What You Should Know Before Starting a Keto Diet


A ketogenic diet means that most of your calories are coming from fat, you are eating a moderate amount of protein, and keeping carbs low – around 50 grams net carbs. In my opinion, when done correctly this type of diet is best for controlling and preventing chronic disease – most notably diabetes and obesity – and can make you feel awesome!

Note: I advocate for a little more protein and a little more carbs than the traditional hardcore ketogenic diet (i.e. carbs under 20 grams) and I am a proponent of a cyclical ketogenic diet which means carb refeeding 1-2 days per week – more on this below and in a future post.



Here are some things to know before starting a ketogenic diet:

1. You need to increase your salt intake


When you are in ketosis your body will rapidly be shedding electrolytes, most notably sodium, from your kidneys. Unless you have a medical condition by which you are forbidden to eat salt, add sea salt or Pink Himalayan Salt to your meals, and opt for bouillon balls and/or bone broth as other ways to get salt into your body.



 

2. You need to increase your fluid intake


Water follows sodium, so as your kidneys are shedding off more sodium you are going to lose more water as well. Carbohydrates also hold onto water, so eating less carbs means less water stored in your body, and that you need to increase your water intake. Shoot for 2-3 liters of fluid per day at least.



 

3. Don’t eat too much protein


It’s hard to eat too much protein, but it is still good to know that yes, you can have too much. Too much protein can cause your body to convert the excess amino acids to sugar, and sugar triggers the release of insulin (fat storage hormone) which can lead to fat gain.

A rough estimate of how much protein you should be getting is 0.7-1.0 grams per pound of body weight. More protein is needed for an individual who exercises hard daily, because more amino acids will be needed to repair the muscle that has been broken down.



 

4. Expect the keto “flu”


As your body switches from sugar burning to fat burning for fuel this can cause what is known as the “keto flu.” It means you may feel lethargic, foggy, and run-down. Do not worry – this will not last long but does happen when switching to this type of diet.



 

5. Stick to healthy fats


Ketosis does require most of your calories to come from fat, that being said, you want to stick to the good non-processed, grass-fed, natural fats. These include eggs, fatty fish, coconut oil, olive oil, full-fat dairy, avocado, and nuts. Things to definitely avoid include processed meats and processed cheeses.



 

6. Consider increasing carbs one or two days a week


I am a huge fan of a cyclical ketogenic diet which means you are increasing your carbs 1-2 days per week, or having a “carb-refeed.” Individuals working out hard everyday or few days a week will burn through their glycogen stores faster, and may need to increase their carbs twice a week or more. The hormone leptin which helps to regulate appetite, can also become low on a ketogenic diet and is boosted up when you eat carbs.

Women are especially susceptible to leptin changes and should definitely be re-feeding carbs 1-2 days a week at least. Probably the only group of individuals who may not see a benefit from increasing carbs once a week are men who do zero exercise – which hopefully fits the description of no one reading this because exercise is great for your body and mind!



 

7. You might develop dry eyes


This happens when you are eating very low carbs for a long time because tear production requires some glucose. This symptom actually happened to me long before I understood a keto diet could cause this, and can be very irritating and even lead to more severe eye problems. When your eyes are getting very dry this may mean you need to up your carbs a little more daily, and increase the number of days you do a carb-refeed.



 

11 Bite-Size Banana Recipes You Need To Try





Bananas are the perfect food to refuel with after a workout because they are high in electrolytes, most notably potassium and magnesium, and high in carbohydrates. The high magnesium and potassium content in bananas helps to prevent muscle cramps that can happen at night after strenuous workouts. This is because after an intense sweat session, your body will rid itself of electrolytes, and electrolytes are needed to keep your muscles relaxed.

In addition to being great as a post-workout snack, ripe bananas are also great for digestion and help to get things moving.

Here are 11 simple, 3-ingredient recipes using banana as the base powered by EatCleanBot (found in Facebook Messenger).





 

 

1. Baked Oatmeal Soaked in Almond Milk

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk

Instructions:

Mash the banana with the oats, spoon out onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firmed. Place the baked banana-oats mix in a bowl and pour the almond milk on top, dig in with your spoon.



 

2. Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 banana
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.

Health Hack: Cinnamon acts to decrease your blood sugar when eaten with a meal.



 

3. Cocoa ’Nana Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 banana
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.



 

4. Chia Seed ‘Nana Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.



 

5. Almond Butter Oat Balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup oats

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.




 

6. Toasted Coconut Oat Bites

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup oats

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.





 

7. Chia Coconut ‘Nana Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes
  • 1 banana

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.



 

8. Vanilla Coconut Cookies

Instructions:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes
  • 1 banana

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.



 

9. Almond Butter Coconut ‘Nana Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.



 

10. Vanilla Banana Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup oats

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.



 

11. Cinnamon Coconut Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup coconut flakes

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, spoon out into 2-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly firm.



24 Nutrition Tips To Get Your Diet On Track





Below is a list of our 24 research-based nutrition tips that will help you get your diet on track and have you feeling great! 

1. If you are sensitive to dairy products but you love butter, try clarified butter which is pure butterfat with the milk solids removed.




2. When you eat almonds, 20-30% of those calories are lost to digestion. This means even though the nutrition label reads 170 calories in one serving, you will only absorb about 120 of those calories.

3. Vitamin C helps to boost your immune function and protects against free radical damage. Good sources of Vitamin C include oranges, red peppers, and broccoli.




4. Getting enough magnesium may help prevent migraine headaches. Good sources of magnesium include almonds, spinach, and avocado.

5. Tropical fruits are high in sugar. These include bananas, mangoes, and pineapples. Stick to a ½ cup serving when eating this type of high sugar fruit.

6. If you are finding yourself hungry within 2-3 hours from your previous meal, this may be a sign that you need to increase your protein. Aim for 20-25 grams of protein with each meal to keep you satisfied longer.




7. DID YOU KNOW? Avocados are a great source of fiber – ½ cup has about 5 grams of fiber!

8. Fish with lowest amounts of mercury include salmon, black sea bass, scallop, shrimp, skate, tilapia, cod, oyster, and crab.

9. If you are going to eat cereal in the morning, look for cereal with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving – anything more is like eating a bowl of candy. Guidelines recommend no more than 25 grams of sugar per day.




10. Tuna is an excellent source of Vitamin B12, selenium, Vitamin B3 (niacin), and protein – about 20 grams of protein per 3 oz serving.

11. Oats are gluten-free in themselves. HOWEVER, oats can become contaminated if grown side-by-side to wheat fields, or if they are processed on equipment that also processes wheat. If you are strictly gluten-free, look for oats with a certified gluten-free label.

12. Fiber slows down digestion and makes you feel fuller longer. Healthy adults should aim or 25 grams of fiber per day.




13. Dairy products highest in lactose include milk, ice cream, whipping cream, coffee creamer, cream-based soups and sauces. Best to avoid these food items if you have an intolerance to lactose.

14. Cheeses that have the highest amount of lactose tend to be the soft cheeses such as cottage cheese, Brie, and mozzarella. The higher the lactose content, the greater the chance of stomach upset if you have some degree of lactose intolerance.

15. One thing that nutrition experts can agree on is that artificial trans-fats are dangerous. They increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other chronic diseases.

 





 

16. One cup of sliced avocado contains 10 grams of fiber and 21 grams of fat – most of that fat being the very healthy monounsaturated fat. Eat up!

17. Net carbs is total carbohydrates of a food minus the fiber content. Fiber is not absorbed by the body, meaning the calories are not absorbed and it does not raise blood sugar or stimulate the insulin response.

18. Soluble fiber attracts water to form a gel-like substance and slows the digestion of food. This slowed digestion allows for the body to be able to absorb all nutrients passing through. An example of soluble fiber is the fleshy inner part of an apple.




19. Cold pressed juice is considered to be more nutrient dense compared to traditional centrifuged juice. This is because centrifugal juicers generate heat which can destroy enzymes, and also force in air which can compromise nutrients.

20. Matcha contains a powerful antioxidant called EGCG which has shown to be a potent metabolism booster as well an appetite suppressant.

21. Avoid quick or instant oats which are the most processed of all the oat varieties – meaning less nutrients and higher blood sugar when consumed. 18. DID YOU KNOW? Your body will absorb more calories from cooked and processed foods than raw foods.




22. Non-fat or “skim milk” has a surprisingly high amount of sugar. Most brands have about 12 grams per cup – this is almost half the amount of total sugar that is recommended you ingest each day!

23. Egg yolk contains the majority of vitamins and minerals found in an egg – don’t skip the yolks.

24. Wheat raises your blood sugar higher and faster than any other carbohydrate including table sugar.




What To Order At The Mexican Restaurant





I get questions from patients all the time about how to eat at a restaurant without derailing their diet. Of course cooking your own food is best because you can control everything that goes into it (not to mention you save a lot of money!) but when you want to be social and go to dinner that’s ok too!

​Here is what you should order to stay healthy when eating at a Mexican restaurant:

 

Appetizer

  • Guacamole – Carve out 2-3 spoonfuls onto your plate and dig in or add some salsa on top. Guacamole is full of healthy fats with zero carbs and will keep you much better satisfied than a basket of chips.

 

  • Ceviche – This consists of raw fish (normally sushi grade) in citrus with maybe some diced tomatoes – you can’t get much healthier than that! This is a light, tasty, and low carb way to start your meal.





Main Course

  • Fajitas – With lots of grilled vegetables, pico de gallo, and salsa as a topping to add flavor. Skip the rice and tortillas and see if they can substitute in extra veggies instead. If you are going to keep the beans go for black beans rather than refried because they have gone through less processing and contain more fiber. If you are low carb, skip the beans and ask for a side of avocado or guacamole instead.

 

  • Grilled chicken – With lots of vegetables. Skip the rice here as well, instead add add a side of avocado or black beans.

 

  • Grilled fish – With lots of vegetables. Skip the rice here as well. Top with salsa or consider adding a side of avocado or black beans.


​Drink


    • Tequila on the rocks – A shot of tequila has around 70 calories and will take a longer time to sip.

     

    • Skinny margarita – Tequila w/ soda and lime is great because you get the bubbles from the soda water and a hint of lime to pair with the tequila. This will also be easier to sip rather than a sugar bomb of a margarita – a margarita can have a whole days worth of sugar and calories!

     

    • Light beer – If you can’t see yourself not ordering a Mexican beer with your Mexican food, then go for a light version such as corona light.