What is the Ketogenic diet plan? Ketogenic diet, or Keto for short, is one of the most popular diets around for good reason.
Not only can it help you lose weight, but it’s also good for your overall health. And yet it is vilified constantly by Dieticians. Why is that?
Today we take a brief look at what a Ketogenic diet is, and what types of Keto diets there are, and why many Dieticians tell us that the Keto diet is unhealthy when clearly it is not.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes.
Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food and getting some sunshine is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life. You want a quality long life.
I like to focus on simple concepts and moving forward one step at a time for sustained progress.
If that sounds good to you, then be sure to get your PDF copy of my free KETO FOOD GUIDE printable by signing up below and get started eating more quality fats.
**My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them**
What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
A Ketogenic diet means that you eat foods that put your body into dietary ketosis.
Ketosis is a survival mechanism from our hunter/gatherer days and is a very efficient way of preserving life. Ketosis causes us to burn body fat for fuel when there is no food available, and in this way we live to hunt and gather another day.
Our current dietary guidelines would have us eating a lot of carbohydrates for energy, which works but is temporary.
When we burn sugar for energy, it is quick and burns up fast which requires us to eat multiple times per day to maintain energy levels, and is a very inefficient system.
If you were a hunter/gatherer eating a high carbohydrate diet, you would starve to death in winter or if you could not find food.
This is a major flaw in “the Vegan diet is the diet of a healthy planet” because that would mean that up until the invention of modern food preservation, the only people who would survive had to live at the equator in order to have year round vegetation.
Whereas, if you eat whatever is available in whatever season you are in, you will survive.
- Spring: fresh, green leafy plants are up first, followed by other less-hardy greens and early berries.
- Summer: fruit and veggies are growing at different times and some trees have ready fruit while others are not ripe yet; also summer squash, cucumber, tomato etc.
- Fall: many trees still have plenty of fruit, like pears and apples. Fall veggies/fruits like pumpkins and other hardy squash, onions, carrots etc
- Winter: meat, fish, game. If you had any dried berries, you can do what the Inuit did and make pemmican. Read about pemmican at Brittanica.
The seasons lead us through a journey of eating the foods that our body needs to survive another year:
- Leafy greens in spring – after a winter of no vegetation – gives us vital nutrients to ready us for the coming months of hunting and gathering. Along with this, while we are searching for food in spring, we are outside getting sunshine and loading our body up with Vitamin D, which is vital to health.
- Summer/fall – we can fill up on a variety of foods that give us different types of nutrients that keep us healthy. Sweeter fruits usually ripen in late summer and early fall. This helps us “fatten up” before we basically hibernate in our caves for a winter of less activity and potentially less food.
- Winter – we eat meat, fish and any birds we can find. Meat is very efficient in keeping us alive and sustained for multiple hours and it usually comes with the added benefit of meat fat, which helps us to maintain brain health, which is also vital for survival.
The Keto Diet Food List
The reason that Keto is so popular is that the food is the same type of food that people have been eating for thousands of years, so it is easy to shop for.
People on a Keto diet usually use a free food tracker app, like Cronometer, to track their macro-nutrients, or macros.
Pro-tip: shop the perimeter of the store. Meat, dairy, produce.
Macro-nutrients are fat, protein and carbohydrates.
On a keto diet you aim for higher fat and lower carbohydrates.
Low carbohydrates means that your body will burn that energy first and then move on to burning body fat, which is what we want.
On the Keto diet, your macros are usually 65% or higher of fat, 15% to 30% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
For me, the ideal macro ratio is fat: 80%, protein: 15%, and carbs: 5%. That may sound like a lot of fat, but when you use a nutrient tracker it is easier to
see how it is not as much as you think.
Your goal is to eat high quality fats.
Foods like avocado’s, butter, well marbled meat, eggs and other foods are high in saturated fat, which your body uses to provide nourishment to your cells and more importantly, to your brain.
Your brain is made up of primarily fat, so feeding it quality fat is a very good idea.
Industrial seed oils, used in all processed foods and fast foods, is very poor quality because of how it is made.
You may be skeptical about eating more fat, and I get that.
We have been told for over 50 years that it is unhealthy, but that was to benefit farmers and lobbyists who grow the seeds that are made into seed oils.
There never was any solid proof that saturated fat, or beef for that matter, is unhealthy in any way to a human body (unless you have a food allergy to it, in which case do not eat it!).
I found this really helpful article about cholesterol that you may want to read it, especially if you are a woman, and you are trying to wrap your brain around why you should eat more fat.
It is from Dr. Malcolm Kendrick and it is called Silence was the stern reply.
Keto Foods in a nutshell
Keto foods are meat, low-sugar veggies, and berries (also low in natural sugars). Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and grab the Keto Food Guide freebie.
Before we get more into the foods you can eat, let’s look at the different types of Keto diets.
Types of Keto Diets
Back when Dr. Atkins was promoting his low-carb diet in the early 2000’s, it was really the only choice. South Beach and others came along and tweaked various aspects, but Atkins diet was the first out of the gate and had the biggest impact.
Dr. Atkins diet had 4 phases, and they are currently called: Induction, Balancing, Pre-Maintenance, and Maintenance.
The Induction phase is ketogenic.
It involves eating 2 cups of fresh and 1 cup of other veggies, along with eating meat. You could have berries, but only in the next phase. You were also limited in how much dairy, nuts, and some other foods, because they are known to cause weight loss stalls.
Atkins diet was based on the use of Ketogenic diets in the 1920’s being used for medical patients who were suffering epileptic seizures. It was discovered that eating a higher fat diet helped many people with this issue and was used for 20 years until the invention of anti-epileptic drugs.
Very Low Carb
Very low carb, or VLC, was an off-shoot of low-carb message boards and is currently known as the Carnivore diet. This was pretty much meat, eggs, and butter with some dairy if you could tolerate it and it did not cause a stall.
People jumped on to VLC because it was easy and produced some amazing results.
People with lots of food allergies, or health conditions that were not getting better with conventional medications were suddenly being healed while on this super low-carb diet (under 5% daily carbs). Ready my post on the Carnivore diet.
Carnivore diet is basically an elimination diet.
For a regular elimination diet, you “eliminate” most foods and add them back one at a time while you monitor your health. So if you eat tomato’s and get hives 2 hours later you would pretty much know that you have some kind of food allergy to tomato’s.
But for the Carnivore diet crowd, you just keep eating meat until you no longer have whatever symptoms and then you can start adding in keto foods and testing them to see how you react.
FYI: I eat carnivore in winter because it snows here in winter, so there would be no veggies growing naturally. And I love it, and I know it is healing my body.
This came out of the Atkins days. Dirty Keto is when you eat anything that is on the Keto food list, regardless of its ingredients. As long as the food fits your macro’s, you are good to go.
Foods that people on dirty Keto eat are:
- Any and all processed meats
- Sugar-free candies and treats made with artificial sweeteners
- Protein bars
- Fat bomb
- Fast food burgers without the bun.
The list is long, and allows you to eat industrial seed oils like canola and safflower, and other poor quality ‘foods’.
This is what gave the Atkins diet a bad name all those years ago…people reporting that they only ate sausages and bacon and then getting sick. Mainstream media picked up on it and suddenly everyone who was doing really well with clean keto were suddenly stamped with the word “unhealthy”.
Clean keto is what I advocate for. With clean keto, you eat the freshest and best quality meat and veggies that you can get.
In my opinion, this means eating veggies when they are naturally in season, rather than eating veggies year round. This would mimic how people ate for thousands of years before modern refrigeration and shipping gave us food from other countries, at all times of the year.
However, eating with the seasons gives us more than just fresh food…
It gives us fresh nutrients that help us build up our health for times when there is no food, like during a harsh winter or a natural disaster.
As well, the sweetest produce is usually ripe in late summer and early fall, which allows us to fatten up before we hibernate for winter.
I do not mean that we would sleep the entire winter.
It is just that because of the limited daylight, weather, and other conditions, sleeping uses less physical energy. And there was not much else to do.
Also there are only so many ways that our ancestors could preserve food, and drying was the main way. It is easy enough to dry meat (aka jerky) but only some veggies and fruits do well with drying.
Foods like Pemmican were created because they provided full nutrition to anyone out hunting during winter or if you had to be away from camp for a time.
Ketogenic Diet Plan Foods
So, depending on whether you want to eat clean keto or dirty keto will determine what to shop for.
Dirty Keto Food List
I only recommend dirty keto foods if you are desperate and need food, like when you are traveling but your flight is postponed. It is not healthy to eat these foods because they are highly processed and usually contain questionable ingredients.
Jerky, pepperoni, pork rinds, canned salted nuts, fast food burgers without the bun, packaged lunch meat, Keto trail mix, low-carb and/or sugar-free processed snacks and treats, and any other convenience foods you can find that fit your macros, like frozen cauliflower pizza crusts.
Clean Keto Food List
Clean meat: steak, chops, cubes of stew beef etc. As long as it has no coatings and requires you to cook it, it should be okay.
If you can get pastured, grass-fed or otherwise free range meats and eggs, they are the better quality.
Low-sugar veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, cabbage, avocado, tomato, kale, cucumber, lettuces, spinach.
You can have fresh berries as long as the sugars in them don’t trigger sugar cravings for you.
I have a Fearless Keto Diet Kit bundle that I created to help people that are new to this way of eating. It has been downloaded
almost over 200 hundred times now and it will help you get set up for success with Keto diet.
Note about why Clean Keto is superior
I highly recommend going with clean keto if you are trying to heal health issues and lose weight, because of the lack of processed food.
Many lab-created ingredients are not actual food, they just seem like it.
Vegetable oils are not made from vegetables, except for corn oil. However, if you squeeze corn you do not get oil from it. Many other countries around the world refer to this product as a “seed oil” because that is what it is.
But your body knows the difference and tries to eliminate them because they cause inflammation, and inflammation leads to most other health issues.
You can read more about this here at Fairfax Times.
As well, processed food manufacturers use inferior quality ingredients and a lot of extra sodium.
When you eliminate these types of ingredients from your diet, you start to see health improvements right away. This is mainly because your immune system does not have to work as hard and can focus on helping you in other ways.
As well, many processed foods use sweetener in the form of fructose or high fructose corn syrup, which highly addictive.
Even foods you would not think would have sugar added, do.
Because they can use the addictive power of fructose to get you hooked. Check out this article from Global News (a Canadian new site) and check their list of ingredients in fast food fries, and please note ingredient #10. Yuk.
You can read about why high fructose corn syrup is so unhealthy and what it does to your body here at the Dr. Axe website.
Eating clean food is a major part of holistic living, and a Ketogenic diet is part of that. We survived as a species by eating food that was locally available to us. Now the government food guidelines and dieticians would have us think that eating tons of processed cereals and grains is the food of health.
There is a reason that farmers feed grains to animals to fatten them up before slaughter…
Eat the best food that you can afford to give your body what it needs to keep you in optimal health. And be sure to grab your KETO FOOD GUIDE by signing up below.
Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here’s to our health!