KETO BEGINNER’S GUIDE: Part 2
By Noreen’s Keto Kitchen
Different Types of Keto:
If you do any research on Keto you may come across a bunch of terms being thrown around: Strict Keto, Dirty Keto or Lazy Keto. You may be thinking what the heck does that all mean? Well here you go:
Strict Keto: These people avoid all the NO NO’s on the list in the first part of this guide. They avoid all gluten, wheat, all grains, all vegetable oils, sugar,etc. They may also be exclusively eating grass fed beef,meat and butter/cream. They may be eating all organic vegetables and avoiding any type of sweeteners (even natural ones).
Some who are strict keto are doing so to really maximize the health benefits of this diet and may not be looking to lose weight. Essentially, the cleaner you eat the more strict Keto you are.
Dirty Keto: People who claim to be “Dirty Keto” are more concerned with the carb/fat/protein macros and calories of the foods and NOT what is actually in the food.
For example, a dirty Keto-er may eat a Low Carb Wheat tortilla, because they can fit it into their calories and Net Carb Count. As long as they are staying at or under their goal in carbs/fat/protein, they will eat it. Some Dirty Keto-ers will drink diet sodas and eat artificial sweeteners. While this is not strict Keto, people do have weightloss success with this less restrictive Keto way of eating.
Lazy Keto: Those who subscribe to the Lazy Keto way of life are counting carbs and usually nothing else; generally keeping carbs under 20 grams. They aren’t focused on calories/fat or protein.
This way of Keto-ing appeals to those who don’t want to log everything they eat. Lazy Keto could technically be Strict or Dirty Keto, depending on how you choose to follow the Keto diet.
Free-For All Keto: Well now this is my own made up term for how I Keto in my life.
How I eat is a bit of all of the above types. Let me explain:
- I avoid all wheat and most grains most of the time. The only exception is maybe I will allow a small bit of corn starch in a jar of sauce or salad dressing, as long as the carb count is reasonable for my goals.
- I generally avoid vegetable oil, canola oil, etc, opting for healthier oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc. However, sometimes I will be a bit of a Dirty Keto-er and fry chicken wings in vegetable oil or use a salad dressing with a less than healthy oil. I do this infrequently and mostly because I am trying to work within my budget.
- Some days I track and log religiously down to every meal and snack, and other days I am a Lazy Keto-er and track very little, but always sticking to counting my carbs and eating Keto foods in moderation.
- When I started this diet journey I completely gave up all sodas including diet versions. I have been strict in that I have not touched a soda of any kind in 6 months.
- I will occasionally consume items with Sucralose in the ingredients, such as Powerade Zero or no sugar added ketchup. Sucralose to some is a total NO NO and to others they consider it okay in moderation. This woud be considered Dirty Keto because sucralose is an artificial sweetener.
- I mostly try to eat organic vegetables but will buy non-organic veggies if my budget doesn’t allow.
- Grass fed beef, meat, and butter are not things my budget can afford, so I get regular versions of these foods. I try to buy the ones that are most natural with minimal processing or ingredients. Again, always within my budget and means.
How Much Should I eat on Keto?
If you are doing Keto for weight loss, you will need to make sure there is a calorie deficit in your diet. When you eat fewer calories than you burn you create a calorie deficit. You must have a calorie deficit to lose weight regardless of what diet plan you are using.
It can be very helpful to use an online calculator or app to help calculate your recommended calories for weightloss, based on your height, current weight and activity level. Logging your meals (especially at the beginning) is important. It helps you to know that you are eating enough protein and fat, staying low carb and within your calorie goal.
There are ALOT of these kind of apps or online tools available (for free) and a quick Google search will lead you in the right direction. Many Keto-ers use Carb Manager or My Fitness Pal (which I use). Do a little research and see what works for you and what you like best.
Macros and Net Carbs on Keto:
The Keto diet is one that is high in healthy fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. Your target for your daily nutrient/calorie intake is to be around 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. Essentially, Macros are these goal numbers for fats, protein, and carbs.
Eating 20 grams of net carbs is the general rule for most on the Keto diet– but the lower you keep your carbohydrate intake, the better your results tend to be. Most Keto-ers will recommend keeping total carbs below 30g andnet carbs below 20g. There are some who will say to keep your Total Carbs under 20 grams. How strict you are is really up to you. For me personally, it is more sustainable to keep my net carbs at or around 20 grams.
What is a Net Carb? Well, Net carbs are your total dietary carbohydrates, minus the total fiber and minus Sugar Alcohols (if sugar alcohol is over 5 grams then you only subtract half of the sugar alcohol from your carb total).
Dining Out on the Keto Diet:
Dining out on Keto does not have to be hard. Your best bet is to stick with plain and simple foods. It sounds boring but it doesn’t have to be!!
It’s breakfast time, you are hungry and out and about or didn’t have any food at home. What are some things that you can eat?
Well, egg-centered meals are generally a good option. Such as an omelet or eggs and bacon. However, be mindful that a lot of restaurants are known to add pancake batter to the eggs to make them fluffier (such as IHOP). You will want to ask for a “cracked egg” omelet/eggs, implying they are cracking the fresh eggs into the dish and NOT using a pre-made egg mix containing a batter of some sort. Yeah, they actually do that and you have to ask specifically not to get that in your eggs.
It’s Lunchtime and you forgot your lunch at home! Now what? Well, burgers are usually a tasty and easy meal to get Keto. Many restaurants will now wrap up burgers in lettuce for you. Red Robin, In-&-Out, and 5 Guys do this regularly for their customers. You will want to avoid the ketchup, bun, fries/onion rings/etc, and go for healthy veggies instead. You can add avocado, cheese, bacon, mushrooms, extra lettuce, tomatoes, etc, to really bulk up the meal.
You want to go out for dinner but not off your Keto Plan, now what? Many restaurants generally offer some type of meat (chicken/steak/beef) or seafood dish (salmon, shrimp, etc). Order these types of meals, and substitute any high-carb sides like potatoes, pasta, rice, corn, for extra veggies. Broccoli, asparagus, green beans, salad, and spinach are all popular restaurant fare.
When eating out, I tend to order a Grilled Chicken/Shrimp salad with Caesar dressing and no croutons or a Steak with broccoli & cheese as a side. Also, many chain restaurants will have all their nutrition information up on their websites. If you can plan ahead and do your research it will make the whole dining out experience easier and less stressful.
Lastly, desserts will be tricky on the Keto diet. If you find yourself really needing something sweet while out on the town, a small bowl of fresh berries with unsweetened whipped cream would be an okay choice. Generally, I stick to a cup of coffee or tea with cream to finish off a nice meal.
Keto Snack Ideas:
The longer you are on Keto the less snacks you will find yourself needing, as hunger suppression is just one of the many benefits of Keto. But, starting out or on one of those “I am soooo Hungry” days, you may need a snack or two to help resist the carb laden temptations that are everywhere!!!
Here is a list of some great, easy and convenient Keto snacks (Strict & Dirty):
- Pickles: not only delicious and low calorie, but a great source of dietary sodium
- Pepperoni/Salami: try to get the most minimally processed
- Deli Ham or Turkey: watch for any added sugars or starches
- Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
- Canned Tuna or Sardines
- Pork Rinds: be careful of any hidden carbs/sugar in flavored pork rinds
- Cubed or Sliced Cheese: cheddar, pepperjack, swiss, mozzarella, etc.
- Jones Braunschweiger: these are an amazing source of vitamin A, and are high fat. I eat them by themselves most of the time, but sometimes will throw it on a buttered fathead bun- YUM!! (They are considered dirty keto based on the ingredients- 1 net carb for 2 slices)
- Almonds: salted, plain, watch for any added flavorings or sugar in flavored almonds
- Walnuts: always measure your nuts! It’s very easy to over estimate your portion
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Coffee with HWC: moderate caffeine has been shown to be beneficial for weight loss, throw in some Heavy Whipping Cream, and you have a high fat, surprisingly filling afternoon pick me up. Beware of any flavorings,creamers or syrups that you add to your coffee
- Celery or Cucumber slices with cream cheese/ blue cheese dressing/Keto friendly Dip
- Hard Boiled Eggs: You can find these out and about in a lot of convenience stores/grocery stores,etc – I make mine ahead and store in the fridge.
- Bacon: I bake my bacon by the batch now, less mess and more consistent bacon
- Berries with Whipped Cream: great to curve the sweet tooth but make sure you are measuring out portion of berries and the whipped cream has no added sugar- better yet, make your own!!!
- Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk: I ain’t gonna lie- I drink it straight out of the carton – when I just want a “glass of milk” this is my go to!!!
- Keto Fat Bombs: recipes for fat bombs are EVERYWHERE…. I no longer make fat bombs, they lost their appeal very quickly to me. I wanted to make real food that everyone could eat not just a Keto-er.