If I'm asked anything more than what is and how to get started on the Ketogenic diet, it's,
"What do you eat?"
Well... let me start from the beginning.
I think when anyone goes low carb, they begin by eating a lot of eggs. And bacon. And cheese. These three things were staples when I first started. If all else failed, bacon and eggs for the win.
Eggs are so versatile. You can boil, fry, scramble, make them into an omelette. But soon, I got sick of eggs. Now I eat them on occasion.
I eat all meats. I don't particularly care for beef, but since going keto I have started to enjoy a burgers without the bun. I have also discovered that chicken drumsticks and thighs WITH the skin are yummy when baked or fried and the skin is crispy. And I eat LOTS of chicken wings. Chicken wings drenched in ranch or blue cheese are my a favorite. And now I can eat this with NO GUILT AT ALL. It's part of my plan!
I have never been a HUGE veggie eater, but keto has actually introduced me to some veggies I'd never had before. Like Brussels sprouts. I eat LOTS of cauliflower because it's WAY more versatile than I'd ever imagined (think twice baked cauliflower, mashed cauliflower, roasted cauliflower, cauliflower breadsticks or pizza crust). I love roasted broccoli. I still eat salads on occasion, only with delicious FULL FAT dressing (blue cheese and ranch... the real stuff in the salad section... only has 1 carb per serving most times).
The only dairy I really eat is cheese and sour cream and heavy cream. Milk is high in carbs, and I don't drink milk anyway (gross). Some people on keto like cottage cheese. I was going to try it, although I've always thought it LOOKED to disgusting to eat. But when I checked the label it looked high in carbs so I gleefully skipped it. Someone I follow on Instagram says the Daisy brand is lowest in carbs, though.
Ok, lets talk about FAT. Ketogenic is high in dietary fat. If you're not willing to increase your fat, this is not the diet for you. But hear me out... fat is satisfying. It keeps you full, and it makes you happy while you are eliminating carbs. I use lots of coconut oil. Lots. I fry my foods in it. I also put it in my coffee (more on that shortly). If you don't like the taste of coconuts, get the refined kind. It's tasteless. I use both. I also use TONS of butter. REAL butter, not margarine.
If you are still using margarine... please stop. It's a chemical shit storm. It's fake and full of harmful fats. Just pay a little extra for the real stuff.
Once you add in cheese, leave the skin on your chicken, and add a few eggs here an there, getting a high percentage of good fat isn't hard. If you like avocados, eat those, too. (I do not like them). Don't be afraid. Your body will respond well to fat if you're cutting the carbs.
The most important part of the ketogenic way of eating, besides high fat and very low carbs, is to EAT. REAL. FOOD.
Skip the Quest bars and protein shakes. Skip the Adkins crap with all the sugar alcohols. If it's labeled, "low-carb" just skip it. Some people still love to eat this stuff, and can lose weight while doing so. But it's not all that good for you. And aren't we doing this for overall health, not just weight loss? Yes, I still have sugar free pancake syrup and some sugar-free coffee syrup on occasion. And Coke Zero is still my favorite. But I've cut WAY down on this stuff.
Eat real food.
I also want to add that eating out on keto is super easy. Only ONCE in six months have I ever NOT been able to find something to eat at a restaurant. And that is when we went to a Caribbean restaurant on Valentine's Day and they refused to make me anything without rice or plantains. I sipped a diet soda and refused to go off my plan!
Usually when eating out I'll have wings or a burger with no bun, add bacon and cheese! Lots of fast food chains offer lettuce wrapped burgers, or burgers in a bowl. Salads are a good option without all that extra stuff. Cobb salads or ceasar salads are usually compliant. The important thing when eating out is to ASK for what you want. Restaurants usually are very accommodating. They will happily bring you a side salad instead of fries.
But be always mindful that sugar is hidden in EVERYTHING. Since being keto, I've found hidden sugar in so many products, even those labeled with zero carbs! For example, the heavy whipped cream in the can. I was enjoying this on sugar-free jello in the beginning (I've since ditched the SF Jell-0 because the sweetener in it triggers cravings). It said zero carbs on the can, but the second ingredient was sugar! WTH? Um, no. So, my advice is to look at the ingredients, not just the nutrition label.
It is also my advice to you to count TOTAL carbs for everything except for vegetables. For vegetables, net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) is okay. People in my keto group mostly agree that they lose better when following this rule of thumb. See, there really isn't a 'real' thing as net carbs. In my opinion, the manufacturers made that crap up to market stuff 'low-carb'. But again, every one is different. Some can subtract fiber and sugar alcohols and still lose weight counting net carbs. My body doesn't.
Things to avoid:
All starchy vegetables.
Some people on the ketogenic diet do eat berries. I have had strawberries on occasion and been ok. But fruit is frowned upon for the most part.
I'm gonna wrap this post up with another disclaimer... I'm not a keto expert. My knowledge comes from being on this way of eating for almost 6 months. I've researched. I've used trial and error. I've Googled. Spent hours on Pinterest looking for recipes. My purpose for providing this information is to help spread the word. This diet just might be what someone needs to FINALLY get off the diet roller-coaster. This is a way of eating... something that does not have an end date for me. I've found a food template that I can do for the rest of my life and be happy. I hope this will be that for you, too.
If you think you want a full-fledged keto coach, please visit ketovangelist.com and check out the monthly coaching programs. I've followed Brian, Mary, and Katrina from the beginning. They know what they are doing.
(and for the blog trolls that talk shit about me on GOMI, I have not been paid or asked to endorse this service)