First, watch “The Magic Pill” documentary. I found it on Netflix. Listen to its arguments for adopting a lifestyle like the ones depicted on the video.
Second, visit your physician and get his input. Go over your current diagnoses, medications, etc. Ask about possible supplements you may need to take while eating a ketogenic diet. Ask the doctor to help you in your journey with recommendations. Discuss the “keto flu” with him, including strategies for dealing with the lack of energy you may experience when beginning your process. Go ahead and begin taking any supplements recommended.
Thirdly, read and research the material available on the ketogenic lifestyle, including portion size, recommended foods, and the “no eat” list. I also have links to Pinterest on this site that you can click and review. There is information about foods and a plethora of other topics there.
Simply put, you can eat green vegetables that grow above the ground. You may not eat root vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and carrots. Focus on the foods you can eat-not on what you think you are “giving up.” The way I have dealt with this issue is that I’ve decided in my mind that I am “allergic” to the “no eat” foods, i.e., they are bad for me and will eventually make me “sick.”
Fourth, buy a “keto starting package’ of staples and foods you can eat. I’m no expert, but these are the items I recommend you purchase: pasture-raised organic eggs (here in the South I pay about $4-6 for them, uncured sugar free bacon (available at most grocery stores), heavy cream, either guacamole or avocados, celery, onions, almond butter, Himalayan salt, coffee, mayonnaise, walnuts or almonds, ground beef (doesn’t have to be lean), chicken (antibiotic-free if you can afford it), unsweetened shredded coconut, ghee (butter), unrefined coconut oil, cacao powder, Swerve (again, if you can afford it, broccoli (fresh or frozen), cauliflower (fresh or frozen), cheese, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, and strawberries. The rule of thumb is to buy perishable food more often then non-perishable. And, do not buy “lite” products-you want the good fat in your diet. Again, the Pinterest link takes you to lists of these items.
Fifth-and very important-download the “Carb Manager” app, or any other one you like that tracks “macros.” This app keeps up with the number of grams of fat, protein, and carbs you consume daily. If you input your weight, etc. in the “my measurements” section, the app will calculate how many calories you need to eat daily. There is a “pro” version of the app that has a fee, but I’ve been using the free version for almost seven months now, and it does a good job for me. Try not to get so “caught up” that you lose sight of just living your life.
And, sixth, try eating keto for seven days. You can find millions of recipes online, or click my Pinterest link for them. Try some that sound good to you. I usually eat scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon for breakfast and have coffee with extra cream. For lunch I often have chicken salad and an avocado or guacamole.
I look at my Carb Manager app during the day and input my food, and my supper is based on how I’m doing with my macros that day.
If you are having trouble getting enough fat grams in your day, look up a recipe for “four ingredient fat bombs.” These can help align your fat content. Fat bombs are usually a little sweet and can be used as a treat, as well on just helping up your fat grams. Common ingredients for them are cacao powder, coconut oil, almond butter, and sweetener. The Pinterest link on my pages contains many pictures and recipes for fat bombs.
Stop and Assess
So, hopefully, you made it a week!!! Congrats! But, now what?
Sit down and consider. How do you feel? Are you hungry? What do you like about this lifestyle and what do you need to adjust? What foods do you miss? Be honest with yourself.
If you do not feel well at this point, look at your Carb Manager and see how many diabetic carbs you’ve been eating on average every day. If this number is 20-25, Contact your doctor and ask if you should increase carbs a bit for a limited amount of time. Research any areas in which you have concerns. Having leg cramps? Are you hydrating? Are you trying to exercise during the first week or so? Maybe you should wait and add exercise later in the process. You want to get started in this lifestyle, but take your time and go slowly. It may take you as much as a month or so to get adjusted to the changes you’ve made. Make adjustments. Try a protein drink for breakfast instead of eating eggs? Anything goes, as long as it meets your food parameters.
Much of the material I’ve researched seems to be written from a purist’s viewpoint. By that I mean that there seems to be people who believe you must prepare all your food yourself and the ingredients have to be organic, etc. I’ve got news for those folks-we all do the best we can with what we can afford financially. Don’t nitpick too much right now. Just stay the course. If you, like most seniors, have chronic conditions, you may not be able to fix all your own food every day. I know I don’t. So, you know what I do? I go to Chicken Salad Chik and eat Buffalo Barclay chicken salad, or I go to Wendy’s and eat a burger without the bun, or I get a grilled chicken breast and salad somewhere. Be kind to yourself, and have a good time! Don’t stop going out with friends because you think you can’t eat what they eat. Adjust!!!
If you are surviving ok after week 1, go for another week. Repeat the process after week 2. And, if you have to, weigh. But try to weigh at the same location each time for the sake of consistency. I drop into my doctor’s office and weigh on his scale.
What If I Just Can’t Prepare My Own Food?
If you are a person who just can’t go this “self help” route, you still have options for going ketogenic. Multiple companies offer meal plan kits and some even break down your choices into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert categories. The company I prefer is Try Low Carb, and here are their links.