My ultimate goal is to help others be healthier and happier versions of themselves. Anytime I can help someone else have a better quality of living simply by changing what they put into their bodies, I’m a happy camper.
Before starting keto (this time), I did a lot of reading, searching, and asking questions. I also discussed it with my doctor who was so excited that I was switching to the keto lifestyle. With my history of cancer and migraines, along with being overweight, he said keto would be a great fit for me. I highly encourage you to discuss keto with your doctor, as with any dietary lifestyle. Is keto the only way to lose weight? No. Is the way I do keto the only way to do keto? No. And that’s what is so great about this lifestyle. There is so much to pick and choose from so that you can customize it to you and what works for your body. Everyone’s body is different. What might not work for me on keto might be perfect for you and vise versa. The most important thing to remember is keto is no an overnight miracle. Remember… Your body did not get to the state it’s in overnight. Likewise, it takes time to heal and reverse the effects.
Most Common Keto Questions...
How does the ketogenic diet work?
The keto diet works by your body using fat as fuel instead of sugar. When you first switch over, your body will start by dropping water weight as it uses up the carbs it has stored in your body. This is when it is important to make sure you are consuming electrolytes to help with what is referred to as the keto flu (headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, etc.). After I dropped my water weight, it still took my body a little while to figure out where to pull its fuel from. Once the body realizes no more carbs are coming in, that’s when it switches to burning fat. For me, this took between 2-3 weeks to become “fat adapted.” See, in a higher carb diet, your pancreas works overtime processing sugars as fuel. In ketosis, your liver processes fats as fuel. Note: For those who have heard Keto is bad for you, Ketosis has NOTHING to do with Ketoacidosis – Ketosis is healthy, Ketoacidosis is what can happen to a diabetic who does not watch their sugar. While they may sound similar, they are not related.
How do you know when you are in Ketosis?
I personally use a KetoCoach that checks my blood ketone levels. In ketosis, your body produces ketones naturally that provide energy and aid in weight loss. If you are interested in trying KetoCoach, be sure to use my discount code (KETODUHON) at checkout to save yourself some money. Do you have to check your ketones? No. But it is the most effective way to know for sure that your body is in ketosis. Anything 0.5 or higher on your blood ketone meter will mean you are in nutritional ketosis. I also love this because I can see quickly how different foods affect my body without having to do too much guessing.
A less accurate way is to check your ketones through urine. You can get urine test strips for pretty cheap but they are only good to use for maybe the first month. Anything that shows up in your urine is excess ketones the body did not use. If you are taking exogenous ketones, a urine strip could just be letting you know your body didn’t use what you took… Not necessarily that you are in ketosis.
The free way to get an idea that you might be in ketosis are some changes in your body: 1) You’ve noticed your breath is a lot less favorable (hello keto breath!), you have a dry mouth, and find yourself extra thirsty. 2) Your appetite has decreased (thank you ketones!). 3) Your urine smells like nail polish remover. 4) You are having digestive issues (don’t worry, this is temporary while you transition). 5) You have more energy and focus (another benefit of keto!).
How many carbs should I have in a day?
Typically on keto, you want to limit your carbs to a maximum of 20-50 grams of net carbs per day. Personally, I keep my carbs under 20 per day but have my Carb Manager set to 24.
A Net Carb is calculated this way:
[Total Carbs] – [Dietary Fiber] – [Sugar Alcohols] = Net Carbs.
When in doubt, plug the item into the Carb Manager app and it will quickly tell you. There’s even a scan feature that works on product barcodes in the app (for free).
I just started keto and I’m STARVING!! What should I do??
This is normal, trust me! Your body is going through quite a change and thinks it is starving. Here is what I suggest based on my experience… Don’t count your calories in the first couple of weeks. Don’t worry about going over on protein the first couple of weeks. Make sure you are drinking a LOT of water. Seriously. A higher protein diet requires more water. Did you know it is actually suggested that you drink half of your body weight (in ounces) each day? And let me tell you, I feel my best on the days I get in at least a gallon of water. If you are drinking a lot of water and you still feel like you are starving… EAT!
Eat more meat. Really. Just let yourself have a little extra chicken or whatever protein is your thing. The most important part about transitioning to keto is allowing yourself the flexibility to be content. It’s so easy to give up on keto in the beginning before you get through the transition. So just eat, don’t let yourself starve. Just stay away from a ton of sugar alcohols in the beginning – this will also help your body transition. Once your body becomes fat adapted, you won’t feel like you are starving all the time anymore and you won’t want to eat as much to be full or satisfied.
What am I absolutely NOT supposed to have on Keto?
Anything with carbs. The list of items that are not keto-friendly is really extensive. The key is to find low carb (or no carb) replacements for things you love. Always keep in mind that these items will not taste the same as those with carbs. For instance, I now avoid chocolate because I do not like the taste of dark chocolate (or sugar free chocolate). However, in place of regular pasta I use Pasta Zero (found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, Walmart is where I buy my Pasta Zero).
My rule for myself is if any item has more than 7 net carbs per serving, it’s a no for me. Here are some main categories to avoid on keto:
- Grains & Oats – loaded with carbs. Go for almond flour or coconut flour.
- Most fruits – but you can have berries in moderation (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.); personally, I try to keep my daily carb count as low as possible.
- Sugar & Sugary Items – always check the carbs either by reading the label or a quick search on Carb Manager or the internet helps. Stick with Monk fruit, Erythritol, or Stevia (these three do not raise your glycemic index).
- Potatoes & Starches – Nooooo potatoes of any kind. No corn. No beans. Etc.
What should I eat on keto?
Always ask yourself these questions: 1) Is the carb count low enough? 2) Does it help meet my fat and protein needs? and 3) Do I want to eat it? Here are some categories to help…
- Meat & Seafood – Grass-fed and Wild-caught are the healthiest versions of meats.
- Eggs – great source of protein and fat to provide good energy.
- “Milk” – Unsweetened Almond Milk (Blue Diamond) is my personal preference but Coconut Milk is another option. Stay away from cow or soy milk for sure. Heavy Cream is your friend. Half and Half is okay.
- Flour Alternatives – Almond flour and coconut flour are great for keto.
- Cheese – if your body is okay with cheese, GO FOR IT! Cheese is a staple for us.
- Avocado – these are such a great source of good fats. If you haven’t tried one in a while, get one to try. I like mine with a little sea salt and Tony Chacherie’s.
- Berries – in moderation, many berries are okay on keto such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
- Low Carb Vegetables – dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc), cucumbers,
- Plain Greek Yogurt – Not my cup of tea, but you can have it.
- Some Dairy: Specifically… Cottage Cheese, Pimento Cheese, Cream Cheese,
- Oils & Butter – Try to stick with oils that provide healthy fats: Avocado oil, Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, etc.
- Nuts & Seeds – These are great for Keto (as long as you aren’t allergic) but watch your carbs with them! Almonds, pecans, chia seeds, Flax seeds, walnuts, macadamias, hemp seeds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts… If you like them!
- Seasonings – Just be sure to read the labeling.
- Coffee & Tea – unsweetened! Coffee and tea are great, just be sure you are using your milk and sugar alternatives!
Why is it drinking a lot of water so important?
It is very easy to become dehydrated on keto. Since carbohydrates are agents for holding water and salt in your body, the body doesn’t hold water or salt as well without them. The extra nitrogen from all of the protein in your keto diet will make you extremely thirsty. It is absolutely essential to drink water to flush the nitrogen out. Too much nitrogen can be toxic on the body. You have to drink your water!
Here are some of my tips for getting in your daily water:
- Keep bottled water on hand at home for when you know you will be out and about.
- Drink water as soon as you wake up (maybe drink a little extra with your electrolyte vitamins or any other medications you take).
- Have a water filter at home (we use a Brita filter).
- Keep a refillable gallon jug with you (I love mine by bottled joy, it’s so much easier to carry than anything else I’ve tried).
- If you struggle with plain water, add some flavor! Just watch out for carbs and be mindful of which artificial sweetener is in the product.
- Count the water in your coffee and tea if it is fresh brewed.
- Use the Carb Manager app to help keep track of your water! You can adjust the cups per day in the settings of the app. I have mine set for 20 cups.
- Remind yourself of your goals!
What are some inexpensive snack ideas?
While I don’t recommend snacking all the time, it is good to have snacks available to keep you making good keto decisions – especially first starting out.
- Almonds or your preferred keto nut – Personally, I love the low sodium almonds by Blue Diamond and keep a zip-lock of them in my bag at all times.
- Cheese snacks – String cheese, mini babybels, cubes, your own homemade cheese crisps, etc.
- Pepperoni – I love snacking on these.
- Pork Rinds – Baken-ets (Walmart) and Pork King Good have great flavors; amazon also has the large plain tubs of them.
- Cucumbers are always great snacks that can help with hydration.
- WATER! I can’t stress this enough. Sometimes you aren’t actually hungry, you just need to drink more water.
- Boiled eggs
- Avocados – great source of good fats!
- Keto-Friendly Bars – Quest Nutrition and HekaGood are my favorites.
- Keto Cookies or “Fat Bombs” – HighKey snacks has great cookies; these Cheesecake bites are delicious and so easy to make! There’s a whole lot of different ones available on Amazon as well.
- Lily’s Chocolate (sometimes at Walmart)
- Pickles! Check your brand for carbs.
- Keto friendly Ice cream
- Find out what you like and what works for you and your body!
I hope this information helps you! If you have any questions you would like for me to answer, be sure to leave them in the comments below!
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