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Keto 101: A Beginner's Guide to Eating Keto

From what the keto diet is to how to start leading a keto lifestyle, get ready to learn all you need to get your body into ketosis and keep it there.

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What is the keto diet? Is keto right for me?

By now, you’ve surely heard of the keto diet: a high fat, low carb diet that has helped thousands of people lose weight. But as a beginner, you may not know exactly what it means to “go keto”? So how does the keto diet work? What food are you supposed to eat? What foods are you supposed to avoid? We at Green Chef have got those answers and more. Whether you‘re looking to start a keto diet for health reasons or simply to shed a few pounds, read our keto 101 guide to find out if it will work for you.

How does keto work?

First things first: how does keto work?

Simply put, the keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet. How keto works, though, is quite interesting. By eliminating or severely restricting carbohydrates over a longer period of time, you kick your body into ketosis, a fat-burning state that can melt away pounds. Normally, after eating, your body is programmed to first break down carbohydrates, then protein and fat. When the body doesn’t have any more carbs to burn, it starts to burn fat, and this process produces ketones, an energy source made by your liver using your body’s fatty acids. Once your body has reached a certain level of ketones, it is officially in ketosis and relying on those ketones and fat as an energy source. All this means your body can burn fat at a faster rate than on a carb-inclusive diet.

How does keto work?

That sounds great! So what am I NOT allowed to eat on a keto diet?

The first rule of keto 101 is to say goodbye to carbs. Ok, you don‘t have to completely rid them from your life, but you will have to severely restrict your intake. On average, you need to stay below 50 grams of carbs a day (about 10% of your caloric intake) in order to enter – and maintain – a state of ketosis. And we aren‘t just talking about noodles and rice. Many fruits are high in carbs, too; for example, a cup of grapes has 58 grams of carbs, and a large apple has 40!

Be sure to check labels and use online databases so you know just how many carbs you are consuming a day. To make things a little easier, create a meal pland and take a look at this short list of foods to avoid when you are on a keto diet:

  • Grains, including rice, wheat, and cereals
  • Pasta
  • Beans and legumes
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes (this includes French fries!)
  • High-sugar fruits and all fruit juices
  • Sugar in any form, including honey and syrup
  • Chips, crackers, and other processed snack foods
  • Pastries, cookies, and cakes
  • Bread and baked goods (even gluten-free)
  • Beer, wine, and mixed drinks

Don‘t let that list daunt you! The truth is no food is truly off-limits on a keto diet. It will just take some time to figure out how much you are able to have without kicking your body out of ketosis.

Keto grocery list

Keto 101: What’s on my keto grocery list?

Now that you have a better idea of what to avoid, let’s talk about what foods will build the base of your new keto grocery list.

The keto diet works by significantly increasing your intake of fat. This can be tough for a lot of people, especially keto beginners, since fat has traditionally been viewed as “bad.” But as we explained above, your body needs that fat for fuel, so go for it! Here is a list of foods that can be enjoyed on a keto diet:

  • Meat of all kinds: red meat, pork, bacon, sausage, chicken, turkey
  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish like salmon and tuna
  • Full fat yogurt
  • Butter and cream
  • Avocados
  • Cheese
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil

Keto grocery list

Alongside the upped fat intake, you’re encouraged to eat low-carb veggies and fruits; just be sure to stay within your limit. Take a look at some of your options:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green beans
  • Leafy greens
  • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries)
  • Coconut
  • Lemons
  • Limes

As you can see, you’ve got plenty of choices that will lead to delightful recipes! The key to getting a keto diet to work for you is to focus more on what you are allowed to eat and less on what you can’t. Do this, and you’re sure to succeed!

Keto diet

Is a keto diet healthy?

Yes, it is! By creating a state of ketosis through increased fat intake, a study has shown that the keto diet may provide greater long-term weight loss results compared to traditional low-fat diets. What’s more, there is evidence that a keto diet can also benefit those suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Most people starting the keto diet do so with no problems. However, there is one possible side effect that anyone thinking of starting a keto diet needs to be aware of: the keto flu. Although not actually flu, the symptoms are similar: foggy brain, weakness and lethargy, as well as diarrhea or constipation. These occur while your body adapts to the new diet and are usually over within a few days.

Keto diet

Take the keto diet challenge

Starting a new diet can be difficult. It takes a lot of planning and perseverance. One of the best ways to get going is to set up a 10 day keto challenge. It takes your body 2-4 days to enter a state of ketosis, so 10 days is a realistic goal to get an idea as to whether this diet is right for you. Research keto recipes, make a meal plan and a grocery list, and stock your kitchen full of keto-friendly foods. Commit to 10 days, and if that goes well, turn that 10 day challenge into a 30 day keto challenge! The longer you keep your body in ketosis, the more fat you‘ll burn.

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Let Green Chef help you on your keto journey

Want to make starting your keto diet even easier? Let us do the shopping! Enjoy our selection of delicious keto-friendly recipes, delivered right to your door. Not only do we take the guesswork out of meal planning, we are also committed to the freshest, tastiest ingredients. Going keto has never been easier!

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