If you’ve heard anything about the keto diet, it’s probably that it’s an incredibly challenging eating plan. The keto diet is not for everyone. Some people do find it challenging and have to modify their approach in order to sustain it over time. However, if you’re brand new to the idea of eating a low carb diet, there are some simple ways to ease into things so that you don’t burn out after one week or feel like you can never eat another piece of lettuce again.
In general, the ketogenic diet forces your body to use fat as its primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates. This primarily happens because when following this type of diet, you significantly reduce your intake of carbohydrates and increase your intake of fats — especially saturated fats — at the same time. And while this may sound like an incredibly difficult way to eat, there are actually many benefits of being in a state of “ketosis,” which is essentially when the body burns fat as its main energy source rather than glucose from carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, rice or sugar.
Bottom line: The bottom line is that the best keto recipe for beginners is a simple meal that’s high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates.
The Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
It’s important to remember that the ketogenic diet is not just a fad diet. It is a more sustainable way of eating that can promote many health benefits. In fact, the ketogenic diet has been used for decades as a treatment for epilepsy in children who don’t respond well to medication. In recent years, many people have also used this style of eating as a sustainable way to lose weight. There are several different types of diets that fall under the category of “low carb, high fat” diets. This includes paleo and Whole30 diets, which are both low carb diets that encourage unprocessed, high-quality animal proteins, healthy fats and fibrous vegetables.
Decreased Risk of Chronic Disease
The ketogenic diet has also been shown to reduce risk factors for chronic disease, including hypertension, high cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance. Many people on a ketogenic diet report feeling more energetic and say they have fewer migraines, less joint pain and improved sleep quality.
The main reason why a ketogenic diet can improve so many aspects of health is because by reducing your carbohydrate intake, you have to rely on fat for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrate-rich foods, like grains and sugars. When you rely on fat for energy, your body goes into a state of “ketosis,” during which it burns fat for fuel instead of glucose.
Improved Mental Focus and Mood
Another surprising benefit of following a ketogenic diet is improved mental clarity and mood. Ketogenic diets have been shown to increase the release of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which has been proven to reduce anxiety, increase relaxation and decrease cravings.
These benefits are not just a temporary result of following the ketogenic diet, but are also seen in people who have been following this type of lifestyle for years. In fact, many people go on a ketogenic diet when they start a new career path in order to give themselves the mental edge needed to perform at the top of their game.
Increased Fat Loss and Muscle Gain
Finally, the ketogenic diet is known for helping people lose weight because it forces your body to burn fat for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates. A review article published in October 2012 found that the ketogenic diet caused an average weight loss of about 5 pounds in the first 2 weeks. However, this weight loss was not just due to decreased calorie intake. The researchers found that the ketogenic diet also increases energy expenditure through a reduction in the number of daily calories burned for digestion and metabolism.
The ketogenic diet can also help you improve athletic performance, especially in endurance sports like long-distance running and ultra-marathons. Research shows that following a ketogenic diet can increase fat oxidation and reduce lactate buildup.
How to Start a Keto Diet as a Beginner
As with any lifestyle change, it’s best to start off slow and use a bit of common sense. While many people find that following a ketogenic diet is incredibly easy, it is still a change in eating habits, which means that it might take some getting used to. If you are just starting out, it’s a good idea to ease into things gradually with a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) approach. This approach will allow you to see how your body reacts to this new way of eating and help you figure out what works best for your body.
In general, there are four stages of the ketogenic diet. It’s important to remember that every person is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to changing your diet. When it comes to transitioning to a ketogenic diet, these are the four stages to keep in mind.
The Low Carb, High Fat Foods You Should Be Eating
- Seafood – Salmon and sardines are two of the best staples to add to your diet when trying to eat more seafood.
- Eggs – Eggs are a great source of protein and can easily be added to your daily diet in a variety of ways.
- Dairy – Dairy is a controversial food item on a ketogenic diet. While it’s a low carb food, not all dairy is created equal when it comes to its nutritional content. For example, full-fat dairy like cheese and yogurt is a good source of saturated fat, while low-fat dairy such as milk and yogurt are not.
- Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are a great source of fat, protein and fiber, which is why they make an excellent choice for any type of diet.
- Vegetables – Vegetables are good for you no matter what diet you’re following. However, many people who are new to a ketogenic diet forget to include veggies as part of their daily eating plan.
The Pro Tips for Staying in Ketosis as a Beginner
- Stay Hydrated – It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when you are in a low carb diet, and dehydration can be a serious side effect of a ketogenic diet.
- Take Digestive Enzymes – If you find that you are having trouble digesting proteins, fats and carbs, digestive enzymes can help you break down your food and make it easier to digest.
- Don’t Forget About Electrolytes – Ketogenic diets can cause mild dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Make sure you’re getting enough sodium, potassium and magnesium.
- Take a Break – Follow the ketogenic diet for a couple of weeks, but don’t let it become a life sentence. Make sure to take some time off every now and then.
3 Super Easy Keto Meals For Beginners
- Salmon and Cauliflower – For a super easy and healthy ketogenic meal, try pan-frying salmon fillets with a side of steamed or roasted cauliflower. You can dress up the salmon in a variety of ways — try butter, garlic, lemon and herbs.
- Avocado and Egg – Hard-boiled eggs are an incredibly versatile food to add to your ketogenic diet, and they’re also very easy to prepare. Add them to salads and sandwiches or simply eat them on their own.
- Grass-fed Steak and Roasted Vegetables – Grass-fed steak is a great staple food for a ketogenic diet. You can cook it in many different ways — try grilling or pan-frying it — and serve it with roasted vegetables.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that when it comes to the best keto recipe for beginners, there are a lot of different things to take into consideration. Your current health, current eating habits and personal preferences will all factor into what will work best for you. With that being said, the best way to ease into a ketogenic diet is to slowly start reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with more healthy fats.