Beginners Guide to Keto

This is our ultimate Beginners Guide to Keto. If you’re reading this you likely have already made the decision to try this new lifestyle out.

 

1. Prepare your Mind 

Understand what the ketogenic diet is and what you want to get out of it. Having a clear vision and purpose is the first step to your success. 


Write your specific goals and intentions for trying the ketogenic diet
Example : I want to lose 15 lbs in 6 months in time for my brother’s wedding 

Remember they don’t need to be weight loss goals. As the ketogenic diet has many more benefits other than fat loss.
Example: I want to have less sugar cravings and dips in energy in the afternoons.

Break down your goals into each month or week depending on how much motivation you need. Small steps will keep you moving.

Why Setting Goals will Set you Up for Success

2. Prepare your Environment

  • Remove any foods that may throw you off track or tempt you. See Forbidden Foods Checklist.
  • Stock your pantry and kitchen with keto supporting foods and supplements so you don’t need to go searching for them after. Check out our Healthy Keto Grocery List below.
  • Tell your social circle you are embarking on this new keto lifestyle so you don’t need to explain why you are rejecting the beer or pizza
  • Make a list of restaurants that have some keto friendly dishes or at least restaurants that can be flexible with their menu. Hong Kong now has a lot of restaurants offering grassfed beef. And even some doing cauliflower pizza! 

3. Ease into the new diet 


For best results and to avoid the keto flu, it’s wise to ease into the new keto diet and lifestyle. I suggest a minimum of two week preparation where you slowly adjust your eating patterns and adjust your macronutrients. 

Once your body is more used to the lower carbohydrate intake and the cravings of carbohydrates have subsided you can then shock the system and move into a full keto diet with very low carb, moderate protein and high fat. The ratios will be different for each person. Every individual will need to play around with the carbohydrate content depending on their body composition and genetic predisposition.
It’s also important to note that every person will switch into ketosis in different times and stages depending on your baseline insulin resistance, how your body deals with stress and any other underlying conditions.

Below is a general plan of what to expect on keto and how best to prepare yourself.

Phase
Diet Macros
Checklist 
Preparation
(2 weeks prior to starting)
Lower carbohydrate 20% 
Moderate protein 40%
Moderate fat 40%
  • Eliminate all refined and processed foods : sugar, cookies, bread, pasta, unhealthy snacks etc from your diet 
Preparation
(1 weeks prior to starting)
Low carbohydrate 20%
Moderate protein 30%
Increase fat to 50%  
  • Get all of your carbohydrates from vegetables. Eat your vegetables and source of fat together, then fill the rest of your meal with the necessary protein you need to feel full. 
  • If needed you may want to consider taking a digestive enzyme or bitters supplement to help you break down and digest the fat
Keto Week 1
Low carbohydrate 20%
Moderate protein 20%
Increase fat to 60%  
  • Keep ensuring all of your carbohydrates are from vegetables. 
  • Add more liquid fats (e.g. olive oil, MCT oil, ghee)  into your meals to get your fat intake up
  • Remember to drink lots of water with himalayan salt or bone broth 
  • You may experience an initial drastic weight loss in week 1 (much of this will be water weight so remember to drink up!) 
Keto Week 2
Low carbohydrate 10%
Moderate protein 20%
Increase fat to 70%
  • Keep it up! 
  • If you start to have some symptoms of the keto flu just drink more water and you may want to supplement with a multivitamin-mineral 
  • Start measuring your ketones, you could be in ketosis! 
Keto Week 3
Low carbohydrate 10%
Moderate protein 20%
Increase fat to 70%
  • Keep measuring your ketones.
  • You’re hopefully in ketosis and should be gaining more energy while the extra weight will continue to shed . 
Keto Week 4
Low carbohydrate 10%
Moderate protein 20%
Increase fat to 70%
  • You should be in full fledged ketosis by now. Congratulations!
  • If not, don’t fret, you may want to take a closer look at your protein and carbohydrate intake. Journal what you’re eating and make tweaks. 
Keto Week 5
Low carbohydrate 10%
Moderate protein 20%
Increase fat to 70%
Plus 1 cheat day* (see below)  
  • *If you have achieved full ketosis you may want to consider including 1 cheat day to keep your metabolism flexible 
Keto Week 6
Low carbohydrate 10%
Moderate protein 20%
Increase fat to 70%
Plus 1 cheat day* (see below)  
  • CONGRATULATIONS if you’ve reached consistent ketosis through these past 6 weeks (apart from your cheat day) you have obtained a metabolic flexibility that will allow you to go in and out of ketosis more easily in the future. 

 

*Cheat days are included only in week 5 & 6 after you have achieved full ketosis for at least 2 weeks consecutively. Our bodies are made to adapt and your body will eventually adapt to a ketogenic state which means your metabolism will level off and the effects will be less apparent.  This is where you may need to include a cheat day to shock your system a little. This cheat day will tell your system that it’s not starving and that there is fuel coming so it can keep burning off the energy and ketones the body produces. This eventually can train your body to be metabolically flexible, a good indicator of health. 

KETO GROCERY LIST :

Produce

  • Olives 
  • Sauerkraut/Kimchi (freshly prepared) 
  • Wild fish/seafood
  • Organic Eggs 
  • Pasture raised meats
  • Avocado 
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli 
  • Artichokes 
  • Brussel Sprouts 
  • Zucchini
  • Celery 
  • Full fat dairy if you’re having (goat yoghurt preferred)

Oils

  • Ghee
  • Olive oil 
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Flax Oil / Omega 3.6.9 Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil

Pantry Staples

  • Nut butters (some carbohydrates) 
  • Nuts/Seeds (Almond, Brazil nuts, macadamia, sunflower seeds etc) 
  • Coconut shreds
  • Hemp Hearts 
  • Coconut Flour / Almond Flour 
  • Coconut Milk 
  • Coconut Cream
  • Cacao Butter
  • Cacao Paste
  • Cacao powder
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
  • Sweeteners
  • Stevia
  • Monk Fruit
  • Xylitol

Extras

  • Collagen 
  • Bone Broth 
  • Organic Coffee
  • Coffee Creamer
  • MCT Oil / Powder
  • Concentrated Ginger
  • Greens Powder : Beyond Greens

SUPPLEMENTS

  • Digestive Enzyme
  • Swedish Bitters

FORBIDDEN FOODS

  • Grains (wheat, rice, corn, quinoa etc)
  • Beans/ Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, red beans etc)
  • Starchy root vegetables (carrots, beetroot, potatoes etc)
  • Most fruits (bananas, pineapples, papaya, oranges, apples etc)
  • Fruit Vegetables (cherry tomatoes,
  • Sugars (of all forms including agave, honey, cane sugar,  juice concentrate, fruit juice, syrups, dried fruits, Equal, Splenda, aspartame etc) 
  • Inflammatory Oils (corn oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, canol oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil etc)
  • Flavoured and low fat dairy (e.g. low fat flavoured yogurts)
  • High Carb Alcohol (beer, wine, cocktails, flavoured liquor)

Occasionally Allowed

  • Low Carb Sweeteners (Monk fruit, Stevia, Erythritol, Xylitol)
  • Fruits (raspberries, blackberries)
  • 90% or higher dark chocolate sweetened with low carb sweetener

Top 3 Supplements to Assist You on the Keto Diet


We always start with wholefoods and good foods as our foundation, but sometimes some supplements and superfoods can give us that extra boost needed to get us to our destination quicker.

1. Digestive Enzymes

If you’re not used to eating such high fat content - which I assume majority of us are not, you may need a digestive enzyme to help break down this fat. Digestive enzymes are produced naturally in our body by our pancreas mainly but we do not always make enough to support the foods we eat. The breaking down of these macro nutrients like carbohydrates, protein and fat are extremely important in ensuring nutrients can then be taken up by our cells and utilised in our body. Protein and fats are particularly harder to break down and so a digestive enzyme will help ease you into the keto diet with less side effects like bloating, gas and diarrhea. Udo’s Choice Digestive Enzymes is a blend of 7 plant based enzymes that supports the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and protein.

2. Bitters

Bitters have been used for centuries to support digestion yet among the flavour profiles, it’s usually the one that is least favoured. Bile, produced by our liver and stored in our gallbladder is needed to break down fat. However if your liver and gallbladder are not working optimally you may have problems producing and secreting enough bile. Our liver and gallbladder are two detox organs that are often overburdened by our modern lifestyle so adding supportive bitters like Swedish Bitters to your keto diet would be useful in supporting your digestion.



3. MCT Oil Powder


MCT oil is a short chain saturated fatty acid that is naturally found in coconut oil and interestingly enough, also found in mother’s breast milk! MCT oil is often a favoured oil to include in a keto diet due to its efficacy in turning into ketones compared to other oils. MCT oil is also used as a direct source of energy by passing a lot of the normal pathways that other oils would need to go through in order to be utilised as fuel. MCT oil powder could be a good addition in speeding up your ability to push your body into ketogenic mode. I have chosen Locako’s MCT oil because they use more sustainably sourced coconut derived MCT, rather than palm and contains caprylic C8 and capric C10 oils naturally found in MCT. These two carbons are known to increase ketones more efficiently than C6 and C12 also found in MCT. Moreover, for those who still have not gotten used to taking oil, a powder type alternative can be easier to take in. What’s the difference between powder and oil? Not much actually! During the manufacturing processing from liquid to powder, a fiber type substance like acacia, is added to the ‘dried’ oil. Adding a fiber to the ‘oil to powder’ processing may provide prebiotic benefits to your intestinal tract.

 

4. Bone Broth

Though not technically a supplement, bone broth is so incredibly rich in minerals that I sometimes use it like a multi-mineral supplement. Bone broth is also an excellent way of replenishing electrolytes which is extremely important when transitioning into ketosis. The loss of electrolytes and the mineral imbalances is one of the reasons people may experience keto flu symptoms. You can easily make your own bone broth at home, but if you want something ready made, my go to bone broth powder that uses organic chickens or pasture raised beef and cooked for over 18 hours is by Nutra Organics. Bone broth also contains collagen and some amino acids and this can help you in retaining lean muscle mass as your body adapts to the changes. With the inclusion of collagen, it can also benefit your joints and gut health. Some will opt to include an extra collagen powder for a higher concentration of collagen. If you’re trying out keto and worry about collagen loss then you can consider this keto friendly collagen creamer with MCT oil powder by Locako. Their other flavoured collagens, my favourite is the peanut butter one, are sweetened with stevia making it keto friendly.

 

5. Probiotics 

 

On the topic of the gut, optimising your microflora is very important particularly at the onset of starting the keto diet where you will likely be eating less fiber that you would naturally get from eating wholegrains and vegetables. Since our microbiome plays a crucial role in our overhealth, the last things we want to do is have a diet mess that up. Any kind of shifts in our environment and lifestyle will also shift our microbiome, so to help your body shift easily and healthily into a ketogenic state, including a probiotic supplement for the first month or two would be wise. I use Udo’s Choice probiotics for many reasons, but the main reason is that they provide several strains that are proven to be human adapted and chosen according to the age group’s needs.


RECIPES
Breakfast

  • Spiced Avocado and Egg Mash
  • Crustless broccoli, egg and cheese quiche
  • Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie 
Spiced Avocado and Egg Mash 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large hass avocado
  • 2 hardboiled organic free range eggs
  • Dash Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ tsp Organic Traditions sprouted flax and chia mix
  • 2 tbsp Udo’s Oil Omega 3.6.9
  • Himalayan Salt to taste


METHOD

  1. Mash the avocado and eggs together
  2. Add in seasoning, oil and flax and chia mix and stir well
  3. Eat with flax crackers, zucchini sticks or on its own
Crustless Broccoli, Egg and Cheese Quiche

INGREDIENTS
  • 100g broccoli 
  • 3 inch stick of butter or 1 large tbsp of ghee
  • 5 organic free range eggs
  • Himalayan Salt to season
  • ½ cup full fat cottage cheese or plain yogurt


METHOD

  1. In a pan, lightly stir fry broccoli until tender , add water if needed to cook to ensure oil doesn’t get evaporated
  2. While waiting for the broccoli to cook, whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and season with salt.
  3. In a baking pan line with ghee or olive oil and preheat oven at 180C.
  4. Pour broccoli, yogurt or cheese and whisked eggs into the pan and mix well.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked.

Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie

INGREDIENTS
  • 2tbsp Locako Peanut Butter Collagen
  • 280ml Rude Health Coconut Milk
  • 1scoop Beyond Greens powder
  • 1tsp Organic Traditions Sprouted Flax and Chia powder


METHOD

  1. Add powders with the liquid in a blender and blend. 

Lunch

  • Asparagus Salad with Poached Egg
  • Cucumber Dill Salad with Sardines and Avocado
  • Grilled Zucchini Fritters with Avocado

Asparagus Dijon Cream Salad with Poached Egg
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 bunches thick asparagus with ends trimmed
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (see below for homemade mayo recipe to avoid the refined vegetable oils)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Homemade Mayonnaise
Blend on high the ingredients below :

  • 1 large egg yolk (or ½ avocado for egg free version)
  • 1 cup Organic Traditions Ice Pressed Olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp filtered water (add more for thinner consistency)
  • Himalayan Salt to taste


METHOD

  1. Bring two large pots or pans of water to boil.
  2. In one of the pans, bring the heat down to a low medium and gently crack the eggs into the water to poach them. Cook for about 1 min for a runny egg.
  3. In the other pot, place the asparagus stalks in the water and boil for around 3-4 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and transfer asparagus to an ice bath to cool the asparagus and to preserve the nutrients and colour.
  5. Plate the asparagus and pour the dijon cream over top.
  6. Add the poached egg and drizzle more cream on top.
  7. Optional to add chive garnishing.

Cucumber Dill Salad with Sardine and Avo mash

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 bunch dill finely chopped
  • 1 tin wild & sustainably caught sardines
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar (make sure there’s no added sugar in your balsamic)
  • 3 tbsp Organic Traditions Ice Pressed Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


METHOD

  1. Slice cucumbers thinly, sprinkle with salt and set aside to drain excess water for about 10 minutes. (don’t miss this step, you don’t want a sloppy salad).
  2. While draining, mash avocado and sardines together and season with vinegar and salt and pepper
  3. Transfer cucumbers and chopped dill in a bowl and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper
  4. Mix in sardine, avo mash to the cucumber and dill mix.
  5. Eat immediately .

Grilled Zucchini Fritters

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 medium zucchini grated
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning or seasoning of choice
  • 1tsp Organic Traditions sprouted flax and chia powder
  • Himalayn Salt to taste
  • Ghee for frying


METHOD

  1. Grate the zucchinis and sprinkle salt on top and set aside in a colander to drain for about 10min.
  2. Whisk the egg.
  3. Mix in grated cheese, garlic, flax/chia powders and seasoning to the egg mixture. Let it sit.
  4. Squeeze out any excess water from the zucchinis
  5. In a clean bowl mix together the zucchini and egg mixture.
  6. Heat a generous amount of ghee in a hot pan
  7. Spoon rounded tablespoons of batter into the hot pan and flatten to make large coins.
  8. Fry on each side for about 2 minutes until golden brown.


Dinner

  • Cauliflower Stir Fry with Salmon
  • Cream of Mushroom (especially good for the keto flu)
  • Chicken zoodle soup 
Cauliflower Ginger Stir Fry with Salmon 


INGREDIENTS

  • ½  head cauliflower
  • 200g wild caught salmon or fish of choice (vegetarians can opt for tempeh)
  • 2 tbsp Organic Traditions ice pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp tamari or coconut amino 
  • 4-6 drops of Lemon Pharma Concentrated Ginger (or to taste)
  • Himalayan Salt and pepper


METHOD

  1. Cut up fish in small pieces and marinate with tamari/amino, ginger and salt and pepper
  2. Strain cauliflower well until dry and chop in large chunks and set aside.
  3. Pulse cauliflower florets in a blender or food processor. If you don’t have these appliances chop into small pieces.
  4. Heat wok on medium with coconut oil and fry the pieces of salmon until 40-50% cooked through
  5. Throw in the cauliflower and the leftover marinade sauce and toss well on low heat.
  6. Cook until sauce has evaporated and cauliflower is cooked
  7. Drizzle with olive oil before serving. 

Cream of Mushroom

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 large portobello mushrooms
  • ½ onion
  • 4 tbsp Bali Sun virgin coconut oil for stir frying 
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • 3 tbsp Nutra Organic bone broth
  • ½ cup coconut milk


METHOD

  1. Stir fry mushrooms and onion in coconut oil on medium heat until onions are browned.
  2. Add in coconut milk and bone broth and simmer on low for 2 minutes. 
  3. Throw the cooked mixture with the rest of the ingredients into a blender and blend on high.
  4. Add more liquid for desired consistency. If you’re experiencing the keto flu, thin out the soup with more liquid broth.

Chicken Zoodle Soup


INGREDIENTS
  • 250g organic free range chicken breast sliced
  • 1 lime wedge, juiced
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Bali Sun Virgin coconut oil
  • 2 zucchinis
  • Large handful of cilantro and basil
  • 2tbsp Nutra organic Chicken Bone Broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 red chilli peppers diced (optional)
  • Filtered water to cover ingredients


METHOD

  1. Marinate the sliced chicken strips in salt, pepper, half of the lime juice and chilli peppers if using.
  2. Use a spiralizer to make zoodles. If you don’t have a spiralizer simply use a vegetable peeler to make long strips of the zucchini.
  3. Wash and dry the cilantro and basil and set aside
  4. In a large pot, heat the coconut oil on medium and stir fry the chicken breasts along with the seasoning. 
  5. Once fully cooked add in water, broth, the rest of the lime juice and coconut milk. Cook on medium heat for 5 min.
  6. Turn down heat and throw in the zoodles, cilantro and basil. Turn off heat immediately after it comes to a light boil.
  7. Sprinkle with crushed almonds or hemp seeds (optional). 


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