Ketosis is in right now, in a big way. And for the new year, the quad is going keto.
We’ve actually all done it separately before to much success. C lost 70 pounds in 2012. E lost 50+ (still counting) this year. C&K have been paleo for 6+ years. We’ve done Whole30s, the SCD — pretty much every version of low carb there is. The difference is this time we’re doing it together and coordinating four people. We’ve actually got six people starting on Jan. 1 as two friends are also jumping in, too.
There are tons of keto guides out there, so I won’t go into all the science. The long story short is that if we never run out of carbohydrates, our bodies will just use the easier-to-burn sugar. Removing carbs allows the body to use fat stores by shifting into a state called ketosis. If you’re interested in the details, check out my resource for all things health: Mark’s Daily Apple. The blog and primal (modified paleo) diet really helped turn my health around (no more migraines). Mark has a great ketosis guide online and just so happens to a brand-new keto book out. I hear it’s amazing.
The part we want to share today is how to prep for this. I find it’s the key to success.
Evacuate all carbs
This just means stop buying anything with sugar or more than a handful of carbs in it (we usually don’t go over 20g of carbohydrates per day and 0g of sugar, for example). You’ll instead be focusing on non-starchy vegetables, meat, cheese (if your body is cool with lactose), healthy fats, and maaaaybe some berries depending on how much fat you want to lose and how quickly. If you’ve never done this before, definitely get Mark’s book or an online guide to which foods to focus on. We spent this holiday week eating all the carbs in the house in preparation. We even made a weird casserole from carbs and leftovers (we hate wasting food). This step is basically about removing temptation. If you’re like me, you probably love carbs and they will tempt you.
Stock up on low-carb or no-carb snacks and staples
If you haven’t been living paleo for a while, like C and I, you might not have any of these items on hand. They are really helpful, though when you’re just starting out. There are a few big-ticket items here, but they will last you a really long time, so we suggest buying them in preparation if you can afford it. The idea is to be prepared so you won’t be tempted with eating out or fast food. This is where a Costco membership comes in handy. We bought many of these items and split them with the rest of our friends in ketosis.
- Avocado cooking oil (this almost-tasteless oil should replace your vegetable oil)
- Olive oil
- High-quality butter (Kerrygold or similar will give you the best fat profile)
- Heavy cream (add to coffee or to thicken sauces)
- Frozen vegetables (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower)
- Lard (yes, it’s a healthy fat if sourced right)
- Canned tuna
- Canned chicken breast
- Chicken broth
- Coconut aminos (soy sauce replacement)
If you’re worried about sticking to the diet, some keto-friendly baking can help you push through. We’ll be posting some of our keto-friendly creations here soon.
- Seaweed snacks (great for crunch, with can lack sometimes in keto land)
- Organico Organic Pitted Green Olives in Brine & Herbs – 280g
- Smoked salmon
- Dry-roasted macadamia nuts
- EPIC Artisanal Pork Rinds Snack, Sea Salt and Pepper, BBQ Seasoning, Maple Bacon, 2.5 ounce (Assortment)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Cheese wisps (definitely get these)
- Beef jerky (be careful and look for a brand without added sugar)
What keto looks like
Though individual people’s ratios may very, E had success with a caloric intake that looked roughly like:
Make chart: 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% vegetables.
Meal-time plates actually looked like: (chart this) 70% veg, 20% protein, 10% fat.
Hard-boiled eggs are great to have in the fridge. We also like an easy-to-make egg casseroles when we’re in a pinch. But if you can plan ahead, you’ll be much more likely to stick to it. We suggest planning a few meals for the week. Make enough for each meal that you’ll have plenty of leftovers for the fridge. We’ll include some of our recipes here soon, but we make a lot of simple meals like omelets, taco salads, and buffalo chicken. Check out our Pinterest board for some recipes to try.
You should be able to cook everything with the tools you have on hand. But, if you’re interested in making your life a bit easier, I cannot recommend two items more: veggie noodle spiralizer (makes noodles out of veggies) and the Instant Pot, which is a pressure cooker has a bunch of other functions, too. The Instant Pot especially makes cooking stews and chilis fast.
Test if you want to be sure
Ketosis test strips can be found online or at a drugstore. If you’re curious as to whether you’re in ketosis or at least nearby, pick up a set of these strips. You’ll be able to see how different foods affect your levels by testing daily.
C lost his weight just with keto and walking, so while it’s definitely more about the food than the exercise, definitely go for it. Favor walking, lifting weights, and outdoor recreation.
There are going to be social events, holidays, and family gatherings. It’s up to you as to whether you can say no. It’s okay to take short breaks, too, depending on your goals. When I’m not trying to lose weight, I’m usually in a maintenance form of primal where I eat all of the fruit I want with relaxed rules on the weekends.
So, good luck and happy 2018.