Since starting on a ketogenic diet about 7 months ago in a last ditch effort to heal my body from chronic illness, I have gotten quite a few requests to post everything I eat over the course of one day. I completely understand the curiosity because I am know when people hear “high-fat”, they still can’t quite picture just how much fat it actually means to be considered a keto diet. I know that was the case for me prior to starting this lifestyle. I had been eating what I considered a high-fat diet for quite awhile, but was amazed at just how much more I needed to include into my day to make it truly ketogenic. Keep in mind, the general ratios for daily food intake for a keto profile is 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates. It wasn’t until I did some experimentation on myself to get to these guidelines that I was able to nail down exactly what it meant to eat a high fat, low carb, ketogenic diet.
Now, before I get into what a typical day looks like for me right now, I have a few points that I must make.
Take It Slow.
First of all, I am a firm believer that women can see massive health improvements with a ketogenic diet. However, I do think it needs to be approached a little bit differently in order for these improvements to occur. It is much safer on the body and more effective for health and healing to take a gradual approach to getting into ketosis as I have laid out in The Fat Burning Female Project. This means altering your macronutrient ratios slowly, with small decreases in carbohydrates and protein with steps up in fat, over the course of 3-4 weeks. In doing this, you are giving your body the time to adapt to the lack of what it is used to using for energy (glucose) to avoid what I like to call a ‘total body freak out’. In women, this freak out can cause additional health issues, particularly in our hormones. If this transition to ketosis is taken too quickly by a woman with any possible adrenal, thyroid, hormonal issues, they pose the risk of getting worse before they get better. I am confident this is the reason why some women have a negative experience with a ketogenic diet, claiming that a ketogenic diet is not good for women’s hormones, thyroid, or adrenal health. It’s just because the transition was too fast! Take it slower and listen to your body and the ketogenic diet can do amazing things for the female body.
The health benefits to a ketogenic diet are just incredible. It seems more and more research is coming out every day adding to the list of healing opportunities by going keto. This will be an upcoming blog post topic for sure. In order to see these benefits in yourself, and to make sure all health markers continue to go in the right direction, I highly recommend staying on top of your health records. Work with a health professional that can test your metabolic, hormone, thyroid, adrenals, and inflammatory markers every few months. Get a baseline and keep track as you progress with your ketogenic diet to see how they change.
This was one of the coolest parts of my keto journey. Not only was I feeling physically so much better, but I was also able to see the internal changes my body was making that you can’t always FEEL. Monthly blood tests show me that everything just keeps getting better as I get further along, from inflammatory markers to adrenal health, cholesterol, triglycerides, thyroid. All of it! (I’ve been keto for 7 months as of this post.)
Find The Best
The quality of the food, especially in dietary fats, is of the utmost importance when eating a ketogenic diet. By sourcing your meats and fats from the highest possible source, you will be truly giving your body what it needs to get and stay healthy. If fats don’t come from the right source, they can be extremely inflammatory and toxic to the body, thus making it impossible to get the true benefits of going keto.
Look for grass-fed, raw (when possible) dairy and butter, pasture-raised eggs, poultry, and pork products, unrefined, organic oils, and organic produce. Stay away from seed and vegetable oils.
Don’t Start Fearing Carbs
One of the biggest fears I hear people mention about the ketogenic diet is never being able to eat carbs again. In my opinion, keto doesn’t have to mean zero carbs ever again. It just means being more mindful of the types of carbs you are consuming and how often. And more importantly, putting more focus on increasing the fats to the degree necessary. When you increase your fats to this capacity, there isn’t enough room in the day to continue eating the amount of carbs you are used to. Not to mention, your sugar cravings and intense hunger cues are regulated, so they’re not as appealing anymore.
That being said, there is still plenty of room in a ketogenic diet to add in some health-promoting carbohydrates occasionally. This should happen when your body tells you it needs carbs. It won’t come as a craving, but instead as a feeling that carbs would feel really good to you. I know that sounds a little out there, but when eating intuitively, it really does come as a subtle cue and not some overwhelming craving that has you running for the nearest ice cream shop.
Now, the amount of carbohydrate you can tolerate and still stay in a fat-burning state is different for everyone and will depend on your level of insulin resistance, your past eating habits, your current health status, your current stress level, and so much more. You will need to find your own carb sweet spot. How many carbs and how often can you eat them and still feel really good, reaping the benefits of a ketogenic state. Judge this based on how you feel and your level of ketones after eating the carbohydrate level in question. I recommend this ketone meter with these test strips for the most accurate reading.
For me, I found that I tolerate carbohydrates really well and am able to stay ketogenic with a higher amount of carbohydrate than the typical keto diet parameters. However, most days I don’t really want the higher amount of carbohydrates, so I stick with non-starchy veggies, nuts, and dark chocolate for carbs. But, I do have a larger amount of them on days when I truly want them. It usually ends up being once or twice per week, depending on my workouts and social schedule.
Get Rid Of The Fears And Make It A Lifestyle
All past fears and labels around fat, calories, cholesterol and food in general need to take a backseat. This is a huge piece of The Fat Burning Female Project and something I work extensively to clear up in my participants. While it does have the word in it, the ketogenic diet is not your typical ‘diet’. To effectively get and stay in ketosis, it requires a lot of food! So, having a restrictive mentality, as in most diets, doesn’t really work here. And if you are still hung up back in the 90’s when we were all fed tons of false information about dietary fats and cholesterol causing heart attacks and fat gain on your body, then it’s time to let that go too. It’s just not true. That, in itself, is a whole separate post. But, trying to stick with a ketogenic diet is going to be really hard if you are afraid of eating a lot of fat, afraid of eating a lot of food, or afraid of cholesterol.
I believe the goal with this style of eating is twofold; heal your body WHILE becoming intuitive with your food. I do not agree with counting every morsel you put into your mouth and eating this way allows for true food freedom because hunger and cravings are gone! This is why you see that I do not measure anything, I just eat.
Now, let’s take a look at my day!
Typical keto breakfast
I always start my day with a mug of Cacao Brew or Dandy Blend with a scoop of 4th & Heart vanilla bean ghee, a scoop of coconut oil, and a scoop of Vital Proteins collagen peptides blended together (not pictured). I drink that while the rest of my breakfast is cooking. Usually, it’s a plate full of bacon, non-starchy veggies sauteed in the bacon fat, and avocado. I love breakfast because it keeps me satisfied for hours! Sometimes, I forget to eat lunch until its late afternoon. As someone with a past of eating 6 meals a day, spaced exactly 2.5 hours apart from each other, this is a huge victory!
Typical keto lunch
It’s almost always a salad with a fatty cut of meat like 80/20 grass-fed ground beef, chicken thighs, or ground pork. Toppings are the easiest way to get more fat! I usually add half an avocado and lots of dressing. Most often, it is a big scoop of Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime mayo with an extra heavy pour of olive oil. I love to add sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, or bacon bits too! (Olives are another great addition, but they happen to be my least favorite food, so not for me!) This is also when I have a square or two of 85% dark chocolate, like Theo or Alter Eco, because it’s the best thing ever!
Typical keto snacks
I usually don’t need a snack because my meals are so satisfying and nutrient-dense, but sometimes I will munch on a handful or two of macadamia nuts or a spoonful of almond butter with a few swigs of kombucha.
Typical keto dinner
Another serving of a fatty meat, like these sausages, with non-starchy veggies sauteed in ghee with extra melted on top, and all of the toppings: raw sauerkraut, Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayo, Sir Kensington’s spicy mustard.
And they’re you have it! What a typical day looks like for me when I am eating ketogenic. I hope you weren’t hoping for anything fancy because that is one thing I DON’T do with my meals! I am a pretty simple cook and prefer it that way. If it is a day with more carbs, than one of these meals may have a few almond flour tortillas or potatoes.
Also, you will notice I do not have any dairy in my day. While I do think some dairy for those that are sure they tolerate it is OK, I do think the use of dairy products is way overdone in the ketogenic community. If you are definitely not sensitive to it which you have confirmed with a food sensitivity panel, than eating a serving a day of high quality, grass-fed, raw dairy is just fine. For me, while I don’t have a sensitivity to it, I do have a history of thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which makes dairy a trigger for that disease to come out of remission. Not worth it for me! For everyone, dairy has the potential of being very inflammatory, so keep it in moderation.
If you’d like to hear more about my ketogenic journey, I wrote this post and this post about it. I also talk about it quite a bit on my podcast, The Nourished Podcast. Check out those keto-specific episodes!