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30-Day Ketogenic Diet Challenge | PART 1: Getting Started

Today’s the start of my 30-day ketogenic diet challenge. I’m excited to start reaping the benefits because the results I’ve seen are awesome!

The benefits are numerous and include; fat loss, increased heart health, reduced risk of cancer, neuroprotective benefits, increased energy and alertness, reduce acne, reduced hunger, lowers blood triglycerides, reduces blood sugar and insulin levels and your blood pressure tends to go down too.

It all sounds great. My primary motivation is fat loss and more energy. Before I started on this path, I dove into the research, read as much as I could about it and learned about other peoples experiences with the keto diet and their results.

This all led to me deciding to try the keto diet for myself and document my journey along the way.

Why am I doing this?

Ever since I was a kid I’ve struggled with food and my weight.

At my heaviest, I was 250 lbs.

I’ve gone through various diets and exercise regimes, got as low as a 195 pounds lean when I was in college but have since gained more weight and back to roughly 235 lbs.

I’m 6 feet tall and my goal is to get down to 200lbs lean.

I’m excited to see and feel all of the benefits above and it’s about focusing more on personal growth.

Plant-based ketogenic diet

I’m also going to be doing a plant-based ketogenic diet so, no meat, dairy, seafood, eggs, cheese or poultry.

I’ve been plant-based for over 5 years but I still struggle to stay away from many of the processed, easy to make, fast foods.

I’ve had many of the benefits that a plant-based diet brings but my weak spot has generally been snack foods like potato chips bread and other high-carbohydrate foods.

Yes you can still get fat when you’re vegan.

I’m doing this because I want to get healthier and live a long life so that I can spend as much time with my family and friends well into my 80s and 90s and hopefully into the 100s.

I’ve heard many people achieve great success on this ketogenic diet and so I wanted to try for myself and see if it works for me in getting to a healthier place.

I’ve been reading and researching the subject and I’ve gathered much of the information from the internet especially from the dietdoctor.com and a few other great ketogenic diet resources.

I’m writing this blog in the hopes that it can show you and others about this particular diet and my results.

I’ll be using it as a guide for myself as well as I start to build new habits and behaviors towards the food I need to eliminate as well as the food that I need to consume more of.

Why a 30-day challenge?

Any change takes sustained focus and effort and a diet like this is no different. Research has proven that it takes 21 days to form a habit so I decided I wanted to this as a 30-day challenge.  I wanted to go for a full month to help me form my new habits and tweak daily routine.

I know I won’t be perfect and will make mistakes but I’ll do my best to complete this challenge for my overall long-term health and happiness.

Hope you follow along and hope this helps you or inspires you in some way to change your lifestyle for the better.

What is a Ketogenic diet?

A ketogenic diet is basically a low-carb high-fat diet. (LCHF)

It’s nothing new really; it’s just become more and more popular and it’s been rebranded most recently as the ketogenic diet.

Other low-carb diets like the Atkins diet are very similar to it but the keto diet seems to be the more pure one that doesn’t require some processed bars or pre-packaged meals. Much like a vegan diet, the keto diet is about eating real foods.

A ketogenic diet typically limits carbs to 20 to 50 grams per day.

How does a ketogenic diet work?

Because you are avoiding sugars and starches, your blood sugar levels remain stable and the levels of insulin, the fat storing hormone begin to drop.

The lower insulin levels increase fat burning and make you feel more full so that you reduce your food intake which also causes fat loss.

What can you eat on a ketogenic diet?

As part of the ketogenic diet, the goal is to reduce carbs and sugars and increase healthy fats.

Foods to eliminate on a plant-based ketogenic diet

Here is a list the primary foods I’ll be avoiding and or eliminating from my current diet.

Eliminating Sugar

I’m not a big sugar consumer but will still be avoiding most foods that have refined sugar in them.

This includes; soft drinks, candy, juice, chocolate, cakes, buns, pastries, ice cream, and breakfast cereals.

If a treat is absolutely needed. Dark chocolate is probably one of the better ones. It contains 3–10 grams of net carbs per ounce, is high in antioxidants and may help reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s not all bad.

Eliminating Starch

I do consume a lot of starch so this will be the area I have to do the most work on.

This includes; bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, potato chips, porridge, french fries, and root vegetables like yams and beets.

Eliminating packaged-food letters

Even on a plant-based, there is a lot of new packaged processed foods available that are also not that good for you.

I’m going to eliminate breaded tofu, pizza and other processed items as these are all high in carbs.

Eliminating Beer

I’m not a huge drinker but I do enjoy the occasional beer on a sunny day.

I’m going to do my best to not drink beer and focus more on dry wines, whiskey, brandy and vodka if I decide to indulge in alcohol at all.

Beer is known as a liquid bread as it has lots of rapidly absorbing carbohydrates.

Foods to eat on a Ketogenic diet

Fruit consumption

Fruit is another huge sugar source. It’s a natural form of candy. I’m going to reduce my fruit intake to just the healthy fruits like coconut, citrus and melons.

Nuts and berries

I already eat lots of nuts and berries and love these foods. Low carb nuts include Brazil nuts, Macadamia and Almonds.

Here are the general carb counts for 1 ounce, 28 grams of the most popular nuts and seeds.

  • Almonds: 3 grams net carbs (6 grams total carbs)
  • Brazil nuts: 1 gram net carbs (3 grams total carbs)
  • Cashews: 8 grams net carbs (9 grams total carbs)
  • Macadamia nuts: 2 grams net carbs (4 grams total carbs)
  • Pecans: 1 gram net carbs (4 grams total carbs)
  • Pistachios: 5 grams net carbs (8 grams total carbs)
  • Walnuts: 2 grams net carbs (4 grams total carbs)
  • Chia seeds: 1 gram net carbs (12 grams total carbs)
  • Flaxseeds: 0 grams net carbs (8 grams total carbs)
  • Pumpkin seeds: 4 grams net carbs (5 grams total carbs)
  • Sesame seeds: 3 grams net carbs (7 grams total carbs)

As for berries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries are great in moderation to get some sweet taste.

The Best Vegetables for a plant-based Ketogenic Diet

Source: DietDoctor.com

Considering I’m already a plant-based and my diet is primarily made of vegetables. I also currently eat tofu and other more process products that I’ll be working on to eliminate.

The net carbs in non-starchy vegetables range from 1–8 grams per cup.

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of olives contains 2 grams of total carbs and 1 gram of fiber. This works out to a net carb count of 1 gram for 7–10 olives, depending on their size.

The vegetables I will be eating include the following:

  • Cabbage
  • Asparagus: 4 grams of carbs per 100 grams
  • Eggplant
  • Spinach: 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams, is very high in vitamin K, helps protect heart and eyes.
  • Olives: 1 gram of carbs for 7–10 olives, depending on their size.
  • Lettuce: 2.9 grams of carbs per 100 grams
  • Cucumber
  • Peppers: 4 grams of carbs per 100 grams
  • Edamame: 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams
  • Onions: 9 grams of carbs per 100 grams.
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms: 2 grams of carbs per 100 grams. Also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Shirataki noodles: 1 gram of carbs per 100 grams. Lots of fiber that promotes fullness and stable blood sugar.
  • Zucchini: 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams. Good source of vitamin C, providing 35% of the RDI per serving
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower: 5 grams of carbs per 100 grams, is rich in fiber and helps with cholesterol.
  • Broccoli: 7 grams of carbs per 100 grams, also provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins C and K.
  • Green and yellow beans
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Pickles

Fats and Oils

On a ketogenic diet, fats are very important. This includes coconut oil olive oil & avocado oil. The main fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, a slightly longer-chain fat. It has been suggested that coconut oil’s mix of MCTs and lauric acid may promote a sustained level of ketosis.

I consuming these in salads and when cooking vegetables.

What can you drink on a ketogenic diet?

Water

Water is the number one option. The body needs copious amounts of water so no matter what diet you’re on always drink lots of water.

I also use the Sentivia water system to get clean alkalized and mineralized water.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea contain caffeine, which increases your metabolism and may improve your physical performance, alertness, and mood.

On a Keto diet, coffee and Tea should be consumed in moderation and without sweeteners. I’m not a big fan of sugar in my coffee anyways. I just started adding coconut oil to my coffee in the morning.

You can learn more about this at Bulletproof Coffee.

When it comes to tea I generally drink herbal teas later in the day if at all. You can have as much tea as you want on the keto diet.

Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth is a great drink on the keto diet too. It’s easy to make and full of nutrients. It’s also a great fat delivery mechanism as you can add olive oil or coconut oil easily to vegetable broth and sip it.

I love to make vegetable soup from a container of broth and some green vegetables.

Getting started by setting up the environment

Having an environment that is conducive to positive change helps a lot. If you’re surrounded by Oreos and sandwiches, it makes it a little harder to change in the beginning.

My thinking is that if you don’t buy the foods you want to avoid and don’t have them in your house, it’s much easier to not fall victim to impulses.

Cleaning out the cupboards and the fridge

There are five of us that live in this house and not everybody will be following the same diet so they’ll be various foods that I have decided not to eat in the house that I’ll have to avoid.

There are still foods that need to be eliminated that nobody should be eating so on day one I cleaned out the pantry and the fridge to try and reduce the number of carbs available in the house.

Filling the fridge

Went to the grocery store and purchased all of the great foods to eat. Mainly vegetables, nuts, seeds and other great foods.

Intermittent Fasting

Another aspect of my 30-day challenge will be to introduce and use intermittent fasting to help cleanse the body through this process.

Intermittent fasting is about having a 14 to 16-hour gap between the last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day.

It involves stopping eating around 7 pm and then not eating again until 11am or 12 noon.

This 14 to 16-hour fasting period has shown in many studies to increase healing in your body and increase fat burning as well.  It takes 12 hours to digest food after your last bite. It’s then in this 12 -hour to 16-hour time frame that your body begins burning the fat stores in your body.

I tried intermittent fasting a few weeks ago and quickly saw the benefits that come with this practice.

It’s very counterintuitive to what I learned when I was younger. I learned to eat 6-7 small meals a day and never skip breakfast. Eat your meat, potatoes, and vegetables and clean off everything on your plate. I simply ate too much and too much of the wrong things.

When I tried intermittent fasting I felt better and had more energy in my day by simply not eating until lunch time or later.

It was a good experience for a short period of time that I tried it and I want to expand on that further in this challenge.

I’ll be doing intermittent fasting throughout this 30-day challenge and we’ll see how it goes.

Exercise

I’ve been doing an early morning routine using a video by Shaun T called T25. it’s a high-intensity workout that I generally try to do around 5: 30 in the morning before the day starts.

I’m going to increase the frequency of these exercises as well as running outside during a few lunch hours and other activities with the family that burn calories and exert energy.

Summary of my 30-day challenge

All right. Day 1 of my 30-day ketogenic diet challenge is underway and I hope you follow along on my journey.

If you have questions about my experience, please leave them in the comments below.

Check out part 2 for my Daily Journal from Day 1 to 7. (coming soon)

Disclaimer – I am not a doctor. Seek professional help for health advice.

This blog post is a documentation of my journey and is in no way to be taken without consulting a health professional. Any drastic change in your diet can have potential consequences for your health. Because of this, you should always talk to your doctor or a nutritionist before starting a new diet.

If you’re interested in starting the keto diet, you should be extra careful to check with your doctor if you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, or heart disease as you will need to make additional considerations.

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