DAILY RECOMMENDATION GREENS/VEGETABLES
200 to 300 grams, made up from any of the following: lettuce (all kinds are good), rucola/rocket spinach (better raw), mushrooms asparagus, a little bit of broccoli.
FATS AND OILS
Organic and grass-fed sources are always best. The following are all good:
- Fatty Fish,
- Animal Fat (non-hydrogenated), Lard, Tallow Butter from Grass-fed Animals,
- Egg Yolks Macadamia/Brazil Nuts,
- Butter/Ghee, Mayonnaise, Cocoa Butter, Olive Oil,
- Coconut Oil,
- Avocado Oil,
- Macadamia Oil,
- MCT Oil.
<I find the three most valuable items on this list are MCT oil, olive oil and grass-fed butter. They are sufficient on their own to provide all the fats you need.>
Again, organic and grass-fed sources are always to be preferred.
Fish, preferably eating anything that is caught wild, such as catfish, cod, flounder, halibut, mackerel, mahi-mahi, salmon, snapper, trout, and tuna. Fattier fish is better. Shellfish. Clams, oysters, lobster, crab, scallops, mussels, and squid.
Try to get them free-range from the local market if possible. You can prepare them in many different ways: fried, devilled, boiled, poached, scrambled and so on.
Ground beef, steak, roasts, and stew meat. Stick with fattier cuts where possible. Ground pork, pork loin, pork chops, tenderloin, and ham. Watch out for added sugars and try to stick with fattier cuts. Chicken, duck, quail, pheasant and other wild game.
Offal/Organ. Heart, liver, kidney, and tongue. Offal is one of the best sources of vitamins/nutrients. Other Meat. Veal, Goat, Lamb, Turkey and all kinds of wild game not previously mentioned. Stick with fattier cuts where possible. Bacon and Sausage.
In addition to these products, there is less carbohydrate in
Vegetables that grow above ground: 2
Check labels and avoid anything cured in sugar or containing artificial fillers. Don’t be overly concerned about nitrates but you’re better off without them.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Imbalance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats. Omega 3 is the ‘good’ one, being a vital component of cell membranes and important in the manufacture of hormones. Omega 6 is less good. You do need some of it but too much of it causes inflammation. Ideally, when you are on my diet, the ratio of 6 to 3 should be about 1 to 1. In the typical American diet, it is more like 15 to 1.
- All sweeteners other than Erythritol and pure Stevia. Monk fruit has a noticeable effect on the taste of food.
Soya or other hormone stimulating ingredients (even though they are considered healthy). Soya is a big no-no. Yes, it’s high in protein and low in carbohydrate, but it contains compounds which are very similar to human Estrogen. Too much of it can cause men to develop ‘man boobs’.
Tofu should be excellent on the basis of its macro profile but its hormonal effects rule it out for my diet.
- Grains. They contain far more carbohydrate than our bodies evolved to expect. How are cows fattened ahead of slaughter? They are fed grain.
- Peas and pulses. These are not a good idea either. They have too much sugar in them and you don’t need them, as you’ll be getting plenty of protein from elsewhere.
Excessive quantities of calcium. You do need some of it in your diet – it’s essential for strong teeth and bones — but in my opinion pro-calcium propaganda has gone way too far. Too much calcium can lead to a build up of plaque in your arteries. I don’t take it as a supplement and my bones are 4% denser than they used to be as a result of me doing weights at the gym.
- Non-fat snacking, to prevent periodic spikes of insulin.
- Protein bars, shakes and supplements, which are often full of sugar and/or insulin spiking sweeteners. Even when they are not, excessive protein consumption will take you out of ketosis via the process of gluconeogenesis
- Avoid picking unnecessary fights and don’t flirt with food. It can’t say “no” to you. If you do put yourself in tempting situations, you’ll become stressed, which will raise your levels of the ‘fight or flight’ hormone cortisol. When this happens, keto doesn’t work properly, because the message the body gets is “you are in danger, Retain your fat in case you need it”.
- Don’t eat while you are watching TV because it makes it hard to monitor what you are doing.
Never eat just because of habit or a sense of duty. We have cheated the hormones that make us feel hungry or full (ghrelin and leptin respectively) by overriding their messages and confusing them with sugar. We need to learn to listen to them again.
Keto Flu and how to avoid it
Although the keto diet is easy once your body has adjusted, you can definitely feel off-colour at times during the first few days. This is because your body, which has been used to powering itself by burning sugar, is transitioning to a new fuel – fat. It knows exactly how to do this but it does take it a little while to adapt. This is even more true of your mind. While the adaption is taking place, you may suffer from various flu-like symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, dizziness or irritability. You are withdrawing from a powerful drug, which you have been using for your entire life, so it’s not surprising that your body and mind protest a bit at first. Some people give up at this stage.
They remind me of a friend of mine who went swimming in the ocean in Brazil. I asked him if he’d enjoyed it and he said he hadn’t, because he couldn’t get out of the shallows and into the deep water. Every time he tried, a big wave knocked him over.
Fortunately, there are lots of techniques to help you through the waves. Drinking a lot of water and adding electrolytes helps you pee a lot in the initial stages of the keto diet. This is due to the body using up its glycogen reserves, which are tied up with water molecules.
But the real secret is MCT oil, which is usually derived from coconut oil. The initials stand for ‘medium chain triglycerides’. To cut a long story short, the body finds it very easy to convert MCT oil into fuel for ketosis. Inside the body, it skips most of the usual digestive processes and is diverted directly from the small intestine to the liver, where it is broken down into ketones.
If you consume small amounts of MCT oil, perhaps mixed in with your coffee, you will start going into ketosis much sooner than you otherwise would. It only takes an hour or so for the process to start, whereas it can take several days for your body to switch from burning carbohydrate to fat. The MCT oil kick-starts the transition, providing almost instant energy and banishing most of the symptoms of keto flu.
To return to the wave analogy, once you are in the deep water, you are very hard to tempt because you feel full. NB: If you take MCTs while you’re still eating enough carbohydrates to supply your body’s energy needs, your body will store them as fat. MCTs won’t make you slim on their own.