Keto Getting Started

How do I get started on a keto diet?

I recommend that you do some preparation first. Do some research into keto (see the resources section), find some sample meal plans, start trying out some keto recipes, and so on. You’ll also want to eat through the carbs in your house so they’re not there to tempt you, or give carbs away to a food bank that could use it. Additionally, you’ll want to buy some equipment to help you measure your ketosis – I recommend the Precision Xtra NFR Blood Glucose Monitoring System with Precision Xtra Ketone Strips.

Once you’re ready, you’ll start with an induction phase where you have to reduce your net carbs (carbs minus fiber) to 15-30 a day. Some people say you have to keep it below 20 net carbs a day, but I went into ketosis with net carbs between 20 and 35. The first week will be terrible. You’ll get headaches and be very fatigued – this is known as the keto flu. It takes that a few days for your body to adjust to lack of carbs as fuel and start using fat as energy. Your blood ketones won’t measure above .5 for several days – it took me 6 days before I saw a measurement above .5. And you will not be able to exercise during that time period, so plan for an exercise break if you exercise regularly. After that, you will feel much better.

Once you’re solidly in ketosis – at least two weeks in – you can start experimenting with your personal carb limits and tolerance to artificial sweeteners. Have a normal keto day of meals/exercise, and change one thing – such as trying a some chocolate with sugar alcohols in it – and see how your ketone levels react to it. I usually measure in the morning, since that is the lowest ketone measurement you’ll get in a day.

From there, its just a matter of sticking to the diet. You’ll want to figure out some foods you can eat out (for example, Five Guys has lettuce burgers that are delicious, Jimmy Johns has lettuce wrap subs), some foods that are quick grabs when you’re in a hurry (cheese, pepperoni and nuts are a staple in my diet), and also experiment with different low carb recipes to keep from having to eat the same thing over time. I recommend trying out recipes, and then making the ones you like in bulk and freezing them in portions that you can easily take to work, etc.