Meats: The Ideal Companion for Your Keto Diet
Ketogenic and other low-carb diets are all the rage in the fitness industry today, and for good reason. So what is a keto diet? Essentially, it is a low carb high fat diet wherein, by lowering the intake of carbohydrates, the body is induced into a state known as Ketosis. While in Ketosis, the body produces ketones from the breakdown of fats to be used as energy.
Our bodies are extremely adaptive to what you choose to nourish it with. The end goal of a keto diet is to force the body into this metabolic state wherein it is using fats in the form of ketones, not carbohydrates, for its energy needs.
The Role of Meat in Ketogenic Diets
A Keto diet requires you to keep your carbohydrate intake very low and protein and fat intake high. The role of meats in this cannot be overemphasized as meats typically contain high protein and sometimes also fats, making them the ideal companion on your ketogenic journey. Some even take it to the extreme and consume only meats during their period of dieting and report many health benefits.
Meats, Seafood and Poultry: Staples on a Keto Diet Grocery List
Fresh meat, seafood and poultry form the cornerstone of ketogenic diets. Examples include:
- Chicken: Whole or parts
- Turkey: Whole or parts
- Duck: Whole or parts
- Other birds such as quail, goose and ostrich
- Beef: All cuts such as roasts, steaks and tips
- Pork: All cuts including roasts, ribs, loin, chops or steaks
- Lamb, mutton
- Seafood: Any type or kind
- Fresh or frozen fish of any kind including cod, trout, salmon or tuna
- Fresh or frozen shellfish such as shrimp, scallops or crab
Other Foods for Your Ketogenic Journey
- Heavy cream
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese
- Cheese: hard cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan
- Cheese: soft cheeses such an muenster and farmer
- Greek yogurt, plain, full fat. Carb count should be less than 7 per serving.
Low Carb Vegetables
- Bell peppers
- Lettuce: large leaves to act as the “bread” for sandwiches
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale
- Onions and garlic: for flavorful cooking
- Sprouts for salads
- Summer squash such as zucchini
Nuts and Seeds
- Nuts: coconut, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, and especially macadamias. Nut flours are good to have on hand for baking. These can last a long time if you keep them in the freezer.
- Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
- Be aware both nuts and seeds are high in inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids, so don’t go crazy with these.
- Avocados: great snack with lemon juice or balsamic, or make guacamole for dipping low-carb veggies
- Fruit: Optional once weight and health are stabilized. Some people can handle the sugar in fruit and still be healthy and slim, others can’t.
- If you indulge, pick fresh local fruit in season, and stick to berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries which are lower in sugar.
- Eat fresh fruit with a fat (peanut butter, whipped cream, cheese). It slows the blood sugar spike.
Food to Avoid
- All Grains: All grains, even whole meal (wheat, rye, oats, corn, barley, millet, bulgur, sorghum, rice, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains), quinoa and white potatoes. this includes all products made from grains (pasta, bread, pizza, cookies, crackers, etc.)
- Sugar and Sweets: Table sugar, HFCS, agave syrup, ice creams, cakes, sweet puddings and sugary soft-drinks)
- Refined Fats/Oils: Examples include sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, canola, soybean, grapeseed, corn oil), trans fats such as margarine.
- Milk: Milk is not recommended for several reasons. Firstly, between all the dairy products, milk is the most difficult to digest, as it lacks the “good” bacteria (eliminated through pasteurization) and may even contain hormones. Secondly, it is quite high in carbs (4-5 grams of carbs per 100 ml). For coffee and tea, replace milk with cream in reasonable amounts. You may have a small amount of raw milk but be aware of the extra carbs.
- Alcoholic Drinks
- Tropical Fruits: Examples include pineapple, mango, banana, papaya, etc.
Sample Ketogenic Diet
Wake up and refresh yourself with a glass of lukewarm water with the juice of a lime squeezed into it. For breakfast, you may have 50g of paneer with 5gms of ghee. Follow this with 100g of curd at noon along with a two-egg omelette. For lunch, opt for the same amount of paneer as for breakfast. For dinner, go with 100g of chicken or fish along with a cheese slice.
Proven Health Benefits of Ketogenic Diets
- Increased levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels, with a major improvement in Type 2 diabetes
- Blood pressure tends to go down
- Improved pattern of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
- Therapeutic for several brain disorders such as epilepsy
Ketogenic diets are useful for both weight loss and maintenance. So whip up a keto grocery list today and don’t miss the keto train!