As an Italian raised in Canada during the 80’s & 90’s, I’ve been ingrained with much dogma. Things like what’s healthy to eat, and what’s going to give me a heart attack by 40. What I’d like to do is dispel a few myths that I had to overcome during my transformation on Keto. I also want to give practical tips for going keto to those wanting to take the plunge and do it.
“Hundreds of thousands are dying, for the simple reason that they do not know how to live to keep well, or how to live to get well. Aside from injuries, infections, and poisons, all our ills are caused simply by doing what we ought not to do. It is painful to think of the terrible slaughter caused by ignorance.”– Dr. Salisbury, except from “What must I do to get Well” by Elma Stuart, page 30.
Warning – when going very low carb / keto, you are forcing your body to undergo a huge metabolic change. For me, since I was a young child, I did not have the need to utilize the metabolic pathways required to burn stored body fat for any extended period of time. Instead, my body became accustomed to burning glucose (sugar from starch, sweets, flour, etc – any carbohydrate)… and that sugar-burning pathway required replenishment every few hours – else I would feel low energy very hungry. This cycle continued for years and decades… but I finally found a way to stop it.
My Top Tips for Going Keto
So you are going to give it a try, eh? Awesome – you will not regret it. Since I was once like you, here are some things I wish I knew before taking the leap. Hope it helps, and of course feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any specific questions related to your goals.
- Eat Enough Fat to get Fat Adapted
- Get your Salts (Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium)
- Don’t “Bite off More Than You Can Chew”
1. Eat Enough Fat to get Fat Adapted
And eat until satiety. This will prevent you from feeling the urge (craving) for “a little something else” after your meal.
At first, during your “adaptation” phase (6-8 weeks) feel free to liberally add butter, cream, olive oil to your meals if necessary. You will feel full this way. Eating healthy fats will trigger real satiety.
Also, don’t ‘try to hit’ 20g net carbs. Rather, use 20g as a limit for naturally occurring carbs in real foods like eggs, low carb veggies / fruit, and an occassional keto treat.
Now that I’ve mentioned keto treats – I’ve found they are especially helpful in the first stages to kick the carb habits… I’ll be creating a post on my faves soon (here’s a sneak peek). If trying to lose weight, you will eventually try reducing your amount of keto treats … But this is dependant on goals, and the results you are seeing.
2. Get your Salts!
Your body needs salts to work properly, these are aka: electrolytes. I know what you’re thinking – “that doesn’t apply to me, I’ll skip this point“, right? It doesn’t really apply to me, I will get by without this point…
Wrong, friend. I thought the same. Next to removing carbs from your diet, this is actually the most powerful way to ensure you ‘feel good’ and keep the symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal (sometimes dubbed ‘keto flu) at bay.
Your body has an increased need for the key salts when you are no longer as inflamed / water retaining as you were pre-keto. Also, the period of time you are adapting to keto means you will urinate frequently, shedding plenty of water weight. As you urinate and re-hydrate, the water you replenish your body with is usually very mineral deficient… so you are not getting back any of the salt you have lost. This is the cause of symptoms like ‘low energy’, ‘fatigue’ and ‘headache’. Trust me, you want to ‘stay ahead’ of the salts – if you don’t, the symptoms could really be uncomfortable (low energy & headache). So, here’s some practical advice I implemented to minimize electrolyte IMbalance!
There are 3 key electrolytes your body needs to operate properly: Sodium, potassium, magnesium. Let’s quickly review basic ways to get these in.
- Salt your food (liberally! link for a good quality pink Himalayan salt)
- Add a sprinkle to a cup of water
- Whole food sources:
- Supplement with salt alternatives containing potassium:
- No salt (dissolve in water or add to food)
- Lite salt (half sodium half potassium, again dissolve in water)
- Relax, read my blog and take an Epsom salt bath!
3. Don’t “Bite off More Than You Can Chew”
Going keto is a huge lifestyle change. Unfortunately, it is also being closely linked in the media to ‘fasting‘ and ‘exercise‘. I’m here to say if you aren’t yet doing any fasting or any real exercise, don’t try to do start all these things at once. Take small deliberate steps. Space things out, be successful at going low carb (this will definitely get you the biggest bang for your buck) and then see how you feel about tackling a new challenge such as fasting or exercise.
Feeling a little more advanced? Already able to skip a few meals? For some detailed strategy on how to take things further, ie: OMAD (One Meal A Day) check out this post over at ForeverAlphaBlog.