As one begins to embark on the Ketogenic diet many challenges arise; ranging from social to medical to the fear-inducing Keto-flu to fighting carbohydrate or sweet cravings to the “what on Earth am I going to eat?!” question.
Friends and family may be shocked when you decide to eat a high fat diet after believing that fat is the enemy campaign for the last 40 years, options at the coffee shop are slim to none, and people look at you like you are in a cult as you describe your fat-burning breakthrough.
While all these challenges may seem funny, they feel very real to those of us that have “Gone Keto.”
Let’s go through and see how we can get through some of these challenges.
Medically research has shown the Keto diet has shown great promise in slowing and in some cases stopping the progression of many chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritic conditions, high cholesterol/low HDL cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for a high carbohydrate diet.
The Keto-Flu is a short period during which the body is adapting over to using ketones for fuel instead of carbohydrates. One way to reduce the symptoms of the Keto-Flu is to begin the Keto diet slowly with a slow carb diet by gradually getting rid of carbs over a few weeks.
Increasing salt intake will also help as it is critical to keep a healthy electrolyte balance; pink Himalayan sea salt has a nice blend of minerals and works well for this. Increasing water intake to about 2-3 liters per day is very important as well because as we decrease the number of carbs we eat the body will flush out excess water.
Social life can get a little tricky on Keto. Most people socialize around food and will not support a person who isn’t eating the typical American fare. This is when Keto support groups and Keto meet-ups can be helpful. There are many options for support groups that only meet online and there are some groups that meet in person on a regular basis.
Sharing recipes and pushing through a plateau is always easier with friends that have been through the same struggles. Carrying your own oil packets can also be helpful when eating out as you can add a healthy fat to most meals and still get it to be Keto-friendly.
And the question… What am I going to eat?!
As one transitions from high carb to slow carb to keto increasing fat is easy because it is done in steps. Cutting out grains, sugar, and potatoes the first week is a great way to reduce carbs. Adding coconut oil or grass-fed butter to coffee is a nice way to increase fat intake. Pouring olive oil on everything you eat will increase the fat intake. Eating one avocado per day will add over 20g of fat while only adding about 10g of carbs. Taking the next steps of eliminating underground vegetables, keeping protein to about 20% of your caloric intake and fueling up on fats can come later when you have gotten comfortable with the slow carb lifestyle.
Fighting the carb and sweets craving can be a challenge if there are no healthy options around. A great thing to have on hand at all times is dark chocolate (either 70% cacao or stevia sweetened); a square or two can usually cut through any sweet craving. Also, dropping one in your coffee along with a spoon of coconut oil is like eating a Mounds bar. Another option to have stored in your freezer or fridge is sweet or savory Keto-bombs/fat-bombs. These are like truffles made with healthy fat and a small amount of flavoring (you choose) that can be popped in your mouth whenever you feel a craving come on.
As with any new diet or exercise program, it is always recommended to consult your medical doctor especially if you are on any medications.
Listen to your body and go slowly.
– Erin Kirkpatrick