and salted pumpkin seeds or salted macadamia nuts as a snack
4. Get Regular Exercise:
This is a very important adaptation for maintaining ketosis because it will allow the individual to handle a little bit more carbohydrates in the diet because the body wants to store them in the muscle and liver tissue.
Large compound exercises that use multiple muscle groups have the greatest impact body composition changes and for burning fat for fuel. This includes squats, deadlifts, push-ups, standing overhead presses and pull-ups or pull-downs or bent over rows.
Incorporating a regular exercise program that includes these resistance training exercises along with running sprints and low-intensity exercise such as walking helps to balance blood sugar and improve the ability to get into and maintain ketosis.
Just be sure not to overdo it. Small amounts of high intensity training go a long way. If you overtrain your body, you will secrete higher amounts of stress hormones that will drive up blood sugar and pull you out of ketosis.
There all kinds of free videos on YouTube to get you started.
Here is a Sample Exercise Program to Help:
Monday: Upper Body resistance training for 15-20 mins
Tuesday: Lower Body resistance training for 15-20 mins
Wednesday: 30 minute walk around the block
Thursday: Upper Body resistance training for 15-20 mins
Friday: Lower Body resistance training for 15-20 mins
Sat/Sun: Recreational activities and walking
*If you are a high level athlete or CrossFitter, consult with your trainer or coach who is familiar with your goal to achieve a state of ketosis and modify the training based on that.
5. Improve Your Bowel Motility
Constipation is one of the biggest challenges people have on a ketogenic diet. If you are constipated, you will not be able to remain into ketosis as it drives up stress hormones and blood sugar. Constipation is often due to one of the following:
- Pre-existing struggles with constipation due to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or Candida overgrowth.
- Not consuming enough fibrous vegetables & fermented foods, drinks and tonics
- Inadequate electrolyte consumption (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium in particular)
- Chronic stress which shuts down the gastrocolic contractions
If this is a problem for you consider consuming extra magnesium and consuming a lot of clean water and adding in pink salts for extra sodium. Doing a fresh green drink everyday will also help with increasing potassium, magnesium and calcium levels.
6. Don’t Eat Too Much Protein:
Many people doing a ketogenic diet consume too much protein. If you consume excessive protein than your body will turn the amino acids into glucose through a biochemical process called gluconeogenesis.
If you notice yourself coming out of ketosis then see how you are responding to the amount of protein in your meals. Some people need higher protein levels while others can do just fine on lower protein levels.
This will depend on your current macros and how much you are exercising.
It is ideal to get your protein in 2-3 different servings daily with a minimum of 15 grams and a maximum of 50 grams per meal. The lower level is for a light weight individual while the upper limit is for a very large, strength training male.
However as a general rule most of us should aim for 20-35 grams per meal.
7. Choose Carbs Wisely:
We all know that a ketogenic diet is a low-carb plan but I recommend consuming nutrient rich carbohydrate sources such as non-starchy veggies and small amounts of low-glycemic fruits like lemon, lime, ½ granny smith apple in green shake and/or a small handful of berries in a protein shake.
You may consider adding in nutrient dense sources such as more berries in a shake or a sweet potato with tons of grass-fed butter and cinnamon once a week.
On low carb days, avoid the sweet potato and keep berries down to a small handful at most. A half of granny smith apple or 1 carrot or 1 beet would be the maximum you would want to put in a green shake on a lower carb day.
8. Use MCT Oil Whenever Possible:
Using a high quality medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is perhaps the most important thing one can do to get into ketosis and maintain it. That is because the use of a high MCT oil based diet allows one to consume more protein/carbs and maintain ketosis.
A diet that consists of long chain fatty acids, depends upon 80-90% of calories coming from fat. Adding in lots of MCT oil brings this down to 60-70% fats . This is because MCTs are immediately metabolized into ketone bodies and used for energy quickly in the body.
Coconut oil is not the same as MCT oil. Although MCT oil is made from coconut oil, it contains 100% pure medium chain triglycerides (capric and caprylic acids), while coconut oil contains about 35% long chain trigylceride (LCT) and 50% lauric acid which is classically considered a MCT but acts more like an LCT. That means that coconut oil is only 15% MCT and only 1/6th as ketogenic as pure MCT oil.
You can cook with MCT oil, add it to protein shakes, green drinks, coffee/tea, etc. throughout the day to keep your ketone levels up.
9. Keep Stress Down:
Chronic stress will shut down your ability to be and stay in ketosis. If you are going through a tough period of your life, than maintaining ketosis may not be the proper goal. This doesn’t mean you should begin carb loading, but instead reset your goal to simply stay on a lower carb, anti-inflammatory diet.
Stress raises up certain hormones which function to elevate blood sugar so you can fight or flight from the chronic stressor. This is fine when it is for very short periods of time, but when it is prolonged, it drives up your blood sugar and lower ketones.
Devise some strategies that will help you lower your stress load and be able to create more peace and relaxation in your life.
10. Improve Your Sleep:
If you are sleeping poorly, you will elevate stress hormones and cause blood sugar dysregulatory problems. Be sure to set yourself up to go to sleep at a good time (before 11pm) and sleep in a completely dark room.
Keep your room cool (60-65 degrees is usually ideal) with an overhead fan providing circulating air. If you are extremely sound sensitive or in a louder area than using ear plugs can be extremely helpful!
Healthy lifestyle strategies play a very important role in helping you get into and maintain ketosis. These ketogenic diet tips can help keep things simple and keep you in a state of fat adaption where you have sustainable energy and mental clarity.
This will help you prepare yourself for optimal career performance, a lean physique and great energy for relationships and recreational activities.
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