Planning is your key to success on the ketogenic diet. Knowing which foods to eat (and which to avoid), meal prepping and following a keto meal plan will help you reach your macro goals and stay in ketosis.
Low-carb veggies make great substitutes for higher-carb foods. For instance, cauliflower can be used to mimic rice or mashed potatoes, “zoodles” can be created from zucchini and spaghetti squash is a natural substitute for spaghetti.
Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, but measuring ketones in your blood is often the most effective. Although it’s the most affordable, urine testing is typically the least accurate method.
Unfortunately, long-term fasting is not a feasible option for more than a few days, therefore the ketogenic diet was developed to mimic the same beneficial effects of fasting. Essentially the keto diet works by “tricking” the body into thinking it is fasting, through a strict elimination of glucose that is found in carbohydrate foods. Today the standard ketogenic diet goes by several different names, including the “no-carb diet” or “very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet”(LCKD or VLCKD for short).
Dai X, Stanilka JM, Rowe CA, et al. Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. May 2014.
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Everyone loves lettuce tacos. They’re very straightforward, nearly impossible to get wrong, and Keto friendly. I’m even happy to admit that I prefer them over regular tacos. But in spite of the pros of the humble lettuce taco, it still comes with the cons of a regular taco: being very messy. Lets fix that.
High amounts of healthy fats (up to 80 percent of your total calories!), such as olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, palm oil, and some nuts and seeds. Fats are a critical part of every ketogenic recipe because fat is what provides energy and prevents hunger, weakness and fatigue.
In more moderate amounts, foods that are high in protein but low- or no-carb, including grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry, cage-free eggs, bone broth, wild-caught fish, organ meats and some full-fat (ideally raw) dairy products.
While Type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by excess refined sugar and carbs in your diet, it’s a condition that can also be reversed by changing the foods you eat (14). Since the ketogenic diet removes most carbs, it gives your body a chance to reestablish and reset the “communication” with insulin, which can improve insulin sensitivity and reverse blood sugar imbalances.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are extracted from coconut oil. They’re known to improve brain function and support ketosis. In most supplements, the taste is neutral and you won’t be able to detect it when used in recipes. There are three main products on the market: MCT Oil, XCT Oil and Brain Octane Oil.
How often you eat is also up to your personal preference. “For most people, I recommend three to four meals per day with a few healthy keto snacks in between,” says Dr. Axe. “This ensures that you’re getting a good mix of protein and fat all day long to keep you feeling energized and satisfied.” That being said, he encourages people to listen to their bodies and tune in to when they’re truly hungry. “If you find that you feel better eating five to six smaller meals spread throughout the day, do what works best for you.”
On a side note, frozen vegetables are usually cheaper than fresh vegetables. If you buy greens in bulk but throw them out often, consider buying frozen. Surprisingly, frozen vegetables are sometimes more nutritious to their fresh counterpart – farms typically freeze greens at peak ripeness, ensuring nutrient density. You may have to cook excess water out occasionally, but it normally isn’t a problem in the final dish.
Although for most people, bulletproof coffee (BPC) refers to a cup of any “butter coffee”, the original BPC was created by Dave Asprey of Bulletproof. It’s made with high-quality coffee beans and is known for having the lowest mold toxin levels. As I found out myself, it tastes amazing even without sweeteners or cream. In fact, I can drink it black without anything added to it.
All leafy greens, including dandelion or beet greens, collards, mustard, turnip, arugula, chicory, endive, escarole, fennel, radicchio, romaine, sorrel, spinach, kale, chard, etc. — range from 0.5–5 net carbs per 1 cup
All meat and seafood are included on the keto diet, as long as it’s not breaded or fried. Enjoy beef, chicken, pork, lamb, goat, turkey and veal. You can also enjoy fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and sardines. Always choose the highest quality meat you can afford, whether that means grass-fed or organic. Eggs are always a great choice, preferably free-range. Nuts and seeds are also fine, including almonds, pecans, chia seeds and flax seeds.
Noakes’s war on sugar goes back a generation, to when his father developed type-2 diabetes. Type-2 is a disease in which the body gradually loses its ability to regulate blood sugar through the production of the hormone insulin. It’s linked to genetics, but also to diet—particularly sugar and refined carbs—as well as obesity and inactivity. Diabetes experts estimate that the disease speeds up the aging process by roughly a third, damaging the body from the inside out. Too much blood sugar slowly destroys blood vessels, with results ranging from mild—early wrinkling of skin—to catastrophic: heart disease, blindness, stroke, amputations due to poor circulation, and even Alzheimer’s disease (more on that later).
Consume Mineral Rich Foods:  Increase your intake of mineral-rich foods like leafy greens, celery, cucumber, and seaweeds. As I mentioned before, I love to snack on Sea Snax as they provide plenty of minerals and are ketogenic friendly.
I don’t have dips of energy through the day, I’m slowly breaking my sugar addiction, and I can finally go out and do something like grocery shopping without passing out on the couch due to exhaustion.
Now, there’s even evidence that a low-carb, high-fat diet helps you live longer, compared to a low-fat diet. In a study by the medical journal The Lancet that studied more than 135,000 adults from 18 countries, high carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction or cardiovascular disease mortality.
The answer is yes! Dr. Anna Cabeca, a double board-certified Ob-Gyn and Regenerative and Anti-Aging Medicine expert, has been using the keto diet to help treat women, especially those in perimenopause or menopause, and she’s hardly ever seen the diet fail to produce benefits. Her clients and patients have experienced weight loss, improved blood sugar control, better quality sleep and reduced menopause symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats.
For breakfast, you want to do something that’s quick, easy, tasty, and of course – gives you leftovers. I suggest starting day 1 on a weekend. This way, you can make something that will last you for the entire week. The first week is all about simplicity. Nobody wants to be making breakfast before work, and we’re not going to be doing that either!
Hi Dr. Jockers. Your article is very thorough, thank you. I’ve been moving slowly into the keto diet and so far everything is good except for my stools now float. Is the higher increase in fats to blame? I’m taking digestive enzymes before each meal and I still have my gallbladder.
Healthy Halloween Low-carb Thanksgiving Healthy Valentine’s Day Low-carb St Patrick’s Healthy Easter Recipes Healthy Holiday Season Healthy Party Recipes Autumn Low-Carb Recipes Travel-friendly Low-Carb Recipes Recipe Roundups From the KetoDiet Cookbook From the Fat Bombs Book From the Quick Keto Book
For breakfast, we are going to change it up a bit. Here’s where we introduce ketoproof coffee. Now, don’t get me wrong – I know some of you won’t like it. If you’re not a fan of coffee, then try it with tea. If you’re not a fan of the taste (which is very rare), then try making a mixture of the ingredients by themselves and eating it like that. So, why ketoproof coffee?
Some supplement their keto diets with MCT oil (MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides). Jadin’s opinion: It may help boost ketosis, but it’s not necessary and some people can’t tolerate the supplement.
“For sodium, I recommend salting your food, eating salty snacks, and using chicken broth,” Wittrock says. “Increasing sodium is hard for people to grasp, because they associate sodium intake with water retention and fat loss. But replacing your lost sodium is critical, especially when you’re working out.”
Use Magnesium Supplementation:  If you follow these strategies and continue to feel many of these symptoms, consider adding a magnesium supplement to your regimen. I would recommend taking the L-threonate form (such as our Brain Calm Magnesium) in a 1 gram dose – 3x per day between meals.
To prevent these you do the same thing that you’re already doing to prevent keto flu and that is upping your water and sodium intake. If you find that cramps still persist then you might look into taking a magnesium supplement.
Thanks to Noakes and other Keto Diet supporters, a growing number of athletes today prefer to be in that state at all times. Once they make the switch, they say, not only are their race results and game-day performances better, they report sustained energy, better moods, and clearer thinking.
Fat With Every Meal: Every meal should have at least one source of healthy fats. Ideally, you want to shoot for 70-80% of calories from fats for any given meal. My top sources are coconut (oil/butter/flakes/milk), grass-fed butter or ghee, olives/olive oil, and avocados.
Those with diabetes should be aware of diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a rare but dangerous state for diabetics who don’t take enough insulin, get sick or hurt or aren’t drinking enough fluids. Other causes of ketoacidosis could include alcoholism, an overactive thyroid or true starvation. In ketoacidosis, ketones levels reach an extremely high level, causing the blood to become acidic.
Eating keto doesn’t mean eating just any kind of fat or stuffing your face with cheese. Instead, it’s about mindfully choosing keto-friendly foods that are high in healthy fats and very low in carbs. Some protein is welcome but don’t mistake keto recipes with Paleo recipes that tend to be higher in protein. With keto, it’s all about the healthy fats that you will learn to work into each meal, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. See 25 of the best keto recipes here, where we’ve either whipped them up at Dr. Axe and found some delicious ones from around the web.
Dieters adhere to a strict 800-calorie high-protein, no-carb diet administered through the tube by a slow-drip pump mechanism. Only black coffee, tea, or water is allowed in addition to the liquid diet.
“It’s not so easy to get an adult body into ketosis,” says Teresa Fung, a professor of nutrition at Simmons College. “That’s why the keto diet is used as a treatment of epilepsy in children or infants—because it’s easier.” Kids are growing rapidly, she explains, so their use of food as fuel is different from the way adults use it. Researchers aren’t exactly sure what those differences are, but Fung says it’s so hard to get adults into deep ketosis (which is likely deeper than a dieter’s target) that often nutritionists don’t even attempt it as a therapy. It’s primarily kids who undergo the treatment today.
Below you’ll find a list of vegetables based on how low carb they are, so if you need help finding a certain one use the Find function (Ctrl + F). These are based on 1/2 cup (~4 oz.) or 100g servings, which is the general recommended serving size for vegetables.
Because of this response, glycogen stores are quickly burned up, hypoglycemia reoccurs, and the cycle continues. This is where HPA axis dysregulation promotes the onset of related symptoms while also exacerbating hypoglycemia-related issues.
First off, you’re in good company. More people—and more athletes—than ever are embracing a very low-carb, high-fat diet and sticking with it for months, or even years, on end. Once they successfully make the switch from using carbohydrates to using fat and ketones for fuel, they find they’re leaner, healthier, and more mentally focused than ever.
Like I said already, during the initial adaptation phase of a ketogenic diet, there is potential for the HPA axis to become dysregulated. During this time, it would be advantageous to take precautions to support the HPA axis as best as you can.
For the first month of Keto (lost 32 pounds in first month), I didn’t work out at all. The first month was solely keto and cutting out bad habits like soda. After recognizing the start of a plateau in weight after month 1, I began swimming 10-15 laps 5-6 days a week in the morning while incorporating intermittent fasting (IF). This definitely helped maintain the weight loss progression while seemingly maintaining muscle mass!

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Many people choose to use a mixture of the higher carb vegetables with lower carb ingredients. It’s a great flavor enhancer, but you don’t want over-saturate your diet with carby vegetables. Next time you’re in the mood for something a bit more on the sweet side, consider making one of the following:
Magnesium Supplementation:  This is outlined above but I want to touch on it again here. Magnesium is powerful support for the HPA axis. Magnesium L-threonate in particular is the only form proven to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier which means it can exert its effect on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
For ideas and inspiration on how to reach your macros, take a look at our ever-growing library of keto recipes. If you don’t want to do all of the planning yourself, consider getting detailed shopping lists and months of meal plans made for you with Our Keto Academy >
I initially intended to keep the net carb count around 20 a day, but it ended up working out even better than that. The 28 day average for the net carbs is 11.2g Net Carbs per day. The total carbs, on average, is 19.6g per day. Even if you’re not counting net carbs, this would be a great way to quickly get yourself into ketosis.
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