Starting a new diet can be challenging, especially if another “diet” may be something else that doesn’t work. Instead of worrying that a new diet will yet again disappoint, thinking of ways to improve health is sometimes more beneficial. For example, many people are improving their health by eating fewer carbs. The diet is called the ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat and very low-carb eating plan. It’s a diet, but we like to consider it as a new way of life. It’s a “diet” that can help you lose weight, have more energy, and reduce body inflammation, to name a few benefits. If you’re curious about this incredible diet, you can check out the Body Reboot book which discusses the keto diet and its many health benefits. As a beginner, you may wonder what steps you can take to better prepare you for a low carb diet going forward. Below are actions to take before hopping on the keto bandwagon.
Try Bulletproof Coffee
If you’re not familiar with bulletproof coffee, it’s about to become your best friend on a low carb diet. It helps curb your appetite and has other benefits that Everyday Health mentions below.
Made by mixing coconut oil and butter into your coffee, this drink will help keep your hunger at bay, giving you time to plan your next meal, advises Mancinelli.
Just note that coconut oil has the potential to send LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels soaring, so if you have or are at an increased risk for heart disease because of family or personal health history, you’ll likely want to avoid this drink. To be on the safe side, check with your doctor.
When starting a diet, it’s important to stay well hydrated. Your body will be going through a lot of changes, and part of helping it go through the changes is by staying hydrated. Medical News Today reminds us that without electrolytes you can get sick, which is why it’s important to keep vigilant about your health.
The level of an electrolyte in the blood can become too high or too low, leading to an imbalance. Electrolyte levels can change in relation to water levels in the body as well as other factors.
Important electrolytes are lost in sweat during exercise, including sodium and potassium. The concentration can also be affected by rapid loss of fluids, such as after a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.
These electrolytes must be replaced to maintain healthy levels. The kidneys and several hormones regulate the concentration of each electrolyte. If levels of a substance are too high, the kidneys filter it from the body, and different hormones act to balance the levels.
An imbalance presents a health issue when the concentration of a certain electrolyte becomes higher than the body can regulate.
Low levels of electrolytes can also affect overall health. The most common imbalances are of sodium and potassium.
Treating an electrolyte imbalance involves either restoring levels if they are too low or reducing concentrations that are too high.
This treatment is used mainly for people experiencing an electrolyte shortage alongside dehydration, normally following severe diarrhea.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved a solution to be used in oral rehydration therapy that contains:
2.6 grams (g) of sodium
1.5 g of potassium chloride
2.9 g of sodium citrate
These are dissolved in 1 liter (l) of water and given orally.
Have a Meal Plan
Meal planning is something that’s important to implement because it’ll help you stay on course when losing weight. Part of meal planning is knowing what you’re going to buy ahead of time because without a plan you’re more likely to make bad decisions. A blogger on Kitchn offers some advice on how to meal plan and prepare for your diet.
What is meal planning? It’s whatever way you organize yourself to cook a meal, whether that’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is the plan you make before you shop. Some people plan a month in advance, freezing neatly-labeled packets of soup and stew. Others wing it, shopping for that evening’s meal at the farmers’ market and picking up whatever looks good to them. Meal planning is a really personal thing. What works for you may not work for me. The goal, I think, is to find a process that is both enjoyable and effective.
One of the things I sensed in our readers’ comments is that many of them enjoyed reading through cookbooks, clipping recipes from blogs and websites, and taking some time to anticipate cooking. I think this is an important part of meal planning. Meals aren’t just solutions to the problem of needing to eat; making a meal is also an expression of creativity — even if it’s just cutting a PB&J sandwich into a new shape. Find ways to inspire yourself and to look forward to cooking. That’s the spirit that animates this whole endeavor.
Understand What Type of Foods to Eat and Avoid
When beginning your journey on a low carb diet, it’s important to know which types of food you should be eating. Eliminating unhealthy carbohydrates and unhealthy foods are something you’ll need to do to get healthy and lose weight.
“Reprogramming your body from being a sugar burner to ultimately being a fat burner can take anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on your current metabolic state, your sugar-dragon, and your mindset,” says Mavridis.
So, unless you’re already eating very clean or Paleo, it can be hard for you to jump all into this new way of eating. It’s all about your individual journey towards attaining optimal health and you need to start with where you’re at.
“My suggestion is to start with changing your mindset first and foremost around three very important facts: this is not just another diet, you don’t have to live in Ketosis forever, and you will not be depriving yourself. Having said that, if you are used to eating highly-processed sugary food and refined carbohydrates you’ll need to ease into it,” she explains.
“The very first step, in my opinion, is to eliminate the C. R. A. P. = Carbohydrates, Refined Sugars, Artificial Foods, Processed Foods,” Mavridis suggests. Start by removing refined sugars and processed carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, sugary drinks, energy bars, cereals, alcohol, sweets, etc.).
This doesn’t mean that you can never have some of your favorite foods again. Once you get past the adaptation phase and you have tested that you are in Ketosis, you can start experimenting with Keto versions of the foods you don't want to give up. Here are a few simple Keto recipes to start with. If you're looking for ready-to-eat Keto-friendly options, check out Country Archer Meat Sticks, Cuvee Coffee, and FBOMB nut butters.
Realize You’re Going to be Eating a Lot of Fat
Getting over the hump that you’ll be consuming a lot of fat is something some people struggle with. However, to stay on a high-fat diet you'll need to eat foods with fat. Luckily not all of the fat you will eat is “bad,” and it’s even speculative whether fatty meats can lead to health concerns down the line. If you are concerned stick with healthy fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil, and the like. Bulletproof has an excellent summary of what type of fats you should focus on eating:
Oils and fats: Most calories on the keto diet come from fats, so load up. Choose saturated and monounsaturated fats like butter, lard, and ghee, along with coconut oil, fish oil, and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Your daily fat count also comes from egg yolks and fatty meats and seafood.
Keep it Bulletproof: Opt for grass-fed butter and ghee, and avoid canola, cottonseed, corn, flaxseed, peanut, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils.
Understand the Keto Flu May Happen
Everyday Health explains why the keto flu happens and what you can do to combat it. Keep in mind that not everyone on this high fat, low carb diet will experience the keto flu, but it never hurts to be prepared.
For all the attributes of a ketogenic diet (like weight loss), there’s one big side effect you have to be prepared for: the keto flu.
The keto flu is a term that refers to the period after you start the diet when your body is adjusting to burning fat for energy. “Some people have no problem with it and others are miserable,” says Mancinelli.
In the first week or 10 days, you may feel extremely lethargic in your limbs. Walking upstairs may feel impossible. You may deal with mental fog.
For that reason, you should pick a start date when your week isn’t crazy with deadlines and obligations; choose a slower time when you can rest as needed. Along the same lines, you’ll want to be sure to take it easy with exercise for the first week or two as your body adjusts to burning more fat rather than carbs for fuel.
Now that you know what steps you can take before starting a low carb diet, perhaps you’re anxious to learn more. Right now we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book. We hope to create awareness about unhealthy habits and help people learn how they can lose weight and get healthy! Cover the cost of shipping, and we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Go over to this page to see if there are any copies left.
Sources: Everyday Health, Medical News Today, Mealz, Kitchn, Forbes, Bulletproof
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